How to Do More of What You Want

The refrain of, “I’ll do all this crap I don’t want to do for most of my life, so that hopefully I’ll have a few years to do what I really want to do and hopefully I’ll be in good enough shape and still alive to do it.” has grown tired.  

I’m not sure how we got to a place where the standard operating procedure is to spend most of your life doing stuff you don’t want to do, in hopes you’ll be able to do a little bit of what you really want later on. 

The world functions best when everyone is doing what they are not only best at, but also most excited and energized by. The industrial revolution moved us away from that idea. It moved us toward a paradigm where we categorize all the work that must be done, define exactly how it should be done and then find people to fit into these clearly defined and labeled, “roles”. 

When you’re in school, you learn stuff and are asked, what you want to be when you grow up. There is a list of roles you can fill (aka jobs) and you must decide which of these boxes you fit into. You get to “pick” because we believe that you should get to choose the one that you’ll be least miserable doing. 

You better pick wisely, because you’re gonna have to do it all day long for many many years, until you get to quit doing it. At that point, you will have saved or invested enough money from doing that thing you picked. That’s the idea anyway. 

That’s just how it is. 

I don’t accept that anything is how it is or that it can’t be changed. When everyone is doing what they most want to do, everyone is fueled by passion, desire and the thing they most devoted to. Whether it’s music, historic architecture, curing cancer or football, everyone has something unique to contribute that — most importantly, they vehemently want to contribute to the world. 

Few people will argue with this, but few people will actually take the scary steps necessary to make it a reality. There’s no three-step process to doing what you most want to do, there’s no single plan that anyone can follow to make it happen. 

Because it’s so unique for each person, each one of us has to find our own path. But delaying it definitely won’t get you there.
Doing it will. 

If you’re passion is music, figure out a way to do more music. If it’s helping cure a disease, do more of that. If it’s playing a sport, do more of that. If actually doing it isn’t feasible, research it, talk to people about it, do whatever you can to move in that direction. 

The world functions best when we’re all doing what we’re supposed to be doing. Don’t just do it for yourself, do it for the future of humanity. 

This article was originally published on the Huffington Post

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How to Make Progress

Maybe you’ve made a bit of progress toward your goals, but want to make more. Sometimes it’s frustrating when you’ve had a bit of success because you’ve proven to yourself that you can do it, but you still aren’t making the progress you’d like to.

Everyone who’s accomplished anything was right where you are. They had taken a few small steps, seen a few successes, and they were successful because they kept going.

Here’s how to continue to make progress after you’ve taken those few small steps.

1. Recognize what you’ve already accomplished.
You’ve probably already done something that many people haven’t done. Maybe it was a sport, some non-profit work, or an achievement in your career. What have you already done that most other people haven’t?

Here’s where most folks get tripped up. They look at what they’ve accomplished and say, “Well, that’s not as much as so-and-so.” Usually “so-and-so” is someone who’s accomplished something major in the area you want to make progress. Forget about so-and-so. The important thing here is to focus on what you have already done. If you were sitting in a crowded restaurant, what could you say that you have you done that most people haven’t?

Think about it in those terms, rather than comparing yourself to extremely successful people and believing that you are worthless until you’ve accomplished something at an extreme level.

2. Figure out how you did that.
How did you do it? There were probably other people around you doing the same thing, trying to accomplish the same goal, but you succeeded at a greater level than them.

What did you do differently? How did you tackle the situation differently than everyone else? Did you work harder? Did you study it more? Did you leverage a unique talent or ability that only you have?

This isn’t an easy question to answer. You’ve probably never taken the time to decipher what makes you successful at the things you’ve accomplished.

You want to accomplish something big and you don’t have time to do it any way but as efficiently as possible. And that means leveraging your unique talents and attributes in the greatest way possible.

3. Apply them.
Whatever you identified as the attributes that made you successful in the past are the things you must apply to your current endeavor. Figure out how you can make the best possible use of them. This is how you will be successful.

If you aren’t using the things that make you unique, you’re just a commodity. You don’t want to be a commodity, you want to be hugely successful.

So figure out what’s worked for you in the past and us it to get you there now.

