Momentum: The Most Underrated Phenomenon in Life

momentum

What direction are you building momentum in?

For better or worse, we’re beings of momentum. We’re all accumulating momentum in certain directions.

Are you deepening the groove of monotony? Working at a job you don’t love, coming home to watch tv and going to the same bars on the weekends to forget it all? That’s momentum.

Are you building momentum towards a purpose or a goal? That’s momentum too.

Our daily habits, whatever they may be, create momentum.

It’s a gift and a curse. Momentum is why it’s so hard to break out of comfort zones and overcome addictions. Yet momentum is also why people become massively successful and growth-oriented in all aspects of life.

Think about how hard it is for the person who comes home and watches tv every night to come home and NOT watch tv. Think about how hard it is for the workout junkie to take a week off from working out. Think about how easy it is for an avid hiker to hike a small hill. That’s all momentum!

For me right now, it’s harder NOT to write than it is to write. It’s true. I’m at the point where I can write 3,000 word blog posts in a few hours and books within a few weeks. I’ve built tremendous momentum with writing and synthesizing ideas. And I’m able to do this by leveraging a simple formula for mastering momentum…

hiking momentum

Mastering Momentum = Conscious Habits + Persistence

Conscious Habits

Be aware of your habits. Consciously choose to implement habits that build momentum in the direction you want to head in.

Most people fall into “negative” habits by default because they have no sense of purpose. If you have no sense of purpose, there are more than enough distractions to divert you (tv, social media, gossip…etc.).

Get clear on your purpose and what you truly want in life. Meditate on it. Build momentum towards that. With a sense of purpose, you become the conscious creator of what you want out of life.

“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”
– Seneca

Persistence

After consciously creating habits or rituals, you must apply persistence. This means doing it on a daily basis and sticking to it, day in and day out.

Persistence is what separates successful people from the masses who dwell in mediocrity. A writer writes every day to complete a novel. An entrepreneur works hard for years to bring their idea to fruition. Without persistence, the writer would give up after one writing session and the entrepreneur would give up as soon as they encounter resistance.

Resistance is the force that forces growth. By working through resistance you build massive momentum in the direction you want.

Focus on systems over goals. Yes, write down goals, but instead of fixating on them, focus on implementing the daily routines that will get you there. Momentum comes from daily habits. Become process-oriented because that’s where your character is built.

Momentum is the byproduct of what you do day in and day out. You can create momentum in the direction you choose by consciously implementing habits and applying persistence.

We’re beings of momentum. Momentum can either accelerate your progress or keep you trapped in unwanted patterns.

What direction are you building momentum in?

If you don’t like your direction, you have the option to change starting right now. Wake up to your superpower of conscious choice. You can change direction and build momentum towards whatever your heart desires.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

The Paradox of Personal Freedom: How Positive Constraints Can Enhance Your Life

the path to freedom

As humans, we have an insatiable desire for freedom.

It’s only natural. Freedom is our essential state and we feel this in the innermost depths of our being. When freedom is blatantly denied, it is an excruciating hindrance and not tolerated for long.

However, every great truth is paradoxical from the perspective of the mind and through the filter of language. The idea of freedom is no different. You would think that total, complete freedom would mean total, complete happiness, right? But that’s not the case (in this reality, at least). Absolute freedom does not necessarily equate to absolute happiness.

Infinite options equals ultimate prison, in many circumstances. You end up with this paradox of choice issue. It’s like standing in front of shelving at a Safeway with 300 brands of toothpaste and just wasting 15 minutes of your life trying to pick a toothpaste. You don’t need that kind of cognitive burden and decision fatigue.
~ Tim Ferriss

 
Focused perspective allows for desired experiences to come to fruition, as a specific choice concentrates your reality based upon our intention. This focused perspective, or in other words, constraints on experienced reality, is the foundation for learning and evolution as humans. Limitation fosters creative solutions, resistance catalyzes growth and darkness is needed to truly appreciate light.

