Hello and welcome to my blog–I greatly appreciate your interest and your time. I would highly recommend you start with the pages (my favorite is The Right Mindset…Also Aquafresh), which you can access in the above menu. The most important stuff I could possibly think of posting is right there, so if you’d like to read about my thoughts on productivity and motivation, give it a go. Thank you and welcome once again!
Do you — or did you ever — have a Best Friend? Do you believe in the idea of one person whose friendship matters the most? Tell us a story about your BFF (or lack thereof).
I do believe in the idea of a person whose friendship matters the most, because–to be quite frank–believing otherwise could be quite cynical, and cynicism is something I attempt to avoid. I believe that, because I have a different relationship with my father as I do with my sister as I do with my coworker as I do with my employer as I do with a teammate as…so on and so forth, there must be a relationship that, in its uniqueness, matters to me more than the others.
My best friend is probably Joe, because Joe doesn’t stop doing things for me. Like, I can be a pretty abrasive, difficult person to be around, yet Joe and I are together a lot, and he seamlessly jives with my boisterous, obnoxious personality. Joe is my best friend because I don’t edit myself around him, and due to this sincerity, I truly care about what he thinks. If other people have a negative opinion of something I do, well…it’s easy for me to brush that off and ignore it. If Joe has a negative opinion…well then, I definitely did something wrong.
A story you say? It’s hard to pick one, but if I had to choose, it would be our State Science Olympiad competition this year, because–again, quite frankly–we killed it. We were prepared, we did incredibly well at competition, and we had a freakin’ ball. That’s what Joe and I do, really. We go places and we have a fantastic time being with one another, yet we still know how to produce at a high level. I love that about Joe. He’s an incredible kid.
Remember, most of the people you meet are going to tell you about the things they want to do. The question is, are most of the people you meet going to hear about the things you want to do, or the things you’ve done?
A commitment to yourself. It’s a simple idea, but it’s got a lot of different pieces jammed into it. I don’t know all of the pieces, otherwise I would be the most successful man on the planet, but what I understand about a commitment to one’s self, I’d like to share with you.
Let’s start here: a commitment to yourself will get you anything you want.
(Hence the whole ‘most successful man on the planet’ thing)
I talk a lot about making making choices (Every Moment Is A Choice). To me, that is undoubtedly the first step towards any type of progress, any sort of change: you have to make a choice, you have to decide what you want to do. And sometimes, that’s hard. It’s difficult to force yourself to make the decision to work instead of sleep, to run instead of walk, to fight instead of succumb. Making that choice can definitely be a difficult thing.
But I’ve got some bad news.
No matter how hard that choice was…making a commitment to yourself is going to be harder.
A lot harder.
Look, when you’re trying to be successful, when you’re trying to accomplish something, you’re constantly seeking improvement. That’s what this is, that’s what we’re talking about, a constant state of self-betterment. And when you’re in that constant state, when you’re constantly seeking improvement…well that means you’ve got some tough decisions, some tough choices to make. They’re tough because they require humility (Humility: The Impetus of Improvement)–they require that you admit flaws within yourself, they require that you accept your weaknesses and work on them, hammering them into battle-tested strengths.
During this hammering, during this work, when you’re constantly taking your weakness and exposing it to yourself, when you’re consistently revisiting your flaws…you hurt. You hurt a lot, and you want to stop. This is a terribly difficult thing you’re doing, and a painful one at that–this is a grueling fight, this is an uphill battle, this is a seemingly endless mountain which you must painstakingly claim.
This is a commitment to yourself.
You can’t get better at things without a commitment to yourself. You will slowly dwindle away into…I don’t even know, into nothingness, if you don’t have a commitment to yourself, and the rate at which you improve is directly proportional to your commitment to yourself.
A commitment to yourself implies a couple of things: firstly, you’re aware of both your strengths and your weaknesses. In the beginning of my week, every Sunday, I write down the things I improved upon last week, and I write down the things I want to improve upon this week. Acknowledgement of both the good and the bad. This is an understanding of the self.
Secondly, you want to improve yourself. You feel this desire to be better, to provide for your children, to support your spouse, to make your parents proud…but you also feel something more than that. You feel an obligation to yourself–YOU FEEL OBLIGATED TO YOURSELF (this is probably important)–to improve. To be the best person you can be, because you are you, and that will not change, so if you’re gonna be stuck with you, you’re going to be the best person you can possibly be. This is a desire to improve the self.
Thirdly, you choose. I told you it was the first step, and it is. The understanding of the self and the desire to improve the self are intrinsically human–everyone knows themselves, and everyone wants to be better. If you feel like you don’t know yourself, or that you don’t want to be any better than you are…well, you should sit down with yourself and just think for a bit. I have abundant faith you will discover what you believe you lack. So the third step is choosing to act on that desire, deciding to become better. And it can be very, very hard. But alas, this is your choice, and I have further, overflowing faith that you can make the right one.
