5 LESSONS FROM A FAILED CHALLENGE

This challenge has taught me more than I’ve set out to learn.

1. I know that I could sit down and pound out words when push comes to shove.

There’s no doubt about that.

What surprised me was the effect of doing so. I found that I wasn’t focused on creating great work. I was more focused on fulfilling a quota and making sure that I completed the challenge.

2. Creating content for the sake of creating content isn’t a good fuel source for creating meaningful content.

For me, creating content is an end to the means, not a means to an end.

There needs to be a bigger reason for me to create the content other than just creating it. A great treasure map leads you to treasure, but if there’s no treasure to reach, all you have is a detailed map that no one cares about.

3. When time is the most valuable commodity, fast failure is the better than prolonged failure.

Don’t be afraid to quit a challenge and pivot.

The quicker you fail at something, the quicker you can learn your lessons and recalibrate your approach. A better way to attempt this personal development blog would be to keep attempting challenges until I find my real strengths and motivations. Learning about how to create personal challenges is a big part of what I want to document.

4. Learning about yourself is tough when you’re protecting an ego that you aren’t entitled to.

Suck it up bitch.

It’s tough to tell yourself that you aren’t as great as you may think, or as great as others may think. This is a personal development blog and all the good shit happens when you allow yourself to personally develop. The best content that could be made is content that’s authentic with your struggle. Use that fucking struggle to document the reality of how hard it is to grow in a world that doesn’t need you.

5. Chances are, someone else has already figured out your problem, and you’re just stubborn. When in doubt, read and reach out.

I’m incredibly stubborn.

I hate admitting it, but more often than not, I’ve always found relief in asking for help when I really don’t want it. Sometimes I just need to take a step back and understand my situation from another point of view.

I’ve found that I can get closure to my frustrations if I just accept and convey my shortcomings to those involved. Usually, this allows me to make the first steps that I need so that I could continue to move forward.

THE DARKNESS OF REGRET

Each moment that we experience is immediately lost to the past.

Everything is constantly fleeting: our thoughts, our experiences, our memories, our bodies, our friends, everything. To work hard for your whole life to reach some magical place called retirement is foolish. Why? Because you spend 40 hardworking years building up this hype about living a life without having to work, but when you get there, there you are.

Your disillusioned mind looks at your wrinkled, old, tattered body and can’t help but wonder where all the time went.

You realize that long, long ago you decided to live a life that was predictable and safe—and by doing so, you did just that. Now you’re here. Having lived your predictable and safe life, you’ve come to the much awaited, highly anticipated, after party of life called retirement.

To cope with the arduous journey to get here, you created a habit of drinking every night to ease the pain of having to wake up the next day to do it all over again. You developed the habit of losing yourself in meaningless, unfulfilling—yet somewhat satisfying—entertainment fluff in the form of 10-second video clips and trivial internet memes.

Slowly, you grow resentful.

To ease your resentment, you create aliases online to anonymously berate those who have traveled a different path. Think about it. You worked hard. You put in the hours of blood, sweat and tears. Why the fuck does this kid on the internet get to make silly videos all day and get paid for it?

He doesn’t deserve that life. You deserve that life, not him.

Fuck him.

Fuck this guy. You wish you could cut this guy’s head off, shove your tiny little penis down his squealing gaping throat and fill his belly with a fat load of your pale white sludge of disappointing sperm, that of which is finally happy to actually be inside of another person rather than on some cum rag that’s sitting next to your overly expensive, high-powered, underutilized, gaming computer.

Now here you are, 65 and ready to leave the workforce.

With all this free time, you find yourself doing what you normally do on your own time. You drink. You watch YouTube videos of people living their lives, and when you finally get sick of that, you turn on your TV to watch reality shows of people pretending to live dramatic lives.

You fall for the pseudo-drama those shows create because they make you feel like your actual living through pain and strife, whereas in reality your sitting on your couch that’s surrounded by old burrito wrappers and empty 40oz bottles of malt liquor.

As you make your way to your calcium and lime encrusted toilet, you avoid looking at yourself in the mirror because you couldn’t allow yourself to truly see what you’ve become.

Not only do you avoid looking at yourself in the mirror, but you avoid yourself entirely.

Instead of working hard to improve your life, you suck value out of everything and anything in order to fill the bottomless pit of despair that resides within your fat, old, failing, resentful body. Likes and upvotes give you orgasms because no one in reality would ever show you that much affection.

You find yourself constantly angry.

Why me?
Can’t someone fix me?
Why can’t they fix me?

