Mindset

The Secret to Becoming a Master in the Art of Living

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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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This Is What the Latest Science Says About Empathy

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Total Reading Time: 3 minutes.

Being Empathetic is More Than Just Putting Ourselves in Another’s Shoes

There were some really interesting findings recently published in the journal of cognitive enhancement about empathy. Now empathy, of course, is the ability to understand someone else’s world. To feel and understand why they feel the way they feel. To take our feet and put them in their shoes. To put ourselves in their body, in their mind, and understand how they feel — right?
Well, you would assume the way to do that is to just get really good at cultivating the skill of placing ourselves in someone else’s personal situation. To better understand who they are and why they suffer and why they have these shortcomings.
Well, that’s not exactly the case…

Here Are The Results

Something very counter-intuitive happened in this latest study. These 161 participants aged 20 to 55 were put through a process of self-awareness. They were asked to take a look at the various parts of their mind.
Now as you may know we have various parts of our mind like the inner child or the conscious mind, but also the subconscious and the unconscious parts of our mind.
The more these participants were able to unravel and look beyond just the conscious parts of their mind and better understand why they do what they do, who they are, why they develop the habits that they did, the deeper they went into self-awareness and self-knowledge.
The deeper that they went was directly correlated to how much they could empathize with other people’s life situation.

Why is That?

What is empathy, really?
It’s the ability to say if I was that person, if I had that life, if I had those parents, if I went through that situation, all the positive and negative combined together create a person’s life. This results in the decisions and the things that they do in their life.
If we could better understand that, we would realize that we would do the exact same thing if we had that life. If we had those parents, if we had that upbringing we would do the exact same thing.
In a nutshell, that’s empathy.
I think this is a beautiful study and a beautiful understanding because by being able to simply take time to understand ourselves, we can make the world a better place by empathizing and understanding other people — and it’s not that hard to do.
So why not get started? Here’s a great example of how empathy can change your life.

empathy
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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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The Key to Identifying Your Vocation and Career Path

 
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Total Reading Time: 3 minutes
Vocation identification is something that I’m continually working on, and I’ve actually partnered with a couple of cognitive psychologists and data scientists to develop a test that helps people identify their unique craft.
The first email that automatically goes out to people that join my private email list addresses their biggest pain point: What’s something that you’re currently struggling with right now when it comes to finding your career path?
So many people say things to me like…”I don’t even know what my passions are. I don’t know what I care about. I don’t know. I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t have anything that I actually want to pursue my life.”
These are the common objections for a lot of people…and that is what has led me to this model.
 

The Confluence Model

The Confluence Model is the intersection between your passion, your unique genius, and what the world wants and needs. Before you judge words like passion and genius, because they can sound corny, let me explain…
First of all, when I say passion I’m not talking about the Huffington Post articles that say “just find your passion and you’ll be ok.” That’s an integral aspect of your career no doubt about it. It’s important to have passion and care about what you’re doing, but it’s just one piece.
The second piece is your unique genius. When I say genius to people they sometimes think, “Well, how am I a genius? Only Einstein is a genius, only Steve Jobs is a genius.” And yes, we’re not all the Steve Jobs type, but we each have a unique style.
For example, I’m not a data guy, I’m not an engineer. But if I was doing statistics all day long and I was modeling out different things like that, I would build a new skill.
But I would also immediately be incredibly unfulfilled. It’s one of those things that could only last a certain amount of time. We each have a sweet spot that we have to identify and have an area of our lives where we get into what’s called a flow state. We get into these modes where our prefrontal cortex just turns off and time flies by.
 

Why Is It So Transient?

It’s very important that you identify what that moment was. What was that task? What was that work I was doing? And then finally, what does the world actually need?
So for entrepreneurs, it could be that they are deeply engaged with their audience.
They have a pulse on them. They know exactly what they need. They know exactly what their deepest fears are, their biggest desires. And if you’re going to work for a company, you better hope that the founders are very clear on that.
You better hope that they understand the marketplace so well, and are so deeply connected to their customers that they know exactly what the next move is before the customer even knows.
And that’s how you know you found a sweet spot…
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Nobel Prize-Winner Richard Feynman on Learning Anything Using His Personal Formula

 
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Total Reading Time: 3 minutes.

