Don’t do a “double-take” or rub your eyes. No need — you read the title right:
*Easy, actionable, kick-ass* ways to create an extraordinary life, TODAY!
This is real. And I have a question to pose to you — the almighty pop-in, drop-by, check-out-a-blog-with-a-catchy-title visitor:
Are you gonna give yourself some bat-shit, horse-face, ostrich-ass reason why you’re not ready to apply the kindergarten-esque, simple and straightforward instructions below? I mean, it’s really all s-p-e-l-l-e-d o-u-t for you. Or. Let me say that again. OR. Are you gonna muster up the manliness/goddessness within you to get your move on and feel this wisdom applied?
I started writing this ridiculous list on a Monday over a month ago. I was in Hawaii, strolling around, and found myself on the beach at a bar which served $3.50 Mai-tais from 12 noon ’til 5PM. I thought to myself:
“Damn dawg, you’re livin’ the life! But how can you help people who aren’t ready to come kick it in Hawaii yet? How can you help the chick who’s working behind a desk in a job that’s depleting her soul of its sweet sauce?”
Needless to say, a couple of napkins, drinks, and chats with chicks later — this list was spawned.
I broke these actions down into 3 categories: Mind. Body. And Soul. And although I did classify each action in a single category, the intertwining of the mind, body, and soul are just as evident in this article as they are in actual life. Aiight yo, let’s get this whole shebang started.
:::: MIND ::::
Jim Carrey. Bill Clinton. Russell Simmons. These are a few of the fascinating freakshows who’ll be first to tell you about getting your meditation going on a daily basis. Why? Well, meditation slows your mind down so you can make room to choose your (most empowering) thoughts. It also relaxes your body by eliminating tension and circulating air properly. Plus, it allows you to tap into [get ready to gasp…] your spirituality and get in touch with a more meaningful part of yourself.
Getting started with meditation is a little like looking to learn Chinese. It probably sounds funny, feels intimidating, and by the time you’ve mustered up the madness to give it a try, you’ve probably scared yourself out of succeeding. Gung Hay Fat Choi. Happy New Year! It’s okay.
Do this: First thing in the morning, sit with your legs crossed or lay down for 5 minutes and count your inhalations. 1 second, 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 4 seconds. Hold it for 1, 2, 3, 4. And then exhale for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. That’s it. Rinse and repeat until your 5 min timer goes off.
Resource: To make it super easy, check out Blissitations, where you can download a free audio track to use for meditating and easing the silence.
Visualize Your Ideal
“Visualizations” are a process of imagining (or visualizing) your ideal future. It’s a way to program your subconscious mind and let it know what you want to appear in the future. Does this weirdness actually work? Ask Tiger Woods or a sports psychologist. Before Tiger takes a swing at the hole [no pun intended] he visualizes himself getting the ball in. Why? Because your subconscious mind is really running the show (aka, your life) and you can effectively communicate what your ideal life looks like to it.
The best time to do visualizations is right when you wake up or right before you go to bed (meditation is also a great time to do them). The reason is that your mind is already in a relaxed state and it’s easier to get your ideal messages through to your subconscious mind before your obnoxiously loud-mouth conscious mind starts yapping away.
Before you open your eyes in the morning, imagine there’s a movie playing of your ideal circumstances. Picture yourself later in the day being exactly how you’d love to be. Then imagine the little details that you’ll have to do to make that a reality. Focus on it for a few minutes and then release that intention [go ahead, gasp again] to the universe (or your subconscious mind).
Are you starting to get the picture of how powerful your subconscious mind is? Snap snap, picture that with a Kodak. It’s the reason you’re successful; it’s the reason you’ve failed; it’s the reason you’re able to walk, talk, and fornicate (and if you’re really talented, all at once). Even in our dumbest of dumbo moments, our subconscious mind is unfathomably ingenious and amazingly intelligent.
Affirmations are another way to use your conscious mind (the part that thinks) to program your subconscious mind (the part that (usually) performs).
To do affirmations, come up with a sentence you can say in one breath, and repeat it to yourself. You can do them in the morning before you open your eyes — or silently in your mind while you meditate — or even my personal favorite, loudly in the shower while you’re in Greece. An example would be “I am becoming incredibly wise as I create a life of purpose.”
