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Experience Life Magazine

Whose Voice Is That In Your Head?

You know that voice in your head? What’s the deal with that?

Where’s it come from? And is it possible to shut it off? Is it the voice of reason or is it sabotaging reluctancy? Perhaps the biggest question is… Whose voice is it really?

“Pain of mind is worse than pain of body.” – Latin Proverb

The voice in our head is running our life. It tells us what outfit to wear and debates between indulging in chunky-monkey ice cream or sticking with the slender salad option. It calls the shots (Patrone or wheatgrass). The moment we wake up, there it goes again – yappity, yappity, yap…

The voice says what we should and shouldn’t do – both right now in this moment and with the rest of our life. It’s obnoxiously over-opinionated – like an anorexic Ethiopianfoodie. Obscure reference, yes, but how can we ground ourselves in confidence while knowing what’s worth swallowing and what’s toxic to ingest?

WAIT… You what? You wanna stop prostituting your soul, leave your job, and turn your passion into your profession? You wanna make a difference in people’s lives with a deep purpose while simultaneously stacking paychecks?

[Here comes the voice...] “But it’s just *TOO* risky, and besides, are you really smart enough? What if people found out about that time in 6th grade? Our family just doesn’t do things like that.”

WHAT… THE HELL… IS GOING… ON?

I work with people like this nearly every day – people who in some way are controlled and constricted by that voice in their head. Sometimes it’s subtle, like a snarky, condescending co-worker. But other times it’s unbearably brutal for peeps. They’re trapped in a state of intellectual-totalitarianism, involuntarily confided to a mental territory that’s terrifying them. Who’s the heartless war lord that’s running this operation?

The coaching work we do together raises awareness. Without consciousness, that voice dictates their destiny.

The voice professes all types of preposterous claims:

  • It tells you sex is shameful and not to talk about your desires.
  • It tells you good things don’t last, so be prepared for the storm.
  • It tells you you’re not smart enough to make a living following your heart.
  • It tells you to keep your problems to yourself.
  • It tells you not to show emotion cuz that’ll show people you’re weak.
  • It tells you not to date people you know cuz it will complicate your life.
  • It tells you not to date people you don’t know because they could be creeps.
  • It tells you being vulnerable is a *horrible* idea.
  • It tells you “real men” don’t do those kinda things.
  • It tells you if you’re not ripped, rich, and riding in a Range Rover, you’re defective.

The danger of this voice is:

  1. We think we are that voice.
  2. We think that voice is ours.
  3. That voice runs our life.

Let’s explore these ideas.

1. YOU ARE NOT THAT VOICE.

For the first 24 years of my life, I thought my thoughts were me. In other words, I identified what I thought with who I was. So if I had a thought that was crazy, it meant that I was crazy. Get it? Crazy thoughts equal a crazy person. Crazy person is the person whose writing you’re reading right now.

Then I took my first long-term trip and something strange happened. I was 3 weeks into my tour, relaxing in Rome, when suddenly I had a startling realization… Those thoughts were gone! Which ones? The ones that used to torment me daily. The ones I thought were an integral part of my identity. The thoughts I thought were me.

“What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.”
-Eckhart Tolle

In many ways, that moment was a core catalyst which planted the seed for Sensophy to sprout. In a sense (ophy), I had internalized what old-school philosophers and new-school scientists agree on: our minds are malleable. In fact, our brains are like a muscle which adapts to the habits we train it with. Thoughts are habits – habits of our mind.

One of the most ground-shattering psychological findings in the last two decades is that we can choose our thoughts. Yes, we can learn optimism and control the content of our consciousness.

2. THAT VOICE IS NOT YOURS.

The voice in your mind didn’t just magically manifest – it came from a combination of factors. One of the most influential determinants is how people spoke to you as a child, both directly and indirectly. Another influence is your environment which laid the foundation of your conscious and unconscious beliefs about what’s both realistic and ethical. For example, if your mom made squeamish faces and implied sex was sinful, it’d wouldn’t surprise me if you’re ashamed of your sexual desires and keep them secretive.

(And you wondered why your love life wasn’t rockin’…)

I once read a quote that went something like this…

“Watch how you talk to your children.
One day they will talk to themselves the same way.”

Any time you doubt yourself and notice you’re thinking self-limiting thoughts, ask yourself “Whose voice is this really?” Is it mom’s or pops’ or big sis’? It could also be another authoritative figure who was instrumental in your life’s development.

