If you want to become a New York Times bestselling or a popular life coach, it’s actually quite easy. Just show people how to avoid, ignore, or evade challenges in their lives or business. I decided to go the opposite route.
Because pandering to people’s blind spots doesn’t serve them. If you want to actually make a difference in the world, you have to love people enough to challenge them. So allow me to get up in your face a little…
You don’t recreate yourself and live a prosperous life because you have no challenges. You create a prosperous life by seeking out a continuous progression of escalating challenges – then doing the difficult work of trial, growth, and self-development to overcome them.
Over the last 20 or so posts, our discussion has been about the thinking process: the thoughts you allowed yourself to be influenced by (whether consciously or subconsciously), the beliefs they caused you to develop, and then what the results of holding those beliefs have been. This introspection and the accompanying critical thinking are important work – because they allow you to become conscious of the process, then mindfully direct it in a positive manner. This is the method that creates a radical rebirth. That rebirth is going to bring you face to face with some central, existential questions.
The meaningful questions at this point in your journey become:
The goals you set for yourself become essential building blocks for the ultimate vision that you craft for your radical rebirth. Perhaps both the perils and potential of selecting the right goal are best demonstrated by Ted Kaczynski, a/k/a the Unabomber. Most people know him only as the crazy guy who lived in the wilderness mailing pipe bombs to professors and tech people, in a futile attempt to get humanity to destroy technology and start all over again.
Would it surprise you to learn that Kaczynski was a child prodigy who was accepted to Harvard at 16 years old and went on to become a PhD and a professor himself? He was eventually captured after a manifesto he wrote was published by some major newspapers at the request of the FBI. You might expect that this manifesto would be crazy, and primarily it was.
Yet the manifesto also contained critical thinking ability and some intriguing ideas. Kaczynski stated that for people to be truly happy, they require challenge; most specifically to have goals which require serious effort. In the manifesto he divided goals into three buckets:
The overriding theme of his manifesto was that the hardest goals – the difficult problems the world needed to solve – were already accomplished. The only goals left were the easy attainable ones and the ones impossible to attain. So in his eyes – there was no real meaning or fulfillment in life; no reason to continue.
I don’t agree with Kaczynski’s conclusion that all of the difficult but possible goals for the world have been solved. But I think a lot of people are in a similar place that he was, especially in regard to the goals and meaning in their personal lives. They believe that the worthy goals remaining in their own lives are impossible for them to attain, so they’ve given up on their dreams. They believe that they will never get in shape ever again, find true love, become wealthy, etc. Because they don’t see breakthroughs happening, they stop experientially living life and have relegated themselves to simply existing through it. (Or for the believers, decided that this life doesn’t matter because the real one is their afterlife.)
The number of people suffering from depression is mind-boggling, and the suicide rate is beyond alarming. Literally billions with a ‘B’ of people are self-medicating with drugs, alcohol, food, Tik-Tok, and Netflix. But these are only diversions and they prevent us from seeking the true answers.
I believe an important part of the solution is for people to seek out challenges worthy of them. People who are eager and excited by a challenging project have no time or proclivity towards depression. It’s the people who are merely keeping their head below the cubicle, waiting out the week until Friday who are the likeliest candidates for depression, escape, or suicide. If you believe your greatest years are behind you, it’s difficult to think your life is very meaningful. I’ve fought my own grueling war against depression over the years, but never when I was launching a new project, or writing the next book I was excited to share with you.
There is no debate that Kaczynski took a horrific approach. But his ideas about goals and challenges are worth pondering. What’s the default setting on your path in life now? Do you see your best years and work behind you, or in front of you? Are you seeking new challenges? And are these challenges worthy of you?
As you map out the criteria for the goals, dreams, and yes, challenges, of your radical rebirth, be mindful of how motivating they will be to you. Some goals are aspirational and/or inspirational. But while inspiration can be created by an external influence, motivation must be developed internally. Motivation is what causes you to act. For a goal to create internal motivation (actually make a difference in your behavior), it must meet the following two criteria:
If you’re earning two dollars a day at a sweatshop in Asia, and you set a goal to be a millionaire next month, your subconscious mind is unlikely to believe in that possibility and act on it. Likewise, if you’re earning two dollars a day at a sweatshop in Asia, and you set a goal to earn an extra ten cents a day next year, it’s probably not going to motivate you into tangible action to achieve it.
