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Chasing a Monday-Loving Life

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Category: Life

How To Sell Better: Pork, Beans and Madmen.

I’d like to start off this post with a creepy old-timey Ad of a demon child peering into your soul…Let’s learn some selling!

In the early 1900’s during the Madmen era of the Madison Avenue Ad agencies where chain-smoking, busty secretaries, and scotch abounded,

There was an Ad war going on.

The battle was over the canned beans market. Advertisers were duking it out to conquer America’s kitchen cabinets where only one canned-bean could reign over the nation’s pantry.

Amidst clacking typewriters, and second-hand smoke, one Chicago-based ad firm who represented Van Camp’s Beans, brought in the Rain-man of Advertising to settle this game of aprons once and for all.

That man was Claude Hopkins.

He was the most sought after hired gun of his time –and would be– in any time he was in. He was also about as far from the Don Draper archetype as one could be.

He describes his initial thoughts and strategy…

“Van Camp’s pork and beans offered no unique arguments. They were like other pork and beans. When we met in factory and served half a dozen brands, not a man present could decide which was Van Camp’s

…But

We told facts that which no one else ever told.

We told of vine-ripened tomatoes, Livingston Stone tomatoes –All of our competitors used them.

We told how we analyzed every lot of beans –As every canner must.

We told of our ovens where beans are baked for hours at 245 degrees. –That is regular canning practice.

We told how we boiled beans in soft water to eliminate the lime which made skins tough. Our rivals did that also.

We told why  beans baked in home ovens fermented and were hard to digest….

We told the same story that any rival could have told but all others thought the story was to commonplace.”

So, if all the other competitors *could* have told this story, why didn’t they?

Claude Hopkins sums it up with the following quote:

“The Majority of advertising, even today, is based on the plea,

“Buy My Brand.”

That Plea never appealed to anybody, and it never will. They [say] in effect,

“Give me the money you give to others.”

They offer no value. They solve no problems. Rather, they boast and brag that whatever they are trying to sell is “the original” “genuine” “most advanced” which is basically roundabout ways of saying buy my brand.

Sage wisdom permeates the writing of Claude Hopkins on the subject of advertising and selling. He had a keen understanding of human nature that allowed him to do so well. He simply knew how to give people what they wanted in an ethical way.

“A man not willing to bid for patronage on an altruistic basis has no place in advertising or selling”

He argued that if all you’re doing is trying to gain selfish advantage for yourself than you can count on sucking in the marketplace.

Cool beans.

The Myth of The “Million Dollar Idea”

I recently wrote an article for  a  fitness column. It was  titled: A little known secret to Weight Loss

The essence of it was to stop making things so complicated. Don’t get so caught up in what you “should” be doing to get fit. Do whatever you enjoy enough to do long term. Don’t get caught up in opinions about how imperfect your given circumstances are, just move. Pick one thing and do it consistently. Do that, and losing weight and getting fit is pretty damn effortless.

I could have changed the entire topic to business by switching a few words and it would of been just as true.

A little know secret to Business and Entrepreneurship

Stop making things so complicated. Don’t get so caught up in what you “should” be doing. Do whatever you enjoy enough to do long term. Don’t get caught up in opinions about how imperfect your given circumstances are, just move. Pick one thing and do it consistently. Do that, and business and making money is pretty damn effortless.

“The Money Making Idea”

This is what I used to think I needed to become an entrepreneur. That one idea that would make me millions. When I was in business school everyone loved to talk about business and entrepreneurship in sexy esoteric terms that most of them didn’t really even understand.

Throw words around like “start-up” and “venture capital”, and “IPO” and you can play with the cool kids.

“Ya bro…me and my other bros are working on an idea for a tech “start-up” We’re seeking venture capital probably from a VC firm in Silicon Valley. When we pull the trigger on our IPO i’ll let you know. It’s gonna be fuckin epic.”

This is precisely why no one actually starts a business because we think every business has to follow the Harvard Dormroom-Social-network business model in order to actually do something.

You don’t.

