I love wrenching and tinkering my car. It’s like a puzzle. Figure out what’s wrong, find the best part for the best price and then figure out how to replace the part.
Just recently though, I was spending hours and hours in the garage trying to pull this car apart. I came home dirty and exhausted.
My schedule was coming apart. I was skipping my exercise routine. I didn’t have time to build my business.
But it was okay, I told myself. It was okay because I was saving money on garage fees. It was okay because I need my car running. I seemed to have all the excuses to justify this wasted time.
Then, after one morning’s meditation, I snapped out of it.
Of course, I was being an idiot. There’s a car rental facility down the street if I need a car. The garage fees, while sometimes pricey, are nothing compared to the potential earnings lost when I was sitting in my garage instead of building my business.
And I love building my business. Why wouldn’t I work on it?
So here’s what I realized during my meditation. The direction I was taking my company was amazing, but it wasn’t me. It was something I thought I should do. It was an idea someone else planted in my mind.
Because it wasn’t me, I felt bad doing it. My body was resisting this, and thus I found myself hiding in the garage under the car. Hiding, so I wouldn’t have to face the uncomfortable fact:
What I was doing was not what I wanted to do.
Accepting this took a while. Accepting that I’d have to take many steps back, cancel appointments, re-think strategy… be clueless again. Not easy. We love having all the answers. It’s scary being clueless.
But … when I embraced the cluelessness, I no longer felt frustration. I was at peace. I was present.
I was at peace. I was present.
… and then something happened. New answers started showing up.
To those of you who practice meditation, this process will be familiar. When we stop resisting the feeling or thought that causes us pain, we can finally accept and love it.
When we do accept the pain, it hurts for a while. But then we move forward and hear the new thoughts and ideas coming through. The pain becomes a lesson.
This might take days or weeks.
Or never. Most people never accept their pain.
Some people live in distraction to hide their pain, their discomfort. And it doesn’t help when society keeps telling us that fear, discomfort and being clueless are bad things.
We’re being taught from a very young age that crying is not good. “Don’t cry.”
We’re taught that failing at school is unacceptable.
Be strong. Aim high. Failure and subpar performance is unacceptable.
So what happens? We start pretending. We pretend we’re keeping busy so we don’t look lazy. We avoid feeling pain so we don’t look like failures.
We distract ourselves so we don’t have to face discomfort.
Ever notice yourself feeling lost? Directionless? Somehow stuck in place, not feeling fulfilled? Like there’s something missing from your life but you can’t quite put your finger on it? Are you depressed or unhappy?
These are symptoms of you acting against what your body wants to do.
And you know exactly what your body wants to do. You just can’t see it, you can’t hear it because your mind is filled with noise and distraction.
As long as you keep resisting, you will never know the next move. As long as you keep distracting yourself from momentary pain and discomfort, you will never be truly happy.
Maybe you need to quit your job to write that book, and risk temporarily lowering your quality of life? Maybe you need to go talk to that gorgeous lady in the coffee shop and risk embarrassment? Maybe you need to let go of a business deal that’s good but not really good enough, and risk never finding a better one?
It’s a choice between momentary comfort or ultimate happiness in life. When you learn to recognize distractions for what they are, you will become aware of the discomfort you’re avoiding, and what’s keeping you from being truly happy.
This is clarity. This is what I can teach you.
As much as I love visiting Finland (the small frozen landmass where I’m from), it sometimes serves as a painful reminder of how estranged I’ve become of my old friends and social life.
The more I see the world, the more I grow. The more I grow, the more I realize how limitless I am.
Thus my goals grow with me. I don’t plan to sit around waiting for success to knock on my door. I’m here to leave gorram tremors in my wake.
10k€ a month? What if you double it? Triple it? What if there was no limit to your income?
More free time? Are you implying that all of your time isn’t free? What if you could go anywhere at any time?
This is my reality.
The sad thing when your goals grow out of the dimensions and comprehensibility of normal people, is that you no longer have much to talk about.
“Sorry, I can’t go anywhere tonight, gotta work tomorrow.”
“Did you see <celebrity> in <newspaper> tonight? That was so embarrassing!”
They speak of proudly saving pennies at the thrift store.
