Look back to the past from time to time; a glance for perspective perhaps, but don't leer too long or it will affect your path. In fact, you'll drift, distracted by what is behind you instead of what is in front of you.
We've all done this. We all do this.
The valuation of our past is often greater than the valuation of our present. The past carries a powerful spell with it, a nostalgia, a longing for a second chance.
The future lives off in the vague distance on the periphery and to think of the future as promised or inevitable is a gross overestimation of what's to come. It's detrimental to healthy progress because it assumes. And that stunts growth.
How often we live in these psychological locations (past, present, future) shapes the loop we live in. This can be mind bending. If your mind lives anywhere other than the present, then you deprecate the present. If you deprecate the present, you deprecate your future, which then deprecates your past. Again. Which is where you seem to live most of the time anyway, which deprecates the present. Again. The loop restarts. The madness of your life ensues.
What I did vs. What happened to me are two diametrically different ways to evaluate oneself. And the fact that those are two different starting points means they have two different futures. Where you anchor yourself changes where you go.
Someone who looks at their life from the lens of "what happened to me" probably won't grow in life. They won't develop a strong identity able to amass fulfillment while in the throes of desperate struggle. Even though that's the secret tactic and those who can do this operate with a kind of magic the rest of us can't comprehend.
However, the person who looks at their past through the lens of "What I did" or "What I have accomplished" drives an ownership that emanates high participation in the present. A high participation in the present creates an expansive and intricate future. It propels a person forward; an eagerness to experience ambiguity begins to develop. This is where satisfaction and fulfillment seed and bloom.
Move forward in your life. Make adjustments as your environment changes - navigate. Glance back in the rear view from time to time to see what is behind you, but keep your eyes forward. Aim ahead.
That is where you're going. That's where you are.
One day I won't be here anymore and I don't want you to feel alone or lonely because of that. As you get older, you'll brush closer and closer to death, what it means to you, and what you're supposed to do with all that mortal knowledge. I wanted to leave you a note in case you need it.
1. No one is coming for you. Your life is your life - it belongs to no one else. Don't expect the world to do you any favors. It's a hard place sometimes and most people won't ever understand the silent struggles you feel in your mind. Don't blame them for that.
2. Be Grateful; you can't be angry and grateful at the same time. There will be hundreds of times in your life when you feel anger, rage, or resentment toward people or situations. Try to reflect in those moments about what you are grateful for, because you could be in much more pain or live with much less. Rationalize your situation and give it no more power than it deserves. Be grateful.
3. Take care of your mother. She is the most wonderful person you will ever know. I've seen her shape your life even before you were born or had memories to remember. She is genuine and the incarnate of love. Respect her and protect her, if I am not around. She is allowed to live her life and be with whomever makes her happy. Don't deny her that because of my memory, that's not what I want.
4. Take action and go directly into the things you fear. If you fear a test, begin studying for it immediately. Even the act of starting will diminish the fear. If you one day find yourself drinking too much, address that too. Talk about it with those you trust, rationalize why you're doing it, and then train your ass off in the gym and by running mileage outside. This is the cure. But, whatever it is you fear, TAKE ACTION. Without it, you get nothing and go nowhere.
5. I don't know what kind of faith you are going to have. Feel free to believe in whatever you want - as long as it promotes virtue, kindness, and good things. My suggestion here is to study all religions as well as all science - neither one of them have all the answers, so it will be up to you live your life with strength and honor. Act as if God exists...because from my limited experience here...it seems the more good you genuinely do...the more good you actually get.
In the end when I die, I hope I'm bored with life. I hope all my friends are gone and I hope my wife is gone too; only my children are left thriving away in their lives with no concern that I am alone and close to the end.
I hope I've run the miles, lifted the iron, seen the oceans and forests, ate the food, and witnessed every permutation of every story there ever was.
I hope I’ve experienced all the emotions the mind and brain can produce with no bias toward the good or the bad I may have felt.
I hope I don't relate to the new generation much anymore; they don't honor the old ways, nor do I have much in common with them.
I hope I’ve prepared well for the end. Saying what needed to be said to the people who needed to hear it. I hope no one laments my exit and instead uses my memory as fuel and not fog.
I hope my ledger of life is full and my pages ripped with strike-through’s and misspellings here and there. Reformulations of my life written through experiences of pain and joy as the very best parts I am most proud of – and frankly what I might miss most.
I hope it's clear that suffering helped me, and, in a way, I want to miss taking losses as I lived on the outer edges of my skill because that is where growth is and it’s what made me better…it’s what made me feel alive.
I hope I see alignment in most things. I hope the stars above never lose their intrigue with me and call me by name to come home.
I hope time is not a diminishing resource I chase any longer. I want to be tired of it and done with it; grateful I had as much as I did, but happy it’s close to running out.
I hope I let my body die without much concern for who I am or where I’m going. I hope there is little struggle here and that I thank God one last time before the “me” as I know it fades into nothing and I’m reborn elsewhere in some other way.
I lose a little bit every day. The key for me though is to try and trim back those losses every chance I get. There is power living in the aggregate NO. Let me explain.
Aggregate: Formed or calculated by the combination of many separate units or items; total. “The aggregate amount of dollars saved.”
