How you do anything is how you do everything, 4 giant steps to stomping mediocrity
People keep striving for a universally balanced life, but the truth is, there is no such thing. Everyone has their own motivations, we are all at different points in our lives and have unique backgrounds.
The thing you should strive for is a subjective balance between investing and taking in your life.
Investing is everything you do that has no immediate gratification.
Reading, studying, working out, working on your long term goals, eating healthier, brushing your teeth (very important) and the list goes on.
As you can see, every action on the list can give you some gratification the moment you do it, but the overall true impact consistent investment has on your life can be visible only after months or even years.
Taking is everything you do to satisfy your present needs.
Watching movies, eating extremely unhealthy food because you want something tasty, hitting the snooze button, parties, vacations, and all the other fun things in life.
Taking is not bad, if you only invest without taking then your investment has no point.
But the problem arises when almost everything in the modern World is structured to give you instant gratification, so you keep taking because there are always new sources to take from.
Investment is disproportionate, it requires a relatively short period of large investments to elevate you to a level where you can take more and invest less.
However, you can never stop investing, think of it like tightening the screws, if you stop doing it, eventually the thing you’ve built will fall apart.
In this part and the next, I will cover 4 core areas of life.
Improving these 4 areas represents the steps you will take towards becoming great.
Core #1 — The outer core, the physical
This is number 1 because it’s the first thing people notice when they see you.
However this area does not only include what you look like, there are many things about your physical body that you can’t see, and these things are included as well.
You are what you eat.
Old? Yes. Overused? Definitely. True? Absolutely.
Input always equals output, garbage in=garbage out.
In my experience this is where most people fail to stop their urge for instant gratification, the idea that you can just eat whatever you want and live a healthy life works only in a World where the human life expectancy is 30 years old.
Everything you do is connected, if you eat a whole pizza for lunch, your next urge won’t be to do something that fires you up, it will most likely be to “chill out and watch some videos”. This is fine if your goal is to actually chill out, but eating “derp mode” food will not help you reach your productive goals or be more energetic throughout your day.
The part of your brain that’s responsible for your strong food urges is the smallest, oldest part of your brain, the lizard brain.
Imagine this scenario:
I’m departing for the weekend, leaving my dog alone in the apartment.
I leave 2 days worth of food on his plate.
Do you think my dog will evenly distribute his food?
Of course not, he’ll eat everything at once, because his tiny lizard brain told him to.
To the lizard brain calories = survival, so it forces you to binge eat food because it doesn’t realize that the food will still be there tomorrow.
You don’t have to eat the entire chocolate now, it will still be there even if you don’t finish it.
Mind blowing, right!?
Humans basically do the same thing as animals, but we eat more and we eat unhealthier, the difference between you and my dog, is that my dog has a valid excuse for over eating because he has no neo cortex.
Steps you can take:
1- If you don’t smoke, don’t drink and stop eating processed sugar while adding a 30 minute physical workout every day, you reduce your chances of dying by common death causes by 80%.
2- When it’s not digesting food your body is using that energy to renew and heal cells, if you constantly eat, the body never has time to repair the cells.
This is why you should eat in intervals, giving your body a break from digestion.
The classic 16:8 diet is great if you can synergize it with your lifestyle.
You eat and drink all your daily calories in a span of 8 hours, while not eating or drinking anything other than water for 16 hours.
If this is too hard to pull off with your lifestyle, try to at least give your body 14 hours of freedom from digestion, or pick a day in the week where you will eat nothing for 24 hours.
This includes muscle health and strength.
I understand that some people don’t care about looking aesthetically pleasing, but this does not mean that you should completely disregard your muscles.
Your body and mind are connected, and if you ignore the health of your body, your mind will soon follow.
People make the mistake of believing that being mentally healthy means you’re not on meds or in an institution, it’s far from that.
True mental health requires a lot of maintenance, and physical activity is one of the ways you maintain it.
Think of healthy consciousness as a river, constantly flowing with fresh water and with life inside of it, this is done with physical activity, running and deep breathing, sweating out the toxins from your body.
Now think of an unhealthy mind, a swamp, stale water with only certain life forms living inside, those specifically evolved to exist in filthy environments.
