“Half of life is fucking up, the other half is dealing with it.”
It’s good to be able to look back at the things that happen to us in our life… see where we were wrong… what we learned… and move forward into re-birth
Life can be like that… one wild fucking ride… a roll coaster like comedian Bill Hicks used to say… sometimes it’s fun… but sometimes it’s scary… sometimes it’s sad … and sometimes it feels to have lost it’s meaning… sometimes it’s pretty damned funny… and it’s ALWAYS intense
Sometimes we sail along… Blue sky… Beautiful clouds… Perfect conditions … it seems like it’ll never end
But it does
The soul wants more for us… more lessons we need to learn… and when the soul is denied… it’ll beat us into submission if it has to, to get its way
The soul plays hardball
The storms can come in with such crushing power we’re not sure we’ll survive … yet in the midst of the of it all, we are called inward to safe ground
We are asked to grow
We are reminded of what’s important
It’s a time of lessons, insights and remembering
We can be offered a chance to become the most authentic version of ourselves we’ve ever been
Or be swept out to sea
The choice is ours
The following are 15 lessons I’ve learned along my journey
I hope these lessons and reminders help you on your way
“Get busy living… or get busy dying. That’s goddamn right.”
Red – Shawshank Redemption
1. Live in the Gap – Since this moment is all we have, stay here
Live in the Gap between your thoughts…. The Gap between your fears and anticipations
Between judgments of how others should behave… how YOU should behave… or be someone or something different from who you are
Wishing things would be some other way
Wondering what that person over there is thinking… are they judging you?
There’s nothing that is not now, not here, not this… it’s ALL THERE IS
If you can find anything that ISN’T this, please let me know… I’d love to hear about it
Sure, create goals of the “future now” you want to experience… feel good knowing that you’re on an adventure and great treasures and experiences lay ahead… along with a few dragons you’ll probably have to slay… we all have our demons
But don’t let yourself be consumed with the world, the world changes, everything is coming and going… but the Now always Is
“All you really need to do is accept this moment fully. You are then at ease in the here and now and at ease with yourself.”
2. Allow The IS
Whatever is … IS
Who you are right now… whatever you’re going through… whatever is happening in this moment
Allow it, accept it and embrace it
I’m not saying don’t work to change or improve things, but don’t deny what is… for denial is a direct line to misery
Acceptance is the key to the passageway of happiness
Resistance is the path of the fool.
It’s not what happens to us that really matters all that much… even though it seems like it matters… with a little time humans can bounce back from almost anything
It’s the frame… or the meaning… that we give things that matter
Don’t deny what arises
If there’s something in your life to be sad about, denying those feelings of sadness and pushing them down with drugs, alcohol, some obsession, something or someone to replace what losing whatever made you sad… or putting on a fake positive attitude and “Stepford Wife Smile”… will do more harm than good
I’m not saying to wallow in your sorrows and stay slouched on the proverbial pitty-pot
But if you wanna get back up on your feet and feel joy again…. feel the “down” while you’re there with everything in you
Experience it head on… look it in the eye and make peace with it
What you resist persists…
Face, Embrace, Erase
When you deny what is, it grows in you and holds you back… embrace “What Is”, accept the stuff you don’t like, allow it to be, take any necessary actions and move the fuck on
There’s more than one human emotion.. there’s no such thing as feeling “happy” all the time… no one is always blissed-out
The happiest people also get sad… frustrated … and sometimes even depressed.
If you want to be able to fully feel love, joy and happiness… be willing to fully feel the other human emotions as well, even though they don’t feel good, by feeling them 100%, when you ARE happy and joyous, you’ll be able to experience those feelings 100% as well
“What is joy without sorrow? what is success without failure? what is a win without a loss? what is health without illness? you have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. there is always going to be suffering. it’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, that will define you.”
