Motivation

Passion is Lubricant for Discipline

What’s it all for?

Why do what you’re doing? What’s your greater goal?

You’ll never achieve greatness unless you care deeply about your mission.

Why not? Why can’t I be awesome for 2 hours every day, then watch porn, get high, and gorge myself on Unlimited Pastabowli™ at Olive Garden for only $7.99?
That’s simple, Jack. Would your ideal self eat at fucking Olive Garden, or would the perfect version of you learn to cook tastier, healthier meals at home? Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of the “unlimited” genre of food, but becoming better is more important to me than as many buttery carbohydrates as I can cram into my mouth-hole.

Passion is lubricant for discipline. That’s the title of this post, so allow me to elucidate.

Willpower is the finite resource we use to make ourselves produce long-term wins against short-term displeasure (e.g. diet & exercise, learning an instrument/language)

Discipline is the habitual application of willpower towards achieving a greater long-term goal.

Passion is loving your long-term goal more than anything else.

I want to be a writer. Here I am, writing. It’s slow, and for six months I’ve been slowly, slowly, slowly gaining traction. I’ve doubted myself, and my productivity has gone up and down more than Cedar Point’s Cyclone… If only riding out a slump was as much fun. I love writing, though. Frequently I don’t feel like it, but I write every single day because I have a broad, long-term view of time. It’s a grind, but my passion for my craft applies oil to the grind for as little mental friction as possible. My work ethic, my willpower, and my discipline are lubricated before every battle with frustration like a big, beautiful, manly man getting ready to wrestle.

I get too excited about the future. I get so excited it turns to angry frustration; I move so slow sometimes it’s infuriating! I curse myself for wasting so much time. I’m only 22… If only I’d learned what I know now 5 years ago! Alas, time travel is impossible for us puny imperfect organisms. Someday our bioengineered progeny will leap through time, but today we must live with our choices. It’s OK, though. Whether you’re fifteen or fifty, there’s still plenty of time!

We can’t succumb to our furious, frustrated angst for faster improvement, but we also can’t let ourselves fall into dull complacency. Let’s meet somewhere in the middle, then. Let’s feel that furious passion for forward momentum, but let’s focus it, control it. Let’s use passion to fuel our daily appreciation of the smaller satisfactions in life.

What do I mean by lubricant?
Lube makes things smooth. Lube removes friction.
A passionate mindset broadens our view of time to give us a reason to be better.
Therefore, focusing on passion removes friction from the daily self-discipline grind.

My love for writing and my desire to improve give me the inspiration I need to do it every day. You never see pro athletes who don’t like their sport. Sure, some of them grow to hate it, but every single pro athlete has a genuine love for their game. They’d never spend 10 hours a day every day of their life to master a game they didn’t enjoy.
If you hated broccoli, you wouldn’t waste your time crafting a perfect broccoli recipe. You’d spend that time cooking carrots instead.

It all comes down to how you feel. What’s most important to you? What excites you?
I don’t care much about money. I’d love to drive a Mercedes, but I’d rather cut off one of my fingers than take on massive debt to buy a fucking hunk of metal overcompensation.

I care deeply about my my health, my environment and my education. Money buys better food, nicer neighborhoods, and it buys books, lessons, and access to information. I don’t give a fuck about buying a new car to impress my dipshit neighbors. I want money because I want freedom. I want the freedom to be the best version of myself, and that requires makin’ moolah.

So you want to be a famous rock star. Are you in a band? Have you written lyrics? How many hours do you practice every day? Famous rock-stars are so passionate about the music that they live and die for it. Many of my friends play guitar, and they all dream of being rich & famous. They practice now and then, but they don’t feel like it every day. They’re scared of losing their comfortable lifestyle. Practicing for 9 hours a day, living life like a fucking spartan, seems silly to people used to living every day without a greater purpose.

Nobody dreams of being a fucking desk-jockey. As a kid, did you ever see a wage-slave on TV sharpening a pencil, shuffling a stack of memos and think, “Man oh man, boy oh boy, golly gee I’d sure love to be like him!” No, you didn’t. In my generation, we wanted to be Tony Hawk. We wanted to be Indiana Jones. We invented Karate moves in the back yard; we were Bruce Lee, Jet Li, and Jackie Chan rolled into one. Then we went to school.

