Who this post IS for:
- People who aren’t where they want to be.
- People who keep trying (and failing) to achieve their goals.
Who this post is NOT for:
- The Mad Hatter, you creepy a** clown.
But first, here is a quote.
Just cause I really really like it.
And now… onto our regularly scheduled program.
Disney Movies Get Me Off
From the adventures of the Arabian street-rat, to the journey of everyone’s favorite deep sea princess, I loved them all.
I’m not sure if it was the fantastic story telling, the oh-so-catchy musical outbursts, or if I’m just a sucker for a sappy feel good story… but one thing has always been certain: Since Day 1 I’ve been in there like swimwear.
Hell, my first crush was Nala from the Lion King.
My ongoing relationship with Disney has held true to this day, with newer titles like Pirates of the Caribbean1 and Frozen managing to steal my heart in one glove-covered-three-fingered-swipe.
Like any great relationship though, Disney and I have taken our bumps and bruises. First there was the underwhelming Aladdin sequel (yeah, I forget about it too), and don’t even get me started on whatever the hell Chicken Little was supposed to be.
Despite these mishaps, knowing that we all have our off days, I never faltered in my undying loyalty to Disney.
Except for one single time:
The time Alice and her freak-show friends showed up on the big screen.
Alice in Wonderland used to give me nightmares.
I’m not sure if it had to do with the clown-masquerading Mad Hatter (who was most def a serial killer) or if it was the tripped out scenery of Wonderland. But whatever it was, it inspired some of the nastiest dreams I’ve ever had.
This lasted all the way until last spring when my grandmother sent me a package containing the written version of Alice in Wonderland.
I experienced a mix of emotions:
- One part of me – horrified by the book in my hands.
- And the other part – wondering why a grown(ass)man was gifted a children’s book.
As I began to make my way through the book I started to realize a couple more things:
- The book wasn’t too scary at all
- And, in fact… it was pretty boring.
But then I stumbled upon a very particular part of the story…
One day, Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.
Looking at the cat, Alice asked
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to”
responded the cat.
“I don’t much care where-”
“Then,” said the cat, interrupting Alice, “it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
“-so long as I get SOMEWHERE.”
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” the cat said, “if you only walk long enough.”
At this point in the story Alice is trying to find her way. She dreads the place she is, but she has no idea where she wants to go.
I remembered hearing the movie-condensed version of this conversation as a kid.
“what the d*ck is this cat talking about?”
Now as an adult though, it managed to make (a little) more sense.
And it brought me to one very important realization.
We’ve all been stuck in Wonderland
Most of us just have no idea that we’re stuck there.
The reason we have no idea is because we don’t understand what Wonderland even is.
Quick, Imagine This:
Think of the time you got stuck sitting next to the stinky dude in class. Oh, or the time you ended up at the same party as your ex and their hunky-ass new boyfriend2.
You instantly want to be anywhere other than where you are. But despite this longing, you feel stuck — trapped, even.
That is Wonderland.
It’s a place where things just don’t feel right. Where you just aren’t happy. And where, despite this longing for change, you’re so unsure where to go that you don’t go anywhere at all — at least, not really.
It’s a pretty normal phenomenon, at least on a small scale.
The dread you feel in those scenarios is something we’ve all felt. And even though they feel never-ending in the moment, they end quickly enough and we are free to go.
Whew. Thank, God.
Unfortunately, on a larger scale, many of us find ourselves living a never ending version of these nightmares. Even more unfortunate is that (once again) most don’t even realize the reality of their situation.
We think we want to do something or be somewhere — but we don’t.
We just want to be where we are. And that feeling becomes so strong that is blinds us from following the road directly in front of us.
So today, we are going to take a peak down that rabbit hole.
And I’m going to show you exactly which way to go.
Let Me Show You How To Escape Wonderland
1) Decide EXACTLY Where You Want To Go
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to”
responded the cat.
“I don’t much care where-”
“Then,” said the cat, interrupting Alice, “it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
In the snippet of Alice and the Cheshire Cat, she begins asking for advice and direction before she truly has any idea where she wants to go. The Cat informs her that it doesn’t matter which road she chooses if she doesn’t have somewhere specific to go.
Many of us begin a journey with a similar sentiment, typically without realizing it.
Write down 3-5 goals of yours. Things you want to achieve. They could be fitness related, business, school, family, relationships, whatever.
Jot down a couple and come back when you do.
To help with this example, here are a couple of goals that I hear daily:
- I just want to be healthy.
- Being strong sounds amazing.
- I want to be a better family man (or woman, whatever).
- I’d love to be independent.
- I want to be more successful.
- I really just want to feel better.
Ever heard these goals before? I’m sure you have.
In fact, I’m betting there is a good chance 1-2 of the goals above happen to be on your list as well.
What the fuck does “be healthy” mean?
Probably something very different to a 300 pound teenager than it does a professional athlete.
And while we’re at it. What do any of those things mean?
What does it mean to be successful?
For someone with a family, this may mean making enough money to support them and make them proud. But for a kid in college, this may simply mean passing that bullshit 8am class you thought would be a good idea.
