Category : LIfe


Yesterday, a Painful Tragedy Changed My Life for the next 10 Years

It will help you cope with enormous loss.

Photo by Harvey Robinson on Unsplash

In front of a room full of 50 people, I began crying uncontrollably.

I’m not a crier. I try to be a man’s man.

Who am I kidding?

Early yesterday morning, I experienced the sort of tragedy I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. You might be wondering what that is. I’m not sure I am ready to write about it. The wound is deep. It hurts more than you could ever know.

What happened after the tragedy is what can help you.

Pay attention to the one person that comes to save your life

After I finished up at the police station and the feds (Oz FBI), I went home.

I rang a few close friends to let them know I’d be out of action. Some heard the story and shrugged it off. Some said, “I’m so sorry.” Others quickly changed the subject.

But then I rang my old boss. One of my closest friends.

“See you at 11 am,” he said in a rush.

“I … can’t,” I said.

“You must.”

For the whole morning I felt numb. You could have punched me in the face and I wouldn’t have felt it. You could have sent me a nasty, racist, rude, message and it would have done nothing. You could have let a steamroller roll over my foot.

I would have felt nothing. Lifeless. A zombie.

A body with a heart and barely a beat.

Still, I made a promise. I met my old boss. I went to shake his hand. He leaned in for a hug. We sat down. He ordered my favorite tea. We’d done this dance before. He was well-rehearsed.

I sat down and tried to hold a conversation. We spoke about the forbidden event. Twin waterfalls began pouring out of my eyes. The sobbing was loud. The (roughly) 50 people in the cafe looked over. Nobody took out their phone to film. Thank god.

These are the gems he gave me in a time of deep pain:

  • Your life has value. Don’t do anything stupid.
  • When you’re deeply emotional about something, don’t make any big decisions. Sleep on it.
  • Spend time with your partner (if you have one).
  • We’re born to suffer. It’s guaranteed.
  • Take the tragic experience and do something useful with it. Otherwise, tragedy wins and you lose.

In the final moments of our conversation he shared something I didn’t know. He’d experienced the exact same tragedy.

That’s when he told me the brutal truth: “This will affect you for at least the next 10 years. Prepare yourself.”

How to spend a day of grief wisely

When grief strikes addictions come knocking at the door of your mind.

I was desperate for an escape. I thought about alcohol for the first time in a long time. I didn’t exercise. I didn’t stretch my back. I didn’t take proper coroni-rona precautions. I didn’t drink any water.

This day of pain happened to fall on my writing day. I attempted to sit down and write. My fingers wouldn’t move. My mind shut down. All I could think about was what happened.

How it was all my fault.

So for the first time in a long time I let myself off the hook. I had a zero day. No progress. No more phone calls. No reading. No self-education.

Complete meltdown.

When your life falls apart, sometimes you have to let it, in order to rebuild.

Productivity is nice. On a day of tragedy it’s a sin. Forgive yourself. Rest. Let the tragedy flow through you, for once it does, you can be done with it.

Own the tragedy but don’t blame yourself

I’m a blamer. I insist on blaming myself.

While what happened is my fault, I refuse to permanently blame myself. We all make mistakes. We all do things we’re not proud of. We all can experience an error in judgment when we’re tired and running on empty.

It’s easy to miss tiny details. Boy! did I miss a tiny detail.

Be the survivor not the victim

The reason I struggle to write about what happened is because I don’t want to become a victim. I don’t want people to feel sympathy for me. The whole tragedy would be pointless if that’s the outcome.

What I want is for people to learn from my mistakes. Maybe I’m a teacher. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m a son of a b*tch. I don’t know.

But if at least one person learns from my mistake then everything feels worth it. It’s a strange feeling. I realize it isn’t normal that I’ve turned my life inside-out into a series of experiments that anybody in the world can read and perhaps get some value from.

Maybe one day I will understand why. Maybe it’s the breadcrumbs left from the dark mental illness that took over my life and provided daily, silent, torture.

In the end all we can do is survive tragedy. Otherwise it runs our life and we end up out of control. I know intimately what it’s like to be out of control. It’s not a viable option for a long, healthy life.

Most people won’t know what’s going on inside your head

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about — Brad Meltzer

I woke up today with a rather loud high-pitch noise in my right ear. When I get stressed my tinnitus goes into overdrive.

When I opened my inbox I started to reply to the messages I’d missed. One guy tried to hustle me out of a $20 discount on my online course. Another person told me to divorce my business partner for a few tiny spelling errors.