Make Your Priorities Your Priority
Yeah that’s right, you priority-making son of a gun. If you *really* wanna bang something out (get it done), the best time to do it is bright and early, Shirley. Surely, if every day you accomplished *the most important* task you had, you’d be a hell of a lot more productive than if you didn’t. Ingenious, aye?
To ensure you get ‘er done, before you go to bed, write down your number one priority for the next day. Then when you wake up, after your morning ritual, pursue your primary priority first thang. And in order to stay in proactive mode (and stay outta reactive mode), pretend you don’t exist! That is, to the rest of the world. Keep your phone on airplane mode! Keep outlook “offline.” Don’t check email. Don’t watch TV. Don’t read the news. Do what needs to be done-did. Capeesh?
Philosophy isn’t just some esoteric theory that cigar-stinking, white-bearded, old academic professors debate about. Hells to the nizzzOH! Philosophy comes from two words: Philo (love) and Sophy (wisdom) – to love wisdom! Kinda like Sensophy: Sens (feel) Sophy (wisdom) – the feeling of wisdom (applied). Point being, a philosopher is essentially someone who loves wisdom and a philosopher’s main job is to question things. There’s something ineffable about pondering life’s possibilities in the context of eternity — it refreshingly reminds us of how minuscule and minute our perceived “problems” are.
Snap out of reality [get ready to gasp again] — some philosophers would suggest that what we perceive as reality isn’t really real anyway. Are we the dream or do we dream? I don’t mean to blow your mind but KABOOM!(!!). I listen to enough gangsta rap to know the code of the streets — and I’m all about keeping it real — but on the really real, snap out of it. Question the ordinary and it suddenly shifts to extraordinary. Watch the rabbit appear in the empty hat.
Resource: I just finished this *fascinating* book called Sophie’s World, which is a novel about the history of philosophy. The main character is a 14 year old girl — point being, the book makes theory which is usually esoteric, extremely easy to understand. If you’ve never taken a philosophy class — like me — but find it interesting, cop this 4sho!
Laugh At The Horseshit
Horseshit. Bullshit. Batshit. Ratshit. Why get pissy over things that don’t truly matter? Instead of getting our panties scrunched up in knot, let’s wedgieproof our crotchal-region with the proper state of mind to respond to any s(h)ituation that comes up. Why get frustrated at the clusterfucks when we can topsy-turvy flip it into something to laugh at?
One of my favorite ways to do this is by alchemizing the struggle into strength. This is a deeper discussion that may involve dim lighting, throw pillows, and a shrink’s couch cushion so let’s not get too into it now. Point is, the horseshit can be used as soil fertilizer to grow some King-Kong, kick-ass, coolness. Next time you catch yourself starting to fume up, before the fire catches and you blow up in smoke, literally laugh out loud. Even if you don’t feel like laughing. Just laugh — for 10 seconds — loudly. Done.
Compromise On The Bullshit
Compromising on the bullshit is a distant relative to laughing at the horseshit [kissing cousins]. Sometimes we lose sight of what really matters most to us. Unless we’re constantly cultivating a karma-like stream of consciousness, it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters. We start off authentically interested in our desired outcome, but 5 minutes into the interaction we’re so much more concerned with upholding our pride and ego than anything else. When debating about an issue, if it doesn’t really matter, bite the bullet and hold your tumultuous tongue.
Here’s an easy way to reorient yourself when you start to feel like your navigating compass has taken a two hour bathroom break [shitcakes]. Simply ask yourself this question: “What do I really want from this situation?” Most likely it’s not what you think you want at that point. You may really just wanna be understood — or appreciated — or for your headache to go away. If what you’re arguing about doesn’t really matter to you — save yourself from the full duration of your headache’s potentiality — comprise on that bullshit!
Look For A Mentor
What’s that? You’ve got dreams, goals, ambitions, and aspirations? But you’ve put them on the back-burner since the ever-increasing standard societal pressure has suckered you into compromising yourself and prioritizing your life with a “real job”? It happens. We get lost in the shit storm of being seduced by validation-seeking, and in the process we forget that dreams (can) come true. Getting a mentor or a coach is a great way to take a step in the direction of the life you wanna live.
