How The Ego Clouds Our Perception Of Risk (And What You Can Do About It)

The ego’s an interesting topic. Although I’d like to think I’m a lot better than the average person in regards to managing their ego, I’m not sure I am, and despite making improvements in this area of my life I’m still frequently controlled by my ego. Like last week, the blog post and video aren’t exactly the same, but they’re similar enough you don’t need to consume both of them. Feel free to select whatever medium you prefer…

Moving onwards, something I’ve really noticed over the last couple weeks is just how lethal the ego can be in regards to success. Take pick-up for example. I’m no master pick up artist, but over the last couple months my social skills have dramatically improved, and I’ve learned a lot from going out.

One of the coolest things I’ve learned from the game is the idea of going all in and fully committing yourself to a social situation.

A lot of people go into social situations wearing a mask, and prevent themselves from investing too heavily into interactions in case they go sour. I’d suggest you do the exact opposite.

When you see someone you want to talk what I’d recommend is being completely genuine, expressing a vibe congruent to the mood you’re in, and putting your ego on the line.

Being yourself, and expressing how you really feel is pretty self-explanatory, but why does putting your ego on the line matter? Because most people who’ve been rejected won’t, so by making yourself vulnerable you actually increase your chance of success by broadcasting two very important things.

One, that you’re rarely rejected (few people who are frequently rejected will be able to congruently put their ego on the line), and two, that you’re not afraid of rejection which puts you in the light of being a value-provider who has their own ecosystem of positive emotions, and thus doesn’t have to leech off of other people.

Now the big question is why are most people unwilling to put their ego on the line? There’s two main answers.

The first is that the ego fears loss more than it desires gain. Your biological brain assumes on a fundamental level that if you’ve survived this many years living, however you’ve lived than it’s likely you’ll continue to survive if you stick to the same routine. But if you switch things up your brain can’t be certain what’ll happen and thus fear manifests.

Another reason most people are afraid to take action is because doing so will inevitably crush your ego’s fantasy. If you never take action your brain will always be able to justify that you could’ve done something, you just chose not to. It’ll be able to maintain the fantasy that you know how to attract women, that you’re capable of building a successful business, whatever. However, if you choose to take action you’re guaranteed to be hammered back to the reality of your situation, and all of your ego’s mental masturbation fantasies will shatter.

What’s The Solution?

Put your ego on the line, and take action anyway. You’ll likely have to start off small, and you’re going to feel fear, but this is something you just have to force yourself to do.

Fortunately, if you’re able to consistently put your ego in its place you’ll be able to evaluate risk more intelligently, and you’ll develop a stronger grounding, and sense of self along the way.

It’s definitely a process, and you’ll always feel fear in stressful situations, but with enough practice you’ll no longer be paralyzed by that fear. When you get to the point where you feel fear, but are able take action anyway you’ll begin producing the best results of your life.

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The Immersion Ideal

It’s been a week since my last post so I guess it’s about time I write another one. Today’s topic is the idea of the immersion ideal, and how to most effectively develop new skills. I’ve embedded a video as I plan to dive into experimenting with video as a medium, but I’ve also written a healthy sized blog post here in case you prefer reading.

What Is Immersion?

Immersion is the idea of putting yourself into an environment that requires you to extensively perform a certain skill, with the hopes of improving it. Immersion typically takes a large chunk of a person’s time, sometimes even to the detriment of other areas of one’s life, but for many people immersion is worth it because it allows them to quickly develop a skill.

For example, cultural immersion. Thousands of foreign exchange students come to America every year for an opportunity to be immersed in our language and culture. This may mean putting the rest of their life on hold, but nearly all exchange students are happy to have done their exchange because immersing themselves in the American culture for a year allows them to attain language fluency, experience our culture and often develop an entirely new perspective on life.

Of course, foreign exchange is an extreme example of immersion, and leaving your entire world behind to develop a skill usually isn’t necessary.

