Getting The Plane Off The Ground
I came across a concept the other day and wanted to relate it to personal development. What I’ve come to learn is while things don’t seem like they would be related, things abide by the same rules and laws of nature, and there is more similarity than we might first think.
The idea is, a plane uses a disproportionate amount of fuel to take off and get to cruising altitude. Of course this makes sense, a plane that is actively trying to propel itself higher against gravity is going to require more energy. If it’s so obvious in this instance, is it reasonable to say it would be true for our lives as well?
Getting yourself to an early morning workout, the hardest part is emotionally committing to it and getting yourself to put your workout clothes on. In sales, the hardest part is getting anyone to pay attention and book a meeting. Like a plane at cruising altitude we greatly benefit from the momentum we generate to get to that point. The challenge becomes overcoming the activation energy required to get to that state, which often is perceived as a whole lot of effort for not enough result. It could also be articulated as “The juice isn’t worth the squeeze”.
But in order to achieve your goals, like a plane headed across the country, you need to invest your resources in the things you know will carry you to your desired destination. Instead of seeing hard work as a reason to not persevere, know that it’s a part of the process, it is an inevitability of the world’s natural laws. It includes a knowing that with the right attitude and belief you will be able to find your own cruising altitude.
We know how important it is to be a lifelong learner, but today I wanted to hone in on the other side of the coin. It’s one thing to seek knowledge and learn, but it’s another thing to be teachable. Being teachable means that you’re receptive to other people and their perspectives, you’re humble in understanding that you don’t know everything, and you’re open-minded enough to consider new ideas and possibilities.
We have a natural tendency to validate the way we think about things. It’s called confirmation bias and it exists to protect ourselves from the discomfort of violating our belief systems. The unfortunate consequence is that confirmation bias encourages us to seek information in a way that simply strengthens what we already know or believe to be true, and the more that happens, the more resistant we are to being receptive to alternatives.
Again, being teachable counteracts this resistance because it allows other people and resources, who have reasoned differently, to leave a real impression. It means that you don’t hold on so tightly to your own beliefs and you’re willing to adjust your own opinions and behaviors because you value the new information. In a world that is a constant feedback loop, we need to be willing to accept that we’re wrong sometimes so that we can re-orient ourselves toward a more aligned direction.
Being teachable involves listening without judgment, considering beliefs that make you uncomfortable, respecting others’ experience and histories that led them to draw certain conclusions, and being receptive to new ideas. When you're teachable you’ll find that others are more wiling and interested in investing in you if they know that you’re actually going to use their feedback, which will accelerate your personal learning curve.
So be teachable. Pursue your own knowledge and learn on your own accord, but also keep an open mind to all of the possibilities and alternatives around you.
Stillness with Brian Rashid
As we get caught up in the productivity culture of life there’s a strong pressure to go and do and be more. But what that often represents are more deeply rooted issues that you are afraid to address. You may avoid these issues by keeping yourself too busy to face off with it, or you try to move past it too quickly by taking immediate and uncalculated action. This was a new concept to me when Brian Rashid elaborated on the topic.
Stillness. Brian recommends that it is through stillness that you can actually listen to yourself, and understand your needs and desires. From there you determine how to move forward but now you’re not doing so in a rushed way because you’ve made time for truth to reveal itself. I absolutely am guilty of putting a band-aid on top of a band-aid, but this affirms the importance of slowing down and letting a more natural and reflective process take its course.
Creating Opportunity (From the Subject Matter Podcast)
I talk a lot about being the creator of your life, and claiming what’s yours for yourself instead of waiting for it to happen on its own. To provide evidence for how that has worked in my life, I wanted to do something different and feature a snippet from my interview on Ben Bradbury’s podcast called Subject Matter, where I talk a bit about how relationships and being of service have created opportunities in my career and life.