I’ve realized that strengthening my ability to say NO is like a muscle. It starts out weak, but over time the more I try to say NO to things, the better I get at doing it. The better I get, the more powerful the word becomes when I pit it against something I know I shouldn’t be doing.
That feels a lot like magic to me. It’s fascinating to think that language can sometimes produce magical outcomes. The words we say to ourself and the words we say to other people can cast a spell onto them; onto ourselves. A thought can create an idea and once we speak the idea out into the universe we bring life to it. And it can affect who we think we are. It can also affect how other people feel about themselves. That is powerful.
Magic: Techniques that presumably assure human control of supernatural agencies. Any extraordinary or mystical influence, charm, or power. “The magic of music, the magic of spring”
The only way to begin this experiment is by trying it as often as possible regardless of outcome. REGARDLESS OF OUTCOME. I want to emphasize that because people for some strange reason look to prove good ideas wrong without giving them time to succeed.
Remember, the aim is to start saying NO in aggregate and over time, allowing it to influence the decisions we make.
This is how we win the war...knowing that some battles will be lost along the way.
Here are some examples:
At some point, we all take a hard look at our lives and our decisions and start thinking about how we can get a little better than we are in that dark moment. The best place to start, is strengthening our ability to SAY NO.
Jocko’s new book, Discipline Equals Freedom, Field Manual is his second book about mindset, action, and discipline. It is a perfect representation of his most powerful creeds which can help people survive the quandaries that emerge day to day, week to week.
Written and framed in the same unmistakable brevity that makes Jocko such a captivating speaker and thought leader…I could literally hear his battle-hardened voice in my head with every word I read.
I must admit though; the first 90 pages didn’t lead me to any great discovery, because on first pass I was reading what seemed to be the same narrative I’ve heard him outline in his Jocko Podcast many times before. I think any hardcore supporter of Jocko's would recognize the familiar creeds and dead-lift carnage decorating this book at the onset.
But underneath it all , there actually was net new knowledge and peeling through the layers gave me strength.
I adjusted my myopic viewpoint and moved forward. Soon I found myself in a mental rut at work struggling with stress and discontent. I needed powerful words to get me squared away mentally so I could overcome the anxieties and frustrations that made life tough. I needed to dial in and get the goddamn work done.
That’s when Jocko’s book truly delivered its pay-load.
I think it's also important mention; this is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read because the font, structure, page size, artwork, and brevity are all so perfectly balanced that it blasts into the psyche like a rocket launcher. It takes less than a minute for Jocko’s no-noise thoughts to intravenously hit the blood stream and in seconds it re-positions and re-calibrates the way I thought about problems, concepts…and even how I thought about myself.
It is a stunning body of work.
Part One is about Thought. This covers topics like: Procrastination, Mind Control, Weakness, Stress, Death, Compromise, Fear, Regret, Focus, Hesitation, and more.
Part Two is about Actions. This covers topics like: Physical Training, Psychological Edge, Power Naps, Martial Arts, Where to Train, Falling Asleep, When to do things, and more.
This isn’t a motivational book, because motivation isn’t real. This is a tactical manual that helps put into perspective how to manufacture right thinking and execution. Doing the work is all that matters.
Jocko’s lessons might only need a single page to express themselves and he complicates nothing. In fact, everything is so deliberate and intentional it might be the purest form of writing I’ve read in a long time.
This book takes no effort to read, the ROI far exceeds the time it takes dive in, and the sooner I learned it was created to be taken with me and studied - instead of read and put down - was when it began to hold a new purpose and meaning in my life.
This book has perpetual purpose.
Thank you, Jocko.
HOLD THE LINE ACROSS THE LINE.
"More was never enough
I'm 86 years old
and sadly I'm basically sitting on my
deathbed I have millions of dollars in
the bank and can't buy health to save
my life now I have family and millions
of fans around the world but I'm all
not even my children or long extranged
wife or brother stand around my deathbed
I live my life wrong and I don't want
this happen to you if you listen and
take evasive action I can help you
change your future the following few
moments may very well change your life I
wish someone told me this when I was
money is not evil by itself it's just
paper with perceived value to obtain
other things we value in other ways
if not money what is evil you may ask? Evil
is the unquenchable obsessive and moral
bending desire for more
evil is the
bottomless soulless and obsessive
compulsive pursuit of some pot of gold
at the end of some rainbow which doesn't
Evil is having a price tag for your
heart and soul in exchange for financial
success at any cost
Evil is trying to buy happiness again
and again until all of those fake
short-lived mirages or emotions are gone
imagine having it all only to lose it all
You are now broke all the money is gone
what do you have?
the only solution to your madness and
happiness was acquiring more
now you have
no more means to acquire fake happiness
no more means to acquire more
so who are you now?
where are all the people now?
