“Nature does not ask your permission, she has nothing to do with your wishes, and whether you like her laws or dislike them, you are bound to accept her as she is, and consequently all her conclusions.”
Everything in your life is subject to input vs output relationships. Simply, this is The Law of Nature.
These I/O relationships govern your experience, and you take part in them every day. And I know you are already familiar with the following concepts:
Cause vs Effect
Before vs After
Action vs Reaction
I'd like to tell you I'm not susceptible to outside influence, but I'm a Hue-Man just like you are. Events happen in my inner and outer world, and my brain receives their input data. Then I calculate how the data makes me feel, and decide what to do next.
Over years spent eagle-eyeing my own behavior, I observed how when I waste my time consuming mindless material, I act in mindless ways, and do mindless things.
And when I act in mindless ways, I kill whatever previous momentum I worked to build for myself. My forward progress slows to a halt, and my overall interest in Life and other people slides into the gutter.
But I've also noticed when I consume material with measurable substance, I become inspired to align myself with that which inspires me.
And so I learned at some point, momentum simply means, you are most likely to do what you just did. And your belief in this concept is shown through your action.
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A personal story
When I was younger, I had no direction in life. I was mad at my parents for not being what I thought I needed, and I was mad at the world for beating me down.
I played the victim card, and I played it well.
I worked for businesses who I decided were taking advantage of my skills without paying me enough. But instead of doing anything about it, I allowed those feelings to build for years until they broke me in half.
And every day after work, I would sink into my chair feeling defeated. I'd complain about the unfairness of my life to anyone who would listen, while feeling powerless to create any positive change for myself.
During those days, I also drank lots of beer, whiskey, and tequila. I smoked weed all day every day, and accepted those substances as part of my identity. I needed them to survive, I thought.
And then every night, I would watch a show called the Trailer Park Boys, and I thought it was hilarious. I watched those goofy characters swimming in trash over and over from the comfort of my bed, and the giggles they gave at least made me feel a little better temporarily.
But at some point I started to notice something...
Whenever I would click the show on, it instantly made me want to drink alcohol and smoke weed. And so my consumption rates went up.
And for nearly the entirety of my 20's, that's what I did. I went to work, beat myself up for not being who I wanted to be, and then I'd go home to numb the emotional pain I was causing myself.
But my heart wanted more, and it never stopped whispering in the back of my mind. My world became a hall of mirrors and all I could see reflecting back at me were distorted versions of myself, and I hated every single one of them.
Until then one day, I read a quote from a man named Eckhart Tolle. "As long as you build your identity from your pain, you will never be free from it."
Those words felt like a sledgehammer, and my head was the gong. And you could hear the reverberations from that hit from the vacuum of deep space.
"That's exactly what I'm doing", I realized out loud. "Why am I doing this to myself? This is straight up torture."
So, what comes next?
I had no idea what I was supposed to do at that point, but I knew I needed to do something. So I started by removing my favorite TV Show, and almost immediately noticed I was drinking and smoking less.
And eventually I decided to pour my newfound energy back into making music—a passion I sheepishly walked away from during a dark period of depression.
So then, after work every day, I'd go home and watch Tutorials about how to use a DAW called Ableton Live, and I would get inspired to create. And using the tools my online teachers taught me, my music got better as I put the practice hours in.
The time I spent practicing transformed my mind. It showed me the I/O relationships which govern my life.
And once my confidence in my ability rose, I felt myself rise in other ways.
I decided I would no longer work for other people. There would be no one in my life who I'd call, "Boss", but myself.
And when someone I trusted reached out with an opportunity to become my first independent client, I jumped into the abyss, and everything in my world changed overnight.
But the funny thing was, he didn't reach out until I had internally decided I was ready to upgrade my life, and that it was my responsibility alone to do it.
Go, Speed Racer, Go
It's been 6 years now, since I placed that bet on myself. And I continue to invest in me over and over again. This is simply who I am now. I no longer ask for your permission.
I'm an Artist. A Writer. A Work in Progress. And a Hustler with dirt under my nails. And I still get the chills saying this out loud.
But it took me years of practice to accept myself for who I am. To take ownership of my identity, and to go all in on it. Because everyone else told me what I really wanted was too risky to accomplish, and I believed them for a long time.
Yet, once I stepped beyond their voices to claim myself, I still had to overcome imposter syndrome in order to believe I was truly worthy of my own creation. And through that process I learned when I am at war within myself, I am my own worst enemy.
And the lessons I learned while at war with myself taught me my business lives or dies by my momentum. I live or die by my momentum.
Things happen for all of us, and Life gets tough at times. I've had to balance myself on jagged rocks with bare feet over pits of venomous snakes. I faced down the man in the mirror, cutting his powerless stories in half. And when he gets creative, I do it again.
And at times, I allowed myself to slip back into my old ways, stunting my momentum. Yet, every single one of those times showed me the same output result.
My Dad used to tell me, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results", and I'll tell ya, it's not easy to realize your own insanity. But you must be honest with yourself in order to get what you want.
It can be scary to look yourself in the mirror with full honesty. To strip away the layers of stories you use to guard your heart.
But once you're standing naked in realization of your own Glory, you can finally begin to live.
Resources I find helpful:
Since I now understand how to help myself, I make sure to control the content I ingest.
Remember, though, too much of a good thing turns sour too, and burnout is real. So, I still mix it up with action movies, cartoons, Kung Fu movies, ridiculous memes, and comedy videos when I need some rest.
But when I feel tired and don't want to work out, I watch fitness videos now. And when I'm getting bored, feeling like I know it all, I find someone who knows more to school me.
Below are some of my favorite YouTube channels, and some movies I enjoy. I'm honored to share these resources with you because they provide immense value for me.
Science & Mathematics
The IP Man Series
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin
My Guilty Pleasure TV Show
This Week’s Question:
Are you truly doing what you know you need to do for yourself? Or are you still telling stories to make yourself feel better, while numbing the pain?
Big question, ha, yeah, I understand. But it’s worth asking yourself.
Until next week — WOOSH