- Vivek shocked by people’s loneliness – no family/friends or people to care for them when checking into hospital/dying
- If you ask people their top priority is, they would likely say a person. But if you look at what society tells us is most important: all about your ability to acquire wealth, power, reputation/fame. But in reality what gives us the greatest joy and fulfillment in life is actually our relationships.
- When this doctor was talking to people at end of their life, a lot of what was talked about in those final days was not the promotions they received or how big their bonuses were. They didn’t talk about how many followers they had on Instagram or the number of friends they had. They talked about the quality of their relationships. They talked about the people they loved. They talked about the people they wish they spent more time with. They talked about the joy the people in their life brought them.
- Why is talking to someone on their final days insightful? Because it strips down a lot of the facades.
- Relates workplace to a family. People help each in other in a family because they feel a sense of commitment to one another
- Five minute exercise – once a week, one person shares photos unrelated to work for 5 minutes brought everyone closer together
- A real friend is someone who reminds you of who you are even when you forget.
- Emotions are a power, not a weakness
- How can you translate your negative AND positive emotions into positive actions?
- Sivers book — Anything You Want (you can get it for free by clicking this link, all chapters on his site)
- You are what you pretend to be
- He read Awaken the Giant Within at 19 (same as Tim)
- “The standard pace is for chumps”
- Relaxing for the same effort – bike story. You can recognize it when you feel the internal pain
- Respond to other people’s demands. No need to create demand
- Either hell yes or no
- Busy isn’t good.
- The first thing that comes to mind isn’t all that interesting. For example, “What’s the first painting that comes to mind?“ Mona Lisa. “What’s the first president that comes to mind?“ George Washington. The first thing that comes to mind doesn’t necessarily give any substance. To find out the substantive answer, maybe look for the third thing that comes to mind.
- Bike story (43 minutes vs. 45 minutes)
- Teach whatever it is you just learned, while you remember what it’s like to not know it. Once you get used to knowing it, you can’t imagine what it’s like to not know.
- Share your work online. If your work isn’t online, it basically doesn’t exist.
- Share the process and the residue of your work. People want to see how the sausage gets made.
- Release your creations sometimes after completion. That way the critiques won’t feel like they’re personal attacks, you’ll be more detached to the work.
- If more information was the answer, we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs. Just start running.
- When Derek went with his introverted nature, instead of trying to do extroverted things, it made him really happy
- Whatever idea you have, you need to argue against it… because everything sounds better in theory.
- So: Do little tests. Give yourself an exit plan in the chance you don’t like it. If you want to live somewhere new, try moving there for a month or two. If you want to try a new job, try it with the chance you’ll hate it.
- Was Robin Williams a “successful actor”? Your initial answer might be yes, but that would be to define success in terms of metrics from other people (external). Not happiness. Define success first by your inner game.
- If you only help yourself but help nobody else, then we’d call you happy, but wouldn’t call you a success
- If you want to be undeniably successful, you need to help yourself (master your emotions and actions) and help lots of people.
- Here’s what actually makes Derek Sivers happy: a quiet little place to live alone, working laptop, access to the Internet and books, enough money for food, good health, and good friends (everything past that is bullshit)
- Focus, Learn, Practice
- The book Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines changed the course of his life. Dan Brown was originally a biology student – took an Eastern spirituality last semester of college
- Digital Dharma documentary worth checking out
- What is Awakening? It’s always right here. It is an infinitely limitless field of brilliantly lucid knowing awareness love and we don’t directly perceive or operate out of it because it’s clouded over by all the structures of mind that we get caught up in. The metaphor is the Sun. When the clouds part and the sun comes out, we say “The sun came out.” Is that correct? No. The sun is always shining day and night. We just couldn’t see it before. It’s clouded over by thought. It’s clouded over by the sense of self. It’s clouded over by constructions about time. It’s clouded over by how we localize consciousness.
- First we get caught up in thought all the time. We spend over half of our waking life caught up in thought and lost in thought. However there are long periods when you are absent of all thought activity. Where are you operating out of if you’re not operating out of thought? You backend your way into realizing your operating out of the Field of Awareness.
- When you go beyond thought, time, sense of self… and enter into the field of all-knowing, that’s Awakening.
- As soon as you’ve made it into a “thing” or “state,” you’ve missed the point.
- A baseball player cannot “think” about hitting a baseball. It happens too fast. You can’t “think” about entering the field of Awareness. As soon as you think about it, it is gone
- Instead of meditating, try concentrating on one object without any distraction.
