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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE

Sometimes when I sit in front of my keyboard, without a single thought in my mind or anything important to write about, I think about this feeling and how it connects me to the greatest events in history.

That same feeling comes over me when I’m about to undertake some physical feat, like run five miles or swim 500 meters. No matter how brief or how long, there’s always that single moment of hesitation before every success or failure.

That moment–that spaceis the single most important moment in life.

  • Presidents have that moment before they announce significant events to the people.
  • Olympic gold medalists have that moment right before they compete in their events.
  • Snipers have that moment right before they pull the trigger.
  • Writers have that moment when they open up a blank word processing document.
  • Young men have that moment right before they talk to new women.

I could go on and on with the examples, but I’m sure that I’ve made my point.

The most important moment of your life happens to you every single time you’re about to undertake something of significance. Sure, some of those moments may mean more than others, but learning how to push yourself past that small barrier every single time it confronts you, will ultimately change your life.

Fear, cowardice, and regret all stem from succumbing to that brief moment of hesitation. Conversely, bravery, courage, and pride are all products of overcoming that same moment of hesitation.

To exploit this simple understanding, you need to be more mindful towards these moments. You need to understand the importance of what you may lose if you don’t pass this basic universal barrier. Then, you need to know that you truly don’t have anything to lose, because regardless of the outcome that you receive, you will always gain knowledge from experience.

Had I not pushed past that moment of hesitation, I wouldn’t have a girlfriend. I wouldn’t have this blog. I wouldn’t have been able to write this post.

If you ever want change in your life, if you ever want to grow and learn, if you ever want to become something that you’ve always dreamed of becoming, you need to understand the importance of that single moment of hesitation.

Look forward to those moments. Pay those moments the respect that they deserve. Live your life however you want to live it, but understand that fortune favors the bold, and wisdom is only awarded through failure.