7 Ways to Be More Passionate About Life

This is a guest post by Megan Ray Nichols.

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This time of year can bring some dreariness to the soul as you look out the window and see an abundance of one color: grey. Grey streets, grey sky, grey and bare trees. And this may leave you feeling a little grey and dreary yourself.

Consider your neighbor whose sunny disposition transgresses time and season. What is it that makes them have that zeal and zest for life that, right now, you just can’t seem to catch hold of?

Well, it’s different for everyone, but chances are your neighbor may have formed some habits you have not been introduced to quite yet. These habits are what differentiate the doers from the observers.

If you feel like maybe you’ve lost some of your zeal, keep reading for encouragement that will help rekindle your passions. Don’t spend life sitting on the sidelines and watching other people take advantage of life. Use these seven ways to be more passionate about the life you are living:

1. Take a Self-Evaluation
Getting to know yourself is key to understanding what will help you become more passionate about life. By taking a self-evaluation, you’ll begin to understand the areas of your life you value and that give you energy. When you find out what gives you energy, you find your passion. Ask yourself these questions:

• When do I feel most alive? When do I not?
• When do I feel most like myself?
• Who inspires me and why?
• What are my biggest talents?
• What am I most afraid of?
• Where do I spend most of my time, and am I happy with that?
• Where would I like to go, and what would I like to do?
• What do I value?

Writing your answers down can help clarify your thoughts and will give you good records to review when necessary.

2. Make Goals
Once you’ve discovered some of the areas you want to grow in, make goals to get there. Remember to make them SMART, as in specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. If you feel the greatest when you are writing but have insecurities about your abilities or just need some practice, consider taking a class or joining a group of other writers.

3. Simplify Your Lifestyle
To achieve anything, you’ve got to make way for it. This means decluttering your life is essential. Take inventory of the activities you and your family participate in. Include work time and work functions when creating your mental and/or physical list. If there are areas in your life that take away from your prime values, it may be time to cross them off the list or at least not let them have as much influence on your day-to-day schedule.

4. Seek out Opportunities to Use Your Gifts
Practice makes perfect, right? So seek out opportunities to use your gifts and abilities. As you use them more, you’ll become more comfortable with them and the cycle will continue — much to your benefit. And who knows? Depending on your gift, you may be able to make a business out of it, which would be great for your mental health as well as your wallet.

5. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
There are going to be times when you fail. That’s part of it, but learning to not take yourself too seriously can help you laugh at the times when you struggle. Most situations are not life and death, so don’t act like they are. Take things in stride, and you’ll find yourself better off for it.

6. Learn When to Say “No”
Even when you start simplifying your life and crossing things off your list that aren’t helping you get to your end goal, people are going to ask you to do or commit to other things. When this happens, get comfortable with politely saying, “No.”

7. Get Past Fear
Sometimes what keeps us from trying anything at all is fear. Fear of failure. Fear that others will make fun of you. Fear that you won’t make any money or you may even lose some. Fear that your friends and family won’t support it. And the list continues.

The best way to overcome fear, though, is to meet it straight on. As Babe Ruth once put it: “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”

If you’d like to get some of that dreariness out and rekindle your fire and passion for life, start using these seven ways to do just that. And don’t wait for tomorrow. Do it today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Megan Ray Nichols is passionate about writing and science. She frequently discusses scientific news on her blog, Schooled By Science. On clear nights she likes to gaze at the beauty in the universe with her telescope.

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2

The Most Invaluable Skill You Can Have

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Candid photo of me practicing what I preach

I was walking through the Delhi airport in India when, out of nowhere, this insight hit me like a lightning bolt: The most invaluable skill you can have is present moment awareness.

Immediately, I typed that sentence into my phone before it was lost in the endless slipstream of memory. As I started to metabolize this spontaneous strike of wisdom, it began to make more and more sense.

Ask yourself…

When is it not now? When was it not now? When will it not be now?

Life is always now. The present moment is all we ever have. The past and future are only projections in our minds.

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)

Read more about the concept of time here:
Time is a Sailing Ship
Is the Concept of Time Stressing You Out?

The Future Trap

Living in the future is a trap. You’re always looking forward to what is coming, while missing the present moment. Today you’re thinking about what you’re going to do tomorrow, but you’re missing today! Then tomorrow, you’ll be missing the moment by thinking about what you’re going to do the next day. This fallacy of thinking that happiness lies somewhere in the future will leave you utterly unfulfilled.

All it takes is a bit of presence to put the magic back in life. You can still have nostalgia. You can still plan when you need to. But the key is to just be consciously aware that the now is all that exists.

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” – Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)

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Took this one yesterday. The White Buddha in Pai, Thailand.