At school, they tell us:

“Ha ha, Ho ho, you can’t be like them! You must count the beans! You must be like us, for this is how a Grown-Up™ behaves! Get a real job, find yourself a wife, and then, maybe, if you’re lucky, when you turn 65 you can retire and do all that silly bullshit you always dreamed about.”

Fuck school. Learn because you care. Find the thing that intrigues you, the thing that lights a fire in your gut, and devote your life to feeding that curious fire.
The education system in America is designed to produce obedient workers. Even the greatest teachers in our public schools are so bogged down by regulations that all strides toward real education are made struggling against the current. The system we use was invented in Prussia to mass-produce obedient workers. Before that, education was real. It wasn’t anything like our sadistic shitshow of a school system.

School might have killed that childish desire to live out your dream, but it’s still in you. Somewhere in your gut you want to be cool. You want to be fucking Indiana Jones, so go out and buy a whip and a hat and start digging for treasure! It doesn’t have to be a big deal, just get out there and do something. If you want to act, join an improv group. If you want to be a musician, start a band. If you want to be a writer, write (and finish) something. You can worry about everything else after you get started.

But what if you don’t know what you want to do? You went to school, you got your diploma, and now you sit in an office counting beans and sharpening pencils and dreaming about being anywhere but there.

Even if you don’t have a dream to fuel your passion, start by working to energize yourself. Start caring about yourself.
Are you fat? Buy smaller dinner plates.
Are you ugly? Get a new haircut and some cool threads.
Are you awkward? Read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People.

Sit there in your chair. Read this, and think, hmm, that’s interesting, I like what he’s saying.
Then forget. You’ll forget this, and you’ll go back to your routine.
Do you ever forget what you were doing only a moment before?

It’s OK to be slow-going. It may take you 10 years to figure out what you wanted to be doing for the past 10 years, but don’t let that stop you.
If your life lacks passion, expose yourself to new things until you feel a spark. A spark is all it takes to light the fire in your gut. That fire inside you, that furious passion, is the most important factor in achieving fulfillment. Becoming the greatest version of yourself requires hard work every single day. The only way to diligently work every day, even when you don’t feel like it, is to be passionate about your purpose. No matter what, you must be certain that you’re making a difference. Every day, take one step towards building something bigger than yourself.

Every day I think about my beautiful future. My destiny is REAL in my mind.

If my house burned down, if my friends and family abandoned me, if I lost everyone and everything, I would smile with the knowledge that my new pain would be forging me into a greater man faster than I could ever do comfortably.

I refuse to accept the pathetic path of comfort that society lays down in front of me. My passion for my art, my desire to thrive in this cutthroat world, and my thirst to be a man worthy of respect all drive me forward towards my ideal self. Do you want an easy comfortable life, or would you rather bust your ass every day for ten years to create something more meaningful?

How much is your dream worth?

BruceLeeDiscipline

Distractions are Killing you

internet-distractions

I’m distracted trying to write this. You’re distracted by this needlessly large image above my type. You’ll probably just look at the image, fart out a couple laughs, and move on without actually reading anything. Because hey, reading is hard. I get it.

Personally, I love to read because it’s fun, informative, and rewarding mentally and emotionally. It’s an escape; as a young man I read books and became more emotionally invested in the characters than in real people. There’s nothing better than the feeling when you finish a really great book.

Here’s the rub: the internet ain’t a book.

When you read a book, you’ll put in a pair of headphones. Maybe you’ll sequester yourself in a quiet, relaxing place like a coffee-shop or your living room. You’ll get the lighting just right, and you’ll sit in a wonderfully comfy chair. Ever tried to talk to somebody who’s reading? They’ll look at you like you’re a fly they want to squash.

When you read the internet, you’re constantly assaulted by unwanted information. HEY! HERE’S 10 FACTS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT BOOBS! You fuckers would click that in a second! It’s true; if people could get away with filling their websites with nothing but boobs and top-10 lists they would. The “intelligent, discerning Internet viewer” doesn’t matter because it’s much easier to attract 10 mentally deficient zombies than 1 intellectual. Sorry, smart-fags, but stupid is where the money is. 

