Discipline is the act of prioritizing your long-term goals over your short-term comfort.
Author | Photographer | CG Artist | Filmmaker
Author | Photographer | CG Artist | Filmmaker
People sometimes have a tendency to beat down their ideas that they were once enthusiastic about. And as a result, they talk themselves out of taking action on things that could add value to their life. And in place of these ideas, they often do nothing – and so life goes on and nothing much changes.
Before you talk yourself out of things you are enthusiastic about by filling your head with doubt, ask yourself how avoiding fear & uncertainty will ultimately add value to your life. If it won’t, it might be time to consider that facing your doubts & fears is actually something that will still be good for you regardless of the outcome of your endeavor.
Time is one of the most powerful tools in every person’s toolbox. But like all tools, it isn’t of much use if it isn’t used effectively.
Learning to manage one’s time in an efficient manner is one of the most effective ways to free up more time to manage in an efficient manner.
If you want more time to do more things, find ways to make better use of your time. And this begins by making your time a priority in your life.
While, learning to say “No” to people is an important step towards freeing up time, if you don’t follow through by making efficient use of that time – even if that means relaxing – you are wasting it.
Don’t be fooled. There is a difference between wasting time in a way that makes your life enjoyable and wasting time by failing to be mindful of how you’re choosing to spend it.
If you want more time in your day, be mindful of how you spend it.
Living life to the fullest means continually reaching out for newer, richer, deeper, life-changing experiences. It means using those experiences as a means for personal growth and pushing the boundaries of yourself mentally, spiritually, and intellectually for the betterment of yourself and the world at large.
Living life to the fullest means taking an active role in your own development. It means steering the rudder of your own life and taking advantage of your unique and powerful potential as a person.
It’s about how the things you do in your life motivate & inspire others to do something motivating & inspiring in theirs — and, if you’re lucky, leave a legacy that long outlasts you.
“Your story is the greatest legacy that you will leave to your friends. It’s the longest-lasting legacy you will leave to your heirs.” — Steve Saint
To live life to the fullest means to maximize your capacity to experience what life has to offer around you. This, in turn, expands your consciousness resulting in even more opportunities to have an even broader range of life experiences.
To live life to the fullest means facing your fears with bravery, an open mind, and a lack of prejudice. It means making the most of what you have and never settling for less than the life you are capable of living. It means being truly alive and awake to life and not asleep in life’s waiting room.
There is a reason why Neale Donald Walsch said:
The key to living life to the fullest is opening your mind and stretching beyond your comfort zone. Because if you’re not being challenged or intentionally pushing yourself beyond the realm of things that are familiar to you, then the experiences you’re having are no longer changing you.
“If we are growing we are always going to be outside our comfort zone.” — John C. Maxwell
Anything you do that limits your ability to experience the breadth of life reduces your ability to live life to the fullest. While this can include doing things that have an adverse effect on your health, it can also mean living in such a way that your lifestyle restricts your ability to have new experiences.
While living life to the fullest can, at times, involves living dangerously (in a life-threatening fashion), if you’re living in such a consistent fashion that your life expectancy is greatly reduced as a result, then this is simply thrill seeking. If the point of living life to the fullest is to maximize your capacity for taking advantage of what life has to offer you, then this involves maximizing the length of your life as well.
“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” — Diane Ackerman
While living life to the fullest often involves travel in order to experience new places, languages, or cultures, it isn’t a requirement. It is quite possible to push your personal boundaries simply by reading, performing a creative activity, or taking charge of one’s education — all of which can be done in the comfort of one’s home.
But simply “being busy”, having a full schedule, and living a life of routine is not living life to the fullest.
Working during the week and partying it up on the weekends is not living life to the fullest.
Going on a tour guided, everything-is-taken-care-of vacation, or a pre-packaged “adventure” every year is not living life to the fullest.