A quick note on doubt: Doubt is normal. In fact, everyone feels doubt. It’s a human universal. Our biggest doubt? Yup, it’s that we’re not good enough. And if we’re not good enough, we won’t be loved. Don’t doubt your doubts – we all get ‘em at times.

The voice in our head that we wrestle with isn’t just our immediate family.

For years I wrestled with the voice of masculinity. It told me to posture and position my body in “manly” ways: uncross my legs and keep my feet firmly planted while I protrude my chest making slow eye contact. I’ve wrestled with pop culture telling me that my favorite pair of jean shorts (jorts) we’re unequivocally out of style. Ditch ‘em. I’ve wrestled with societal norms which told me I needed to go to college soI could get a respectable job. The voice of religion and our family’s cultural lineage is a frequent visitor too.

3. STOP LETTING THE VOICE CONTROL YOU.

Here are a few things that can help you to gag that voice and take your life back.

  1. Awareness. When it comes to conquering your thoughts, consciousness is your biggest asset. Step in and question the voice! “Yo – who dat?” Do this daily – even hourly – if it seems appropriate. Make it a habit to challenge your thoughts when they feel self-limiting, constraining, and like they’re depleting your soul’s secret sauce. Seriously. It’s simple, just ask yourself, “Whose voice is that?”
  2. Journaling. Imagine your ideal day. If, in a year, your life could look any way you wanted it to, what would it look like? Now ask yourself why it doesn’t already look like that. Write down the answer you give yourself on paper and pay close attention to the answers. Again, whose beliefs are those? Where did they originate from? Are they rational? Are they facts or opinions? Are they objective or subjective?
  3. Meditation. Perhaps the most powerful force in mastering your mind is meditation. It cultivates your ability to put your mind where you want it, when you want it there. It helps you choose your thoughts, and to step in between life’s situations and your responses to them, allowing you to pick the most beneficial and empowering action. (I’ll be writing a how-to post on this soon.)
  4. Coaching. If you’re serious about succeeding, work with a coach.

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded. But once mastered, no one can help you as much.” -The Dhammapada

So, whose voice is in YOUR head?

And what’s it saying? What are some of the biggest challenges you face with it and how do you deal with them?

Leave a comment below. I’m looking forward to dispelling these illusions together :)

On Purpose,
Jacob

Jacob Sokol is committed to living an extraordinary life. He is a blogger and author of Living on Purpose – An Uncommon Guide to Finding, Living, and Rocking Your Life’s Purpose. 

Experience Life Magazine

7 Ways to Tell That You’re Not Living Your Highest Purpose in Life and What To Do About It

7 Ways to Tell If You’re not Currently Living Your Highest Purpose in Life:

1. You’re not waking up excited in the morning.

If you’re not excited (or at least enthusiastic) in the morning – then you’re most likely not living your highest purpose. If you’re waking up a couple of days each week with a monotonous feeling of having to do this again today – that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you wake up excited in the morning because a personally exciting life awaits you.

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” -Steve Jobs

2. You have really “high highs” and really “low lows.”

If you can’t seem to break the phenomenon of feeling absolutely phenomenal for a few days, but then kind of crappy afterwords – then you’re most likely not living your highest purpose. If you can notice a pattern of thinking how amazing life is one week, and how shitty it is the next – that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you still have the really high highs but you also have much higher lows (and your happiness becomes sustainable).

“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed. I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live – that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.” -Dan Millman

3. Your life isn’t entirely fulfilling you anymore.

If despite knowing that you have SO much to be greatful for, deep inside there’s a feeling that something missing in your life- then you’re most likely not living your highest purpose. If you’re doing a lot of the things that society suggests are “right,” but you still feel that something is wrong – that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you’re entirely fulfilled because you’re living a life engulfed in personal meaning.

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” -Helen Keller

4. You’re surrounded by people who are bringing you down.

If you find yourself surrounded by people who are bitching, nagging, criticizing, complaining, and condemning – then you’re most likely not living your highest purpose. If you don’t have a group of people in your life who’s qualities you admire – that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you’re spending the majority of your time with people who inspire, empower, and encourage you to be a better person.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn

5. You’re ignoring your dreams because you’re scared to move on.

If a couple times each month you start to fantasize about what you would do if you had more free time – then you’re most likely not living your highest purpose. If there are a ton of things you’d rather be doing with your life, but haven’t yet found a way to muster up the courage and tell your family and friends – that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you’re spending your time doing the things that you love most in life (whether your family and friends understand/agree with your or not).

