Sleep, prayer, vacation, leisure, fasting, and meditation (the keys to resetting and recovery) have never been more essential because the world has never been more demanding.
Neuroscience has shown that only 16 percent of creative and mental breakthroughs happen while you’re at work.
connections can’t be made if you haven’t thought intensely and pushed yourself deep into a project or problem, then rested.
Very few people take the time to recover from work, technology, people, food, and life. As a result, very few people have the energy and clarity to truly exert themselves in environments of extreme but healthy stress and demand. You need both types of enriched environments to thrive in your work, relationships, health, spirituality, and all other areas of life.
The Next Evolution of High Performance and Achievement
Continuing to focus on mind-set, willpower, and goal-setting is an outdated and misplaced approach to success.
Most self-help guides put all of the pressure directly on the individual.
The next evolution of high performance and achievement takes the focus off the individual and places the environment at the forefront. Thus, ironically, the future of self-help will not be focused on “the self,” but rather, it will be focused on the environment that shapes the self. At the core of this new thrust will be the installment of enriched environments.
In most environments, you must remain conscious of what you’re doing, and thus you must use willpower to act in desired ways.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, rest and recovery are actually the most important aspect of success.
It is while resting that you’ll get your most productive work done. You’ll get your best ideas, have your most important moments with important people, and get clarity about what direction you should take your work and life.
You can’t grow in life if you don’t push yourself.
The strength of a tree is dependent on the difficulty of its environment. Good timber does not grow in easy environments. Neither do good people. If you want to get stronger, your workouts need to be difficult. If you want to become world class at what you do, your work needs to be better and more challenging. You need to have high expectations to succeed. You need to be tasked with projects beyond your current capacity, forcing you to plant deeper roots as a person.
Part 2: HOW TO MAKE WILLPOWER IRRELEVANT
Chapter 4: RESET YOUR LIFE
Make Powerful Decisions Outside
Your Routine Environment
It is only by having powerful and paradigm-shifting experiences that you can truly see what’s happening in your life for what it is.
After seeing yourself and the world in a new way, you can transcend the petty fears and beliefs keeping you stuck in your present environment.
Creating Peak Experiences and Documenting Plans in Your Journal
Having peak experiences, or putting yourself into a peak state, should be something you do on a daily basis.
The reason people consider peak experiences to be rare is because they haven’t set up their lives to have them on a regular basis. Most people are very disconnected from themselves.
What if you made being in a peak state a priority?
What if you literally needed to operate at peak levels on a daily basis in order to achieve your goals?
What if that was your standard?
If you’re not currently pursuing something you’ve never done before, you probably don’t need to have regular peak experiences. But if you’re in a state of growth, you’ll need to position your life to have peak moments more frequently. Even more—you need to set your trajectory from a peak state. Because how you start something is generally how you finish it.
Most people make weak decisions from a non-peak state. Very few people, actually, truly make any real decisions at all.
Most people don’t have enough conviction to truly make a decision. They aren’t definitive. They aren’t dead set. The stakes aren’t high enough. Instead, they are like a ship without a sail. They go wherever life takes them. Theirs is a random and unconscious evolution. Their behaviors are reactive and without much consequence. It doesn’t matter if they blow several hours roaming around on the Internet.
If you want to set a new path in your life, you need to make a powerful and definitive decision. And you want to be in a peak state while you make that decision.
When it comes to having clarity about your life and goals, you need to give yourself a reset, regularly.
During that time, it would be helpful to leave your regular environment, and perhaps drive at least thirty minutes away to get adequate space.
During these disconnected days, you could spend a good amount of time thinking, relaxing, learning, and then writing in your journal.
so you can step out of the trees of your life and see the forest. You need some fresh air. You need to breathe and reset—just like fasting for your body—from the constant stress of going.
Only those who truly detach—mentally, emotionally, and physically—can reattach when they start working again. In order to get absorbed and engaged in what you’re doing, you need to rest and reset, regularly.
Get completely outside of your busy life and allow some time to reset and reconnect to you. A crucial component of this resetting is pulling out your journal and writing a lot. But before writing in your journal, you want to get your mind in the right place. That’s why it is key to take at least thirty minutes to get out of your regular environment and prepare yourself mentally.
While preparing yourself, you may read or listen to some inspiring content. You want to put yourself into a peak state before you start writing.
Meditation is for getting clear on what you want, and ultimately, about living a better life.
Meditation can take on many forms, as can prayer. To me, both go hand in hand. And giving yourself some time to pray and meditate just before you write in your journal puts you in an elevated mental state to write from. However, sometimes, that elevated state occurs after you start writing, especially while writing what you’re grateful for. This whole process, the pre-journaling routine and the journaling process itself, is intended to take you deeper and higher into yourself, your dreams, and your ambitions.
