I was out on a walk in the desert arroyo when I found myself throwing stones at a target 60 yards away. No matter how hard I tried, or how many times I switched my stance, I couldn’t get the (goddamn!!!) stones to hit. But then I looked at the target again, and I asked myself, “Are you really looking at the target?” And I realized that I had been taking my eyes off the target for a fraction of a second as I was releasing the stone. Barely even noticeable.
So I tried the target again with three smooth stones. And I committed my mind and my eyes to the target from address to release. I was that target. And when I slung the first stone, I felt the target the whole arc of my swing. And unlike the 30 stones prior, this one rattled into the drainage ditch halfway up the dried up creek bed. And the next one hit as well. And the next. And it was all because I focused my whole being on that target from start to finish.
What a difference a little focus can make.
Now I’m reflecting on my life and my journey. And I’m realizing that every single failure was a result of broken focus. I took my eye off the target, even if only for a day or a week, and that was enough to derail me from the results I wanted. I wasn’t fully in charge of my mind.
And now I’m reflecting on my success as a writer and a coach. I’m realizing just how focused I am. I wake up and visualize my success, and pray for the resources I need to hit my target. Then I work towards my goals. And then I meditate on my career in the middle of the day, visualizing some more. Then I work some more. Then before bed I reflect on what I did to reach my goals, and what I could have done better. I am 100% focused. All day. And when I throw myself into a day, just like the rocks this morning, I’m hurling all of that effort precisely at my target, because that’s where my eyes are. That’s where I am. I am nowhere else.
So where are you? Are you 100% focused on your target, or are you not? What’s distracting you?
Figure that out. Then throw all of yourself into what you really want to do. Don’t even blink.
People pick up oodles of habits just to taste success. We wake up before God, start planning, adopt new routines—we even spend tens of thousands of dollars on seminars and personal coaching. But how much of it actually makes a difference?
In my experiments with lifestyle design, I’ve found that what I omit is tenfold more important than what I commit to. Because a person can say they’ll do x, y and z. But if their time and focus is wasted on bad habits, they’ll be hamstrung—and only feel worse for not sticking to what they know is best. I’ve been there.
Falling Back Into the Wrong Habits
Several months ago I was rolling in it. After a few whale clients, I was having fun making money and doing what I loved. I’d worked like a mule to enjoy the fruits of success, and I’d disciplined myself to stick with the right habits. But there was a small hitch about my latest gigs…
I had to check email every morning.
In order to reach any success, I had to cut out all reactive habits (like email and social media) so that my daily routines boosted my confidence and productivity. I’d made a career by refusing to check email. But, for the month of large projects, I was fine with breaking my routine. I still did work I was proud of; I still ended the day feeling accomplished and successful. But the bad part happened after that month ended.
Even though I had absolutely no need to check my email first thing, I kept doing it. And since I didn’t have an all-day project to jump in to, I’d check it again before I’d done any work…and again…and again. And after email checks got boring, I’d jazz it up with a little Facebook, and some Twitter. Doing the wrong thing just gets easier and easier.
Of course I rationalized it, feeling that I needed to respond to comments on my articles and posts. Then I’d progress naturally into texts. And finally, I’d resort to unabashed Internet surfing, thinking it was okay since the day was practically done anyway. And then the day was over. Poof. And then the week was over. Flash. And then half of the month was gone without my having done anything that could even come within a fathom of the term “accomplishment.”
I was crushed. A month before my confidence was at an all time high. Now? I’m no bigger than an amoeba on a wart on a frog on a log.
How I Got Out of My Rut In 10 Minutes
I started waking up in cold sweats at three am. I felt my grip on success slipping; and because my days were zipping by so fast, I started to panic. I just couldn’t get any traction. That all changed on a Sunday night.
Again, I found myself up in sweat-drenched anxiety during the witching hour. I tried reading to get back to bed, and meditation, and visualization. This problem wasn’t going away. I’d had the inchoate feeling that I needed a drastic change, but I wasn’t willing to part with the comfort of my new routine. Not until now.
So I grabbed my journal and I wrote down the thoughts I’d been feeling and ignoring: I am disappointed in myself. I’ve let myself down. I’ve stopped doing good things for myself–just the plain truth.
Then I reflected on the most important question: why?
And before I knew it, the answer was staring me back in the face. I’d abandoned all of my winning routines. And I’d slowly given a foothold—and then a stranglehold—to all the habits that defeated me.
The Habits I Gave Up to Be Successful
My two weeks of misery were over in an instant. At 3:30 in the morning, I made the split-decision to quit Facebook for a month; to check email only once a day after four hours of real work; and to limit my texting to one round in the evening.
These had all been my primary sources of comfort in the past week. But, paradoxically, they’d brought on the greatest anxiety and discomfort I’d felt in several years. So I sacrificed them without hesitation.
Working back into my normal creative routine wasn’t exactly easy. I had to deflect a thousand niggling thoughts like, “Ah, come on…one little email check couldn’t be the end of the world, could it?” But I persevered. And by the end of the day, I’d written my first real article in over two weeks and accomplished a dozen back-burner necessities that I’d abandoned in my hiatus. I went to bed that night feeling an overwhelming sense of pride. And that was a feeling I wanted to replicate.
Within the next week, I’d managed to secure $5,000+ in new business—which was double what I’d made in any week before. Good habits have made me successful. But I wouldn’t have room for the good if I hadn’t eliminated the bad.