You can’t just as easily buy a beat-up old van. Throw some cleaning supplies in there and start cleaning carpets. Do it better than the way the current players are doing it. Add some novel way of doing business for your customers that hasn’t been done before. You know, innovate. Give people an irresistible offer to try you out. Add mechanisms for repeat business and incentives for people to talk about and refer you.

Do this for a while and then find a college student to help you part-time. As you build clientele, hire him full-time while you work on building the business exclusively. Buy another van in another town. Repeat the process and before long you are the kingpin of carpet cleaning.

See, this is entrepreneurship. It’s this same bootstrapping ingenuity that this country has been founded on. Pick a trade and hang a sign out on the door. It’s not sexy like making an app or another god-forsaken social network but it is the best way I know of to control your own destiny and bring value to the world.

I think its a shame that in my business school (and I assume most others) no body paid any attention to this variety of entrepreneurship.  It’s all about tech. And that leaves about 95% of us with nothing to offer.

Screw that. Right now you have a an idea, a better way of doing things. Grab a napkin and write your business plan on it. And as the sage business guru Perry Marshall says, make just one dollar and figure out the rest as you go.

 

The Hero’s Journey

You know there was some research done by some author who wrote some book.

He studied the most enduring myths, parables, legends, films, and tales of human history to see what made such stories last through the centuries.

He found that these stories all had a common thread he called “The Heroes Journey”. It’s a template that every one of our favorite stories follow.

It goes something like this:

Joe lives his normal everyday existence.

Joe encounters a problem or enemy.

Joe tolerates problem, hesitant to do anything about it.

Joe’s inciting event. Something happens that forces him to act (The Sand Kicked in the face moment)

A Mentor/Teacher/Sage (usually Morgan Freeman) shows up.

Joe embarks on a journey to solve problem or fight an enemy. (this is where Ralph Maccio begins training in Karate kid)

Joe encounters trials and tribulation. Wrought with Progress and Setbacks.

Shit hits the fan. The stakes are raised.

Joe nearly gives in to the dark forces.

Montage plays, Joe dies a symbolic death and emerges his Truer Heroic Self.

Joe Defeats Enemy once and For all.

Joe Comes back home and lives happily ever after.

Take any one of your favorite books or movies and tell me it doesn’t follow that thread and I will be shocked. The events can be literal occurrences as they are in Braveheart or Rocky. Or symbolic like Will Ferrel’s character in Everything Must Go or a season of the Biggest Loser where the contestants are battling internal demons.

This is why elections become a spectacle where each party tries to portray the other candidate as the tyrannical anti-christ

And people feed into it none the wiser. Their vote becomes a salvo against the evil politician.

It’s the story of good Vs. evil. The underdog or dark horse. We love it.

But why?

Because it reflects our own humanity. Life is much more of a battle between good and evil than we realize. At least it should be. Your desire to lose weight. Your quest to land the career you want. To get the girl. To find Prince Charming. It won’t often involve a sword fight or a living breathing enemy, but it almost always follows the path of the “Hero’s Journey”

Anyone who is actively involved in making things happen in their life undoubtedly encountered a problem.

One day, things reached a boiling point and they had had enough. They had a friend, teacher, mentor, coach or book that gave them the encouragement to embark on the “quest”

They encountered progress and failure. The uphill battle towards vanquishing the enemy.

At one point they plateaued or experienced a huge setback and nearly gave up. Luckily they kept on.

Then a breakthrough.

The light at the end of the tunnel. They picked themselves up to follow the glimmers of luminosity. Chasing the glow they moved faster than ever before finding untapped reserves of strength and energy. And they emerged. Different. Evolved. Victorious.

Think of your personal victories and I’m betting the sequence followed something like this. If  you didn’t emerge victorious you’re still living the story man. Get up and keep moving.

Tug of War: The Inverse relationship of Wants and Cravings.

Want usually demands an uncomfortable process, but leaves you with a gratifying result.

Cravings beckon us to engage in pleasurable process, that feels good in the moment but leaves one disappointed.

I crave cookies.

So one day I give in, enjoying the eating of every last crumb.

After the gorge, I somehow, feel empty and yet full of regret.