[With reference to building a personal brand] "The fun side is then the creative side. So once you have that relationship, and you have these mentors because you've been able to build your personal brand, to get their attention, what do you do with it? And a great story with that is a cascade of 'Do it for the story' actually. So I met Nir Eyal on the podcast because he had his new book 'Indistractable' about to launch... He has changed my life with his original book 'Hooked' and with 'Indistractable' I was involved in the launch promotion. I brought him on the podcast, had a pre-release copy of the book that I read, was able to feature it, created all of this content and assets for him really to add value, and we ended up being friends on Facebook. It was through Facebook that I learned about who Case Kenny is, the podcaster of 'New Mindset Who Dis?'. What happened is Nir Eyal posted on Facebook about Case Kenny's new journal coming out about personal development. I reached out to Case and said "Hey I want to feature you, anything in particular?' and he said "Oh, awesome really appreciate that go for it!' So then we grabbed a coffee, I told him about what I was up to, was able to build a relationship with him and show my value, show what I had to offer. Just 4 months later Case Kenny and I became co-founders of For Purpose. That is a true story of how my personal brand and the relationships that I cultivated by leading with being of service ended up creating this opportunity to build a relationship with someone who is now a co-founder and has a ton to offer for a project I'm really passionate about."
This demonstrates an example of how I’ve cultivated the flow of value in my life to create an opportunity for myself. In leading with service and finding creative ways to add value, I was able to build a relationship that has been a pivotal part of the next phase of my career. The opportunities are there, and you too can seize them for yourself by being supportive, helpful, and open.
“You may encounter many defeats but you must not be defeated.”
As we’ve come to know if our lives, the things we experience are dependent on our own perception of the events. Jack Canfield articulates it as that no matter the circumstance, it is our response to the event that generates an outcome. This quote takes that same theory and applies it specifically to failure. Spoken by Maya Angelou, the quote goes, “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.”
The quote separates the outcome of failure into two sections. The first is the objective reality of the performance, there is a measurement of whether you won or loss, if the idea worked or it didn’t, if you got what you wanted. But then the second side is the subjective representation of that experience - How did you receive the result? What is your mindset, mentality, and relationship with the event? How do you feel about your performance?
Let’s put this is an example. You’re applying for a new job, get an interview and find out you didn’t get selected for the position. You experienced defeat in that you didn’t achieve the objective outcome you wanted, which was to get the job. But next comes your subjective response and interpretation. You can choose to feel defeated, give up on making a move in your career, and settle for how things are... Or you can choose to persevere, take the lessons and feedback from your experience, and try again.
Understanding that there’s always a subjective interpretation to objective outcomes allows you to apply a more positive lens to the experience. It allows you to control the end result because you get to tell the story. This example brings more awareness to the ways that we choose how our life goes, and helps us paint a more positive picture for our lives overall.
Embellishing The Truth
In reading Jack Canfield’s book “Success Principles”, there’s an entire section on telling the truth. It includes speaking up for yourself, being vulnerable about your fears, doubts, and challenges, and treating others fairly by being honest with them from the very beginning. But then there was also a section on the small, convenient, white lies that we tell on a daily basis and what that actually does to us.
There are times when we’re in the heat of a story, or recollecting facts about something for someone, and we exaggerate the truth. This may be to generate a stronger effect so the point really sinks in, it could be out of enthusiasm and excitement… But it probably was never your intention to lie and all of a sudden it slips out.
Jack Canfield shares that if we really want to feel liberated as an ultimate truth-speaker, we can’t let any lie go unaddressed. Big and small, we can’t let anything slip through the cracks or be written off as an exception. Once you let yourself lie about one small thing, and you know it, you lose a little bit of trust in yourself, and with less trust you have less confidence and ultimately you fail to be honest to others and yourself.
What I reflected on after internalizing how this relates to me, because I very much am guilty of this, is that we feel the need to embellish because we feel insecure about ourselves in the situation. We fudge the sales numbers a little bit because we are afraid of how we’ll be received if we don’t meet expectations. We exaggerate the details in stories because we’re compensating out of fear that others won’t enjoy spending time with us. It’s a defense mechanism from standing out in your truth because you’d rather hide behind a more impressive or seemingly valuable front.
