For most of my life, I lived in darkness. I lived a life void of purpose and meaning. I chased outward success and thought that material possessions and achievements would bring me the life of happiness and joy I craved.
But I was wrong.
As the recipient of horrific bullying in middle school, I lost nearly all of my self-worth. My confidence had been so badly bruised and I thought that the only way to regain self-esteem was by attaining outward material success. And that is how I lived my life for two and a half decades.
I was out to prove the bullies wrong, that I was not the loser they said I was, and thought material possessions would be proof of my success, thus restoring my self-worth that had been stripped away from me years earlier.
The problem with this though was that I defined my existence through the eyes of the ego, as so many people tend to do.
And when we look at life through the lens of the ego, we measure our value from three pivotal viewpoints. First, what we have. Second, what we do. Third, what other people say about us.
The ego loves labels. And we fall victim to believing these definitions and living our life according to them. This inevitably leads to a life void of purpose and meaning. In fact, this will prevent us from ever discovering our true life’s calling 100% of the time.
For most of my life, that’s exactly what I did. I lived my life according to these definitions and labels. The problem was that each time I succeeded by material standards, I was left feeling even worse than before. My successes came and went. They were always fleeting because success gained on the competitive plane of existence is rarely, if ever, permanent.
My life lacked meaning and purpose. It lacked pure joy. It lacked time with those I love.
And I reached a point where I just knew there had to be more to life than this. As a result, I started out on a quest to find out who I truly was and what I was put on this earth to do. I started questioning my very existence and in the process discovered many truths that were previously lying dormant in my soul.
See, I spent my whole life trying to BE ACCOMPLISHED until I decided to BE FREE.
What I discovered is that each of us comes into this life with a purpose, a dharma, and it is up to us to find out what that dharma is.
It is up to us to find out what we signed up for when we came into this human life. All too often people get sidetracked. They get stuck living a life they don’t love void of meaning and purpose. And then it’s too late.
Imagine if tomorrow was your last day on earth. Could you comfortably say that you fulfilled your destiny? Or would you be filled with regret that you never did or accomplished what you really wanted to – what they knew you could do, what you know you were meant to do?
In her book entitled, “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying,” palliative care nurse, Bronnie Ware, interviewed her patients who were on their deathbed, literally, and asked them if they had any regrets.
The number one regret that most people had time and time again was not living up to their full potential and following their dreams.
And this is what “Don’t die with your music still inside of you” means, and that’s why living a purpose-filled life is so important
But what if you don’t know what your dharma is? How do you find out? Where do you being?
I have identified a three-step process to discovering your dharma and living a purpose-filled life.
Step 1: Turn Inward
To begin, you must first turn inward and connect to your true essence.
Discovering your dharma is an inward process. It must come to you rather than you going and finding it somewhere else, somewhere outside of yourself. The best way I know how to do this is to meditate. You must quiet the chit-chat of your own inner dialogue and let Spirit, Source Energy, the Divine, speak TO you.
When you listen to the Universe you will always be led in the right direction. It’s when we think we are smarter than Spirit that we run into problems. And when we meditate, transcend to Source, and allow Source to speak to us, many of our questions are answered.
Step 2: Surrender
Second, you must surrender to the care of the Universe and let the Universe lead the way. In doing so you can feel confident knowing the answer will come to you.
“If you knew. If you knew who walked beside you at all times on this path that you have chosen, you could never experience doubt or fear again” says a Course in Miracles.
So be gentle about it. Don’t try to force it. Be gentle with yourself and let go and surrender.
Step 3: Enjoy the journey!
It’s all part of your Divine plan and the journey can be just as fun as the actual discovery itself if you allow it to be.
Remember the wise words of Buddha who said, “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”
“There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made. And which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the inner space of the Universe. A thought in this substances produces the thing that is imaged by the thought. We can form things in our thoughts and by impressing our thoughts upon formless substance can cause the thing we think about to be created.” — Wallace D. Wattles
Many of us have heard the phrase, “That which you focus on expands.” In other words, “thoughts become things.”
But how many of us actually understand what this really means and why it is true?
Before I discuss how our thoughts create our reality, I need to take a step back so we can understand precisely WHY this is true.