Fourthly and finally, you commit to yourself. You made that decision to act, you made that difficult choice to admit your weaknesses and work on them…but you haven’t committed yet. You’ve made the choice to climb that endless mountain, to fight that grueling fight…but you haven’t committed yet! You haven’t plugged your nose and leapt into the freezing waters of self-betterment! The commitment to yourself only becomes evident when you’ve got the opportunity to improve yourself, and–where others would balk, make excuses, be lazy, or flee–you fight. You fight, and you fight hard. You are committed to yourself: you possess the intergrity to decide that you are far more valuable to yourself than any pain can overcome, and hardship can withstand, any difficulty can deny. You are committed to yourself: you are unaware of the mountain, for that is not where your focus lies; you know not for how long you’ve been fighting, all you know and all you care about is that you’ve been fighting hard. You are committed to yourself: you’re going to do what it takes, no questions asked, no excuses made! I love it!
You are committed to yourself, so bring on the dragons and the wild beasts. You are committed to yourself, so life, summon your greatest challenges and stiffest obstacles, for you can overcome them!
I love it!
As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?
Well, I must say, I’m very excited to talk about this one, because I’m 17, which is right about the beginning of that transitional cusp from childhood into adulthood.
So, when I was kid, I imagined what it was like to be an adult. I imagined…wealth. Exorbitance. Possession. When I was a kid, I forever sought an equality, a justice…I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t deal with my parents as equals, that my opinions couldn’t matter as much as an adults–these are things with which I still struggle today. I think, when I was younger, I saw age as power. The older I got, the more things I could have and the more things I could do, thus I could control more, affect more, and be more powerful.
I kinda sound like a sociopath.
I’ve always wanted to do things. I’ve always felt this yearning, this congenital and insatiable desire to produce, to be of value to the world, to give good things to good people. I’ve always wanted, without fail, to touch as many souls as I can. That’s why I do what I do now, that’s why I work on this blog. To bring it to others. That’s my why.
I think my idea of adult life wasn’t too far off. I think I missed a lot of the intricacies, the complexities; I think I didn’t fully understand some of the focuses, the shifts in concern; I think I overlooked most of the give-and-take, the compromising, the rationalizing. I epitomized adulthood in my mind as a time in which we had the power to chase that why, to do what it is we’ve always wanted to do. But the truth is, I think adulthood is still that chase, that endless race to reach our goals…but things get in the way. As a child, I was an idealist, and as a young adult, I still am one–but I’m far more aware of the real issues before me. Do I still think anybody, child or adult, can go out and reach their goals, sure.
But becoming an adult makes it a lot tougher.
When I was a kid, I never understood this. I never got how it worked. I always said to myself, ‘why fall down seven times and stand up eight? Why not fall once, figure out what went wrong, and then not fall down again?’ I had this image in my head of a guy just running into the same issues, being beaten down by the same demons, falling to the same calamity. And I didn’t understand it; I didn’t understand it when I was a kid, and even as I’ve grown, I still don’t understand it too well.
I finally started to understand it when I fell down, and I fell hard.
As you guys may know, I’m unable to run, due to an injury that, by the end of the week, should be history:) In thinking about the effect that this injury has on my life, I realized how much discipline I have lost. Running was the first thing I did every morning, and it set the tone for my day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still working, I’m still doing stuff…but discipline implies recognition of a set of rules, adherence to a code, life on a path. Without the discipline, without the run…I fell.
So I’ve been working, sure. But I’ve been pushing against a brick wall, running on a treadmill, writing without ink. I know the correct path, and I’ve abandoned it. As a result, I’m working without an idea of why, without a reason..I’m a renegade, a loose cannon. And I’m accomplishing nothing.
Look, I think 99% of the kids on Earth want to buy their mom a new home, buy their dad a new car…and when life gets at you, when life drives you into a corner, when life makes you fall…well, you’re supposed to get back up and go get your momma that house and go get your pop that car…but it’s hard.
It’s easy to stay disciplined when life isn’t on your back, it’s easy to stay on that path when life isn’t screwing with you, it’s easy to put in good work when life isn’t resisting you. But when life smacks you down, when it’s hard…you gotta claw your way back.
When it’s hard, it counts: nobody cares about what you can produce when production is easy! Nobody cares about what you can accomplish when there’s no resistance! But when it’s hard, it counts–every inch, every second, every ounce of sweat and blood and tears counts, either for you or against you, it counts! That’s why the greats are never satisfied: because they are CONSTANTLY making it tough on themselves, they are CONSTANTLY raising the bar, because they know that their product doesn’t count–no matter if that product is a Super Bowl or a graduate thesis or another bestseller–they are CONSTANTLY pushing because they know that their product doesn’t count until it’s hard for them to produce it.
