Find a Different Routine

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Routines just work. Whether it’s exercise or leaving for work at the same time every day, we structure our lives around to-dos that put us on automatic.

Stuff gets done, we’re generally happy for crossing them off the list, and then we move on and do them again.

But routines stifle creativity. Staying open to other possibilities makes room for further improvement and happiness. For example, if you can no longer run you may find that walking and weightlifting can be a powerful substitute. As a result, you may also adopt a healthier diet to stave off weight.

Deviation doesn’t have to be so extreme though. Something as simple as going a different route to work can make you think differently.

When you change behavior, you learn new things and grow. That’s why failure is so impactful; failure tests your ability to adapt to complete newness.

When you change up routines, you also change your perspective which prevents you from getting bored.

If you’re feeling stuck, it’s probably because you’re doing the exact same thing every day. One slight tweak can make all the difference.

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Never…

  • Never outsource your chance to think.
  • Never fast track to success without first mastering the fundamentals.
  • Never pursue a popular career unless it really excites you.
  • Never ignore your own natural talents.
  • Never favor over analysis against your gut. Never run from opportunity in disguise.
  • Never hold back a curious question or be afraid to offer valuable insight. 

Bonus:

  • Never stand near a line you’re not meant to be in. 
  • Never occupy the middle of a room without being aware of both sides.

It is a fundamental law of nature that to evolve one has to push one’s limits, which is painful, in order to gain strength—whether it’s in the form of lifting weights, facing problems head-on, or in any other way.

Ray Dalio

Do it now, no matter how painful.  As the Marines say, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” 

Timing is Everything

Traffic lights are supposed to flow.  Stopping and starting at continuous red lights is unproductive and can be unsafe.  Once you know a route’s timing, you’re likely to speed up just so you can make the impending red light.  You never even see the yellow.  

Time is precious.  We get frustrated when someone else dictates it.  It seems that the only way to get ahead is to break the rules and risk a ticket or drive on the edge and risk an accident.  But everyone is playing the same game so by mutual agreement safety comes first. 

The challenge is advancing swiftly within the boundaries while everyone else goes slow and follows the herd.  Yet there's still hierarchy.  When is the right time to speed up?

The Pear

Ripe pears are the tastiest.  But maximizing the soft juice is all about timing, preparation, and luck. 

Our guts are good estimators.  We know that by experience a solid pear may take 3 days to be soft enough to eat.  What we can't prepare for is life's obstacles.  

We easily forget about the pear unless we make a deliberate attempt to eat it at the right time.  

The ripe pear is no different than the rise of opportunities that strike in life.  We all have plans to invest, to create a business, to write a book, to do something remarkable.   We start these activities (buy the pear) but we rarely follow up and execute (eat the pear) at the right time.  

If we plan accordingly and use our guts, life is ripe for opportunity.      

Maximize the ripest of moments.  That's where the work gets noticed and household names get made.  

Cyclops Pear

Don't be late.

YOLO

The older we are, the pickier we get, not only in the friends we make but in the foods we eat. 

We want to make the best use of our time, which means focusing on the things that matter.  We specify our needs and define uncertainty. 

Growing up we tend to be open to everything, new people, new ideas, new activities.  Our mind is the world’s oyster.  The era of online social networking inundated with all types of friend connections and shareable content. Facebook became the seed of conversation and entertainment. 

And then we aged, got bored and our minds closed. 

Old brains resist change.  But as Steve Jobs reminds us, death can be reenergizing:  

Almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Each day brings new exploration.  The conversation is public, creativity is rampant, and there’s always something new and emerging with the Internet in our pocket.

There’s no excuse for boredom today.  There’s always something to check, write about and share, or play.  As long as the real work gets done, the work that pays the bills, we should have plenty of time to innovate and relax. 

Needless to say, life if short so go long in everything you do.   And question everything.   

Instincts

The more we know a territory through routine the easier it is to slither in and out. Our instincts for timing get better, we know the decisions of the crowds. Ultimately, our pace begets success. We get a better seat on the train or buy the stock before it rises.

