Judgments On Willpower
Tai Lopez always does a damn good job of making me think. Well, that and wondering how the hell he reads so many books, but I guess that is a form of thinking as well. Huh. Touche, Mr. Lopez. Well-played indeed.
A recent newsletter was about a book he recently read, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strengthby Roy F. Baumeister. What caught my attention was his describing the two things that cause the most positive outcomes in our lives are intelligence and willpower/self-control.
The trick is that while intelligence may have certain limits to how it can be improved, you can get better with your willpower.
The challenge? Stress is the #1 killer of willpower, discipline and self-control. As I read this in his newsletter, I’m pretty sure I responded with an “A-freaking-men!” albeit maybe with a stronger choice of vocabulary.
So here is a little video I did this AM about how I’ve seen the forces of stress beat down mightily upon willpower and a reminder that you aren’t a weak, flaw-ridden person if you cannot grind through every, single, solitary hurdle upon your path.
My favorite part is probably the screen cap YouTube selected for the video. I look downright pugilistic!
Enjoy your Sunday, friends.
Life Lessons From the Prowler Part 1: Consistency of Conditions
The Prowler is a funny thing. Well, not so much Will Ferrell kind of funny that fills you with magic and glee and rainbow smiles… more like funny in the sense that you sometimes wonder why in the world you make use of it at all when it causes so much pain and suffering. Nary a rainbow smile to be found at all. Insert favorite emoticon frowny face here.
But what I have found is that a lot of rather interesting thoughts occur to me during and after my Prowler sessions. It dawned on me that maybe I could get a series going on these thoughts and share them with you, dear reader of this blog… because here, we are all about epicmode. Oh that’s right… beastmode isn’t good enough any more. EPICMODE FTW OMG!
*Ahem* Sorry about that – I think the Red Bull I had earlier was stronger than usual.
Here is my first installment from the end of my Prowler session yesterday. To get the full appreciation of Prowler-inspired goodness, it’s critical to get those thoughts captured right as the session ends. And hey, why not do it in video form while trying to catch your breath? That sounds like a win for everyone involved. No script. No planning. No edits. Just pure flow.
This kick-off post is about consistency of conditions No matter how many times you’ve done something or how much expertise you’ve developing at doing it, you will hit life snags that will throw you off your flow.
Enjoy. Looking forward to more of these coming soon.
The Unsexiness of Excellence
During the past 10 years that I’ve been working at my company, we have gotten a company-wide shutdown that runs from Christmas through New Year’s Day. As far as perks going, it’s definitely a darn fine one and makes for a perfect way to close out the old year and prepare for the new. I find myself always becoming more reflective during this chunk of time away from the hustle and bustle of the workplace – not surprising, really. This last break ended up being 13 glorious days away from work and I was able to get down to some serious navel-gazing time.
And what came out of that period of time? What new and meaningful insights poured forth from my head like Athena from that of Zeus? One word kept coming back to me over and over again:
And with that word, the famous Aristotle quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”
So to the YouTubes I went and made this nice video for you. Yes, just for you, gentle reader and no one else.
Excellence… a flashy word for something achieved in a very unsexy sort of way.
What Motivates The Motivator
Thursday AM this past week was a conditioning day and instead of my typical fun with the Prowler, I thought I would change things up and do some 50 yard sprints at the football field of my town’s high school.
On the drive over to the field, my mind gently wandered about a little bit and I began to think about this blog and the overall message of it. I think this was motivated by a book I am reading on blogging that advises bloggers to develop their “elevator pitch” to easily explain what their blog is all about.
Then I got to thinking about others I’ve seen who have motivational style posts… except… well… there was something about their message I couldn’t quite shake.
Make a video about it. Put it on the YouTubes. Boom. Go time.
That’s On You Bro
A lot of this blog may sound like advice I’m giving to others, but anyone who reads it should keep in mind the fact that oftentimes, its guidance I am striving to apply to myself on a daily basis. Today’s vlog is a good example – I want to hold myself to a certain standard when interacting with others, regardless of how they deem to act towards me. Sometimes it’s on me and… well… sometimes it’s on you, bro. Enjoy.
Vlogging Abroad: Fierce and Mighty Goes to Shanghai
I got back into the good ol’ U. S. of A. yesterday evening after spending a nice chunk of the week in Shanghai, China. It’s my second trip to China and first time Shanghai, a city which a friend of mine described as “China’s Paris”. Now, while I didn’t get to see anything in the city that struck me as very Parisian, I did come away with an appreciation for a few things:
- Shanghai. Is. Massive. At a population of 23 million, it’s the most populous city on the planet.
- The city has a fairly amazing skyline. The vlog post has a shot from the roof deck of my hotel and that will give you a pretty good idea of what it looks like at night. Pretty amazing – they love their lights on buildings in Shanghai.
- While not Shanghai specific, I like to travel “rough” in the sense that if I’m going to be on a plane, I will have on some combination of (a) baseball hat, (b) t-shirt, (c) sneakers and (d) pullover. Oh and there is no possible way I am shaving either. This photo is proof to all of the above as I sat in BusinessFirst on United. If you thought for a second that traveling “rough” to China involved being crammed into an impossibly small seat… umm… no. Not so much.
Anyhoo, today’s vlog is about perspective (surprised?), funkiness and living life active vs. passive. Please do enjoy – this is my first attempt at an iPad-generated vlog. Hoping this works out as planned. Also, I was able to build up a few post ideas during the trip that I will be doing over the next few days. Rejoice unto the heavens and cry hosannah!
