Podcast Episode 4: https://youtu.be/s3VQdaT__LQ
I fell into a slump this year. Before Covid I worked very hard to structure my life in a way that I enjoyed every part of my day. I spent years building routines that made me love my life… but the lockdowns took that all away. Or at least that is the excuse I used. A couple weeks ago I woke up and said this is shit. What the hell am I doing with my life and why am I letting this get the best of me? I realized I needed to get back to the drawing board and recreate new routines. After all “People don’t rise to the occasion, they sink to the level of their training” – Archilochus
I wasn’t much of a reader growing up. I found it boring and considered myself to have a reading “disorder” of sorts. If I tried to sit down and read, I would fall asleep within 20 minutes. Or it would be hard to stay engaged and I’d end up re-reading the same paragraph over and over because I couldn’t focus long enough to retain the information. However I work with my hands all day and happen to have a lot of listening time. What I have noticed about myself is that I need to be both mentally and physically stimulated or I get bored and antsy. When I was learning to DJ I would spend my days scouting music by listening to Spotify or other artist mixes on Soundcloud and then I would Shazam a track when I liked it. Later I would re-listen and if I found it worthy of playing, I would buy the track and make my own mixes. Being able to record and re-listen during the day helped me develop my taste and skills. However when I discovered audiobooks, I became equally as obsessed.
It actually happened slowly at first. I was dating a man who was emotionally challenging. He drained me of my energy and I didn’t have much headspace to entertain new information. I was overwhelmed. But this man did introduce me to audio format and for that I am grateful. The first audiobook I downloaded was called the 30 Day Sobriety Solution. You see this man had his traumas and when we drank together it would cause massive fights between us. I loved him and wanted to do whatever I could to fix our problems but I knew one of his biggest triggers was alcohol. Things got really bad and I told him I needed him to get sober and that I would do the same. We committed to the 30 Days of Sobriety and to listen to the book together. Sadly, I learned the hard way that he didn’t take things as seriously as I did and after 28 days we broke up. It was messy and painful and not something I will get into at this time but I suffice to say that was my rock bottom. My life was a mess and I was lost. I was depressed and had gained more weight than I like to admit. I moved out of his house and into my own space to get away from him but needed a minute to breath. So I let myself fall apart for a moment. I let myself drink for 2 weeks as I tried to collect my thoughts and figure out how to proceed. After 2 weeks of being a total mess something snapped and I decided that I was NOT going to let this man destroy me. I decided that I was going to take this experience and use it as fuel to better myself.
I started seeking answers.. I wanted to understand what happened to me. I started with books on psychology and “self help”. I wanted to understand why I attracted someone like him and how I let things get so bad. I knew there were other people out there who have gone through the same thing and I was desperate to get out of it. I took all the time I spent on music and transferred it into education. After healing my heart I realized that there was so much more I wanted to learn and there are so many people who have written books about the things I want to learn. I wanted to learn how to eat better, I wanted to learn how to build my business & how to structure my days for success. I wanted to learn about my psychology and human psychology in general. I wanted to be inspired and learn how other people have become successful so I listened to biographies of successful people and how they did it. I digested a month’s worth of listening time in under 2 years and it transformed every aspect of my life.
I spent the last 8 months making excuses for myself and blaming Covid, my Governor, the system and blah blah blah… It finally occurred to me that I was the one standing in my own way and that in order to be the person I want to be, I need to take responsibility. I decided to re-listen to the books that had an impact on my life to refresh my memory. Since my kiddos aren’t in school right now I have been letting myself sleep in and that is the first thing I decided to change. I am re-listening to a book called ‘The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs’. This book helped me become a morning person in the past and I wanted to do that again. I am so much happier and productive when I have a morning routine. There are other Miracle Mornings for various lifestyles but they all have the same basic principals. Whether you’re a parent, a business owner or a couple there are things you can do to set yourself up for a good day. Being only halfway through this book I am rediscovering what I love about mornings. Having time to be silent before the craziness of the world and taking time to meditate makes a huge difference. Basic hygiene and taking my supplements and making my tea preps me for the energy I need throughout the day to be at optimal performance. Getting a short jog in before work and having time with my kiddos before I leave jump starts my day! Implementing a morning ritual or routine makes a world of difference throughout the entire day.
Here are a handful of other books I have listened to and how they made an impact on me:
‘The 4 Hour Workweek’ by Tim Ferris is one of the main books I can attribute for helping me be more efficient. Learning tricks like how to “batch” my work so I spend less time on emails, paying bills and running errands. Learning how tweak little parts of my day here and there and add more time by cutting out the bulls**. Tim has a way of putting things into perspective and it has a lasting effect. He also taught me how important it is to track your progress. Take notes on what is working and why. Ask yourself thought provoking questions. Write down your daily plans, diet, exercises and journal the ideas you have. Being able to critically asses your thoughts can build habits that stick.
