All About Life and the Pursuit of Knowledge, Meaning, and Health as Experienced by a Disabled-but-able-bodied Veteran, Husband, Father, Christian, Native Floridian; Fitness/Wellness/Recovery Coach; And a a Seeker of Wisdom, Good Books, And Great Thinkers.
You don’t have to stay there. There’s hope…if you seek it.
Most people are afraid of change, yet everything (including YOU…AND ME) is in a constant state of flux (change).
People are afraid to take risks or ‘take a leap of faith,’ because people fear uncertainty…and more often than not fear of rejection is a contributing factor. What will my friends think? What would my Dad say? What are people going to say about these extravagant dreams/goals?
SIMPLE ANSWER: Who cares what other people think…
When you start chasing those seemingly outlandish life-long dreams, people will come out of the woodwork to try to convince you how crazy that is or why it’s a bad idea. SHUT THAT SHIT OUT. Go with your passion, visualize the end goal, and work your ass off everyday to get there. Never stop, never quit, and never take NO for an answer. If you fail, change your strategy and do it again. And again. And again.
Shut those toxic naysayers out of your life. Friends? Bye. Spouse? Sorry, Bye. Family….yep…Bye.
You’ll quickly find out who has your best interests in mind. And that process won’t be pretty, but in the end it will have been worth it.
Someone said (Jim Carrey?) that “you can easily fail at what you don’t want in life, so why not go after what you do want?” Failure is part of the process. Don’t be afraid of failure, that’s how we learn and grow.
And for crying out loud, stop comparing yourself to other people, and start comparing yourself to an earlier version of yourself. (Jordan Peterson, Rule #4 in his book “12 rules for life: An anecdote for chaos). All rules listed below.
Well, after reviewing my self-proclaimed ‘epic’ advice blog post about goal setting…I realize there is very little actual information about how to actually set the goals rather than just the importance of having them.
I will write a shorter, more digestible blogpost later today with some practical steps/advice on how to set goals that will be productive rather than destructive. I’ll also explain the importance and difference between 1st level, 2nd level, and 3rd level goals (short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals, respectively).
Prioritizing within these levels is also important, and developing and implementing an action plan is just as important as setting the goal(s). You can’t have one without the other. Well you can…but you won’t end up where you want to be.
More on this later….get your workout in!
As soon as I’m healed, I’ll be joining you. I had my workers (family/friends/spouse/kids) finish my workout space/office…and I can’t wait to use it.
And here it is!
Patiently (impatiently) waiting for my body to heal…meanwhile…Shakeology!!
Helping people realize and actualize their potential and their goals. We all get stuck in life, some worse than others. But there is always a way to make the suffering less impactful and to live a better life. I share my story and experiences because I believe that gives people hope and understanding of the diversity and similarity of different people's lives.
Goal Setting and Why This is Important
Chances are, at some point in your life, you have heard of the importance of setting goals and keeping them forefront in your mind. And there is also a great chance that if you have, you have fallen short, outright failed, quit, gave up, or set easier goals because LIFE IS HARD.
Setting goals is perhaps one of the most important habits that we do as humans. That’s one of the things that separate us from primates and other animals. We have the ability to think about our future, make goals, formulate a plan, and forego instant gratification for the long-term gains/pay-off.
The problem is, especially in today’s society with all of the electronic devices and excessive consumerism lifestyles most of us live, we aren’t generally comfortable waiting for that pay-off. We want it now. And it’s easier to make decisions that benefit us now even when thinking it through would reveal that these decisions are detrimental in the long-term. But our brains tend to shut down as soon as we make a decision that RIGHT NOW matters more than tomorrow. And it is tough to think about how much work is required to achieve the kind of success that most people want. We all want to be successful, but very few people are willing to put in the TIME, EFFORT, and HARD WORK that it takes to get there.
Successful people didn’t just wake up one day and become successful (you can define success any way you want to).