3. Do Cool Shit
We all need to make money, but life is about so much more
Spend most of your time doing the things you’re intrinsically motivated to do, are passionate about and get fulfilled by far more than just what you are getting paid to do…
… You’ll be much happier, enjoy your business or career way more and have a much bigger impact on far more people, than if you just do what you do for extrinsic motivation (like money)…
In the short term, the extrinsic stuff might pay more, but it can also rob you of happiness and rob the world of the gifts that come from you doing what you LOVE
Now, I realize if you have six kids to support, a house payment to make and a job you hate, but that job pays the bills and it’s all you know how to do… then this might seem tricky… or even impossible
It’s only impossible if you think it is
When you were a kid, maybe you were lucky enough to have someone tell you “You can be whatever you want when you grow up”
A few rare souls listened and used that advice as a compass
Other’s paths took longer… it took shitty jobs and learning what they DON’T want to do, to figure out what they WANT to do
And for others “Life Just Happened” … I hate that fucking phrase
The reality is it’s never too late… if you REALLY have something in your heart you want to do, fucking do it… find a way to make it happen
Now, not everyone has that kind of fire raging in their heart, and that’s cool… just working to make a check so you can provide is a highly noble thing to do
But if you’re a reader of this blog, chances are there’s something you LOVE doing… I urge you to find a way to make your living doing THAT… and if it’s not something you’re able to make a good living at, DON’T stop doing it, do it in your free time… whatever
Just make sure you do it
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do”
4. There’s an AWESOME Life Waiting For You… Just On The Other Side of That Shit You’re Afraid Of
Your greatest fears are the passageway to your deepest desires
The scary stuff in life, the part of our to-do list we keep ignoring… that’s the stuff that we should be doing FIRST… cuz without it, the other stuff really doesn’t matter
Once we walk through the fears, facing them head on… the things that scared us become less and less scary and no longer control us
We’re able to move from the passenger seat to the drivers seat
Many famous musicians, public speakers and comedians still suffer from some level of stage fright, but they get up there and do what needs to be done
They could be shaking like a leaf on the inside, but they don’t let it hold em’ back, otherwise they’d never be living their dream … they’d probably be working some normal job-type-job that they would HATE…
… Sitting in their cute little cubicle dreaming about being a musician or a comedian or a “fill in the blank”… instead of actually doin the awesome thing they do and sharing it with the world
Sometimes we may never be fully comfortable doin’ those things we currently fear, but the fear stops having power over us
We act in spite of it, it no longer paralyzes us, for we have risen above it… and now we have the power instead of the fear having the power over us… the fears have been converted into fuel that we burn up hauling ass down the road of our new life
The treasure is right there on the other side of the dragon… we must approach the dragon head on, feel it’s fiery breath and do what needs to be done
Hey I love watching my favorite TV shows at the end of a days work
But what needs to be done never happens sitting on the couch watching other people slay dragons… we need to go out there slay our own dragons, and no one else can do this for us
Action Alleviates Anxiety… but only 100% of the time
In every industry, there is an edge. In your business or personal life, it doesn’t matter– somewhere, there is a cliff. Most people don’t want to get to close to it, because they’re afraid they’ll fall off.
Thing is, the edge is where all the cool stuff happens.
– Julien Smith
5. You’re a Flawed Creature – So Fuck It, Let’s Have Some Flawed Soup!
We’re all screwed up… All of us
It’s by design… the beauty, the art and the laughs are in the flaws.
Be cool with the fact that you’re a flawed creature
Let’s face it, we aren’t all as cool as The Fonz and his leather jacket, Samuel Jackson with his awesome hair reciting Bible verses in Pulp Fiction, or Matthew McConaughey running along the beach being stalked by the paparazzi
Don’t worry about trying to be “Mr. Man of Perfection”
We all KNOW that we can’t be perfect… but how often do we compare ourselves to someone else because they’re more successful, fit or better looking?
Perfection is boring and flatline
If life was easy and we were all pretty, successful and in perfect shape… we’d find a way to fuck it up
Who would need God?
Who would need introspection and personal growth?
Who would need love?
We could just sit their in our own little mental masturbation… all day… stroking ourselves to glorious thoughts of how amazing we are
“I don’t want a perfect character, I want a character who has, as strange as it sounds, some humanity, some flaws, some needs”
6. Since You’re Fucked Up … Use It To Your Advantage
Most artists are tormented
So are comedians
And I know quite a few millionaires, and they’re some of the most screwed up people I know… why do you think they feel the need to make so much damned money?
