Real Life Inspiration: Ralph Smart

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It’s funny that just yesterday I published one of my Real Life Inspirations on Steve Jobs, and today I am writing about someone who is bringing a much different impact to the world but doing it with a similar message of freeing ourselves from the pre-programmed lives that society dictates for us.

I’ve just recently discovered Ralph Smart; however, had I found him sooner I don’t think I would have been capable of internalizing the simple and profound depth of his messages.

He is a Psychologist, author, counselor, life coach, and relationship guide.

But he’s also an alchemist and what I would deem a brain hacker, because he is helping others to free themselves and awaken to the infinite possibilities that exist.

I recently wrote about self-actualization and based on the videos of his that I’ve watched I get the sense that here is an individual who has discovered his potential and is living from his authentic-self.

Fortunately for the world, he’s broken free from the mainstream and is helping to raise the consciousness of others through his teachings.

As my own journey of self-discovery progresses I’m finding myself drawn more and more to the messages, signs, and lessons that are providing me the connection to clarity that is so essential to the experience of self-realization.

And the more that I walk this path, the more that I am faced with the inescapable truth that once you wake up to the matrix, there is no lasting inner-peace without breaking free.

I just purchased Ralph’s book, Feel Alive, which is available in e-book and audio format.

I am looking forward to listening to the audio version of Feel Alive as I walk on the beach in the morning.

I’m also going to be scheduling a counseling session with him and I’m looking forward to watching more of his videos, which are released every week on his Youtube Channel.

Here’s an excellent video from Ralph Smart, on loving yourself.

Update: Did a one-on-one skype with Mr. Smart and it was well worth it! Highly recommend.

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Real Life Inspiration: Steve Jobs

jobs

Steve Jobs is an exceptional example of someone who lived his life according to his own code and left a permanent mark on the world in his wake.

I’ve read his biography, and I’ve watched many interviews with him, but today I came across what I believe to be a more rare glimpse into his mind.

I choose the following four quotes from the video, because they are precious gems that should be digested and internalized within each of us striving to find our way and succeed at realizing our full potential in life.

“The only thing you have in your life is time. And if you invest that time in yourself, in great experiences that are going to enrich you, then you can’t possibly lose.”

“We went and talked to the venture capitalists none of them would give us any money. One of them referred to me as a renegade from the human race because I had longer hair, yeah none of them would give us any money, and thank G-d because they would have ended up owning most of our company”.

“I’ve never found anyone who said no or hung up the phone when I called. I just asked. And when people ask me I try to be as responsive to pay that debt of gratitude back. Most people never pick up the phone and call, most people never ask – and that’s what separates, sometimes, the people that do things from the people that just dream about them. You’ve gotta act. And you gotta to be willing to fail. You’ve gotta be willing to crash and burn, you know with people on the phone, with starting a company, with whatever. You know, if you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.”

“So, the thing I would say is, when you grow up you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is to live your life inside of the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money, but life – that’s a very limited life, life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you – and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. And the minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually, if you push in, something will pop out the other side – that you can change it, than you can mold it, um, that’s maybe the most important thing; is to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just going to live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it. I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better ’cause it’s kind of messed up in a lot of ways. And once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

<br>Thank you Steve. The world was better for you having lived in it.

Real Life Inspiration: Jason Everman

My heroes are all modern renaissance men. The Elon Musks, the Will Smiths, the Donald Glovers, the Viggo Mortensens.

Those who have self-actualized and are living out their potential.

My favorite example of a relatively unknown person who I admire as an example of self-actualization, is Jason Everman, who according to the Columbia University website:

In 1987,  Everman—a commercial fisherman off the coast of Alaska—quit his job and moved to Seattle where he became the second guitarist touring worldwide and recording with Nirvana to promote their “Bleach” album and a bassist with Soundgarden on their “Louder than Love” tour.  He eventually outgrew the rock scene, and in 1994, he traded his pick for a rifle and enlisted in the U.S. Army special operations forces as a part of the 2nd Ranger Battalion.  Thirteen years later, Everman, 45, who has hiked the Himalayas and lived as a Nepalese monk, will graduate from Columbia University School of General Studies with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy on May 20 at 9 a.m. in New York City. 

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The way I look at it, life is meaningless. The meaningfulness is what you impart to it. 

– Jason Everman

Everman enlisted in the Army after being inspired by the autobiography of the Italian Renaissance man Benvenuto Cellini, who was a goldsmith, sculptor, draftsman, soldier and musician, as detailed in his autobiography, which is free on amazon for the digital edition

To learn more, you can read the amazing piece from the New York Times on Everman, here.

Self-Actualization is Possible

Let me tell you the destination in life, it’s a coffin, with no heart beating inside of you and a brain that is no longer alive.

