Posted in Uncategorized

Why You Need to Stop Thinking and Just Do It

There are some things in life we just can’t ready ourselves for.

Jumping out of a helicopter, walking onto a stage in front of hundreds of people who are judging your every move, and pretty much any other experience where you’re trying to do something that truly means something to you.

And, for me, one of those moments occurred a few years ago.

I used to be a gymnast. There was this all-hail move that I’d always wanted to learn. It was something I’d watch on the Olympics all the time, I’d look up videos of pros doing, and daydream about doing myself.

It was called a roundoff back handspring.

It’s not the most intense of moves in gymnastics, but it’s also not the easiest. If a cartwheel rated a 1 on a scale of difficulty from 1-10, a roundoff back handspring probably rated a 4 or so.

Well, I’d known how to do a roundoff since I’d been a little kid, and at the time I was attempting to do the roundoff back handspring, I’d had a standing back handspring for years under my belt.

But there’s something very special about a roundoff back handspring; it’s almost like a special gateway to every other tumbling move in gymnastics. Once you can do a roundoff back handspring, you gain the skill and the confidence to begin attempting even the hardest of moves, and it’s like the one move that connects them all together.

But there’s a catch.

Just because I knew how to do a roundoff and a standing back handspring separately doesn’t mean I can immediately just put them together. There’s this intense force that you have to break down and erode before you can.

And that demon force is none other than your own self-doubt.

A roundoff is simple; it’s a cartwheel, but you land with both feet on the ground instead of one after another. It’s got more of a spring to it, allowing you to have the momentum to flip afterward. A standing back handspring is where you jump backwards, land with your hands on the ground in a handstand, then push off the ground and flip again, landing back on your feet. Think of it the way a slinky moves down the stairs.

A roundoff back handspring is where you land the roundoff, and before you can recover from that landing, you use the forward motion to jump backwards and upside-down into that back handspring.

Seems pretty simple in theory, right?

I remember the day I was at the gym, standing on the floor, shaking with fear. It should be simple. It made complete sense. I knew I could do both the roundoff and standing back handspring perfectly separately. Why would putting them together be so terrifying?

Well, when you begin the roundoff, you run into it for more momentum. Already going this fast, you land from it very quickly and then to jump backward right after this feels like you lose all control. That jump backward from a roundoff into the back handspring feels like you’re just jumping backward into oblivion. If you chicken out, like I did the first thousand times that day, you have this horrible head rush and the terror that you damn well could have broken your neck if you went all the way.

I kept trying to tell myself that I could do it. My friend—who already had her roundoff back handspring—told me that I could do it. I remember telling her I was too scared of that feeling—that jumping into nothing sensation—and wanted to leave and just try again next week.

But she shook her head, pushed me back onto the floor and told me, “I did the same thing you’re doing when I first got mine. It’s just one of those things you can’t get ready for; you’ll never feel like you can do it. It’ll feel terrifying and impossible. So you just have to not think about it, and do it. Then, you’ll be fine.”

I let out a huge breath and squared my shoulders. This is it. I’m doing it this time. I told myself. It was nice knowing me.

I ran and performed my roundoff. I used the speed and launched myself backward, and had just enough time to think of the horrible mistake I was making, that terror in the pit of my stomach, before I felt the ground underneath my fingers. I pushed off the floor and swung my legs around and landed on my feet.

Perfectly.

And I did about five hundred more roundoff back handsprings after it. It was one of the best days of my life. And one of the best lessons I’ve ever had in my life.

That was just something that I couldn’t possibly ready myself for. It was pure fear. You’re literally shooting yourself backward into a world of complete unknown. No amount of practicing my standing back handspring and roundoff would have prepared me for a roundoff back handspring. The only thing that actually allowed me to do it was by doing it.

Your mind is the most powerful enemy you’ll ever face when you’re trying to follow your dreams. And just like the day I conquered the roundoff back handspring, I can conquer starting my own business, writing a new book, singing live, anything. It isn’t about feeling ready or getting rid of the fear.

It’s about just doing it anyway.

The start is the scary part. Once you get past that, everything else becomes easier because you finally know that you can do it.

And right after I did that first roundoff back handspring—after my celebration, of course—I spent the entire rest of the day doing them over and over and over again. I wasn’t scared at all anymore; that feeling of jumping into the unknown became an exhilarating thrill. Because I knew that I could handle anything that happened after I jumped. That led me to trying roundoff back handspring back tucks and twists and a whole arsenal of new moves.

You just have to start.

Whatever your roundoff back handspring may be in your life, stop waiting. Stop preparing.

And just do it

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Posted in Dreamer Lifestyle, Motivation

It Doesn’t Have to Be this Way

    You.

