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Advice

Why Letting Go Will Change Your Life

By | Advice
Reading Time: 1 minute

Let’s face it, we’ve all held on for way too long…

Maybe it was a relationship, a stepping stone in our career that became a prison or a way of being that we simply started to think it was who we were.

In this post, I’ll address why we have so much trouble letting go and how to surrender and trust to the transformative power of change, taking us to places we could have never imagined.

The Day I Broke Off A Part Of Myself

I walked into my office that morning, and it looked like a jail cell.

Where pictures once adorned the space, it was empty…and the walls were bare.

This square, windowless box was a place where I had poured my heart and energy out for what seemed like decades.

It was a place where:

I crafted huge visions.

I had brutally tough conversations.

I had life changing insights with others.

I could retreat and collect myself.

Furthermore, it felt like family, as odd as that may sound — I’d spent so many holidays, weekends, sunday mornings and late nights there.

This was the last time I’d be here and I let it out…uncontrollable emotions, knowing I had moved on from this little room in this massive gym and community I had created, yet I had let go of.

Who We Believe Ourselves To Be

Time is a powerful force and compounds the effect something has on our lives simply by building layers.

Every few months, another layer is built, and another.

These layers begin to become our identity or who we believe ourselves to be.

Our identity is tightly wrapped around things like our ethnicity, our work, our hobbies, our friends and family, our habits, choices, where we live, our life experience, our possessions, etc.

These layers build and build, and once we’ve crossed a threshold — it becomes very tough let go, almost impossible.

We’ve all known that couple who have been off and on for what seems like years, consuming endless time and energy for both parties and worst of all, never allowing themselves the gift of moving on.

Time Increases Comfort

Holding on to the pillars of our life is easy because it’s comfortable, it’s what we know, what we believe to be true.

I remember one of my favorite lyrics back when I was younger was:

It’s the not knowing that kills you.

And many times, when we’re on the verge of losing something or contemplating a transition, we default to a negative mindset that says:

What we have right now is better than whatever may be coming.

And the reason we believe this to be true is simple…we know what we have know, we can feel it, see it, sense it — yet what’s coming is a complete mystery and we lack trust as to what’s waiting for us.

Self Worth And Identity

When making any change, or big decisions, we ultimately go back to our own self worth which is closely tied to our identity.

For example, when I was letting go of my fitness business, I had a really high self worth with was closely associated with the identities of:

Being a business owner, having my own fitness sanctuary, running a business at a young age when my friends were doing shit they hated, having a staff of 10 people.

My self worth was tied to the above, because it had become part of my identity.

So, naturally, getting rid of any of the above would have an impact on how I felt about myself.

Death And Transformation

The universe has a funny way of making sure the things that are supposed to happen, ultimately happen.

That’s why we can look at situations in our past where we simply knew it was time to move on and let go, yet we resisted.

We knew it was time to quit the business, yet we plunked down another $25,000 because we wanted to believe in it.

We knew our relationship was over with and that the trust or spark couldn’t be regained, yet we got back together for the 7th time because, well, it had been 3.5 years.

We knew it was time to move on from our current social circle, yet we stayed in touch because we felt guilty for moving on.

And yet — a week, a month, a year or a decade later, the forces that had initially pulled us to leave and let go came back stronger, more forceful and more intense, like waves becoming tsunamis.

Who Am I?

Once you’ve released a part of your life that has consumed so much time, energy and space, you’ll begin to seek some answers to life’s endless questions.

I remember the day I woke up after parting with my fitness business, and for the first time in nearly a decade, I didn’t know what to do.

I had nowhere to be at 6:00AM, I had nothing to work on…

It felt like a death, like a divorce, like a part of me had died…which is part of any huge transformation involving our identity.

It’s the realization that we are not who we think we are, that hurts.

We realize we aren’t our gender, our income, our name, where we grew up, our relationships…

…we’re not defined by these things, yet they become our mental constructs.

So when we move on from one, or it gets pulled away — we go back to these everlasting questions:

Who am I?

What am I here for?

The Gap

It’s of utmost importance to spend time alone once a part of your life has been transformed, changed, extracted — whatever you want to call it.

It’s tempting to fill our days with non stop action, avoiding the painful realization that things are different and seeking to numb those feelings of loss.

Yet, no matter how much you run around, you can’t escape the feelings and those need to pass through you.

That is why when you leave your executive job after a decade, it’s notwise to jump right back into a new project …instead, taking time to create space and creating experiences that allow you to connect to who you really are, are crucial.

Shifting Our Imagination

By far, the most important benefit of letting go is the creation and freeing up of time, energy, physical and mental space and the ability to allow something new and powerful to come in.

Because we become so focused on what isn’t anymore, it can constrict our ability to be open to new experiences, people, places and perspectives once our energy is no longer consumed by something.

This, too, can be uncomfortable …yet many times we can’t even imagine what our new reality may look like.

But then we fast forward 6 months, a year, 3 years and realize that there was a perfect order all along, and that we could have never imagined where we are today.

We simply weren’t capable of dreaming or believing or seeing this new reality, and that can’t be learned or trained, it has to be trusted and surrendered to.

Surrendering means giving up control and completely detaching from the way you think things should be, or even could be.

Last Words

Look around your life and start to become aware of something you’ve been clinging on to that is no longer serving you.