Young people (and sadly, many adult children) have a distorted perception of life. I know, I was one of them. It took me my whole life (slightly ambiguous) to get to the point where I finally understand the concept. Sure I’ve worked hard and accomplished much…but I was never happy when I got ‘this,’ or achieved ‘that.’ Happiness was always on the other side of the next accomplishment, the next thing. But it never came. And chasing ‘happiness’ only resulted in being increasingly unhappy. Well, this made no sense.
When I discovered that there is actually no realistic end goal where happiness awaits, a place one can reach in their life where there is nothing but elation and good feelings (aside from clinical delusions), I came to understand that happiness is a futile pursuit. Happiness comes and goes, sometimes by the minute. Sadness comes and goes just as quickly. Life is tough. Life is hard. But the most important thing that I came to understand is that life is AMAZING…
Being alive today is nothing short of a miracle. If you think of the evolutionary processes and the acts of God throughout history, natural selection, the rarity of sperm penetrating an egg during conception, the fact that our parents met, and so on…. and here we are. HERE WE ARE.
So…the idea is that happiness is a ridiculous goal, right? I mean, it’s all great when we’re feeling happy and we should embrace that and remember it. But it isn’t a sustainable state of being. “Life is suffering” (Jordan Peterson). We must work each and every day, every moment to work to better our lives and the lives of those around us.
So I learned to enjoy the little things, the moments throughout each day. Good, bad, terrible, amazing… it can be a roller coaster most of the time. But that is life, and I’m grateful for being here to feel those things. So, the ultimate daily and life-long goal, at least for me, is to remain grateful and joyful. It is joy that we should be after. And money won’t do that for you. Neither will sex, drugs, food, or even exercise. Sure, these things may provide some semblance of joy or short-term happiness….but joy must come from within. It has to be a part of who we are, who I am.
So…we were talking about goals right? I get going sometimes…
So, to achieve something meaningful in life, at least something meaningful to ourselves, we must identify what it is that would provide meaning. Some people call it our WHY, or dream, or ultimate goal. The underlying question is “where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? 50 years? And ultimately, what is it you want to have accomplished when you are on your ‘death bed?”
These are tough questions, because it is difficult to visualize. It is especially hard when you’ve never been asked about it or have never put much thought into it. Our school system doesn’t do much to help either. The goals are middle school, then high school, then college, then….???? That’s kind of where many people get stuck.
When I chose my current educational/degree path, I had put months of thought into what it is that would make me proud and provide fulfillment for me. It was no easy task after ~10 years in the military. They don’t prepare us much for the real world, similar to how grade school and college kind of shove you out into the world when they’ve taken your money, your heart, and most of your soul.
This is a critical point in life when we must decide what gifts we have that we can use to give to others, to humanity. Sure, some people want money, cars, and big houses. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s your thing. But the process is still the same whether you want to be an astronaut, an engineer, or the Governor of California (shout-out to Arnold!).
Make the decision…(i.e., “I want to own a 5 star restaurant in a big city.”), WRITE IT DOWN. Write down the plan, the steps and the process that you will have to go through, the effort that you’ll have to put forth, the TIME that you’ll have to GIVE to get to this goal. Be realistic, and be intentional and unwavering in your pursuit. And every single day, you revisit that goal sheet and action plan, reflect on what you did yesterday that either moved you forward or set you back, and adjust accordingly. You will have to remain willing to adapt to changes in the plan because, well, plans are well and good but the Universe (God for me) has His own plans.
The idea is, if you want it bad enough and you visualize your goal(s) as if you are already there, you will subconsciously make decisions in your life that draw people and opportunities into your path and that draw you towards your goal. Some people call it the law of attraction, others call it God’s will, and still others call it sheer will power. Call it what you will, it works. But the goal has to be concrete, you must believe in yourself, ignore the naysayers and haters (they will be everywhere, even your closest friends and family), and do what is best for you.
Go to bed at a decent hour, wake up at the same time every single day, no matter what. I get up at 4AM. It isn’t my alarm that gets me up anymore…my goals wake me up. I usually get out of bed between 0315 and 0345…depending on when my sleep cycle actually ends. Yes, it’s a thing. But if you are drinking and drugging, you can forget about getting your circadian rhythm to work for you.