   There, behind the desk in the tiny, cramped up office.

   Yes, you.

   Do you dream of overturning that desk?

   Do you write and rewrite that letter telling off your boss and declaring your resignation?

   Do you feel like there’s something more out there, just waiting for you to scoop up that opportunity and take it?!

   Of course you don’t.

   Because in this world, I see a few types of people.

   There are the dreamers. The ones who either were given successful careers and dance across their lives in pure joy and contentment or those who worked like hell to get it.

   Then, there are the squandered dreamers. The ones who are sitting behind that ruddy old desk, just like yours, but who gaze out that window into the endless horizon, dreaming about what it would be like to just leave and start off their greatest adventures… But never having the courage or opportunity to go for it.

   Then, there’s you.

   You don’t think that there’s anything out there. You look at those dreamers, or those closet dreamers, and you think, Pfft. How naïve do ya have to be? None of that’s for people like me. Sometime, they’s all gonna have to wake up in the real world.

   Now, the voice in my head as I wrote that was a rickety old man who’d most likely pick up a cane and wave it at those darned meddling kids to get off his lawn right after that spiel. You know why? Because his thoughts are such an old way of thinking. Back when we sat around the fire and wondered how it got there.

   Back then, sure, that was a common idea of how the world worked. You go to school, maybe go to college, if you’re the favorite child, get a good job, make some money, get married, have kids, retire and die. Yeah, you’re right. I don’t see “follow your heart” anywhere in there, either. Let’s just discard the idea of that world and try to think about this.

   Is this the kind of life you want to live?

   Really think about this. I don’t want you to start thinking about all the reasons it has to be this way, I don’t want your excuses, I don’t want to hear that you’re not special so you don’t even have a chance. I don’t want to hear it.

   This idea of the “real world” that everyone keeps talking about doesn’t exist. It’s a figment of your imagination. It’s something someone made up a long, long time ago to scare you. Do you know why they wanted to scare you? Because they were scared. They were the same as you, stuck in a dead end, colorless life, unable to find a way out. And misery loves company, right? They banded together and created what we now know as society.

   You look at all these famous people, all these successful people and you think, well that could never be me. But have you talked to any of them? Have you taken a brief look at their lives? They never thought they’d be them either.

   What makes you any different?

   I hear people around me, every single day, counting down the days until they retire. Retire! They are counting down the days of their lives! Staying miserable at whatever dead end job they have just because they think that there is no way out. More than that, they are afraid of that way out. There’s always a way out. But it’s what’s beyond that door that you’re afraid of.

   I get it.

   Nobody likes change.

   But take it from someone who knows. Change is damned hard, but try to think about what you have right now. That dead end job in that place where barely anyone knows your name, where the work you do today gets sent in and no one cares about it by tomorrow.

   Are you honestly happy?

   We don’t like change because it’s uncomfortable. We’ve got a status quo and when we release that and grab onto something new, we don’t know if that’s gonna hold us. But think about what you’ve got now. It might hold you, but it’s not doing much else.

   With the type of person I’m talking about, the ones who believe in the “real world,” the ones who are terrified beyond belief, I’m not sure if anything I’ve written here is going to mean anything to you. You probably think that finding happiness in your life is a hoax. Or it’s not worth the effort. Or it’s not meant for “someone like you.” And I could sit here and try to convince you that you’re wrong.

   But I won’t.

   I can’t change the mind of someone who doesn’t want their mind to be changed.

   But I’ll leave you with this.

   You’ve got a life. You have been brought to life by whatever being you want to believe put you here. You can think, you can feel. You’ve got your very own name. You have a personality. Talents. Even if you don’t know what they are, you’ve got them.

   If you think about it, you’re a masterpiece. Just Google how your brain works, how you heal yourself, your emotions and your inner structure. It’s incredible.

   You weren’t put here, you weren’t created, to sit behind that desk. You were given a gift. You have this life, and you’ve also been given the choice on how to live it. Something, somewhere, worked damn hard to make you who you are today. Staying miserable in this one life of yours is a choice, and it’s… it’s like you’re taking all that you’ve been given for granted. But, again, it is a choice. And it’s your choice. So…

   How do you want to live yours?

 

Posted in Dreamer Lifestyle, Inspiration, Writing

How to Stop Putting Pressure On Your Dreams

   I’m sure, to some degree, we’re all under a load of pressure.

   Maybe it’s your parents; you never amounted to something they wanted from you, and everything you do seems to disappoint them. Maybe it’s your friends; they are becoming successful in something that you yourself want but can’t seem to get—you feel like you’re losing a race with your peers. Maybe it’s your dog, your neighbor, the nice old man who arranges fruit at the grocery store.

   Or maybe… it’s you.

   That’s what I want to talk about here. Putting pressure on yourself. Especially if you’re a dreamer, just like me.

   Am I famous? Do I have published books or written and aired tv shows?

   Nope.

   But I know that I will.

   And I know that there are millions of little dreamers out there just like me. Maybe you want to be a fighter pilot. Or an actor. Singer. Swimmer. Olympian. Football player. Lawyer. School teacher.

   Whatever your dream is, it obviously means a lot to you. I mean, why else would you dream it?

   But as much fun as it is to daydream and hope and wonder about this dream, if you’re smart and brave enough, you’re going to start actually going for it. You’re going to learn the skills, maybe go to school, whatever. You’re going to begin taking steps toward that beautiful dream that you’ve been daydreaming about since forever. And if you’re anything like me, you’re going to take that first step…

   And fall flat on your face.

   Instead of walking into a world full of lilies and sunshine—which is what I stupidly thought following my dream would feel like—I ended up not realizing just how much work I’m going to have to do—and continue to do throughout my life—to achieve this dream.

   And in comes the doubt.

   Doubt is a monster. It is a ruthless, black, swirling demon that will only try to destroy you. Doubt whispers in the back of your mind, it pulls you subtly away from things you want the most, and tries to keep you from being happy. But above all?

   Doubt is scared.

   If you are starting to doubt your dream or yourself after one—or several—mistakes or failures, it is only fear.

   And why is there fear?

   Let’s ask a better question; why wouldn’t there be fear? This is your dream. Something that you want to center your entire life around. Something that means the absolute world to you and that you feel will help you discover who you are and live your truth. And when you screw up, you don’t just screw up. Not when it’s your dream. When you screw up, your life explodes.

   And then, doubt spirals quickly into the “I give up” phase.

   And this was what I just climbed out of. Though, it had never been a darker “I give up” phase than the one I just went through. Because for all the writing talent I naturally have, I just discovered that I will never succeed if I don’t train myself boot-camp style. I won’t get anywhere with this dream until I face the fact that I only know a tiny fraction of what there is to know about writing. 

   This was terrifying.

   I wanted to give up. It was just too hard. Everything I needed to learn, every mindset shift I needed to make, all the effort, all the changes, it was TOO MUCH.

   And I seriously wanted to quit.

   But soon after that, some rational part of me said, “Well, hey. How cool would it be to learn about all of that? Kind of sounds like fun.”

   I was angry and frustrated with myself for not knowing something, for not being “good enough” right off the bat. But that rational part of me reminded me of something important.

   Following a dream is a journey.

   And you know what they say about journeys.

   It isn’t about the destination.

   You’re supposed to enjoy taking the steps to get there! Enjoy the view, the new things you learn, look at the mistakes you make as opportunities to grow.

   I was pissed at myself for not knowing everything I needed to know already. And you know what? I’m actually glad that I don’t. Because if I did, and I just hopped on a train to L.A. and whipped out tv show after tv show, what kind of journey is that?

   I need to make mistakes, I need to fail every now and then. It’s just part of following your dream.

   It is an adventure.

   As I said before, your dream is probably the most important thing in your life. It means the most to you. So when you doubt it, you doubt your entire purpose. You forget what you’re even on this earth for. You forget who you are.

   It’s really scary.

   And thinking that if you screw any part of this up, your dream is ruined and your life is over puts a lot of pressure on you not to screw up.

   Erase that pressure.

   Live your life at ease.

   Being a dreamer doesn’t have an uptight connotation with it, but honestly, when you scare yourself enough, that’s what it can turn into.

   Look at following your dream differently.

   Just follow it. People don’t say they’re going out to achieve their dream; they say they’re going to follow it. If they have set backs and that dream gets a little further away, dreamers still follow. If, like me, dreamers realize they were headed down a complete dead end, you back up, take your time, and start again, following where your dream directs you. Follow the signs, listen to your heart and learn from your mistakes. No matter what, the mistakes you make are only missteps. They don’t define you. The way you respond to them does.

   And how am I going to respond?

   I am going to back up and start down a brand new path.

   And a big part of the putting pressure on yourself has to do with trying to pre-plan your steps and your paths. When you do that, and find yourself down a path that doesn’t work out, your entire plan shatters and you fall apart. The more times that happens, the more you fall apart.

   Plan only a few steps ahead. It’s hard, but try to focus on that. Realize that the future only exists in your mind. The present is the only thing that truly exists. For me, my next plan is to take a class that has guaranteed to teach me things I need to know so I can move forward toward my dream.

   But let your heart guide you. It is a journey, after all. And what better way to take it?