I want Health

So at the cost of comfort I sweat through every last mile and rep.

Energy spent, I somehow, am energized full of accomplishment.

You can always tell the character of what you do, by how scared you are to do it, and how you feel after it is done.

The undertakings that most terrified me to start are the ones I’m most proud to have done.

My biggest regrets, are from giving in to the easy animal urge for comfort or pleasure only to feel like shit after.

So in this inverse relationship, What I want and what I crave are are almost always in conflict.

I want a number of things and yet crave a number of things that work against that.

Being at the mercy and whim of cravings is a dangerous road that will leave you saddened by your vanished youth.

Chew on it.

Crossing The Rubicon

The year was 49 BC,

and Julius Ceasar had a decision to make. As italian winter winds blew, he stood at the river Rubicon’s edge. The Italian river marked the boundary between the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul to the north, and Italy Proper. His legion stood before him waiting for his move: turn back, or cross the river to take Rome, an irrevocable act of war.

The entire journey Caesar had not known what choice he’d make but felt intuitively once he approached, he’d know . The story goes, that as he stood there he had a supernatural vision. The apparition crystallized the choice he’d have to make and the and at once, turned to vapor.

He then uttered the famous words,

“The Die Has Been Cast.”

 

And he marched on to Rome.

He and his legion had now become outlaws. War was inevitable.

Civil War ensued and left Ceasar the Victor which meant his capital offence would go unpunished. Ahh, the spoils of war.

Thousands of years later the phrase “Crossing the Rubicon” has endured to refer to any individual or group committing itself irrevocably to a risky or revolutionary course of action — similar to the decision made in this legendary tale.

History books are riddled with  these stories where historical characters gave a middle finger to plan B and went “all in”. I suppose it’s the very reason we read about them in history books in the first place.

The Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortes is one such example. He did it the 1500’s when he docked onto a Mexican beach to find riches. Not just any riches though, the most fantastic mythical collection of wealth anyone had ever heard of.

Up until then no one could find it. And for Hernando, in his humble profession of “Conqueror” this was his ticket, his Heisman, his Stanley Cup, his Catalina Wine-Mixer.

His men planned to do some routine pillaging, maybe grab some precious jewels, spread malign illness to natives and call it a day. Back home to Spain for some tapas, bull dodging, and tomatoe throwing.

But Cortes had other plans. There on the beach, eyes glaring fiery resolve, he commanded his Spanish Fleet of Ships to burn.

“Haha…Very Funny Nando…Last one to the coconut stump is a rotten…wait.. is he serious? Shit. He’s serious.”

“Burn the Boats! “ And for the Spaniards in the room, “Quemar Los Barcos!!”


And burn the boats they did. In doing so, he declared to 500 conquistadors, we are going to claim our riches or die. We will fight with everything, and if we get to go home it’ll be on their ships.

So they marched into the jungle to Get rich or die trying. Frightened, awakened and vastly outnumbered they fought and emerged victorious. Without a doubt, this was not a noble or righteous pursuit, but it was one they put everything on.

Hernando and his men were rich and became legendary.

Their twitter following exploded. For. Sure.

Both epics demonstrate such brazen commitment to the outcome that all other options were thrown to the fire. Faced with the choices they now had, how did the soldiers at the river Rubicon or Mexican beach react? The way we all hope WE would. With their lives were on the line  and absolutely zero possibility of retreat, they rose to the occasion.

This story has echoed locker rooms of bruised and beaten underdogs ever since.

Fourth quarter, down by 7, forty seconds left.

What. Do .You. Do.

Come from behind or live in mediocrity.

So I ask you now as I often have to ask myself,

What are your boats?

What is your rubicon? The river you have to cross that would mean you really want what it is you say you want.

The fence you find yourself on, what’s keeping you there? The plague of hesitation and apprehension has claimed many lives and left inert potential unused.

I hate to sound so hoo-rah, but don’t you want to close the void between the person you are, and the person you can be?

I do. Desperately.

And everyday that gap doesn’t become smaller, I get this horrible nagging voice that wont let up. It’s like Hernando is whispering in my ear, burn it. burn it. burn it.

