On Sunday I took a bike ride through Linear Park and couldn’t help but notice that Fall has a certain spicy smell to the air. Your lungs burn from the cold air, but then there is the sweet senescent spice of the leaves collecting on the forest floor and slowly decomposing into food for the microbes, the soil, and ultimately the trees they fell from. The leaves also cover the seeds that preceded the tumble of foliage and help to insulate and ensure survival from the elements of nature; beast or weather. There’s something comforting about the changing of the seasons, but there’s also something that makes you dread the cold, the dark. Winter is a time of cold and seemingly death, but it is simply a rest; it is in our circadian rhythm to synchronize with the symptoms of the season. We must simply embrace the cold and the ‘uncomfortable’ for what it is and enjoy it nonetheless. Why do we wish to look for ways NOT to do things or reasons why NOT. Why NOT figure out how to adapt and make the environment a product of you instead of relying on the environment to give you the directions of how to live.
And make time to be there!
In this world, everybody wants every thing.
Give yourself at least an hour every day to just.. Be.
Put your phone down & step away from your computer.
Do you remember what it was like before the world was so toxically interconnected? Do you remember reading labels of food, shampoo, or maybe even books on topics you were interested in?
People have FOMO from social media, but while the focus lies there, they are missing out on Real Life – you know, the stuff that happens when you look up from your anxiety-inducing, glorified tracking device.
We all want to manage our time; make the most of this short & limited time we have on this Earth right? There is so much we can do all the time! I HAVE to check my Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, etc. right? Stay up to speed on my emails?
It all comes down to time – and managing time.
Most of us are terrible at this task for a few different reasons:
- Lack of focus
- Lack of understanding your value
- The insane obsession our culture has with multi-tasking & quantity of output versus quality of that output
Time is valuable but placing value on time can be a dangerous thing. Don’t place such a high value on your time that nothing is worth your time; you’re managing your time but in those moments you must make the most of what you’re spending your time on – you didn’t go to a baseball game to scroll on your phone.
Placing value on your time also makes your interactions transactional – not relational; functional, not pragmatic.
As with anything with value, its value depreciates over… yep, Time.
What I’m trying to get at is the fact that we need to STOP IN THE MOMENT.
Stop to listen to what people are saying to you; hear their words & read their faces.
Stop talking to advance yourself to a sale; ask questions & listen.
Really listen when people talk to you – THERE IS A REASON THEY ARE TALKING TO YOU!
In my experiences in life, people are attracted to certain people because they trust them; they can unload some of their fears & anxieties on them – and this is a huge honor! Everybody is walking around with a million thoughts flooding the brain, so we can’t solely think of moving towards the sale or towards our ultimate goal in talking with someone.
Sometimes the most important connections made in business are made because of things completely unrelated to business.
Structuring your day & managing your time is an important task that has to be done. But as you’re going through your day, don’t lose sight of what is truly important in life; make the most of your minutes by diving in & being highly engaged with people.
Be something we need more of – a real, genuine, & caring person.
We all grow up with aspirations & inspirations for life, so what happens when we reach adulthood? Finding ourselves “in a rut” or “trapped in a cubicle”; lost in a world that promised us so much more. What happened to your inspiration? What happened to fighting your way to glory? And when did you lose all the power to do so?
When I think of glory, I imagine a football coach giving an inspirational speech; a player making an impossibly athletic & willful move to win the game – blood, sweat, tears and victory.
The problem is that our glory is a picture painted by symbols of what we believe to be victory or success; the ultimate glories of life are forgotten because the idea of success is what we chase instead of fanning the embers that lights the path towards true glory & success.
In other words, success is not a thing or an end goal, it is an action – a continual action of adapting & creating in order to build up to your ultimate goals. I think that we all have one big-huge-out-of-this-world goal, but do we expect to just magically have it one day without putting the work in?
When we think of people like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, professional athletes – we think that they are just talented beyond belief. Heightened, superior intelligences & abilities; they are the superhumans. But none of these people just stumbled upon success. Of course they are extremely talented, but to assume that is the only factor that led them to the top is absurd. Hard work, curiosity and a desire to learn, improve, & innovate is what separates them. The countless hours spent reading, coding, practicing, learning, succeeding, failing – it’s all about the quality time you pour into your passions.
