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Get Excited!

May 28, 2024

Something that I really desire more of in my life, that I am extremely focused on cultivating, is enthusiasm and excitement. 

There are some people that just exude enthusiasm. They’re buzzing with energy and it makes you step up your level of presence and engagement with what’s happening.

One of those people is my wife Irene.

In my vows to her on our wedding day I commented on how the looks at life with a sense of wonder in everything, and it inspires me.

But some of us don’t naturally find reasons to be excited about life. Our demeanor is more reserved, introverted, and composed. We prefer to not let emotions sway us off center too far.

But we’re missing out on experiencing life fully without enthusiasm! According to Heroic, of the 8 cardinal virtues the one that is most highly correlated with flourishing is ‘zest’ aka enthusiasm.

When you strip it all away, excitement and enthusiasm is a perspective. We can choose to assign an excitable meaning to anything. In other words, you don’t need to create hype… You just need to start seeing it!

I’m not saying you need to 'turn it all the way up' from stoic to bouncing off the walls with enthusiasm, but you might enjoy how your next level of daily excitement makes you feel. So let’s do it now!

Ask yourself this question - What am I really excited about today?

And then continue on with this follow up question - What can I do differently today to bring out that excitement?

Give it a try! And if you find that it really serves you, the consider anchoring it as a consistent practice in a morning or startup routine.

The more you train yourself to see excitement, and the more prepared you are to act on it, the more natural it will be for you to experience it and the more embedded it will be in everything you do!


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Effort Over Outcome

May 27, 2024

One of the most important things we can have to live a high-quality life, full of rich experiences and meaningful personal challenges, is a growth mindset. Popularized in Carol Dweck’s breakout book titled “Mindset” she unlocked a new era of personal development.

A ‘growth mindset’ is a foundational belief that things can improve. That you can influence the results in your life through practice and experimentation. When you have a growth mindset it means that you receive failure better because you know it’s not permanent. It means that you have more natural motivation because you have the power to bring improvement into your life.

That compares to what Dweck calls a ‘fixed mindset’. This is when you believe that things cannot change and simply are the way they are. You accept reality as it is right now without challenging it for what it could be, feeling little to no agency for what happens in your life.

Let’s take this one layer deeper and talk about self-worth.

Many people attach their sense of self to what they achieve. Even those who have a growth-mindset are vulnerable to this thinking and get frustrated when they don’t create the results that they desire.

The healthy thing to attach to, reenforce, and validate about our performance is the effort we put in.

Here’s a parenting example that will help you see how it works, and how to apply it for yourself: A kid works really hard on an art project and gets an A on it. Rather than celebrating the grade they received, compliment them on the time and effort they put into their piece. It’d be something along the lines of “I’m so proud of how focused you were to create such a beautiful painting” or “It must feel really good to do your best.”

We as adults look at our paychecks, our weight on the scale, or our social media likes to determine how we want to feel about something. But a healthier way to look at it is to reflect on the quality of our work projects, our consistency in the gym and in our diet, and how present we are in our memories to draw conclusions. 

The effort is in our control, the outcome often isn’t. And we can build each of them up by being intentional with the way we relate with both.


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Weekend Recap 5/20 - 5/24

May 25, 2024
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What To Do With More Information

May 24, 2024

I so appreciate you for following along on my journey and message, but I want to call something out about it…

I bet that most of what I share isn’t all that new to you. 

You’ve probably already heard it before in books, Youtube videos and Ted Talks, on podcasts (and even in some of my past episodes!).

Yet it’s still valuable, and here’s why.

The information requires context. When you learn you relate it to your immediate environment. This gives the same ideas different meanings in different settings, and different points of application. 

This is the exact reason why my ratio for reading books is that I reread two for every new one. I’ve found this to be most impactful for me because I can take the same insights that I already know are really good and use them in an entirely new way.

I also do this because retention is important. Hearing the same ideas over and over again helps you recall it more naturally. It also increases the impact the lessons have on your life.

And of course, I’d be remiss not to mention that acquiring information alone isn’t enough. In “The Compound Effect” Darren Hardy says “Knowledge isn’t power, it’s potential power.” It works like electricity in a light switch in that the information is only valuable when you turn it on.

The other metaphor I use to explain this is about a car.

When we’re spending time learning new things it’s like filling gas in the tank. You need gas to go, but the gas itself won’t cause you to go anywhere new. You need to turn the engine on and press the accelerator to actually start moving.

On your self-improvement journey, and with the abundance of resources that are available to you, I can confidently say that you already have enough information.

You have a full gas tank.

Now if you don’t like how well your car is performing (or feel like you’re not living at the level that you’re capable of) you’re better suited to work on improving the engine rather than getting more fuel.

Practically, in our lives that involves creating new systems, setting higher standards, and changing our environment so that it more positively influences us.

All of that is built into the 9 Super Habits, it’s what makes them so effective.

To improve your self-improvement engine and better your health, get more organized and focused in your work, and become more self-disciplined in your life, I highly encourage you to implement the 9 Super Habits now so that you can reach that next level of performance that you’re after.