So what’s holding you back from the results you want? It’s not a lack of good habits, I can tell you that. It’s the little things that you’ve probably made excuses for over the past weeks and months—like Facebook, or binge drinking on the weekends. You know you best. But when you do figure out that one or those several little things, plan against them. Write them down. Then make a decision to cut them out of your life over the next month. You will be amazed at your success.
And if you need help along the way, check out my coaching package.
You are locked in a colossal battle. It’s invisible. And given that you haven’t produced a bead of sweat yet, you might be incredulous that this war exists. But those who win it will go on to the highest levels of success in business and in life.
I’m talking about your inner dialogue.
Learn how to change your thoughts and change your life
If you could see the bombs most people drop on themselves daily—I’m stupid; I suck; etc.—you’d know this war is real. But we don’t even hear these bombs exploding, let alone realize we ordered the strikes. Our internal war of the words has been going on for so long that we’re inured to the concussions, much like a veteran soldier, or a Syrian refugee. Most people are oblivious to the immediate damage they’re causing.
But how are we supposed to change our thoughts if we can’t see them? How are we supposed to connect them to concrete consequences, like the job we hate, or the debt we own? I had as much difficulty as anyone.
Three years ago I was stuck blaming my parents and girlfriends for my situation—everyone but me. I’d been living on mom’s couch for two years, and the longest I’d kept a job was six months. My life was an embarrassment. I just didn’t know the cause.
It took a trip to rock bottom for me to search for the answers.
I’d never been desperate enough before to make a change. But when you’re in existential anxiety, wondering whether life is worth living, you’ll do just about anything to make a change. For me, that meant reading self-help books…the ones I’d always marked for losers. And through reading all the greats—Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard—the same answer kept cropping up:
Change your thoughts,
Change your life.
I hadn’t thought about my thoughts. Chasing a new girlfriend, yes. Getting drunk as often as possible, yes. But thinking…I just hadn’t seen the point in thinking about that.
Someone broke down the significance for me:
“Your thoughts feed your emotions. Your emotions fuel your actions. Your actions form your habits. And your habits define your life. –It all starts with the thought.”
Not seeing another option, and for the first time in my life, I took control of my thoughts.
Thinking positively starts with affirmations.
I got into the habit of speaking highly of myself. A strange thing for someone like me to pick up—a loser by all accounts. I thought it was silly too. But I reasoned that at the very least it wouldn’t hurt me. And at best, I might just change my life.
So I looked in the mirror and said, “I am independent; I am bold; I am courageous, I am dependable”—everything I’d never been. And nothing happened, at first. But by consciously choosing any thoughts, I trained myself to tune into the subconscious thoughts that defined my life.
Within a week I started noticing all of the belittling thoughts that had been on repeat; I became aware of the war that had been going on inside me since birth. And with that new awareness, I started consciously thinking positively.
When I noticed a negative dialogue, I’d break the pattern by practicing affirmations. I diffused the “suck” bombs with conscious positivity. And within one month, I was a brand new me. For the first time, I saw life with eyes for opportunity.
I read the how-to books; I adopted a writing routine; I pitched my first publications—things I never could’ve done before. The next month I was getting paid $50 an hour to write. Three months later I was published on websites with millions of viewers. Six months later I was writing full time. And a little over a year later, I was finally living on my own.
Most people who are desperate for change don’t attempt the long-term strategies. They’re hurting now. And they want to escape the suffering now. But now takes a long time to build. If you can change it all around within a year, that’s fast.
But if I can do it, you can do it too.
Making a habit of positive thinking
All the mental work seemed tedious at first. But once it became a habit, choosing the right thoughts became automatic. I just had to make sure to start my day off with inspiring and uplifting thoughts—then I’d schedule activities that advanced my dreams—and within a year, I’d broken all the subconscious barriers that made life hell. I’d made a habit of positive thinking.
A year doesn’t seem fast when you want change today. But if you can commit to choosing the right thoughts for one year, starting today, you’ll pinch the new you one year from today. It’ll pass in the blink of an eye.
So choose a set of affirmations that work for you. Commit to doing them for thirty days, three times a day. Make daily goals for your affirmations and self-encouragement. And if you need help after a month, I will coach you to success.
How do you get out of a rut?
Much as we hate them, ruts happen. We spend our mental energy griping about the rut, wishing it hadn’t happened, and pretending that it’ll disappear on its own. But ruts are completely under our control. And they most often occur when we’ve stopped our success routines.
Take me, for instance. I make a good living writing, and I’ve worked like a dog to get where I am. But I’m not immune to reality: if I stick to my good habits, good things happen. If I stop, even for a day, the proverbial shit hits the fan. Like last month.
How to fall into a rut
I’d been working on several large projects for state agencies and foreign companies over the last month. These accounts demanded a lot of my attention, and I had to adjust my schedule accordingly: where normally I’d spend my first three hours exercising, meditating, writing, then reading, this month I checked my email first thing in the morning.
Not a big deal. I handled my accounts well and nailed my assignments. But after the major projects concluded, I kept checking email first thing in the morning. I didn’t even have anything to check—I just kept doing it because I didn’t discipline myself to get back into my normal productive routine. And a funny thing happened.
I lost all of my motivation.
Before I knew it, two weeks had slipped away forever and I hadn’t the slightest accomplishment to show for it. I felt restless, uninspired, and helpless—the opposite of my normal charged self. I didn’t know what was happening. Even my daily staples like journaling and studying seemed harder than cleaning out the Augean Stables. And writing…forget about it. I did 500 words a day at max (normally it’s closer to 2,000), and some days I didn’t write at all.
