If you want to become a great writer

If you want to become a great writer

You don’t have time to read, right? You’re too busy. That guy over there is also too busy. Everyone’s too busy.

Bah-humbug.

Here’s a post by Ryan Holiday on why you don’t have time to read, why you should read, and how to read more.

Nobody has time to read. If you did have time, it would quickly be used to further some other productive goal.

The premise behind Ryan’s article, is you don’t have time to read because it’s not seen as important. It’s kind of important, you know it’s sort of a good thing you should be doing, but it’s not vital. 

Read the article. Seriously, those are just the broad strokes that tie into the point of my post. It’s a fantastic article that will definitely get you thinking, and it’s more important than watching a cat video on Reddit.

Bring that idea to writing: recently, I’ve been pushing writing to the back of my priority list. It’s still on there every day, but I would do things like go get coffee first, do my morning routine, but not write my post because I had to go to work or something, and it shows in my latest posts.

These are the two posts I wrote, Sometimes what you should do, and, If you don’t want to be old and unhappy.

I would get home at night, beat from the day, and have to write a blog post. And they weren’t exactly shit, but they weren’t exceptional posts either. They were just short because I didn’t have the energy to write a full-length idea.

Except for yesterday, why, because I wrote in the morning. Go figure.


For a long time, I’ve known that the key to getting started down the path of being remarkable in anything is to simply act with the intention of being remarkable.

If I want a better-than-average career, I can’t simply ‘go with the flow’ and get it. Most people do just that: they wish for an outcome but make no intention-driven actions toward that outcome. If they would just do something most people would find that they get some version of the outcome they’re looking for. That’s been my secret. Stop wishing and start doing.

Chad Fowler


 

If you want to be a better writer, you have to prioritize writing. Half-assing posts at night doesn’t work, because when you’re tired you resort to what you know already works.

There’s growth, sure. If you do any activity you’ll get better. But it’ll be so much slower than if you put in the hours each morning.

You’re not going to get better if you come home from a long day, beat, and then just crank out some alright post.

Prioritize your writing, make it the first thing you do in the morning. Make it something you think on each day, looking for books, quotes, ideas, how to be better. 

And see what happens.

 

 

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How to be charming

How to be charming

Something people forget – myself included.

You want to show up to a party and have everyone notice who you are; the man in his group of friends, not talking much, but at ease being silent. Comfortable, and unworried.

Something that we forget in our quest to appear interesting, is that interesting comes from mystery. We go off on tangents about ourselves, how we went to this place, and did such a daring act with those people, that the person we’re talking to remarks in their head, Oh, here’s more of the same.

Being mysterious is achieved by doing the opposite of your natural inclination.

Don’t talk about yourself. Not in the drag your heels, This guy blows at conversation, type way.

But when someone asks a question about you, don’t carry on about yourself. Answer as briefly as possible without superfluous details.

I know: talking about yourself is everyone’s favorite subject, and the one we know most about. But in our haste to appear charismatic to other people, it does the opposite of what we want. When we carry on about our mountain biking trips, or our trips to Spain, or what have you, that air of mystery is obliterated.

So, what do you do instead of talking about yourself?

Simple — be genuinely fascinated other people.

Like I said before, everyone’s favorite subject is themselves, and other people love talking about themselves just as much as you do. Ask them; what do they do for fun, what do you they love in life, if they could do anything in the world, what would it be and why aren’t they doing it right now?

Shunting questions off of yourself, being brief, and being authentically curious about other people is the way you generate a charming and mysterious air.

Because by the end of the conversation, you two part ways, and he goes off on his own thinking, What a delightful conversation. And then he starts really thinking about it, and he realizes, Wait, who the fuck was that charming devil? He had a twenty minute conversation with the man and goes, I know almost nothing about him.

So if you want to be mysterious, say next to nothing, and be genuinely curious about other peoples’ lives.

Silence is the key to charisma. And if you must talk, brevity is the soul of wit.

Apply this concept and you’ll realize less is often so much more.

 

Help me own my own blog domain! If you want to donate, here’s the link:)

https://www.gofundme.com/alessandrotrapasso

 

When you find yourself enamored by what a person has

When you find yourself enamored by what a person has

There was a conversation with a friend recently. He’d traveled around France for a month this summer. Apparently it was life-changing. I’d congratulated him, and eventually made my way around to the question I pretty much knew the answer to: how did he afford it?

His parents had paid for the trip he told me. I’m not sure but I think I caught a slightly abashed look on his face.

We meet someone, and they seem like an alright person.