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
~Albert Einstein

Today there is more information being created and shared than ever before. We are all trying to learn more, do more, be more and grow our minds.
Yet, ironically, it has actually become more difficult to truly gain and implement knowledge. It’s become more difficult to become masters of something while also being able to retain it.
In school we were taught to retain knowledge for a short period of time, just to recite it with rote memory. We were not taught how to deeply ingrain the knowledge presented to us.
Richard Feynman — a theoretical physicist and bonafide genius — created a three-step process he personally used anytime he was learning something new. This is something you can use today in any area of your life.
One thing to understand here is that Richard was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. He was a genius who was able to take complex ideas and distil them down to simple stories and information.
Many of the greatest leaders and teachers of our time have this same ability and learning this process allows you to do the exact same thing.
 

Step 1: Teach It to a Child

Take that information and knowledge and literally write it down as if you were teaching it to a child. If you struggle in particular areas, that’s a good thing!
The struggle is your clue on the exact areas you have gaps in your knowledge.
 

Step 2: Review

Go back to the source material. Review and re-learn it until you can explain it in basic terms.
 

Step 3: Organize and Simplify Your New Knowledge

Take that new knowledge and write it down again. Organize it into a new story that flows.
Simplify it. Read it out loud and make sure that it comes out as simple and easy to understand for even an 8-year-old. Once you have done this, you are truly on your way.
Once you have done this, you are truly on your way. If you really want to lock this in, follow step four, which is optional.
 

Step 4: Transmit

Take that knowledge and transmit it. Find that 8-year-old in your life and teach this new knowledge to them. If you can’t find an 8-year-old to share your new knowledge with, identify someone who has zero knowledge about the topic and try with them instead.
 

The True Test

The true test is your ability and capacity to convey this new knowledge to another person. If after sharing with them they are able to say they completely understand and recite it back to you, then you have done your job.
The real second-level of the test is to see if they can go and teach the concept to someone else.
If you are able to do this, then you can truly learn anything.
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Napoleon Hill and His Little-Known “Two Feet from Gold” Theory

 
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Total Reading Time: 2 minutes.
In the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, which is one of the bestselling non-fiction books of all time, Napoleon shares a theory and concept he calls being “two feet from gold”.
It’s a beautiful metaphor that describes what so many of us are going through today…
If you are someone who’s after a certain level of success and achievement. If you’ve got some sort of goal you want to hit in life or just a certain quantitative or even qualitative state that you want to achieve, then you are faced with this roller-coaster of emotions and various hills and valleys that you go through.
But eventually, what Napoleon found is that the people that do achieve their goal and strike gold, have one key difference between them and everyone else.
In their darkest hour, in the most difficult and trying times of their life…. When they feel like they have nothing left to give and there isn’t an ounce more of energy left in them — they take two more steps.
Two feet, one right after the other. And what they find is that they’ve struck gold, all while in their darkest most desperate hour.
The key difference is that they accomplished this and took those steps, while everyone else just gives up in that dark hour.
They feel like there’s nothing left in them, so they stop and it becomes the turning point. The breaking point. The failure point.
But these people that do take those final two steps often find themselves striking gold, and it’s no coincidence. I think so many of us are facing that in our lives today – always wondering, when am I going to get to that next level?
Let’s cap this off with some poetic words from Mr. Napoleon Hill himself…

Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them. Failure is a trickster with a keen sense of irony and cunning. It takes great delight in tripping one when success is almost within reach.

All you have to remember is that your gold is just two feet away. Keep going…
 

Resources

  1. Think and Grow Rich – This is a classic from Napoleon Hill. It’s been recommended by almost every entrepreneur. Read it once every year. You’ll learn something new every time.
  2. Friedrich Nietzsche on Why a Fulfilling Life Requires Embracing Rather than Running from Difficulty – a parallel can be drawn here and this is a fascinating read.
  3. Viktor Frankl on the Human Search for Meaning – Frankl is no nihilist (far from it), and here he lays out a psychology and philosophy for meaning that aids the discussion and as Maria Popova puts it — “If there ever were a universal reading list of existential essentials, Man’s Search for Meaning would, without a shadow of a doubt, be on it.”

 
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