Maybe you have a potential mentor in mind and maybe you don’t. If you don’t, think about a couple of the people you most admire. Then, pick one and write them an authentic email [*really* authentic – tell them something that you’ve never told 90% of people and explain how it relates to them]. Do some research and you’d be surprised at whose contact info you can find. Get open. Get soulful. And give them a piece of your heart. Engage with them and hold the intention lightly of you building a long-lasting relationship. And if you’re looking for quicker results, you can also find a coach who you can relate to and schedule some time with them.
:::: BODY ::::
Combine Exercise With Enlightenment
We already know the tremendous benefits of a consistent workout regiment. Exercise has been scientifically proven to raise our happiness levels and increase our quality of life. But did you know that when your “physical energy” is being exerted, it increases your ability to apply your “mental energy.” This is why bright ideas don’t happen while you’re sitting down at your desk. They happen when you’re on the subway, in the shower, or doing bicep curls in a basement gym somewhere.
The next time you go for a run or hit the weights, instead of throwing on that fresh new Jay-Z and Kanye track, let your mind mingle with some mega-bright ideas on subjects you’re interested in getting better at. An audio book, an inspiring speech, a keynote address, or a downloaded audio course are all killer ways to get your mind moving at lightning speeds (in the right direction). To prove this, you can download the first 2 chapters of my book, Living On Purpose, right here to try it out.
Resource: Click this link to download Living On Purpose Audio — Chapter 1 & 2. Rock out, homey.
Create Rejuvenation Points
Here’s the point: You’ve gotta take time away from cutting the tree in order to sharpen the saw. It’ll feel funny and stupid to stop working when you wanna get something done but this is some more killa counter-intuitive shizznit — hear me out homeslice. Know when your muscles grow? While you’re sleeping. Know when people get their best ideas? Away from the desk.
It’s all about balancing your different energies: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Use ultradian rhythms to crank the most dopeness outta your days. Set a schedule to work for 90 minutes (mental energy) and then rejuvenate for 45 (physical, emotion, or spiritual energy). You can go get some food, take a power nap, do a quick workout, have a great convo, meditate. The point is to pump the breaks on the mental energy while you let the tank fill back up. Rinse and repeat this 90/45 minute method 4 times in a day and prepare to have your brain blown out in shock of how productive and enjoyable your day becomes.
Resource: Check out the Tony Schwartz book, The Power Of Full Engagement. The whole premise is that productivity isn’t measured in time management, but rather *energy* management.
Plan Your Meals
Yeah. Take note, you gender studies students: Single men in their 20s can conjure up some kick-ass gourmet meals in the kitchen too. Karate chop to the cutting board. As we said above, being efficient is not about time management — it’s about energy management. And in order to manage your energy most efficiently, you’ll need to understand where your energy comes from. Just as you prep your rejuvenation points to maximize your mental energy, you really wanna plan your food to maximize your physical energy too.
Do what works best for you, but here’s what I suggest: Start with a high protein healthy breakfast — it sets the tone for the rest of the day. Particularly, rock out with a protein-powdered green drink for meal one and then for lunch have a salad. Forget calories — focus on nutritional density and your state of consciousness as you eat. I’m an all day ongoing eater and if you resonate with “always being hungry” — space your meals out in 3 hour intervals with a small snack in between if need be. Keep a pack of (the best) gum nearby to fill any oral fixations that may arise in between meals.
Drink 1/2 Your Weight In Water
A scientist? No. A nutritionist? Nah. A personal trainer? Nope. My self-proclaimed titles are more along the lines of street psychologist, urban philosopher, and extraordinary liver. But when it comes down to it, drinking a TON of water is one of the best ways to feel better physically. Water takes the toxins out of your blood (via pee and sweat) and circulates the nutrients you intake throughout your body.