Someone told me once during a routine existential conversation, the world’s greatest wealth is not in the  middle eastern oil fields, or African diamond mines, but in our graveyards. For there, lies the vast reserves of what could have been, people who played it safe and never said “f**k it. I’m all in”

Don’t be that Guy (or Gal). Throw the dice for God sake.

Cross the rubicon.

See you on the other side.

 

7 Things Starters Must Know (And Never Forget) About Their People.

In starting and marketing my own business I never would have anticipated the things I’d learn in the process. There is so much that goes into it, from establishing a legal entity, to creating a web site, to tracking business metrics, and countless other things, the list goes on and on.

There is a heightened sense of awareness that comes with learning all of the components to running this beast. But, nothing I have learned has proved more valuable to me than coming to understand the people for which I created the business to serve.

I’ve come to gain, and continue to seek, a whole new grasp on people and it has been nothing short of mind-blowing. Initially, I thought I just created a service for people that wanted to get healthy and that there wasn’t much more to it than that.

I was wrong. Dead Wrong.

I can’t help but hear the old MTV show play in my head. Where drew barrymore or some celebrity gets followed for a week so that we can get a glimpse of what their life “is really like”. The show always began with the declaration:

You think you know, but you have no idea.

You were right Drew, Dammit you were right.

Such is the same in my life with my business. Namely the people who I serve.

It’s so much more than a transaction between two strangers. I’m beginning to see that if you hope to have a real thriving business, you have to understand on a very deep level what it is you’re doing for the people you’re serving.

Up until very recently, I thought opening a business was a shot in the dark. Let’s say Jane Baker, or Ron the Restarantuer, wanted to open a business, so they did, and if the economy was just right and their food was that good then maybe they’d have a chance. Maybe.

The past couple years have  been a testament to this. The financial meltdowns we heard about on CNN were felt in my town as countless businesses became casualties. For Lease signs everywhere. Businesses that’d been there my entire life, were now gone. I, along with many other locals, standing there on main street solemnly shaking our heads as we uttered “It just aint right”. The backdrop of empty buildings needed only tumbleweeds to punctuate these dire straits.

But in starting my own business, I see things differently. I don’t think the survival of the mom & pop is at the mercy of the commerce gods. I realized the places that stay open are in large part because they know how to wheather the storm. And it begin and ends with people.

Yes people. Our town is full of them and yet businesses die everyday. Why? because there wasn’t enough focus on them. What motivates them, how they behave, how they buy, and what deep seated needs they have.

I can’t beleive how many places I walked into hoping to buy something and I’m treated like like a snake-oil salesman, in the IRS, offering a bible from the Church of Latter-day Saints. Yes, all of those things, they don’t look happy to see me.

Every person they send off with a “Wow I am never going there again.”

I met the owner of Panda express once and he helped open my eyes on this. He said, in the beginnning when he first started, “If someone ever walked in to Panda, they were not going to leave until they had such a great eating experience that I knew they’d be back.”

People would walk in on a Saturday night, when the restaurant was packed, and walk right out not willing to wait. He told me he would chase all of them down and bring em back in. He’d assure them seating and give them free beverages till a table opened up or he set up dining in the kitchen.

They knew he wanted them there. His attitude was to always be aware and to never be fooled into thinking you could give up customers like that.

I was stunned to see this guy cared so much. I later learned to be more methodical about it.

I found that while individuals are unique, their human nature isn’t.

I quickly realized that the gym I owned attracted a certain kind of person, and that If I understood that person, I’d be able to better serve them and find more of them.

It’s been very illuminating to learn these things and in the process I not only understand humanity much more than ever before, but I now have a profound understanding of myself that I did not have before. Because well, I’m a customer just like the people I patronize.

So the following lists a few of the lessons that have been the most valuable things I have learned about people as customers. Check it out.

1. Focus on the People.

Yes I know you make awesome cheesecake. That is awesome but it’s a give-in, whatever you make needs and should be great. But the focus of every Successful business or related pursuit are the people. What people need and more importantly want. You don’t exist to serve you.

