Dylan Stewart Columnist
Have you accomplished all of your dreams and wishes? Reached the Zenith of personal growth, financial stability, physical fitness and emotional well-being?
If so… stop reading. No seriously. Stop right now, I want to call you and find out how you did it.
If you’re still reading I’m going to assume you’re a little more like me, and are still working on it. Still striving. Still pushing towards a higher existence, a better way, and an envisioned potential you want to come as close as you can to achieving.
I’ve learned a lot in my 44 years on this planet… but make no mistake, I am a student first. I have many things left to learn, and the gaps in who I want to be keep showing themselves. The more I search, the more I stretch, the more I examine, the larger those gaps seem to be… but at the same time that envisioned potential I am reaching for also rises.
I have a simple life purpose. Be better today than I was yesterday, and better tomorrow than I was today. I am always striving. Always challenging myself. Always looking for what’s next.
Asking how else can I grow, what else can I take from this experience on this planet this time around and make this a better place for me, for you, and for everyone that follows after us.
Most of the men around me wonder how I do it, how I juggle the hundreds of spinning plates and flaming chainsaws that are my constant strive for betterment. Sometimes I wonder myself. But there is one tool that I have learned over the last several years that has been more influential than almost anything else. It’s that word you don’t want to hear, you don’t want to talk about, and you sure as hell don’t want to set…
For me it’s not the long-term goals, although I certainly have enough of those. For me I have found power in the short term goals. The commitments that help you build a skill, cement a habit, change a mindset, or challenge your personal status quo.
I like to think of them as my 30 day opportunities. Maybe you’ve even seen me on one or another of these commitments.
Sometimes it’s around my health, and I will make a goal to visit the gym every day for 30 days. Other times it’s about food, eliminating caffeine for 30 days, or dropping all the sugar and dairy out of my life. Maybe it’s something creative like publicly writing a poem, and submitting it to the world at large every day for 30 days.
Maybe none of these speak to you… but you’ve always thought about practicing the piano, starting a new language, or getting yourself up on an online dating site and trying to attract your perfect mate for 30 days. Or 60 days. Or 90 days.
It’s not the timeframe that matters… it’s not even the goal itself that matters, it is the constant daily practice and challenge. The muscles you develop by trying… and sometimes even failing. Some of the men in my life have followed me with my 30 day writing goals, and even joined in with me for themselves. These men cursed my name for 30 days, and then praised it for every day after that. They found that the daily practice, the mindset shifting, the challenging, awareness opening process of doing something consistently and constantly for weeks on end changes you.
Maybe after the 30 days at the gym, you’ll go back to the couch. Maybe after cutting down caffeine you’ll become a Starbucks regular. Maybe after that foray into the dating world, you decide to become celibate… I don’t know, and the result doesn’t matter. But challenging yourself to do something different. To grow, to learn, to be better… that’s what matters.
In this life, there’s not much that we get to take with us. But we can leave knowing that we lived our best life. Knowing that we didn’t settle, get comfortable, put up our hands and say but I just can’t do that… I don’t have the time… I don’t have the skills… I don’t know where to start.
You do have the time… the same time the rest of us have… 24 hours a day, how are you spending your hours minutes and seconds?
And you may not have the skills, but if you had them… this would be a lousy goal to start with. You LEARN the skills, you BUILD the skills, you figure it out.
One of my mentors, Brendon Burchard says that the definition of confidence is knowing that whatever life throws your way, you will figure it out. You are that powerful… you can do anything. And a lack of skills is just an excuse. And excuses are not what you want your legacy to be.
So what about not knowing where to start? Or how to start? Or how to be supported around it, or held accountable?
That’s where having a support system around you makes all the difference. Having people in your life that you can rely on.
People that you know if you tell them you’re going to do something and don’t do it… they will call you out on it.
And those same people can be your resources… your tools… the people that you call when you have a question about your skills around your goal. They can help.
We are not in this life alone, we are not sticks floating down some river of time. We are human beings. We are men. We are women. We built the pyramids, Mount Rushmore, the Eiffel Tower.
We mapped the human genome.
We have filled this world with art, and music, and love and joy.
We are powerful. And if we put our mind to it and make the commitment, lack of skills be damned… WE CAN AND WILL DO IT and figure it out.
So how do you start? Just pick a day, choose a goal, and get started.
I’m ready… my day is today. My time is now. I will leave this life knowing that I gave it everything I had, learned everything I could, and shared of myself with as many people and in as many ways as I could. That to me is the definition of a life well lived.
Now off to the gym.