The metaphor of working out.

Testing yourself, pushing your limits, making yourself adapt and get better.The rush of adrenaline, the pain of stress, and seeing the results of your work slowly take shape. 

Working out has been metaphorical.

Initially, making yourself go and do it is agonizing. Everything that is in you is grating against going to the gym and putting in the time. After a few times of forcing yourself to do it, you see a little bit of progress. That brings some encouragement, but it’s still difficult to make yourself go and do the work. Slowly but surely you build up a cadence of going to the gym, and you start to believe that you’re the kind of person who goes to the gym. Once you start to believe that you’re the kind of person who goes to the gym, you start to look forward to working out. You look forward to putting your body through the stress because you know you will see results. When you look at yourself as the kind of person who goes to work out, it’s no longer a chore, it just becomes what you do. It’s no longer about something you’re striving to be, it’s just natural for you. After some time, however, your results will start to plateau. In order to maintain a high growth rate you have to give yourself a new challenge. You have to make yourself uncomfortable and force your body to adapt to change. 

If you are always adapting to change, always challenging yourself with another aspect of your training, you will see consistent growth and keep getting better. 
Applies to a lot more than just working out…

Invest

In people. They’re what matters. I have no desire to have my legacy die when my house burns down and all of my stuff is gone. Working hard and getting money is completely worthless if you’re stepping on people on the journey. Heck, it’s probably still completely worthless if you’re only polite to the people around you and there’s never a genuine investment of your time and care.

I would rather have a couple thousand people at my funeral with no money left behind, than five people at my funeral with millions left in the bank. There’s nothing innately wrong with making a lot of money, but it should be a side product and not the end goal. The end goal needs to be making a massive impact on the lives of those around you.

It’s so much easier to just be head down, blinders on, and focus on yourself than to take the time to invest in other people. When you’re only focused on yourself you don’t get hurt. Sometimes investing in others sucks. You will get hurt, you will get stepped on, and people will completely forget about you even though you made a significant investment in them.

Investing in other people is not about the return on investment, it’s about doing the right thing.
It’s about putting effort into what ACTUALLY matters.

It’s not easy, our default as humans is to put ourselves first and not care about others. It’s normal to try and protect ourselves, but protecting ourselves in this fashion is crippling to our meaning.

Give more than you receive. Take the time to invest in others, it’s worth it in the end.

The guy who is always yelling. 

At the gym, there is this one guy who always yells excessively while he lifts anything. Not just on the last rep of the workout, but the last three or four. He draws all this attention to himself and then proceeds to talk to people for a good 5-10 minutes between his sets.
It’s not effective. Everyone is looking at him, but he’s done very little of substance. He yelled and screamed and then talked to 3 people about it, while the ones who are quiet are getting better faster than him.

It’s funny, he’s one of the loudest people in the gym, but probably accomplishing the least. Screaming for the most attention, but possibly the least deserving of it.

May I never be this person. Not only in the gym but in life.

It’s far more desirable to be the quiet one who makes more progress with no one watching than the one who makes little progress but everyone is watching.

So I got rejected.

I had an interview for a promotion at my job this past Friday. After leaving the interview I felt like it went okay… I didn’t hit it out of the park but I thought my knowledge level was adequate enough to warrant being given a shot at the position. Keep in mind that at the time I was the only one interviewing for the position. It wasn’t like there were a vast amount of people going for the spot- it was just me. A few days later I got word that I didn’t get the position. 

I won’t lie, I was surprised. 

While I know that a lot of people go through plenty of rejections before they ever get accepted and move up, I wasn’t expecting to go through the same process. I expected, because of some recent training and encouragement, that I was a level above everyone else. I would look at others already in the position that I was applying for and think, “I can execute more than they can.”

I let some entitlement sink in and therefore didn’t do all that I could to prepare. I thought that executing my job at a higher level than my peers would be enough to make me stand out. 

