You’re on a journey… not just to discover the light shining within you, but to let it out and let it shine. That moment when discover who you really are and why you’re really here… your ultimate, individual “why”, and then align your life so that you’re living it… it’s absolutely glorious. To you, and to everybody else.
You are capable of greatness. In fact, it is already within you. You just need to discover it, and then work to bring your life into alignment so that your life’s mission and your life become one and the same. That’s when you’ll shine. That’s when you’ll experience full joy and fulfillment, when you’re actions align to your purpose. We can help.
The night I quit my job I had a decision to make… wait, or just start. I chose to just start and held a seminar the next day. People in motion tend to stay in motion and people at rest tend to stay at rest. So whatever it is you’ve been waiting to do… just start!
There are simply times when our own personal journey requires that we move away from the comfort of where we were, and the people who are still there. But I believe the pain of saying goodbye will always be less than the pain of looking back, having compromised on your dream or having given up on the difference you could have made.
Because the world needs the light and magic you have inside of you. Your journey itself, and the promise of what is to come is more important than any position you currently occupy.
Being terrified doesn’t mean you’re weak, it means you’re human. And the most important steps we take in life are often going to be the most terrifying. They’re terrifying because they’re significant. They’re terrifying because they take you from where you’ve been and set you on a path to somewhere new. And because that path is new, it is mostly unknown, and we’re afraid of the unknown. The the wold belongs to those who step anyway. The world needs you to take that next step.
Today they posted the video from my TEDx talk.
I tell a very concatenated version of my story, focusing on what led up to one of the most pivotal moments in my life, and then introduce one of the foundational aspects of achieving Escape Velocity — a fundamental change in how we see ourselves, not as the product of our past, but for the potential of our future. Because truly, it is not our past that matters, but our future.
We have become so good at virtual reality, that we mostly fail to distinguish between them. We miss so much of life. And because the biochemical rewards elicited by device use are so much more easily obtained, we use it as a substitute (often unconsciously) for the much more difficultly won, but far more fulfilling rewards of actual achievement.
This is an amazing poem, that captures it perfectly. It’s called Look Up, written and performed by Gary Turk.
The hardest handicaps to overcome are mental.
It happens when we tell ourselves the wrong story. When we look at what we’ve been given, and decide it’s not enough. And by convincing ourselves of failure, we ensure it.
But we can choose to change the story we tell ourselves.
A couple years ago I gave this speech at the Toastmasters Area D4 International Speech Competition titled “I’m hungry for bugs”. Rest assured, there’s a point, but you have to wait for it (spoiler below)…
P.S. Sorry for the bad lighting, but it gets better.
Click here for the spoiler (the point of the whole story)
Unfortunately in life, we tend to not feed those things we care the most about. Things like…
Our dreams and passions
Our physical well-being
Our child-like sense of wonder
Or sometimes even worse…
Our relationship with our children
Our relationship with our parents
Our relationship with our spouse
Our relationship with God.
Reflect for a moment on your own life, and I bet you’ll find there’s something you care deeply about, that you haven’t fed for quite some time.
Usually these are things that are close to you. Scarcity is what drives perceived value, so we tend to undervalue (at least in our daily behaviors) those things that are closest to us, or with which we have the most immediate access. So if you’re wise, you’ll pay close attention to those things closest to you, and be sensitive to when they might need feeding.
Because the one reality you can bank on, one true principle foundational to life, is that if you stop feeding something, it will die.
So the questions is, what are you not feeding?
Thanks for visiting. Please share.
It surprises me how many people I talk to are unhappy with their careers.
They’re disengaged. They don’t enjoy what they do. They’ve found themselves in a situation where their whole day is being spent on something that doesn’t intrinsically motivate them, or that they’re not excited or enthusiastic about.
There’s no passion, and sometimes they’re actively disengaged.
If that’s you, stop. Go pursue your passion. Life is too short not to.
Now, I understand that the reality of charting a trajectory towards a more fulfilling career can take time, and in the meantime, you have financial obligations. But there is a way to find fulfillment right now.
Henery Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem “A psalm of life” wrote:
“Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
is our destined end or way,
but to act that each tomorrow
find us farther than today”
He’s talking about the pursuit of mastery.
This is the foundation of personal progress. It’s the secret sauce for happiness and success.
There are 5 things you should know about Mastery.
1. Mastery provides purpose
The pursuit of mastery provides purpose to your endeavors. It provides meaning to what you do.
In all of our careers, and life in general, there are simply mundane things that are required to get us from point A to point B. They’re not exciting, they’re the minutia. But people can get lost in the minutia, lose momentum, and lose sight of their destination.
They flounder and invariably they get stuck there.
But when mastery is your goal then the little things that you do have meaning, even when they’re not very exciting.
And that meaning can fortify you against the momentum draining, vision blurring, motivation killing nature of the menial tasks you’ll inevitably encounter.
2. Mastery provides a filter.
Mastery can be a powerful filter for the things you choose to spend your time on.
When life becomes too full of those things that don’t lead to some sort of meaningful mastery, you find yourself without a sense of drive, motivation, or passion. You become disengaged, discouraged, and often even depressed.