They speak of lofty goals as ridiculous pipedreams, and return quickly to their comfortable every day lives. “I wish I could go to the beach again, but gotta save up some vacation days.”
They grovel at the sight of the only attractive person in town. After all, if they can’t get this girl/guy, there’s no more girls left in the world.
“I hate my job but I can’t quit because we have a Christmas party soon.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll talk about anything. But I’ll always turn it into something deeper than just superficial stuff. Your job? Let’s talk about your goals in life. Whatever your wildest wishes are, I’ll dig it out and tell you that it’s possible. Because I truly believe that.
I have yet to be presented with an impossible dream.
Here’s the ugly truth. With extraordinary people, it’s possible to talk about dreams and goals. They will welcome it.
It’s possible because extraordinary people are capable of picking themselves up and taking responsibility for their lives. If they know something is possible, they will do everything in (and outside) of their power to get it.
A normal person will resist this. To them, some or most things are out of their control. All of their dreams are being prevented from happening through external causes.
Can’t get a girl because all the good ones are taken. Can’t get rich because they didn’t invent Facebook. Can’t improve their life because they have to go to work tomorrow. Whatever convenient excuse they can come up with, as long as it’s not in the mirror.
If you, as limitless individual, go and tell these people that their dreams are completely possible and even easy to attain, they will dismiss you. They will resist your words to the bitter end. Because they absolutely can not face the idea that they would have responsibility of their own fate. They will treat it as a burden.
Now that’s fine.
I’m not complaining. When 99% of the world fight to be mediocre, it’s much easier for me to be part of the 1% and fucking kick ass.
The reason I’m writing about this is that those “normal” people might be your friends. They might be your social circle which only yesterday was normal life for you. They might be the trusted companions who just recently were there to support you at a rough time.
But because you’re a driven person, you’re evolving. You’re leaps and bounds ahead of where you were yesterday. They can’t keep up. They don’t want to.
You’ve become a person who is no longer normal to them. You find you can’t talk to them about your dreams. They shrug off or even resent your dreams. You’ll find yourself talking about mundane crap just so they won’t get annoyed.
You’ll feel a frustration growing.
This is why I left Finland, years and years ago. To find people … not on my level, but above and past my level. People who live in a reality where there are no limits.
I’ve since learned to forgive myself and others, and even love. Still, visiting Finland is always a painful reminder of how much I’ve grown. It’s like a yardstick of development.
Move away from things that feel heavy. That’s the only way to progress in life.
Leaving for home, I felt fucking heavy. Am I on the right track? Am I delusional? What if I’m crazy? Maybe I should just go back to where I came from and be a good little boy like the rest of them.
I was haunted by these poisonous thoughts. Then, after 2 hours of meditation I realized.
This is why you can not spend energy on normal people.
They love you. As best they can, they want the best for you and themselves.
Unfortunately, their thoughts and doubts will poison your mind.
They will just by living in their own reality, pull you down to their level. And that will hurt your creativity. It will hurt your vision. It’ll fill your head with doubt.
As an extraordinary individual, you must forge your own path.
A wise man once told me: listen to and respect other people. Learn from them. Hear their opinions. And then do whatever the fuck you want.
Took a leap this week. Something I’ve been wanting to do a long time. I applied for a coaching program way outside my budget. It was daring. Possibly financially suicidal.
Once I made the decision, I was overwhelmed by this sense of POWER. If you know me, you know I already live a very unrestrained life. But for the first time in a long time, I felt true FREEDOM.
I was in complete control of my own life. There are no rules. Escaping the Matrix, baby.
This feeling of absolutely following my heart cleared my head of all fears and doubts. I was finally able to hear what my body was trying to tell me the whole time.
So much so, that I cancelled the whole thing.
Wait what?? Why?
Listen. I’m sure this coaching program would change my life. I’m sure these guys are the best and deserve only the best clients. I’m sure I’ll be working with them eventually.
But not today.
What my body was telling me was this: my decision to take this program wasn’t based on a mutual desire to CREATE. My decision came from frustration. Lack. FEAR.
I realized I was resisting a nasty lurking belief within me.