Do whatever it takes, don’t be afraid to fail (because you will fail, over and over and over and over), never quit, stay the course, never quit, never quit, never ever ever quit.
And never settle for anything less than what you want in life. You can’t wish yourself into riches and fame…but you can think and work yourself into them. But don’t take my word for it…go ahead and look up your favorite sports stars, movie stars, etc… They all have different versions of the same principle. PUT IN THE WORK.
And lastly…. you’re not a victim, you’re not a slave, and you’re not oppressed by anyone unless you are doing it to yourself with your own thoughts. Those kinds of mindsets are guaranteed to keep you from going anywhere in life. Stop putting your hand out, because nobody is coming to save you or pull you up. You have to do that by yourself. Sorry, but that’s the reality of it.
Well, I covered what I wanted and a lot more. As you can see, I get moving in all sorts of directions. But my information is good and I have faith that you can do whatever you want to. But that doesn’t mean anything unless you believe in yourself. Feel free to contact me if you want some free advice or if you think something I said was wrong.
Please like, follow, subscribe, share, and comment your thoughts below. Thanks for reading!!
I am unsure of where to go from here. There is no lack of experience and knowledge in my psyche, and I have had my fair share of ups and downs. But I also know that I don’t actually know much at all. And that’s okay. I’m in no rush to figure it out. I have all the time that God is going to give me, and that’s enough for me.
I try to be a good Dad and husband, but that stuff is difficult. I find it easier to be kind and compassionate to people I don’t know. Why can that be? Well, maybe it’s because I feel no real responsibility regarding their end-game or where their future will take them. With kids, I have to be many things…sometimes more than one at any given time. I want to give them everything, but I know that would ruin them. I want to instill serious discipline and expose them to the real world, but that feels cruel and unnecessary. I want to be their friend, but if you give them an inch…
Something I have been practicing lately is consistency and communication. Not only with the kids, but with my wife as well. I think that it is very important that if parents are saying or doing something that may not be ideal for development, at least they are doing and saying the same thing as each other. Corrections can always be made, but security can easily be broken for a child.
“Life is Suffering”- Jordan B. Peterson (jordanpeterson.com). This was a shocking statement when I first heard him say it. So I have been listening to more of Dr. Peterson’s talks and lectures, and I am reading his second book now. I have been thinking and reflecting on the concept of suffering…and I believe that he is right. As I look back at my life, I’ve honestly had more hard times than easy, or simple. But that, to me, is the beauty of life. We all suffer. So let’s suffer together.
Another concept that he adds to “Life is Suffering” is the idea that we should do everything we can to “contend” with that, to work on ourselves and build ourselves up to reduce that suffering. And also that once we have learned to “shoulder that burden” and ease our personal suffering, we should do everything in our power to lift others up and relieve suffering on a larger scale. This is what he describes as the meaning and purpose of existence, if I am paraphrasing correctly.
I don’t want to spend the entire post here regurgitating someone else’s ideas, but I’ll conclude that part by stating that I have not found someone with whom I can relate to and understand as much as I have with Dr. Peterson. Give him some of your time. Maybe shut off Facebook for a day, hop on YouTube and listen to his stuff. If you search for it, you can’t miss it. Additionally, Dr. Peterson draws a comparison between world religions (especially Christianity) and the concept of suffering. Lots of lectures on that also.
Something very important that I have learned over the last few years, and especially over the last month is that life is precious (even with all the suffering). I am grateful to be here, and to have the things that I do. My health and wellness is not peak at the moment, my memory is shot, and I have pain in places that make me tear up sometimes. But I’d rather Be than to not Be.
I have found that one of the most difficult things that I face daily is not only my own mindset of remaining grateful, but helping my kids to realize how absolutely blessed they are to be alive, to have what they have, and to stop complaining about trivial material things. Maybe that’s a child-like disposition that kids share collectively, or maybe my kids are spoiled. I have committed to change this nonsense. If we have to begin living like paupers to achieve this goal, then I’ll gladly do it. I can do it longer than they can…I was in the Army for 10 years, so I can “suffer” through many conditions for months that many people couldn’t do for a day.