To create a radical rebirth requires bold, daring, and adventurous goals. The allure of these goals pulls you toward them, and in the process, forces you to become more. This starts on ongoing sequence of growth and development. Your next goals are set higher, and you evolve yet higher, creating an endless progression that leads to becoming the highest possible version of yourself. That’s where the magic is, because setting goals worthy of you ultimately creates a new life worthy of you. You must apply this same principle to the vision for your radical rebirth overall. It must nestle into the sweet spot between an outcome enticing enough to pull you towards it – and the belief that you can actually attain it.
If your new life is not bold, daring, and a little frightening – what's the point in creating it?
You know the life you fantasize about when you gaze out the window? Live that life!
Funny story: I was doing a seminar for 9,000 people in a Panamanian bullfighting arena. My friend Erick Gamio was in the audience and his mother-in-law who happens to be a psychologist, was with him. About halfway through my program she asked him why he hadn’t told her I was a psychologist too. He assured her I wasn’t a psychologist, psychiatrist, or anything like that. As the talk continued, she insisted he had to be mistaken because the information I was sharing about human behavior and motivation was only taught in psychiatric Ph.D. courses. She was gobsmacked when he told her I not only wasn’t a mental health professional but am a high school dropout.
When Erick recounted the story to me later, I could only laugh, because that’s a common reaction I get. I know more about human behavior – what causes the human animal to react and why they react that way – than any mental health professional on earth. Allow me to explain…
I spent the first few decades of my life as a neurotic, fear-based, and insecure guy, apprehensive of everyone around me. I ran every potential statement I made through a preliminary check on a computer screen in my mind, trying to predict if it would offend anyone or subject me to ridicule. I built a wall to protect me emotionally and was petrified to meet new people, or attend parties where I didn’t already know everyone. I would even slow down to let elevators with people on them depart, so I could catch the next one and not have to worry about making small talk with others. When you’re this insecure, you’re constantly studying everyone around you, wondering how you can act so that they like you.
As an addict, your life revolves around lying to people, deceiving, and manipulating them. You might need to borrow money for a fix or need an excuse to cover why you can’t do your job. I did drug deals in half the crack houses in the Liberty City, Overtown, and National City neighborhoods. When you’re dealing with heavily armed drug dealers, street hustlers, and gangbangers – you become an expert at reading people, or you become a crime scene investigation.
Later I took all my skills and experiences – from dealing dope, running rackets, buying crystal meth, lying, cheating, stealing and manipulating – and applied them as a marketer. I built teams with tens of thousands of people for direct selling companies, became a kick-ass copywriter, and excelled at Internet marketing. Fortunately, my motivations were now noble, and my morals had been developed. But the one constant in my two worlds – good versus evil, legal versus illegal – was my ability to gauge human nature.
If you’re ever presented conflicting theories on human behavior – and you must choose between 27 double-blind research studies of 20 million people conducted by the psychology departments of Stanford, UC-Berkley, and Harvard or me – bet the rent on my gut intuition.
I don’t tell you all this to puff up my street cred. That world is long behind me and am ashamed to admit to most of it. I tell you in the hopes you’ll understand the value of what I’m going to tell you next. Which is the single, most insightful lesson you’ll ever learn about living a prosperous life. And it is this…
You don't manifest prosperity to the degree you are worthy of it. You manifest prosperity in direct proportion to the degree you believe you are worthy of it.
No more. No less. In exact proportion to what you believe you deserve. That’s why your mindset is so important. That’s why you have to police your subconscious mind, take charge of your programming, and work to continuing nourish your self-esteem. Because every day of your life you must wake up and subconsciously answer the following question:
How much joy, happiness, and prosperity can I possibly put up with today?
It doesn’t serve you to be timid, dream small, or settle for mediocrity. Since you’re choosing to create a radical rebirth – gestate and deliver a life that is worthy of the unique, powerful, and beautiful being you are – and who you are meant to become.
P.S. If you are one of the people committed to making a difference, changing the game, and altering the trajectory of the universe, if only by a couple inches, you should join me in San Diego for TRIBAL ’20. It sold out months ago, but we’ve just had a couple cancellations from Asia due to Corona virus. To see if you’re ready for an event of this magnitude, read the details here.