Rituals

What’s the first thing comes to mind when you hear the word ‘ritual’?

Is it something like this?

Rituals.jpg

https://about-history.com/ancient-egyptian-religion-from-myths-to-live-after-death/

That’s what used to come to mind for me. Until I read Peter Voogd’s book, 6 Months to 6 Figures, I didn’t realize how important rituals could be. I quickly discovered that they can make or break your day upon waking up and can drastically help to achieve your goals in a shorter period of time. In the past, I used to have no rituals—or I wouldn’t label them as such. My daily “ritual” consisted of going to my classes, taking a bunch of notes, going back to my room, and pumping out as many hours of video games as I could before I completed a little bit of studying. Sound productive?

I didn’t take any time to think or reflect on my long-term goals and what my actions would do to affect it. I knew that playing video games would definitely hurt my ability to achieve my long-term goals quicker, but at the time, I didn’t care…because the goals were so far away. I always pushed my obligations further and further away as “I would do them later”. My life became #ProcrastinationNation.

Fast forward to the present. I’m living by my rituals. If I somehow forget to execute my daily routine, I feel off. If I forget to journal before I go to bed, I can’t sleep. The greatest value I’ve taken from my adherence to my rituals is structure. I’ll go into this in a bit, but for now, this structure has helped me to retake my life and get my work done.

My morning routine takes place between 6-7 AM and is as follows:
-Wake up and make bed

-Journal and Visualize my day

-20 jumping jacks, 20 push-ups. Stretching.

-5-minute cold shower

-Change and get ready

-Breakfast (no processed foods, prepare breakfast the night before or have food ready)

-Leave the house by 7:30 for work/school

This is the routine that I’ve been executing for two months now. I almost never skip my morning routine, and if I do, I feel weird throughout the day. Is it tough? Definitely. How’s the cold shower? Effin’ horrible. But it adds structure and electrifies my day, EVERY day. Every day becomes one more day closer to achieving one of my long-term goals: balance.

thanos perfectly balanced.jpg

https://meme.xyz/meme/17892/perfectly-balanced-as-all-things-should-be.html

That’s just one way to spice up your life. There’s plenty of other rituals i perform each day, most of them being subconscious decisions and habits that I’ve cultivated over time. But that’s for another post. If you’re already using any rituals, I encourage you to comment them below! I would love to hear what helps you to get through your day.

Also, if there’s any topics you would like me to cover, please write them in the comments. Any ideas are appreciated 🙂

I hope you had an amazing day!

J.

 

The Best Motivator (it’s internal)

Good morning!

As I’m writing this, I’m sipping on a warm cup o’ joe at my desk. I often wonder what my readers are doing when they’re reading these blog posts (or surfing the net). This got me thinking about my own habit web-surfing and spending countless hours watching YouTube videos ranging from Dogs 101 to how-to guides on tying a fishing rig. Here we go.

I’ve just finished Hyrum W. Smith’s book titled “The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management” on my Kindle (basically my iPhone). This book wasn’t anything game changing per se, but it definitely reinforced my habit of daily planning and reflecting on how I performed each day. The biggest takeaway I received from this book was Smith’s note on the greatest motivator. This motivator is purely internal as nothing can drive someone to perform and complete a task. Sure, if I was working a cash register and someone pointed a gun at my head and instructed me to give them the money, I would be extremely motivated to give them the money and get out of the situation unscathed. However, some would argue that this motivation was external. The bottom line is that this is purely internal. If I didn’t comply, I was clearly unmotivated to complete the task and I would likely be shot or maimed. This is the motivation: stress.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “J, why didn’t you just tell us the ‘greatest motivation’ in the first sentence?”. I wanted to get a point across that stress truly is the greatest INTERNAL motivator and is much more effective than two external motivators (fear and duty). Even further down the rabbit hole we go…

Flashback to my sophomore year of college. I was addicted to video games. No matter what kind of ‘breaks’ I would take, I would easily relapse unless I went the nuclear option of removing any and all kinds of video games from my life—moderation wasn’t an option. By spending all of my time playing these games, my social life and academic life took a major hit. By the start of my junior year, I was placed under academic probation. If you don’t know what this means, I had a GPA of 2.0 or less in my previous semester. This was huge. Not only did I screw up the one thing I was at school for (to score high, get results, and graduate), I was spending all of my time on the wrong things simply due to a lack of motivation. My thought process became:

FUN > Obligations

Have you ever run into something like this? Where fun took precedence over things that should get done, but you just don’t want to do it? I’ll bet it’s happened at least once 😉.

At this point in my college career, if I failed to score ABOVE a 2.0 semester GPA, I would be promptly kicked out of the university and I’d regret my decisions forever. What changed? I was enrolled in my school’s Academic Probation Recovery course which helped students in this situation get an easy ‘A’ to boost their GPA while teaching them proven methods to get out of the hole. I took this class VERY seriously. Not only did I score an ‘A’ (wow, what an achievement!), I was able to pull much better grades throughout my other courses and finished with a 3.4 semester GPA. Unreal. I was able to pull this off because of the stress that built up in my life. During this semester, I was fighting a light case of pneumonia and was bed ridden for a week. In conjunction with the looming possibility that I would get kicked out and my sickness, I was feeling helpless during the whole situation. But I thought and reflected. I was sick and tired of being a below average student and never wanted to be back in that state again. Never again. That stress—although nearly debilitating, helped me to get my shit together and finish the semester with a 3.4 GPA. I dominated that semester. Now, I hope none of you have ever been in this situation as this was one of my worst experiences. However, this also turned me into a determined worker and made me better in nearly every way. I dropped my habit of playing video games. I stopped needlessly surfing the internet (for the most part) and began to plan out every day (using my long-term goals as a guide).