6 Reasons Why Present Moment Awareness is the Most Invaluable Skill You Can Have

1. It helps you maximize experiences – Present moment awareness enables you to truly enjoy and appreciate everything. This has become so ridiculously apparent to me now that I’m traveling the world. I’m having such amazing experiences on a daily basis, so I have to constantly remind myself to be fully present and cherish the moment. When you’re wholeheartedly in the moment, life leaps to new levels of bliss and excitement.

2. You’re able to observe your thoughts and emotions – Instead of being a prisoner of your overthinking monkey mind and its neuroses, you’re able to objectively witness its activities when you’re present. The is the basis of mindfulness and meditation. Present moment awareness is a point of power from which any change stems from.

From a state of presence/mindfulness, you have a “higher perspective.” You’re able to use your mind as a tool, instead of being the tool. Think about it this way, would you rather use a hammer or be a hammer? As a present moment carpenter, you’ll be able to use your mind to build the life of your dreams.

3. You transcend all of the ego’s fear – The ego’s very existence is based upon fear and conflict. When you’re completely present, you transcend the ego. From this place, you’re MC Hammer to fear and all of its derivatives (they can’t touch you).

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and
not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms
of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”
– Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now)

4. You become infinitely more observant – When you’re present, not absorbed in looping thoughts, your powers of observation are remarkably heightened. Your senses are sharpened, you’re fully aware of everything around you and you notice the subtleties of the surrounding environment. This effect becomes especially apparent around other people. If you’re present and the other person is in their head, you will comment on things around you that they’ll be completely oblivious to. Being stuck in your head all of the time is like going through life wearing a blindfold and earplugs. Being present, in a state of heightened senses, is to feel fully alive.

Also, being aware and hyper-observant in the moment is the basis of survival. This is how all animals operate. They’re fully aware of their surroundings, alert and present; because if they’re not, death is always lurking around the corner. That’s just how important present moment awareness can be.

5. You actually listen – With present moment awareness, you truly listen. You wholeheartedly listen to other people while they’re speaking, instead of always thinking about what to say next. You fully listen to music, creating an experience, instead of thinking about what you have to do tomorrow while the song is playing. If you truly listen, you not only wholly experience the present moment, but you learn and understand so much more.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen Covey

6. It allows you to flow with the fleetingness of life – Everything is temporary and fleeting. Being present is in harmony with the impermanent flux of existence. You’re able to spontaneously ride the wave of each moment as it comes.

You can immediately feel this too. If you’re stuck in your head, you feel discontentment, resistance, fear and rigidity. But if you’re present, you feel peaceful and joyous, coated with a subtle sense of oneness with everything. It just feels right.

A simple way to hone present moment awareness:
Remind yourself to “Be here now” as often as possible. Say it to yourself whenever you’re marinating in the past or future. Gently bring yourself back to the present moment. The more often you do this, the easier it becomes. Soon presence will be your default state and you will notice life being more vibrant and blissful than ever before.

Enjoy the moment.

– Stevie P!

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9

9 Reasons Why You Should Travel Alone At Least Once in Your Life

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Traveling alone may be the single best catalyst for personal growth.

My solo traveling experiences have created quantum leaps in various areas of my life. And every person I’ve met who has traveled alone has been among the most interesting and awesome people I’ve encountered.

Read more about my solo travel adventures and the resulting insights here:
Why I Left My Job
The Joy of Minimalism: Traveling the World with Only Carry-On Luggage
11 Unique Ways to Optimize Your Travel Experience Wherever You Go

It may sound paradoxical, but the more you explore the world outside, the more you explore the world within. Solo travel gives you free rein for the exploration of both the external and internal world.

Sure, it can be lonely at times, but you meet a lot of people and get to know yourself when there aren’t familiar faces always around. And yes, it’s hard leaving your friends and family behind for any period of time. But it’s completely worth it and you will come back a better person.

9 Reasons Why You Should Travel Alone At Least Once in Your Life

1. Self-sufficiency – You learn to be independent, do things on your own, problem solve for yourself, navigate on your own and become your own best friend. Self-sufficiency is an invaluable byproduct of solo travel.

2. You meet more people – When traveling alone, you’re forced to talk to more people (unless you just want to be by yourself 24/7, which would drive anyone insane). I’ve gone out alone plenty of times and I always end up meeting more people than if I went out with a group of friends. Why? If you go to a bar alone, for example, you’re not just going to stand in the corner by yourself. It forces you to leave your comfort zone and talk to anyone near you (which leads to the next reason).

3. You become a better conversationalist – Because you meet so many people when traveling alone, you naturally enhance your conversation skills. There is no one else who you can depend on to carry a conversation; it’s all on you. So naturally, you get better at starting conversations and less hesitant about approaching people.

4. You get comfortable being uncomfortable – During solo travel, you’re almost never in your comfort zone. You get used to the excitement, the adventure and the bold decisions. Though you’ll undoubtedly face inner resistance, push through it. This is where the magic happens. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Growth only happens when you push your boundaries. This is a big reason why traveling alone spurs so much personal growth.

