No introduction, let’s just dive straight in.
1. "The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice; it is conformity." – Rollo May
It's easy to lie to ourselves about what we're running from, especially when we receive social praise for doing it. Cowardice for the most part doesn't present itself as quivering and crying in a corner, rather it is pandering to the approval of others. The need for acceptance will make you invisible in this world. Playing it safe is the most dangerous thing you can do. Bravery is committing to living authentically despite the inevitable criticism.
2. "Focus on pleasing outcomes, not pleasing actions."
Pleasure is not happiness. Seek pleasure all you like, but it's where you derive your pleasure from that's key. Immediate gratification is transient, delayed gratification lasts. Getting drunk and not going to the gym is a pleasurable action. Staying sober and having a great workout is a pleasing outcome. Focus on outcomes.
3. "Do you want comfort or do you want success?"
A simple and forthright equation, comfort or success. You can't have both. Our need for comfort robs us of progress at every turn. Abraham Maslow summed up this continuous battle best when he wrote:
"One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again." – Abraham Maslow
It's a binary choice. Rarely, if ever, does the comfortable option contribute to growth and happiness.
4. "The fool is his worst enemy, the mischief his undoing; look how bitterly he suffers."
This quote is loosely attributed to Gautama Buddha, that's 'The Buddha' to you and me. It hits at the heart of many of our problems. We know what to do, it's just we don't do it. We know the knock-on effects of abusing substances, an affair, unhealthy living, or making minimal effort with friends and family. Yet we fall for some of these temptations anyway and when things go wrong, we lament the consequences of our own stupidity; addiction ruins us, partners leave us, health disintegrates and people stop calling. Then we ask "Why me?" If you take the piss out of life, it will take the piss out of you. Don't be the fool. Treat life well and it will treat you well.
5. "Most people fight for their limitations."
How many times have you heard someone argue about why they can't do something? We pour endless energy into defending our excuses because it's easier than pouring energy into action. We conjure up difficulties, create mental workarounds and invent psychological get-out-of-jail-free-cards to avoid responsibility. The truth is that there is no easy path. All paths are challenging and all lives difficult. Besides, the only prize for arguing for your limitations is you get to keep them.
"Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts." – Edward Murrow
Imagine if the levels of your commitment to your limits were turned on their heads and used to fighting for growth and potential. Imagine if it was harnessed and used to drive you forward, not hold you back. Your life could change on a penny.
5. "Don't be a busy fool."
The mind gets as much satisfaction from procrastinating as it does from completing the actual task at hand. Henry David Thoreau wrote:
"It's not enough to be busy. So are ants. The question is: What are you busy about?" – Henry David Thoreau
If you clean the house instead of writing an essay, you feel the same sense of accomplishment, but it's misplaced because the essay remains unwritten. Ask yourself why are you rushing around? Will your actions ultimately serve you and your goals? Ryan Holiday said: "There's an irony of most people's lives. They don't quite know what they want to do with their lives yet they are very active." Without a vision or a clear goal, you're running around a mouse wheel, lots of energy being burned but you're going nowhere. Time is the only resource we cannot save or buy back, don't squander it on meaningless tasks.
7. "Wherever you go, there are your choices."
Life compounds. Every choice changes the course of your life and shows up in your future. A handful of consistently bad choices can set you seriously off course. Everything in life we manifested through choice; choosing to exercise or not, choosing to forgive or not, choosing to drink or not, choosing to quit or stick at a job you hate. We live our choices every day. Feel empowered with the knowledge that if you choose differently, you get different results. Choose your way to a better life.
9. "The process is the goal."
Climbing the mountain is more satisfying than being at the top of the mountain. The struggle, the growth and the learning is what satisfy the soul. Happiness comes from progress. When you're struggling, whether it be training for a marathon, studying for an exam, or battling loss and sorrow, remember that you're doing the soul's work. Jordan Peterson wrote:
"Proper being is a process not a state, a journey not a destination." – Jordan Peterson
Life is a dance, an art form, an adventure based upon discovery. The goal doesn't make you, the process does. Once you achieve a goal you're only going to set another anyway. It will never end. So enjoy the ride.
10. "What got you here won't get you there."
Marshall Goldsmith wrote a book using this title. The concept is simple; everyone wants their version of success but if you don't have it, you need to change your behaviour to get there, or else you'd be there already. There's an odd assumption one can plod on, save money, do what you've always done and a magical future will appear. Old keys don’t open new doors. The big dreamer who refuses to change is setting himself up to be sorely disappointed. Accepting change as the bedfellow of success is the first step to shedding your old skin and growing into someone new. We get out of life what we tolerate. Stop tolerating average and you’ll get to the next level.
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