How To Face Anxiety (and other things that go bump in the night)

scary

It’s the middle of the night and you’re awaken to a noise downstairs.

It’s a loud thud that shoots you upright and then falls with the silence. You sit there, immediately swept with anx and anticipation. Heart racing now, a feel of paralysis, confusion, and a deep sense of what the fuck was that?!

You can’t see anything, but ooooooo you can feel it. Feel it breathing down your neck.

Bang! The sound thumps again, sending your heart rate through the roof as the fear is now fully spread through every inch of your body.

It’s fight or flight and you decide to take action. Like every hot girl in a 90s horror film, you decide to explore the noise…unarmed and without a plan. You know those scenes where you’re like “bitch what are you doing?!?!? Get the fuck out of there, you’re going to die!!!” yeah just like that.

You stumble around the dark and make your way downstairs to find a flashlight. You find it and…

Bang!

Another thud, closer and louder then before.

With trembling fear, heart racing, hands shaking you turn the corner armed with the weapon of light.

Your turn the corner to see what’s causing the noise and…

Holy living fuck it’s a big ugly horrifying monster! A snarling beast that has giant fangs, claws and errrr uhh idk all those other scary features, and it’s absolutely fucking terrifying!

You’re now a deer in the headlights (ironically you’re the one thing shining the light) as your heart bursts out of your chest, body shaking and sweating and adrenaline putting you into a state of full paralysis as you are face to face with the beast in the night.

Every fiber in your body is screaming one thing…RUN! Get the fuck out! NOW!

Without another seconds thought, you run, and run, and run, and never ever look back.

Phewwwwwww.

Ok, get it…? No? O right, we need some context here. Ok let me explain.

 

I’ve been talking to people about anxiety for a couple of years now. Most of the time people have some level of awareness about what anxiety is, their anxiety, and sometimes even have a bit of an idea of how to handle it.

However, people didn’t really have a full grasp of it, didn’t fully understand it, and didn’t know how to handle it.

So I’d teach people. I’d walk them through what anxiety is, the basics, the concepts, the whys, and the various “what the fucks.” I’d then teach how to manage it, how to handle it, learn to cope and slowly get better. I’d then give them a list of methods to try, some articles, and some words of wisdom and send them on their way to get better.

And usually a week or two later they’d follow up with me…

And… “what? what do you mean you’re worse then you were before? Wait how? Did you try what I said? Did it make sense? You sure you’re doing it right?….errr ummmmm fuck…that sucks”

That’s right, not everyone, but some people were worse…

Needless to say I was confused as hell. I contemplated what I had done wrong. Did I not explain it well enough? Maybe I don’t really get this and shouldn’t be teaching this. I thought back to when I first started getting anxiety and my process…

As I thought and reflected, it hit me. Like the cold fear that creeps up upon hearing a noise in the dark, I jumped up. I realized something.

I’m teaching people how to shine a light on their demons. And that’s really fucking scary when you shine a light in the dark, not expecting to see a scary monster.

And that’s what learning about your anxiety and managing it is. It’s shining a light on your monsters. It’s shining a light in your mind, rooting around in the dark, unsure of what you’ll find, and often when you look around hard and long enough you’ll eventually find….ahhhhhhhh wtf is that?! O god, kill it! Run!

spongebob

 

We find something really scary. Anxiety can be a monster in the dark. And it can be scary as all fuck.

And so what do most people do in a situation like this? What our mind, body, and soul are screaming to do. We run! We run away from our thoughts (unfortunately, sometimes in the form of drinking or doing drugs to get away from these thoughts).

But like the old saying goes “you need to face your fears” (fuck).

Getting worse before you get better

This is why anxiety is such a difficult issue. This is why people try things like meditating, therapy, learn and study anxiety, and face their issues, but can sometimes actually feel worse.

It’s because you’re not running. You’re facing the demon. And it’s scary. Now you feel worse then when you didn’t know what the fear and anxiety was. Ignorance can sometimes be bliss and you’re now wishing you’d never even poked around your mind.

But just like learning or doing almost anything new in life, the first initial stages usually suck.

Going to the gym for the first time often makes you feel weak, insecure, and overwhelmed. Learning a new language in the initial stages often leaves you feel stupider then when you started. Stopping drinking or doing drugs (if you did it often) leads to withdrawals and feeling far worse.

And learning to manage anxiety is the very similar. It’s going to get a bit worse before it gets better.

When I first learned about anxiety, my anxiety was through the fucking roof for the following weeks. I fully saw what anxiety was, saw what it was doing to me, and was now face to face with the beast in the night, and god damn it was scary.

But take a deep breath because I have several pieces of good news, followed by how to do it, followed by more good news.

deep-breath

1) Just by understanding this, understanding that these initial stages are not fun, actually makes it easier to push through this process and get better.

2) These monsters, these demons, these thoughts, fears, and anxieties hidden in the dark of your mind, can’t touch you, they can’t hurt you. In fact, they have zero actual power on you outside of the powerful you choose to give them.

3) These fears, anxieties, and thoughts, are more like Dracula then a monster, in that, they cannot survive long in the light. And this, is how you to start to get over your anxiety. By shining a light on it and not running.

The longer you can face down your fears, anxieties and thoughts, the less effect they have on you. The more you shine your light in the dark of your mind, the more the light grows and fills the room. Until slowly, but eventually there’s more light then dark.

4) More often than not, when we choose to explore these thoughts, anxieties, and fears, we find that nothing is actually there! We were afraid of nothing and can now calm down.

How to face your anxiety:

So how do you do this? How do you actually go about facing your anxiety, your thoughts, fears, demons, and monsters?

First, let’s make a distinction. I’m not telling you to just go around looking for anxiety and looking for problems.

It’s not like when you’re kids and your friend double dog dares you to go routing through the woods in the middle of the night or you’re a big chicken.

No, don’t go looking for trouble.

What I am saying is when you feel anxiety, when you feel that fear, when you notice those dark thoughts, don’t run. Explore it. What is going on in that moment? What are you thinking about? How does it feel? Why? What are your thoughts? What are you experiencing?

Shine a light on it. Watch it. Notice it.

Be like a detective trying to explore a mystery, find clues, and get to the bottom of things.

Remember now. This won’t be fun at first. This process is going to feel uncomfortable and scary. I’m already imagining some of you reading this and have already thought “Fuck off Chris, you don’t want to know the demons I have.” And look I get it. I really do.

But what if I told you those “demons” couldn’t hurt you? What if they have zero actual effect on you? What if they were like the hosts in West World that look, sound, and act scary, but can’t actually harm you?

Or, what if you thought you heard a monster downstairs, but found a two month old puppy instead!! (best surprise in the dark ever?!)

puppy-falling

Wait, it was just you making all that noise?! awww come here lil guy

Because that’s the other thing I mentioned. Sometimes there’s nothing scary there! Often times your anxiety and fears are not what you make them seem! Sometimes you think they are scary, but they are really puppies!! (well not exactly, but you get it).

You hear a bump in the night and immediately think, “murderer in my house!” and play out a horror film scenario impending upon you. But more often then not, it’s just a creek in the house, the wind, harmless.

And it’s the same with your thoughts, fears, and anxieties. When you explore them, shine a light on them, you usually realize that there’s nothing scary there. They are nothing more than things that go bump in the night and we’re too scared to explore it so we only assume the absolute worse and let it run wild in our mind.

Be the light that shines in the dark. Know it won’t be comfortable during it, but I promise you as you continue to shine a light you will see that your mind isn’t as scary as you thought. You’ll see there’s not much to be afraid of it.

And as you let that light shine, the darkness of your mind will slowly begin to fade, until there is only light.

No more demons hiding, just puppies! And sorry, but if you don’t like puppies then there’s a larger issue at hand and my God have mercy.

5 No-Bullshit Self Improvement Books That Don’t Suck

5-no-bullshit-books-cover

Over the years I’ve read tons of articles, books, blog posts, tweets, etc. all about self-improvement, mental health, and anxiety.

And there’s one thing I really started to notice.

There is a wild amount of ridiculous, repetitive, and just plain awful pieces of life advice out there. So much of these “quick life solutions, find your life purpose in 15 minutes…” type bullshit. Other pieces that promise tricks and tips, to being better, smarter, more productive, rule the fucking universe in 3 easy steps type crap.

And some books that actually make me feel like myself, and anyone who’s ever read it are now dumber for doing so…

Live footage of my actual thoughts on most self-improvment advice being thrown around

Where was I? Right, there’s a lot of crap out there – you get the point.

But amongst all the clutter, routine, bland cliché advice you’ve heard a million times, and other various crap, there are some books I’ve read that were truly unique, powerful, and still, change my life to this day.

1. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers feel-the-fear-and-do-it-anyway-cover

This book is an absolute must-read for everyone (especially if you deal with anxiety). So much of anxiety advice focuses on the surface, how to cover it up, and how to “avoid” it, which if you have anxiety and have tried a lot of the advice out there, you’ve probably learned that doing this actually makes it worse. Fighting anxiety is like trying to throw a gas soaked blanket on top of a bonfire in the hopes of putting it out.

But this book takes a head-on approach to fear. It breaks down the root of all your fears, why fear is something to embrace not run away from, and ultimately how to look fear in the eye and say, “fuck you, I’m doing it anyway.

There is no bullshit in this book, and Dr. Jeffries does an amazing job breaking down real life examples through patients she has had in the past. The other refreshing thing is it’s written so anyone can grasp the concepts. That’s right, no twelve syllable psychology terms that make you feel like a putz. Straight forward, no bullshit, powerful stuff here.

2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck – Mark Manson

subtle-art-of-not-giving-a-fuck

This book was a breath of fresh air that the self-improvement industry so badly needs. There’s so much ra-ra, be fucking awesome all the time, happy always, positive, positive, positive, always smiling, always just be star spangled fucking awesome, happy every waking moment type life advice out there.

And this is totally the opposite. This is the most down to earth, realistic approach to self-improvement I’ve ever read. Embrace pain, fail, stop trying, give less fucks, question everything, why we’re all-wrong, and oh, kill yourself.

kitten

Actual footage of no fucks being given

It includes crude humor, historic tales of alcoholics, losers, and complete nut jobs, and a superhero panda that goes around telling people that the world is full of disappointments.

