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The Visionary’s Creed

This is for the new wave of hard workers, everyone out there grinding towards their vision, not someone else’s. All of the self-starters, hustlers, artists, entrepreneurs, this is dedicated to you to help you keep going. Ultimately, these words are just a confirmation of what you already know deep down; that you’re living your truth.

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I know what I want
I know how to get there
They may think differently
But I know me

Doubt arises
I set it aside
I know in my heart
That I’m walking in the direction of my truth

I see my vision
Crystal clear clarity
I meet it with persistence
Bringing dreams into reality

Fear grabs a hold of me
I hug it with courage
It fades back into illusion
Propelled by my truth
I keep moving

The path may be difficult
The road may be rough
Obstacles will present themselves
Unforeseen challenges may delay me
And my route may shift
But that’s a part of the pilgrimage
The challenge is where the magic is

It’s not about where I end up
It’s about who I become through the journey
More of myself

 

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5 Reasons Why Traveling is Like Playing a Video Game

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Pai, Thailand

Here you are…

You materialized in the third dimension, popped out of your momma and ended up a resident of planet Earth.

So don’t you want to explore it? Don’t you want to see what it’s all about? Aren’t you curious?

I know I am (to say the least). And deep down, beneath all of the fear, you too want to explore as much as you can before you’re gone.

The concept of life being like a video game fascinates me. For many reasons, I think it’s such a profound (and accurate) comparison.

Beyond the argument that so many signs are pointing to this universe being some sort of grand holographic simulation*, the principles of video games also apply to life in general. That’s the aspect which I want to focus on here.

Read another post of mine about life being like a video game here: Life is a Video Game: The Challenge Perspective

We only grow through overcoming obstacles. Everything is a learning experience. If life weren’t challenging, it wouldn’t be fulfilling, rewarding or fun. Think about it this way, would you play Super Mario if all you had to do was casually stroll to the right the whole time, meeting no obstacles? Of course not. That would get boring after two minutes. The same theme applies to life.

Travel is an aspect of life where the video game comparison is unavoidable. Here’s why…

5 Reasons Why Traveling is Like Playing a Video Game:

1. You Expand Your “Mental Map”

The mental map is a concept that my friend (shout out to Cole King) and I came up with while we were working as pizza delivery drivers in high school. We compared learning new streets to the maps found in many video games. You know how in video games the map starts as completely black, and as you explore it, it clears? (You can see a good example of it in this video.) Well, the same applies to your own mental map in life. Everything is just a mysterious abyss when it’s unknown. And you “clear out” and materialize that abyss by personally exploring it.

It would be a damn shame to die with only a tiny speck of your mental map cleared out. There’s so much out there (and in there) to see and experience. Make your story exploratory!

2. You Level Up Through New Experiences

I love the concept of “leveling up.” When traveling, I find myself gaining new insight (like whoa), broadening my perspective and developing skills at a mindblowing rate. Improving at anything is leveling up, and travel is conducive to improvement in many facets of life.

When traveling, you continuously expose yourself to new experiences. You’re perpetually launching yourself out of you comfort zone. You don’t learn or grow by going through the same monotonous routine all of your life. New experiences provide the fertile ground for you to grow, level up and evolve into the greatest version of yourself.

3. You Meet New People (Allies)

If you’ve done any traveling, you know that you meet so many awesome, interesting people. You learn from all of these people too. Everyone you meet is a teacher. People you meet are like allies you encounter in a video game.

4. Each Place You Go to is a New Level

Each and every place has its own unique culture, landscapes, architecture, quirks and personality. They are all different levels within the video game that is your life.

5. You Must Defeat the Bosses

In most video games, there are bosses to defeat at the end of each level. The “bosses” in life, however, are often intangible forces and/or fears to overcome. For example, You may have a fear of heights that you defeat by cliff jumping.

