No One Here is a Stranger

I walked into a gas station in Austin yesterday to pay for gas.  I was greeted by an Indian man who thrust his hand forward as I approached.  He smiled and gave me a firm hand shake.  I smiled and shook back.

I told him what I wanted, he started to put it through, and then I asked him,”What’s the handshake about?”

He said,”Everyone that comes through that door is my family.  No one here is a stranger.  I love humanity.”

That sent a lightning bolt straight through my heart.  That is my favorite shit in the world.  In many ways I couldn’t be more different than this guy.  Large, young, white, tattoo covering my arm, etc. yet this guy greeted me like a friend he sees daily.

I want to be the guy that treats others like that, even when I’m at my worst.  Even when I’m sad, hurt, and scared.  Anyone with me?

 

How to Get (and keep) the Guy/Girl of Your Dreams

I think the natural tendency when looking for a partner is to focus on THEM.  Focus on the way we want them to look, on how smart we want them to be, what kind of personality we want them to have, etc.

We talk to our friends about what we are looking for and we either go out and search or we just sit and wait.

The problem with that is that finding the RIGHT person and getting them to go out with you is largely outside your control.

So rather than going out with a net, trolling the bottom trying to “find the right one,” try to attract them instead.  As Justin Su’a said on our podcast,”Like attracts like.”

So if you want someone that is patient, then you yourself work on being more patient.  Want someone more open-minded?  Then work on it yourself.  Someone confident that works on overcoming all of their insecurities?  Well then you have to do that work too to earn the right to be with a person of that caliber.

“Love finds you when you least expect it” because you are focused on building the qualities of the person you want to be with rather than being busy searching.

The same goes for friendship and leadership.

If you do happen to attract and hook the person of your dreams, the way to keep them is the same way you got them.  Keep working on yourself.  Be ever more honest, compassionate, thoughtful, open-minded, etc.  It takes two to tango, but all that is in your control is the work you do on yourself and the attitude you bring to the relationship.

 

 

How to “Find Your Purpose”

A couple months ago I did a podcast with the mental skills coach of the Boston Red Sox, Justin Su’a.  It was one of my favorite interviews I’ve done myself as well as heard anywhere on the inter webs.

One thing we talked about was Purpose.  Justin says that when his players define their purpose for playing ball and striving for excellence, their entire game changes.  When every little drill, every practice, every meal, every chance to get some recovery, etc. is tied to their purpose they do so with more enthusiasm and effort.  The small things don’t feel like a chore anymore, but rather are just a part of them pursuing their purpose.

We’ve all heard the term “Find Your Why” or “Find Your Purpose” before, but how many of us actually make time to sit down and think deeply about it?  On the podcast, Justin gave us 3 questions to ask ourselves to help us dive in and define our purpose.

How to Find Your Purpose

1. Why do you do what you do?

2. What do you want to accomplish doing what you do?

3. What do you want to be remembered for doing what you do?

Stand up for their Greatness

I think it is safe to say we have all had a moment in our lives where you are trying to better yourself and hear some negative feedback. It could be going to the gym, following a new diet, saying no to some drinks, deciding to spend quality time with your significant other, or starting a new course.

 

You may have heard:

 

“Do you really need to track everything you eat? One piece of pizza won’t kill you.”

“You are already skinny you don’t need to diet.”

“O my goodness you’re so obsessed with the gym.”

“You’re so lame. Let loose for once and have some drinks with us!”

 

That kind of feedback is almost always coming from a place of insecurity in the person providing it. If they can convince you to stop succeeding or working to better yourself, they will feel better about whatever it is they are self conscious about.

 

The thing is that we innately want to make others feel better or avoid having them dislike us. We CRAVE connection and this threatens that. So we will cave, we won’t stand our ground, and we will eat that pizza, or have those drinks. Doing what you set out to do even when everyone around you is trying to convince you not to is hard and uncomfortable, it is easy to give in and follow the majority. I am going to challenge you to make a different choice and shift your mindset.

 

My coach Annie Lalla taught me that It is your responsibility to stand up for their greatness.

 

This applies to your friendships, family, and intimate relationships. It is your responsibility to do whatever it is anyways. If you care about them, you need to push through the discomfort and do what is best for YOU. The funny thing is that this has just as much to do with making you better and making THEM better. This will help them be their best selves. I know it seems counterintuitive but I will explain why this works.