A more moderate example of immersion is something I did last summer. Making the commitment to write for an hour everyday. I wasn’t perfect, but I ended up writing something like 75 blog posts in 90 days, watched my blog traffic double, and improved my writing skills a TON in the process.

I probably would’ve gotten even better results if I committed to writing 2-3 hours everyday, but the point is even moderately immersing yourself in something can produce huge results in a relatively short amount of time.

Sustainable Immersion

Although most people aren’t focused enough, there’s also a possibility of becoming too immersed in something. This is bad for learning because it doesn’t allow the incubation effect to take place, but it’s also unhealthy, and ultimately ineffective.

The first summer after I learned to juggle I loved juggling so much that I’d often juggle for 6-8 hours a day. My skills were improving and I was having a lot of fun initially, but by the end of the summer my arms had gotten disgustingly skinny from such an excessive amount of cardio, the pace I was progressing dramatically dropped off, and worst of all I felt moderately depressed because I had no life balance.

I’ve also experienced this at times with my social life. Going out and immersing myself in social situations can be great if I’m doing it 3-7 days in a row, but if I go more than a week or so running around to social events without taking a day off I start to get run down, and they stop being fun.

The Accumulation And Output Of Energy

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I’ve tried the 100 hour work week, and although it’s cool to hammer things out every once in a while, it’s just not a sustainable long term approach.

I’ve tried going to school, then working out, then doing my juggling training, then doing my homework, then writing a blog post, then rapping, and it feels awesome to get so much done in a day, but I’ve learned that doing so is unproductive in the long term because doing so sets myself up for burn out.

Something most people don’t understand, and that I didn’t realize until recently, is that you can only output as much energy as you accumulate. Trying to put out more than you’ve accumulated will only lead to frustration, stress, and ultimately a lower output.

If you seem to be stagnating in life the best way to get past a plateau is to reach a new level of energy accumulation. By eating healthy foods, exercising, enjoying an amazing social life, meditating, finding fulfilling hobbies, exposing yourself to uplifting material, etc., you’ll increase the amount of energy you accumulate, and thus you’ll be able to have a much more powerful output.

Cyclical Immersion

The reason we’ve just covered the accumulation and output of energy is it’s an essential piece of the immersion puzzle. Immersion is important, but in most cases immersion shouldn’t be permanent.

From my research, the people I’ve studied, and personal experience, immersion is most effectively done in a cyclical fashion. In other words, you can’t always be at your best at everything all the time.

So maybe you decide to focus on your social life for a couple months. You think hey, I deserve to have some really cool friends so I’m going to go out seven nights a week for the next two months.

The important thing to realize is that for your RAS (reticular activating system) to really kick in you’ve got to be hammering it in whatever you’re trying to improve in. You can try to learn a language by studying 20 minutes a day, but you’re never going to become fluent that way because you brain needs the immersion for you RAS to kick in, and really understand the nuisances of whatever it is you’re trying to learn.

Unfortunately, doing something like going out seven nights a week is probably going to cause stagnation, or even a slight drop off in other areas of your life. It’s difficult to make gains in the gym when you’ve only got time to go 1-2 times per week, but that’s OK.

It’s not in your best interest to let the rest of your life go to the shitter when you’re immersing yourself in something, but the willingness to let things just chill in maintenance mode sometime will ultimately allow you to get the most bang for your buck and develop the best skills you could possibly have.

After a couple months of hammering it out socially maybe you start to get burnt out, and then you decide to switch your focus to your work. This shift in focus will reduce burnout, stress, and ultimately increase your ability to accumulate energy, and thus improve your ability to output new things to the world.

This cyclical approach to immersion isn’t something that’s talked about a lot, but by using it you’ll be able to produce some amazing results in your life.

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Don’t Ask For Permission, Know Where You’re Going

Something that’s repeatedly come up in my life lately is the importance of decisiveness, knowing your purpose, and broadcasting to the world that the ball’s in your court. I’ve listed three examples below, as I assume you’ll be able to relate to at least one of the stories.