Dissatisfaction and The Value of Your Life
I’ve never seen the movie “Network“, but I’ve seen the pivotal scene from the film more than a few times and I was drawn to finding it today on YouTube. If you’ve never seen it, here it is:
But what was it that brought me to this?
This is seemingly the 3rd post that jumps to mind for me that deals with some kind of rage (see “Choking On Our Own Rage”) or being pissed off (see “Non-Stop, Full Tilt, Every Day Mayhem” with Ray Lewis’s speech on being “pissed off for greatness”) or today about being mad as hell. Am I just some kind of bitter angry person? One of those cranky old curmudgeons who shakes his fist on his front porch at the kids to gell off of his lawn? The guy who finds nothing to be happy about, but more than a little to complain about? Thankfully, no… I am none of these things… although who doesn’t enjoy a good moment of declaring how things were so much tougher/better when they were growing up and how kids have it SO easy these days? It’s damn therapeutic, I tell ya.
However, the video came to mind for me as I thought about the power of never feeling too satisfied with the state of things. We all get incredibly busy with work, family, friends and rushing around at a hectic pace. I may be just imagining it and maybe its just my own life, but everything feels to be at an accelerated pace over the last year or so. More to do and less time to do it. Doing this for a few days or weeks is manageable, but over longer periods of time, it’s easy to forget about everything going on around you… because you haven’t really stopped to take a look.
And that’s why… every once in a while… we each need to feel truly dissatisfied and maybe get mad as hell. Not angry in the sense of being pissed off at your fellow man or mindlessly shouting to the heavens for some kind of ephemeral justice. No, it needs to be that dissatisfaction with our own lots, lives or situations where we get pissed and think, “No more senseless autopilot… there’s got to be something better out there…” Or in the words of on-the-edge news anchor Howard Beale in the video above, you need to say “I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value!”
Because when you get to that point of being dissatisfied, you suddenly improve the opportunity for a change to really occur. Really and truly to happen. The alternative is to just feel that nothing will ever improve and whatever you are experiencing at this moment is just as good as it’s going to get. Is that what you want? I don’t want that for me and I certainly don’t want that for you.
So the next time you feel that gnawing sense in your gut that you should be able to have something better… there should be more than what is immediately in front of you… don’t stifle it out as a kneejerk reaction and don’t feed it as anger for the sake of anger. Both are senseless and can be destructive (or in Stars Wars, lead to the path of the dark side). Instead, let’s make it that extra push to shake us from our complacency and get a little more for ourselves, our families, our friends and anyone else we care about.
The present may be tough, but since the only constant in life is change… why not make that work for us? We’re human beings. Our lives have value. And settling belittles all of us a little bit at a time.
Non-Stop, Full Tilt, Every Day Mayhem
It’s probably not surprising that I enjoy a very well-done inspiration speech. Certain people who truly have the gift – whether by virtue of being blessed by the gods of Olympus from birth or through, careful, meticulous practice over time – really capture my attention. The ability to move inspire people to do more and be more than they thought possible just fascinates me.
But something about Ray Lewis’s speech struck a slightly different chord with me when I watched it. I still had the chills and felt fired up at the end… but a few minutes later, I found myself pausing to think about what he said from a slightly different vantage point. Ray starts off with:
If tomorrow wasn’t promised, what would you give for today? Forget everything else. Forget everything else. Forget that there was any sunlight left. What would you spend today thinking about?
The reason this got me to thinking was twofold. First, it’s about taking nothing for granted today and if tomorrow is never promised, how will you live today. Second, it also got me thinking about the motto of this blog: Relentlessly push yourself forward. These two ideas taken together basically add up to an idea of going non-stop, full tilt, every single day. All good things, right?
But can we really do that? Should we expect ourselves to really and truly do that? I don’t mean that in some absurdly constructed argument sense where someone says, “No one would live that way since they would make horrible choices, spend all their money and live like lunatics if they 100% committed to that day being their last on earth!” But what I mean instead is… can you go 100% every single day? Furthermore, should you even try?
The reason I got to thinking about this was not to say that embracing utter sloth is somehow a good idea, but to wonder how to pace this effort… how to handle the daily ebbs and flows of time, energy and desire. No one is going to be “ON” 24/7 – not even the most dedicated and motivated. Burn out would be inevitable with a blistering pace like that.
But hard effort every day? The best attitude you can bring to the table every day? Doable without a doubt. Will your best on a rainy Monday with all-day meetings be as good as your best on a sunny Friday with bluebirds serenading your every step? Probably not, but that’s fine. It’s the daily practice that matters.
And that’s where the importance of finding inspiration – whether in a speech, book, song or conversation with a good friend – matters so much. For in those moments, you can see the possibility of moving a few steps past what you thought was your upper limit. And when you get past those sticking points to a new, brave place… then you have progress and you have moved yourself forward.
I can’t say how this day will turn out, but I am going to take Ray’s advice and be “pissed off for greatness”… for I can feel a little bit more mojo pushing me to that place beyond what I knew possible. Time to hustle.
Many Steps Back
It’s a pretty common refrain to speak of taking a step back to make two steps forward. It’s not a bad thought – every now and again we probably need to take stock, reset where we are on something in our lives and then let that step back lead to even better progress than when we started. The tricky piece is that even when you logically know that you will be better off after the step back, it’s still sometimes a challenge to do that. Why? Because who doesn’t want to be advancing all the time. We like progress – we fight against regression.
Today’s vlog is about how I am not taking one or two steps back, but perhaps many. It’s not easy… not at all. Personal pride is a very powerful force, but I think it’s going to be right for me in the end.
As an added bonus, you get to see me act like an utter lunatic for a few seconds. Sunday fun for the whole family!