Maybe it’s a small thing, such as a habit, or a way of being, or being involved in a social circle that you know isn’t for you.

Become aware of it and then have the courage to let go…because you’ll never imagine what’s on the other side.

For more insights, lessons and practical action steps to create you’ve been dreaming of, listen to the Resist Average Academy on iTunesStitcher or Web.

Overnight Success Is A Liar (And Why This Helps You)

By | Advice
Reading Time: 1 minute

They somehow came out of nowhere, didn’t they?

Right place at the right time, a matter of luck, a brilliant stroke of serendipity.

Whether it’s an athlete taking the world by storm or the latest hit smash hit single, the myth of the overnight success lies rampant in our culture.

You can thank our instant gratification culture for this phenomenon.

We’ve fallen in love with the overnight success, creating impossible pressure on ourselves, leading to endless frustration and the comparison game.

I’m here to let you know there’s another way, a deeper story that can empower you.

Once we examine these success, it becomes clear that the imagined straight line to success is a facade and this is great news for you.

Let’s dig in.

The Iceberg Effect

I’ve always loved Icebergs, dating back to high school when I didn’t pay attention in Earth Science class.

They were just so massive in size and scope, yet — you could only see a fraction of them above water.

Only 1/8th of these monumental forces of nature are above water, yet the force below stretches miles.

And hence, this metaphor:

The foundation is deep underwater, a dormant, unmovable, and unseen force.

Success, once examined deeply — is the same.

Think of the visible part of the Iceberg as one person’s external signs of success:

Singing the tune on stage, publishing a bestselling book, landing their biggest acting role yet.

Yet below this visible part lies another story, which almost always includes:

Years of failures, challenges, obstacles, doubts, intense focus, practicing mastery, showing up to do the work with zero signs of progress and so much more.

It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.

Which brings us to our first element of an overnight success: perseverance.

Perseverance, The Drive To Keep Going When Nothing Works

I remember being a kid and going to Warped Tour every single year, my version of the ideal Summer Vacation.

Don’t ask me how 95 degree heat, a bunch of teenage kids and terrible acoustics was my dream, but it was a ton of fun.

A small, unknown band was there playing their hearts out to 150 kids on a tiny side stage and they were called Fall Out Boy.

Their energy was palpable, even if they hardly knew how to play their instruments.

Four years later, after slugging around touring in vans, sleeping on floors, perfecting their craft is when the hit “Sugar, We’re Going Down” was released and everything changed, seemingly overnight.

What they had was perseverance, the first trait I noticed amongst everyone I studied.

Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.

Perseverance is the continued action taken in the face of obstacle, challenge, lack of results that is deeply tied to a core belief that you’re going to make it.

Action Step: Ask yourself if you are willing to drown out the voices of doubt within your head and others in pursuit of what you want and acknowledge obstacles as tests to see how bad you truly want it.

The “I’m In This For Real” Long Game

Internet and social media has made creating an app and selling it for millions (or a billion, like Instagram) the new American dream.

This type of pressure leads people to scramble and hop from one startup to another, in hopes of hitting it big — yet never truly following through to completion.

I’ve never played Angry Birds, yet they are showing up everywhere.

It dawned on me the other day when I was looking for a movie to watch and I asked myself in disbelief…

“There’s an Angry Birds movie?”

I was stunned, but once I examined Rovio, the company behind Angry Birds, I learned the power of the Long Game.

Rovio had developed 51 other games during a span of 8 years with meandering levels of success, being on the verge of bankruptcy before Angry Birds.

Tim Ferriss and his seminal work Four Hour Workweek was turned down by 26 publishers before one said yes.

There’s a part of success that innately rewards those who play the long game, instead of the dabblers looking to get in and out.

Action Step: Dig deep into the why behind what you’re doing and write down all the benefits you’re looking to achieve.

Singles Aren’t Sexy, But They Rack Up Wins

If you’ve ever been to a ballgame where a Grand Slam happened, you know what that’s like.

There’s nothing more crowd-roaring, exhilarating and powerful than a Grand Slam in baseball.

Yet, would you want to be known only as a Grand Slam hitter and more importantly, do Grand Slams help you win?

Amongst all teams, the average for a Grand Slam comes down to about 1 every 1,300 at bats.

Yet, the quiet player who goes 2 for 4 with a couple singles and drive in some runs consistently is the real winner.

Consistent singles lead to players on base, which lead to runs and many more wins.

Because, as we know, the Grand Slam Slugger is going to strike out, and strikeout hard — time and time again.

What I’ve noticed from studying overnight successes is they are committed to consistency and the concept of Kaizen — daily singles that lead to major wins.

Action Step: Set yourself up for consistency in the face of doubts and daily feelings. Use a morning routine or system to keep you on track.

Last Words

Next time you see someone “make it” out of nowhere, do yourself a favor and dig deep into their story.

More often than not you’ll find components of the above which you can use to fuel your own story and your passion for what you’re striving for.

These will inspire you instead of labeling them as lucky or dimming your own light.

Using perseverance, the long game approach and hitting singles — you’ll rack up momentum and set yourself up for achieving your wildest dreams.

27 Ways To Create Space And Level Up Your Life

By | Advice
Reading Time: 1 minute

A lthough New Year’s seems like it just happened, we’re 5 months into 2016 already.

Days blend in and weeks pass by and you keep telling yourself..

