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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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The Joy of Minimalism: Traveling the World with Only Carry-On Luggage

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My rap name = 2 Bagz

Hey there, earthlings.

I’ve embarked upon my journey. I’m traveling to at least 5 different countries and for at least 2 months. Basically being a professional nomad.

And as you can see from the picture, I’m not bringing much; just a small duffle bag and backpack.

I packed so little that I’m only traveling with carry-on luggage. (I carry on like a wayward son.)

My packing strategy:
1) I only brought the absolute necessities – One pair of shoes (Merrell Men’s Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe), 8 pairs of socks and boxers, 7 nice, versatile t-shirts, one long sleeved short (I’m not going anywhere cold), one extra pair of pants, one pair of khaki shorts, one bathing suit, a few toiletries, my laptop and a couple books. That’s basically all I packed. what else do you really need?

2) I rolled my clothes up, instead of folding them – With the rolling method, you can pack much more clothing into a small duffle bag, and with less wrinkles.

I absolutely love the feeling of owning no more than I can carry. It’s so freeing.

The more things you own, the more things own you.

“Live light, travel light, be the light.” – Yogi Bhajan

This is a metaphor for life as well: Excess baggage weighs you down.

I believe that life is best lived when you’re “like water.” Water is flowing, dynamic and flexible. And having a lot of baggage, whether physical or emotional, hinders this state of being.

Minimalism is freedom. And minimalism is conducive to living in the moment, without the burden of excess baggage.

Experiences > Stuff

Experiences are far more fulfilling than things. Experiences create lasting happiness and catalyze personal growth.

The debate of experiences vs stuff has been well studied too. When someone buys a new car, they get an initial happiness boost because it’s new. But after a couple months, it loses its novelty factor. And like a fiend, this person will need another fix and buy something else to chase happiness.

Accumulate experiences, not stuff.

I’ll keep this post light as well and end it here.

Stay tuned for some fun travel blogging.

Much love from Marseille, France.

– 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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How to Own Your Day: Tim Ferriss Shares His 5 Morning Rituals

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In order to achieve any big win, you must first achieve the prerequisitory* small wins which compound to make the big win.

Think about it… A painting is a series of brushstrokes, a war is a series of battles and a sports game is a series of plays.

Likewise, your life is a series of days. So consequently, you maximize your life by maximizing each day.

“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” – Henry David Thoreau

If you want to have a good day, you must proactively create a good day.

If you want to be successful at anything, you need to know what you want and apply persistence towards it. On a day-to-day basis, this persistence takes the form of a ritual, routine or system.

I’ve stopped thinking about goals, in favor of systems (which are basically interchangeable with routines and rituals). Systems are more effective than goals, especially regarding any major undertaking. Systems are more easily implementable, they take you in the right direction, and they’re flexible. While lofty goals can become irrelevant as you get closer to them, systems can unfold as dynamically as your life unfolds. You can adjust a system to hit any target.

Which is more effective?
Doing some form of exercise every day, or having an ambiguous goal of “losing weight”?
Implementing a system of writing a page a day, or having the goal of writing a novel?

Obviously, the former is much more effective in both cases. What do they have in common? The establishment of a daily ritual.

A major commonality between all successful people is that they all have daily rituals. And not obsessive or neurotic rituals done out of fear. I’m talking about routines which are consciously implemented to keep you moving in a desired direction.

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” – Mike Murdock

The most effective rituals are morning rituals. Why? Your morning is your pivot point which the rest of the day hinges upon. The morning is your origin point of momentum for the day.

And you don’t need to be obsessive about a morning routine. If you don’t partake in a morning ritual one day, it’s not the end of the world. It’s about consistency, not perfection.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

In one of his latest podcasts, Tim Ferriss shared his 5 morning rituals. I found this particularly insightful and validating, as it’s very similar to My Carpe Diem Morning Ritual. Establishing a morning ritual has been a powerful, success-propelling force in my life. And it’s wonderful to know that I’m in good company.

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Tim Ferriss’ 5 Morning Rituals

1. Make the bed
The first thing that Tim does when he wakes up is that he makes his bed. (This is something I need to incorporate.)

Why it’s effective:

  • Gives you a sense of control, no matter what else happens that day.
  • Start your day on the right foot. Plus, you come back to that accomplishment at the end of the day.
  • Creates an organized environment that limits distraction.

“If you see distraction externally, you end up creating an internally distracted state.” – Tim Ferriss

2. Meditation
Tim does 21 minutes of transcendental meditation every morning (one minute to get settled and twenty minutes of actual meditation). He also emphasizes the fact that meditation is a common routine among almost every ultra-successful person he’s spoken with.

