Too Much, Too Little

10 years from now, what will you look back at and feel you do too much of or too little of in this moment?

My answers:

• Too much doubting myself (and therefore inaction)

• Not nearly enough quality time and helpfulness with/for my mother

And you?

Stretch

Perhaps it’s my competitive nature which makes me want to be really good at whatever I’m doing. In the past however, this desire led me to quitting things after the first sign of heavy resistance. I’ve since acquired the skill of pushing through resistance head-on to get to the level I want to be.

Most of what we want can be achieved. The issue is that it takes long periods of discomfort and stretching ourselves to get there. So most of us quit.

For a literal example: If you have one intense stretching session, you won’t be able to do a split afterward. You could though, if you instead did a 10-minute stretching session everyday for a year.

Play the long game. Battle resistance everyday. It doesn’t go away.

Your Mission

My mission in life is to inspire people to get the most out of themselves.

This remains true regardless of my occupation, my hobbies, my passions.

What’s yours?

You Never Forget Your First

I follow several entrepreneurship and finance/motivational Instagram pages (because that’s obviously the key to getting rich). Most posts are cheesy but here’s one I truly love:

Your first podcast will be awful.
Your first video will be awful.
Your first article or blog will be awful.
Your first art will be awful.
Your first photo will be awful.
Your first scene will be awful…
But you can’t make your 50th without making your first.
So get it over with, and make it.

3 Mantras

These three things have been a serious help in my stressful life lately. I wrote them down in my phone notes so when I’m feeling overwhelmed I can easily revisit them and remind myself:

• The thing you least want to do is probably that which you most need to do.

• Ignore the voice that’s tempting you with comfort.

• Some people can go straight from A to Z. Others must take the long road—A, B, C, D…all the way up to Z. In the end, both end up at the same place. But those who take the long road have grown more and have learned more about themselves.

Pursuing a Dream

A friend recently asked me if I thought my podcast and blog would ever ‘make it big.’ My response: I have absolutely no idea.

At this rate, it appears to me that it will take years of interviewing bigger and more prominent guests, having more dynamic conversations, and vastly improving the quality of my writing before any ‘success’ arrives.

I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve done. I’ve been able to sit down with some hilarious, insightful, and all around amazing people with which I’ve had conversations I’ll never forget (because they’re recorded). As for this blog, it’s been a delightful way to start each morning—forcing my brain to get going and dumping out some thoughts before my day begins.

Having ‘made it’ is a vague and subjective status. But the magic question is this: Would someone pay to consume my podcast or blog?…I doubt it. Not yet at least.

Following a dream is a beautifully exciting and dangerous thing to do, but it can be done in a responsible manner. If you want to be an author instead of a marketing director, but you’ve never written a book in your life, you’re going to have to do it the hard way. Every waking second you have outside your day job should be spent fine-tuning your craft and ability to create compelling stories. The idea of ditching your cubicle and computer screen is glamorous, but it’ll most likely result in you ditching your food and rent as well.

If you want to be an actor (something I plan on pursing in the future), do it! But if you want to do it full-time, make sure you get really fucking good at it first (…as well as design sets, costume design, directing, writing, makeup, etc). You have to have something to offer before you ask what others can offer you.

”If you embrace control without capital, you’re likely to end up…enjoying all the autonomy you can handle but unable to afford your next meal.” – Cal Newport, So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Invest your time and energy in becoming amazing at something before you demand success in it. “Enthusiasm alone is not rare and valuable and is therefore not worth much in terms of career capital.”

Bulletproof

One of the most valuable traits one can acquire is the ability to be bulletproof.

Through practice of meditation and stoicism, we can learn to focus on what is important and ignore what is not. Being a defensive and sensitive person is not a sin, but it does hold you back. It’s often a symptom of focusing on things you can’t control (i.e. what other people think and say).

You can’t control the actions or thoughts of others. The only thing you can control is how you respond to and deal with them. Which, ironically, will affect the actions and thoughts of others.

I’m not advocating for bullying or disrespect, but these things are inevitable. Don’t punch people in the face. Just know that there are assholes out there who punch people in the face and be prepared to defend yourself when you meet them.

”Those who can’t control their own emotions will try to control the actions of others.”

Fog

We often live in fog…our minds clouded by thought and our bodies retarded by unhealthy habits.

Above every cloudy sky is one of clear blue and crystal sun. All you have to do is travel high enough in a plane and you are above any storm plaguing the streets.