2. Your People don’t want what YOU want them to Want.

This may trigger in you a shocking revelation, or an equally passionate “No sh**”

But I can’t tell you how uncommon this bit of sense is among businesses and human nature in general. Sometimes we are shocked when we realize our shiny little business is falling way short of giving people what they want.

I heard many times that when making something, you should create the thing you would want. In my case, creating the gym I would want to go to. Sure, and that’s what I do to an extent. I want a gym that changes lives, invigorates it members, and gets results people once gave up on because those are needs that I know I share with people.

But if Im operating a gym the way *I* think it needs to run and it’s NOT changing lives, invigorating it members, and getting results then its NOT working and *I* need to rethink what I’m doing and change accordingly.

I would be mistaken to keep doing what doesn’t work and get mad at the people for not swallowing what I’m trying to shove down their throats.

But too many businesses or anything a starter seeks to create (a blog, book, band, or service) only serve the creator and their ego and then they get mad at people for not appreciating their brilliance. You have a successful following and make money or you can protect your ego, but you cant have both.

Again, give customers what they want NOT what you want them to want.

3. People are Emo

Your people buy from you because what you offer satisfies an emotional need or desire they have been developing all their lives. Every decision is emotional and will be justified with logic. What you sell represents the solution and gratification to an emotional need. So whatever you offer, what emotional need does it fill?

4. Understand Your People as Human Beings.

Yes, not mindless drones or numbers on a spreadsheet. People. How do they (your customers) decide what to buy?

On impulse or intense deliberation? On data or whatever the joneses got?

How do they behave? How do they feel? What do they perceive about themselves? Are they seeking the latest innovations or the best deal? Do they care about status or dependability? Know these answers it shapes how you communicate the benefits of your stuff.

5. People operate both consciously and unconsciously

Bollocks. No really, it true. The Conscious Mind is what gathers all the stimuli, data, and information and transmits it to the unconscious mind. More often than not, the unconscious mind is the decision maker.

6. If that Stimuli, Data, and Information you convey satisfies a need, they’re in. If it doesn’t– they’re out.

If people are not fully convinced that what you are offering is the noble steed galloping in shining armor promising to slay the beast that is their pain and ride off into mythical sunsets, then you’ll just be some loser in aluminum not selling anything.

7. Their Perception is Reality.

You are hoping to create a perception of yourself and your business. If there is dissonance between what you hope they’ll perceive and what they actually perceive, what you’re offering won’t get bought. You can claim to make the best chicken caccitore  or red velvet cheesecake in town, but if none of your patrons agree, that beleif simply isn’t true.

***

There it is. The list is simple but has huge implications. Do everything you can to understand the people to patronize. Do that, and conveying the message that your amazing product is the vaccine to a pain or frustration, will be (cheese) cake.

Cue the music.

Why I Stopped Buying Books.

I think it’s a mistake to read a good book once.

Today I was flipping through the dog-eared pages of a book I read by flashlight in my college dorm a few years ago. I was amazed to re-read the things I had since forgotten, discovering lessons in this book with new eyes.

I was at a Border’s yesterday, salivating at the liquidation sale they were having. So many books flying off the shelves selling for up to 70% off. I went for the business section. I was filled with anticipation to get my latest stack of business books to plop on my desk, and all for a fraction of the cost!

As if in rewind, I took slow steps backward through the business section, head slanted to scan every title waiting to find something I had been meaning to read… As my eyes furiously sought out the books I’d buy, I had the nagging voice telling me to stop looking. Stop Looking.

Soon the voice (and the ache in my neck) was too much. I stopped. I didn’t need another book. I had volumes of books at home I have yet to read. Books with oceans of wisdom I’ve yet to explore. So as much as it killed me to pass on such heavily discounted reading I walked out.

I have reached a point where I don’t need more answers. I do, but not the answers I can get in reading a new book. The books are the training wheels that I have used a little too much. I’m on that cusp where it’s time to test out the hours upon hours of study using only what I have now.