Stick with me and I promise this will all make sense in the end and you will have the keys to manifesting anything you want.
Enter the weird world of quantum physics.
For most of my life, I was caught between the worlds of science and spirituality. I wanted to believe what the great spiritual teachers were preaching — it felt so right and natural, and it made perfect sense to me. But just when I was on the verge of becoming a believer, my scientific intuition would kick in and make me want to prove everything these masters were teaching.
Luckily for me, I was raised by a self-proclaimed quantum psychics fanatic for a father.
If you aren’t familiar with quantum mechanics, let me explain.
You have probably heard that everything in the Universe is made of atoms, right? And for centuries, scientists believed that the atom was the smallest unit of measure. They believed that all physical matter was made of these atomic particles. But it turns out, there is nothing really physical about these atoms at all.
Using particle accelerators, physicists have been able to break down the atom into smaller units called subatomic particles. But what they discovered is that subatomic particles are not really particles at all.
They are simply impulses of information and energy. So everything we perceive as solid matter is actually not solid.
What this really means then is that everything we perceive to be in our physical reality is made up of non-physical material!
The only difference between one material thing and another material thing is the quantity and arrangement of the subatomic particles. Everything in the entire universe is made of these amazing subatomic particles in different quantities and arrangements.
Moreover, what makes these subatomic particles even more fascinating is that they can behave like both a wave and a particle at the same time and they have the ability to be in more than one place at the same time.
OK—so if these subatomic particles can be a wave or a particle, how is it determined which one they will be?
Turns out, this impulse, or vibration, of quantum energy remains a wave of energy and information until the moment it is detected by you or me. At the moment our attention is put in them, the wave becomes a particle! And then it attracts other impulses of energy that vibrate at the same frequency. This literally means that we create something out of nothing simply by placing our attention on it. And then it expands by attracting other things that are similar to it. Pretty astonishing when you think about it, isn’t it?
And, when I realized this, my two worlds of science and spirituality came dancing beautifully together. Suddenly, I understood what the phrase “thoughts become things” actually meant—and why it is so.
We can use the same principles that science uses to create physical reality out of non-physical essence and use it to have, do or be anything we want and experience happiness and fulfillment to any degree we choose.
So now let’s examine our thoughts. What IS a thought?
A thought—like a subatomic particle—is an impulse of energy and information. The only difference is that we experience thought waves as language in our minds. But before we experience a thought as language, it is nothing but an impulse wave of energy an information. And so the only difference between the waves of energy and information inside our heads and those outside our heads is that we interpret the ones in our heads as language.
And so, just like when we place our attention on a subatomic particle and it changes from a probability wave into a particle, the same is true with our thoughts!
So while our reality may appear to be just happening to us, we are making it happen by the quality and direction of our thoughts. So whatever we put our attention on manifests into our reality! And now we don’t just have to hope this is true—we can prove it with science!
Take a moment an examine your own reality for a moment.
Think back to any of the major events in your life—good or bad. And ask yourself if you consciously had your attention on those experiences? See, for me, nothing was truer than this. Even though I was raised by a quantum physics junkie, and now consider myself one too—I had not made the connection between quantum physics and my thoughts until much later on in life.
But when I did, it was like a tidal wave that came crashing into my face!
I immediately saw evidence of this in my own life—unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons. I was so scared of being a failure as a result of the horrific bullying I experienced that all I focused on was what I didn’t want to happen. But you know what? Everything I didn’t want to happen was exactly what ended up happening because it was where I was placing my attention!
What I didn’t know then that I know now is that we are all the creators of our own life’s experience, whether we know it or not, and whether we want to be or not.
This knowledge is truly a gift for anyone who recognizes and knows how to apply it to their daily lives. With this knowledge, you can use your thoughts to become the deliberate creator of your own life experiences rather than leaving your life to mere chance, and know why it works.
As quantum physicist Niel Bohr has said, “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real. If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.”
Gratitude. It’s a word we hear a lot these days. In most personal development teachings, we talk about gratitude and the incredible power that gratitude harnesses. In my book, Give A Shift: 10 Simple Steps To An Abundant Life, I devote an entire chapter to gratitude.