“Bosses” that I’ve defeated on this trip:

Travel anxiety – The fear of missing a flight, not finding a place to stay…etc. All of that fear based on projecting into the future. I’ve learned to do what I can, let go and be present instead of uselessly worrying about the future.

Fear of rejection – This fear would come up when approaching women. But I’ve acted in spite of this fear so many times that it’s no longer is a big deal. And you know what? Every time I’ve said “fuck it” and approached someone I wanted to talk to, it turned out well (or it’s a funny story). I’ve even met some really, really amazing people doing this. Maybe I’ll elaborate on it more in another post.

Striving syndrome – I’m hyper-critical of myself most of the time. I constantly put pressure on myself to keep improving, be a better person, learn more, write more and stay focused on goals. This is good when it comes to achievement, but it can rob you of the bliss of allowing yourself to just BE. There have been many moments where I had to stop and give myself permission to just BE; to simply enjoy the moment, with no goals and nothing to strive for. It’s difficult to balance being grateful for where you are right now and continuously improving. But I’m finding that balance. Due to my awareness of this tendency within myself, the “striving syndrome” now has less of a grip on me.

Kayaking in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Kayaking in Dubrovnik, Croatia

Where I’ve been to so far on this trip (aka the details of my mental map expansion):
Marseilles, France
Barcelona, Spain
Croatia – Dubrovnik, Split, Hvar Island, Zagreb
India – Pune
Thailand – Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai
Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur

This trip feels like I’ve squeezed multiple lifetimes into this journey called “Stephen Parato.” I’m so grateful to be doing this and I want to inspire you to follow your heart as well.

Have fun and keep leveling up.

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

– Stevie P!

PS – For pictures and some short goofy videos of my travels, follow me on Instagram @steviepthatsme

*Resources regarding our reality being a holographic simulation:
Physicists May Have Evidence Universe Is A Computer Simulation
The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot

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Should We Always Be Happy?

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People have asked me this question many times…

Should we always be happy?

The short answer…

Of course not.

The long answer…

We all just want to be happy, right?

Why do we want a good job? Why do we want an awesome wife/husband? Why do we want to travel the world? Because we (falsely) believe that those things, once attained, will make us happy.

Bliss is what we yearn for in each moment. But here’s the key point: We would have no appreciation for bliss if it was all we ever knew.

“If you want to know what the water is like, don’t ask the fish.” – Chinese Proverb

Without experiencing an alternative, we have no perspective. We need the negative to be able to fully enjoy the positive.

As human beings, we need the “bad” to appreciate the “good.” Challenges and struggle make our lives a fulfilling, worthwhile experience.

We need darkness to recognize light. We would not even see anything if reality was all darkness or all light. We would not hear anything if reality was all noise or all silence. The law of duality permeates our universe, birthing a continuous dance of the yin and yang, helping us gain perspective.

Who appreciates a warm, sunny day more? Someone in Southern California? (Where it’s like that every day.) Or someone in Alaska who just experienced months of blistering cold and darkness?

“Sunny days wouldn’t be special if it wasn’t for rain
Joy wouldn’t feel so good if it wasn’t for pain”

– 50 Cent (Yes, I just quoted 50 Cent. That’s a great line.)

Something is cherished only when you know its opposite.

That’s why we’ve incarnated into this reality; to experience limitation and challenges in order to spur growth. This state of physical limitation allows us to fully appreciate the infinity that we’re all aspects of.

Everything is a Learning Experience

Experience the negatives and view them as a learning experience (because they are).

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of a greater or equal benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

Wallowing in victimhood and self-pity has never benefited anyone. We have to work through obstacles, learn from “failures” and use challenges to spur growth.

Working Out: A Microcosm of Life

Just as avid weightlifters learn to love the intense resistance of the weights, we can all apply the same mentality to life in general. Workouts are inherently challenging, but that’s why the practice is worthwhile. You must push yourself and struggle with weights you can barely handle to grow stronger. If it were easy, there would be no benefit or sense of fulfillment. Life is the same.

