“It’s just a simple question of humility. If you’re not humble, life will visit humbleness upon you. I’m a really damaged human being, and it’s still such a struggle, but I’m going to fight to the end this time.” – Mike Tyson
When you think of Mike Tyson, eloquently composed quotes about life aren’t the first thing that come to mind. But Mike summed it up perfectly in a manner I relate to wholeheartedly. Maybe because I’m such a damaged person as well.
When I decide I’m the captain of the ship and I don’t need to do the little things to keep myself humble and on the right path, life has a way of right sizing me. I preach the importance of gratitude in my life. For the last two months my words and my actions haven’t been congruent. I started to take my blessings for granted.
I struggle to hit my knees and pray. I bullshit the process and go through the motions. My words and thoughts aren’t genuine and don’t come from the heart. For me, prayer show thanks and gratitude for my life; acknowledging there is a force greater than myself out there. I pray on my knees as a sign of humbleness and humility.
I focus on the past and future instead of enjoying today. I look at the obstacles in my life and don’t see progress being made to overcome them. I want everything to play out in my time frame and on my terms. That’s not how my life works.
I’m partying too much, not getting enough sleep and getting sidetracked being hungover. My social life is important to me. I need to have fun. If I don’t I become very boring and judgmental of myself and others quickly. I turn reclusive and I miss out on the people, places and experiences that make my life enjoyable. (more…)
“Why are you going to Crystal Cove its full of lesbians and old people?”
“You should go to Newport it’s spring break, the beach will be packed with college girls.”
As I read those texts from my friend I realized that I forgot to pack a fucking beach towel. I was minutes away from Crystal Cove Beach and debated turning around and going home. In the past I would have let something that trivial stop me from enjoying my day. But I decided to say fuck it and go to the beach towel-less.
I parked in the parking lot on the opposite side of the street. From there its a long descent down a walking path and through a tunnel under Pacific Coast Highway to get to the beach entrance. The only thought I had in my head was “this is a giant pain in the ass to get to a beach.” After 10 minutes of walking I reached my destination and it was beautiful.
I went out on the the rocks in the ocean and checked out the little creatures living on them. Then I sat down in the sand, put my earpods in my phone and listened to music while I watched the waves break on the rocks.
After a few minutes I turned the music off and began reading the eBook on my phone. My whole body was coated with sand, but that didn’t bother me. As I read I thought about how children end up covered in sand at the beach. Part of their fun is getting sand all over themselves. But as an adult it seems like such a nuisance.
I moved and sat on a rock at the shoreline. The water barely reached my feet as the waves rolled in. I sat there reading and enjoying the sun shining down on me for the next two hours. When I got too hot or my mind started to wander I jumped in the cold water to shock my body. It revitalized me and got me back into what I was reading. I developed a sense of mindfulness about how amazing I felt and how passionate I was about my life and what I was reading.
I didn’t ruminate over the fact that the day prior I chose not to listen to my gut instinct and sell off some stock; which cost me 5k in profit. I didn’t worry about my business woes or my relationship issues. I was just grateful for my life at that moment. I was being present and experiencing real contentment and happiness.
It sounds ridiculous, but I had this preconceived notion that if I did not have a towel I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the beach. I realized it’s these types of ridiculous rules I create for myself that keep me from happiness all to often. Sometimes the old truths we hold about life need to be thrown out and rewritten. Changing my thought process and taking a different course of action from my normal inclination to turn around and go home produced a new set of positive results – Happiness and Gratitude.
Being an entrepreneur almost ensures my life is a roller-coaster ride. If I look at how chaotic my life’s been for years, this like seems the only route for me. I have to learn the hardest ways possible. Extraordinary amounts of pain accompany my process. A part of me feeds off the adrenaline rush this lifestyle can produce. The highs are high and the lows are very low. I’m an addict in many facets in my life. Chaos, turbulence and adrenaline have been my drugs of choice for as long as I can remember.
I have a nasty habit of comparing myself to others. This is a quick and surefire way for me to feel less than and defeated. I see what others have and covet their success. I make assumptions about their success without knowing the whole story. They may not be happy, healthy or have the material wealth that I may think.
Sometimes I can’t see past the dismal future I create in my head. I look at myself as a failure for not being in the position in life I feel I should be at my age. I get so far bogged down in my own bullshit, negativity and self pity I cant see that whatever is bothering me is temporary. If I take action and I’m not afraid to fail and learn from my mistakes I can create success again. When things get so bad in my life I feel I can’t continue on. I want to pack up and run away. I use techniques I’ve outlined below to get back on track
- First, try to only look at today. As hard as it is, let go of what was and try not to stress over what is to come. Just worry about this moment, of this day, right now. When I am really down trying to handle anything more than that is just way to much for me. Its like they say in AA, “Just for today.” I used to hear guys tell people in programs “you can get high tomorrow, just stay clean today.” They would repeat that to them every single morning until the urges started to cease. Staying focused on the present is incredibly difficult, but when I can do it my life certainly gets better.
- Create a structured routine. Make lists of what I WANT to do with my day. I put them in chronological order if possible. I make a decision about what are the most important 1-2 items that if I do today will allow me get to all the other less important items done as well. Set a time frame to get those 1-2 things done for the day. If I find I’m spinning my wheels, I take a break for a couple of minutes and come back to the the task at hand. The mornings are especially important for setting the stage for a productive day. I like to get up have my shake, do some reading, look over my to do list and set a positive tone for my day. Then the first thing I like to get out of the way is going to the gym. Having a good workout helps me focus throughout the day. If I don’t go early it is on my mind the rest of the day.
- Spend time with positive people. Stay as far away as possible from the pessimists and Debbie-Downers. Surround yourself with happy people who make you laugh and smile. That type of behavior can be infectious and hopefully it’s a bug you will catch.
- Exercise – Whatever your personal thing is DO IT. It could be weight lifting, crossfit, running, sports, yoga, rowing, dancing etc. Maybe this would be a good time to try out a new form of exercise to see how it makes you feel.
- Talk with people you view as successful and share what you are going through. Ask for their feedback and ALWAYS offer something in return for their time. Don’t expect people to take time out of their day to help you out (Even though many successful people will because realize the importance of giving back). Always make sure you can reciprocate the favor somehow.
- Give back to others. Talk to others about what is going on in their lives. You may not have the answers, but you can listen intently. Sometimes that’s all someone needs is someone to vent to. The quickest way to get out of your own head is to listen to others and give back. Do something nice for those you love. It doesn’t have to fancy or even something you do for a significant other or family member. It could be for your pet or a friend. Some days I find real clarity and peace spending extra time with my dog. We go for a longer walks or I let her play for an extra 30-45 minutes at the dog park. Seeing how happy and carefree she is running around chasing a ball reminds me of the simple things in life that can bring about so much happiness
- Play! That’s right play. Go do something you find fun to do. It could be something you have not done in a long time or something you have never done. Just go out and do something different and find some joy in your life
- Get out of your comfort zone. This may seem like something that could make you feel more defeated if you fail. But for me, no matter what the outcome, I am always happy I did it. For instance, I am newly single and I am a little rusty when it comes to talking to women again. I was out on a date and I wasn’t interested in her. An amazingly beautiful girl came into the restaurant we were at and sat down at the table across from us. When my date got up to go to the bathroom I quickly snuck over to the other table and started chatting up this beautiful girl and her friend. I was a bumbling fool, all pent up with nerves and anxiety. The whole thing kind of turned into a debacle when my date came back and saw me talking to the girls at their table. BUT, I was happy I had the balls to take the risk and chat up this girl. Normally I wouldn’t have had the courage to do it and made an excuse. Its like building a physique or your strength, it takes a lot of reps to reach your goals
- Rest – Some days I’m not feeling it. I feel burnt out, I have no energy, no drive. Everything I do is done half-assed and needs to be redone tomorrow. Allowing myself to rest is difficult for me these days because I feel I need to work harder than anyone out there in order to achieve financial success again. However, many times I am working hard on working hard. There are times where I am creating bullshit busy work for myself to feel a sense of accomplishment. I feel my stress and anxiety build, creating psychosomatic health issues. At this point I need a mental health day and to catch up on rest. I like to unplug from the world and read, write or any other activity that is not taxing on my mind or body
- Get help. I see a therapist every week. It’s hard work to make change in your life. But the hard work seems to be worth it. I’m not where I need to be yet. But, with the help of my therapist I am much more mentally successful and healthier than I was even a month ago.
- Get some sunshine! This can be hard to do if you live in certain parts of the country during the late fall and winter. For me a couple hours out in the sunshine always does me a whole lot of good
- Stay away from social media. It tends to be negative and mind-numbing nonsense. My feed tends to be depressing news stoiries, people bitching about life and random stupid shit I could live without seeing. Don’t get me wrong there is a time and a place for all of this, but when I’m down it’s not what I need. Plus I have a tendency to check on people from my past and cause myself a great deal of pain for no reason.
- Make your bed. It’s something I learned in AA (In my opinion 12 step programs have the best sayings and practices that make such a difference. And no, I am not a member anymore). It may sound odd, but It’s on of those little things that has a large psychological impact. Controlling something as minute as whether or not my bed is made has been a springboard in controlling much larger aspects of my life. Even if my life and world is chaotic, when I walk into my bedroom and my bed is made, a little piece of my world is in order. I can lay down at night in a clean, nicely made bed and go to sleep. Its a small way of taking care of myself.
- Gratitude!!!! I FUCKING HATE THIS ONE! I will not lie, this is something I struggle with. However, gratitude is the skeleton key to a better perspective on my life. I Make a list of the things I am truly grateful for. I reflect on how these things and people have enhanced my life and how good I really have it.
Take a look at this list, experiment with these techniques and see if they work for you. They are not set out as a rigid guideline of what works. These are merely a few actions I have found helpful for me.