This just in: It’s late-November 2016.
It seems like a blur, but as this year comes to a close, I wanted to take some time to share eight powerful lessons I learned that blew my mind. Some of them revealed themselves in the most annoying way possible, but I hope that all of them help you live an amazing life in 2017 and beyond.
By the way, here are the past articles from my “Cogitating” series:
Friends Might Disappear — And That’s Okay
Earlier this year, I went to London for a month because a friend invited me to stay with him.
In less than a week, he kicked me out of his place for several pathetic reasons and a complete failure to communicate. He also kicked me out after I spent £110 on a mattress because I thought I would be there for a month. (Here’s the full story in excruciating detail.)
In the aftermath, I asked myself if there were any warning signs. Was anything in his personality that should’ve tipped me off? Were there warning signs in his messages or our Skype calls?
I couldn’t find any.
And sometimes there aren’t any.
A few years ago, my best friend vanished. I texted him, I called him, and I messaged him on Facebook — no response. (Yet I knew people who were hanging out with him and saw him around.)
To this day, I have no idea what happened. We didn’t have an argument, disagreement, or anything. (In fact, the last thing he ever said to me was: “Yeah, I’m free on the weekends. Just hit me up.”) It hurt at first, but it taught me powerful lessons and helped me understand how I could become a BETTER friend.
Now, notice I didn’t say: “ALL FRIENDS WILL DISAPPEAR.” I just said it MIGHT happen. But if they disappear, that’s okay. Time will pass. You’ll grow and improve. And each time these setbacks occur, it will become obvious who your REAL friends are.
Time Flies. So What Are You Going To Do About It?
As my 29th year approached, I spent a lot of time thinking about how fast life moves. It seemed like just yesterday, I was at Equinox. And the day before that, I was in Taiwan.
TIME REALLY FUCKING FLIES.
“Time flies when you’re reading… the bible?!”
Soon, I’ll be 30. Then I’ll be 35. Then I’ll be 50. Then I’ll be 80. Then I’ll die.
(That’s why I keep a Memento Mori chart, by the way; so I can see that time passing.)
So here’s what I asked myself:
Are you going to continue to waste time with people who don’t make you better or challenge you to become better?
Are you going to continue to waste time doing things you don’t enjoy?
Are you going to continue to waste time doing things that DON’T MATTER?
Are you going to continue to waste time NOT moving your life forward?
So what do you want and how are you going to get there?
Asking and answering that question will change everything.
Invest In Yourself AND Others
This year, I spent more than $7000 on self-development.
But it wasn’t just to throw off Uncle Sam (although that doesn’t hurt): It was to learn new skills, hobbies, and activities and meet new people. Personal growth isn’t always found in a book or DVD — sometimes it’s taking a trip somewhere, betting on yourself, or just trying something different.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to invest in people you respect and admire.
For example, I have a book exchange going on with a few of my friends — we send each other books we’ve enjoyed and that could potentially help them with their lives. One of my buddies just told me that he loved one of the books I sent, despite its weird-ass introduction. Hopefully, he uses it to become better.
You Can Tell A LOT About A Person By Looking At Them
How people feel about themselves and how they feel about the world is displayed in their body language, facial expressions, appearance, etc.
Try it yourself. Just watch people and ask yourself, “Do they seem open? Do they seem closed? Do they seem relaxed? Do they seem tense or stiff? Do they seem friendly?” Listen to them talk. See how they interact with others.
I’ve been practicing this for months and I can gauge someone’s vibe and personality within seconds (and can even guess who’s married without looking at their ring).
WHAT?! ANTHONY, HOW THE HELL CAN YOU TELL ALL THAT BY LOOKING AT SOMEONE?!
Do this a few times and see. It’s like seeing the Matrix.
Now they say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Well, (1) we’re not books. We have so many muscles in our face and body that are connected with our brains, emotions, moods, etc. (2) No one’s “judging” anything — if someone’s open or closed, happy or sad, it doesn’t make them better or worse than anyone else. (And this isn’t a “Oh my God, she’s wearing THAT?” thing.)
It just is.
But it still helps to read it in others and know what to expect, especially if you like talking to a lot of people (like me) or especially if you’re an introvert (like me). That way, you can focus on approaching and connecting with people who are open and available to you instead of beating down the door of everyone you want (like the seduction community).
For example, I was at a coffee shop last week and I saw this beautiful woman nearby with a GREAT vibe. I could tell if I said something — anything! — we’d have a great conversation. So I just said, “Excuse me… how’s it going?” Boom. We ended up having a 30-minute conversation.
But I knew it was going to happen before I started.
I’ve Almost Eliminated Alcohol
It seems like with every year, I drink way less alcohol than the year before. In 2016, I drank roughly once a month and, next year, it will probably be less. But it’s not that I hate alcohol or anything.