One life to live isn’t just a show, it’s the script to your life.

That’s already written. Birth to death.

What happens in-between is your choice.

You can work a job you hate, have crappy relationships, feel unfulfilled, never discover your hidden potential, never follow your dreams, and never take risks. Basically, you can be normal.

Or you can be freed from the fear that pushes you to please others. You can choose to live by your own personal code instead of being enslaved by social norms and pressures and you can fulfill your deepest inner-needs while experiencing the pinnacle of psychological health and happiness. You can be more than you ever imagined.

Self-Actualization is possible.

Seriously. This is the guiding goal of my life.

To self-actualize is to discover and cultivate one’s own unique personal potential.

Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. All the things that matter.

In all of those arena’s I am somewhere on the spectrum between reaching my full-potential, and failing myself.

Hey!, we’ve all failed ourselves at times. It’s okay, love yourself – dust yourself off, and write a new story. Failing yourself human. It’s alright.

But failing yourself is nonetheless a terrible pain and it’s also a shame because we can make our lives and the world a better place by discovering and pursuing our own potential as human beings.

Art, science, music, literature, love, romance, spirituality, equality – the whole of man’s accomplishments that have deepened and enriched the human experience have all arisen from the discovery and pursuit of the unique physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual potential that lies in all of us.

We all have the capability to enrich our own lives and the lives of others. And that’s what I want.

Self-actualizing is the desire to be more and more of what one is, rather than to be all that one can be – because it’s not about being your ideal-self, that is not self-actualizing.

Many people dedicate their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be like, rather than actualizing themselves. This difference between self-actualization and self-image actualization is very important. Most people live only for their image.

– Bruce Lee

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To self-actualize is to manifest your latent potential. 

That is your potential that is not yet developed or actualized, and potential that often lies undiscovered. 

But don’t think of it as fulfilling your potential – but rather as discovering, developing, and achieving it – because the purpose of self-actualization is not a destination, but rather the happiness that comes from the pursuit of it and all the things that accompany self-actualization.

Actualized people actually possess distinct characteristics that are pretty fucking cool.

In a nutshell, they live in the moment and find the beauty in each experience. They are realistic about the world and themselves and don’t see it through their baggage.They are not fearful of the unknown, or change itself. They are motivated by their own personal code and they apply themselves to solve other common problems in the world. They are introspective when faced with setbacks. They have ‘peak experiences’ in their daily lives that transform them and strengthen them. They don’t try to conform to other people’s ideas of happiness or contentment. They have a friendly sense of humor and can laugh at themselves. They are open, spontaneous and unconventional; being able to follow social norms, but not feeling confined by them. They are aware of their socially conditioned beliefs. They can authentically relate and connect to others. They are compassionate and accepting. They are selective in their relationships, but their relationships are meaningful. They are accepting of their mistakes and even open to making mistakes – but careful not to repeat them. They are aware of their imperfections. They are content. They value their privacy and solitude and use it to discover and cultivate their potential.

I told you they were pretty cool characteristics.

You can read more detail about the characteristics of self-actualized people here.

And remember, those weren’t the steps they took to become self-actualized, but rather the by-products of self-actualization. The characteristics embodied by those who committed their lives to the discovery and the pursuit of their potential.

The Steve Jobs of the world are self-actualized. The Blake Mycoskies (Toms shoes) of the world. The Will Smiths. The Bruce Lees. The Bill Gates. The Elon Musks. The Warren Buffets.

While those may seem like far-fetched examples of people who embody unobtainable lives, the fact is that self-actualization is possible for everyone – it has nothing to do with fame or wealth, but it can often produce it when people discover and cultivate their unique potential to it’s maximum.

But often people aren’t actively actualizing because they are focused on survival, or getting their basic emotional needs met. In order to self-actualize, your lower needs must first me met – as per Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. 

I also posit that here are many people who have reached the self-actualized level of happiness but due to the private and selective nature of their friendships, remain unknown beyond their close friends and family.

A great example is Jason Everman, a guy who left the rock and roll world after playing with bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden, to join the US Special Forces and then studied philosophy at Columbia.

These are people who weren’t hindered by fear and didn’t let social norms dictate their lives, but rather, instead made the choice to live by their own personal code.

If you’re intrigued and want to know how to get started on your own personal journey of self-actualization, I suggest watching the excellent videos below for some great information on how to live a life that creates self-actualization.

 

 

 

Timeless Truths: Be You

I woke up at 3:30 am this morning, after a nice sleep with random dreams.

I looked around the dark room, enjoying the silence. Not yet noticing the sounds of crickets chirping outside my window.

Then I got up and ate a cup of cereal and made a mini-quesadilla with grass-fed cheese after. Sweet then savory.

And I felt total clarity.