Story One

I was bench pressing earlier this week and after a recovery week away from the weights I thought It’d be a good idea to be cautious with the amount I was lifting my first day back. I think part of me really believed that, but I also feel there was another part of me that just didn’t want to put in the work that day.

Fortunately I did the math wrong, and I didn’t realize I put the wrong amount of weight on the bar until I was about to lift it. Instinctively I sat up, and was about to take weight off justifying that I couldn’t possibly rep 165 pounds. Then something within me shifted.

I tuned into a meditative state, a state of being in which conscious thoughts don’t exist, and then confidently sat back down and performed 5 reps of a weight heavier than anything I’ve ever lifted.

Story Two

I was at a high school football game, and a girl I hung out with a couple times this summer called my name from a few rows above me. I climbed up the bleachers, gave her a hug, greeted her, and then yelled Macarena! Immediately after, me, her, and the girl she was with all randomly started doing the Macarena.

Story Three

I was talking to another girl a couple weeks ago, and because we hadn’t seen each other all summer I told her we needed to chill sometime. She was down, but I didn’t put the responsibility of setting up plans on her.

I told her we were going Frisbee golfing Wednesday afternoon, and that I’d see her there in a few days. I texted her Wednesday morning telling her not to be too excited to see me, and we were having an amazing time on the course just a couple hours later.

(Social value is provided by inviting others into the amazing movie of your life, rather than begging to be included in theirs.)

The Common Denominator

What do all three of the stories have in common? I knew what I want, why I wanted it, and aggressively pursued it while fully expecting it to manifest in my reality. The last point is key.

A lot of people know what they want, and even have good intentions and take actions toward their goals, but if you don’t expect something to manifest in reality it probably won’t.

If I would have asked the girl, “So uhmm do you think we could maybe do the Macarena?” she would have laughed at me and told me to fuck off. However, because I was willing to put my ego on the line, and fully expected them to start dancing with me, I subconsciously projected I’m the one with social value, and that they’d be crazy to reject me because they’d be the ones missing out.

Moreover, because I fully believed I was creating a more fun environment for all of us, and that they’d dance with me my brain calibrated the tonality of my voice, and body language in a way that exemplified sincerity, and made it impossible for them to say no.

Life is a lot like politics. People want to follow a leader who knows where they’re going. Even your own brain won’t fully commit all of its resources to something unless you’re sure of yourself.

Stop seeking permission to do stuff and just do it. Once you decide you want something, and you have a good reason for wanting it that in itself should be permission to aggressively pursue it. And if you really need somebody else’s permission to start going after what you really want in life here’s mine. 😉

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Evolutionary Pressure, The Essentials, And Sustainability

I’ve only been back to school a week now, but I’ve had a number of epiphanies during that time. These epiphanies haven’t come from my teachers or the material presented in my classes, but through the unique challenges with trying to be a hustler while you’re parents still force you attend an outdated and irrelevant “education” system.

This week has had more ups and downs than any in recent memory. I had a stretch of 3 days last week where I was working 15 productive hours per day and absolutely crushing life. I also hit a really low point this weekend where I had somewhat of a nervous breakdown, and although that was a really painful experience it did help me internalize some important lessons.

The Three Powerful Lessons I’ve Learned This Week

You’re capable of a lot more than you think you are, but you’ll never know it if you don’t force yourself to show it.

What do I mean by this? Our brain doesn’t like doing any work beyond what’s absolutely essential. It likes to conserve energy. If you don’t put evolutionary pressure on yourself to do stuff you probably won’t. It’s not that you couldn’t, you just won’t.

Do you think Cal Ripken Jr. always felt like showing up? I’m sure he got burnt out at times, but the man showed up 2,632 times in a row. It’s hard not to be successful when you’ve got that kind of consistency.