It’s just that I have little reason to drink.
It causes me to pee a lot, screws up my sleep, and — as an added bonus — makes me want to dance.
I don’t miss it, though. Maybe in the future, I’ll get into whiskeys or wines or beers (or whatever middle-aged people get into). But until then, water’s fine for me.
2 Years (And Counting) Without TV or Wi-Fi at Home
When I moved into my condo two years ago, I decided to test how long I could go without television or Wi-Fi.
Well, 2 years later, I’m still doing okay.
If I want Internet, I check my phone. But because I have a really cheap data plan (and because I feel like an idiot after gawking at that tiny screen for a while), it doesn’t last too long.
If I REALLY want Internet (for work or Skype calls or streaming important Dodgers games), I go to the lounge at the top floor of my building. The Internet is shit, but it gets the job done.
If I want television — which rarely happens and, if it does, it’s purely for sports — I’ll either watch it at a friend’s condo, go to a nearby restaurant, or go to the lounge and watch it on the building’s TV.
The most common question I hear is, “Why?”
I think we ALL can agree that we ALL piss way too much time away on the Internet and television. Frankly, I hated that feeling of wanting to go to bed at 11pm, noticing it’s past 2am, and realizing I spent the last three hours watching videos on, like, the Illuminati.
Usually, if I’m staying home for the evening, I get home, exercise, cook dinner, and clean up. Sometimes I talk on the phone with a friend. Sometimes I write. Most of the time I read.
It helps me focus and concentrate on the things that are most important, not just the loudest.
I Haven’t Lifted Weights Since February
My T-shirts are a lot looser on me and my pants are falling, but I have a legit reason why I stopped.
About a year-and-a-half ago, I drove to the Emergency Room at 4am on a Sunday. My heart rate and blood pressure were through the roof (170/100), I couldn’t sleep, and I felt like I was going to explode from the inside out. I quit going to the gym, I tried to clean my diet (although my diet was pretty fucking clean), and I tried to rebuild my health and fitness from scratch.
It got better, but every few weeks, I would “relapse.”
I saw a doctor several times and had two blood tests and an EKG. All of my numbers were great. I even charted my blood pressure every day, morning and night, for a few weeks. The doctor couldn’t figure out what it wrong.
It turns out the answer was right under my nose.
After I got back from England, I remember eating at a restaurant for dinner in Denver and having a relapse that night. I thought about what might have caused it and I realized…
It was the food.
Fuck outta here! It wasn’t the training at all! Certain foods and ingredients hurt my sleep and created that sensation!
From that moment, I started keeping a food journal to track what I could and couldn’t eat. The answers blew me away because even “healthy” foods would trigger a bad response (like bananas or spinach).
And the reason why I stopped going to the gym was that I didn’t want to confound my journaling.
Never underestimate how food affects your performance, not just your weight. Certain foods — and I’m not just talking about junk foods — could make you feel tired, hurt your sleep, give you bad dreams, spike your heart rate, or flare up your allergies.
It’s Not Just The Big Things; It’s The Little Things That Make A Big Difference
On January 25th, I started a Gratitude Journal: Every night before I went to bed, I listed 5 things I was thankful for that particular day and wrote a few sentences explaining why.
I didn’t miss a single day.
It taught me there are things to be grateful for every day and it’s up to you to find them. It also reminds me that life is fucking AWESOME — there’s so much magic in the world and there are so many amazing opportunities we have in this life.
Yet the biggest lesson was how the small things in life are the ones that really count.
I have a tendency (and I’m sure others do too) to focus on the “big things” in life: the big moves, the big vacations, the big work contracts, the big relationships, the big purchases, etc.
Well, that’s great and everything, but after listing the things that happened over the past 10 months, I’ve realized that it’s the little things in life that make all the difference.
Having a fun conversation with someone you just met, sharing a long phone call with a good friend, seeing your friend’s new baby, finishing a great book, sitting in a park on a sunny afternoon, asking out someone you like, getting a funny message from an old friend — they all add up.
Notice those little things. I wrote this in my journal after my last day in London (4/20/2016) and I think it sums it up best:
I got to meet so many fun and interesting ppl: the lady who helped me find Parliament Hill, that funny kid in the bathroom, the guy at Pizza Express who let me use the loo, my “roommate” Sophia, Julia, the lady I sat next to at Southbank, the Argentinian guy, the guy who asked me if I’m cold… everyone all played a part in making my day one to always remember. Even though these faces didn’t exist for very long, each person had a hand in creating everything that makes today (and everyday) special. I’m so glad the stars aligned and we met each other for that brief moment… that’s what makes life the incredible adventure it is.