I’m hesitant to write a post about the things I picked up during a podcast I did myself, but I have a new rule that I’m following: To treat myself how I’d want others to treat me.
Yeah that last sentence is a little cheesy but I’m often too hard on myself and from conversations I’ve had with other people offline, there’s more people than not who’d agree that they could be nicer to themselves. So let’s dive in.
I’ve been sensitive to energy and where to place it as of late. Not only in the sense of my physical body but also mental energy. The thing that has become most apparent to me is to repeatedly ask the question “Is this productive?” in everything I do.
Is it productive to get into an argument with a friend over what a sports team did? Is it productive to spend more time on your phone than not? Is it productive to beat yourself up over the things you didn’t get done? Does that put you in a better place moving forward?
All of this mental energy takes place within you - but if left unchecked could result in a feeling as if the world is crumbling on top of you.
“Is this productive?” and “Is this the best use of my energy?” are two critical questions to keep in mind throughout the day. And sometimes you won’t always like the answer you know to be true. When you feel that tension, that’s the time when you need to take a step back the most and realign yourself towards the things that are most important to you.
2) Relationships and Expectations
Relationships and expectations are challenges we’re all trying to figure out the best way we can. And in the relationships we have, we don’t always recognize the expectations we place on others.
Expectations are as simple as assuming that they’d be the first person to say hi when you see them in the grocery store. Or the hope that they’ll return your text or that they’ll be thoughtful enough to remember something that’s important to you. Don’t get me wrong, all of those things no matter how trivial are lovely to receive, but if we know we’d like it, why not be the one that first puts that type of vibe out into the universe?
There would be so much avoidance of disappointment if people took the lead in each relationship.
“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly.” - Marcus Aurelius
This quote is a groom way of looking at the world, but at least you start from a place that can only get better. Can you be surprised when others think of themselves before you? Can you get angry at someone not doing something you assumed they’d do? Anger, confusion, resentment, where are they coming from? They’re coming from within you, and that’s where they live. The other person doesn’t care nearly enough as to how you should be feeling as much as you do, so why put yourself in such a place to be let down when they don’t care the way you think they should?
They’re “your” feelings, and you should treat them as such. This isn’t an excuse to give people the right to treat others in any way they want to, but when your feelings are hurt, they're "your" feelings which means you own them and you’re the one that has to live with them.
3) The Ripples of Life
This podcast was specifically for me. Joe Rogan and Dan Carlin spend a lot of time talking about how people should take action towards the life they want. They used podcasting as an example throughout the episode (thank god).
The quote that stuck out to me the most was when Carlin said “Life is a verb” and talked about how when you take action on anything; it causes “ripples” in life that go other places.
Sometimes we feel stuck, and we’re not sure what the next step should be but things only happen when you put some action, any action, into motion.
Why would the life that you want to live magically fall into your lap? Who/what would bring that to you? It’s not going to happen because it’s an illusion. The only life you have is the life that you’re experiencing right now in this current moment, and that’s also the only place where action can be taken.
Do you want to get stronger? Go workout now. Do you want to work somewhere else? Apply and talk to other people about working elsewhere now. Do you want to live anywhere else? Start making a plan about what you’ll need and what you’ll do to move somewhere you want now.
Life doesn’t reward thinking about it; it only rewards action and action can only be taken right here, right now.
4) Seeking Peace
One of the themes I’ve picked up from the 30 plus interviews I’ve done for this podcast is that people are seeking peace, both for themselves and for others.
Peace on earth seems too naive to think we’ll ever achieve, but why is that the case?
What if we all took it upon ourselves to have a peaceful mind filled with compassion and care?
Is that too much to become a reality? Isn’t everyone capable of pursuing this? It may not be the case 100% of the time, but I think the world would be a better place if we all are actively seeking to become better individuals mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
Why not? What else is worth doing with the finite time we have here? People are afraid of dying so much to the extent they’re also scared of going after the things that would make life better while they have it.
It doesn’t have to be monumental, and it can start with the smallest of acts. Can you help someone put on their coat or open the door for them? Can you write someone a meaningful note on an index card? Can you volunteer for the cause that’s down the street?
All of these things make us individually better because it allows us to contribute and in return, the outside environment is better because of it.
5) Clinging to Certainty
I sold insurance for four years. During that four years, I heard the word “no” more than I heard the word “yes.” Not purchasing a policy because it doesn’t meet their needs is one thing, but often people would reject a free quote.
I tried understanding where rejection came from and realized that it’s a place of wanting to be safe. It comes from a place of wanting to have more certainty than not.
The shopper at the mall who answers “I’m just looking around,” to every salesperson to approach them does so because it’s safer than letting the store know what they’re looking for.
