Tropical 2

I get emails all the time from people telling me “If only I found my passion and purpose life would be so easy!”

… And I think these people are sometimes seriously deluded.

The implication in every single one of these emails is that “living your passion” is something that is easy. Just quit your job and follow your passion. Just work on your business and it will blow up if you love it enough and work hard enough.

But the reality is way less sexy. Let me tell you what reality looks like. What the reality of “making your dreams happen” looks like.

Daily hell schedule

I work 9-5 in my dayjob. I go right from work to the gym. I’m home around 6:30/7. I cook dinner. Then I work on my business for 3-5 hours. Then I sleep around midnight.

That’s my entire life right now.

5/6/7 days a week.

You know where you often find me on Friday and Saturday nights? Alone in a cafe working. (Today’s Friday, I’m going right from work to the gym for an hour, then right to a cafe until 9 pm for 3 hours of work before going out). I won’t be home before 10 pm.

Guess what I do on my Saturday and Sunday afternoons? Freelance and meet clients for extra money (to travel), and work on my business and passion projects. Most weekends I set my alarm on Saturday, and Sunday.

Do I still get to travel? Yeah. In fact, this year I took four vacations. Two of them were international trips (costa rica & thailand). I actually spent about 8 weeks on vacation this year, maybe more.

But the truth is that it’s really goddamn exhausting.

I’m not saying this to try and discourage you or anything. I’m saying this to just remind you: yeah, pursuing your destiny, your dream, your passions is 100% worth it – but you will suffer, and you will pay for your success.

In other words, you have to give something to get the life you want. And often you have to give a shitload before you magically “arrive” at the life you want.

And for those of you whose passion might involve building a business or becoming an entrepreneur:

Guess what? If you’ve never done that before, you can look at investing hundreds of hours (like 500) before even earning your first dollar consistently.

Do the math – that’s 1.5 hours a day for a year – and that’s being optimistic. Most of you it will take several years of failures before creating a business that succeeds.

It Ain’t All Unicorns and Rainbows…

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nice scenery

I’m really pissed off.

The other day I read yet another article on “7 reasons you’ll never do anything great/achieve greatness in your life” – and I immediately thought:

Who gives a fuck?”

Seriously, in the grand scheme of things, when I’m 80 years old and I’m looking back, I will give zero fucks about how “great” my life was – the only thing I’ll care about was whether or not I lived the life I wanted.

You’ve heard all the deathbed regrets of people in hospice care:

  1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard (assumption: on something you didn’t give a shit about)
  3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
  5. I wish I had let myself be happier

At the end of the day, we just want to enjoy life and live a meaningful one.

Most of the other stuff, e.g. success, we pursue feverishly because we think it’ll bring us closer to that life enjoyment, fulfillment, and meaning.

But it’s not true. Remember a few weeks ago I talked about how I was becoming miserable working 12-14 hours a day, even though it was on projects I was passionate about and loved? And do you remember the solution?

Doing nothing. Just sitting in a cafe with an espresso people watching and enjoying life.

Doing more in life is not how you die happy.

Doing the right things is how you die happy – whether or not that leads to achievement or “getting stuff done.” This is possibly the most backward aspect of western society.

You see it all the time – high achievers that are miserable old bastards because they pursued achievement without fulfillment. The irony is that success and achievement often come as a side effect – but when you pursue them directly, you fail to get there, or find yourself miserable.

They bought into the false belief that since we’re dying, since the clock is ticking, you might as well cram as much shit as possible into the short human lifespan, because that’s what’ll make you die fulfilled, right?

***

Live the life you want.

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“Wake up! If you knew for certain you had a terminal illness–if you had little time left to live–you would waste precious little of it! Well, I’m telling you…you do have a terminal illness: It’s called birth. You don’t have more than a few years left. No one does! So be happy now, without reason–or you will never be at all.”

- Way of the Peaceful Warrior

Lone Tree

If I hear one more person in their 20s say that “your 20s are for soul searching, partying, and traveling” I’m going to start kicking puppies.