And some of the most spiritual people I know are that way because they were SO screwed up they HAD to turn to something greater
Great people… loving, caring, giving… FUCKED UP
Put the “fun” back into dysfunction and use your flaws to your advantage
For example, I’m OCD… and it’s allowed me to do some super cool stuff for a living… especially since my resume isn’t even good enough to get a job in charge of rings… onion rings that is
I’m just not a good fit for the 9-5, commute, cubicle life
So I blog about stuff that’s important to me, from home, getting up when I want, doing what I want, helping people via the interwebs, and I get to do this with my fiance and newborn right there in the next room
Use whatever it is… OCD, ADHD, personality disorders… or the fact that you randomly scream “Shit Fuck Shit” and twitch your head around uncontrollably while you growl at strangers on the street … whatever it is… USE IT
7. Go With Your Gut, It’s Always Right
There’s a part of you that knows what’s best… it KNOWS what path you should be on
I discussed this in detail in my Stranger Than Pulp Fiction Post including some pretty crazy things that happened to me
If someone or something feels wrong to you, or a project just doesn’t feel right… listen to what your intuition is telling you, it knows a helluva lot more than you do
If you’re having trouble getting in touch with that part of you that knows best… try meditating, going for more walks, praying for guidance… “Thy Will, Not Mine, Be Done” is a good one… also, consider quitting any substances that may be blocking or jamming up your inner compass… I know Fat Burners were one that really seemed to disconnect me from my soul
“We always know which is the best road to follow, but we follow only the road that we have become accustomed to.”
8. Money, Status or Physical Appearance Won’t Fill The Hole Inside
This one can be a tough, I know it has been for me
Now… nothing against getting rich, getting lean and sexy or becoming famous
But money, looks and people thinking your “cool” has nothing to do with who you are at your core
And these things can change in an instant… the core of who you are NEVER changes
Whether you’re broke, ugly and no one knows who you are… or you’re living like Pitt… chiseled abs, square jaw, millions in the bank and wanted by millions of the opposite sex… either way… the TRUTH of who you REALLY are doesn’t change one bit
The ego loves to attach to things like appearance, financial success and notoriety as a way to compare yourself to others… your heart and your deeds are way better places to hedge your bets when it comes to defining who you are
Some of the happiest people are broke and some of the most miserable are rich… and vice versa
Money is a great tool, but the obsession for money, thinking that money… or a six-pack or a person or WHATEVER… will somehow fill the “hole” deep inside. a hole that nothing outside of you or ‘of this world’ can fill, is a direct line to misery… no matter how good you look or what kind of car you pull up in
9. Balance is Critical and Easy To Forget
Don’t neglect your health, spiritual practices, workouts, family or friendships… if you do these things you will suffer – 8 hours rest, 8 hours work and 8 hours for family, fun and self-improvement is a good guideline to shoot for
If you’re a total Type-A OCD and insist on working long hours, than take long vacations too
Stuff like prayer, meditation, exercise, time with loved ones, nurturing friendships… and not just business relationships… are paramount to staying balanced
Better to make $90K a year and have a balanced life, than $9,000,000 a year but be in bad health, have no real friends and no connection with your Creator
In fact, IMO, it’s better to be BROKE and balanced and happy… than rich and miserable
Fortunately we live in a time where making a few hundred thousand a year while living a balanced and fulfilling life isn’t all that hard to do
So why not have the best of both worlds?
“Without balance, a life is no longer worth the effort.”
10. Face The Chaos Head On
Life is chaotic
How many good movies have you seen that don’t have some sort of conflict?
How many heroes are there that didn’t need to overcome an insurmountable villain, challenge or foe?
Life is lived at ground zero… it’s intense and full of all kinds of craziness
Whining, complaining and wishing life would deal us a better hand is The Path of Mediocrity
The warrior moves forward in the face of uncertainty, taking in the challenges like Popeye takes his Spinach… as fuel
The tough times strengthen our character, our resolve and bring us closer to our soul… or they can turn us into whiny little bitches and beat us into submission
The choice is ours…. it all comes down to perception and action
What meaning do we give to our battles? Are they opportunities to learn about ourselves, about life and to grow?
Or are they just “one more damned thing we have to deal with” ?
Do we take right action, slaying our dragons, conquering our demons and living our Truth
Or do we retreat, cower under a rock and ask “Why?”