One woman messaged me and said I’m a terrible human for selling a course about writing. Then I opened Twitter. A well-known influencer sent me a message. I thought it might be an opportunity to recover from everything that had happened.


They tried to hard sell me into doing online trading. I told them I don’t gamble, politely. They kept going. I tried to explain that I wasn’t in good shape and this was a bad time. They didn’t stop.

Sometimes the people you look up to are a total disappointment when you have a 1–1 conversation with them. That’s why I always say, your idols aren’t perfect. Don’t expect them to be.

None of these interruptions knew the tragedy I’d just experienced. They treated me like a doormat you wipe your filthy shoes on.

It’s not their fault. But it’s worth remembering: your best day could be somebody else’s worst day, so always be kind.

Start over

After a tragedy you’re right back to day one. Today is my day one. The only requirement is to show up. Make the best of it.

So here I am. I’m taking my soon-to-be wife’s advice: “You can always write about what happened.”

She is right as always. That’s why I hope to marry her next week. Talk about odd timing. All one can do is make the most of it.

So here I am on day one, making the most of it. If my former boss is right then it will be 10 years of making the most of it.

Accept. Breathe. Move on from tragedy.

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There Are Six Bizarre Types of Freedom. Many of Us Are Bankrupt in One.

Many of Us Are Bankrupt in One.

Photo by Mo on Unsplash

You’re not in jail. Congrats, you’ve got freedom.

Or you’re born in the western world. Congrats, you’ve also got freedom.

These are the two common ways we think about freedom. Substack writer Stefan Georgi taught me there’s a helluva lot more to freedom than these cliche meanings.

When I read the list below, I realized I’ve been bankrupt in at least one area of freedom many times in my life. You will probably feel the same.

Physical Freedom

I am bankrupt in this area right now. Stefan calls it “being a slave to your body.” That’s exactly how I feel.

I’ve been stuck at home for almost two years during a global health crisis. This has led to too much sitting and not enough moving. My computer is situated conveniently next to the fridge, so I eat too much. My gym has been closed, so that’s my excuse for doing little exercise.

The once a day walk I’ve been doing has been my main escape. My eyes have seemingly guided me towards the delicious pleasures of vegan fried junk food and one too many gelatos to teleport out of reality and into a cloud of salty, sugary bliss.

Now I’m paying massively for it.

Extra dental work to repair teeth. Physio to realign my spine. More time at the gym to attempt to lift weights again. A new office chair and other ergonomic accessories. A rigorous stretching routine.

I’ve been bruised and battered by coroni-macaroni.

The age of my body has advanced by many years. I can feel it. This is what old age must feel like.

When your body is in bad shape you’re not free to do the things you love. Pain becomes a daily frustration, and a distraction. Medical appointments fill up your calendar. Thousands of dollars escape your wallet to pay for the damage.

It’s cheaper to be healthy.

When our bodies are messed up we’re stuck on the couch thinking, how the fudge did this happen? When our bodies work the way they should, we’re free to move through the world without a care — body freedom.

Intellectual Freedom

Social media censors everything from a big Asian country with a red flag, to bitcoin, to a global health crisis.

It’s a pain in the butt. It makes us dumb, not smart.

Intellectual freedom is where we consciously do our own research, evaluate facts, get opinions from multiple sides of an argument, and examine data to see what truths it reveals.

This is a lost art.

Too many people believe stupid social media influencers who seek to gain followers with contrarian views, or listen to the news channels sponsored by ads that can determine the type of content shown, all in the name of maximizing profits.

One of the reasons I’m so pro Bitcoin and Ethereum isn’t because the internet told me to. I’ve spent years doing my own research, looking at data sets, reading white papers, talking to people building on various blockchains, etc.

Stefan says mindset is the key to unclogging the blocks in our brain that prevent us from being intellectually curious. A negative mindset can cause you to get lost in pointless emotions or to start to see opinions as facts.

If you rely on mainstream society to guide you in life, you’re screwed.

It’s intellectual laziness.

You’ve got to think for yourself. That starts with not being so black and white about every subject. Learn to see the middle-ground, the grey areas. While you’re at it, learn to see your blind spots.

None of us were an immaculate conception that can see into the future due to our generational wisdom implanted into our mind at birth by daddy’s sperm.

Freedom to think and do the research is a choice. It sets your mind free.