Put the 5 hour energy drink on hold — pick up and put down 1/2 your weight in ounces of water and watch yourself feel tremendous (example: 180lbs is 90oz of water). Here’s a helpful hint — room temperature water goes down easiest. Get a big dawg bottle of water, keep it on your desk, and take a few chugs every couple of minutes. I like counting to 40 while I chug. Aim to drink the majority of your water in between meals — not with them.
Listen. I’m not trying to save Bambi or go on a slow hike with Simba but there really is something to this vegetarian thing. Did you know that your body exerts the most amount of energy in order to digest meat? Know what that means? It means when you eat meat, you’re slowing yourself down. I’m not gonna get all meat-moral or radically righteous on you about the environment, slaughter houses, or evil corporations — I’m just gonna suggest you try it for a week.
Cut meat out of your diet. That means no steak, pork, chicken, veal, ribs, etc… You can keep the fish. The main objective is to see if you feel a difference. See if you start to notice your moods stabilizing, your mental clarity increasing, and your overall quality of life rising. And if you wanna take it a step further, as mentioned above, eat for nutritional density (basically any vegetable that has a dark color — especially green).
:::: SOUL ::::
Combine Creation With Contribution
The more you can serve the world while enjoying the process of doing so, the more that you’ll be able to create an extraordinary life. Your favorite success stories have somehow figured out a way to create while contributing value to you. That’s why you love ’em.
Passion with a purpose. Take on a new project and serve the world while doing what you love. Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to create. How can you create it and have other people benefit from it? When you combine creation with contribution, you inject organic steroids into your soul that exponentially inspire your work (and the people who experience it). Look at this blog post: creative contribution!
Do Something That Makes You Uncomfortable
That’s right buddy — I’m talking to you! Don’t dodge the dare or dismiss the idea. This, I repeat, THIS, is one of the most empowering (yet counter-intuitive) habits you can ever cultivate. I’ve heard it said that a person’s success can be measured by the amount of uncomfortable conversations they’re willing to have. Well it’s not just uncomfy conversations that count — it’s overall actions and reactions to real life situations that scare you.
In order to accomplish things you never have, you’re gonna have to do things you’ve never done. And if you’re like me, doing things you’ve never done before can be exciting and rewarding but also scary and uncomfortable. Make it a game to enjoy the feeling of discomfort and get excited when you feel it. On occasion, I’ll see a pretty girl I wanna talk to and get really excited, but by the time my balls grow big enough to say something, I’ve missed my chance. Instead of shrinking into a smaller man, I usually just call myself a big pussy, grow a big grin on my face, and have fun with the next opportunity that presents itself. We’ve gotta strike a balance between brains and balls. Courage is a muscle — work it out and watch life work out!
Give A Shit
Fuck yeah! How cool is this? Care about people. I don’t mean to get too warm and fuzzy over here — huggin’ teddy bears and picking purple flowers — but you’ve GOTTA give a shit about people! When you care about people, people care about you. When you do awesome shit, you become an awesome person.
You can do this in any number of ways. Help someone you wouldn’t normally help. Pick up a piece of fruit in the supermarket that’s laying on the floor. Make someone feel better about themselves by giving ’em a sincere compliment. Doing the right thing is *always* the right thing.
Embrace Your Autonomy
Even if you’re locked in Sing Sing doing a double life bid in maximum security — you have SOME freedom. Autonomy is having the ability to govern yourself — to do what you want when you want. And it’s a very authentic, very essential part of our nature as humans. Even if you’re stuck in a job that blows, embrace the freedom you have!
Embrace your freedom of choice. Go to Jamba Juice and get a smoothie. Take the scenic route thru the park. Sneak off to Occupy Wall Street on your lunch hour and watch the topless girls eat free pizza. You always have a choice, and even if you “need” to be somewhere doing something — you still have a choice of your attitude and actions!
Live Your Values
Also know as, Live On Purpose! Yay Yayuh. Wanna know how to become a person of impeccable character? A person of unshakable integrity? A person who unconsciously demands respect from the world? The answer is sizzzzimple.
Know what you stand for and don’t let anything come in between you and your values. That’s it. The whole secret. Shows over. You can bounce now. If one of your top values is excitement, make it a priority for you to do something exciting daily. If one of your tops values is growth, don’t settle for anything less then consciously growing in the direction of your dreams daily.
