By Chad Howse
1. They didn’t use excuses.
We all have two voices. There’s the voice that tells us to work hard, to focus on the task at hand and to finish it before we move on to the next. And to finish it well.
We also have the voice that tells us to take a break, to think about what’s on TV, or to visit a site that we like to visit that entertains us – whether it’s ESPN.com or facebook.
In life we’re the victim of injustice from time to time. It could be a promotion that we deserve but don’t get. No matter who we are, we’re going to be treated unfairly at some point. We can either feel sorry for ourselves, or push forward and put it behind us – even use it as motivation.
Nelson Mandela could have used his unjust imprisonment as an excuse to give into his anger. Instead, he used it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and eventually free others.
Listen to your excuses. Understand why you have them. Then figure out how you can use them for good.
2. It wasn’t just about them.
‘Things’ can be a motivator, they can even be a reward, but they can’t be the motivator. The truly successful in life always get there because they created change in the lives of others, not just their own.
If something drives you that is greater than just the ‘ends’, we’re going to work harder, longer, and we’re going to give more of ourselves to our project.
Yes we can make money when we have the primary goal of making money. Some might even use that money for good – which is awesome. But there’s no fulfillment in simply making money. And isn’t that the point?
3. Early mornings and late nights.
People who have achieved true success in their lives have worked for it.
This might come at the detriment of other areas of their lives, such as family or social life. But their mission is first and foremost. Until it’s complete, everything else comes second.
There’s literally no substitute for hard work. Abraham Lincoln said, “Things may come to those who wait… but only the things left by those who hustle.” If you want to be successful, you’re going to have to out hustle everyone else.
Well let me look at my cards here. Hmmmm from these I can tell a lot about you:
You have a great need for other people to like and admire you. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. Your sexual adjustment has presented problems for you. Disciplined and self-controlled outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept others’ statements without satisfactory proof. You have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic. Security is one of your major goals in life.
Does this sound right?
For me, it was movies or the internet. Hours gone. Some people say it’s not wasted if you’re enjoying yourself. But I wasn’t. It was more of a passive, unproductive, numb way to spend my time when I should’ve been doing something else.
Here’s what I learned. Self awareness is the key. What I mean by that is when I would say I was going to quit, I would later find myself back on the computer or on the couch watching tv. It took a long time for me to even realize what I was doing. It was like a habitual auto-pilot for me. You have to wake up. Be aware of what you’re doing and where you are. If you need to, make a schedule. And adhere to it very strictly. Set alarms if you want. But you just have to wake up and be present and plan your time. Know what you’re going to do, and do it. If you don’t know what to do, you’ll fall back into your natural pattern and just say "I’ll start tomorrow."
Once you’ve got that down, you have to make sure you don’t transfer the obsession/addiction to something else that’s just as bad. The goal is to make positive, long lasting changes. But you also should just take baby steps. That will help the reinforcement. For example, when I first woke up, I would want to immediately turn on the tv or get on the computer or worse: both simultaneously. At first, I did something small. When I first woke up, I would just sit. No television, no computer, no phone, nothing. Just quiet. Allow my brain to wake up, process, slow down, and make plans. The reason I did that is because, like you, I wanted to transfer my leisure time to reading but I was too annoyed/used to a quick fix to immediately start reading all day every day every chance I could. I had to transition slowly away from relying so heavily on screens for entertainment.
Don’t think you’re a failure if you relapse. Don’t say "Well, I messed up a little while today so I might as well go back to my old habits for the rest of the day/week/month." No. Small corrections. Positive encouragement.
When you do start reading, make sure you are reading things that truly interest you. Don’t read something because someone else said it was great and you just HAVE to read it. If you don’t like what you’re reading, you will stop. Then you’ll feel guilty. Then you’ll go back to your old habits and feel even worse. So if you don’t like what you’re reading, move on. Find something else. It’s okay not to like everything you read.
We are our own worst enemies and problems. But we’re also our solutions. So just be honest with yourself, know and recognize your limitations and weaknesses, and move forward with your head held high.
by Kratos Guide
1 Exercise – Exercise is huge. I briefly touched on what happens to you in the short term but consider also the long term effects of regular exercise. As you maintain a regiment of exercise your body fat percentage drops, your flexibility and strength increase (less chance of injury) your lifespan extends, your immune system is bolstered, you maintain your youth longer, you carry over a sustained vigor to other parts of your life, your resting heart rate goes down, and you have a general feeling of well being. Pretty sweet. Clearly exercising is very important; given both its short and long term benefits.
But do you have to do this every day? That seems strenuous. Try expanding your definition – You don’t give it your 100% every day. Some days may be 10 minutes of simple light stretching, just to keep the habit. Other days may be 2.5 hour monster gym sessions.
I use this habit to help me accomplish two other things very important to me, mediation and getting in nature. Often times my physical exertion is a one hour walk through the park or along the water front. Practicing a walking meditation is a great way to center yourself and help carry the skill over to everyday life. Being in nature has a similar balancing effect on your well being.
But you don’t need me to tell you to work out. The benefits are all clearly documented by scientists and people. There are networks and resources for support and endless sources of inspiration to motivate you.
It’s hard to explain, but for me it’s that the sense of being part of some story where you are the protagonist kind of fizzles out unceremoniously and leaves you drifting for the rest of forever.
As a kid, you’re on a path, there’s a plan laid out for you, and whether you intentionally break from the plan or follow it to the letter, there’s this linear progression of growth, and an ultimate goal to strive for. You have allies, you have enemies, you have trials that you pass or fail, you have moments of catharsis, etc. You feel like part of a beautiful narrative, like the heroes in movies and books and tv shows and stories. You feel like there’s a right and a wrong way to go, and some ultimate fate waiting for you at the end that will sum up what all of it meant.
