LIFE’S LARGEST LESSONS
MEANING AND PURPOSE ENABLE SUSTAINABLE CHANGE
Do you remember as a kid playing with magnets? When the magnets are aligned you feel this force start pulling the magnets together. This is what happens when we have meaning and purpose working in our life. It creates a powerful force that aligns our focus, energy and effort toward what we want to achieve. When we have our purpose and our life mission in place, we feel nothing can remove us off our path. Meaning and purpose act like an engine and GPS, providing a constant force and direction to ensure we get what we want out of life. Purpose connects our goals with actions. Meaning links our life experiences into a cohesive narrative providing a compelling force for coordinating change and creating impact.
LEARN TO LOVE DEATH
When we face the fact that we will die it alters the way live. Watching my brother die in front of me at just 16 years old gave life an all new purpose and meaning. Steve Jobs was right…Death is truly the single best invention in the world. Knowing we will die and appreciating that fact changes the way we think, and behave. It removes worry and strips unnecessary fear from my life. More importantly it enables clear focus on the things and people that are valuable.
THE TWO F’S TO CARE ABOUT
Very few things in life can be universally applied that can make or break success except for the 2 F’s – Food and Financial decision-making. The majority of our day is dominated by decisions that involve food or money. Think about that – food (eating) and finance (spending / saving money) are inseparable from everyday life. These hundreds of daily food and financial decisions can either enable or erode our long-term health, wealth, meaning, happiness, and success. We can ignore them but we can’t avoid them. Those that ignore them will inevitably face the disturbing reality down the road of being financially strapped, stressed or declining health. If we own and control our food and financial decisions, we can enable other fun, fulfilling and purposeful activities that contribute to cultivate our meaning in life.
DON’T LEARN, DO SHIT.
The best way to learn is by doing. Not reading books, this blog or accumulating college degrees. Degrees may open doors, but most learning is best accelerated through action. I transformed my life and lost over 100lbs before I went to school and learned physiology, nutrition, health, psychology, and behavior change. Learning and growth is optimally achieved through genuine action and experimentation. I learned football not from reading a book or watching from the sidelines but from practicing and playing. We grow our careers not from studying, courses or certification but from putting in the productivity. We learn best by experience so start trying, experiencing, failing, and genuinely learning. Put differently, we don’t need more education or some special program to start changing today. Just do it.
DEVELOP A FOCUS FILTER
Imagine putting butter in your gas tank. Or drinking dish soap. Sounds outrageous right? Why should it be any different with the information we put in our minds? Society feeds us this idea that our mind is a sponge that should be absorbing as much information as possible. If that is the case, our mind is going to be one dirty sponge. Most agree that “all information is not equal”, yet we have failed to remove information that distracts and drains our attention and energy and kill our change efforts. Developing what I call “focus filters” are the single biggest overlooked opportunity to unlock significant improvements in accomplishing our goals. Information is a time suck. We need filters to size up and ignore information to keep us focused on what matters in life.
HAVE FRIENDS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL SLIGHTLY UNCOMFORTABLE EVERYDAY
People often say we should spend time with people who “make us happy” or “feel comfortable” but this is a quick way to no change and untapped growth. Instead, we should surround ourselves with friends that make us feel a healthy dose of discomfort on a daily basis. Having friends that are much happier, successful, stronger or intelligent can create a discomfort when we compare ourselves. Adding friends that create ‘healthy doses of discomfort’ provide a continuous stream of discomfort that can be used as a motivational force to break out of status quo. We need to look beyond “feel good” friends, to more friends that make us feel a bit uncomfortable in our comfort zones.
IF I AM THE ONLY PERSON ALIVE, WOULD I _______?
Living in Miami, a good friend of mine once asked my thoughts about her getting breast implants. While I have no problem with implants, I was a bit concerned she was not making this decision for herself. Instead of telling her my thoughts, I asked her to imagine if she was the only person alive would you make that decision. She ultimately decided not to get breast implants. The story is simple – too often we make decisions that don’t reflect who we are. Putting ourselves as the only person on earth removes the eyes of others and aligns our actions with our authentic selves and not a crowd pleasing social animal. Comparing ourselves to others is an inevitable part of human life. To maintain our self and personal identity a society obsessed with our “social image” it is healthy to keep asking ourselves the question.