Emotional Freedom

Human emotions are freaking complex. Emotional freedom is where you don’t allow your emotions to navigate your life. It’s a focus that brings freedom through non-reactivity. Life takes a toll on our emotions.

We’re constantly being stimulated by pin prickers who poke us like voodoo dolls to screw with our day.

Stefan associates emotional freedom with mental health.

If your river of thoughts is polluted then so will your emotions. The path to emotional freedom, he says, is love and empathy.

Rather than react like an emotional adult baby, see other people’s situations as your own. Lean into what that must feel like, therefore, unlocking a new level of emotional freedom.

Relational Freedom

Healthy romantic relationships are bizarre.

We fall in love and then spend 5 out of every 7 days away from home at a job. That’s supposed to be normal. Occasionally we take 2 weeks off to go on holidays and look at each other look at our cellphones while lying on sun lounges.

No wonder we don’t know each other and feel disconnected.

Then at work we’re expected to have some artificial “network” to make the business we work for a lot of money, or at least more productive.

What the?

Most of those work relationships are as deep as a kid’s inflatable plastic pool.

They exist for vanity or to complete a transaction, not to know who the other person really is. So we get home and feel alone, yet we spent the whole day with humans.

Relational freedom is when our relationships with others are deep and feel fulfilling — when we feel connected to something bigger than ourselves. That’s when we feel this harder-to-reach form of freedom.

Spiritual Freedom

I am not religious. However, I am deeply spiritual. I believe in karma. I believe everything that happens in life has a meaning behind it, even if we can’t see it right away.

Spiritual freedom has a lot to do with believing in the human spirit. It goes beyond just liking humans. It bleeds into the idea that you believe our species will survive and climate change won’t wipe out the earth.

It’s the belief that other humans are inherently good and trying to do the right thing. It’s seeing your fellow humans as teammates rather than competitors. When your mind is made up of these beliefs you feel spiritually free.

You’re not waiting for anybody or anything to come and save you because you’re already free.

Finally, the powerful freedom you already know

This form of freedom has become popular since the internet age: financial freedom. The meaning has changed over time.

The original purpose was to make a ton of money and then buy luxury items to show society your newfound status. This concept is slowly becoming extinct. The new form of financial freedom is to make enough money so you can own your time again.

There’s no need to make millions. You can get there with low expenses or off-grid living, if you choose.

The point is to have your calendar free to do meaningful work, think, read, write, practice your hobbies, and be with your family whenever you want.

Owning your time 100% makes you feel powerful. Many of us haven’t felt like that for a long time. I’ve only experimented with it in the last twelve months.

A zero meeting calendar allows you to work on the other five freedoms, so you could say it’s the most powerful freedom of all. I’ll let you decide.

Stop feeling enslaved by the system. Reconnect with and prioritize these six types of freedom to transform your life.

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It’s Okay to Live a Life That Few Will Understand

It's Okay to Live a Life That Few Will Understand

Photo by Brock Wegner on Unsplash

There’s nothing wrong with being a giant weirdo.

I’m a weirdo. Last week tragedy struck my life in a big way. I wasn’t prepared for it. I’m still numb.

My daily routine is weird. I watch kids’ cartoons at the gym to revisit childhood. I can’t eat the stems of broccoli and I don’t know why. 

I’m the most awkward first date you’ll ever meet. If we go on a date (hypothetically), I’ll spend most of my time running to the bathroom or looking at the notes on my phone to think about what to say next.

When it comes to my online life, things get weirder. The word “follower” reminds me of a cult. The word “influencer” makes me feel sick. It’s like saying “hey, I’m here to control your mind.”

When people say my writing helped them in some way, I quickly change the subject. On the rare occasion someone tells me an article I wrote changed their life, I feel dirty … sleazy even.

It’s hard to explain being misunderstood.

We’re all just figuring sh*t out as we go

I am not a guru. 

There’s a lot I don’t know. I have secret f*ck-ups. 

I have public f*ck-ups. It’s hard to know whether I’m getting wiser or becoming too much of a smart ass. My worst nightmare is to write satire in disguise (accidentally).

I like to make people think, even at the cost of my own career. I should shut up sometimes but I can’t. I shouldn’t do a James Altucher and share my darkest secrets. Yet I do. It’s a process.

The publish button feels a million miles away. We wrestle together while I sleep. “Should I hit it, should I not?” Most of the time I hit publish.

This week, after tragedy struck, I didn’t.

