You Care too Much

I contend that most of the anxiety and unhappiness you experience comes from giving a shit about things that don’t warrant your attention. Every day you agonize over whether I will get that project done on time, or will I accomplish that ever-growing list of to-do items. Let me be clear, I’m not saying you don’t need to accomplish things in your life, but you’re playing this game as if it were life and death and it’s eating you up inside. You give all this shit that you feel must get done a high priority, in effect you care too much. Every project, every endeavor you undertake is not intended to be done as if it were some kind of death march. You not someone else is sucking the fucking joy out of everything by taking it all too seriously. 

We perceive what we do as so important when in the grand scheme of things the shit we are doing is just stuff that we feel needs to be done and we are going to bust our ass to make sure it is accomplished regardless of how it affects our well being. I work as a consultant and on a daily basis, issues are being escalated. The end result is that 90% of the work that needs to be done is considered high priority and only 10% can wait. These escalations are not self-imposed but instead, the priority is being dictated by the customer or my leadership. Is it any wonder that we care too much?

Listen whether this sense of urgency is self-imposed or being imposed upon you, really doesn’t matter, either way, you are screwed if you continue to react in the same way you always do. So what can you do about this overwhelming avalanche of high priority shit on your plate? There are several things to consider:

  1. Choose carefully from the list of things everyone thinks must be done right now and prioritize 3 to 5 things you can do today and defer the rest. This may not make you more popular, but it will improve the quality of your life by providing some much-needed focus and strangely enough your productivity will actually increase. Not being burdened by a list of 15 things and instead focusing on just a few things allows you to be more present and take back a little bit of control over your life.
  2. While those around you will think the world will come to an end if this or that is not done you can rest assured that this stuff they deem so important just isn’t and not nearly as time-sensitive as everyone makes it out to be. Sometimes you have to push back and ask for more time to accomplish something or even ask why in the fuck are we doing this in the first place? Stop believing in this insane idea that working more is a badge of honor, or makes you more productive. Don’t buy into all the memes that say you won’t achieve anything unless your working 18 hours a day, it’s is just bullshit and unsustainable. 
  3. Finally and this is maybe the most empowering, which is why I wrote the quote above. You cannot and should not take all this shit so seriously, hell you shouldn’t even take your own life so seriously. You can’t spend your life making everything a high priority, in fact, this thing you call your life is really just a journey, yet we make it into some fucking project. Once our life has become a project it is just a series of milestones and tasks that get checked off, never stopping to enjoy the process. I love this quote by Kurt Vonnegut “We are here on earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different”.

This thing you call your life is not a series of goals to achieve or some fucking death march. Start today by taking things less seriously, living in the moment, and stop making all things you are compelled to do of equal priority. Years from now you will thank yourself.

Namaste

 

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Yoga + Meditation = Mindfulness

Do you ever feel like a hamster running on a wheel in a cage? Of course, you do we all are running a fast as we can to do all the things required to make a living, take care of our families, and just survive on this earth. The problem is we are full of anxiety about getting shit done on time and in the end we are just plain tired out. Years ago I started doing yoga, primarily to help me function better physically and to cope with the demand of sitting all day to accomplish my work. Over time I found yoga practice provided much more than just improved flexibility, but also allowed me to relax and approach my day in a more calm state.

More recently I started meditating after my yoga session and I found the combination of the two provided an even higher level of awareness. At first, I found it difficult to meditate, but by performing my yoga practice first, it made it easier to sit for meditation. One of the reasons for doing the yoga first is that it made it easier to sit for meditation because I had stretched my back and hips, which just made the physical part of sitting much easier. The second reason was that the yoga relaxed me, and made it easy to move into an even deeper state of awareness as I began to meditate. When you put them together Yoga + Meditation you have this powerful combination that helps you become more mindful and ultimately jump off the hamster wheel.

This new-found mindfulness allows you to approach each day with a positive mindset no longer filled with anxiety and worry. You now have an opportunity to look at your work more realistically. As you increase your level of mindfulness you begin putting your work and obligations in perspective and they no longer torment you. The increased awareness of the world allows you to look at your work as just one aspect of your life, in effect it becomes less important than your peace of mind.

Change your paradigm and make the investment of an hour or so every morning. Make this a priority and this investment will pay tremendous dividends that will enrich all aspects of your life.

 

Yoga + Meditation = Mindfulness

Namaste

 

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Forgive Yourself

There are many philosophies and religions where the practice of forgiveness is extremely important. We are taught to forgive others for their sins against us, errors in judgment, or even crimes they have committed, but are we equally forgiving of ourselves?