Now, I’m facing new challenges that aren’t just limited to academics. I’m working full-time at a local firm and I’m given the ability to work from home. Very quickly I found this freedom to be a vice as I would find myself waking up whenever I wanted instead of starting my day at the same time as a desk job. To combat this, I set aggressive goals with aggressive timelines. Instead of waking up and being groggy by 8am, I go to sleep between 10:30 and 11PM every night and wake up at 6am every day. I then execute my morning routine (shout out to Peter Voogd for this). The stress to get work done and to fit all activities I want to complete in a day is so huge that I’m forced to plan out my day every morning. I’ve found that I’ve gotten so much more work done and I’m getting recognition for it from the higher ups. Even greater than that, I’m lifting 6 times a week and getting huge GAINS (just had to throw that out there). I know some of my friends hate lifting, but even just some exercise can go a long way. But that’s for another post.

To recap:

Stress is the ultimate INTERNAL motivator. While our stress may come from external sources, we create our own stress and will act on it. It’s human nature to act on it. If it’s important enough to us, we can get it done.

I wish you the best of luck and hope you have a fantastic day!

J.

5 Words

Growing up, I used to envision my life being spent with (hopefully) one girlfriend who would eventually become my wife. She would be beautiful, smart, funny, and an amazing companion. All the way into my college years, I kept holding onto the dream that I would meet my future wife in college, just as my parents did before. Little did I know, 5 simple words would shatter this dream completely.

“All I need is you”.

In movies and TV shows, I’ve seen this phrase being used while two characters are cuddling in bed, stargazing, or in front of a warm campfire. It sounds really sweet and it invokes feelings of happiness and warmth, but also desperation. 

Let’s break it down. Oftentimes, people getting into a relationship will start with the mentality of “This relationship will be the one. There’s no way that this is going to break my heart like the last one”—or something along those lines. The focus becomes “I want this relationship to work/it has to work” instead of “I’m going to enjoy my life with this person”. While that’s a positive outlook on the relationship, people often forget how much of a team effort relationships are. Both people need to put in a significant amount of time and effort to keep the flame going. Without it, the relationship will extinguish. Each partner must be able to balance their ability to focus on their own journey while adding value to their partner’s. Any skewing in this balance could create a shift towards a breakup.

The issue: I used to be an avid fan of tear-jerker YouTube videos about relationships, breaking-up, and the like. Naturally, I tried my best to build a relationship with parameters that reflected the lessons I learned from these videos. I wanted to make sure that my relationship my girlfriend was going to the ONLY one–that we would support each other through thick and thin no matter what we faced. But I messed up. I said those 5 words which changed our relationship completely: “All I need is you”.

On the surface level, it’s a great thing to tell someone. If I was told that by my partner, I would have kissed them and said the same thing in return. However, saying these words changes the dynamic completely if the words are taken to heart. For example:

Cole and Diana have been dating for the past three months. They’ve had many moments of heart to heart conversations and they love each other intensely. During one night of movie watching, Cole looks at Diana and says “Diana, all I need is you”. Diana is surprised and overjoyed to hear this and says the same in return. However, she took this to heart and believed that she is the center of Cole’s life. If Diana is truly everything Cole needs, then she’ll have all of her problems taken care of (NOTE: this is a two-way street. This works both ways).

Through this dynamic shift, Diana is placed on a pedestal while Cole is on the bottom looking up (all the while without realizing it).

From this point forward, Cole will do anything Diana asks him to do with a smile on his face. He’ll have an image in his mind of Diana being the perfect and one-of-a-kind woman in his life. But when she starts to do things he doesn’t want her to do, it’s highly likely that Cole will just have to accept it even if it’s against his own beliefs. After all, she is the perfect person, right? More often than not, Cole would stay with Diana and just accept it as a fact–she is the center of his life and everything he works towards is for her. Conversely, if the roles were switched, Diana would be doing all the work to keep their fire alive (based on the premise that she believes Cole is the center of her life), and the relationship would become one-sided. Something clearly changed. This dynamic doesn’t seem healthy at all. What ever happened to the lovey-dovey relationship they experienced early on? What caused this one-way street to form?

The idea: The whole point of this article isn’t to make you feel down. It’s to show you that relationships are a team effort. Both sides need to pitch in the same amount of effort (sometimes one party has to do more than the other, but this can’t be the case 100% of the time) to keep the fire alive. By saying“All I need is you”, the speaker just proclaimed that the other person is the center of their universe. I strongly reject this mentality, as doing this will only set aside your own ambitions. Instead, I believe in the phrase “All I need is ME”. Of course, having a great support system is very important, but I know that above all, I need to take care of myself FIRST before I can take care of others. I agree, it’s wonderful to have someone to hold and share a life with, but it can’t be about them all the time. It has to be about yourself, your goals, your dreams, and what you want to accomplish in this life. You have to love and take care of yourself first. Then and ONLY then can you love others in a healthy manner. It may sound selfish, but this is how I’ve made the change from living for others into living a fulfilling life for myself.

Until next time,

J.

Origins

Welcome!

This is my first post in a series of journal entries I’ll be making on this blog. It’s my first time publicly blogging and I’m excited to begin this new journey.

A little about me:

  • I’m an avid fisherman who enjoys chasing salmon, steelhead, and trout
  • My top love language is ‘Acts of Service’
  • I love wearing flannel–even on a hot day
  • My favorite band is Parachute

As a reader, I hope you’ll enjoy what I’m sharing on this site. Please be respectful to others in the comments. It’s important to be mindful and understanding of each others’ backgrounds. Without this mentality, we end up judging others too quickly without seeing the bigger picture.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day,

J.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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