You can craft yourself into the hero you dream about.
Most people wait for opportunities to come to them — that’s why they’re stuck in meaning & fulfillment purgatory.
It’s hard to stand up in the face of adversity. However, as many people reading this probably know, it’s perhaps just as hard (if not harder) to live a life that feels inauthentic to the life you truly feel you deserve to experience.
According to data from the National Institute of Health — being the social creatures that we are — we go out of our way to fit in. We know that being part of the crowd is safe. But what does being safe really get you?
Do you really want to live a life that takes the form of what others expect from you in exchange for comfort?
If so — this is your invitation to leave this article and go get a dose of coddling from someone else. Trust me — they’re out there waiting for you and you don’t have to look hard.
If not, if you really want to take on living a life that leaves you wanting more and more each waking day, then you’re in the right place. These are 4 things you should stop immediately if you have the cojones to live the life you truly deserve.
“The most courageous act is to still think for yourself”
— Coco Chanel
Stop Compromising For Less Than You Deserve In Life
If no one would laugh at you or ridicule you — what would be your dream job?
Really- think about this for a moment…
If there weren’t any reputation consequences, how would you want to live your life? I know for me — it would be to either be the host of a reality T.V. show like Survivor — I honestly believe Jeff Propst has the best job in Hollywood, or it would be to become a Spanish bull-slaying Matador. It's just the ultimate showing of a true badass.
Neither are probably never going to happen, right?
Maybe, maybe not.
But you know what comes out of thinking what my dream career would be? I have been able to design a path, reflecting my unique gifts, that might be me as close as possible to both ideas:
- By working for myself and creating content about what I find meaningful, I’m building a life where I’m the architect of the show. I’m building an audience that supports that mission. Who knows how that will take shape five or seven years into the future with creating content…
- Furthermore, I am proverbially slaying the beast of the creative process on a daily basis. Now if I could just get the flashy Matador ensemble and red cape!
The point is — I defined a wild and crazy North Star dream and reverse-engineered a life where I can get as close as I can considering the circumstances.
Most people don’t do this. Most people look for a job on Indeed or some other job posting and think to themselves, I think I could actually get the job and be content enough in that role.
Silicon Valley designer and Stanford University educator, Bill Burnett, highlights this perfectly in his book, Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life,
"Most people do [this] when they need work: they look at the job listings and look for a job that they think they can get. This is one of the worst ways to get a job, and actually has the lowest success rate."
Let’s take this further and think about the other areas of your life:
- What does your out-of-this-world ideal partner look like? Write down his/her characteristics
- What values (without compromise) are going to help you guide your life?
- What kinds of conversations do you want to have with your network?
- What kind of body do you want to look at in the mirror?
- How do you want people to talk about you at your funeral?
Actually answer these questions. Write them down in a journal or on a mind map. Don’t compromise. Reach for the stars.
You might be surprised in a few years where you land.
Stop Waiting For The Perfect Time To Act
Last week, I had a phone conversation with one of my best friends, Jeremy. He was telling me about his new job and how soul-sucking it tends to be. His dream is to become a YouTube creator. The only problem is, he doesn’t create anything.
He mentioned a conversation he had with a mutual contact of ours.
“Mark,” he said, “Your Instagram videos are so cringe. I know you want to be an actor, but the videos aren’t funny.”
Mark paused for a moment, “While that may be true, you want to know the defining difference between us? For years you’ve been telling me you’re going to create a YouTube channel. While my videos might be ‘cringe’ at least I’m in the arena creating…”
My friend Jeremy has been waiting for the “perfect” idea for what seems like seven or so years now…
I get the same questions with the students I coach on how to build an online blogging business. My answer is always the same,
“Start with the smallest negget of an idea. Then keep creating. When you see a pivot — take it. In 12 months, the idea will probably look drastically different. Only then will you really have started down the right path.”
The same goes for other areas of your life:
- There will never be the perfect time to ask that girl out — just do it.
- There will never be the perfect time to break your husband’s heart — but you know he’s not providing you with what you need.
- There’s never a perfect time to move to a new city — you just have to do it.
- There will never be a perfect time when you have all the credentials needed for your dream job — just freakin' apply!
“Failure” spelled backward is simply “growth.”
Stop Kneeling To The Opinions Of Others
When names like Jobs, Rowling, Galileo, Einstein, or (fill in your personal inspiring hero) surface — what types of thoughts come to mind?
Wow — that person was such a visionary. They had unique skills and abilities that far outpaced the average human.
If you have reflections similar to the one above I just described, I feel sorry for you. That’s right, I said it. While I don’t think every human can be Galileo (far from it) I don’t think his natural-born skills and talents are the defining characteristics that molded him into the master that he was.
- Jobs was fired multiple times (from the very company he built)
- Rowling was rejected by dozens of publishers
- Galileo was put under house arrest by the Catholic Church (where he eventually died)
- Einsteins Theory of Relativity was rejected and thought of more as “art than physics”
What did all of these people have in common? They embraced their weirdness. They embraced their inner compass. They held true to their guiding beliefs — despite the pressure, doubt, and criticism of the outside world.
I’m not saying that you have the be the next Einstein (but how fucking cool would that be?). However, how would your life be different if you didn’t give up on that “crazy” idea you’re curious to pursue?
What changes would come into your life if you didn’t listen to the doubters in your life and follow your heart on what you knew was right?
My mother still has no idea how I make a living online. I'm totally free and yet she keeps telling me I'm doing it wrong.
Weird how that works.
Stop Trying To Fix Gravity
Too many people fight gravity.
Too many people try and work around problems that cannot be changed. Gravity is universal — it’s never going to change. Uncle Elon and the scientists at SpaceX know they’ll never make it to Mars if they try and change gravity — they need to work with it and accept whatever laws it dictates.
A sizable population of people don’t understand this with the various “gravity problems” in life. What are “gravity problems”? According to the aforementioned Stanford instructor, Burnett, gravity problems are,
“Not real problems. Why? Because in life, if it's not actionable, it's not a problem. Let's repeat that. If it's not actionable, it's not a problem. It's a situation, a circumstance, a fact of life. It may be a drag, but, like gravity, it's not a problem that can be solved.”
Some examples of this include:
- Trying to advance/change your career quickly but you’ve been out of the workforce for 5 years
- Building a relationship with a partner who doesn’t want kids when you want the opposite
- Attempting to improve your life and goals when you have a toxic friends/family network
Some things in life can never be changed. While that may be frustrating, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road. Humans have been exploring space for decades now. We didn’t change gravity — we worked with it.
Stop tackling problems that are impossible to change. Instead, see how you can work with them.
How can you work with the toxic relationships you currently find yourself a part of that will lead to a better life?
How can you use the skills you have to build a new career? How can you build yourself into the best possible partner ever (that will attract an equal counterpart)?
Most people are too afraid to step into their own power.
They’d rather hide behind safety, comfort, and mediocrity.
If that’s you — cool. I’m sure you’re going to live a nice life full of mini-vans, desk jobs, dinner parties, and missionary-style sex.
Chances are if you’ve made it to the end of this article — that isn’t you, however. Chances are, you’re the type of person that understands “fear” and “bravery” are two sides of the same coin.
Perhaps you just need a reminder to listen to your gut and act with courage going forward.
The most honest piece of advice I can bestow going forward is this:
Trust. Your. Damn. Self.
See what happens.