This happened on my morning run…

This happened on my morning run…

It was about 9:30 on a Monday morning in mid-October. Not exactly the optimum time to be jogging through Midtown Manhattan. Not that any time is exactly optimum. But it was the only chance I had to get a run in before heading to the airport for my flight back home. I’d spent the previous three days in Vermont, learning from, and networking with, some of the most influential leaders in the real estate industry and was anxious to get back to my team and implement what I had absorbed. But at the moment, I was focused on sticking to my fitness plan and getting a solid workout in, weaving my way through the mass of humanity in front of me.

The runner’s high (I don’t know if it’s really a runner’s high, it’s just this state where I feel slightly less like I’m going to cry) was beginning to abate, bringing a rush of fatigue to the forefront when a lanky gentleman whizzed past me like a really clever analogy that I wish I could think of right now. He was wearing neon shoes and a shirt that read “Berlin Marathon 2018”. Working off the assumption that his fly-by was a personal attack on my credibility as man, and probably lover, I picked up my pace. Darting between pillars of scaffolding, ignoring the pleas of the crosswalk signals, I was in a dead sprint, desperate to reclaim my place among the titans of 9th Avenue morning cardio.

But, crossing 49th Street, the inevitable reared its stupid fucking face as the Slender Man was now just a southward bounding hat, still widening the margin while my lungs went into revolt. I came to rest in a slump against the exterior of a Pret A Manger, wondering just how severe the backlash would be in the running community. After all, I was just passed by a stranger on the street and barely had the capacity to keep him in view long enough to memorize his physical description so I could have accurate nightmares, surely I would be exiled, never to run again.

Then something happened. Something almost poetic. Hunched against the wall, pretending to stretch my calves outside that oddly named French sandwich place, I thought back to a quote I’d heard earlier in the week. “Don’t compare your Chapter One to someone else’s Chapter Twenty.”

 

I have no idea who said it, no one does. It’s like a Mother Goose rhyme, it just exists, probably. But it’s a profound concept and I’ve been rattling it off ever since. Who cares if a human salamander is faster than me. He won the Berlin Marathon for heaven’s sake! I’m a better runner than most, but I’m still at the beginning of my journey. Working hard towards Ironman Lake Placid next year and making improvements every day.

I don’t need the approval of some windperson to keep myself motivated and moving forward. And neither do you. Your journey, your battle, your story, it’s yours alone. And, if you’re honest with yourself, your probably don’t enjoy stories that don’t involve adversity. Can you imagine picking up a book about a guy who always had it all and things just get exceedingly better for him? Sounds terrible.

So, embrace it. Embrace the fact that you’re still early on in the book. You have the whole story to write. Stop trying to skip to the end and put in the time and effort to make it a best seller.

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Stop running from your failures…

Stop running from your failures…

I like to fancy myself one of the better failures within my network. If that doesn’t sound like a humble brag, then this post is for you. My ability and willingness to fail has been a true blessing in my life and a characteristic I consider to be integral to my success. Failure is to be celebrated. It’s the only tangible, measurable proof of growth there is. And yet, most of us shy away from it, avoiding the pain of failure at all costs.

It’s a weird dynamic, this relationship we have with failure. We love stories about it. No one likes a movie where the main character succeeds unchecked. We like the struggle, the adversity. It inspires us, reminds us of what’s possible. But that’s when someone else is the subject. That’s when someone else is going through it. When it comes to our lives, every failure makes us question how much we really value the outcome. How much do we really want to succeed?

Tony Robbins laid it out pretty clearly in his first book, Unlimited Power. Everything we do, we do in an effort to either seek pleasure or avoid pain. And we’ll always do more to avoid pain. So, it stands to reason that if we’re not willing to go through the setbacks, the failure, that we’re not really as committed to our goals as we think. But it’s more complicated than that. What really makes the difference in our tolerance for struggle is our relationship with it.

It’s easy to give up when the failure is painful. And it’s perfectly logical. The feeling of defeat, or worse, the feeling that you’re working hard with no progress to show for it, can make you rethink everything that you consider important. But what if the failure didn’t hurt. What if you didn’t consider failure painful, or better yet, what if it gave you pleasure? Would you view your struggles differently if they didn’t bring you pain?