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This article was originally published on the Huffington Post

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How to Trust Yourself

It’s one thing to trust other people, but do you trust yourself?

We live in a world of supposed-tos. Your supposed to do this, supposed to do that, and on and on.

When you try to do what you really want to do, the “supposed tos” push you back onto the track that other folks laid out for you — laid out for everyone, actually.

If you follow “the supposed-to path,” you pretty much knows how it will turn out; you’ll end up just like everyone else. And if you want to be like everyone else, it will work great.

But if you want to lay your own path, you have to do things YOUR way. You’ll have to take steps that only YOU know to be the right steps. That means you’ll have to ignore the advice of others and do what only what you know is right.

Trusting other people is easy, compared to trusting yourself — especially when everyone around you is telling you that you must do it a different way. The great thing about humans is that we’re all unique. We have different talents, interests and we each desire to contribute to the world in a slightly different way.

I we are each to contribute to the world in a way that enriches our lives and let’s us thrive in an authentic way, we have to make up our own path — find our own way.

When people tell you that you’re nuts for pursuing a certain path or going in a certain direction, that’s great news. It means you’re doing it your way. It means your not following the standard path, which will lead you to the same destination that everyone else is going to. Instead, you’re finding your own way.

It will take a while, but when you relax and get really OK with the reality that this is your path and nobody else’s, life gets easier, happier and more fulfilling.


It’s hard. Sometimes it’s really hard. But it’s worth it.

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This article was originally published on the Huffington Post

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How to Find Peace

What is “happiness”?

It’s a silly word, really. What does it even mean? Anyone can be happy. You just need to win 5 bucks on a scratch-off and you’ll be happy for a few minutes.

Happiness isn’t what people really want. We really want peace. We want to know that everything is going to be OK. We want to know that tomorrow something isn’t going to happen that will make us feel bad.

That’s peace.

Here are a few definitions of peace from Merriam-Webster:

– “a state of tranquility or quiet”
– “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions “
– “Peace.” Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.

It’s easy to be at peace when everything is going great. When we have the money, people, time, and everything we want in life is exactly the way we want, peace is easily attainable.

But that’s rare. Most folks will never experience a time when everything is exactly the way we want it to be. So, we have two choices:

  1. Control the world so it is exactly how we want it to be.
  2. Stop allowing our circumstances to determine how we feel.

Number 1 is pretty futile. It means that we do everything we possibly can to make the world around us act exactly as we want it to so that nothing bad ever happens. But this is how most folks approach the matter. They have the false notion that if we can just have circumstances exactly as we want them, we’ll attain peace. So the pursuit is toward controlling circumstances.

But we all know that’s a futile endeavor.

That leaves us with #2, which is to remain at peace regardless of what happens in the outside world. When you realize that peace is available to you, regardless of your situation or circumstance — all the time, no matter what, you’ve conquered life.

When you find peace internally, the external world no longer controls how you feel. Therefore, you no longer have to proceed through life concerned with how events are going to make you feel.

That’s freedom. That is real, true freedom.

So how do you do this? It’s pretty simple, but it requires unlearning a lifetime of programming. But here are a few tools that will put you on the right path.

1. Regular meditation.
Meditating trains you to find peace and control the thoughts that fly through your head. It doesn’t happen quickly, but with time, it helps you to learn how to access peace anytime, regardless of your external circumstances.

2. Giving up vices.
We constantly turn to vices like alcohol, sex, junk food, TV, Social media, weed, Internet junk food and so on to deal with the external influences of our lives. Pick the one you turn to most and eliminate it for 30 days. This forces you to deal with your emotions in a different way.

3. Be You.
Do what you want to do. It may take some time to unwind your life as it currently is, so you can rebuild it how you want to, but start small. Start by identifying some small thing you can start or stop doing that will make your life closer to how you want it.

This isn’t easy. It’s about retraining yourself to think about life and do things in an entirely different way. But don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all overnight. Just take one step today.

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This article was originally published on the Huffington Post

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How to Start Living

As long as I can remember, the most important thing to me has always been to constantly become better. Constantly working to get to the next level, get better at things, discover better ways to think, learn and act. Most of all, I’ve sought to find ways to interact with the world that will make my life more joyous, more meaningful and more peaceful. In a word — happier.