‘Own the Day Own your Life” by Aubrey Marcus is another book that helped me structure my day. The idea is once you get a routine in place that sets you up for success, then you don’t have to focus on how to reach your goals, you just need to focus on one day at a time. If you can win the day, you have won your life. Things become habitual after a while and you no longer have to think about it.
‘A Man’s Search for Meaning’ was one of the most inspiring reads that I think about often. It was written by a psychologist & neurologist named Viktor Frankle chronicling his experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and describing his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positive about, and then immersively imagining that outcome.
‘The Third Door’ was also an inspirational read and quite the adventure! Written by an 18 year old college Student named Alex Banayan who was supposed to study for a test but instead decided to go on the “Price is Right” gameshow in hopes that he could win enough money to support his desire to write a book (this book). Not knowing anything about the game show, he figured out a way to break through the barrier and actually ended up winning a sailboat! He then sold the boat and used the money to find a way to meet with successful people starting small but ending up interviewing people like Lady Gaga, Maya Angelou, Steve Wozniak, Jane Goodall, Larry King, Jessica Alba, Pitbull, Tim Ferriss, Quincy Jones, and many more. Along his adventures and interviewing these very successful people he realized; “Life, business & success… it’s just like a nightclub. There are always three ways in. There’s the First Door: the main entrance, where ninety-nine percent of people wait in line, hoping to get in. The Second Door: the VIP entrance, where the billionaires and celebrities slip through. But what no one tells you is that there is always, always… the Third Door. It’s the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, climb over the dumpster, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen—there’s always a way in.” – Alex Banayan
I had always wanted to try Ayahuasca based on the profound things I heard from those who have tried it but was nervous based on the stories I had heard of bad experiences and purging so I downloaded a couple books that prepared me for my journey with plant medicine. ‘The Tibetan Book of the Dead’ (Also known as the Bardo Thodol). This Tibetan text describes, and is intended to guide one through, the experiences that the consciousness has after death, in the bardo, the interval between death and the next rebirth. The text also includes chapters on the signs of death and rituals to undertake when death is closing in or has taken place. ‘DMT the Spirit Molecule’ includes a book by Rick Strassman and a documentary for your watching pleasure. Human consciousness is one of the grand mysteries of our time. How do you know that you are “you”? DMT: The Conscious Molecule goes a step further and asks, ‘is the universe conscious?’. Finally, ‘The Psychedelic Experience’ is a book about using psychedelic drugs that was coauthored by Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert. The original text started as early as 1962. All three authors had taken part in research investigating the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin and mescaline in addition to the ability of these substances to sometimes induce religious and mystical states of consciousness. I highly recommend these 3 reads for anyone interested in taking a psychedelic journey. I truly believe that plant medicine can change this world however not everyone is mentally or physically prepared for the toll it takes on your body and your psyche. I personally had the most amazing, profound experience because I took the time to learn what to expect and I respected the medicine by following my deita.
A couple years ago I took my car into the shop because it was stalling. The mechanic told me my engine was bad and that I needed to replace it. He quoted me $6000 and told me I had no other choice. I agreed to the work and halfway thought he called me to inform me that my turbo was also bad and that I needed to get that fixed for another $3000. After all the work was complete and I paid the bill I was shocked to have my car stall on me the next day. I took it to a different mechanic who discovered the issue was a fuse (a mere $400 fix) and that I never needed to replace my engine or turbo. So I downloaded a book called Getting to “Yes” and I crammed it over the weekend. On Monday I reached out to the mechanic who misdiagnosed my car and by applying what I learned in the book I was able to get him to reimburse me the labor costs in full! Knowing what I know now has made me much better at negotiating and getting what I want. I have applied this to asking for a raise and asking for what I want from a friend or partner. If there is anything you want to learn, there is probably a book about it. In the age of information remaining ignorant is a *choice*.
Finally, I want to mention a couple books that I find to be relevant in today’s current climate. ‘The Lucifer Effect’ was written in 2007 including professor Philip Zimbardo’s first detailed, written account of the events surrounding the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment — a prison simulation study which had to be discontinued after only six days due to several distressing outcomes and mental breaks of the participants. Understanding How Good People Turn Evil is a fundamental part of understanding human nature and what *most* people do when faced with novel power. Most recently I listened to‘1984’ after hearing so many people make references to the book. If you haven’t read this book now is a fitting time due to the level of censorship we are seeing from “big brother”. A dystopian social science fiction novel way ahead of it’s time – Written in 1949 – I feel that it’s a warning to us all to beware of the “powers that be” and if we do not uphold our basic rights like freedom of speech and freedom of the press we could end up giving all our power away to a controlling and tyrannical system. If you have read it but not in a while I would highly recommend a refresher.