- Navy SEAL Progression: 1. Balance the body through breath control training. 2. Concentrate – Keep your attention on that thing. 3. Visualization 4. Scan your environment and choose the next target (be aware of what’s going on, don’t get distracted by the next shiny thing).
- Visualization enhances motor performance (Throwing darts, shooting foul shots, putting golf ball). If you don’t have any experience with the sport, visualization doesn’t help at all. If you have experience with the sport, you can get a modest degree of change improvement with visualization.
Light can come out of darkness.
The statement might seem odd.
But our world is facing a particularly troubling reality. The likes of which we have not seen in generations.
It is a dark reality.
However, if history is any indication, lightness will come out of the dark.
Viktor Frankl once wrote:
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Frankl is describing the light that occurred during one of the darkest periods of humanity – the Holocaust.
In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl outlined the notion that human beings can withstand the most brutal forms of darkness so long as they can imagine a brighter future.
The situation we face today is not the Holocaust. It is not human beings torturing and killing other human beings.
However, it is darkness, nonetheless.
It appears out of darkness, infinite wisdom can come.
Because there is another man, who has come face-to-face some of the darkest aspects of human nature.
His name is Jocko Willink.
He created a video entitled “GOOD.”
More than ever, the video applies to our present conditions today.
The premise is this:
“When things are going bad, there’s going to be some good that comes from it.”
Jocko addresses the reality:
If you can say the word “GOOD,” guess what? It means you’re still alive. It means you’re still breathing. And if you’re still breathing, well then hell, it means you got some fight left in you. So, get up, dust off, reload, recalibrate, reengage. And go out on the attack.”
Jocko is a light that has come out of the Iraq War.
Personal Perspective on COVID-19
Now, I’ve lived quite a sheltered life compared to the men highlighted above. These are two brilliant thinkers, who have been through some real shit.
I’m grateful for their ideas, because, in many ways, my philosophies have been shaped by them.
But nonetheless, two different friends have asked me…
What’s your take on this whole situation?
First off, it’s gratitude. It starts with gratitude. It always starts with gratitude, right? Grateful that I got the opportunity to go to sports games with them. Grateful that I got the opportunity to go to bars with them. Grateful that, at one point, we could enjoy each other’s company without a care in the world. Grateful for what appeared normal. Grateful they are safe, in this moment, because this moment is all there is.
Secondly, it’s that life will get better. As a society, we will find ways to adapt. And although it may not be easy, we will grow from this. We will take advantage of new technologies, we will figure out new ways of doing things, and we will become stronger.
This, I am absolutely sure of.
All we need to do is look at the past 20 years. Since 2000, the world has been shocked twice. First, 9/11. Second, the 2008 recession. If you are able to use these two as case studies, you can see that the world did in fact “revert back to normal.”
Who knows if the reality we live in past 2020 will be what we considered normal before, but we shall keep in mind that this, too, will pass.
At this moment, the world might appear dark.
If previous examples tell us anything, it’s that the darkness will eventually evaporate. And we will overcome.
But, now, more than ever, you can be a beacon of light.
You can be someone who spreads love, even if just for a second.
Because that second can bring someone joy for longer than we might be able to comprehend.
No story better illustrates that concept than this one:
The city of Leningrad was surrounded for 872 days by Germany during World War II. It caused extreme famine due to the loss of utilities, water, energy, and food supply.
During that time, a young girl went out to pick up her serving of bread.
After she picked it up, she fell on the slippery roads. Her bread dropped into the mud.
Another woman walked up behind the young girl. The older woman picked the young girl up. She tore her own bread in half and gave the piece to the young girl.
Afterward, the young girl said that the older woman’s gesture gave her the spirit to continue on for the next year and a half.
This is why, always, it is important to be kind to our fellow human being.
Opportunities like today, where the world is going through pain, remind us how important it is to pick each other up when we fall.
Practical Ways To Become The Light
The question becomes…
How can you become that light?
Here are some tools that have helped me (that I go back to whenever I feel darkness creeping in):
- Stop for a minute, twenty, or sixty. You can call it meditating if you want. Limit your inputs to connect you to all that there is. This has been the best way I’ve found to reset in these hectic times.
- Go outside. Observe nature. If you stay inside all day, you’ll lose your mind. Smile at the diversity of all that was created before you were born and all there will be after you die.