Fantastic read if you’re sick of the hearing the same endless repetitive advice and want something truly unique and inspirational. The last chapter of this book had me in chills.

3. Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story – Arnold Schwarzenegger

total-recall

Not a self-help book in the traditional sense, but Arnold is one badass dude, and there is so much to learn from him and this book. This book challenged me to think bigger, do more, give less fucks, and just have more fun with life.

Before reading this, I knew as much about Arnold as probably most other people probably do. He was the Terminator, body building champion, from Austria or something, used to scream “aarrrggggg,” “get to the chopper,” and “do it, kill me now!” (ahh Arnold, so relatable) and somehow managed to become governor of the largest state in the U.S.

However, his story is truly is incredible (as the title eludes to) and packed with more life lessons than anything I have read. He tells his tale of transforming the body building industry (which didn’t even exist at the time) and eventually running the Presidential Council of Fitness and Sports for the White House, the struggle of becoming a Hollywood star, and his mission into politics. He defies odds, nay-sayers, and achieved things people routinely said were impossible. This guy is a damn superhero.

He has a wildly unconventional way of doing things, gives zero fucks, and takes a bold/creative approach to everything he does. Example, he got people interested in going to the gym by comparing a good “gym pump” to having an orgasm. “When I’m at the gym it’s like I’m coming, I’m coming everywhere.”

Throughout the journey he leaves us with “Arnold’s Rules” talking about how people need to stop looking in the mirror and look at helping the world, not to overthink, work harder, be outrageous.

fuck-you-doc

This is an actual veto document Arnold (as Governor of California) sent back to a politician who had mocked him previously…who said a Governor can’t be badass?

It’s a long book (over 600 pages) and honestly, could be cut in half and hold the same value, but provides some serious values and life lessons worth checking out.

4. What to Say When You Talk to Yourself – Shad Helmstetter

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-4-27-09-pm

If you’re like I was, you probably rolled your eyes just reading that title. It just sounds kinda gimmicky, weird, and something a crazy person would do/read. I actually first heard about this book at a sales talk in NYC and this guy swore by it. Again, I thought it would be just another bs piece of self-improvement with “weird tips and tricks,” but I decided to get the book and give it a try.

I couldn’t have been more wrong about this book. This should be taught to every parent, teenager, kid, toddler, baby, everyone! It should be taught in schools, businesses, local meet-ups, AA meetings, therapy sessions, literally everywhere.

I had read various books about the power of the mind and messages we tell ourselves, but none that made realize just how big of an impact this has on your life and the true power of it before. And unlike a lot of things I tried, the results I had were immense.

It points to how our entire lives we are being subtly programmed (if you watched West World…you already know…like “have I done this before?” Ok, this is not the same or the point, but like fuck…that show mind-fucked me…like, what’s real anymore? Ok, back to what I was talking about) by everything around us, everyone who speaks to us and tells us what we can’t and can do, and all the little things we are consciously or subconsciously telling ourselves (internally or out loud) that are responsible for the makeup of your entire life and how it runs. Heavy right?

It then teaches us how to “re-program” by talking to ourselves (we’re already always doing this). Admittedly, it sounds a bit hokey and bullshit, but I soon realized how often I was already talking to myself, and more importantly how negative and limited my thoughts were. I then learned how to replace the negative thoughts with the positive and quickly saw how much my anxiety subsided, confidence went up, and overall felt happier.

This is a must read for every human being.

5. What the Buddha Taught – Walpola Rahula

what-the-buddha-taught

I’m not religious, but Buddhism (as talked about in the book) is not a religion as much as it is a lifestyle. It doesn’t believe in superior beings or God’s (the Buddha considered him to a be a man, just like anyone else).

Buddhism is realism. It takes a realistic non-bullshit look at the world, all of suffering we encounter, anxiety, stress, pain and teaches a simplified way of looking at the world and living.

And this book teaches the thoughts, beliefs, values, and lifestyle of Buddhism in a very simple high-level overview. The best part is that it doesn’t get too granular or woo-woo religious. It’s very well written, simplified, and written for the average person. It’s also a quick read (124 pages)

This is such a refreshing and calming book.

Read, em. Do it!

Cut the bullshit reads out of your life and read these.

do-it-gif

My Recorded Convo After Day 3 Of Flotation With The Company’s Owner

lisa-floating

Some context here: Last year I spent 3 consecutive days doing isolation tank floats. Each time was interesting, but the third day was almost indescribable and one of the most profound things I’ve ever experienced.

After my third consecutive day of floating, I emerged feeling weightless, high, and at a level of peace I had never before experienced. I had a mind-melting conversation with the owner of this flotation spot shortly after I came out of the float about what I had experienced…and luckily for you I recorded it. (The audio quality isn’t great and needs turned up to hear the owner talking, after 8:20 we just talk about NYC and gets boring)

Here I sip hot tea and discuss how I experienced “it”, how we create our own suffering, I’m God, and other related soul-shattering shit. It’s deep people.

In all seriousness, this was one of the most peaceful moments of my life (listen to my tone while talking…) and is something everyone should experience.

A Non-Threatening Guide To The Mind-Gym : Meditation

meditation-cover

Your mind is the most precious resource through which you experience everything. It’s how you perceive who you are, how you view others, and how you experience the world. It’s what you rely upon to feel happy, fulfilled, and emotionally stable. It’s our greatest tool toward a fulfilling life and yet, we rarely spend any time to look after it…

Meditation is one the most easily accessible, easy to learn, and powerful tools for self-development out there. It teaches you how to dis-identity with your constant stream of thoughts and emotions you feel, how to gain more focus and clarity, make you more self-aware, and create a much deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you.

It’s an incredible tool as well because anyone can do it, virtually anywhere. The disabled can do it, kids can do it, any conscious human can do it. It can be done at home, in public, while in the middle of a conversation, in a packed subway, some can even do it while sleeping (next level shit right there).

It lowers your stress and anxiety, makes you happier, increases concentration, better focus, more self-aware, sleep better, increases memory, helps overall health, slows down aging process (yes, I’m serious), helps fight sickness and disease by increasing immune support (again, seriously). It fine tunes your mind to better, sharper, stronger. The list of benefits goes on and on.

And yet, almost no one does it regularly (me included). Why?

Because it’s hard, like reallyyyy fucking hard. Right now, take 30 seconds, close your eyes and try to think about nothing. No seriously, try it, I’ll wait…

women-eyes-closed

How’d it go. I can almost guarantee you failed. Why? because your mind is always spewing out thoughts and it’s very difficult not to get to lost and distracted by them.

Odds are you may have been good for the rest few seconds, but then you starting thinking about a lot of random shit. “I hope my fantasy team does well this week. Maybe I should call the guys and meet up for drinks tomorrow. I haven’t seen Dave in a bit, maybe I should include him. O, but I need to follow up with Brianna about our date last week, I haven’t heard from her in a couple days, maybe I should have picked a better restaurant, shit I hope I didn’t blow it, I’ll text her tonight, o shit I just remembered I have that presentation for work tomorrow, shit I’m nervous, why am I the one doing it anyway? isn’t Bob in charge of that, fucking Bob…” on and on the mind goes.

This is your mind 24/7. And this is why so many people will try meditation a few times, get caught up their thoughts, get frustrated, and say fuck this, I can’t do this.

Why meditate?

I listed out a lot of reasons above, but I want to focus on 3 in particular

  1. Increases your self-awareness.

I think this is so wildly under-rated. Most people’s self-awareness (me included) is absolute shit.

Most of us have absolutely no idea what we’re are doing (again, me included), why we’re doing it, what emotions are happening, what we are choosing to focus on, what thoughts we are subconsciously and consciously associating with.

We’re often terrible judges of what actually makes us happy, and healthy, what is good for us, bad for us, and what it is truly making us miserable (you may think you know, but you’d be surprised how often you’re wrong). You often live in a state of unconscious incompetence, meaning you aren’t even aware that you don’t know these things.

And that’s a little fucking scary when you think about. That you are just operating on whatever gets thrown your way, whatever you were raised to believe, whatever is trending, or you think is right, without having really any actual ability to understand if it’s what you want, if it’s what makes you happy, if it’s who you are!

Imagine being able to truly and confidently know your strengths and weaknesses, to not just know what thoughts are happening in your head that you are associating yourself with, but also have the power and ability to choose what you want to focus on and associate with.

Imagine being able to recognize all that is bullshit in your life, that’s unnecessary, that’s causing you pain, stress, anxiety, depression, discomfort, and consciously replace it with all that makes you happy, emotionally fulfilled, and creates a healthy and exciting life for you. Imagine being able to know and understand who you really are, what you’re really doing, and what truly fucking matters in your life.

Holy fuck is anyone else getting goosebumps about just the very idea of that?! I mean seriously contemplate what it would be like to be on that level.

excited

While there’s no one answer or overnight fix to make this happen, one of the biggest keys to unlock this life is, you guessed it, meditation.

2. It can significantly reduce your anxiety.

In my anxiety guide, I talk about various methods, techniques, and things I’ve learned and practiced to reduce anxiety. And meditation sits high up on that list for me and many others.

A large part of anxiety comes from that endless stream of thinking. You get caught up and associate with those thoughts and it can freak you the fuck out. Through meditation and learning to dissociate yourself from those thoughts, it can greatly decrease your anxiety. Again, (tying into self-awareness here) you often don’t even realize you are associating ourselves with those negative anxious thoughts, it often happens in your subconscious.

This is why you can be sitting on the couch at home, totally fine and relaxed, and boom! your anxiety seems to come out of no where, shoot through the roof, and now you’re freaking the fuck out because you don’t understand what the fuck just happened (quick, where’s the whiskey?!)

Through meditation and self awareness, you learn how to see your thoughts (conscious and subconscious) more clearly and how to NOT associate yourself with the thoughts that cause you that stress, pain, and anxiety.