And what about being a good family man (or woman, whatever)?
For someone who rarely sees their children, this may mean taking time to play with them on the weekend. And for a recent college graduate riding the hustle-struggle-bus, maybe this just means giving your mom a call (she loves you, ya know).
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Success, health, fitness, happy, strong, independent.
None of it actually means shit. Not really, anyways.
And especially not until you define these things for yourself.
Most people never reach their goals because they don’t even know what goal they have.
They think they do, but they don’t.
And this is because, outside of romanticizing while driving to work, they never take the time do take things a little bit deeper.
Do you want to be independent?
Or do you actually just want to make enough money to live on your own (relatively) debt free?
Do you want to be healthy?
Or do you actually just want to fit into that old pair of jeans?
Do you want to be successful?
Or do you want to make it rain on a half naked and troubled girl at the strip club?
What ever it is.
Take that shit a little deeper and find you own personal definition.
Don’t claim you want to be happy, admit that you want a girlfriend. Don’t say that you want to move away, admit that you don’t like the life you have where you have it.
Take a look at your list.
See anything undefined?
And one last thing.
For the sake of the following task, I want you write every single thing you want to work on in life. Everything you want to change. Everything you want to learn. Everything you want to be better at.
Write down every single thing you dream about on a weekly basis.
From learning guitar, to getting in shape, to learning a new language.
Here’s what to do: Find your true North.
At this point you probably may have a pretty in depth list; chock full of things you want. Or maybe you have a pretty simple list, only consisting of thing the things you find most important.
Regardless, here is what’s next:
We’re going to play a game.
We are going to break our list down into three tiers, but before you start marking away at that pretty little list of yours — let me explain how we’re breaking them down.
This tier is going to be the most difficult. The reason for that is because it will consist of one item and one item only. And like the Genie and his three (3) wishes… this number is non-negotiable.
In order to decide which item to choose, you’ll need to choose the one item that matters the very most to you.
Don’t worry about it being the “correct” answer and don’t worry about being judged.
If the thing that matters most to you is getting abs to impress the cute girl next door, then choose it. The only wrong answer is the one that isn’t honest.
This one will be a little bit easier.
During the construction of tier 1 you (more than likely) had a few contenders for that top spot. While your tier 1 champ may have been finally going back to college, you may have had a couple others that hurt your soul to write off.
Well, good news: they will go here.
Take 1-3 of your top remaining items and add them into this tier.
You don’t have to fill all three spots, but do give them some consideration.
The third and final tier also happens to be the easiest.
It’s the easiest because it doesn’t really matter.
Or rather, the items in this tier don’t really matter.
Yup. That’s right.
The guitar lessons you were looking forward to, the 15 minutes of daily meditation you thought would change your life, all of those things at the bottom of the list — well, now they’re going to the bottom of the trash can.
Well, because I said so.
But if you want a more in depth answer:
It’s because, as human beings, we only have so many things can prioritize at one time. And while some of us have a little more hustle to give than others, we all have a certain point in which our willpower runs empty.
So, rather than trying, sucking, and failing to do a million things.
We are going to focus on 1 major thing and a couple secondary things. And we are going to focus on doing those things really really fucking good.
2) Choose the appropriate road to get there
Most of the things that are still remaining on your list have probably been something you’ve had on your mind for awhile things you’ve wanted to do but just haven’t been able to accomplish because of life.
You got busy. You had kids. You mom passed away. You were just too stressed
Life happens, and that is an absolute fact.
But just as factual is one thing that you must accept.
Those things you’ve wanted to accomplish?
It’s *your fault* you haven’t done them yet.
Critical self examination will forever be one of the most difficult things you can do.
It’s difficult because (if done well) you have to be real with yourself. You have to take a step back from all the biases you’ve created and see yourself for who you truly are.
No one wants to do that.
No one wants to accept they aren’t good enough. And beyond that, no one wants to accept that it may be their own fault.
That shit is scary.
To find out the person who matters most in your life — you — is a broken person.
But here’s some good news:
We’re all broken.
We just don’t show it, for fear of admitting it to others. And we don’t admit it to others because we’re afraid to admit it to ourselves.
But by refusing to ever take an honest look at ourselves — we will never be more than strangers to ourselves.
And as stupid as that may sound.
It’s the EXACT reason everyone feels so damn lost now a days.
Want a map to where you need to go?
Take a look in the mirror.
Here’s what to do: Develop a realistic plan of action.
Think of a few people that have done what you want to do.
People who have lost hundreds of pounds, people who have started thriving businesses, people who used to be you but managed to become who you want to be.
There are probably already a couple people coming to mind.
Now, think of the things they do daily. The one or two things that people most heavily result in their success.
- For the girl who lost 100 pounds, this may be exercising and dieting.
- For the guy who graduated college, this may mean never missing a class.
Now, thing of the things you do daily. Compare them to the things you just listed above. The habits your role models (we all have them) are doing.
Are you seeing the disconnect?
You are going to choose a handful of habits that will give you the most bang for your buck in the pursuit of your goals.