“If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.” -Abraham Maslow

6. You’re working in a job that depletes you of energy.

If the primary purpose of your job is to get a paycheck and there’s not much personal meaning in what you do – then you’re most likely not living your highest purpose. If you’re counting the days until the next three-day weekend or six-day vacation – that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you don’t just have a job but you have a calling (one of the many differences between a “job” and a “calling” is that a job depletes you and a calling energizes you).

“The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which; he simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” -Buddha

7. You feel stuck in the “rat race” but don’t know the next step.

If you’re in a perpetual state of thinking that you’ll be “happier when” the next good thing happens and you’re not enjoying the journey – then you’re most likely not living your highest purpose. If you’re so focused on getting “there” that you’ve accepted being submerged in stress and anxiety as normal – that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you’ve embraced that the priceless pleasure of life comes from enjoying the journey on your way to a destination deemed meaningful.

“For a master, the rewards gained along the way are fine, but they are not the main reason for the journey. Ultimately the master and the master’s path are one. And if the traveler is fortunate – that is, if the path is complex and profound enough – the destination is two miles farther away for every mile he or she travels.” -George Leonard

If any of the above resonated with you, you’re not alone.

t wasn’t too long ago that I was the poster-child for embodying all 7 of these above mistakes (plus a dozen more). My life was the quintessential example of being “off purpose.” It’s precisely because I’ve felt that pain – and was able to escape it, find my purpose, and create an extraordinary life – that I’m so passionate about helping you do the same. I’m here for ya homey!

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7 Tips and Tricks that You Can Use to Help Find Your Purpose:

1. Make your motivations intrinsic.

Untold Truth: As privileged and lucky as we are, society sets us up for failure because it motivates us with extrinsic incentives like fame, wealthy, and beauty. Chasing these things are flashy and fun for a short time but ultimately unfulfilling. They’re like drinking salt-water when you’re thristy.

What To Do: To remove those “low low” feelings, focus on intrinsic incentives like relationships, contribution, and personal growth. Create a life around them and you’ll be super On Purpose.

“Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.” -Barack Obama

2. Live in integrity with your values.

Untold Truth: If you want to find and live your purpose, you’re gonna need to know what you stand for. I’ve found that the best way to know what you stand for is to get clarity on what it is that you value. What’s important to you? What do you give a shit about? If you were running for the toilet and had no time to think, could you tell me what your top five values are without stopping and soiling yourself?

What To Do: To help find your values, questions thing. Try stuff out. Experiment. Do the opposite of what you were told. Step outside of the box. CRACK YOUR COMFORT ZONE! And then *reflect on what’s important to you.* (This worksheet will help.) Once you know what’s important to you, the more that you act in accordance with those values, the better you’re gonna feel about yourself.

“If you want to be faithful to someone, start by being faithful to yourself.”
-Paulo Coelho

3. Become comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.

Untold Truth: Our lives are limited within the confines of our “comfort zone.” When we get out of our comfort zone, and become uncomfortable, WE WIN LIFE! The cool thing about comfort zones is that when we step outta them, they grow! That’s right — by being momentarily uncomfortable, we own our fear, and in the future, the things that scared us aren’t so intimidating anymore. If you want to find your purpose, you’re probably going to have to do things that you’ve never done before – and in order to do them, you’re going to need to get outside of your comfort zone.

What To Do: Feel that discomfort, and despite it’s presence, go do what you need to do. The more you do that, the less uncomfortable you’ll feel in the future. Make it a game to become comfortable being uncomfortable and you’ll find your purpose much sooner.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela

4. Embark on the “Hero’s Journey.

Untold Truth: This “Hero’s Journey” is the a common thread amongst all great characters (and stories) in life. Your soul is calling to you. It’s trying to tell you that you have a unique path that only you can take. Your mind can rationalize all sorts of award-winning reasons why you shouldn’t take the untraveled trail. But to deny that call from your soul is to deny yourself the life that you deserve to live. It’s the difference between being fully ALIVE and cruising aimlessly on auto-pilot all your life.

