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.

Choices, Not Talent

• Exercising regularly
• Reading everyday
• Setting goals and accomplishing them
• Creating a budget and becoming financially secure
• Feeding a passion (a hobby or dedicating yourself to it)
• Being disciplined even when you feel like garbage
• Being the absolute best you can be each and everyday (kind to all, a great listener, respectful to yourself and others, working your ass off, being helpful)…

None of these are talents. It’s not like people either have these traits or they don’t. Each one of these are choices. They can be trained and practiced if you want them to be fused with your being.

What do you choose?

Our Biggest Fear

Fear of failure is real and ubiquitous. But the most pernicious fear among us is the fear of success.

It sounds strange when read or spoken. Fear of success though is the most dangerous of anxieties because we rarely admit it exists and therefore we hesitate in giving it a name or a face.

We all want to succeed. But if we do, we’ll have to live up to whatever that means. Are we capable? Are we worthy? Will we crumble when we reach that altitude?

One Day

Last night, I found out that my cousin had died.

I’m saddened (or relieved) to say that we weren’t too close. Yet, this was one of many reminders to come…that our time is limited here.

One day, that will be my mother, my father, the woman I love. It will be you. One day it will be me.

Love what is around you. Spend time and laugh with the people in your life while they are still conscious. Have conversations with them. Learn and grow with them.

Our life is like a book. Even the greatest novels in the world have a final chapter…a page where the words stop. What do you want your book to look like?

Who You Are

I typically preach that there exists nothing but the present. The past is a memory, arising in the present. And the future is anticipation or anxiety, also arising in the present.

Having said that, here’s a factoid which promptly and vigorously gets my ass in gear when I’m feeling lazy or unmotivated:

Where you are right now is a combination of each and every choice you’ve ever made. Everything you’re doing right now is creating the person you will be in the future.

So when we put things off, slack off, make poor financial decisions, eat garbage, etc…it feels good to give into the short-term pleasure of giving in to craving. But at some point down the road, we know we will have wished we made better choices. We know this. We don’t get that time back. We do however get the chance to make healthier moves today to set us up for an alley-oop tomorrow (damn Dill, excellent sporting reference).

”Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Compare Yourself

One of the most insidious and ubiquitous habits we concede to is comparing ourselves to others—physically, financially, in sport, in relationships, creatively… Plain and simple.

What’s worse, is when we compare our beginning to someone else’s middle. A month ago, I began my journey in Brazilian JiuJitsu. I went up against several other white belts who were destroying me each and every time…No shit! They’re months ahead of me.

The options were: A) Stop going to class out of shame or fear, or B) improve my skills so eventually I’d be able to hold my own on the mat.

You want to sing but your voice sucks. And you know all these people who can harmonize naturally. Forget them. If you want to be a great singer, they’re not impeding your training. You are.

There’s only one person on this planet you should be comparing yourself to: who you were yesterday.

I don’t care if I’m better than any other white belt. But I damn sure better be better than I was a month ago.

The Best Day

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life.

I began my new job, my first full-time, “big boy” vocation. It was lovely. Time flew by. The atmosphere was that of fun-loving, hard-working individuals and I’m so excited to meet new people and learn new skills. When we went over compensation I literally got teary-eyed. Avoiding breaking down into a solid cry, I wiped my eyes.

Everything just sort of hit me at once. I looked down. I was wearing a suit which I loved. It made me feel powerful (probably the white in me). As Bill Burr said, “I just wanted to take over some shit.” I drove my new car to work, which I bought with my money. I realized that I was in a completely different world. A world I had created for myself. In September, getting out of the restaurant and owning my own car were merely fantasies. This stuff may seem simple to most but this is a big deal for someone who has spent most of his days letting life happen to him as opposed to being in the driver seat.

Here’s what I’m getting at: It won’t happen tomorrow. It will take time and doubt and rejection and judgment and failure and everything else you’re afraid of…but if you begin taking steps toward the life you want to live, you will get there eventually. Others will get to theirs quicker than you, and in a smoother and more graceful fashion. But fuck them. They’re them and you’re you. Deep, I know.

Take a step each day, and after a year you’re 365 steps closer to where you want to go.

