Choose

Watch this YouTube video and try not to be inspired.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG2p53z67vk

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…

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The Greatest Obstacle in life is…

Every day is a good day for philosophy, especially the Classics, and the Stoics are the best of the lot.

Some days you are flying high and haven’t a care in the world. Those are good days for philosophy.

But, some days you aren’t. Some days you have your world turned on its head. On those days…you need a heavy dose of philosophy.

What is this philosophy, you ask?

People have been doing this life living thing for a while now. Somebody out there in the world, living or dead (if they wrote stuff down, or told stories) has a piece of wisdom to meet your need right now. If I can offer some incredibly empowering ‘friends’ to listen to, try Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus, Viktor Frankl. These guys are straight shooters and won’t sugar coat anything, but they might give you the nugget that saves your life. Tonight, I took some deep breaths, a long soak, and read some Seneca, “On the Shortness of Life” and pretty much wanted to plagiarize every word for you here. Read the book, it’s less than 100 pages and will absolutely change your life. That said, here’s some advice from the ages:

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that is has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life, but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it. Just as when ample and princely wealth falls to a bad owner it is squandered to a moment, but wealth however modest, if entrusted to a good custodian, increases with use, so our lifetime extends amply if you managed it properly.”

 

He continues later:

You are living as if you are destined to live forever; your own frailty never occurs to you; you don’t notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and over-flowing supply- though all the while that very day which you are devoting to somebody or something may be your last. You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire. You will hear many people saying, ‘When I am fifty I shall retire into leisure; When I am sixty I shall give up public duties.’ And what guarantee do you have of a longer life?”

Later, this pearl:

“…They spend their lives in organizing their lives. They direct their purposes with an eye to a distant future. But putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty, live immediately.”

Nothing is promised to you, nothing is owed. You have this moment, so do something with it so that when you are looking back on your days, you can count this as one of the moments that you did something.

GroundHog Day

In honor of GroundHog Day, let’s ask the obvious questions… “Really? 6 more weeks of winter? Isn’t that already a given? Who are we trying to fool Punxsutawney Phil?” Why does a rodent’s fear have any influence on the weather? How superstitious are we? Speaking of #BFM, how awesome was that 80’s exploration of the fantasy of second, third, millionth chances? Jump into that reality for a second and consider what it would be like to revisit a powerful moment in your life and try to change the outcome. Fate? Who needs it? Ran across a very interesting web video on this topic by Anna Akana on youtube. Her short is called Riley Rewind. In that little video Akana explores the opportunity to be a hero via time travel, to go back and save a suicidal girl in need of friendship. Not unlike the plot of GroundHog Day, this theme of attempting to correct regret is interesting, but brings up the more important question. How can we maximize our potential for making the CORRECT decisions given imperfect information? Funny how things connect, I’ve been listening to a great book on audible that addresses this and a number of other amazing topics. Algorithms to live by sounds very nerdy when you read the synopsis, but topics like “Stopping Theory” have so many applications to your daily life inside and outside of the Las Vegas casinos. Ok, if you’re following along, we’ve nerded out a bit, considered some heavy philosophical topics, and get to do it all over again tomorrow… that said, let’s take a deep breath and remember “Don’t Worry, Bill Murray.”

Keep Moving

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.

Free Agency

Not sure if this method of embedding video is allowed or not, but I wanted to make this video available to any readers. If you aren’t an avid Shark Tank connoisseur, or haven’t watched the Mavericks play and seen their owner out there supporting the team, you may not know who Mark Cuban is. He’s a billionaire investor, entrepreneur, and star of Shark Tank. As part of a really awesome series called 30 Days of Genius, @chasejarvis interviewed some of the best and brightest out there. Since I’ve already bragged about how awesome @RamitSethi and @TimFerris are, I wanted to point out some brilliant points Mr Cuban made in this piece. His mindset is, “We are all free agents” and we should be #hustling every day as such. There’s no time or reason to sit back satisfied, because no matter how far you’ve come, nobody’s “made it” yet. The most hardcore entrepreneurs are driven by that unending drive to improve more. These creatives are driven not by a desire to be better than the next guy but to be better than their previous self. There is so much room for growth if you are interested in growing!

I share a lot of Cuban’s ideas about the real #Action living at the intersection of emerging technologies. My day job relies heavily on working on that razor’s edge between remerging and adopted technology and maintaining the lead. Most industries live an operate in that space, but Cuban has made a living seeing how to PROFIT from seeing into the systems before they are apparent to everyone.

For all intents and purposes, Cuban has “made it.” To us common folk he’s got all of the trappings of the rich life that we’d love to have. He, and the other 1%’rs out there have made me inspired to craft a recipe for you and the 99% other average Joes to #BuyYourWayOutOfBondage. This will take Cuban-like focus, willingness to be out there doing what has to be done day in and day out, but it’s an algorithm for sure. If you are interested, let’s start a discussion.

#FFW

Sweep once

It’s incredible what you hear and see when you are awake. Yet, it’s only when I’m working odd shifts and sleeping odd times that my creativity flows enough to pay attention. In any case the Buddhist proverb is spot on right now:

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

I self study, and right now I’m into some interesting stuff, Strategy, Stoicism, Ego, and Anti-Fragility. Without really knowing it, I’ve stumbled upon some authors that I’d love to make personal mentors. Particularly, Ryan Holiday, Tim Ferris, and Nassim Taleb. I don’t know how I initially came across Ryan Holiday, but his books all fly by and the topics are awesome. I quote him constantly. Trust me I’m lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator opened my eyes to the way the news/marketing works in the modern age, and then I was hooked. I blazed through Growth Hacker Marketing, The Obstacle is the Way, and finished Ego is the Enemy today. To be fair, I did get some on kindle, but not unlike The Matrix, I’ve been using audible to get the ideas into my brain faster. I’m no longer wasting commutes to work, they are personal development time. Ok, enough with the free advertising for awesome writers. Instead, here’s an idea that stuck and was played out today.

Ryan brought up the idea of cleaning up your life, in terms of some self-help group for workaholics. The very Zen idea is that one does not simply sweep once and expect the floor to remain clean, you must do it today, and tomorrow, and the next day. It is an ongoing thing. This harkened back to my kung fu training as a teen, and immediately resonated with me as something that “I wish…”

You see, it’s my chore to keep the floors clean in the house, and I love to stretch out time between cleanings, only to realize it’s a large, large task once the floors are very dirty. Nobody wants to make a habit of an arduous task, but the proof/the improvement/the growth, is in doing that thing anyway. It may suck, but do it anyway. This is such a great lesson for me, to teach my increasingly spoiled lil kiddos, and heck, anyone wanting to complain. That’s life. You don’t get to sweep once, you must keep on sweeping…

#FFW