What To Do: In order to create an extraordinary life, you’re going to need to walk away from what you know. You’re going to have to face your fears, improve your conditioning, and create your own unique path. You’re going to feel scared, excited, and alive!

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anais Nin

5. Combine your strengths with your passions.

Untold Truth: People who are Living On Purpose are continuously using their strengths while doing work that matters to them on a daily basis.

What To Do: Science is suggesting that instead of focusing on your weaknesses, get them to the point when they won’t harm you, and then cultivate the crap outta your strengths. This is what will make you extraordinary. Then use your strengths to do things that make you excited and watch a sense of confidence and fulfillment appear within you (and if you mix service to other people in the mix, your purpose will appear before you know it!)

“I do not believe that you should devote overly much effort to correcting your weaknesses. Rather, I believe that the highest success in living and the deepest emotional satisfaction comes from building and using your signature strengths.” -Martin Seligman

6. Avoid the trap of validation.

Untold Truth: As a baby, we need love. So from a young age we create images of ourselves, pretending to be what we think other people want us to be. Then we project these images into our relationships and try our best to actually be the images. But of course, we can’t ever completely conform to someone else’s vision. And this is how inner conflict originates. When people start to feel a discrepancy between the image they’re projecting, and their authentic selves, MAJOR conflict arises within them.

What To Do: In order to find and live your purpose, you’re gonna need to become indifferent of other people’s opinions of you. This goes for both the good and the bad opinions of other people – they can both be used as forms of validation if unchecked. Here’s a counter-intuitive tidbit of wisdom: The less you look for other people’s approval, the more of it they’ll give to you.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” -Jiddu Krishnamurti

7. Start Living On Purpose!

Untold Truth: If you want to be fulfilled in life, finding and living your purpose is not only something you can do, it’s something you must do. You can continue to live a boring life without sustained happiness, and you can pretend like you don’t know there’s more to life, but one day – maybe in a few months, or maybe in a few decades – you may wake up miserable and resenting yourself for not doing something about it when you had the chance.

What To Do: Start Living On Purpose! I want to make sure that you don’t get stuck living a life that’s not extraordinary so I’ve created a package called Living On Purpose. It aims to help you find, live, and rock your purpose in life! Start “Living on Purpose!”

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” -Robin Sharma

Jacob Sokol is committed to living an extraordinary life. He is the creator of Living on Purpose – An Uncommon Guide to Finding, Living, and Rocking Your Life’s Purpose. Find out more about Jacob at www.sensophy.com.

Experience Life Magazine

What to Watch Out For, the Number One Type of Motivator

“Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.” – Barack Obama

Do you ever question what makes you tick? What motivates you? And why you do what you do?

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Sure – there’s the type of motivation associated with a great pep-talk or an inspirational speech but I’m speaking of something more fundamental here. I’m referring to the why of the what – the reason for the action. The motive in the motivation.

When it comes to happiness and “Living On Purpose,” there are two main types of motivation to be aware of. In this section, we’re gonna talk about which type to watch out for – the one you’re gonna want to stay away from. It’s a little something I call – sound the horror music – dum, dum, dum…

EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION!

The word “extrinsic” means to not be part of something’s nature. It’s a force that’s coming or operating from outside of ourselves. When we’re extrinsically motivated, we don’t dictate the meaning behind our actions, but instead, blindly accept that it is what we’re supposed to do.

I’ll give you a few examples:

• When I was working 60 hours a week to keep a job that made me feel miserable in the morning but look successful in the evening – EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION.

• When I was in high-school and spent $150 on Air Jordan sneakers so I would have the same “exclusive fresh kicks” that every other white-boy in Queens, NY was rocking – EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION.

• When I name-drop famous people that I’ve spent time with (out of context) in conversations to make myself seem more connected and cool – EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION.

• And even all the times in my life when I’ve been too chicken-shit to approach a beautiful woman who I’d love to build a healthy relationship with because I may look like a loser if she rejects me in public – EXTRINSIC MOTIVATION!

We don’t need to completely eliminate all extrinsic motivators, but it’s a good idea to identify which ones to stay away from and why. Ultimately, extrinsic rewards don’t last and we can’t build a sustainably happy existence when there’s no substance within what we’re striving for. They’re nice in small doses but only as dessert, not as our main meals.