“Wow, time flies, I can’t believe it’s already [insert month]”.

As you get older, time seems to go even faster.

Most times you don’t even realize it’s happening and have zero capability to be present which means even if you’re getting awesome results, you don’t feel quite as fulfilled as you think you should be.

There never seems to be enough time, it always feels slightly out of your grasp and just past your ability to hold on to it.

I’ll have you consider the reason you feel this way:

You’re not taking time and space to slow down, look around, reflect and appreciate on a daily basis.

Time is an illusion, and in this post I’m going to share ways to be more present, feel more fulfilled and live a life that doesn’t seem to be running away from you.

I’m Not Spiritual

I recently had an amazing conversation with a serial entrepreneur and one of the things they mentioned was how their most dramatic breakthroughs came when he was able to create space and achieve perspective.

In fact, they blocked time out of their day in which they were virtually unreachable with the tag being “reflection”.

“I’m not spiritual”…is the first thing I hear when I mention these practices to others.

I, too, used to say this years ago when thinking about some of these tools.

Most people will see something about meditation, yoga, creating space, slowing down and immediately use this excuse that it won’t work for them by labeling it.

The issue at hand is our definition of what is or isn’t spiritual.

To me, being spiritual can be any activity that connects you to yourself..that’s it.

It doesn’t have to be a particular practice, a retreat in India or something religious.

Creating space is one of the most important tools we have at our disposal in a world that is hyper connected and never seems to stop.

Why We Need To Create Space

Creating space is all about creating a gap between yourself and your environment.

This gap does a few things, such as:

  • Perspective. When you create space, you can step outside your usual reactive thinking and make a better decision based in clarity, usually with less emotion involved.
  • Agency. Consider how most of us operate…we’re in the world, something happens, we automatically respond instead of choosing how to respond.
  • Truth. By creating the gap, we open ourselves up to our own wisdom and intuition which many times is distracted by our daily environment, thoughts, people, gossip, TV and the countless stimulus that enters our world.

In Cal Newport’s fantastic book Deep Work, he mentions how the greats would create environments in which they were able to spend long times in isolation for their deepest, most creative work.

He quotes Carl Jung’s solitude tower in Zurich where he would spend months on end working on his craft in simplicity:

At Bollingen I am in the midst of my true life, I am most deeply myself — Carl Jung

Creating space, I’d argue — is simply a skill that requires practice turned into a habit.

In this post, I’m going to share 27 ways to create space in your life starting today.

Well played, Arizona.

27 Ways To Create Space

1. Nature. Spend time in nature, ideally alone with no phone or distractions. This can be a hike, walk, sprint, outdoor workout or a simply an easy walk where you are focused on being present and enjoying your surroundings.

2. Meditation. Daily meditation is a nonnegotiable and part of my morning routine. Do it laying down, seated, whatever — just “be” for a few minutes, there is no right or wrong way to do it and it must be done daily if you’re going to see any type of results.

3. Training. Physical training is a way to create space, moving your body through space is very primal and energizing as well as bringing clarity to your life. High intensity is a great way to connect with your deeper self or what Mark Divine calls “Warrior Spirit”.

4. Deep conversation. Turn your phone off and be 100% present with someone. Actually listen to each word they say without thinking of what you’re going to respond with, look into their eyes. Time will pass and you’ll be re-energized with the human need for deep connection.

5. Pattern interrupt. Feeling unfocused and sluggish? Perform a pattern interrupt such as an intense physical activity (say, 10 burpees) or a quick dip in the pool or ocean, or simply walking around your office 3 times and getting some blood flow.

It’s actually hollow…just kidding.

6. Deep breathing. Take 10 deep breaths in any stressful situation or just to re-set your mind. The best way to do this is to inhale for at least 5 seconds, hold for at least 5 seconds and then release 5 seconds and hold at the bottom the same way. Do this 10 times, in particular, when you’ve experienced a deep rush of emotion.

7. Driving. Just get in your car and drive around, ideally with the windows down and just being, breathing and being spontaneous. You don’t need to be going anywhere in particular.

8. Journal. Journaling in the morning is an amazing way of creating space. Write some stuff down, how you’re feeling, your frustrations or even simply what you’re going through. Empty your mind and detach from any judgement you have on what you’re writing.

9. Rock out. Turn up your favorite music and dance, play, get pumped up, get moving and act like nobody’s watching. Play air guitar, sing, move your body. Live music is awesome for this, of course.

10. Take a bath. I’ve recently done these almost every day. There’s something about sitting there with some candles and some relaxing music that allows the stress of the day to melt away, chill out and re-set your body and system.

11. Walk barefoot in nature. This technique is a way to “ground” yourself and feel your skin on the Earth. Something special happens when you do this and it’s a great way to connect with our source. This is an excellent practice in the morning and while you’re in nature.

12. Take a yoga class. Yoga is for everybody and it’s a practice that can forge your mind, body and spirit in many ways. If you’re like me and you’ve been used to intense strength training and conditioning, yoga will challenge you in a very real way. I guarantee you will feel better every single time you go.

13. Find a meditation group. The other day I went to an amazing meditation class. I went in scattered and stressed and left feeling present, fulfilled and alive. The power of having a group and a guided teacher was way more powerful than trying to do it by myself. Environment is important.

