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Why TLC Was Wrong About Chasing Waterfalls

Multnomah Falls

Hi, my name is Stevie… And I’m a waterfall chaser.

I also don’t stick to the rivers and the lakes that I’m used to.

Now you might be all like “But TLC said ‘DON’T go chasing waterfalls!'”

Yes, they did. I love that song (90’s music has a special place it my heart), but I disagree with the message of the chorus…

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to”

I remember when it first hit me. My thought process went something like this… “Wait, so they’re telling me to stay in my comfort zone and never take risks? Fuck that.”

I get the meaning behind the verses; avoid the destructive aspects of life like violence, drugs, addiction and precarious sex. That makes sense, obviously. But the chorus is the antithesis of what I believe to be good advice.

If all you do is stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to, you’ll be a slave to your comfort zones and live a life of lukewarm mediocrity. Nope, not for me. I’d rather explore.

Hiking Oregon

Comfort Zones Are Worse Than Death

Always sticking to what you’re used to is not living, it’s just barely existing. When you stay in your comfort zones, you basically live the same day over and over again for 75 years and call it a life.

There is no learning in that; no exploration, adventure, mystery, fun, fulfillment, excitement or growth. Comfort zones stifle growth. Life without growth is just dying slowly.

Build a habit of stepping out of your comfort zones. You can even start with tiny steps, such as turning your shower cold for the last 30 seconds. With a cold shower there is no risk, a ton of health benefits and you build the muscle of leaving your comfort zone.

Show me someone who continuously leaves their comfort zones, and chances are they’re someone who finds courage, success, fulfillment, passion, excitement, personal growth and what it really means to live.

At the end of your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do as opposed to the things you did do. Build some momentum in the direction of new experiences and continuous growth.

Waterfall Oregon

Act In Spite of Fear

We all feel fear, especially when stepping into the unknown (exploring rivers and lakes we’re not used to). What separates the hero from the coward is taking action in the face of fear. Everyone feels fear, but the hero chooses to be courageous despite the fear.

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”
– Brene Brown

Being courageous doesn’t mean being stupid or impulsive. It means not letting fear determine your decisions and taking calculated risks.

How do you build courage? Again, start with small steps. You don’t have to go climb a volcano and slay a dragon right off the bat.

Waterfall Thailand

Courage Momentum

One of the keys to truly living is building what I call “courage momentum.”

Here’s how you begin to build courage momentum. Notice things in life that make you slightly uncomfortable and take action when you feel that resistance.

Cold showers, like I mentioned before, are a great way to practice this. Another way is to say “hi” to people in public, even when you feel awkward. You can also try a new food or a new recipe. You can take a weekend trip to somewhere you’ve never been. There are so many courageous micro-decisions that you can make each day.

If you practice small acts of courage daily, you will build unyielding courage before you know it. This is what I call “courage momentum.”

Lake Titicaca

Follow Your Heart

The two main motivating forces are love and fear. Choose love over fear in every situation.

Fear is constriction and limitation. Love is expansion and growth. Fear is the essence of your ego. Love is the essence of your higher self.

Notice when your ego tries to run the show. Be aware when it attempts to manipulate your decisions based upon fear. Simple awareness robs the ego of its power and gives you the choice.

Don’t chase the desires of your ego. Don’t run from home out of fear. That’s how you end up like the sad stories TLC warned us about. Explore because you truly want to explore, and follow your heart.

Trust your intuition and make decisions out of love. Be courageous, not limited by fear.

Explore, learn and grow. Just remember to follow your heart, choosing love over fear, and you will discover beautiful new lands.

So here’s my perspective on the situation…

DO GO CHASING WATERFALLS.

Much love.

– Stevie Wander

PS – Every picture in this post was taken by me, while chasing waterfalls.
 

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2

Coast to Coast: The Great American Road Trip

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Every new place we go to, every new experience, expands our perspective.

This is why traveling may be the single best catalyst for personal growth (especially traveling alone).

In the spirit of travel, I just completed the classic American road trip. I drove from the East Coast (starting in New Jersey) to the West Coast (Portland, Oregon) over the course of 12 days.

Road trips are a perfect metaphor for life in general; you have to know where you’re headed, yet surrender to the journey. Happiness is a way of travel, not a destination. Wisdom is an endless direction, not a place you ever arrive at. Can you see the theme here? The magic lies within the journey itself. The journey is never-ending anyway, as perceived destinations are really just checkpoints along the continuous journey.