So what I’m committed to doing, and I've added it to my goal sheet, is asking myself the question “Did I do my best to be completely honest today?” Did I correct myself when I embellished? Did I report things as they are, not how I think others want them to be? The first step is about bringing more awareness to your habits so you can understand the full breadth of the topic you’re hoping to improve, and that’s where I’m starting.
Hurt People Hurt People
Sometimes, we come across people who just aren’t very nice - Either they don’t treat us fairly, or they make really selfish decisions that negatively affect us, or are mean in some other way. It could be the person that rides your tail then speeds past you because they didn’t like the way you were driving. Or maybe it’s a co-worker who is feeling pressure about a project and needs to take it out on someone. Or maybe it’s a random stranger who for whatever reason has some hate in their heart. When we encounter these people, or these circumstances, I want you to keep this idea in mind - Hurt people hurt people. Only the person who is hurt themselves is capable of hurting others.
No one is born hurt or broken. Unfortunately, it is transferred from one person to another. Oftentimes people do things that make themselves feel better, but it comes at the expense of other people and their well-being. If someone feels the need to treat someone poorly it’s because they have been treated poorly themself.
And here’s the important part - it’s not their fault. They didn’t ask to be hurt. They didn’t want to exist that way. But someone else put this upon them and now, in certain instances, that’s who they’ve become to cover for the hurt that they feel.
So when they come at you with that anger, resentment, and fear, know that it’s no reflection on you. It’s an outlet for them, and the best thing to do is to be compassionate for them and their experience. It’s not your responsibility to wear their pain, you don’t need to accommodate to their issues, and the next time a hurt person tries to hurt you, don’t let it get to you.
Thinking Through 3 Life Stages
“When you’re 20 you care what everyone thinks, when you’re 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you’re 60 you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place.” To touch on these 3 stages independently...
When you’re 20, you do care what others think. A lot of your identity is wrapped up in being cool, your popularity, how much other people want to be around you and involved in what you’re doing. It’s congruent with that phase of life as you explore who you are.
Then when you’re 40, you stop caring what everyone thinks. You’ve matured into the life you wanted to have, and you have additional responsibilities, like having a family, where it’s no longer all about you. You have enough experience behind you to have confidence in who you are as a person and you don’t require the approval of others to validate your self-worth.
And at 60 you realize that no one was ever thinking about you in the first place. Everyone else has enough to worry about on their own, and if you were so focused on living your life, you realize that everyone else was doing the same living theirs.
That final point provides an interesting tie back into the very beginning, when you care what others think, and the case of the zit. Gary Vaynerchuk has this idea that when you’re in high school and you have a zit, you feel like everyone is constantly looking at it, and you’re really self-conscious of it. But the reality is, everyone has their own zit, everyone is already so preoccupied in their own world. It’s not worth your energy to care what someone might be thinking about you, because they likely aren’t.
I share this idea in the hopes that you can be inspired to live in a way that is more authentic to you, and not in a way that appeases others, because eventually you’ll reach that place and wish you got there sooner. So if you’re 20, 40, or 60, know the long game you’re playing and pursue it fully.
Capture Your Ideas
Sometimes inspiration strikes at the weirdest times. Maybe you come up with a new creative way to solve a problem you’ve been working on, or maybe you remember an errand you forgot to do or a call you forgot to make. As great as we think our memory might be, it’s only capable of storing this new information for 40 seconds before either encoding to long-term memory or being lost forever.
Something you should think about doing is having an easy and accessible way to capture your ideas. You can choose to write your ideas down in a little notebook you carry around, or store them somewhere in your phone. The important detail is you need to be able to access your tool of choice consistently and easily to facilitate the process.
Taking it one step further, when you document the thought that comes to mind you’ll actually be able to recall it better. The physical action of doing something carves out a deeper representation in your brain, so when it comes time to recall the thought you can better place yourself in the context of that original moment and remember more details than you would have otherwise.
This is exactly what I do to think of a new personal development tip every day! I’m constantly observing and curious about the world around me, and when something inspires me I write it down in my phone. Then when it comes time to sit down and prepare an episode, I pull up the list and have hundreds of things to reflect on.