Being someone engulfed in fog, it’s difficult to imagine an alternative. But these are things you can do to reduce the fog ten-fold:

• exercise regularly (20 minutes per day, or gym 3 times per week)
• write your thoughts and goals down
• get 8 hours of sleep
• drink more cold water
• stop eating simple carbs (bread, pasta, sugar)
• only check social media for one allotted hour each day
• keep your phone on do not disturb mode

In Our Heads

“I am not what I think I am. I am not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am.”

It’s kind of a mouthful, but this is how we often live our lives. Most of our consistent suffering happens in our minds. I have been so insecure at times I found it impossible to keep up basic conversation.

We can get so wrapped up about or futures. We hold on to past memories. We focus on what others think about us. And worst of all, we question if we’re good enough (I ask myself this everyday). Good enough for what?

One of my best friends has crippling anxiety for which she takes medication…this isn’t directed at her. But…the next time you feel yourself spiraling down into the rabbit hole of negative thought, look around you and pay close attention to what is actually going on. What’s most likely happening is you’re just sitting in a chair in a room breathing. Try to pinpoint each thought as it arrives and see where it goes. After doing this a few times, you’ll realize there’s really nothing there.

Suffering

Anything worthwhile in our lives deserves suffering.

What I mean by that is that we should spend a great deal of time being uncomfortable if we want to experience fulfillment and meaning out of the things we love. Obviously I don’t think we should whip ourselves as we’re gardening in the front yard, but you know what I mean.

Stephen King said he only became a high-level writer because he spent years sitting at his desk, writing shitty short stories everyday until he developed crazily-interesting ideas and stories.

In the most recent episode of the podcast [#2.3 – How to Get Fit], a body builder and I discuss the key to getting in shape. It’s the key to anything really. You must sacrifice your short-term comfort (suffer) so you may flourish in the long-term.

It’s a simple formula, but it takes time and it takes grit…which are where it loses most people.

Sometimes

I forgot to post yesterday. It’s the first time since the conception of this blog which I’ve forgotten to keep the train moving as promised.

That’s okay. Aside from disappointing a few readers, all that really happened was that it showed me I’m not a robot.

I’m highly stressed with my new job; learning new skills, developing a different mindset, jumping out of my comfort zone…I’m going to make several mistakes.

The key is to fail forward. Embrace the suck. Just don’t stop moving.

When I go through downs like this, I make a simple collection of lists:

• What do I need to do more of?

• What do I need to do less of?

• Am I prioritizing my health (exercise, food, sleep)?

• Who can I call when I’m going through a rut?

What do you do when you’re going through a funk?

Breaking

Last night, someone had the audacity to bring home fresh, Krispy Kreme Boston cream-filled donuts…Donuts are my favorite food.

It’s incredibly damaging for me to eat a pastry (large amount of carbs) on the keto diet. I ate three.

Waking up this morning, I feel sluggish and slightly fatigued. I regret the donuts. I almost always do. However, I ate them. There’s nothing I can do about that fact. So instead of feeling like a piece of shit and continuing my garbage ways, all I can do is get back on track.

I used to have the horrible habit of breaking diet or giving into a craving (sweets, skipping the gym, sleeping in, watching hours of shows) and then continuing to do so. It would be like I’d break the seal. I think most of us do that. We eat a donut when we shouldn’t and think, “Well, I already ate donuts yesterday. Why not today as well?” And on and on we go.

But we don’t have to do this. If we simply stop and then ungracefully continue our healthier routine and habits, we impishly get things back on track.

Matt D’Avella has a great video on this subject.

Disagreeing

You’ll never agree with anyone 100% of the time. Disagreeing with someone is an inevitable and necessary phenomenon. Yet so many of us treat disagreements as if they are gearing up for battle.

It’s difficult at times to support your ideas while being patient and respectful, but it’s what is needed.

Try not to attack people, but their ideas instead.

Try not to question what people think, but how they think.

Why Do This?

A few days ago, a guy at work asked if I had a girlfriend. When I said I did not, he replied: “Lucky bastard.”

He obviously wasn’t 100% serious, but there was stress and truth in his voice. This blew my mind.

If you’re jealous of someone who is single, why are you in your relationship?

If you’re counting hours until you’re done with work/counting days until the weekend, why are you doing what you do?

