Alright chuckleheads! It’s Part III!
Did you do the homework? Probably not, but we’ll continue anyway. Did you find your compelling reason to pull your head out of your ass? I met a couple readers this last week that didn’t! Of course, that is their choice and they will have to live with the repercussions of that. Thing is, they KNOW they are in a shit spot. They KNOW they are lost. But doing the hard things, doing the right things and doing what is necessary to make it pop is terrifying to them. Why? Frankly, they are stuck in analysis paralysis. They can’t make a decision because they feel they need to analyze every little bit of information and don’t want to take any risk. It will require change and work on their part.
When we choose to elevate our lives in one way or another, we have to be willing to let go of the things that we feel are secure and safe. We have to be willing to take the risk and just dive and trust that everything will be okay. Simply put, some of the people I talked to over the week just haven’t found a compelling enough reason to change their ways yet. The pain they cause themselves and those around them still isn’t great enough to drive them to make a change. My hope is that one day they pull their head from their ass, take ownership and live better. But as the saying goes… “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” Or as I’ve referenced before, “Don’t cast pearls before swine. They will trample them with their feet in the mud then turn and attack you.” But if you have been following this series, by now you should have envisioned a life that is worth living. A life out of the darkness in which you currently reside. Whether you are overcoming your depression, PTSD, anxiety or want to accelerate your life and find yet another way to be a better human, following the steps in my last article will give you a good rough outline to work from. Think of it like an old school pirate map you see in the cartoons or movies. A general outline of a deserted island with two palm trees and a black dot to mark a cave with a dotted line that winds around the island to a big red X over the cave. A very archaic drawing but general idea of what you are looking for and a rough idea of how to get there. But what if you wanted some detailed directions on how to achieve what you want? What if you don’t really know where to start?
I’m betting that many of you have tried to achieve various goals in your life using the pirate map method but fell short or simply quit and moved on to something else that seemed easier. This is natural, because as humans we are wired to find the path of least resistance. The problem is, nothing in this life that is worth having should be easy to obtain or achieve. This goes for business goals, personal ambitions and intimate relationships. These things all require a tremendous amount of work and sometimes seem like uphill battles filled with dark places, obstacles, scary monsters and challenges to your beliefs. Growth is difficult and painful at times. But the rewards are sweet and nourishing.
So here are your turn by turn directions. Nothing I’m going to tell you is groundbreaking or something I just came up with out of my ass. They are practices in checking ourselves and living by a strict set of standards that will benefit all those around us, enrich our relationships and career and thus give us the fulfilment of doing the right thing for the right reasons. I learned these lessons over my military and law enforcement career and after years of applying them to my day to day life, I have noticed a dramatic change in all the interactions I’ve had with people and events around me.
By no means am I going to say I’m perfect at it and don’t give in to selfish desires, laziness or pride. I have my days of complete boneheaded stupidity. But, I catch myself, I own it, I seek out forgiveness and grace when necessary and then I pull my head out of my ass and try not to make that same mistake again.
There are three basic rules in life.
Do your absolute best.
Do the right thing.
Treat others the way you want to be treated. Or better yet… Treat others the way you want other people to treat your grandmother, your mother or your child. (Whoever, just someone you love and cherish)
Let’s break this down a little. These three rules were the basic tenets of being a deputy sheriff at the agency I worked for. These three rules are cliche and corny for sure. We’ve all heard them time and time again over the course of our lives. But when we really sit down and think about them, they are interwoven together and you can’t have one without the other. If you are doing your absolute best, you should be doing the right thing. Granted, you can be the best shithead out there, but are you doing YOUR best? Nope! That’s simple. If you are doing your best, it also means you are treating others the way you want to be treated.
If you are doing the right thing, then you are doing your best. Only half assing things is not your absolute best. ¾ assing is not your best! So do the right thing and do your absolute best!
If you are treating others the way you want to be treated, then clearly you are doing your best. Why? Because frankly, if you treat someone with dignity and respect even though they clearly don’t deserve it, you are doing the right thing and doing your best. If you are willing to forgive and show compassion to those who have wronged you, because you know you are worthy of forgiveness and grace as well, then you are doing the right thing, your doing your best because it’s clearly not easy to forgive others who hurt you, but you’re treating them the way you would want to be treated.
How do we start growing and contributing to others around us? How do we start to find fulfilment in the things we do and the life we are living? Start here.
Think about it. If we find fulfilment in our own growth, then exercise these rules ruthlessly. Hold yourself accountable and check yourself daily. Ask yourself if you honestly upheld your end of the bargen when it comes to these rules. If the answer is ever, no, then you need to pull your head out of your ass and do better tomorrow. Culturally, we are being programmed every day to do the opposite of these rules in our actions and virtue signal the fuck out of them for the sake of social media likes or follows. It’s not for the sake of truly making an impact on the lives of others around us. Selflessness? Nah! We do it to make ourselves feel virtuous. We are all guilty of it in one way or another. So the question is, how do you live by these rules authentically? How can you make it an automatic response to do these things and know for certain that you are doing it for the right reasons?
Well, first be mindful of your actions and pay attention to what you’re doing. Being a better human is a daily practice. Then there is a series of checks and balances that you can hold yourself to. These checks and balances are principles of conduct and decision making that are proven in combat and peacetime. They are the foundation of the world's toughest fighting force in the world. They are the leadership principles that were instilled in me by the United States Marine Corps. They are what make up The Hard 14, which I will tell you about next week in my final post on this series!