My road trip was amazing and eye-opening on many levels. I stayed with some friends and family along the way, and used AirBnb for the rest (along with a last minute hotel stay). I’m truly grateful for everyone who hosted me along my journey. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Here were my major stops (shown as blue circles on the map below):

  • Aberdeen, New Jersey (starting point)
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • St Louis, Missouri
  • Topeka, Kansas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Grand Junction, Colorado
  • Park City, Utah
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Portland, Oregon (end aka checkpoint along a larger journey)

Us road trip map

Throughout my road trip across the United States, I recorded a few videos. They document my thoughts, feelings, reflections and experiences as I was traveling. And it’s not just about me. A lot of what I discuss are things that can be directly applied to your life. So instead of writing a long, drawn-out article about everything, I thought it would be better to just let my recordings speak for themselves…

Road Trip Vlog Series

Road Trip Vlog Part One

Road Trip Vlog Part Two

Road Trip Vlog Part Three

Road Trip Vlog Part Four

Road Trip Visuals Via Instagram (@steviepthatsme)

My road trip across #murica starts now

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

#pittsburgh #roadtrippin

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

Gateway to the West

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

I love books #kansascity #library #archeticture #regalasfuck

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

Where I did my HIIT workout today #redrocks

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

😍

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

Gorgeous

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

Be-Utah-ful 😉

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

So unique #saltflats #utah

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

Dope street art #freakalley #boise

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

Last leg of my #greatamericanroadtrip

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

Oregon coast 🌊🌲

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on

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Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


 

Master Travel Anxiety with this Simple Technique

Flight cabin passengers travel

Travel is the ultimate perception-expander.

It forces you out of your comfort zones and catalyzes tremendous personal growth in a short period of time.

While travel is often quixotically romanticized, very few people address the other side of the coin; and that is the anxiety or fear that often accompanies travel. Anything that causes profound transformation carries with it an equal but opposing force of resistance.

Travel can be uncomfortable, scary and stir up anxiety in even the most zen people. The personal growth that comes from travel is a byproduct of constantly working through the resistances and fears that arise within you.

For me, anxiety tends to arise when I have to catch any form of public transportation or when entering an area deemed as unsafe. But I’ve learned to release myself from the clutches of travel anxiety by practicing a little ritual. And each time I do it, the clapperclaw of anxiety has less and less of a hold on me.

I came up with this self-guided meditation, or affirmation ritual, on a bus ride in Costa Rica and made the habit of doing it whenever I’m in transit. You can use it anywhere, any time or make a habit out of it like I do. But it’s especially useful when you feel that travel anxiety coming on.

The Travel Gratitude Ritual

Step 1: Close your eyes and take three deep breaths (into your belly) through your nose.

Step 2: Say these affirmations to yourself:
I am grateful for being able to travel
I am blessed
I am safe wherever I go
I attract positivity like a magnet
I relish in new experiences
I trust the process of life
Life is good

Note: You can repeat the affirmations as many times as you want. Sometimes, if you’re really overwhelmed, it might take 3-4 rounds before you calm down.

Step 3: Bring your hands to your heart and say thank you three times.

That’s it. Your travel anxiety will be gone, or at least greatly reduced, in a matter of seconds.

It’s also important to genuinely feel gratitude while you do this ritual. Not just think about it, but FEEL IT in your heart. Gratitude and fear cannot coexist.

Travel anxiety doesn’t stand a chance against the combination of gratitude, deep breathing and a reassuring faith that everything will be alright.

Try it out and enjoy the journey.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

Check out some of my other travel-related articles too:
11 Unique Ways to Optimize Your Travel Experience Wherever You Go
9 Reasons Why You Should Travel Alone At Least Once in Your Life
5 Reasons Why Traveling is Like Playing a Video Game
The Joy of Minimalism: Traveling the World with Only Carry-On Luggage

 

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Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great remains ad-free and I’d like to keep it that way. As you probably know, a lot of work and focus goes into maintaining a website and regularly posting publishing quality, life-enhancing articles from the heart. If you find value in this content, please consider supporting Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great. You can become a monthly contributor with the amount of your choosing.


 

Live Like Every Interaction is Your Last

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We’ve all heard the phrase “Live every day like it’s your last.”

But how many of us truly apply that?

***crickets chirp***

Yeah… Pretty much nobody.

It’s too easy to slip into the dull monotony of day-to-day life, coast through life on autopilot and lull ourselves to sleep inside the deceptive contentment of our comfort zones; only to wake up and find out we’ve missed the dance.

“Live every day like it’s your last” has lost its potency because so many people say it without actually embodying it. So a new phrase that I utilize is “Live like every interaction is your last.”

Serendipitously, I found myself applying that phrase during my travels. “Live like every interaction is your last” has become a perpetual piece of motivational self-talk as I maneuver through my days; and one that has made life infinitely more fulfilling as well.

Everything is an interaction, so whether it be with people, animals, places or circumstances, treat each and every interaction you have like it’s your last.

I was led to approach this “carpe diem” mentality from so many directions. Multiple paths, winding around the requiem of human reality, ended up seamlessly converging on this idea of wholeheartedly diving into each moment, because the next moment is not promised.