How did he do it? He burned bridges. He didn’t allow not showing up to be an option. You can’t rely on willpower alone to accomplish things, because willpower isn’t a sustainable resource. If you rely on it too frequently it’ll deplete and then you’re fucked.

Going to school is far from the most effective way for me to be spending my time, but until I’m 18 I don’t have much of a choice so I’ve learned to be hyper productive while I’m there to prevent myself from having homework, and still get straight A’s to keep the parents off my back.

How do I do it? It’s my only option. I’m the only kid who skips lunch everyday to do his homework in the library. I’m the only kid who works on his English homework while the rest of the class is lining up at the door the last five minutes of class. Anybody else could do these things, but because it’s not a necessity for them they just don’t.

Even right now I’m hustling. In the summer time wasn’t necessarily abundant, but I had an extra 40 hours a week to get things done. As a result I tended to be much less intense and I often wouldn’t start writing or whatever my first task of the day was until 10 or 11 o’clock.

That’s not an option now. I can’t even afford to spend the same amount of time writing as I did in the summer. In the summer I typically spent 1.5-2 hours writing a 700 word post. Now I’m learning to crank out 1,000 words within an hour.

Are the quality of my blog posts suffering? Maybe, maybe not. I’m sure it’ll take a while to get used to this speed, but regardless the message I’m trying to get across is if you want to get something done you need to burn your bridges, and make the completion of “x” task your only option.

As Will Smith once said, “No Plan B, it distracts from Plan A.”

Cut Out The Crap, And Focus On The Essentials

It’s one thing for me to tell you to put evolutionary pressure on yourself and make success your only option, but why is this beneficial? For one it increases your intensity. Growing up and slaving my life away at a meaningless 9-5 isn’t an option for me so you better believe you’ll find me hustling at almost any given moment rather than chowing down on a bag of chips and watching football.

The other reason evolutionary pressure is beneficial is because it shows you what’s essential and what isn’t. When time becomes a scarce resource you learn to dial in and remove anything unnecessary from your life.

For example, now that school has started I haven’t been reading as many blogs. In the summer I’d often read and leave blog comments for an hour or two per day, but lately I’ve spent less time “researching” and only been reading a handful of blogs.

By no means do I mean to imply that reading is a bad habit as that couldn’t be any further from the truth. I think taking in a modest amount of positive information every day is very important. Input does equal output. The problem occurs, however, when learning about how to do things gets in the way of actually doing them.

Another thing I’ve eliminated from my life is excessive email, and twitter usage. Those negative, unconscious habits slowly developed within me through out the summer, and by the end I was often checking them 5+ times per day. I’ve already addressed this and implemented the use of WasteNoTime to prevent automatically force myself from using Twitter more than 15 minutes per day, and likely saved a LOT of discipline in the process.

I always try to respond to blog comments within 12 hours or so, as I think letting you know your contribution to the community here is important, but constantly refreshing my twitter feed to see what everyone else is up to is obviously a waste of time.

I understood this on a logical level during the summer, but I don’t think I realized just how bad I was about it until those small 5 minute increments of time because valuable resources I couldn’t afford to squander.

Regardless of what you want to accomplish, sometimes temporarily overloading yourself is a good way to see just how much you’re capable of. It’s not healthy nor sustainable if you’re constantly running around at a frantic pace trying to get things done, but seeing just how much you can take on for a week or so will likely produce some very valuable insights.

Sustainability-Think Lasting Results, Not Instant Results

The final thing I’ve really begun to learn about this week is the importance of sustainability. Working hard is important, but working yourself to the point of exhaustion for weeks, or months on end only leads to nervous breakdowns, and worse. Trust me.

(Sometimes you just gotta have some fun.)

You need to find a special type of work you’re passionate about and develop a work schedule for yourself that allows you to be happy, and have minimal stress. If happiness falls too low for an extended period of time, or stress creeps too high you’re setting yourself up to go on an instant gratification spree to numb yourself and attempt to escape from reality.

This’ll mean different things for all of us, but for me this means going out and socializing a few times per week. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been a workaholic these last few years, and I’m still learning the importance of maintaining a social life.

I made a lot of progress in this area of my life this past summer, but I’ve still got to do a better job of staying consistent with my social life. Sometimes I allow myself to remain too socially isolated and like any animal separated from its species that rapidly increases my stress levels whether I realize it or not.

Maybe if you’re an extrovert it means not staying out too late on the weekends so you’re not exhausted during the week. Maybe if you love food it means learning to develop a taste for healthy food and staying away from unsustainable solutions like diet pills. Regardless, of your specific circumstances it’s important to focus on lasting results rather than temporary achievements.

I felt like I might have went into too much detail about my life here, and should have focused more on the action steps, but I wanted you to be able to see where these realizations came from. Regardless, I hope you found them useful, and were able to take something from this post.

Let me know in the comments! 🙂

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Feeling much better than a few days ago. Last weekend was painful, but valuable. That’s the way I see it, and I believe that’s a healthy way of looking at it.

Speed writing is coming along well. 1,355 words today in 58 minutes. Another 10 or so minutes to edit everything and proofread.

Picture from July 2013 at St. Lucy’s festival in Racine, Wi.

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Dark Times: When The World Comes Crashing Down On You

Yesterday was rough. I spent the majority of the day doing everything possible to satisfy my cravings for instant gratification and chemical highs. I ate comfort food, I watched stupid videos, did things I knew I would regret, and wasted the entire day pursuing anything that would give me a hit of dopamine and instant gratification.

The frustration of pissing an entire day away left me feeling moderately depressed, and now that the highs have wore off I’m numb and haven’t smiled since. Even today I immediately began to seek out comfort in instant gratification as a coping method for yesterday. I’m on the brink of falling into a very dark downward spiral.

When you’re consistent it’s easy to place more emphasis on long-term prosperity over instant gratification. However, if you slip up it becomes nearly impossible to break the constant cycle of stimulation and searching for the next dopamine hit. That’s where I’m at right now.

I’ve fucked up my dopamine receptors (The brain’s reward/pleasure center), and now the only thing that can comfort me is more chemical highs. Once your baseline happiness drops below a certain level you tend to do whatever it takes to comfort yourself, or even numb your emotions regardless of the long-term consequences.

Writing this post is the last thing I want to be doing right now. I can’t believe the effort each sentence takes to articulate. Just reading over this my writing skills seem nonexistent at this point, and I can tell from what I’ve written alone that I’m not in a healthy head space.

I have to do it though. It’s painful to write, and I doubt this post will be memorable or even good, but I know the longer I put off what I need to be doing the more difficult it’ll become. I’m an inspiration to a lot of people, so I can’t back down now. This is my chance to get back-on-track. This is the best first action I can take to prevent myself from falling deeper into a downward spiral.

I’ve never lost a war, but I can’t keep putting myself into battles with relentless enemies. At some point I’m going to be overwhelmed so the real answer lies in prevention.

Keeping Baseline Happiness High, And Stress Levels Low

I’ve found that if you can manage to maintain a consistently high level of happiness, and relatively low levels of stress you’ll be almost immune to instant gratification. People will offer you junk food, but you’ll have no problem resisting. Your favorite TV show will be on, but you’ll have no problem turning if off to play with the kids or get more work done.

The problem occurs when your level of happiness dips, or your stress levels elevate for an extended period of time. Fortunately if you pay careful attention to the way your feeling you can usually identify these before you end up binging on something that’ll make you feel worse in the long-run.

This week I’d been working 15 hour days. Between school, juggling, rapping, writing, and lifting I’d often have less than an hour per day where my mind wasn’t intensely focused on something. My “downtime” consisted of driving to and from school, and reading during dinner. That’s it.