Buying another book would be a veiled form of avoiding what needs to be done. Another diversion strategy.

I just read a chapter in an old book and it triggered a breakthrough and it shows me I don’t need to seek anything new.

What I need is what I have.

Now as I think back on reading this particular book a few years ago, I realize now that I’m in a vastly different place than when I was when I first read it. I now have years of knowledge and experience I didn’t have then. I have created a vastly more fertile ground to plant it’s wisdom.

What am I getting at?

Speaking from my experience, There are certain books I’ve read to help solve and overcome certain obstacles. I first read them and thought

“Wow! It all makes sense now! I know what to do.”

A sigh of relief ensues and I proceed to implement some portion of it. But times passes and robs my memory of it’s lessons, so I forget crucial lessons. So I read another book, and another, and another.

I can see in me and in others, books (of the “How-To” variety not novels) and many other positive things can become a crutch. We rely on them in the place of our own faculties. We forget to rely on our own intuition and experience in figuring out what to do next. We forget to trust our abilities because we didn’t write the book. F* That.

Stop Aiming and fire already.

I also realize we need these books and if a book if it contains answers valuable to you, it must be completely used and abused and internalized to the point where you could re-write it yourself. Think about it. For $14.95 some author spent a lifetime learning the lessons and emptied his soul before you, and you’re gonna condemn it to a life on the coffee table? Meanwhile you’re moving on to another book, on a similar subject, hoping to gain more answers you already have. You know better than that.

So If I can give you one piece of unsolicited advice it’d be this:

When a book gets bad close it immediately and throw it out the window or burn it like a Bradbury Fireman in 451.

And always Read the good books over and over and over.

Constant re-reading, I’m thinking, is why clerics commit their lives to studying religious text, and virtuoso musicians will always study musical theory.

It has the answers, we constantly forget and need to re-learn.

Free At Last.

mlk_jr_speech

Yesterday was MLK day so I find today’s post title rather appropriate.

Although I am not on the streets of Birmingham with Dr. King circa 1964 celebrating a step forward in the Civil Rights Movement, I do feel I have overcome, and am Free At Last (or at least I soon will be).

It’s been almost a month since my last post back in the 0-9. It is now 2010 and with the new year came some sweeping life changes.

From the day after Christmas to January 4th Me, Ed, Mike (along with the help of other unsuspecting friends, family, and fools) worked 12-15 hour days orchestrating the launch of our new gym. It was a very stressful week, but one for which I am grateful.

The launch went great. The gym looks awesome and ever since we opened, attendance is absolutely through the roof.

I am only finally coming up for air to come back here and post. My goal for this site is two posts a week and since my hiatus, I am 6-8 posts behind. shame on me.

Anyway along with the new gym I have had some radical epiphanies and mindset shifts in the past weeks. I read two books that are the cause for this:

Sourcecontrol by Dave Walsh and Work The System by Sam Carpenter

Sourcecontrol is by far one of the most valuable materials I’ve ever had in terms of my business. It’s on outsourcing. And if you’re like me you tried it and got burned. He shows you how to do it right and gives you everything to execute and orchestrate like a true international player.

Work the system is similar to the E-myth in that it explains the power of systems. He tells his story of how he nearly drowned himself in his business and how one day a mental shift towards “systems-thinking” changed his life, multiplied his income, and dwindled his workweek to 2 hours a week.

Both have given me something that I find tremendously rare and valuable these days:

clarity

I finally could see through the dross. I finally knew what to do. I could see the top of the mountain, the proverbial light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

So often we know what needs to be done, and alot needs to be done (or at least it seems that way) so we don’t know where to start and become paralyzed.

These books cause that fog of where-the-hell-do-I-start to clear.

I also just picked up the revised 4 Hour Workweek By Tim Ferriss. I was skeptical that it had much more to offer than the previous copy. I should have known better the book fantastic and and only added to the smoldering embers of my new found clarity and focus.

Read these books. Seldom can I close a book gitty, with a twinkle in my eye, feeling lighter (and slightly dangerous ) knowing the book i’m holding just changed everything. These are such books.