5. Flexibility, freedom and spontaneity – You are in complete control of everything you do during solo travel. If you want to do something, there’s no one else to consult with and no consensus to be made. You just do it. Traveling alone gives you ultimate flexibility, a high degree of freedom and the opportunity to be as spontaneous as you wish.

6. You’re able to put yourself first – This is most applicable to highly empathetic individuals, but still applies to everyone. When you travel alone, you have the rare opportunity to do whatever you want, whenever you want and spontaneously follow your own intuitive desires on a whim. It also allows you to work on any personal projects or develop specific skills you desire while traveling. To use myself as an example, I get much more writing and blog work done when traveling alone compared to when I’m with other people.

Traveling solo creates a situation in which you can put yourself first, without worrying about hurting other people’s feelings and having to come to a mutually beneficial consensus about everything. If you’re at all empathetic, you always make sure that people around you are happy. This is good of course, but sometimes you have to put yourself first in order to really know yourself (which is the next point) and evolve. And don’t view it as selfish; when you do the inner work, you actually expand your capacity to give to others.

7. You get to know yourself – When you have to do things on your own and spend time alone, getting to know yourself better is an inevitable side effect. You become more self-aware (in a good way). You become more in tune with your emotions, tendencies, habits, patterns and the deepest aspects of yourself. “Know thyself” was inscribed on The Temple of Apollo at Delphi for a reason. It’s that important.

8. The lone wolf aura – There’s something beautifully enigmatic about someone who’s confident when they’re alone in a new place. I call this “the lone wolf aura.” People are curious and intrigued by someone who is genuinely self-assured. Solo travel cultivates your own unique lone wolf aura.

Read my poem “The Lone Wolf Aura” for a deeper look at this.

9. It’s a pilgrimage – You’re the hero, the star of your own movie. A key component of any hero’s journey is some form of pilgrimage. And it’s always been a crucial step on the path of life for humans.

Jesus apparently went to Asia for many years to hone his spiritual practices. Buddha supposedly ventured into the woods alone and meditated under a tree for a while. Ash Ketchum traversed Canto and Joto to catch ‘em all (I had to drop a Pokemon reference). The hero archetype is brought to fruition by some form of a pilgrimage.

What’s unfortunate about our society today is that there is no real guidance regarding this stuff anymore. There are no rites of passage in the modern world.

But that missing ingredient is why pilgrimages have been making a resurgence in the form of things like backpacking and world travel. People are exploring the world more now than ever before. So this phenomenon is becoming something like a nondenominational pilgrimage. Not subject to any rigid rules of what you should or shouldn’t do. It’s a personal journey. And the details of it are up to you.

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I hope this post inspired you to embark on an adventure of your own. It may take time and effort to line everything up, but it’s totally worth it.

I’m not condemning traveling with others either (I’m doing it right now for this part of my trip). However, I believe that everyone can benefit immensely from solo travel, even if it’s only once in your life. If you feel that inner calling, take heed and make it happen.

It’s all about the journey.

Live each moment to the fullest.

– Stevie P!

Overcome Stagnation with This 3 Minute Trick

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I just spent the whole morning writing. And I definitely sat down for too long, so I was feeling stagnant and utterly uninspired. I wasn’t just physically stagnant, but mentally as well (they’re intimately interconnected).

You know that feeling, right? It’s that eye-rolling combination of being drained, dreary, exhausted and indecisive, with no mental capacity or motivation to do anything.

I knew that I had to do something about it. I needed to create a shift somehow or I would feel like a rusty wheelbarrow with a flat tire for the rest of the day.

So I did the following, and in about 3 minutes I felt anew and reinvigorated.

3 Minutes to Overcome Stagnation

Step 1) Put on a song you love – Play any song that makes you feel good.

Step 2) Take 10 deep breaths – Breathe deeply into your belly. Feel the energy flowing within. Remember this: Shallow breathing makes you feel like shit and deep breathing makes you feel awesome.

Step 3) Do some stretches, yoga poses or any mobility exercises – Do whatever comes to you, whatever your body feels like doing (listen to it). Just get your body moving, release built-up tension, get your blood pumping and your energy circulating. Break out of the rigid rigamortus. Open up and bring your body back its healthy, supple state.

If you’re a complete newbie to this stuff, try Elliott Hulse’s Bioenergizer Warmup.

Step 4) Dance – Feel the music. Let loose and let your body creatively express itself. This is cathartic physically, mentally and emotionally. Don’t underestimate the power of dance. A few minutes of dancing like you’re possessed by the music will shift your momentum for the rest of the day.

By the time the song’s over, you’ll feel like a new (wo)man.

This is a quick and simple strategy to help you overcome the inertia of stagnation and set your momentum in a positive direction.

From there, you’ll feel like you can do anything. After putting this technique to use, I had so much energy that I went right into an intense workout. It felt amazing.