14. Take a solo trip. Travel somewhere alone, “unplug” and disconnect. I did this when I went to Costa Rica and it was absolutely amazing. In fact, most travel is an amazing way to create space and the #1 self development tool.

15. Get some healing or bodywork done. Massage, energy work, acupuncture — anything in this field can be super beneficial for your mind and body. Not only is the physical regeneration an important aspect of this but simply allowing yourself to receive healing from someone else.

16. Use a cold water plunge pool. Get into very cold water and force yourself to stay in for as long as you can. There is something powerful about how your body responds to this stimulus and how it makes you feel after as well as challenging your mind to slow down and accept what is happening. A daily practice can also involve ending with a super cold shower every morning or taking an icebath.

Wim Hof, if you’re hardcore.

17. Have amazing sex. As a primal, evolutionary practice, having great sex is a way to create space. Understanding and having awareness of your sexual energy and how that affects your moods and even decisions is just as important as anything else.

18. Visualize. Sit down, clear everything off and start to intensely visualize parts of your life. Maybe it’s the way your body looks at the beach, or who you want to wake up next to or any other goals. Feel them, see them, be in the moment with them.

19. Read. Reading a book with no distractions is an excellent way to create space. The best type of books are what I call “higher order” thinking, something in the realm of the spiritual, growth, “thinking” type of texts.

20. Be social. Being social, like hosting or being part of a dinner party is an amazing way to re-charge yourself. Of course, it’s all about being around the right people. A better challenge is for everyone to put their cell phones in the middle of the table so there’s no distraction.

21. Floating. If you want to spend the most efficient time in solitude and truly let your body rest in both mind, body and spirit, find a floating or sensory deprivation tank. You’ll be in a tank with no sense of time or worry and reach deeper brain waves such as Theta and Delta.

Going interstellar, bro.

22. Improv. Find a local comedy club and challenge yourself to an improv class — even if you don’t consider yourself funny. Improv forces you to live in the present and take the attention off yourself and will reinvigorate you.

23. Send encouragement messages. There is something about shifting the attention from your life to lifting others up that changes the person who is giving (and receiving) to a new state. The key is to be authentic and tell people how you really feel, everyone needs a push.

24. Wake up 15 minutes earlier. If you’re used to rushing out of your place like it’s on fire every morning, simply wake up and allow yourself to be for 15 minutes, or do something you love. Whatever it is, protect this time and remember it’s nourishing your mind, body and spirit.

25. Dissolve your thoughts. Our thoughts, feelings, moods and emotions are ever changing. By using tools such as Byron Katie’s fantastic Loving What Is, we can let our thoughts go and reframe them as powerful tools to discover that they are not who we really are.

26. Yell, or do something primal. Yelling, roaring, jumping or simply connecting to your primal self will make people think you’re nuts — and that’s awesome.

27. Ask yourself a better question. In the most challenging, stressful period(s) of life, ask yourself: how is right now serving me? Write down 25–50 benefits and see all your tension dissolve.

What’s next?

There’s two keys to making this work:

Picking something you love — is first. It doesn’t matter how amazing it makes me feel, it has to be important to you.

Second, be consistent with this practice. I want to emphasize that word…practice.

In our digital age, we’ve trained our bodies and minds with non-stop phone checking, email and scattered thoughts.

While creating space will balance this out and lead to deeper thought, more connection and next level creativity, it will take some practice to get back and your mind will resist these practices.

Remember: you’re the most important person in your life and all the above is designed to help you show up in the world with more presence, power and ability to give.

Your Lack Of Enthusiasm Is Killing You And How To Get It Back

By | Advice
Reading Time: 1 minute

I remember pulling up to the office in my college roommate’s Honda Accord — which, for some odd reason, had a complete home theater system installed on the center console. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was pulling up to a financial services firm while blasting the movie Boiler Room at 6 in the morning, talk about a stereotype. Something about Ben Affleck’s “ear to ear smile” speech was a great way to pump my 21 year old self up to make cold calls and learn how to sell over the phone.

However, I was displaying a high level of enthusiasm for a gig most people couldn’t succeed a few days at which got me on the fast track to running the entire program.

I would watch young people come and go, only being there to check in and check out — which, in that business, meant you’re expendable.

Although far from my calling and knowing it would be short term, I had decided at a young age that whatever I was going to do, I was going to go all in.

Land Of The Zombies

Walk around your local mall you’ll see most people have become real life zombies.

Low energy, no zest for life, everything seems robotic, boring and passionless.

I was at a concert recently and you’d naturally think that’s a place where people are going to let go and show some life — nope, they stood there with their arms crossed as their favorite artist left it all on the stage.

What’s missing from people is a simple lack of enthusiasm — which to me, is one of the most important traits in the human experience.

Everyone’s heard the quote that enthusiasm covers most deficiencies and it’s absolutely true.

Think about the last time you went out to dinner and the waiter or waitress was absolutely engaged on fire:

This likely increased your experience, raised the state of everyone at your table and you ended up simply wanting to give them a large tip — that’s the power of enthusiasm.

In this post, we’re going to go through 8 ways to ramp up your enthusiasm starting this very moment.


Do Things You Love

Every single day, do one thing you love.

It doesn’t matter if you have a full time job, a family to take care of and a ton of other responsibilities, do one thing for you.

It can be as simple as reading a few pages of a book, having a great conversation, being in nature for a few minutes, pick one and make it absolutely non-negotiable.