My harmful belief is: I’m unable to do the hard grunt work required to take my business to the next level.
Welcome to my glass ceiling,
I was fearing the hard work required to get there. My clever brain had cooked up this belief that the only way to reach the next level was to go through this program. A sort of magic pill solution.
Take the easy way out so I can avoid the hard work and avoid facing my own discomfort. That’s why I wasn’t ready.
Would I learn to get past my fears and doubts during the program? Probably. Would I find more profound revelations within the program? Certainly. But now is not the time. When I’m ready to grow, a new opportunity will present itself.
Leaping is good. Leap to create your dream life. Leap into uncomfort.
But do not leap to avoid uncomfort.
Here’s a story of humility.
I’ve never taken serious coaching myself.
As a professional coach, that’s kind of a nono. I mean sure, I’ve taken countless courses and short coaching programs, and group coachings etc etc. But I’ve never hired a private coach for a fuckton of money to actually change my life.
Because I thought I wasn’t ready for that. Because I didn’t have the money. Because I didn’t find the right coach. Because blah blah blah excuses, explanations, weakass fear based apologies.
Until two weeks ago.
When you meditate enough, you start noticing things on a gut level.
You see people on the street from a mile away who seem friendly. Why? You don’t know. But your gut says they’re friendly. Then you go say hi and you’re immediately on the same wavelength. You laugh at the same things. There’s no awkward silences.
You’re presented with a job offer. It’s the perfect gig. Great pay, great location, but something isn’t right. Your gut says no. You end up declining the job offer. It turns out you didn’t actually want to become an accountant, but rather explore your dreams of opening a cake shop, even if it’s more risky and less profitable.
I trust my gut instinct when these situations come along.
I found this Facebook group recently, helping business owners scale up their business. You’ve probably seen these, there’s thousands and thousands of similar groups on Facebook. And most of them are utter crap, so I never pay any attention to them. Except this one. Something was different about this one. My gut said “something amazing is going on here. I need to join.”
So I did.
After a month of hanging out and listening and learning, I was presented with the opportunity to work with this coach. A 6 month program to build my business growth and sort out the bullshit preventing me from skyrocketing.
I immediately said yes. Let’s do it. I had no way of paying her fee at that moment, but I decided I would figure out a way.
During the next 5 days, I contacted some of my friends who would be able to help with this sort of money. They all told me it’s a ridiculous sum and I’m a bit insane for spending that much on coaching.
I told them I’m sure of this. This would change my life. They wished me luck on my venture, but said they could not help me do this.
A doubt creeped in.
I no longer believed this was the right decision. I was scared. Afraid of spending too much. Doubting the results. Doubting the gut instinct which brought me here in the first place,
I told the coach I would need to cancel and explained that it’s better this way. It was curious. I remember listening to myself trying to tell it to her in a way that I would believe it myself. Trying to convince myself so I could convince her.
Later I looked back at this email I had written that evening. It was strange, as if someone else had written it.
Unsurprisingly, she replied, unleashing a full bombardment of anti-bullshit my way. She told me to fucking grow a pair and listen to myself. To ask myself if I believed for a second any of the things I wrote was true.
And she was right. It wasn’t true. I would have to step into my fear and not try to weasel out of it.
She was indeed proving to be a powerful coach with some good insight into my bullshit. My gut reaction had proven to be right once again.
I thanked her for the candid asskicking, and understanding. I told her I would pay as planned.
The next day, a surprising source called back and told me they would lend the money.
Here’s the thing. This gut reaction, or instinct, is your past experience and all your senses working together in tandem to push specific data into your conscious mind. Sometimes your senses and your experience disagree, so the information gets muddled. But sometimes the information is so clear that you get a “gut reaction” compelling you to do a specific thing.
Your conscious brain will interfere quickly, trying to rationalize why or why not you should act on this reaction. Your conscious brain will try to keep you safe from harm, embarrassment or anything it perceives as a risk.
More often than not, when that gut reaction is so powerful that you notice it, it indeed IS something you must act upon. Not because of some greater good or stuff like that. No. Your gut knows what is best for your happiness.
As for the coaching? I haven’t felt this alive in ages.