Try out this technique the next time you’re feeling stagnant. It really works.

Life is movement. No movement, no life. Know movement, know life.

Keep flowing.

– Stevie P
 

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How to Achieve Mastery in Anything by Making Use of Your Travel Time

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Do you capitalize on your idle travel time?

Or do you waste time staring at Facebook like the next post in your news feed is going to reveal the meaning of life?

Most people do the latter. But whenever I see someone making use of idle time, I know that they’re successful in whatever they do. Putting your down time to use is big indicator of both having a purpose and overall success in life.

If you want to maximize your life, you need to learn how to make use of idle time. Traveling can be a tremendous opportunity for this.

Here’s a good example. Deepak Chopra said (in this conversation) that he wrote his classic book “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” on a long flight. The possibilities are endless if you view travel time as an opportunity instead of a burden. It’s all about perspective.

Commuting

The biggest chunk of travel time in most people’s lives is commuting to and from work. So it would only make sense to optimize such a large portion of your life.

Do you drive to work? You can listen to podcasts or audiobooks.

Do you take the train or bus? You can read too. Or write. Or actually do anything you want, because someone else is doing the driving for you.

Do you stand on a crowded subway? You can listen to podcasts and audiobooks there as well.

Here’s a little real life math:
My dad (like many professionals in the NYC area) spends an average of 3 hours per day commuting to and from New York City. And he’s done this for the last 28 years or so. Let’s do the math…

3 hours per day X 5 days per week X 49 weeks per year (I’ll give him 3 weeks of vacation) X 28 years.

That amounts to approximately 20,580 hours!

That’s more than twice the time of the 10,000 hour rule that Malcolm Gladwell proposes (in his book Outliers) in order to master something.

So that means if you make use of a similar commuting time over a 28 year period, you can easily become world-class at 2 things. And that’s only during your commute! Think about that!

The same way of thinking applies to any form of travel. Make use of your flight times, bus rides or even road trips. (Especially if you’re alone. If you’re with others, this can also be a great opportunity to get to know someone better.)

The sad thing is that most people don’t have that deep, clear sense of purpose to achieve these kinds of things. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t.

How to Optimize Your Travel Time Towards Your Goals

1. Find a purpose. Decide what you want. Do you want to develop a certain skill? Do you want to gain knowledge on a specific subject? Do you want to write a book? Do you want to start a company? Figure out the direction you want to head in.

2. Pick your means of doing it, taking into account your means of travel.

3. Do it. Take action on a daily basis. Even if it’s just small chunks, it will compound profoundly over time.

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A note for the overachievers: Find a balance. There’s a fine line between optimizing your idle time and burning yourself out. Intermittently give yourself some time to rest and do nothing. This balance will be highly dependent from person to person.

I’m not telling you exactly what to do and what not to do. Find a purpose and consistently work toward it. That’s how dreams are brought to fruition.

Enjoy the journey.

– Stevie P

PS – I wrote this on a bus from Dubrovnik to Split, Croatia.
 

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11 Unique Ways to Optimize Your Travel Experience Wherever You Go

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In case you don’t know, I’m on an epic trip right now. (Here’s a little background)

Travel is one of the best ways to expand your perceptions. Everywhere you go adds depth to your character. Exposure to new cultures and new places are priceless experiences.

I’ve been thinking about techniques I use to make the most out of my experiences, no matter where I am. So I came up with a list. They’re as applicable to a weekend trip to a nearby town as they are to backpacking around the world.

These work incredibly well for me, so I suspect that you’ll find them useful too.

11 Unique Ways to Optimize Your Travel Experience Wherever You Go

1. Get in the right state of mind – If you want to maximize your travel experience, you have to have an adventurous mentality. Be spontaneous and bold. Drop the inhibitions that don’t serve you. You may even have to periodically psyche yourself up (that’s what I do).

2. Pack light – There’s something magical about minimalism. Plus, it’s easier to get around when you have less stuff. (Read my article about traveling light here)

3. Walk a lot – My favorite thing to do in a new place is walk around, a lot. Exploring places on foot is an intimate experience with wherever you are. And as a bonus, walking comes with a near endless list of benefits. It’s what our body is designed to do.

4. Find the highest point – Every city has a structure with a great view and/or a hill with a phenomenal vantage point. Find out what it is and go to it. It’s always breathtaking. And if you’re not in a city, still find the high ground. Like if you’re In New Hampshire, hike Mt Washington.

5. Leverage the power of fasting – I’m a big fan of intermittent fasting. It comes with a host of health and cognitive benefits, along with making life easier. I always fast during flights if I’m changing time zones, and break the fast once I get to where I’m going. This helps me sync up with the place I’m at much quicker. What my usual day consists of is skip breakfast, having a light, healthy lunch and eating whatever I want for dinner. I never get energy crashes and feel amazing. Think about it, you can’t really function if you’re eating heavy during the day. This eating cycle also has the benefit of detoxification after indulging in food or alcohol the night before.