If you think about it, absolute freedom means sitting in infinite possibility without choosing a possibility. So in a way, you’ve chosen to compromise complete freedom just by participating in the 3D human experience.

Ok, metaphysical musings aside; what I’m getting at is this… In order to have a highly rewarding, fulfilling and purposeful life, you need to consciously apply the power of positive constraints.

You’re always making choices and assumptions (in every moment) that are condensing the light of your freedom/possibility to a focused area. And the key question is: Are you consciously aware of the choices and assumptions you’re making?

What are Positive Constraints?

Positive constraints are constraints that you consciously place upon yourself in order to direct your life in a desired direction.

For example, if you know that writing a book is something that will add immeasurable value to your life, you’re going to have to sacrifice other activities in favor of a regular writing habit. And you’re going to have to write even when you don’t feel like it. But as a result of this positive constraint, your life will be more fulfilling and you’ll create more freedom for yourself long-term.

Why Are Positive Constraints Useful?

Discipline and freedom are not mutually exclusive but mutually dependent because otherwise, you’d sink into chaos.
~ Paulo Coelho

 
Positive constraints focus your experiences towards what you want to prioritize in life.

They actually create more freedom in many cases. If you want the freedom to travel the world, you have to make sacrifices to get there. You have to save money (though not as much as most people think), quit your job (or work for yourself and do it remotely) and decide where you want to go. All of those things are positive constraints to bring you to a place of freedom to travel.

Being an entrepreneur epitomizes attaining freedom through positive constraints. In order to work for yourself, make your own decisions and have freedom of time and location, sacrifices must be made to get there. A lot of groundwork is required to get any business or entrepreneurial project off the ground, yet once the ball is rolling, it can create long-term freedom in many aspects of life.

The Freedom to Choose to Concede Freedom

Having the freedom to choose your own constraints is what makes life fulfilling and worthwhile. If you’re forced to do something, that’s a blatant form of slavery. If you’re programmed into thinking you don’t have a choice, that’s a subtle form of slavery. Both are extremely disharmonious and antithetical to human happiness.

Ultimately, everything you do is a constraint on freedom. The Latin root of the word decision means “to cut off.” By making a decision, you’re literally cutting off all other possibilities. So it’s important to be mindful of your decisions in every moment, because you’re always making decisions whether you’re aware of them or not. It is choice (decision) that collapses the wave-form of all possibility and gives us a specific experience. Without choice, there would be no experience. Having free will without making a choice is to not have an experience.

The key is being conscious of the choices you’re making and being aware of what you’re keeping and what you’re “cutting off” by making a decision.

Family and Oneness

One of the most gratifying positive constraints is choosing to start a family. By starting a family, you are choosing to give up some freedom, but the rewards of caring for others, giving and sharing can greatly outweigh the emptiness that comes from just sitting on the prospect of possibilities. Plus, taking care of someone besides yourself can be immeasurably rewarding if you already have some degree of self-mastery to build upon.

Creating a family is unique in the sense that it imprints and amplifies your impact on other people (particularly children). If you haven’t released your own demons, you’re going to infect your family with your dysfunction. This is why families tend to repeat the same patterns generation after generation, unless someone becomes very conscious and grounded in their own power. On the other hand, if you’re harmonious within yourself, you’re going to spread the light of your love even more and that’s a snowball effect too. So from this higher perspective, you have the potential to create more freedom and happiness for the whole (which we’re all a part of) by choosing the positive constraint of starting a family.

How to Apply Positive Constraints

1. Decide what you want – This is the decision that cuts off other possibility and focuses your reality. Make sure you’re consciously focusing your reality and being mindful of where your intentionality is being directed.

On a larger scale, figure out your purpose. Find what you want to prioritize in life and cast aside the things that aren’t in alignment with it. Also, you don’t have to have a fixed purpose for the rest of your life. Your purpose can change and evolve as you change and evolve.