You ask yourself these questions as you click between the tabs on your internet browser of overly sensational political news articles and hardcore black-on-white cuckold anal sex.

Because you never took the time to take care of your body, you regularly find yourself with aches and pains. You’re always sick. With each passing year, you become less and less mobile. One day, as you’re browsing through all your useless career “achievement awards,” you actually decide to commit to something: suicide.

And for that specific moment, you finally get a taste of pure freedom.

As you make your way to your closet to pick out the right leather belt to do the deed, you feel equal parts of anxiety and exhilaration.

You’re really going to do this. 

You’re finally going to escape this life of monotony. You’re going to kill yourself, and that’s that. You’ve made a decision, and you’re going to take action and follow through.

You tie that belt to your shower head, put the loop around your neck and let your knees give out.

As you take your last gasping breaths, your vision begins to darken as you slowly deprive your brain of oxygen. You’re in pure bliss. You finally did it. You did something that most people would cower in fear of doing: you made a decision, took action and finally got something that you wanted.

If only you had that kind of motivation when you were in your 20’s and actually made something out of your life.

HOW TO QUIT BEING A FUNCTIONAL ALCOHOLIC

PROBLEM

  • Daily alcohol consumption.

WHY IT’S A PROBLEM

I started regularly drinking back when I started going to college, and the habit stuck with me since then. It’s never really affected my work, life or relationships, but I’m relying on it far too often to end my nights in a slightly blissful haze.

Talk about escapism, fuck.

I’m what you call a functional alcoholic. Functional as fuck. All the friends I grew up with are functional alcoholics, and my family is a bunch of functional alcoholics. I thought I was normal, but being a functional alcoholic is not helping to become a future role model for anyone.

WHY DO I NEED TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM

If I want to become someone better, I need to begin living my life the way my better self would live it. If I continually seek my rewards from outside sources, I will never be self-sufficient.

I need to flip the motherfucking script.

Because I made my drinking into a daily habit, my mind has labeled my evening drinks as a reward to end my day with. This is bad. Alcohol, you insidious fuck. The only way to save this ship now is to somehow change my brain from thinking that alcohol gives me a daily net positive effect, to understanding that alcohol gives me a daily net negative effect.

I want to eventually make it so that all the rewards in my life are the feelings that I get after having done something significant. This means that my rewards come from internal sources, as opposed to some kind of outside source.

SHORT TERM SOLUTION

  • Replace drinking alcohol with Kava.

Take a look at the excerpt below on the effects of Kava to get an idea about its effects and properties. I think it’ll be a great “baby step” in the right direction, plus it may have a net positive on my cognitive abilities in the short term.

The act of having something to sip on and relax at the end of the day is still a strong habit that I have, so weaning myself off the bottle and onto a lesser evil will be my first step towards killing this terrible habit.

Kava seizes one’s mind. This is not a literal seizure, but something does change in the processes by which information enters, is retrieved, or leads to actions as a result. Thinking is certainly affected by the kava experience, but not in the same ways as are found from caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, or marijuana. I would personally characterize the changes I experienced as going from lineal processing of information to a greater sense of “being” and contentment with being. Memory seemed to be enhanced, whereas restriction of data inputs was strongly desired, especially with regard to disturbances of light, movements, noise and so on. Peace and quiet were very important to maintain the inner sense of serenity. My senses seemed to be unusually sharpened, so that even whispers seemed to be loud while loud noises were extremely unpleasant.

When the mixture is not to strong, the subject attains a state of happy unconcern, well-being and contentment, free of physical or psychological excitement. At the beginning conversation comes in a gentle, easy flow and hearing and sight are honed, becoming able to perceive subtle shades of sound and vision. Kava soothes temperaments. The drinker never becomes angry, unpleasant, quarrelsome or noisy, as happens with alcohol. Both natives and whites consider kava as a means of easing moral discomfort. The drinker remains master of his conscience and reason.

-via “Kava: The Pacific Elixir” by Vincent Lebot, Mark Merlin, Lamont Lindstrom

LONG TERM SOLUTION

  • Put a huge life emphasis on a meditative morning run.

In order to turn the tides, I need to make drinking a net negative in my life.

That means I need to have something more important in my life where my daily consumption of alcohol has a daily net negative impact on that something.

I used to be a big time runner, running 5-7mi a day six days a week.

I would wake up at the asscrack of dawn and hit the pavement. One thing that I noticed about doing so, was that after about two miles into my run, my body and mind would sync up in some cosmic way and I’d enter into a flow state. I would create incredible ideas and discover deep insights about myself and my life during these flow state runs.