I thought about the past and the present in a way that made me feel silently grateful for the insight I woke up to.

I started imagining different tattoo ideas to remind me of this feeling. The heart of life, clarity, forever young.

And I thought about how deeply I wanted to remind myself of the feelings and dreams that drove me as a younger man.

And I suddenly became aware of this small fear that I felt.

The fear that I would forget this feeling, because I had to remember it in the first place.

I didn’t want to forget this feeling that was reminding me of who I am.

I didn’t want to forget that I could do anything.

And I silently started trying to remind myself of the things I was feeling, much the way that you would try and repeat digits to a phone number that you were afraid you would soon forget.

Then I realized that I didn’t need to remember these things. They were true, they were timeless within me.

I only needed to forget everything else that was false and temporal.

To forget the false beliefs of my ego I only needed to become aware of holding onto a concept of how I see myself and how other people see me.

To the ego those are one in the same.

My previous post was a fairly long and winding piece of garbage that dealt with the feeling of being trapped in a matrix of false beliefs constructed from the outward, false concept of myself.

And now at 4am, I’d seen that matrix.

I wanted to tell myself that I experienced some sort of ‘ego death’.

And maybe I did.

Maybe that’s the secret to unplugging from the matrix.

But I don’t know.

I just know that I want to stay aware.

I want to stay aware that within me there is only the timelessness of myself. The timeless truths that mean everything to me.

The truth that I need only see myself from the eyes of my soul and clarity is mine.

That truth that being yourself is better than perceiving yourself.

The truth that your concept of yourself or how others perceive you, is not you.

Be you.

Waking Up to The Matrix

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Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.

Morpheus, The Matrix

I’m a thinker, it’s just my nature.

Call it intensity, call it passion – but as enriching as the experience of deep introspection can be, it’s often the burden of many an artist’s soul.

But it must be faced, for to attempt to escape from that splinter in your mind is a dangerous pursuit that will often manifest itself in some of the most unhealthy and destructive forms of prolonged self-abuse.

If you’re thinking, if your gears are going, it’s because your brain is trying to resolve something – and you can’t ignore it.

In my journey through the world, I am always looking for signs and I’m willing to blindly venture down the rabbit hole in order to find them.

This willingness, combined with my unbridled ADHD, makes for a life that’s full of signs.

Tonight I was listening to Phil Collins and one of the youtube commenters said something to the effect of ‘GARBAGE , PETER GABRIEL KICKS PHILS ASS, SCREW THIS POP SHIT.’

So, I decided to listen to some Peter Gabriel, and what a beautiful thing that I did.


I have an egocentric tendency to relate things to my personal life or current situation. This is probably a result of my desire to discover the signs and messages in life, but it provides me with a great power, which is the ability to use everyday things (like a Peter Gabriel song) as lenses through which I can view the world from a perspective other than my own.

That allows me to better understand myself, and life as a whole.

What struck me about this song was it’s message of transcending pain through awakening.

Love I get so lost, sometimes
Days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
When I want to run away
I drive off in my car
But whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are

All my instincts, they return
And the grand facade, so soon will burn
Without a noise, without my pride I reach out from the inside

In your eyes
The light the heat
In your eyes
I am complete
In your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
In your eyes
The resolution of all the fruitless searches
In your eyes
I see the light and the heat
In your eyes Oh,
I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light
The heat I see in your eyes

Love, I don’t like to see so much pain
So much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away
I get so tired of working so hard for our survival
I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive

And all my instincts, they return
And the grand facade, so soon will burn
Without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

The lyrics perfectly mirrored the song in my heart and it spoke for me, which is what I think good music should accomplish.

The reason it spoke for me is because right now I am floating in a place where I am not living from my gut, from my instincts – and that’s a painful place to be.

This is a song about instincts returning and the grand facade burning.

It’s about reaching out from the inside and establishing a new and loving relationship with yourself, where you are complete and you’ve found the resolution of all the fruitless searches.

To me, it’s about awakening to the experience of being reconnected to your authentic-self.

Your authentic-self is the true you. The person connected to your passions, your purpose, your beliefs and your identity.

This is difficult, because the authentic-self is not the same you that has been so deeply conditioned and programmed.

Societal pressures that we’ve come to call ‘life’ trap us, and force us to compromise our heart and ignore our intuition. And once you awaken to that you will question everything you beleive in.

The questions I’ve started asking myself are:

What makes me tick? What are the driving forces in my life?

Why do I do what I do, and make the choices that I make?

What beliefs are dictating my being? and are they empowering or disempowering beliefs?

Those are questions that won’t leave me, it’s as if I have to live with them now.

I’ve started to try and answer them, and I’m beginning to discover so much more about my nature. But most importantly I’m realizing how conflicted it is with my reality.