“The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears.” — Dan Stevens
While living life to the fullest is about collecting experiences, it isn’t simply about knocking items off a bucket list. And it isn’t a competition to “do the most things before death.” It is about acquiring strength and wisdom from the challenges one has overcome and having experiences that alter how one perceives the world.
Living inside your comfort zone is one of the surest ways to know you’re not living life to the fullest. And as long as you are comfortable, you are not growing.
“Struggling and suffering are the essence of a life worth living. If you’re not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you’re not demanding more from yourself – expanding and learning as you go – you’re choosing a numb existence. You’re denying yourself an extraordinary trip.” – Dean Karnazes
If you really want to live life to the fullest, make a habit of always reaching for new experiences that push you to grow. And when you’re growing, and your growth is having a positive influence on others, you’ll know you’re truly maximizing your life.
This post spawned an entire theme on the subject: Pirates vs Zombies.
There is a battle being waged — not just in the Middle East — but right here, right now.
It’s the zombie virus — it’s real — and it’s an epidemic. The “living dead” are here — but they are not the walking corpses we’ve come to expect from the movies. It’s scarier than that…
Because the infected look like everyone else — they blend in & conform. In fact, many go to great lengths to buy all the “proper” products & do all the “right” things — because they live in fear of expressing their individuality.
The zombie virus has caused these living dead to become the end product of what they’ve been told & sold and what they’ve bought & been taught — it causes them to believe in the world they’ve been fed without question.
And that would be fine — as everyone should live their lives as they truly desire — except that many carry the virus without ever realizing they’ve been infected. And as a result, they’ve become slaves to the system and an often negative way of thinking. The infected live with fear & indecision — afraid to make bold decisions or to express their individuality. Afraid to venture beyond their comfort zone.
And as a result, carriers of the virus often settle for much less than the amazing things they are capable of achieving. I know — because…
Without even realizing I was a carrier of the zombie virus, I started bowing to societal pressures to keep my head down and to not question authority and to ignore common sense. I started to equate my own and others’ job titles as true indicators of “importance”, “success”, or value. I started to believe that what I owned, what I wore, or what I drove was a real reflection of who I was as a person.
I almost let the infection overtake my desire to live a life less ordinary. I started thinking, “It’s too late to live the life I want — if only…” — and as a result, I almost settled.
I began to give more weight to what people thought instead of what was actually true. I started to believe that I was the labels that people gave me — good and bad. I began to think that I needed approval to do what I truly wanted.
I started showing acute signs of the virus & didn’t even know it. And much to my surprise, I contracted it at an early age.
My entire life, I’d gained esteem by trying to impress others — I considered others’ praise to be an estimation of my own self-worth and I sought it out without understanding that the only source of true self-worth & confidence doesn’t come by counting on others to give it to you — it comes from within.
I started to believe that in order to be “happy” I had to settle — because the world is full carriers of the virus who do.
Symptoms of the zombie virus (details) are highly contagious. As such, the infected are everywhere — telling you what you can’t do, convincing you to conform, and suggesting that any alternatives other than the most popular are “impossible” or “unrealistic”.
“That’s what we wanted to get across in that moment, particularly when Shaun goes to the shop when he’s all hungover. He doesn’t notice any of the zombies around him just because he never had before, so why should he at that point?” — Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead)
The infected are cynical & pessimistic. They say things like “it doesn’t get any better than this” and “why even bother?” — they may even go so far as to seek to crush your ambitions, stifle your creativity, derail your dreams. They point out the problems in every plan — they say it can’t be done instead of focusing on ways that it can.
It is almost certain that it will be a carrier of the virus that is first to put you down when you attempt to be “great”. Carriers confuse egotism with self-esteem or integrity. In the most ironic of ways, the infected will wear their “Just do it.” logos — while at the same time they tear you down for trying.
The infected see walls & obstacles instead of portals of opportunity — and in turn, they become obstacles instead of gateways along other’s paths. They spread their “facts” and their “that’s just the way it is” mentality without ever questioning their own reality.