Action: Pick one activity you can do on a daily basis that you love and no one has to get you to do, plan it in your schedule.

Be More Curious

The other day I shot a video of how we’ve lost our flame of curiosity — what started as a wildfire as children is now a flickering flame on the verge of burnout.

Curiosity is directly aligned with your level of enthusiasm, if you’ve ever observed children, you get this.

Harness this power by being genuinely interested in life, asking deeper questions, immersing yourself in a new skill or simply looking up at the stars at night and wondering how this all happened.

This will begin to re-ignite your flame which will change the way you operate and see the world.

Action: Take a moment every day to be curious, this can be entering a conversation without bias or simply being truly present for a moment or even injecting some type of adventure into life.

See The Benefit In Every Situation

Complainers and negative people suck the lifeblood out of any enthusiasm.

They see everything as a negative and put themselves in victim mode which is not only a massive turn off, but is a black hole for any positive energy.

If you look back on your life on situations you once considered negative, it’s likely you now see them as a blessing.

  • That time you got fired unexpectedly? It woke you up to a new, passionate career.
  • When you got dumped for seemingly no reason? It allowed you to work on yourself and not cling to something that wasn’t going to work anyway.

When you see everything from a positive angle, you’re using the power of an abundant mindset which is associated with a high level of enthusiasm and is contagious.

Action Step: What part of your past are you clinging on to? Write it down and examine how this benefited you long term.

Surround Yourself With Energy

If you truly want to live a passionate, enthusiastic life you must surround yourself with like-minded people.

I don’t care how engaged or passionate you are, if I put you in a room with 99 people who are negative and lifeless, you may last for those first couple weeks.

However, when I check back 12 months later, you would have developed and been influenced to their energy because environment matters.

Look around your circle and see who’s inspiring you and who’s sucking all your energy and contributing to a negative worldview.

Action Step: Find people who are enthusiastic and share a common interest — make sure to hang out with them as much as you can.

Create Triggers To Pump You Up

I was on a podcast recently and I was asked:

Dude, how are you always seemingly on fire and inspired?

My answer was simple: I have trained my body and mind for years to get into this state on 85–90% of my days.

I’ve worked my ass off and there’s no looking back — and you can as well.

The key is to create triggers that put you into this state, such as:

  • Intense physical training
  • Being in nature
  • Rocking out to music
  • Listening to inspiring podcasts
  • Having an amazing conversation
  • Creating a morning ritual

…and more. This varies person to person, maybe the way you create your trigger is to wear your favorite outfit, or being creative.

Action Step: Find 3 triggers that naturally raise your enthusiasm and begin to harness them as much as you can.

Wherever You Are, Be Entirely There

Have you ever been in an amazing environment but your mind was in two places at once?

Maybe it was a stunning sunset or out to dinner with your best friends — you weren’t entirely there and thus felt like you missed out later on.

Presence fuels enthusiasm by harnessing the power of your five senses and being entirely there, dissolving the illusion of time and opening yourself up to truly connect and experience.

Most of us aren’t fully there when we experience life, our face is in our phones, on what bills we have to pay next and countless insecurities and doubts.

Action Step: Be aware of how you lose presence during experiences and put your phone in your pocket.

Appreciate Your Body

Your level of enthusiasm is directly correlated to the way you treat and nourish your body on a daily basis.

Everything we do requires willpower and energy — reading this right now is taking part of your mental and physical energy.

So there’s no surprise that most people are in a zombie state because of the sugar, processed food, low quality sleep and unbalanced hormones on a daily basis.

Action Step: Keep it simple, but focus on hydration, real food and getting one more hour of sleep at night.

Act As If

Lastly, take yourself mentally to a place where you are the enthusiastic person, you’re the one full of passion, you’re the one who attracts and connects other people.

Feels pretty awesome, right?

“If you want to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic.” — Dale Carnegie

You can make this happen, but in the meantime, act as if.

Inject this energy into a conversation today and understand who you were yesterday is not who you are today.

You can change your mindset and behaviors at this very moment to become whatever you’d like to be.

Action Step: Make the choice to simply change the way you behave today, do one thing differently and inject enthusiasm into it.

Last Words

There are no downsides to enthusiasm.

It’s attractive, contagious, attracts opportunities, gets you remembered and can change your entire experience.

Sounds pretty amazing, huh?

Use the above to start injecting enthusiasm in things you do today and watch yourself not only grow but also experience a deeper level of fulfillment which is going to impact every area of your life.

11 Principles For Success And A Kick Ass Life

By | Advice
Reading Time: 1 minute

O ver the past few years, I’ve gone knee deep in what it takes to build success, fulfillment and a kick ass life.

Although each of those can be defined differently depending on the individual, I find common threads or what I call universal truths that span all the material I’ve engulfed myself in.

Based on my quest for becoming my best self and immersing myself in knowledge (I read 42 books in 2015), going to events, seminars and masterminds, launching the Resist Average Academy and forcing myself to experience growth and challenging situations, I’m excited to share 11 crucial principles.

Undoubtedly, these will change as I continue to grow — but here’s what I got so far.

Self Worth Is Everything

At the end of the day, we get what we think we deserve…plain and simple.

If you look around your life, you will see that everything that you have — be it your mindset, the way you earn an income, your relationships, etc will always tie back to your level of your own self worth.

