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Why Be Normal?

May 18, 2022

I wanted to call out a concept that is massively important to me because 1) It’s the first chapter of the most transformational books I’ve ever read, “The Promise Of A Pencil” by Adam Braun, and 2) My good friend John Piasta brought it up in conversation and made me question my understanding about it. The thought is - Do people want to stand out from the crowd? Do people want to achieve and contribute, and be more than average? I always thought the answer is “Yes” without having a second thought, but today I’m reconsidering it.

I’m cut from the cloth where I have always wanted to excel. I’m a competitor that constantly wants to push the boundary for myself and what I think is possible. This also means that my happiness and identity is wrapped up in how much I’m creating or contributing to society. It’s what I authentically enjoy doing and it motivates me to think and desire bigger. It can certainly lead to disappointment when you fall short, but when approached correctly I think ambition can be very healthy.

However I’m realizing that guess what… There are people that are not like me. They are content in the simplicities of their own life, present in its richness and at peace with their circumstances. They don’t desire to be anything more than average. And that is okay! I don’t want to impose judgment on this, I think it’s an amazing gift to know what makes you happy and to live in alignment with that. I don’t expect that anyone dedicates their life to anything other than what makes them happy, but I do hope that they have the perspective to know what is available to them and what exists around them. For example I was shocked to learn that, if you want to be in the top 1% of income earners in the world, you need to make $52,000 a year. Hopefully that helps contextualize your privilege and good fortune.

There’s no right answer here, there’s just what’s right for you. And to integrate this into your life I want to ask you the question that Adam Braun asks in the first chapter of his book - “Why be normal?” And think about how that lands for you. Do you find yourself justifying why it’s okay to be normal, or do you feel pulled to do more to step outside of your comfort zone?

If you’re in the US or Canada, text me at 949-799-0788 and I’ll send you daily prompts that help you get to know yourself better and build a more meaningful life every day. 

If you’re looking to grow alongside a community of like-minded improvers, then click here to join the Better Together Community.

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Luck Is When Opportunity Meets Preparation

May 17, 2022
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The concept of luck is a misunderstood thing. We often relate luck to chance, that there’s a random probability that something can happen. While it’s true there is a relationship between luck and chance, it’s much more elaborate than calling them the same thing. There’s an expression from the Greek Philosopher Seneca that goes “luck is when opportunity meets preparation” and I've really found this to be true.

Chance is relevant to luck when you relate it to the first part of this expression - Opportunity. When something is an opportunity it simply suggests there’s potential that something can happen. An opportunity is just one option among many, and the fact that an opportunity exists does not guarantee that anything is going to come of it. There is an element of random chance that puts certain opportunities in front of you, we call this “catching a lucky break”, but that alone is not sufficient. Luck is only observable when that random, chance opportunity materializes into something good.

That’s where the second part comes in - Preparation. Being prepared increases the odds that an opportunity will yield positive results because you have built the skills, infrastructure, work ethic or whatever it takes to maximize the opportunity. You’re ready to make the most of everything in front of you because you have the right pieces already in place. And when that chance opportunity arrives, you can apply your preparation to convert potential into something meaningful.

One of the most successful golfers in history Arnold Palmer said something that perfectly summarizes this thought. He says “The more I practice the luckier I get”. Why is that? It’s because his practice has prepared him to seize the moment, and the more often that happens, the luckier you appear to be. Luck is just an observation that things seem to go right often. If that’s the case, then we all can be lucky by creating more opportunities and refining our skills.

I’d love for you to reflect on the role luck has played in your life - Do you consider yourself to be lucky?

If you’re in the US or Canada, text me at 949-799-0788 and I’ll send you daily prompts that help you get to know yourself better and build a more meaningful life every day. 

If you’re looking to grow alongside a community of like-minded improvers, then click here to join the Better Together Community.

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When You're Feeling Uninspired

May 16, 2022

I am guilty of this just like anyone else. There are days when I don’t feel like doing what I’ve committed to. Days when I’m low on motivation, have little enthusiasm, and if I don’t intervene would naturally just waste the day doing things I don’t want to do. Things like spending time on social media, getting caught watching videos, or finding other random chores to feel like I’m productive but really it’s just to occupy my mind and avoid what I don’t feel like doing. Have you been there?

When you’re feeling uninspired like this it can really destroy any momentum you have for the day. The silver lining though is that it’s not permanent. Being uninspired is a feeling, and feelings can change. Being uninspired is simply a temporary emotional state that comes up as a response to the way you’re perceiving your immediate environment. So if you change the way you feel, you can change the way you relate with how you’re feeling.