who you thought we were friends
while the money was flowing in you might
have lost your family, friends and mostly
everyone in the world thinks you're a
self-centered egotistical asshole why
because of your endless pursuit for more
clouded your mind and diverted you from
your true purpose in life
Does this hit
an emotional chord in you did it oppress
or sadden you, I almost said good but I will say
this only because I wanted to change, I'm
not saying you can't be financially
successful I'm saying have a greater
purpose in life well beyond the pursuit
of financial success
your soul is
screaming for you to answer your true
calling you can change the day if you
redefine what success is to you, you
can transform your damaged relationships
and build new ones you can forgive
yourself and others who've hurt you
You've become a leader by mentoring with
others who you aspire to be like you can
rebalance your priorities in life you
can heal your marriage and recreate a
stronger love than you ever thought
possible you can become the best parent
possible at any age even eighty-six
don't wait until then you'll always be
able to make more money but you cannot
make more time
One day just like me you'll die too
what do you want to be remembered for
what can you do for others to make the world
a better place what is your true purpose
on this earth we are all dying but only
a small select few are truly living
You can step out of the shadows
light you're meant for greatness
you're meant for more than just what you
do for a living you are an eternal being
meant to inspire and help the world
let's get right once and for all in this
today you step into the world where true
love exists and you finally realize that
love in fact is the more you wanted your
just love more and more every day in every way
And never give up
regardless of how challenging your
destiny in life will be the world really
needs you now more than ever together
with love compassion forgiveness and
faith in humanity we will defeat evil
once and for all."
- MORGAN FREEMAN
Enthusiasm isn’t going to get you anywhere. It’s cheap. It’s fabricated. Its short lived. It isn’t reliable.
This is why people are always looking to be inspired. Inspiration is a drug you smoke. Its effects only last a short time and then it’s gone, leaving the user searching for another blast in order to keep going.
Enthusiasm is unhealthy, it promises too much and never delivers what you thought it would. It doesn’t account for hard work and it stops right after it gets started.
The secret to it all is ENDURANCE. Probably not the answer you wanted to hear because it does the one thing every drug and every get rich quick scheme doesn’t – it offers the truth.
To suffer patiently is the state of mind you must embody in order to achieve fulfillment and happiness in your life. That is the thing you should be worshipping, because endurance is the only thing that wins in the end. It’s always been that way and it has stood the test of time – ironically enough.
Your success, your joy, your fulfillment, will be based on how beautifully you can suffer and keep going. Your ability to endure a tragic event, your ability to endure the pain of loss, your ability to endure times of struggle and uncertainty…and keep going…is the only thing that will deliver you the life and results you dream about.
“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like hard work” is a quote by Thomas Edison that resonates with me. Hard work is the action of endurance and it isn’t glamorous. That’s the reason why endurance is so unattractive is because it requires dedication which is slow moving, low burning, and an act of solitude and self-love. This is not a commodity in high value for most, which is why the Top 5% are the only ones who understand it and believe in it.
You don’t need to know your whole story before you write it. Just start writing it. Write your life every day by doing the things you don’t want to do in order to be the person you want to be. It doesn’t have to be perfect, don’t let that be an excuse for inaction. It doesn’t have to be beautiful, don’t let that be an excuse for inaction.
Do the work, all the time. Endure the struggle, all the time. Because after a while, the struggle loses its voice to endurance. Over time, the work becomes less of a burden and more of a necessity. It just takes time and endurance is the cure.
I’ve witnessed the horror of thirty-something’s retiring themselves.
They speak in a past tense. They refer to a time of glory long ago where promise and poise was only offered in their youth, when the stars aligned in their name, and when the God’s favored their quest of fulfillment and happiness most.
These adult children mourn the loss of a former self that had access to less resources, less wisdom, and less experience. Only in their own corrupt minds could they somehow isolate a moment of immaturity and fraudulently pass it off as a version they will sadly never be able to attain again. That is a dog shit way of thinking and completely unacceptable.
That type of programming is a lie. Do not fall prey to its charm, because that makes me angry. And you won’t like me when I’m angry.
People make this false correlation: To age means to become weak and ineffective. When in reality, there is a huge difference between aging and becoming elderly.
People begin to believe their destiny for growth and achievement expired a long time ago. As if the belief in oneself is capped early and that course corrections are a sign of weakness and frailty. They hang up their boots and willingly decay one painful year after another, doing less and less, while having more and more.
You aren’t elderly yet. You aren’t dead yet. Snap out of it.
I feel so strongly about this because I had to pull myself out of retirement, just like I’m suggesting you to do. I was twenty-four when my professional soccer career ended for reasons within my control and it was a life shattering moment for me. I had worked my entire life for an opportunity that I squandered and lost because I didn’t want to do the work at the most crucial moment possible. When I lost that opportunity, I gave up. I retired myself.
Under the span of a decade, I stopped physical training, I drank an insane amount, I over-ate, and felt cocksure this was what one does when they retire. As if I had earned this level of suffering and deserved this type of erosion. I wore my fat puffy face, soft belly, and neglectful appearance as a badge of honor. Yet, no one else recognized those attributes as a medal of honor except me…and I was lying to myself about it.
It wasn’t until many years later that I became disgusted with my own premature retirement and pulled myself out of it. I pulled it together, peeled back the bullshit of my life, and decide on one thing: ACTION.
All I had to do was take action every day. I did it with mileage, I ran. I didn’t know how it would help. I didn’t know when it would help, but I prayed with my legs.
But at what cost? TIME.