 

People won’t do as you say. You might encourage them to take control of their nutrition, to try a new diet, to head to the gym, or to have a difficult conversation with someone they have conflict with. But I am sure you have been in those situations where they just don’t listen. The reason is because that doesn’t work. What does work is SHOWING them what prioritizing your health and fitness looks like, what being happy and confident means, and when they see you sticking to your guns even in the face of adversity they will forget about trying to bring you down and ask you for help.

 

Those comments will turn into:

“So, tell me a little more about this fitness thing you’re doing.”

“You inspired me to go to focus on my nutrition and really push myself.”

“Thank you for really setting an example of what dedication looks like.”

 

Try it. I dare you.

Be the best person you can be. Add value to people’s lives – Which means listen, engage, spend time with, and give in general.

This is the recipe to deep human connection.

This is the recipe to “finding your purpose.”

This is the recipe to building a successful business (financially and by the impact you have on people’s lives).

And this is the recipe to being as happy as possible.

Don’t take shortcuts and don’t make exceptions.

This is one idea that I think all people can agree on, regardless of religious/spiritual beliefs. If happiness is a goal of yours, there really is only one way.

 

Track the Right Things

On a recent podcast I heard Seth Godin talk about “tracking the wrong things.” Click HERE to listen to the podcast. This is my interpretation of his message.

Many people are stuck tracking the wrong things.

We are often too focused on the job we DIDN’T get. The way someone looks at us in a way we don’t like. How many times we’ve made a mistake on a project. The number of fights we get in with our partner. Not making enough money. Our love handles. And a million more things that aren’t good enough.

Depending on what we focus on, we can always find imperfections in our life, and we can turn them into problems.

What if we tracked the moments of deep connection with our partner? The small successes throughout the work-day where you put out a fire or move the business forward. The things we like about our bodies. How much we love the quiet time in the morning (sorry newborn parents). What if we tracked the things that made us feel happy, confident and loved?

Find Your Hideout

After my spinal fusion surgery in 2013, I decided to stop competing in Crossfit competitions. I had been an athlete my entire life, and all of a sudden I felt like I didn’t know who I was. I had identified as an athlete for so long, and I no longer felt like an athlete.

So I threw myself into my career, into learning more about mental health, into a relationship with an amazing Canadian chick, and more. The past year I have learned more than ever in my life, but I have realized I was hiding out in a big area of my life.

I have an all-or-nothing personality, so when I stopped competing in Crossfit my personal physical health was pushed into a little corner of my mind and deemed about as important as learning to sew. Not at all.

Now I didn’t “let myself go” or anything, but I certainly wasn’t progressing physically or learning anything new or exciting.

I’ve been sad that I can’t compete anymore when I’m only 26. I’ve been insecure about people thinking less of me for not being an athlete.   I’ve been afraid of trying to get fit again and failing. Whatever that means.

These thoughts and emotions have led to me hiding out in this very important aspect of myself. I have been reaching and growing in every aspect of my life, except for this one.

So after I had this same revelation for about the 5th time, I took action. I bought a bow and started doing Jiu Jitsu. Within the first week of doing both, I knew I had done something huge for myself. I came out of hiding.

I am having so much fun learning and playing. I go to Jiu Jitsu class and get my ass kicked by people half my size, and I love it. I am a student again in the physical sense, and it feels amazing.

Most, if not all, of us have at least one area that we hide out in. Could be intellect, relationships, career, physical health, mental health, social life, etc. Many of us crush it in one area, and we often rely on that one to fill our cup and keep us happy. When we hide out and neglect part of ourselves, we can’t be the best versions of ourselves and usually end up pretty unhappy, stressed, etc.

I encourage you to do some self-assessment today.

  • What areas do you feel like you are pushing your boundaries in? How does that feel?
  • What areas do you feel like you are hiding out or getting complacent? How does that feel?

I don’t ever have to be a World Champion Jiu Jitsu artist to find enjoyment and excitement in it. The simple act of learning and trying hard to grow in all areas is all that I’m after.

Wisdom vs Knowledge

How many times have you read a good book or powerful article, or seen a video that gave you a new perspective on life only to forget about it within the first couple months?

Today we have more information coming at us than we can ever fully process. If we don’t immediately practice what we learn, we will forget it.

I heard Russell Brand say recently that Wisdom is “acting on knowledge.” When you learn something you like or love, use it because knowledge without action is useless.

Thought Hacking 101

You’ve probably heard some version of the phrase “we become what we think.” I’ve heard it for years in different variations probably all starting with watching “The Law of Attraction” when I was 16. It wasn’t until last week that I was reading Self-Coaching 101 that I fully understood the meaning.

First the book shows you HOW your thoughts lead to results, and then it gives you a step-by-step guide to changing your results by changing your thoughts.