Seeing the future and hunting by gut is a practice. It's like catching the wave when surfing in the ocean; you can either ride the wave of opportunity or miss out completely.

Most people miss opportunities because they don't develop awareness. Awareness is a 6th sense, the combination of doubt, hunger, and guessing. It can be learned but it'll never come as natural if you're not vigilant already.

Luck is great timing. Build a better gut.

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

I just finished Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikat.  

It's a must read for anyone looking to refuel or renew the mind to happiness.  But like anything in life, there are no shortcuts to achieve it.  It takes work.  

“I love myself, I love myself, I love myself.”  x100 

Kamal makes it clear that repeating “I love myself” takes dedicated daily practice.  It takes time to feel the world change in your favor.  He makes a strong point to continue practicing inner love to prevent a return of old frustrations.  

His habit reminds us that the brain is elastic, our neurology can change if we want it to.  It's just a matter of keeping our mind's attention on the right things.  

If your life is in the dump, give this book a read.  The meditation tips alone are worth the 99 cents.  It only takes a 45 minute train ride home to finish.     

Here's a list of some my favorite quotes:  

Loving yourself, perhaps the most important of all, is a practice. 

The truth is to love yourself with the same intensity you would use to pull yourself up if you were hanging off a cliff with your fingers. 

each moment I am conscious, I make the decision I LOVE MYSELF.

In all honesty, in the beginning, I didn't believe that I loved myself.  How many of us do?  But it didn't matter what I believed.  All that mattered was doing it and I did it the simplest way I could think, by focusing on one thought again and again and again and again until it was more on my mind than not.

As you love yourself, life loves you back.  I don't think it has a choice either.  I can't explain how it works, but I know it to be true. 

When you find yourself using the word “magical” to describe your life, you'll know what I'm talking about.

If you have to build up to it, that's ok.  The practice works in a way the mind is designed to function.  The mind has no choice but to adapt and respond.  Just remain open to the possibility of loving yourself.  The rest is easy.

Inhale: I love myself.   Exhale: Breathe out what comes up.

Just like love, the subconscious has a positive association with light.  Plants grow towards the light.  As human beings, we crave light.  We find sunrises and sunsets and a bright moon beautiful and calming.  

All I have to do is give it the image – in this case, light; give it the thought – in this case, loving myself.  It does the rest.

(When your attention wanders, notice it and smile.  Smile at it as if it's a child doing what a child does.  And with that smile, return to your breath.  Step 4, step 5.  Mind wanders, notice, smile kindly, return to step 4, step 5).

It gently shifts your focus from wherever you are – whether it's anger or pain or fear, any form of darkness – to where you want to be.  And that is love.  You mind and life have no choice but to follow.

Side note, maybe Richard Simmons had a point when he said, “love yourself and win.”

Kurt Vonnegut: ‘Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories.’

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“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

Kurt Vonnegut, [easyazon_link identifier=”081297736X” locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]A Man Without a Country[/easyazon_link]

Uncertainly Certain….

If you chase certainty, you’ll certainly never be right.  Nothing is certain.  There’s only high probability. 

Still, some people seem to get it right.  They’re lucky, fortunate to have found a pathway that satisfies them.  Luck is a combination of preparadeness and carpe diem. 

You get lucky only when you make decisions and try a lot.  Unfortunately, rightness and wrongness in decision-making comes after the fact.  You either selected the right path and can breathe a sigh of relief or are enduring hell because you went the wrong way. 

The irony of the bad decision-making is that at least you cured indecision by going in a direction.  Now you know with more certainty about the things you want in your future.  At least you tried and gained some knowledge out of the experience.  Life is clearer. 

If you’re uncertain, you’ll almost certainly be right.  Uncertain people are risk-averse, and also the unhappiest people.  The happiest people make decisions and are willing to be right or wrong.  Either way, they get luck or learn a valuable lesson. 

Life is an experiment, most of which fail.  But the best part about is that you can keep going, get back up again and try something else.