- Feel the presence of your neighbors outside. Give them a smile. Say hi. Saying hello to others connects us.
- Understand routines might be broken. Smile at your old habits and help yourself create new ones. Maybe these will better serve you?
- Reach out to friends and family you haven’t spoken to in a while. Especially your grandparents or older relatives. People are more isolated than ever before, but we don’t need to be more disconnected as well.
- Offer to get groceries for your elderly neighbors. They might not be able to go to the supermarket. And they’ll appreciate it.
- Remind yourself to smile at least three times per day. It’s been proven scientifically that smiling creates happiness. Which is weird. Try being unhappy while smiling. It’s more difficult than you think.
- Stay active. I’ve never done home workouts for any significant amount of time until recently. It’s been nice to use this as a time to be productive, not to wallow.
- Do a challenge. You can do 75HARD (there’s no better time) or create/make your own. Get some likeminded people and be accountable to each other. That way you’ll stay connected while moving yourself forward in some way.
Examples of Lightness in the Dark
You don’t need to search far or wide to find examples of lightness throughout the world in these dark times.
Here are some examples of it:
- Woman Helps Elderly Couple Buy Groceries
Even though business is down 45% for The Curry Pizza Co., that didn’t stop owner Malhi Singer from sending pizzas to all health care workers for a week.
“We see all the (healthcare) industry working hard right now, and everybody else is sitting at home,” Singer said. “They don’t have a choice to sit home.”
- Neighbors Open Windows, Cheer for Health Care Workers And Spread Music
In cities across the world, neighbors have opened their windows to communicate. Together, they spread music, joy, and appreciation for workers on the front lines.
- Gary Vaynerchuk Looks to Donate Masks to Hospitals While Helping People Who Lost Jobs
You don’t need to have money to be a light in this world.
You actually don’t need to have anything at all.
You simply need to open yourself to the possibility of holding love.
The rest will take care of itself.
Andy Frisella designed a program called 75HARD.
For 75 days straight, you have to:
- Take a progress photo.
- Workout twice/day (once outside).
- Read 10 pages of a non-fiction or self-help book.
- Drink 1 gallon of water.
- Follow a nutrition plan (no alcohol).
Easy enough, eh?
When I was on the program from September to December 2019, I noticed the benefits almost immediately.
After the program was over, I stopped doing everything on that list consistently.
And it showed.
Since that time, my grit decreased. My workouts have not been as productive. My mind has weakened.
So, I’ve spent some time reflecting on why the program works (because it really does).
1. Your “diet” is more than food.
When most people think of “diet,” they think of only the food they consume. And that certainly plays a big role.
But after doing this program, I realized your diet is everything you consume on a daily basis.
Every piece of content you consume. Every text/phone call you receive. The amount of exercise you do. How much sunlight you get. The meditation you practice. How much social media you consume.
Food is a part of the game – there’s no doubt about it. But it’s a smaller part of your overall diet than you might realize.
2. Struggle creates strength.
If you’re looking for direction, purpose, or a journey…
Look no further.
The truth is in modern-day America, life is easy (okay, maybe pre-coronavirus).
We have the internet. You can order anything you want – at a push of a button, in seconds… and it’ll just show up. Never before in human history has life been this convenient.
But doing the five things outlined in 75HARD forces you to go through some struggle. It forces life to be a little more difficult than you’re used to. Which helps increase your grit muscle.
Which makes you stronger.
3. Do one thing right, do many things right.
Momentum is a helluva drug.
When you’re doing one thing right, it’s easy to do the next thing right.
Why is that?
I believe it’s because doing the right thing builds up your Self-Image as someone who does what they’re supposed to do. If you start to believe it’s in your nature to do the things that will help you, you’ll be more likely to do things that will help you. Not rocket science.
This program facilitates that. There are no days off. You are constantly doing one thing right. Day after the next.
4. Some “hard tasks” may be easy. Some “easy tasks” may be hard.
We often put labels on stuff we have to do to our own detriment.
“Oh, that’s really easy.”
“This is going to be a difficult test.”
But many people have broken 75 HARD because of failing to take a progress photo.
Seems odd, right?
This task requires the least amount of time to complete.
But if you’re not thorough, you can easily forget to do it.
So, this program teaches you that just because something seems small, doesn’t mean it actually is. The things that take less time are important too.