For a clearer vision of your purpose, read my article: Reveal Your Life’s Purpose by Asking These 15 Questions

2. Implement habits to get there – Once you decide on what you want, action must be taken. Form daily habits to bring you in your desired direction.

Decide on 1-3 habits that are your “big wins” for the day and set aside blocks of time to do them, no matter what. With me, I set aside a 50 minute block for writing every morning and I record a video as well. Those have become things that I just do. Because I’ve built the habit, there is no decision to be made or questioning myself, they’re just what I do.

Don’t forget about the first hour of your day either. Your morning routine is the foundation for your day. Make your morning routine the leverage point from which you build positive momentum for the rest of the day. Ideally, it should consist of drinking a lot of water (re-hydration and cleansing), meditation and some form of stretching/mobility exercises/yoga to prime your body for the day.

More on morning routines:
How to Own Your Day: Tim Ferriss Shares His 5 Morning Rituals
The ‘Carpe Diem’ Morning Ritual

That’s it. Applying positive constraints is essentially just focusing and following through.

Enjoy your journey and much love to ya.

– 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 more about meditation, read my Introduction to Meditation.

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.

2 Easy Tricks To Build Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the precursor to any personal change or growth.

You have to be aware of something before you can do something about it, right?

To lose fat, you must first recognize that you have fat you want to lose. To become more assertive, you must first recognize that you lack assertiveness. To become a Pokemon master, you must first recognize that you gotta catch em all.

Ash Charmander Laugh

Awareness, then action. That’s the name of the game.

But the thing is, most people lack self-awareness. Because we are completely absorbed by our thoughts 24/7, we gain no perspective. Like the fish who is unaware of the water surrounding them throughout life. We become oblivious to ourselves. We fail to recognize useless (and sometimes destructive) reoccurring patterns, let alone give ourselves opportunities to correct them.

Nothing like a first-grade-lookin-cartoon-drawing, right?

Self-awareness is turning on the lights, allowing you to see everything you couldn’t see when in the dark.

It is the first step in creating any change in life.

So here’s 2 easy tricks to build self-awareness and assess your own behavior:

1. Draw your perception back.

Don’t be absorbed by your mind. Exist beyond it.

“The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.” -Robin S. Sharma

You’re not your thoughts. You’re the consciousness behind your thoughts. You’re the sky and your thoughts are  merely clouds passing by.

Deepak Chopra sums up that concept nicely here (at 1:37):

Allow yourself to witness your mind’s incessant activity, without attaching to it.

Draw your perception back and you’ll be able to objectively assess yourself. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, behavior, habits…etc.

2. Write things down.

Writing things down makes them more tangible. It also allows us to assess ourselves from different angles than we’re used to, providing useful new insights. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something magical about the act of writing things down. It always does the trick.

Keep a journal. And write unfiltered. Just write everything on your mind. No one’s going to read it. It’s for your eyes only. Writing with no filter will give you an objective look at yourself, which is crucial.

Log how you act/react in different situations. Write about experiences in your life and your thoughts about them.

Log how your body feels in different situations. Being conscious of your body is an invaluable skill to have (because we only get one in this lifetime). One idea is writing how you react to different foods. This has really helped me familiarize myself with my body and nutrition. It builds tremendous body awareness as well. I’ve had a lot of realizations by doing this, like recognizing that pasta bloats me like Snorlax at a chinese buffet (that’s Pokemon reference #2 if you’re keeping track).

Write down your goals, desires and aspirations. Make a bucket list. Recognize what you want out of life, and give yourself things to work towards.

Write down any noticeable changes in your life and how you feel about it. The mere act of writing things down results in self-awareness. And from there you can make the decision to do something about it.

Okay then.

Apply those 2 simple tips and you will greatly increase your self-awareness. You’ll be able to recognize your thoughts, feelings, emotions, habits…etc. And once you become more self-aware, you have the power to steer your life in any direction you choose.

Self-awareness acts as a platform to launch from.

Blast off.

-Stevie P!