Contempo Philosophy

The Secret to Becoming a Master in the Art of Living

Video Version

Text Version
Total Reading Time: 4 minutes.

The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love in his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.
James A. Michener

 

What Is a Master in the Art of Living?

This quote changed my life. It doesn’t have to change your life, but I think that there’s something we can all learn from this concept. What is a master in the art of living? At the end of the day, that’s what the most of us are looking for. We want to master this process, this journey of what we’re all here to do, right?

We want money. Many of you want fame. Many of you want great relationships. You want a sense of fulfillment.


There are so many drivers we all have, right? But really what we’re looking for is to create a level of mastery.

The reason I love this quote so much is that he ends it with “to leave others to decide whether he is working or playing.” We’re talking about playing for a living. What a beautiful concept, right?

What Would You Do If Money Were No Object?

That doesn’t mean you have to be stuck in one field for your entire life. What it does mean is that you have this opportunity to really go deep and become a master at one thing.
An example would be the way a doctor becomes a master of medicine or master of the body or whatever their specialty is. You have that opportunity as a solopreneur to do the same thing. Instead of jumping from idea to idea, opportunity to opportunity, shiny object to a shiny object, why not play for a living? Why not be a master in the art of living?
Why not choose a field or focus in which you can develop mastery?

The reason I think it’s important is simple: if you’re not growing, you’re dying. This is nature at the end of the day, right? Anything that is not blossoming and growing in this world is dying.
So you — as a human being — if your brain is not growing and expanding you’re dying.

Be a Lifelong Learner

And so what you need to be focused on is being a lifelong learning. This idea of education never ends. You never stop learning, you never stop growing, and you need to be committed to that.

You need to get addicted to the idea of learning within your craft because the more expertise you develop, the better you get at what you do, the bigger of a fee you can charge for your products and services. You can be the best when it comes to something, and then you can really blossom in your career and with your craft.

Find a resource that really goes deep that takes someone’s work of five to 10 years and goes deep into this topic. This is the reason why books are so valuable. Think about it. It takes years to write a book for most people. It takes a decade of life experience to even feel you’re ready to write a book for most people.

You’re condensing someone’s life experience into two hundred pages. In one or two sittings, you can absorb all this information and the best of what this person knows.
Let’s say you really want to get into neuroscience and you want to do this without going to school. Why not pick up a great neuroscience book by a great author and dive in. What’s going to happen is, within this book you’re going to be led to other books because you’re going to see who the inspiration and role models are for that person because they’re going to mention them as resources within the book.

It’s like a tree. They’re going to mention people that they’ve learned from and who their mentors are.
That’s going to lead to your second book, and your third book, and your fourth book. We’re going to go down an endless rabbit hole of lifelong education.
And that is exactly what you should do to become a master in the art of living.
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Photo credit: Living colours — CC license

What Made Us Human May Actually Cause Our Extinction

Total Reading Time: 2.5 minutes.

What Makes Us Human?

Is it our capacity to love, to laugh, to cry… to be self-aware? Some would say it’s the fact that we manage to put on clothes every day (and as you know many solopreneurs don’t even do that every day).
Others would say it’s our amazing brain or our ability to speak using the larynx (the voice box).
While all of these are true, we wouldn’t still be here today were it not for our innate desire to connect, collaborate, and be an accepted member of society. This amazing human trait is what allowed a small civilization to evolve into a machine with a population of over 7 billion people in just a few thousand years.
Do you ever notice how groups of friends dress, talk, and think alike?

At some level, we all do this because we’re hardwired to need human connection.
We have spent our entire lives trying to fit in and to live by the boundaries set by society — by ads, our parents, and our schools.
Well meaning people over multiple generations have created this structure — not to manipulate — but to provide a roadmap that reaffirms the system that helps us evolve. But, ultimately, what helped us thrive and flourish may lead to our demise.

But What Got Us Here Won’t Get Us There

The world is evolving at an exponential rate and technology is taking over most of what we do, which leads to fun (or scary, depending on who you’re asking) questions like, are we leading toward an era of transhumanism?
Here’s my current belief: individuality is what will save us. Being just like everyone else will result in stagnation. Do you want to make a real impact? Do you want to be remembered? Or perhaps you simply want to live a better life?
To do this we have to stop being afraid of being different. Identify your individuality. Step into what makes you unique, embrace who you are, and remember to have some fun with it.
Not only will this create a better world for all of us, but it will help you live a more fulfilled lifeOne of the greatest philosophers to ever live, Lao Tzu, once said:

When I let go of who I am, I become who I might be.