11 Key Components to “Living Like Every Interaction is Your Last”

1. Facing the Certainty of Death

The reality of life is that death is inevitable. Death can also come at any time. To not recognize this is ultimate denial. By being consciously aware that death is certain and tomorrow is not promised, you will cherish each moment and squeeze the last drop of divine nectar out of every sacred day you walk the Earth.

No matter what your belief system is – whether you believe in heaven, reincarnation, evolving into Mewtwo in another dimension or believe nothing exists after this life – your time within this physical body is finite. This completely unique life that you’re living right now has never happened before nor will it ever happen again. So be grateful and make the most of it!

View death, not as your enemy or something to be afraid of, but as an ally motivating you to make the most out of each fleeting moment.

“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” ~ James Dean

2. Positive Programming

Condition yourself to live like every interaction is your last. Find an affirmation or mantra to repeat and help ground you into the bliss of the present moment.

During every personal interaction, I keep the mantra “Live like every interaction is your last” in the back of my head. It helps me to be more present, more compassionate, more loving, more forgiving, more grateful, more bold and more courageous.

We’re always programming ourselves whether we like it or not. Everything you tell yourself is a seed planted in the garden of your subconscious mind. Are you cultivating the kind of garden you want?

3. Letting Go of Judgment

Are you going to waste your time worrying about what other people think of you? Are you going to let the opinions of others determine what YOU DO with YOUR OWN LIFE? Are you going to throw away your own time by judging others? In the grand scheme of things, those petty judgments are ridiculously stupid, and an absolute waste of your precious time here on Earth.

I took a more in depth look at different forms of judgment in these articles:
No One Cares: Your Key to Freedom from Social Anxiety
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Judgment

4. Living Through Your Heart

Don’t let your ego run the show. Reside in your heart-space, that intuitive knowing from a deep place of peace.

Choose love as your motivating force in every situation, not fear.

And as cliche as this phrase is, ask yourself “What would Jesus do?” (or “What would Buddha do?” if you prefer that as the archetype of an ascended master). The point is, what would you do if you were operating from a place of unconditional love? Do that!

5. Practicing Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a pivotal theme here.

Holding onto any negativity is like holding onto a burning coal, thinking that it’s burning the other person. You’re only hurting yourself.

Forgiveness is more about not letting negative emotions fester within you than it is about the other person.

Cultivate mindfulness regarding holding onto grudges or dwelling on negative scenarios in the past. Simply being aware of it will take the wind out of the sails of any negativity you’re holding onto.

6. Recognizing the Stupidity of Negativity

In the grand scheme of things, complaining is useless, getting angry over little things is laughable (and if you really think about it, everything is a “little thing”), clutching onto resentment is idiotic…etc.

Are you going to waste your precious time on Earth mad at the guy who cut you off in traffic yesterday? Get over it and move on.

7. Honesty

Why lie? What’s the point? Think about how it would feel to leave behind nothing but a complex web of lives for those you supposedly care about.

Lying just complicates things anyway, while honesty (though more difficult at times) is much simpler.

Honesty also feels good, because it’s the language of the heart, and any pain felt on the receiving end of a genuinely honest statement (based in love) is pain on the ego’s behalf.

8. Embracing the Little Things

Living like every interaction is your last is not necessarily about going skydiving or throwing a party and inviting everyone you’ve ever met; it’s about cherishing the little things in life.

Savor your cup of coffee in the morning, feel the joy of taking a deep breath through your nose, go for a walk outside and cherish the moment, laugh for no reason, dance by yourself, hold the door open for a stranger and see their beaming smile, give someone a genuine compliment…etc.

Learn to love the little things and your life will be an awe-inspiring experience of perpetual vibrance.

9. Avoiding Regret

“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.

You’re the brave hero of your own movie, so act like it. And remember that (so called) mistakes make the best learning experiences. Sitting scared in your comfort zone is not living, but a slow death.

Take some risks, be unabashedly honest, talk to that hot girl or guy, write that book you have inside of you, quit your boring job and travel the world, tell your loved ones that you love them every time you say goodbye… Because you never know…

When you’re on your deathbed, are you going to look back and have regrets? Or smile and say “What a ride, baby!”?

10. Presence

The present moment is all that exists, and its fleeting, so cherish it.

The past and future only exist in our minds. And it’s in the mental projections into the past or future where we find our fear, worry, anxiety and all those negative emotions. Remember, there are no problems in the present moment.

The present moment is the ever-moving point of unending actualization which encases the physical dimension. It’s a ceaseless vortex of infinite love that goes wherever you go. You just have to surrender to it.

Feel, in the depths of your soul, the indescribable magic of each moment.

Meet each moment with joyful totality.

11. Your Legacy

What are you doing to make the world a better place? What are you creating? Are you living with purpose? What message are you conveying by the way you live your life?