Why it’s effective:

  • Clears your mind
  • Strengthens how you deal with distraction
  • Tim states that he gets 30-50% more done on the days he meditates. I can attest to this phenomenon as well.

For a phenomenal meditation resource, check out these Gaia Meditations here.

3. Hanging
He hangs from a pullup bar for a few minutes.

Why it’s effective:

  • Decompresses the spine
  • Improves grip strength

4. Tea
Tim makes what he jokingly refers to as “titanium tea.”

Why it’s effective:

  • Caffeine (And it benefits like cognitive enhancement and alertness)
  • It tastes good

5. 5 Minute Journal
The last part of Tim Ferriss’ routine is writing in his 5 Minute Journal, which I personally use as well.

Why it’s effective:

  • Helps you focus on your most important tasks for the day
  • Cultivates gratitude

Check out the podcast HERE.

So there you have it. You don’t necessarily have to copy Tim or myself, but these habits will give you an idea of ways to help you win the day.

READER CHALLENGE: Pick one ritual and start it tomorrow morning.

“Make each day your masterpiece.” – John Wooden

Stay feelin’ good feelin’ great.

– Stevie P!

*I’m not sure if “prerequisitory” is even a word, but it sounds cool and gets the point across.

 

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The Astonishing Link Between Gut Health and Anxiety

Announcement: My online course Annihilate Anxiety has officially launched! Join the course today.

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Do you suffer from anxiety?

The remedy might be residing in your belly…

There are about 100 trillion bacteria cells in your gut. Yeah, that’s a lot. This microbiome is critical for the immune system (over 80% of the immune system is located in the gut), helps with digestion and plays a vital role in the overall health of the body.

One of the more surprising links is the relationship between the microbiome and brain function. Recent studies have shown that there’s a definite link between gut health and anxiety.

Mental health and mood are negatively affected by a lack of “good” gut bacteria. So optimizing your gut flora will help reduce or even eliminate anxiety.

The Link

Holistic health practitioners have long said that gut health is intimately tied to mental health. Before the science backed it up, it was dismissed as quackery. But now the science strongly supports those assertions.

Dr. Joseph Mercola explains the connection well:
“To put this into more concrete terms, you’ve probably experienced the visceral sensation of butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous, or had an upset stomach when you were very angry or stressed. The flip side is also true, in that problems in your gut can directly impact your mental health, leading to issues like anxiety, depression, and autism.”

And here’s what Scientific American has to say:
“The gut-brain axis seems to be bidirectional—the brain acts on gastrointestinal and immune functions that help to shape the gut’s microbial makeup, and gut microbes make neuroactive compounds, including neurotransmitters and metabolites that also act on the brain. These interactions could occur in various ways: microbial compounds communicate via the vagus nerve, which connects the brain and the digestive tract, and microbially derived metabolites interact with the immune system, which maintains its own communication with the brain.”

Ever have a “gut feeling”? That’s a testament to this phenomenon.

What Causes Poor Gut Health?

Processed foods and sugars destroy good bacteria and enable the proliferation of bad bacteria. Because western diets are dominated by this kind of food (if you can call it that), poor gut health is a widespread issue (and the cascading health problems that result from poor gut health).

On the other hand, natural, living foods provide a conducive environment for “good” bacteria. Fruits and vegetables contain prebiotics, which act as nourishment for healthy gut bacteria. And fermented foods contain probiotics, the actual healthy bacteria (see the list below).

How to Optimize Your Gut Health

1. Only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary – They kill all bacteria, good and bad. (Break the word down: anti-biotic = anti-life) It’s like dropping a nuclear bomb, it destroys everything, leaving your immune system completely crippled. So only use antibiotics when you really, really need to.

2. Reduce consumption of processed junk foods and sugar – This stuff feeds “bad bacteria” and kills the “good bacteria.” Put the pop-tart down, it’s not worth it.

3. JERF (Just Eat Real Food) – Vegetables, fruit, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, nuts, seeds, berries and some raw cheese should be your dietary staples. As described above, real food supports a healthy gut. Like Jack LaLanne once said, “If man made it, don’t eat it.”

4. Get your probiotics – Either eat probiotic-rich foods or take a probiotic supplement. This is your gut health insurance.