In this chapter, I go to great lengths to distinguish what I call “convenient gratitude” from “deliberate gratitude.” Convenient gratitude, I argue, is when people wait for major milestones in their lives before they stop and show their gratitude for what has happened. A new job. A new home. A new baby. A new relationship. You get the idea. These are the things that cause people to pause and recognize the wonderful blessings that have been bestowed on them.
This, I write, is in contrast to deliberate gratitude. Deliberate gratitude is training your brain to be grateful for the seemingly small things that we experience in our lives each and every day. These are not things that happen to us, but rather things around us. The miracles that surround us every day. The feel of the warm sun on our face after a long winter. The blossoming of the flowers. The magic of a sunset. The miracle of reproduction—from plants to animals to people. And on and on.
When we stop and show gratitude for these miracles, more of them tend to show up in our lives. And the more we show gratitude, the higher we are able to raise our vibration and come into alignment with Source Energy.
As it turns out, this is only part of the story.
This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend my first Abraham-Hicks workshop. It was more powerful than I could ever have imagined!
Not surprisingly, the idea of gratitude came up. But not in the way I thought it would.
Abraham said that most people approach gratitude from the standpoint of acknowledging what was previously missing from their lives. From this standpoint, they are putting themselves in a negative vibration. Wow! I had never even considered that. This type of gratitude is, in fact, similar to what I call convenient gratitude; the “getting” of things previously missing from one’s life. But I had never considered this a bad thing, but rather just not the only thing.
Abraham continued to explain that not only does this type of gratitude focus on what was or is missing and causing a negative vibration but that this negative vibration will only keep more wonderful things from happening – the exact opposite of what most people think would happen by showing gratitude in these situations, myself included!
Furthermore, Abraham said that gratitude in this nature is usually based in resentment. Resentment! I was trying to wrap my head around what Abraham was saying. Yes, I agree that this kind of gratitude isn’t the best, but mostly because opportunities to express gratitude in this sense are typically few and far between, not because the basis of it was resentment!
I needed to stop and think about this some more. And when I did, it all made perfect sense.
What Abraham was saying was that when we finally show gratitude like this, what we are really saying is, “I was waiting for this to happen because I wasn’t really happy without it.” Bingo. There’s the resentment. And with resentment comes the negative vibration. With the resentment comes more things to be resentful for, as the universal law dictates. You attract the very things that match your vibration. Negative vibration, negative experiences.
Instead of using the term gratitude, Abraham suggests we use the word appreciation or satisfaction.
When you show your appreciation for someone or something, it is not based on the prior absence of it. Rather, it is based in the true sincere recognition and enjoyment of it. And this stance is only one of positivity. And this, in turn, raises your vibration and brings your vibration in harmony with your Source thus attracting to you more things to be appreciative for!
I suppose this viewpoint is more in line with what I refer to as deliberate gratitude, but I still feel there is a subtle yet important distinction. Appreciation has a more positive sound to me. It just feels better. It feels more natural. Deliberate gratitude almost feels like work, not at all what I had intended.
Thank you, Abraham, for this critical clarification. I sincerely appreciate it!
In order to live your best life personally, professionally, and spiritually, you have to live what is called a God-conscious life. Don’t get thrown off by the term “God.” Call it whatever you want. The term refers to the invisible intelligence that created the entire universe–the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent energy that is the source of everything else.
But what does it mean to live a God-conscious life, and how can it help you become the best version of yourself you can be?
First of all, it is a way of life. In fact, it’s something the happiest, most prosperous people on the planet deliberately strive for each and every day.
Second, it is a state of being that gets stronger every day. It is not a chore or a task. Eventually, it will radiate from the inside out.
Third, it is not a destination that is ever actually reached. Rather, it is a path, a journey that you continue throughout your life. You will walk towards but never reach. Reaching it would imply an end and Source Energy has no beginning nor end.
But even if we can’t get “there”, wherever there is, it’s still a way of life worth pursuing. Why? Because it is from here that you can ultimately have, do, or be anything you want and it is from here that you will see miracles show up time and time again in your life.
The Tao Te Ching teaches us that there are 4 virtues to live from and Lao Tzu promises that if you live your life according to them you will live a God-conscious life.
In other words, practicing these 4 things every day will help you become the very best version of yourself you can be and live your very best life. Isn’t that what we all want?