It looks like this.

  1. Circumstance
  2. Thought
  3. Feeling
  4. Action
  5. Result

 

  1. Circumstances

 

A circumstance can be anything really. You stub your toe. Your boss tells you you’re getting a raise. A homeless person spits on you. You see a bird. Your wife is late for your birthday dinner. Etc.

Let’s stay with the last one as an example. Your wife is late for your birthday dinner.

 

  1. Thought

Next, we have a thought associated with the circumstance. Once you realize that your wife is late for your birthday dinner, you might think something like “She forgot about my birthday. She never used to forget my birthday. She doesn’t love me as much as she used to, and we aren’t as close as we used to be.”

 

  1. Feeling 

Next is the feeling associated with that thought. Now first realize what just happened. Your wife being late didn’t MAKE YOU feel anything. First you had a thought about your wife being late, and that is what will make you feel something. People cannot make us feel anything. Period.

Now let’s assume that hose thoughts make you feel scared, sad, and a little angry even.

 

  1. Action 

You say “Fuck it, I’m over this birthday dinner.” When she does come home, you’ve already withdrawn. You’re passive aggressive with her and a little rude. Even though she says “I’m so sorry baby my boss brought me into a long meeting just as I was about to leave, and I couldn’t’ even call to tell you I’d be late” you stay upset because you’d already made up your mind.

 

  1. Result 

She get’s upset because she has no idea where the attitude is coming from, and after 30 minutes of you being rude and withdrawn she storms off into another part of the house.

Notice how this result only confirms your original thoughts.

Now that I’ve given you that framework, I’ll show you exactly how you can change your results by first replacing your negative thought by a positive thought you believe. I suggest writing these down. Here we go:

 

  1. Circumstance

Your wife is late for your birthday dinner.

 

  1. Thought

This is where the work is done, and it all starts with awareness. This is the moment where we do have a choice. We don’t have to believe the first thought that comes to our minds. It’s just a thought. The problem is that most of us are so unaware, that we think we are our thoughts. First, take a deep breath and realize you are not your thoughts. You have the ability to focus on whatever thoughts you want.

So create a positive thought that you can believe.

“I’m sure she just got caught up in a meeting and is very excited to celebrate my birthday with me.”

If this still doesn’t quite fit well, keep trying on different thoughts until you find one that you believe, and has no negativity tied to it.

Watch how this changes the end result.

 

  1. Feeling 

Joy, Love, and excitement to hang out with your woman.

 

  1. Action 

When she walks in the door you throw your arms around her and say how good it is to see her.

 

  1. Result

She tells you “I’m so sorry baby my boss brought me into a long meeting just as I was about to leave, and I couldn’t’ even call to tell you I’d be late.” You say “No problem that’s what I figured!” (Notice how this confirms your original thought)

You have a great meal, drink some wine, and then have hot-sweaty-passionate sex with your wife.

 

Again, it all starts with the awareness of the fact that we are not our thoughts. I highly recommend writing a few of these down. It will help you do it in your head later.

This Too Will Pass

This Too Will Pass

Early on in my recovery from drug addiction I learned this simple thought and it has stuck as one of the best reminders that whatever difficult time I’m going through no matter how awful will indeed pass…eventually. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but it will always pass and brighter days will come.

At first it was difficult to believe as times had been dark for so long. I would go to this meeting and there was this guy who was way to happy all the time and would constantly repeat two phrases that would annoy me to the point of wanting to punch him. It was always “This too will pass, and more will be revealed!” For someone in a dark place to hear this from an overly jubilant old man over and over again was nearly too much….I would think to myself, “when will you pass?”

This went on for months. Every time I would share something about myself I was struggling with, he would come up to me after and say those damn words so happily..”This too will pass, and more will be revealed!!” I love this man deeply for repeating himself far too many times!

He was right.

The dark times always pass and brighter days do come.

I’ve learned tools to make that happen quicker sometimes and even when it persists I know they will pass if I just do my best to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I remember the first time in that group I shared something positive that was finally happening in my life and he still came up after and said those words…”This too will pass, and more will be revealed!!”

He was right about that too.

The good times will give way to the tougher times. It’s how we grow. It’s all part of life’s great cycle. We don’t get one without the other. Enjoy both for what they are. Work hard through the tough times and work hard through the good times. Feel both in their entirety and ride those good waves out as long as you can.

Be reminded of the bigger picture of your life and practice full presence in each small moment. Because good or bad, bright or dark, growth or stagnation….”This too will pass, and more will be revealed!!!”