When you get to be an adult, that illusion crumbles away as you realize that you don’t have a narrative, there is no path or plan, things aren’t always linear, and you’re nobody’s hero. There are no allies, because friends can be both good and bad for you simultaneously. There are no enemies, because frankly no one cares enough to wage a personal war for long. You don’t have a destiny. You make choices that are more a product of random chance than you want to admit, and sometimes the consequences make sense, sometimes they don’t. You may flounder around in a bunch of different directions for many years, ultimately not making any progress, and having nothing of import to show for it. You’re not a good person or an evil person – you’re just an ant wandering around looking for crumbs. No, worse than an ant, because an ant has a purpose in life, to serve its queen and colony. You can choose to align yourself with a purpose, but it may never fulfill you or reward you. And nobody will be waiting with a shiny gold medal for you if you stick to it.
Life as an adult seems less and less like an exciting adventure story and more and more like a delerious, confusing fog of random developments and passing phases that raise more questions than they answer.
Edit: I somehow put my first edit in the middle of the text, which made it weird. But it said thank you very much for the gold and comments. I appreciate all the insights and solidarity, and the disagreement too.
I haven’t always felt this way about adulthood, and I probably won’t always feel exactly this way. It’s not as if everything’s hopeless, or that I’ll never try to find a direction for my life. It’s just that the realization of how small your impact actually is, and that you are not destined for anything great, and how subject you are to forces bigger than yourself – that’s a tough pill to swallow.
It’s like having the worst girlfriend ever, who you are madly in love with but who treats you like shiet, makes you sell your car and house and furniture and even your high school yearbook that your crush from 10th grade signed and told you that you were cute. She’s told you to stop talking to anyone you’ve ever cared about, they don’t want to talk to you while you’re still dating her anyways. You sell your clothes so she can go out and buy new ones. You eat ramen every meal so she ca eat at the best restaurant in town. In the morning you think about her and in the evening you think about her and when you go to take a crap but you can’t because you’re constipated you’re reminded of her. You wake up and if she’s not in bed with you you get the chills, your eyes water, you have diarrhea, you sneeze, your muscles ache, you have anxiety, you have depression, you don’t want to eat because food isn’t appealing even though your stomach is rumbling, you don’t particularly want to drink but you’re dehydrated so you force yourself to drink some water, and during all this your skin is crawling as if it was dirty covered in goose-bumps from who knows where and you wish you were still asleep so you could at least pretend she was still in the bed with you. But you’re awake now. So you get out of bed, and you go find her. Maybe today you won’t have to do something that compromises your morals to find out where she’s gone, but really you don’t even care, as long as there is a way. You walk an hour and forty five minutes to get on the bus. You travel for another 45 minutes on public transportation. You get off at the train station in the bad part of town. All the while you have to shiet so bad but you know once you find her that will be solved. You’re hungry but dont want to eat, once you find her you can eat. You feel dirty and sad and anxious but once you find her she’ll bathe you and make you happy and calm. But right now your walking through the ghetto. You walk another 20 minutes. Maybe it’s cold and raining, if so you are so so so cold. Maybe it’s hotter than hell and that just makes you feel dirtier. You find a guy that knows where she is. He says he’ll go get her and bring her to you. And the cops pass you as you’re talking to him and they have to know what’s up. What’s someone like you doing in this part of town? So the 10 minute wait for her to come back to you accompanied by the guy who could give two shiets about you as long as you bring him money seems like an eternity. Maybe he’ll run off with her and your money. Maybe she wont be looking so hot today, maybe she won’t be herself. Maybe he’ll come back with a woman you don’t know and don’t want to meet but now your money is gone and you’re broke and sick and a good few hours away before you can get some more money and the world might as well be over in your opinion. But your girlfriend comes back, he brings her, and she gives you a kiss on the cheek. Then you go home, to your mattress and your overdue rent and the lack of food and the piled up bills and the same clothes you’ve been wearing for three days and your parents that have called but you never answer and your friends that invite you out but you never go, but you’re home and she’s there with you. Eventually you go to bed. But she’s never there the next morning, and you know she won’t be, and you wish someone invented a way to pause time, or go back in time, to that first time you met her, the first couple months when you guys hung out, before she made you sell everything to be with her, but you can’t and you’re fuked. And you know it.
I’m not going to romanticize it, that won’t do you or me or anyone reading any good.
by Jordan Bates
Lies are all around us.
No, I’m not some paranoid conspiracy theorist. I am, however, addicted to knowing the truth.
And guess what? People are lying to you. All day, every day.
TV shows are lying to you. Politicians are lying to you. Music artists are lying to you. Advertisements are lying to you. You’re lying to yourself.
I’m not talking about “lies” in the sense of a whopper story conjured up by an 8-year-old to get out of trouble. I’m talking about the perpetuation of myths.
Myths are destroying your potential.
The Ancient Brain Washer
For thousands of years, humans have used mythology as a way of teaching tradition and values. Telling stories proved to be an effective way to educate people.
While myths were invented to serve a beneficial purpose, they’re also a dangerous force in creating inflexible attitudes.
As the world evolves, our systems of belief must change with it. Yet, people are often so engrained in one way of thinking that they cease to learn and adapt to change.
When we refuse to evaluate what we believe, we lose the opportunity to capitalize on the advantages of progressive, innovative ideas.
When we cling too tightly to what we think we know is true, we risk being controlled by damaging, outdated ways of thinking.
And in the modern world, damaging myths are more alive than ever.
Myths take the form of stories, norms, axioms, and paradigms. The most powerful myths are the ones believed by the greatest number of people.
These ultra-popular myths establish the status quo. And while some widely held ideas are good, many are not.
Here are 7 nasty myths that are stifling you. Absorb them, mull them over, and stop believing in them.