Once you actually start writing, there are a few things that are helpful to focus your writing on: Start with gratitude and appreciation for everything happening in your life.
Take plenty of time to reflect on and write about all the details of your life and relationships.
Write about all the people who matter to you.
Write about how far you’ve come.
Recording your history is a crucial component of journal writing. It provides context to your ideas, goals, and plans.
Be radically honest with yourself about what’s going on in your world while writing in your journal. After you’ve just expressed gratitude and appreciation for the brilliance (and struggles) in your life, you need to be honest with yourself about where you’re not showing up.
Write down the key changes you need to make to achieve your dreams and ideals. Write down everything that comes to mind. Journaling is a powerful therapeutic and healing tool. While writing about the things you need to change, openly write about the frustrations and difficulties that have led you to where you are. Write about why you’ve struggled to make these changes in the past.
Be very honest and vulnerable with yourself.
No one else is going to read what you’re writing.
The purpose of this writing is for you to get clarity and to reestablish your priorities and focus.
A key component of writing big-picture is that it reconnects you with your “why.” It’s very easy to lose sight of your why during your daily routine and busyness. Additionally, there is a huge difference between “means” goals and “ends” goals. And your ends goals are the things that truly matter to you. They are the things you want in and of themselves, not because they will enable you to do what you really want. For example, getting a college degree so you can get a great job is a means goal. But what is the end? The end is what really matters, and you can save a lot of trouble by beginning and continuing with the end in mind. You can avoid pursuing goals that are societal expectations.
Weekly Planning Sessions Using Your Journal
- How your previous week went (the good, the bad, etc.)
- What you did well (your “wins”)
- What didn’t go well (what you didn’t do, who you didn’t reach out to, where you fell short)
- Any significant events (like great moments with a friend, family, or a breakthrough in your work)
- What your plans are for the following week
- How you intend to take what you learned from your previous week and do better next week
- Your bigger-picture goals (in a short bullet-point list as a reminder of your “why” and “end” goals)
- Your proximal goals (things you’re immediately working toward over the next one to six months)
- Specific to-dos you must finish the following week (including plans regarding your morning routine, learning, relationships, work, fitness, etc.)
You should put yourself into a peak state before you start this planning session. The goal is to elevate your thinking, and then to make powerful plans and decisions from an elevated state.
In order to consciously and proactively evolve, you need to commit to something specific. Otherwise, you’ll reactively and randomly evolve based on whatever is happening outside of you.
Lots of research has found that your best ideas won’t happen while you’re sitting at your desk working. Your brain operates best in a rested and relaxed state. Of course, you won’t get brilliant ideas while resting if you haven’t put lots of hard work and focus in while you are working. It’s just like your physical body; it won’t grow and get stronger while you sleep if you haven’t pushed it to the limits while awake.
Additionally, your deepest insights will rarely happen in routine. While in routine, in your home, and regular environments, you’re too laser focused on what’s going on around you. You can’t see the forest for the trees. Consequently, you need to regularly recover from life by getting away. Sometimes that will mean taking a break with your family. Sometimes that will mean taking a break from your family so you can eventually come back a better and more able version of yourself to love and support them.
Chapter 5: DESIGNATE A SACRED SPACE
Establish a Daily Environment to Stay on Course
Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Pilots are constantly course-correcting. When immediately addressed, these course corrections are not hard to manage. When these course corrections don’t regularly happen, catastrophe can result.
Even seemingly inconsequential aspects of our lives can create ripples and waves of consequence—for better or worse.
How are you piloting your life?
What feedback are you receiving to correct your course?
How often do you check your guidance system?
Do you even have a guidance system?
Where is your destination?
When are you going to get there?
Are you currently off course?
How long have you been off course?
How would you know if you were on the right course?
How can you minimize the turbulence and other conditions distracting your path?
I explained how to disconnect and reset so you could set your trajectory. This chapter explains the importance of having a daily environment to ensure you stay on the right path toward your new goals. Moreover, you need a daily environment to re-create the peak state you had while you made your goals and decisions.
If you’re truly committed to those changes, you’ll need to prime yourself, daily, to be and act from the position of the new reality you’re striving to create.
Why You Need a Morning Routine
The core purpose for having a morning routine is to put yourself into a peak state in the morning—so you can then operate from that state for the rest of your day. Rather than being reactive, addicted, and unconscious in your morning, it’s far better to proactively put yourself in a peak state in a ritualistic manner. Morning rituals are essential.
If you want to overcome an addiction—you need a morning ritual. If you want to be a prolific writer or creator—you need a morning ritual. If you want to be discerning, inspired, and present in your relationships on a daily basis—you need a morning ritual.
Because you need to trigger a state above your old and common ways of acting. If you want a different life, you must be a different person. Your morning ritual is what triggers a peak state. That state then reminds you of who you want to be and how you want to act. You then act from that state, as that person, for the remainder of your day.