The past two weeks have been difficult. Really fucking hard work. And most of it internal. I’ve been meditating more than ever. Journaling. Unearthing horrible things from the deep bowels of my mind.
… but it’s damn good fun.
We’ll turn this little coaching business into a global phenomenon soon enough.
Looking back, I wasn’t ready to be coached. And that’s exactly the reason I needed to be coached.
STUFF is the make up and bandaids of happiness. – Gary Vee
Seems to be a general consensus that getting stuff and acquiring things isn’t going to make you happy.
I’m gonna go one step further and say – SUCCESS will not make you happy.
Success, in fact, is the antithesis – the complete opposite of happiness.
“…Wait, what did you say?” I hear you ask.
Think about it. How many people are filty rich but unhappy? Successful beyond comprehension, but miserable inside? You can probably think of at least one example.
Clearly then, success by itself does not make you happy. Happiness must comes from somewhere else.
What do I mean by happiness? Fulfillment. Peace. Calm. Balance. A neutral complete satisfaction. Happiness is when you can sit alone in a quiet dark room and not feel like you need to get out. The state of being where nothing could ever disturb you.
We are happy when we are content with nothing. It is your natural state. You need nothing to fulfill you.
We are so far removed from this idea of simply being, that even my describing it is making you scratch your head in bewilderment. “What the hell is Jay even talking about? This happiness thing sounds incredibly boring, why would you even want that?”
That’s fine. Just humor me for a moment. Now, let’s look at what “success” is.
To be successful, you need to get money, get an education, get a family, get busy, get ahead. Oh and keep struggling. That’s a big one – you should ALWAYS keep struggling. Success can never come easily, you MUST struggle to get ahead.
Success is a series of exciting peaks and gut wrenching lows. It keeps you trapped like a mouse in a running wheel chasing a piece of cheese. Convinced by your ego that external things will make you happy, you go from one source of stimulation to the next.
Never truly satisfied.
Success leaves you feeling hollow. Empty. Always longing for something new. A new stimulus, a new way to get excited. Not unlike an addiction.
Success is manipulating reality to conform to your needs.
Happiness is surrendering to reality.
You’ve been told your whole life that you must succeed. You’re taught to strive for success from the moment you enter the real world. You’re taught that happiness and good things come for those who succeed in life. Media and society tout successful people as the heroes and luminaries of our time.
But they got it wrong. Success has nothing to do with happiness.
Let’s imagine a scenario for a moment.
You’ve made it. Forbes covers, billionaire list. Whatever incredible success means to you, you’re there.
You’ve set up a number of profitable businesses that largely run without your help. If there was an infinite amount of funds, you’re effectively at that point.
Your mind is a neverending explosion of ideas. An ideafactory that will not shut down. When you’re done with business, you turn to philantropy. Schools. Hospitals. Energy.
As long as it’s helpful, you think. As long as someone’s life improves. Seeing others in distress makes you work even harder to get there.
People start regarding you as some sort of superhero.
Life is PERFECT, right?
As long as you have new challenges to overcome. New successes to keep you excited and stimulated, you feel great. Adventurous.
… but you can’t shut off your brain.
However brilliant your mind is, it will never shut up. The ideas will keep coming. You can keep working and keeping yourself busy to drown out the deafening noise, but it will never stop.
Sure you spend some free time with your friends. Golf and jogging and maybe a beer night now and then. Maybe even take the new car for a spin.
But eventually you run out of things to do. Out of stimulants. And then, when it all quiets down, you face yourself.
… You face the loneliness.
When you’re lying there in your bed, you feel empty. Hollow. Sad.
The person sleeping beside you might as well be a million miles away for the cold you feel.
Happiness? You’d give everything for just a moment of serene, genuine happiness. A moment of calm.
You might say this is an extreme example. Fine. Let’s tone it down a bit. What’s your definition of success?
Whatever your motivator to push on to succeed – if it is external, then it will run out.
And when it does, you must face the silence and yourself.
What will you feel? Guilt? Shame? Loneliness? Fear?
Make no mistake. You can not keep stimulating yourself forever to drown out the noise.