Success and Failure

Highly successful people persevere through struggle and hardships.

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” – Bruce Lee

Heroes work through struggle and overcome obstacles. Life would be boring and consist of no growth if it was one big cakewalk. There’s a reason why sheltered, spoiled kids grow up to be incapable, unpleasant people. They’re never forced to challenge themselves and grow.

Note: Though all things negative are crucial to any learning experiences in life, you have the choice to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering. For example, getting depressed or beating yourself up because of a perceived failure instead of using it as fuel for future success. A lot of people get hung up on their struggle and attach their identity to it. This is what creates a victim mentality, where you will limit your experiences to the “negative” side of the spectrum until your mentality changes.

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

Video Games, Novels, Movies and Stories

Would you play a video game if it was too easy? Hell no. You would be as bored as Michael Vick at a PETA meeting.

Think about the best video games, the best novels, the best movies and the best stories. They all involve tremendous struggle that has to be worked through and overcome.

While things like war, in my opinion, are unnecessary forms of struggle (because they’re manipulated into existence), some form of struggle is necessary for a worthwhile experience.

My Personal Perspective

I’ll admit that I’m more positive than most (which is why I write about this stuff). But I’m not happy all of the time, nor do I pretend to be.

Like everyone, I experience the full spectrum of human emotions. And I’m grateful for it. It’s in feeling the brilliant diversity of emotions that we can call ourselves truly alive. However, it’s a choice whether or not to be consumed by these emotions. This is where things like meditation and mindfulness provide tremendous help.

Sometimes I’m frustrated. But I acknowledge the frustration and observe it without judgment. Then I’ll do something like deadlift while bumpin’ some Sean Price (RIP!) to release the frustration. Next thing I know, I’m back to my feelin’ good, feelin’ great self.

The Takeaway

Life wouldn’t be the miraculous learning experience that it is if we were always happy. We need darkness in order to truly appreciate the light. Embrace the struggle and persevere. Everything is a learning experience.

Life is a video game.

Have fun.

– Stevie P!
 

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1

The Challenge Perspective

“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.”
― Carlos Castaneda

There are no problems, only challenges.

This is the lens through which I’ve looked at life lately. I’ll call it “the challenge perspective”; and it’s been utterly transformative for me.

Viewing everything as a challenge closely ties in with the idea of life being a video game of sorts. Would you play Super Mario if all you had to do was just walk to the right the whole time, unopposed by any obstacles? Of course not, the challenge is what makes it fun. Pushing our limits makes it all worth it. We only grow when we’re subjected to resistance.

How are you viewing and addressing “difficult” situations in life? Are you stepping into your inherent power and taking them head on? Or are you playing victim and wallowing in disempowerment? Your experience of life can (and will) vary radically depending on your perspective.

When your significant other is angry or frustrated, do you react with similar anger or frustration? Do you run away because you think you can’t handle it? Or do you take on the challenge and embody love and lightheartedness in the face of fear?

When you’re running low on money, do you dwell in self-pity and victimhood? Or do you embrace the challenge and work to better your situation?

When you have to do something you despise doing at work, do you throw your hands up in defeat and complain? Or do you say “challenge accepted” and get it done, knowing that it will make you a stronger person?

When you’re pushing your physical limits, do you succumb to fear and doubt? Or do you tap into your indwelling fortitude and power through?

I had to tussle with that last set of questions recently while hiking Mt. Washington with the beautiful, wonderful Wander Woman (evidence below). She set a rigorous pace, to say the least, as we ascended the highest peak in the Northeastern USA (on its toughest trail too). We donkey konged up steep slopes of snow and ice, scrambled up rock faces, and scaled serious inclines for hours on end. There were points where I was exhausted and felt self-doubt creeping in, but I tapped deep into my reservoir of empowerment and pushed through. Because of that, I’m a stronger, more resilient person.

