James "TheDrunkLife" Whittet
In today's world we are often mindful of our physical health when it comes to the foods we eat and our level of activity. What is less obvious but equally important is to be mindful of our mental health when it comes to the information we take in, the inputs we expose ourselves to, and the stories we tell ourselves in our own mind.
As the saying goes, "A rising tide lifts all boats"
Generally, this refers to our peer group. If we are the smartest person in a room, then we are in the wrong room. If we surround ourselves with positive influences, then it will not only give us excellent sources to model skills from but also raise our standards for what we accept and encourage us to think bigger.
In the digital age, where much of communication is online, we need to be relentless when it comes to our information diet.
Ask yourself, WHAT IS THIS?
Every time you catch yourself reading something, clicking something, following something, researching something: WHAT IS THIS? WHAT AM I DOING?
And if the answer is BULLSHIT, unfollow, unfriend, unsubscribe, un-everything. If it's a lost cause like your facebook newsfeed, stop using the site or service altogether. Put it on your time, use facebook a couple times a week to respond to messages and family. Never randomly check your news feed.
If you watch television news stop reading right now and take 5 minutes to hurl your television out the highest window in your home; best break is a clean break.
Install this newsfeed killer in all your browsers: click
If you're asking why you should stop checking your newsfeed (and chances are you're not because you already know) I would encourage you to get incredibly curious about the way you feel about yourself each time you check the feed on any social media platform and you reach the exact point where you left off last time. All caught up! Tell me how proud you are :)
Contrast that with the way you feel after reading a chapter of a book that's been on your to-do list for months if not years. Contrast that with the way one of your parents or loved ones might feel to get a message that just says "Hi, I was thinking about you, hope all is well. Love you." Your habits and how you spend your time will be your life.
If you really want to check up on friends, go to their specific pages purposefully, or better yet write them and ask how they are. If you feel out of the loop, commit one hour per week to each of your favorite platforms, be damn curious if you look forward to and enjoy that hour, and make sure you take that hour to unfollow, unfriend or block if necessary everything that makes you feel frustrated, less than, or steals your energy.
Chances are you won't look forward to or want to spend this pre-scheduled time for your social media platforms. This is because usually when we go to check them, we are looking for a way to escape the present moment. We are disengaged, stressed, lonely or exhausted to name a few possible afflictions. But social media won't provide meaningful engagement or human connection, and it sure as shit isn't going to energize you or solve your problems.
I'm not saying you have to go into these emotions and stay there, but you will need to face with them to ever come out on the other side. How about a proper solution? Fill these moments of disengagement with... an engaging activity! Something that matters to you! Read a book or listen to a podcast that excites your mind, go for a walk, do some exercise, plank challenge, whatever. Tax yourself: 1 min plank, 10 pushups, 10 situps and 10 airsquats every time you catch yourself bullshitting on the internet. Call it the stop-kicking-yourself-in-the-dick-tax. This way at least when you do end up compulsively wasting time on bullshit it will actually end up making you feeling better.
If you are stressed, make some progress on the things hanging over your head which are actually causing you stress. It's that's not possible or you are too exhausted, practice mindfulness or research the concept if you are unfamiliar. Sit and meditate for even 5 minutes every time you would normally try to escape stress with bullshit and you will massively transform the quality of your life. Even just 10 deep slows breaths and repeating a positive mantra to yourself such as "You can do this" will make a world of difference compared to habitually numbing out. Finally, if you're really fucking tired, sleep. And if you're too wound up to sleep, contact a friend you can talk to, or spend some time thinking of people in your life you love and feeling grateful for them. Send a message here and there and you might be amazed what you wake up to once in a while.
What you DO want to do is put good things into your mind, thoughts, and ideas that speak to your highest self. Absolutely eliminate influences from your life that cause you to think less, be less or settle for less. Never give your precious time to read about the political views or daily ongoings of some person not in your life. Chances are the status updates of even some of your best friends aren't honestly worth reading either. No one gives a shit what anyone else ate for dinner. Just stop.