What’s it all mean?

If you want to get anything done, you have to avoid distractions. Distractions pull your focus away from good things like learning, reading, thinking and creating. Do you care? If not, you’re probably not reading this anyway. You’ve read almost 300 words so far; well done! Drifting through the Internet for hours at a time is great fun. Keep on refreshing that Tumblr page. Make yourself a spreadsheet analyzing the likelihood of frequent Tumblr posters to be chickens pecking at the keyboard. Make an afternoon of it, do some research. It’s for science, after all. I know some pretty smart chickens. Run a comparison of chicken faces versus Tumblr profile pictures. I bet they’re pretty similar. Illuminati? Probably. Conspiracy everywhere.

Wake the fuck up, people! Facebook is not real life. You do not have 862 friends; you barely hang out with your cat. If you don’t see or talk to someone at least once per week, you’re not friends. You know, talking, like with words from your mouth. How often do you call people on the phone? If you’re under the age of 30, probably not often. Why? Because phone calls make me anxious. I can’t talk to a real person! I get nervous just trying to talk to Kevin at AT&T customer support, and he’s contractually obligated to be nice to me.

Try this: turn off your smartphone.

Did you do it? Of course you didn’t. If you turned off your phone, how would you know if somebody needed to reach you for like, totally important stuff?

How often have you gotten a text that said,

“Hey. U home? I got stabbed can u drive me 2 hospital?”
^This will never happen. That’s what 911 is for. You are not that important.

Way, way, WAYYYY back in 1989, nobody had cell phones. Business dudes had them, and they were huge and you looked like an asshole lugging the thing around. People called each other from their houses. They left messages, and they didn’t get angry when their behind-the-times parents left them a voicemail that they now have to spend 2 whole minutes deleting.

Are you one of those wonderful individuals that checks their phone during a real conversation? Do you feel the urge to check your leash for new updates? Do you check Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media more than… 10 times a day? If so, you’re an addict. There’s a chemical called dopamine that’s released in your brain every time you get a hit of that sweet social media juice. It feels pretty great, and it causes the same reaction in your brain as hard street drugs.

But hey, if you never plan on doing anything, maybe social media is perfect for you. Maybe you’ll never need to know facts. Maybe you’ll never need skills. You can probably just live on welfare, crank out a few kids and get that sweet, sweet Big Papa Government welfare check. You don’t need to worry about things like self-improvement because your “self” exists only online.

Here’s a list for you fuckers scanning to the bottom for the juicy bit:

1. Turn off your cell phone for a day. If you feel like you’ve had your right arm removed, you probably have a serious problem.

2. Close your social media tabs. Try looking at nice pictures on Instagram instead. Happy sunsets and puppies are much better for your psyche than your pseudo-friends vague emotional bullshit.

3. Maybe go outside? Call somebody you like? Talk to someone about something real that’s happening in your life. Experience the joy of reading an actual book!

Also, phones might cause cancer. The science isn’t done on that yet. That’s kind of a scary thought. Just think about cancer every time you want to check Facebook.

Fight Yourself

Fight-Club-Punching-Self

No. Not literally.

To do anything worth doing, you gotta give yourself a swift kick in the ass. Your body and mind will be resisting change the whole way, and it’s your job to put yourself back on the right track each and every time. It’s unavoidable. This is just how people work. No matter how long you’ve been persistent for, you’ll eventually have one bad day.

I read an excellent post on Wait But Why yesterday that really got me thinking. For a long time, I’ve struggled a lot with procrastination. I’ve had some similar ideas from my own experience, but I’ve never seen it explained and illustrated so perfectly.

In short, when we try to do the work that really matters, we often get distracted by instant gratification. We make great, consistent progress once we’re deep into the flow of our work, but moving ourselves from that murky period of self-loathing filled procrastination requires more and more willpower as time goes on.

I won’t get too deep into the content from the article, but I’ve been thinking about this topic for quite awhile. I’ve been working since August of last year to create positive daily habits, and I’ve made more holistic progress since then than any other time of my life. First starting out, though, it was an uphill battle. When I became seriously interested in self-improvement during my second year of college, I had lost around fifty pounds the previous year. Obviously I felt pretty good about it, but I wasn’t sure what the next step was. I had a vague idea of what my priorities and values were at that point, but I was still very naive in my approach to life. I had this vague attitude of not taking life too seriously that was great for creating a positive mindset, but was actually detrimental to building forward momentum in my life.