I’m not trying to get too existential here, but when you realize that you’ve been making the wrong commitments and your priorities are completely paradoxical to your true-nature and your life is suffering as a result of your beliefs – then I think it’s a wise time to question what you believe in.

steve_33_years

During his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005, Steve Jobs gave this sage anecdote:

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Unfortunately that answer has been no for me for far too long. Probably as is the case for many of us who aren’t living our truth.

Instead of living our truth, we are caught in the trap of trying to please everybody.

Why? We’ve been programmed to. Just like our parents were programed to try and please the gatekeepers. Employers, teachers, the opposite sex, the government – the entire system relies on us being compelled to try and appease it.

And that’s just one example of thinking that has been so deeply ingrained into us that we don’t even realize it.

From birth, we are plugged into a world that programs our thinking and our beliefs.

Welcome to the matrix.

But if we had the courage to deprogram our thinking, and truly examine our beliefs then we would have the power to define our world, rather than be defined by it.

lessons

That, my friend, is called unplugging from the matrix.

Here’s a great explanation of ‘unplugging from the matrix’ from Awake in The Now.

Once the red pill is taken or the awakening process begins, there is no turning back, it cannot be undone.

When we reach the point where higher self comes to tap us on the shoulder we must respond. If we resist this wake up call we will suffer more and more intensely until we get the message and make the turn inward.

In the movie, Neo chooses the red pill and is unplugged so to speak from the matrix. The is an incredibly painful and disorienting process as he realizes that everything he took to be reality is not in fact real but just a projection of his mind and part of a simulated dream world within which he had been imprisoned…

The process of beginning to unplug from the matrix is very painful for most of us because essentially everything, every aspect of our lives begins to change and transform in profound and initially uncomfortable ways. We no longer get much comfort and pleasure from the things we used to and as we begin to see through the illusion we’re confronted with the vastness and limitlessness of the unknown which is terrifying to us because we’re used to living in a comfortably limited world.

The higher-self has definitely tapped me on the shoulder. I’ve takien the red pill and I’m starting to experience the discomfort of seeing through the illusion of my beliefs and the choices they are producing.

There is no turning back from this awakening.

Now I really have to answer those same questions of:

What makes me tick? What are the driving forces in my life?

Why do I do what I do, and make the choices that I make?

What beliefs are dictating my being? and are they empowering or disempowering beliefs?

and just as important,

What are the beliefs that are holding me back from doing what I’d truly like to be doing and what I’m truly capable of doing?

and what beliefs are limiting my concept of what I’m capable of and what my limits are?

Clearly, for most all of us, fear is a central theme in the answers.

Many of us have likely heard of the concept of people being driven by fear.

We’re scared of letting people down, we are scared of being uncomfortable, we are scared of taking that most painful first step.

Whatever we are afraid of, we need to uncover our fears and face them as what they are: beliefs. And as I asserted, we need to ask if they are empowering or disempowering fears.

In my previous post, I embedded a youtube video where Will Smith can be seen explaining to PBS’ Charlie Rose that he is driven by fear:

‘I’m motivated by fear. Fear of fear! I hate being scared to do something, and I think what developed in my early days was the habit of attacking things that I was scared of.’

Will Smith

What’s really interesting about what Will Smith said, is that although he admits to being motivated by fear, in his case, his fear is fear; being scared to do something.

So, in the case of Will Smith, his fear is an empowering belief, because it causes him to attack things to avoid being scared of them.

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Inaugural Address, March 4th 1933

That’s probably the only fear that’s going to empower us. The fear of being afraid to do anything.

If we are afraid of fear then we are afraid to be paralyzed by the ‘needed efforts to convert retreat into advance’.

And once we realize that’s the only fear worth fearing, then we stop being driven by limiting fears that are disempowering because they cause us to be afraid of taking action. Action shouldn’t be feared. Not taking action because we are afraid should be feared.

If we can re-frame our fears in this light, we will see that they are not protecting us, or keeping us safe. They are keeping us plugged into the matrix. And when we examine the root of the fears that have been guiding and defining us for so long, we will come to see that they are based in societal notions that have been imparted to us without any real critical thought.

We just accept that being successful is hard, and we are safer at a job, and all of the other ‘unjustified terrors’ that are keeping us in the uncomfortable place of having taken the red pill, but not walking through the door and becoming truly unplugged.

To truly unplug from the matrix, you need to establish a belief system that is completely rooted in the inner-voice of your heart, and the quiet yet unwavering intuition of your gut.

This sounds complex, to make the jump from the beliefs of the matrix to our own, but there’s actually a secret to it.

From the same video, in my previous post.

“Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive, god-like feature that only the special among us will ever taste – you know it’s something that truly exists in all of us. It’s very simple: this is what I believe and I’m willing to die for it. Period. It’s that simple. I know who I am and I know what I believe, and that’s all I need to know, so from there you do what you need to do. I think what happens is we make this situation more complex – the normal among us, than it has to be (because we’re looking for complexity).”

If we want to find out what are beliefs are, we need only ask if we would be willing to die for them – and not necessarily in a literal sense, but absolutely in a figurative sense. Our true beliefs that are rooted in our authentic-self outside of the matrix have to be essential for our existence.

You either believe it or you don’t.

In this video, Will Smith talks about a lesson learned from Muhammad Ali on the critical nature of innate confidence as a belief that’s required for success.

If you don’t believe it – no one else will.

So if you can frame your beliefs on the idea that they will make or break you, then you can begin to establish beliefs that will unplug you from the matrix and connect you to the limitless nature of your true being.

You can unplug from the maxtrix wherever you are trapped by it.

You can go as deep as you want down the rabbit hole. It’s all dependent upon how much you wish to awaken to the programmed beliefs that keep us trapped in the matrix.

Maybe the matrix is your career, maybe it’s your dreams that lay stagnant because of your fear. Maybe it’s an entire life path, as defined by society. The matrix is nothing more than the software that our mind is running. Our physical being is the technology, and we don’t have to run the same software that everyone else is running. We can program our own beliefs to mirror those of the most self-actualized and successful members of our society. Those that are free from the rat-race, and are living a life that’s tailor made for them. Design your life and program yourself as required.

Start deprogramming yourself today. Find out exactly what your guiding systems are.

Your only fear should be fear of letting fear continue controlling you. Reach out from the inside and let your instincts return and the grand facade of the matrix will burn. Now that you are awakening to the matrix, it’s time to unplug. It’s your choice: you take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

I’m trying to free your mind, but I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” – John Lennon

Real Life Inspiration: Will Smith

I’ve read four books this week.

I listen to audiobooks or inspirational videos while I work.

I eat, dream, shit, piss, and sleep my mission of living a life that’s tailor-made just for me.

90+% of my reading is personal development driven. Why? It works. I’m a better man for it; I love growth and discovery.

But it’s one thing to hear an inspirational author or speaker talk about success and self-actualization – but it’s an entire different beast to hear someone proselytize the same thing – for no other reason then the generosity of their spirit.

This is who he is and what he believes in. The passion is obvious.

The man is not going to the grave with the song still inside of him.

I’m posting this so that I can return to it and listen until I know it by memory.

I Love Myself

One of the cool things I’ve awakened to in life is the ability to find the right messages.

They tend to reach me, because I’m looking for them.

One of the ways they manifest themselves to me, is through the power of books.

And I tend to come across books in a very serendipitous manner.

I don’t check best-seller lists. I don’t fall for the folly of the latest ‘it’ book.

I wait for the book to find me.

It might be through word of mouth, or out and about – where I see someone reading a book and it turns into a conversation.

As was the case recently with  Live a Thousand Years: Have The Time of Your Life.

I happened to sit near someone reading it, and I was intrigued by the book’s title and it’s colorful, imaginative cover. I quickly struck up a friendly conversation with the fellow reading it and I ordered the book when I got home.

From Live a Thousand Years, I was granted a perfect lesson on happiness:  That moments – not time – are the best way to measure success and happiness. It was the exact message I needed, and I carry it with me today as another lens through which I see the world. I highly suggest giving it a read, as it’s full of lessons – and who knows what you might gain from it.

This morning, a very interesting gentleman that I follow on facebook – a one James Altucher – posted a link to a blog post and a podcast on Kamal Ravikant’s latest book, Live Your Truth.

But I didn’t watch the podcast, or even read the entire blog post, because I was struck by something halfway through.

The last book he wrote, “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It” has become a motto for me.

Despite being intrigued by Live Your Truth, I immediately knew I had to read Kamal’s first book, because that’s what I’m looking for in books. Mottos. Paradigms. Lessons. Lenses.

So this evening, I picked up the Kindle Edition for $2.99, which I began to read on my computer aloud to my girlfriend – and ended up finishing the entire book in one sitting.

Unlike, Live a Thousand Years, which contains essentially 12 different messages for readersLove Yourself Like Your Life Depends on it has one powerful and simple message for readers, which can be easily surmised through the title.

Kamal tells the story of a transformative shift he underwent at a time when he was:

“..in a bad way. Miserable out of my mind. There were days when I’d lie in bed, the drapes closed, day outside sliding into night and back to day, and I just didn’t want to deal. Deal with my thoughts. Deal with being sick. Deal with heartache. Deal with my company tanking. Deal…with…life”

And the next paragraph opens the book with a simple sentence:

“Here is what saved me.”