The key here is too not try and do too much.
Because, like the tier 3 goals we removed earlier, we can only handle so many differing things at once. So, here is what we are going to do:
Take your tier 1 goal and choose 1-2 things you can do daily.
Every. Single. Day.
For some goals (like exercise) this may seem tricky. Because, rest days, and recovery, and blah blah blah. Don’t overthink this stuff. Find a way to make it work daily.
Maybe this means lifting weights Monday-Friday, going for a bike ride with your girlfriend on Saturday, and taking your dog for a walk on Sunday mornings.
And do it when you said you would.
What about the tier 2 goals?
Oh, good. You remembered.
You’re going to take each of your 1-3 items and choose one single thing to do up to a couple times a week.
If fitness was a secondary goal, this is when the rest days can come into play. Or if doing better in school was a secondary goal, pick one day as a study day to knock out that homework.
And don’t just choose these things.
Schedule them into your calendar. Giving them at least a day that they MUST happen. Be as specific (and realistic) as possible.
Because we’re over that ambiguous shit that got you stuck in wonderland in the first place.
3) Walk that fucking road
Here is a secret:
That quote at the beginning of the article wasn’t solely there just because I really really liked it (although I do). It is there because it couldn’t be more true.
Everyone wants some sort of magic formula to finally achieve their dreams and live the life they’ve been craving.
But the irony (and tragedy, maybe) is that we all already know the magic formula — we’ve just never bought in and given it a chance.
Not sure what I mean?
Well, let me explain.
Earlier we took the time to figure out our goals. We honestly figured them out and decided what it is that we want out of life.
After this we took a look at people who had done the things we wanted to do, and picked out a few specific behaviors that resulted in their success.
And of those things we picked out, how many of them seemed “magic”?
Did you list any weight loss shakes, tummy wraps, or cutting edge exercise techniques?
Or what about someone’s get-rich-quick mastermind group?
You didn’t list any of that shit.
You listed the boring stuff, the things we all already know, the things that aren’t quite as exciting.
- eating right
- going to class
The truth is: We all know the magic formula. But we just want the magic more than we want to put together the formula.
This stuff is boring. You don’t like studying and neither do I. And there is nothing inherently magic about sitting down once to study a book or write an article.
When you do these things consistently and you do them well?
Magic does begin to happen.
What to do: Quit Quitting
We’ve played a ton of games up to this point. And as much as we all love games, I’m sure these haven’t been overwhelmingly fun.
But —> humor me one more time, and let’s play one last game.
What is your favorite thing in life?
And I’m talking about the life you’re currently living, not your dream life.
Don’t overthink this.
For me, I love playing sports. Competing.
For other people it may be their boyfriend or girlfriend. Or it may be reading a comic or playing a video game.
It may not be something easy to decide on. So take the first thing that came to mind and hold onto that thought for just a second.
Now, answer this question for me.
Has that thing ever had you feeling:
- let down
More than likely the answer is: Yes, it has.
And more likely than that, it’s probably resulted in the feelings above more than once.
Think about that for a second.
Even your very favorite thing in life, the thing you enjoy and love most, isn’t all sunshine and roses.
Your girlfriend says something and it pisses you off. You study for a test only to get a disappointing grade. You apply for a new job only to be turned down.
These things happen.
And this will (obviously) apply to the pursuit of your goals as well.
There will be days where everything will seem to go wrong.
And on these days you will want to quit, you’ll want to give up, you’ll wonder if you’re good enough, and you’ll question if this stuff is for you.
And here is my advice:
Shut the fuck up.
It is for you.
You are good enough.
How do I know this?
- Because you’ve read this far.
- Because you care.
- Because you want to change.
And those last two things mean more than any other quality in the whole world.
Sure, they aren’t exciting.
But, like the actions we listed above, we’ve seen just how magic the simple can be.
Putting it all together
Now that you know where you’re going, the road you’re taking to get there, AND you’re willing to walk the walk… it’s time to flip those decisions on their head and follow them in reverse.
While it’s easy to think of the destination as goal numero uno, it’s really the last thing you need to be worrying about at this point.
Because it’s out of your control at this point.
Maybe your “destination” is to lose 30 pounds or finally throw up 400 pounds on deadlift. Whatever it may be, there isn’t anything you can do in this moment to instantaneously achieve that goal.
Instead of getting caught up on the things we cannot control, we need to embrace the things that we can control.
If your goal was to deadlift 400 pounds eventually, today the best action may be doing just 5 more pounds than last week.
And then 5 more pounds next week.
Remember that lame ass quote about a journey of a thousand miles beginning with a single step? Well, that’s the strategy we are going with here. So take your time and focus on winning today — and only today.
Because like the white rabbit said:
So stop hurrying, stop worrying, and start working.
Because tomorrow will come when it comes.
And the best way to ensure a better tomorrow is to be better today.
And that is about all I’ve got to say about that.3
I first saw Alice in Wonderland two entire decades ago. And while I’m still not sure what the d*ck that cat was talking about.
I’m sure glad he said it.
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