What is your legacy?

Let the answer to that be a guiding force for the way you live your life on a moment-to-moment basis.

The Catalyst of Travel

Travel has a profound way of spurring this way of living like each moment could be your last. With all of the new (and sometimes scary) places, all of the perilous bus rides and the natural fear of flights, you become far more likely to constantly consider your own mortality.

From that perspective, a choice presents itself in every moment: “Will I make the most of this moment, or succumb to fear and complacency, letting it slip away forever?”

The choice is up to you. You have the option, in every moment, to make the most out of that fleeting moment and live like every interaction is your last.

One love.

– Stevie P!
 

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What are You Hiding From Yourself? 14 Ways to Discover Your Blind Spots

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I thought I had it all figured out a few months ago…

My ego loved the (false) sense of elitism that came from the (small) amount of wisdom I had accumulated and the personal growth I had achieved.

This sense of egoic comfort allowed my blind spots to subtly suffocate my growth and choke out my compassion towards others. As Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars would say, “It’s a trap!”

Luckily, I realized that my ego had snuck in through the back door. Deep down I knew that, in the grand scheme of things, I had next to nothing figured out, so I decided to shake things up a bit. In a hopscotch of faith, I leapt into innumerable experiences that shattered any sense of “having life figured out” and launched me to unforeseen levels of self-discovery and growth.

These experiences included 5 months of (mostly solo) world travel through 10 countries, meeting hundreds of amazing people, journaling every single day of my travels, having cathartic experiences at the Osho center, attending a few yoga retreats and workshops, getting certified in kinesiology, learning Siddha healing, practicing many different meditation techniques, jumping into new relationships, communing with Ayahuasca in the Peruvian Amazon, struggling to communicate with my weak Spanish speaking skills, hiking Machu Picchu in pouring rain, learning how to surf, going to the Envision Festival alone and embarking on countless other adventures that catapulted me out of my comfort zone. All of this intensely illuminated so many of my blind spots, quantum-jumped my knowledge of self and spurred so much improvement that I still haven’t assimilated it all. And I’m still riding this momentum.

“We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.” ~ John Wheeler

The more you know
The more you realize you don’t know
And you don’t know
What it is that you don’t know
Until it’s known
But you do know
That you don’t know everything
So rest in the fact that there’s always more to know

We all have blind spots, forces that we’re completely unaware of that may be holding us back.

The human mind, though it’s an immensely powerful tool, is littered with self-deception and cognitive biases. It’s so easy to trick ourselves, and over time, deepen the groove of a skewed view of reality.

That’s why one of the most important things you can do is take an objective look at yourself and reveal your blind spots.

What if your comfort zones are actually false fortresses of security that are doing you far more harm than good? What if everything you’ve been basing your reality on was a lie? What if every aspect of your life is really based on false assumptions, feebly held together by other false assumptions to rationalize the former false assumptions?

We’ve all seen the extremes of self-denial and glaring personal blind spots… The religious zealot who ignores overwhelming evidence contrary to her rigid, literal interpretation of the bible and believes ridiculous things like the idea of Jesus riding dinosaurs. The corporate guy, whose identity is so wrapped up in materialism, that he goes to great lengths (buying fancy clothes, watches and cars, having beautiful girlfriends just to impress others, exorbitant vacations to show off…etc.) in order to fill that feeling of emptiness inside. The high school friend, who has hesitantly convinced himself that he’s happy still living in the same hometown, working the same job and going to the same bar every Friday night. These epitomic cases may seem sad and even pathetic to us, but we’re all guilty of self-denial to some extent.

In order to become the greatest version of yourself and make the most out of life, you need to be able to observe yourself from an objective perspective. You need to call yourself out on your own bullshit. Everything from your most fundamental beliefs, how you view reality, your sense of what is possible, your identity, your habits, your patterns, your limiting beliefs, your assumptions, your false confidence, your fears, your egoic desires, your intuition, your intrinsic motivations, your reactions to external stimuli, your view of others, your freedom (or lack thereof), how you move your body, your choice of music, your choice of entertainment, your sources of information, your biases, your community, your inhibitions, your different personalities among different people, your dietary habits, your addictions, your vulnerabilities, your childhood pain that you’re still carrying, your biggest fear for the future, your self-judgments , your comfort zones, the excuses you make to yourself, the labels you mindlessly slap on things, the little lies you tell yourself, the secrets you’re hiding in the depths of your psyche, the truths you’re afraid of being true, the reason why you were born…etc.

As you can see, there are a lot of potential blind spots out there (or in there). Here’s how to develop a perspective of increased self-awareness, put yourself in a position of continuous personal evolution and be genuinely YOU-nique.