And then we find out they have a massive house. They own a boat. They wear designer clothes and they drive a nice car.

Even further; all their recent pictures on Instagram are from a trip to the Bahamas, or Europe, or South America.

The point is, frequently when I go to someone’s house and learn they have nicer things than I do, or go on nicer vacations, or has all the latest toys, I’m cowed. Because I want those things, and I want the experiences those things bring. And so I act differently around that person — suddenly, their approval means something to me.

I’m embarrassed, but I’ll sometimes flatter the person just because I like playing with the nice toys that person has. That’s not my proudest thing to admit, but it’s true.

Often, this looking at what someone has, or where they go for vacation, can lead to jealousy. And that’s when I have to remind myself of something.

Look at people. Not what they do, wear, or can afford — but who they are. 

If you find yourself being enamored by a person’s money, or objects, ask yourself if you’d like the person without them.

Look at who a person is — not what they have. And then make your decision.

Why life is too short to suffer

Why life is too short to suffer

This post is a somewhat update.

I wrote a bit ago about a book by Kamal Ravikant entitled Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It. 

There’s a technique in it, that I won’t go much into, but it’s basically a repetition of, I love myself.

Over and over again. It sounds fruity, but I, and he far more eloquently than I, explained why it works.

By the end of the post I finished with, I love myself. And it was one hundred percent the truth. This update is a kind of, does-it-really-work in the long-term style post, in addition to a new saying I’ve taken to repeating in my mind.

The verdict:

it does work in the long-term with the caveat that you need commitment. I felt that I loved myself so much when I wrote the post about it. Then after a week or so, my commitment to it faded. My mind became bogged down with other worries, distractions, and commitments. It was mostly forgotten besides the occasional half-hearted, I love myself.

Now, story time. I have a girlfriend. And I love seeing her everyday. Recently, we haven’t been seeing each other as much because she’s getting ready to go to college – but we’ve still been hanging out more than most other peoples normal. She started seeing friends of hers before she heads to college, and doing things with her family, because, you know, she’s headed to college. It makes sense and I completely understand it. So it was sort of a dick move for my body and mind to start generating feelings of betrayal and jealousy.

At root, I’m a pretty jealous guy. I want things to myself, ever since that fire truck in kindergarten. I temper it with meditation, writing, and really, really good quotes, but sometimes I’ll be caught in my emotions. It’s irrational, but fuck it I’m human.

So I got stoned one night while she was out with friends and wrote. I wrote a six thousand word piece. It’s in my drafts and I haven’t touched it because it looks like a level ninety-six Demagorgon.

An idea was brought to the forefront of my mind while writing and then, subconsciously starting making itself known over the next few days. Jealousy arrives when I don’t love myself.

I don’t love myself, and so I see things outside of me as the only thing that can bring happiness. So follows coveting, and jealousy when those things are taken away. That’s how I was.

And just the realization, that the root of my jealousy was because I wasn’t loving myself was discovery of waffles when I was eight big.

And so I started repeating, I love myself. Whenever I think of it. And if you’ve forgotten about the repetition for a few weeks, you’re not going to love yourself when you say it. I absolutely didn’t. Especially if you’re trying to get out of jealousy, sadness, or anger with it. So every time you say it, it must be felt. Say it, I love myself. Look for that love in your body. It may take a few repetitions, but you will find that love somewhere.

And once you find it, it’ll grow. And keep growing it, and keep growing, and keep growing until a grin breaks out on your face and you feel it wash through your body, and fade. Don’t struggle to keep that feeling around – let it wash over you, and let it pass. Then say thank you.

There’s another phrase I heard from Tony Robbins. Life is too short to suffer.

He said that in an interview and I almost didn’t write it down. Life is too short to suffer. 

I get it, you probably won’t take too much note of it either. But let me repeat it again, because you fucking should take note; Life, is too short to suffer.

I heard him say it and my first reaction was, Duh, of fucking course it’s too short to suffer. Now give me something actionable I can use.

But I thought, Maybe he knows what he’s talking about. So I write it down. And then I was mulching some beds for money to travel, and thinking.

I was jealous of my girl. She had fun plans, I was hanging with some old friends.

And it hit me.

Life is too fucking short to suffer. 

Life is too short to moan and cry and feel sorry for yourself. Wish others the best in whatever they decide to do. Life is too short to be wishing bad on other people.

If you love yourself, life is too short to suffer.

There’s no room for it if you want to live a good life.

If you repeat those statements on a loop in your head, you’ll be fine. I swear it.

An actionable question to change your life

Think of life as two week goals and six month projects.

