From a recent talk I attended, I’d like to give my commentary on how I interpreted these advice statements on life. Watch the video before reading my versions of how they apply to me, as how I view each statement and how the speaker explains his side will vary. I challenge you to come up with your own response. You’ll be able to grow through introspection of the points outlined below.
1. Don’t let your preferences keep you from paradise
Whether you believe in life after death there is the certainty of death that we can agree. What we leave is our impact on others. The most successful people are the ones that have ambitious dreams of leaving the world a better place than they found it. They leverage their skills to create a meaningful impact on people. People are inherently good, but are somewhat lazy. We are instinctually risk averse and like to stay on a path we know the outcomes of rather than take a risk on unknowns. Our preference is the status quo, or our life as we know it. Instead, opt to do the hard things and get outside your comfort zone. Make your goal to look back on what you were afraid of and see how easy it is in the future.
2. Change your playmates and your playground
You are the sum of the 5 people you hang around the most. When it comes to creating a good habit, or breaking bad one the best thing you can do is change your identity to that of the person you want to be. Surround yourself with people you know you want to be: athletes, financially savvy, strong, street smart, caring people that want to make an impact on the world. Get rid of the toxic people in your life that don’t act in line with who you see yourself becoming.
3. Pay close attention to what you pay attention to
Following #2, in lieu of your friend group, you can surround yourself with podcasts, music, entertainment and TV. The repetitiveness of the message subconsciously influences you. We love the story of the bad boy being changed by the vulnerable girl or dance to songs of sex, drugs and alcohol. It’s our decision to choose to listen to these songs. The beats are infectious, the imagery is beautiful, but the charm is deceptive. Opt for limiting your exposure to them and replacing them with acts that support who you want to become. Listen to stories of struggle and triumph. Listen to the history of the world so that you can learn from past mistakes. Create your own story and share it with the world. Use the social media at your disposal to choose quality sources of soulful content.
4. Don’t follow your heart, inform your heart
It’s another way of saying to be in control of your emotions and taking a step back before making decisions. Ask the question, “Is this what my future self would be proud of 10 years later?” and make the yes or no call from there. Outline what your goals are for the next week, next month, next quarter, next year, and so on. Constantly update them as your life evolves because change is inevitable. The challenge is to stay true to who you want to become. Create a system to track your habits and goals as you level up. Let the metrics be the objective measure that “informs” your heart.
5. Whose you are is more important than who you are
Who do you belong to? Who are you indebted to? To answer this question I like to think that if they called I would do everything in my power to answer. We all have acquaintances but not many true friends that we can be vulnerable. Strive to be a person that can love unconditionally and you’ll see it reciprocated tenfold. That’s not to say that you should bend over backwards to make friends. Tying with #2, the people that love you are the people that you consistently surround yourself.
6. If dependence is the goal, weakness is the advantage
I disagree with this to a point as it depends on how I interpreted it at first. You have to need help for someone to help you. This means that you can’t be arrogant or stubborn to the point of refusing help or thinking you don’t need it. The “dependence” that is the goal is knowing that you can’t do everything alone. There is always going to be someone better than you, so make an effort to surround yourself so that you’re the dumbest person in the room. Their presence influences you to need to become better. You’re internally motivated to get on their level and surpass them. Whether it’s in the gym or the office, make sure you’re not the best or strongest person out of the group. Stay hungry and stay humble.
7. Your behavior follows your belief
It’s an inversion of practicing what you preach. Our intrinsic values are what determine how we behave. In other words, we are what we repeatedly value. We do things according to how we believe ourselves to be. Our actions are dictated by our identity. I believe myself to be an athlete, therefore all my actions will be what an athlete would do: train hard and fast and at varying intensity, eating the right foods and knowing how much I put into my body, and so on. Making a fundamental change in how we perceive ourselves goes a long way in influencing our daily actions. Belief comes before behavior.