Elevation! Reflect, Revise, & Remix

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When I started all this personal development stuff, I called adversity the BASE. The lowest form of thought, the lowest form of movement. I called it “doing what you have to do to get by.” Believe it or not, some people would be thrilled if you told them that for the next month they only had to watch TV and eat pizza. Some people make sure that the base is handled, that they can live and consume, and that’s all the effort they put in. they stop there. And you can do that. That’s the base. That’s the minimum.

But that’s no way to live. How much do you want? What’s a good life, for you? What do you want to become? I heard a quote recently that I completely agree with – “You will never achieve anything more than your biggest, wildest goal.” So the real question to ask yourself is “what do you want to achieve?” If you get to the end of your life, and look back, will you be happy about how many pizzas you’ve eaten and how many different Netflix series you’ve been able to binge? That you extracted all the value possible from that thirteen dollars a month and were provided hours, months, and years of entertainment? If you are happy with this, that’s totally okay for you. This podcast is for people who want their lives to mean something different than that life.

If you want that different life, I’m going to recommend that you begin now, because now is the only time that is real, that is substance, and the only time you have power over. And if you don’t begin now, it may be five years later before you come to this place again, and realize that you’ve wasted five years heading in no direction at all.

It is time to elevate your life. For the past few months I’ve been talking about the cycles of complexity that life throws at us, and the tools we have to get through them. We talked about Ethos, Intention, Efficacy, Agency, and Adversity. We are finally here, at the final step, the final tool before it all starts over.

Elevation is the place where we reflect, revise, and remix our life. I didn’t make any progress, until I began to pick apart my days, weeks, and months, and ask myself about my results in life. I set goals, but I didn’t begin achieving them until I reflected on why I didn’t have them already.

At the advice of many people, I began to journal every day, and I want to recommend that you do the same. You really only have to spend a couple of minutes reflecting to get something out of it – I think I spend more time than anyone I know of, journaling – but that’s somewhere in my personality. Plus I keep a log of memories that come up, I write down ideas I got that day, I am a record keeper, and you don’t have to go that far in order to gain something out of keeping a journal.

But you do have to reflect, if you want to get somewhere. Reflecting is how you take the substance of your past and invest it into your better future. To analyze what you did, what you could have done better, what was successful. It’s important to look at success, mistakes, and results every day, to decide what you are going to change tomorrow to create a situation with fewer mistakes, more successes, and better results.

Reflection is how you become a scientist of your own life. Treat your time and yourself as an experiment, and your goals as the desired result of that experiment. If you want to lose weight or become more productive so you can spend more time with your family, look for a strategy, and try it out. You then reflect on how well that strategy worked, or why it didn’t work. Consider, analyze, and if it didn’t work, come up with a new hypothesis, a new strategy, and see if that works.

Keep reflecting until you find the strategy that works for you – one that gets the results that you want. There is nothing wrong with trying something and failing, but there is something detrimental about failing and not trying again. To give up after one attempt, or ten. Keep coming up with strategies UNTIL you achieve the result you want.

One more thing, if a strategy work wonders for a year, and then stops working, that will require even more reflection, and more strategies. This is constant, but it is rewarding. Be the scientist of your own life.

I was overeating and gaining weight. I didn’t feel like I had control over my own eating habits. The guy that would stand in the kitchen and eat was not of the same mentality as the guy who was writing in his journal every night.

The guy who was resolved to exercise was not the same guy that would look outside and say, “It’s too cold, it’s too hot, (or) it’s raining.”

So how can I, the guy writing in the journal, control that guy that stands in the kitchen and eats, or the guy that stands at the door coming up with excuses?

I tried several strategies that didn’t work. And I kept reflecting. The guy standing in the kitchen eating was always reading a book. And I think my mind was able to focus on what I was reading, and it gave me the strength to ignore my better judgement. So I stopped taking a book with me into the kitchen. I would still get up and go to the kitchen, but purposefully leave my book. Now, eating like that without reading is boring, and it gave me no pleasure. So I didn’t eat, because I was looking for the full experience, not just the eating part of the experience. It worked like a charm, and now I don’t even walk into the kitchen at that time of day.

Other strategies I’ve attempted – I chose to only eat when I was with other people. No eating alone. That worked off and on, but it wasn’t a good strategy for me, because I could easily cheat and nobody but myself would know. One attempt that worked wonders for me – I would drive to a nearby convenience store, park the car outside, run in and grab a bunch of snacks, and sit in the car and eat them. That gave me great pleasure. So I still do it. But now, I purposefully get a small bag of unsalted almonds and a V8 drink. I still get to do the thing that gave me pleasure, but I tweaked it so that it was no longer harmful to my health and my goals.

The most important thing about reflecting and revising is this – I have a ton of hope now, because I am resolved to keep going until I achieve my goals, and that I will keep adjusting little things until I finally get where I want to be. This is vital, because the flip side of that is to be hopeless, and just say, “This is how I am, and it cannot be changed.” That’s dangerous to your goals and to your mission.

The base is always fighting against what you claim to want, and life will be always be either a struggle against the base, or resignation to it. And the base will always accept your resignation.

What strategy can you come up with to solve a problem that you often find yourself facing? Write down your reflectin, and give the new strategy a shot!  If you’re feeling bold, tell us about it in the Ideas and Concepts group on Facebook.

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