The Ultimate Checklist to Make You Level Up (Part 1)
"There are a handful of things that separate the mediocre from the good, the good from the great, and the great from the legendary. None of them include God-given ability or require innate talent. All can be created with a pair of calloused hands, a genuine soul, a pliable mind, and laser focus.
But as human beings, there is one thing that we are all at war with. Ourselves.
No matter your creed, your ethnicity, your political stance, your background, or your religion. We were all blessed with the gift and curse to spar with the worthy nemesis of the "Lesser Self." No one is immune to this disease, but few have the endurance or the willingness to fight it. Much less be victorious.
We should know that we were all created for greatness.
We should all know that we're meant to reinvest back into the world.
Yet it takes a lifetime for most of us to actually believe it. Let alone act on those beliefs.
Sadly, our vicious nemesis spends every waking moment making us believe otherwise. The enemy is relentless, unforgiving, and well equipped to take you down to your knees.
As the old African proverb says, "If you can beat the enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm."
It is the battle we are all meant to win but rarely do. It is the main reason why the evil duo of self-sabotage and self-doubt has a better record than the 1-2 punch of self-transformation and self-belief. Only because the majority of the world practices the former more than the latter.
This essay will give you a cut-throat list of what separates the wise from the foolish, the strong from the weak, and the pliable from the rigid. It's a blueprint on how to defeat the enemy, the lesser self.
The likelihood of you checking off every box is slim to none. And if you do bat 1000. from the field, you will not do it forever. You must revisit this list frequently. Constantly recalibrating and refocusing your energy on the greater good.
There are gaps in everyone's game, blind spots in everyone's rearview. Maintaining an unblemished record for 100 days much less 100 hours would be a historic feat. If completed, you would be more of a machine than a human being. Half-human – Half amazing to say the very least. Someone who maximizes their potential in every sense of the word.
The goal is to simply keep attacking. Keep playing the game. Keep swinging. Because the game of You vs. You is infinite. And there is always another level.
As you review this catalog of principles, you might stumble across some surprising gems. You might get molly-whopped with an obvious reminder.
But there is one thing that we can agree on, "Common sense is not always common practice."
So, if you think you know this list inside and out. Try asking yourself how often you practice each one, or how often you have fallen one yard short of the goal line.
This checklist can be looked at as a bible of legendary intangibles. A list of commandments, directives, philosophies, and standards that we should all aim to pursue.
Enough talking, it is time to slay the enemy from within.
The Ultimate Checklist that Forces You to Level Up (Part 1)
1) Commit to a higher standard of living.
People do not separate themselves by their skills, they separate themselves by their standards.
If you ever take a microscopic look at people who are exemplary for decades at a time, it always comes down to their standard of living. They have certain benchmarks that they refuse to sink beneath.
They refuse to fall slain to the blade of complacent and sloth. They know they deserve more, and their daily habits are the physical extension of that belief.
This comes down to what they tolerate in their lives. Committing to a set of daily practices that are so sacred that eliminating them would be non-negotiable. It comes down to their standards and how they define certain words.
Have you ever seen someone claim that they are training at 100% but you can visibly see them going only 60% of their potential? It is blatantly obvious that they are coasting. There is no strain on their face. Their eyes look disengaged. Their body language is lackadaisical. They move half-heartedly. You can physically see the lack of fight in their bones.
They only operate from a place of comfort. Not desperation. Not obsession. Not even urgency.
It is because their definition of "going all in." or "working until you bleed" is only at a 60% clip.
Their standard of living is different. The way they define work is different.
For some people working hard means 40 hours per week. For others, it means 60 hours per week. For some, it simply means "I work until the job is done."
The word "Work" may be the same, but the definition is different for everyone. Their standards are the ultimate divider between a life of greatness or mediocrity. This same philosophy applies to words like loyalty, focus, discipline, strength, success, etc. These words are all relative. They have different standards and practices attached to each of them. And it's up to you to decide what standard of living you will demand from yourself.
2) Check your willingness to sacrifice "The Now" for the betterment of your future. Invest in the long game.
Fighting for your future self (Who you want to become) instead of giving in to a moment of weakness due to your mood is the embodiment of strength.
Kill the poor habit of choosing short-term satisfaction over long-term legacy.
3) Evaluate your self-discipline in times of temptation
"A man without self-control or self-discipline is like a house without a foundation, a body with no bones, or a city without borders. It will eventually crumble from chaos."
Remember that self-discipline is directly correlated with willpower and energy management. As the saying goes, "Fatigue will make anyone a coward." Knowing this, to remain self-disciplined, you must manage your mental, physical, and emotional energy to prevent burnout. Anything short of this will have you running on fumes and force you to make poor decisions.
4) Check your ability to stay calm in times of chaos.
A person who can remain calm and execute when the world would understand if they fell apart is the ultimate example of strength.
5) Stop caring about what others think of you. All that matters is that you stay true to creating your higher self.
Your life really starts when you are living and acting without the concern of what others may think of you. This is a different level of mental freedom that most people never attain.
Never let someone's opinion cage your dreams. Don't be the fool to give them the key that unlocks your happiness.
6) Improve your ability to make the right choice when no one is watching. Live and breath integrity.
When I am running outside by myself, no one cares if I cut a corner. No one knows if I ran 2 miles or 10. But I do.
You always know deep down if you are being real or fake.
Every time you tell someone that you put in 10 miles, but you really ran 8, You become a little more fake. Your character gets a little bit weaker. You lose a little more trust in the person you are. It sounds extreme, but the ones who operate at the highest level always stay authentic to themselves.
Not being "Real" is never an option.
7) Does your global self-belief extend past things that you aren't naturally good at?
"The only difference in man is their self-belief" – Mushashi
I have been around world-class athletes, executives, and artists alike. Many are confident in their field, but few have the global confidence that translates into anything they do.
The goal is to have so much self-belief that you feel you can win at anything you pursue. It doesn't matter if you have zero experience in an area or not. You simply have the humility, the hunger, and a healthy understanding of the skills needed to reach your idea of success. This is having global self-belief.
You just know how to win. You flat-out know how to get it done. And you embrace the identity of a champion.
I have never seen anyone successful without having a disturbing amount of self-belief.
Most people only achieve things they believe are already in the bag. This is why most people only tap into a fourth of their potential.
The great ones will beat down their craft until they start believing they can win. So, if you do not believe in yourself now, do the work until you do.
8) Enhance your ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances.
Winning in life is about making adjustments. It is about adapting. Mastering the art of the pivot.
Mental toughness is the physical act of adapting. You are not necessarily tough because you can push through the pain. You are tough because you can adapt to any situation, and thrive regardless of the circumstances.
9) Improve your ability to be self-reliant and figure things out on your own.
Achieving things as a team is an incredible feeling, but doing something on your own with little to no outside help is empowering beyond words.
- When you build your ideal physique by teaching yourself nutrition and practicing those healthy habits.
- When you wake up at 5 am to run when no one is there to pull you out of bed.
- When you put in the extra reps with no one yelling in your ear to keep grinding.
- When you train in the dark in complete solitude despite other people thinking you are crazy.
- When you put in the extra hours at work, or make the extra sales call that shifts the trajectory of your business.
This is where the inner strength is created. This is when you mold the mind and the body. This is the self-reliance I am talking about. The type of mental strength that will bleed into every area of your life.
10) Do you understand that your brain and your mind are two separate entities? The brain is the powerful and untamed beast. The mind is the trainer whose job is to control that beast.
Your brain and mind are two entirely different things. The brain can be viewed as a computer, a wild horse, a young child, or an uncontrolled weapon. Your mind is the genius engineer who can program that computer. A trainer who can ride, steer and control the power of that stallion. A loving parent who can develop the talent of that young child. A warrior of combat who can load that weapon or wield that sword with effortless grace and mastery.
11) Be grateful for the little things. To see, hear, think, move, think, and feel. Then live a life that reflects that.
"I once complained of having no shoes until I met a man with no feet." – Confucious
What you appreciate, appreciates.
- The more you appreciate your home, the value of your home will appreciate.
- The more you appreciate your marriage, the more intimacy your marriage will appreciate.
- The more you appreciate your body, the more strength and power your body will appreciate.
Be grateful to become a greater person and live a greater life.
12) Be open-minded without judgment
The lack of an open mind will lead to a lot of closed doors.
Open-minded people do not focus on being right. They focus on understanding. This alone will lead to more wisdom, more opportunity, and better relationships.
The art of questioning, curiosity, and having the open-mindedness to understand other's theories and philosophy will give you a broader spectrum of how the world works.
Being open-minded is not about agreeing with everyone, but it is about respecting everyone enough to understand their stance.
13) Take full ownership of your situation. Almost to a fault.
It is not your fault if you were born poor or raised in a toxic environment, but it is your fault if you die that way. The faster you accept that reality, the quicker you will design your future.
Be ready for more hard-hitting facts coming in Part 2. This is just the warm-up.