Drop “Why” for “How” or “What” ..
“How Can I Improve This Situation?” …. “What Can I Learn From This?”
“Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.”
11. ABT … Always Be Training
Walking, jogging, surfing, lifting, skateboarding, CrossFit, Kettlebells, TRX, mountain biking… whatever is that you enjoy
It helps to clear the mind and make the body strong
There’s just something about getting the muscles moving… contracting and stretching… the blood flowing… the heart pumping… the lungs working… and the pores sweating
I’d say “physical movement” is one of the top 5 things that can affect one’s level of happiness
I like the way Henry Rollins puts it…
Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.
The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back.
The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.
12. Those Eagle Dudes Were Right… ‘Take it Easy’
Life is hectic, chaotic and crazy
So how do you deal with it?
Sometimes you just gotta kick ass, but sometimes a warrior needs to sharpen his sword before the dawn
When you work, give it your all
But take time to just Breathe sometimes too
Take time off, time for yourself
Take days just to think and realign… to plan out, come up with new ideas and let the creative juices flow
Enjoy a long shower
It’s so easy to get consumed by the to-do list, emails, text messages, Facebook, worries, appointments and expectations of others … as well as ourselves
Take hours, days and even weeks or months to clear the slate, look within and see what comes up
Some of my best ideas come in the shower or when I’m taking a walk… just that short break from the to-do list can open the clouded sky of the mind enough for true creativity to shine through
I’m amazed at how when I take just a few days off from the constant doing, accomplishing and producing… at just how many great ideas come through… I’ve had more come through in a single weekend than the previous six-months combined
When you work… give it everything you’ve got and kick ass like you’re fighting for your life
But take time to chill… it allows the genius inside you to come alive, strengthens your intuition and allows you to see the things that you never knew were there
13. Live Truth
Recently I did a blog post on the subject of Truth
If you want freedom from that which binds you…
Fight for TRUTH with every cell of your being
And live the TRUTH of who you are
NEVER be ashamed of what you stand for or who you are
Whatever you are, be that fully
Even if most people don’t like it, hell even if NO ONE likes it
If you’re right in your gut, you’ll know it… go with that
Go with TRUTH
Just as action alleviates anxiety, truth alleviates fear
Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.
14. Life is about people
Want more happiness? … Make other people happy
Put a smile on THEIR face and your bound to end up with one on yours
Life really is about other people… the more we embrace this and act from that space, the better off we’ll be
Plain and simply, your ability to connect with others is one of the more important things there is in life
So be cool to everyone
Create and nurture quality connections
Surrounded yourself with like minded people and ones you want to be like
Do something nice for a different person every day without expecting anything in return
Tell your Mom you love her ( BTW Love you Mom!… my Mom is one of my most loyal readers )
Treat the people who work for you real well
Find ways you can help people that fits your personality… if working the soup kitchen line ain’t your thing… start a blog!
The more people you can call on in times of need… from small stuff like needing a connection or a resource… to big stuff like leaning on people when you’ve lost a loved one … the better your life will be
Be the best friend you can be and love with everything in you
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
15. Fucking Jam Your Tunes Man… Even If You’re In a Garage Band
This goes back to #3… but deserves a second nod…
Stay true to yourself and do what you were born to do, all the money in the world won’t make you happy, and it’s better to do what you love and make less money than be financially successful but spend your days doing shit you don’t like doing or don’t find fulfilling
How you spend your time is more important than what you have in the bank… ideally you can have both, doing what you love AND financial success.
But if it’s out of the two, as long as you can keep a roof over your head and food on the table, ALWAYS spend your time doing what you love … ALWAYS
16. Laugh Every Chance You Get
Laugh your ass off
Watch funny movies, read funny blogs, watch funny YouTube Videos, laugh and joke with as many people as you can as often as you can
Surround yourself with funny friends
Life is too short to take serious… take your business serious, but not yourself
Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh Laugh … and then Laugh some more
“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand”
17. Turn to Your Creator
I’m not here to tell you what to believe when it comes to God… we’ve all had enough of that in our lifetimes and you’ve had decades to come to your own conclusions … but I can tell you from my experience, when I turn to God… I can withstand any storm
There’s not a marble floor in the world that could keep me down
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