My pride took a definite hit this week. 

As much as it sucks to get rejected…it’s a good thing. 

What this is now is an opportunity. An opportunity for me to stop operating out of pride and to get back to work with accuracy and humility. I have a better perspective of where I need to be in order to apply again in the future. I know I have work to do and that there will be bumps in the road, and I will adjust to those as well. It’s good that this has taken me out of my complacency and comfort and put a boot in my back to get going.
Rejection is needed sometimes. 

Pure Motives.

I’ve talked a lot about making a big impact, trying to change the world, the whole Steve Jobs make a dent in the universe thing… While there’s nothing innately wrong with wanting to make a big impact on the world, you have to step back and look at your motivation.
Why do you really want to make a big impact?
Why do you want to be someone who is well known?
Is it really so that you could have a quality impact on the world?…
or is it for yourself?
Do you just want the recognition?

If I sit down and really reflect on my motives, I see a lot of pride driving my desire. If I’m honest “making a good impact” is secondary to me getting recognition for making the impact. My motives are mainly selfish.

With that being discovered, I realize that I need to step out of my delusions of grandeur and into the everyday parts of my life. If I just dream about becoming famous and making a broad impact, my day to day can easily move out of focus. I have to stop thinking about everything I want to accomplish in the future, and focus on what I am doing now.
I need to understand that most likely, the fame and fortune will not come, they come to very few, I need to take care of how I live my life right now.

If you don’t make an impact on tens of thousands of people, who did you make an impact on?
Did you treat your wife well and love her unconditionally?
Did you reach out to friends and help them in their times of need?
Did you show love to that family member that no one likes?
Were selfless actions a normal part of your life?

I have come to the realization that if you cannot be selfless and loving to the people around you, it really doesn’t matter if you get the fame and money and recognition. I would rather never become famous and live a quiet life with authenticity than become famous and not be living out what I’m preaching.

Authenticity is more important than recognition.

Discomfort and Pain

You know when you’re woken up from a deep sleep by a bright light? How much that feeling sucks? We squint and cover our eyes. We yell at the person who turned on the light and tell them to shut it off. It hurts. It hurts to be forced out of your restful sleep and shoved into consciousness.

When someone tells you the truth, it hurts. It’s painful. When truth is first revealed to you the last thing that you want is more truth. You just want them to go away so you can go back to being comfortable.

The discomfort is necessary. The pain is necessary. To change your current state you have to go through the discomfort of transition. The time it takes for your eyes to adjust is not nice or convenient, but it’s necessary.

After you go through the discomfort, you become used to the light. It becomes normal for you. Trying to see in the dark doesn’t work anymore, you just want to turn on the light.

Patch Adams

One of the best movies I have seen is called Patch Adams. (If you have not seen it, watch it, it will improve your day.) There’s a scene in the movie where Patch is in a mental hospital. Patch has a conversation with another patient in the hospital named Arthur Mendelson, and it goes like this;

Arthur: (Holding up four fingers) “How many fingers do you see?

Patch: “Four”

Arthur: “No, no. Look at me.”

Patch: (Confused) ….”What?”

Arthur: “You’re focusing on the problem. If you focus on the problem you can’t see the solution. Never focus on the problem, look at me!”

Patch: (Slowly takes his focus beyond the four fingers and focuses on Arthur, which blurs the fingers into double.)
“… Eight!”

Arthur: “Yes! Yes! Exactly! See what no one else sees, see what everyone else chooses not to see! Out of fear, conformity, laziness! See the whole world anew, each day!”

A simple principle with a profound impact. Everyone looks around and only sees what is directly in front of them. A regular person will look at a pile of wood and just see a pile of wood. A carpenter can look at it and see a rocking chair, handcrafted table, or a beautiful cabinet.

Be a carpenter, be a creative, in the everyday places of life. Get out of your comfort zone and the standard understanding and look for different perspectives to any of life’s problems.