I got my health back. I got my physique back. I got a renewed sense of life. I felt resurrected from the embers and ash, and was now a force to be reckoned with, but the only thing I couldn’t get back, the only thing that I had irreversibly and irreparably lost, was time.
Don’t retire yourself – it’s not worth the time.
Regret is a brutal and traitorous thing. We victimize ourselves from the past with it and do it again in the present. Then, we languish in defeat of a future that hasn’t even happened to us yet. We’re dead before the gunshot.
The tragedy is that regret should be a vantage point advantage: pause and assess, make adjustments, and try again with more wisdom and precision. Instead, regret becomes a trapping agent. It stalls progress and momentum. It often only affords people a memoriam of failure and rarely does it ever instill hope or frame a better future for us down the line.
That’s when people can become casualties of their own charm. Convincing themselves that the difficult thing to do, the right thing to do, should be postponed for later. No need to rush down the right path right away. It’s going to require strenuous effort and the right mentality to work. Plans need to be drawn, preparations need to be made, logistics need to be identified, and the galaxies must align.
They lie to themselves.
They feign concern that they're level-headed thinkers and admonish the hubris that they should be so bold as to start doing the difficult thing, the right thing, today. That would just be silly and foolhardy.
Yet, people are all too comfortable and creative about ways to justify immediate needs for pleasure and gratification. No stall or stone wall there. No need to draw up plans or concerns around logistics in that case. Get that intravenous drip flowing, hook it up now, and bury that goddamn self-empowering voice in the dirt where it belongs. That is fucked up to write and yet I see people do it all the time.
I need for you to exercise a deeper level of empathy to your future self. You often borrow against tomorrow so recklessly because you don’t see a better future developing any time soon. If things aren’t going to get better today or tomorrow, then what’s the point in sacrificing any moment of pleasure, especially if that investment isn’t going to have a meaningful return quickly and presently? I understand, but don’t surrender or suffer unnecessarily.
If presented with the option to suffer sober or suffer drunk, weakness picks its poison, and strength chooses none. The secret tactic I’m outlining is that regret is wisdom speaking to you. It would be in your best interests to listen, assess, adjust, and try again with more precision.
Don’t surrender to regret. It’s there to teach you something. All you have to do is try again.
Frederick Douglass once said about slavery and ultimately his escape to freedom:
“I prayed for 20 years, but received no answer, until I prayed with my legs.”
Never before had I read in such touching brevity the secret to personal freedom. Both for him then and for us now.
Civility doesn’t exist in nature. Stare out into a wilderness long enough and you’ll notice that mercy and privilege are absent. Bribes don’t work in this system and God doesn’t favor the thoughts of a conscious thinker. Frederick experienced that stark reality for 20 years until he took it upon himself to change the brutality of his circumstances when he prayed with his legs.
Only action and indomitable will is respected in nature and life. Hope in one hand and shit in the other and you’ll see which one fills up first.
When I hated the weight around my belly and how it hung on my face – I prayed with my legs. When I tackled the ferocious bourbon beast I had fed for so long – I prayed with my legs. When I wanted more control over my energy and emotional joy in life – I prayed with my legs. All I did was start running several times a week, in Texas 107 degree heat, wearing a 25lb weighted vest. I PRAYED WITH MY LEGS.
The only thing my knuckle-dragging brain deeply understood was that hard work and struggle had to be experienced first before any type of relief or salvation was going to emerge. Seemed simple enough. Start suffering now so that I don't have to suffer later.
I didn’t have a well thought out plan. There was no road map with key objectives to let me know I was on the right path. I just started putting in miles. I wasn’t exactly sure how they were going to help me or when I would see legitimate improvement in my life. That spreadsheet thinker could go fuck himself for all I cared. I sided with the knuckle-dragger and put in the goddamn miles.
I wasted 10 years because I couldn’t see how easy the playbook was. It really only has one rule: Take Action.
Action is the most valuable currency in life and you have to invest that currency in a way that builds you and makes you better. Your circumstance(s): physical, financial, and emotional have been constructed by your decisions. They’ve accumulated over time like coins dropped in a glass jar.
Neglect is an ugly vile thing. Nothing remarkable even has to happen for it to develop. You literally have to do nothing and it will emerge.
Take Action Today. Start fixing the things that need fixing and plan to do this for the next 50 years.
Boredom can be a deadly adversary to you and the goals emerging in your life.
New goal(s) feel like a rocket priming for launch. You’ve finally decided you’re going to do something and the prospect of change, the excitement for change, is intoxicating. In fact, it’s hard for anyone to bear another moment without taking action and getting started.
The pleasure center of the brain is in full flex mode at this point. You get drunk on your ideas and feel invincible. Your vision is most clear in this state. You can visualize how you look or feel after you achieve this great big thing looming vividly in the distance.
Then overnight, boredom quietly slips into your mind and the plan you so exuberantly hatched a few days before is ordinary now. It somehow transformed. It was a cutting edge idea, but turned into a dull and basic routine after a few days of thawing out. It’s not just ordinary now – you’re ordinary too. What were you thinking?
This is how boredom begins to poison your ideas and original plan. It will turn your volume down and it will weaken the primed vision you once had. It can make anything remarkable seem average and not worth your time and energy.
