What time?

When it comes to health and fitness, people always want to know about the best timing.

We want to know the ideal time to eat, sleep, drink, exercise, work, have sex — whatever.

Here are the answers to the most common:

Should I work out in the morning or the evening?

It doesn’t matter.

Should I avoid eating before bed?

It doesn’t matter.

Should I eat two meals a day or six?

It doesn’t matter.

Should I use the sauna before or after I workout?

It doesn’t matter.

Should I eat carbs in the morning or protein?

It doesn’t matter.

When should I take my supplements?

It doesn’t matter.

Should I meditate in the morning or evening?

It doesn’t matter.

None of this matters because most of us aren’t asking how to improve our athletic performance by 1-2% to win an Olympic gold medal.

Most of the time we are actually asking, “how can I get to my goals faster with as little effort as possible?”

And the answer to that is: find a way to do it every day — at whatever time you goddamn please.

Except for sex.

Have sex as often as you can.

NPC

We live in an endless arcade.

You can tell when you’re in a game because it has rules.

The game of being a citizen or the game of being an employee or the game of driving.

Most of the games we play overlap but the rules are different depending on who is playing.

The prizes vary wildly — anything we can think of — as do the forfeits for losing.

The rules of some games involve breaking the rules of others. Often there aren’t any rules but those we decide with the people we’re playing with.

There are so many exciting and engrossing games to play that it takes no effort to get lost in one for weeks or even years. Long enough to forget that it isn’t our game.

It’s worth stopping to ask every so often,
“Whose game am I playing?”

If we’re playing someone else’s game, it’s not a game we can win.

Nobody in this life is an NPC.

It’s your game, so play it any way you like.

Right Here

You’ve got it all right here.

Everything you need.

Anything you ever wanted.

Even things you can’t imagine right now are yours, should you choose to take them.

It all lies within you. 

All you have to do is decide what you want.

And take a little bit of it every day.

Slip in

The water’s lovely. But it’s not always safe swimming.

It’s easy enough to get distracted when there’s interesting and exciting things going on.

Time slips by. A relentless trickle, washing the sediment of life down to the sea of oblivion.

It only takes a second to slip and fall into the torrent. Or dive right in.

To let go.

To let life carry us where it decides, and to hell with fighting the tide.

Before we know it, we’re a long way from where we started, and even further from where we want to be.

And there are few things in life more miserable than wet clothes and a long walk home.

 

 

 

Build Your Boat

How many hearts were lost at sea?

Before we flew, we strung some old cloth to a bunch of dead trees, flung them in the ocean, and clung on tight. Fortunes were made and lost on the high seas. 

Many a maiden looked across the harbour, hoping to see the dove-white flash of a topsail on the horizon; their heart returned.

Most waited in vain. 

The thing about waiting for our ship to come in is there’s nothing we can do about it. We can gnash our teeth and wail and pray and beg, but that only makes us feel better about our helplessness.

Building a boat isn’t easy. It will take a long time, a year or two minimum. There will be many splinters and bruised thumbs and cursing along the way. Even if we finish it in time, there’s no telling that it will float.

And even if floats, that could spell the end for us.

We could drown, far away from where we began, wet and cold and alone and wishing we’d taken some navigation courses while we were building our boat.

But it sure beats waiting for your ship to come in.

 

 

 

Hurry up and Stick

Isn’t it terrifying that you know you could do it if you really wanted?

Deep down, we all know that if we put in the work — just that little bit every day for a long while — then whatever it is that we dream of would actually happen.

It’ll never look exactly how we imagine, of course. But often, it’s always worth the journey.

That’s the real reason behind every act of self-sabotage in my life.

It wasn’t the fear of failure. It was the fear that it might actually work, and then I’d have to actually do the work, and real people might actually hold me accountable for it.

All of that is rubbish. Ancient fear. It takes years of practice before we’re good enough to decide if we want to carry on doing it anyway.

Just pick something and stick with it for five years. No big deal.

The worst that can happen is you get better at it than most people.

And the best?

Well, I don’t think I need to tell you.

 

 

Results Guaranteed

Try this one simple trick. 

Get instant results.

Crush your goals.

Buy this tool or program to unlock the secret; the result; the answer you need. It’s the thing you’ve been missing that will make it all make sense.

But it never does. 

When we feel like we’re running out of time or we want results faster, it’s human nature to look for something that will get us there.

But no fancy or complex or brutal weekly workout can beat 30 mins moderate exercise every day. It just can’t.

If you’re plugging away at something every day, you’re already on the right path. Results take time. That is what time is for.

The only thing between you and that dream is a little bit of patience and a lot more time.