When you break on through, a greater version of yourself appears on the other side.

Mt Wash

You see, it’s not really about what happens to you in life; it’s about how you perceive each situation and how you act based on your perception. That’s what determines your subjective reality.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll

Life isn’t easy for anyone. But that’s the beauty of it. We all have our unique struggles which shape our character. We all have obstacles to overcome. We all face challenges that facilitate continuous growth and development.

Diamonds are created under extraordinary pressure. Mighty swords are forged in fierce fires of intensified heat.

Embrace the challenges presented to you. They’re perfect for your evolution into the best version of yourself.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

Learn, grow, persevere, and, most importantly, have fun.

– Stevie P!

Distilling the Truth of Oneness: Symptoms of Separation

This is the third part of the “Distilling the Truth of Oneness” series. To read the other parts, click the following links below:
Distilling the Truth of Oneness: Events
Distilling the Truth of Oneness: Part 2

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Let’s look at what happens when we lose touch with oneness.

What are the symptoms of separation within society?

An underlying paradigm of separation begets competition instead of cooperation. Scarcity pervades all aspects of life, as opposed to abundance.

In this “separation paradigm, “you” fear “others” taking what is “yours.” The belief of separation naturally leads to competition and scarcity. You can see this with oil conglomerates actively suppressing free energy solutions. The literal sources of abundance are proactively being squashed in favor of scarcity (and the resulting profit and control). Think about that for a minute.

Envision life as an obstacle course. With a separation mentality, two people would get into a fist fight at the starting line, holding each other back. With a oneness mentality, they would cooperate to overcome the obstacles. Cooperation would also allow people to scale much higher walls than if they were holding one another back.

If society as a whole were to operate under the belief of oneness, cooperation would prevail. People would view others as aspects of themselves, or themselves living another life. This fundamental idea would obviously maximize our collective potential. The nature of our lives would be synergistic collaboration to further our evolution and overall well-being. More beneficial energy sources would be actively pursued, and this would lead to abundance instead of scarcity. We would be exploring the depths of outer (and inner) space, not stuck fighting each other over beliefs or resources.

You can see symptoms of separation in all of the major systems of society. It’s that insidiously divisive “us vs them” mentality that pervades government, politics, religion, business, competitive sports and every other traditional system you can think of.

Regarding politics in America for example, you have Republicans and Democrats. The red team vs the blue team. Many people blindly attach their identities to one of these sides. In truth, Republicans and Democrats largely share the same ideologies, but their differences on a few trivial issues are widely publicized, stirring up feelings of separation within people.

Aubrey Marcus suggests that these tactics “hack into the dark side of tribalism.” Which is to say that it exploits the intrinsic yearning for community by separating humanity into segregated factions. Then outside threats are manufactured, which are perceived as jeopardizing the tribe’s survival and rousing fear within people. These manipulative tactics allow humanity to be divided into “separate” tribes and more easily controlled as a whole.

Competitive Sports

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Competitive sports are an obvious manifestation of the paradigm of separation.

First of all, they epitomize the “me vs you” (or “us vs them”) mentality. The players on each team wear different color uniforms that act as visual separators. Red vs blue, black vs white, green vs yellow…etc.

Competitive sports also mimic war. They are a socially acceptable, theatrical representation of a battle. It creates a war-like mentality, and normalizes that mentality within the minds of the masses. This culture perverts our primal instincts towards “the dark side of tribalism.”

You know the phrase “healthy competition”? Is it really healthy? It perpetuates the separation-based, us vs them mentality that has allowed humanity to be divided and conquered for so long. But we’re so deep into this mentality that it’s hard to even fathom what sports (or life in general) would look like if we embraced cooperation in favor of competition.

Take a look at the prototypically competitive mindset. The exemplar of a competitive athlete is Michael Jordan, who can easily be considered a sociopath. There’s been countless stories floating around regarding his notorious egotism and utter disregard for others.

