I’m floating above the clouds. Above Earth’s cotton blanket effortlessly scooting through the sky like it’s no big deal. Here at 10,000 feet it seems nothing can bother me. Trees and beautiful houses pepper the landscape as I coast away from the Connecticut backdrop that’s been so familiar my entire life.
Spending two weeks back home was an uplifting and comforting experience. Football tossing, familiar faces, lifetime friends; watching the eternal movie play out in front of my eyes. Each day a new scene, each moment a new endeavor and eye-opening experience never to be devalued.
Everything is a lesson. Life is short, you’ve got to go after things. After venturing from the nest, immediately I realized each movement was not only completely new to me, but would prove to teach me some of the greatest life lessons I could imagine, ones that will prove most valuable to me as I continue the dance of life.
I’ve struggled to create a career for over 6 years now, but I’ve realized though there may be overwhelming evidence something will go a certain way doesn’t mean it actually will. When it comes to success, it’s easy to blame lack of progress on something out of reach. “Well, if I had that, I’d be successful.” Pursuit of this magic solution begins, only to realize later you had it all wrong.
Nothing good is ever easy, nothing will be handed to you and there is no magic solution to anything. At the end of the day, you need to provide value. You need to help people. You need to produce something. And ultimately, you need to work. Hard.
You need customers and you need those customers to be happy. You need repeat customers. You need to provide something people can talk to each other about. We’re all just human, everybody poops. Realize that you’re selling to yourself, otherwise your efforts may be completely backwards.
“The key to having a successful business is you have to stick with it.” – Marc Laffer
So I’m back to the drawing board once again, but this time with a slightly different mindset, a mindset that has taken me my entire life to understand. The journey never stops, all you can do is grow, build, learn and execute. Here are some developments that have helped me understand, hopefully they can help you too.
Keep it simple
This is by far the most important thing to remember.
Focus on what really matters
You’ll never have everything you want. Life is short. What matters most in life is health, family & friends, everlasting love, respect and happiness for all.
Eliminate everything unnecessary. Get out of your head. Most decisions I’ve made in life would likely have played out better had I gone with my original thought. Your gut feeling is correct, your soul channels truth; listen to it.
As a society it seems we do what makes cents, not what makes sense. Money is not evil, greed is evil. Greedy people are evil. Don’t blame your problems on money and don’t believe that money is always the answer to your problems. Money is important, but has its place. Don’t allow money to cloud your vision, let it supplement your vision.
Take care of yourself
Be aware and alert of every move you make. Don’t over-analyze, but always monitor your progress. There is a weird and unexplainable sensation that comes from writing things down. Documenting your growth. A message from your past, even if it was only an hour ago.
Put your phone away for a minute
I’m all for making plans, connectivity and technology. Mobile devices have and will continue to transform global communication at record pace. However, you might be surprised how good you feel when your phone is left in the car, at home, on silent or kept it in your pocket while you spend time with people. Just saying.
Do things by yourself
I arrived in a new city and didn’t really know anybody. There wasn’t yet enough time to compile a crew with similar interests. One night I thought about what I wanted to do and did it. I went to Miami and danced. For hours. It was everything I wanted it to be. I left at 5am; sweaty, exhilarated and grinning from ear to ear.
Some of the most eye opening moments of my life have come when I examined myself introspectively, looking at what I contribute to the world, society, humanity, my social circle, my family, my country, my environment. I considered what came to mind when people thought of me and it enhanced my understand of what I’m broadcasting to the world.
Pay close attention and you can see yourself in the future. Look ‘back’ on your current self and you’ll likely say, “It sure was great being right there, right then, in that moment.”
At 24 years old I often look 10 years into the future and think about how I’d wish I was still 24. What else do I want to remember? A great way to understand where you want to be in life is to look at the story you might tell someone down the line. What you did, how you did it and how it shaped you into the person you are today.
These everyday experiences are of exceptional importance – for they shape the person we design ourselves to be.
It’s fun. Perception is everything. One may interpret somebody dancing in the street in two ways:
- Look how stupid he/she looks.
- Look how happy he/she looks.