Material values have no ability, no POSSIBILITY to provide us inner peace. Only a compassionate mind, your OWN mind, is the key to reduce anxiety – Dalai Lama
That’s why forcing reality to conform to your needs is a short term solution. That’s why chasing success is a fool’s errand.
Internal peace and calm can only be found by surrendering to reality. That, my friends, is HAPPINESS.
Wow, success sounds a bit shit, right. So what can we do? What if you wanted to be successful and create awesome things and become something huge?
Let me just say that there’s nothing wrong with creating things, building businesses, and a legacy for yourself. Some successful people do massively good work to help the world and I commend them! That’s amazing.
You can do it too. But instead of chasing success, I suggest finding your happiness first. Then create from a place of love. That’s the beauty of not chasing success: you create from an infinite fuel source.
Sounds a bit woowoo, so let’s break it down. I like to be practical, after all.
What do you want? No, really. What do YOU really want in your life? Take a moment to think about that.
Based on Maslov’s hierarchy of needs, I would expect it’s something along the lines of:
Traditionally, a successful person would achieve these through external means, like a big home, a community and expensive toys. The bigger the Mercedes, the more successful you are, right?
Instead, we’ll look for answers from within you.
First, you must learn to accept and forgive yourself for your mistakes and imperfections. That will prepare you to more readily accept others with their differences and imperfections.
This will lead to connection. With yourself and others.
As humans, we thrive on connection and empathy. We’re wired that way. True connection, and I mean deep, authentic, genuine open-hearted understanding is the best way to build trust. And building trust is the best way to get rid of fear.
Once you realize you can trust complete strangers, the world no longer seems like such a hostile place. (Security)
You start building true connections with people and learning who you are and who you want around you. The more you get to know yourself and others, the more you’ll get an idea who your tribe is. The people you align with and resonate with on a deep level. (Companionship)
When humans are connected in this way, we feel warmth and fulfillment. We feel heard. We feel safe. When you trust someone implicitly, when you’re pushing through a challenge together, you feel camaradery. There is no room for fear.
You create and express yourself in any way you please because fear does not stop you, and you have your tribe supporting your every step. (Expression)
And that’s how you create using the Power of Love.
(yes, I love BTTF.)
Remember the billionaire from earlier? Imagine he is slowly finding his internal happiness. Instead of acting from fear, loneliness and lack, he acts from the deep peace within his mind. He loves and is loved.
His goals become clearer because his mind isn’t clouded with noise. It’s easier for him to focus and find the next step. He seems to find more joy in his work.
He doesn’t get irritated with people, leading to easier communication. People take him more seriously because of a more balanced presence.
This may as well be you. Become the billionaire fulfilled with peace.
And here’s the real doozy: When you start creating from a place of happiness, you will reach your goals easier, almost without effort.
Are you stuck in a success-cycle? Do you feel like the only motivator for you is to find the next emotional peak, some stimulus to keep you going?
Do you feel hollow and lonely when it all gets dark and silent?
Would you like some help with that?
We should talk.
As civilized human beings, we usually get along fine until someone brings up politics, religion or personal beliefs. At best that can lead to a friendly squabble at the family Christmas gathering.
At worst, it can lead to an explosive war between nations.
Conflict is often frowned upon as something negative, as something to be avoided by all means necessary. Mostly because we’re so bad at it. We don’t want to offend people, we don’t want to seem like assholes, and we most certainly don’t want to be the one always picking a fight.
So society teaches us to shut up and behave. Go about your daily life, live a shallow and non-intrusive existence, and try not to piss anyone off.
And yet, conflict is a natural part of life and personal growth and deeply connected genuine relationships are only accessible by embracing conflict.
So how can you get better at handling conflict?
According to psychologists Art Bell and Brett Hart, there are eight common causes of conflict. The list is for the workplace, but you can imagine these reasons propping up in real life as well.
A conflict of:
More simply put, it comes down to a disagreement between two or more humans (or I should say, ONE or more humans). And because of lack of skill in conflict resolution, a simple disagreement can escalate into a massive argument.
But there’s good news!
Since conflict at its core is just people disagreeing, we have a good chance of solving every conflict by listening to the people involved.
Here’s a quick rundown of how to resolve most conflict situations.