These questions are slightly hypothetical. I’m aware there are tons of factors at play when feeling ‘stuck’ at a job or in a relationship. I simply believe if the grass looks vastly greener on the other side, maybe it’s time to consider alternatives.

Continuing

Last night, at my Brazilian JiuJitsu class, I rolled (sparred) with blue, purple, and brown belts…i.e. people significantly better than my white belt ass.

What strikes me each class is how humble those who are skillful are. In BJJ, humility and skill seem to be positively correlated. I mentioned this to one of the brown belts (second highest belt) after he got done manhandling me. His response was simple and inspiring:

”It’s because I’m not better than you [man],” he said. “I’ve just been doing this 1000 times longer than you have. If you continue, you’ll be the same as me…maybe better.”

It’s arrogant to expect to receive fulfillment and quality from something you’ve just started. Professional comedians didn’t begin their careers with Netflix hour-specials. They spent years and years grinding it out in clubs with four audience members…bombing until they crawled their way to opportunities.

No one should do what they hate. But things we want from our lives and careers (e.g. creativity, impact, and control)…we must earn these things. And we earn them by showing up everyday and putting in the work. That’s how he got his brown belt.

For more on this type of philosophy, check out Cal Newport’s incredible and mildly controversial book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You. In chapter two he shares a quote from Ira Glass, the producer and host of This American Life:

“All of us who do creative work…you get into this thing, and there’s like a ‘gap.’ What you’re making isn’t so good, okay?…It’s trying to be good but…it’s just not that ‘great.’ The key thing is to force yourself through the work, force the skills to come; that’s the hardest phase.”

What Don’t You Want?

I’ll preach until I’m blue in the face that you should write down the things you want in life. I actually made a video last year on an easy way to set goals for yourself.

But I think it’s equally important to write down the things you don’t want. Defining these things will help you avoid certain habits or begin to steer you in the right direction.

For example, here’s my list…

I don’t want:

• to live for the weekend
• to live without a Why
• to be complacent (to not have a current challenge)
• to put off things I know are important to my well-being
• to have money make me depressed or anxious
• to compare myself to others
• my friends to not get the most out of themselves
• my mom to be stressed all the time
• to wake up at age 60 and regret not doing all the things I wanted to do (pursue my goals, create, love those around me, laugh constantly)…

What don’t you want?

The Danger of Discipline

Once you experience a disciplined, organized life…you’ll never want to go back.

I’m not saying you’ll be structured forever. God no. That takes blood, sweat, and tears each and everyday. But once you taste the sweet nectar of even remotely having your shit together…falling through the wayside will put you in a depression.

This happens to me, for example, when I go on vacation.

Time away from responsibility is rejuvenating and necessary…but too much time away from my routine—drinking often, getting irregular sleep, exercising infrequently, not doing my morning rituals—make me feel like a shell of myself.

As awful as it is, it’s a damn good motivator to get things back on track.

With my new job, I battled this idea for weeks…but I’ve finally accepted the realization that to get everything I need done in the day, I have to change my sleep schedule. This means waking up earlier and going to sleep earlier.

The result: Sacrificing the short term pleasure of my comfort this week and the ability to stay up late with my friends on weekends, for the long-term satisfaction of taking care of everything which makes me feel fulfilled (getting a full exercise in 3-5 times a week, going to JiuJitsu, sitting down for deep work on the podcast, showing up early to get better at my job).

I’ve been up for several hours. I’m sleepy. My bed looks so inviting and cozy. But once I finish this paragraph I’m heading to the gym…because laying in bed for an extra hour doesn’t make me look better or feel better with my shirt off. It won’t make me fit. Be your own personal trainer. Once you live a disciplined life, you’ll find that you’re a pretty good life coach.

Kobe

Our time is limited here. Hug your family. Relax with your friends. Tell everyone you care about that you love them.

R.I.P. Kobe.

Your Shit

When you make a monumental mistake, it feels like everything’s over. It feels as though all your friends and family will be judging you and label you as a failure or a loser or an idiot…but really the only person who does any of those things is you.

Everyone has their shit. No one has time to have anxiety over your shit…They have their own shit to deal with.

Everyone has money issues. Everyone has relationship issues. Everyone worries about their appearance. Everyone worries about their future. Everyone is figuring their shit out…So don’t stress about other peoples’ shit. They’ve got it covered. And on the same token, don’t think other people are obsessing over what you’re doing wrong.

