“Don’t obsess over perfection or attach yourself to only one outcome and you won’t misidentify yourself as a failure.” — TH
How to Feel Alive: 5 Tips to Awaken Real Happiness in Successful Men
Why attachment to perfection, status, and miserable things don’t work
1.Why do I care if my invention fails, startup flounders, my book flops, or my lover doesn't want to talk about the argument we had last night? Just keep putting your best effort into this thing you truly care about. Foolishness, embarrassment, and ridicule come with the territory of your success.
2. Practice getting into the flow state. With people. Work. Fitness. Relationships. I tend to find the flow state through writing, or authentic friendships, playing a competitive sport, being in nature or off-grid, or teaching people the game of basketball (yes, I was once a short 13-year pro point guard). The flow state is one-part enlightenment plus one-part self-actualization that gets morphed into a super rad ball of consistent, time-blinding focused presence. Your brain and its ability to get into the flow state takes going to the mental gym daily. You can’t get stronger mentally or physically if you never practice or work out the muscles (lungs, brains, glutes, flow state — it’s all the same) you want to improve.
My favorite part about the flow state is being present.
Being in the flow can spread through your life in a myriad of positive ways you won’t even notice — with conversations, relationships, dating, finding, and doing meaningful work.
PS. There is no attachment to perfection in the flow state.
LIMITING (BAD) PERFECTIONISM: When I remain attached and obsessed with wanting perfection in certain areas of my life — my romantic life goals, hitting my five-year plan, killing a PR on this 30-min run, getting today’s to-do list done perfectly in order, wanting to say the perfect line to a woman I’m attracted to — I tend to stress, underperform, and get anxious.
Perfection is impossible so why obsess or become attached to it?
This attachment or obsession with wanting only one desirable, yet perfect outcome hurts any progress or learning I would have made had I otherwise gotten into the flow.
GOOD (GROWTH) PERFECTIONISM: Now, knowing perfection is impossible, yet still going for it is completely different. This is an invigorating mindset. When I’m striving for perfection without attachment to the results, I can still move forward with reckless abandon. I can still learn. Ask the hot girl out. Take the shot. Lose with class. Win with class. I can be present. There is no future. Or past. I am not worrying about anything but my absolute best at this very moment. I’m not thinking about how many hits, or claps, or views this article will get.
I don’t care, I just write with all my heart (goddamn it!)
Attachment to a perfect outcome or result in the future isn’t going to help you learn, improve, or grow, yet trying to live in the detachment of perfect outcomes while chasing perfection can improve the experience, expression, and learning of certain skills faster.
Remember, don’t expect perfection as an outcome and you won’t misidentify yourself as a failure.
4. Answer this question: When do you feel the most alive?
When do I feel most alive? Who am I around? What am I doing? What am I thinking or not thinking about? What are the variables I need in place to make this environment happen again?
If we don’t take time to reflect on what makes us feel alive, how can we feel alive? Duh, bro. Like, think about your life. Feeling alive can be a state, not just a feeling. Practicing self-awareness of what you need to feel alive requires courage, patience, and effort to break away from the rat race for a bit.
The more time I take away from society, the rat race, the startup life, or the nine to five, I get perspective on how freedom, minimalism, simplicity, being in nature, spending time with community and family, traveling, and being in the wild, eating paleo, or pushing my body and mind feel.
5.I never liked math. Actually, I hated it. But this week, I’ve been thinking about how important subtraction is. As I get older, I realize the more important, happier parts of my life have nothing to do with status, money, power, greed, or things.
Knowing what makes me miserable… can I subtract those things out of my life? What do I hate doing? What people suck the energy out of me? What places eat my soul? What work am I not curious about?
What is happiness but the subtraction of those things, people, acts, behaviors, places, jobs, and habits that bring me misery?
By default, if I remove them, I should be happier.