I knew the stress was beginning to elevate to dangerous levels by Thursday or Friday, and I knew I needed to go out, socialize, and let loose this weekend otherwise the stress was going to become excessive and something was going to give.

You know what happened though? I got greedy and tried to work through the weekend, and ended up accomplishing WAY less than I would have by going out a few hours each night. I tried to bite off more than I could chew, and I’m suffering for it.

I’m starting to realize it’s all going to be ok though. I wasted a day of my life, and I’m going to be chemically hung-over for several more days, but writing this is allowing me to feel better, and I think I’ve learned a valuable lesson about work-life balance for the future.

No point regretting the past. Ain’t nothing you can do so don’t waste your energy moping over it. Look at it, take whatever lessons you can, and keep moving forward.

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Stop Ego Stroking, And Start Inviting Constructive Criticism Into Your Life

Today was the first day of my Junior year of high school. Don’t worry though, I won’t bore you with talking about the beautiful girls, and ratchet hoes in my class. No, what I’d rather discuss is an interesting observation I had.

Being the first day of school my classes consisted mostly of the teachers discussing their expectations of us and the material planned to be covered in that course over the next few months.

As you might expect this was extremely repetitive, and tedious to listen to every hour. To add to this, however, there was a girl in one of my classes who had a comment for literally every single thing the teacher said. The girl, who we’ll call “Chatterbox” wasn’t trying to be mean, and her first few comments were even funny, but as you can imagine her constant interruptions quickly got old.

I think the reason she kept making comment after comment isn’t because she’s socially retarded, but because after we laughed at her first few remarks her ego got a validation boost.

She continued to announce her thoughts to the class because when someone is rewarded for something they’re more likely to do it in the future. As long as the rewards continue they’ll continue to do the action that’s producing them. When the reward, (in this case validation) is removed the person will typically realize that the behavior is no longer producing the desired results and then move on to something else.

However, even if the reward is removed, if the person still perceives themselves getting the results they desire they’ll continue with the action.

In this case, even though we found her annoying by the 4th or 5th time, we were still laughing simply because we couldn’t believe how many times she was interrupting the teacher. “Chatterbox,” didn’t know that though and she continued to interrupt because she thought we were laughing with her rather than at her.

(“Chatterbox” was almost as obnoxious as me the time I pretended to be Spiderman in Target.)

Your Point Is?

It’s impossible for us to objectively review ourselves. Every observation we make of ourselves is subjective, and thus, often inaccurate. It can be difficult to see our own flaws which I why I can’t recommend relying entirely on yourself to identify them.

“Chatterbox,” wasn’t trying to be annoying, but because of the difficulty in evaluating your own behavior she probably still doesn’t know she was driving us crazy. The solution?

The willingness to accept constructive criticism. If you want to make it to the next level (especially socially) you need to be willing to put your ego aside.

Eric Thomas, one of my favorite motivational speakers often says that, “You can’t shine bright like a diamond if you’re not willing to get cut.

Your Homework

Because today is the first day of school in Racine, I think it’s appropriate that I hand out some homework tonight. Don’t worry though, unlike the garbage they give you in school this will be well worth your effort.

Your homework for today is to actively seek out constructive criticism from two people by the end of the day. These people don’t need to be your best friends, but they should know you well enough that they can provide you solid advice for things you could do to become a better person.

Whether it’s your parents, siblings, teacher, boss, friends, whatever is irrelevant. Just let them know that you want a completely, uncensored opinion of your shortcomings and what you can do to improve.

Also let them know, that NO MATTER WHAT they say, you won’t hold it against them. This is important. You need to be willing to have someone brutally bash you if you want to get any benefit out of this. If all you’re going to do is have people stroke your ego you’re wasting your time.

And remember, NO MATTER WHAT, you can’t be angry at them for telling the truth. You asked them not to censor themselves, and if you get angry with them they’ll never give you honest constructive criticism again.