This means that running in the morning would give me the creative edge that I need to make better content. Not only that, but running would also start my day off with hard work and meditative solitude, two things that every morning should include if I ever want to be successful.

To drink the night before, even just a single beer, as I have been doing lately, will have a negative effect on my long-term success and well-being.

My plans on how I will approach this challenge of quitting daily drinking and replacing it with morning runs will be discussed in my next post.

This will be my first challenge of 2017.

 

 

 

LEARN ABOUT THE OBSTACLES, ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES, CRUSH IT

Yesterday I wrote just about 1200 words in my personal journal.

What’s funny is that I still write in a blog worthy publication, so if the subject matter wasn’t so sensitive, I’m sure it would’ve been a killer post. I’ll probably post it sometime in the future when the sensitivity of the subject matter has dissipated.

Anyway, I decided to switch out one of my books for the month.

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss is too much like a reference book that it just doesn’t fit the bill for my challenge. Instead, I got an audiobook copy of Gary Vaynerchuk’s #askgaryvee, and I’m making some decent headway with it. I bought the hardcover months ago, but I’m only now starting to consume it.

I’m going to keep today’s writing short and succinct: roll with the punches.

Plans are great, and you should always make them, but when it comes to executing them, life has a way of interjecting obstacles that can veer you off track. Instead of fighting back, learn from the situation and slightly adjust your approach.

I’m definitely feeling the burden of creating something every single day. My own expectations of what I feel like I’m able to create sometimes holds me back. It’s tough to admit that, especially when my shit isn’t even that great.

A few things that I’ve learned about myself since starting this challenge:

  • When push comes to shove, I just have to start writing, and it’ll only be a matter of time before an idea strikes me that motivates me to create. I’ve alluded to this in a past post.
  • I write my best when I know what I’m talking about, which motivates me to read more, but also hinders my motivation to write. The more you learn, the more you learn that you don’t know anything.
  • Answering a question tends to be the best way for me to come up with new and novel content. My private journal can attest to that.
  • I should relish in the fact that this blog is unnoticed and obscure. This gives me the freedom to write whatever I want without any kind of pressure from an audience.
  • Action makes me more of a reason to write than inaction. Sure reading books maybe doing something, but there’s not much personal experience that you can write about with self-development books without paraphrasing the author’s words.
  • The two-week lull in motivation is very true for me. I need to understand that about myself and plan accordingly for my future challenges.
  • I use bullets a lot.
  • Some days, I just don’t feel like writing.
Well, that’s that. Writing quota for today is COMPLETED. Time to get all my other shit done.

USING BOOKS TO FIND TRUE LOVE

I’ve noticed that a tremendous sticking point for people when it comes to reading is that they “don’t have enough time” or “reading gets me so sleepy.”

Well, they’re right.

There’s a fuck ton of books out there. There’s so much knowledge and value that can be extracted from reading, but a lot of these books just aren’t captivating enough to really draw in and gain commitment from a novice reader.

Thinking about this, I thought about how similar this was to the dating scene.

When you go out and start to meet a lot of different women, you build up a certain level of social instinct of who’s actually attracted to you, and who isn’t. Anyone who’s spent a decent amount of time being social will eventually develop this weird “sixth sense” of social energy awareness.

Why waste all your time and effort on something that isn’t attracted to you?

This concept would’ve helped me tremendously with all my grade school and high school crushes. So many guys get hung the fuck up on a specific girl, or their romantic visions of being with that specific girl, that they completely ignore the fact that the attraction just isn’t there.

If someone simply isn’t attracted to you, then it’s in your favor to just accept that fact and move on. Would you want to be with someone that you aren’t attracted to?

Nah, fuck that.

A big part of gaining this “abundance mindset” is exposing yourself to a large number of people. From that large data set of social experience, you’ll find that there’s a ton of cute girls that really like you. Out of all those cute girls, there’s a few that YOU actually really like.

These are the ones that you should be pursuing. Over time, as your self-development and social skills evolve, you’ll find that the quality of these particular girls will increase.

By pursuing those whom you share a genuine attraction with, you resolve the need to “be in pursuit.”

BUT, how does this all come back to reading?

If you’re not already someone who is always in the process of finishing a book, then I suggest going out and finding a single book that YOU actually WANT to read.

Go to Barnes & Nobel and pick out 10 books that you personally find interesting, find a spot to sit down, then read a little from each. Repeat the process until you find a book that legitimately captures your attention.

In the beginning, think about of making the act of reading a daily habit.

To do this, make it easy on yourself and read shit that’s incredibly captivating and entertaining.

After you pound through five or so books in a row that you’ve found really interesting, you could move onto something more challenging or dense, where the value of the book isn’t simply given to you, but rather developed from within by having you make personal connections with the information that you’re taking in.

Don’t get hung up on a book that’s tough to read because of what you think you get from it IF you actually read it. Just start reading shit that you could actually read and truly enjoy. Later down the road, when you establish reading as a legitimate habit, you could take on those books that are a bit more difficult.

During the process, your mind will develop, and you’ll actually be able to consume higher levels of information. You might even begin to prefer it.

Just like the dating scene, the better you get socially, the more able and willing you’ll become to do more socially difficult things.

As with reading, the more you read, the more able and willing you’ll become to read higher value books.

GROW MOTHERFUCKER GROW!

Every time I start something new, I’m terrible at it.

Not only am I bad, but I’m typically far below the average amongst all the peers who start along side me. This used to fuck with my head when growing up, but I’ve learned that when I commit to something, I typically end up becoming more than above average in the long run.

That’s my process.

Start something, then just steadily push on until the momentum of progress is on my side.

I constantly find examples of this in all the jobs that I’ve ever had. I always start off making a ton of mistakes, not finding the flow, and always looking for direction. Then, after a prolonged period of that, I catch my stride and start to kill it.

In Carol Dweck’s book “Mindset,” Dweck discusses the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

-An excerpt from http://www.MindsetOnline.com

I bring this up because I can’t stand people who have fixed mindsets, especially if they’re in positions in which their authority directly affects me.

Why? Because I’m always terrible when I start something.

I mean, I’m fine with that because I know that it’s only a matter of time until I become amazing, but try telling that to someone with a fixed mindset. It’s a discussion that wouldn’t be taken seriously, nor would it ever come up naturally.

Many people have natural aptitudes towards certain skills, but it’s foolish to think that those without such natural aptitudes are forever hopeless. Those who have a harder grind towards reaching a decent level of competence for a specific skillset will eventually have the upperhand on those who don’t.

I’m always trying new things and because of that, I’m always finding myself in positions where I’m not as good as those who are around me. This gives me much more respect for the people who try something new, accept the struggle, and push on with endless enthusiasm and curiosity.

I also have endless respect for those who are patient with those who are learning. It’s not just the patience that I admire, but you can tell when someone is helping you because they really believe that you are more than capable of the tasks at hand.

At anytime in life, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself in either of these positions.

Sometimes you’ll be the teacher, and other times you’ll be the pupil. If you find yourself as the teacher, praise hard work ethic and have patience with any mistakes. Make an effort to really believe in people and show that to them.

If you find yourself as the student, work hard as fuck and try not to make the same mistakes too often. Ask a ton of questions and don’t let your mistakes or shortcomings deter you from pushing on and getting better.

Everyone has a process. Don’t be a fixed mindset asshole.

 

 

FEARLESS WRITING

I was searching for inspiration for something to write today and I stumbled upon this little gem.

Below, you’ll find an entry from my private journal, and although the circumstances are slightly different now, the core ideas within it are as relevant as ever. I wrote this just after I quit a job that I left my original job for.

This post has reminded me of the therapeutic effect that writing has on me. Not only that, but I can see that my best stuff comes out when I’m writing without fear.

The number one cause of shitty writing is fear.

So many people, myself included, are too scared to write exactly how they feel because of the fear that what they create will be silently critiqued and judged. It takes a certain type of person to put out truly authentic emotions without regard, and not many people are willing to do this because being vulnerable has a way of making you feel weak.

Fuck that. 

Being vulnerable releases weak energy and frees your mind to begin the process of becoming strong. Being vulnerable takes courage and bravery–two characteristics that are the complete opposite of weakness.

Sharing this post is my first step towards creating more authentic work.

The passion and energy that I felt when re-reading this was real as fuck and I’m glad I took the time back then to capture the frustration and anger that I had.

This is unedited and raw, but I want to create more work like this in the future.

Enjoy.


THE ONE THOUSAND WORD PEP TALK

Just do it. Just shut the fuck up and write.

Quit thinking about whether or not it’s going to be good. Quit worrying about style or spelling. Just sit here and write a thousand words.

What does it mean to be a man? Personally, I’m extremely dissatisfied with how my life has turned out right now. I feel like I’ve wasted the past 7 years of my life chasing dreams that never came to fruition.

It’s incredibly difficult for me to even sit down and write in the same caliber of what my writing used to be. To top it all off, I’ve found an amazing woman to be my girlfriend. She’s incredible beyond words. I could sit here and type ten thousand words about how much I love her, and it wouldn’t come close to how she makes me feel.

You know what’s terrible about that? It makes me feel unworthy of her. I’m sick and tired of “wishing” that I was well off and situated with a great plan on how to live my life, or how to become successful, or how to be a man worthy of the kind of love that she’s giving me.

I feel like she’s embarrassed by my lack of accomplishments. She probably isn’t, but if she is, I don’t blame her. I’ve done plenty of things in the past, and a ton of people have complimented me on my potential, but what do I have to show for it?

Nothing.

  • With my fitness, everything has fallen off the ball. There goes three years of my life.
  • With my writing, everything has fallen off the ball, there goes another three years of my life.

I’m so angry with myself that with every attempted endeavor, I’ve fallen short of fucking closing the deal. I’ve fallen short of gaining some kind of tangible result. When I did get some kind of tangible result, I’ve let it all fall off the fucking ball, and now I feel as if I’m left with nothing.

It’s depressing to write like this, or to expunge this type of negative prose, but fuck it. This is what’s on my mind, and I haven’t written shit for the past few months.

A lot of what I’ve been doing lately has been escaping. I quit my job yesterday because I noticed how I found myself escaping into it to make excuses for myself to not pursue my passions.

What are my passions?

I love to read and write. I love to run. I love to talk to people and make them happy. I love to make fitness goals and accomplish them. What makes me depressed is the fact that I stopped doing what I love. I stopped doing everything that I know made me happy.

So, you big fucking loser. Am I just going to sit here and waste my fucking life away? Am I going to cry onto this keyboard like a little bitch? There’s a reason why you quit your job. There’s a fucking reason why you’re forcing yourself to take all the time you need to really look at yourself and fix this stupid problem of NOT doing all the things that you love doing.

You quit your job because you said FUCK WAITING. Fucking being patient with my dreams. FILL YOUR LIFE WITH THINGS THAT YOU LOVE. This pain that you feel right now is nothing more than the negative motivation that you need to HURL your sorry ass out of this incredible funk that you’ve been in.

YOU know that you’re fucking unstoppable when you’re happy. So do whatever it takes to make yourself happy. When you’re happy, everything goes well. Everything falls into place. Words drip out of your mind and through your fingertips. You create the best work when you’re happy.

Quitting your job was a step in the right fucking direction towards happiness. Leaving Snug was the best fucking thing you could have done to help you realize that. Leaving Village in such a short amount of time and so abruptly was your subconscious way of pushing you harder and harder to get this shit moving.

You have the time now. There is no excuse. Forget about the past as it was. The now is all that matters. Right now, you have the whole world in front of you. You have the ability to learn anything you need to gain success.

You need to focus on daily goals. You need to focus on developing habits to accomplish all daily goals. You need those daily goals to satisfy your weekly goals, and you need those weekly goals to determine the effectiveness of your months.

No more escaping. You need to budget your passions in a timely fashion. You need to create. ALWAYS BE CREATING. Document the frustrations as well as the accomplishments. Fuck our past, you can’t do anything about it.

Let it go. LET IT FUCKING GO.

You’ve made mistakes. You’ve taken risks, and they’ve failed. All those failed attempts have given you wisdom and insight as to how to approach things with a better sense for success. Apply that knowledge now. Make a fucking plan and execute. Execute harder than you’ve ever executed before. Be decisive. You have now, what you’ve never had before: the experience of failure in all the things you wanted to pursue, but more importantly, the knowledge of how you got failure.

USE THAT KNOWLEDGE TO ATTEMPT, AGAIN AND AGAIN, UNTIL YOU GET SUCCESS.

One step at a time. Direct your laser focus on one step at a time. Document it. Show how your steps add onto each other. Document it. Work hard as fuck man. You got this. You NEED THIS. If anything, if you fail again, you’ll fail and be buff as fuck. You’ll fail having written tens of thousands of words. You’ll fail having made hundreds of videos. You’ll fail having met hundreds of people. Failure is fine, why? Because failure will not take away the work that you’ve put into yourself. Failure does not expunge effort. Failure is the barrier that keeps the weak from progressing. Winners are winners because they’re amazing at failing over and over again until they win.

You could waste time crying about how much you’ve failed in life. Or you could shut the fuck up and try harder.

You got this bro.