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14 Ways to Discover Your Blind Spots

1. Meditation

Meditation cultivates a state in which you can objectively observe your thoughts and emotions. We often go through life completely consumed by our thoughts and emotions, not being able to witness them. This is why meditation is so crucial. With practice, you will create awareness regarding your emotions, thoughts, habits and patterns.

This state of awareness makes change possible. If you go through life oblivious to your patterns, because you’re too engrossed in them to know what’s going on, you’ll never be in a position to make a change. As the old proverb goes, “The fish would be the last to discover water because they’re immersed in it.” Meditation can take you out of the metaphorical water of your assumed reality and help you realize “Wow, I was really IN THERE this whole time?”

If you’re new to meditation, try starting out with my 21 Breath Salute. It’s so easy and takes less than 5 minutes to do.

2. Intimate Relationships

Intimate relationships are the most powerful tools for showing you your own weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

Your partner is like a mirror of your own internal state. Your fears, limiting beliefs, doubts, delusions and repressed emotions are reflected in intimate relationships.

One example of this is getting angry at your partner for forgetting something. Chances are that you get angry at yourself for forgetting things, and because this person is so close to you, you do to them whatever you do to yourself. So get to the bottom of why you get angry at yourself for something so asinine. Did your parents do it to you? Do you put pressure on yourself to never make mistakes? (And where does that belief come from?) Share this revelatory process with your partner as you go through it. You’re on the same team, right?

Here’s another example. If you have a fear of abandonment from, let’s say, your father leaving you as a child, you will find yourself desperately clinging to relationships, even when it’s obvious that it’s not to your benefit. But you have to have some degree of self-awareness to be able to see this play out in your life (as well as a self-aware partner who can help you to realize these things as they come up). Otherwise, you’ll just blindly repeat the cycle over and over again.

You need to open to love to be in a relationship. And when your heart is open, you’re also vulnerable. This is why past pain that you thought you had hidden resurfaces. This is why your ego takes many bruises and why certain words penetrate to the core of your fears.

When an intimate relationship is honest, open and transparent, you will see all of each other’s deepest blind spots. Then you have the choice to work through them, or ignore them, letting them forever influence your life from the shadows of your subconsciousness.

3. Close Family and Friends

Family and friends can be similar to intimate relationships, though less of a “mirror” because our focus isn’t on them like it is on an intimate partner. (Although it can be very strong if you have children, because your complete focus is often on them. This is why having children can teach you so much about yourself.)

With family and friends, honest relationships are paramount. Surround yourself with people that love you enough to call you out on your bullshit and wake you up from your self-delusions.

I’m not saying to obey everything that other people say, but pay attention to the words spoken from the heart of someone you care deeply for.

4. Plant Medicine

Plant medicines are some of the most powerful catalysts for self-realization and growth. Some examples of plant medicines are “magic” mushrooms, Ibogaine and Ayahuasca (which I’ve done myself and wrote about here).

Plant medicines will help you see where your blind spots are, reevaluate your life, examine your fundamental beliefs and aid you in breaking out of the patterns that don’t serve you. It’s like a crash course in self-improvement. Before you dismiss plant medicines as drugs, be aware that there’s a growing body of research regarding the healing effects of psychedelics on addiction, depression and mental disorders such as PTSD.

When used in clinical or ceremonial settings, these sacred plant medicines have profound healing properties.

5. Be Aware of Cognitive Biases

A cognitive bias is defined as “a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion. Individuals create their own “subjective social reality” from their perception of the input.” (Wikipedia)

One prominent cognitive bias is called the backfire effect, which is when you reject evidence that contradicts your viewpoint or conclusion, even if you know that the evidence is true. How many times have you seen people do this? A lot, right? And I bet you’ve done it too. I know I have.

Another notable cognitive bias is the bandwagon effect. This is when the probability of one person adopting a belief increases based on the number of people who hold that belief. The bandwagon effect is a testament to how powerful groupthink or herd mentality can be. Don’t overlook the possibility that your most fundamental beliefs may be based on false premises and they’ve only been collectively accepted, not because they’re true, but because of phenomena like the bandwagon effect.

This article outlines 57 different cognitive biases that us humans can have. And there’s probably more too that we very well be unaware of.

Get familiar with the many variations of cognitive biases and ask yourself the tough questions: On which topics are my views biased? What cognitive biases do I have? Which ones am I most vulnerable to? In what kind of situations do they arise? What viewpoints am I vehemently or even irrationally defending? What am I desperately trying to justify? Maybe there are cognitive biases at play.

6. Build Ego Awareness

The ego is sneaky, cunning and a terrible master. If you become a slave to the ego and let it run your life, you will be engulfed in a world of endless fear, judgment, deception and self-sabotage.

Know when your ego is trying to run the show. Learn to differentiate between your egoic desires and the genuine desires of your heart.