Resources on intermittent fasting:
The Warrior Diet by Ori Hofmekler
8 Incredible Health Benefits Of Fasting
LeanGains.com
Why Breakfast is Nothing But a Scam

6. AirBnb – I use AirBnb almost everywhere I travel to. It’s cheaper than hotels and you get to meet locals who host their places.

When I was just in Barcelona, I got a room in a nice 2 bedroom apartment. The host was an Italian guy named Daniele who lived in the other bedroom. He ended up being one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. It felt like I was visiting an old friend. He had everything set-up for me and gave me the inside scoop on the best places to go. I even went out with him and his friends one night, which was a lot of fun.

7. Tinder – Yes, it’s an app for hook-ups, but it’s also a useful tool for meeting new people around you.

When I was in Marseille, France last week, I downloaded Tinder and within a few minutes I was talking to a woman from Marseilles. After we confirmed that we were both decent people, we agreed to meet up. She drove me around in her awesome little golf cart car. It was small and had no windows or doors haha. We went to a cool, local bar and then she took me to the café that her and her mother own. She knew everyone in Marseille and it was an experience I would have been hard-pressed to create on my own.

8. Find the cool spots for food and drink – The touristy places are always more expensive and worse than the good ones. They’re the overpriced ones closest to the main tourist attractions and/or squares. The best restaurants are usually smaller places on side streets. Look for handwritten menus on chalkboards, as places with those never disappoint.

9. Eat local – Eat the local cuisine. Get the genuine experience. Are you really going to eat at a chain restaurant if you’re in Italy? C’mon son. They say “When in Rome…” for a reason.

10. Drink local – This is the same premise as the food. If you’re in Belgium, drink beer. If you’re in Italy, drink wine. And even if there isn’t a famous type of drink, every place has a local brand that they’re proud of. Do yourself a favor and try it. (See my picture below with a good Croatian beer)

11. Don’t be afraid to ask – Ask for directions if you’re lost. Ask someone to take a picture of you. This will not only help you, but asking questions is a great conversation starter as well. I’ve met a lot of cool people by just asking them a question.

Try implementing some of these on your next trip. I’m pretty confident that they’ll add to your experience.

Cheers from Dubrovnik, Croatia.

– Stevie P

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Why I Left My Job

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I just quit my job…

It was what most people would call a “good job,” a comfortable position at a software company that looks good on paper. But it was deeply unfulfilling and represented the polar opposite of who I am as a person.

I always instinctively knew that the well-trodden path wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You know the whole deal. Go to college, get a “good” job, get married, get a house with a white picket fence, have kids that repeat this cycle, delay all gratification in life for the dream of retiring with money saved…etc. But it wasn’t until I read The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss that I become consciously aware that it was all, for the most part, bullshit. That book shifted my paradigm and verbalized what I intrinsically knew to be true.

Due to my voracious reading and soul-searching, I’ve become acutely aware that sitting in an office, doing monotonous work that doesn’t add much value to society is simply not for me. I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating my life’s purpose and I’m arranging my short stint on Planet Earth accordingly. Everyone has so much to share with the world. It’s a shame that so many people relegate themselves to jobs that don’t allow them to express their true purpose.

I really dislike spending my time doing things that are not deeply fulfilling. I’m also finding inauthenticity difficult as well. If you work for someone else, you have fake enthusiasm to a certain extent in order to keep your job. (Of course, the level of this depends on who you are and what your job is.)

Another factor for me leaving is that marathon sitting is the bane of my existence. Sitting for 8 hours a day is rough for me (and staring at a screen exacerbates it). We humans are built to walk, not sit. I would find myself antsy at work and getting up every half hour or so. I would take walks or stretch throughout the day and set myself up so I could work out during lunch breaks. I like to have control over my sitting time, which is why I prefer determining my own schedule. I’m most effective when I get into the zone on the computer for 20-30 minute intervals, and then go do something else.

I’m a self-motivated free spirit. (That would probably be the summary version as to why I left my job.)

I thrive off of and value a high degree of personal freedom. It’s just in my nature. I don’t like being told what to do. I’d rather hop in the driver’s seat and be the captain of my own fate.

The Age of Infinite Opportunity

There are massive opportunities for people to earn a living by expressing their true purpose and helping others; more so than any other time in history. The internet and global communication has provided a vast array of ways to make money, with the only limit being your imagination. All of the information you need is right in front of you, you just have to metabolize it and put it into practice.

Realization and Bold Decisions

I realized that I was staying at my job out of complacency. So I lined myself up for departure. Then I made the bold decision to leave in favor of traveling the world and pursuing writing (along with some more of my own endeavors).

“Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I view life as a grand video game. Overcoming obstacles and making bold decisions creates a worthwhile, fun and fulfilling living/gaming experience.

On the other hand, remaining within the confines of comfort zones does the opposite. It stifles growth and glazes life with an insidious, underlying dreariness. And that’s no fun.

My shift into boldness occurred because I’ve learned to follow my heart. I act on my intuition, feeling out situations more than over-analyzing everything. Even when my mind doubts, I know that my intuition sees the bigger picture. This has worked out well for me, every time. Life seems to unfold in a beautifully serendipitous manner when you embrace the mystery of it all and step with faith.

“Although the road is never ending
take a step and keep walking,
do not look fearfully into the distance…
On this path let the heart be your guide
for the body is hesitant and full of fear.”

– Rumi

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How I Left: The Practical Steps

1. I knew exactly what I wanted.

Before you embark upon any journey, you have to first decide where you want to go.

I knew that I wanted to work for myself and be able to travel more. And I’ve been consistently working towards this for a while.

Here’s the affirmation I’ve been writing down and saying to myself for the last 2+ years:
I’m earning a living online, giving me freedom of time and location.

And guess what? It’s coming to fruition. (specific desire + consistent action = success)

2. I saved money.

Anyone can save money if they prioritize it and find creative ways to do so. How you do it will completely depend on your individual circumstance.
 
3. I set myself up with other options.

I started Feelin Good, Feelin Great over 3 years ago and I’ve kept at it. I’m finally getting significant traffic and building a substantial email list. I have books and courses, as well as other means of monetization to experiment with on there.

Also, the writing I’ve done has already opened the door to many other things (like GorillaRadio.tv). I have a whole host of other endeavors and ideas that I’m pursuing.

I’m barely making any money now, but the trickle is already transforming into a stream. Persistence pays.

Put yourself in a position to bring your goals into being.

4. I made bold decisions.

You have to take some leaps of faith to live an awesome life. It’s as simple as that. Quitting my job was a leap of faith.

This goes back to what I explained earlier. If you want to live a great life, you have to take risks. Life is a video game, keep exploring leveling up.

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What I’m Doing

You know when you first meet someone, they might ask you that old blasé question, “So what do you do?” Here’s how I would answer that now. (Well, after whimsically proclaiming that I’m a Laughologist, of course.)

1. Writing, writing, writing.

I’m writing on here (of course) and for GorillaRadio.tv. I also have a novel in progress and a few other books in the pipeline.

2. Expanding Feelin Good, Feelin Great.

I’m driving more traffic, staying active on social media, adding more products and courses…etc.

3. Traveling around the world

It’s shaping up to look like France, Spain, Croatia, India, Thailand and some more of Southeast Asia. We’ll see how it goes. Stay tuned for updates on my travels.

4. Pursuing any other creative/entrepreneurial adventures that pop up.

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell

Live boldly and take action.

Remember, no one on their death bed looks back and says, “I wish I’d spent more time in the office.”

The world is yours. Go get it.

– Stevie P
 

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Lifting the Dead

This post was inspired by Deadlift Essentials, a great program by my friend Isaac Payne. The deadlift is my favorite exercise (as you’ll soon find out), but it must be done properly. Isaac provides immensely helpful tips on perfecting your deadlift form. Check it out HERE. And in case you’re wondering, I have no monetary involvement with the product. I just like to support good people and good information.

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Once upon a time (at the gym)…

The straight silver bar stared back at me. Its machine-grooved, stainless steel body beckoned my hands as it floated through the center of two vertical stacks of formidable black plates.

There is a feeling like none other when you really that know you’re pushing your boundaries. Fear lies inside of the walls of comfort zones. And outside, is the world of unbridled exhilaration. I knew it was time for me to break on through.

This physical embodiment of resistance lay poised before me, challenging me, while I shook the last shreds of doubt out of my body.

I leaned down and gave a comforting rub to my right knee. It acts up occasionally. Never pain, but just a slight sensation of feeling “off.” I gave my knee the tender encouragement it needed to be up to the task.

I then stepped to my 325 pound opponent; my 147.418 kilogram friend; my iron-constructed learning experience.

With my feet directly below my hips, I carefully wiggled them into position. The bar became a cross-section, cutting the view of my shoes in half as I glanced down. The superimposition looked like a neutral smile, almost as if saying “Let’s see what you got.”

Now focusing on my ankles, I subtly bounced on them, gauging their readiness. They eagerly awaited the challenge.

Keeping my spine as straight and taut as the bar beneath me, I hinged at my hips and bent my knees. My robust hands confidently slid against the bumpy pattern. Clenching the iron, my fingers slowly closed into a vice-grip.

The word “power” rang in my mind, as if it came from some primal part of me.

Another subtle bounce, this time probing my entire lower body. My feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs and hips all felt like a loaded spring. A small smirk emerged from my face.