Your new diet was exciting, until you had to actually follow your food and shake plan. Your new ab routine was exciting, until it’s just you laying on the foam mat struggling to breathe.
"Ordinary” is not ---> “average”.
"Ordinary” is ---> “simple”.
Simple is GOOD. Simple is remarkable.
Simple is central to your plan and essential to your goals. Simple is sticking to your routine. Simple is remaining disciplined. You don’t have to do anything remarkable – just simply stick to your routine and give it a chance to bake at the right temperature for the right amount of time.
Keep it simple. Be patient. Don’t let boredom convince you that you’re ordinary.
You aren’t going to lose the weight or save the money or get fit or get healthier. You aren’t going to eat better, you aren’t going to get stronger, and you won’t achieve any significant goal.
You won’t experience the intensity of a personal breakthrough or the relief that you finally did the goddamn thing you’ve been telling everyone you were on the cusp of doing.
You aren’t going to change. Not until you get desperate about it.
If you find yourself constantly looking for inspiration in your Facebook feed or spend time scouring YouTube for the right video that finally makes your vision click – if you’re looking for starter fuel and the perfect opportunity on a silver platter, then you aren’t there yet.
I’m tired of hearing the same bullshit motto of every ALMOST wandering the internet:
“I’m gonna begin a path of transformation!” they exclaim which is quickly followed by a small whisper under their breath, “but only when there’s a perfect window of opportunity and my circumstances improve….”
You’re going to fail and you’ll be stuck with that type of shit for the rest of your life.
I’m going to be real with you because no one else is going to tell you this: Doing the goddamn work, the unglamorous, lonely, cold as fuck work, is more important than anything else you can possibly imagine.
Doing the work is more important than your strategy. Doing the work is more important than your tactics. Doing the work is more important than your circumstance and more important than how you grade your output.
Do the work. Just do the goddamn work.
Desperation is ugly. Everything comes second to desperation. Desperation wakes you up in the morning because you’re tired of eating shit sandwiches every day. Desperation doesn’t need motivation. Desperation doesn’t “burn out” because the sugar rush of change came and went.
Desperation isn’t funny. Because this shit isn’t funny.
Desperation isn’t sad. It doesn’t have anything to do with your feelings of inadequacy or anxiety. If you’re still trapped in a “maybe” moment or searching for that secret to it all – then you aren’t desperate yet.
Desperate people drink their own piss to survive in the wilderness. Desperate people learn to eat anything to survive when they’re starving. Desperation finds a goddamn way to become your number one priority. Everything gets conquered by desperation.
Become desperate and do the goddamn work today. Then do it tomorrow. Then do it for a month. Then do it for a goddamn year until it becomes who the fuck you are and not just what you do.
People spend years preparing to climb Everest. They work to increase their VO2 Max, anaerobic threshold, and lactate threshold. They focus brutally on leg strength and are relentless at turning their core into cast iron. They study weather patterns, they learn everything there is to know about cold weather, and the myriad of ways they can die on the climb.
(3) Important Everest Facts:
1. 265 people have died climbing Everest between 1922 to 2014.
2. It will cost between $35,000 - $65,000 to climb Everest with the proper supplies and guides.
3. It takes about 2-months to climb Everest.
Here is the part that no one thinks about: What do you do when you get to the top?
From my research, you spend 15 minutes or less basking in the glory of the Summit and then you immediately turn around make your way back down so you don't die.
All you get is 15 minutes at the top.
That phrase by Eric Thomas in ALL its brevity is so powerful and true to me that I went on a small quest to write this article in an effort to capture the spirit of the phrase and to expand on what it can mean for you in your pursuit of happiness.
The process of any effort is 99% of the effort. Only 1% is attributed to the prize.
This led to a lot of clarity around the idea of happiness and why some people have it and why some people don’t. Most people are so focused on the prize, the summit of the thing they are doing, that they never take the time to enjoy the process, the path build, the rising action that gets them there. The very thing that takes up 99% of their experience and time is the thing they hate the most....
People see the process as a burden. The process takes too long. The process is boring. The process is expensive. The process isn’t glamorous. The process is a struggle.
If we do the math on that, then the PRIZE ONLY mentality means people will spend 99% of their time in a state of struggle, boredom, impatience, and burden.
It’s as if they horde all of their happiness and dopamine in their brain for the 1% window of climax that may only come along rarely. Even when it does arrive, and as soon as it arrives, it already begins to fleet and quickly moves into the recesses of a memory.
What a terrible place to invest all of your happiness. Why would you want to put all your happiness into such a small compartment? At best, you get it briefly, at worst, you never experience it at all.
We as a people have the ability to spend our joyous moments in the expansive space of process and not just in the higher degrees of zenith at our Summit.
We control the allocation of our Joy. If it is a home project, a fitness goal, a financial milestone, or the week leading up to Christmas, make sure to find joy in the process leading up to your moment of monumental achievement. Do this, because it will only last a few short moments before it's gone and all you’ll be left with is the road that got you there.
Your time and energy is currency. It’s valuable and you get to decide where you spend it – so spend it wisely.
Life Currency is the time + energy + money you spend on any given area of your life. When you do a self-examination are you spending your Life Currency all in one place or are you looking to be more balanced and well-rounded in your approach?