That’s when I realized that no one is immune to bad habits. I’d gotten cocky, and thought I could do whatever I wanted and still keep kicking ass like usual. But after two fat weeks of nothing, and me feeling like a fraudulent toad, things came to a head.
How to get out of a rut
This weekend I woke up at 3:00am feeling worse than I could remember. I was gripped by an intense mixture of fear, guilt, anger, and uncertainty that wouldn’t budge. I tried deep breathing—nothing. I tried reading to fall back asleep—nada. That’s when I realized this was one problem I had to fix proactively. So I picked up my journal (which had collected a week’s worth of dust) and started scribbling maniacally. I was determined to earn my life back.
And I was brutally honest.
I wrote about every little habit that was keeping me down. I wrote about my inconsistency, and how I wasn’t living to my own standards. And in the free flow of words, the answer to my weeks-long funk stared me right in the face:
I had completely abandoned my morning success routines.
Where normally I’d wake up with purpose, meditate, plan my day, exercise, knock out a writing project, and study, I was checking email. It doesn’t sound as heinous as I’m painting it to be, but the influence was subtle. It stole my confidence bit by bit till I was paralyzed.
Normally, every part of my morning would boost my confidence—I’d boost my mood with exercise; I’d feel proud of how disciplined I was as I wrote my first article; I’d feel smarter and more capable after having studied—and on and on. But now I was starting my day with a confidence drain.
When there wasn’t anything in the inbox, I felt worthless. And I was more focused on what I received than the effort I gave and the work I produced. That slight shift in focus was enough to degrade my sense of purpose, and it happened gradually. I didn’t notice much after a day or two. But then a week passed, and I felt bad about myself. Two weeks passed and I was no better than a speck on a frog on a log.
That’s how fast your life can change when you ease up on your success routines.
But the best part of this story is how fast you can turn it all around.
In that midnight session of infuriated journaling, I figured out exactly what went wrong, and what I needed to do to turn it all around. I spent an hour identifying the major gaps in my daily routine and planned for something better the next day. After my hands and sheets were covered in blue pen-scratches, I lay in bed confident that tomorrow would be different.
If I won the morning, I knew I’d win the day.
I’m not going to say breaking the routine was a piece of cake. It took every bit of my willpower.
I forced myself to meditate—to fight the urge to head straight for my laptop as I’d done the past 15 days. And after getting my mind right, I forced myself to do my normal morning exercise routine, which takes about 45 minutes. I hated it at first, and felt I’d much rather be surfing the internet and checking my email. But midway through the workout, I felt my old sense of confidence growing. The real challenge would be when I got back home—when I had to write.
Again, I forced myself to pick up the keyboard and to deny every impulse that screamed, “Check your email!” The keys were heavy, and my mind was slow. But I persevered. And after two hours—normally an article takes 30-45 minutes—I’d worked through three paragraphs. But I was proud of myself for the effort. And when I felt that pride surge, I tapped into a creative wave. Soon I’d finished my first real piece in over two weeks.
I still didn’t feel like my usual chipper self. But I knew if I stuck to my confidence building routines, I’d be back in no time—definitely later in the week. But I surprised myself.
By the end of the day, after hitting my standard goals, and then going above and beyond to reach my dreams, I felt as if I’d never been bucked off in the first place. I was high energy, high productivity, and high on life. Instead of the dread I’d known for two weeks, I felt optimistic about the future, and excited about my opportunities to kick ass, refine my skills, and make life better.
By the end of the day, I hit my pillow knowing that I’d done the absolute best that I could do. And that gives me the self assurance to strive for and accomplish great things.
So what will you do about your rut?
After making a profession of clawing through ruts, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. But if I can turn my momentum around on a dime, in under a day, so can you. All it takes is focus, clarity, a plan, and a promise:
• I will do only the things that boost my confidence
• I will start first thing in the morning,
• and I will keep it up all day.
Success is that simple.
The more specific your plans for an ass-kicking day are, the likelier you are to stick to them and build your confidence. So choose positive thoughts and habits—you’ll do more inspiring things. And when you find yourself in a rut, be brutally honest about the thoughts and habits that are holding you back. That’s how you’ll get back out.
If you’ve been in a rut for over a month, you may want to consider a life coach.
Are you a frustrated millennial parent?
You paid for college, paid for his apartment, paid for everything… but he’d rather play video games in your basement. You’re torn, and you can’t decide whether living at home is helping or hurting him. Your adult millennial child needs help before both of you go nuts.
But you can’t just kick him to the curb. He’s you’re son. You love him.
What do you do about your adult millennial child?
Four years ago I was your son. I slept on my mom’s couch and squabbled with my teenage sisters over who’d pick up dog crap. At 24, I should’ve been anywhere but mom’s. But I wasn’t.
I couldn’t keep a job longer than six months. Though I succeeded in college, I lost interest and dropped out before completing my second year. My only stints of independence were fake—I just clung to a girlfriend instead of my parents.
And my mom…she had no clue what to do. Her all consuming thought was: “How do I get my son out of the house?”
I was her first adult child out of five who hadn’t launched. My older siblings all had families and degrees, and even my little brother had been fully independent for half a decade. Then there was me: no job, no degree, no confidence…no purpose. No one could’ve predicted I’d make it where I am in two short years.
But here I am–an independent millennial!