Your ego will wrap its identity in labels (nationality, race, religion, gender…etc.) and constrict you in the process. It will have you stubbornly defending ideas that you’re not quite sure are true. It will have you clinging to comfort, blocking out any exposure to growth.

Read my article “What Does Your Ego Look Like?” for a deeper dive into the ego.

7. Investigate Your Resistances

Resistance is the ego at work. If you have great resistance towards something, look into it. It will often be your ego resisting something that is actually beneficial for you.

The classic examples of resistance are politics and religion. People are so emotionally attached to their ideologies (and there are so many cognitive biases involved) that even a mild counterpoint is met with hostility and defensiveness. If you notice this kind of resistance in you, see where it comes from. Are you afraid that what you cling to will be gone? Do you think you won’t have an identity if you step outside of the box of the political/religious ideology you follow? Are you merely following an ideology based on the fear of consequences if you don’t?

If you have extreme resistance towards something, it’s probably something you’re desperately trying to suppress and it’s driving you crazy in the process. Examine everything with an open mind and meet resistance with love.

8. Be a Beginner Again

Try something new where you have to start from square one. If you’re an intellectual, try learning how to surf. If you’re an athlete, try playing chess.

Taking on something completely new and foreign will shake you out of your comfort zones, make you vulnerable (in a good way), uncover weaknesses (or strengths that you never knew about), highlight any stubbornness you have, enable you to connect dots from seemingly unrelated areas and catalyze so much learning in a short period of time.

9. Get Out of the Echo Chamber

This is closely related to trying something new.

An echo chamber is “a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an “enclosed” system, where different or competing views are censored, disallowed, or otherwise underrepresented.” (Wikipedia)

Sometimes, we get so caught up in our niche communities (especially online), that we don’t realize that it could be an echo chamber. The extreme version of this is something like Scientology, but I’ve seen various degrees of “echo-chamberism” from spiritual communities to scientific communities and everything in between. It’s cool to connect with like-minded people, but just make sure that you’re not illogically rejecting things to hold up false premises. Question everything and always exercise your critical thinking faculties.

If you’re a floaty spiritual person, switch it up and read some scientific literature. If you’re scientific-minded, read some spiritual stuff. If you’re a hip-hop head, listen to some classical music (the real OG’s). All of this will give you a completely different perspective on things, make you more well-rounded and spur so much new insight it will blow your mind.

10. Find a Group Setting that Facilitates Self-Discovery

Attend a retreat or a workshop. These kinds of events are designed to be learning experiences provide you with new perspectives in a concise package.

Every retreat and every workshop I’ve ever attended has revealed profound insights that were previously blind spots for me.

11. Put Yourself in Other People’s Shoes

See the world from someone else’s perspective. Visualize their perspective in detail. Think about their motivations, point of view, beliefs, fears and how their experiences have shaped who they are. Have empathy and compassion and truly understand their point of view.

This kind of empathetic visualization will greatly expand your perceptions give you a unique perspective on your own life.

Also, studying the behavior of others will create an awareness of those same behaviors within yourself (if you’re willing to look within).

12. Keep a Journal

Journaling is one of the best tools for self-reflection. Deep-seated revelations arise when your thoughts and emotions are externalized.

The process of writing itself also creates objectivity and newfound understanding. Journaling allows you to witness your state of being from a higher perspective. And reading about your past experiences will give you more clarity for the present (hindsight is 20/20).

13. Travel

Travel is the ultimate perspective-expander. You experience new cultures, new ideas and new ways of living. You also meet tons of interesting people, often travelers themselves, who grave great wisdom to share.

Traveling also forces you out of your comfort zone. After any stint of travel, you’ll be able to step back and look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

14. Read Books

Reading is one of the best ways to learn and grow as a person. Every book you read is a rung of your ladder of knowledge, helping you climb above the walls of your own ignorance.

Here’s a tip to spur even more self-discovery and growth: Once in a while, read something that is completely different than normal for you. I stubbornly only read nonfiction for a while, thinking I was being practical and learning a lot (which I was). But once I started reading fiction, I unexpectedly learned so much more, and in ways I never would have expected. My imagination bloomed like a flower in spring, my power of visualization strengthened, my vocabulary greatly expanded and my writing ability reached new heights. Also, because I read fiction before bed, I started falling asleep more easily. Imagination and visualization were blind spots for me, and I probably never would have thought about them if it weren’t for reading fiction.

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There you have it. Those are some excellent ways to illuminate the caverns of your psyche and bring awareness to your blind spots.

Don’t just read this and then fall back into the same patterns you know don’t serve your highest interest. Apply! Apply! Apply!

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

Life gets excruciatingly stale when you’re held down by the shadowy forces you refuse to face. Release the fear of what you’re afraid of discovering, because it’s all you and, in the grand scheme of things, it’s all love.

Uncover your blind spots, keep learning and keep growing.