1: Reverence For All Life
Having reverence for life meaning loving all life forms including all plants, animals, and people. We must revere all life forms and see all life as individual expressions of God. When you do this, you instantly remove all forms of judgment from your life which blocks the flow of the Divine Spirit from coming to you. Live from a place of unconditional love for all life, including yourself and watch the miracles start appearing in your life.
Gentleness is exactly what you think: being kind to everyone and everything and having a deep sense of compassion for others. Kindness, gentleness, compassion, and love are at the heart of this second virtue. And when you live a God-conscious life, you will always put gentleness above all else. This means letting go of false beliefs your ego wants you to hold onto, beliefs about right and wrong, good and bad, and so on. There is no room for being right when you live from a place of gentleness. When you have the choice to be right or kind, always choose kind.
3: Authenticity and Simplicity
To live our best life, we must be true to ourselves. We must live from a place of authenticity and simplicity. Don’t over complicate your life by trying to be someone you are not. At the same time, you must also follow through on what you say. Be the person you say you are; don’t be a phony. Walk the walk and talk the talk.
This virtue teaches us to put giving and serving at the heart of everything we do. Each day, you must ask, “How may I serve?” And when you do so without expectation of reward, you are living from your highest self, and the Universe will respond by saying, “How may I serve you?”
If you look closely at all four virtues, and what it means to live a God-conscious life, it all boils down to one essential element: always choose love over fear.
To live a God-conscious life according to the 4 cardinal virtues you must let go of your ego, your false sense of self, and connect to your true authentic nature, your Divine source, your Spirit. And when you are connected to Source Energy, you become what I like to say is a magnet for miracles!
In fact, true God-conscious people actually become miracle workers themselves! They can create and manifest virtually anything they want. As Joel Goldsmith said, “In the presence of the God-realized, the laws of the material world do not apply.”
I encourage you each day to be mindful of these 4 virtues and live your life according to them. I promise you that when you do, your life will be overflowing with blessings and you will truly become the very best version of yourself you can possibly be! xx
It has been said that we are spiritual beings having temporary human experiences. And I believe this to be true. But have you ever thought about how temporary your human experience might actually be?
While this may sound depressing, it is actually meant to be quite the opposite. It is meant to inspire you to live your best life NOW so you can reach and unleash your full potential!
But let me ask you something. When you hear or read “700,000 hours” as a measurement of time, what comes to mind? I recently conducted an informal study of this very question. I asked my friends and family to try to translate that unit of time into something more relatable. How long did they think 700,000 hours was (without stopping to calculate it – just off the top of their head)? I asked them if it sounded like a long period of time or a relatively short period of time. Though their answers varied, one common theme stood out: most people felt that 700,000 hours seemed like a relatively short amount of time. Some thought it perhaps equaled one year, others said a few years and still others said around five years or so. Does this question have you wondering just how long 700,000 hours is???
Turns out that 700,000 hours is equal to 80 years.
Yup. 80 years! Think about it for a second. The average human life expectancy is around 80 years or only 700,000 hours! When you measure your human existence in terms of hours, it suddenly seems shockingly short! At 42, I have already lived over half of this timeframe so, in theory, I have less than 350,000 hours left to go (give or take a few thousand on either side, I suppose).
Our lives are a gift, but they can also be shockingly short. I know it’s a cliche that people take life for granted, but it’s true. Most people do.
So, how can you maximize your human experience and live your best life, temporary though it may be?
I encourage you to live each day by the following 5 credos:
- Discover your dharma
In her book, The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, palliative nurse Bronnie Ware, tells us that the number one regret of the dying is that they wish they had had the courage to live their lives true to themselves, not the lives others expected of them. In other words, they wish they had had the courage to follow their dreams.
Each of us has a dharma, a purpose in life, and it is up to us to find out what that purpose is. In doing so, we will be able to truly fulfill our individual destinies and reach our full potential.
The majority of people never discover their true calling or have the courage to follow it if they do. Sadly, too many people die with their music still inside of them.
Don’t let that be you.
You must listen to your inner calling. Don’t ignore it! Let yourself be guided by God and don’t underestimate your intuition. Your intuition is your Source speaking to you, but too many of us think we are smarter than Source. We let our egos get the best of us and we let our egos rather than intuition lead the way.