This is your mind when you disregard your body, when you spend your days in your room or apartment, when all the toxins are kept in, when the thought loops in your head are repetitive and negative.
Steps you can take:
1- Add a 30 minute workout session to your everyday routine, a gym is far from necessary.
You can run around the block, you can do yoga or body weight workouts at home.
2- STRETCH. I cannot stress this enough, due to the way we spend most of our time which is sitting and looking at screens, our muscles weaken and contract. This causes people to walk around hunched over with their necks sticking out, it also causes severe back pain. So if you don’t want to end up looking like Golum from The Lord of the Rings when you’re 50, you should start stretching.
I personally stretch first thing in the morning and before I go to bed, everything from my jaw down to my ankles, it takes up to 15 minutes.
*My workout routine and diet are adjusted to my body goals and type, if you want to dive deeper into working out and body building there are plenty of sources online*
This one is a no brainer, your body functions based on your biological clock.
While you sleep the brain releases a fluid down your spinal cord, this fluid clears the toxins your body left behind while it was performing its metabolic process.
To simplify — when it’s dark your brain releases melatonin, the sleep hormone. Idealy, when this happens you get sleepy, you go to bed, you sleep from 7 to 9 hours (optimal time frame for this process) and the body heals itself.
If you ignore the day-night cycle, your body releases adrenaline to counteract the melatonin so you can stay up at night, and when you go to sleep during the day, guess what? — The metabolic process is still active so your body can’t cleanse itself from the toxins, this is negligible in the short term, but turn it into a lifestyle and you will start seeing problems in both your health and appearance.
Steps you can take:
1- Reset your clock — choose a time you want to wake up at, when you wake up, the first thing you should do is step outside into the daylight and spend 15 minutes there. This will help your body stabilize its rhythm.
2- Fix your sleep issues — The blue light coming from our monitors and phone screens prevents the secretion of melatonin, it is suggested to stay away from them an hour before bed. I personally use f.lux on my PC and night shift on my phone, they decrease the blue light exposure since I often use my phone before bed.
In order to reach deep sleep your body needs total darkness, a recent experiment recorded that people felt a difference in sleep quality when a laser was pointed to the back of their knee.
Yes, this is also included, not everything I do is based on careful scientific research.
Style is mostly personal, but there is an objective structure to it, with personal taste as a variable.
*Most of the advice I give in this section is for men, because everything I write about is from personal experience.*
This is just a quick and basic run through of what you need to know:
No matter what people say, there is casual and formal clothing, the line is blurred now but the distinction still exists.
When you miss the dress code of an event or group you are seen as lower status, it is in our tribal nature to judge this way on a conscious and subconscious level.
Hence the saying:
Better to be overdressed than underdressed.
When it comes to the way you dress daily it should be personal, some people enjoy formal, some enjoy casual.
If you prefer formal, then everything you wear should be fitted, your grandad’s oversized blazer is out of the question.
It is also very important to buy clothes for your body type, certain things don’t fit well on certain bodies.
Well fitted clothes can make any body type look better.
If you don’t know what colour blocking is, stick to neutral colours such as white, cream, black, grey, olive, beige.
If you want to change your wardrobe, do it slowly, find a style that you like and start buying clothes that fit the style, your taste will vary so it is best not spend large amounts of money on similar outfits.
Create one outfit that you can wear constantly and with pride, and then start forming another one etc.
By following this structure you should be a guy that wears well fitted clothes with complementary neutral colours who is always dressed for the occasion.
Style isn’t just about clothes, another big aspect of it is your hair.
The good old rule says:
Spend some extra money on a really good hairstylist once so you can see what really works for your face shape, then replicate that hairstyle for an affordable price.
The rest of my personal check list goes like this:
-Brush your teeth and tongue twice a day
-Iron your clothes
-Wear cologne (not too much)
-Wash your face twice a day
-Moisturise your face once or twice a day
-Shave/trim everything regularly
This is extremely basic stuff that somehow most of us guys ignore.
Part one ends here, with the closing of the first core.
If you feel motivated or in any way urged to make a change, take a step now.
Motivation is a chemical in your brain, it washes out if not used productively.
Discipline equals freedom — Jocko Willink
Investment is disproportionate, and you will see that when you take the steps.
The hardest thing is to stay disciplined, but the payoff far outweighs the struggle.