Make the most out of your short time here on Earth.

One love.

– Stevie P!
 

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2

Why I Stopped Traveling the World

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After about 5 months of inspirited vagabondism all over this beautiful planet, I’ve decided to stop traveling (for now).

What? Why? Are you crazy? Don’t you want to keep traveling the world?

Not really, at least for this phase of my life.

I had a myriad of amazing experiences, met hundreds of wonderful people, discovered so much about myself and gained an enormous amount of clarity regarding, well, everything. In short, I got what I was looking for (but of course, the journey now continues in other ways).

How I Decided Where to Go

My travels were guided by places that were calling me. I would get these deep, intuitive callings to go places. And that’s what I followed, no matter what. Money, distance and convenience all took a back seat while I faithfully navigated via my inner compass.

Every place was special and served as an auspicious co-conspirator for my personal evolution. They all played a role that I never would have imagined if I didn’t follow “the calling.”

“There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.” ~ Albert Einstein

Why I Stopped Traveling

I stopped traveling because no particular place is calling me right now.

However, that calling is now coming in the form of new endeavors (there are big things on the horizon for Feelin’ Good, Feelin’ Great) and building relationships with kindred spirits.

I have an incredible pull coming from the depths of my being. So that’s my focus right now. That is the theme of this chapter of my life.

Where in the World was Stephen Parato?

Here’s the general list of places I went to (notice that most of it doesn’t make sense from a strictly logical standpoint):

Marseilles, France
Barcelona, Spain
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Split, Croatia
Hvar Island, Croatia
Zagreb, Croatia
Pune, India (at the Osho International Meditation Resort)
Bangkok, Thailand
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Pai, Thailand
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Arambol, Goa, India
Iquitos, Peru (and the Peruvian Amazon)
Cusco, Peru
Machu Picchu
Puno, Peru
Copacabana, Bolivia
Isla Del Sol & Lake Titicaca, Bolivia
Panama City, Panama
Bocas Del Toro, Panama
Isla Basimentos, Panama
San Jose, Costa Rica
Uvita, Costa Rica (and Envision festival)

I took a bunch of buses, a few trains and 13 flights throughout those 5 months (like a so-rad, pro-nomad).

I stayed everywhere from hostels, to Airbnb places, to guest houses and even a fancy hotel in Panama City for a night.

Such diversity of life experiences allows me to appreciate everything more, develop the perspective to be able to relate to anyone and evolve into the greatest version of myself.

Traveling for the Sake of Traveling

Since no place is truly calling me right now, if I were to keep gallivanting around, I would just be traveling for the sake of traveling. Doing that would actually be going against my intuitive guidance (which is pointing me towards new projects and building relationships, not more travel). And we all know what happens when we ignore our intuition.

If you’re traveling for the sake of traveling, are you really being guided by your internal compass? Are you traveling just so you can take beautiful Instagram pictures so that everyone thinks you’re cool? These are questions I’ve periodically asked myself. Notice when your lifestyle choices are based upon other people, or society, instead of your own inner guidance.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” ~ Steve Jobs

I’ve learned to trust my intuition and trust the process of life. When I do, life is infinitely more fulfilling and magical. On the surface, continuing to travel seems exciting, but I know that I’m entering into a different phase right now. I know that as I walk this path of inner truth, opportunities will present themselves that I never would have imagined beforehand.

What is Calling You?

Get in tune with what is calling you. Be brutally honest with yourself.

What do you have a deep, irresistible calling towards?

Who cares what anyone else tells you? Live based on your own genuine, intuitive (heart-based) desires otherwise you’ll forever be a slave to other people and external forces.

The calling will be different for everyone. For you, it may be be starting a family, or learning a new language or traveling to the country where your grandparents were born. We’re all utterly unique, on different journeys and at different stages of our own hero’s journey.

It all boils down to this: Live YOUR life.

Much love.

– Stevie P!

Croatian Island Bay Stance #hvar #starigrad #croatia #thatstancetho #perfectform

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on


 

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Selfie Sticks and Knickknacks (A Unique Take on Tourism)

Tourism is an interesting phenomenon.

On the surface, it seems pretentious and annoying – flocks of foreigners, swooping in on new (to them) lands, taking more pictures than they’ll be able to look at in five lifetimes and throwing their money at local knickknacks that don’t really serve any purpose; all while looking laughably out of place.

But tourism as we see it today is a symptom of transition. People are starting to become interested in different places, different cultures and different ideas. And that’s a beautiful thing. It’s just that most folks haven’t yet honed their inner guidance system enough to proficiently pilot their newfound curiosity through this hybridized world of natural wonder infused with exponentially increasing technology.

