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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What Do You Worship?

In the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshiping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.” — David Foster Wallace

In his famous commencement speech given at Kenyon College in 2005, David Foster Wallace shared with us a few simple, yet valuable insights that could very well form the foundation of someone’s daily philosophy on life.

Near the end of his speech, however, Wallace makes his most daring claim: we all worship. He talks about money, power, beauty, and intellect as false idols worshiped by our unconscious collective obsession with making sense of what we don’t understand.

In a way, we are all inclined to worship what we can’t quite define.

We don’t understand why someone’s beautiful, or why someone’s amassed incredible wealth. We call those who are intelligent as, gifted.

Who offered them this gift and why?

Worshiping is our way of trying to find order in an inherently chaotic universe.

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Why You Shouldn’t 80/20 Your Life

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In 1906 Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto noticed that every year 20% of the pea pods in his garden produced approximately 80% of the peas.

He soon realized that this principle held true in all sorts of areas and industries. This became known as the Pareto Principle, or what is now often referred to as the 80/20 Principle.

The 80/20 principle stipulates that 80% of the output or results will come from 20% of the input or action.

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The Five Most Motivational Words in the English Language

Want to know what I like most about words?

Just how powerful they are. How they can either make or break you. How they can inspire, motivate, or place you in a negative feedback loop forever.

The words we tell ourselves often become our destiny.

Words give us the opportunity to tell ourselves a story that is empowering, to build a mindset that enables us to create happiness, rather than pursue it mindlessly.

Yet, we often fail to do so. We use words that do not motivate us, quite the contrary.

That’s why I am writing this article. That’s why I am going to share with you the five most motivational words in the English language.

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The 7 Daily Habits of the Heartbroken

2 AM finds you in bed, on your phone. It’s a senseless succession of mind-numbing cat videos, memes, and vlogs. Finger gymnastics. It’s the hour of the heartbroken, the inability to fall asleep after a day of breaking your heart over and over again.

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of developing some awful habits that ensured unhappiness, poverty, and sickness.

I just didn’t know any better.

Once I knew better, I did better. I took better care of my mind, my body, and my emotional well-being.

And I’ve discovered this neat trick: happiness is mostly about eliminating the daily habits that break your heart; letting go of certain patterns of action and beliefs that are making us miserable.

Here are seven daily habits that sabotage your happiness and how to get rid of them once and for all.

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The More You Work, the Luckier You Get

Photo by William Daigneault on Unsplash

We often think of success as part magic, part luck, and part knowing the right people.

We often think success comes down to how the planets align, how certain external factors shape us. Maybe it’s the economy, or the government. Maybe it’s our friends.

The truth is that luck is something we only notice in other people.

The truth is, if you want to be successful in any area of your life, you must follow this simple rule: the more you want it, the more you have to do to have it.

We tend to obsess about strategies and plans, but the truth is that we must take massive action in order to reach our goals.

The truth is, the more you work, the luckier you get.

Yet we often tend to ignore this rule of life because it provokes mental discomfort. If you don’t earn a million dollars per year, you have one of two options:

  1. You either accept that you are just not good enough, and that you have to work more and become more.
  2. You accept that you just don’t want it bad enough. You just kind of want it. You want the results, but you’re not willing to pay the price.

Either of these two options are heartbreaking, so you often think that you’re just not lucky enough.

After all, luck can’t be controlled, so there’s no way someone could hold that against you. The truth is that even if it were a valid excuse, still no one cares. The only thing that matters is that you do the work and have results. That’s it.

The more you work, the luckier you get. The more action you take, the easier it is to build momentum and keep going.

You become an unstoppable force in life, in love, in business, in writing by placing on foot in front of the other. Some days, you won’t feel like it. Some days, you’d much rather hit your head against a wall. But you’ve got to do it.

The more you work, the luckier you get.

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What They Don’t Tell You About Life Hacks and Shortcuts

A few years ago I went through a bad breakup. The kind of breakup that got all my friends spending all their free time with me, because they feared what I’d do if left alone.

One of my friends, trying to make me feel better, gave me the following advice, “Why are you crying over a girl? Others have lost empires.”

You’ve probably heard something similar being presented as a quick fix for any dark night of the soul.

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