Success

What is success to you? It has to be subjective. Success is not having this amount of money, or this amount of followers. You have to define what you want and what will make you successful.

My dream is to create content (podcasts, short films, writing, other posts) that reaches people and inspires them to climb the mountain of life. As of right now:

• I have around 100 podcast listeners
• I have 39 YouTube subscribers
• My last video currently has 33 views
• This blog has fewer than 10 consistent readers
• Only 4 people have subscribed to my weekly newsletter

In terms of reaching people, none of this is even close to the kind of numbers I’m dreaming of. But a few days ago, one of my closest friends reached out to me and told me everything he loved about my stuff, as well as the things that didn’t click with him. That’s success to me. People I care about consuming what I create and being inspired to think about it and how they can implement it in their lives.

I don’t give a shit about the numbers right now as I’m starting out. Perhaps they will remain low until I find my real footing. All I can do is focus my energy on improving my abilities and remain true to my Why. That’s all any of us can do. Don’t get bogged down by “lack of results.” Get better, and stay true to your purpose, and the numbers will eventually follow suit.

Trick Your Mind

It’s stunning how upset people get when you tell them they can do things they don’t think they can do. We like to be the ones who declare our own capabilities and inabilities. Aside from the countless videos I’ve made on YouTube and Instagram about building discipline and habits, here’s a simple mind-hack you can start today in order to make you more disciplined and gritty:

Tell yourself, out loud or in your head, that you are this person.

Practicing kickboxing is really tough at first (as is any new skill). One thing that made the shitty beginning stages fly by was the way I thought about myself doing it. Mentality is 90% of anything you’re doing. I would show up to class not knowing what I was doing, but in my head I was thinking “I’m a fighter.” I would talk about it, practice in and out of the gym, watch fights at home, and consume it. So although my skills were that of a novice, by all accounts, I was a fighter.

If you want to learn sign language, there’s not a legally-defined amount of words one needs to be able to sign in order to declare themselves someone who knows sign language. Practice it. Consume it. Be curious about it. You’re a person who knows sign language.

Don’t compare your skills to those of others unless you are learning from them. I suck at filmmaking. I have no idea how to edit clips together to tell a cohesive story. But guess what? I have a YouTube channel where I’ve made several films all on my own with the help of no one. I’m a filmmaker.

It doesn’t have to be an arrogant way of inviting yourself into every club that exists. Just because I clipped my nails today doesn’t mean I am a stylist. That’s obviously not my point. But when you want to get into something, don’t hold yourself back by focusing on all the things you can’t do. Lose yourself in your own curiosity and declare in your mind that this is the person you are.

I am a fighter.
I am a YouTuber.
I am a podcaster.
I am productive.
I am one who exercises.

Just because I’m not particularly good at any of these, doesn’t mean I can’t live those lives. The next time I don’t feel like working out, I’ll say, “Well, you’re someone who exercises, so you can’t skip the gym.”

You are…?

Discomfort

Sometimes, a lot of the time, you’re going to be be uncomfortable. That’s just a fact. I used to despise the saying, “get comfortable being uncomfortable,” but it’s one of the most useful skills on can build.

Mind – It’s comfortable and easy to focus your mental efforts on entertainment and gossip. Take a second to think about how much time in a day you spend learning (on purpose). The world is constantly changing, and we must learn everyday…about the world, about ourselves, about the people and things around us.

Body – It’s comfortable to eat whatever the fuck we want and to lay on the couch instead of go to the gym. Those things are fantastic as a rare treat, or a celebration of your hard work, but you can’t live your life like that. And for those who respond to that saying, “I sure can! Watch me!” Okay, I’ll watch you live a garbage lifestyle through many years which you’ll probably pass on to your kids to create more garbage people. Suffer in the short term so that you and your genes will thrive in the long term.

Spirit – It’s comfortable to hate things about people. It’s fun to gossip and talk shit about people when they are not around. But this is like a slow-working poison. It’s bad for you, the people close to you, and the people you meet in the future. Kindness is easy when you’re in a great mood, but Jesus does it feel impossible when you feel like nothing. But difficult does not mean impossible. Be a kind person to your loved ones and enemies, without letting people walk all over you.

Don’t shy away from discomfort, welcome it into your home, and it will make you bulletproof.

Force Yourself

In creating “self-help” content, one of the deepest criticisms I have received is that I make it sound too easy to get your shit together, especially when it comes to people with paralyzing depression whom simply getting out of bed in the morning is a win. As if I’m saying, “all you have to do is acquire these awesome habits and you’ll be become super productive and get in great shape.”

This shit is hard, people. That’s why people get inspired by motivational speakers. That’s why people hire personal trainers and nutritionists. When left to our own devices, we are often shitty managers of our personal well-being.

I’ll clear the air with some sort of video in the future, but:

– No amount of personal development is a substitute for professional help if you require it.

– If you have some sort of debilitating mental or physical disability, my stuff isn’t for you.

My stuff is for the people like me, who for so long, simply lacked the ability to force myself to do things I knew were good for me, but didn’t feel like doing. Watch this video. Joe Rogan does a fantastic job of articulating this in terms of exercise.

The vast majority of us think we can’t do something, but we simply lack the ability to force ourselves to do it. This ability can be learned, and it can be trained like a muscle. I have experienced it firsthand.

Some People

It’s a truly unfortunate fact, but once understood could save us a ton of time and mental strain…

Some people suck.

I currently make my income by serving tables and last night I had a purely low-class couple. By “low-class,” I’m not referring to their clothing or their skin color, I’m referring to the way they treated me and how my service was compensated. Not once did they say please or thank you. Each and every time I went back to the table, they needed something else. All I was thinking was “just get them out as soon as you can.” My expectations were low, but the final blow still hurt. Their bill was $90. I hand him the check and he slips me cash….5 bucks.

There is absolutely nothing more frustrating in the service industry than working your ass off for little to no payoff. I looked down at the depressed look on Abraham Lincoln’s face, said “I feel ya buddy,” but before I went into a pissed-off state of mind, I reminded myself something that put my heart at ease…

Some people suck.

Everyone is Against You

A poem by Phillip Lopate (as seen in Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott):

We who are
your closest friends
feel the time
has come to tell you
that every Thursday
we have been meeting,
as a group,
to devise ways
to keep you
in perpetual uncertainty
frustration
discontent and
torture
by neither loving you
as much as you want
nor cutting you adrift.
Your analyst is
in on it,
plus your boyfriend
and your ex-husband;
and we have pledged
to disappoint you
as long as you need us.
In announcing our
association
we realize we have
placed in your hands
a possible antidote
against uncertainty
indeed against ourselves.
But since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community
of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center,
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make unreasonable
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
of your disastrous personality
then for the good of the collective.