The old paradigm, which never served humanity or our planet in the first place, is fading away before our very eyes. We’re moving away from the days of people comfortably sitting in their “identity boxes” (nationality, sex, race, religion…etc.), ignorantly fearful of those within other “identity boxes.” Two world travelers, even from the most different places imaginable, will never go to war against one another. Why? They’ve seen and experienced enough to realize that, at the end of the day, we’re all humans, co-inhabiting this big floating rock. Ignorance is the prerequisite for division-based violence. And in today’s transparent, global society, the dark shadows of ignorance are quickly being illuminated out of existence.

We (the people, not the lawmakers) are also harmonizing many areas of the world toward a more peaceful vibration. This is the flip-side of the utter monstrosity that was colonial imperialism/vampirism. Tourism can be corny, annoying and even mildly exploitative at times, but it’s a step in the right direction. The underlying intentions of tourism (curiosity, wonder and adventure of everyday people) are a far cry from the intent of organized oppression and thievery of entire continents by those in power.

We’re waking up to the fact that we’re all humans, sharing this planet. A reinvigorated, healthy respect for one another, as well as Pachamama (Mother Earth), is sweeping through our collective consciousness. Today’s tourism, tinged with selfie sticks and knickknacks, is just a silly bridge between the old and the new.

One love.

– Stevie P

PS – This post wouldn’t be complete without a selfie of my own…

I don’t usually take selfies, but when I do it’s with contemplative monkeys.

A photo posted by steviepthatsme (@steviepthatsme) on


 

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The No Excuse Nomad Workout for Traveling

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Do you lose any semblance of a workout routine when you’re traveling or on vacation/holiday?

We all do to some extent. It’s so easy to not “do squat” (see what I did there?) while living the nomad life.

But just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you have to leave your good ole friends health and fitness at home.

No gym? No fancy equipment? No problem. You don’t need anything (besides your own body) to get a good workout in. Rage against the machine and make use of the vessel you’re inhabiting.

I’ve been traveling for over two months now and I’ve created an effective travel workout routine as a result. Each workout takes only four minutes and all you need is your own body. It can be done anywhere and requires very little space (you can even do it in a tiny hotel room). So there are no excuses.

It’s never lack of time; it’s a lack of priority that prevents you from doing something. If you really want something, you will make time for it.

With this workout routine, you literally have no excuses for not doing it, besides being a lazy lemur.

Note: Anyone can do this and benefit from it, no matter your fitness level, gender, age…etc. You can also substitute variations of any exercise if they’re too difficult for you. For example, if regular pushups are difficult for you, you can do pushups from your knees.

The No Excuse Nomad Workout
These workouts follow the tabata template, which is 20 seconds of an exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest, and this is repeated 8 times. So the workout lasts for a grand total of four minutes.

During each 20 second set of an exercise, make sure to push yourself. Go hard, rest, repeat.

Aim to do one workout everyday (but don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day), rotating between the upper body and the lower body workouts to give your body sufficient recovery time. Here’s what a week might look like: Monday = Upper body, Tuesday = Lower body, Wednesday = Upper body, Thursday = Whoops I forgot to work out, Friday = Lower body…etc.

And here’s a demonstration of me (in all of my European-esque sexiness) doing the first workout on the beach in Goa, India:

Workout 1: Upper body
Exercises: Pushups and Towel Rows

20 seconds of pushups
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of towel rows
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of pushups
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of towel rows
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of pushups
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of towel rows
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of pushups
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of towel rows
10 seconds of rest

Variety:
For variety, you can do pike pushups for shoulders for one or two sets, instead of regular pushups.

Want to do more?
If you’re still feeling energized, you can do some bent over raises and curls with whatever is around (ex/ books).

Workout 2: Lower Body and Abs
Exercises: Jump Squats and Leg Raises (see the links for examples)

20 seconds of jump squats
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of leg raises
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of jump squats
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of leg raises
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of jump squats
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of leg raises
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of jump squats
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of leg raises
10 seconds of rest

Want to do more?
If you’re still feeling energized, you can do some lunges and calf raises

Pick a time of day that will work for you:
Are you traveling for work? Do it in the morning or after work. Are you vacationing for leisure? Workout whenever you feel like it. Wake up early, or workout during that afternoon lull…etc.

2 Mindset Switches That Will Greatly Help You

1. Priorities – Are you going to prioritize working out? Are you willing to devote four minutes a day? As you probably know, the benefits of exercise (particularly resistance training) are virtually endless. Find that motivation within. Because, really, there are no excuses for not doing such a quick and accessible workout.

2. Stop caring about what other people think – There are opportunities everywhere, especially in public places, if you’re open to them (the beach, a park, playground…etc.). If you’re on the beach all day, why not work out? The only thing preventing you is caring what other people think. There will be no public hanging for you after you work out in public, I promise. Just do it.

Step into the strongest version of yourself.

Enjoy the journey.

– Stevie P!
 

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