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The Ultimate Guide To Living On Purpose

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The Ultimate Guide To Living On Purpose

When I look at my boys, I am both excited and terrified, for them. I am excited because their life’s journey has just started. At this stage of their young lives, they have no limitations, no worries, and they are highly motivated to invent their world.

My youngest voraciously attacks each day; he climbs, he falls, he cries, only to do it all over again. My oldest has a fearless imagination and is predisposed to telling wild stories; of sea monsters living in the midnight zone.

And failure for them is not the end of the story, it sets in motion a series of questions, learning moments and even goals.

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.”
– Steve Jobs

Yes, you are unremarkably average

I am terrified because, their journey must yield to the reality that they must become members of society. An ordered community that has little tolerance for the round pegs in the square holes and covets conformity above all else.

As my boys comply, they will gradually lose the voracity to forge their path and eventually graduate to what Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup, defines as — the unremarkable average.

Guillebeau illustrates that the unremarkable average live by a set of rules, commandments if you will:

  1. Accept what people tell you at face value
  2. Don’t question authority
  3. Go to college because you’re supposed to, not because you want to learn something
  4. Go overseas once or twice in your life, to somewhere safe like England
  5. Don’t try to learn another language, everyone else will eventually learn English
  6. Think about starting your own business, but never do it.
  7. Think about writing a book, but never do it
  8. Get the largest mortgage you qualify for and spend 30 years paying for it
  9. Sit at a desk 40 hours a week for an average of 10 hours of productive work
  10. Don’t stand out or draw attention to yourself
  11. Jump through hoops. Check off boxes.

Does this life sound strangely familiar to you? Don’t be afraid to say, “Yes.” This set of rules is what conformity looks like, and no one will ever challenge you to be different.

 

Why regret will lead you to live on purpose

Richard Leider, the author of the Life Reimagined, found that most people regretted living an average life. They wished they had gotten more from their lives; to live on purpose.

Leider interviewed hundreds of people over the age of 65 and asked them one question, “If you could live your life over again what would you do differently?” And three themes kept repeating:

  1. I would be more reflective; I would stop to enjoy the moments of my life.
  2. I would be more courageous; I would not be fearful of not conforming.
  3. I would understand my purpose; because my life needs to matter.

If this small sample of people regretted living an average life, for the sake of argument, I would say that everyone has the same regret. So the real question is why are you living your life the way other people expect you too?

Tony Robbins explains that, “The difference with anyone that has followed through is that we are more afraid of what life would be like if we don’t follow through – than the person that is willing to settle with what they have and hoping that it will change.”

So fear if allowed can retard your choices. Now knowing this, how do you leverage fear and start taking small steps to living on purpose?

 

purpose quote
 

Committing to new skills will lead you to success

You commit to the skills that will give you the most freedom. And how do you know what skills you need? You need to ask yourself these two questions:

  1. What do I really want out of my life?
  2. What will I give back to my community for supporting me?

Now you turn your dream into a project and like any project you begin by creating three lists:

  1. A list of everything a project needs to be considered a good project
  2. A list of all the skills you don’t have that are important to the project’s success
  3. A list of everything you are afraid of and out of your control

At the beginning of most new projects, you will lack mastery of key skills that are critical for the success of the project. Understanding this issue is critical and will condition you to focus on those necessary skills.

You could focus on mastering all the skills at once. But experience has taught me that dividing your limited energy is counterproductive. Instead, first, focus on that one skill that will create the most freedom for you.

Once you have identified the skill to master, you must not only create a set of habits, but you must also have a provocative ”why” is the skill important. This strategy will place you in the proper mindset to keep you growing the new skill until it’s mastered.

Once you have mastered the necessary skills and you have achieved your goal — it becomes a game for you. Why – because progress is happiness. Therefore, you start asking yourself — “what is next” or “what else can I do to create more freedom and happiness in my life?”

You then revisit these two questions:

  1. What do I really want out of my life?
  2. What will I give back to my community for supporting me?

…and the game starts all over again.

 

The Iron Cowboy Story

A story that recently caught my attention is about James “Iron Cowboy” Lawrence. In 2014 Lawrence set a new world record by achieving a personal goal of the 50, 50, 50 — that’s 50 iron distance triathlon races in 50 consecutive days in 50 states.

If you are unfamiliar with what an iron distance triathlon is, here is the breakdown:

  • A 2.4-mile swim
  • An 112-mile bike ride
  • A 26.2 marathon run

The interesting thing is that Lawrence is a regular guy, married with five kids. So what separates him from you — his why.

James ran a 4-mile fun race one Thanksgiving and during that race everything hurt — lungs, heart, legs, etc. At the end of that race Lawrence decided his life had to change. Why, because James was not going to allow that moment to define his life.

“It’s not a matter of how to get to the other side of that mountain. It’s which way am I going to do it — am I going to go over it, am I going to go around it, am I going to go through it? But ultimately at the end of the day I am going to make it to the other side of that mountain. Come hell or high water.”
– James Lawrence

James never thought that completing the 50, 50, 50 was not going to be worth it. He was on a mission, not only to prove to himself that it could be done. But teach his children that when you set a goal there needs to be 100% conviction that you will achieve that goal. And if you lack that conviction then there is no point in setting the goal, in the first place.

Lawrence’s mission had a welcomed side effect, James began to inspire others to do something outside of themselves. The hardest moments for James was not listening to the people that told him “you can’t do it.” It was shocking to him that it was the overwhelming majority of the people that told him – “You will fail. This is impossible.”

So he needed to turn down the volume on all the negativity and to focus on the things that are positive, uplifting and the things that drove him forward — to the finish line.

One of those positive moments for Lawrence was his 27th race. James helped a little boy named Dayton compete in his first triathlon. This race was particularly important to Lawrence because Dayton has cerebral palsy.

 

Conclusion

We spend a lot of our lives being average and focusing on the wrong thing. What if you took that same energy and focused on becoming a better version of you? What if you focused on helping others achieve their dreams?

Your goals may never get national attention like James “Iron Cowboy” Lawrence, but what if they help put a smile on the face of a boy like Dayton. Wouldn’t that be more amazing than living an unremarkably average life?

Thank you for reading my article! Please tell me how my article has helped you in the comment section below!

Ramon B. Nuez Jr. studies leadership. Ramon interviews leaders across a broad range of disciplines such as CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders — to uncover what makes them exceptional leaders. Ramon writes about leadership in world famous blogs like the Huffington Post,  Addicted2Success, Lifehack, and Business2Community. He has also been an editor for the World Wide Web Foundation and Crowdsourcing Week. Ramon is working on self-publishing his first book; tentatively titled “The Growth Journal | a notebook for living with impact.” Ramon is endlessly conducting research on entrepreneurship, skill acquisition, productivity, behavioral psychology and leverages the investigation to help high achievers become so valuable that they can’t be ignored. Visit him online at www.ramonbnuezjr.com.

Motivation

How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals

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Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.

What is Motivation?

The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.

Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).

Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.

However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals. 

How to Get Motivated

James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.

This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.

4 Ways to Make Starting Easier

1. Schedule it

One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it. 

When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.

An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”

2. Measure something

It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.

3. Extrinsic motivation

This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.

4. Make it public

Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

How to Stay Motivated Long Term

When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.

These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:

1. Stay in your goldilocks zone

The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.

For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging. 

The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.

2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals

Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within. 

For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.

3. Use “chunking”

Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.

Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.

For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.

4. Be flexible

We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.

5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion

Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.

This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.

Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.

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Motivation

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