And the book is nothing short of exceptional. It’s message might be the purest, most powerful lesson that life could teach us; It’s to love oneself. Not just why, but how – in a simple practice.

And of course, it’s the exact message I’ve been searching for. That’s just how life works for me. I’ve said it a thousand times:

I am passionate about the serendipitous nature of life; the right interactions, people, messages, signs and lessons always have a way of finding you if you are looking for them.

And boy, am I looking right now. At one point or another, we’ve all been where Kamal was.

Being honest with myself, I can admit that it’s all too easy for me to get back to that dark place; even when things are good.

In the chapter aptly titled Coasting, Kamal writes “Don’t let yourself coast when things are going great.”

He writes about the importance of vigilance when things are good and he also discusses the need to accept that if we loved ourselves, truly and deeply, we would only fly higher – rather than question if we could even handle it or if we even deserved it.

Because for me, the mental loops and patterns that Kamal addresses have defined my life to the point that I have returned to that dark place – even from the highest of highs.

And the book’s message and practice is about channeling our thinking into a new groove – creating a new loop – one that overrides the mental rivers that have controlled us, often since childhood.

“Forget demolishing the grooves of the past. What you’re creating is a new groove so deep, so powerful, that your thoughts will automatically flow down this one.”

Who doesn’t want to escape the patterns that have confined us? Who doesn’t want to change their world by creating stronger, healthier beliefs than those that have thus far defined the path of our lives?

Sounds intriguing right? It is. It’s magical. And that’s what I’m interested in life. I’m not interested in limiting my life to what I’ve only previously thought possible. I’m interested in the magic.

Because, as the book says:

“After all, if you loved yourself truly and deeply, would you limit your life to what you’d previously thought possible? Nope. You’d blow your own socks off.

And I want to blow my own socks off, because the truth is, I love myself. And you should too – like your life depends on it.

The Last Diet I’ll Ever Go On – Part III: Rapid Fat-Loss

This is Part III of my The Last Diet Ill Ever Go On series.

Having read Part II, you have the foundation for this diet.

The focus of this final part is fat loss.

This approach is firmly rooted in my personal experience in being able to quickly lose fat. I’m not going to go into the mechanics of this section since I am extremely busy and do not have time to write a free book.

But if you know me and want to trust me after reading the first two parts to my diet, then you can trust that this section is legit.

The diet for fat loss is slightly different than the sustainable diet from part II.

It’s basically a modified paleo with intermittent fasting and carb-cycling.

It’s pretty simple.

Here are the rules:

1. Quit eating at 9pm (This is so that your body goes into a fasted state at night).

2. Upon waking, make a cup of bulletproof coffee.

It’s amazing stuff and will give you tons of energy and help you burn fat.

I make mine with Chameleon Cold Brew, purchased at Whole Foods, but I’d recommend using something Organic and Fair-Trade at least. If you can find cold-brew, that’s what I prefer to use because it has much lower acidity.

But regardless of how gentrified your coffee itself is, the rest of the ingredients are simple and remain the same.

You can either follow the recipe here, or use mine below.

Bulletproof Coffee Recipe

Ingredients:

8oz Organic and Fair-Trade Cold-Brew Coffee

2 heaping Tablespoons (2.5 normal tbsp) Grass Fed Butter (no salt is preferred, but low is okay if that’s all you can find). Kerrygold brand is grass-fed. Organic Valley Pasture Butter is great too.

2 Tablespoons Organic Coconut Oil

Instructions

If using cold-brew coffee, preheat in microwave.

Place in mixer or blender.

Add 2 heaping tbsb grass-fed butter

Add 2 tbsp organic coconut oil

Mix until frothy.

Enjoy!

3. Time for Your Morning Fat Loss Workout (HIIT Cardio)

Once you’ve had your bulletproof coffee, get ready to work out. This will give your body a little bit of time to process the bulletproof coffee you’ve drank.

Since you are still in a relatively fasted state, your workout is going to burn a lot of fat. Think about it, your blood-glucose is still low (bulletproof coffee doesn’t have carbs to spike it.) and your body is going to use fat for energy.

But we also want to ensure you don’t burn muscle for energy. To combat this, you are going to consume 1 serving of Scivation Xtend, mixed with water during your workout.

You can buy it at Amazon. I like watermelon.

For your workout and to burn maximum fat – you are going to want to do some High Intensity Interval Training – cardio.

You can read about it here, or at Wikipedia.

If you’ve ever taken a spinning class, you know what this feels like. It’s basically 2 minutes of medium pace, followed by 20 seconds of flat out. This equals one interval. I like to do between 10 and 20 intervals.

I like to use either a recumbent exercise bike, or an elliptical.

If you’re unsure of what a HIIT session looks like, check out this youtube video.

