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…
I caught myself self-censoring today.
I’ve been doing it far too much lately.
In the name of being proper and a “good example” I’ve given away too much of my power. In a world filled to the brim with rules and regulations, the white hats don’t have anywhere near as much power as those willing to embrace both the light and the dark side. In decision-theory, statistics, and mathematics, “degrees of freedom” reign supreme and models are judged on how much they can move without violating the rules placed on them.
In real life, degrees of freedom are our choices. If we choose to remain bound by our perceived understandings…and choose not to violate any of the “rules” society places on us, we can possibly remain a “white hat” but at what cost? In Star Wars parlance, those on the light side only get to operate within the “good” whereby the dark side can choose to exercise the darkness as they see fit. They have more degrees of freedom. They can act as “white hats” or “black hats” or “grey hats” if they choose. They are not as limited as those who only get to choose the moral route.
Today, a massive attack on the U.S. Internet happened. I’m sure we know who did it but the attribution will likely be hushed to prevent any #Action from happening. The world is in an odd state of tension. The Philippines renounced the U.S. this week and joined an alliance with China and Russia. Effectively, this reversal was a claim of independence from regional influence, but it’s an example of the tinderbox the political climate is right now.
What does this have to do with being a kick-ass, alpha male with nothing to lose? Everything. You are as free as you claim. While no man is an island to himself, his mind is his own sanctuary, and if properly maintained, the opinions of others are not of any consequence. You are free to cast off public opinion, and rule yourself! In fact, you are the only proper authority over yourself. Choose your degrees of freedom. Choose your side, and #FWTT.
It’s election season, vote. Which side of the Force are you on?