Thank God It’s Monday

After a rejuvenating and fun-filled vacation, I return to the computer and to my routine.

I hope you had a lovely holiday season, and an even lovelier 2019. Mine was full of growth, developing new habits and skills, and working harder to secure the life I want to live. I have a ridiculously long way to go, but by simply taking a few steps, I’m closer than where I was. I bought my first car. I’m done working in a restaurant and begin my first full-time job today. I wear a suit to work. I write checks to make monthly payments…My brain is malfunctioning as my body takes the form of an adult.

I took about a week off from this blog and the podcast. I spent my time with family I haven’t seen in a while and with a close friend who is also a creator and performer. Hanging out with her and her comedian friends for a weekend was a true joy. We were laughing and conversing constantly, two of my dearest activities. I was on her podcast, which you can check out here.

Having a week of peace and zero responsibility was the perfect way to ring in 2020, but each morning, I could feel myself withering away. I missed my routine. I missed my gym. I missed jiu-jitsu. I missed sitting down and doing the work. So I’m happy to be back here in this chair.

I started a book during my trip and halfway through, I’m convinced it’s the best book I’ve ever picked up. It’s called The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

Here’s the thesis: Over here you have the life that you live, over here you have the life you truly want to live (the habits you carry out, the body you have, the money you make, the things you create)…
In between these two things, is Resistance.

Resistance takes many forms, but it is always internal. Resistance is the enemy. It is the only reason you don’t do your work. Identify it. Destroy it. Do the work. Happy Monday!

Tomorrow

Since there’s no reception in the woods, I am writing this yesterday. Whoa.

Tomorrow is 2020. That’s pretty damn cool. It’s also, just the day after today. It won’t change you. Only you can change you.

Enjoy your time. May you be happy and healthy. And thanks so much for supporting the page or podcast however you do.

Much love!

Today

Today, I leave for a cabin in the woods to spend New Years alone in nature. I’ll be reflecting over the past year and of what’s to come. We all need some specialized time for ourselves.

Treat Yo’ Self

This year, I’ve been incredibly good at sticking to my routine, not breaking keto diet, getting great sleep, and not spending money.

Last night, it was my final evening working in a restaurant. After the shift, I got beers and ate triple chocolate cake with two good friends. We laughed our asses off. We gorged ourselves. We stayed up late. It was so much fun.

I woke up this morning exhausted from the lack of healthy sleep and I can feel my body trying its best to process the garbage I consumed last night. Normally this would put me in a slightly depressed and shameful mood, but I do this so irregularly that I woke up embracing the sluggishness with a smile.

There’s a difference between treating yourself and living life to treat yourself. I truly believe most of our lives should be spent not pursuing our “mouth pleasure” or “surface level” desires and cravings. That way, when you do pursue them, you enjoy them more because they’re a special gift you give to yourself.

A large portion of our dissatisfaction comes from the constant treats we give ourselves. Watching Netflix is sweeter if it’s the treat we allow ourselves after a week of working on our passions. Vacations are sweeter when we’ve worked our asses off for a while. Days off are sweeter when we’ve worked 7 days in a row.

Treat yourself. Give yourself some mouth pleasure. But don’t live your life like that.

Dealing With Mean People

Sometimes, we struggle to do the things we know we should do because it feels unfair.

It’s difficult, sometimes seemingly impossible to be kind to those who are nasty. Why should I sacrifice my respect and kind-heartedness to this evil bitch, when they are so clearly unwilling to give anything to me at this moment? That, by definition, is unfair.

I would certainly never advocate for letting mean people walk all over you.

”Know one should ever resort to violence, but everyone should know how to fight.”
– Joe Rogan

However, there exist several benefits to not stooping down the the level of those who are acting passive aggressive, hurtful, or down right disgusting.

• You build mental toughness by not letting this asshole get to you or by losing control of your emotions. Don’t give them that power.

• You show the world it’s crystal clear, that they are the asshole.

• You walk away from the situation not hating the person, but feeling pity for them since they’ll probably spend most of their life dissatisfied and lonely.