In the video above, the guy uses shorter intervals, which are great for some people, but I like 2 minute intervals.

If you want an easy and effective way, just go to a spinning class at yout local gym instead. You’ll get your ass kicked good and well.

4. Eat Breakfast After Your Workout and Carb-Cycle

Now – this is where it get’s trickier.

We want to add a carb-cycling element to this. That means we are going to start out by doing 2 low-carb days where our only carbs come from green vegetables, followed by 1 high carb day, where you follow the ‘normal diet’ after your workout and for the rest of the third day.

So for low carb days, breakfast might be bacon with sauteed kale and asparagus cooked in grass-fed butter, or even a protein style burger made with grass-fed ground beef.

For high-carb days, you could make this smoothie, or a variation of. Perhaps adding a banana and some strawberries, or even some plain yogurt or kefir milk.

Smoothie Recipe

1 Rounded Scoop 100% Whey

1 Rounded Tablespoon Amazing Grass Raw Reserve

1 Cup Frozen Organic Blueberries

12 Ounces Grass-Fed Milk

Mix all in Blender, blend.

Smoothie Nutrition Facts

Total Calories: 412Total Fat: 17 Grams
Total Carbs: 41 Grams
Total Protein: 37 Grams

5. Follow the Carb-Cycling Routine For Your Meals

So, per the carb-cycling routine you are going to start out by eating just lean proteins and non-starchy veggies (no potatoes or squash, and no fruits) along with ample amounts of healthy fats. (And of course, your morning bulletproof coffee).

Proteins for all days:

  • Chickens
  • Tuna Fish (can)
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Whey Protein Powder (mix with water on low carb days and water or grass-fed milk on high)
  • Turkey
  • Eggs
  • Steak and other meats (not exceptionally high fat cuts) – and all pasture raised.
  • Moderate Amounts of uncured bacon and turkey bacon

Approved Fats for All Days:

  • Grass-Fed Butter
  • Avocados
  • Olive Oil
  • Flax, and Canola Oil
  • Almond Butter (unsweetened) and natural Peanut Butter or Smart Balance Brand
  • Nuts (See the best and worst nuts for your health)
  • Seeds (Chia, Hemp, Flax, Sunflower)
  • Coconut Oil

Approved Carbs for Low Carb Days:

  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Cabbage & raw sauerkraut
  • Collards and Mustard Greens
  • Radicchio and endive
  • Herbs – parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.
  • Bok Choy
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Celery
  • Radishes
  • Sea Vegetables (Nori, seaweed salad etc)
  • MushroomsAvocadoAsparagus
  • Okra
  • Cucumbers (or pickles without added sugars)
  • Peppers
  • Bell Peppers

This is going to continue for 2 days. No breads, no oats, no rice, no milk, no carbs except veggies on low-carb days.

On the third day, you are going to continue with the morning bulletproof coffee and workout, and then for breakfast, you can make a smoothie with milk (per the above recipe), or enjoy some unsweetened oatmeal, or any carbs from the list below, which you will eat for the remainder of the high-carb day, along with ample protein and fat with each meal.

Here are your approved carbs for high-carb days:

  • Brown rice
  • Oats (unsweetened) (splenda is your friend)
  • Sweet potatoes or Yams
  • Fiber One (All Bran) Cereal
  • Starchy Veggies for High Carb Days:(corn, peas, squashes, carrots, beets, broccoli, caluflower, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, eggplant, artichokes, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, and onions)
  • Beans/Legumes
  • Approved Yet Limited Carbohydrates:
  • Grass-Fed Milk
  • Plain Yogurt (splenda is your friend)
  • Whole-wheat pasta
  • Whole grain breads, pitas, etc
  • Blueberries and Strawberries only (no fruits)

Note: This is complex and may be confusing at first – but it works.

6. In the afternoon or evening – lift something heavy.

Since you are doing your morning cardio, you cannot lift in the a.m. So in the afternoon or evening, do some anabolic (muscle building) exercise.

Rather than waste money on a personal trainer, I recommend the following:

If you are young and healthy, you are best off finding a CrossFit gym near you. (warning, it is intense, and some people do get overwhelmed or burned out) – but if you want to go H.A.M then commit to doing Crossfit 3x a week and your body will transform.

If you are less young, and still healthy, or perhaps wary of doing this in public, I’d recommend P90X or Insanity. Both, if done regularly, will provide excellent results.

See the reviews of P90X at amazon, here.

See the reviews of Insanity, at amazon, here.

If you are unsure about your health, please see a physician before undertaking any massive lifestyle change.

And if you are just a huge pussy who is afraid of what working out till you puke will do – please think about that next time you are getting wasted and treating your body like an actual garbage can.