Throughout my travels and adventures, I often meet a lot of 20 somethings (and 30,40,50 somethings) trying to figure out what to do with their lives.

And I very often meet one particular kind of person: the person who says “we’re gonna live to 100 anyway… 20 is the new 30, so I’ve got plenty of time to figure my shit out.”

…Except it’s not true.

And most of these people I meet end up saying the same thing for one year, then five, then ten, then twenty. Many of the ones I’ve met haven’t progressed much in their lives, are no closer to figuring out what they enjoy, and are no sooner going to be living the life they want.

The people I usually meet with this mindset have lives that looked the same at 18 as they do now at 35. No growth. No progress. No change.

The other day I heard a fantastic talk by Meg Jay, called “Why 30 is not the new 20.” And, in case you haven’t heard her talk (I’ll link to it below), this woman is spot on.

Let me share some points that will blow your mind.

What Do You Think Happens When You Say “You’ve Got Plenty of Time” To a 20 Something? (Jack shit.)

Dr. Jay says something along these lines in her video – that the most damaging thing you can ever possibly say to a 20 something is “Oh, you’ve got plenty of time, you don’t need to figure it out now.”

And what happens?

We just stall further. We avoid asking ourselves the hard questions in life (One of the biggest life mistakes you can make in your 20s).

We put off the important stuff.

We take shitty jobs that don’t matter.

We date shitty partners because “we’re not going to marry them anyway.”

We tell ourselves “there’s no rush.”

But I’m here to tell you something way different.

It is urgent that you figure out the life you want to live now, as soon as possible, not later.

URGENCY.

This talk sort of re-fired up one of the main principles I want to encourage all of you to follow: figure your shit out now!

Life goes by fast – really fast – you don’t have time to spare. None of us do.

You’re 25 now, and tomorrow you’re 35 with two kids, a spouse, and not enough money – and no time to pursue stuff you’re passionate about.

You’re 25 now, and tomorrow you’re 55 having your midlife crisis because you never focused on the important stuff when you were young… and now you have to figure it out when you have fewer resources, time, and poorer health.

But there’s one other big problem which is…

Avoiding Asking The Hard Questions Now = Getting Shafted by Life Later

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ID-10015634

I’ve discovered the meaning of life.

Or the secret, if you will, to a long happy life.

The reason I share it is because many of you probably think there are “many” meanings or purposes of life, but this one in particular is something that will totally change every aspect of your life.

Here’s what it is:

“The secret of life is to be damaged by life, without becoming a damaged person. How you go about doing that is your daily practice.”

Here’s why it’s so powerful: Almost everything that makes your life difficult or unhappy, is the result of the changing nature of life.

What happens when you don’t get what you want? Unhappy.

What happens when you get what you want? You want something else, right? And on and on the cycle goes, or it comes to the point where once again reality can never fill that hungry pit in your mind and heart. Unhappy.

Life is Not Out To Screw You Over

Facebook Status Image

I get a lot of emails, mostly from people that have been royally fucked over “by” life. Not that life has any agenda or anything, but they are just in really shitty positions in life.

The “big four” spheres of their life are in the gutter: work/finances, relationships, dreams, health.

Sometimes all four of these things are out of whack or totally in the dumps. Many people are at their lowest point in life when they have emailed me. They don’t have enough money, they hate their jobs, their relationship sucks (or just ended), and their health has issues.

As far as I see it, this is the worst position to be in, in life. But here’s where this will help.

Life Will Damage All of Us

Sages have pointed out for thousands of years that “damaged” or “hurt” people are the ones who hurt people.

There’s an old phrase in Psychology that “hurt people, hurt people” – in other words, murders, rapists, and sociopaths very often have had dysfunctional childhoods, have been beaten, abused, raped, and emotionally destroyed – and this was what lead to their unraveling later in life at the expense of someone else.

In other words, it’s well-established in the scientific literature that being damaged by life increases your chances of taking it out on someone else. Of inflicting damage on someone else, or yourself.

Let me give you a few examples now of how life “damaging” or hurting you can negatively affect your own future, and what I suggest the remedy is.

Examples of How it Damages You

Work: Let’s start with work first.

