First let's explore what I call, The What, Why, How Self-Improvement Cycle.
People who aren’t sure what they want to do in life tend to have poorer habits because why bother dealing with the discomfort and patience of creating good habits?
If you don’t have a particular goal in mind why bother exercising when you can watch Netflix, why bother reading when you can sleep, why bother, why bother, why bother?!
You’re not sure what your goals are. Nothing is particularly interesting to you.
I mean certain things sound good, but it's so much work to "run a marathon", "write a book", or "get an A". After the motivation subsides it just becomes drudgery.
Your not sure what your purpose is. You just take it day by day. Your only purpose really is to "be happy" and "do good".
But how can you know what your purpose is when no goals inspire you and there are no good habits that you like.
It's a vicious cycle - you don't have good habits, because you don't have meaningful goals, and you don't have meaningful goals because you don't have a clear purpose and you don't have a clear purpose because you can't stick with any good habits.
I think one of two things will break this cycle -
That kind of happened to me. I was miserable and made the decision that I could be miserable and play video games, or I could be miserable and read. I decided on the latter and haven't looked back.
But even before that decision I had high standards for myself, maybe not in school, but ever since I can remember I was always competitive and wanted to be the best. It was never a question of "if" just a matter of "when". My miserableness finally inspired me to say now was the time to get started developing good habits.
That brings me to point two...
I believe that if you keep your standards low you'll die with A LOT of regret asking yourself, "What if...", "What if..."
1. First admit to yourself and a friend that your current situation is unacceptable.
2. Acknowledge that it's about the journey of progressing every day for the rest of your life - not a particular destination (life isn't suppose to be easy).
3. Settle on your WHY
4. List all the things that would help your WHY succeed.
5. Then put a checkmark next to each of those things you "can" do. NOT what you'd "like" to do.
6. Create your WHAT, WHY, HOW sheet. At the top of your page, put your WHY, then list your WHAT and HOW. For a digital version go to www.livetochallenge.com.
7. Get started TODAY on the first thing on your list. Don't wait until you "feel" like it. Do it now and resolve to work toward your WHY every day.
"Don't say anything stupid, Anthony." And in my desire to be liked I'd say nothing at all.
Our desire to “fit in” is evolutionarily bred into us because if you didn’t, the pack would then abandon you to the lions and tigers and bears.
But in modern society, I think the more you can step away from the pack the better off you’ll be, i.e. taking the road less traveled.
This is because repetitive cookie-cutter jobs are getting replaced by machines, which means you’ll get replaced unless you offer something unique and creative and it’s hard to come up with something unique and creative when you're living the same life as everyone else by having the same thoughts and doing the same things.
The end of the 20th century saw the Rise of the Geeks and now we're also seeing the Rise of the Creatives via platforms like, YouTube, Instagram, and Wordpress.
And creativity at its root is imperfect because it’s subjective.
As perfectionists we can tinker with something for hours on end to get it to 100%, but this creates frustration and eventually immobility.
Tell yourself, "Great is good enough!" on a daily basis, especially when you find your perfectionism is stopping you from proceeding.
So have the courage to be imperfect so you can...
When you’re willing to be imperfect you can feel more comfortable in your own skin. No one was ever perfect.
You may say, "Well what about George Washington? He was perfect!" No he had slaves.
What about, "Teddy Roosevelt."
He backstabbed his best friend and then lost the general election anyway to Woodrow Wilson.
What about, "Donald Trump!"
Even if you think a person is "perfect", there are still tradeoffs.
Abraham Lincoln was compassionate, but his compassion led to his depression.
Or maybe you think, "Hey Anthony, but you are so damn good looking." And I'd say maybe that makes me incapable of empathizing with ugly people.
Or you might add, "Hey Anthony, but you are so smart too!", but that can cause a lack of emotional intelligence, i.e. people who are really smart tend to be socially awkward at one end of the spectrum or sociopathic at the other end.
So now that we agree that no one is perfect, the question becomes - how can you courageously embrace imperfection?
I believe it comes down to focusing on your goals and outcomes.
For example, as I write this I'm not too worried about saying something stupid as evidenced by paragraph 18 sentence 2.
I'm more concerned about the goal of this blog post, which is to encourage you to embrace your imperfections so you can give more and live freer.
Let me use a questionable metaphor, It’s like playing pool. You don’t want to focus too much on the cue ball or stick. You’re aware of them, but your focus is on getting it in the hole.