Today I write for the best companies in the world—here’s a recent article for Fitbit—and I earn more in an hour than I used to make in 2 weeks as a full time cashier. I also earn a full time living as a coach. But more than any financial measure of success, I get to help hundreds of thousands of people achieve success through my passion. Ironically, I’m now an asset to frustrated millennial parents, like my mom four years ago.
How did I achieve independence so quickly? I’m going to show you exactly how I made such a dramatic transition. If you share these steps with your dependent adult child, he will be out of the house in one year or less—I guarantee. And you’ll never have to ask–“How do I get my son out of the house?” again.
Step 1- Eliminate low value habits.
Life is what you make it; everyone knows that. But people aren’t as quick to acknowledge that their lives are made up of habits, which they have complete control of. That was me.
But after I’d squandered 25 years, I realized that no one was going to hand me the life I wanted. So I got smart about my decisions.
I found that 95% of my habits weren’t bringing me any closer to my goals. In fact, they were shattering my confidence. So I eliminated all the low value habits that kept me from success.
I accomplished nothing during the 3 hours I spent checking social media and email. I wasted 2 hours reading news—the latest disasters, scandals, corrupted government officials, etc. And after I got bored the computer, I’d sit down and watch TV or play videogames for a couple of hours. All these habits temporarily eased my mind. But because I never accomplished anything, they destroyed my confidence.
So I let it all go—all of the incoming information that put me in reaction mode.
Put your adult child on a low information diet as part of the terms for living with you. No TV, no video games, no social media, no smart phone—not until they’re earning money and saving up. Your millennial child is still at home because it’s more comfortable than living on the street; it’s easy. That’s why you’ve got to shatter their comfort zone. Do it by having them eliminate their low value habits.
Step 2- Add in high value habits
Once you’ve eliminated the offending habits, it’s time to inundate your millennial with success routines. These are the habits that will boost your child’s confidence and build the skills they need to succeed in the real world.
1-Get them to start a journal
Journaling is the most important part of my success. It was the first time I ever reflected on my life: who I was, what I wanted, how I could make a difference. 15 minutes a night gave me the insight I needed to change my decision making forever.
Writing them down, I clearly saw how my choices were influencing the way I felt. Good decisions—learning, working, exercising—made me feel confident and capable. Bad decisions—like compulsive email, facebook, and phone checking—made me feel defeated and powerless.
Journaling reminded me to do more of the good and less of the bad. It gave me more control over my decisions. It helped me to know myself. And that knowledge gave me the direction I needed to fulfill my purpose and reach independence.
2-Assist them in planning out their days
I noticed that I was 100% likelier to accomplish something if I wrote it down. So I started writing all my goals, from writing, to reading, to pitching, to exercising, and making money. I made a ritual of taking my insights from journaling and plugging them into my plans for the next day. If I got bogged down in low value activities, I would plan on not doing them the next day. Then my days became a game to see how much I could accomplish. As I accomplished more, I felt more confident, more purposeful, more worthy. That gave me the courage to go out and get the jobs I needed, and to stay committed to my goals. The one goal I always strove to accomplish: finish the day knowing that I did my best.
3-Help them start an affirmation routine
I was living at my mom’s because I felt incompetent and incapable—because I felt like a failure. And my thoughts profoundly influenced how I felt. After reading about the power positive thinking, I started an affirmation routine that erased my limiting beliefs, that built my confidence, and that inspired me to be more than I had been.
I started out every morning going into the mirror and repeating these affirmations:
“I am worthy, valuable, confident, capable, useful, responsible, disciplined, patient, reliable, dependable, faithful, joyful, positive, professional, enthusiastic, energetic, decisive, grateful, generous, hopeful, inspired, creative, bold, adventurous, and independent.”
Basically, I said the opposite of what I had been, which was irresponsible, careless, and hopeless.
I was skeptic at first, because I knew I just wasn’t those things. But my mentor told me not to worry. The affirmations would work whether I believed in them or not.
Two years later, I am everything I said I’d be. Except I’m richer and happier than I could’ve imagined.
Have your adult millennial child start these high value habits as a condition for living with you. Purchase two notebooks: 1 for journaling, the other for planning. Then print out a list of affirmations that your child needs to hear every morning and throughout the day. Affirmations may seem fluffy, but I count them as one of the habits that changed my life. They opened me up to the idea of looking for the best in myself. And as I stayed committed, I found the best, then I shared the best through my profession. Now I’m comfortably independent while making a difference for others. Your child will be there in under a year.
What are you waiting for? Help your adult child create the high-value habits he or she needs to thrive and be an independent millennial.
And if you need help, I offer consulting for parents of millennials. Schedule your free consultation today!
Regard the old man at the bar. He’s boisterous and jolly, a merry old fellow with ruddy cheeks. But, in quiet moments, there’s a wistful look in his eye that begs explanation. It’s the one that got away.
I’m not talking about the girl—she’s back home watching her stories. I’m talking about his Everest.
This old man, Greg, in particular, wanted to be a baseball player. He claims to’ve had the fastest pitch in all of Pennsylvania—you really should have seen it. His words, of course.
In between the brags and tall tales of his glorious youth, the subtext of his story reads a little different: “I don’t know why, but I didn’t stick with it. And I regret it every day of my life.” My words, not his, of course. But the look says it all. The eyes glaze over enough to look tearful. But it’s the gaze. He’s staring a million miles ahead. Or back. And he’s seeing all the things he just knows he could’ve done.
Another beer, he orders. Another beer. Ironically, the drink that lured him away from the game is his only consolation.
You’ll find Greg at the Stone Face Tavern in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But you’ll find Frank, and Cecil, and Henry, and Don, and Pete, and 50 million others at different bars across North America—all with different variants of the same sad story.