And then…when you finally get back on your feet, when you finally start producing, when you finally claw your way back to the correct, disciplined path…life will smack you again. It may be an hour after you get back on your feet, it may be a week, it may be a year, but life will come back with a vengeance far worse than the first, and it will smack you down again. And down there, where you fall…it will be easy–I’m warning you now, everything will be EASY down there.
We fool ourselves into thinking things get easier as we get better at them, but that’s just life slowly pushing us over, slowly and surely toppling us. No no, it should get harder. Every time we stand, life will push on us a little stronger, strike us a little faster, shove us a little further, and it will be harder to go on.
And eventually, we’ll fall.
Even if we’re aware of the push, the strength, the potential fall…we will fall again, and we’ll probably fall another time after that, too. It’s not as simple as ‘fall once, figure out what went wrong, and move along.’ No no, it’s a constant battle, a perpetual war, a eternal dance between fall and stand, tumble and arise.
So here I stand, making the choice between what is easy and what is hard, what is comfortable and what is strenuous. I’m returning to my discipline, revisiting my code, walking once more on my path. When I fall, I will remember this time, this moment where I saw my fall…and perhaps I will be able to hop to my feet with a smile on my face, with a gleam of determination in my eye, with my jaw set in resolute stone. For surely I will fall again…but even more surely, I will fight my way back. I will claw my way back.
Every post from today onward, I’m going to remind you what my WHY is, the reason WHY I get up every morning and attack each day. I do what I do so that I can bring it to others. This is the overriding dogma, the foundation on which the code is laid and from which the path emanates. I do what I do so I can bring it to others.
It’s good to be back. Let’s go get it!
Look, I don’t know if you know this, but you can tell by the skull of an animal if it was a predator or prey. A predatory animal will have eye sockets in the front of its skull–like a human’s–so as to create depth perception and allow for easier tracking. An animal that is more typically prey will have eyes on the side of its head, to see a greater range of what’s around it, allowing it to more easily evade the predators that stalk it.
I need you to get into a predatory mindset, I need you to adopt a predatory attitude, and I need you to look at life with predatory eyes.
When you wake up tomorrow, you will have limited time–that’s a fact, you will have a limited amount of time until the next time you wake up. The second we accept that, we can start to move forward, so if you haven’t locked in on that idea yet, I suggest you check out my page Time Is A Commodity, because I need you on board with that idea, that urgency.
See, once you accept this idea that you have limited time, the question follows: what are you going to do with it? You have a limited amount of something, and EVERYTHING, literally EVERYTHING you do requires this something. You cannot do something without giving time to it.
So…with your limited time…what are you going to do?
That depends on your eyes, that depends on where you’re looking. Do you have predatory eyes? Or the eyes of the prey?
Because the prey is looking around him, the prey is seeing what the other people are doing, the prey is watching–not doing–the prey is observing–not acting. The prey is living reactively as it looks to its side and even retroactively when it looks to its back! If you have the mindset of the prey, you’re checking your rearview mirror and worrying about what has already happened–something you can’t control!–or you’re checking your sides to see what is currently happening–something you can’t affect it because you’re not acting! If you’ve got the eyes of the prey, you can’t see what you’re DOING. You can’t see what actually is happening before you, in front of you; you can’t see what you can affect, what you can change, what you can influence. You’re not concerned with what you can do, you’re only concerned about what’s going on.
But with predatory eyes…you’re focused in. You’re locked on. You’re raring to go.
I mean, think about the movies, right? Think about the dramatic scene when the tiger is lurking out of the jungle–what do they show first?! They show his eyes, his yellow eyes gleaming menacingly in the bush! Before he’s even there, before the tiger is DOING ANYTHING, his eyes are already there! His eyes have been there, his eyes were there long before his body was! He’s locked onto his future; he can see the past, the present if need be–he can turn his head–but his eyes are locked onto that future, that approaching moment…that limited time.
So what are you going to do with your limited time? Well, that depends on where you’re looking.
Hello WordPress. I’m sorry to say that it’s been a while; indeed, it’s been far too long.
I wish I could give you a solid reason for my considerable absence, but I cannot. I wish there was a story that legitimized my hiatus, but there is none. I simply…got lazy. I fell away. I grew apathetic. I gave in. I forgot my WHY.
If you guys remember, I’m a big fan of Eric Thomas. He’s a motivational speaker, and a darn good one. One of his chief concepts, the teaching that really strikes me today…is the idea of the WHY. It’s exactly what it sounds like: WHY do you do what you do? What’s your WHY?
He hits on it quite solidly here:
So I forgot my WHY. You’ll notice at 2:47, he talks about writing down your WHY, and that hit me. I can’t let myself forget my WHY again, so I wrote my WHY down, and when I wrote it down, I wrote down ‘because I can bring it to others’. If someone were to ask me why, I would tell them just that: so that I can bring it to others. I want to bring it to others–the mentality, the discipline, the integrity…the focus. I want to bring it to others the same way ET brought it to me.
You guys are my WHY, and I’m not planning on forgetting that again.
Good to be back,