3. It’s refreshing.

It’s debated exactly how much, but it’s said that 20 minutes of meditation is the equivalent of an hour or two of sleep. It slows us down, your brain has far less to process and interpret when meditating, and puts you in a less anxious, stress free state, that afterwards, leaves you feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to go.

Alright, Chris I’m ready to do this shit, soooooo how do I start?

Basic Meditation:

Getting set up:

There’s an almost infinite number of ways to meditate. It’s helpful in the beginning to start with the basics, beginner level and you can work your way from there.

First, getting set up. Some sit on the floor, some sit in a chair, but I wouldn’t recommend lying down as you can fall asleep easier. Once seated, make sure your back is straight, chin up a bit, and most important, you are comfortable. If you’re sitting on the floor, it helps to sit on a pillow or something soft.

girl-meditating

Now set an alarm on your phone for 10 minutes (10 minutes I find to be a good starting point). Put your phone on do-not-disturb (nothing will fuck up your meditation quicker then getting a text and wondering who and what it is) and start the clock and don’t look at your phone again. This is the best way to do this because you’ll find it’s very hard to tell how long you’ve been meditating and this eliminates the need to check for when times up.

Meditating:

Once you’re set up, start by focusing on your breathing and in the beginning, keep your eyes open.

As mentioned, meditation is about focus, so the best thing (in my opinion) to focus on is your breathing.

First, breath in through your nose to the count of 3, hold the breath for a second, then breath out through your mouth to the count of 4. Do this for a minute or two. This does two things, it starts getting you focused and by exhaling longer then you inhale, you actually slow your heart rate down. Do this for about a minute or two and try to notice how your heart and body slows down a bit.

There’s a variety of breathing exercises you can do from here. Now close your eyes and mess around with a few of these:

  • Count to 10: After every exhale, start counting each exhale one by one, 1, 2, 3…once you get to 10 start over. If you get distracted (and trust me, you will) and forget what number you’re on, don’t get frustrated or worry about it (again, this will happen, I promise you), just start over back at 1.
  • Cold and hot breathes: As you inhale imagine the air you are breathing in is cool, calm and refreshing. Hold that breath for a second. Then exhale hot, tense, stressful air out of your body.
  • Body breathing: this one takes a bit more practice, focus, and effort, but is very powerful. As you breath scan through each part of your body, focusing on one section at a time. Start with your toes, focus on nothing, but the feeling in your toes. As you breath, imagine you are pumping the air you are breathing into your toes. Now slowly scan up, focus on our ankles, your legs, belly, chest, heart, shoulders, arms, fingers, all the way up to the top of your head, each time breathing and focusing the breath on that one area.
  • Positive affirmation breathing: A positive affirmation is telling yourself something positive about yourself. Each time you inhale, tell yourself a positive affirmation (it can be out loud or just in your head), then exhale.

There are tons more, but experiment and mess around with these. There’s no right or wrong here, some people just like and prefer different techniques, so see which works the best for you.

***Always remember, you will get distracted, you will have random thoughts creep up. Some days it will be easier then others. Other’s day you’ll feel very distracted when you try to meditate and you’ll think about things like work, or what’s for dinner, or pizza, damn, I’m kind of in the mood for pizza, ahh, but I went to the gym so I don’t want to fuck that up, maybe I should get a salad, I fucking hate salad, I mean who cares I’m going to eat whatever, like how bad is pizza really, I mean…O shit, fuck, hey sorry, got distracted here.

But that’s the point! I guarantee it will happen. So don’t get mad, or frustrated. Here’s the only thing you have to do. The moment you realize your mind has wondered off, you gently bring it back…that’s it. No worries.

Much of the same principles of going to the gym, apply to meditation.

Meditation is the gym for your mind, and just like the real gym, if don’t do if routinely, you’ll see almost little progress or effects.

Like going to the gym, it’s tough at first. It feels awkward, you’re not good at it, and at the end of the day you may just want to say “fuck this” and quit. But just like the gym, it gets easier with time.

The more you practice, the easier it becomes and the better the results. And like the gym, it does not work over night.

It’s no secret, that if you go to the gym tomorrow and expect to have a shredded six pack you will be unpleasantly surprised in the morning when you still see your beer belly staring back at you. Additionally, if you go to the gym every day for a week, but then stop for 3 weeks, you’re not going to see much benefit.

gym-ripped
Meditation works the same. It requires a little effort every day. The tough thing about meditation is it’s tough to measure the results. There’s no before and after picture, no scale to map your progress. No selfie’s in the mirror to show off the hard work (sucks right?) But, day by day, you will notice your mind feels sharper, your thinking should feel clearer, and your focus will be where you want it to be, not on your anxiety or other shit that doesn’t matter.

And like the gym, when you start meditating, start small. Just like you wouldn’t walk in to your first time at the gym and try to bench 300lbs, you’re not going to try to meditate for an hour straight and achieve enlightenment. Start small. 10 minutes or shit even just 5 minutes. Just 5 minutes. Then gradually progress, maybe 10 minutes one day for a few weeks, then 15 minutes etc.

Misconceptions to realize and remember about meditation:

As mentioned, one of the biggest reasons people will try meditation and not stick with it is because they get frustrated, think they suck at it, and sometimes are a little scared at the thoughts that pop up in their head when they stop and pay attention to them. They sit there in silence and try to stop the thoughts, trying to create this blank slate in their mind, and almost always fail.

Misconception #1: Meditation is NOT about trying to stop your thoughts. It’s actually a bit of the opposite, meditation is about allowing those thoughts to naturally happen, but learn how to filter and dissociate from them. Instead of the endless stream of thoughts being in the forefront of your mind, you learn to let them happen in the background, while you focus on what you want to focus on.

Imagine you’re walking down the streets of NYC and every single solitary thing around you represents a thought. All the buildings, the people, the smells (usually piss), sounds (usually honking and yelling), colors, cars, clouds, windows, stores etc. Now imagine as you walked down the street, you tried to stop all those things from existing in your mind and happening around you…I know completely impossible.

This is essentially what you are doing when you try to stop thoughts. You’re taking all the thoughts that surround your mind 24/7 and trying to somehow stop them from happening. Which, as you’ll find, is not only near impossible, but makes you more stressed and anxious then you were before because you’ll find it very overwhelming.

Meditation is about focus, focusing on a single thing while still allowing everything else to exist in your mind. Like walking down the street of NYC, you can learn to focus on one thing, everything else around you will still exist, but it will just be a background.

Misconception #2: Mediation doesn’t just need to be sitting in a quiet room with your legs folded.

Again, meditation is all about focus. Therefore, all you need to do to practice meditating is find a single thing to focus on.

You can be on a crowded subway and focus on your breathing, each inhale and exhale, or you could decide to listen to the sounds all around you. You can be walking to work and listening to music and focus on just the bass line of the song you’re listening to. You can be talking to a co-worker and focus on what they are saying and nothing else (yes, listening can be a form of meditation). That focus, that ability to focus on a single thing in that moment, while other thoughts, and everything else still happens and exists around you, is a form of meditation. Everything around you still exists, thoughts are still running through your head, but you are choosing to focus on that one single thing instead.

Now the best place to start for beginners is sitting quietly in a room as it’s easier to start practicing mediation where there are little to no distractions. But as you get better and as you’re out in the world, try finding different ways to create a single focus point, like sounds, music, breathing, and as you focus on it, notice how other thoughts and things start to fade more to the background of your mind.

Get creative with your meditation, it can actually be a bit fun. Colm Meaney’s character in Layer Cake would meditate by dis-mantling a gun piece by piece, and re-assembling it over and over (disregard the fact that his character was a crazed mobster). He would focus on that one thing and nothing else.

layer-cake

Even as Daniel Craig drinks in front of Colm, he remains focused AF on dis-manting and reassembling that gun

Misconception #3: Meditation isn’t just for weird hippy gurus on a path to enlightenment.

I was sitting on the subway a couple weeks ago and the woman next to me was reading this book on meditation and self awareness. I turned and asked her about it (yeah I’m one of those types) and got into talking about meditation, self awareness and all that jazz.

She laughed as we talked about meditation and said she’s not really “that type of person” and after talking said she was surprised I was so into it because I also “didn’t seem like that type of person.” When I asked what she meant she went on to say something like most folks into meditation are kind of weird, woo-woo, spiritual hippy types and that I seemed “normal.”

It’s true. This is the type of people we usually picture we think about meditating.

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-7-45-07-pm

Sick dreads, bro

Sure, I’d say the majority of folks I’ve met who are big time meditators are a bit on that side, but I’ve also met a lot of folks that almost the polar opposite that do it and claim it’s their greatest and favorite self-development tool.

Billions’ Bobby Axelrod meditates daily and he’s a pretty bad ass motherfucker.

bobby-axelrod

Gaining Confidence Without Having Confidence

screen-shot-2016-09-10-at-2-18-07-pm

Ah, confidence. That one word you’ve undoubtably heard over and over your entire life as to what you’re suppose to be. “Just be confident.” As if there’s a confidence switch in your brain that you can just voluntarily turn on when you feel like it. Confidence, the word that’s suppose to help you accomplish so much, yet often just hearing the word causes you to feel smaller and usually makes you realize your lack of it.

Telling someone to “just be confident” that isn’t confident, is like telling someone who’s depressed to just be happy, someone who’s anxious not to worry, to relax. The very acting of trying to do most of these things, usually ends up doing the opposite. Often by trying to be confident, we realize our lack of confidence.

This is the conundrum of confidence. How can you be confident in something that you’ve never done or have done before and failed? How do you feel confident in social situations when you are routinely bad at socializing, how do you feel confident in a new relationship when you have had countless failed ones, how do you feel confident in a new job that you’ve never done before?

It’s like when you first graduated college and you apply for your first job, but get rejected because you don’t have experience. You somehow need experience to get experience. To which you reply “mother fucker how I am suppose to get the experience for this job, if I can’t get the experience?

It’s a bit of a catch 22.

So the question remains how do you become confident, when you’re not confident?

Confidence around others 

There are actual techniques and things to practice to increase your confidence, but there are two major realizations that you need to have first.

1. A large reason you are not confident around other’s is that you are more highly invested in other’s opinions of you, then you are of yourself. 