I put on a brave face. I pretended to be okay. The Navy Seal body armor came on and covered my soul. Who wants to look dumb? Few people understand this odd existence.

My aunty is the best: “What do you do again? Facebook?”

It’s hard to explain this life. I teach online yet I’m nothing like a traditional high school teacher.

I write but the word is misleading. Online writing and writing are from two different planets. When writers try to tell us how to write online they have no idea what they’re talking about.

They bring their New York Times badge of honor to a game that doesn’t care about gatekeepers.

Long paragraphs die on the internet. Essay headlines guarantee nobody reads. Trying to look smart destroys your online writer career. Using complex terms when a simple one is available, destroys your reach — not the algorithm.

None of there lessons came to me at the start. I had to experience this life nobody understands to learn them. So do you.

You figure out the way forward by moving forward.

If you knew how quickly people forgot the dead, you’d stop living to impress people — Aaron Will

When people don’t understand my life, it makes it hard to impress them.


The need to impress is a disease. It’s what screwed up social media. It’s why the Insta-gram-of-coke app removed the number of likes.

There’s no point trying to impress people. They’re trapped in their own life. They don’t really care about your success.

Once you reach a certain level of success, people go from being proud of you to being jealous. Enormous success is so far from common mediocrity that it makes you even harder to understand.

One of three things can happen:

  1. You spend all your time around successful people and join the elitist crowd.
  2. You sabotage your results and give in to the critics so you can become relatable again.
  3. You get stuck in the struggle between the first two. That’s where I am.

Too much time around successful people inflates my ego a lot. Too much time around mediocrity makes me feel like a member of a different species. I want the simple life, yet I want to achieve my writing dreams.

Like I said, I’m hard to understand.

What I do know is that there’s zero point impressing people. All you’ll do is distract yourself from what matters and let the rules of the game be dictated by someone else.

That means you lose all control, and end up out of control.

Listen to your gut

When your gut tells you to drop everything to go all in on learning and building…

Listen to it.

— @thedankoe

When you live a life no one understands all you can do is trust your gut. Mine tells me to write and teach. So I do. 

My gut tells me to take this recent tragedy and make something of it. To keep building instead of looking back on a recent past I can’t change, and spiral into a path of madness.

When my gut told me to quit my job and go all in on my side hustles, I trusted it. When my gut told me there was a cure to mental illness, I trusted it. 

When the love of my life exited one Sunday and never returned again, I trusted my gut feeling that everything would be okay — that love would come from another direction. It did.

It’s hard to explain gut feelings to people that don’t live by them like I do. They’re a great compass when you trust them.

A good life equals the willingness to feel vulnerable

I believe I live a good life despite recent tragedies. It isn’t an accident.

In life there are lots of things that make us feel vulnerable:

  • Daring to say the truth
  • Disagreeing with authority
  • Starting a business
  • Falling in love
  • Giving a first speech
  • Quitting a job
  • Starting a side hustle

Many people aren’t vulnerable. They decide to hide what they think and feel out of a fear of judgment, so they remain understood.

When you stop giving a f*ck and decide to live a life few will understand, you lean into vulnerability. It becomes a tool rather than a weapon that can destroy your life.

You put yourself on the line. You embrace your inner weirdo. And you end up living a life few will understand, but that makes perfect sense to you. That’s a life I want to live. It’s okay if it makes zero sense to you 🙂

We’re all winging life anyway.

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If You Avoid Risk Your Entire Life, You’ll Never Get the Outstanding Rewards

Take a risk

Photo by Prananta Haroun on Unsplash

I pretended to be 18 to get into college. I was 16.

Seemed like a smart idea at the time. I went to open day. I met all the teachers. I fell in love with sound engineering and recording studios. Move over Brian Eno (record producer), I thought.

I did the pre-interview. There were lots of applicants to get in.

“You didn’t make it. The head of the department thinks you’re too inexperienced. You didn’t even know what software we use to record instruments.”

The software named Pro Tools has never left my mind since.

“Please miss, I will do anything to get in.”

She made some inquiries. They agreed to let me in if I paid the first year’s tuition up front. Money talks, bullsh*t walks. So I handed over a check.

My secret stayed safe … until the other kids worked it out.

“You’re not 18. You can’t even get into a pub,” one student said.

They were right. My life started out as a 16 year old fraud. However, the way I look at it, they never asked how old I was. There were no ID checks. If they had asked, I would have gladly told them.