Top Probiotic, Fermented Foods

  • Sauerkraut (raw is best)
  • Kimchi
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Yogurt (avoid the kinds with added sugar)

Ultimately, anxiety is a fear-based mental projection into the future. So anything that cultivates presence or supports the mind in letting go of fear will annihilate anxiety. And optimizing gut health is a powerful weapon to have in your arsenal.

For this kind of information and much, much more, sign up for my online course Annihilate Anxiety, which is now open for registration!

Stay feelin’ good, feelin’ great.

– Stevie P

Annihilate-Anxiety

 

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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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No One Cares: Your Key to Freedom from Social Anxiety

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Ask yourself this question: Why do I care about what other people think?

Don’t you want to live life on your own terms? Why are you letting others dictate your decisions and how you live your life?

Not caring about what others think is the ultimate freedom.

Are you constantly thinking about what could happen in every social situation, instead of being fully in the moment? The vast majority of the time, all of the hypothetical “What if…” projections (that are on replay in your head) don’t even end up happening.

Let go and allow life to flow through you.

Everyone is too busy being concerned with themselves anyway. So why waste your energy worrying so much? This is something you need to drill into your head if you suffer from social anxiety.

Are you really delusional enough to think that everyone around you spends all of their time thinking about you?

Everyone is incomparably more concerned about themselves than they are with you.

Here’s what an interaction between two people with social anxiety looks like: You’re worrying about what they think of you and they’re worrying about what you think of them. With all of this worrying and “What if” projections, neither party fully experiences the present moment (which is all that really exists). There’s no fun in that.

In truth, it’s really ridiculous to let social anxiety control your life. Realize that you’re free to be yourself and always have been. Drop the useless, burdensome concerns about what others may think. (Because you don’t even know what they’re really thinking in the first place!)

Everyone else is immersed in their own perspective. Everyone is the star of their own movie. They’re more concerned about themselves than about you. And that, in and of itself, is freeing.

“The amateur dreads becoming who she really is because she fears that this new person will be judged by others as “different.” The tribe will declare us “weird” or “queer” or “crazy.” The tribe will reject us. Here’s the truth: the tribe doesn’t give a shit. There is no tribe. That gang or posse that we imagine is sustaining us by the bonds we share is in fact a conglomeration of individuals who are just as fucked up as we are and just as terrified. Each individual is so caught up in his own bullshit that he doesn’t have two seconds to worry about yours or mine, or to reject or diminish us because of it. When we truly understand that the tribe doesn’t give a damn, we’re free. There is no tribe, and there never was. Our lives are entirely up to us.”
― Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro

The funny paradox of it all is that people will admire you when you’re true to yourself. Even outright hate is really self-hatred combined with jealously. But most people just secretly admire those who have freed themselves from the confines of external opinion. Because it truly is a beautiful thing.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Let go and be free.

– Stevie P!

PS – My online course, Annihilate Anxiety, is available now! Click the picture below to find out more.

 

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The Selfish Reason Behind Giving

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While hiking Mount Washington a few months ago, my girlfriend (at the time) and I got into some intense philosophical discussions during our descent.

In the midst of this mobile symposium, she asked me the most revelatory question I’ve ever been asked…

“Why do you like helping other people?”

Coming from an experienced psychologist, this wasn’t a question asked just for the sake of asking a question. Not at all. It was a friendly yet firm demand for genuine truth. She would not accept a vague, dismissive or even lightly dishonest answer. She wanted me to recognize the core reason as to why I enjoy helping others.

The only answer I could honestly come up with was this: I like helping other people because it makes me feel good.

“For it is in giving that we receive.” – Francis of Assisi

As humans, we’re inherently social beings. We thrive off of connection. And giving is an essential element in cultivating a sense of connectedness with others. That’s why giving feels so good. The research even shows that giving actually makes us happier than receiving.

In his book The Hidden Gifts of Helping Stephen G. Post writes:

“As the saying goes, ‘if you help someone up the hill, you get closer yourself.’ Whether the group is focused on weight loss, smoking cessation, substance abuse, alcoholism, mental illness and recovery, or countless other needs, a defining feature of the group is that people are deeply engaged in helping one another, and are in part motivated by an explicit interest in their own healing.”

This concept of helping yourself by helping others sounds paradoxical, but so do most profound truths. Giving is such an essential part of our nature that it transcends duality.

I feel good when I help others. That’s why I do it.

I help people because, in turn, I help myself.

When I give advice, it’s not only to others, but to myself as well.

I write, not only for other people’s betterment, but for my own improvement and cathartic realization.

Giving is the ultimate win-win situation.

Be generous, because you too will reap the benefits.

Much love.

– Stevie P!
 

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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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