The friend who avoids the tough conversation is someone who sees it safer to not acknowledge an issue than risk the chance of upsetting the other person.
The person who stays with an abusive partner does so because it’s the devil they know rather than the devil they don’t.
In such an uncertain universe, anything that remotely resembles certainty, for better or worst, is attractive and sometimes gets the best of use.
That went a long way to explain why people don’t get insurance quotes, but at the most fundamental level, it’s this desire for certainty that doesn't allow us to say “yes” because it’s safer to say “no” and stick with what you already got.
6) Defusion of Responsibility
Why can’t you do what you want to do? Is it because you physically can’t do it? Or is it because you can’t do it within the time frame that you want? Is it because you’re impatient? Undisciplined? Soft?
Nobody wants to look at themselves and ask these questions because they’re afraid of the answer. I know this to be the case for me more than I’d like to admit.
We often wait around for people to talk us into/out of something that we’re “chewing” on. We look for reassurance, but in reality, we’re looking for defusion of responsibility.
If someone else tells you to do or not to do something, the outcome isn’t entirely dependent on you (or at least you think).
The truth of the matter is, no one cares. Sure, maybe someone cares enough to tell you what you want to hear, or tell you what they feel, but at the end of the day all you have is you’re own attitude and actions, and as soon as we realize this, the ball is in our court to do something about what we want to accomplish.
Anything else is just an illusion and often a distraction from what we could be doing to push the ball forward towards our goals.
7) Why You Can’t Relax
When I graduated high school, it was a time in my life that was full of anxiety.
I had no clue what I wanted to do leaving high school, and on top of it all, I didn’t know what I could do. I finished high school towards the bottom of the class GPA standings, and I didn’t see myself as “smart.”
To top it off, I wasn’t physically gifted our developed enough to play sports in college, so in a sense, I felt weak both mentally and physically.
So what was the next step? Drowning myself in work. The first week out of high school I started working two jobs. I thought I had to because I didn’t understand loans (which I soon would be introduced to student loans - unfortunately).
What was good about work was that it distracted me enough to worry a little less about what was going to happen next.
I worked as a busboy at a restaurant and as a stocker at a fireworks store. Each moment of working both jobs, I thought about wearing a tie to work. I thought about eventually working in business and that I’d get to that point through brute force and effort.
I thought that once I got an office job, I’d be able to breathe. A month later I got a call from my Aunt who owned an insurance agency on my birthday. I thought that she was calling to wish me a happy birthday, but she didn’t. She left a message on my phone telling me that she had an opportunity for me to come and do office administrative work.
I knew that meant I’d be taking phone calls and filing paperwork, but I didn’t care. It was an office. So I jumped on the opportunity and started to work for her.
I’m so grateful for that opportunity, but when I think back to that time, I still carried anxiety. I wasn’t sure what I was capable of or if I was going to be able to do the job.
Every day is stocking shelves or cleaning tables; I thought to myself that I’d be okay once I got into an office but once I did I still felt fear.
I’ve since realized that there’s no destination point. There’s no place that I’ll reach where I can say “Ah, I’ve made it. Now I can relax.” That place doesn’t exist because the only place that does exist is this moment in time.
If you can’t relax and sit with the experience you’re having right now, you’ll never be able to relax. Even when you feel relaxed on vacation, that relaxation can only happen during the present moment. So why not bring that experience to this very moment that you’re reading this?
Whether you’re in a factory, a warehouse, an office, it doesn’t matter. You can be here right now, and when you consciously do that, you’re entirely investing yourself into the only thing that life has to offer: This present moment.
8) Speaking Body Language
Body language is a form of communication that we’re all aware of but hardly acknowledge. Our bodies are always communicating with others and with ourselves.
I write this on a bus commuting to work, with a gentleman sitting to the left of me. His posture is relaxed and unthreatening, and these are all assumptions I’m making without verbally communicating with him.
But imagine if he were bent forward and aggressively looking toward the front of the bus through the aisle. What type of vibe would I be picking up then? A much different one.
That’s pretty simple and apparent, but what is our own body telling ourselves? What is your body saying to your mind when slumped over at your desk, or when you’re halfway sitting up while on the couch, or when you’re in a room waiting for someone else on you’re phone hunched over and closed off from the people around you?
You have complete control over what your body is saying. If you want to be strong, confident, and energize, you can put that into motion by merely standing, sitting, and walking up straight and leaning towards the world instead of away from it.
Write down how you feel right now, and then try perfect posture and moving with intent and enthusiasm for three days. On the fourth day mark down how you feel and what you think.
Compare notes and see if you’re better off than you were before when starting the experiment.