Have you ever seen somebody unhappy, dancing? Perhaps that’s why. Don’t feel comfortable just coming right out with it? Dance alone. Dance in the dark. Go out of town and dance somewhere you know nobody. That way if you do the robot, slip on a spilled drink and eat it, you can vanish and never be seen again.
Step out of your comfort zone
Go after it. Failure is a prerequisite to success. You will fail many times in your life while exploring options and trying new things. Failing is not failure, but a necessary stepping stone to the next level.
Don’t let somebody else to hold the key to your happiness
“Existence is a sport.” – Tim Napoli
Don’t for a minute believe things will be handed to you without first experiencing seemingly countless trips down the wrong path.
Doing P90X was one of the greater decisions I’ve made in my life to this point. It’s not about the workout video, the moves, or even P90X specifically; it’s about stepping outside your bubble. Staying dedicated, noticing improvement, following through with a commitment and enjoying the reward.
I always dismissed Yoga for some reason, not really my scene. It requires lots of uncomfortable stretching and weird positions I couldn’t imagine would benefit me. Oh how wrong I was. Yoga has taught me several key tidbits of information and even some rather significant insights on life:
- Stretching is great.
I used to hate stretching and always rushed through it. Little did I know that concentrated, calm stretching hits every muscle in your body, makes you feel alive and causes you to sweat from places you didn’t know you could sweat from.
- There is a huge benefit in clearing your mind
Clearing your head for Yoga is the only way to really push yourself. Same goes for real life. We exert energy from the strangest places and don’t even realize it.
- Yoga helps you understand your body
By relaxing your muscles and focusing on the stretch you can completely engage with the activity and get the most out of your workout.
- Take a similar approach to issues in your daily life
Focus on the task at hand and only that, complete your objective and transfer to the next order of business.
Timing is everything
Never let the opinions, goals, insights or motives of others crush your true aspirations, dreams and ambitions. Your path is yours only.
Call your Mom
I love you Mom!
Every situation inevitably improves when you spend more time smiling. Pleasure radiates. Broadcast positive vibes or else your cluttering the airspace with negativity.
Understand your fears
Be proactive. Be reactive. Don’t revel in what you’ve done, plan for what you’ll do next. Stacking accomplishments will boost drive and self-confidence, the essential and most important ingredients to finding success in anything.
Listen. Then listen to nothing.
Hear. Understand. Silence is golden.
Find a mental and spiritual release, make it a habit of your daily life. Read, write, paint, sing, dance, swim; whatever. Immerse yourself in nature, you’ll realize the simplicity of it all.
But remember we’re all on the same team.
Manage your finances
Everything is peachy when you detach from society and connect with yourself; but remember if you want to revel in the pleasures of society you must return the favor by doing right by your obligations.
Thinking about how somebody might describe you to others is an easy and quick analysis of who you want to be in the world. Never be afraid to do exactly what you want to do, believe what you believe in or share what matters to you.
Set achievable goals, then go after them.
If you’re impressed by what somebody else can do, do it better.
Realize there are always countless opportunities surfacing every day.
Tell people how you feel about them
Embrace life. Communicate. Nobody knows what’s in your head unless you tell them.
Understand those who are your true friends; but have compassion for all. You may be standing next to the most amazing person you’ll never know.
Think. Then hustle.
“Thinking is the work. It is hard work. But with thought you can jump from last to first even if you come late.” – Rick Schwartz
My colleague Benjamin Evans once said “SEO is a casserole.” Truth. Similarly, success and growth are a casserole. A combination of many ingredients, perfectly balanced and added over time.
Proper ingredients won’t make a great pie if it isn’t cooked properly. A brand new oven can’t make bad ingredients taste good. Find balance in every step of the process.
Stay aware of the present
“Bring it. What do you got in you?” – Tony Horton
Your life can and will completely change at a moments notice.
“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.” – Unknown
“When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” – John Wooden
Good things take time
“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” – Harvey MacKay
You know way more than you think you know
Acknowledge that you can drastically change your life by altering your frame of mind. Your frame of mind is the lens through which you see and interpret happiness. Your happiness is a direct result of your outlook on life.
Breathe deeply, close your eyes in the Sun, channel the glory of existence and realize once you’ve defeated your fears; the truth is all that’s left.