If you are an egomaniac you wouldn’t feel bad about what you have done in the past and forgiveness would not even be a consideration. Fortunately for you, there is an awareness of how you fucked up, and you feel bad. Maybe what you did just hurt yourself, but most likely it also affected others and you are experiencing a guilt trip. You become angry with yourself, condemning yourself for being so stupid. All this guilt and anger does nothing for your current state of mind and prevents you from apologizing to yourself and others. It may be something where you physically harmed yourself or someone else, and a certain amount of guilt is warranted because as I said before you are not an egomaniac, you have some sense of empathy at least for others. It may be that you just can’t forgive yourself for the unsavory shit you did, but nothing will change if you continue to be weighed down by this guilt.

Here is the thing we are all just humans, well most of us anyway, and we are flawed as hell. There are two courses of action for you at this point:

  1. Stop doing the shit that is making you guilty. This could be some destructive habit or behavior, but you need to stop doing it. There will be some relief coming your way as you have quit doing the stupid thing that makes you feel guilty.
  2. Forgive yourself and move on. Every one of us has messed up our lives in various ways and it is very easy to keep blaming ourselves or worse yet someone else. Walk away from it, that shit you did that is tearing you apart is now in your past; bury it!

 

Many of us have an uncanny ability to forgive others, but when it comes to ourself we just can’t seem to be as gracious. You are terrorizing you, and can’t seem to come to grips with the imperfect version of you.

Let go of the guilt trip and walk away!

 

Namaste


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Only one imperative

Why is it so difficult to just be yourself? I think there are two impediments to being you:

  1. We don’t know ourselves. We have spent so much time playing a role whether that be in your family or at work, we have completely lost touch who we really are.
  2. The second impediment is that society, in general, wants to categorize us by race, gender, ethnicity, profession, political party, and wealth just to name a few.

Impediment #1

We don’t know ourselves – If you are like me, you spend countless hours agonizing over what you do for a living, which means you become a role that you play for the majority of your waking hours. You become so focused on excelling at this role that your whole identity becomes wrapped up in it. Now if this role is aligned or a by-product of who you really are then you have hit the jackpot, but sadly for most of us, this just isn’t true. Instead of figuring out who we really are we just assume the role and spend the rest of our life living our life in that paradigm. Instead of pursuing our dreams we just assume the role of Doctor, Nurse, Data Scientist, Software Developer, Uber Driver, Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, or whatever. Most of our life is then spent living up to the expectations needed to fulfill that role.  It’s fucking madness and we do it day after day until we die. At some point, we realize this and become unhappy with these roles and begin looking inside ourselves for an answer.

Impediment #2

Society – In the United States, we like to think we are all born equal, with inalienable rights, to life, liberty, and happiness. Nice sentiment, but it’s mostly bullshit. Our society like the societies in most countries tries to categorize us by political affiliations like left or right, black or white, male or female, rich or poor, and so on. As people, we begin associating our identity to these groupings. I can say I am a Democrat or a Republican and as such, I believe this or that. You don’t even have to think about it just assume some group identity and you are set for life, and most people don’t think about it. Once you have been categorized you are more easily controlled and can be marketed to. Yes, you become a target audience for whatever propaganda the government or a corporation wishes to sell you. You might think I sound like some paranoid anarchist at this point, but hear me out. Look at your Instagram feed for a moment, notice how the advertisements are targeted at you based on your browsing history or Google searches. You, my friend, are a target market and Facebook or Google have already categorized you as someone who needs to see these particular ads.

The Door

What if there was a door that you could open that would help you find your true self and start living a life free from assumed roles and identities. The door is your own rational mind, your freedom of choice if you will. To begin exercising this freedom of choice you need to stop doing a few things:

  • Stop thinking of yourself as only a role – Yes, you may play roles, but don’t let those roles overtake a huge amount of your conscious mind. You are not a role, but you may perform a function related to a role, just remember you are not a fucking role.
  • Stop being categorized – People will try to categorize you as liberal or conservative, but don’t fall for that trap. Use rational judgment when it comes to any issue versus groupthink. I know it’s easier to just follow the herd and adopt their ideology, but if you make that choice you are abandoning yourself for the group. I don’t label myself as liberal or conservative and can still exist in this world. The more you affiliate yourself with these groups the less independent you become.