You’re often so caught up in worrying about what someone else thinks of you. It causes you to act different, filter yourself in ways that you hope makes other’s think highly of you, and constantly worry how other’s see you. And ultimately, it stems from not being invested enough in yourself.

Have you ever noticed that people with a lot of confidence tend to say and do pretty much whatever they want, despite what other’s may react? It’s usually not to get a reaction out of other’s, but it’s because they are more highly invested in themselves then they are in the opinion of other’s. It’s not that they don’t care what other’s think, but they value their own thoughts more then the thoughts and opinions of others.

Now that may sound a bit selfish and egotistical, but really, it’s the most honest and true you can ever be. If you’re highly invested in yourself, you will express yourself far more open and honestly. Filtering yourself and say things you hope other’s want to hear is actually far more dishonest and deceptive.

2. “You’ll stop caring about what other’s think of you, when you realize how seldom they do”

Read that quote again. It’s an incredibly powerful realization when you think about it.

A very large part of your anxiety and lack of confidence comes from worrying about what other people think of you. And the generic response you’ve undoubtably heard for this is “don’t worry about what other’s think,” but that is shit advice.

If you’re someone with a lot of anxiety and lack confidence, you can’t simply stop that thought. It’s not a light switch in your mind that you can just turn off.

Instead, the key is not to not worry about what people are thinking about you, but realize they are not thinking about you.

When you go to the bar, interact with strangers, go on dates etc. everyone else is often way to caught up in their own thoughts, their own insecurities, and ironically, are usually worrying about what YOU are thinking of them.

So next time you’re out and worrying that other people are looking at you, thinking about you, judging you, recognize that no one is actually paying attention, and that’s fucking great news!

Techniques to increase confidence. 

Once you’ve grasped the first two realizations, make sure you are constantly reminding yourself of them, as it takes practice to have them full engrained in your mind. Those two things alone should greatly reduce your anxiety around other’s and increase your overall confidence.

But those are just the beginning. The initial building blocks if you will.

From here there are things you start to do today, to start gaining more confidence.

1. The power stance – this is more of a “quick fix” for boosting confidence and reducing stress levels. (I used this before every phone and face-to-face interview I had this year, it really works).

In just two minutes you can increase your testosterone by 20% and reduce cortisol levels (chemical in your brain that causes stress) by 25%!

It’s fairly simple, there are a few different positions you can use as see in the picture below. The most common is standing up straight, putting your hands on your hips for 2 minutes.

Screen Shot 2016-08-27 at 12.58.18 PM

If you’re at a bar or somewhere where you don’t want to stand there looking like a weirdo, try one of the other poses. Most of them come down to taking up space and not being closed up.

2. The eye contact game – this is one of my favorite.

Eye contact is huge and very under-rated. People who lack confidence often look at the ground, or basically anywhere except the eye of the person they are talking to. The other person will usually notice this and it comes across very unconfident.

Intro, the eye contact game. It’s simple. When you are walking down the street you make eye contact with someone walking towards you. You cannot break eye contact with them until they break eye contact with you first. Once they have broken eye contact with you, feel free to look at someone else.

This game can sometimes feel awkward and make you feel uncomfortable, but that’s the point. The process of gaining confidence is going to make you feel uncomfortable at times, but that discomfort is progress, so embrace it.

And once you start doing it more, it’s actually a lot of fun. Sometimes you’ll get someone who will just not look away and that will really push you. Don’t worry nothing bad will happen. I once had a fucking stare down for what felt like forever with a HUGE dude. I was sure he was going to fuck me up, or at least say something to me. We even both looked back and caught eyes again after passing each other.

Once you get the hang of it, keep pushing. Smile at the person, even a casual “hey how are you?” as you walk by. Will it feel a bit weird and the other person may wonder what you’re smiling about? Maybe, honestly, who the fuck cares? This this isn’t about them, this is about you, and making you more confident.

After practicing this for a while, you’ll notice eye contact come more naturally and will increase your overall confidence.

3. Positive affirmations – this is something I’ve talked about a few times to help cope with panic attacks and anxiety. It’s the practice of what you tell yourself when confronted with an uncomfortable situation, and more specifically in this case, a situation where you lack confidence.

This is hard, takes a long time, and lots of practice, but I can’t stress how powerful this can be if you stick with it and practice it a lot. Entire books and studies have been written about this so it’s very hard to conceal in this in a few steps, but here’s the general idea of it.

The first thing your brain will start doing when trying something you lack confidence in, is telling you negative things, that you can’t do it, remind you of failed past attempts, of the potential negative outcomes.

So you need to learn how to “re-write the script,” in your head.

1. Recognize and listen closely to what your mind tells you when you feel a lack of confidence. What is your brain actually telling you, what does it fear, how does your body feel, listen and pay as close attention as possible. This is arguably the hardest part because you are rarely paying attention to the actually thoughts that are constantly going by, so this often takes a lot of practice and close attention to get good at. Practicing meditation is an excellent way to get better at this.

2. Recognize those thoughts are complete bullshit. Im serious, it’s bullshit. Your mind is a master of drama, worry, and deception. It creates a small seemingly plausible worry and snowballs it into a harrowing nightmare. The key isn’t to get to stand in front of that runaway snow boulder and try to stop, but just let it pass by. Look at it, recognize it’s pointless, stupid, and untrue (even laugh at it and it’s ridiculousness, and let it pass.

3. Now re-write the script immediately. Once you’ve recognized the passing stream of bullshit thinking. Take mental action. Tell yourself positive affirmations. That you can do it, that you’re confident, that you’re the fucking shit. Even if you don’t fully believe it, that’s okay! Re-writing the script (your brain) takes a long time and a lot of practice. The words might feel hallow and you may not fully believe it at first, but as you do it more and more, it will be imbed in your mind and soon, your auto-pilot mind will go from spewing worry-some bullshit, to confidence.

Self Help Advice for People Who Hate Self Help Advice

screen-shot-2016-09-10-at-2-23-42-pm

Recognize your nothingness, your complete insignificance to the world, your complete lack of importance. Recognize that everything you’ve ever said, done, and will ever do has absolutely no real importance and will be forever lost in the endless spectrum of time.

Stop trying so damn hard, stop trying to be happy, to be someone, to control things, to be successful. Be wrong, fail, celebrate pain, celebrate your mediocrity, celebrate your complete lack of knowing what the fuck you are doing.

Fuck “shooting for the stars,” fuck the “you can do anything you set your mind to,” and fuck all the little motivational quotes people throw out on social media so often that they’ve lost all significance and meaning.

No one is thinking about you or really paying attention to you.

And once we realized this. Once we fully understand and accept all this.

You’ll see why this is all incredibly awesome news.

Before I go further you’re probably already thinking. “O boy, here we go, Leddy’s lost it. He’s hit a rough patch and in some cynical dark hole and going to rant on about how life is meaningless and sucks.” Actually life’s pretty fucking great. And I don’t bring that up to make you feel like shit or impress you, but rather to impress upon you, some seriously counter intuitive life advice that will actually ease your anxiety.

Starting with counter-intuitive self-help reminder #1. You are not special.

“Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.” – Tyler Durden

Tyler’s right. You are not important or significant,  And this is great news. Let me explain why.

 

Unnecessary pressure and anxiety

Most of us as kids growing up are constantly being told and reminded that we’re special. You can do anything, be anyone, achieve anything. You have limitless potential and can change the fucking world if you wanted.

This can be inspiring advice, but ironically, as we get older this advice that you’re told growing up, can really mess you up. Mentally crippling you and can give you crazy anxiety, depression, and ultimately sets you up for failure.

Let’s face it, the 99.999999% aren’t going to be billionaires, celebrities, athletes or even remotely famous. For the vast majority the only kind of fame you may have any chance of amounting too is getting a few thousands youtube hits.

It’s just not realistic. The people you know in that teeny tiny margin of the .0000001%, usually dedicated their entire life to that single thing they’re known for and even then there are millions of others exactly like them who didn’t get to that level.

But you’re not told that growing up. You’re told your super duper star spangled awesome that you can single handily save the world if you want. So what happens when you finish school and not only are you not the super hero you were told you would be, but you’re nothing except a college statistic with a boat load of debt?

You feel fucking depressed, confused, anxious, and freak the fuck out. What happened to my childhood dreams?!

No one ever told you growing up about the struggles, the pain, the sacrifice, the failures, set backs, emotional distress, and just plain damn hard work that goes into it. And then even then you’ll probably still fail. No one ever tells you that as a kid.

One of the biggest problems I’ve come to realize for people in their 20s (30s, 40s, and even 50s included) is that we freak out because we have no idea what we are fucking doing!

And instead of exploring and celebrating that uncertainty (like everyone should! I mean for christ sake you’ve been on this earth for only 20+ years, 18-22 of those years you were in school, and you seriously think you’re going to have your entire fucking existence all figured out and laid out in a nice, neat and problem free little lifestyle? what?! shut up and get lost, no seriously), it scares the living shit out of us, because we’re told we’re superheroes and rockstars, meanwhile we’re drowning in student loan debt, bills, and are neurotic basket cases.

So chill out. Relax. Accept your averageness. Feel comforted in knowing there is no pressure, just the pressure you choose to put on yourself.

father speaking to son

“Hey Johnny listen, you have the power and potential to do great things in life, but I gotta tell ya, there’s a very high likely-hood you’ll be average. You can slave your whole life away to be the greatest, and there’s a minute teeny tiny fraction of a chance you will be. So when you finish school and it does happen, don’t panic, explore the uncertainty, the world, and all it has, and recognize no one else (not even me) really knows what the fuck they are doing. ”

In summary: You can be awesome, but you very highly most definitely won’t be. So relax.

 

The danger of self help industry

This is a big danger of the self help industry. The self-help industry essentially plays the same role to adults as most parents do to their kids. Again, telling you you’re special, awesome, unique little snowflakes. You can do anything with a little hard work and imagination, and you’re all just super duper awesome unique unicorns that need to spread your wings and fly (some shit like that).

Unicorn

Yeah, something like that

Now you may be thinking “what’s wrong with that? what’s wrong with inspirational quotes and being told we’re awesome” (bitch, don’t kill my vibe).

Look I love this industry. I do. It’s responsible for changing countless lives and has affected my life tremendously.

But while it can be helpful, once again, it can be damaging. It can lead to an insane amount of anxiety and unnecessary pressure. How do you feel about yourself when you are constantly reminded every single day that you have the ability to do all these amazing things, but you’re barely keeping afloat?

The other major issue of self-help is most advice promise “quick fixes for radical life changing results.” 3 quick ways to change your life…5 steps to becoming rich…1 week to be skinny…4 secret words to say to someone to have them love you (I wish I was making this shit up).

I’m not going to dive into this deeply because it can be an entirely different and long post in itself, but the obvious point is you cannot change your life quickly and easily. Change requires constant focus, growth and effort. There’s no end goal, just a little better over time.

If you’re really grasping this so far, this should be alleviating a lot of your life anxiety about the stresses and pressure you put on yourself to be much more. But let’s go further here.

Kill (the concept of) Yourself

There’s always this concept thrown around about “finding yourself.” Finding who you are, your passion, your calling, life purpose. The self help industry LOVES this, “how to find yourself or discover your true calling in life,” type shit.

But what I truly believe, we really should be told, what we really need to hear and do is pretty much the opposite. You need to kill (the concept of) yourself.

“It’s only once we’ve lost everything, that we are free to do anything” – more Tyler Durden for ya

I’m not talking about losing everything in the materialistic sense (although that helps as well), but more so losing your identify, your sense of self, your labels, any idea of who you think you are. Everyone talks about trying to find themselves, but I’ve found this to be counter productive and bad advice.

Why do you want to find yourself? Why do you want to label yourself or give yourself an identity? I’ll tell you why. Because it makes you feel comfortable. It provides you with a sense of purpose and worth. It gives you that warm fuzzy feeling when you can put yourself in a neat little box with a bowtie on and it say “that’s me!”

However, here’s the interesting thing about creating an identity or label for yourself. It’s usually negative and based off fear (and you hardly ever notice that).

Going to back to when you were a kid. You didn’t have many labels for things or people, almost no sense of self, and no identity. You were free. But as you got older you started labeling things, you started hearing no, you failed, you had set backs and saw limitations. That reminder and voice that we can do anything starts to annoy us and feels like it betrays us. No one told us there’d be set backs and failures. No one told us no.

Slowly we built an identity around these failures, these fears, these limitations. We failed at something once or twice and said “can’t do that,” on to the next “can’t do that.”

But these labels, this identity, will own you. You will say I am X, Y, Z and therefore anything outside of that is not something I’d do. I am shy, I don’t socialize a lot with strangers. I’m anxious, I can’t handle doing something uncomfortable.

Fuck that. Fuck all your labels and who you think you are. Labels and identity will limit you and hold you back. Labels are only as powerful as you decide to make them.

Labels and identity are self imposed. Meaning they DO NOT EXIST. You created them, therefore, you can destroy them. So do it. Destroy them. They will bring you nothing, but a feeling of imprisonment. A limiting life set of beliefs that are bounded by what you’ve label you can handle.

I hear all the time “OMG I’m 25 I don’t know what I want to do with my life, I don’t know my passion, I don’t know what I want, I don’t know what I want as a job, will I ever get married, will I have kids, I’ve accomplished so little, holy fuck I suck”

Whoaaaa calm down kemosahbee. This is all part of you trying to make an identity out of yourself. You trying to label and find out “who you are.” Which instead of comforting you, like you hoped it would, just creations limitations and anxiety. You’re suppose to be exploring uncertainty, not running from it. I get it feels a bit uncomfortable, but that means you’re getting somewhere.

So fuck, finding yourself and fuck creating an identity or labels for yourself

Finding yourself is the most misguided advice you can give. Again, what you’re really saying is I want an identity, I want a feeling of purpose and importance in this big crazy chaotic world. You want to fit in as another puzzle piece and need to be shaped the right way to do so.

So drop it. Kill (the concept of) yourself. Of this person you think you are.

Strip yourself of everything you think you know about yourself. If you get anxious around wanting to feel special just remember you’re a big ball of bacteria and decaying matter who’s sole purpose to is to eat away and destroy this big blue and green ball that we call earth.

Now breathe.

The Three Most Important Words To Tell Yourself

three-most-important-words-to-tell-yourself

Some of you are going through a hard time right now. For some of you, it feels like you’re almost always going through a hard time.

Some of you are scared. Some depressed, overwhelmed, stressed, sad, angry, anxious, and alone. And some of you feel like you just can’t fucking handle it anymore.

No matter what you feel, your situation, your background, upbringing, or whatever sort of endless shit storm of fears and problems you seem to be stuck in, there’s some good news.

And that’s that every single fear you and I have ever had, have, or will ever have, can be traced back to one single underlying fear.

That’s right, at the bottom of every single one of our fears, no matter what it is, lies one universal fear…

But before I reveal this grand fear, you need to better understand fear by taking a closer look at it. (Don’t worry, I’ll hold your hand, it’ll be ok)

Holding hands

Look see. Here’s a super cutesy ass pic of me holding your hand as I walk you into fear. I got you

Fucking fear…

It’s been said that if you really want to get to know yourself, you need to understand what you’re afraid of. While that is very true, there’s something that’s equally, if not more, important. And that is understanding fear itself and where all your fears comes from.

When we break down fears there are 2 things you’ll notice. 1. There are literally millions of different things people fear and variations of those fears. 2. Although there is a seemingly endless amount of fears people have, every single fear stems from one single underlying fear (which I’ll get to, I promise).

The endless number of fucking fears

There are fears of things that happen to you. Getting sick, hurt, aging, disasters, rejected, humiliated, becoming alone, losing friends or family, getting fired, failing, succeeding (yes actually becoming successful is a fear).

Then there are fears of things that we are trying to make happen. Breaking up with someone, giving a presentation, losing weight, quitting a job, moving to a new place, going to travel, driving, flying, asking someone out, applying for a new job.

Then there are the emotions behind those fears. Anxiety, anger, sadness, regret, confusion, uncertainty, love, empathy, overwhelmed etc.

So what scares or frightens you? Is there something you want to do, but afraid of the potential outcome? the failure, success, embarrassment, rejection that may result. Are you afraid of bad things happening to you? getting sick, fired, broken up with, divorced, hurt, or even your own inevitable death?

Maybe you want to ask someone out, but fear the rejection that may result. Maybe you want to make more friends, but afraid of people not liking or accepting you. Maybe you want to stop drinking, but you get nervous in social situations without alcohol to calm your nerves. Maybe you want to end a bad relationship, but fear being alone and getting back out there. Maybe you want to tell your boss to fuck off and follow a passion, but fear failing or what you’ll do next.

Maybe one of the above describes you, maybe multiple, maybe all, or maybe none. It actually doesn’t matter as much as you’d think and we’ll break down why

The root of all your fears

hand fear

As I’ve alluded to multiple times, although there are so many different types of fears people have, whether it’s something that could happen, something that will happen, something to be done, rational or irrational fears, every single fear can be traced back to one single underlying fear.

I can’t handle it! 

I know, that wasn’t exciting, sexy, and was very anti-clamatic. I’m sure you were hoping for some ground breaking, earth shattering fear or phrase. But let’s look at this and realize why this is actually not only true, but also awesome news.

Again, the underlying fear of all everything your afraid of is the fear that you can’t handle it.

Looking at the fears I listed earlier. You’re not actually saying I’m afraid of becoming humiliated, rejected, sick, aging, alone, failing, traveling, driving, quitting a job, asking someone out etc.

You’re saying: I can’t handle being humiliated, I can’t handle being rejected, I can’t handle being sick, I can’t handle aging, I can’t handle being alone etc.

You fear your inability to handle each of these situations.

You may being saying “I’m afraid to ask that person out because maybe they won’t like me and reject me.”

What you’re really saying is “I can’t handle the idea of getting rejected.”

Maybe you’re saying “I want to quit my job and pursue a passion, but I don’t know what will happen from there.

What you’re really saying is “I can’t handle the uncertainty of not knowing what will happen from this choice” or maybe “I can’t handle the idea of trying something that makes uncomfortable and then failing.”

Even seemingly protective and rational fears stem from the idea of not being able to handle something. For example, maybe you’re boyfriend or girlfriend is going on a skiing trip and you say something like “babe, please be careful”.

What you’re really saying is “I won’t be able to handle the thought of you getting hurt or something bad happening to you.”

I’m not saying any of these things said, done, or feared is necessarily wrong. Feeling a bit worried, concerned, and afraid of something bad happening to you or a loved one is completely natural. Fuck, it’s what makes us emotional humans!

But what I am saying is that all these worries, fears and anxieties come from the same root fear of not being able to handle something.

And now that we know that, now that we understand there is only one true root fear, we can get to the most important part.

The three most important words to tell yourself

Now imagine this. Imagine you could handle it. Imagine you could anything that is thrown your way.

Imagine any bad thing that could happen to you, anything you want to do, any shit storm you encounter, any emotions, anxieties, and fears you could handle. Imagine there was nothing you couldn’t handle. What would be left to fear? Nothing.

If you could trust yourself to handle anything, there is no longer a root fear. Without the root fear, there is, you guessed it, no fear.

Life will never be predictable and bad shit will always happen, but the question will always be, can you handle it?

With that, you may be able to now guess what the three most important words you can ever tell yourself are.

I’ll handle it.

Again, you may be a little let down right now, thinking I was going to tell you some profoundly deep, wise, and mind blowing thing you’ve never heard. However, I kind of did.

These three words are the most profound thing you can ever tell yourself for any situation that you’ll ever deal with.

Break up? I’ll handle it. Big presentation? I’ll handle it. Quit your job to pursue a passion? I’ll handle it. Get on a plane despite terrible fear or flying. I’ll handle it.

The difference between someone who seems confident, fearless, and does whatever they want, is not that they are some fearless super hero, but rather they trust themselves to handle it, to handle the situation. That’s it. They handle that situation, that fear. It can truly be that simple.