If you find yourself experiencing this you should pause, back up, and ask yourself two questions. First, “what mastery am I currently pursuing?”
If you can’t answer that, then pick something and pursue it. Don’t stress too much about it, it’s not concrete, you can always change it, but pick something that matters to you, that you care about, that you really want to master, and pursue that.
Second, ask yourself “how are my daily tasks leading toward that mastery?”
And if you can’t answer that, then you should reevaluate the activities that consume your time.
3. Mastery focuses you on the journey, not the destination
When you’re actively pursuing mastery and measuring your progress, you naturally experience added vigor in life. It gives you direction, things are clearer, decisions are easier, all because you have a template that’s guiding you. You have a higher cause. You have a clear destination.
It’s like suddenly you find yourself intrinsically motivated to keep moving. It’s actually a self-fulfilling mechanism built into the neurological workings of your mind, which I’ll explain more later.
To understand how mastery works, you first have to understand something about the nature of mastery. It’s what I call the paradox of mastery.
You have to accept from the very beginning that you’ll never, ever get there.
In the marvelously revealing book Drive, which addresses what really motivates people today, the author Daniel H. Pink describes what he calls the mastery asymptote.
An asymptote is a mathematical or algebraic description of a curve that approaches a line, but never actually reaches it.
He says “Mastery is an asymptote. You can approach it, you can hone in on it, you can get really, really close to it, but you can never reach it. Mastery is impossible to realize fully. The joy is in the pursuit, more than in the realization. And in the end, mastery attracts, precisely because it eludes.”
In other words, the joy is in the pursuit, more than in the realization, because you will never realize mastery. It will always elude you. And when you accept this inescapable nature of mastery, you’ll realize that joy is not in the destination, it’s in the journey.
The joy is in all the little wins, the little discoveries, and the gains you experience along the way.
Curiously, it’s precisely the way our brains are designed.
Whenever we experience success, our brains release dopamine and norepinephrine, two neurochemicals that cause us to crave more success. It creates drive, it creates motivation, it creates the feeling of happiness.
So it’s the incremental rewards, the small wins along the way that cause this biochemical reinforcement that gives us the drive, the motivation to keep moving.
Imagine, for instance, if someone were to take you and sit you down on the summit of mount everest… Of course you would enjoy the marvelous vista and the beautiful scenery and the novelty of being there.
But in reality it wouldn’t hold even an iota of the meaning it would if you had gotten there on your very own. If you had trained, sweat, toiled, planned and prepared… It wouldn’t even come close.
Having neglected to invest the effort, you would have forfeited the resulting strength of body and mind and spirit, you’d have cheated the challenge of the journey, and in so doing, robbed yourself of its inherent joys, and pleasures, and lessons.
So what matters as you pursue mastery, is not to put so much stock in the destination that you fail to appreciate the value and joy of the journey.
4. Mastery gives perspective to failure.
This mental paradigm of the mastery asymptote, understanding that it’s something that you’ll work towards, but never quite acquire, prepares you for the failures that will inevitably accompany your pursuits.
Because when you realize that you’re never going to get there, that it’s truly about the journey and not the destination, then you begin to be less negatively impacted during those times when you fall noticeably and perceptibly short.
In fact, you’ll expect it. You’ll realize that it’s just part of the process. You’ll realize that your failures do not define you. The effort and the direction you sustain does.
Back to those people who are unhappy in their careers. If you pick something to master, and identify it clearly, suddenly you’ll find little instances, even in your current position, that enable you to work on whatever it is that you’ve identified.
It will provide purpose and motivation to continue, even in the most unexciting jobs and endeavors.
It’ll give you something to pursue, something to motivate you and keep you moving forward while you pursue a more lastingly fulfilling career.
So in short, to experience the greatest joy, purpose, and fulfillment from life, from your career, or whatever it is, pick something to master, pursue it with vigor, and remember that even though you’ll never get there, the more you try, the more you’ll enjoy it.
(note: click here to see the video of this post, created originally back in 2010).
I grew up in the midst of poverty, homelessness, little or no food, sometimes no running water, or heat, or friends, or anyone. My dad left when I was 2, and when I was 11, my mom left too.
But I discovered that people can be strong. That they can overcome. That sometimes they just need to be given a chance, or a little help.
For 39 years I’ve been preparing to publish my discoveries. Now I’m finally doing it.
Studying cognitive and behavioral psychology in college, with an executive career in engineering and business leadership, I’ve synthesized what I’ve learned into a movement called Life-Engineering, the science of success.
Drawing from fields like neuroscience, cognitive and behavioral psychology, behavioral economics, engineering, even physics, I’ve identified underlying principles that allow you to take control of your life and engineer your success.
Escape Velocity describes what is required for an object to leave the gravitational pull of the earth.
In life, you’re also held captive by gravitational pulls. The pull of your past, of your self-image, your beliefs, your environment, peers, and more. Escape Velocity is a program that helps you escape the gravitational pulls holding you back, so you can change your life and experience the greatness you are capable of achieving.