The most important thing I’ve had to figure out (and will always continue to work on) is how to interact with the world around me in a way that allows me to remain at peace — regardless of the circumstances I’m faced with.

I don’t know how to stop wars, mean people, traffic or other things I don’t like. That means only way to truly remain peaceful and happy is to figure out how to interact with the world in a way that doesn’t require the world to be any certain way.

That’s the key — not placing a requirement on your happiness that the world be any certain way. Let’s talk more about that.

Most unhappiness comes from things not being how we want them or how we believe they should be. We believe our happiness is tied to things being some certain way. That is, we believe we need to have certain relationships, amounts of money, jobs, social status, and so on to be happy.

When the world — all that stuff that’s beyond your control — takes those things away, changes them or prevents you from having them, your happiness is affected negatively.

The world simply doesn’t adapt to what you need in order to be happy. So, here’s some things you can do to remain happy and at peace without relying on specific external circumstances.

1. Be OK with uncertainty
Just accept that there are going to be all kinds of things going on in the world that you won’t like. Those things will affect your ability to have circumstances exactly the way you want them. That’s OK. We’re talking about a different way to approach things here that will vastly increase your likelihood of becoming and remaining happy.

2. Give up the idea of good and bad
Good? Bad? What do they even mean? Good and bad are labels we place on things that either are or are not the way we want them to be. Since we can’t control most of what happens, calling them either good or bad only frustrates us.

3. Learn from everything
No matter what it is, view it as “interesting” and see what you can take away from it to become better. Every event has some sort of learning or opportunity that you can take from it. Remember, in #2, we stopped viewing anything as good or bad, so everything is just an event. So, since it’s not good or bad, it’s all just experiences.

This doesn’t mean you don’t get to have goals. It doesn’t mean you can’t strive for things. It just means you have to operate in a world where you only control a small sliver of the bigger picture. That means you have to be really flexible in how you make your big goals happen.

Follow these guidelines to achieve what you want in life and be peaceful while you do it.

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This article was originally published on the Huffington Post

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How to Quit Escaping and Start Living

We all do it. Life isn’t how we want it to be, so our answer is to escape. Whether it’s TV, alcohol, drugs, food, sex, vacation or whatever, when we aren’t happy with our life, we escape through these and numerous other methods.

There’s nothing wrong with getting away now and then, but the real tragedy is when life becomes a constant pursuit of escape.

When every day is about getting through the day so you can have a drink… When every week is about getting through the week so you can get to the weekend… When every year is about getting to those wonderful two weeks of vacation…

There comes a point when it’s all about escaping. Your entire focus is on escaping from the only thing you have that really matters — your life.

The scary part is that you reach this point without even knowing what happened. You may not even realize that every second of your life is about escaping from something.

When your whole life has become about escaping, it’s time to make some big changes. Here’s a few things that will help you quit escaping from life and start living it.

1. Remember where happiness comes from
Happiness never comes from external things like money, cars, jobs, houses, or status. They just help us escape. True happiness comes from inside you and you can generate it any time you want. Many brave people have figured out how to generate happiness in the most difficult situations. No matter how difficult your situation is, someone has found a way to be happy in an even harder situation.

2. Cut off one of your escapes.
Start with one. Pick one of the things you frequently use to escape. In all likelihood, you rely on a few of the example escapes listed above. Choose one to eliminate for 30 days. Completely give it up for 30 days. It’s one less escape you have available to you each day.

The something really cool happens. You free up the time you previously spent on that escape. Now you get to do something else with it.

3. Fill that time with something that makes your life better.
When you freed up that time, you created a great opportunity. Don’t blow it. Fill that time with something that makes your life better. Maybe that’s studying about a new topic, doing more of a favorite hobby, spending more time with certain people, etc. The important thing is that you use that time to create a better life for yourself. Use that time to do something that will improve your life in some way.

Life is all we’ve got. Don’t escape from it, live it.

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This article was originally published on the Huffington Post

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When Things Don’t Go How You Expect

This may come as a huge surprise to you (probably not), but it is actually quite common here on planet earth for things to not work out exactly as you would like them to. I know. It’s shocking and concerning, but that is indeed how it works.

