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“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”

– Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street

I spent my entire life listening to the bullshit that people fed me, and I believed it.

One of the things I regret most in my life so far was not having enough courage.

Guts.

A backbone.

Cojones.

Balls.

When I was a kid, if there was ever a clear indication that I was being called towards some kind of work, it was obvious.

I would spend hours outside with books on herbal medicine, meditation, and spirituality, and I had accumulated a pretty nice collection of books on spirituality and mysticism by the time I was eighteen.

So when it came time to look at colleges, I knew exactly what I wanted:

I didn’t want to go to college.

I knew that I wanted to go to some kind of integrated medical program.

Here’s the problem… I’m 29 now, and only now did I finally go after what I always wanted to do.

Why?

Too many other people, that were “wiser” and “older” and “more experienced” in life told me not to do it – whether implicitly or explicitly.

They told me the same bullshit stories we hear every day – don’t do it because of money, do this because of money, do what you love or don’t do what you love for this reason.

Eventually, I got sick of listening to all these people not walking their fucking talk, giving me advice they had never lived.

But it took me almost ten years for things to finally click.

The Lies We Tell Ourselves – That Make us Miserable

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Lost 20-something most likely pondering her daddy issues. 

When I would sit around the dinner table as a kid, especially during the holidays when people got into alcohol-fueled, political debates, I always found one thing fascinating.

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Mentorship mistakes

About five years ago, I sent an email to someone I had a loose relationship with, and was sure I’d score a home run:

“… I guess what I’m saying is, I really want you to be my mentor.”

Cringe.

Of course, I got no reply, and these days I can imagine the guy on the other end thinking, “ugh, another one of these” before hitting the delete button.

Like everyone, I made horrible mistakes at the start of my “career searching” days, where I wanted to have influential people’s advice on my path, but didn’t know how to really open a conversation.

Now, as more and more people gradually hit me up for advice, I can see from the other side of the table what’s going on a bit better.

My Rookie Mentorship Mistakes

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Please don’t beat me to a pulp with that keyboard!

When I was in my early 20s, I didn’t realize that if you wanted to meet someone you could just reach out to them and ask to meet them.*

So in my early 20s, I didn’t realize that mentors – and even some influential people – are much easier to meet than you think (if you reach out the right way).

For example, when I was living in China I was thinking of Chinese medicine as a profession. There was a well known professor that my friend in China told me about, who was in Portland, Oregon and was affiliated with one of the major Chinese medicine schools there.

I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be aweosme if I just emailed him and could pick his brain about what it takes to attain mastery and be world class?

How cool would it be if this guy, who was really at the top of his game, would take the time to chat with me?

Wouldn’t it be awesome?

So I emailed him.

I followed up with him several times over a few months, and some months later I said something along the lines of:

“Hey, I know you were the dean of this program, and I have a quick question on what it takes to become great – do you have five minutes where I could buy you a coffee or tea?”

He actually replied to me saying he’d be happy to meet, gave me the address for his home, and we sat down for an hour to talk about Chinese medicine.

It blew my mind how generous he was with his time, that he was so accessible and would even invite me to his home.

It almost re-wrote this narrative in my mind that I have a hard time making friends, or that influential people are hard to reach, that they want to slap you in the face and just slam the door.

This guy was super open.

Now, in business it’s often different because everyone is interested in ego, fame, and riches, so a very successful person is more likely to reject you and be guarded since there are many people who want their time and advice.

However, in many other fields (outside business), where people are more interested in mastery and becoming incredible at what they do, mentors are often really happy to help newcomers with their passion and their experience.

It made me realize how many of these opportunities I must’ve passed up on, because I didn’t have the balls to go out and ask people.

*There’s a heavy P.S. here, see below.

Asking: Your Super Power

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STOP TAKING ADVICE FROM AVERAGE PEOPLE!

Listen, when I was a kid around fourteen years old, I still remember talking to one of my dad’s friends.