 

Wake and Bake

Here’s a recipe for a soft and delicious day:

  • One large glass of water
  • 2-4 cups of coffee
  • Walk outside
  • Touch your toes
  • Say thanks
  • Lift something heavy
  • Eat a handful of nuts and some fruit
  • Whisk up a healthy dollop of conservation.
  • Sprinkle in a bit of challenge
  • Garnish with a thin slice of luck, if you can find it.

Once that’s ready, don’t forget to set aside something for tomorrow.

Twist off a healthy goal, wrap it in a warm cloth and leave it in a dark room overnight.

You’ll be ready to bake again by morning.

 

Just don’t quit

The secret to success is really quite simple. 

Whenever we ask about success, the answer we get rarely satisfies because it’s so simple. 

How can getting whatever you want in life come down to something so simple?

But when we listen closely, all the athletes, gurus, prophets, and poets start to say the same thing: just don’t quit.

Pick something you think is worth chasing, and never, ever stop.

It doesn’t matter what it is.

It doesn’t matter if you never get there.

The thrill is in the chase, and the chase is till then end.

Or at least until bedtime.

 

Enjoy the scenery

Not everyone finds out the direction they want to go early in life — but most of us have a pretty good idea.

Sometimes we don’t want to admit that’s where we want to go. We might even run in the opposite direction, which inevitably ends in tears.

Once we’ve accepted the direction that resonates with our being and committed to going that way for some time, everything becomes easier.

It’s ok not to know where chasing vague notions like ‘music‘ or ‘fashion’ or ‘writing’ or ‘drawing’ or ‘dancing‘ or ‘helping people‘ will take us.

It’s even ok if we don’t always like where it takes us. We’re constantly on the move anyway.

Just keep on pluggin’ away in the direction you want to go, doing those things that bring you satisfaction and joy, and finding new ways to do them with people you like.

The rest is scenery.

Enjoy!

 

Bigger than you

Most goals fail for the same reason.

It’s easier to give up on yourself than it is on other people.

That’s why we have accountability buddies and life partners and coaches and personal trainers.

The other way to succeed is to make your goals bigger than you. That could mean doing it for the environment, or the animals or the unjustly imprisoned, the maltreated, or the lost and forgotten.

And it could mean doing it for the people that you love: your family and your community.

Whatever it is, it’s a damn sight harder to give up on something when other people are relying on you to turn up.

That’s why you reading this is so important. Thank you!

Make a goal that’s bigger than you, and it will bring you everything you ever wanted.

 

Recovery run

Training for a marathon is very different from what people expect.

The biggest surprise for most people is that you only run a marathon once — on race day.

The next surprise is how little running you do. 15 minutes one day.  Thirty minutes a few days later. Some days are short bodyweight workouts. And some days are dedicated to lying on the floor and stretching.

We don’t have to run a marathon every day to get where we want to go. We shouldn’t even run every day.

Time spent rolling around on the floor and stretching is as crucial to running a race as putting one foot in front of the other.

Recovery allows us to keep working towards our goal, even on days we can’t think straight, let alone move fast. And that little bit of extra time we spend quickly adds up. 

Allow yourself a little recovery time now and then, and you’ll go much further in the long run.

 

 

Out the window

Have you ever seen a bridezilla? Or the TV show ‘My Super Sweet Sixteen?’

These people implode into a raging boil of disappointment when they should be having a great time because they don’t know how to let go of a good plan, amongst other things.

A good plan is essential, but so is knowing when to abandon one.

ESPECIALLY if you want a good party.

In R.L. Wing’s translation of Sun Tzu, The Art of Strategy, we read, “Those who are victorious plan effectively and change decisively. They are like a great river that maintains its course but adjusts its flow.”

There’s no point obsessing about a plan because most plans go out the window as soon as they’re finished. As James Clear says, “Getting started changes everything.”

We need to decide where we want to go, but we don’t need to know precisely how to get there.

The important part is to get going and be ready to take a detour when we inevitably have to. Often, it turns out that’s the path we were supposed to be on all along.

 

 

What’s the point?

Understanding the “point of life” unlocks all its mysteries and treasure, or so we think.

That’s why the internet is littered with people asking this question.

But it’s really very simple.

Points aren’t real. They’re just how we make a mark on the world.

The point of a pen is to make a blot.

The point of a sword is to make a cut.

The point in an argument is to distinguish between ideas.

The point in sports or games decides who wins.

The point of a compass tells you which way to go.

The point is dimensionless. It’s merely a particular moment in time or space or a particular thought about a specific time in space. And yet, everything seems to hinge around the point.

“What’s the point of life?” isn’t the right question.

Living is the point.

It’s the instrument we’ve been given to change the Universe. 

