I spent my early 20’s in pure chaos. I had no discipline, and no vision for my future. Instead of striving to realize my potential, I was sliding backwards in a dangerous way.
I ignored the many warning signs that I was in a tailspin, headed straight for the hard, unforgiving ground. Instead of sorting myself out, I chose to close my eyes and expect things to work out on their own.
Well, life doesn’t work that way, and as I crashed into the concrete I was thrust, unwillingly, into a sequence of events that would not only change my life, but change who I am.
The events that followed were so perfectly ordered, so timely, I couldn’t have designed it better if I tried. Looking back, it’s almost as if it were organized by something other than myself. Something that knows better. I wasn’t dictating the flow of events. I was tied to the car, and the car was going to drive, whether or not I chose to run.
Only after years of reflection could I could see how perfectly this formula was laid out. It was the ideal road map from directionless chaos to realizing my potential.
Do you need to self destruct completely, like I did, for this formula to work? Does your life need to burn to the ground before you can rise like the Phoenix?
No, not at all. All you have to do is be a little smarter than I was (I didn’t set the bar very high, so I think you’re good).
If you can look at yourself objectively, and realize you need to pull your shit together in order to become the greatest version of yourself, then you can apply this formula.
Oh, and congratulations. By acknowledging this, you’ve taken the first step out of chaos, and towards your highest potential.
Let’s take a look at the formula: Chaos, Order, and Contemplation.
This is where your legend begins.
Your life is a little chaotic. You don’t have a vision for your future, and if you do, you don’t act on it.
Some of your behavior is destructive, either to your body or your mind. It’s causing you to stagnate, and you have no sense of progress.
You feel stuck, you feel angry, and worst of all, you feel like a victim of your circumstance.
But you rarely acknowledge these feelings, and you definitely don’t analyze them for meaning. Instead, you push them down, and cover them up with more destructive behavior.
Self-destruction is your medicine. It offers you a brief escape from objective reality, but it creates more feelings of anger, frustration, and victim hood.
And this is the downward spiral that will eventually hurl you against the side of a mountain.
For me, I dealt with feelings of loneliness, depression, and fear by drinking heavily, 3–4 nights out of the week.
I was stagnant in my career, relationships, and my life overall, and this caused me a lot of frustration, which I masked by partying.
I lived for the party. I used alcohol as an escape from reality. I attached my self-worth to how many phone numbers I could get. And I covered my ears and shut my eyes when I saw how this aspect of my life was destroying everything else.
I showed up late to work, smelling like vodka. I missed my friends wedding. At family gatherings, I was hungover beyond recognition.
I was living in complete chaos, and it would have continued forever if I hadn’t gotten in my car one night, completely wasted, and flipped it onto it’s roof at 150 kph.
I was lucky to come out alive. I was lucky I didn’t hurt anyone else.
But at that moment, I was shaken back into reality. The era of chaos was dead.
This is a crucial point. Your life takes a turn for the better, you begin to kill old parts of yourself, and new ones emerge.
You’ll look back fondly on this phase of your journey. You’ll talk about it for the rest of your life, reminiscing and reliving the lessons you learned, and the monsters you slayed.
But I’ll warn you now. This is the hard part. Your resolve will be tested. The weaker aspects of you will die; not because you decided to kill them off, but because mentally and physically, they couldn’t keep up.
This is where chaos dies, and discipline takes over. You’ll build structure into your life, one piece at a time. Instead of following whims, fears, and feelings, you’ll do only what you know you is right.
Starting with the smallest things, you’ll go on to build an empire.
You start by cleaning up your room, picking up your dirty underwear, and creating order in your living space.
You show up to work early, take pride in doing a good job, and never let anyone outwork you.
You stand up tall, and walk with a purpose. There’s now conviction behind every move you make.
Be accountable: Hire a trainer, a coach, or join a community of focused individuals.
Exercise daily, and fuel your body like a high performing machine.
Everything you do, you do for the good of the whole — the team, your family, humanity. You’re now unselfish, and you act accordingly.
And by doing these things, opportunity will begin to present itself where there wasn’t opportunity before. You’ll begin to transform, you’ll have a sense of progress, and get a taste of your potential.
Slowly, you transform into a totally different animal.
In my case, this was learned by force.
After crashing my car, I was stagnant for a year, working low paying jobs with no end in sight. My parents suggested I go to Firefighting academy in Texas.
The thought scared me to death, but reluctantly, I agreed. A few months later, I was standing at attention in the sweltering Texas heat, about to do push ups until my face hit the pavement because I forgot my pen.
This was the most pivotal point of my life. It was exactly what I needed to sort myself out, and pull my life together. The discipline I learned here would go on to serve me for the rest of my life.
You exercise discipline daily, you have a rock solid routine, and you carry yourself with pride.
No one outworks you, you show up on time, and everything you do is for the good of the whole.
You’re a valuable, contributing member of society, and new opportunities present themselves more often than ever.
But now, it’s time to turn that discipline inwards, and reflect on your experiences so far.
Start by scheduling time to be alone. No phone, no TV, no distractions. Just quality time between you and your thoughts.
Let me tell you, it’s going to suck. Thoughts that you’ve been pushing away for years will pop up, ready to be explored.
You’ll be forced to work through why you found yourself in chaos in the first place. You’ll find out what you’ve been chasing your whole life. And what you’ve been running from.
And while this is uncomfortable, working through these thoughts is completely liberating.
From there, move onto daily meditation. Focus on your breath, and clear the mental chatter. By quieting the mind, you eliminate the thousands of voices in your head, pulling you in various directions. You get in touch with your intuition, who always knows better than you do.
By doing this daily, you’ll get to know yourself on a deeper level. And, as Bruce Lee famously said, “All knowledge, is ultimately, self knowledge.”
Next, you use your confidence, self-knowledge, and discipline to set the path to your future.
Visualize how you want your life to look, and how you want to impact the world. Do this in vivid detail, and make sure it means something to you.
Break this vision down into small goals you’ll achieve along the way, write them down, and pin them up.
At this point, you’re no stranger to disciplined action. You’re familiar with progress, and what it takes to do so. You’ve been moving with a purpose, outworking everyone, and training your body to perform at it’s highest level.
It’s time to get to work on your vision, one goal at a time. One disciplined, focused action at a time.
It’s time to realize your potential, and give the world the greatest version of yourself.
In my case, I didn’t deliberately follow this step. It just showed up in my life.
After finishing fire academy, I took a job in Alberta, Canada fighting fires in the oilfield.
I was 2000 miles from my nearest friend or family member. Outside of work, I spent almost all my time alone.
This was terribly uncomfortable, but it forced me to work through everything I’d been avoiding. Eventually, I picked up a meditation practice, I started reading more books, and I visualized how I wanted to impact the world.
An impact I’ve been working towards ever since.
Final Message:There’s no trench so deep, you can’t pull yourself out. And there’s no level of self destruction so great, you can’t recover.
All you have to do is start with one act of discipline.
If you don’t know where to start, start by picking up your dirty underwear.
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