Sometimes life can be overwhelming… but it doesn’t have to be so damn hard.
There are really only a few things we need to focus on to make our lives work.
So today let’s break it down to 5 things — just five. So that if you handle these 5, everything works.
And whether you are struggling in life right now or crushing it, you can always come back to these 5 things as a checklist for a successful life. To see where you’re doing well — and potentially what areas need some work.
Here are the 5 areas we need to master for our lives to work (in order of importance!):
Number one (and the most important) is learning to master our emotions.
Most of us spend our lives with a very limited palette of emotions to paint our life experience. And the large majority of these emotions are negative such as sad, upset, frustrated, angry, pissed off, or depressed.
It’s no wonder we turn to alcohol, food, and drugs as a way to change how we feel so often… because so often we feel like crap!
Mastering your emotions doesn’t mean you try to manipulate them or be in a position where you’re lying to yourself about how you feel — mastering your emotions simply means that you’re in charge!
It means that you’re getting what you really want while you’re here! Those emotions and feelings that we all want and deserve like happiness, excitement, love, joy, and passion.
The thing we all have to understand is the only reason we do anything is in attempt to feel an emotion. You don’t want the car necessarily, you want the feelings that car will bring you; feelings like exhilaration, freedom, and the feeling of significance!
See we all want the feelings that we think money or a relationship or that amazing body will bring us.
But the secret is that you can feel these feelings any time you want.
Sure the car is nice, sure the money is nice, but you don’t need those things to feel the feelings of freedom or excitement or love. If you learn to master your emotions you don’t need the alcohol or the drugs or the food.
The question is: are you getting the feelings you want? Or is something getting in the way?
See most people never learn to master their emotions.
Sure, I can personally show you how to lose the weight and build your body and double your business — I’ve done it myself so there’s no doubt about that.
But if you don’t handle this part of your life — it’s all for nothing.
Some people say “well, if I get the success, I’ll handle the emotions.”
WRONG. It won’t happen. You’ll just come up with a new set of challenges.
You can have all the success in the world, a loving family, you can make millions of people laugh, and you can make a huge positive impact on the world — but if you don’t handle your emotions — there’s a good chance your story will end in tragedy.
We all sit and think, “how could a man like Robin Williams commit suicide?” — he had it all!
And he sure did have it all… everything except the feelings he was trying so hard to find.
But unfortunately his story is not uncommon. Kurt Cobain, Elvis Presley, John Belushi, Marilyn Monroe — all people who had a dramatic and positive impact on society, culture, and lives around the world.
We all deserve to feel the feelings we want most. And that’s why our first and most important area of our lives we need to master is our emotions.
After conquering your emotions, your physical body is the next most important thing to master.
If you’re overweight, if you’re in pain all of the time, out of breath all of time, if you struggle to sit or stand or move — this is no way to live your life!
After your emotions (or maybe right along with it) taking care of your health is the number one priority! Because ultimately it’s not about how long you live but the quality of your life while you’re around.
We must be proactive about our health — we must support our body BEFORE there’s a problem. And not just that, but we need to focus on our energy levels as well!
Unfortunately as I write this — most of our society doesn’t agree with me.
You see, most people in the western world are one cheeseburger away from a massive heart attack.
And instead of confronting the situation head-on it has now become a social taboo to speak about weight.
Instead of dealing with the emotional stresses and habitual patterns that cause over-eating or over-indulging (and, of course, lack of exercise) we have seen many evangelists pop up promoting the idea that being overweight is OK.
Now don’t get me wrong — self confidence is an extremely important thing — and I know that was the original intent of the message.
But the truth of the matter is that it’s gotten way out of hand. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) reports that 69.0% of adults over 20 in the U.S are now overweight. 27.7% of adults over 20 are obese.
The current vernacular is that anyone mentioning weight is automatically labeled a bully — and to an extent, I agree.
But if we want change — we can’t fool ourselves into thinking it’s not that bad.
You don’t get motivated to change anything in life by saying “well, it’s not that big of a deal.”