5. The quality of your life is based on a bunch of small decisions.
On Day 39 of 75HARD, I wrote the following in my Notes:
“Eating raspberries/blueberries outside grocery store. About to do yoga. Reading. Made the holy fuck realization that life is about making a lot of little choices. And how these choices add up is how your life will be defined as.
Fruit or fries?
Workout or stay in bed?
Read or Netflix?
Your choices define you. And often they’re small (or at least they seem that way). In truth… they have big consequences.”
6. Books provide energy.
A common criticism of self-help books is:
“Those books all say the same things!”
And I would agree. Many of the messages are the same. But I realized in this program that the purpose of self-help books is not necessarily to learn something new. Rather, it’s to take the author’s energy and apply it to your own life.
When you’re reading books where the author is upbeat, has a positive outlook, and offers an interesting perspective, it will also give you that energy.
7. Alone is good.
I’ve always been comfortable by myself. But this program reinforced the notion that if you want to live an uncommon life, you can’t be doing the same things as everyone else.
This is not to say you will avoid human contact. That is not to say you will have no friends.
But this program forces you to get to know yourself.
It’s hard to do two workouts a day with someone. It’s hard to eat clean when if you’re eating what everyone around you is eating. You obviously can’t read 10 pages with others.
So, you often end up doing these tasks alone.
In fact, it’s actually quite beneficial. Because you will have different goals than the person next door.
Focus on you.
8. Together is good, too (accountability is underrated).
I did this program with my friend Tej Dosa – one of the most brilliant and kind-hearted people I know.
He started the program one day after I did.
Every day when I finished my tasks, I texted him. Every day when he finished his tasks, he texted me.
Self-accountability is important, but you want to rig the game in your favor.
What does this mean?
It means you want as many factors in your favor when you’re doing hard stuff. And one way to do that is to have someone in your corner.
If I didn’t complete the tasks for a day, Tej was going to be disappointed in me. And vice versa.
It helped me understand that when someone’s rooting for you to succeed, it’s much harder to fail.
9. You gain confidence from doing the things that others won’t do.
Several times throughout this program, I went out to bars without drinking alcohol.
This was the first time I had ever done this, and what happened was surprising to me.
I was more social, more confident, and operating from a different place than normal.
I personally believe a large part of that was because you gain confidence from knowing you’re doing what others are either unwilling or unable to do.
10. Setbacks are guaranteed to happen.
One morning, a month into the program, I had a banana milkshake.
Turns out I’m allergic to bananas.
I was briefly hospitalized.
But that didn’t stop me from completing my two workouts, eating clean, read my 10 pages, taking my progress photo, and drinking my water.
Then again, on Day 51, I got food poisoning.
For the next week, I went from my bed to the toilet… Over and over again.
From my notes on Day 58:
The last week has been difficult. I got food poisoning exactly one week ago (last Thursday). Since then, I’ve noticed a SHARP decrease in motivation, conscientiousness, and desire. Pretty crazy. Nevertheless, I’ve stayed completing these tasks, but I have dropped a lot of weight.
The motivation won’t always be there to do what you need to do. You might be sick. You might be tired. But you can still do something to move you forward.
11. New habits emerge.
I had to complete two workouts per day.
So, I thought it would make sense to have some recovery workouts in there.
Thankfully, there was a yoga studio within walking distance of my apartment.
It was nothing short of life changing.
Physically, it helped me introduce me to an aspect of fitness I had previously ignored (flexibility).
Mentally and spiritually, taking yoga as many times as four times a week gave me a new outlook. The teachers and fellow students I interacted with at the studio were kind, loving, and thoughtful.
It’s hard to imagine that I would have picked up yoga without starting this program.
So, I’m incredibly grateful for that.
12. It’s always a choice.
The program gives you until you go to sleep that day to complete the tasks.
You could be sick. You could be tired.
But you always have a choice to do what you know you need to do.
So, if it’s 2 a.m., you could be in your bed, but as long as you don’t fall asleep… you’re still in the game.
In other words, it’s always a choice.
13. Every time you lie to yourself, you’re hurting yourself.
Lying to yourself is when you fail to do tasks you said you would do.
It could be not completing your to-do list for the day. Or failing to finish a workout.
What happens is your Self-Image suffers as a result. You think less of yourself. You will start associating yourself (consciously or subconsciously) with someone who doesn’t what they’re supposed to.
This is a dangerous place to be.
But this program largely erases your ability to lie to yourself. Because it’s black and white.
You either did the workouts or didn’t. You either drank the water or you didn’t. You either took your progress photo or you didn’t.
14. Nobody will know if you didn’t do it. BUT YOU WILL.
At the end of the day, this program is not for anyone but you.
And you quickly realize… you don’t have to do anything. Nobody is sitting there making sure you do it. Nobody will know or even care if you do half of this stuff.
But you will know.
Deep down, you will not feel as if you gave your all. Deep down, it will hurt.
And at the end of the day, that’s what you’re fighting for.
You’re fighting for respect from yourself.
This program is difficult.
That’s why it’s called 75HARD.
But the rewards you gain from doing the work are better than anything I’ve experienced thus far.
If you are thinking about trying it, you can learn more about it from Andy’s podcast: 75 HARD: A 75-Day Tactical Guide To Winning The War With Yourself. Beware: listening to this podcast at night may lead to lack of sleep.
Who you are today doesn’t define who you will be tomorrow.
You can be anyone you want to be.
And you can decide to be that person any time you want as well.
You can be someone who reads? Good. You can do it.
You want to be someone who is fit? Great. You can do it.
You see, we’re constantly changing and evolving. Think about yourself just five years ago. Were you the same exact individual?
No, of course not.
You were doing different tasks daily. You probably had a different goal. And that’s okay. Learning, evolving, and changing is part of the human experience.
How do you become the you that you want to become tomorrow though?
All it takes is starting.
And I think that’s something most people struggle with.
Because starting something often means sucking at first.
Starting something is naturally difficult.
The reasons for doing something won’t always be obvious before you start. In fact, if you are consistent and disciplined, the reasons for doing something will often pop up as you go.
Let me explain with a concrete example from my own life.
When I first started going to the gym, I was not strong.
I actually remember it like it was yesterday.
I remember I was so nervous to step inside the gym because I was afraid. In hindsight, I didn’t have anything to be fearful about. Nobody was going to laugh at my form. Nobody was going to laugh at how light the weights are. Nobody was going to say (or think) much of anything about me.
Looking back, my fear was all quite self-absorbed.
So, I really didn’t want to go to the gym when I first started.
So, I made it my goal every week…
Just go to the gym four times a week.
If I did that, I won the week. This made me feel like I could accomplish something. And it was completely within my control.
It wasn’t about looking good for anyone else.
It wasn’t about making progress.
It was simply: If I complete this, I win…
(Almost like a video game.)
And let me tell you – it was hard. I struggled through those first few weeks of workouts. But I knew I was cultivating the habit of going to the gym.
Soon after I cultivated the habit, I was rewarded.
I started lifting heavier weights. I was cashing in on some newbie gains. And it felt absolutely great.
I gained another reason to go to the gym. Not only was I cultivating the habit of going to the gym, I was also trying to push heavier weights. Not just one, but two reasons to go to the gym. Way better than just one. And if I hadn’t started, I wouldn’t have realized either of these reasons.
I was worried though.
Because even though I had cultivated the habit of going to the gym and I enjoyed the gym, I tended to be someone whose environment got the best of him. When my environment changed, I lost my old habits.
So, eight weeks of summer came… and went.
I went from living at home in the summer to living at school for my senior year of college.
Now, when I went back to school.. most of my friends hadn’t seen me in eight weeks (since I began my training).
Their responses to seeing me for the first time in eight weeks was nothing short of incredible. It was a huge dopamine hit.
- “You’re jacked!”
- “Dude, are you taking steroids?”
- “You look great, man!”
I knew I had made a physical transformation. But I didn’t realize that every person I saw would instantly notice a change.
Now, I had a third reason to go to the gym.
Not only did I want to win the week and get stronger… becoming jacked was now a part of my identity.
All of a sudden, I didn’t have to think about going to the gym anymore. It just was.
Eight weeks was all it took to change my life forever.
All of this is a long way of saying the following:
When you begin a journey, you don’t know what reasons will pop up to continue on that path. You can’t possibly predict the future. All you can do is work hard. Embrace a little bit of the suck. And eventually, trust the process that the work you’re putting in will lead to a brighter future.
(Also, lifting weights is a great habit to cultivate. It makes you look good, feel good, and become a better version of you tomorrow than you were today.)
The story above is proof that who you were yesterday does not have to be who you will be tomorrow. It’s proof you can change your life and change your fate if you are willing to put in the work. It’s proof that the reasons will develop so long as you continue to work hard.
So, I beg you to take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself…
Can I become a better version of myself tomorrow than I was yesterday?