Okay, so that rant is complete. In essence, I choose to look at life as a gift rather than a task. But after having almost passed away, I am beginning to feel that I’ve lost my direction, purpose, meaning…
This is a complicated idea. Where can we find purpose? I think as a society, we are beginning to collectively agree that we have control over what we do with our lives. Sure, some people settle and get stuck in jobs they hate, houses in bad neighborhoods, and relationships that are unhealthy. But what they don’t accept is the responsibility that they have for staying in those ‘spaces.’
We, especially in the Western Culture, are becoming increasingly aware of the idea that we should do what it is we are passionate about. This is not to be confused with laziness or addiction. A pot-smoker may be passionate about smoking pot…but that (in my opinion) does not constitute a significant pursuit in life. If that works for you, please drop a comment below, I’d love to hear your story. And selecting the pseudoscience area of study such as gender studies because of…well I don’t know why anyone would take those classes…but this is a ridiculous pursuit. However, I have met some connections on LinkedIn that have degrees in gender and women’s studies (why is there no gender and men’s studies) that have been largely successful. But this is, in my opinion, a passing fad and will hopefully dissolve before dangerous legislation gets passed (re: C16 in Canada).
Finding ones purpose usually takes time. But to have one so concrete just to lose it, well, dang. I don’t know how to explain that. I do know that I am only 36 and I have plenty of time to work it out, but my time is finite just like anyone else’s. Hopefully my readings and blogging will help me find what I am seeking.
So, we have many entrepreneurs (I always have trouble spelling that word) that will tell you that college is unnecessary and you can do great things without it. While this can be true in some cases, many times you need that paper or those initials after your name to be able to pursue certain careers/passions. Personally I think it is a ridiculously lengthy process, but necessary. I can give reasons for each.
Why is the process so lengthy and demanding? Because if it weren’t, we would have a society saturated with degrees and that would render them essentially useless (which is about where we are with undergraduate degrees. It takes a masters or higher these days to get into the upper 5 digit (70k+) job market. But with the prevalence of online education and “degree mills,” soon masters degrees will be a dime a dozen. Still, it takes time and money, so not everyone goes that route. Nor should they. We need people in all levels of the workforce, and not everyone needs to know how to read, write, and perform research to do many jobs. On the upside, a college education exposes one to ideas and knowledge that those without will not get unless they perform reading and research on their own (which I fall into both categories, more on that below).
Why degrees are frustrating and arguably a waste of time and money… This is an easy target, but I have some great stuff. Firstly, what in the absolute heck is going on with our education system that people go into sometimes life-long debt just to get a job?!! College should be free for anyone and everyone that maintains a 3.0 or higher. Sorry for those under that cutoff, but college should be reserved for those that care, work hard, and are prepared for it. Just a theory, but I believe it’s sound. Horribly ignorant and almost intellectually disabled sports stars go to school for free and pass classes that they don’t even attend…because they have talent (that makes the school money…it’s always about the money). No offense to these guys, better for them than society.
Second part to the above answer… waste of time. I am paying a system that then pays an individual to give me their ideologies and opinions on any given subject. This isn’t universal, there are many great science minded professors out there. But in the general counseling programs…waste-of-time. Also, and I know this is going to sound grandiose, I believe that the entire PhD or PsyD process is too lengthy, expensive, and unnecessary. And maybe this is different coming from a 36 year old that has been through some wild sh##, but I find that much of what I am being taught is impractical, outdated, and unnecessary for what I want (or did want) to do. Jay Shetty stated that most people don’t even figure out what they want to do with their lives until their mid-thirties.
I think there should be an accelerated doctoral program for those of us that have been reading, living, and researching psychology and philosophy for greater than two decades. Take a test, write a dissertation, defend said dissertation, and get out there and start making a difference. Back before 1900 (and maybe a little after), people used to practice something, and throw a sign up that said Doctor [of whatever] and that was perfectly acceptable. Many were highly competent, and many were not. So, regulation of licenses are necessary…but a one size fits all process is not only ridiculous, it’s costing many people a fortune that could otherwise be out there making a difference. But hey, let’s keep paying the machine for paper.