If you have a burning desire, you must follow it. You must nurture it and give it room to grow and blossom. Fear stops people in their tracks time and time again. Fear of what others will think. Fear of failing. Fear of humiliation. Fear of not knowing if it will “work out”. But fear is nothing more than your ego telling you it is smarter than your Source. And as a Course in Miracles teaches us, fear is the opposite of love. Fear is the kiss of death to discovering your destiny and reaching your full potential.
To live a purpose-filled life, we must lead always with love and let love lead the way. Only then can we fulfill our destinies, reach our full potential, and live our best lives.
- Being a workaholic is NOT a prerequisite for success
In today’s society, hustling has become synonymous with success. “Hustle” has become today’s hottest mantra. If you've spent any amount of time browsing through online entrepreneurial or success sites, you've likely read countless tidbits extolling the virtues of hustling…
“Hustle until your haters ask if you're hiring.”
“Turn down your feelings, turn up your hustle.”
and, of course, “Good things come to those who hustle.”
At first blush, the hustle rhetoric seems harmless. After all, we all want to succeed! And, of course, hard work and dedication are a big part of building a business or a career, aren't they?
If you're like me, you probably grew up hearing about how success comes to those who put their nose to the grindstone. How life is a constant struggle and you need to stay focused and make the best of it. We're taught from a young age that work is SUPPOSED to be hard. My father used to tell me all the time “That's why they call it work and not play!” And that to reach the level of success you truly desire you must work long, exhausting hours to do so.
But what happens to people who buy into the idea of 24/7 hustle? Who work constantly and let stress, resentment, and negative energies build up in their bodies?
They get burnt out and they end up hating what they do, leaving them unfilled both professionally and personally.
In my book Give A Shift I discuss the fact that the hustle mindset is a consequence of a scarcity mindset. A reaction to the idea of constant competition, the idea that there is a finite amount of success available in the world and that those who don't work like crazy every day of the week will inevitably fall behind as others grab up the opportunities.
Total bullshift, if you ask me!
The truth is that there are an infinite number of opportunities available. Hell, you can even create your own! This idea of scarcity is exactly what's keeping most people locked up in their office and missing out on what the rest of life has to offer. Letting go off that mindset? It was one of the most liberating and freeing decisions of my life.
And now I have created the life I want by surrendering than hustling, by letting go rather than leaning in, and by discovering and using my Superpower to create any reality I want—and you can too!
- You become what you think about whether you know it or not
Oddly enough, thoughts are things most people never even think about. Strange, right? Human beings have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts per day and yet most people are totally unaware of the power of their thoughts and so do very little to guard them.
Rather, like many people, I had always let my thoughts control me. They came naturally, and I never considered the quality of my thoughts. I had never even thought to think about my thoughts. I believed my thoughts were mine alone, and that they stayed within the physical boundaries of my human head.
Because of this, and because of the competitive plane I existed on, I allowed myself to think anything I wanted without any knowledge of the implications. Sometimes, they were thoughts of envy or jealousy. Other times, it was criticism and judgment. Of course, good thoughts were there too: thoughts of love, happy and joyful thoughts, thankful thoughts. The problem was that every thought was random and just came and went at its leisure without any contemplation on my part at all.
But our thoughts are literally our Superpower. Our thoughts are like 3D printers in our subconscious minds printing out exactly what we put in.
You have—all of us have—a power so strong within us that it is literally like a magical force, like superpower quality! How cool is that? Yet how absolutely tragic it is that so few people even know they possess this superpower.?
Thoughts are vibratory impulses of energy and information. And, contrary to popular belief, these thought vibrations do not remain in your head. Rather, they are sent out into the universe as intentions, as your “wishes,” if you will. Thoughts control the entire vibratory quality of your being. They send out a vibratory signal and send back to you things that reside only on that same frequency.
And like with all waves—like sound waves and light waves—once thought waves have been created and transmitted out into the universe, you cannot take them back or change them. That would be equivalent to thinking that sounds waves could be reversed. Well, the same is true for thoughts. You cannot undo your thoughts or rewind them. You can, however, learn to control your thoughts, intentions, and feelings. And when you do, you can use your superpower to attract the means and methodologies you need to manifest all that you want in life, regardless of the years and decades of wrong thinking you may have had.