It’s like thinking that you’d be able to sustain a healthy existence eating crème brûlée, strawberry cheesecake, and chocolate waffles for every one of your main meals. You’ve got a snowball’s chance in hell that it’ll work out well.

But instead, if you decided to use extrinsic motivation as “treats” on occasion… I see no harm in that.

Here are three main types of extrinsic motivators to watch out for:

1. Fame
2. Wealth
3. Beauty

Can you identify a time in your life when you were chasing these things?

Take a minute to think about it.

Let’s start with fame. Maybe you weren’t looking to be Miss America or Macho Man Randy Savage, but this nasty nuisance of looking for fame still reveals itself in other ways. For instance, tell me about the promotion you were working so hard to get. Was it because you’d be able to grow as a person, or was it because of the prestige that’s associated with your new title? Or maybe it was to get more money to buy new toys that would cause others’ jaws to drop? I’m not saying the promotion itself is evil, but just be aware of WHY you’re going for it.

Or how about the letters after your name, Miss PhD? Was that because you wanted to be credited with the prestige that comes with your elite title? Or was it because you sincerely cared about helping people and those letters came along for the ride?

Moving on… Wealth. There’s nothing wrong with money. In fact, I’m actually quite fond of money. But – and this is a real fatty – I’m not willing to sacrifice the quality of my life in order to obtain surpluses of money that don’t bring lasting happiness. Money itself is a tool that enables us to be in integrity with our values. If one of your values is eating the most pure and organic foods you can find, money will help with that.

Listen, I’ve seen just as many episodes of MTV Cribs as the next recovering consumerist. I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to be ballin in a big-dawg mansion where chocolate squirts from the sink and the floors massage my feet as I walk. I could totally get used to that. But don’t be fooled into thinking that that type of lavish-living is gonna give you meaning in life. Purpose, happiness, and personal success aren’t sustainable by chasing things like that. Those things only have longevity when they’re the byproducts of a deeper purpose and a more meaningful mission.

Next, let’s look at beauty. Hey, I’m not complaining here. I love looking at a beautiful woman with a smoking body and a dolled-up dress on. I’m happy to spin her around and sweep her up off her feet and onto my Friday night calendar. But as corny as it sounds, real beauty comes from the inside and I could never spend a lifetime with someone who isn’t as equally (if not more) beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.

Hey, Victoria Secret models. I’ve got a little secret for ya. That sexy six pack of yours won’t last forever, and if you base your happiness on how many guys are checking out your body as you’re wearing booty shorts on the beach strip – when that six pack turns to six flaps, your surface shallow happiness will turn into emptiness. From personal experience, I’ve learned it’s smart to watch out for girls who base their identity solely on their beauty.

There’s nothing wrong with a 6 pack, or a chocolate squirting sink, or even a PhD – in fact, they can be absolutely amazing – but if we’re focusing solely on them in order to bring us happiness, I’m afraid we’re gonna find ourselves bent over in a very uncomfortable position one day.

Now that we know what not to focus on, let’s spend some time paying attention to what it is that will make us the most fulfilled. We can call these things INTRINSIC motivators.

YES YES YES YES YES.

Now we’re getting down to the cornucopia’s core. Let’s take some time and talk about the number-one type of motivator. This is the one worth pursuing. This is the one that’ll make all the difference in our lives. This is INTRINSIC motivation!

Intrinsic motivation is the shizznit! The word “intrinsic” means inherent or INSIDE your nature. It comes from within and isn’t affected by outer circumstances. Simply said, intrinsic motivation is something with significant personal meaning to you. It isn’t influenced and persuaded by other people, pop culture, or current trends.

We now know that extrinsic motivation usually comes from a place of lacking. It comes from the place of, “I don’t currently have enough.” Whether it’s money, status, power, love, or approval, beware of extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, comes from the desire to engage in an activity because we find inherent value in doing so. In other words, the activity itself is rewarding – it’s not some laborious task we do in order to someday be happy. Hells no!
The most powerful purpose you can have is one that is intrinsically motivated. When people say things like “follow your passion,” what they really mean is do things you love doing because there’s intrinsic value in it!

When you start to base your motivations for life around things that are INTRINSICALLY rewarding, a big shift will happen. You’ll start to notice yourself feeling fulfilled.
Here are some specific examples of intrinsic motivation:

• When I left my job because I wasn’t fulfilled spending 60 hours a week sitting inside of a cubicle, eating crap carbs to temporarily eliminate my emotional instability – INTRINSIC MOTIVATION.