Note: Eat a High-Carb Post Workout Meal on High-Carb Days

After you do P-90X or Insanity, (or lifting at the gym if you know what you are doing), you want to eat after working out to fuel your muscle growth, but this works best on high carb days, where for once, you can really eat a high protein meal with a lot of carbs. I enjoy eating some whole grain pasta with grass-fed meatballs. This carb intake helps deliver protein to your muscles.

On low carb days I’d eat a big, green salad with lean protein after a workout.

7. Take These Supplements

8. Drink Lots of Water

Eight, 8 ounce glasses a day. I like alkaline water from Essentia – but would go with any alkaline water if you can – otherwise, filtered water.

9. Stay Creative

Want a good snack on a low carb day? Mix a can of tuna with some salsa and eat with whole grain chips. Just cooked bacon? Use the grease to cook your veggies in. High carb day? Microwave a sweet potato and smother it with almond butter.

10. Listen To Your Body

This is your body. This post is meant for people who know me and read my blog, and those can make their own decisions. But don’t just take anyone’s advice from the internet. Do your own research. Go to the forums at bodybuilding.com

Order some highly rated books from amazon.

But most importantly, listen to your body. If you are getting dizzy and getting headaches – eat some damn carbs. And for everyone, take 1-2 days a week off from working out. (not off from dieting : ) If you are losing weight and want to try going more extreme because the low-carb days are easy, add in a powerwalk at lunch, or try 3 low carb days, followed by 1 high carb.

This isn’t the diet to follow for the rest of your life. That’s in part II, but if you are looking to drop fat quickly, here is a recap of the principles I laid out in this section.

  • 1. Quit Eating at 9pm
  • 2. Drink Bulletproof Coffee
  • 3. High Intensity Interval Cardio – prior to breakfast
  • 4. Eat Breakfast
  • 5. Carb Cycle: 2 low carb days with veggies only, followed by 1 high-carb day. (lots of protein and fat in both days)
  • 6. P-90x or Insanity
  • 7. Supplementation
  • 8. Drink Lots of Water

recipe

My Raison D’être

As you get older, you realize the importance of family over all else.

Older people tell you that – and then one day – you’re 28, and it’s true.

And it’s the realest thing ever. There really is nothing more real than that.

We live in a crazy world. A world that moves so fast.

A world full of love and hate; life and death; joy and fear; sadness and happiness; hope and despair. And everything imaginable in-between.

I do not know the nature of life. I don’t know what happens after life.

I do not know why we are here.

But I do know that I was created.

Like you, I came from my mother’s womb, naked and crying. That’s all that life guaranteed me. The rest was purely good-fortune.

I realize that I was lucky to have people waiting for me who loved me and did their best to raise me.

The older I get, the more I appreciate that. Just the fact that I have a family.

Not all of us are that fortunate.

Beyond the fact that I was lucky enough just to have parents around at all, I hit the lottery in that I know what unconditional love feels like.

No – I didn’t grow up in a Brady Bunch household.

There were struggles that I am only now coming to understand. But I get that I was lucky through it all.

Who among us can claim to have a perfect family.

We can ALL claim to have a fucked-up family in the way that all families are fucked-up in their own way. That’s just called life.

And that’s family. It’s messy. It’s not the superficial social experience of friendship. There’s no hanging out on a good day and being invisible when it’s convenient. There is no filter, and there is no choosing what you get to keep private.

It is people at their best and at their complete worst. It’s phone calls at 2 am, and crying all night, and the worst birthday ever.

And all too often, it’s the worst that we remember; for what is more emotionally charged than family. What cuts deeper.

But it’s also the times your dad took you fishing. When he made lunch for just the two of you and you watched a movie that you can’t even remember, but you remember the taste of pringles chips and a can of coke. Or when you walked out on the pier during a huge storm together.

It’s when your mom snuck you a few extra bucks for lunch even though times were tight. It’s when she made you a burger on the stove at 1 am and watched sleepless in Seattle with you. It’s when she got you dressed and you went for a walk with her in the middle of the biggest El Niño in 15 years.

It’s every day my sister has ever been alive.

What is sweeter.

I know of no greater love.

I want to call all of my family right now and just cry. Just tell them that I am sorry that my head is always somewhere else and I’m sorry that life has for a long time overshadowed that.

I love my family. They are the most wonderful people I have ever known. They are everything I stand for and believe about the world. And that’s the greatest gift that life has given me.

I know that none of us will be around forever. But I promise to pass on every fucked-up and beautiful thing about this family of mine. I promise to carry on my dad’s passion, and his love of the sea. I promise to carry on my mom’s poetic heart. I promise to carry on my sister’s everlasting love and dedication.

Thy eternal summer shall not fade.

I’m rededicating my life right now to family. Past, present, for now, and forever.

This is my raison d’être.

raison_de_etre