The world is batshit crazy.
By the time you get into your late 20s, it has become crystal clear that life is just straight up hard and most people have lost their minds. But that doesn’t mean you need to overlook all the magic either. It’s about how quickly you can turn your attention to what’s meaningful.
You can keep your cool and choose to be energized by the world around you. As Wendell Berry said, “…be joyful though you’ve considered all the facts”.
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how I keep my Calm Stoke by breaking it down into 3 sections to reflect body, mind, and spirit.
Most people live their life as if they are a brain with a body hanging below it.
In a mental bypass, we forget something crucial: our biology.
I remember reading in one of Tim Ferriss's books a line that's always stuck with me: "Sometimes, you think you have to figure out your life’s purpose, but you really just need some macadamia nuts and a cold fucking shower."
Just like with kids, the unpleasant behavior usually has something to do with being hungry, tired, uncomfortable, or unseen. I don't think it's a bad idea to check ourselves against these either when we're feeling low.
In the study of flow states, the research continues to point to the 4% rule - meaning that if you push past your comfort zone by just 4%, you’ll likely drop into a flow state.
The core truth of flow states is about striking the right balance between skill level and the challenge at hand:
It’s the sweet spot just barely beyond your current skills - that’s where you want to play.
What you get in return for stretching beyond your current abilities is one of the best states of consciousness a human can experience.
Our minds are flexible.
We can change them. They can be fixed, healed, maintained, or even made worse. Our beliefs have a plasticity to them and can be interchanged, upgraded, or diluted.
I'm grateful to have learned early on that my belief system is customizable.
Since then, if a belief isn't useful and beneficial in how I live my life, then it doesn't get to live in my head rent free anymore.
As with most lessons that 'stick', I learned this the hard way.
Back in 2014ish, I accidentally demolished my belief structures when I took a high dose of psilocybin mushrooms without the proper set & setting.
That experience left me a type of limbo where I didn't have anything to really hold on to. It shook me to the core and had me feeling lost.
Thank heavens I discovered pragmatism at that time because it saved my mental health.
The gist of pragmatism is that beliefs should be judged based on the results they produce - basically, do you end up better for it having held such and such belief.
Pragmatism gets down to the usefulness of an idea regardless of whether it's true or not.
For me, this was absolutely liberating.
Life is now an exploration to find the best ideas and beliefs to install that provide the most benefit to myself, family, community, and world at large.
Here are some of my favorite beliefs I've installed in the last several years:
1/ What you want most is way more important than what you want now.
The problem is that short-sightedness is the enemy of success (no matter how you define it).
That's where Yay Delay comes in handy.
• Yay Delay - intentionally delaying gratification to take advantage of the compounding benefits of patience
2/ The Universe is malleable to the degree we're willing to dance with it.
If you aren't taking many risks in your life, it's going to be difficult to collect the valuable lessons that come from meaningful mistakes.
Usually, the worst thing that can happen from taking a risk is ending up back where you already are (hence: the 'no spot').
In order to take better risks, more often - reframe them with the No Spot lens.
• The No Spot - taking the time to imagine and think through the worst outcome of risky decisions, only to realize that there’s way more to gain than we might lose.
3/ All we really have at the end of the day is our individual perspectives.
I've adopted the notion that this experience that only we get to have is more important than others.
Not in some, "I'm better than you" type of way though. But in a more - stick to what you know type way.
• Your own 3D experience is the most important - it's more real than anything else, it contains the most relevant information for your life, & it's truly the only place that you can make a difference.
Life is this long winding path that we navigate spiritually.
The signs on the path are the synchronicities we encounter along the way.
These little winks from God let me know that I'm in the right place, at the right time. Things are aligned.
We tend to think we're high & mighty, but we are also nature.
We like to distinguish ourselves, but it’s only our egos that separate us from it all - for good reason, otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to make decisions for ourselves & survive.
Even if you thought about it in terms of atoms, it's wildly true.
Our atoms that make up 'us' are touching the atoms of the air, and those are touching the atoms of the whole earth, and those are touching the atoms of space, and on & on it goes without end.
It's a mental separation, not a physical one ultimately.
The universe is an incomprehensible mystery that starts with a miracle - you just happen to be here for the tiniest of fleeting moments in the grand scheme of things.
The secret is in remembering that you're all of it just as much as it's all of you.
It’s only when you forget that you’re connected to it all that you stop feeling connected to it.
Wink at the universe for that favor and watch it wink back.
Literally, just ask God for what you want, and don’t fuck up your end of the deal.
Turns out there can be a lot of overlap between building design and building a life. John Ruskin (unknowingly perhaps) tells us how to live life better.
It's never too late to stumble upon an underlying principle of reality. (Especially one that can be put to use immediately)