The question is: “What mark will you make with it?”

 

Bald Bezos and His Big Hairy Goal

Everybody knows ol’ Jeffers — Head Honcho at Amazon and richest man in the world when it’s not Elon Musk.

If you ever wondered what Bezos was doing with all that cash, it’s Blue Origin (great name) and a space ship that looks like a sex toy.

What I found out recently was that Blue Origin isn’t a way to get richer or save humanity.

This guy really has 300-year goals to ‘build a road into space.’

He said, “I’m going to use my lottery winnings from Amazon to make it easy for some kids in their dorm room to build a giant space company in 100 years.”

It’s his ‘calling’ to empower the human race to take the next step and he doesn’t even expect to see it happen.

That’s one big tree to plant. One massive hairy goal.

And one that — quite frankly — I’m happy to donate to.

Getting toilet roll delivered to my door in 36 hours is like, a bonus.

 

Making Mayonnaise

A few months ago, I tried making mayonnaise.

It was a miserable and messy process, but it unexpectedly taught me something about life that I think about every time it comes out of the fridge.

Like doing anything worthwhile in this life, making mayonnaise takes time.

You can’t just sling some oil and eggs into a blender and blitz it. You could try. But you won’t get delicious mayonnaise; you’ll get a gross, fatty mess that’ll never quite wash out.

To make great mayonnaise, you have to mix the oil in ever so slowly, drip by drip. It takes effort. It takes patience. It takes measured, deliberate progress and a wrist with some stamina [insert masturbation joke here]. And you have to screw it up at least once.

Most people just fling their hopes and dreams in a blender, zhush it up, and then go back to buying Hellmann’s when it doesn’t work out.

And that’s fine. Not everyone wants to spend their time making mayonnaise. 

But if you do want to make your own special sauce, get ready to make it slowly.

Don’t mind the gap

If you’ve ever ridden the Tube, you’ll have heard a robotic voice reminding you to ‘mind the gap’ as you leave the train. 

Ignoring these words could delay the train, one of the worst crimes you can commit in the capital.

But there’s another kind of gap that we shouldn’t mind at all because it makes us unhappy.

Most people make the mistake of measuring how far they’ve come by how close they are to achieving their vision. We measure the gap between where we are and where we want to be, which is usually not as close as we’d like.

It’s far less depressing if we take the time to measure how far we’ve come from where we started; we measure our gains.

If we’re too busy fretting about the gap between where we could be and where we are, we’re missing out on enjoying all the gains that got us here now.

Don’t mind the gap, except on the Tube.

Raising the bar slowly

The current high-jump record is nearly two and a half meters (8.13ft) — a superhuman leap. 

But when Javier Sotomayor took his first jump, he set the bar much lower.

Each round, he raised the bar a little, sometimes as little as a quarter of an inch. Jump by jump, he pushed his body slightly further from the ground, until eventually, he achieved something remarkable.

Set the bar too high and we’re bound to bump into it.

But if we focus on raising the bar just a tiny bit higher at every attempt, we can go higher than we ever thought possible.

Finding motivation

What we think of as motivation is actually inspiration.

The problem with inspiration is that it’s fleeting — that’s just how it works.

We might watch a movie or read a book and be uplifted or watch someone else doing what they love, and that inspires us: “I want to do that.”

Sometimes that inspiration trickles into action. But pretty quickly, the reality of the task ahead squashes the inspiration out of us because inspiration alone isn’t enough to get motivated.

We get motivated by being specific about what we want and then going after it. We get motivated by taking small, specific actions towards our goals.

Choose to take action, and you’ll find that your motivation isn’t too far behind.

There is no finish line

A few years back, I surprised myself by getting into running and discovered something strange.

There’s a race for masochists down in Tennessee called ‘Big Dog’s Outdoor Ultra.’ It’s a four-mile loop that you run until everyone else drops out. This year , Courtney Dauwalter, ran 283 miles in just under 72 hours, non-stop.

Running an eternal loop seems crazy, but many competitors say it’s easier than running a ‘standard ultra.’ 2018’s winner said, “Because there’s no predetermined finish, you can’t think in terms of ‘how many miles do I have left? It’s always just the next loop, the next loop, the next loop. You’re never overwhelmed by what you have left to run because you simply don’t know.”

Strangely, setting a ‘finish line’ can be detrimental to growth, especially when you’re just getting started.

The best thing you can do is choose a direction and focus on putting one foot in front of the other; running today’s race as best you can.

Worry about tomorrow when you cross that starting line.

What the fuck do I do with my life?

“How the fuck do I figure out what to do with my life?” my little sister asked the other day.

I laughed. Then I text her: lol.

“Or maybe that’s just me,” she replied at the same time.