The key concept here is a well thought out distribution model that works best in your life. This can vary a bit depending on the person, but approaching this realistically and from an unbiased perspective is the only way someone is going to positively impact their life and growth potential.
There is a quote by Simon Sinek that says, “Drinking isn’t bad, too much drinking is bad. Gambling is fun, too much gambling is dangerous.” Figure 1.1 below is a great illustration of this. 80% of the currency in this model is overspent in categories that are not going to create positive growth.
Drinking and gambling are leisure areas of a person’s life that should only get currency after the other more important areas get their investment first. If this doesn’t happen, it is only a matter of time before mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual obstacles begin to present themselves making life harder.
A second example, and an important distinction to make, is that overspending into any single category can be just as detrimental as spending too much in the wrong categories. Even when you think the single category is worth 100% of your currency.
This isn’t exactly intuitive, so Figure 2.2 will be followed with an explanation.
The figure above is an example of a person that spends 100% of their currency on family. They don’t focus any currency on their own health, their fitness, their knowledge growth, or their community.
This is not a good distribution model. They have goals and aspirations. They need growth and the sanity of progress. They need health and well-being just like anyone else. If they spend 100% of their currency on others, what happens to them?
And while Family is absolutely crucial to happiness, and charity an honorable pursuit in its own right, they will essentially rob themselves of so many things by not managing a solid distribution model of their life. Lastly, the biggest tragedy here, is that they could actually give their family so much more if they just took care of their own health and well-being in addition to taking care of their family.
The moral of this story is to assess your life in an objective and balanced way. Define the areas of your life and determine how you are spending your currency. Be honest with yourself, even if it hurts a little. You need to understand your weakness or vulnerabilities if you ever want to have a chance of changing them.
Hold the line & keep hammering.
This is a brilliant phrase I leveraged in one of my earlier posts highlighting the debilitating effects of procrastination and how the reward system of planning life this way always ends up the same – it never happens, it never arrives.
I’ll break this down – though the meaning is relatively obvious – because I want to make sure this idea is as transparent and layer driven as possible.
I was in a bar in Fort Worth, Texas one evening after having dinner with my wife and I looked up on the wall near the door and hanging there was a wooden sign with the prophetic words etched into its center:
FREE BEER TOMORROW.
I smiled. That was the emptiest promise I’ve ever read in my life. Cruel even....
The main problem with a FREE BEER TOMORROW mindset is that it never delivers. It's the proverbial carrot dangling right in front of us that we are striving to get to, but each step toward the goal, pushes it out by just one more day. It will forever remain just barely out of reach.
However, if one were to adjust the phrasing just a little, the entire dynamic would change.
FREE BEER TOMORROW, November 7th @ 9:02 pm.
Now you’re cooking with fire! That phrase is irrefutable. That phrase now has a purpose, an inception date. There is no grey area of interpretation or easy escape for a procrastinator to hide behind. FREE BEER will in fact happen, TOMORROW.
Amazing how a small adjustment to phrasing changes the entire dynamic of the promise.
In the very same vein, when you identify a goal to pursue, the most important first step is deciding when to start and to be firm with specificity. Selecting a date is the base requirement. An even better step is selecting a date and time. The very best, and most unusual step, is to set an odd hour such as 4:37 pm or 5:21 am. The odd nature of this un-rounded hour might add that very last bit of attention to detail in order to make your promise unique.
Be disciplined and be patient. Any goal you pursue is a goal, by its very nature, because it is remarkable to you in some way. And doing something remarkable takes time.
Find your life-hacks.
Peel back the layers of your reward system and tweak it to serve you best. Your daily habits in life are a slave to you and not the other way around. Make your changes incrementally. Be adaptive, meaning if a certain plan is not working feel free to adjust it and change it.
Respect the process more than you idolize the outcome.
It's easy to fixate on the final best version of yourself. The guy who has shredded abs. The guy who makes $1 Million a year. The guy who doesn't drink anymore. However, if you fixate and obsess over the final product more than you obsess about the tactics and discipline needed to get there - you'll never actually be that guy, because FREE BEER TOMORROW will happen to you.
Make shit happen. Start today. I know you have the fortitude to do so.
I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old and over the years I dedicated tens of thousands of hours crafting as much skill, fitness, and tactics into my game as possible. This ultimately led me to play soccer at the University of Illinois - Chicago in their Division I Soccer Program, on a full ride scholarship, and later for the Chicago Fire in 2005 as a reserve.
I've played in thousands of matches and have experienced the full gamut of outcomes that go with that type of dedication. There probably isn't a match condition I haven't personally witnessed or contributed to. However, one unique, strange, and specific scenario I've observed numerous times is what I call the "Nearing 90" principle.
Nearing 90 is a term I use to explain the scenario where only a few minutes are left in the game before the 90th minute strikes, and my team is on the precipice of losing the match. When trapped in that moment, I've seen massive change happen before my eyes.
Out of nowhere, everyone on the team begins to play with a sense of urgency, a sense of DESPERATION. The tackles become harder, the positioning better, the effort higher, and the level of contribution intensifies.
