10 Epiphanies on Optimal Living
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” - Mahatma Gandhi
I recently wrapped up a RARE and AMAZING 10 week course consisting of content, essentially, on how to live an awesome life. (How cool is that?!) The course was called Optimal Living 101 by Brian Johnson of Philosopher’s Notes.
The framework for the course was that “from old school sages to modern scientists, all the great teachers come back to the same ideas again and again. Here are the 10 principles for creating our most authentically awesome lives:”
Each week, we went diving DEEP into detail exploring the topics of these 10 principles. I was one of the fortunate few who received a private invitation to join a special, small, invitation-only “embodiment” group in addition to the primary discussions. In this first intimate installment of “10 Epiphanies on OPTIMAL LIVING,” I’m going to share with you some of the TOP ideas for me, from the hundreds of thousands of thoughts that were spawned while we made history this summer.
1.WIN BY FAILING.
The master is the person who was willing to fall on his ass 20,000 times. There is a beauty in having the willingness to fail. If you’re looking to do anything extraordinary in life, you’ve gotta face your fears and be willing to fall flat on your face (in front of everyone!) WHOEVER FAILS THE MOST, WINS!
Helpful Hint: No longer see “failure” as failing, but rather as an opportunity to learn and grow.
2. LOVE YOUR PAIN.
Pain is nothing more than an internal indication gauge of what’s really going on inside of you. When you start to feel stressed, anxious, irritated, hurt, etc — do not disregard the indication — PAY ATTENTION TO THAT! That is your body saying “YO BUDDY, SOMETHING IS NOT ALRIGHT — FIX IT.” How amazing is it that our body actually lets us know when we need to take action to correct it? Honor that. When you go grab a beer to turn that internal indicator off, you are telling your body to go funk’ off. Not cool.
Helpful Hint: “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” – Buddhist proverb
3. TEN THOUSAND HOURS.
Pick what you want to be the best at, a true master, and then deliberately practice it with patience, persistence, and diligence for 10,000 hours. Talent is obnoxiously overrated — work in the direction of developing SKILL, which is spawned from deliberate, intentional, practice. From Mozart, to Michael Jordan, to Tiger Woods — none of them accomplished their monumental achievements without 10,000 hours of deliberate intentional practice.
Helpful Hint: Pick something that you love SO much, that you would PAY to do this, every single day of your life. Then do that which you love for 3 hours each day for the next 10 years and you’ll hit the 10,000 hour mark.
4. FUNDAMENTALS FIRST THING.
Figure out what your “fundamentals” are and bang them out first thing every day. Each person has their own unique set of “fundys”, which are essentially the things that you know if you do, you’ll have a better day because you did them. Once you identify what they are, make it your NUMBER ONE priority to get them done, every single day — ideally, first thing.
Helpful Hint: I am currently waking up with the sunrise at 5:30am to bang out my fundys. Mine include meditating, exercising, creating, learning, and playing (plus noble nutrition). Only you can define what works for you.
5. BABY STEP STYLE.
Treat yourself like you would treat your first born baby boy: with patience, compassion, playfulness, and love. Look to take small sized steps, like a baby does, that will pay off in the long run. Celebrate your near successes and small successes just as much as you would celebrate a big success. Get rid of the culprit concept of perfection and give yourself the freedom to fall 1000 times. Have faith that each time that you land on your ass, you’ll walk away with a lesson learned.
Helpful Hint: Baby’s don’t have egos. They don’t say to themselves “I’m such a moron, I fell AGAIN – that’s the 250th time.” Until they’ve been socially conditioned, they don’t care what other people think about them, and they certainly don’t have an opinion of themselves. Drop dat’ ego!
6. BITCH OR BREEZE.
If you are going to commit to something, make it NON-NEGOTIABLE that you do what you’ve gotta do to keep your commitment. The trick is this: 99% IS A BITCH. 100% IS A BREEZE!