How do you avoid joining the sad-lonely-old-man club of America? you might be wondering. It’s pretty simple, actually. You just have to persist in your passion. On the road to your dream, never stop.
Here are five tips you can count on:
1-Stop Your Bad Habits
Greg had a little too much fun with the booze. It didn’t seem like a huge problem back then, but it was enough to make him regret the things he didn’t do. TV is my bane. I promise myself a little, and then I’ve squandered 5 hours; 5 hours that could’ve brought me closer to my goals as a writer. That’s why I don’t watch TV. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines and watch my dream life slip away.
So name your bane—the one thing, obvious or subtle, that would keep you from persisting. Then cut it out of your life. Period.
2-Reassess your friendships
For every bad decision made, there’s an enabler friend. The more enabler friends you have, the greater your chances of making bad decisions that keep you from pursuing your dreams. So prune your friend list.
Keep the friends who challenge you to keep up with them. Keep the friends who call you out on your bullshit—like flakiness. Keep the friends you admire for their character. All the rest? Dump, dump, dump.
Friends are tricky because they seem so irreplaceable once you get to know them. But if they don’t inspire you to strive for greatness, you might find yourself kicking back beers with them forty years from now and regretting the life you didn’t live.
The friends who are worth having will be there when you need them. In the meantime, take this advice from George Washington:
“I’d rather be alone than in bad company.”
3-Marry the right one
Remember Greg’s ol’ lady, watching her stories at home? Behind beer, she’s the top reason he quit playing ball. She got jealous of the time he spent away from her. And she set an ultimatum—“Me, or baseball.”
He dropped the glove and bought a ring.
I’m not knocking marriage. But I’m suggesting you pick someone who will indefatigably support your wild-ass goals. Better yet, focus so intensely on your career that you find success before you find love. You won’t have as many distractions. And you’ll prevent the #1 cause of divorce—financial problems.
4-Stick to successful routines
A famous author once said that talent is as common as table salt; it’s hard work that’s rare. For Greg and so many other would be pros, they allowed their talent to inflate their egos, which kept them from being disciplined in their craft. Don’t make that heady mistake.
Instead, structure your days so that greatness becomes a habit. Devote equal parts of your time to learning, applying, and sharing. Remove the daily obstacles (facebook, email, etc) that would keep you from persisting in your goals.
Burnout—this work phenomenon can stop you cold in your tracks. Hard work is a virtue, no question. But there has to be a balance. And fun—just for fun’s sake, not connected to profit—is an essential part of the balance.
Some people think that a couple weeks on a cruise or in the Bahamas will be enough. But that’s just another symptom of imbalance: you shouldn’t need two weeks of bliss just to feel sane. Instead, strive to have fun every day. Schedule it. And try not to deny the impulses to do what you love.
I’ve heard that regret for the things you didn’t do is the most painful deathbed emotion. You can palliate that feeling with any number of distractions now…but what about forty years from now? When your story comes to an end, will you be proud to tell it?
Keep these five tips in mind. And never stop chasing your dreams.
Neomania, defined as an obsession with the new, is a hallmark of millennial culture. You won’t find it in the dictionary, but you’ll see it in the faces of everyone waiting for the next iPhone or Android. You might even catch it in the reflection of your smart phone as you scroll through the news.
Neomaniacs find it difficult, if not impossible, to stick with anything. They bounce from job to job, town to town and bed to bed, always hungry for the next conquest. They are never fulfilled. But there’s one spot they’re conspicuously absent from — the upper echelons of entrepreneurship.
Are you struggling to find your entrepreneurial stride? Here are five signs that you need to tone down your neomania — and five steps to cure it.
1. You check the news first thing in the morning.
Neomaniacs prefer news over reflection. Successful entrepreneurs are the opposite. Reflection is a basic human need, right up there with food and water. You get hungry for reflection because you need it to make smart decisions. But it’s common to mistake that hunger for a need to feed on more information.
2. You’ve had more partners than you can count.
The obsession over the new isn’t limited to information. Most neomaniacs are also helpless romantics, preferring a series of shallow dalliances over a solid relationship.
3. You’ve spent more money than you’ve made on get-rich-quick schemes.
Neomaniacs’ ears perk up when they hear the latest marketing scheme. They’ll buy into anything that will distract them from sticking with what they’ve started. *Get rich quick schemes don’t work.
4. You spend more than an hour on social media each day.
Social media is a neo-pacifier. There’s always something new to distract you from doing what you need to do.
5. You’re a job-hopper.
Neos pretend that their lack of job satisfaction has something to do with their job. But if you take pride in your work, and you do it well, you will always find satisfaction. According to legend, the 2nd Zen Master washed grains of rice for 10 years straight. How boring could your job possibly be?
What your millennial self can do.
Obsessing over the new doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you focus on doing one thing in new ways, you can put a positive spin on neomania and become an expert at anything you set your mind to.
I know so much about neomania because I was the biggest neomaniac I knew. I couldn’t stick with the same job or girlfriend for longer than a few months. My days consisted of scanning Facebook, email and the news for something to occupy my mind.
But then I started my writing career. I channeled my love for the new into finding new ways to write better, and to share my story. And within two years, I managed to create a career while shedding my old, neomaniacal habits.
Here are five tips that helped me make the transition:
Through meditation, I retrained my brain to sort through what I already knew. I’d sit quietly and observe my thoughts, noting my desire to check email or Facebook. Then I’d refuse the impulse, choosing instead to direct my focus towards gratitude or self-acceptance.
