How to enjoy what you do

Work is only “work” if you don’t absolutely love it.

It’s like this: when you are spending time on a hobby, you are still spending time and effort – in the same way you would when you are working.
The only difference is, the first is something you love to do and do without being paid. The latter you do out of a need to pay bills.

But that is not the only way to do things.
There are ways you can design a career that involves doing things you love.

It is truly a blessing when you can make a living doing something you truly love.
I was watching a documentary the other day about free solo climbing (Free Solo). The climber, Alex, absolutely loved what he did. He could do it without having to worry about money because his passion generated a living for him.
That’s what I’m talking about when I talk about making a living from doing the things you love.

Work is only a chore when you don’t really enjoy what you do.
So if you don’t enjoy what you do now, either find a way to make it something you really enjoy.
Or, find a way to do the things you really love.

How can you make your work into play?

My 5 step framework for effectively dealing with anxiety and stress

Anxiety and stress are experienced by everyone.
No one really is completely immune to anxiety.
We all feel it, and that’s not a bad thing.

Anxiety is a survival mechanism – it helped us survive, and still does.
Without a bit of anxiety, we would stop being vigilant, and become too complacent.

But it becomes a challenge when the feelings become overpowering.
That’s when it starts to take over our ability to function properly.

While dealing with my own anxiety a while back, and trying out CBT, I came up with a framework to help me effectively process and deal with my stressors.

I’m going to lay out the steps for my framework below – hopefully, others can benefit from it.

Here are the 5 steps:
1. Determine intensity – on a scale of 1-10, how worried are you?
2. Determine the reasons – why are you worried?
3. Determine options – can you do something/anything about it? If yes, what can you do now? If no, is there any point of worrying?
4. Take action – if you can do something, do it. If not, stop thinking about it.
5. Shift your focus – once you have done what you can do, stop spending your time and energy on it. Do something to shift your focus. For instance, watch a movie, read an engaging book, have a conversation with a friend, cook, do some gardening, etc.

Next time you are stressed or worrying, try this five-step framework to help you deal with whatever is stressing you and making you anxious.

Did you try it?
Let me know how you found it.
Any suggestions?

Stop letting your fears hold you back

If you have been procrastinating on a goal because you’re worried about it failing… stop.

Stop holding yourself back.
Stop worrying about what might happen.

Nobody knows the future.

The best you can do is the best you can do.
So just start already.
Stop letting your fears hold you back.

Do you really want what you think you want?

Being popular and in-demand can be great.
Until you’re too much in demand, too popular.
Then it can become a burden.

That’s why a lot of celebs go to extreme lengths to hide or disguise their identity when they go out.
And go to great lengths to protect their privacy.
Most have guards, and security, to safeguard their privacy, and safety.

Too much of anything can be a pain.
There is always a flip side to the coin.
So be careful of what you wish for.

Understand the flip side.
Because that’s the only way you can begin to prepare for it.

The pursuit of materialism

The world now revolves around materialism.
The pursuit of having more, buying more, and getting more defines our society these days, by and large.

That is not a good thing.
Either for us individually.
Or collectively.
And it’s certainly not good for the world as a whole.

Materialism is a short-term strategy that favours small immediate pleasures over long-term benefits.
Often to get validation from others.

It leads to more waste.
It leads to more debt.
It leads to more clutter.
And it also leads to more unhappiness.

A better life happens when you think for yourself, rather than when you make decisions in order to “look good” or “fit in”.
If having more was the key to happiness, just having money would be enough.
And all those happy people who have very little would not be happy.
Having more is not the same as being happy.

That said, the point isn’t to stop buying things altogether, but rather to think before you buy.
The point is to be more mindful about the things you buy, their impact, and their necessity.

Think before you act, and buy only what you need.
That’s not just better for your life, it’s also good for the environment, and the world.

5 Things I learned About Cannabis

I was watching a documentary on cannabis last night (on BBC), and here are five of the main things I learned from it.

1. Cannabis is mainly comprised of two chemical components – THC and CBD. THC is what causes people to experience a “high”, whereas CBD does not have any psychoactive effect.

2. There is research to support the beneficial impact of cannabis on chronic pain. As for its impact on other health conditions like epilepsy, most of the evidence is anecdotal at this point in time.

3. Our bodies naturally generate cannabinoids, which partly explains why they have the beneficial impacts they do. That said, scientists don’t yet fully understand how cannabinoids work.

4. The most commonly used version of recreational cannabis is called Skunk (mainly because of its strong smell). It has a high content of THC which is what causes a lot of cannabis users to experience psychotic episodes (including paranoia and panic attacks). Used daily, Skunk can seriously increase the risk of psychotic problems.