To those that actually try the exercise let me know how it goes in the comments. I’d love to hear the responses you get!

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Still experimenting with giving myself an hour to write and forcing myself to be done at the end of it. So far it’s working pretty good I think! Definitely creates a sense of urgency and prevents me from nitpicking which word to use and instead focusing on on the big idea.

(Picture from Spring Break 2013)

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Stop Consuming, Start Creating

We’ve got another aggressive blog post today. Being somewhat related to yesterday’s topic of developing the courage to see the truth rather than endlessly searching for it, I’d like to talk about creating vs consuming.

It’s an interesting topic. Think about all the people you look up to. Tony Robbins, Michael Jackson, Steve Jobs, whoever. What do they have in common? They’re producers much more so than consumers.

We idealize people for the things they create, but for some reason we’re afraid to create things ourselves. Why? Consumption is effortless. Websites like Youtube, and Reddit have been designed to be highly stimulating and provide instant gratification. I’m sure all of us have had days wasted watching random videos, or if you’re like me reading dozens of personal development blog posts.

How many days though have you spent 10+ hours producing creative works? Exactly. The longest I’ve ever written was 7 or 8 hours straight and I’m more than half-a-year into this blogging business.

I’m pretty sure most people couldn’t even sit down for the hour or two I write everyday. Why is that? Perhaps they’re just trying to express themselves via the wrong medium. If you’re more comfortable expressing your ideas through music than public speaking then there’s nothing wrong with that.

If you’re not producing anything right now via any medium, however, what I’d suggest is that you’ve merely allowed your creative muscles to atrophy. Similar to our physical bodies our creative muscles need consistent exercise. If we don’t exert ourselves we become weak.

Each day I go without writing a blog post it gets a little more difficult to write until it eventually gets to the point of being seemingly impossible after a week or two. Once I force myself to sit down and write however, my creative muscles quickly begin to develop again.

(If you do this enough you’re bound to create something epic.)

What If My Creative Muscles Are Dead?

A couple paragraphs ago I mentioned that it seems almost impossible for me to produce anything after a week or two without writing a blog post. It seems logical to argue then that after months, or years without creating anything it actually becomes impossible to do so.

I would say you’re right. Well, at least to some degree. Your muscles never die, but if you’ve gone a long time without producing, or have never produced anything before than it will likely seem like your creative muscles don’t even exist. What do you do at this point?

You create anyway. When I first started writing I sucked at it. I’ve been told I’m a fairly decent writer at this point, but back when I first started writing blog posts I sucked. Almost every single one of my posts ended up being a 200 word pithy article simply rehashing what other people had already said. You know what I did though? I accepted it, and kept writing.

When you first start with writing, video editing, music, etc. you’re probably going to suck. Some of us start sucking worse than others, but all of us who stick to the creation process look back on our first works one day and marvel at the improvement.

The people who end up sticking with it also realize something. It’s ok to suck. As long as you’re doing your best and working towards improvement there’s nothing more you can ask of yourself. There’s no reason to get your ego attached to your work. Don’t focus on improvement as a means to an end either.

I know I’m not the greatest writer in the world, but I know that by writing everyday I’m improving and that I’m learning more about myself and helping others in the process. In fact, I’m expecting over 1,000 visitors this month to cameronchardukian.com Talk about a win/win/win.

I also know that at this point I’m not even a mediocre rapper. I suck and I know it, but I’m having the time of my life anyway. I’m really enjoying the spontaneity of freestyling and my rhymes are significantly better than even a week ago.

The point that I’m trying to get across is that you’re going to suck initially, but as long as you pick the right medium (and if you don’t it’s no biggy, just switch when you realize it) then you’ll derive fulfillment from the process of creating and competence will soon follow.

Why Would I Want To Create Things?