I’ve found myself less interested in team sports recently because of the very reasons I’ve outlined. I don’t want to perpetuate the us vs them mentality. I don’t want to play “mock war.” However, I do want to push my boundaries, maximize my physicality and support the healthy expression of my primal nature.

So I’m not saying we stop pushing ourselves or neglect our natural, primal tendencies. We just need to use more productive means to fulfill these needs. But how would we do that?

What would sports look like in a cooperation paradigm?

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We’re so deep in the separation mentality that it’s difficult to even fathom what sports would look like under the paradigm of cooperation, not competition.

Or maybe we could include competition, but in a friendlier, more respectful way. This would be based on treating opponents as an aspect of yourself, and pushing each other to the limits, resulting in mutual benefit. But the question is, can people truly push their limits in competition if they’re totally empathetic with their opposition?

The other manifestation of cooperative sports would be athletes versus external forces (if there is such a thing as “external”), or even their past selves.

A team sport based in cooperation would work like a team climbing a mountain. They would all help each other in order to achieve a common goal. There is no putting others down, no us vs them, just unity towards a challenging cause. This can be applied to the whole as well.

Maybe parallels would exist under a oneness paradigm, just with a different twist. Like bodybuilding, for example, would be more like an art exhibition than a contest.

Another thing to think about: Do you need to “win” something in order to stretch your limits? Did Michelangelo paint with the intent of winning?

Completely throwing sports out the door is not the answer. Our bodies are made to move, to sprint, climb, jump…etc. We certainly cannot overlook that.

To drive the continuous evolution of humanity, we must perpetually shatter limitations and keep improving without having to defeat others in the process.

T.E.A.M. = Together Everyone Achieves More

“United we stand, divided we fall.” That phrase rings true. Though not “united” in terms of a specific group against other groups that we label as different from us. United as in embracing the fundamental oneness of everything.

One love.

– Stevie P

9

Life is a Game: The Challenge Principle

Video games are meant to be challenging. They are based on overcoming obstacles. Why? Because it makes it so much more satisfying when it’s all said and done.

The same principle applies to life in general.

What would a video game be without any challenges? It would be boring and absolutely pointless.

Would you play Super Mario Bros if all you did was leisurely walk to the right the whole time with no obstacles? Hell no! What’s the fun in that?

Would you enjoy playing Pokemon if you had unlimited master balls and rare candies? (I hope you got that one haha). It’s all about the journey, baby.

Think about movies too. Just about all movies are based on overcoming challenges and the progression of the main character(s).

We develop through struggle.

We need darkness to appreciate light.

We need clouds and rain to appreciate sunshine.

Everything is a learning experience.

Every situation is an opportunity.

Learn, move on, and persevere.

“The universe tends to unfold as it should.” -Random guy from Harold and Kumar

But seriously, that’s an awesome quote.

Whatever you’re going through at the moment is what you need most right now (in this game we call life) and an opportunity to better yourself and grow.

Here’s a personal example. I packed on the infamous freshman 15 (lbs) in my first 4 months of college. This was a major wake-up call for me. But instead of getting depressed about it or ignoring it, I used it as an opportunity. I started educating myself on health and fitness. And more importantly, I applied what I learned. I worked out consistently and made better food choices. This strengthened my body and mind, and helped me shed the excess fat I had accumulated. This has not only given me a plethora of knowledge and experience in health and fitness, but also created a snowball effect of successes in every aspect of my life since then. It was exactly what I needed, and I took advantage of the challenge presented to me. Overcoming that challenge made me a stronger person and greatly helped in developing my character.

“What you call a setback, I call a challenge, if I fall I know I’ll get back, it’s all a balance.” -Crooked I

So embrace your challenges. Embrace your difficulties. They are learning experiences on your way to progression and building a stronger version of yourself. Because life would be so boring if we just coasted through.