Helpful hint: This concept is powerfully potent when you intertwine it with baby steps. 100% commitment to 1 small thing will leave lasting results.
7. BE YOUR GOALS.
Don’t set your goals on getting that new ultra-seducing, superficially-sparkling, something-something. Instead, set your goals on BEING the type of person who can get what they’re looking to have in their life. Be the type of person, who has the peace of mind, to make the kind of money, to buy what you’re looking to have. Ask yourself this: WHO WILL I HAVE TO BECOME TO ACHIEVE WHAT IT IS THAT I WANT?
Helpful Hint: You can think of goals in these 3 categories: Being, Doing, and Having. Being goals will bring the longest lasting joy, as this is what you are from second to second to second, each and every day. (To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with doing and having goals either!)
8. ONLY ONE TOUCH.
E-mail. Voice-mail. Snail-mail. Facebook: once you check it, if it deserves a reply, answer it NOW. Putting off your response will only keep an open-loop in your head, inviting anxiety and stress to start to build up over time. Make the commitment to yourself to not be a no-named nosey bastard and be ready to handle your business once you’ve embarked on finding out what it was.
Helpful Hint: I have Outlook set to not notify me of any new mail, and I check my mail ONLY when I am ready to respond. Granted, some emails take time to retort to, but the ones that require a less than 5 minute response get replied to right away.
9. SMALL DECISIONS QUICKLY.
Don’t waste energy on the small stuff like: picking out what to wear, choosing what to order on a menu, or deciding what movie to watch tonight. Make small decisions quickly and keep your energy readily reserved in the tank for when it’s time to figure out BIG things like: where to move next year, how to live a life of passion, or the best way to give your greatest gifts to the world.
Helpful Hint: Go with your gut. Intuition is commonly misconceived as a decision with no logic; that’s not the case. Intuition is your mind using a different type of algorithm to make a split second decision. This is very different from a long thought-out theory, yet sometimes is even more powerful. Listen to your instincts!
10. CONSISTENCY OVER INTENSITY.
Counter-intuitively, resist the urge to blast off face-first into a new project, task, or goal. You’ll probably be super stoked to get your groove going and in turn you may burn out pretty quickly. It’s proven to be way more beneficial to work out for 15 minutes every day than 90 minutes once a week. In the long hall, everyday consistency over intensity will pay off tremendously.
Helpful Hint: Commit to being consistent on something small. If you wanna start exercising every day, make a 100% non-negotiable commitment to doing ONE push up. My gut tells me that when you drop down to do one, you’ll end up bangin’ out at least 5 or 10. Over a month’s period, watch as you go from 1 to 25.
I am a mere mortal…
…and I have not fully internalized all of the above ideas, YET! I am, however, really enjoying the process of playing with how I can create my most successful life. When I say successful, don’t be misled by what social conditioning has led us to believe that term to mean. Success, to me, comes from an intrinsic and authentic place of waking up enthusiastic every day because I am super stoked that I choose to live a life of love (and, that I love.) Only you can measure your own success.
My life is very much a hero’s journey in the works, and for me, that’s the best part. It’s not about getting to a place where one day I’ll have these 10 (plus another 372) principles fully functioning in my life — it’s all about enjoying the process of having fun while working to grow and slowly become a better human being. My relationship to the unknown has really become a revered and intimate one, and I treasure the true freedom that comes with not being attached to any single particular outcome.
I trust that you got some major flava funk outta this first batch of everyday epiphanies. I have a feeling that deep down inside you may have already known most of this knowledge, and I’m honored to serve as reminder of it for you.
To wrap this up, I would suggest focusing consciously on ONE thing (NOT 10!) that really resonated witcha on this list, and make a 100% commitment to implement it into your life. Just one, 100%, non-negotiable, baby step. Those are my favorite!
Check out the vivid video on this:
Also, check out Will Smith’s Wisdom:
PS: Make sure that you share your new 100%, non-negotiable, baby step commitment below!
They made the CHANGE... What about you?
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