Wanna know my secret to success?
It’s definitely not what you think it is.
It’s not grit, persistence, determination, moxy, spunk, mental toughness, none of the adjectives from the guru’s dictionary.
In fact, my secret to success could be considered the opposite of those traits.
What secret, you ask?
I care less than you do. I take my life less seriously than you do. You look at life as some concrete reality you’re fighting to overcome. I look at life as a game.
I’m Neo looking for lady luck in the red dress. You’re either one of the 1’s and 0’s walking down the street in the Matrix or worse, you’re Agent Smith. If you didn’t catch those references, guess you didn’t catch them.
Anyway, you’re here because you’re looking for that perfect little nugget to change your life. You want the plan, the steps, the tips, habits, and routines. But the more you chase those, the further away you’ll get from achieving the life you want.
See, you need to understand how to just do, how to just be, how to act without judging yourself too much. And, at the same time, you need to deeply care about your mission in life.
Attract Success, Don’t Pursue It
Let’s say you really like someone. You want to get to know them, date them, be with them.
What should you do? Should you make your intentions known in a fun, light-hearted, and non-intrusive way over a long enough period of time?
Or should you flood their DM’s with creepy messages every single day until they like you back? Even if you really really do think this person could be the love of your life, even if you’re certain, you’d scare them away by being weird and clingy from the jump.
You know the right way to do it. You court the person. You’re cool and …normal. “Trying” is needy. If they don’t like you back, you go back to living your life — plenty of fish in the sea my friend. Adopt that same attitude with success, with this life-path thingy, with your future.
I work hard. I write a new blog post almost every day. I’m working on a fourth book, have new products in the pipeline, and spend a ton of time planning and working toward an even better future. But I’m not that serious about it all. I’m courting lady luck, not blasting her DMs with emojis.
My attitude is like “wow, this is super cool that I even have the opportunity to do this so let me try really hard,” instead of “must.succeed.at.all.costs.”
I’m still afraid to fail like any other human being. I still encounter obstacles. Many of my days are far from perfect. But more and more I adopt the attitude of “Who cares?”
If I “fail,” who cares? If I don’t get exactly what I want, who cares?
Why does everything have to be such a big deal? Why do we have to be so serious about everything all the time?
Shouldn’t success be the origin point you work from? Why do you need to do anything to be successful? You don’t.
Success Shouldn’t Be Hard, But it is, Here’s Why
Why are you making such a big deal about becoming successful?
Why do you feel so overwhelmed by the prospect of changing your life?
Think about how much you go through life making mountains out of molehills. We’re always so worried and preoccupied with our lives, when, in reality, reality is imaginary. Without your ability to perceive reality, it doesn’t exist. You are reality.
We’re so attached to the idea of reality, to outcomes, to our physical bodies, to our “minds,” to our perceptions, to our lives — as if they somehow belong to us, do they?
You’re stuck in the matrix — an illusion that seems so real to you. The funny thing? You take your life so so seriously yet often take no action to dramatically improve it. You care so much about your day-to-day activities and how they make you feel, but you don’t care enough to let go of your ego and really try.
I care less than you, therefore I try harder. I’m less certain that reality is even real, therefore I get better outcomes in the “real world.” The more seriously you take yourself, the less likely you are to swing for the fences. You think the people who aim high are the egotistical ones. No, you are.
It takes a ton of ego to limit yourself and care so much about your self-image that it keeps you from living the best version of your life.
Like I always say, I can never force you to do anything. I can only prod and poke at your consciousness to inspire you to act. So let’s try here.
Honestly, who gives a shit if you fail or not? What really happens when you “fail”? You don’t get the outcome you want. Ok. What’s so terrible about that? Other people might laugh at you. So? Why do you care about those opinions of those neurotic little freaks?
You neurotic little freak, you. Really, what happens when you experience embarrassment? Fight or flight neurological response kicks in, your heart goes into your stomach for a little bit, and it feels kinda bad. Pretty insignificant if you ask me.
You have this cool awesome life you could be living, but you just care so much that you let something as petty as your little feelings get in the way. What a bummer.
Why don’t you just stop caring so damn much? Stop thinking so much and start doing. Get out of your head. Your head is not your friend. Act without caring too much about the outcome. And then do this.