But I took a giant risk.

I finished higher education two years ahead of everybody else my age. I worked in a startup while finishing high school and going to college at night. It led me to achieve unusually high results at a young age.

That’s the first time I realized the benefit of taking a risk.

Marriage is risky

I’m about to get married. It’s scary AF.

One person for life seems like a huge risk. What if you grow apart? What if they die? What if you’re not sure? What if their parents are the in-laws from hell? (Have you seen “Meet the Fockers?”)

Marriage is risky. One in two end up in disaster. Many end in tears, followed by divorce. You head a million miles an hour towards your wedding day, thinking you’re about to get lucky. What if you’re wrong? Possible.

The upside of taking the risk is huge though. What if it all works out? What if you can’t imagine your life without them? What if you accidentally make a beautiful family together?

A friend of mine is about to turn 50. She has been single for the last 20 years. She’s afraid to take a risk with another guy that could be wearing a man baby disguise. So she doesn’t take the risk. There’s one problem: she’s painfully lonely. She wanted a family. Now it’s too late.

No risk = No love

You might regret a life without love. (Or you might not — hat tilt to you.)

Making babies is a risk

You could try to start a family. One of you may prevent it from happening due to things about your body that can’t be changed.

Or the process could work but the baby dies before it’s born. Or the baby is born but has all sorts of complications. It happened to a boss I worked with once. She had a boy. What a joy he was!

Then she found out he had autism.

He’ll need care for the rest of his life. He can’t clean himself. She does everything for him. It’s affected her career. She had dreams of becoming a General Manager. Not anymore. She and her husband spend their days caring for him. You know what she said to me?

“At the start I thought him being born with autism was a burden. Now I think it’s a miracle. I — get — to — do — this.

What a transformation.

I felt emotional when she said that. She was quite selfish before his birth. Her autistic boy helped her find herself again and understand the meaning of life. Perhaps that’s what she was talking about.

Investing money is risky

I’ve made a large amount of money from investing in Bitcoin and Ethereum. Some of my friends think it was easy. They can’t see the risks I faced.

In 2017 both investments fell by 90%. Everybody ran for the exits. The narrative was “crypto is going to get banned by governments, run for the hills everybody!” I thought differently. I saw potential so I accepted the risk.

For years nothing happened. All hope was lost.

Then a global health crisis hit. Everybody got locked in their homes. The US government and others created trillions of dollars out of thin air to pay for the damage. Everyday people started to understand money printing and inflation. Bitcoin became the gateway to a new paradigm.

Prices went wild. Then Ethereum followed.

Today, people like me who invested in both assets appear to be geniuses. We’re not. We’ve endured regular 30%-50% drops in price and survived. That has led to 500% gains in the last year.

Huge gains don’t happen without risks.

The difference is I took a calculated risk. I did my research. I ignored the clickbait “Bitcoin is dead” articles designed to make the writer rich and make me pull the escape cord on my investments.

I saw what was in plain sight. Anybody could read the whitepaper. Anybody could read the books on Amazon about it. Yet many didn’t.

Research reduces risks so you can make informed decisions.

A side hustle is risky

The risk with side hustles is time. If you pick the wrong one or quit too soon then you throw away all the precious time you’ve invested.

That can hurt like hell.

About 5 years ago I gave up my career in music. I spent most of my life learning drums, being a DJ, and studying sound engineering.

I threw it all away. For nothing.

But no side hustle is completely a waste. Music taught me about creativity, and creativity is what I’ve unleashed in my writing. Still, side hustles come with risk.

You could end up spending too much time away from family. You could be unfocused in your job and piss your boss off. You could invest money to learn a side hustle and then have it still fail.

If you get it right, though, you can end up building something that becomes your life’s work. That’s what happened to me with writing.

The differentiator with side hustles is your ability to take a risk for long enough. Many people are far too impatient.

They don’t stick at it. They give up too soon. They hang around toxic folks who spew their fart-laced venom all over everybody they encounter.

When you think of the risk of side hustles over a 5 year period, it’s not that risky. You can figure out any goal in 5 years. But figuring it out in under a year? Near impossible. Unless you’re Einstein.

A social media account is risky

Social media has risks. You can get canceled. People can say sh*t about you. People can lie. They can screenshot your private DMs and share them with the world. They can place your name in a headline.

They can be so mean to you that you cry yourself to sleep.

It’s happened to me a few times, not going to lie. Your colleagues at work can read your writing. They can become upset with what you say. If you talk about your work then your boss could cancel you.

“Stop writing that nonsense online. It’s bad for your career.”

It happened to my colleague. He spoke his mind about politics on LinkedIn. He sounded a bit too angry. They asked him to take down the post. He got offended and quit in a blaze of glory. He burned every single person he had ever worked with, publicly, on LinkedIn.

We’re not friends anymore. Stupid.

The risks with social media are low though. If you don’t talk about controversial stuff and write daily rants about, well, everything, then you’ll be fine. That’s most of us.

The upside is you can build a small audience. You can help people. You can explore your creativity. You can start a tiny business off it. The benefits far outweigh the risk. Yet it scares so many people. I get messages all the time.

“It’s too much risk. What if people judge me? What if they hate me? I’m not an expert on anything. Who am I to say anything valuable?”

They’re wrong about themselves. Their life has enormous value. They talk to strangers every day in the street like a pro. Social media is no different.

Social media is only a risk if you forget to practice self-awareness. If you’re fair, kind, act as yourself and do it for the right reasons, it’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make in life.

The biggest risk of all (that you’ve forgotten)

You’re born.

Now for the rest of your life you risk death.

It could be cancer. A car could run you over. The asbestos in your ceiling may finally cause lung problems that kill you. An invisible coroni-macaroni sickness could infect your gorgeous body.

It could start with a cough, then a sneeze, then a visit to the hospital. The hospital could be full. You may die waiting. Or you may get a bed. Hooray. The ventilator could be used. It may not work. You still may die. Crap.

Or you could survive the great macaroni plague … only to die months later from a scuba diving accident, while celebrating your newfound freedom from lockdowns.

No matter how well you play the game of life and manage risks, you still die. Game over. No second chance. Damn.

It all boils down to this

Without taking risks your life will suck. Big time.

When you don’t take a risk you cruise. Something feels off. You can’t quite put your finger on it. All that happens is you wake up each day and don’t really care about much. It’s a form of numbness.

The solution is simple: Take more calculated risks. Acknowledge the downsides, of course. But lean into a few more risks. Live a little. Don’t see the dark side of every opportunity.

Don’t ruin possibilities with instant skepticism.


So you don’t end up being jealous of those who do take risks and have a few tiny successes. Instead, take a few risks and discover your own potential that’s been there all along.

Without risks you can’t get rewards.

Everything has a cost. The question is, are you willing to pay the entry fee?

This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.

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Eight Uncomfortable Truths About Life That Will Wake You Up

Life lessons

Photo by Mo on Unsplash

It’s easy to live a fantasy life.

The one where you think all of your problems are unique. Or a life where you think your sh*t doesn’t stink. I was that person for years. One of the antidotes to the devastation was listening to uncomfortable truths.

Here is a curated list of uncomfortable truths from Orange Book on Twitter, to make you rethink your life and reawaken your creativity.

“The people you attract (or don’t attract) reflect your vibes.”

Surrounded by drama kings and queens?

Audit your inner circle. The people in your life are there because of how you behave and the way you think. If there are some duds in your circle then personal responsibility is how you take accountability for it.

Don’t worry, I’m not a saint. I had drug dealers and criminals in my inner circle at one point in life. Not anymore.

The vibe you put out is crucial. When every conversation with you starts with attacking other people or pointing out all the problems with the world, then it’s likely the good people will exit quietly through the trapdoor.

Check your vibes to attract high-quality people in your life. Go from a high amount of negativity to slightly more positivity.

Positive people attract. Negative people repel.

“No one cares about your opinion until you show results.”

Opinions are like butt cheeks. Everybody’s got a pair. Many people seek to be thought leaders or to build an online audience. Fine.

Remember this: nobody cares in the beginning.

We pay attention to people who have results, not loud voices that have achieved nothing and use clickbait to recreate the CNN news headlines.

Time in the game beats time commenting on the game.

“It’s not lack of talent. It’s fear of making sacrifices.”

There are so many excuses for why we don’t succeed.

Talent has nothing to do with it. What you achieve in life is in direct proportion to how many sacrifices you’re willing to make.

I’ve watched writer Ayodeji Awosika turn into an online success over the years. It’s no mistake. Every day he makes sacrifices to show up and hit publish. His output is phenomenal.

Big goals start out with sacrifices. If you make them for long enough, then the results will lower the number of sacrifices you need to make in the future.

Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.

Jerzy Gregorek

“You truly appreciate life only after you almost die.”

I have an I-don’t-give-a-f*ck attitude in life. I didn’t come out of my mother’s womb like this. No.

I was a deeply afraid little boy for many years. I lived in fear.

A near-miss with cancer woke me up from the snoozefest I was living.

Sometimes I hope everybody gets to have a near-death encounter. When you do, you stop caring about dumb stuff. Most of what happens in life is useless nonsense that won’t matter in a week.

Life is a miracle. You have a one in a billion chance of being here, yet here you are. Every day should be a celebration that you’re alive, and that you didn’t die yet. Call it gratitude if you must. Or think of it as being given a gift better than $1 billion.

There are billions of dead people in graves all around the world, hoping to have what you have right now. Still upset with the world?

“You don’t know how important it is until you lose it.”

I tend to take things for granted. Earlier in life I met a spectacular woman. She could solve any math problem. She had social skills better than Oprah.

Yet she left me because I never appreciated her brilliance. I thought that once I’d won her heart the battle was over.

It took me a long time to get over her.

I didn’t get a second chance. She didn’t — ever — take my calls again. I lost a good friend too. That’s what happens when you pass through life, forgetting all the people who make it awesome, without a single ounce of gratitude.

When we lose something we crave it again. Don’t wait to experience loss to be reminded of this uncomfortable truth.

“Most people don’t know you exist and don’t care about you.”

Attention-seeking is a plague on social media.

It leads to blaming and complaining which is stupid. If you live the life of a victim that has been harmed by society, it’s going to be a lonely existence.

Most people don’t wake up thinking of you. They wake up thinking of themselves.

You can go from being held back by the buffet lunch of tragedies available to you in life, or you can take the bad stuff that’s happened to you and use it as a form of inspiration to help people facing the same problem. One is pointless. One is useful. The choice is yours.

“It doesn’t matter how much you learn, you will never feel ready.”

Side hustles are something I’m passionate about. Lots of people I meet are dying to start one.

Yet they don’t.

The reason is they always want more information. There’s always some event that needs to happen before they can start.

  • “I can’t do it until the holidays.”
  • “When I have free time I will.”
  • “When this project is finished I might.”
  • “When the kids are grown up I can.”

There comes a point where learning is simply a fancy word for procrastination.

You learn by doing.

Get some inspiration and then experiment with the magic of trial and error, to turn the generic learning you’ve done into a customized path forward.

“Every single person you love will die, or you die first.”

This last truth made me extremely emotional when I read it.

Instantly I thought of a young woman I worked with. She taught me so much. She’d show up to work with the best attitude. She knew if I had an off day, and would find tiny ways to snap me out of it.

When I got fired I stayed in touch with her. But not as much as I should have.

I had her name on my to-do list to call. I kept saying to myself, “you’re too busy this week. Maybe next week.” Months went by and I forgot. I had no idea that the cancer she once beat had returned.

She didn’t have long to live. Chemotherapy had failed. By the time I got time to call her and return the favor for all the awesomeness she gave me, she was dead. I watched her funeral on Youtube last year, due to the global health crisis.

I felt terrible. I miss her.

If angels exist then she is definitely one.

Remember how fragile every human life is. Stay in regular contact with the people you care about. Don’t delay important calls. Make calls on the way to work or while driving if you have to.

Every moment with awesome people is worth it. Don’t wait until they die to remember that uncomfortable truth.

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Your Biggest Problem Is That You Think You Have Time

Productivity Advice

Photo by Harvey Robinson on Unsplash

A time waster is my worst nightmare.

I worked with many of them in corporate. They existed for the sole purpose of wasting other humans’ time. The reason has nothing to do with intelligence.

They simply had not discovered the value of time. They didn’t realize the reason we waste so much of our time chasing money is because it buys back our time. So they unconsciously wasted time as if it were infinite.

Charles Darwin, who is best known for his thoughts on the science of evolution, knew the value of time. The title of this article is an edited quote of his. “A man who dares to waste an hour of time has not discovered the value of his life.”

The trouble is, you think you have time

Author Jack Kornfield said this on an episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast. It has stuck with me ever since. How many of us waste the days because we think we have plenty more to come?

I used to joke with friends and family on every birthday that I was Peter Pan and lived forever. I lived that way my entire life and abused my body with alcohol. In 2015 I got the news I had narrowly avoided cancer after they found a lump the size of a golfball in my guts and had to cut it out.