If you sit quietly for 10-20 minutes daily — no phone, no computer — you’ll learn how to synthesize new things from the information you already have. Steve Jobs was a meditator for this reason.
2. Limit your news intake.
I vividly remember a college lunchbreak in 2013 where I whipped out my phone and instinctively clicked to a media site. But for some reason I stopped, and asked if I actually needed to do what I wanted. The answer was no.
From that point on, I taught myself to ask that question every time I wanted to surf the web or read the news. Now I don’t read the news at all, and I find myself no less informed than anyone else. But I do find myself achieving more in my career than most people. Coincidence?
Related: How to Get Your Motivation on At Work
3. Limit social media to 10 minutes a day.
Social media has its purpose. But if your job title doesn’t include social media, you don’t need to spend more than 10 minutes a day on it. Any more than that will start a feedback loop of neomania.
4. Read a lot on one subject.
A funny paradox is that the more you know, the more you become aware of your ignorance. That’s why Grandmasters can study chess or kung-fu in their 80s with the same zeal as in their 20s.
If your quality of life has been degraded by a fixation on the new, unlearn that habit by fixating on one subject. Learning all that I could about writing made me appreciate how much I could enjoy doing just one thing. And it helped me unlearn my desire for a constant stream of new.
5. Start a journal.
The more you reflect, the less you’ll feel driven to compulsively seek new information. I unlearned my neomania largely by reflecting on my life with a journal. It became a game. I’d unload my previous day, search out the flaws — the needless repetitions — and plan on doing better the next day. I learned how to make what I already knew work for me in new ways.
You can start journaling by spending 5-10 minutes answering these questions:
- What was I most grateful for today?
- What three things did I do that made today awesome?
- What three things could I do better?
- What will I focus on tomorrow to make it the best day of my life?
Loving new stuff isn’t bad at all. We’re programmed for novelty. But how you act on your desire for novelty is a different story. Some people stretch their attention spans so thin as to be incompetent. And some focus on finding new levels of mastery in a few activities. Which road will you take?
Originally published on Entrepreneur.com
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To say that I’m sick of politics is like a chemo patient saying he feels under the weather. I’m dying here. I’ve pondered wearing earplugs to muffle the pundits. I’ve considered using Google glasses to program “Trump” and “Democrats” and “Republicans” out of my visual spectrum.
Because there’s one issue that must come before politics…
Our romantic relationships are the basic unit of civilization. Men and women have children and build families, which make up neighborhoods, communities, cities, states, and nations. Basic logic, right?
And it takes civilized people to make a civilization. So how can we expect to have peaceful nations when our most basic relationships are downright crude? We have missions to mars and particle colliders that are rumored to open portals to new dimensions. But, when it comes to love…we’re dragging our knuckles on a flat earth.
Our version of love is a cycle of insecurity
We can’t stand to be alone. But rather than learning to love our lives and find meaning alone, we place impossible standards for fulfillment on our lovers. We get a little security, and a lot of pleasure. But when the chemicals wear off, we’re left with the truth: we don’t know anything about our lovers.
And when we do get to know each other, we hate what we find. Then we split. But each split tears a thread in the fabric of our society, because family is our foundation.
We can thrust ourselves into heady political conversations, and pretend that our red (or blue) rage is going to build a better world. But those political solutions aren’t addressing the root cause of our pain. We just need to fix how we love first.
How I learned to build a lasting love
Foundations are, well, foundational to success. So we pave them for our houses. And we learn the fundamentals of math before going on to algebra and calculus. We know that we need a strong foundation for successful relationships, too. But who actually takes the time to build one?
Loving responsibly is hard. It seems outdated or religiously nonsensical by today’s standards—(getting to know someone inside and out before you take them to bed?!?!) But if you don’t have a strong foundation, you’ve got a house of cards. Just like every one of my previous relationships.
From age 12 I trained myself to objectify women by watching porn. And until my early twenties, I was more concerned about my next sexual fix than my career. I hooked up with girlfriends not because I wanted to love them with all my heart, but because they were my key to security and satisfaction—which I got, for a time. But the net result was an increasingly lonely, unfulfilled, and depressed version of me.
By the end of my last relationship, I seriously considered taking my own life. What was I doing wrong? After picking up reflective habits like journaling and meditation, I figured it out.
I wasn’t happy with me, so I couldn’t be happy with anyone else
I wasn’t fulfilled alone. I was bored alone. And I was unsuccessful alone. But in my mind, relationships were magical things that would wash all the bad stuff away and make me happy—kind of like a drug. In reality, for each desire that I lacked on my own, like joy, or security, I was strangling my relationships with conditions.
I’d “love” a girl until I was no longer joyful with her, or until she bored me. And for each condition that she failed to meet—no one can be perfect 100% of the time—I withdrew my love from her, bit by bit. The withdrawals happened on her side too.
By the end of my relationships, whether they were six-month flings or two-year engagements, the end was predictably uncivil. We abused each other with our language. We cheated on each other, and betrayed each other’s trust. We blamed each other on and on for what the other failed to do. Almost sounds like our relationships with other countries…
But the real failure was in choosing each other as romantic partners. It was in pursuing love without getting to know each other’s values and character traits first—before we built a foundation. We gambled on placing our faith in each other. And, like most people, we lost. Big time.
Rather than castrating myself, or settling for an endless string of heartaches—somebody shoot me—, I worked on the foundation of my next relationship. I worked on me.