Build a Legacy For No Apparent Reason
Buddhist monks have a practice called sand mandalas. They create these very elaborate sand paintings by adding a single grain of colored sand at a time until you get something like this:
Imagine putting this together grain by grain — how much effort it would take and how proud you’d be to have completed it. You’d lock it in an unpenetrable room if you could, just to make sure no air ever grazes it and destroys your hard-won masterpiece. What do the monks do? They wipe it all away as soon as they’re finished, back to dust. To the normal person who lives in the hell of sunk costs, this seems insane. But most people miss the point. The process, the building, the act of creation is the endpoint.
I’m never going to stop working. I will write many dozens of books, create products, grow new platforms, and turn whatever this is I’m doing into a full-blown media empire. I am certain of this.
But why is this even worth doing?
I’m going to die. Some would say I won’t get to look back and enjoy my legacy because I’ll be dead. That’s up for debate, but let’s say that assumption is right. What is the point of doing all of this? There is no “point.”
People think too literally all the time, looking for the perfect reason, justification, or objective statement. I’m turning my life into artwork to be wiped away by the universe. That’s what I’m doing. That’s the point.
I’m asking questions, not looking for answers. I’m doing and being, not thinking. I understand that I’ve been given some sort of gift, and I just feel like it’s my ethical duty to honor it and squeeze as much juice out of it as possible. Just for kicks.
For you, what becomes of your effort isn’t the point. The effort itself is the point. In taking yourself so seriously, you’re so limited that you’re robbing both yourself and the world of your genius.
And, you are a genius. The infinite wisdom of the universe lives inside of you. You are made of it. It saddens me that people don’t understand this. But it’s hard to understand.
Even after everything I’ve said, trying to change your life is just … hard. Because you do care. Because life is serious. It is life or death, literally, but not really, at the same time. Shit.
With life, you get to navigate this crazy paradox with no clear answers. That’s all you’re promised. The more you embrace the paradox and careless, the better off you’ll be. But, yeah, it’s pretty damn hard.
I get stuck in the same traps as you do. This post is for me just as much as it is for you. On the path to “building a legacy”, I’ve chickened out many times because I cared too much about what people might think. Now, I’m trying not to care about those moments of fear.
I let my beliefs limit me on a daily basis. And I wipe those away, too. The work of art that turns to dust includes positive and negative. From a single moment to years, if you feel afraid and “fail,” just wipe the slate clean constantly and try again. Respawn.
Is this making sense yet?
You and the Universe Are One in the Same
In my most recent book, I talk about realistic optimism. I wanted to paint the most straightforward and nonhyperbolic approach to self-improvement possible because there are too many empty promises in the genre.
I have an idea for a new book. I’m going to call it Master of the Universe. Or something like that. And it’s going to be almost entirely “woo woo” and hyperbolic. See, once you figure out how to be productive, how to succeed, how to push yourself using grit, determination, and persistence, you’ll realize you didn’t need to use those traits at all.
You could’ve succeeded without adding so much extra emotional energy to the process. You could’ve manifested more. But, as I’ve said before, it’s hard to be deeply meditative and esoteric about life until you meet your material needs and “self-actualize.”
So, use the practical to go ahead and get the success. Next, you’ll realize the success itself didn’t really do much. You’ll realize you don’t have to do anything to be successful.
After you have an arrival of sorts, you’ll realize that all journeys go in a circle. You chase the mountaintop only to realize you didn’t need to climb anything at all.
This doesn’t kill your motivation, though. The opposite. You no longer need motivation and creative energy just emanates from you. You start to seek to become a master of the universe.
At this point, I’m just pushing to see what’s actually possible in this life. Just to see. Just to be amused by it. I don’t want to sit in a cave and meditate like a monk. I still want to do things, but now it’s more like “screw it…let’s see how far this road leads.”
I spend a lot of time watching documentaries about space, weird meditation practices, eastern philosophy, everything in the “woo woo” realm.
How do you know you can’t manifest anything into your life? Maybe you just don’t know how to do it.
How do you know you can’t fly? Maybe the next evolution of our species will be able to.
Look, I’m being a little facetious here, but the deeper you look into the life and even science, the crazier it gets — not more serious. Real science is science fiction. If you look at all of the shit going on in the universe, you should be fully convinced that your perception of reality is limited at best.
I know my perception is limited, so I’m trusting it less and pushing the boundaries of it more.
No reason at all.
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