I’m not a fan of “life hacks.”
There’s too many people looking for shortcuts. Shortcuts won’t get you to where you want to be. It’s not because shortcuts don’t provide results, it’s because they don’t provide experience.
Ultimately, it is knowing what to do and how to do it that will get you to the promise land.
Sometimes, you may find a shortcut in life that will lead to a quick win. That’s all well and good but in the long run, quick wins don’t teach you how to take care of yourself. Only experience can do that.
There are three areas in life in which there are no shortcuts. There is no way around it. These things must be earned.
1 – A Fit Body
The reason we all secretly admire people we encounter who have great bodies is because we know that they had to do the work required to earn it. We envy them for the discipline and focus required.
There’s no way around it.
You can’t lift heavy for one day and get strong. You can’t run for 10 straight hours and be in shape. You can’t starve yourself for a day and lose weight.
You can’t cheat. It’s the same reason why you can’t fly and why you can’t travel back in time. The laws of physics do not allow for it.
A fit body must be earned. It must be earned over the course of months and years. Most importantly, it must be maintained. Because the only thing harder than getting in shape is staying in shape. Entropy is always working against you, so keeping your body fit is one of life’s greatest achievements.
You are proving to yourself and to the world that you have what it takes to resist nature.
2 – A Calm Mind
Our minds have one priority.
We are designed to survive.
The human brain is one of the most complicated and beautiful creations in the history of time. There’s never been anything like it. It’s a marvelous wonder.
And to think, this beautiful and sophisticated creation is hardwired for one thing about all else. Our brains are programmed to avoid pain.
So what happens?
We are always on the lookout for things that can hurt us. We are constantly analyzing who we can trust, what will sneak up on us, where is safe to go and not safe to go.
It’s no wonder why our culture is riddled with depression and anxiety. Our prehistoric brains are overwhelmed with data and input and we are overloaded with the constant threat of danger and predators.
Our brains have not caught up with the times. A state of anxiety is the natural state of our physiology. We haven’t yet adjusted to the modern world. So our natural state of mind is a busy mind.
A calm state is unnatural. A calm state is super human. A calm state requires trust and acceptance and giving up control, which is exactly the opposite of what we are wired to do.
To earn a calm mind is to fight against evolution. There is no life hack or shut cut for that.
A calm mind is the byproduct of daily practice and self reflection and self awareness. There’s only one way to have a calm mind. That is to earn it.
3 – A Loving Home
It’s much easier to be bitter and resentful.
It’s much easier to focus on other people’s flaws and shortcoming. It’s difficult to be accepting and to show people love when they let you down.
Because people will always let you down. The problem is that we take it personal. We think that someone was out to hurt us, in reality, everything that people do is a reflection of their current state and outlook on life at that moment.
To always be loving and accepting means to be always putting other people first with no guarantee that they will do the same for you.
That’s what faith is. Belief in something that hasn’t happened yet.
That’s what God is. God is love.
We are, all of us, self centered by nature. We think about ourselves. We talk about ourselves. When we walk into a room and people are laughing, we think they are laughing at us. We are the center of our own worlds.
The point is that to have a home filled with love means that you are always thinking of someone other than yourself. And it means your spouse or family or roommate is doing the same for you.
It’s reciprocal. It’s based on trust. It’s a beautiful thing.
It can’t be bought or tricked or manipulated. Love is love. Which makes it even more special because none of us can actually define what we are feeling, but we all it when we are feeling it.
Dare to Suffer
I had a friend named Sarah a few years back. I’ve mentioned her in my blog before. One time she said to me…
“I dare you to suffer.”
It always stuck with me.
She was teaching me that the things worth having are the things worth suffering for. A physically fit body, a clear mind, a loving home, a strong career, achievements of all kinds, they all require suffering.
All we want to do is avoid pain. How cruel it is that the things we want most require the most pain. We must do the things we wish to avoid to have the things we wish to have.
That’s the way it should be and that’s the way it always will be.
If it were easy, anyone would do it. Peace of mind and serenity are not free. They are reserved for those who are willing to endure.