When you fuck up, and walk out the door…there will never be a herd of people waiting outside to point fingers and laugh at you. Focus on yourself. Everyone else is doing the same. And if they’re not, they’re absolute morons.

To-Not-Do Lists

We’ve all made to-do lists…most of them on a little post-it notes which never get accomplished.

Let’s start with something more obtainable: To-not-do lists.

Write down the things which are not a valuable use of your time, distractions, and any other poison you’d like to detox from your time and energy.

Kevin Hart

I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Kevin Hart speak at the annual kickoff for my company yesterday in Philadelphia. He was incredibly inspiring, humble, and of course…hilarious.

Aside from his comedy, he deals heavily in productivity and following one’s dreams.

Check out this beautiful video to hear a few of his mindsets/philosophies.

New Phone Who Dis?

Last night, I picked up my new iPhone. It’s an older version.

My buddy asked me why I didn’t take advantage of my upgrade and get one of the newer models. I asked him why I needed it.

Before I purchase the newest upgrade of something, I ask myself: do I need the newest/most expensive version to get everything I need done? Do I need it to make me happy and fulfilled?

The answer is almost always no.

Being Comfortable

It sounds counterintuitive to our biological nature, but you can train yourself to enjoy being uncomfortable.

Three days a week, I wrestle with sweaty men and women who are bending me and choking me into submission. It’s awful…and euphoric.

JiuJitsu is a palpable and tangible example of training for discomfort. But we see this phenomenon whenever we do anything difficult and get better at it: starting a new job when you don’t know if you’ll succeed, moving to a country where you don’t know the language, having enormous responsibility thrown on your shoulders…

One of the most healthy things you can do is to constantly expand your comfort zone. I’m not advocating that you torture yourself and never feel good or comfortable…but if you don’t spend every waking second avoiding discomfort, you will cherish the comfortable moments with all your being.

Notorious

Love him or despise him…Conor McGregor is one of the most entertaining athletes to ever exist.

Saturday was his first fight back since his enormous defeat two years ago. He won in 40 seconds. I love that. He’s back in the octagon because of his love for the game. He has more money than he knows what to do with. He loves fighting.

When you have that thing you love, nothing beats that. Dedicate your time, energy, fear, and pain to something and become the best at it.

Here’s an incredible video highlighting his comeback. It’s inspiring. Get after it.

How Embarrassing!

Check out my good friend’s podcast, How Embarrassing!

I was lucky enough to be a guest on the show and got to spill the most embarrassing moments of my life. Subscribe, laugh, and cringe.

Should You Go to College?

Near the end of my high school career, I was asked countless times what my plans were after graduation. Without skipping a beat I would respond, “I’m going to college [duh].”

It was set in stone. I refused to go to the nearby, highly-ranked community college where I could knock out my bullshit general education credits, figure out what I wanted to do, and save thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars…I refused to stay back and work and develop and grow myself to discover what I was passionate about and what I could bring to the table.

No. I had to go to a four year university—a place where I could get the full college experience. Why? Not because I was a great student (I was a terrible student). Not because I had a school in mind which specialized in the field I was interested in (I had no clue what I wanted from my life). Not to make my resume look juicier (I refuse to work somewhere where they care more about a place I went to school than my personality or my unique qualities). I had to go to college simply because it’s what you do.

The only reason I went to university was to avoid looking like a loser. I didn’t want to be the only one of my close friend group to stay back at mom’s house while all my buddies were getting ‘smarter,’ doing molly at parties they weren’t invited to, having sex, and making newer and more interesting relationships. But most of all, I didn’t want to disappoint my family. Consisting of mostly traditional and conservative thinkers, my family stressed the importance of an education…and we never had a conversation where the subject of school didn’t take the driver seat.

But here’s what happened: My college career ended in failure—on paper and emotionally. Like I said, I was a shit student. Why did I think anything would drastically get better when you took away supervision, gave me access to drugs and alcohol, and threw me into a system in which I never wanted to be in in the first place?

Everything I just said sounds so incredibly arrogant and I’m aware of that. I take full responsibility for my lack of success in academia. My point is that I was a child. I understand that we need to send kids off to learn about themselves and solve problems on their own at some point. My thesis is not that college is evil. College is a beautiful choice for specific fields or if you truly want to continue your education. I don’t want a surgeon operating on me who Googled how to do the operation the night before.

