So, this is an area that I have been really experimenting with over the last couple of years, consciously at least. I think we all want to improve ourselves in some capacity. However, I also think that if you are intentionally identifying areas in life you’d like to improve and doing the work it takes to get there, you’re a lot better off.
Simply strolling through life “winging it” and doing things a certain way cause “that’s what you’ve always done” can be misleading and ultimately can cost you a lot of wasted time. Believe me, I was that guy. If you asked me my opinion about something I would rattle off an answer fairly quickly, but if you asked me why, well, I’d probably default to “that’s just the way I’ve always done it”, or “that’s just how I was raised”, or “insert any typical diverted response that does anything but actually answer that question”.
So why is it that this is a touchy subject for some? My belief is that the phrase itself can lead some people to believe that there is something wrong and you are trying to fix something. Sure, I guess that could be one way to look at it. For me personally, it’s not that there is anything wrong per se, its just that I believe we are capable of so much more than what we tell ourselves. What society tells us. We must assess our own BS (Belief system, heh) and ask ourselves, do I really believe in what I am doing? Does it make sense? What value am I providing to those I love? What value am I providing myself?
A couple of years ago (less than that actually) I was working out of town and spending lots of time on the road. Early morning Monday commutes starting at 3:30am driving down I-10 through Kerrville and Junction, up 83 through Mason, Menard and Eden were brutal and music just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. So, I discovered podcasts. When I started looking for my first one to listen to (can’t even remember what key words I searched) I stumbled upon one called Self Made Man (now called the Mike Dillard Podcast). The name alone attracted me, even though I knew nothing about it. Turns out, it’s hosted by a fellow Texan by the name of, you guessed it! Mike Dillard of Austin, TX who is a successful entrepreneur that has built several 7 and 8 figure businesses. His guests were fellow successful businessmen who, more often than not, came from nothing. Some even had stories of deep depression and suicidal periods in their lives. I was blown away by their stories. Inspired. I thought, man, most of these guys had nothing. They literally hit rock bottom and now they are living their purpose.
Notice I didn’t say they’re rich, or they all have private jets, or boats, or make any mention anything materialistic. The common denominator between them all, is that they had found something they were passionate about and were now making money by doing it. And I don’t passionate like, meh, I like what I do, some days. No. You could tell these folks were straight up PUMPED about what they did for a living. Funny thing is, they hardly mentioned the money they were making. The biggest talking point was about how fulfilled their lives were now that they were helping others with their products or services. They all said the same thing. That they quit chasing money a long time ago, and coincidently enough, when they did that, the money started pouring in. But at that point it didn’t matter to them.
Needless to say, I was hooked. I was listening to at least 1, sometimes 2 episodes a day. From there I found MORE podcasts. Order of Man, MFCEO Project, the Ben Greenfield Podcast, the Aubrey Marcus podcast, the Align Podcast, Barbell Logic and many more. I started taking notes about what these guys were all studying and reading. I bought their books, I paid for some courses, I literally submerged myself in this “self-help” space. What I quickly realized is that I had a lot of work to do. I was not living my life to its full potential. My health, money, family, work, leisure, friends, everything I was doing was just enough to get by. I literally wasn’t doing anything that FULLY fulfilled me. And at first, I was little unsettled by it, but I soon realized that it happens. It doesn’t mean I was broke, or I had messed up. I had simply got caught by this thing we call LIFE. We get so caught up in trying to please everyone and make sure that each facet of our lives is so well balanced that we really end up creating an imbalance.
The thing that we must remember, is that we are no good to anyone else unless we are fulfilled, and we are happy. Period. You can “fake it till you make it”, and spread yourself thin for a while, but eventually, you’ll burn out. We must get into a habit of reminding ourselves to step back and look at the big picture. And that is hard to do sometimes. But try it. Right now. Stop reading, sit back and think. What is missing in your life? What are you not totally happy about? And why? Now, what are you going to do about it? You see, we sometimes tell ourselves that this is just the way it is. When in fact, we have a lot more control than we think we do. Where you are in life right now at this very second is a result of all the decisions you’ve made till now. It is totally on you. Once you accept that and own it, then you can start doing the work.
And guys, I don’t care who you are or what you’ve accomplished, there is always some work that can be done. Get it out of your head that this is a terrible, horrible thing and that you have to find the answers right now! You actually don’t. You do, however, need to be aware of what’s missing and how you plan to attain it. It could be something that’s attainable in a week or a year. Maybe its something that will take around 10 years to curate. The point is that its on your radar and you are actively doing things on a regular basis to move toward that place of betterment. Feel me?
Again guys, this is not a knock on anyone, and it surely isn’t me telling you that you should beat yourself up over wherever you’re at. “But Andrew, I am totally content and happy, there is nothing else in the world I could ask for”. Fantastic. What about those around you? Your loved ones? Coworkers? Your community? Do you have the capacity to serve them in a way that will bring you even more fulfillment than what you already have? And to be clear, being content and being genuinely excited about where you are in life and where you are going are two different things. Me personally, I fluctuate between the two.
And there is nothing wrong with wanting more. Yeah, I said it. Be a little greedy every now and then. You want more money? Outwork the next guy so you get the raise instead of him. Find a way to make some passive income. There are plenty of ways to accomplish this. Not happy with your weight or body image? Eat less, exercise more, join a gym, swap some bad habits for some good ones. Wife and kids stressing you out on a daily basis? Why? Are they doing something you don’t like? Have you addressed it with them in a civilized manner or do you just bottle it up and let it all come out at once? What’s REALLY stressing you out? Is it them or are you just extra irritable when you come home? What have you done lately to improve this situation? See how simple these questions are, yet we never stop to think about them.
If you’d like to know what some of my DAILY (yes I said daily) struggles are and how I am working to improve them, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Not saying I have the answers you need, but simply hearing that you aren’t the only one with issues or concerns can sometimes be a relief. My inbox is open guys. I never was (and still am not) good at reaching out and asking for advice or help. Too proud. Too much of a man, am I right?! Don’t be dumb. Nobody can do it on their own. Whatever it is.
I also have lots of great tips for podcasts, books, websites, people to follow, daily practices, etc. that I’d be happy to share with anyone looking to obtain that info. Also, if you are doing some things right now to better yourself and improve your quality of life and want to share that with someone, I'd love to hear about it. Always like hearing what other people methods and practices are for staying on point! Maybe there is something you're doing that I can benefit from! Thanks for reading!