You are full of great ideas, but unfortunately many of them are lost and gone forever because you didn’t have the system in place to store them. This can be your system, give it a try!
"Shower the people you love with love."
There's a great lyric from a James Taylor song that goes, “Shower the people you love with love.” It seems pretty obvious but unfortunately in today’s world it’s not as straight forward as it should be. For whatever reason we have a culture that limits self-expression, and sometimes makes you feel silly for telling people how you feel. I think the source of this is that many people care what others think, and if you stand out in the way you behave it makes you vulnerable to judgment and criticism. So in order to avoid that we don’t always show our true colors.
But for those people that you really care about, they probably really care about you too and won’t feel like it’s inappropriate for you to let them know. They won’t judge, and they’ll actually embrace your vulnerabilities, which will allow you to deepen your relationship with them. How good would it feel to build that intimacy with someone else? Well then you go first, because they’re likely feeling the same limitations as you do, and if you lead with vulnerability then it opens the door for it to be reciprocated.
So don’t hold back! And that’s what the rest of the lyric says - “Shower the people you love with love. Show them the way that you feel. Things are going to work out fine if you only will.” Send texts and letters, give big hugs, Call out of the blue. The little effort it takes to tell people how you feel leaves a massive impression, and it makes a difference. It makes their day. And as it goes with positivity, it’ll probably circle its way back around to you.
A Change Of Scenery
The far majority of our actions, moods, and mindsets are dictated by our environment. Our environments hold cues that are associated with long histories and relationships with the things in our lives. Whether you realize it or not, your environment has molded your subconscious mind in varoius ways to generate certain thought and behavior patterns.
You’ve probably noticed, if you change up that environment just a little bit then it feels different. It’s simply because the associations you have with the things around you have been broken. For that reason, if you’re looking to construct more positive habits, a change in scenery might be a really good idea.
You can do this by leaving your normal working or living space for a bit, getting out of your office to work at a coffee shop, or taking a weekend away. Or even you can move furniture around and change your typical set up around. It’ll allow you to be more conscious of your behavior, and when you notice how things are different, it’ll cause you to be more present and conscious of your own behavior.
The value of changing your scenery is you refresh your slate, and you can build in new associations within your new environment. Move your desk in your room and commit to reserving that space for work. Move your bed, or even change the color of your bedsheets and vow to stop eating in bed. A new environment means you have a blank slate to create the triggers and associations you want. And all it takes to kick it off is a little change of scenery.
As If It Were The Last Time
I don’t mean to sound morbid, but death really is a great equalizer. What if you lived life doing things as it were the last time you’d ever do it? How much would you cherish that last phone call with a parent? How meaningful would it be to tuck your child in goodnight, kiss your spouse good morning, or give your friend a goodbye hug for the last time? The significance of those experiences takes on an entirely new level, and becoming absorbed in the smaller moments makes you feel that much more alive.
Sometimes I feel like we can go through our lives on autopilot, not allowing ourselves to completely invest ourselves in what’s going on and immerse ourselves in the feelings of the moment. The reality is, anything we do, we don’t know if it will be our last time. It’s sad and scary to think about, but it’s true. And if that’s the case, then to me the question becomes “How can you live more in the present? How can you enjoy the richness and depth of each moment we experience?” The day to day moments are worth cherishing, and reminding yourself that they may be the last one is a great motivation to commit to experiencing them differently.
On a psychological level, treating things as if it’s the last time you’ll ever do it adds scarcity to the equation. If we have less of something, we tend to value it more. So if we want to live with more depth, and allow ourselves to be completely engaged by each opportunity and interaction we have, then we can use the ominous reality of death as our reason to immerse ourselves more completely.
Is it an emotional thought? Absolutely. But if you get the sense that life is just passing you by, try incorporating this idea into your experiences in the next few days and see how it makes you feel.
Arrogance with Matthew Morales
When you think of arrogance you probably think of it as an external process, where someone is flaunting their knowledge, bragging, or proving to others how good they are or how smart they are. Well arrogance also has an internal element to it, and Matthew Morales has his own reflection on arrogance based on his own experience, and how it affected him.