1. Listen, and listen CLOSELY
This is the most important step. You shut up and listen.
No, SHUT UP. Your only job is to listen. Let the other person vent and rant and say what they feel like.
You don’t need to agree with anything they say. They may be completely wrong.
The person talking should focus on beginning their sentences with the words “I feel like”. That helps to separate the issue from the person. There may be accusations and you may feel like you’re blamed of something. You’re not. Ignore the feeling of needing to defend yourself at this point.
The other person must be allowed to speak and you must listen to their point of view, however inane and dumb it might feel to you.
The point of this exercise is to respect the person. We are humans and every human deserves the basic respect of speaking and being heard.
When they’re done talking, you switch roles and repeat.
2. Separate The Problem From The Person
I know it’s frustrating when someone doesn’t agree with you on some issue. You know you’re right and you want to prove it.
But here’s the real buggery gosh darn truth: they also know they’re right. And they’re frustrated because you don’t agree with them. That’s an important point to realize. For whatever reason, they have come to the conclusion that their “right” is different from your “right”.
We can’t all be right, but we CAN all be wrong. The truth is always somewhere in between.
Once you understand that we’re all fallible human beings trying to do our best to ensure our own continued survival, it puts things into a different perspective.
Their disagreement isn’t with YOU, it’s with your dumbass opinion.
Neither should your disagreement be with them as a person. Feel free to ridicule the idea, the opinion, the thought as much as you want, but always understand: that idea came from a living, breathing human being. And us humans, we’re all in the same boat.
Ideas and thoughts can be argued and discussed. They’re not real in that sense.
Maybe you realized you were wrong. Maybe you were able to present your case and change their mind.
Maybe all parties have decided to stand strong on their respective opinions and the disagreement remains.
It’s all good. Everyone has presented their perspective and viewpoint and has been listened to.
Now let it go.
It’s time to learn and grow. We know more about each other and our relationship has evolved. We can now accept the situation and start looking for options for the future.
If this is a business situation, perhaps you can find an easy solution or even a suitable compromise enough to get your work done. Very rarely there’s a business case where a simple disagreement between parties makes work impossible.
But if it does, great! This conflict has shown that a part of the team can not function. If this leads to someone quitting or leaving for good, it’s all a natural part of growth and should be revered. You should be thankful they’re no longer draining your energy with their disagreement, and they should be thankful that you’ve helped them grow.
As for personal relationships…
Most likely there’s a reason you got together in the first place. If you’ve been fundamentally authentic when meeting each other, your core values and principles most likely won’t change (which is why I always advise people to find themselves before finding someone else). Remind yourself and your partner that this disagreement doesn’t change the reason you got together in the first place.
If on the other hand you have fundamentally taken a step into different directions… be thankful. Sometimes we grow and evolve so drastically that we are no longer aligned with our partner. Then it is time to explore that. Sometimes this requires taking steps away from the relationship.
Sometimes the loving choice is to let people go.
I love conflict. I absolutely thrive in it. When people get feisty and emotional, their true colors come out and our relationship evolves.
And I love that. That’s why you won’t find me talking about easy topics. You chat with me, we’re drilling deep. I want to see what’s behind your mask. What you love, what you hate. Engaging people on this level is a great way to create genuine connections, to instantly find out if you two will get along.
Don’t confuse this with being confrontational, angry, obstinate or provocative though. We’re not looking to insult people or make them angry. We ask difficult questions and risk getting into a conflict situation because we’re curious about who the other person really is underneath.
If you’re afraid to risk offense, embarrassment, being wrong, getting into an argument, or someone questioning your beliefs, you’re forever destined for superficial “how’s the weather” type relationships. Avoiding conflict will have nasty results in your life:
But… if you take a risk of offending someone, stand your ground when your ideals are questioned, voice your opinion when no one else agrees… you might just find someone who agrees deeply with your values.
Do you feel powerless in your worklife? Do you have trouble making deep connections with people? Hit me up, let’s talk about managing conflict.
Just saw a T-shirt that says “Stop doing nothing.”
Obviously an inspirational message to get wannabe entrepreneurs out there and hustling their asses off, but it’s the exact wrong message.
Messages like these drive you into filling your schedule with meaningless busywork. Unless you’re busy ALL THE TIME, you can’t be successful, right?
As a result, you sweat and stress about constantly doing, constantly being a king of productivity. Stop doing nothing, stop doing nothing. Then at the end of the day, by trying to “stop doing nothing”, you’ve kept busy, and accomplished very little.
You work increasingly hard, and your business is going nowhere.
So I’m gonna order a new t-shirt right now.
It’s gonna say “DO NOTHING.”
Because that’s the most important thing in your day. Just sit down and be.
No busywork. No answering phone calls or texting. No social media. Just sitting. Listen. Be bored. Be frustrated. Be emotional. Be stressed. Just be. Let it all flow, accept it and love it.
This is the time when you separate the important stuff from the busywork. The stuff you ACTUALLY want to do from the stuff you think you should be doing.
You might think you don’t have time to do nothing. Well, here’s the secret. By doing nothing and just BEING for 45-60 minutes per day, I’m able to figure out exactly what is important to get done, and what can be ignored as meaningless busywork. Resulting in 3-4 hours of time saved and a relaxed evening with the missus.
Want to save 3-4 hours every day? Let’s chat.
Are you working because you want to, or because you SHOULD?
It sounds like an easy question, especially for us business owners. But there’s a catch.
(There’s always a catch.)
See, even now, a part of me wants to write this post in a way that gets maximum engagement. A part of me is whispering into my ear the sweet nothings of marketing wisdom.
On some level, I believe that there’s a particular way I SHOULD be writing this.
But then I realize – there’s only one way I can write my stuff.
The way I WANT to. And that’s actually the only way I’m able to create any content. When I let go of the idea of being CORRECT.
And that’s the only thing your customer/client/listener/reader is interested in. They don’t give a shit about what some marketing guru said somewhere. They want to hear what YOU have to say.
So, take a look at what you’re doing now. Is it because you want to do it, or because you feel like you should be doing it?
We have been conditioned for our whole lives through school, society, media, family and friends, that there’s ONE particular way to do things that will create results.
You might be the most independent, creative, clever person in the world, but you still think that…
-There’s a correct way to drive a car.
-A correct way to manage a team.
-A correct way to approach a woman at the coffee shop.
-A correct way to make a million dollars.
Fact is – these are only ways that have been proven effective. They’ve worked before. That means that they’re a good framework to base your own unique methods on.
So when you hear a coach, a guru, a mentor, a guide describing the “correct” way to approach a situation, understand that it’s only the way that they have achieved results with. It’s correct for them.
Once you realize that all the rules you’ve been taught all your life are merely *guidelines*, you can free your mind.
There is no one correct way to do things. There is only YOUR way to do things.
We’re not interested in a talking head. We want to hear how YOU do the thing.
You want to start doing things your way? PM me and we’ll talk.
Be honest, you’ve felt like throwing in the towel, when a project feels overwhelming, impossibly difficult or boring. It’s that feeling when your project ain’t going nowhere. You face setback after setback, you can’t remember what true progress feels like.
Then you start wandering, looking for distractions. Why not just let it go? There’s a dozen different strategies you could try out. Social media marketing isn’t working, why not try PPC advertising instead? Creating content is difficult, why not sign up for this content creation workshop instead?
So you jump around, looking for easy wins and never face the real challenges of your project.
If you’ve ever felt this way, you know what shiny object syndrome feels like.
If you’ve ever practiced an endurance sport like cycling or running, you’re familiar with the term “hitting the wall.” This is what we call sudden fatigue and loss of energy caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles.
You’ll find a similar effect of “hitting the wall” as an entrepreneur. Diving into new projects is fun and rewarding at first, because you’re learning new things every day. But eventually your learning speed plateaus and you suddenly feel like progress has stopped. This can be massively demotivating.
Your favorite project has become a GRIND.
A common and natural reaction to this loss of motivation is to switch to something else that on the surface seems more rewarding. You switch and again feel that rush of learning new things, until it plateaus again. Do you switch again? Some people do. This is generally what we classify as “shiny object syndrome.”
You can see the problem. Switching projects and interests won’t get you far into any particular project. Even worse, since you’re constantly switching, you’re constantly starting from zero.
Logically, this won’t do much for your progress in anything.
You’ll find any respectable productivity guru and marketing expert dogmatically advising against any sort of shiny object syndrome. Because you’ll never advance anywhere and your business will fade slowly into oblivion.
…but hang on just a second.
What if on day one you feel completely disgusted by the prospect of continuing? Do you bite your lip and keep working for the next decade, hating your life?
What if you spend 2 weeks on a marketing method, only to realize it doesn’t really suit your business? Do you keep pumping money into it … or do you use this new information and pivot?
What if you buy the wrong flavor of ice cream? Do you eat the whole bucket, hating every spoonful of the foul substance … or do you just go and buy the flavor you actually enjoy?
Clearly this matter isn’t as black and white as it first seems.
Let me tell you a little story.
For most of my life, I’ve been surrounded by people telling me to stubbornly stick to one topic and not give up too easily. Otherwise I’d waste my life bouncing around trying everything but not progressing on anything.
Being the good little boy, of course I listened, thinking that they knew what’s best for me. I actually developed an obsession to sticking with one topic, for fear of ruining my life if I ever happened to stray into another topic. I’d love to tell you that as a result, I became the most persistent and successful motherfucker on the planet, but no.
Instead, I ended up in this weird analysis limbo. On the one hand I was determined to focus on one topic, resisting the allure of other more interesting ideas. But on the other hand, I wasn’t progressing anywhere, because the one topic was boring as hell.
I would be stuck in this cycle for years.
Only after I found the courage to let go of my obsession to stubbornly stick to things that felt wrong, a whole new life opened up for me. I started taking action on whatever inspired idea came my way, however ludicrous or silly it seemed at the time.
I also began more readily to let go of ideas that didn’t work, and people who didn’t serve me. By doing this, I started understanding who I am as a person and what interests me in life.
And that’s my point, ladies and gentlemen.
Shiny object syndrome isn’t the devil we make it out to be. It can be a tool to understand YOURSELF.
Curiously, marketers, gurus and productivity experts never seem to mention this.
So the next time you find yourself considering new ideas, or your current project feels utterly boring and unfulfilling – well. That’s your body telling you that something’s up.
But hang on, I hear you asking. How is that different than hitting the entrepreneurial wall? Great question. Let’s take a look.
So let’s recap. Shiny object syndrome is neither good or bad. It’s just your body telling you that doing something else is now more rewarding.
What we need to do is examine the reasons behind this feeling. Why do you suddenly feel like something else is more rewarding than the project you’re working on now?
There’s two main reasons for this:
Look back at the major and minor decisions you’ve made in your life. How often were you motivated by inspiration?
When you’re running away from your current commitments because of fear, that’s the type of thing we want to avoid. Fear is something that keeps you from growing and evolving, that’s why it’s always better to accept and face your fear.
When on the other hand you feel inspired to take new action, you must do it to evolve and grow. In this case, fear of failure can stop you from acting.
So let’s say you’re facing shiny object syndrome. How do you know if the reason is fear based or inspiration based? Truth is, while meditation and mindfulness practices help, you can’t be 100% sure before you’ve tried it. That’s why I recommend immediate action when a powerful idea pops into your head seemingly out of nowhere. Send that email, schedule that appointment, tell your friend that you’ll do it.
When I act on an inspired idea, I feel powerful. It’s like sitting on a train when it starts moving – a slight tug at first, but then like something huge has been set in motion. I know there’s going to be major challenges ahead, incredible hurdles and difficult times. I know I’ll feel desperate and lonely at times. But it feels EFFORTLESS.
If on the other hand I act based on fear, I feel like I’ve betrayed myself. I feel deflated. The novelty of doing something new might give me an energy boost like a cup of coffee does, but very soon it comes crashing down and I feel numb. Going forward requires huge effort, like pushing against a wall or swimming upstream.
Whatever the case, all of this is incredibly important to your personal growth. Let your body guide you. Let shiny object syndrome be not a distraction, but a WAYPOINT to your ultimate goal.
When shiny object syndrome strikes, don’t try and bury it. Embrace it. Use it as a tool to understand your own motivations better.