So we’re on the back porch and it’s a beautiful summer night.

He’s got a cigar in his mouth, and my dad has a cigar in his mouth.

I was asking him (my dad’s friend) advice for the future, because I explained that I was going to college in a couple years – so he unleashed a bit of his wisdom.

“Dude, I’ve gotta give you just one piece of advice – make sure you really enjoy those college years, because from then on out, it’s all work and all suffering, so make sure you really take the time to enjoy those years!”

And even though I was only fourteen at the time, I very clearly remember the emotion I first felt:

Fuck that! why the hell would I want four years of my (hopefully 95+ year life) to be done by the time I’m 22? Does that really make sense?

Whether you’re in your 20s or 30s, you’re going to get a lot of advice from a lot of different from people.

People have advice about everything.

And guess what?

A lot of the advice might be good, but a lot of it sucks too.

Here’s the thing: everyone has advice for everything, and the irony is that the less successful a person is in any domain in their life, the more likely they are to want to give you advice.

You’ll have fat friends giving you weight loss advice, to divorced people giving you marriage advice, to people who have struggled their entire lives giving financial advice, or miserable people giving happiness advice.

Unfortunately, the average person giving you advice is probably giving you – no surprise – average advice.

Because of this, there’s actually a very big danger in taking advice – and there are two things I personally use to vet advice to see if it’s really good for me.

Why You Shouldn’t Take 99% Of the World’s Advice

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Path in woods

Most people blow the shit out of their 20s, because they make a very big mistake.

Most of the time when we’re lost in life, we do one of two things.

Think about the teenage years, when everyone is a little awkward, figuring life shit out, figuring parent-related shit out, and even figuring out sexuality.

Usually in those strange years, we tend to do one of two things.

The first thing is that if we’re lost, we just conform.

You know, our parents say, “Hey Jimmy, daddy was banker or a CPA, so you’re just going to go to school for accounting, finances or economics.”

And the kid’s either like, “Okay, fine, I don’t really care, I want a good job.”

Or, they tend to do the exact opposite.

Most kids just accept and conform, and work for mommy or daddy’s business, get the college degree, get married and get that whole white picket fence life – and just do what they see everyone else doing.

They don’t spend too much time thinking deliberately about what they want.

Most people just conform, which is fine.

Then, you’ve got another side of the coin here.

When we’re lost, we tend to either conform (and do what we see everyone else doing, going back to school, getting jobs, getting married, having kids), or we rebel against the system.

This is really easy to spot in the teenage years too.

You see kids going gothic for just a phase, from that 16-19 age, where they get piercings, black lipstip, fishnet shirts, and they’re involved in all kinds of alternative stuff.

Or you have those teenage girls that become lesbians for a few years, and magically become straight again by 21.

It’s just this fighting against the system, and fighting against the man idea (the whole preacher’s daughter syndrome).

Most of us conform, some rebel, but most people miss the magic: the third path.

The Third Path: Where The Magic Happens

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My early 20s (until about 26) were literally the biggest clusterfuck you can imagine.

I went through a dozen jobs by the time I was 27, because I hated every one of them, I didn’t make much money, and I couldn’t justify putting off all the cool projects I wanted to do in my life.

So I didn’t do anything.

Looking back now (after having made a lot of progress), there were really three strategies that worked well for me.

That’s what I want to share with you in today’s video.

3 Strategies to Combat That “WTF” Feeling

First things first, which one of these three strategies do you think you could implement to see good results?

Are you currently using any of them?

And if you aren’t taking action… wake your ass up and start doing something, because ultimately that’s what worked best for me.

I didn’t get any slap in the face from God saying that I should go down a certain path, and so I forced myself to go down any path.

You can always course-correct along the way anyway, so don’t let yourself get stuck thinking about life, instead of acting your way through it.

Also, as my first video, do you want me to do more video?

What about video + article?

Just written?

Let me know below.

-Alex

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