The Number One Trait of the Unsuccessful

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We’re all self-made, but only the successful ever admit it.

After all, why ever admit that you don’t like what you see in the mirror if you do not plan on changing?

But what if I were to tell you that the root cause of unhappiness and failure are not external factors, but our inner reactions to those factors.

After all, what is required of one in order to be successful?

Is it being a billionaire? Changing the world? Find one’s soulmate?

Aren’t those things intricately tied to a lot of external factors? And isn’t our perception of those factors the result of a combination of behaviors, beliefs, thoughts, and adaptations?

After all, some people are happy while having little reason to be so, and others are unhappy even though wildly successful.

It seems to me that we are only as happy and successful as we make up our minds to be. Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure, and ultimately it’s our inner reality that that dictates our own happiness.

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The 40% Rule: Get Rich, Get Fit, Become Successful With This Simple Rule

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

I don’t know you, but I know this about you: like all of us, you have one goal you’re struggling to achieve. Maybe it’s a business venture, maybe it’s turning a passion into a source of income, maybe it’s your desire to get in better shape.

What usually happens is this: you begin to feel tired. Maybe exhausted is the better word to describe what you’re feeling.

What if the problem isn’t how much you’re trying to get done, but rather your mindset?

And this is how the 40% rule can help you achieve all your goals.

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What’s the Opposite of Loneliness?

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“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”

Hunter S. Thompson

Loneliness, defined as an unpleasant emotional response to perceived isolation. The key word here is perceived.

Loneliness, defined as social pain — a simple mechanism that forces us to seek others. The key word here is pain.

A perceived pain, for even one who is surrounded by others might end up feeling lonely. Some might say that’s what real loneliness actually is: feeling alone when you are, in fact, surrounded by others.

Today, when we’re all connected via invisible waves of technology, there are but two great tragedies: one is to be lonely alone, the other is to be lonely among others.

I often wonder which is the selfish option of the two?

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20 Lessons I Learned From Making a Lot of Mistakes in My Twenties

Experience is what we are left with after we make mistakes

I am fast approaching 30.

Three decades of making mistakes, being broke, depressed, lonely, anxious, feeling guilty, powerless, hopeless.

Three decades of trying to conquer the world, trying to conquer myself, trying to change the world, or just those closest to me.

I’ve lost my way more times than I can count. I’ve failed, time and time again. I’ve tried my best, from time to time. I’ve cried, I’ve won, I’ve lost.

To be 30 means that my view of the world should have crystallized by now. Well, I still have almost six months to figure things out, but I can certainly say that wasting my twenties was one of the best decisions I have ever made without thinking too much.

Consider the following rules as me sharing what took me most of my twenties to figure out.

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Your Feet on The Ground, Your Eyes on The Stars: Achieving The Impossible

Photo by Jeroen den Otter on Unsplash

“Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood.” — Terrence McKenna

You are probably familiar with the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

We use it to justify the idea that one must focus on one thing, reach mastery, as this is the only way towards success and fulfillment.

As most simple truths in life, we use it because we don’t want to use precious mental energy in trying to understand the nuanced truths of success and mastery.

The nuanced point is that even the notorious specialists, such as Salvador Dali or Pablo Picasso, were masters of a multitude of skills and crafts, not the least of which is their charisma and their ability to market themselves.

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The Not-So Subtle Art of Being Yourself

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“the free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it — basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.”
Charles Bukowski

Even as a child, Muhammad Ali took great pleasure in being different than the rest of his peers. He did so not because he was a rebel without a cause, but he certainly did it for the applause.

His defiance of the rules became most apparent when he began to train as a boxer. He refused to fight in the usual way, instead developing a style that would compliment his speed and agility. It was frustrating to try to punch Ali, as he kept dancing around the ring.

A few years later, he’d both irritate and confuse his opponents with his bold statements. After all, what could a fellow boxer expect from a man who claimed he was so fast that he could turn off the light switch in his room and be in bed before the room would be covered in darkness?

As children, we are often taught by our teachers and elders that there’s a certain way of doing things. There are rules and laws and norms that must be obeyed, unless we want to be ridiculed or even marginalized by others.

What we aren’t told, however, is the fact that a strong sense of self is the by-product of doing things our own way, the side-effect of ignoring the rules and venturing within ourselves for our own definitions of who we are and what we’re capable of.

The price of conformity is often a life of predictable boredom.

The price of independence is a life of introspection, constant struggle, and backbreaking work towards self-growth.

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Conquer the World or Die Trying

In this 24/7/365 world we live in today, there’s no off switch. There’s no downtime. There’s only the hustle.

Everyone’s trying to conquer the world or die trying. The dopamine rush, the goals, the business ventures. Always busy. Always doing. Always achieving.

These days, everyone’s got a side hustle. These days, everyone’s trying to emulate Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet or what have you.

And it all starts so early. A cousin of mine is 12, and he’s already got a YouTube channel. He knows more about cameras than I do. He knows how to edit his own videos. He hasn’t hit puberty yet and is already addicted to the hustle.

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The Beauty of Doing What You Can With What You Have

Some five hundred years ago, a 26 year old sculptor was given the task of turning a leftover slab of marble into a work of art. Other artists had tried to give life to the stone and had failed, but the young artist took on the contract, determined to shape the marble that others had discarded.

Early in the morning on September 13, 1501, the artist began to work in order to extract his vision from the piece of stone. He carved and carved until he set his dream free.

Later, artist Giorgio Vasari would describe the process as, “bringing back to life of one who was dead.”

In June 1504, the statue, a depiction of the Biblical character David of epic proportions, was installed at the entrance of the city’s town hall. The name of the artist? Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, known best as Michelangelo.

This story serves as a reminder that we are often wrong in assuming that in order to become successful we need access to resources.

It is quite the contrary. It is not the resources at our disposal that determine our success, but rather our resourcefulness, our ability to be creative in spite of certain limitations and setbacks.

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Little by Little, a Little Becomes a Lot

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Some two and a half millennia ago, in what is now Southern Italy, there lived a legendary wrestler by the name of Milo of Croton.

A six-time Olimpic Champion, Milo’s career spanned over 24 years, during which he was undoubtedly the best wrestler of his generation. He is said to have been able to carry a bull on his shoulders and to have burst a band about his brow by simply inflating the veins on his temples.

But what can this ancient wrestler teach us about success?

Quite a lot, as it turns out…

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The Map Is Not the Territory

You’re not who you think you are. You’re not who they think you are, you’re not who the ones you love need you to be, you’re not even who you think you have to be for the ones you love.

Who you are is a bit of all that, but so much more.

Your not what you have, or what you do, you’re not what you worship. You’re not the words you use, or your actions, and you’re certainly not the consequences of those actions.

You are not your habits, your dreams, your goals, or the story you tell yourself about how you ended up where you’re at.

You’re not the mood you’re in right now, or the one you’ll be in two hours from now. You are not the tears you cry, or the laughs, or the moments of doubt.

You’re not your country, or your race, or your gender.

You’re neither where you’ve been, nor where you’re going. You are neither your successes, nor your excuses. You’re not the money you have in your bank account, you’re not even the money you have spent until now.

You are not the memories you cherish, nor the ones you hate to remember. You are not the aspects of you that you’ve hidden inside the drawers of your soul, nor the parts of you that you show even to a perfect strange you meet on a summer afternoon.

The map is not the territory.

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