  • As I alluded to before, creating things will position you as an authority in your field. Being an authority in your given field is beneficial because it’ll open you up to a lot of new opportunities and experiences.
  • Creating things is also a great tool for self-expression. We all have a need to express ourselves and feel understood. Writing, painting, and singing are great ways to do that.
  • It gives you a body of work. Sometimes we think of this as something to look back on at the end of your life, but having hundreds of blog posts, or interesting Youtube videos will also help you find work as well as provide a great topic for discussion.
  • Finally, producing things for the world is probably the best way to make it a better place. If you write a song about dealing with your lover breaking up with you there’s a good chance someone will be able to relate, and your song may even help them recover. If you write a book about healthy dieting, you’ll likely be able to help LOTS of people out. The best part of this is that it’s completely scaleable as well. As a personal trainer you can only be at one place at a time and over the course of a year you may only be able to help 100 people. If you write a book about the basics of exercising, however, you may be able to help thousands, or even MILLIONS of people for years to come.

I’d highly encourage you to get started with becoming a creator today. It may take more effort than consuming, but I truly believe the act of self-expression and creation brings us to life, and I think you’ll derive much more fulfillment from this path.

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Because of school starting up again I’m strapped for time and am experimenting with speed writing. I think this post turned out pretty good, but let me know if you think otherwise. I’ve never tried deliberately writing faster before, but I was able to get over 1,000 words in an hour edited, proofread and everything. Sweet stuff!

(Picture of me is from Spanish class a couple months ago. Finally a 2013 picture of me!)

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You Don’t Need A Guru, You Already Have The Answers

This post isn’t going to be popular. People aren’t going to like what I’m saying, but it needs to be said. Regardless of what other gurus would like you to believe there’s something you need to know. And you already know it.

It’s a well kept secret because of the nature of the industry, but because of my commitment to delivering the truth I’m willing to share it with you. Are you ready?

The truth about self-improvement is that the gurus don’t know anything more than you do. I’ve spent years of my life dedicating my life to personal development and determining the nature of reality, and the further I go the more confused I get.

I may have mastered the art of implementing new habits, and I may have developed a great work ethic in the process, but does that make me any better than you? I may have internalized the ideas of knowing when to quit, and knowing how to build relationships, but is that something you don’t know, or merely something you haven’t internalized?

See, the only reason gurus exist isn’t because we know more than you, it’s because we do more than you. The nature of personal development resides almost entirely in truisms. Sure, research may have taught me a few things you don’t know about sleep, but even if you haven’t spent a day in your life reading you’d still know 90% of the things it takes to get to the next level. Bloggers, motivational speakers, etc. are here merely to remind you of truisms you may have forgetten about during your daily life, and to show you that if we can change, then you can too.

Once you’ve read a couple books on personal development reading more isn’t what’s going to give you epiphanies that change the way you see the world. Subscribing to more blogs isn’t what’s going teach you the nature of reality. No, it’s much more difficult than that.

The truth of the matter is that the answers aren’t out there waiting to be found. You already have them, and you know it. They’re hidden among layers of lies, and fear, but they’re still available to you if you’re willing to dig deep down. Doing so may be painful, but if you want the truth, what other choice do you have?

There may be many methods you can use to examine your beliefs, but the strategy you use isn’t particularly important. The big thing is that you have the courage to face whatever you may find. One method I’ve used in the past is sitting in a quiet room by myself for hours thinking about the way I think about the world, but what I’ve found to be even more effective is a method my buddy Linus introduced me to.

He suggested to me that writing your thoughts, and beliefs about the world is even more effective because it allows you to more easily see what conflicts and also examine your beliefs somewhat more objectively.

I won’t go into details about his specific method of digging as he’s already written a post about it, but definitely make time to check it out.

I don’t have anything more to add so I’m going to end this post here. I’m sure the ideas here weren’t new to you, but I’m sure you found this reminder helpful. I’m not going to give you a call to action today because you already know what you need to do. Do it. Seize the day.

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