Be kind to everyone and don’t let the worst of humanity get to you. Be bulletproof. Not only do you probably not know their full story, but if you’re a respectful individual living by your defined values and principles, there’s nothing some bully could say to meaningfully affect your life.

New Year New Me

One of the best YouTube videos I’ve seen this year is by Thomas Frank. He articulates why we don’t stick to our New Years resolutions. Check out the video here.

Put simply, we fool ourselves. We believe when the date on our phone goes from 2019 to 2020, we’ll have more energy, more time, more willpower to do all the things we know we should be doing to live a happy and healthy life. But we don’t. We’re the same person we were yesterday. We have the same time constraints, the same bad habits.

The only remedy is to stop giving a time for things. “I’ll start being good with my money in two weeks.” Or “I’ll begin pursuing my passions tomorrow.” If you’re really going to make a change, why not start today?

The motivation or momentum you feel at the beginning of the year won’t last. Definitely take advantage of it if you experience that boost in energy. Just know it is temporary, and that the only thing which will provide you the change you want is building long-term habits to reach your goals.

The morning you wake up and don’t feel like going to the gym at all…that’s the most important time to go. It’s when you prove to yourself that you don’t do helpful things when you feel like it, you do them because that’s just what you do.

Christmas

Merry fucking Christmas!

Enjoy your family time and your gifts, but remember:

1) All the best gifts are free to give: a smile, making someone feel important and loved, having fruitful conversation, laughing with someone until you cry…

2) It’s doesn’t have to be a holiday to give these gifts to those you care about.

Best wishes to anyone reading. Have a safe and pleasant holiday!

2 Questions

Ask yourself these questions:

1) What are your deepest passions? Things you’d want to be a part of your life forever…

2) What are you doing currently to ensure they are a part of your life forever?

My Biggest Turn Off

My least favorite quality in a person is hurting other people because you yourself are hurt.

I think passive aggression is a root of evil. It’s typically a sign of someone not having control of their own thoughts or emotions.

It’s fun to hurt others when we feel down. We believe it’ll make us feel better. But it never does anyone any good. It causes a wake of damage and erodes relationships, bit by bit.

Be kind to others, even when they’re wrong. This is a difficult task, but so rewarding.

Sacrifice

Sacrifice is a necessary thing. You can’t have everything you want all the time. Many things you want must be sacrificed in order to get the things which are most important. I wrote a blog post about how to figure out what’s most important to you.

Sacrificing your mental health and fitness for people and activities which don’t make your life better is a bad sacrifice. Sacrificing going out all the time, blowing your money, and living most of your life consuming…for pursuing your goals and dreams…that’s a great sacrifice.

Gifts

Do you remember the gifts you received for Christmas in the past, or your previous birthdays?

Or do you remember the places you’ve been with the people you love?

Gifts can be great, but they’re no replacement for people and memories.

The Biggest Lie I’ve Ever Told

Wordsmith prompt #3: Describe the biggest lie you’ve ever told.

While no highly specific example comes to mind, for the majority of my life (until quite recently), I’ve given off this persona of extreme confidence and assurance in myself, my actions, and my words. That’s almost always been a lie.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been void of confidence in my abilities. My (inner) self-confidence has always been what has held me back the most. At times I seem certain of my capabilities, but deep down I’m thinking, “There’s no way you can pull this off.”

I’ve always cared about what people think about me. Always. I think most of us are like that and if you say otherwise you’re either lying or lack proper self-awareness. Lately, I’ve been learning how to channel all this energy. I try to care about what the right people think about me.

Also, a phenomenal antidote for lack of confidence (which I’ve written about many times) is finding a difficult task that you love, doing it over and over again, and getting better at it. In this arena, martial arts has been that muse. I’ve learned about how to respect others’ abilities as well as my own, how to become better by using discipline, the difference between deliberate and pleasurable practice, and how I handle getting my ass kicked…literally.

As I’ve been getting my shit together in recent days and months, I have more days where I feel excellent about the things I do and say, but this demon never goes away entirely. I’ll always question myself. I’ll always wonder if I’m doing the right thing for my life and the lives of others. I’ll always debate whether I’m helping people or hurting people. Always.

I’m curious…What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told?

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