I've often thought to myself, "Why haven't we been playing like this the entire game?" It's such a tragedy to witness this transformation happen at the end of the game...when it's often too late.
I've seen this happen at all levels - even professional. When the game starts, energy is low, conviction is weak, and everyone is going through the motions on the field. This dismal and lackluster game play doesn't have anything to do with fitness or technical aptitude. It has everything to do with ATTITUDE & PERSPECTIVE.
It always looks the same: The kick-off whistle blows, a slow level of activity musters, and the team plays too relaxed. There aren't any bursts of life or flare on the field. It all feels average. After half-time, the game drags on even more and the clock ticks down closer and closer to finality.
As we near the 90 minute mark something strange begins to happen. A mysterious sense of urgency begins to develop and emerge. The prospect of losing becomes a reality in the hearts and minds of the team. We start to actually acknowledge the idea that time is running out. It isn't infinite. The deadline is looming. Losing the match is truly going to happen... in just a few short minutes.
This transformative clarity begins to raise the stress level on the field. Fear of losing intensifies. Then, desperation magically materializes. Players are now motivated to save themselves from a painful loss. They work harder, take more risks, play with greater precision, cherish every play, and every second.
As soon as DESPERATION forms, progress starts to happen. Goal scoring opportunities develop, players become empowered. All of a sudden there is HOPE.
The match can be salvaged!
How Can Working with Desperation Make Me MORE Successful?
This is a question you should ask yourself.
How much desperation do you operate with in your daily life?
Imagine a time when a deadline loomed. Maybe it was at your corporate job and the presentation was due in an hour. Maybe it was an all night cram session before a big exam or a few days before Christmas when you realize NONE of your shopping was done. The OH SHIT moment is real now....
How Did You React?
Out of the proverbial ether emerged this moment in you - a moment of action. Your action transformed into resolve. You made massive progress in very little time. You didn't give a shit about the obstacles. You didn't procrastinate any longer. There wasn't any second to spare! You had to act now, as quickly as possible, if you were going to get out this alive!
Think About That.
Where was that urgency and action when you had enough time? Why did you let the clock work against you? Why did you do that to yourself?
How To Use Desperation Sooner Rather Than Later
If you have fitness goals, start them today. If you have a business idea, start creating real action on that idea today. Tomorrow is not a good time to do anything. EVER.
I saw a sign in a bar one time that said, "Free Beer Tomorrow". I smiled when I read that, because that bar is never going to give away a free beer to anyone, EVER. If anyone tries to come back tomorrow, the offering will have expired.
This represented a powerful idea - tomorrow does not exist!
When you decide on a goal, create live action today in an effort to achieve it. If your goal is to lose weight, start hammering that first pound Today. If your goal is to save money, put $10 into savings right now, Today.
Act with Desperation NOW!
I went through a thought experiment in my head that was incredibly helpful. I thought about what it would be like to be the 80 year old version of myself. Regardless of my wealth or health at age 80, I know one thing for sure, I'll spend a lot of my time thinking about my life.
All I might have at that point are my memories. A view into the rear view mirror and whether I like it or not - I will be forced to review the life I actually lived. Not the life I wished I lived. When you look back on your life, there are no more tomorrow's to rely on.
I bet 80 year old Adam would give anything for more time. More time to run more miles. More time to spend with my family. More time to write that novel. More time to read more. More time to take my wife on vacation or more time to tell my parents I loved them. 80 year old Adam would do anything...for more time.
So, I take that thought experiment, retrieve the sentiments I projected, and bring them back as artifacts to reality in an effort to create action today. That's when I started this site. That's when I got serious about running a marathon. That's when I got serious about cutting down on my insane level of drinking.
I want to make 80 year old Adam proud of his time and history. I want to put in the work today so that my older version won't have painful regrets. So he can rest peacefully knowing he didn't take his time for granted. When 80 year old Adam is faced with the facts of life, that his tomorrow's are truly numbered, that there aren't many days left, he can rest easy knowing that not a single day went to waste. He did the honorable thing and truly tried to live. The wins. The losses. The attempts and re-attempts. The grind. The mileage. It was all worth it because he went after it every chance he got.
There Is No Perfect Time For Anything
Don't wait until your time is running out to take action on what you want to do. Don't wait until tomorrow to be happy. Live with desperation. Act with desperation.
No one likes to think about death. No one wants to imagine what it will be like to stare backward at one's life instead of forward. I get that, but if you don't take a moment to respect how valuable your time is and that you are spending your fixed amount each day, then you'll end up living life ungratefully, without passion, without desperation.
Every. Single. Day. Counts. Take action today, while you still have the time to change.
When I found out I was going to be a father in February 2016 I was excited. Admittedly though, there was a selfish side of me that feared fatherhood. And what I feared was that my life would disappear. My life would be hijacked and I wouldn't have any free time or latitude to enjoy the things I used to enjoy.
I changed my viewpoint & developed a strategy.
First, I knew that fatherhood was imminent - it was going to happen with or without me - so I needed to accept that, lock it in, and come to terms with reality. I needed to lock shit down and I only had 9 months to do it.