I’ll tell you what is really big: your ass!
And you need to start moving it!
Let me tell you the secret to all life change in one word: pain.
If something is painful enough we act.
But it’s extremely dangerous to stay below that pain threshold.
Most people go their entire lives feeling miserable about their weight, their financial status, their relationships — but not miserable enough to say “I’VE HAD IT! I’M CHANGING THIS RIGHT NOW!”
It’s in those moment where you hit the threshold — where you say “never again” — that you’ll control not just your physical body but your life’s destiny!
It’s no fun to do this thing alone. At some point we have to stop thinking “it’s only me here” and start thinking “it’s only we here”.
Each of us have to understand how important all of us are. And all of us need to understand how important each of us are.
At some point we have to open up and let other people in. As we go through life our job is to learn how to emotionally connect with people in an instant so not only does your significant other feel important and special and loved but everyone you meet — your family, your parents, your friends, your co-workers do, too.
Let me ask you, how many Ebenezer Scrooges have you known or heard of that have everything going for them but they are frustrated and unhappy and resentful all the time?
On the other hand, how many people do you know or have heard of who have every reason to be upset in life — whether they suffer from a debilitating disease, or a financial disaster, or the death of a close loved one — but yet somehow they seem incredibly happy?
The difference is not what we do in our lives but who we become and how we connect with the people in our lives.
I don’t know anyone who came to the end of their life and said “Gee, I wish I spent more time at work!”
But a lot of people will say, “I wish I had connected with my children more.”
In life, we must either suffer the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Which will it be for you?
You know, money isn’t everything but it sure ranks right up there with oxygen!
Growing up there were several arguments among my parents — and I don’t remember any of them being about an excess of capital.
I can’t even imagine what that would be like… “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DIDN’T BUY BOTH CARS!! YOU KNOW WE HAVE TOO MUCH MONEY!!!! HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU TO SPEND MORE!? I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANY MORE!!!”
What I do remember is a kitchen table with a mountain of bills. Later on in my life when an unfortunate turn of events put me in a situation where I found myself homeless I remember going hungry for days at a time. I remember sleeping in a cold car. I remember sleeping on the floor. I remember having a negative bank account. I remember not having the money to visit the doctor for my sinus infection.
So yes I believe money is an important thing.
And I know it’s another taboo subject in our society today — but there is nothing wrong with wanting more out of life.
The reason is that to make millions, you must impact millions.
The more value you bring to the market place — the more you earn. And if you want any kind of sustainable financial success you have to really do things the right way. Treat people right. Provide excellent products and services. Have impeccable customer service. Really add value to peoples’ lives.
But how do you know when you’ve made it? How do you know you’re making enough money?
Here’s the answer: you’re making enough money when that’s the best you can do.
If you’re earning $10,000 per year and that’s the best you can do? I applaud you. But if you’re earning $1 million dollars per year and you’re capable of much more — its time to step up.
And whatever level you are at — I challenge you to consistently ask the question “is this the best I can do?”
The 5th and final area of life mastery is time.
We’ve all had the days where time moves incredibly slow — where it seems like it will never end. Those days you’re sitting in the office staring out the window wishing you were somewhere else.
But we’ve also all had days where time flies. Where we’re so engaged and present and happy to be in that place that time flies by.
When you hate your job, or the people you spend your time with, or life in general… it can feel like a long prison sentence (which is why some people decide to “check out” early).
But for those of us that LOVE life — it seems too short. Because we’ve managed to create so much joy, energy, and passion in our lives that we can’t keep track of time.
And even though it feels like it goes too quickly — you should enjoy every minute your day.
One of the best things we can do is simplify life.
When you have 5 areas like this you can focus on daily it makes our lives a lot easier.
The question doesn’t have to be “what the hell should I be doing with my life?” — the question should be “how do I improve some of these today?”
So tell me something:
How will you gain some emotional muscle today?
How will improve your health and fitness today?
How will you connect deeper with people today?
How will you provide more value through your business or work today?
How will you spend your time today?