I tightened my grip, flexing my fully extended arms and tucked my shoulders down my posterior chain. My entire back contracted like a suit of armor.

Inhaling deeply, I drew strength into every cell of my body.

I braced my abdomen with tremendous force, like I was about to get shot with a cannon ball at point-blank range.

My grip climaxed, irradiating strength through my entire body. My glutes fired, like the thrusters of a rocket ship. Blast off.

I exhaled every ounce of fear left in my being. The bar levitated slowly off the ground. As it passed my knees, my stalwart hip-hinge exploded the weight upwards, ending with the bar kissing my upper thighs as I stood up straight.

Every muscle in my body was contracted as I stood in mighty satisfaction, holding 325 pounds in my hands.

“Power.” That unyielding mantra again rose to prominence in my consciousness. Energy animated my body, enlivening the totality of my existence.

I paused, savoring the moment; admiring the magnificent strength capacity of the human body. (And to think, I would be doing this with 10 more pounds next week.)

Then I hinged at the hip again, lowering the weight and letting the plates gently smack the hard rubber floor.

I released my right foot from its suction-like grip and pivoted to grab my water bottle.

As I sauntered past the plates, I lightly tapped the congregation to whisper a heart-pounding “Thank you.”


 

PS – That’s an excerpt from my book Momentous: A Compilation of Micro Stories Acting as Glimpses of the Eternal Magic of Life’s Moments. Check that out too if you enjoyed reading this.


 

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Are You Overlooking This Deceptively Simple Anxiety Remedy?

If you haven’t heard yet, my online course Annihilate Anxiety is launching soon! (Click here to find out more)

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The most effective solutions to anxiety are hiding in plain sight.

Among the most overlooked remedies is one that’s deceptively familiar. It’s an indispensable part of many people’s everyday life. And it surprisingly holds a potent cure for anxiety. What is it?

Writing to do lists.

When I say to do list, I specifically mean a daily list of everything you have to do for that day. It should also be updated every single day.

Writing a to do list cultivates mental clarity and a deep-seated sense of serenity. It externalizes your list of responsibilities, which therefore unburdens your mind.

Like deep breathing, to do lists are so simple, yet ridiculously effective in annihilating anxiety.

The Magic of Writing Things Down

The mere act of having things written out alleviates anxiety. Dr. Peter Attia (in this podcast) says that when he writes down everything he needs to do, he’s no longer anxious or worried. He also suggests that people become anxious, not regarding what they have to do, but by fearing that they will forget about what they need to do. So keeping a to do list eliminates that nagging fear of forgetting things.

Another benefit of writing things down is it makes them more likely to come to fruition. The very act of writing bridges the gap between the ethereal and the material realms.

Tips for Keeping a To Do List

  • Everything you have to do should be on the list. Don’t keep anything in the back of your mind. This is crucial in reducing anxiety!
  • Every task should be small enough to be accomplished that day (chunk big tasks into smaller, bite-sized tasks). For example: If you want to write a novel, your daily to do list should include something like “Write two paragraphs for my novel.”
  • Place the most important items at the top of the list.
  • No matter what, accomplish the single most important item each day. If you focus on your most important task every day, your achievements over time will be astounding.

What I Personally Do
I keep a to do list as a note on the app Evernote. When something is accomplished, that item gets removed from the list. I update my to do list on a daily (or even hourly) basis, depending on the day. Evernote is so effective because I can include links and pictures along with text. I’m always referring to external sources so this is incredibly useful for me.

Always having a to do list keeps me focused on my most important tasks each day. It gives me an actionable plan, so I’m able to achieve my goals instead of wasting time mindlessly lurking on Facebook all day.

Action Item
You guessed it! Keep a daily to do list. Create it right now. Maintain your to do list somewhere where you will refer to it every day. This could be in a notebook, a note on your phone, Evernote or whatever medium works best for you.

Externalize your responsibilities and free your mind.

Have fun and get ‘er done.

– Stevie P!

And remember to keep an eye out for Annihilate Anxiety, coming soon!
 

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14 Ways to be Primordial (Can You Handle #14?)

Primordial

My life is a streak of whimsical ridiculousness right now. I’ve been embodying my unique authenticity, not caring about what others think and, most importantly, having buckets of fun.

An amusing medium through which this has been expressed is my new favorite word… PRIMORDIAL.

Here’s how it’s defined:

Primordial – (adjective)

  • Existing at or from the beginning of time; primeval.
  • (Especially of a state or quality) Basic and fundamental.

Extrapolating off of the dictionary definition, I started referring to the essential nature of anything as primordial. The primal essence of humanity is primordial. Being authentic and true to yourself is primordial. Living in the present moment, the eternal now, is primordial.

Plus, the word itself just sounds awesome (and hilarious) to say. I have a funny visual of a frat boy, smirking at his buddy and saying “I got so PRIMORDIAL last night, bruh.”