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“Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.”

May 23, 2024

I heard a quote that I believe can be attributed to former Navy SEAL Alden Mills, and it shines a light on something that I think most of us have a hard time seeing.

The quote is: “Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.”

The reason this quote is so attention-grabbing is because of how it describes the common person. It suggests that the average person is both underachieving (in that as a society we accept a low standard for ourselves) and completely capable (with gifts and strengths that aren’t being expressed).

If that’s true, it makes you wonder why.

The bridge that people are missing, that I think Mills is alluding to in this quote, is hard work. Having talent isn’t enough.

As Angela Duckworth says in the book “Grit”, combing talent and hard work generates skill. Then working hard to develop your skills leads to success. In other words, hard work counts twice.

There are a few things that come to mind as reasons why people aren’t working hard and therefore, are chronically unsuccessful. 

First is a matter of weakness.

Our lives are so comfortable. Especially compared to just a few generations ago, our problems are not that serious. This means that we’ve had less opportunities to cultivate resilience and what we think is “working hard” isn’t actually that demanding.

Second is a matter of convenience.

Anything we want is available for overnight delivery at the touch of a button, and endless entertainment can be found in our pockets. Frankly we don’t have the attention span to work hard any more because we get bored with it so quickly. Impulsively we jump to something else just to keep our minds occupied with something stimulating, which we’ve grown too accustomed to.

And last is a matter of clarity.

Maybe we are putting some good quality work in, but we’re working on the wrong things. We’re investing our time and effort in ways that lead to fractional results. Because things are so fast we struggle to slow down and get strategic about what exactly we could be doing to make progress.

Because of all this, many people with a world of talent settle for falling short of the level of success they’re capable of. This is the majority. However it’s also a massive opportunity. Those who can apply their talent toward the right things, be resourceful, and practice resilience do work their way to the top.

It’s easier to win than ever because we have access to so much and everyone is doing so little with it. So if you delay gratification, do the boring and mundane things others are unwilling to do, and stay consistent, you’ll find yourself achieving more than you thought possible.


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Believing The Messenger

May 22, 2024
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As ambitious and growth oriented individuals, an important skillset for us to develop is to be more influential. To influence means ‘to impact the way something happens’. Ultimately, we want to be a positive influence on others to hit our personal goals and shape the world around us.

The best thing we can do to be more influential is be the example. Your personal choices reflect your character, and the expression ‘actions speak louder than words’ is really true. When we live in a way that others respect and admire, people believe us more. It causes our message to get delivered with more authority and credibility.

The reason I mention this is because when giving guidance or advice, we must understand the order of operations: People must first believe in you, and only then will they consider what you have to say.

They will not hear the content of your message unless they think the content of the message is worth listening to.

So that’s the first step - If you don’t believe the messenger you won’t believe the message. No matter how good and sound the advice is, the evaluation of the person comes first.

I feel like this is the biggest point of conflict people have with authority figures. Bosses, parents, and others in superior positions try to influence others’ behavior. But if they’re not respected, trusted, or a living example of the mission they promote, then it creates resentment. 

In order to be a person others believe and want to follow, we need to hold ourselves to higher standards. We need to be disciplined and do what we say we’re going to do. We need to demonstrate the character traits and qualities others want to see in themselves. And that comes from showing up, day in and day out, for the betterment of ourselves and others.

Be a believable messenger.

And if you want to reach the levels of discipline and daily performance that other people will feel inspired to follow, I encourage you to learn about the 9 Super Habits. These are the small micro-actions and micro-routines that work behind the scenes to help you follow through on consistently making good health choices and increasing your daily productivity.

>> Click here to learn about the 9 Super Habits and how to implement each in 15 minutes a day!


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When To Push Through Resistance

May 21, 2024

We’re all going to face adversity and difficulty. Our path to having the health, career, personal life and relationships we desire is not perfectly smooth. We are often confronted with challenges that make our life and progress harder than we expected it to be.

It can be really tricky knowing how to navigate it. On one hand, there’s the growth-minded philosophy that “obstacles make us stronger”. We trust that the challenges are there to serve us in our personal evolution. But on the other hand, there’s an equally valid argument that resistance might be an indicator for us to try a different way.

So when do we know when to push through and when to change course?

Of course it’s entirely contextual, but there’s a larger framework to consider that connects to the two forms of stress. There’s ‘distress’, which is more harmful and does not contribute to our overall wellness, and then there’s ‘eustress’ which is the minor agitation of doing things outside of our comfort zone.

Resistance takes these two forms as well. One is helpful and one is not. Our approach should be to embrace the resistance that causes us to step up and grow, and not invest too much in resistance that is obtrusive to our goals.

So when you’re facing off with resistance, here’s a series of questions you can ask to figure out how to proceed:

1. Is there an easier or different way?

When you’re prompted to think through a present challenge, give yourself the perspective of the various ways to approach overcoming it. We often neglect to even know what our options are.

2. Is this resistance necessary?

There’s a psychological term called “learned helplessness” that causes us to tolerate something we don’t want because we’ve accepted a state of hopelessness. This puts your current path into question.