I learned to lean into my insecurity
Instead of running for another girl when I got lonely, I leaned into my insecurity and learned more about me. I developed a prayer life and a relationship with God. And I stuck to my new habits of journaling and meditation.
Through mindfulness, I channeled my sexual desire into my goals and self improvement. I felt the urge to ogle gorgeous women, of course. And at 27, their beauty moves me now more than ever. But I trained myself to move in a positive direction, to express healthy emotions at a woman’s beauty—like gratitude, inspiration, and awe—instead of imagining how she could please me.
Then I took it a step further.
I disciplined myself to think of a woman’s future husband. Would he respect me for the way I was thinking about her? And then I’d think of my future wife…If I couldn’t expect myself to view other wives with dignity and respect, how could I expect that of other men in looking at mine?
In my new way of thinking, I shed my selfish ways and became a man—and a neighbor, and a lover. A year into the habit I became independent for the first time in my life. I discovered my writing career and found success in it. And I became a role model for other people.
My dramatic life change happened because I figured out how to harness my sexual desire in an uplifting way. And in learning how to love civilly, I became a functioning part of civilization. *But people still call me out for not voting…
How you can love civilly
The way we think about each other determines how we act: civil, or uncivil. So you’ve got to train yourself to think respectful and positive thoughts—especially when it comes beautiful men and women.
No matter how much we hope, the magical love chemicals can’t erase reality: we either love each other with respect, or we don’t. And if we don’t, our relationships will degrade, and our families will degrade. And as our broken relationships pick up steam down the social gradient, our communities degrade, and our cities degrade. And if the cycle of uncivil romance continues, states and nations will degrade as well. It’s basic logic.
So, you can talk about what these dildos in office are doing to feel important and keep you occupied…or you can do something that actually makes a difference. You can learn to love like a human-fucking-being. Pardon my crude language.
Learn to love for the long term. Build faith in yourself. Quit porn and casual sex. Become so joyful and inspired by your own life that you couldn’t imagine expecting anyone else to be responsible for your happiness. Channel your sexual desire into your highest self. Use those urges to remind yourself of the things you haven’t done yet to become the person you want to be. Direct that energy into a future you would admire, and a person you’d be proud of.
And when you’ve changed the way you live and think, you’ll change the way you love. You’ll love civilly.
By your example, you’ll inspire others to take the harder path and to love civilly themselves. And when enough people do that…I won’t ever have to hear another political pundit for as long as I shall live. And I’ll thank you.
Article originally appeared on Collective-Evolution.com
When it comes to your sexual drive, you’ve got two options: control it, or let it control you. Most people go for option #2. And for most of my life, I was no exception.
I craved porn as a kid, thinking it was normal—healthy, even. And for sex, I adopted the policy that most men do: whenever I can get it, and as long as it’s convenient. Which led to my first several relationships. And my first several heartbreaks.
Like most, I assumed I was doing it right, and that peaks of ecstasy and waves of anguish were par for the course. But then my life fell apart.
After my last live-in relationship, I sunk into a depression so deep that I considered taking my life. My health fell apart; I lost my mind; and the one thing I felt the least of was control.
So I blamed sex. It had to be sex’s fault, since it had gotten me into so much trouble. To spite evil, evil sex, I pretended I didn’t have a penis. I repressed all my urges, and thought I was taking the high road. But I still wasn’t in control.
I still lived with my parents. I still wasn’t living the life I wanted, or loving the life I lived. And I was beginning to have irrepressible sexual thoughts; compulsive even.
Evil, evil sex! At it again! Ruining my life! When will this end?!?! I thought. I felt like a powerless speck—a slave to all my bad decisions, and a rag-doll toy to the force of nature inside of me. Sexual desire, I will conquer you yet!
A person can only try something so many times before the effort becomes insanity. I would’ve been insane to carry on my relationships and sexual habits as I had done, as it had caused me so much grief. I would’ve been equally insane to continue repressing those urges, as much as it drove me nuts. But I’m not insane. After those two options failed, I experimented with a third way.
I harnessed my desire
I found sexual desire to be much like a wave. I could let it keep pummeling me into oblivion, and smashing me into bits and pieces. Or, I could study it, move with it, channel its force into forward momentum, and have fun with it, like a surfer. And like surfing, that took mindfulness.
Before, when the urge hit, I’d wax off to porn, chase some tail, or, in the later stages, pretend like I never had the urge in the first place. Not much thought involved. And none of those options advanced me personally. So, I trained myself to acknowledge the urge, to be grateful for it, and to direct that powerful energy into a life that I could be proud of.
Like any surfer just starting out, I wiped out. I fell back into old ways of doing things, and I let myself down. But, unlike the old me, I kept trying. I forgave myself. And I got better.
I learned how to stay present when the wave hit, and to keep my mind focused on what I really wanted. I wanted to be more disciplined, more successful, more grateful, more independent, and more selfless so that I could serve others through my talents. So I practiced that. I started regarding my sexual urges as reminders for what I hadn’t done when it came to my dream life. Take last summer for instance.
I was on a road trip driving from New Mexico to California. And for some reason I was being pummeled with desire, wave after wave of salacious thoughts. I tried to keep it at bay and just forget it, but it kept pounding me and pounding me. Then I reached for my higher self. I thought about all the husbands and wives who have difficulty controlling their sexual desire, and all of my clients and readers. So I started praying for them. As I channeled my sexual desire into prayer for others, I became a more disciplined and selfless man. I surfed the wave, and I overcame.