Primordial is a dynamic, diverse word that can be applied to anything.

If you want to make it a noun; primordiality. If you want to ascribe a name to a place that’s primordial; primordia.

As you can probably tell, the possibilities of primordiality are endless.

So how does one be primordial? Well, here’s your primordial starter kit:

1. Know who you are.
Know thyself. Transcend the fear of the egoic mind and ask yourself the big questions. “Who am I?” Beyond your race, beyond your nationality, beyond your gender, beyond your body, beyond your name, beyond your set of experiences, beyond your thoughts, beyond your mind; who are you? The only plausible answer is “I am.” Operate from that place of pure, conscious (primordial) awareness and you become your own guru.

Knowing yourself is fundamental. Because without that deep-seated awareness, everything else will be based upon delusion and ignorance.

2. Be authentic, no matter what.
Stay true to yourself. Be unabashedly yourself. Be uncompromising with your authenticity. Embodying your unique authenticity gives you genuine self-love from the depths of your being. It eliminates that anxiety gap between your real-self and what you project to the outside world. As the saying goes, do you.

3. Don’t care about what other people think.
Not caring about what other people think (or what society as a whole thinks) is liberating. It allows you to live life on your own accord. When you’re motivated and act on your own genuine desires, you’re free.

4. Do it big.
Shoot for the moon. If you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars. Set big, audacious goals. And even if you don’t specifically achieve them, you’ll have made much more progress than you otherwise would have. Do it big, dream big, because what’s the point of dreaming small?

5. Take chances.
You regret more things that you don’t do in life, as opposed to things you do. Go for it. Talk to that attractive person in front of you at the store, quit your unfulfilling job to pursue your passion, travel somewhere new, dance like no one is watching. Are you really living if you’re not taking any chances?

6. Get in touch with your primal side.
Don’t suppress or ignore your primal urges. But don’t get lost in the indulgence of your primal side either. Accept your primal self and express your emotions (in a healthy way of course) while maintaining proper perspective. Get in tune with your body and its needs. Workout and feel the blood and adrenaline pumping through you. Wholeheartedly explore your sexuality without guilt or shame. Hike a mountain and feel your intrinsic connectedness with nature. Get outside, run, jump, dance, sing and thoroughly enjoy the beautiful experiences of physicality.

7. Be present.
Live in the moment. Make the now the primary focus of your life. Don’t get absorbed in the circular thought loops that leave you obsessing over the past and future. Only refer to the past if it’s applicable to the present. Only refer to the future if it’s absolutely necessary to plan in the present. Being primordial is timeless. Reside in the eternal now and bask in primordiality.

8. Be unique.
You’re unique. I’m unique. We’re all unique. As humans, no one is perfect. And the silver lining to imperfection is that it begets uniqueness. Everyone is one of a kind. Everyone has special gifts, unique skills and amazingly different traits. So why fit in with the crowd when you can stand out? Being primordial takes on an infinity of forms, and you’re one of them. Smile and own your uniqueness.

9. Be passionate.
Do things wholeheartedly. Have that burning drive that propels you forward in life. Find your passions, and live through them to the point where others are inspired by it. Apathy, mediocrity and boredom make life dull and are, most certainly, not primordial.

10. Be random.
Embrace spontaneity and your own unique quirks. Be whimsical and random. We’re all weird in our own ways and life is a lot of fun when you lean into your primordial randomness.

An example of this is a conversational icebreaker that I randomly came up with. While at a bar last weekend, a woman who I wanted to talk to was walking right past me. Letting my inhibitions go, I spontaneously held up my glass and said “Cheers to Ulysses S. Grant.” Because it was so random and lighthearted, she smiled and reciprocated the cheers. Randomness is primordial.

11. Question authority.
Ask “Why?” Question the status quo. Be a leader, don’t blindly follow. Stand up for what you believe in. Have a voice. Don’t allow external forces to dictate your reality. Break some rules. If you’re not harming yourself or others, then do it. When you’re primordial, you can’t be boxed in or contained.

12. Leave expectations at the door.
Expectations are the fool’s income. Placing expectations on people and future situations will set you up for disappointment. Do things because you genuinely want to do them, not because you’re expecting something out of it. Expect the unexpected, because the only constant is change. Forgoing expectations, on people especially, frees both parties to bask in their primordial essence.

13. Embrace laughter.
Life is short. Life is a video game. Enjoy the ride and have fun. Is life worth living if there is no fun in it? Comedy, laughter, smirks and silliness are the primordial spices of life.

14. Realize that, at times, you may even be too primordial for this list.
If you’re primordial, you don’t follow any rigid rules. You may want to add more ways to be primordial, or throw them all away. Whatever you do, just live life on your own terms. Now that’s primordial.

“Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.” – Bruce Lee

Let your primordiality precede you.

Stay primordial.

– Stevie P!
 

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