Category: Betterment

Cape Fear

When it comes to self examination for almost all aspects of life, there are those we can take head on, and those that constantly are put off till tomorrow.

The ironic thing for me in particular, is that in my head I constantly think about the changes I have made. Lifestyle, diet, alcohol, caffeine, meat, dairy all have been either altered or removed from my life. And due to this, there has been one area of my life that I deemed almost immune from being adjusted or ejected.

Self medicating, for all intensive purposes, has always been an escape for me. It started as a way to change the mindset or thought process I was currently in. Then it modulated to the goto when dealing with stress, or the only thing I could lean on to assist me falling asleep.

Soon the lens in which I viewed smoking changed again, as it was the last piece of lifestyle that I could hold on to. I felt I had no choice in the other changes, but this was still fine to be left alone from criticism and reversal.

No one told me to go vegan, no one said stop drinking, stop using caffeine. I made these choices because I felt they were in the best interest of my health. But Mary Jane’s flowers were somehow not a problem worth addressing. So what is the cause of continued avoidance to address this?

Fear. Fear of being sober. Fear of giving up something that I “think” I need. Fear that I wont beas happy without it. Fear that once I give up this crutch I have nothing to fall back on as an excuse. Why I didn’t start that business, why I didn’t go out with friends, why I didn’t have the courage to go talk to the girl who caught my eye.

Beneath every addiction is an underlying story of the true issue at hand. Its time that I found out what is really causing this dependance and change my relationship with smoking.

Success = failure

If we have a true authentic purpose, and remove ego from the equation, is there any difference between success and failure? Can we not be ambivalent about making the money, getting the recognition, securing the legacy if we are in the pursuit of something real?

Endeavoring to make the world a safer, friendlier, more sustainable place presents us with an interesting goal: the goal of impact. The goal to motivate and act as a catalyst for some kind of change. If we fail in this endeavor, the loss is not money / recognition / legacy…it’s a of loss impact. The change doesn’t happen.

But if we were truthful in our pursuit, in our purpose, then failure is a hiccup. Similarly, unless we plan to bask in our greatness, success offers a comparably brief respite.

There’s really no time to dive in failure’s pools of sorrow or to linger in the throne of praise presented by success. Unless the plan is to be consumed by our ego and to preserve the narrative structure of our success story (“I’m a genius”) or failure story (“I’m an idiot”), it’s right back to purpose. Right back to the authentic cause that keeps our spirits roiling and our eyes from shutting at night.

It’s worth considering if there’s any difference at all between success and failure if our plan and purpose is clear. Either sequence of events seems capable of expediting our demise if ego takes control.

Quote 5.11.16

Let the soul be roused from its sleep and be prodded, and let it be reminded that nature has prescribed very little for us. No man is born rich. Every man, when he first sees light, is commanded to be content with milk and rags. Such is our beginning, and yet kingdoms are all too small for us.

-Seneca, Letter 20

Mindful Ambition

One of the more popular topics of discussion here at DMR is how to balance ambitious goals with a strong desire to remain mindful, humble, and grateful.  At times, these two priorities can feel like oil and water and the group reading we’ve completed has yet to reveal the “silver bullet” solution that harmonizes powerful self-motivation with a balanced state of mind.

mindful ambition, the practice of maintaining awareness, humility, and gratitude in the pursuit of extraordinary accomplishment

Last week, I took a stab at providing some answers to an audience of colleagues.  “Being Mindful While Making It Rain” introduces the concept of mindful ambition: the practice of maintaining awareness, humility, and gratitude in the pursuit of extraordinary accomplishment.

We cover five different elements of our lives that demand attention if we hope to pursue great accomplishment without sacrificing the energizing and grounding impact of a present mind.  I also throw in five corresponding activities that can be used to introduce mindful ambition in more concrete terms: taking a success inventory, keeping a gratitude journal, reconnecting with nature, plotting your wealth columns, and (most importantly) initiating a meditation practice.

Check out the video below and download the deck so you can follow along.

Please note, the video is cut a few minutes short.  Everything you missed — including helpful book and app resources — can be found in the deck PDF (link above).

Radio Headspace Is A Thing


Each member of the DMR team incorporates a meditation practice into their daily routine.  The return on investment for just 10-15 minutes is too good to pass up, and Headspace is one of the apps that has made this habit a very easy add.

As a major podcast fanboy — Tim Ferriss, a16z, TWIST, etc. — I was blindsided when I discovered that the Headspace team is 50+ episodes into Radio Headspace, a podcast covering anything and everything related to our mental capacity and the journey within.

One of the latest episodes — #54 — brings in three different authors that have been commissioned to write books for The School of Life, an amazing project created by one of the group’s favorite authors, Alain de Botton.

I’m overwhelmed by this nexus of amazing people and projects…and while I can’t yet speak to the overall quality of Radio Headspace, I certainly intend to check it out.

You should too.

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