Let go. Step onto the ledge of your world of knowledge and gaze into the unknown. Listen to the stillness. Stay there and just listen.
Eventually, you may feel a pull and with that, you’ll have your compass. You don’t need a precise road map, you just need some direction and you simply need to keep moving forward.
More of the path reveals itself with each step you take — and it always starts with one tiny step. Only when you take this first step will the second one show up. This is the beauty of life.
And this is why only the bold get what they want in life. You don’t need to solve hunger, end poverty, or stop a war…
Do you know what the world really needs? For you to become who you really are, and be completely unapologetic about it.

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Photo credit: Evolution — CC license

How to Get out of a Funk and Create an Exciting Vision

Total Reading Time: 6 minutes.
Do you ever find yourself stuck in the weeds of inertia?
It might be the fear of failure, the desire for perfection, or something else entirely…but none of us seem to be able to fully avoid that feeling of being locked down by an invisible force at times. 
The amazing thing about human beings is the software we come into this world with. What most people don’t realize is that their mind is programmable.
It cannot be taken beyond its limits (for now), but it can be optimized.
Unfortunately, we don’t come with instruction manuals and have to figure things out for ourselves. We haven’t quite learned how to tap into the power of our full potential.

How Do We Reach Our Full Potential?

You may or you may not know that I’ve been underground working on a new secret venture, called Project Evo, that’s set to revolutionize the way we learn and grow.
Analyzing details and seeing all the steps necessary to create something is one of my innate abilities, it comes naturally to me.
This superpower is the reason I’m able to think strategically and execute with speed, and it has certainly earned me some credibility working alongside some of the biggest names in online business — Tim Sykes, Lewis Howes, Neil Patel, Gerard Adams, not to mention bigger companies like Whitepages.com.
Now you would think that it takes the same amount of effort to work on your strengths as it does your weaknesses, except it doesn’t…
One of the strange phenomena’s of your brain is that it rewards you with dopamine whenever you enjoy what you’re doing and are slightly challenged (FLOW, one of my all-time favorite books, discusses this in detail). This is why athletes like Lionel Messi can spend hours doing football drills that seem insane to you and I, or why world-champion swimmers can spend half a day in the pool.

It feels really good…there’s a sense of deep enjoyment.
Think of it like creating a character in a video game, will you choose to have balanced stats or will you choose insanely high strength?


It’s so much easier to focus on being great at something, and finding ways to constantly increase and optimize these skills. I don’t worry about being creative, because I know that’s a weakness, so instead I intentionally surround myself with creative visionaries and people with opposite skill sets to balance me out.

Lesson Learned

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned ever since starting the Project Evo journey has been that we are so much more powerful together than we are alone — we all need teammates and partners, and I avoided this for so long. 
So for example, if numbers and details aren’t your strength, then leave that to the accountants. This is just a simple example, but what you need to understand is that it isn’t just the time wasted that hurts, but the cumulative effects of the energy you’re losing.
The key is to focus on the “big domino” — the task/project that will make everything else easier to accomplish. If you’re like me and spend a lot of your time on details, pick your head up throughout the day and do a quick check.  
It’s really just a matter of developing and valuing presence over productivity. If you meditate, you know the feeling. The thoughts flow and your mind chases them. Meditation teaches you to stop and observe the thoughts, rather than identify with the storylines.
The key for me has been to work on delegating these smaller things to the right people, so I’m not working in the business but instead working on it. A small change, but a massive difference.
Here is a sneak peek at my process for creating a vision and plan for making massive goals happen, and how you can use it in your own life:

Step 1: Time Management

The first step is to carve out a few hours to sit down and let your ideas loose, figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Step 2: Brainstorm

Get clear on what you want to accomplish and paint a picture of what you want your future to look and feel like. Make it come alive with a healthy dose of excitement.
If you’re not yelling with excitement by the time you’re done describing your vision, then go back to the drawing board because it’s either:

a) not big enough or

b) not exciting enough.

You need to be so excited that you’re at the edge of your seat. You’re screaming, you’re yelling, you’re laughing, and going through a flurry of emotions.

Step 3: Planning

Now, the key is to use this energy to lay out a plan for execution and defining the easiest ways to make your vision happen.
This stuff — as simple as it looks and sounds — works… so please take it seriously.

So what’s my vision?
Well, here’s a little insight into the inner workings of my mind…

One of Project Evo’s future goals is to have its own secret headquarters, I’m talking like a next level X-Men style compound — something spectacular. 

It’s going to be nestled somewhere in the mountains and open by invite only to our team, partners, clients, families, and people who work with us.
It’s going to be a creative laboratory and think tank for our tribe to bounce ideas, share insights, and get around other elite performers. You’ll be able to ski in the winter, mountain bike in the summer, or just lay on a hammock and talk life and business with other high-level thinkers and entrepreneurs.

We want to hold retreats and gather the greatest minds of the world, so it will be kind of like a TED global event with a little James Bond vibe thrown in the mix. Maybe we’ll even have Deepak Chopra stop in to teach meditation.

Step 4: Think Big

Words are generative. This can either be wishful thinking or it can become a reality. The rest is up to me setting a plan in motion and executing while giving into the flow of life. It’s not a matter of how but a matter of when.

Some people will struggle with this exercise because they prefer to be grounded in the present and work with things that make sense to their logical mind, myself included, so it’s important to get around other creative and visionary thinkers.

My business partner and friend Chad Mureta is this person in my life, and when we brainstorm anything we like to get really wild and push the limits of what’s possible.
Our conversations tend to go something like this:
“What do you think we should reward ourselves with in the future once we’re successful with this company and launch?” Then we go on a rapid-fire brainstorming session of 10 crazy ideas, pick one that we both like, and the rest is history.

I get really excited when I can take an idea and lead a team to bring it to life. That’s one of my crafts in life. That’s what I do best.
What’s yours?

Step 5: Exercise Your Craft

If you’re not exercising your craft in your work, there’s a good chance you feel unfulfilled, disconnected, or apathetic. And if that continues too long it can definitely lead to sadness, anxiety, or even depression (I know this from experience).
If you feel unfulfilled then ask yourself if you’d be okay with sticking to the same pattern and going to your deathbed with this life. Is that okay with you? Great, keep doing your thing. 
Does it make you sick to think of that regret? Great, make a f*cking change today. Even a small change is enough to get momentum in the right direction and ultimately that’s all that matters.
Do not go to the end of your life with your unique genius and talents wasted away, or worse, never even identifying what they are. There’s a reason that you were chosen to be a carrier of your gift, and guess what? When you do bring it out, it’s going to feel magnificent.

You are designed to feel pure enjoyment and bliss when you’re doing the work you’re meant to be doing….
I challenge you to uncover what makes you come alive and relentlessly chase it.
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Photo credit: Deepthi Divakaran — CC license

The Real Reason Why You Should Wake Up Early

Total Reading Time: 2 minutes.

It’s Not What You Think

The real reason you should wake up early has absolutely nothing to do with the conventional wisdom around the benefits of early rising.
It has nothing to do with getting more done, or getting to the gym at an early hour, or having time for your morning ritual, or even making a green juice smoothie to be healthier.
It has nothing to do with any of the attributes you might attach to waking up early and its benefits.
The actual core, underlying root reason that a human being should wake up early is because there is a deep wisdom and science to this habit.
 

What’s the Science?

The physical act of waking up early triggers a response in the language of the individual that confirms that action.
By affirming and acknowledging this action, a person’s language reconstructs itself to mirror the fact that they are someone who rises early, in order to get more out of life and enjoy each moment to rise with the sun in order to fully dive into all of waking life’s pleasures.
After all, this entire experience — life itself — goes by in the blink of an eye. Eventually, our language begins to shape our thought constructs about this action.
When this trifecta or triumvirate takes place, we essentially have the three pillars of consciousness – love, happiness, and truth — working in tandem with each other to affirm a new identity.
In this case, the identity would be that of someone who enjoys and relishes every second of life and needs to rise early with or before the sun rises in order to maximize their pleasure and enjoyment of the experience they are receiving.
This signals to the brain an intense level of enjoyment and fulfillment that is deeper than fleeting moments of happiness.
It’s 24/7, 365.
 

Final Thoughts

By building this ritual or habit we are effectively reshaping and remodeling our experience of the world. We are confirming that existence in life itself is precious, sweet, beautiful, unique.
It’s everything that ever is and everything that ever will be.
This isn’t about early rising. This is about fully loving life itself.
Note: I just finished a 21 Day Early Rising Challenge and woke up at 4:47 every day (except two days, where I woke up and pretty much went back to bed).
 

Resources

  1. Pillars of Consciousness: Buddha – Zen – Tao – Tantra – Osho is renowned not only for his wisdom, but his skill as a guide to a deeper understanding of complex philosophical concepts using humor and the art of storytelling paves the way for readers to as Buddha said be a light unto yourself.
  2. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8 AM)  – What’s being widely regarded as “one of the most life changing books ever written” may be the simplest approach to achieving everything you’ve ever wanted, and faster than you ever thought possible.

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Photo credit: Sleeping ManCC license

How Your Pain and Misfortune Can Make You a Genius

 
Video Version

 
Text Version
Total Reading Time: 2 minutes.
If we a take a closer look at the people we call genius, the ones that have achieved greatness throughout their lives, we often find that they grew up in a disadvantaged matter.
Incredible people like Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Charlie Chapin, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, J.K. Rowling, and many more had difficult upbringings. Whether it be poverty, a learning disability, family issues, or the way they grew up — there was some sort of disadvantage they had to fight against.
This led to two things: hunger and curiosity.
These two characteristics are what pulled them by a purpose that created their greatness and genius.
If there are two things that we could do, it would be to develop those two traits: curiosity and hunger. But so many of us grew up in a society where we’re just like everyone else.
We have all our basic needs, wants, and desires that are taken care of from a young age. Your parents were probably good to you and you grew up with enough money and all the toys you wanted.
You may have never experienced true hardship or disadvantage.
But yet, when we take a closer look and read books like Mastery, we see that this disadvantage is what created the positive effect in their lives.
So, if there’s one thing that we could truly do, it would be to create constraints to make things more difficult for ourselves (as odd and counterintuitive as this may seem).
To draw the line and say, “these are the resources I’m going to work with” so that things can intentionally be a little bit more difficult.
This disadvantage will drive us to do more and be more and to aspire to be like those that came before us that did reach that level of genius.
Because, after all, a person that’s not being pulled by something bigger than themselves — a person who’s only seeking to achieve for themselves — isn’t going to get very far.
When the going gets tough, when the obstacles show up, you give up.
The difference between the disadvantaged that achieved greatness and everyday people is that their purpose, their hunger, and their curiosity is what drove them to succeed.
Not for themselves only, but their friends and neighbors. And maybe even for the sake of humanity.
 

Resources

  1. Mastery – Mesmerizing. Robert Greene’s Mastery is a masterpiece. A beautifully researched book with illustrative and inspiring stories that will have you clinging to every word. Your eyes and mind will open.
  2. FlowThis is more than a book. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the global leader in positive psychology, delivers his pioneering manifesto based on decades of research to show people how they can get the most fulfillment and enjoyment out of life. Read it.
  3. The Talent Code – People really seem to love this book, it’s very highly rated. I personally didn’t, but I did find it useful.

 

How to Be Absolutely in Love with Your Life

 
Video Version

 
Text Version
Total Reading Time: 1 minute.
If you don’t absolutely love your life and love yourself, there may be two core reasons why this is happening.
The first reason is that you have a life inside of you — a version of yourself — that is unlived.
You have a life that has been unexpressed, and you’re resenting yourself because it’s living inside of you, this dream, this goal, this other life; and you’re not allowing it to blossom and be out in the world.
The only other real core reason that this is possible is that you do not see the magnificence of what you already have, and that is literally life itself.
You are not witnessing. You are not present to see the beauty, magnificence, fascination and endless curiosity that is possible in this world.
Don’t let that life die inside you and don’t fail to see the magnificence of what you already have.
Follow this and you will truly love your life.