Embrace The Unknown
Do something you’ve never done before — just because you can. The act alone will break open your habits and help combat any habitual monotony that’s slowly spreading into the seams of your life. Remove your expectations of whether you’ll dig the activity or not — that’s not the point. Just do it to do it, Nike style. Be present and experience life fully. If you non-judgmentally reflect on the activity, during or after, you’ll learn something about yourself from the experience.
Make it anything. Someone invites you to a play — go. There’s a tourist landmark in your hometown that you’ve never been to — check it out. You’ve been hearing a lot of hype about some place but it’s been too inconvenient to make it there — blah(!!), make it happen, Captain! For instance, right or wrong, up until present day, I haven’t given a rat’s ass about Occupy Wall Street. Yeah, it sounds interesting but truth be told, it verges too much on the border of politics for me to pay mind to. [*Selective ignorance.*] Point being, I’m gonna go check it out, just because — just to experience it — just to do it. I’ll grow a bit from that [and maybe even end up topless].
Snap Your Patterns
You known what’s interesting about predictability? Nothing! Ask the last chick who dumped you, homeboys. Women will tell you they want someone who’s reliable, but don’t mistake that reliability with predictability. Spontaneity puts some soul in the soup [my alliteration is getting a bit outta hand]. Shake shit up! Do the ol’ switcharoo. Embrace your ability to turn yourself on with some spunk.
It’s easy once you open yourself up to it. You can do the same things — just do them differently. Walk on the other side of the street. Take a new route to work in the AM. Wake up 30 minutes earlier and watch your favorite episode of your favorite TV show, every day, straight for the entire work week [Seinfeld, of course]. Use the mouse with your other hand. Embrace the “big box stores'” return policy and try out a new earpiece for your phone for a week. You hear me here?
There aren’t too many things in the world that are more fun then flirting. Behind the scenes, flirting releases some feel-good chemicals in us — and on stage, it’s a hell of a good time too. Don’t get caught up on “techniques” or “strategies” — just be playful and enjoy it. Tease someone you find cute and act like they’re a bratty sibling who you love. Be super sarcastic and over exaggerate little things. It’s good, clean, feel-good fun.
Here’s the key: Flirt with no expectation of it “leading somewhere” and you won’t be a creep. Unless you’re Don Juan (or a few of my boys from Queens), once you start picturing yourself going down on them in the closest bathroom, it’s no longer flirting — creep.
Take A Step Toward Your Dream
Forget Sasquatch — I’m talkin’ Stewie Griffin style baby steps! What’s the one thing you wished for more than anything else? And what could you do right now to bring you an inch closer to that being your reality — even if it’s still light years away? Make a little progress toward accomplishing a soulful goal and illuminate your mind’s night sky.
Maybe it’s making a phone call to someone to brainstorm with them. Maybe it’s taking some time to sit silently [or listening to some Pretty Lights] and jot down what your ideal situation is. Maybe it’s writing an email to someone who you admire and asking them a heartfelt authentic question about their success in some arena. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
Watch Some Comedy
Why walk one more step without a big smile in your soul and smirk on your grill-piece? No. Good. Reason. Life is better when we’re laughing obnoxiously loud so set some time aside each day to drown your eardrums in a tsunami of pure hilarity. How can us mere mortals achieve this divine status? Easily:
You to the TizzzzzzzzzUBE! Holla, homey. Don’t just bust open a new tab in Chrome, breakout a new reoccurring appointment in your calendar and set 10 minutes a day for laughter. If you’d like some guidance, feel free to start here, here, and here. There.
And that’s a wrap! Why wait any longer? Ah. Ah. Ah. Keep the excusitous to yourself. We’re all about making moves and creating our ideal so save the jibber jabber for your cat. And before we wrap this up, shout out to The Atlantic’s In Focus for all of the flicks in this post.
There were lots more things I could have listed. How about sending a thank you letter, journaling after the gym, playing some inspirational music, reading a dope book, or giving someone a gift. Take another look over the list and think about committing to applying one of these actions, today! And before we bounce, here’s my question to you: