The 3 Simple Paths To Make You Better Every Day
As humans, we all want to get better. We all want to reach that higher realm of life. To feel confident. To feel fulfilled. To have an unshakeable belief that if we decide to do something, it will get done through hell or high water.
Yet, we often let ourselves down. The majority of us don't deliver on our own promise. Allowing our God-given gifts to rot inside us instead of nourishing them and sharing them with the world.
Nothing is more unfortunate than wasted talent.
Nothing is more painful than the agony of regret.
In fact, we actually fight harder to come through for our friends and family as opposed to coming through for ourselves.
How backwards is that?
This is why this message is so important.
This is why the most basic philosophy and the disturbingly simple rules I am about to explain are so game-changing to your life..
It is because what often divides the unsuccessful and successful is insanely marginal.
It is just a couple of tweaks here and there. A couple of mental cues that cause a paradigm shift to someone's life.
"Every second of our days we have a choice between betterment or stagnancy. We consciously and unconsciously choose whether we want to get better or whether we want to stay stagnant. Deciding if we step out into growth or step back into safety"
Sadly, most of us choose stagnancy 95% of the time.
We actively choose mediocrity over greatness.
It almost sounds absolutely ridiculous as I type out these words, but the truth will always get exposed in time.
No lie can ever defeat the brutal truth. Regardless of how well you disguise that lie with a well-dressed excuse.
So what is the divider between betterment and stagnancy? What separates us from one side to the other?
And is it really binary? Is it really that black or white?
In my humble opinion, YES.
That's what life is. You are either growing in some capacity or you're not. Be it mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, or professionally. Or you are staying the same? Essentially, dying slowly due to your lack of growth. Due to your lack of effort. Due to your lack of progress.
After all, most people die at 25. When they enter the hamster wheel of life. Filled with a dead-end 9 to 5. A lifeless relationship. An 8-hour marathon of mindless TV. A bullet-proof routine to dwarf their unique genius and suffocate their spirit.
They stop learning. They stop working out. They stop challenging themselves. They stop fighting to reach their full potential.
As the incomparable Andy Dufresne says in Shawshank Redemption, "Life comes down to one simple choice. "You are either busy living or busy dying."
So what is the disturbingly obvious path that separates you from being better or being stagnant?
Let me explain.
"It's not that people don't want to get better. It's the fact that they don't pay close enough attention to what is really destroying their life. They aren't keen on the details that are holding them back. If people cared enough to see the big picture, they might try harder to change. Just be present. Just be mindful."
The easiest way to describe the impact of mindfulness is through diet and finances. People are always complaining about those extra 20 pounds of fat that magically wrapped around their muffin-top waist. How they woke up and suddenly found themselves drowning in $10,000 in credit card debt.
Here is a little sequence I have experienced with clients when it comes to weight loss.
Client: I am doing everything I can and I am not losing weight. What can I do?"
Me: Answer these couple of questions.
- Are you tracking your daily calories?
- Are you meal prepping your food for the week and measuring each portion?
- Are you weighing yourself daily and weekly? Taking pictures of your progress weekly? Do you do it at the same time every week?
- Did you know that most people underestimate their calories by 600 per day? Even some dietitians underestimate their calories by 200 per day, and it's their job to count calories.
- All those almonds, chips, sauces you sneak throughout the day, do you not think those count?
Client: No, I haven't done that.
Me: Well, I guess you haven't tried everything then. You haven't even done what I asked you to do in the first place.
Now, I am not saying you have to do these exact things to lose weight, but until you get to a higher place of success and mental discipline, you need to be maniacal when it comes to the details.
You haven't earned the right to relax. To be a little carless with your discipline. You need to be more mindful. Pay attention to the gaps that are costing you in the game of life.
This goes for your money, your time, your relationships, your inner peace, your physical health, etc.
If you look at people who are successful regardless of their field, the stats don't lie.
Fit people are mindful of what they eat and how they train. They know exactly what every food and every workout is doing for them physically. They are like a human calculator in terms of calorie intake and calories burned. They are aware of what exercises and foods give them the most bang for their buck, and they live their life according to that playbook.
Rich people are mindful of every dollar that goes into their account and what dollars go out of their account. They know what each dollar is doing for them financially. Be it investments, retirement, bills, education, insurance, etc. Every dollar has a job to do and wealthy people know what job to give them.
Spiritual people are very mindful of every activity or person that disturbs their inner peace. It is as if they live in this beautiful bubble of solace and serenity. Once they allow something to penetrate that bubble that disturbs their peace, they immediately cut them out. Their spiritual or mental clarity is too sacred to them to take it for granted. After all, nothing is more important than your mental health.
If you want to change your life, you need to start by being mindful of everything you do. Be present at the highest level.
The first step to becoming better is to have a keen awareness of everything that is pushing you forward in life and pulling you backward. Then you must embrace the useful and completely reject the useless.
"People preach self-awareness. But self-awareness is only a small piece of the puzzle. Self-awareness is simply knowing. Self-mastery is the act of applying. This is when you attach a strategic action to that heightened level of self-awareness."
The truth is most people know what is wrong with them.
- They know they are in a dead-end job.
- They know they are in a toxic relationship.
- They know they are obese.
- They know they are addicted.
- They know they are lost.
- They know they need to grow up
- They know they need a new approach to life.
But it takes a rare breed to take full ownership of that.
It takes a rare breed to fight that darkness.
If mindfulness is about self-awareness and identifying the gaps in your life. Taking action is the act of closing those gaps and achieving self-mastery.
Knowing is not enough, you must apply.
"There is no greater form of mastery, than master of oneself." - Leonardo Da Vinci.
3. Focus (Sustained concentration)
Focusing on one thing at a time may be one of the hardest things anyone can do. Especially, In this social media era. We have mastered the skill of distraction and destroyed our skill of concentration.
The average person has an attention span of about 8 seconds. 8 seconds! So if you want someone to listen to your story, you have about the same time as Usain Bolt can run the 100 meters.
Social media is the most obvious example of this. People deposit almost 3 hours of their day scrolling at non-sense.
Don't you think you would get good at something if you practiced it three hours per day? So as your eyes dance across feed to feed, and your thumb swipes up and down to the point that you get a blister on your fingertip. It is clear as day that you are slowly dwarfing your ability to focus and mastering the skill of distraction.
People can barely commit to watching a 2-minute video on social media. So what makes you think they can commit to a 2-month wellness program or a 5-year journey of entrepreneurship.
It all comes down to focus. Make the main thing the main thing.
There is such a thing as the Da Vinci curse. Named after the original renaissance man and genius polymath Leonardo Da Vinci. A man who did everything under the sun and did it well. He was a mathematician, a painter, sculptor, architect. Ect. The curse relates to people who have a dynamic set of skills but struggle with the ability to focus and find a true calling. "Multipotentialites."
"If we are changing paths all the time, we are on a fast track to nowhere."
An obvious way to improve your focus is to become a short-term specialist. I am all about the long game, but you might be more well suited to work in 90-120 day sprints.
If you can just put your blinders on for 3-6 months on one major task, you will be surprised with what you can accomplish.
- Lose 30-50 pounds
- Write a book
- Launch a new business
- Build some financial stability
But it takes laser-like focus to make it happen. Repetition breeds skill. To build an empire, you need to lay it brick by brick. And lay that brick until you can see that empire stand on its own.
Sadly, most people try to build too many empires at once. I am one of those people who learned that the hard way. Just look at my last 3 projects that never got released. But all that is about to change because I mastered the art of the sprint. Completing a marathon of sprints. One race at a time.
Focus can be the missing piece to transforming your life. Know what you want and don't deviate from it. Don't get swallowed up by the chaos of distractions or the "pretty good" opportunities that can grab your attention. Ultimately, delaying your destination of success for another 2-3 years.
"I do not fear the man who practices 10,000 kicks. I fear the man who practices one kick 10,000 times." -Bruce Lee.
Keep your eyes on the prize...for longer than 8 seconds, 8 days, or even 8 months. Build your muscle of enduring focus and sustained concentration.
The three simple paths of betterment come down to:
- Mindfulness - You can't fix a weakness that you know you didn't have. You aren't motivated to fix a destructive habit until you understand or feel the depths of it's pain.
- Action - Self-awareness is nothing without Self-mastery. Knowing is not enough. You must apply.
- Focus - Make the main thing, the main thing. Stay locked in.
They all feed towards one another. First, you must know. Second, you must act on that knowledge. Third, you must remain focused until the job is done.
As stated in the beginning, we all want to become better. We all have the intention to maximize our gifts. But it is the simple act of paying attention to what is slowly crippling our unique potential that can prevent us from falling into the pit of mediocrity. Having the courage to act on that self-awareness, and maintaining an unwavering focus to reach the higher realm. Eventually leading us to the life we always deserved.
Every second of the day we have the choice between betterment and stagnancy. We only choose stagnancy when we aren't paying attention.
Master the skill of mindfulness, action, and focus.
See the gaps from who you were in the past, who you are now, and who you want to become. Then close them.