Sometimes I ask myself the Zuckerberg question. Would Mark Zuckerberg, the guy who made facebook, the guy who has a closet full of 20 of the same shirt and pants to reduce decision fatigue, would he be reading the facebook status of some girl he never managed to sleep with in college? FUCK NO! Unfollow her! You don't need to be a fly on the wall in her life until she gains weight and feel like you won the long game. It doesn't have to be Zuckerberg but find someone you respect, someone who inspires you, someone who raises your standards. Then whenever you find yourself in a pointless argument or focused on some low-level bullshit, just ask yourself if they would spend their time as you do.
It's also ok to simply ask yourself, some people ask Jesus and that's fine too. Just don't ask your yesterday self. Don't ask the you that thought it was ok so far, don't ask the you you're still trying to bring the best out of. Ask your best self. This is one of my absolute favourite techniques for decision making and eliminating bullshit. Imagine yourself sitting out looking at the stars and having a conversation with the best version of yourself. Maybe it's you 5 years into the future if every plan and goal you hope to accomplish were reached, because why wouldn't it be, this is your best self we are dealing with here.
Ask him, "Hi, best self, should I break up with my girlfriend who doesn't respect me?" "Hi, best self, should I quit smoking?" "Hi, best self, should I stop believing my own bullshit and feeling sorry for myself?" "Hi, best self, should I get into better physical shape?" "Hi, best self, should I learn to use the software which will keep me ahead of the curve in poker" "Hi, best self, should I go and talk to that cute girl over there?" "Hi, best self, should I improve my relationship with my parents while I still have the chance?"
I chose these questions because like most personal issues in life, the answer is painfully obvious; hidden in plain sight. We know what to do deep down, we just have trouble pulling the trigger on change because we're so scared of the discomfort that accompanies it. So what happens? We wait. We wait and we wait and we wait. One day, we're gonna change. One day we're going to be different. One day we are going to live the life we imagine for ourselves. "I'll start tomorrow."
So what happens then? Tomorrow only comes if something like a downswing, catastrophic life event and/or emotionally traumatic experience kicks us squarely in the soft spot between our balls and our asshole and necessitates us to change. We change when the IMMEDIATE result of staying the same is worse than changing. Who wants to wait for that? The long-term results of changing were always better, but we wanted to wait for the suffering to become absolutely intolerable, then we start. Better late than never.
I've never met a person who wished they waited longer to start living the life they'd always imagined for themselves.
Never met anyone who said, "I wish I stepped up later, I wish I wasted more time." "I wish I spent more time binge drinking, more time getting high, more time eating my way to a food coma, more time playing video games, more time checking facebook" No one ever wishes they spent more time numbing out. What do people wish they did? More time LIVING. More time LOVING. More time making a positive impact on the world. Presence, love, and contribution all start with the self. You have to respect your limited time on this planet, love yourself and contribute to your own development before you can branch out and give those same gifts to the world.
I call this securing your own life jacket first. Commit to doing the best you can for yourself. As a member of BitB, you are already surrounded by the best poker players and coaches in the world. Surround yourself with the best of everything else too.
Get serious about your physical diet and your information diet. Get serious about your social diet. Who do you hang out with? Raise your standards and get into the same mental and physical waters with the people you want to sail this life adventure alongside. That has to come first, and if you make that shift and commit to it, it won't be long before your motion will be part of the tide raising someone else's boat. Never doubt the ripple effect you can have on the people in your life and the people in those people's life and so on and so forth. It goes deeper than we have time alive to contemplate.
You can decide to change because you want to and it'll be a lot more pleasant than changing because you have to, but I don't want to see you motivated by fear. One of the most important mantras in my life has been there is no fear. When it comes to negative emotions about the future, it's imagined, an illusion, a misappropriation of your survival instincts. Whatever lies around the corner you can most likely handle when the time comes. Sometimes it's beyond our control, sometimes people die, but the belief you can handle whatever life throws at you is going to take you farther than any singular piece of preparation.
Don't change out of fear. Change because the sooner you set sail, the sooner you get home. The sooner you say yes to your own life the sooner you can motherfucking live it. Why wait when all we have is time?