For me, you can’t just stop living as a role or allowing yourself to be affiliated with society’s categorization of you. If you don’t take action you will be pulled back into the Vortex or at the very least spend the rest of your life rebelling against it, and neither of those fates will help you know yourself. Finding yourself then requires you to start doing some things:

  • Spend time by yourself – Finding yourself often means that you need to be alone. This might mean you take long walks, practice yoga, read books, or try meditating. This time you spend with yourself allows you to think and also isolates you from outside influences. I started both meditating and doing yoga in the morning before work and it has had a profound influence on how I see the world, for you it might be just taking a nice long walk, listening to music, running, or whatever you can do by yourself.
  • Value your time – You can’t really become introspective and think for yourself if you spend countless hours watching YouTube, Netflix, or Hulu. The same thing applies to scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Let’s say you work 8 hours a day or more, then you spend the next 8 hours watching cable news, or one of the other forms of media I just mentioned. Each of these forms of media seeks to influence the way you think, and you know dam will that it does. You won’t learn anything about yourself watching all this shit, it will only detract from your goal of being yourself.

You are not a role, you are not some category, you are a unique individual that deserves to pursue things that interest you. Think for yourself, make decisions in your best interest. Do something today that will help you understand who you really are.

Namaste


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Reframing goal setting

One of the books I have been reading is called “Ask and It Is Given” by Esther and Jerry Hicks and in that book, they have exercises for helping you manifest what you want with the law of attraction. One of the exercises they advocate is basically framed as:

I want “something” because “what it provides you”.

The idea is to list what you want and why for various categories of your life such as material things, career, relationships, health, etc. So naturally, I start listing shit I want such as a bigger house, a new car, a boat, and some gym equipment. Why did I jump right to listing the stuff I wanted instead of experiences, new behaviors, or being more mindful? I think much of this is the programming we receive from society and the media. Take Instagram for instance and you see all of these posts with expensive cars, extravagant homes, and private jets. We are literally being programmed to think first of acquiring more shit, when we know in our hearts the satisfaction from all this stuff has but a momentary effect on our happiness then it is off to buy the next piece of crap we don’t really want or need.

Now I’m pissed off for wasting my precious time dreaming about shit I don’t need when the things I really want have little do anything in the material realm. So it occurred to me that I needed to reframe the way I think about setting goals and what I really want in life. Let me be clear I’m not saying material things shouldn’t be on your list, but there is a price you pay for pursuing those things often at the expense of goals such as cultivating a more mindful existence. Let’s say we flip this paradigm upside down and our goal categories become something like this:

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Relationships
  3. Experiences
  4. Knowledge
  5. Health
  6. Career
  7. Finances
  8. Material Things

What the hell, now we have some really worthwhile things to focus on, things that bring happiness and personal development, and guess what items one through five either cost nothing or are relatively inexpensive. This revelation came to me after I had completed that law of attraction exercise and still felt uninspired. I need to go back now and rework my list to look something like the one above and dig deep into each category and focus on those things that will really enhance my life and not just drain my bank account.

To be continued………..

Namaste


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Excited to start the day

We have a natural tendency to think if our behavior seems a bit strange that there is something wrong with us. For instance, I have this propensity to get up in the middle of the night after a few hours of sleep. At one time I thought I must be insane and wrote it off to anxiety or too much caffeine. This was simply incorrect on my part. What I determined was that there was nothing wrong with me, but instead, I was just ready to get up and start my day.

Did you ever consider that maybe just maybe you are excited about your life? There is a distinct possibility that you are simply motivated to get things done. What better time than 1 A.M. or 2 A.M. to do things that you are passionate about. I find that as I get older, the value of time increases and I don’t want to waste not even a moment of it. You may feel the same and decide that you are willing to trade a little sleep for something you really enjoy doing.

The moral of the story here is you are not some basket case that needs to be fixed. Think about it for a minute, you are one of the few people that are excited about your life, and you are making time for the things you are really love doing.

In a world that is critical of everything, where our very society seems to be crumbling, it might seem a bit odd that you have not bought into this shit. You are a doer, yes someone who thrives on getting things done. While the rest of the world complains, protests, riots, and seeks to destroy society, you are building it up. Give yourself some credit and ignore the morons that seek anarchy over reason. This conflict between those who view this world as lacking seeking to destroy it and those who see it as one big opportunity will always exist.

Go ahead, while the rest of the world sleeps, you pursue your dreams, you get shit done, and you make things happen.

You don’t buy into the negativity because you are an achiever and ultimately you win!

Namaste


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You live in the future

I think this quote is self-evident and I don’t want to elaborate endlessly on its meaning. You and I and every other homo sapien spend their time thinking about what I need to do next. It wouldn’t take too much convincing to say we all live in the future.

Here is the thing, living in the future burdened by a to-do list a mile long and an endless striving for one or more goals, leaves us forever unsatisfied. We have checked out of the present moment, trading it for the next achievement. We all live in this materialistic, goal-oriented, society that says you are never enough, and you need to work on yourself. Being unsatisfied with who we are has spawned the self-improvement industry where millions of dollars are spent by us in the hope that we can change ourselves to become a better version of ourselves.

My response to all this self-improvement bullshit is as follows:

  • You are not broken – You are a human being with unique talents and skills. Don’t let other people tell you that there is something wrong with you.
  • You don’t need to work on your weaknesses – I really hate that shit when people spend so much of their time focusing on their weaknesses. It’s such a fucked up approach to your life. I mean you will never overcome all your weaknesses, instead, we should focus on our strengths. Do you know why they want you to focus on your weaknesses? To sell you more shit and this focus on what I’m not good at leaves you feeling inadequate.
  • There is no future – I’m not saying don’t have any plans but stop sacrificing today for tomorrow. I know this goes against all the goal-setting maniacs that are always advocating that you achieve more, acquire more, be more. Do you really want to miss out on time with your friends or family so you can drive a BMW or live in a million-dollar home?

Enjoy what you are doing right now, focus on what you want to do, and stop looking to someone else to give you the answer to living a life of your dreams. If you can begin to love yourself just the way you are, things start looking better, and you begin to actually make more progress in your life because you are not thinking about how fucked up you are. You must begin to start shifting from thinking about the future to being totally engrossed in the present.

Say this to yourself every day:

I’m not broken

I love myself

I have something to give to this world

I am focused on the now

 

Namaste


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There is no escaping choice

I love this quote from Ayn Rand the queen of objectivism and rational thinking. To begin with, whatever you experience in your life is a result of how you perceive the world and the choices you make. If you think the world is a terrible place filled with injustice and evil, then this will dictate your experience. On the other hand, if you perceive the world to be one of great opportunity and just, this becomes your experience. Your own image, that meaning who you are based on your perception dictates the world that you experience.

As Ayn Rand mentions you have the power to choose, but you can’t escape the fact that you must make choices as you traverse this life. Well, you might say fuck it, I’m checking out because everything is just too difficult or this world is filled with injustice and I don’t want to participate. Fine, then you have still made a choice, there is no escaping that choice is the one thing you cannot run away from. Here is the thing while it is true that you are building the world in your own image, there are always choices that you make that can change your image of who you think you are.

For most of us, we have way more choice than we think we have, yet we don’t make those decisions that can help break out of our current paradigm. I am as guilty as the next person of repeating patterns of behavior that keep giving me the same shitty result. Here are a few choices that are available to most of us that we defer:

  1. What we do for a living – You’re not a fucking rock, you can change and choose to do something different. It might be a bit painful, but you do have a choice, your not and indentured servant. Realize that excuses like I’m too old, too young, or too stupid are just excuses. Stop thinking this shit, if you are still breathing you still have a choice to do something different for a living.
  2. Where we live – There are many people that are not happy with where they live, but never move, never even entertain the possibility of leaving and finding a better place to live. A stupid example from my own life is I lived in the upper midwest United States for 55 years before moving to a better climate. I lived with snow, rain, sleet, and gloomy weather six months of the year before finally realizing that I wasn’t a tree and could get the hell out of there.
  3. What we expose ourselves to – For many years I used to come home, grab a whiskey on the rocks and watch CNN, MSNBC, or FOX news for hours, polluting my mind with this distorted reality. Finally, I realized that I was exposing myself to this garbage and it was warping my mind, and for the last 3 years I have lived news free! Now, this is a somewhat mild example of exposure and a choice to do something different, but you get the idea. If you are allowing yourself to be exposed to some negative person, situation, or whatever then stop that shit.
  4. How we perceive this world – Yes and this is the mother of all choices you make every day, every moment. You can choose to view this world as some terrible place filled with violence, injustice, and inequality, or you can choose a more positive view. I’m not saying this is easy because your past along with your ego are fighting for control over your thoughts, but ultimately you can break from these demons.

Given you cannot avoid making choices, what choices will you make today, that will move your life forward, more in accordance with a life you can be proud of?


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About Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand (/n/;[1] born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum;[b] February 2, [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American writer and philosopher.[2] She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935 and 1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own periodicals and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982.

Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism and rejected altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral[3] and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, including property rights.[4] In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for AristotleThomas Aquinas and classical liberals.[5]

Literary critics received Rand’s fiction with mixed reviews[6] and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy, though academic interest has increased in recent decades.[7][8][9] The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings.[10] She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives.[11

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand

Grateful for the life you have

So you think your life is so miserable and unexciting. You are constantly bombarded by information that emplores you to want more, so you seek satisfaction in acquiring more things, more money, more appreciation, something that you don’t have. All the while you compare yourself to others that you view as more successful, better looking, happier, wealthier, or whatever. Stop doing that shit!

If your mindset is all about striving for more or comparing yourself to others you will never be happy. If it is comparisons you want then think about the millions, well billions of people that would trade places with you if they could. Then what the hell is wrong with me? Well, let me tell you. You are fricking ungrateful for what you have and are seeking fulfillment in the future, usually by seeking more of something. You are being duped by this ungrateful, never satisfied, paradigm. If you continue down this path there will only be more of the same, achieve this, acquire that, and a continuous saga of pursuit.

Pop your head outside of your ego for a few minutes, look around you. Do you see the beauty in this world? All this shit you have didn’t exist 50 years ago, that cell phone that you stare at, or that flat-screen TV, the internet, shit even air conditioning. We are so unappreciative of all this stuff, we just take it for granted. Instead of appreciating what you have, you spend your time wanting more. Do you really need a BMW or Mercedes? Will it get you to point “A” better than your Honda?

You have become a materialistic junky, addicted to shit you don’t have, spending all your energy working for more stuff. It should come as no surprise by now that you live your life looking towards the future, missing out on the present moment and you lack even a small amount of gratitude for what you have. If what I have written here so far even marginally rings true for you, then you are in a pretty serious need of a reset in the way you think.

Let’s turn this shit around and instead of making what you want paramount in your mind and behavior, start with gratitude. There are many ways to shift from I want more stuff, to I appreciate all that I have. The two most effective ways that I have found to be more grateful include:

  • Be Present – When you shift your thinking from looking to the future for happiness, you start appreciating each moment. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s not that easy to do when you have spent the majority of your life looking ahead for satisfaction. The present moment is the foundation for being grateful. For me and my monkey mind, I need to practice yoga, meditation and take long walks to help me quiet the mind and live in the present.
  • Grateful Practice – Being the stupid egotistical morons that we are, we need to frequently remind ourselves to be grateful. I have a journal that I write down 3 to 5 things I am grateful for. I do this in the morning shortly after getting up so that I start my day with a feeling of being grateful. I find that actually writing it versus putting in an app on my phone, seems to make it more effective. This daily repetition is the beginning of a habit where you remind yourself of all the things you are grateful for which then chips away at the ego.

If you still need to compare yourself to others, then think about the billions of people that would trade places with you, and happily assume the life you have.

Namaste


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A life without challenges

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to have all the money you could ever spend or anything you wanted without effort? There are a few people where this is, in fact, the situation, usually the children of billionaires or multi-millionaires. You may think their life is superior to yours as they have a life of leisure where everything is provided not earned.

These people are often living a life that is flat and aimless as there is nothing for them to attain and no challenges. It is the challenges in your life that make overcoming them so sweet. How can you distinguish the struggle from achievement when there is neither in your life. We are a pretty goal-oriented species and without those goals and subsequent achievements, we become bored and unsatisfied. In fact, many of the people that we consider great Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, or Nelson Mandella all achieved greatness through their struggles.

I love this quote from Mahatma Gandhi as it illustrates his struggle for an independent India:

mahatma-gandhi-quotes-first-they-ignore-you

Do you think any of us would remember Gandhi if he had not encountered challenges and overcome them? Hell No!

Next time you think that life is too hard, and you catch yourself saying I’m sick of this shit, think about how greatness is achieved. It’s not achieved by quitting or just giving up. Ultimately what you will achieve will be proportionate to the number of challenges you encountered and the level of perseverance you exhibited.

Whatever you have achieved so far in your life it is directly related to the struggle and challenges you have faced. Think about your life, when you obtained that Master’s degree, started that business, wrote that book, or hell made a better life for your family. Was any of this easy? Did you feel better for having done these things?

There is no struggle-free life unless as mentioned above you were born into massive wealth, and you know deep in your heart that life wouldn’t be worth living without the challenges.

Let’s face it there will be no easy life in the future, that is free from challenges or problems, so stop looking forward to it. It does not exist. I would like to end this post with a quote from Bruce Lee:

Bruce Lee - dont pray for an easy life

Namaste


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