I want us all to get it in the hole.
So the next time you’re feeling stuck or insecure because of your perfectionism, just ask yourself what is your outcome for that situation.
For me my goal is to build a profitable business via Live to Challenge, YouTube, and blogging that offers practical tools and advice to empower millions of people to become 1000% better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
My goal is NOT to make Aunt Theresa, or Professor McNulty, or even my Grandmother approve of my decisions.
I’d like them to, but if they don’t I’m okay with that because I'm too focused on achieving my goals to let my mind dwell on what the spectators are saying.
In other words, get out in the arena! Focus on the lion in front of you by ignoring the cheering or booing (in your head or otherwise) by doing whatever it takes, no matter how imperfectly, no matter how many scratches and bruises you get, to kill that damn lion! Roar.
Where are you on the "inspiration scale"?
This is the frequency in which you feel inspired on a daily basis - I didn't make this up.
In my opinion this scale is far more important than the weight scale, but I digress...
According to researchers Todd Thrash and Andrew Elliot, those who are MORE WILLING to experience inspiration are MORE LIKELY to experience it.
The most powerful weapon in human history is the written word!
The written word can be used to incite good -
Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t have been able to unite the United States without his words of encouragement during the darkest points of the war.
Or the written word could be used to incite hatred of the jews.
But why should you write if you don’t intend to build empires or kill jews?
There are numerous benefits of writing, but personally I can speak to how writing has made me more more emotionally centered and knowledgable.
I don't internalize my feelings damn it! Stop asking!
Okay maybe a little, but writing helps me feel better than "talking it out". Leave me alone! I'm fine.
For example, after a break up I felt better dumping out all my thoughts and feelings about the past, present, and future. It gave me a greater sense of closure.
Writing down how you feel gives your mind permission to stop dwelling on it.
Writing has also made me more knowledgeable.
By writing down and analyzing what I learned from books, videos, and life I'm better able to recall that information and apply those lessons.
2. See yourself as a writer. What we label ourselves impacts what we do. If you identify yourself, for example, as a “fat” person then it’s a lot harder to stick with healthy habits.
3. Commit to writing for a set amount of days, i.e. 15, 30, 50, etc. Then at the end of the challenge you can reevaluate if you want to stick with the writing habit (but not before!).
4. Commit to which days you’ll write. I suggest doing it daily, but at the very least do it weekly. If you decide to do it weekly then pick an exact day every week and set a reminder so you don’t forget!
5. Set a trigger. For example, “AFTER I sit down with my morning cup of coffee I WILL write 500 words.” This makes the habit harder to forget and quicker to form.
6. Do what’s fun. When you’re starting out I don’t suggest building the habit by writing thesis papers (unless you’re into that sort of thing you sick freak!). Maybe get your 500 words in by starting a Tumblr blog, journaling on Day One, posting long descriptions to your Instagram photos, or emailing friends to be pen pals.
7. Recognize you’ll feel discomfort forming any new habit. This is a good thing because it means you’re pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. If the discomfort is too much then cut down on the number of days and words you have to do and seek new ways to make it fun.
Don’t let the longest thing you ever write be an angry text to a former lover.
Build the habit of writing and you’ll begin your journey of becoming 1,000% better than before.
My mission is to improve your life by 1,000%.
It'll be hard, but I haven't been this excited since I drove by cheerleaders washing cars.
I think striving for a 1,000% improvement is better than 0% and it's better than "perfect". If you strive for "perfect" or "optimal" you just end up driving yourself crazy.
Now let's be clear - I'm not disguising myself as an Indian Guru or Buddhist Monk or Billionaire Entrepreneur.
This is not a cock fight or gladiator match to see who is the most personally developed person in the room.
I'm just sharing what I've learned the last 9 years studying personal development and how it has helped me be 1,000% better than the path someone like me (given my history) would have normally gone down.
I want to help you become 1,000% better because a better you makes for a better world for us.
Over the next few months I'll write about each of the 10 keystone habits. Subscribe so you don't miss one!
Consider this the 101 course for personal development, which will serve as a fantastic starting point or a nice refresher.
If you're ever in a rut these are the fundamentals to get your life back on track!
I think you can predict a person's success & well-being by how many of these habits a person consistently does.
Top performers regularly do seven to ten of these habits, such as, George Washington, Charles Darwin, Bill Gates, Tony Robbins, and Tim Ferris.