3. Does doing it this way maximize my character development?

Everything we do evolves our character in one way or another. There’s value in going through unnecessary hardship. But that’s why this question is powerful - If there’s a specific weakness that has been holding you back, then that’s the maximum opportunity and the resistance is serving you in addressing it.

Ultimately there’s no right answer. It’s intuitive. But when you ask better questions you can have better insight into the nature of the resistance and how it’s impacting you, so that you can shape your perspective accordingly.


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Elevate, Maintain, Or Step Back

May 20, 2024

As Tom Bilyeu of Impact Theory puts it, there’s a 4 step loop that he calls the physics of progress. You can check out a past podcast episode here, but in summary the 4 parts are:

1. You establish a goal to determine the desired outcome

2. You hypothesize a strategy that you think gives you the best chance to reach that goal

3. You run an experiment to see if the strategy worked

4. You evaluate the results.

With that information, now you’re in a position to update your goal and strategy based on what you learned.

I personally call this the “Think, Plan, Do, Review” cycle which essentially mirrors the same 4 steps.

Tony Robbins says “happiness is progress”, and per Maslow’s theory of self-actualization ‘making progress’ is a core human need. But that doesn’t mean we need to be making progress in all areas at all times. In fact that could be slowing down our overall progress.

This is where I want to introduce the 3 options we have when deciding how we want to move forward at the end of this cycle: To elevate, maintain, and step back.

To elevate our goals and standards is traditionally what you think about when making progress. It’s improving the quality, quantity, efficiency, or output of whatever it is you want to do. It’s elevating your workout plan from 3 times a week to 4, or it’s improving your relationship with emails by checking only 2 times throughout the day rather than constantly. To ‘elevate’ adds more demand to your life to hit the new target.

But we can’t be elevating all things in our life at all times. That’s unsustainable. There are certain seasons that require that certain things are prioritized more, and that’s where the two other options come in:

You can choose to maintain.

That means you’re content with the level you’re currently doing things at. Especially when there’s a strain in your life like getting extra busy at work, or a transition like moving to a new town, maintenance is often the fair approach to supporting your overall wellness without overdoing it.

And sometimes, it even makes sense to step back.

Functionally this decreases the commitment you’ve made to something to create more space for yourself. This is necessary when the current demand is too high. This solves for that by choosing what you’re willing to compromise in the short-term in order to accommodate. This is choosing to decrease your working hours to make time for a sick family member, or taking it easier on your workout routine to recover from an injury.

All three options are perfectly acceptable. What’s most important is that you choose what you want to do.

When you choose to elevate, then you feel motivated to step up to the new standards you have for yourself.

When you maintain you accept that your current level is suitable for your goals.

And when you decide to step-back you can do it with less guilt, self-criticism, and self-judgment because you’re clear on why it’s the right thing to do.

At the end of the day, it’s all about being more intentional. It’s about thinking through in advance what you want, and what most serves you, so that you can take action in alignment with it. Having the humility to know that you don’t need to elevate everything at all times is itself an indication of growth!


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Weekend Recap 5/13 - 5/17

May 18, 2024
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Preferences Are A Type Of Belief

May 17, 2024

Perhaps the most powerful force that governs the decisions we make, the actions we take, and the results we get in our lives are our beliefs. Beliefs are the building blocks of identity and dictates how we show up in our lives.

Knowing this, something I’ve always struggled with is knowing what my beliefs are. We’re told on our growth journey to challenge our beliefs... But it’s impossible to do that if we’re not even aware of what our beliefs are in the first place.

Narrowing in from this much larger topic, let’s get a hands-on glimpse into what beliefs are by focusing on one type of them: Preferences.

Our preferences are simply what we prefer in our life. Or in different words, our preferences are an implicit understanding of what we like and what we don’t like.

When we think of our preferences they seem to be really superficial, like preferring vanilla to chocolate or sleeping in a cold room vs a warm room, which doesn’t seem to impact our lives that much...

But when we dive in a bit deeper you’ll see that your preferences are much more integrated in everything we do.

We have preferences for everything: The way we like to do things, the way we like to feel, the way we like to receive feedback, the way we like to make decisions… I could go on forever.

What’s underlying each of these preferences is it leans us toward a certain way of thinking and a certain way of acting. So what might seem like an arbitrary preference actually guides the direction of our lives.

Let me give a personal example that shows you just how far it ripples: I have a preference to feel productive with my time over not being productive.

This preference acts as an unconscious filter in everything I do. In many settings it is helpful to keep me on task, but in other settings it has consequences.

It leads to more disorganization because I don’t always invest the time in putting things away. It influences me to be less present in conversations when I’m running over time because I value being on schedule. And more fundamentally, it impacts my feelings of self-worth as I reflect on the quality of my day, potentially discrediting how good it was because I see all the things I didn’t get done.

This is happening constantly, unconsciously, and in everything we do. And this is just one example of how a preference influences everything else!

It’s harmless until it’s not because it steers your life completely off course.


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