According to Charles Haanel in his book The Master Key System, “Thought is the plastic material with which we build images of our growing conception of life.” Thoughts, the energy waves that make up our thoughts, become building plans that manifest as reality. Legendary author Wallace Wattles said it perfectly: “As a man thinketh, so he becomes.” Try to grasp how utterly mind-blowing this is. Our thoughts literally control our destiny. And rather than this being some kind of wishful thinking, quantum physics is at the heart of it all. And though this is a gargantuan concept to understand, when you do understand it, it will be one of the most significant life-altering concepts you will ever come to know.
- You have the power to literally change the world
Let me explain how I can make such a bold claim. See, this is more than lip service. You literally have the power to impact and change the world because we all share one human consciousness.
Everything in life is made up of energy. Spiritual teachers have been teaching us this for thousands of years and now science proves this to be so. As such, we are also made up of energy that merely appears as individual forms. But our energy interacts with everyone else’s energy. And it doesn’t just and not only interacts with it but also impacts it. This is really powerful because it literally means we can live from higher and higher states of consciousness and raise the consciousness of those around us— our friends, family, and community— simply by raising our own!
One way we can continuously raise our consciousness is through meditation. In fact,
one form of meditation I practice twice a day for 20 minutes is Transcendental Meditation (TM). It’s been proven that TM can and does impact the planet at large. The “Maharishi Effect” is the term that refers to the fact that individual consciousness actually impacts our collective consciousness, and a large number of studies have been undertaken to prove this theory.
One such study was conducted in Washington, DC, in the early 1990s by quantum physicist John Hagelin. At this time, DC was riddled with excessive crime. The goal of the study was to show that if enough people practiced TM together twice a day, it would have a significant impact on criminal behavior. The hypothesis was met with much skepticism by many prominent professionals. However, much to the amazement of many, there was an unprecedented 23 percent reduction in crime during this time. There’s a practice called “Yogic Flying” which involves high brainwave coherence, and studies on this phenomenon have shown that 7000 individuals practicing it together can actually reduce violent and negative trends on a GLOBAL scale!
When we raise our own consciousness, we can literally transform the world!
- Nourish your body like your life depends on it—because it does
Our physical bodies are miracles. Even though they are temporary, they are miraculous. There are 6 trillion reactions happening in our bodies per second. Per second! And each one knows what the others are doing. Our cells dance in a perfectly choreographed arrangement all day, every day without any effort on our part at all. So, even though we are spiritual beings having a temporary human existence, our physical bodies are our soul’s temple, (at least for the time being).
We must take care of and protect these temples as if they are sacred and holy which they are.
When one part of our basic functions becomes disturbed, the entire being becomes disrupted.
Most of us tend to take our bodies for granted, expecting them to just work perfectly without giving it much thought, until they suddenly experience a sickness, disease, or other illness. Too many people beat up their bodies up year after year after year, and seem to have no regard for the miracle their physical body actually is.
My friend and mentor, Joe Polish sums it up perfectly. He always says:
“If you owned a million dollar race horse, would you feed it garbage and not exercise it properly? No, you would provide the very best of everything to keep the horse in optimal condition.”
The same is true of us. To operate at peak performance and become all we were meant to be, we must treasure our bodies and revere the miraculous wonders they are.
After all, these bodies don’t last forever, right? So to live your best life, follow these 5 credos every day so you can make the most of your own 700,000 hours.
Hustling: It’s become the new “it” word in our culture. The word that “cool people” use to describe their work ethic — you know the ones. The entrepreneurs. The boss babes. It’s the hippest new verb to describe not only the way you work but the way you LIVE.
You know what I am talking about. Hustle is now a LIFESTYLE. You’ve heard the rhetoric:
“Embrace your hustle. Embrace the struggle.”
“Good things happen to those who hustle.”
“My entire life can be summed up in four words: I hustled. I conquered. ”
“The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.”
“Hustle in silence and let your success make the noise.”
You get the idea…
Somewhere along the way, we have gotten it all wrong.
On the surface, these slogans and inspirational quotes seem harmless, even helpful. After all, we all appreciate some motivation. But beyond the hype, the hustle lifestyle carries unintended consequences.