From that day on I no longer thought I had time.

My mind now tells me I’m living on borrowed time. So my time management philosophy has radically shifted.

Tragedy shapes how you think about time. The next time one happens in your life, use it to recalibrate how much time you think you have left. It will help take how you use time to the next level.

The biggest lie about productivity culture

Popular productivity advice assumes we want to complete more tasks on our to-do list. We work harder for nothing … and don’t understand why.

We actually don’t want to be more productive. What we really want is more time — Shane Parrish

All paths in life lead to us wanting more time. That’s because life is a gift. There’s so much to do and so many places to visit. It’s the reason I gave up my job and learned how to invest money. I couldn’t give a flying hoot about Lambos and mansions.

I just want the joy of full control over my time to do whatever I want. If my day is completely wasted then I want to know it was me that caused it, not the result of some micro-managing boss with a tiny brain.

Use productivity to increase how much free time you have. Then it’s working in your favor, as opposed to being a giant distraction.

“Time discovers truth”

(According to Seneca.)

You see it all the time. People who think there are shortcuts to getting results, when in reality, time in the game beats everything. Let time show you the truth? Did you stick at it for 12 months?

Now, time for the uncomfortable truth: did you stick at it for 5 years?

If the answer is no then time is showing you the truth. The truth is you’re impatient. Your desire for fast results is the cause, not whatever your excuses are screaming in your head.

Time shows you if you’re committed to a goal or just lying to yourself.

Time multiplies whatever you feed it

Good habits make time your ally.

Bad habits make time your enemy.

— James Clear

Habits create compound interest in the productivity world.

I view habits as a way to become efficient at a skill and get more out of it, so I trade a smaller amount of minutes each time I do it.

Take writing as an example. I used to be a slow writer. Now I can write twice as fast. That’s not an accident. My writing habit, practiced for the last 7 years straight, led to the efficiency. You can do the same.

  • Pick a task or skill.
  • Schedule it in your calendar.
  • Repeat weekly.

If you have an off day, repeat the habit but only for a short time. That’s how you keep habits working for you, even when life messes things up and you have no control over it.

The speed of time strangely varies

What if you could use productivity to time travel? Flow states have been spoken about at length, however, not like this. Chef Frank Prisinzano claims he time travels daily with flow states that put him on auto-pilot.

You’re doing what you love and it doesn’t feel like work. You can even escape your body’s movements so that your mind is free to wander and see the future.

Flow states have altered his perception of time so much that he says, “I got addicted to the flow of that job,” when describing a chef job. These flow states lead him to many odd coincidences which he claims guide him. The greatest tragedy he says is that many people haven’t accessed flow states before.

This upsets him because he believes they’re therapeutic. It’s this harsh reality that has led him to teach people how to access flow states that he says are a feeling that will “change your life.”

When you’re in the zone and you’re doing everything by touch and feel — you’re not worried about time. It just doesn’t exist.

Flow states increase the value of your life by optimizing the way you use time and experience it. Let that sink in.

How to maximize the value of your time

Thanks to Parkinson’s Law that states “work expands to fill the time that we allocate to it” — time works against you by default if you don’t choose how you’re going to think about it.

The ultimate solution is to use the power of doing only one thing.

Youtuber Ali Abdaal says, “Every day I try to write down the one thing I need to get done that day. By focusing on just one thing I don’t drown in all the other tasks I need to do.”

Ali goes on to suggest we leverage artificial deadlines. I love that idea. It’s why I get my wife to schedule social events right after my writing sessions. It gives me motivation and a deadline to work to.

Takeaway: One objective per day increases the value of your time.

My only measure of success is how much time you have to kill — Nassim Nicholas Taleb

It all boils down to this

The value of your life is expressed through time. Don’t waste time.

Instead, make it count. Give life all that you’ve got. The game of life has a predictable outcome: death. So you’ve got nothing to lose. Invest time while you have it. Say no to dumb stuff.

Let me leave you on this bizarre thought from Katrina Paulsonthat will warp your understanding of time forever and keep you up at night:

If we can’t change our past, what does that say about our futures? Perhaps, there’s more to the concept of fate than we realize.

Is it feasible that everything and everyone has a purpose?

Could it be that there’s a reason you and I happen to be alive right now? That everything that we do and everything happening around us is supposed to happen? That Time wants it to happen?”

Mind blown.

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