Better said, I think the #1 road block I’ve seen with people trying to accomplish anything or change a habit can be directly tied back to self worth.

It’s directly related to the standards you’ve set for yourself and how you choose to operate within those standards.

For example, the person that has low self worth will feed themselves crappy junk food, nutritionally empty calories and probably a mixture of alcohol and drugs because they simply don’t feel worthy of more.

Or the person that finds themselves with momentary financial abundance will find creative ways to blow all that money because they don’t feel deserving of holding on to it…the examples are endless.

Your Actions Depict Your Beliefs

We know our beliefs play a massive role in our day to day lives. These beliefs were formed during a very young age and we’ve spent most of our lives re-affirming what we believe to shape our reality and finding validation for what we don’t believe.

Hence, any change we want to create must first and foremost start with beliefs.

Have you ever seen a salesman who was selling a seemingly uselessproduct show up with so much energy, conviction and belief that you had no option but to pull your credit card out?

His actions (being passionate, displaying conviction, approaching prospects) were 100% in line with his beliefs that this product could make someone’s life better.

Conversely, there are so many people who walk around with shame around their bodies and tell themselves a story that they are special andthey specifically can’t achieve results.

So what happens? Their actions, or lack of actions with sticking to a fitness routine are extremely predictable and they are always going back to square one.

I was exhilarated by the new realization that I could change the character of my life by changing my beliefs — Bruce Lipton, Biology Of Belief

Kaizen

I first heard this word from following Craig Ballantyne who I consider somewhat of a mentor who I’ve never met (although he’s coming to the Academy soon).

It’s a Japanese word that means steady, daily, continuous improvement.

In the face of our instant gratification culture, it’s refreshing to hear of a concept that has longevity and patience in mind.

The reason Kaizen is so important, to me, is three-fold:

  • It’s a practice. The fact that Kaizen emphasis the slow, steady, daily improvement to me signifies that it’s about the daily habit of practicing working on yourself — that’s it. Taken in this context, all you have to do is make sure you do 1 thing that inches you towards where you want to go and then do the same thing tomorrow.
  • There is no completion. With Kaizen, there is no endgame, you are alwaysmoving forward. When I get asked the meaning of life, I simply reply: growth. We’ve all met the 44 year old who has had a successful career, got the 3 kids and relationship and has decided they’ve stopped learning. To me, that’s the equivalent of dying. The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.
  • Kaizen rewards consistency. It’s great to shoot for a Grand Slam, but guess what? You’re going to strike out and miss..a lot. Instead, how about you hit a single today, and tomorrow and the next day. Those aren’t as sexy but they sure do add up to a lot of runs, wins and hell, even a championship.

With 100% Responsibility Comes Power

I remember having Luke Kayyem on my Podcast and he had been to Thailand after the destructive tsunami in 2004.

One of the stories he mentioned was how the villagers believed they were at fault for the monstrosity of the natural disaster that had occurred.

They took 100% responsibility for losing family, friends, entire communities and everything that was known to them at the time.

There’s a deep and powerful lesson here and it comes down to finding power through taking responsibility.

When we take 100% responsibility, we then enter a place where we’re able to create change and exude the power of agency, or choice. Meaning, we can move forward because we’re not dependant on an outside source to choose.

When we blame others for our lack of results or fulfillment, such as the government, our parents, our social circle or even the weather, we give away our power to an external, fleeting circumstance that we can’t control and become a victim to.

Your Body Is A Temple

You’re on a fitness (well, mostly…) site so naturally you’d expect me to mention the physical on here.

But I’m not going to talk about reps, sets and specific nutritional programs…I am going to talk about true nourishment from the inside out.

This means from the information you’re consuming to the amount of water you have every day, to the rituals and practices you engage in, your communication, words and so much more.

Our minds and bodies are unbelievable, complex machines that we take for granted on a daily basis, even I do and I have to remind myself of this.

I forget how lucky I am to wake up breathing, to have my legs, to have an immune system that is constantly engaging and fighting off all sorts of illness, to have a mind that can solve problems and so much more.

I’ve always said that the fastest way to change your emotional state is to engage your physical state through practices such as intense fitness routines, sprinting, breathing, yoga and more.

Treat it this way, nourish it, learn to love it.

Embrace Gratitude (Even When Life Sucks)

I may have to blame instagram for this, but I think we’ve got gratitude all wrong.

Here’s the deal: gratitude isn’t about feelings of appreciation when we’ve hit the jackpot and are on our flight down to Mexico with someone we love.

Sure, be grateful for that but the key distinction is to practice gratitude on a daily and deep level and embrace both your successes andchallenges.

That means being grateful for the job you didn’t get, being grateful for getting fired, dumped, laughed at, rejected and any other circumstance out there.

In our culture, we’re always chasing more. We want to be better, have more, do more, feel more important.

And that’s cool but here’s the tricky part: when you are truly, authentically grateful for both opportunity and challenge, the world gives you more to be grateful for.

The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not — Seneca

Life Is A Game

I’ll admit it: I had issues embracing this one early on in life. I definitely took myself way too seriously because I felt I was so committed to my success that I simply couldn’t mess around.

But then I started to notice I wasn’t having fun anymore.

I don’t mean the fun you have in Vegas (although to each his own), I mean embracing the entire experience of life as a game that has a very short shelf life and will all be over soon.