The first way to change your feelings is to use mindset to reframe the situation. Something that I learned from Jim Bunch that has been game-changing for me is that anything in life is either inspiring you (filling you with energy) or expiring you (draining you of energy). When you set a goal or intention that you’re genuinely excited about, the tactics required to get there have a whole new meaning because there’s a concrete purpose behind doing it. No longer do you view mundane tasks as chores, you see them as stepping stones toward something that makes you excited.

The second way to change your feelings is to change your physical state. Being uninspired is characterized by lethargy and laziness. If you can change your state to be more energetic then those qualities are no longer appropriate within the context. Getting up and moving, dancing, breathing, anything all serves to change your state and in doing so, changes the way you feel.

This is game-changing because I think we all desire a more inspired life, and this is a proven way to achieve it. To finish this thought let me ask you a question - How do you plan to incorporate more inspiration into your life?

If you’re in the US or Canada, text me at 949-799-0788 and I’ll send you daily prompts that help you get to know yourself better and build a more meaningful life every day. 

If you’re looking to grow alongside a community of like-minded improvers, then click here to join the Better Together Community.

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Weekend Recap 5/9 - 5/13

May 14, 2022
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The Price Of World Class

May 13, 2022
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I think many of us look up to and admire people in the spotlight. Professional athletes, movie stars, music legends, millionaire entrepreneurs - There’s an appeal to these people and a fasciation around what they do because they do it at such a high level. It’s natural to feel jealous and to want to be like them, but before you uproot your life and commit to it there’s something very important to consider. There is a price to being world class. I’m not taking anything away from people who have accomplished something incredible, but I do want to clarify that what you see is not the full story.

To excel at something and operate at an elite level takes an absurd amount of sacrifice. The time required to perfect a craft can strain relationships. The attention you receive when you’re on a global stage can make you compromise on your priorities and values. You must consistently place yourself in the discomfort of doing challenging things that you don’t necessarily enjoy. It is brutal to be the best.

But the truth is anyone can do it. It’s within your power to make the choice to be world class at something. It’ll take a decade of intense focus and prioritization, but it's true when you hear "anything is possible". The question becomes - Is that what you want? Is there a part of you that so strongly desires self-mastery that you’ll run through anything to attain it? Are your dreams so important to you that it’s worth prioritizing over other people and opportunities and experiences? There’s no right answer, there’s only your answer.

Yes, being the best there is might seem cool when you’re watching the highlight reel, but when it comes to living in a way that achieves it, it may no longer be so appealing. And that’s okay because all you need to do is what’s right for you.

Now it’s time to ask you that tough question - How interested are you in being world class at something (knowing the price you pay to get there)?

If you’re in the US or Canada, text me at 949-799-0788 and I’ll send you daily prompts that help you get to know yourself better and build a more meaningful life every day. 

If you’re looking to grow alongside a community of like-minded improvers, then click here to join the Better Together Community.

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"Cheerfulness is the very flower of health."

May 12, 2022
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To share a dose of positivity I wanted to talk about a word that is overlooked a bit in positive psychology - Cheerfulness. When you encounter someone that is cheerful it completely shifts your energy, bringing a smile to your face and a skip to your step. Not only will incorporating cheerfulness in your life improve your mindset and lead to more positive experiences, but it actually creates a positive cycle within your health and wellness. That is summarized in today’s quote “Cheerfulness is the very flower of health.”

The first and more obvious side of the cycle is how your happiness impacts your health. There are countless studies that show how things like gratitude and compassion generate measurable health benefits. More indirectly, cheerfulness helps you reduce negative self-talk and avoid stress-inducing thought patterns. Your happiness, mindset, and perspective produce good health.

The second, less obvious side of this is what’s referenced in the quote. “Cheerfulness is the flower of health”, meaning that a happy demeanor is also the byproduct of good health. This is because our psychology is extremely influenced by our physiology, and when we’re fueling our bodies right, exercising often, and getting good rest, it creates an environment for our psychology that is conducive to positive experiences.

Now for me if this is a self-fulfilling cycle the question becomes which comes first? Should I focus on my happiness and let that impact my health... Or should I focus on my health and let that influence my happiness? While the answer is of course "both", like the quote suggests I would advise to focus on the health side first. Your body is quickly responsive to changes, your psychology is notoriously slow at adapting, and if you want to be more cheerful I’d encourage you evaluate your health habits first.

To wrap this up let ask you this - In what area could you most improve your health?

If you’re in the US or Canada, text me at 949-799-0788 and I’ll send you daily prompts that help you get to know yourself better and build a more meaningful life every day. 

If you’re looking to grow alongside a community of like-minded improvers, then click here to join the Better Together Community.

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When You Read A Book Twice

May 11, 2022

Something I’ve been committed to doing over the last year or so is re-reading books. To be honest, I have pretty bad reading comprehension and I don’t always get as much as I want from the books I read.  It has been helpful to revisit major topics and themes multiple times, but what has been most eye-opening is how the same book can have two very different meanings depending on when you read it.