I ended up spending a lot of time playing video games and watching TV. Pretty much every day I would wake up and do the same old shit. I was making great efforts to get healthier, but my routine for the other aspects of my life were sorely lacking. Basically the only useful skill I learned in my first year of college was how not to be fat; I didn’t have any useful real life skills. I lacked discipline. I figured that one day I’d write a book, but I rationalized a bunch of stupid reasons why I wasn’t writing anything.

Eventually, nearly a year ago, I started writing a journal. I can’t tell you how huge of a step this was for me. Beginning to write down my thoughts sparked a series of changes that I never expected. It’s difficult to stick with a journal at first, but now it’s a permanent part of my nightly routine. If you aren’t already writing one, do it. Do it now. You’ll find yourself coherently expressing for the first time thoughts you’ve been having for a while; not only that, new ideas and feelings and opinions will come to the surface that you never even knew were there. Personally, the biggest benefit I’ve had from writing a journal has been a log of my progress. There were days when all I did was sitting around watching Netflix. Writing out my experiences forced me to examine my life. When you write down, “Today I didn’t do much of anything.” enough times, you start to feel like a piece of shit, which is great motivation. I ended up thinking a lot about the difference between what I was doing and what I wanted to be doing, and eventually I starting making more changes in my life because my journal helped me sort out all the emotional bullshit that was holding me back.

Fighting yourself isn’t easy. Honestly, the only way to do it effectively is to cut yourself off from all distractions. If your phone is distracting you from your work, leave it on silent face-down out of your sight. Refocus your attention entirely on what really matters in your life. Maybe read an actual book instead of scrolling through forums, blogs, and social media.

People tend not to change. Changing is hard, and staying the same is easy. That’s why no matter how far you progress, you still have to fight yourself to keep moving. Luckily, improving ourselves doesn’t have to always be a struggle. Why? Because momentum.

If you spend a week jerking off and watching cartoons all day, on that eighth day you’re really going to want to jerk off and watch cartoons. Your body has been programmed to jump right into that negative routine. Most of us have experienced this with whatever our lazy sin of choice is (Netflix for many of us). Now, you don’t have to give up all your favorite shows, games, and whatever other mindless entertainment gets your rocks off. Just quit all the meaningless bullshit. Quit “just watching something”. If you want to watch every episode of a great show because it’s great, that’s fucking awesome. Do it at night after you’ve gotten some work done, but enjoy that god damn show with vigor! Consuming well-made media is a great way to spend your spare hours, but just watching something to watch something is how fools spend 20 years before finally asking themselves where their life went. Think about what you’re doing. Think about why you’re doing it. 

When you look at yourself and realize that many of your idle instantly gratifying actions provide no benefit to your life or your goals, you’ll have two choices: either keep feeding yourself empty entertainment and self-loathing, or buckle down and get some work done. I only have to spend a few hours productively before I start to feel really good about it. There’s no better feeling than finally relaxing after spending the day the right way. Make the choice when you wake up to instantly jump into that positive routine of self-development. Take a break after 4 hours spent practicing skills, learning information, and exercising your body. Spend the time to truly commit to improving yourself just a little bit. Report back to me with how fucking awesome you feel.

New Year’s Resolutions

newyears

Every year the innumerable indolent fools of the world promise themselves that this year will be the year. This year, I’ll go to the gym every day, never eat anything sweet again, and I’ll quit smoking for good. Typically, these mouth-breathers will have great success for about a week, then they’ll say, “Oh, I’ve done so well. I deserve to indulge myself just this once because it’s the weekend/a holiday/other bullshit celebration”. They indulge their newly vanquished vice, thus giving it more power over them than ever. A new vicious cycle of failure begins again, starting the same damn pattern they’ve been living through their entire lives. “New Year’s Resolutions”, as most Americans use them, are an utterly worthless waste of time.

Now, I’m writing this on New Year’s, and the title is “New Year’s Resolutions”. Clearly I believe there is some value in this tradition.

