You have to ask the question

You have to ask the question

It often takes a death to appreciate who we have in our lives.

Since my brother passed away when I was younger, I’ve thought on this a lot.

People will be lolly-gagging along in life, not too happy, but not too sad either. On a neutral keel. And then someone close dies.

And you hear the person go, Oh, shit. I need to do something with my life. I need to create things.

An insatiable need for excellence is born. A need to live and experience all you can. A need that says, Fuck feeling bitter, sad, and lonely. There is so little time, and now it’s so abundantly clear.

And that’s when you see the journey for the person begin. That’s when they start to appreciate their girlfriend, their family, their friends. The people we take for granted. That’s when they stop jerking off, and start taking walks. Then eventually hikes. Then whatever they want.

That’s their Harajuku moment.

Harajuku moment – Noun – The moment when you realize, I can’t put this off any longer. Change must happen now. 

And I get it. By that definition, this article is pretty much useless. A very, very low percentage of people are going to completely change ingrained habit pathways simply by reading this two-hundred and fifty word post.

But still, I have to pose the question at the very least.

Does someone have to die before you are not satisfied with mediocrity?

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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.

What do you do when you’re not in the mood?

What do you do when you’ve got a headache? When you’ve woken up late and have spent the past half an hour selling your Pidgey’s on Pokemon Go to evolve a Pidgeot?

You get on with your routine. You read, meditate, do your morning pages, and write a blog post. Because they are disciplines. By the very word, nonnegotiable according to mood. And if you still have a headache?

Go for a run at the park, collect Pokemon, then take a shower. You may not have been in the mood, but that doesn’t mean you’re not getting shit done, friend.

How quickly options narrow

Scene: the doctor’s yesterday getting three vaccines for travel. Time — four-thirty pm.

State: hadn’t eaten all day; hadn’t drank all day; was introduced to strange drugs.

Result: I blacked out a few times at the doctor’s and was taken to the hospital.

Now, I’m grateful it wasn’t worse — that cocktail of not eating, dehydration, and then being administered vaccines which caused me to pass out though, that could have happened to anyone in today’s society. A society where people rush around, don’t think about their own well-being, drink honestly impressive amounts of coffee, and just work.

It could have happened to anyone and it happened to me.

And I’m happy that it did.

Why? Because everyone needs a reminder. A reminder that these things happen, no matter how fit you are. No matter how successful, happy, or disciplined, these things can and, given time, will happen to you.

People need a reminder that we’re not here for long. That every day you put off traveling for a year or volunteering at that animal shelter simply because that’s what you’ve always wanted to do, you need that reminder that you’re coming closer to an event that may compromise your ability to do that thing in the future. Even if you had a change of heart and suddenly were willing to do all you could to make it happen. One day, you won’t be able to.

One day, relatively soon, we will die. And people purposely hide that fact from themselves although the spector of it constantly hangs over your shoulder. People choose to ignore it. And then, unexpectedly, death comes. And you wonder why you didn’t do what you wanted to do sooner.

Because everyone needs a reminder of how quickly options narrow that makes them say, Oh, fuck that law degree, I want to go work with lions in a Jamaican zoo. Because that’s what I really, really want to do.

Accept the pain

Sometimes you can’t get thoughts out of your head.

You meditate; you write; you draw; you do whatever you can think of. And you can’t get those thoughts out of your head.

That’s because those thoughts are persistent and tenacious for a reason. Give into those thoughts — let whatever emotions they are trying to entice out of you come out.

Do not fight it because resisting how you feel only makes how you feel grow stronger.

Instead, accept the pain and see what lessons it may have to teach.

Mediocrity

“Everyone out there watching, if you’re napping, I’m kicking your ass.”

– Mark Cuban

That quote dovetails nicely with a dilemma I was having last night: I got home from a full day adventuring with my girlfriend. We had go on a ropes course for the day, gotten dinner, and then hung out before I dropped her at her house.

And I still hadn’t done my second meditation for the day. I was dog-tired. I just wanted sleep. And I almost did. But the thought ran through my head;

Do you want to be mediocre or do you want to be exceptional?

Read that carefully and answer it. If you want to be exceptional, you must give up sleep. You must give up food, water, and fun. You must be disciplined and do what you know will bring satisfaction in the long run — it doesn’t matter if you don’t ‘feel like it.’ It is something you do irrespective of mood.

Do you want to be mediocre or do you want to be exceptional?