Hacking Self-Acceptance

Tim Ferriss. Dave Asprey. Tony Robbins. JJ Virgin.

These are all people I respect and appreciate. They provide inspiring, entertaining and educational content and most of it is free. Blog posts, podcasts, videos, social media shares — these folks are tireless in their efforts to help us be better human beings. Call it biohacking, life-hacking, getting Bulletproof(R). The amount of information from these brilliant, generous people is amazing.

And if you actually want to reimburse them for the hard work, their books, products and programs take self-optimization to the next level.

It’s exhausting. I quit.

I listen to their podcasts to and from work, straining for any nuggets I can apply to my life. I’m reading The Four-Hour Workweek (Ferriss), Money: Master the Game (Robbins) and The Obstacle is the Way (Ryan Holiday). That’s in addition to any fiction I can fit in, because I’m an author and reading successful authors is a good way to see what works and sells.

On the fiction writing front I’m also signed up for bestseller courses, updates from Shawn Coyne’s awesome Storygrid.com, Steven Pressfield’s site, yourfirst10kreaders.com, and several others.

For physical fitness I trust Pavel Tsatsouline’s StrongFirst (I’m attending a kettlebell course in a few weeks), Kelly Starrett’s MobilityWOD, MovNat, and some aspects of CrossFit (I’m a Level 1 Certified Trainer).

The information from all of these sources is almost always fascinating and useful. It may seem like I’m bouncing all over the place, indulging in a disparate array of noise that will only leave me confused, but what I’m looking for is the sweet spot where all of these things overlap.

It happens occasionally.

But the vast majority of the time it makes me feel completely inadequate. It takes me out of the moment, out of being present, and projects me into the future where the Ideal Me is in perfect shape, eats nothing bad, can do the splits, writes a bestseller every month and has 25 hours a day to spend with my family.

All of the life hacks I seek make me believe this is possible. Yet I’m left feeling guilty for not being more successful, lacking in financial wisdom and resenting my current state of existence. This isn't fair to me or the people I love, who for some reason think I’m fine just the way I am.

But I don’t have a six-pack and an established platform of thousands!

My wife’s response?

So what?

I think she might be smarter than all the gurus I’m subscribed to.

Here’s what I have going on right now:

  • Husband to my lovely wife and father to our 9-month son. We also have a dog and two cats.
  • Taking care of a house and 12 acres.
  • Full-time job as lead writer for a very successful video game.
  • Marketing a fiction novel that just came out and one that comes out next month. Thinking about the next fiction project (this is work, really).
  • Working a freelance gig compiling a full-length non-fiction memoir.
  • Brainstorming a new company with a friend.

I took on the freelance work because I thought it would provide welcome cash for our family and offer a fantastic networking opportunity. It has done both, but it also means I spend less time with my family when I’m home.

I thought I needed to bust my ass so we could have more freedom to be together. It didn't cross my mind until mid-project that hey, why don’t we just spend more time together? It’s free, and my infant son doesn’t care if I monetized my email list or had dessert with lunch. Neither does the dog, and she likes it when I bring her some too. Dessert, not emails. She has a very strong platform already.

I still love learning and implementing ways to be healthier, more financially aware, and a better writer for my readers. I still work hard at becoming a better me.

But I also want to enjoy being the current me.

I’m done looking for happiness hacks.

I’m happy already.

I just need to try less hard to realize it.

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