Second, I knew that being a parent was going to be tough, because everyone told me it was going to be tough. In my savage mind, this meant that I had to get serious with my health and fitness. I hadn't had a grown man physical in over a decade. I wasn't eating well. I drank bourbon TOO heroically, and I couldn't walk up 6 flights of stairs without wanting to die. Time to lock that shit down.
Third, and most important, I knew that execution was everything. I knew the idea of something was far easier to buy into than executing against real goals. So, I got real with myself. I peeled back ALLLL the bullshit layers - especially about drinking - and starting filling in my spare time with long runs wearing a 25-lb vest in 107 degree Texas heat.
For me, I knew I had to exorcise the demons so to speak. I needed to break my habit of lethargy. The curse of procrastination. I knew that if I brutalized myself on a run, if I was able to begin right away being a heroic savage, then I'd have a better chance of sticking to it and it would make me feel like I could accomplish anything. I needed that kind of breakthrough win.
Here is the key - Aside from good old fashioned discipline, I looked for small wins everywhere and I didn't dwell on short-term failure. At first, I'd get in 2 runs a week, and eventually fall back into going out with the boys and drinking 700 gallons of bourbon. I could have looked at that week as failed. Or, I could champion the idea that I got (2) good days of running in when I used to get none.
To put this visually - I knew this wall was too high for me to climb over - and too thick to break through with a sledgehammer - so I decided to just hammer away at it all the time, every day, in some capacity. As time progressed, I got stronger, I got more disciplined, my mileage increased, my healthy habits improved, and I was finally on my way to breaking down that wall. I could actually see the once impervious exterior crumbling under my relentless effort.
After about 8 months of running, kettle bells, battle ropes, and diminished drinking, I finally got the courage to finally go to the doctor. I got the blood work done, blood pressure checked, urine sample, the whole deal. All the results came back favorable and I felt empowered. I finally locked that shit down and broke through the first wall.
The morale of this story is that I was a regular guy, with regular guy discipline, regular guy bad habits, and I knew I needed to become the best version of myself. It's not rocket science, all it is, is hard work.
Start now. Start right now. Start right fucking now. Tomorrow isn't soon enough. Start it right now and begin the first steps toward becoming the best version of yourself TODAY.
Ask Yourself The Five Questions
This is what you need to do. Be really, real with yourself. Cut through all the bullshit excuses and justifications that usually sound convincing. Figure out the real shit that is sabotaging you (mine was bourbon) and lock that shit down.
Tony Robbins has (5) Key Questions people need to ask themselves when they want to get down to it and begin accomplishing greatness. Start by asking yourself these questions and figure out the answers.
1. What do I really want? (Vision)
2. What is important about it? (Values)
3. How will I get it? (Methods)
4. What is preventing me from having it? (Obstacles)
5. How will I know I am successful? (Measurements)
Lastly - no matter what - start hammering out miles or weights within 24 hours of reading this. If it's 10 minutes a day that's 10 more minutes than you used to do.
Then, turn 10 minutes once a day into 10 minutes four times a week. Then turn that into 30 minutes 2 times a week. Build, refine, build, refine. Find that warrior within you. Break down that wall incrementally. Be relentless. Be the hero of your own story.
In the great words of Cameron Hanes - #KeepHammering
Becoming a father for the first time is usually met with excitement – but often with overwhelming dread about the life you will inevitably give up and ALL the sacrifices that will bang on the door of your tomorrow. And while there is some truth to a lifestyle change, being a father does not mean that you have to forfeit ALL the things you enjoy for the rest of your life. There is absolutely room for you in your life. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
When my wife told me that we were pregnant – and after we found out we’d be having a son - there was an idea in my head that looked like this:
Before Fatherhood = Freedom.
After Fatherhood – Servitude.
I feared that the above tenet was true – because hand over fist – as soon as someone found out my wife and I were expecting – they would take great joy in telling me about the fearsome “boot camp” I was about to embark on, a boot camp they barely survived, and one I was getting locked into.
This pissed me off. A lot.
The reason why it got under my skin so much was because it felt like they were happy to give me the bad news. Under the guise of advice, it felt like I was being hazed. “Kiss your sleep goodbye!” or “I hope you enjoyed your life, because it’s over now bro!” All of this was said with a big smile on their face, which was menacing and unacceptable. People like this are fucking demented and if you let them inside your head with thoughts of doom you will end up living a life of doom.
I’m here to tell you: You are not doomed in Fatherhood.
You are still allowed to be the person you are today. The only caveat, is that you’ll have to inject more discipline into your life. Things that make you happy don’t have to be forfeited, you are not required to club happiness into submission in order to be a good Dad. You don’t have to eliminate every secret stash of happiness (watching the game, having some drinks, sleep, etc) in order to fit the mythical role of subdued fat dad.
However, you will need to make some strategic adjustments. You will have to re-set your routine. You will have to harden your willpower and clearly envision what type of life it is you want to live.
It is easy to surrender your happiness. You can be the victim of servitude if you allow a punitive perspective to take over. Or you can rage against it. You can find workarounds. There is an escape, if you really want it. There is a savage within you. A Spartan. A warrior that has the strength and endurance to shape his life from malleable fear into hardened happiness.
He’s in there, we just have to find him. (I'll show you in part 2)