For a pretty good percentage of us, work sucks. It takes up most of our time. It doesn’t pay us enough. And it’s not something we would want to do if we had enough money.

But it can be insidious – it might suck enough that we dream daily about quitting, but it doesn’t suck enough that it makes us take any action.

Over time, we can join the legion of people (I would say 99% of people) that just continue to dream but go nowhere in life. They make enough money, get into a relationship, get married, have kids, and blah blah blah.

What work sometimes does then is it makes us jaded towards life, and in particular, the potential of living a really cool life, or working a job that is your “passion” or something you really enjoy.

That damage can last forever, and can and will be passed on to your friends, family and children. This is the phenomenon we see when parents that never got to “enjoy life” don’t encourage their kids to enjoy their lives. They tell them to chase the highest paying job, become MDs, or go into finance. Many strict, old-school families are this way.

And then after years or decades of their kids following their parent’s advice, they either suck it up, enjoy it, become miserable, or become lost – and then they contact me, and they break the cycle of damage. And more often than not, they are the ones that adopt a more holistic approach to giving advice to their kids.

Dreams: Here are a few tragically common stories about people being damaged in pursuit of their dreams.

Person A.  Is never encouraged by parents to pursue dreams, or is told by parents dreams are bullshit. Never does pursue them. Repeats cycle with his or her own children.

Person B. Knows dream but doesn’t pursue it. Gradually grows bitter over the course of life. Passes it on to friends and family.

Person C. Pursues dreams and repeatedly fails. Grows jaded. Dreams are bullshit. Gets entangled in drugs or addictions, or just goes the safe, secure route.

Person D. Achieves dream, but loses “it” due to life circumstances. Depressed.

Following me? In the pursuit of your dream, you can grow gradually more and more damaged.

***

Relationships: This is probably most often where people are damaged the worst, where the hurt can carry through a lifetime if it isn’t worked on.

All of us, at some point, have been given the short end of the stick where we give give give 100% to somebody and it isn’t reciprocated, or we give give give and the person cheats on us, or decides they don’t want us anymore.

For most people, this causes a huge amount of internal damage and hurt that lasts years – on average – and depending on how long you were together, sometimes a lifetime of damage.

For some people the result is that they lose faith in relationships or marriage, and for others they are stuck with low self esteem and self worth, and others still say they want to stay single forever – out of fear, not because they have a plan.

The truth is that ANY of these three things can cause extensive damage to us internally.

The point I am trying to make is that if you remain damaged, it will negatively affect your life forever, but you don’t have to let life damage you.

Here’s how.

How to Minimize Life’s Damage… And Not Pass on Your Beef With Life

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Lost

“I Have No Clue Which Path to Take”

Every day people email me saying, “I have no clue what path to take, which decision to make, which way to go, or what I should do next…. HELP!?”

The truth is that there is one REALLY easy way to figure it out.

Many of you struggle with something financial or job-related in nature, and then there’s meaning/purpose/passion, and then there’s relationships. So how in the hell do you know which path to take, and what to focus on?

Here’s the formula.

maslow's hierarchy

So this is Maslow’s hierarchy, right?

Maslow was a dude ultimately concerned with “potential” and people “reaching their potential” in life.

“What a man can be, he must be” is a famous phrase he mentions in one of his books. And I know many of you are concerned with that very thing: you feel like you have a HUGE, powerful, exciting adventure or mission out there for you… you just can’t figure out how to make it happen. How to make it a reality.

… So how does this help you know which path to take?

Easy.

Maslow’s hierarchy goes like this: Anytime a human being fulfills the requirement for each stage in the pyramid, he/she naturally craves the next level.

So, generally speaking, starving people in the third world aren’t too concerned about meaning, creativity, and being famous. They just need to eat and survive.

But what happens once they have enough food? Now they go for a career. For advancement. For “security” and financial freedom. They take care of their family.

On and on it goes until that person is living comfortably in the third world wondering about the “ultimate purpose” of his/her life, and climbing the ladder of success and achievement – because that’s simply the next level.

Here’s How to Answer Your Biggest Questions

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