Chuck Norris handle it

And you’re not any different. You had, have, and always will have the ability to handle any situation. It’s not a matter of trying to control a situation or outcome, but rather being able to handle anything that happens to you or you want to do.

I’ve already used this quote, but it bears repeating as it fits well with this idea. “I believe that 10% of life is what happens to you, and 90% is how you react to it.

How will you react? Will you handle it?

For anyone who has been through a serious anxiety attack like I have. Where the room feels like its closing in, your sweating, shaking, heart racing. What you’re usually telling yourself is “I can’t handle it!” So change the script.

I’ll handle it, I’ll handle it, I’ll handle it!

A couple months ago I shared my journal entries from the 41 hour period of my travels where I was sick, alone, depressed, angry, lost, confused, robbed, and scared out of my fucking mind. Appropriately titled 41 Hours of Perpetual hell.

A lot of you messaged me and commented on it. The #1 question I got over and over is “how the fuck did you handle that?” (Other questions involved “how’d you not flip a shit on that German woman, where’s Belgrade, and how the hell goes to Serbia in the first place…valid questions people).

Simply put. I just kept telling myself “I’ll handle it” over and over. It’s all I could do or say.

So, how will you react? Whatever shit gets thrown your way. “I’ll handle it.” Whatever anxiety and fear may be going through you. “I’ll handle it.” Whatever terrible thing just happened to you, got fired, broken up with, divorced, lost a loved one. “I’ll handle it.”

Shit, get fired up about! Bad shit happens? “Fuck this bullshit I’ll handle it.” Sick? “Fuck this illness, I’ll handle it!” Buggin out for no seemingly god damn good reason “Fuck these worries and anxieties, I’ll handle it!” (clearly I have a running theme here I prefer)

Fuck your fears

Fuck that fear, you’re handling that bitch

It doesn’t mean things will always be easy. Things will get thrown at you that sometimes seem like it’s just too much. Things will still be hard and suck at times, that much I can promise.

You may find yourself in situations that leave you feeling fucking shattered and hopeless. You may find yourself in situations where you have no idea what the fuck you are going to do next. You may get anxiety so seemingly crippling that it shakes your core. You may find yourself 4,500 miles away from home in soaking wet clothes outside in the cold, throwing up every 20 minutes, in a country where no one speaks english, lost, alone and scared out of your mind (okay hopefully no one else experiences that).

But if you can learn trust in yourself your ability to handle the situation, you’ll watch as the fear diminishes and you find yourself able to handle anything that comes your way.

No matter what. Repeat those three words. “I’ll handle it”

Because you will. You’re a fucking superhero in your own movie that is your life and no matter what shit storm comes your way, no matter what you want to do, you’ll handle it.

My Interview With The Professional Wingman

screen-shot-2016-09-07-at-10-47-59-pmToday I got to sit down and chat with LA’s Thomas Edwards, creator of “The Professional Wingman.” I met Thomas months back at a entrepreneur networking party in NY. Once he told me what he does, I wanted to know all about it. He was nice enough to take me under his wing for the night, show me his world, and methods for becoming a better socializer and how attract the person you want. I managed to track him down to follow up and find out what the Professional Wingman is all about.

In this interview we discuss what the professional wingman is, how it came about it, and what it’s all about. We also discuss modern dating, love, relationships, socializing, problems most men and women face in the dating scene, what holds people back, and some tips on how to start attracting the person you want. Check it out.

A World With Slightly Less Inconsiderate Assholes

a-world-of-slightly-less-inconsiderate-assholes

It’s 7am, your alarm goes off, you groan and slowly open your eyes from a night of lousy sleep. In a half-zombie like state you get yourself together for work and head out the door.

You’re driving to work on a single lane road and someone in front of you is driving very slow with no other cars in front of them. You honk and think to yourself “what an asshole, go!” Moments later, someone else flies by you in their car going twice the speed limit and catches you by surprise, you think “what a pyscho, what the fuck are they doing?!”.

You get to work and the receptionist looks dead eyed and mumbles a hallow “good morning” that neither of you really want to hear. She looks at the ground and mumbles that you’re late for a meeting. You roll your eyes at her and think how she’s always such a downer.

Your colleague asks for your help on a project that was due yesterday, but he claims he was too busy to finish and you think “what were you doing, you knew this was due today!”

You leave after a long day of work and are stuck in traffic side by side with all these massive SUVs, everyone inching along, cutting in and out of lanes Office Space style, and all you can think is “I want to get away from all this and get home now!”

waiting for car in front

You realize you have no food at home and have to go to the store to grab food for dinner. You ask someone who works there where you can find the frozen foods section. The guy shrugs his shoulders and you shoot him a “dude don’t you fuckin work here?” glance. You finally find what you want and the line is long as hell and all you want to do is get it through it and get home.

After what feels like forever, you finally arrive to the front of the line and the lady at the cash register is old and moving extremely slow. She slowly scans each item, has trouble getting your change, and doesn’t even bag your items. You grab your food from her and the women puts her head down and moves on to the next customer.

Perspective

Each person in the above is a part of a common day to day frustration. Your situation may involve different components, different commutes, different work, and encounter different types of people, but more or less you deal with thoughts of how other people inconvenience you, get in your way, and are ultimately, assholes.

This is your story. And your story usually involves a lot of other people. Or as you often unconsciously label them, “other inconsiderate assholes.” Now you may not label people inwardly or outwardly as exactly that, but regardless of what you may call them, that’s usually what is boils down to. Mean, selfish, obnoxious, rude, inconsiderate, jerk, idiot, asshat (personal favorite), annoying, dick, crude, bitch, impolite. Whatever you may label them, it really all boils down the same, you think there’s an asshole. Maybe not always, but in a situation where someone seems to inconvenience you, they were.

But what about that person, that “asshole.” What about their perspective? What about their story?

We’ll never fully know the story of the people around us. Many of them may be strangers or colleagues like the example above. But even our friends and family often don’t share their true stories, issues, and struggles, and so it’s often left up to our interpretation (which is usually wrong and deluded).

It’s easy to go into our self centered auto-pilot during the story above and only see our own story and those “assholes” in our way. But what if we decided to see the story different, what if we decided to think about each of those other people and what they may be going through.

Maybe the person driving slowly in front of you had recently been in a terrible car accident and it was their first time driving in months and they were terrified. They were trying to get their life back together and finally built up the courage to drive again, but your tailgating and honking behind them scared them shitless.

Maybe the person who flew by you in their car was a soon to be father who’s wife was sitting next to him moments away from giving birth to their first child and it was in fact you who was in his way.

Maybe the receptionist is a single mother, who had been up late that night working a second job just to make ends meet.

Maybe your colleague forgot about the project because he’s been a complete depressed wreck  after his wife decided to divorce and leave him.

Maybe that kid working at the store was on his first day, is trying to overcome extreme social anxieties, and nervous about his first new job because he needs it to pay for school.

Maybe the old woman behind the counter had been up night after night for the past few months sitting by her husband’s side as he battled with cancer. He just recently passed away and now she has to take up this job to keep afloat financially.

Now I realize many of the situations above are fairly rare and a bit extreme, in fact, odds are low that you will incur people like this in your day to day.

But the point here is you have a choice in how you wish to see the story.

You have a choice how to think and view the world around you. I am not telling you how to think. I am suggesting to you the idea that you can choose if that person is an asshole or a fellow human who may be struggling with something you don’t understand. You can break your auto-pilot default views of the world and people around you and create an alternative.

All of the above are still situations being dealt with in the world around you every single day and you often have no idea. But it all comes down to what you want to consider. Do you want live in your world where everyone is an inconsiderate obstacle that is in your way, or do you want to consider something else? That maybe there dealing with similar pains and struggles, or that their pains or struggles may be far worse then yours.

Everyone on this planet is battling with issues that you know nothing about. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own story, our own problems, that we don’t look around or even think about what other’s might be going through.

Don’t you think everyone else waiting in line, late at night, buying groceries also wants to get home? Don’t you think everyone else sitting in traffic wants to get going just as badly as you. There is no prick just sitting there in their car driving at 10mph because he is intentionally fucking with you. But that’s how we feel and think. We actually have thoughts that “this person is doing this because they are an inconsiderate asshole”. That is the only logical explanation in your mind.

439741

But here’s part of the problem. First without understanding why we are like this, the fact that we are actually wired to, by default, act out of selfishness, it leads us to further anger and frustration (Yes, many of our natural default settings is to view other’s as inconsiderate assholes in our way). The second, is that it’s damn hard work to keep the feelings, struggles, and thoughts of other’s in mind. In fact, I’d argue it’s impossible to do all the time.

You may read this or hear similar advice and for the next day or two, you’ll be a little more considerate, patient, and accepting of others. You may consciously start choosing to believe a story contrary to your default “everyone is an asshole except me,” setting. However, usually shortly after you’ll get caught back up in your usual thoughts and stories of everyone being an asshole. Hell, I’m writing this, and yet still guilty of falling back into this mindset, all the time.

But if we’ve grown up knowing that we need to be considerate of others and what they may be dealing, why do so rarely do it and why is it so hard to keep up? Why are our brains wired in a way that the moment someone inconveniences us in the very slightest, we instantly label and berate that person in our mind or even outwardly, that they are a selfish, inconsiderate asshole?

I’m glad you asked, let’s get to the question at hand. Why you’re an asshole. (If you just thought “well I’m not an asshole” shut up, just listen, you are, shhh it’s okay, I am too, and we can work on this)

The Actor Observer Bias

The actor observer bias, basically be definition in one sentence says that we are all assholes.

To summarize the actor observer bias, let’s use another example. Let’s say you’re standing on the sidewalk about to cross the street. The light turns yellow and then is about to turn red, so you start stepping out into the road. As you do, a car speeds up to make the light and runs through it, causing you step back and wait for the car to go by. You’re immediate thought as the observer, is that the person speeding through the light was wrong, and that they’re a selfish asshole. However, if you put yourself in the same exact scenario and situation, where now you are the driver, the light is turns yellow and you decided to gas through, you would see it as no big deal at all.

