A few years ago I hit a period of abundance and prosperity. I sold my business, took an extended break and decided it was time to enjoy myself. I had just bought myself a new place and didn't have to roll out of bed if I didn't want to, things were really looking up. What I wasn't aware of at the time, was that this would be the catalyst for one of the biggest slumps of my life.
Prior to all this I was relentlessly diligent. I woke up at 6AM every day, worked out, worked, meditated, read, cooked and cleaned and went to bed on time. I built my business through dedication, hard work, commitment and a single minded approach. Friends and family were in awe of my work ethic. I had set myself a goal and I achieved it, I was right where I wanted to be. I sold up, got out and looked ahead to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Upon my newfound freedom, I could spend my time doing whatever the hell I wanted. I traveled for a period before heading home and settling in. When I did, I had nothing in particular to work towards. There were no real responsibilities or tasks for the day that needed completing, no strict deadlines and almost no work. In the beginning I'd still wake up early, do my daily routines but over time they slowly started to slip.
I started rolling out of bed at 11. I started to skip gym days, I started to skip meditation days and I started to leave my shit lying around for days on end. I had so much time on my hands that I thought with every task that came up, what's the rush, I can do it later, and so I did. This became progressively worse as time went on.
With no clear direction of where I was going or what I was working towards I filled my days with going out, smoking weed, poker, video games, shitty food and porn. I think part of it was a hectic release after years of intense work and part of it was me simply over indulging. I started to feel like crap, I was cloudy, bogged down and unmotivated for pretty much anything. From a previously upbeat, confident individual, I was unrecognizable.
Eventually, an opportunity came along that really interested me. It resonated with my every fiber and I wanted to give it a crack. The time had come to put all this lounging around behind me and put my head down, there was just one issue....I could not bring myself to do it. Every time I wanted to get going I'd flake. I absolutely wanted to do the project, but when push came to shove I'd end up playing more video games, smoking a little more weed and fucking around some more. Its like there was some sort of wall between me and productivity, combined with a spectacular ability to rationalize procrastination.
As a previously disciplined work horse, this started to really bug the shit out of me. I had completely lost my work ethic. What happened? What changed? I took a step back and did some introspection. I evaluated what was going on with me internally and how it had all gone to shit.
The first, obvious point that stood out was my complete lack of direction during my funemployment. I was floating around from one day to the next without much thought as to where it was all going. I had no goals or plans and this allowed me to hit cruise-mode. I was left to be drawn to whatever cheap in the moment, feel good dopamine hits were available. I never had to suppress my short term desires because there were no long term consequences for doing so, or so I thought.
What this spawned over time was an instant gratification machine built for short term satisfaction. I started making short term choices and it formed an insidious habit which had become an ingrained operating system. Then, when I had to execute a long term project that required discipline, attention and a delayed reward center, I was simply unable to do it. The habits I had built were simply in congruent with executing a successful long term project.
I realized the only way to get my mojo back was to breakdown my cancerous habitual loops while building up positive ones once again. I put together a plan for the coming weeks that I would try and stick to. I started exceptionally small and progressively built myself up. I wanted to make it simple, I wanted to make it manageable, but most of all I wanted it to stick.
First, I started waking up a bit earlier every week. First at 9AM, then 8:30AM, then 8AM, and so on. I started smoking less weed, going from daily puff ups to every second day, to just one day a week. I cut back on playing video games, from 3 hours a day in the first week, to 2 hours a day the second week to one hour to every second day etc. You get the idea.
While this was going on, I began to incorporate and build up some more positive habits. I started meditating again. 5 minutes everyday for a week, then 6 the next, then 7, then 8. I started to gym more diligently, twice a week, then 3 times, then 4, then 5. I started to read everyday again, 10 pages a day for the first week, 15 pages a day the second week, 20 pages a day the third week and so on.
Over the course of the next few months my entire life routine began to change. I slowly but surely started to burn the bad habits while simultaneously sticking to the fruitful ones. Executing anything was hard as shit in the beginning, the resistance was strong. Every time I'd come home the urge to suck in a breathe of dopamine was kicking every corner of my soul, but I stuck to it, I resisted the temptation. Over time it slowly became easier and easier and eventually It got to a point where I barely had to think about it.
Somewhere during this process, I started to feel more energized and motivated again. The accomplishments of my small tasks began to snowball. My ventures grew larger and larger until eventually I had made enough of a mind shift to get stuck into my project. I hopped on board and got truly involved. It consumed me and I loved every minute of it. I lead it competently, with passion and direction and today it sits firmly as one of my most successful endeavors.
I could never have achieved anything of worth trapped by the mindset I had slipped into. My shit mindset only bred and produced more shit. I felt like crap and couldn't propel myself in the direction I wanted. The more concerning issue is that my slump mirrors the upbringing and lifestyle of millions of millenials and Gen Z's. A lifestlye of abundant comfort, with excess availability of cheap dopamine hits while baron of any meaningful direction.
What this leads to is hordes of men hitting adulthood incapable of competing. They feel shit, empty and devoid of any purpose and don't have a clue how to fix it. They haven't built the tools, they haven't built the habits and they haven't built the routines. This leaves them stuck in an endless rut of porn, social media and job hopping.
I was fortunate enough to have a prior, successful blueprint to pull myself out of my slump, but for most youngsters today they're simply stumbling through the dark and the ones who aren't are too dependent on quick fix's to make anything stick.
If you want to make meaningful change, you have to be in it for the long haul, you've got to do it from the bottom up. You've got to have a plan and you've got to stick to it. You have to break down your shitty habits and build up new ones, slowly, over a long period, one step at a time. There are no shortcuts, it will take years, but the pay off is a lifetime of abundance and prosperity because you've built a disciplined, effective, well oiled machine that works for you. We are what we repeatedly do.
- Cognitive Retraining - My process was a form of therapy, breaking down negative patterns and building up more positive patterns in their place.
- Goals - They are your beacon in the distance. They're the reason you endure a bit of shit today, because you know it has a pay off down the line. Without them you'll be gripping at short term satisfaction time and time again.
- Habits - You are the sum total of all your habitual loops. The more we engage in these habits, the more dependent on them we become, the harder it becomes to alter. This is why it's vitally important to build up habits that aid your goals instead of inhibiting them.
- Routines - Your various habits that you engage in throughout the day become your overall daily routine. Your daily routine is your comfort zone, your repeatable operating practice. You want to ensure you're engaging in a routine that directs you towards where you want to be. The longer you stray, the harder and more uncomfortable it will be to divert yourself back onto a favorable path.
- Small Changes - Cold Turkey may work for some, but I personally prefer to slowly make changes. It makes the entire process more manageable and reduces the odds of a full relapse. You build up your foundations slowly while your neural pathways adjust.
- Patience - Changes take time. As long as it took you to get into bad habits, it will take you just as long if not longer to get out. There will be days of struggles and difficulty along the way, but that is where your goals come into effect, it's the resource that fuels the fire that keeps you on track.
- Feelz- Human beings are built to compete, our desire to rise is our fuel. As we grow and conquer further we feel more accomplished, competent and powerful. While I lounged around, I was losing ground and I felt it, I was empty. When I got the ball rolling again, I had a direction and a purpose. It lit a fire inside of me that brought my life meaning.