I can also use my sexual desire as a litmus for my accomplishments. If I’ve slacked in a week and haven’t accomplished as much as I could’ve, or if I haven’t stretched myself, I’ll have stronger and stronger desires to masturbate, or to watch porn—to let my desire control me. At first I didn’t connect the two. But one week recently, after a holiday, I found myself lying in bed, my mind racing with sexual thoughts.
I wanted to indulge them, and I began to. But then I thought, “What haven’t I done that I need to do? To live the life I really want to live?” The answer was write. So I channeled my sexual desire into two inspired articles, one after the other. Those articles went on to help tens of thousands of people live better lives. And, in the short term, they boosted my confidence, my sense of self, my professionalism, and my independence.
The more mindful I am of my sexual desire, and the more I channel it into high-value activities that bring me closer to my goals, the better I become as a man, friend, husband, lover, and role model. It’s difficult. And it’s not at all common for a man my age to live like this. But when it comes to the alternative—allowing myself to be bashed around by a desire that I wasn’t mature enough to control—it’s really not as hard.
Heartbreak is hard. Depression is hard. Losing your sense of self is hard. Divorce is hard. But being mindful of your desire and channeling it into your higher self…that just takes discipline. And guts. It’s difficult, but overall, life is infinitely better and more pleasurable. I direct my desire into my fitness and career and relationships—into my self improvement. And in doing so, I’ve created the career of my dreams. I’ve fought hard to earn my independence. I’ve transcended the toxic relationship patterns that had ruled my live. And I’ve become someone that I can be proud of.
I’m by no means perfect. I still struggle, and sometimes I falter. But each time I use my sexual desire as a reminder to accomplish the things I need to be whole, and to love my life, I grow as a person. Bit by bit. Those incremental gains have lifted me out of depression. They’ve made me independent. And they’ve altogether rewritten my life’s script.
Two years ago I was another lost millennial who lived on his mom’s couch and depended on everyone but himself. Today? I’m mentor and role model for my generation. I’ve blazed my own trail as a writer, as a coach. And because of my mindful approach on sexuality, I can count on growing as a man every single day. Anybody who has the courage to ride the wave can do the same.
Do you went to become the man or woman of your dreams? Do you want to learn how to love selflessly so that you can have the relationship of your dreams? Do you want to love the life you live?
Here are 5 steps that will put you in control of your sexual desire:
1. Have a plan for your life
If you don’t have a goal to focus your sexual desire on, you won’t be able to channel it through to a better and brighter you. So make goals for what you want to be, who you want to help, what kind of relationships you’ll have, and things like that. Write them down. Break down your goals into realistic steps. And start stepping. Make sure to have achievable goals that you can attack every single day; that way, you always know of some outlet to pour your sexual energy into.
2. Give up porn and masturbation
Never will there be a time when you can say, “I absolutely need to do this before anything else.”—referring to porn and masturbation. In fact, there’s always some self-improvement or career goal that needs to come first. So it’s best to cut P@M out of your life and to stop using them as crutches. Really, they’re just dumps for your sexual desire; better to channel that energy into your career and self-improvement.
Casual relationships are an easy dump for your sexual desire. For me, and for many people I know, they kept me from directing my desire into a higher cause—into the life I wanted. So, if you’re in a casual relationship right now—convenience based, founded on sex—get out. Get out of it as fast as you can, and before your life becomes permanently average. And if you’re not in one, make a commitment. Mark today as the first day of your single year. And commit to growing so much this year that, by the end, if you were to start a relationship, you’d be the selfless and successful kind of husband or wife who a partner could grow with for a lifetime, and raise a secure family with. That’s the extraordinary life that you want. And you’ll get it if you can learn to channel your impulses into self-improvement.
4. Be mindful of your sexual impulses
Most people feel sexy and then do something sexy and then look back on their heartbroken lives and wonder WTF. Not you. From now on, train your mind to become aware when sexual desire hits. Acknowledge the feeling. Be grateful for it. Then, instead of indulging it, ask yourself, “What haven’t I done?” Usually, that intense urge signals that your energy isn’t being directed into the life of your dreams. (If you’re married and you’re already living the life of your dreams, that urge will be a signal to pounce on your spouse.) Ask, “What could I be doing instead that would make me better at my career, that would make me more independent, that would make me more joyful?” Then do those things.
Those questions are hard as a mug to ask, especially when you’re being pounded with desire. Many times I feel like I’d rather give in and sink into the pleasure of myself. But that would be letting my desire control me; and I’ve already lived that life. It only brought me sadness, and it sunk my relationships with selfishness.
So keep asking those questions. Use sexual urges as reminders to check in on your progress. And if there are things you absolutely need to do—which there always will be—redirect your sexual energy into those accomplishments. It can be done. And when you do it, you’ll feel proud, accomplished, confident, and disciplined. And those are the emotions that will feed into your greatest personal achievements.
5-Get an accountability buddy
It’s easy to jump off the wagon when it’s just you. And it’s double easy when the path you’re on is so hard. But when you’ve got a buddy who can help keep you accountability, you quadruple your chances of success. And better still, you feed into their success.
So find someone who wants to walk the same path; who wants a life of constant improvement; who wants to grow in faith. Then share your journey together. Meet up once a week to talk about your struggles, and about your progress. Keep each other motivated and share the strategies that work. You’ll be glad that you did.
Hiring a personal coach is another option. I would help you come up with personalized plans to take control of your sexual desire and to create the life and success you dream of. Contact me today.