5. In Israel, they have been using cannabis for many years, and regularly prescribe it. Doctors there are fairly well versed in its use (namely the right dosages). Especially with elderly patients and people with chronic pain, it’s one of their most commonly used treatment options.

Cannabis is becoming more and more mainstream, especially because of the researches that are finding out about the positive impact it has on some medical conditions. I know very little about cannabis, so this was enlightening.

For years we believed cannabis to be bad. But now it’s turning out that that’s not the entire truth. So it is important to examine, and even question, our beliefs from time to time. Because what we believe to be true and what actually is true aren’t always one and the same.

What do you think?

Embracing your inner artist, and what it means

Being an artist is not just about painting, or singing, or something similar.
Everyone can be an artist.

Being an artist is about understanding that art isn’t just about painting or music, but that anyone who embraces their truth and puts their work out there is an artist.

It’s about being true to yourself.
It’s about honesty and integrity.
It’s about standing up for what you believe in.

Being an artist is about putting what you believe in, and your truth, out there.
It’s about being open and vulnerable.
It’s about shedding your skins and masks.

Being an artist is about not being scared of critics and criticisms, including the unjustified and unqualified ones.
It’s about thinking aloud.
It’s about having a thick skin.

Being an artist is about realising that you are mortal.
It’s about grasping the reality that if you don’t share your truth today, you may never get the chance.
It’s about a burning desire to make the world a better place, sharing your work, paying it forward and helping others.

Being an artist is about being scared and doing it anyway.
It’s about embracing your fears.
And most importantly, it’s about realising that the work you put out there is bigger than you and can impact others in ways you have no capacity to really know or understand.

If you have something in you that you want to put out there, embrace your inner artist.
Embrace your fears.
Then do it.

Go be an artist.

Where you are born matters, but…

Where we are born has a huge impact on our future.
And the quality of our lives.

Those born in the West have a much better quality of life, and prospects, than those born elsewhere.
This is generalising of course, but by and large this is the truth for a huge portion of the population.
The majority in fact.

Warren Buffet, the legendary investor, is very clued on to this fact.
He knows that if he was born in a developing country, for instance, his future might have been very, very different.
This is where Warren Buffets’ ovarian lottery concept comes from.

And that’s just the reality.
But there’s a caveat.

Luck does play a part – the life we have isn’t entirely within our control.
But that does not mean we have no control.
We CAN do something – we can do our best.

We don’t have control over where we are born or most of the early part of our lives, but we do have the ability to change our future.
But only when we do something about it.

That is what sets the people at the top apart from the rest.
That’s how the people who make a dent in the universe do so.

If you are not where you want to be, do something about it.
Do whatever you can do.
Just start.

Two things to try when you are in a bad mood

Pretending to not be in a bad mood…
Does not really work.

You can smile to hide your anger, but that does not get rid of your anger.
You can fake being enthusiastic, but that does not get rid of your frustration.
You can act like you are happy, but that does not get rid of your unhappiness.

Pretending to be in a good mood when you are actually in a bad mood is tantamount to living in denial.
And denial rarely, if ever, works.

Pretense does not really work, not in the long term anyway.
What does work, however, is acknowledging them, and being honest with yourself about your feelings.
The other thing that works is sharing.

When you acknowledge your bad mood, it helps you understand what is going on inside, and that helps you deal with it.
As for sharing, it feels good to talk with people, and share what you are feeling.

Those things help.
Denying and pretending do not.

If you are in a bad mood, don’t pretend you are not.
That nearly always makes it worse (can even backfire…).
A better option is to acknowledge the bad mood, understand the cause(s), and deal with them.
Also, share with others.

Try these two things when you are in a bad mood, because they really do help.

Don’t pretend things are good when they are not.
Deal with things as they are.
Be honest with yourself.

If you are trying to please everyone, you need to know this

Trying to please everyone is an impossible goal.
Because you can NEVER please everyone.

Even the nicest people in the world have haters (think Ned Flanders in the Simpsons…).
Even the most successful people in the world have people who don’t like or admire them (just think about the number of haters people like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson have).
Even the most zen people in the world will have people who just don’t like or agree with them (yes, even the Dalai Lama has people who don’t agree with his philosophy of peace…).

There are lots of reasons why it’s impossible to please everyone, including jealousy, personal bias, or even something as random as the weather or even the temperature!

Human beings are unpredictable.
We often don’t even understand why we feel all the things we feel.
So it is pointless trying to do something that will please everyone.
Because it won’t.
And you just can’t.

No matter how much or hard you try, you just cannot please everyone.
The sooner you understand that the sooner you can start living the life you really want.
The sooner you do that, the sooner you can start having an impact, and make your dent…

Do things because you believe them to be the right thing to do, and not because you seek approval from everyone.
Do good.
Do right.
Do what helps you move forward.

Stop trying to please everyone.