That’s because everything we’re exposed to is contextual. Imagine you see a woman wearing a bikini in an airport, that’d be pretty unusual right? Now what if she’s wearing a bikini by the pool. Same behavior, different context, very different outcomes.

Similarly the phase of life that you’re in dictates the way that you approach the lessons you learn. One line in a book can leave two different impressions on you based on how you’re integrating the information. We can only add value to the present moment, which includes what you’re working on now and what you’re excited about now. Whatever is top of mind becomes a lens on top of what you’re learning. 

That’s why re-reading a book can be so impactful. Depending on where you’re at, you will extract completely new takeaways and ideas because the meaning has changed so significantly.

This is all a representation of what happens in our lives on a larger scale. No two experiences, conversations, or moments are the same because meaning always requires context. So if we approach everything with more curiosity (the more redundant and mundane stuff too) we’ll be able to uncover the lessons we’re looking for that will help us advance our lives.

To help this all integrate let me ask you this question - What book would you most benefit from re-reading?

If you’re in the US or Canada, text me at 949-799-0788 and I’ll send you daily prompts that help you get to know yourself better and build a more meaningful life every day. 

If you’re looking to grow alongside a community of like-minded improvers, then click here to join the Better Together Community.

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Do Not Hide

May 10, 2022

I think a human need we all share is we want to feel special. We want to live a life others look up to. We want to inspire others with our gifts and talents, and we believe that there’s something unique inside of us that makes us different in the best of ways. But the acknowledgment of all of those qualities requires that we’re seen, heard, appreciated, and expressing our essence into the world.

But I think that’s the problem. Many people are afraid to be seen. People don’t feel comfortable standing out and being different. So instead of doing the things that make us unique and differentiated we pull back and do what it takes to fit into the crowd and check the box. This really is motivated by fear - The ways we’re insecure about who we are, the fear of being embarrassed, ridiculed, or mocked, and the vulnerability of putting ourselves out there and realizing we might not be good enough.

Consciously we know that’s not how we want to live - Who wants to be just one person lost in the crowd? Of course we want to feel special. But unconsciously that’s what happens because we don’t dare to allow our truest selves to be shared with the world.

So today I want to encourage you to set an intention. Do not hide. If you feel like doing something but you’re worried how others might perceive it, do it! If you’re excited about trying something new but social conditioning is telling you that’s not how it’s ‘supposed’ to be, trust your intuition over the voices of people who are living by the book. I believe that when you least want to do something is when you most need to do it because it strengthens your belief that you can be the person you want to be.

So commit to trying this for a month, a week, or even a day. Do not hide and let your true self shine! Speak up about your preferences. Say what’s on your mind. Take steps toward what you care about. Because when you do your life will begin to adjust and mold around the things you want most. And to wrap this up let me ask you a question - What are you hiding from right now?

If you’re in the US or Canada, text me at 949-799-0788 and I’ll send you daily prompts that help you get to know yourself better and build a more meaningful life every day. 

If you’re looking to grow alongside a community of like-minded improvers, then click here to join the Better Together Community.

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The Only Time Success Comes Before Work

May 9, 2022

I read something in Quincy Jones book “12 Notes” that I thought was awesome. He said that a mentor once told him “The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.” We all know this to be true - We need to put in the work to get results, and accomplishing meaningful results leads to success. But I want to slow down and dissect this thought a bit more.

First, the definition of success is so elusive. One person could feel completely fulfilled and successful, and another could feel lost and anxious… When doing the exact same things. What we perceive as success is entirely contextual to our own values, frame of reference, and interpretation.

But what’s unavoidable is that no matter what form success takes, doing the work must come first. If success is having the financial comfort to travel and do the things that you enjoy without worry, then you need to grow in your career and earn a good income. If success means making a difference in the world, you need to play a tangible role in creating something impactful. If success is having a happy and healthy family, you need to have conversations with your partner and invest in that relationship.

As was showcased in that last example - Oftentimes we don't consider the things we do naturally as "work". But don’t get confused because doing the work exists in everything. Any outcome you have requires the input of your effort, attention, energy, and time. So don’t discount the way you’re investing yourself in the things you care about. Results don’t come about on their own. They require doing specific work every time. Hopefully now you might have a little more perspective that will help you see how you are doing the work that helps you achieve successes you desire.

You’ve probably asked yourself this question before but I’m going to ask it again - What does success look like for you?

If you’re in the US or Canada, text me at 949-799-0788 and I’ll send you daily prompts that help you get to know yourself better and build a more meaningful life every day. 

If you’re looking to grow alongside a community of like-minded improvers, then click here to join the Better Together Community.

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Weekend Recap 5/2 - 5/6

May 7, 2022
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