We all do this, everyday, and often have no idea. We see someone do something that annoys us, and then do that exact same thing and think nothing of it.

Why? Because we’re entirely self-absorbed. We don’t go into making a decision with the mind state “I’m a total asshole for doing this.” No to you, it’s totally fine and justified. But so help you god, when someone else does the exact same thing, you will look at them like they’re a total dick.

Actor observer

Everything happens through your perspective

When you really think about it, it’s easy to see why we are so self-absorbed and inconsiderate of what other’s are thinking and doing. Everything in your life happens from your perspective. Everything happens from your point of view, in front of you, behind you, next to you. Everything that is experienced is through your eyes, what you see, experience, your thoughts and interpretations, your senses, your mind.

There is no experience that you have had that you weren’t the complete center of.

So it’s easy to understand why we are so selfish. We rarely consider the thoughts, feelings, and actions of other’s, not because we’re oblivious to the fact that other people have similar struggles, but because we often have so many of our own problems in our mind, that it’s very difficult to constantly think about the problems everyone around us may be dealing with as well.

And even when we do, even when try to consider the feels, struggles, and problems of others,  it’s almost impossible to fully know and understand what is really happening, and why they are doing it, because simply put, we are not that person.

There are no two people on the planet that are going through the exact same thoughts, struggles, and experiences. We may have similar struggles, but the way in which we preserve and deal with them will never be the same between two people.

No one is consciously an asshole

As I said earlier, it’s always important to remember that no one is consciously an asshole. Even those people you know that truly always seem to be angry dickheads, are not conscious assholes (even though it can feel like they are).

What I mean by this, is that no one consciously does something for the pure sake of being an asshole. Even if it seems their sole intention was to berate you, be mean, break you down, there is always something deeper going on. A cry for attention maybe, a lack of social awareness, low self esteem, trying to impress someone, etc. Whatever it may be, there is always a method to the apparent madness.

Yelling Gif

Now I’m not saying this means you need to constantly accept and put up with someone else’s inconsiderate bullshit just because they may be going through a hard time. No, just like you are often unaware of what other’s may be going through, people are often equally unaware of their own level of “assholesness” (not a word? it is now). We are terrible judges of how our actions and words affect others and sometimes have no idea we are being assholes ourselves.

You ever say or do something that you thought was completely light hearted, playful, and innocent, only to look back and realize it was a total dick move? (Me to my own question: “uhh all the time”) I bet for every one time you catch yourself in that realization, there was another hundred instances where your light hearted actions or words, in reality, came across aggressive and mean.

Awakening to a life of less assholes

Please don’t think I am sitting here writing that this is a way you need to constantly think. Because as I mentioned, it’s hard. It’s hard to constantly keep the needs and considerations of other’s in the forefront of your mind. It’s hard to override your default auto-pilot mind that views other’s as inconsiderate assholes, that continually get in our way, and tell yourself a different, more understanding point of view.

There are some days where you flat out will not be able to do it. There will be days where you just can’t seem to tolerate people and Bob from HR spills coffee on you and then scolds you later for telling a risky joke in the office because its “unprofessional.” (Fuck Bob,Right?)

HR

Seriously, fuck Bob

What I am saying again is that you always have a choice. You don’t have to see people and the world this way. Your mind completely free to make up any and all realities and stories about people around us. Why not make them more pleasant?

Maybe it’s just trying to be just being a little more considerate, a little more patient. To be a little more self-aware, to be open to the idea that maybe someone’s else’s pain is more then yours. To the idea, that maybe that person shoving past you has a sick or hurt kid to get home to, and it is actually YOU who is in HIS way. To be a little more in tune with your fellow humans around you..

Maybe it’s thinking a little more about what you say and do. The affects of your words and actions are so much more significantly powerful then you have an idea, I promise you that. I’m not saying you need to spend your life tip toeing around trying not to offend anyone. I’m just saying your words and actions have a far bigger impact on others then you know.

Think that maybe, just maybe, that person is not an asshole. Maybe they are going through something hellish right now, a breakup, divorcee, illness, injury, death in the family, depression, anxiety.

You always have a choice how to perceive the world and others.

The Three Areas of Life Where You Should Never Settle For Less

three-areas-of-life-to-never-settle

Often times in life we have to settle. As we grow older it slowly dawns on us that we can’t have it all. You won’t fulfill all your dreams, life will be far from perfect, and as the Rolling Stones famously put “you can’t always get what you want.”

We live in a time where we are given more freedoms and choices then any other point in history. We have the freedom to do, say, and pursue almost anything we want. However, it’s just not possible to have it all. There are simply too many things and not enough time, so we learn to pick our battles. What is worth fighting for? What is worth our time and efforts and, just as important, what isn’t? What areas in life will you settle for less then best or even average and what won’t you settle for?

There are lots of areas and things in life where I don’t mind settling. For me, most of them are materialistic. House/apartment, car, clothes, shoes, electronics, furniture etc. This doesn’t mean I don’t want these things to be nice or that I don’t care about them. I’d love for them all to be awesome and nice, but if I have to, I’ll settle for something less then the best because they aren’t the most important things in my life.

However, there are some areas and things in life (three in particular) that I will never simply settle for anything then less then what I, in my opinion, deem the best. And I strongly believe you shouldn’t either.

Keep in mind as you read this that everyone has their own definition of what settling means to them, as well as, what they would deem ideal or the best. It’s not a fine line.

1. Your girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife

Why on earth would you ever settle for anyone other then someone that makes you absolutely head over fucking heels happier than a person on ecstasy in a pillow pit full of puppies?

More puppies

This girl knows what I’m talking about

But seriously, think about this for a second. In the traditional sense, who you choose to be with and eventually marry is who you are deciding to be with for the rest of your life.

To spend the majority of your time with, to constantly be by your side. They will be there to pick you up, be there in the morning when you wake up, at night before you sleep, be there when you’re sad, happy, angry, depressed, when a family member or friend dies, when you get fired, when you get promoted, when you grow old. They will have your kids and raise a family with you. They will fight for you, with you, and even at times, fight against you. They will laugh with you, cry with you, and potentially die with you. So ill ask again. Why on earth would you ever settle for someone who you aren’t completely 100% Fuck Yes about?

Now everything I just said is somewhat obvious. There’s almost no one alive that doesn’t want that ideal someone. No one goes into finding a significant other thinking “ehhh ill take whoever, doesn’t really matter.” No we all ideally want the person I described above, but then why, why do so many people just settle for someone less?

Now again, everyone’s idea of their ideal partner is different because, obviously, everyone is different. There are people that you or I may consider as settling, that would be a dream partner for someone else. And my ideal girlfriend could be vastly different from yours.

Why most people settle in relationships:

There are many reasons, but if you boiled almost all of them down, they mostly all reveal around 3 main things. Fear, lack of personal boundaries, and conditional relationships.

Relationships based on fear

Some people are terrified at the thought of being single, going out to meet strangers, being vulnerable, going on dates, getting rejected, and getting heartbroken. The fear of leaving someone they are already comfortable with, someone they know and trust.

It’s not easy and that’s why people often stick with relationships that they sometimes even know are toxic. By ending a relationship you are voluntarily abandoning someone that is probably very close to, knows you, trusts you (ideally), and maybe has even built a life with you and become part of your identity, in order to go back out into the big scary world, alone, full of strangers, creeps, and unknowns, in the hopes that one of the strangers you met will eventually be someone you can trust, love, and be with, with the constant thought in the back of your mind “Omg what if I’m single forever.”

Puppy pirate Sorry to scare you there, here’s an off topic picture of a pirate puppy to calm you down, better?                                   

But unfortunately, this is what it takes. It’s hard work, it’s uncomfortable, it’s awkward, it’s facing unknowns, lonely nights, and countless rejections.

But would you rather work through it now to build a life with a partner you’re 100% fuck yes about or would you rather stay comfortable and settle for meh?

There’s one fear I didn’t address that I only really understood recently when talking to a really close girl friend of mine. She admitted to me that she actually felt ugly and worthless if she didn’t have a boyfriend. As if her self-worth and level of attractiveness could only be validated by her having a boyfriend. And that’s a very sad and fucked up way to think and act.

Even more sad as I probed into this, is that this is not at all uncommon. So many people get their sense or self-worth, attraction, and identity validated through their boyfriend or girlfriend. So by being single they feel worthless and ugly. There are people, that are never single for more then what seems like 5 minutes because they constantly need to feel validated by being in a relationship. And that’s a scary and sad reality.

The question you should ask yourself is “would I be less of a person without my girlfriend/boyfriend?, would I be less without them, would my self worth be lowered by not being in a relationship?” The answer should be of course not. Your sense of self worth, attractiveness, or who you are as a person should having nothing to do with whether or not you’re in a relationship with someone else, but everything to do with your relationship with yourself, and only yourself.

Having Strong Personal Boundaries

“Okay Chris, I get it, but are you telling me that I need to find someone perfect, because nobody’s perfect?”

No, I’m not telling you to find someone perfect. Everyone is rough around the edges, has imperfections, and things they need to work on. So the question isn’t what perfections are you looking for, because those should hopefully be something you already know, but rather what imperfections are you willing to accept. The question is what imperfections are you willing to tolerate and accept, and what imperfections are you unwilling to put up with?

A lot of it stems from having strong personal boundaries. Strong personal boundaries comes from your relationship with yourself. What kind of person are you? What will you fight for not fight for? What you will tolerate and accept and won’t you put up with? Where will you draw the line and walk away?

People often settle because they don’t have strong boundaries. They allow a lot of shit into their life and into their relationships because they don’t have a strong sense of self, esteem, or identity, so they, usually without realizing it, let someone else dictate that for them.

If you don’t have strong boundaries, you are letting someone else dictate what kind of person you are, what is acceptable and not acceptable. Having strong boundaries is to know yourself and stick up for who you are and what you believe in. To take control, to take charge, and when necessary put your foot down.

It’s saying and doing what you want because it’s what you want, not because you are trying to please someone or scared of upsetting someone. And sometimes that will drive people away or piss people off. But really, that’s a good thing. This is how you filter who you spend your time with, resulting in more quality relationships.

