It has always felt that my life unfolded in phases. In one phase, I felt lost. In another, pinned to my desk. Surging with energy. Deep in the flow state. Building out my future. In another phase, I was going through the motions, but with enjoyment.
The silly thing is that I had never felt this way while in high school or college. When teachers and employers directed my attention. The cyclical nature of sovereign living only came into play when I had to manage my goals. When I had to master my attention in relation to where I wanted to go in life.
The phases of being lost were the most destructive, yet most enlightening. Fumbling around in the dark, hoping to find a candle. Finding one. Watching it die out. Finding another and hoping it guides you to the next one before the darkness collapses once again.
Through awareness and the intention to improve, these cycles have become less destructive.
I could only imagine how some others must feel. Not knowing how to leverage those periods of feeling lost — when, in fact, you are only preparing for the next round of heat.
Like a sauna. Don’t fight it. Let it purify you.
The 3 Drivers Of Progress
When you commit to building a life according to your goals — as opposed to someone else’s — there are 3 drivers of progress. Meaning if you are engaged — or conscious — of these phases, you are making progress toward a better life.
These phases occur for everyone but are the most devastating for those that aren’t doing what they enjoy. For those that followed someone else’s path instead of blazing their own. Conditioned for a repetitive future since childhood.
Understanding these phases will help you identify where you are at in your journey, what you can do about it, and how to make accurate decisions.
The 3 drivers of progress are:
These come in cycles. Phases. One leads to another. They are inevitable cycles of life. Ebb and flow. Wu wei. Push pull. The secret is to let go. Let these cycles happen as they will. Flow with the river. Fighting it will only keep you trapped in that phase of life until you learn the lesson it is trying to teach you.
Intensity is for building. Consistency is for maintaining. Curiosity is for exploring.
These are not only life cycles, but year, month, week, and day cycles. We will be diving into the macro perspective in this post. While we are at it, can you start to become aware of these cycles in your day-to-day life?
Here’s how you navigate them:
Exploring The Unknown
“When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.” – Patrick Overton
We will start with the curiosity phase as many people misperceive it. This is the phase that people get trapped in for life. Infinite room for improvement, but keeping a 50-foot distance from the edge of their comfort zone.
Life is a series of experiments. Nobody — not a single soul — has or ever will have it all figured out. The unknown is a land of infinite opportunity. Yet most people perceive it as a land of immense risk.
Side note: risk, as with everything else, is a label. A fabricated concept that implies a reward. The 1% of top performers perceive risk for what it is, a part of life. The 99% of under-performers perceive risk for what it does, destroys their bubble of familiarity. Scary.
The curiosity phase is tricky. It doesn’t seem like exploration. It seems like you are floating in space. No routine to ground yourself in. No sense of direction in life. Halfway between “I want to do this for the rest of my life!” and “Who would do this for the rest of their life?”
We must adopt the mindset of an explorer. Slashing through the jungle in search for a new life-changing discovery. Exploring the unknown is the real-world manifestation of “throwing sh*t at a wall and seeing what sticks.”
It takes intuition, surrender, and acceptance to navigate this phase with ease — but there are ways to navigate it more effectively. Try this:
- Write out 20 interests you have
- Make a note of related interests (intersections)
- Immerse yourself in information related to those
- Read books, listen to podcasts, follow leaders in that space
- Connect the dots and understand the real world utility
- Teach what you have learned to understand it better
By the end of it all, you gain a deeper understanding of the direction you must move in. Your neurobiology — the feeling of excitement — will hint at passion. Educate yourself along your journey in the unknown. Education shines the light of awareness on the map of the unknown. Invest your time in free content. Invest your money in the teachings of those you aspire to be like (courses or coaching).
The curiosity phase is for exploration, experimentation, and making new discoveries. Those new discoveries lead you down a path that you want to go down — not the one someone else wants you to go down. This requires you to be in touch with your intuition — your neurobiology — and let curiosity be your intrinsic driver. It is a time for testing new interests, gauging their utility, and eventually connecting the dots. This leads to immense clarity that launches you into the next phase.
Building A Better Future — Fast
The intensity phase is for building a project related to your curiosities. When the clarity hits — mornings, nights, and days are a blur of trying to find the time to get things done as fast as possible. Nothing will stop you from blazing your trail. Focus is seamless. Flow seems to last all day. You don’t even need your precious to-do app to keep you on track.
This phase comes after the curiosity phase. It occurs when everything clicks. You make the new discovery, have a burst of clarity, and develop a strategy that will launch you to new heights. You can already feel yourself in your future shoes. Who you are and who you want to become merge into one. You are that person. You are just waiting for time to catch up.
Intensity clarifies. It creates not only momentum, but also the pressure you need to feel either friction, or fulfillment. — Marcus Buckingham
The building phase is for turning curiosity into obsession. It is for brewing the neurochemical cocktail that launches you into the flow state. It is for cultivating passion and purpose while building towards autonomy and mastery. This is where you build out your future. Personal freedom. Self-actualization. This phase is best used on a project with high potential profitability. It can start as a hobby — and can remain a hobby — but autonomy is necessary if you want to continue down this path.
Towards the end of this phase, you must systemize if you want to maintain your progress.
At the end of the intensity phase, you reach a new baseline. Mental, physical, spiritual, financial, whatever it may be. If you don’t maintain this baseline, you will hit a new low. Again, this is a cycle. You don’t have to fall back into a curiosity phase just to feel lost again.
Consistency is best navigated with systems. These systems should revolve around the fundamentals. The lever-moving actions that result in growth. Bake these fundamentals into your routines, automate them if you can, and delegate what you hate doing.
Again, take out pen and paper, or download my planner:
- Note your lever-moving goal-oriented tasks
- Schedule time blocks for executing on those
- Avoid distractions and get into a deep work routine
- Do this when your energy is highest
- Reflect often and delegate what you don’t like to tech or VAs
By building out proper life and business systems, you can maintain a full-time income with 2-4 hours of focused work. No-code tech advancements have reduced the workload of solopreneurs. Digital product and service creators have a luxury that many can’t fathom. You can only decrease your work times by automating or delegating tasks. Employees are the ones that get delegated tasks.
Once you feel stable, you can maintain your progress and take the plunge into another curiosity phase. Explore the unknown, self-educate to find your way, and let new discoveries launch you into a cycle of intensity. (Bonus points if you build on top of what you’ve already built — that’s leverage.)
Macro & Micro Phases
Once you have consciously experienced these phases, they become more predictable. You can navigate them more efficiently. You can predict what is going to happen and ease your worries about the future.
The thing is, these phases do not only exist in the macro. They exist in the micro. You can use your understanding of these phases to craft a sustainable routine. For example, I:
- Build for the first 2 hours of the morning (intensity)
- Maintain for 2 hours after that (consistency)
- Explore in my afternoons (curiosity)
This is baked into my schedule. A well designed lifestyle. Micro phases within macro phases. It is a balance of segmenting your time and knowing when to pivot.
But we can talk about that at another time. We will dive deep into lifestyle design in a later post.
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