Marcus Aurelius, last of the Five Good Emperors journaled relentlessly, reminding himself that you have power to control your reactions to the events in your life. Circumstances do not define you; your reactions to those circumstances do. “You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve,” he remarked. This evergreen advice speaks directly to our generation. We procrastinate and put off DECIDING what our PRIORITIES are, and then wonder why we never realize our dreams. We take ZERO action, preferring to complain about the small things. Silent, Imperfect action will get you closer to the goal. The Good Emperor puts this more plainly than I’ve ever read elsewhere, “If it’s endurable, endure it. Stop complaining.” More than simply not sweating the small stuff. Sort out what REALLY matters to you, create priorities, and then focus relentlessly on THOSE things. The small things should fall to the bottom of the list and be ignored. Forget about haters, copiers, unkind people, unfavorable circumstances, and GRIND… Every.F’n.Day. Check out Mel Robbins on YouTube. Start by searching “Why Motivation is Garbage”, and then read her book The 5 Second Rule (book). Or…Do nothing. It’s your life, if you choose it.
Watch this YouTube video and try not to be inspired.
I’m not affiliated with the Be Inspired team, but my goodness, this compilation of motivational speeches hits on so many levels. I’ve read and listened to a number of these speakers and thinkers and authors already, but as a cohesive whole, the sum is greater than the parts. Former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, author of Extreme Ownership, says at 12:52 “Take Ownership! Take Extreme Ownership. Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame any other person or any other thing. Get control of your ego. Take ownership of everything in your world. The good AND the bad. Take ownership of your mistakes, take ownership of your shortfalls, your problems, and the solutions that will get those problems solved. Take ownership of your mission, of your job, of your team, of your future, AND TAKE OWNERSHIP OF YOUR LIFE!”
You have 5 seconds. If you don’t decide to do this HERE and NOW, your brain will make an excuse to keep you where you are, where it’s safe, where you don’t have to change. Fuck that. Take ownership, right now in a real tangible way.
Stop. Take a deep breath. Hold it. Let go.
Did you feel it? The space between those two breaths?
That quiet stillness was yours. You owned it.
Maybe the rest of your day was pure chaos, but you owned that moment. And guess what? You can do that at any time you choose.
Choose to do it more often. This is just the beginning…
PSA from my FitBit
If you have little ones, take them with you.
SHOW them how to live a healthier life.
Take them for a walk to the park rather than driving. Get some steps in
Your heart needs you to go first, make the effort, be the one that chooses to do something a little weird.
Make everyone standing around waiting for the elevator squint their eyes as you head for the stairs.
Take an extra minute or so to get your heart rate up because some day you may not be able to…you may not always be able to bound up the stairs like you can today.
Today you can, so please do.
Fitness is a series of small decisions. Life is about choices.
Take. The. Stairs.
Listen folks. I care about you, and I want you to live a better life. I want you to be free from the myriad diseases that accompany metabolic syndrome. I want you to have the energy and capacity to play with your kids, to run if a coyote sets his rabid eye on you one night. You have the power to change your life and it starts by making the tiniest, seemingly inconsequential changes in life. Today you can park a little further from the store, let the other guy have that spot he’s been circling for and you get a couple extra steps in. Your heart will thank you. Your kids will thank you. Future you will thank you.
This “dawned” on me in the still dark hours of one of the first few days shifts in a long time. As I’m pushing into a new month with new goals for fitness and early wakeups, I realized an important truth. It’s easy to build up courage to take the first step. Maybe “easy” is an overstatement. It’s tough, sure, but the real toughness has to do with gritting it out day-in and day-out even after the excitement of the “new” process wears off. This has to do with the New Year’s Resolution phenomenon whereby people start strong and fade as soon as ANYTHING gets in the way. This weakness can be trained out of you says the Navy SEALS, says the STOICS, says me. Jocko Willink, in Extreme Ownership, makes the case that “winning the day” involves not letting the little excuses like wanting to hit the snooze button, ruin your momentum. This means “keep moving” with your plan, with your direction, with your motivation. Don’t let the Devil see that you are up. Saw a related meme the other day, “Be the kind of man that when your feet hit the ground in the morning, the devil says, ‘Oh crap, he’s up.’” I love the notion that you can out-hustle the adversaries out there that mean you harm. This requires motion. A rudder only steers a moving ship.