When you truly internalize this, you care less.

That may sound like a bad thing, but it means you’re more authentic, play the game at a deeper level, take more risks, laugh at rejection, treat money as a resource that can be won and gained at any minute and so forth.

Taking life so seriously all the time is a way to keep you stressed, care what others think and become unattractive to be around.

Wake up every day excited for what’s going to happen next because we truly have no idea how awesome life can be today.

You Are Not Your Past

We tend to form our identities around our past: be it events we categorized as successful, failures, traumatic events, fleeting moments of happiness.

We all know people who have experienced hurt, pain or abandonmentin personal relationships and keep attracting the same exact situations time and time again.

What gives? There’s a deep rooted identity issue that the person is avoiding because they believe who they were in the past is who they are today.

In order to re-affirm this story of identity, they will seek out to repeat this pattern and manifest it in different ways.

The same goes for business situations, your physical fitness and so much more.

When I left my fitness business a year ago, it was an emotional ordeal and I felt like a failure. Although ultimately I didn’t want that for myself anymore and sold the gym, I felt like I personally was a failure because I hadn’t reached the vision I had set out when I opened the gyms.

I had to do plenty of work and journaling to make sure I not only understood that it wasn’t a failure but also make sure that just because it wasn’t the vision I dreamed it could be, that it wasn’t part of who I was.

Relationships Are Everything

There’s a quote that your network is your net worth, and I couldn’t agree more.

At the end of the day, our relationships with others are the source of our deepest fulfillment, pleasure and feeling like we belong and are connected.

Humans need to feel like they belong in order to feel fulfilled.

This goes for our intimate relationship, family, friends, co-workers, social circle and even strangers we’ve never met.

Developing emotional intelligence, learning how to carry a conversation, practicing listening, presence, empathy…these are the skills we shouldhave learned in school.

The Purpose Of Life: Expansion

I had a brilliant podcast conversation with Shannon Graham the other day and we spoke about how our DNA, the trillions of cells in our bodies all the way to the largest galaxies and stars share a binding, universal trait:

Expansion.

As in, this very second, the universe is expanding.

And therein lies the purpose of life. Most would say the purpose of life is happiness, but that’s bullshit because we know happiness is fleeting and is an emotional state.

Everything that happens to us or we experience is made to make us grow.

With growth comes things like stepping outside of your comfort zone, risking rejection, letting go of material connections, understanding that everything and everyone around us is temporary and so much more.

The issue with most people is that we resist the very thing that creates growth: change.

In order to go with the natural order of life we not only must embrace change, but seek it out on a daily basis.

The Quality Of Your Life Is Based On The Questions You Ask

Curiosity is one of most underrated, least talked about principles that is absolutely crucial to our success, fulfillment and serving our magical sense of wonder we all used to have as children.

Remember your 7 year old self running around the playground making new friends, falling down, exploring and being 110% present, never thinking about time or rejection or self-worth?

Yeah, that’s still inside of us and must be continually cultivated.

Asking better questions simply means shifting your perspective and touches on things like curiosity, abundance, creativity and countless other traits.

Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

How To Handle Haters Like A Pro

By | Advice
Reading Time: 1 minute

H ave you ever felt like you did something awesome, shared it with someone and they not only responded in an underwhelming manner, but swiped you with a passive aggressive comment that made you feel like crap?

It happens and it’s part of life…we’ve all been there.

It’s the…

  • Co-worker who makes a snark comment about how you’re passing up on birthday cake again
  • Friend who calls you “lucky” because you started your own business and don’t have a boss
  • Random strangers going out of their way and spending their time to put you down

In this post, I’m going to share why this happens, how to re-frame the game and keep pushing forward with the momentum you’re creating in your life be it with your fitness and body, career, relationships or anything else.

If you’re reading this, you’re already an action taker which means you’re a badass.

Haters or critics?

Before we go into the truths, we have to differentiate between haters and critics.

To me, there is a simple distinction here:

Critics are willing to offer specific, actionable feedback and engage with you while haters are usually anonymous and are simply talking shit behind your back, a keyboard or anywhere in between.

Critics can actually be quite valuable given the context, delivery and actionable advice you’re receiving.

I once heard the analogy of a catcher’s mitt which goes something like this:

When you receive feedback from critics, you take it in, you examine it and you either throw the ball back to the pitcher or keep it in your pocket.

If you keep throwing the ball back to the pitcher and keep getting the same feedback from a variety of people, then there’s probably some truth to the feedback that you should listen to.

But haters operate on a different level…they likely don’t even bother to consume your material but your sheer presence and energy turns them off.

Let’s dig into the truths.

Truth #1: Your growth triggers others.

When you decide to take action and grow, others will be triggered.

They may even act like they support you, but deep down something is stirring inside of them.

This happens all the time in the health and fitness world and with many clients I’ve worked with.

Jane starts a new program for the first time in a decade, she’s made small changes in her nutrition and lifestyle and is now training 3 times a week, feeling awesome and excited.

Her social circle is used to her eating crappy food, going to happy hour twice a week and participating in all these activities that are no longer serving her new goals.

She decides to engage less in these activities and maybe even expand her social circle with new people, thus distancing herself from her old crew.

The way they react is to make fun of her, throw out slight jabs and slowly bring her down because it’s making them uncomfortable.

The first truth you need to realize is that no matter what, your growth will trigger others.