Now that I got that out of my system…what is meaning and how do we find ours? Easy answer…I have no solid answer. But I do have theories… Meaning is dependent on the individual, fundamentally, but also highly dependent on how that individual interacts with their environment and more importantly, society/humanity. When I contemplate meaning, I don’t generally start with the Bible or thinking about God’s plan for me (though maybe that should be the first step…hmmm…). I usually start with thinking about what I can contribute to others… “What is it that I have that I can share or teach to other people?” Well, lots. So we bring passion and purpose into the mix…and my brain has been freezing recently. At the beginning of last month (Feb 2019), I would have given a concrete answer..I want to help at-risk youth overcome adversity, specifically addiction, and to study brains to learn what patterns or activities are associated with different thoughts and behaviors.
However, like I stated earlier, I have lost my purpose. My priorities are jumbled, but more clear. My kids have become my number one priority, and being their father has given my life meaning and some semblance of purpose. But what else? A person has to work, right? Volunteer? Missionary? Lawyer? Doctor? (I just added those last two for effect, I have no wish to be either, in the strictest sense). I actually do want to be a Doctor, but not a Medicinal Practitioner. If I were to go medicine, I would do psychiatry. If you read my previous blog, you’ll see that I’ve had my fill of death and destruction. I want to contribute to prevention and helping, not rolling the dice with someone’s life hanging in the balance by the minute. No way. Not one more, God willing. I can’t imagine getting a child in the ER or ICU and working for hours (or minutes which seem like hours) and it turns out that it was all futile.
But I have much to offer, I just need to read, pray, interact, think, meditate, and listen for God’s calling to see which way that I need to go.
This has been a circus of a month…and I have learned a great deal about myself and my life. I’ve also learned that I am clueless about many aspects of myself and my life. Things I thought I understood and had control of, I no realize that I was way off and I am still a student of my own consciousness. And for me, that’s a decent place to be.
I don’t know how often I will be writing a blog, I’ll shoot for once a week but I don’t know. I have difficulty sitting for long periods, laying for long periods, etc… So imagine how long this took to write.
Thanks for reading my blog. Please like, follow, subscribe, and comment below…
I think, at least for those of us with kids, or that had kids, or that work with kids…that they can be SO DIFFICULT!!
They are little sponges….and they’re super intelligent. They’ll remember something you said or did 4 years ago and bring it up in an argument…literally rendering your point moot. But they can never remember where they put that other shoe. Mommy and Daddy always “take ONE SHOE” and hide it to make her upset (so I’ve heard…).
I’m raising three beautiful and smart daughters, and I have no idea what I’m doing. There was no manual that popped out with the kids during childbirth (trust me, I grabbed a tool and checked…:) ) I don’t know if there is a perfect way to raise kids, and I’m sure there are a million ways to mess it up. But what I am sure of is that if I show them love and respect, along with discipline and consistency, they will have a fighting chance.
They do have my attitude and stubbornness, and they are more intelligent than I give them credit for sometimes. But I love them, love them, love them…No lack of hugs and verbal affection in our household. I think that’s important. I also know that our communication needs improvement, because if they can’t open up to me then they’ll open up to someone like me (when I was a teenager)…and this is not what we want at all.
We are a work in progress…which is where I think most of us are in our parenting journey. Of course it can’t be a universal and static process….every person is different. And there are plenty of confounding variables outside of the family system, especially through media, that really mess with some of the core values and beliefs that we (I) try to instill in them.
I love my babies….and I wouldn’t give them up for anything. But I’m also not having anymore biological children…snip,snip,snip…. But we may foster or adopt at some pointy when my educational journey has come to an end….
Thanks for reading….Please share some of your parenting tips, tricks, and complaints below!
**Please pardon any typos…I am going to start writing my posts in MS Word so I can regulate the grammar and spelling more efficiently.
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