"Arrogance is to avoid one’s own ignorance." It’s to ignore the things you don’t know enough about, and project a false confidence. And while it often fools others it certainly can’t fool the person who is being arrogant, and over-time it wears them down.
We can all get better at saying the sentence “I don’t know”. It’s not weakness, it’s a strength that you have the humility to let others in and support you. Humility is the antidote to arrogance, and we all can be better at practicing it more often.
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.”
I wanted to feature a warm reminder from Hellen Keller, whose perspective is unlike anyone else’s. The quote is, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.”
Everything in life has a tradeoff. As Issac Newton put it, every action has an equal opposite reaction. If that’s the case then we can choose where we put our attention in order to surround ourselves with the things we want. That’s not to say that the shadows of life don’t exist, but it does suggest that we can focus on the light and not the dark.
With this idea there’s an interesting undertone of self-awareness. The quote talks specifically about keeping your face to the sunshine. It doesn’t directly mention seeing light, and I think that’s on purpose. It’s meant to have us take a step back and think about how we can decide to position ourselves, knowing the implications of that decision and how it affects our abilities. It is within our control to choose where we want to direct our attention, and literally moving your body to face the sunshine makes it impossible to see the shadow behind you.
When it comes to living a more positive life, that’s the first step. Prepare your environment and mentality so that it’s easy to see the light more often. Set an intention before going to bed. Surround yourself with positive messaging. Commit to routines that make you feel good. Our brains are already hardwired to discover the negative so don’t give it more fuel than it needs - Choose happy and sunshine in your life, walk boldly toward it, and it will become your experience.
How You Think and How You Feel
I’ve been learning a lot lately about the power of your thoughts and feelings. I’ve always understood them to be a two way feedback loop, but recently I’m starting to think a bit differently. Traditionally you think of your thoughts and feelings as a two way street. The things you think about affect how you feel, and then the way you feel affects the things you think about. So the two of them are extremely intertwined.
Taking a step back and understanding that we were animals before we humans, and that our brains only recently became the superpowers they are, we probably utilize more primitive hardwiring then cognitive hardwiring. This is in alignment with what I’ve learned recently, which is that 90% of our psychology is dictated by our physiology. Another way of putting it, the way we think is at the mercy of the way we feel. So yes, the feedback loop I described earlier does exist, but if you want to manipulate that loop as much as possible you’re best bet is to take care of your physiology rather than your psychology.
As Brian Johnson describes in the Optimize App, the primary element of your physiology is your energy. Are you eating the right foods, getting the right amount of rest, and doing the right things to prepare and engage your body? Your brain needs energetic fuel to be at its best, and you truly can’t will your way into things if you don’t have the right environment to do so.
The way we think and the way we feel are extremely important, and gaining an awareness of them are indicators of our well-being. But if you really want to identify a major opportunity for growth then focus on how you feel, starting with making sure you’re adequately energized.
Six Degrees of Separation
There’s a theory called the Six Degrees of Separation that states all people are no more than 6 relationships away from everyone else in the world. This suggests that everyone, from the President of Australia to a goat farmer in Laos, to a tour guide in Chile, is connected. To put it another way - Everyone in the world is a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of friend of a friend.
That’s not too ridiculously far out if you ask me, and knowing this new-found commonality and proximity we have with everyone, we should start treating each other the same way. “Strangers are just friends waiting to happen”, and our lives can be greatly enriched if we embrace the friend in everyone we come across.
Sometimes walking down the street I see someone and I think, 'If circumstances were different and life brought me and that person together, maybe as a neighbor or a co-worker or a cashier you strike up conversation with at a grocery store, I could learn their story and we could be good friends.' Now trying to meet everyone you come across in that depth is going to be too much to manage, but if we use that same curiosity more often it very well could open the door to some new and incredible relationships.
And it’s not that far of a stretch. We’re all already connected by 6 degrees of separation, and we should lead with treating others as friends we haven’t met yet rather than strangers who threaten us. It’s an abundant mindset and the world would be just a little bit better if we adopted it.