I think she knew that wasn’t true before she finished typing it.

How many people do you know who have figured out “what to do” with their lives?

I know a few who seem like they might have a good idea. But a lot of people don’t have a clear picture of what they want to do with their lives. We have ideas about the things we want, sure.

We mostly sort of trundle along waiting for something great to happen to us. I did for years.

I remember in school, it never seemed there were very many career options. As kids, you only really think of the obvious professions; doctor, lawyer, teacher, dentist, vet, fireman, policeman, postman…

Some of us head down those paths.

Most of us end up ejected off the conveyor belt education system with a stack of debt and zero clue about what to do next.

My current job wasn’t on the careers list at school. Neither are most of my friends. But we’ve all got bills to pay.

How to Figure Out What the Fuck to Do with Your Life

It took me about thirty years to commit to what I wanted to do, and I’d known all along. Finding your “dream job” is probably something we’ll do several times in our lives. Here’s a step-by-step guide to figuring out what the fuck to do with your life.

1. Don’t look for your fucking passion

In the knowledge that we have to do something, we bounce around on a rough career trajectory, often in a field only generally related to the things we actually have a passion for.

I probably shouldn’t use ‘passion’. It’s a little misleading. It’s more just something you actually care about.

The point is, the pressures and demands of modern life lead most of us into jobs, rather than vocations.

And everyone knows what they want to do with their lives.

We usually just haven’t given it the thought. Or we’ve made so many excuses over the years why we can’t do it, that we’ve forgotten what it was in the first place.

Or, maybe you’re scared that doing something exciting or fun or beautiful, something that you actually give a fuck about, will never work for you.

So, we just give up and do something easy or comfortable that pays the bills and gets you the things you want to buy.

“Yh it’s quite a depressing thought tbh” my sister said.

“It could be,” I replied, ever argumentative 😉

“Gotta use it as motivation I suppose” she countered. She was right, of course.

2. Give yourself space to figure out what the fuck you want

Everyone knows what they want to do with their lives. If you’re not sure, you’ve got to give yourself the chance and the space to figure it out.

What did you want to be when you were a little kid?

What did you enjoy?

Who did you pretend to be when you were playing games?

This might seems like a childish exercise but the trauma of adolescence tends to squash many of the things we enjoyed as children, as we try to fit in or be cool at school.

If you’re like most people, there are maybe a few things you love doing. The things you can talk for hours about. Or things you always wanted to explore.

But even if you still don’t know, and you’re not sure, you can always figure it out. That’s kinda the point.

“But it’s hard, coz I actually don’t know,” said my sister.

“Look at that sentence,” I said.

3. Stop trying to choose something to do for the rest of your fucking life.

You don’t have to choose something to do with your life forever.

You just need to give yourself the chance to do something you enjoy for a few years, a hierarchy of skills that you can climb that will support the things you need in life.

Passions can be flakey. You might think you should be doing it and find you don’t actually like doing it. That’s fine. Try something else you like the look of. Life is long.

It doesn’t even have to be a career.  Think of it as a side hustle. But you have to give yourself the chance to be happy. You have to give yourself the chance to work it out, in your head. Spend the time thinking about what’s important to you and what you enjoy doing, and you’ll be further along the path of figuring out what you want from life than many people.

Instead of saying, “I don’t know”, try, “I’m figuring it out.”

Or, “I don’t know, yet.”

Or, “I’m working on it.”

I promise you this is not some wishy-washy bullshit. Words are powerful things.

It’s an old saying that your thoughts become your words, become, become your actions, becomes you. Like many old sayings, it’s true.

As soon as you tell yourself something, you’re making it real.

Your brain starts looking for ways to make it a reality, and your body follows. It’s just what your body is supposed to do.

It’s the same mechanism as when someone tells you about something and you start to see it everywhere.

Figuring Out What the Fuck You Want to Do in Life

So, step 1 is to stop telling yourself you don’t know. Instead, start telling yourself that you’re going to figure it out.

Step 2 is to stop asking ‘how’ and actually start figuring out.

Start asking yourself the key questions;

‘What do/did I like doing?’

‘What am/was I good at?’

‘What do/did I want to know more about?’

Think about the things you loved doing as a child. If you’re not sure, ask your friends and family what they think you’re good at. What questions do they ask you?

Whatever you do DON’T LISTEN to the voice in your head telling you that you’re being silly even thinking about it, that it’s impossible, that it’ll never work.

They’re wrong. They don’t know. They’re not even you.

Keep asking yourself every day. You’ll get an answer.

And if you’re still not sure, let me know and we’ll figure it out together.

You probably already have an idea, you just don’t believe you can do it. But I do.


Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash