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You Are The Sum of The 5 People You Associate With The Most

When I look at my favorite authors, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders- all of them have at some point echoed “you are who you associate with”- and that used to trouble me. What do I do when most of my friends work 9 to 5, are married, and live for the weekend, only to get shitfaced and then repeat the cycle? I’ve come a long way in the last 3 years- it was around 3-4 years ago when I first heard Tim Ferriss say that you are who you associate with.

At this point, I feel I’ve climbed out of the rut, and am a little past zero. I’m walking towards the people I want to be at. I hang out with my favorites, in theory. Their readings, teachings, strategies, and recommendations- I read and question all of it. I adapt what I can, apply it, and eliminate the rest.

My new real life friends are amazing, and I feel it’s reading that’s gotten me this far. They are humble, kind, some of the best rock climbers and athletes I know- though not the brightest, and hardly ambitious. Which is completely fine- nothing wrong with that. But I need apex predators around me. Innovators who create and challenge the status quo- people who I can bounce ideas off of and talk them out when I’m unsure that I’m onto something. I want co-conspirators, not people who want comfort and stability. I need people who are’t afraid to go after what they want. I want people who ignore the media instead of consume it, create it instead of react to it.

Ryan Holiday has written extensively about killing off past versions of himself to make room for growth- and I’m internalizing that. I’m killing this version of myself to make room for a better one. Hopefully along the way, I can make peace with my insecurities too.

Time Will Make Corpses Of Us All, And That’s OK.

I’m on fire this week with these posts…two days in a row haha. Anyways- Death. That dark, shadowy, nebulous, unknown spectral one way mirror which we obsess over but cannot see through. One day, you, me, everyone we’ve ever seen, met, heard, smelled, loved, hated, vilified, made into a demigod- yes, every single one of us will die. Did you know that there are whales swimming about in the ocean that have been around since before Moby Dick was ever written? Wrap your head around that. But even that massive leviathan will one day turn to worm food. We can’t escape it. So why the stigma? Why do we fear it? Why do we spend so much time on trivial, mundane things that don’t matter? Time. I keep coming back to it in my posts- but humans are foolish. We know our time is limited. But we want to stay here forever because we fear death. Even people who want to go to heaven, don’t want to die to get there. We are strange strange creatures indeed.

I think a part of this has to do with the fact that we do not focus our energies on the task at hand. We are forever wondering about what will happen or what has happened. When was the last time you focused on right NOW? For me it was when a guy ran a red light and almost T-boned my car in the middle of an intersection. All mental chatter stopped. There was nothing except what I was doing in that very moment. Other times I’ve experienced that- snowboarding, driving spiritedly on a nice mountain road, riding bikes and ridiculous speeds on hills I’d never ridden on. Reckless? yes. euphoric? yes. Apparently, people who master living in the now are having a blast, simply by being. They are thrilled to be alive, on earth, in that very moment. I can’t fathom that.

What I can fathom, is this video. Sam Harris makes sense of all my ramblings. It’s a great message, even if it’s a long one at 1 hour. It’s a very inspiring one hour though, I will watch this one again.

On The Scale Of Worlds, Humans Are Inconsequential.

I’ll keep this one short. My social media feeds have been flooded today by the masses. From the party animals to the drama queens…everyone is posting about Easter. Most are going to church in new clothes, or looking forward hoard Cadbury eggs afterwards.

Occasionally, it’s nice to put things into perspective. To loosely quote Steve Jobs- Religions, after all, are dogma, which is the results of someone else’s thinking, which you’ve decided to follow blindly. I urge you to watch this video, and if you enjoy, pick up the book from which the narration was excerpted- “Pale Blue Dot,” by the brilliant Carl Sagan.

Having Religion is fine, but remember that we all live on a tiny little speck of space dust…we are humans before anything else. Can we afford to alienate ourselves from each other?

The Other Side Of The Safety Glass

As a teenager, I used to be quick to point out people who stood out, didn’t blend in. The nerds with their long stringy hair. The fat kids in water polo even though they were bulging dangerously out of their speedos. Alex- the big gay kid who sang opera and did theater. Secretly I was envious that these guys were comfortable in their own skin, just being themselves. By the time I was finishing up college, I had come to terms with who I was and stopped degrading others for my amusement.

I got a taste of that today, except I was on the receiving end. I had finished up a grueling back workout, and wanted to go a little extra- so I jumped on the leg press machine, located next to the large window, an intersection just outside. I put my headphones in, set the weight heavy, and the seat low. My legs were in a squat position- hip flexors straining near the end of their range of motion…really need to work on my flexibility. As I finished out that set, a black car pulled up. Pretty nice, a new Lexus- one of the sportier IS models. The windows were down, and a college aged guy was driving, with a pretty cute girl to his side. He pointed over at me, and said something to the girl. She looked over, and they both laughed. It didn’t bother me, but later it clicked- this is what it felt like to be on the receiving end.

It reminded me of when you see a tiger or a grizzly at the zoo, and some little shit kid jeering from the other side of the glass because he knows he can’t be touched. Except if I had anything to say about you, I’d say it to your face-I wasn’t passive aggressive about it. But, time goes on, and I’ve since learned to deal with this kind of stuff- it was pretty common through middle school and highschool. Kids picked on me, and I took that frustration out on others. Later on I learned to use this energy to my advantage- to internalize it and put it into my work, my workouts, my goals for the future.

Anger is a very powerful and volatile emotion- and learning to channel it is a huge asset. You want that anger to burn less like fire crackers (noisy, inefficient, think temper tantrum) and burn more like coals. It is a deep, hot, sustained burn that holds much more potential.

I will always have detractors. Some will be people close to me, others will be strangers. But the key is not to let it compromise me and instead, to use it to my advantage to further my own agenda and get ahead. It’s equally as important to remember to remain charismatic, respectful, and engaging with everyone, but not to be a doormat. This means calling out the people on their bullshit if necessary.

Carry yourself in this manner and success is all but guaranteed. And success, whether in cultivating your body, your wealth, spirit, or life experiences- hold far more value than what some stranger said about you in passing.

I’m lucky to be living in the US- my setbacks and problems are rarely as big as I ever think they are. Remembering this is key- people in 3rd world countries don’t have time to wonder if they look ok or if there’s a meaning to life- they use every waking moment to survive, to provide food, shelter, and clothing, things most of us hardly ever give a thought.

That keeps me humble. It keeps me hungry. And hopefully it will sink in eventually that the opinions of others really shouldn’t mean a thing to me.

Busy And Productive Aren’t The Same Thing.

Stop being lazy by being constantly “busy.” It’s easy to be busy. It justifies never having enough time to write a book, cook for yourself, go out with friends, meet new people. Realize that every time you give in to your ‘busyness,’ it’s you who’s making the decision, not the demands of your job.
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Learn to spot busy. Checking emails, putting everything in order, organizing things that don’t need to be, making tea, coffee, checking your phone, going online for “inspiration”, running around your office holding a phone to your head and reams of paper in the other…my god- look at him go, filling printer paper and always on the move with a hand full of files. What a great employee. You look busy. You produce nothing.

Productive is easy. Make a list of things you need to do. Rank them from most important to least. If you misunderstood me and ranked from easiest to hardest- start on the hardest. Focus on one task each day. Turn off your phone and internet, and for 45 minutes, focus on only the task at hand. The first 15-30 minutes are the hardest. After that, you finally focus and meaningful work gets accomplished.

Be selfish about your time. When you can allot time to focus on what you need to do, you make more time for what you want to do. Take advantage, or regret it.

Blackmail is Better Than WillPower

Anyone that has ever asked me about what I like reading for non-fiction knows I’m a huge Tim Ferriss fan. I loved all of his books, and have given away copies many times. I loved that so many people practiced what he preached and changed their lives. I love that he backs up all of his claims with evidence and sources. I also like that he’s a bit of an asshole. Loopholes to kick ass in Martial Arts Championships? Exploited. Squeeze out every bonus you can out of a concierge service? Done. Train and manipulate your coworkers and bosses to never bother you while you’re working, or work while overseas? Check.

In case you don't know, this is Tim Ferris. Impressive, right?

In case you don’t know, this is Tim Ferris. Impressive, right?

The guy is selfish about his time, and he ruthlessly cuts down people who want to squander it. I bet he laughs at people who wait 3 days in line in front of best buy for Black Friday. “Poor sods, look how they fart away their time.” he thinks, as he rides by on his Ducati.

I have a caricature of Tim in my head, of all his Ferriss army unwittingly being a part of his social experiments while he’s behind a computer analyzing the experiment data; hunched over like gollum, laughing maniacally with a bottle of Red Wine in one hand and a head of half eaten cabbage in the other.

Enough about that. The main point is that he challenges the status quo and does it without seeming like a how to infomercial guru.

And yet, for how much of a fanboy I am, I haven’t applied jack. I’ve done a few half assed attempts at slo-carb, and then binged on 15,000 calories of everything I felt like, and ended up 2 lbs heavier than where I started. Essentially, reading his books have been mental masturbation. I’ll read real hard, ejaculate some notes into my journal, and then it’s off to eat a lard sandwich(ok not that bad). But why the disconnect?

I signed up for Tim’s new fatloss app thing, and put $50 on the line. I couldn’t get motivated. I finished, but it wasn’t motivation enough. Basically I didn’t care that I’d lose $50. I bet if I put a grand on the line, I still wouldn’t care. (A grand is so much money to me, but it’s just money. It doesn’t light a fire under my ass.) How the hell do I get motivated then?? Willpower? The law of attraction? (the secret is a rubbish book by the way, I’ll do a book review soon.)

Willpower is the biggest lie I’ve ever heard. There’s no such thing as willpower. Not in my reality. What works is consequences. Willpower is when you go “hell yea, lets do it!” and 4 days later you’re sitting on the couch watching A walk to remember, eating a tub of ice cream and chinese takeout. If losing a bet meant that I had to eat a grub, or let a tarantula sit on my bald head- Holy shit. I will put a picture of a tarantula on my fridge, in my car, in my wallet, and I will terrify myself into getting shit done. I hate hate hate loathe spiders. The thought of a fat taranjalasaurus rex gripping away at my head makes my testicles crawl up and cower in terror somewhere behind my lungs…..ugh. Now that’s motivation.

That’s my conclusion. To look a fat spider in its many many eyes and say, Fuck you spider. You’re not sitting on my head, not today. The motivation to avoid pain/ridicule/terror far outweighs my motivation for short term pleasure (cake, candy, tv, whatever.) That’s what I have to exploit to make this work.

That’s why I’m living at home. If I fail to start a business that makes great money, I’m going to be stuck at home longer. At my age, that’s shameful. Almost as bad as a tarantula scheming imminent disaster on top of my head.

If you have stuff you need to get handled- find out what your leverage point is. What is your equivalent to a tarantula? Once you find it, set measurable steps to achieving a goal. Let people know so you can be held accountable.
And then go do it.

Everything is Amazing and Nobody’s Happy

Everything is Amazing and Nodoby’s Happy from Ed Burton on Vimeo.

The video is horrendously out of sync- just close your eyes and listen. Louis dispenses some amazing wisdom.

Don’t be an entitled noncontributing zero. There is nothing crappier than someone who complains alot and produces nothing of value.

Don’t be that guy.