• When I decided that I was tired of having seductive one night stands with strange women and committed to getting into a healthy long-term relationship – INTRINSIC MOTIVATION.

• When I stopped eating meat because I wanted to boost my energy levels and stabilize my moods – INTRINSIC MOTIVATION.

• And when I spend 1000s of hours consciously working on my personal evolution to become a better man – INTRINSIC MOTIVATION!

Operating from a place of intrinsic motivation is very grounding. It takes your head out of your ass and puts it in a position to see things clearly. When you start to operate in this way, you’ll notice a newfound personal power come into your life because suddenly, you know what matters to you.

Speaking of what matters to you, we can classify most intrinsic motivation into these three categories:

1. Personal Growth
2. Relationships
3. Contribution

Can you identify a time, event, or period in your life when you did something that was INTRINSICALLY meaningful to you?

Take a minute to think about it.

Let’s take a look at each of the above.

Personal growth is something I’ve subscribed to long before I knew what a “Tony Robbins” was. It’s all about improving ourselves and continuously getting better throughout our life’s journey.

Science says that the universe is continuously expanding. I say, so are we! It’s our natural state to grow, to expand, to thrive, to flourish and to be beautiful. That’s amazing.
So if our natural state is continued growth, why is it that we get stuck in life, become stagnant, and feel like shit sandwiches sometimes?

Part of the reason is because we’re frightened and have scars from past experiences. Another part is that we lack imagination and faith in our ideal futures. But here’s where I think it all starts from…

I believe it’s because we’re born into sick societies that don’t give a rat’s-ass about us being healthy. The system is screwed up and it’s in “The Owners” of this country’s best interest to keep us below them. The system is designed to get you sick, keep you weak, and leave you powerless. They want you just healthy enough to keep the machines in motion, but not strong or smart enough to change anything. (The late great George Carlin goes off on this here).

But instead of complaining over a bunch of crazystuff we can’t control, let’s put our locus of control within ourselves and do something.

It’s crucial that we take control and consciously focus on expanding ourselves. We can’t leave this task up to anyone else. We’ve gotta create the conditions for ourselves to grow. And it doesn’t need to be in the sense of reading books and attending seminars.

Maybe it’s getting better at your jump-shot. Maybe it’s developing a new happiness habit. Or maybe it’s learning something which you always wanted to. The point is, always continue to grow!

After studying a ton of remarkable people, I’ve found that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Did you get that?

If you’re not growing, you’re dying!

I don’t mean to get too heavy here but it’s some deep shit. My suggestion is that you only stop growing when you’re ready to die. But onto a lighter note…

Next up, relationships. This is a cool one. There’s something powerful in having the ability to open yourself up and connect with people. “Why is it so cool?” you ask.

My take is that your relationship with others is extremely indicative of your relationship with yourself. The more love, generosity, compassion, trust, and kindness you can extend to others, the more you’ll be able to feel those things within yourself. It’s not the easiest thing to do because we’ve all got our own struggles.

But there’s something so divinely powerful in being able to cut through the crap and connect with someone on a soulful level. Whether it’s romantic or platonic, living life without connecting with people will eventually feel empty. Spend time focusing on connecting with people. Think about what you can GIVE to them and suddenly the heaviness of life is lifted up off of your shoulders.

And now let’s talk about contribution. This is the granddaddy pillar of a great existence. It’s one of the main reasons why I do what I do – to give!

One of the guys who introduced me to the idea of a personal evolution had the opportunity to ask one-time Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, a single question. It went something along the lines of this:

“How does Google retain all of the world’s top talent?”

And Schmidt’s answer was simple:

“The people at Google don’t work primarily for money; they work to create impact in other people’s lives!”

Question your motive the next time you do something. Does your motive involve growth, relationships and contribution? Or, are you doing what you are to be perceived as famous, wealthy, and beautiful?

Begin to make decisions based on the former and watch a flow of fulfillment start to form as the foundation of your happiness in life.

Jacob Sokol is committed to living an extraordinary life. On August 30, 2011, he released Living on Purpose – An Uncommon Guide to Finding, Living, and Rocking Your Life’s Purpose. You can save 25% off of Living On Purpose it you purchase it by Friday, September 2nd and use the discount code “ExperienceLife”.

View the first chapter of Living on Purpose.