The truth is, failure is only painful because we allow it to be, and it’s our egos that make it so. We don’t avoid failure because it’s painful in a vacuum. It’s painful because we care about being judged. We care about how we’re perceived by others. We’re even likely uncomfortable with our ability to look objectively at ourselves without judgement. After all, we’re our own biggest critics. That’s where the pain comes from. Failure is painful because we’re conditioned throughout life to see it as bad, as something to avoid rather than learn from.

This idea is inherently counterproductive. And the reality is that it’s what keeps the majority of people from ever realizing the vision they have for their lives. We’re taught from an early age, all the way through school that failure, risk taking, doing things any other way that the system encourages is bad. Then we grow up to become working bees, afraid of ever challenging the status quo because we fear what the other worker bees, who grew up learning the same lessons, will think of our attempt to break the mold. It’s the definition of insanity.

That ego, that reluctance we have to do anything that has a chance of exposing us as being anything but completely together, is poison to our efforts to live our best lives. The fact of the matter is that we are nothing more than space dust, hurtling through the universe at probably like a trillion miles an hour. No amount of failure or judgement or discomfort will change that. There is nothing to be lost in failure, only gained, through growth, maturation and experience. Learn to embrace it as a method of advancement and your journey will become exponentially more fruitful.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
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Subscribe

Get weekly, actionable advice, hacks and best practices for overall awesomeness!

More articles from Brian:

Advice
Brian Force

Stop running from your failures…

It’s a weird dynamic, this relationship we have with failure. We love stories about it. No one likes a movie where the main character succeeds unchecked. We like the struggle, the adversity. It inspires us, reminds us of what’s possible. But that’s when someone else is the subject. That’s when someone else is going through it. When it comes to our lives, every failure makes us question how much we really value the outcome. How much do we really want to succeed?

Read More »
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If you know you can do it, you won’t.

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Here’s why you never have enough time…

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And while the battle for time efficiency may never cease entirely, there are plenty of safeguards we can implement to systematize our efforts.

Here are a few simple, practical ways to up your productivity and stave off waste.

Read More »

Why You Need To Stop Being So Optimistic

optimistic

Why You Need To Stop Being So Optimistic

We all have that friend. His name is usually Jeff or something. He’s the guy that’s always in a great mood. The one that lights up the room as soon as he walks in and is always looking for the bright side of any issue. We like Jeff. Jeff keeps us centered when we spin out of control. He makes the tough times a little easier. And he’s always there to let us know that things could be worse.

But while we all depend on him to gives us a boost every now and then, the reality is that Jeff is playing a very dangerous game.

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Five Harsh Truths About Happiness You Need to Hear

Five Harsh Truths About Happiness You Need to Hear

A long time ago, probably back in like ’95, performers were people that had mastered a particular craft, and enough people enjoyed watching for them to make a living off it. They were called singers or actors, even magicians and athletes. They were the pinnacle of entertainment and we cherished their abilities and penchant for allowing us to escape the banalities of everyday life. But those days are long gone.

It’s not that those professions no loner exist. Rather, they no longer have an exclusive grip on the term performer. Like it or not, in today’s world we’re all performers. We cross the threshold into performance art the moment we surrender our personal info to Mark Zuckerberg in exchange for the opportunity to broadcast the rosiest parts of our existence to an ever-expanding network of people we sort of know but don’t really care about, and also our grandmothers.

By rosiest parts I mean that the motivation behind most of what we broadcast to the world is convincing it that we are straight up crushing this whole life thing.

Let’s be honest with each other for a second. We want people to think we’re awesome. You do, I do, so let’s not kid each other. Whether it’s a status about your new promotion or that picture you took with Dan Bilzerian where you refer to him as your ‘Boy Danny B’ we showcase life’s high points as a way to validate our inherent confidence and suppress our insecurities. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, so long as we understand the superficial nature of our efforts.

But when we blur the line between innocuous self-aggrandizing and genuine personal fulfillment, we become dependent on the dopamine-fueled highs that accompany the positive affirmations received in response to our performance. And that need for acknowledgement is not a whole lot different than other forms of dangerous addiction. More importantly, it’s an impossible place from which to derive true happiness.

Happiness is a tricky and elusive concept. It’s one of the only things we can unanimously agree we desire, yet we have an entire spectrum for its definition. And while the incessant media blitz of our hyper-connected modern world would lead you to believe it can only be attained through the accumulation of egregious wealth and big ticket items, psychology and basic logic prove that happiness isn’t created by these kinds of external forces. In fact, those achievements may well in fact be antithetical to legitimate fulfillment.

So let’s take a few moments to dispelled a few of the common myths about how we find happiness:

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