What I disagree with is this: College isn’t the only way. It shouldn’t be pushed as the only option for a successful and satisfying life. It’s not even the best way, not for everybody. We all have different passions with various mechanics of learning. Personally, I laugh when I think about the amount of hours I spent trying to gather information by sitting in a class, listening to a lecturer, and taking notes on something I didn’t care about and didn’t remember a month later. That’s not me.

And I get it. Having a degree can make someone feel accomplished and I don’t want to demean or belittle that for anyone. It can certainly show someone that you have enough grit to complete the schooling system.

But what else can prove that you’re worth hiring over the next person? How great you are at communicating with people? How quickly you learn and adapt? How passionate you are and how willing you are to go above and beyond? How easily you lead and inspire people? Do we need college for all of this? For some people, sure. But it’s undeniable that we can find these phenomenal qualities outside the classroom. I just know too many people who work lovely, fulfilling jobs, making excellent money, who didn’t put themselves in $40,000 of debt for a piece of paper which says they’re more talented than others.

I understand I have a biased opinion. But that’s exactly what I’m writing about. It didn’t work for me. Sure, I could’ve worked harder and cared more. What I’m saying is I didn’t. I was a child. A child in a big school of children and I was told to “figure my life out” and I had no fucking clue. I made childish decision after childish decision until it caught up to me and blew up in my face. Then I had to go back to square one—mom’s house.

It was like I went back to high school and it was depressing. But here’s the thing: I’ve learned more about myself and the world in these two years being back at mom’s than I ever did in a classroom. About 30 times more. I’ve had time to pursue my curiosity, find my passions, read and learn about the world, have disorganized and sloppy conversations, make mistakes, and develop myself as a person and an intellect.

If anyone in academia reads this, please leave with this:

I respect each and every hard-working soul who fights for the education of those next in line. I would never bash a teacher, student, or parent who is thrilled that their kid got into college or made Dean’s list. Schooling is a beautiful and safe way to secure a structure for yourself. It can be a great tool…I just resent the idea that it is the only tool…the idea which was pumped into my head and the heads of countless others.

Rough Day

Yesterday was my first day out of training for my new job. It was time to spread the wings and soar…

It didn’t go great. I killed it in training and my first day was a wash. I was surprised and quite disappointed in myself. My face felt slightly numb, and I found it impossible to hide my solemn mood.

But today is a new day. I could easily let yesterday define me and my work. What I think I’ll do instead is persevere and have a lively energy for today so I can perform well.

You are not who you were yesterday. You may have really fucked up, but you can use that to learn and adjust…instead of letting it define you and cement you in a hole.

Today is a new day. Go destroy.

So Good

We can get a ton of satisfaction by being really fucking good at what we do.

Many of us are okay with being mediocre out of some lazy mindset…But if you went a month being the absolute best you could be (at anything: your work, side hustle, passion project, sport, exercise, basic discipline), you’d be so incredibly happy and fulfilled that you’d feel like a different person.

It won’t be easy by any stretch. But you’ll crawl out the end of it feeling like a superhero.

Snooze

Sleep is quite possibly the best medicine on account of how cheap it is and how many scalable benefits it provides. Yet many of us fail to prioritize it.

Aside from ensuring we get 7-9 hours and go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday…Something else which drastically helps our happiness, discipline, and energy is not hitting the snooze button.

We go in and out of sleep cycles which last an hour to an hour and a half. Getting nine more minutes—even thirty more minutes of sleep, doesn’t help us. It actually does some damage. This is why we rarely feel well-rested after a few taps on our phone. We’re just prolonging the inevitable.

My advice sounds crazy: Just jump right up and start your day. You’ll be tired, often exhausted…but it truly is a habit you can develop. It helps if you get your brain working almost immediately. After drinking a full glass of cold water to hydrate, do some reading or writing to let your brain know, “we’re working today.”

Also, download the free app SleepCycle. I’ve been using it for years and it ensures you wake up at the lightest level of sleep during whichever cycle you’re in.

Matthew Walker also has a phenomenal book on the intricacies of sleep called Why We Sleep.

Whoops

This is the latest I’ve ever posted on this blog. There’s only one reason for that: I forgot to post this morning.

Opening my notebook to immediately study for my new job, it totally slipped my mind.

Moral of the story: Shit happens. We forget stuff. Try to pick up the pieces as best you can when you inevitably show signs of being a human and slip up.