I doubt any rational adult would argue with that. Then why do we humans (I’m as guilty as anyone) get so surprised and upset when things don’t go how we expect? It’s just like the theoretical concept of “fairness.” We all know it doesn’t exist in the known universe. Yet we get really upset when things aren’t fair. But that’s another topic, let’s get back to things not working out how you expect.

We love control. We love to know exactly how things are going to work out and what will happen after each twist and turn. So, when things don’t go as we expect, we get frustrated, upset, and mad. This constant cycle imprisons you in a life of frustration, upset and anger. Why do we keep this up?

The only alternative is to be constantly aware of the reality that most things aren’t going to turn out how you expect. That doesn’t have to be a sad, depressing idea, it can be empowering if you think of it in the right way.

Think of everything you do as an experiment. When scientists do experiments, like mixing two chemicals to see what happens, they have a theory about what will happen, but they aren’t positive. They do the experiment to find out what will happen when they mix those two chemicals.

Suppose you approached everything in life this way? Imagine if, every time you do something, you approached it as an experiment. Something you are going to try out to see what happens.

Then how would you feel if it didn’t work out the way you expect it to? If you approach it as an experiment, you’ll find the unexpected result to be interesting instead of frustrating.

Instead of being frustrated, you’ll be interested to understand why you got the result you got, which means you’ll dig in and try to understand it better. And therefor you’ll learn from it. This will make your next “experiment” more fruitful because you’ll go into it with more information and a better understanding of the entire situation because you’ve learned from the previous experiment.

This works for everything. It works for asking people out on dates, it works in perfecting a sport or hobby and it works in business. It doesn’t matter what it is, the technique works. And it’s not rocket science.

Imagine how smart, effective, and eventually successful you would quickly become if you used this approach for everything you do in life?

Give it a shot. It’s pretty amazing. Bonus: It eliminates frustration too.

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This article was originally published on the Huffington Post

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How to Build Relationships

I don’t think anything in life matters more than the relationships we have with other people. Whether it’s friends, family or business relationships, the people who are there for us and who we are there for are the most important people in our lives.

As you build an authentic business that fits you and your personality, the lines between your business and personal life becomes increasingly blurred. That’s not a bad thing. The alternative is to have a business or a job that’s so unauthentic that you need to “wall it off” from the parts of your life that are important to you.

The best business relationships usually turn into good friendships. This is why it’s a wonderful thing to build strong, mutually beneficial business relationships.

Here’s how:

1. Decide who you want to be in relationship with.
When you work for someone else, you’re basically stuck with the people you work with. You don’t get to decide who you work with and, like it or not, you have to make it work. Starting your own business is a lot of work and if you don’t build relationships with people you like and who you want to do business with, you’re missing out on one of the best parts of entrepreneurship.

Get really clear on the type of people you want to work with. Be totally OK with not having business or other relationships with people you don’t gel with.

2. Get to know them.
Figure these folks out. Get to know them intimately. What’s important to them? What do they really want out of life? Know as much as you can about them. And know how you can help them. Help them.

You can’t expect to get paid for it. At least not right away. But that’s ok; that comes later. And when you’re doing something you love and is genuine to who you are, you won’t mind doing the work and not getting paid for it. Doing work that you don’t get directly paid for is a huge part of entrepreneurship and that’s why it’s critical to be doing something you enjoy and is a fit for you.

3. Let them know what you offer
Now it’s time to be really clear about what you CAN do in exchange for money. Folks tend to fall into two traps here. They either:

a. Try to sell too soon.
This is that guy or gal who forces their products or services on strangers and then wonders why nobody buys. Be sure to do #2 above first.

b. Don’t sell enough.
Many folks fall into the trap of working hard and successfully building relationships, but never go of the sale. Don’t be silly and do this. Be clear about what you offer for money and let folks know you offer it.

If they buy, that’s OK. If they don’t, that’s ok too. Don’t just build relationships because it’s good for business, build them because it’s the most important thing to do in life.

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This article was originally published on the Huffington Post

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How to Get Started

Sometimes the hardest thing about achieving any goal in life is simply getting started. Just taking the very first step can be very daunting, confusing and overwhelming.