Carriers of the virus are the first to accept the status quo and it is their belief that you should, too — else you’ll be branded as “different” or a “maverick” — as if being labeled as different is the worst thing in the world. As if thinking you are capable of something bigger & better than average in your life is a bad thing.
As if you’re supposed live your one & only precious life based on what others think or what they expect of you. As if standing up and being counted as a free thinking individual is not something that should be celebrated & encouraged.
It is not uncommon for victims of the virus to live their lives as psychological slaves — dependent on others’ approval & recognition — it is a life that is measured by comparing themselves to the crowd. They live in fear of being judged as anything other than what is expected of them. They’ve come to believe that others are responsible for their life circumstances and they are quick to say, “but my situation is different” and “but I’ve really got it rough”.
In the mind of the infected, everyone else’s life is inexplicably easier by comparison and full of “lucky breaks” and “good fortune” that are absent in their world.
The zombie virus is a maker of mediocrity — it makes you forget that you were born to be great. It convinces you that the “greatness” of Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, or Albert Einstein are unattainable exceptions to the human race instead of what they truly were, “ordinary individuals” doing extraordinary things. These people were born, grew up, and pursued their budding interest as amateurs — just like everyone else. But they persisted in their drive to refine their skills and hone their unique talents — and that, they did.
No, you are not Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, or Albert Einstein — but their unique potential was theirs — not yours. You have your own — and the only person’s unique and incredible potential you should try to live up to is yours.
Being infected makes you forget that you — yes, YOU — too, have amazing potential just waiting to be tapped into. To say that you are an incredibly unique individual is an understatement. In the whole expanse of time, there will only ever be one person exactly like you!
No matter where you are in life, you have potential that is going untapped — you are capable of achieving far more than you probably believe.
You were meant to be — and I’m appropriating this word — a “pirate”.
Like zombies, these “pirates” are also not what you would entirely expect from the movies — nor am I referring to “illegal downloaders”, either.
No. The real pirates of the world are maximizers of potential — free thinkers, capable of making bold & brave decisions and avoiding value judgements. They are capable of seizing each day sailing across an ocean of opportunities pursuing their dreams with passion.
Pirates are captains of their ship! — They take responsibility for their lives and live with purpose. Rather than float where the current takes them, they steer their vessels to where their dreams & desires lead.
“Fortes fortuna adiuvat” (fortune favors the bold)” – Latin Proverb
When the world tells them that the Earth is flat, but offers no real proof to back it up, they set off in their ships to see for themselves. And when their fear tells them they cannot do something, they look that fear in the face and say, “Watch me!”
People [Pirates] who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in [Again — Pirates are captains of their own vessel]. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters; they will not allow life’s circumstances to [the infection] push them down and hold them under.” — Unknown
Pirates are explorers & adventurers — undeterred by stormy seas because they know — “Smooth seas do not make skilled sailors.” — African Proverb. They know that “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” — William Shedd
They know that zombies resolve to do what’s quick & easy, but there are no shortcuts to success — so they resolve to be disciplined and do what is hard & necessary because it works.
Nor are they afraid to sail into the unknown, because they understand — “One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore.” — Andre Gide
I call them zombies and pirates — you might call them something else — but regardless of how they are labeled, these types of people are real.
In my world, Mark Twain was a pirate — “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Sir Cecil Beaton was a pirate — “Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the
play—it—safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary [zombies].“
Ralph Waldo Emerson was a pirate — “To be
yourself [a pirate] in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else [of zombies] is the greatest accomplishment.”
TBWA Chiat/Day wrote about pirates in their famous Apple commercial —
“Here’s to the
crazy ones [pirates]. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round heads 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. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify them, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race [zombies] forward. And some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people [pirates] who are crazy enough to think they can change the world [overcome the zombie virus] are the ones who do.”
We must resist the virus and find ways to overcome it — lest it overtake us and make us zombie slaves in a world of mediocrity!
Thanks for reading. I think you’re awesome.
— Zero Dean