After I heard that concept, I didn’t do much with it. I wrote it down in my Evernote tab and forgot about it.

Then, a few weeks ago, in an interview with Peter Thiel an actionable question popped up.

If I could become world class at a half dozen to a dozen skills in six months, what would they be?

Get out a piece of paper right now and answer that question. It’ll take two seconds, and it’s a look at yourself to see the breadth of your interest.

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Okay – that’s fantastic. I hope you’ve done it because here’s the really, really fucking important part. You’ve got your list in front of you, right?

Over the next couple days, pick one. Pick a focus of yours that you’re going to have for six months.

But six months is a long time! That’s very true. But it’s going to pass anyway, and if you don’t make a commitment here and now, it’s going to pass and instead of knowing how to surf by the end of those six months, you’ll be able to recite every episode of Parks and Rec. Or you’ll be able to talk to someone about what’s going on in Game of Thrones. Or whatever the bumble-fuck.

But what if one and two months in I realize it’s not for me? If you get sick of after a week, it shouldn’t have been on that list. Anything you write down on that list should be a subject of sufficient depth you can delve into it easily for six months.

And you don’t have to be restrictive over those six months – you can still interest yourself with two week goals.

Some fun things: get a sleep tracking app and analyze for the next fortnight what the best amount of time for you to take a nap is. Try a novel ab workout in the morning six days a week and see the results at the end of the two weeks.

Adopt what is useful, discard what is useless.

 

There’s a study out there that says it takes roughly six times before you don’t really hate doing something difficult. Commit to at least those six.

Set weekly goals that are easily attainable. Sure, something like write a fifty word post is simple. But we need that confidence boost that comes with crushing it in the beginning.

And whatever you do, don’t try something for three or four weeks and get bored. We all get bored – the people who are actually good at these things aren’t superhuman: they’re the most persistent. The things you have written on your list should be things you’re dying to try anyway. If you’re dying to try it, commit for six months. Make it your life.

At the end of the six months, you’ll be better at the skill than most people in the world, have made a network of friends, and can move onto another skill you want to conquer while still enjoying the pleasure that comes from doing something you’re really good at.

And on top of that, I guarantee you that somewhere along the line of learning new skills you’ll realize that not only are you actually a natural at something, but you fucking love doing it too.

And that’s when life paths can shift.

 

Help send me to Southeast Asia! Here’s the link to my gofundme page, any help is appreciated. And if you send me your email, I’ll write you a personal note thanking you for your contribution:)

Everyone has a voice in their head

Everyone has a voice in their head

A lot of people are good. A lot of people are clever. Not a lot of people give you their soul when they perform.

Neil Strauss

That’s a nifty quote I wanted to share.

Everyone has a voice in their head. A voice that congratulates us when we say something witty in public. A voice that makes us feel good when we’re being productive.

It’s also a Voice that will make you feel like trash when – not if – you say something stupid. It’s a Voice that will assault you. It’s a voice that will make you question every decision.

It’s not a surprise the Voice does this – think about the good scenario’s I’ve just listed. They are based on how well you’ve done. Do well, be praised. Good job, self.

Everyone will agree on this front. There is a Voice.

So, why do we feel superior to those who champion positive self-talk? We already do self-talk. Just poorly, semi-consciously, and often negatively. Most of the time we’re unaware of this Voice that’s dropping you deeper into a dark hole.

So if already do self-talk, here’s a question: what if we hijack the mechanism, and use it to our own benefit? What if rather than having our mind run through neural pathways we’ve rutted into our brain for years, we become conscious of the self-talk? And what if we make a commitment for just one week, say ‘I love myself?’ over and over.

Fuck.

For me, so far, it’s been a game-changer. I tell you this now, because I’ve been doing it ever since I read Kamal’s book, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It. For him, it did depend on it. He was in a dark place. His friend died, his company tanked, and his girlfriend broke up with him. He made a vow: he would never feel that low again.

A fierce commitment: I will love myself. Whether I want to or not.

And he would say it over, and over again. In his mind: I love myself. I love myself. And he made a point to feel it every time he said it.

He may not have believed it at first but over time, with enough repetition, you can believe anything. That’s a top technique in marketing. And now you can research Kamal. He’s a happiness success. Just google search him.

For me, I read his book and was tired of looking for things to make me happy. A new book that would give me a boost for a week. A party I could talk about with friends for a little bit. An adventure daring enough to give me an adrenaline rush.

I read his book and thought, I connect with this. The truth is always more simple than we make it to be.

And so I’ve done it for the past three or four days. And I can tell you, right now, in just three or four days.

I love myself.

IMG_20160804_073745398_HDR

 

Help send me to Southeast Asia! Here’s the link to my gofundme page, any help is appreciated. And if you send me your email, I’ll write you a personal note thanking you for your contribution:)

 

 

The Definitive Guide to Winning the Day: a Step-by-Step Morning Routine and Learning how to Meditate, Write, and Read Effectively

My post yesterday talked about routines and how I was not in the mood to write about said topic. So my post was about how to conquer that mental error. 

Why have a morning routine?

The Art of Manliness wrote a fantastic post about why you should have a routine. It’s the post that made me create my own routine. You should have a routine because if you, “win the morning, you win the day.” Credit Timothy Ferriss, I believe. Basically, if you start off strong in your day, it’s easy to carry that momentum. Start off weak and you’ve already fucked your motivation from the start so you’re more likely to end up in your bed, fetal, with comfort food and tears by the end of the day.

Simply, if you start the day off with… Say, even just making your bed. Or meditation, or contemplation on the universe in your backyard before dawn with a nurturing cup of coffee, you generally start your day with more peace.

On the other hand, if you jump straight out of bed, head to your laptop, and are confronted with high-stream information, your brain is over-whelmed immediately and you carry this intoxicated thought frame through the rest of your day.

Image by Alessandro Trapasso.

How do you create a morning routine?

I can only tell you what I do. As of yet, I only have a morning routine so I will only be talking on that.

So, let’s go through the steps.

1. Prime yourself for success — before bed, I’ll often turn my phone to airplane mode.

 Or even turn off your phone — the basic principle: do not check your phone for at least the first hour after rising. This is vital –  check your phone and you are immediately thrust back into the information saturated world of constant notification, email, and distraction. Your phone can derail your entire routine. Trust me, it’s happened. Preferably don’t even check your phone until you’re done your morning routine.

2. Read — I set myself a fifteen minute minimum reading time for the morning but I frequently read for forty-five minutes or more. Don’t think reading is worth your time or effort? Read this article by Ryan Holiday and see this post of mine.

This post also deals indirectly with reading, and this is just a fantastic quote that I got from – you guessed it – a book. Okay, that’s a lie. It’s from an interview between Brené Brown and Chase Jarvis. But she got it from a book, I swear.

Image by Alessandro Trapasso via VSCO.

3. Meditation — it’s a vital part of my day. I’ve been meditating on-and-off for years and only in the past four or five months have I made it a rule to meditate every day, twice a day. I’m human and I do miss my evening meditation – but there’s a staggering difference in my emotional state when I meditate at night and when I don’t.

Here’s the book that explains meditation simply and walks you through the first eight weeks. It is definitely worth the investment and it’s not a frou-frou, corny, style book that you’ll hate reading. It’s practical mindfulness.

Also, here’s the first ten days of Headspace — free of charge. They’ll guide you through everything as well. But I suggest the grounding in the literature.

4. Morning pages — write three stream-of-consciousness pages of writing. It’s helped me to clarify idea’s and opinions, it’s helped me come to terms with traveling for a year instead of going to university right away, and has a massive benefits.

As Julia Cameron said, “Once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts [nebulous worries, jitters, and preoccupations] on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes.”

And to quote Tim Ferriss, ”

2) I’m just caging my monkey mind on paper so I can get on with my fucking day.

#2 is key.

Morning pages don’t need to solve your problems. They simply need to get them out of your head, where they’ll otherwise bounce around all day like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull.

Could bitching and moaning on paper for five minutes each morning change your life?

As crazy as it might seem, I believe the answer is yes.”

5. Write a blog post. Seth Godin is a huge proponent of writing a blog post daily. Not only does it force you to clarify your idea’s because, you know, you have to share them with the world, but if you have a vague idea of becoming a writer then there’s no better way to begin than by… Well. Beginning.

En finale

And that’s that. My morning routine. When I was in high school, I would have to wake up at 4:30am or 5:00am to get these things done. Frequently I would fall out of doing them because it’s just so fucking early. But after a while I realized I’d rather get up early and do these things than not because when I did do them, I felt like a Spartan — waking early to accomplish disciplines? Doing more before people wake than most people do in a day? Sign me the fuck up.

It’s nice knowing the rest of your day could be shit and you’ve still accomplished something.

And as they say on the Art of Manliness, you might not know what your day is going to consist of. Where you might be dragged off to mentally. But you know exactly how your day starts and how it will end.

It’s a recipe to excellence.