People seem to need an excuse to change their lives for the better. New Years is an excellent excuse, so use it if you find motivation in the pretty new number on your calendar. Make a simple resolution that you know you can keep up with for the entire year. It doesn’t have to be something hard, just make it something that you know will benefit you in some way. Here are some attainable resolutions that anybody could follow through with:

-Go outside every day. Commit just to stepping outside into the sunlight once every day, and if you feel like walking, well, you’re a regular overachiever.

-Give up soda. That shit is poison and will kill you. Consider drinking almost anything else, like milk, apple juice, or goat’s blood.

-Every day, eat a vegetable. No ranch dressing, you fat fuck.

-Every day, read something. A book, the newspaper, a blog, or your favorite news site. Not Tumblr, and no, texting does not count.

-Learn something once a month. Maybe learn a new recipe. Try out a new hobby. Buy some powertools and just go nuts while the neighbor’s out of town with his door unlocked. Doing new things will relieve the monotony of your shitty life, and it’ll make people say, “Wow, this guy is way more interesting than that dick Larry.”

Yeah, doing things is hard. It’s worth it, I promise. Make a commitment to making 2015 slightly less fucking horrible than the year before. Future-you will thank me.

The Power of Persistence

you-can-do-it

Buckling down and sticking with your ambitions is imperative for success. Without determined persistence you will forever have a vague ambition in your mind without ever realizing it. My greatest fear is dying without first leaving my mark on this world. I imagine those of you who see this will be able to relate to this fear. We die twice in this world, first when we stop breathing, second when we’ve been forgotten. I believe most would prefer to leave a lasting legacy, and persistence is the way to achieve that.

So how do we gain persistence? Essentially, we must force ourselves to break the patterns of our past negligence. We must frame in our mind exactly what we wish to accomplish, then set out to accomplish it. There’s a lot more to be said on figuring out exactly what you want to do, but that’s a whole other topic. In order to be persistent, we must believe in what we are doing. We must know that the things we do are beneficial not just to ourselves but to some greater cause. We must build something that will last, something bigger than ourselves.

Now, obviously you can’t go from smoking weed and masturbating every day straight to building the fucking Empire State Building. What can we do in between legacy ground zero and the achievement of our ambitions? First of all, we must cultivate a success environment. Eliminate the cancer of your laziness from your life. At all stages of your day, ask yourself if what you are doing is beneficial to your goals. If it is not, remove that thing from your life. Spend all hours of the day committed to working towards bettering yourself and achieving your goals. This advice seems vague; obviously we should always be doing things that are good as opposed to things that are not good. This is common sense, however most of us do not abide by this rule. I’m not advocating a complete abstinence from all entertainment, but I am suggesting that we replace as many non-productive activities as we can with other things that directly help us to achieve our ambition.

My personal goal in life is to be a writer. I don’t know what drives you, but more than anything I want to establish myself as an author and a creator. Figure out what the thing is that you’d like to do with your life, then do things that are relevant to that. Read books, blogs, and guides relating to the subject you’re interested in. Improve your skills not just in the area you are interested in, but also in all adjacent skill areas. If you want to be a mechanic, start working on cars. If you want to be a famous dancer, play some fucking music in your living room and jam it out. If you want to be a writer, WRITE SOMETHING! The key to persistently achieving what you care about is every single fucking day to do that thing.

Somebody said to the famous cellist Yo-yo Ma, “I’d give my life to play like you”. He replied, “I did”.

That’s what it takes, gentlemen. It’s hard. It’s going to be harder than anything you’ve ever done to put yourself out there and to chase your dream. It doesn’t matter what your dream is; if your dream is worth dreaming about it is not going to be easy. What I can tell you from experience though, is that the first step is the hardest. Get into the groove of bettering yourself and going after your ambition. You’ll find yourself doing the things that used to seem like work just out of habit. You’ll begin to enjoy jogging every day. You’ll begin to feel idle if you aren’t working on something. You’ll develop this urge in your bones to go out there and do whatever it is that you care about. It’s a good feeling gentlemen, and you can have it before too long. All your dreams are within your reach.

Related reading:

Check out this book by Brendan Burchard, one of my favorite motivational Youtubers:
The Motivation Manifesto