You have to be okay with this and accept this…and keep taking action.

Truth #2: Criticism Is Always A Mirror

Yesterday I logged into my iTunes account to check my Resist Average Academy Podcast rankings and I noticed something.

I had around 50 reviews that had 5-stars but then I noticed something new: 2 one-star reviews.

WTF, I thought.

My knee-jerk reaction was based on my old operating system: I’m gonna find you, I know who you are, and I’m going to blast you.

Then I quickly laughed and turned it around.

See, I’m pretty sure I know who went out of their way to leave me one star reviews.

I know it wasn’t someone who listened to the podcast and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a random stranger I’ve never met.

It’s likely it was an ex-employee, co-worker, hell maybe even an ex-girlfriend that still holds some resentment with me.

If you’re remarkable, then it’s likely that some people won’t like you. That’s part of the definition of remarkable — Seth Godin

And when they see me taking action, spreading my message and moving forward, that triggers their own insecurities.

Because deep down, we all want to share something with the world and when we see others do it while we’re sitting on the sidelines, we have to rationalize the situation to make ourselves feel good by putting others down.

Hell, we’ve all done it right? I know I have.

So, remember this concept: criticism is always a mirror.

Use these questions next time you criticize someone:

  1. What exactly, specifically am I criticizing them for?
  2. What insecurity is this bringing out in my own life?
  3. What lesson can I extract from this and what can I do to move forward?

This is a powerful exercise to have in your toolkit.

Truth #3: Criticism Is A Crucial Feedback Mechanism

After my first few seconds of trying to figure out why someone would leave a one-star review, I started laughing.

Out loud, at a coffee shop.

You cannot be an attractive and life-changing presence to some people without being a joke or an embarrassment to others. You have to be controversial to succeed. — Mark Manson

See, haters and criticism are part of the process and a crucial feedback mechanism to let you know that you’re on track with your life.

Remember: trying to be liked and please everyone will lead you to have a safe, extremely watered down message that has a foundation as strong as a house of cards.

There’s no foundation because you have no conviction in what you’re saying because at your core, you ultimately care more about what people think than the power of the message you’re shipping.

Think about that…that’s pathetic (and hey, I sure as hell haven’t been immune to this).

So the re-frame becomes the following: embrace the haters and smile knowing that they are essential to your leveling up.

And at every single level, there will only be more and the volume will be turned up even more which only tells you that you’re on the right path.

Truth #4: Your Biggest Critic Is You

Let’s face it: we are each our own biggest critic and hater.

There is nothing anyone else can say that we haven’t already mentally poured through time and time again.

Our internal resistance and the voices that work hard to keep us safe, comfortable and stuck are way stronger than anyone else’s because they’re happening in our own head all the time.

It’s the voices that come up when you want to start a new fitness program:

“‘I’ll never be fit like them, I’m too fat, old and lazy”.

“I’m not an athlete..I simply can’t do it, my willpower sucks, I don’t even care”.

“I don’t have the genetics, tools or mindset to accomplish that, screw it”.

It’s the same with starting your own business, having a bold conversation with someone and all the tiny circumstances that happen in life on a daily basis.

Remember that the voices inside your head will always be louder than the ones on the outside and if you can disregard these voices and stillmove forward, then nothing on the outside matters because you’ve already conquered your inner hater and replaced him with your inner hero.

Truth #5: Watch Your Inner Circle

It’s natural to think that most people who are going to be critics and haters are going to be no-names and random strangers on the internet that we’ve never met.

And that is likely to be the case, but there’s also something surprising I’ve noticed.

Some of our biggest critics are really close to us.

Maybe it’s family, a co-worker, someone who works for you, a close friend, etc.

When I was running my fitness business, this was a shocking reveal to me.

I had a team of about 10 people and found out there was about 3 of them that were hating on absolutely everything I was doing.

They hated my message, my videos, my interest in personal development, hell, my writing.

They said I was “out of my mind”.

My mind started racing as I lashed back..

“I’m cutting your checks, working my ass off to grow personally and professionally and provide the entire team more opportunities and that’s how you’re reacting?”

Futhermore, they didn’t even have the balls to come into my office and have a conversation, instead they sat on the sidelines and gossiped behind my back.

I was pissed, but it was a huge learning experience.

The lesson here is that many times those who are closest to you will resent you at a higher level.

Proximity is powerful.

And at that point, it’s up to you to have a conversation and make a decision.

When you’re expanding and leveling up, you’re like a rubber band stretching out all of your relationships.

Some of these will snap, and you’ll let them go and you’ll both be better off.

Some of these will step up with you and join the ride with you.

Move Forward With Power

Lastly, keep moving forward with conviction and power with what you’re doing.

The funny thing is that we tend to focus on the tiny percentage of haters when we have an incredible support system of people pushing us above and beyond.

I call this your tribe, the people that believe in you more than you believe in yourself.

If you don’t have one, don’t walk, but rather, sprint and start building one right now, today.

Raise your standards: life is way too short to be surrounded by naysayers.

Start with one person, and then add another.

One day you’ll look around at your network which will blow your mind with inspiration, much like the message I received below and countless others..

Have fun and smile at the progress and growth you’ve achieved.

If you read this entire post and liked it, give it a share on social media and drop me comment about how you deal with haters.

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Written by Tommy Baker.
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