If you make a decision to live at a higher level, there will naturally be lots of resistance to your living out that decision. You have an environment built around you to keep things how they are. You have a mental model that matches your current life.
Your confidence also matches your current life.
So, when you make a definitive decision to live differently, you need to continually re-create the experience that spawned the decision. That experience—and its accompanying mind-set—needs to become your new normal.
So, you need to develop a routine of regularly getting yourself into a peak state. The best time to do that is immediately upon waking up. Because if you don’t do it the moment you wake up, you’ll immediately slip into your current state of operating, which is below the level of the decision you made while in a peak state. Thus, despite your best intentions, your behaviors will continue to match your current reality. You’ll slip back into old patterns, your current reality will persist, and your dreams will remain dreams. You’ll probably attempt willpower for a short time, but only to delay the inevitable.
If such is the case, then honestly, you should admit that the “decision” you made wasn’t really a decision.
You must first be a certain way, then act from that place, in order to have what you want.
Be --> Do --> Have
You need to act consistently from the peak state that formed your decision. It needs to become who you are. Being who you need to be becomes natural when you have a sacred environment and daily ritual for shifting yourself into the role and identity you want to make permanent.
Your Morning Journal Ritual to Get Yourself into a Peak State, Daily
Most people start their day in a reactive way. The first thing they do is look at their smartphone and immediately get sucked into a digital world of other people’s information and agendas.
They’ve set themselves up to live the remainder of their day in a distracted and reactive manner.
Having a morning routine is important for a few key reasons:
- To reconnect deeply with yourself and your why
- To put yourself into a peak state, such that you can achieve the dreams and vision you’re seeking in your life
- To frame yourself for what you really want to do that day
- To live proactively, not reactively, so that you avoid self-sabotage
The most essential aspect of your morning routine is writing in your journal. Writing in your journal is more powerful than simple meditation for the same reason that writing your goals down is more powerful than leaving them in your head.
Meditation and prayer are powerful ways to make your journaling session more effective. However, meditation, prayer, and visualization in and of themselves are not enough. You need to write down the insights, plans, and goals you have. And you need to write them down daily. Meditation, visualization, prayer, and journaling are all powerful activities that go very well together. But the journaling portion is where you solidify, clarify, affirm, and strategize your insights, goals, and plans.
Journaling makes the other keystone activities ten times or a hundred times more powerful. If you’re not using your journal daily, then your meditation, visualization, and prayer will be far, far less effective. The key purpose of a morning routine is to put first things first. To focus on the important stuff in your life, rather than the urgent.
Fitness and creative projects are great morning activities. However, nothing should come before priming yourself into the state of being you plan to operate from for that day. Here’s where meditation and journaling come in.
Your conscious and subconscious mind, as well as your creative brain and energy levels, are in the optimal condition immediately following sleep. Writing in your journal first thing in the morning is essential for training your subconscious mind to achieve your goals.
This morning journaling session only needs to be five to fifteen minutes.
When you write your goals and dreams down first thing every morning, you deepen your own sense of belief and desire in your goals. If you don’t believe you can achieve your goals, you won’t. If you don’t really want to achieve a certain goal, it probably won’t happen. So, every morning, you need to put yourself into a place where you’re reminded of it, you believe it, and you want it badly. As a result, you’ll work hard that day, and every day, to not be distracted nor derailed from what really matters to you.
It’s also powerful to write your goals in an affirmative and definitive way. For example, if you want to make $100,000 or run a marathon, write:
- I’ll be making $100,000 by [date]
- I’ll run a marathon by [date]
Write your goals down daily. Then, in your morning mental state, you should write down everything you need to do to achieve your goal. This includes people you’ll reach out to. It includes things you’ll do this week, and even this day related to that thing.
Create a Daily and Sacred Environment for Your Visualization/Journaling
My car is my daily sacred environment, but only when parked somewhere away from my house.
I do workout. I then spend between twenty and sixty minutes reading a good book, writing in my journal, praying, and meditating.
Without fail, this daily act keeps me inspired and moving the direction in life I want to go.
Similarly, actor and comedian Jim Carrey applied this principle to create incredible opportunities.
One night in 1990, while looking down on Los Angeles and dreaming of his future, Carrey wrote himself a check for $10 million and put in the notation line “for acting services rendered.” He dated the check for Thanksgiving 1995 and stuck it in his wallet. He gave himself five years. And just before Thanksgiving of 1995, he got paid $10 million for Dumb and Dumber. The dream he created while in his sacred place became a reality. It became a reality because he continually reconnected with himself in his sacred place.
Do you have a sacred place you go to align and connect with yourself?
Do you have a place where you can meditate, think, pray, and visualize?
Is your daily journal the foundation for your long-term success?
Are you on track?
Do you give yourself the time?