I’ve been reading Tim Ferriss's The 4-Hour Work Week. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’ve already come across a few great points. One of the most profound is about challenging your assumptions and self-imposed limitations.
People have obligations. If you have a child to take care of, you better work your ass off in providing for him/her. It’s your priority. But if you’re free and aren’t attached to a significant other, you don’t have excuse not to pursue things that excite you.
Many people, including the ones I know, live within self-restricted life rules. I’ve lived in them too. We create our own boundaries of what we can and can’t do, and what we should and shouldn’t do. We create our own proverbial sandbox and play by the society’s rules and expectations.
Living in this box is like being trapped within your own reality. If you’ve ever watched The Matrix (yes, it has been that long), it’s like that. You are plugged into the Matrix, living a fantasy life that the Machines have created for humans, while (most of) humanity lie unbeknownst to the reality that the Machines are using them to produce electricity.
Everyone has a chance to become remarkable. Only a few recognize it and pursue it, though.
Recognize the walls and punch through, Uma Thurman-style.
The walls represent excuses; It’s the invisible boundary you have set for yourself. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, I often mention this fantastic lady: Amber Rae. She is great for multiple reasons but I most admire her for following her truth, living intentionally, and helping others break through barriers.
- "I can do B if only I had A." (Really?)
- "I’m not good enough yet." (Who says?)
- "I have to do this." (No you don’t)
- "It’s not the right time." (It’s never the right time.)
- "I will do it tomorrow." (Yeah, whatever.)
I catch myself repeating these self-defeating statements in my head from time to time. It’s best if you stomp it out when the flame is small and contained than when a wildfire engulfs any motivation to move the ball forward.
If you find yourself using these excuses often, maybe it’s time you start pursuing things that genuinely excite you.
This week, I came across a group of guys - The Buried Life - on Tim’s blog and their backstory was incredibly inspiring! I’ve seen their show on MTV and thought they were cool but learning about the team’s humble beginnings brought new meaning to the word, “ballsy”. I mean come on, they played b-ball with OBAMA. That took plenty of ingenuity and hustle.
But if there’s one thing worse than feeling inadequate, it’s giving up and never starting in the first place. You rationalize, “It’s never going to work out anyway…” You feel like you’re saving yourself the trouble of failing and being publicly humiliated.
HEY EVERYONE FAILS AT ONE POINT OR ANOTHER.
You’ll never grow if you don’t step outside your comfort zone. The troubles, failures, and falling on your face are what gives life a unique flavor. These mishaps are what makes life worth living.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Move the ball forward one small step at a time.
Have the audacity to challenge life. Toe your boundaries often.
If you find yourself living a meager, unfulfilling existence, it’s time to make your first move, today. Read this post by Travis Robertson. You don’t have to figure it out right now. You just have to be off the dock and piloting your sail boat.
For the longest time, I couldn’t decide what I wanted. There was so much noise. It was hard figuring out what I should and shouldn’t be doing. Then, I discovered this simple rule: HELL YES or no. If you’re not jumping up and down, why bother? Life is too short to waste it with energy-draining, soul-sucking work.
You might say, “Oh, that’s not me. My life situation is totally different. It’s like comparing a banana to…a…buffalo.” Well, not really. Everyone makes the same excuses.
If you don’t know, reach out and ask someone. If you don’t have time, eliminate things that drain your energy and say “no” to things that don’t bring enough value to your life. If you don’t have money, then find another way that’s less expensive.
Life will put plenty of road blocks in front of you. But some incredible people overcome even the largest of them, such as a life-threatening illness. How?
Sometimes, the biggest road block is yourself: your assumptions, excuses, and attitude. Stop getting in your own way.
If you want to commit to something today, commit to showing up. Half the battle is won that way. The rest depends on how prepared you are, how vigorous you pursue and follow up on the opportunities presented to you, and how specific you are with your goals and tasks.
Most importantly, don’t give up. The world is just as scared as you. Why do you think so many people pursue mediocre lives, only to regret it at the end? Persist and you’ll succeed.
Who are we kidding? It’s not the world, it’s you. Move and the world will get the fuck out of your way.