But the fear and worry that it won’t work out usually stops folks. That’s a very legitimate concern, because the fact is, it’s probably not going to work out how you expect it to. It may not work out at all.

Nobody in the world who’s accomplished anything got it all right on the first try. And that’s not a bad thing; in fact it’s how this world works. You have to do things that don’t work, so you can figure out what does. The only way to figure out what does is to figure out first what doesn’t.

The information you get from taking that first step towards your goal will be extremely valuable, so let’s talk about how to take the first step.

1. Identify your first step

You might think you don’t know what your first step is, but you probably do. You’re probably worried about it not working out and that’s preventing you from taking the step. The exact step you take matters far less than actually taking the step.

We’ve already established that your first step is probably not going to go exactly as you’d like it to. So your best bet is to get it done as quickly as possible, take your learning from it and get on with it!

2. Do that thing

Whatever you identified as your first step — do it. This is pretty simple. There’s not a lot more to say. You have to do it knowing that you’re going to get some surprises, but also recognizing that you’ll learn from it.

3. Learn from it

The value that comes from taking this first step has nothing to do with how well or poorly it works. The value is the lessons you will learn from it. You will learn that next time you need to do it a little differently. Next time you’ll do it harder … or softer. You’ll do it more or you’ll do it less, you’ll use a different technique or you’ll do it with different people. Maybe you’ll make it a different color or a different price or perhaps you’ll discover that you should take a whole different path.

Either way, it’s fine. What you are doing, frustrating as it might seem, is exactly what you need to do right now.

I wish I knew a better way, but unfortunately, in all that we humans have learned, we have not found a way to ensure that your first crack at anything will go exactly as you would like it to. Take that first step so you can get the benefit of the lessons you learn from it as quickly as possible, so you can move on to achieving all your dreams.

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This article was originally published on the Huffington Post

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What It Really Takes to Be Successful

Everyone wants to be successful, but many people struggle to reach their goals. We tend to look in the wrong places and seek out the wrong things to help us move toward success.

The most common misconception about becoming successful is that you are lacking external things. You may falsely believe you are missing external things like knowledge, resources or money.

Those things are nice, but they won’t make you successful.

Success demands that you be the best person you can possibly can be. That means forgetting a whole bunch of what you’ve learned so far in your life. Our world is’t designed to help people become successful; it’s designed to help people survive. It doesn’t always succeed in that goal, but largely that’s the intent.

Begin by recognizing that you are one of over 7 billion people on the earth. You have ONE perspective — yours. There are over 7 billion others.

Your perspective (and the other 7 billion) come from your experiences, knowledge and environment. No two of the 7 billion people on this earth have the same perspective. It’s not even possible.

Here are some specific steps to change your perspective so you can be as successful as you want to be.

1. Accept that you might not be right
Start by getting over your ideas of right and wrong, good and bad and so forth. Your perspective is just one of many and it came from your experiences in life.

None of the other ideas or perspectives are better, worse, more right or more wrong than yours. We all think we’re right, but that’s just not how the world works.

Achieving things in this world requires a good understanding of how it actually works. You have to be able to lead people. You can’t do that if you’re stuck in false beliefs that you are right, someone else is wrong, or that the world is as simple as right and wrong.

2. Learn more perspectives
People rarely genuinely disagree. If you name any issue, everyone generally has roughly the same desired outcome. It’s the details that we usually disagree about.

Those different ideas come from our diverse perspectives. We have different ideas, believe different things and sometimes have different agendas. But when we actually listen and understand each other, we gain something much better than just being right, we get a better understanding of the world and our fellow human beings.

When we gain that deeper understanding, we find common ground. It’s from that common ground that we can build new things. We can’t build on our differences, but we can build great things on our shared beliefs.

So go get more different perspectives. These can be found easily in books, documentaries, YouTube videos and many other sources. Learn lots about things that are way different than anything you’ve experienced. It makes you better.

3. Do something different
You can study, learn, understand and so on, but none of it matters until you begin to actually act differently. There’s not much more to say on that. Just act differently and get different results.

Let’s leave right and wrong and myopic perspectives to the politicians while we get back to making the world a better place.

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This article was originally published on the Huffington Post

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