Let me explain.
The current use of the word hustle, especially when it comes to business, refers to an individual determined to succeed at ALL costs. People who put achievement above all else in their life. Individuals who are determined to create as much external material evidence of their accomplishments as possible.
In contrast, those who don’t hustle have been incorrectly labeled as weak, unwilling to work hard, unambitious, passive, and willing to settle for mediocrity, among other things.
And hustlers? Well, they want everyone to know about it.
I know this because, for two and a half decades, I HUSTLED my ass off! I was the epitome of a hustler. I wore this badge of honor proudly for everyone to see. And, in the event they could not see it for themselves, I somehow always managed to let them know, just in case…
I worked day-in and day-out, hustling to get ahead, hustling to get to the top, hustling to be the best, hustling to win, hustling for recognition, and hustling to chase every dollar I could.
Did it work? I suppose that depends on how you define “work”.
Yes, I did achieve a measure of success. I climbed corporate ladders and built up my own very successful agency.
But I was rarely satisfied, at least for the long term.
I always tried to justify how long I worked, or how often I was away from my family, telling myself over and over again that one day … someday … it would all be worth it.
Hell, like all hustlers, I even pretended to love how much I worked. I said this over and over again to myself, so often that I even started to believe it on some level. That’s what hustling is all about, isn’t it?
But this is total and complete bullshift.
The truth is, the hustling lifestyle? The one that’s been built up as the epitome of success? It sucks!! And now, because of what I’ve learned over the past years, I’m not afraid to say it!
Why are we so obsessed with this unfulfilling lifestyle? Because we have a warped view about what hustling is and we have come to glorify it in every way.
But hustling is NOT directly correlated with success. It is NOT even necessarily correlated with achievement or accomplishment. It is not correlated with lasting happiness, joy, enthusiasm, and passion in one’s life. Hustling has nothing to do with realizing your dreams or your goals.
And it certainly is not indicative of one’s work ethic, passion, and determination!
Yet, we’ve all been duped into believing that that’s exactly what hustling means, right? That those who hustle the hardest succeed the most. That only those willing to sacrifice everything else will win the biggest prizes. Those who claw and scratch, bulldozing over anything or anyone in their way make it to the top, and that that’s something to be revered, something to be commended!
In fact, what I have realized is that those who hustle, those who brag loudest about how much and how hard they hustle:
- Have a scarcity mindset
- Are paranoid about losing
- Are afraid of competition
- Have something to prove to themselves and others
- Are motivated by fear
- Are terrified of failing
- Base their value and self-worth on external success
What does this all really mean? That those who hustle most actually lack the most self-confidence. Looking back, I can see that this is exactly where my need to hustle came from as well.
I was horribly bullied in middle school and, as a result, I felt worthless. I believed that the only way to reclaim my sense of self was to become “better” than everyone else. I thought that my external success would validate my worth. And so, for two and a half decades, I hustled to win at everything. I had something to prove–to the bullies, to society, and most of all myself. But hustling doesn’t make it all go away. It just forces us to bury whatever we are trying to run from deeper and deeper.
Since then, I have learned to have the courage to say “To Hell With The Hustle!” I have come to discover a new way, a far more enjoyable way to create the life I really wanted all along, a life bigger and better and more abundant than I could ever imagine, without hustling!
Of course, opting out of the hustle is the first step, but not the only step.
It was the work I did on the INSIDE that mattered most.
I have been able to go from working 80 hours a week to less than 20, doing what I love and serving others (and never on weekends or vacations). My time is spent with the people I WANT to see … not the people I HAVE to see.. I have discovered my purpose and live with more passion and freedom than I ever thought was possible.
And you can, too.
But first, you must have the courage to look deep within yourself and identify why you feel the need to hustle in the first place: What are you trying to prove? Who are you trying to prove it to? What void are you trying to fill? What’s fueling your hustle? You then need to make a commitment to create significant changes in your life. Finally, you need clarity about what you really want your life to look like, and focus all of your energies and passions there. And when you do? You will be on your way to creating a lifestyle filled with the prosperity and freedom you crave.
The time has come for us to redefine what success looks like and to say To Hell With The Hustle, once and for all.