The ultimate glory in life stems from the seeds planted by your everyday victories. It is easy to see yourself trapped in your situation or lacking motivation, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to you. If you are unhappy with your job, then move on. But ask yourself if you’ll be happy in your next role – or will it unfold the same way? Sometimes it is not the environment you are in, but what you are feeling within. When we struggle, I believe that people want to overcome – but people also do not want to fail! So rather than continue to fail they decide to move on. I think it is important to remember that failure is temporary & in the present moment; it can be painful, but it is only temporary!
There are millions of opportunities for success before,during & after failure – persistence is the key to overcoming failure, and failure is the key to evolving your ideas & strategy.
Last night I was in the locker room of the gym I regularly attend, gathering my things and preparing to leave when a gym-regular asks me, “you done?” I answered with a brief “yep, getting ready to head out” and then got a response of “lucky you!”
As he walked out I just stopped and really thought about that statement. How am I lucky? Why are you here? Why are you complaining about a situation you put yourself in? What is your motivation? And what does it mean to really want “it”?
I was almost offended by the statement because I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that he viewed his workout as a chore, and consequently thought that I shared his viewpoint. Working out, whether it is weight lifting, sports, cardio, is not a chore, but should be viewed as a privilege and something that you can take pride in!
And pride isn’t even the point or the issue, this statement is about a matter of perspective. He thinks I’m lucky to be done with my workout, but I think he’s lucky that he has a full workout ahead of him. He is there because of his health insurance, I am there creating my own. He is there to maintain, I am there to progress.
By no means do I believe myself to be superior to anyone for what I do, but what differentiates yourself from others is how you frame your life’s activities. Do you let life control you or do you take the reins?
Fast forward to my current situation – I am just now getting back to weightlifting after the last ~6 months being a patchy mosaic of consistency due to a shoulder injury (funny considering I said how I was “creating my own healthcare” ha!) – and I’m finally publishing this article after sitting in my drafts for nearly a year! This article has kind of been haunting me as I feel it sitting here waiting for completion; and that is where all of these lessons converge into one.
We all have passions & pursuits that we feel like we should go after, but aren’t sure where to start, if we know enough, or if we even have the talent. Here are the lessons I learned from “Wanting It”, but not allowing myself to attain it; of chasing it, but not with the correct ‘how of doing things’:
- Passion We all have different passions for different reasons. Joe may have a passion for data; Lisa has a passion for sales; Bill’s passion is gardening – whatever it is, LOVE WHAT YOU DO. Weight lifting is one of my passions and when I found I couldn’t continue with the trend of lifting consistently for a couple weeks, taking a couple weeks off because of extreme pain & discomfort – I stubbornly did something about it & ended up being referred to a surgeon.
- Pursuit Loving what you do is just part of the equation – without a constant pursuit of your passions, you have planted a garden to let it be devoured by weeds, bugs, and, the most easily controlled, Apathy. I was sick & tired of feeling sick & tired. My X-rays, CT scan, and MRI came back normal – no structural damage, no surgery needed, hallelujah! My issue came down to a lack of flexibility & mobility work. These were things I already did actively – but not consistently & not mindfully. Who wants to stretch for 30 minutes when stretching isn’t building any muscle??
- Maintenance “Practice? We talking practice?” Every single success in life stems from doing the maintenance: pulling weeds, practicing that jump shot, running an extra mile – whatever it is that you love to do will not flourish as a personal goal without tending to the smallest details. This does not mean to scrutinize every little thing that you do. To be the best at anything, we must do the fundamentals extremely well. For me, this meant re-adapting by waking up @ 5am, finding an awesome yoga video on Amazon, and doing this every single day along with other functional mobility. One does not become Mr./Ms. Olympia by simply loving to lift weights; they lift weights, but they lift them correctly. The diet is finely tuned, they stretch prior to working out, they focus on Every. Single. Rep.
- Life is about the Journey, not the Destination In our lives we tend to think of things in terms of the desired outcome we seek, but not imagine the path to attain those goals. Example: if I work out, then I will gain muscle & lose fat (or insert your goal). But we all know it isn’t this easy. Most people see it this way & don’t want to put in the work to get the results. In a results-driven world it is tough to enjoy the rocky ride on your way to your end goals. Trust in your processes & don’t lose sight of the important elements in the quest to fulfill your vision – those elements lie in the maintenance section. They are the least “fun”, but are the daily duties that will give you the yield you desire.
No matter what we do in life, we all strive to attain “It”. Whatever your It is, chase & attack it furiously and never let the Fear hold you back from your dreams.