1. Insecurity is the great inhibitor. Insecurities are growth opportunities. “I don’t care how self-aware you get – there’s always more to learn,” says my coach Dixie Gillaspie. Once you get out of your own way, what else will be possible?
2. Mediocrity is the great deception. I hate to admit it, but sometimes mediocrity rises to the top. You can suck and still be rehired. You can be average and still be bought. Not very often, but frequently enough to annoy the hell out of you. Especially when your competitors are the ones whose mediocrity is taking the lead.
Being mediocre IS deceptive in that it makes you contemplate whether or not to lower yourself to that level. My suggestion is: Don’t be seduced by the comfort of average. Be ridiculously patient. Because mediocrity, while it may rise to the top initially, will eventually crumble underneath the weight of your awesomeness. Are you willing to forego normalcy?
3. Passion is the best alarm clock. I start work early. Very early. Between four and five. Every day. And I do this for several reasons. First, because successful people get up early. Second, because my best writing time is when the rest of the world is cold, dark and quiet. Finally, I get up early because my undousable passion and inexhaustible love for life and every moment that I’m awake prevents me from wasting time sleeping.
Now, sure, I still have those lazy Sundays after adventurous weeks when I’m totally spent and need to sleep in. Who doesn’t? The point is: When your passion fuels you, your alarm clock becomes irrelevant. You’ll be up, ready to rock, ready to take on the world. Awake without assistance. Ignited without dependence. What time did you get up today?
4. Passion without purpose is pointless. Otherwise your passion becomes nothing but blazing fire that burns you and everyone you touch. And nobody has that much aloe. Here’s the reality: The word “passion” comes from the Latin passio, which means, “to suffer.”
The questions you have to ask yourself are, “What are you willing to suffer for?” and, more importantly, “What would cause you suffering if you did NOT do it?” The answers to those questions represent the intersection of passion and purpose. Is your passion pointless?
5. Patience is the best shortcut. As long as you keep affirming to yourself, “It’s only a matter of time.” Because it is. Even when the jerks seem to be getting ahead. The cream will rise. As I learned from the book of Galatians, “Let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we will reap a harvest if we faint not.” It’s only a matter of time. It’s only a matter of time. How patient are you willing to be?
6. Persistence is the great separator. The last two seconds of most yoga postures are where 80% of the students give up. (Myself included.) Students figure that half-assing the end of asana won’t hurt anyone. Which is true – it doesn’t. The difference is, the remaining 20% don’t just stay in the posture – they push even harder. Because they know that the only way out is through. And that’s what separates veterans from masters. Which one are you?
7. Purpose is the best bread. Bread as in “Daily bread.” Bread as in, “All I need.” Bread as in, “That which provides sustenance for the day to come.” THAT kind of bread. Regardless of your spiritual practice, here’s my guarantee: When you eat a nice, crispy piece of purpose every day – possibly with grape jelly – you always receive the nourishment you require.
The challenge is tracking your bread down. And in order to do so, here are my suggestions: Cooperate completely with the choir of your heart. Follow your own inner dictates. Accept your divine curriculum. Go the whole hog. And as you do, don’t back down from who you are. Be shamelessly enthusiastic about your calling. You’ll never go hungry again. What did your soul eat for breakfast today?
8. Significance is the best success. Sure, you’re making bank – but do you matter? If not, maybe it’s time to reorchestrate your priorities. Because when you get down to it, mattering is what really matters. That’s all what humans want: To feel needed. Important. Useful.
In fact, the word “matter” comes from the Latin material, which means, “substance from which something is made.” So, the question is: What kind of substance do YOU provide to the world? That’s your mission.
As Counting Crows lead singer (and my hero) Adam Duritz once told Rolling Stone, “Happiness would be nice. Sadness would suck. But insignificance is the worth thing of all.” Why do you matter?
9. Stress is the best educator. The secret is to change your relationship with your discomfort. Recognize it. Rename it. Love it. Then, partner with and learn from it. Don’t be so severe with yourself. Your constant state of contraction will only help the stress grow stronger.
As the Tao De Ching reminds us, “Any over determined action produces its exact opposite.” In short: What you resist persists; but what you accept lessens. So, instead of trying to eradicate your stress – attend TO your stress. Turn toward its bid. Consider it a gift. A mini-education. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn from it. And the tuition is free, too. If you asked the five people closest to you if you were stressed out, what would they say?
10. Stupidity is the best mentor. Most people maintain a narrow definition of the word “mentor.” It derives from the Latin mentos, or, “intent, purpose and spirit.” So, mentorship isn’t about an individual, per se. It’s about openness to evolving yourself. It’s about viewing every aspect of life as an education and purification opportunity.
The cool part is, anyone (or any THING) can be your mentor. Like stupidity, for example. That’s my favorite mentor. Probably because it tends to be around a lot. Which reminds me of what Homer Simpson once complained: “Why do the things that only happen to stupid people always happen to me?”
Well, the difference is that I don’t complain about the stupid things I do – I give thanks for them. I document them. I write out the lessons I learned from them. And then I share them with other people so we can evolve together through our mutual stupidity. That’s MY mentor. Are you willing to look like a complete idiot on the road to immortality?
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How indispensable are you?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
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