Keep an eye out for posts on my real life application of the process of systematizing my business and outsourcing.

How to be Unstoppable

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Fall in love with the process, and the perfecting of it. Detach yourself from your emotional investment to outcomes. God, that sounded very new-agey zenlightenment. But it’s true.

The woman who runs for the love of it, versus the man who only does it for some external aspiration, will go farther, longer and harder any day of the week.

Whatever it is you pursue. Learn to appreciate the chase and the thing you’re after will be yours very soon.

I had this epiphany with exercise. At first, it was to lose weight, to gain the attention of girls, to prove the naysayers I could, etc. Such reasons made for a powerful elixir that catalyzed change but they were fleeting and depended on emotion. Goals fueled by emotion are an uphill battle because emotions never stay long. I’d constantly gain weight, lose weight. When I looked good I was always trying to look better, never satisfied. Whenever we reach the point we “think” will be the answer our heads somehow moves that line a little farther.

So I try harder, and harder, and harder still. I’d go through bouts of resignation to exercise because it was too much effort. I’d be angry because others who looked better didn’t have to work as hard. Poor me.

“Why can’t I eat whatever I want, like they do, and still look good without a shirt on? Boo hoo!”

Another classic example of living in the world of what “Should be” rather than “what Is”. I somehow got over it as the years went on. I began to love exercise. One day, I broke my leg and all of the sudden I couldn’t exercise. I found myself yearning for the ability to get out of bed to sweat, struggle to catch my breath, feel the pavement beneath my 2 functional legs between long strides, grimace in pain as I pushed heavy loads off my chest.

It was then I realized I don’t Have exercise.

I Get to exercise.

My ability to exercise was a privilege. I had learned to love it, not for the muscles, but because of the many therapeutic and cathartic benefits I derive from it.

I was blessed to have full use of every part of my body to build it into whatever I wanted. Sure it wasn’t perfect, but I had the ability and privilege to test the limits of the body I have. I was a changed man. I was no longer bitter because I had to work hard, but began to love the journey of taking my body to its limits.

You can’t take that away. You have that, and you will never obsess over losing a pound again.

Whatever it is you’re doing. If you find yourself throwing a pity party, ask yourself is this really a “problem” or am I just forgetting that this undertaking is of my choosing and there’s probaby many many people who’d kill to be in my position.

When you start to lose your attachment to the outcome you can literally pursue whatever you want and be quite sure you will succeed. Things like performance anxiety, meeting expectations, looking stupid failing. None of these things stop you anymore.

Don’t confuse this for not trying. And when you fail, lose or what have you, don’t cloak it in “Oh, I don’t care about winning” You do, but it doesn’t define you.

When all things things are gone you will be left with unfathomable clarity and energy.

Let go of control of events. You never had it. Control yourself and your efforts. This makes you unstoppable.

image by Letting Go of Control

The World Needs You

Believe it. I do, to my very core.

Pardon me while I get all existential on you. Everyday I see people, plotting along. Empty. Living the life of someone who doesn’t really think that who they are is of any significance. Actually I’m not even sure I’d call it living. More like existence.

I see some girls approaching their mid-twenties in a silent panic to find a husband before their youth expires and their porcelain skin ages. Guys in the gym cycling steroids to pack on muscle and sculpt their bodies into a citadel to veil a weak sense of self. Both beautiful on the outside but empty without validation from “out there”.

Young grads oozing with potential, denying intuition, taking the “safe” route ,trading sovereignty for salary. Look anywhere and you’ll notice. People just going through the motions. Walking slumber.

Its heart-breaking.

It’s because they have no idea that the world needs them, desperately. So many of us have no idea what it is we want out of life. Some have no idea what we do better than anyone else. I think we do know but amidst the noise of societal expectations, desire for things, and self-doubt it becomes hard to hear or discern what we want.

You need to know that what you have we need. We need it badly and we need you to find it. So figure out how to share it with us. The world is a very messed up place. This is both a problem and opportunity. It means we all have a place in it’s repair.

What do you bring to the table?

Take the final weeks in December to think about how you can make this year, the year that changes everything.

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