I’m not saying you need to be some pretentious prick about it, that says “this is how it’s going to be, I’ll accept nothing else.” You can respect, understand, empathize, and agree to disagree. There’s nothing wrong with conflict and disagreement, in fact it’s necessary. Imagine being around someone who agrees with everything you say and do all the time? It’d be so boring.

I once went on a date with a girl and I strongly disagreed with a point she was making, so I told her. I felt the weight of the room tense up and get quiet for what felt like minutes, but then she smiled, and actually thanked me. Confused as hell, I asked why she was thanking me. She told me how all guys she talks to, just sit there and nod in agreement with everything she says and does, and it drives her insane.

Conditional Relationships

An easy way to understand conditional relationships is to understand one of the greatest examples of unconditional love, and that is dogs unconditional love for man. A dog’s relationship with man is unconditional. Dogs just fucking love you for you. They wag their tails and go absolutely bezerk at times just seeing you with no expectation of anything in return. You could lose everything and your life could be in total shambles, but that dog will love you non the less.

Puppy dancing

For those counting, this is the third puppy used in this post

And that is what a true unconditional relationship is. Love without conditions, without looking for or expecting anything in return. But many relationships are based around conditions. You provide this for me and I’ll provide this for you. And if that condition isn’t met, the relationship usually falls apart.

These conditions are not necessarily tangible and often aren’t. Conditions like dating someone that’s hot to impress your friends, dating because they have a lot of money, dating someone who has a high social status or career that makes you feel important or special.

Sometimes even seemingly innocent and caring relationships are conditional, like if you only date someone because they are emotionally distressed, need emotional help and support. These are not relationships with the other person, they are relationships with the condition. A person who is dating someone based around wealth, doesn’t have a relationship with that person, but rather with wealth. Take away the condition and you’ve taken away the relationship.

An unconditional relationship is being with someone without any expectation of anything in return. You care, support, and respect each other, and while you will still often give each other things, you don’t need or expect it from them as a basis for the relationship.

2. Friends

“You are the average of the 5 closest people you surround yourself with.”

The biggest psychological human need is the feeling of being important. This is the single biggest driving factor of almost everything we do. We constantly are looking to be validated, liked, loved, cared about, and for someone to just give a fuck about us.

Just look at Instagram. That app wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for people’s need to feel important and liked. Sitting idly by your phone after you’ve posted a picture, feeling sense of worth and social validation rise or fall as people like or don’t like your photo.

Unfortunately, its because of this that people will waste their time around a lot of shitty people, they call friends. Because those friends, although shitty, give them a feeling of importance (conditional relationship).

It’s a bit of a corny saying, but I fully believe in “friends are the family that you choose.”

A large majority of what I explained in my first point can also be said for friends. In that, these are people we are choosing to spend a large majority of our time with, will be by our sides (not in the exact same ways as #1), and also a lot of people settle on this for very similar reasons.

Fear of being alone and not having friends, so we accept and settle for friends that aren’t great to us. Not having strong personal boundaries, so we basically let our friends choose us, and decide what you do, think, and feel, whether or not you actually agree.

And that some friendships are conditional. They are solely based around a single commonality or condition and nothing further. If you are only hanging out with a group of friends because they make you feel like you have a higher social status, they have money and provide you with a wealthy lifestyle or solely around a group of people who want to party together and nothing further, those are conditional.

That’s not a relationship with friends, but with social status, money, or partying. If your friends stopped partying, would there still be a friendship?

It’s fine for friends to start from a single conditional commonality as it often does, like friends from a sports team or a club you belong too. But true unconditional friendship comes from a deeper level of respect and support that club or no club, sports or no sports, partying or no partying, money or dead fucking broke, you’re equally as close.

When areas 1 and 3 fall apart in your life, these are the people that are going to help put you back together, so they better be people you choose and truly want.

3. Career

“When we finally got down to something which the individual said he really wants to do. I will say to him, you do that. And forgot the money. Because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing, in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid.”

Okay, let’s face reality here. By this point in your life (unless you’re under the age of 13, in which case, what are you doing on this website, this is not for kids, get off now or I’m telling your parents) you’ve probably realized you aren’t going to be a rockstar, celebrity, or professional athlete like you grew up hoping and dreaming, and that’s okay.

The movie stars, actors, athletes, rock stars, celebrities, glamorous live’s we grew up hoping and dreaming about, just aren’t realistic to the 99.99% of us. If you didn’t know that by now, then you probably still believe in Santa, unicorns, and a game thrones where your favorite character doesn’t die.

BUT, does that mean you shouldn’t love your job? Absofuckinglutley not. Now before I even begin to get into this, there is a BIG misconception I need to clear up. The misconception is that living your dream job means a job where you wake up every single day and love what you do. That’s just not realistic or true.

I’ve spoken with, listened to, and read about countless entrepreneurs or people who are living their dream job, but still say that some days just plain suck. The rule of thumb most of them say is that you should love your job about 80% of the time. No matter what, there will be tough days that are rough and shitty.

One of my favorite entrepreneurs spends his career traveling the world as a life/dating coach for men, works where he wants when he wants, and spends most of his time on tropical islands with gorgeous women, and incredible people, but even he admits about 20% of the time, it sucks. So stop thinking you can’t be happy at your job unless you’re happy there all the time, because if that’s your thought process you will always be disappointed.

Now that we’ve cleared that up. WHAT ARE YOU DOING SETTLING FOR A SHITTY CAREER?! eh hem *throat clear* sorry about that. But seriously.

Now again, everyone’s interpretation of a great career vs settling is different. There are some people that truly love a job sitting in a cubicle with a steady pay check (haven’t met one yet, but who’s to judge), and that’s completely fine.

Time after time I’d see people post on facebook “I GOT A JOBBBB! 🙂 🙂 :)” then I’d follow up with them, congratulate them, and ask them how they like it. And I get responses like meh, it’s okay or even that they hate it. In fact, it’s usually not even remotely close to the type of job they want. But they’ll shrug and say “eh, its steady money, I’ll find something I like later.” WHAT?! Are you high?

Okay, okay, I’ll step back a bit. Finding a job you love isn’t easy, it’s damn hard work. What can be equally as hard is actually figuring out what you really want to do.

Again, we live in a time where we have so much freedom of choice its ridiculous. In fact, it can actually be overwhelming. We literally have the potential to do almost anything we want and work in whatever field and pursue whatever company we want. And most of this know and understand this.

But because of this, because of how much freedom we have, we often don’t really know what we want. And that’s okay, in fact that’s more then okay, its great. But what’s not okay is not going after something because of uncertainty.

People say “yeah it sounds interesting, but what if I don’t like it, I’m just not sure, what if I do it and then find out it’s not really what I want.”  Yeah and what if you love it? The only way to know is to try it, go for it.

Like anything in life, you can’t sit there wondering what if, what will happen or if you’ll love it, because unless you do it, there’s no way of actually knowing. It’s also not permanent, so why would you not try it? The beautiful thing about our freedom is that we have the freedom to quit whenever the fuck we want. There’s no job offer that says “by signing this you are forever working at this company.”

Quit job

Identifying a job you love is a life long process that can constantly change

The job you love now you may decide you don’t want to do 5 years down the line, and 20 years down the line you may get sick of the job you got 5 years down the line.

A lot of people act like they need to find out this dream career right fucking now that they will be tied to forever. As if any later then now and it will be too late. But this is a life long process and can always change no matter what age.

I met an american in Thailand who was in his 60s. He spent 15 years of his life pursuing to be a lawyer because at the time, that’s what he loved. In his early 40s, he got tired of it, quit, and pursued a new passion of opening a yoga studio (talk about a 180). After years of loving that, he got tired of it, left that, and moved to Thailand and is now a scuba instructor.

My mom in her early 50s went back to pursue a dream as a teacher. Years after, she wanted to be an occupational therapist, had to back to college to get her masters, and pursued a whole new ideal career in her late 50s.

The process of identifying your next job/career

So what career do you think you want to try right now? Great, what are the steps needed to get there? Do you need more schooling, some internships or more experience? Good, do it.

Now that you are there, you’re working the job you think you want comes the most important part. How do you feel? Pay attention every day, are you happy with the work you are doing? Do you like it? Do you like the people you are working with? Is the money sufficient? (still important) Are you learning and growing? Is this really what you want? Write about how you feel as you go, which is very important so you can remember and reflect on how you felt through out the job. Constantly question and elevate what you are doing and why? If 80% of the time you love what you do, great! Stick with it until you no longer feel that way. If you don’t love it the majority of the time, leave. Simple as that. Now that you’ve left, what’s next? What would you like to try this time? Good, repeat the cycle.

Finding a job you love involves Ready, Fire, Aim. Do what you need to get your foot in the door and just do it. And as you’re there be mindful and honest with how you feel about it. Love it? Great, stay with it. Hate it? Great, cross it off the list and try another.

What’s holding you back?

“Chris that sounds great and all, but I can’t afford to do that now, I have student loans, bills, rent, debts” Guess what, so does everyone else. I’m sorry, but this is a shitty fucking excuse.

When I got back from traveling, I was unemployed, paying rent in midtown manhattan, along with bills, paying for food, various debts and expenses (still going out in NYC as if I had money like a degenerate idiot). I was digging myself into a deep financial hole and the need for a job quickly became crucial.

But with my back against the wall, I promised myself I still wouldn’t take an offer from any company I wasn’t really excited about. And I almost broke that promise several times over the course of two months when it was looking like I was truly fucked. But I decided I’d rather get kicked out of my apartment and move back home with my parents before ever accepting something I wasn’t really excited about. So I kept going until I found that job, that as of today, so far I love.

My story there isn’t meant to impress you, but to impress upon you that your excuses are nothing more then just that, excuses.

It may seem scary to walk away from a stable paycheck with bills, debts, and loans weighing you down to the point that you feel like you are financially drawing, but I promise you it’ll be far scarier to look back on years of spending time at a company you didn’t like doing something you didn’t like. Bills, expenses and rent will always be there, so why not take time to figure a way to enjoy the way in which you pay them off.