Over 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 useless product 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 and they 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
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 always moving 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 and challenges.
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 abandonment in 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 should have 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:
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