These letters are always the hardest to write.
There will be little practical advice.
Most of it will be abstract, big-picture thinking.
I hope it can help you gain perspective on the situation you are in.
I love observing patterns in my own life.
They shine light on what I perceived as a difficult situation while it was happening.
There’s been a meta pattern that I’ve noticed over the past few years, and I’m going through it right now.
It goes something like this:
The Clarity Phase
Insight strikes and a purpose reveals itself. A vision that I can start to work towards. I have the skills to make it work, all that’s left is for me to accept the challenge.
The Intensity Phase
Pure progress is being made. Flow state is almost permanent. The skill set I’ve acquired is laying the foundation for my business, relationships, level of mind, and quality of life.
The Consistency Phase
I felt pressure to sustain the progress that I had made. This required systemization, prioritization, and sacrifice. It felt like a gradual decline into chaos because massive progress was not being made.
The Lost Phase
I actualized the purpose I had set out for in the clarity phase. My mind filled with doubts about the future. A highly mental and spiritual phase that a majority of people get stuck in if they don’t learn how to navigate the dark.
With the book finished, I’m in the lost phase. I have some idea where to go next, but nothing sticks out as “the one.”
These phases of feeling lost used to be more destructive, but I’ve learned to be at peace with them. I hope you can learn to do the same as we dig deeper in this letter.
These phases encapsulate a few principles that will be necessary to understand:
After every battle, on any plane of existence, something new emerges.
Atomic nuclei emerges when a star explodes.
Medical advancements emerge after a world war.
Vision for your future emerges after deep internal struggle.
From above to below, this phenomenon reflects on all planes. Cosmic, worldly, cultural, social, personal, mind, body, business, and everything in between.
Struggle is a necessary aspect of life.
Without it, progress would not be made.
Impermanence & Entropy
Nothing lasts forever.
Creation demands destruction.
Every single phase of your life will not last. And the more you attempt to make it permanent, the more mental backlash you will experience.
Don’t fight with it, flow with it.
Let’s dissect these phases and principles so you can learn to enjoy the lows, maximize the highs, and make more progress than you thought was possible.
The Book Of Life
Uni-verse. One song. That is what you are smack in the middle of. – The Art Of Focus
Life unfolds in chapters and phases.
Books, songs, stories, architecture, bodybuilding, life setup, relationships, mental health, and every other form of human creation reflect this pattern.
Being able to zoom out and see what is happening beyond the thoughts in your head can save you from a world of pain.
It’s helpful to know what part of this everlasting book you are in.
That way you can anticipate, prepare for, or cope with what is happening in your personal life.
For each chapter of a book there is a purpose, or goal, that must be actualized.
At the beginning of the chapter, you are acclimating to the environment you are in.
Maybe you moved to a new city and your routines are destroyed in an instant (even if you don’t like “routines” your mind does and forms them at every second of the day).
You no longer know what grocery store to shop at, what coffee shop to work at, or even just what the common cross roads are.
The same goes for starting a business, getting into a new relationship, or pursuing a new goal like fitness.
You launch yourself into an unknown environment until it becomes normalized with time.
From that place of decreased stress, you can begin to explore and generate clarity in alignment with the purpose of that chapter in your life.
In the middle of a chapter you have enough experience in that environment to make ample progress.
Everything feels smooth, you reach your “climax,” and achieve the goal you set out to achieve.
As the chapter nears it’s end, you begin to decline into a state of feeling lost.
You don’t know what the next chapter holds.
The “lost” phase of life can create or destroy your future.
At One, Not War
There is wisdom in feeling lost.
It means that there is potential to find your way.
But for most people, feeling lost becomes an eternal struggle.
They get consumed by the fog of thoughts, emotions, and low-level responsibilities that prevent them from seeing, or creating, a light at the end of the tunnel.
This is dangerous. Very dangerous.
If you only have access to a mental bubble of certain thoughts and solutions, you may never find your way out.
Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence.
Stress is useful to add pressure to a situation and force you to move toward your goals.
The problem is this:
If you don’t create your own goals, they will be assigned to you.
That’s all society is.
A hierarchy of subjective goals with accompanying systems that have become more efficient with evolution.
By adopting the goals conditioned into your mind since birth, you commit to upholding the machine as a singular cog.
If the only direction in life you know is to go to school, get a job, and retire at an old age, your mind will be narrowed on the stressful tasks associated with that path.
To that individual, money is finite.
The thought of paying the bills every week sparks the same anxiety and conditions that experience into your sense of self.
Just by living, your quality of life is lower than it has to be.
At the end of each chapter in your life, you will inevitably be tossed into the unkown.
The stress will intensify.
When you leave school, what’s next?
When you break up with your partner, what’s next?
When your job becomes comfortable, do you stay in that spot?
That question, “What’s next?” can lead to a black hole of despair.
Or, it can be perceived as your chance to discover new potentials for your life.
Struggle is a Universal principle.
It isn’t only happening to you. Humans have been around for a long time. We understand psychology. Everyone goes through these phases.
What many don’t understand is that stress is the enemy of discovery.
When your attention is narrowed on stressful entities, your mind will not register potentials in its awareness.
Ideas cannot be collected and culminate into a vision.
You must embrace feeling lost.
Don’t fight with it, flow with it.
Be at one with it, not at war with it.
And make a conscious effort to expose yourself to experience.
Read a new book. Buy a new course. Meet new people. Have deeper conversations. Watch new content. Journal more. Write more. Hit the gym. Go on a hike. Swim in the environments and information that allow ideas to collect in your subconscious.
Almost everyone gets trapped in this phase.
That would explain the state of society.
You do have to have a sense of paranoia sitting in the back of your mind, like an animal in the jungle.
You’re in the fog.
When a ladder rung swings by you, don’t miss it because you fear change.
The Intensity Threshold – Navigating The Unknown
In the cyclical story of life, there will be conflict.
It’s the most interesting part of the story in fact, but many people don’t see it that way in their personal life.
After the conflict is resolved, there is a phenomenon of novel emergence.
In other words, something new comes into being.
On the global scale, wars between nations lead to medical advancements and global progress.
On the personal scale, a war in your mind leads to the emergence of insight, perception, or solution to a problem.
When this happens, you will feel it.
It may take longer than expected.
But when you do find the next direction to take in your life, you enter the clarity phase.
With a solidified and self-generated goal, you must clarify the path to reach that goal.
In most cases, this will require self-education in alignment with the goal.
If you have the vision to start a business, then clearly you will have to learn about business.
But remember, learning without a tangible project to apply your teachings is not learning, it’s mental masturbation.
Start with what you know.
Learn along the way.
And when you encounter specific problems, solve them through trial and error.
As you commit to progress in this phase, you will gain new insight.
The “aha!” moment will strike.
Again, this may take longer than expected. Not all chapters are the same length.
This is when you enter the intensity phase, the middle part of a chapter.
In this phase you:
- Have complete clarity on what you must do
- Have a tangible aspect of life that you are making progress in
- Don’t want to do anything aside from “work” because work is the funnest thing you could be doing
This blur of pure progress usually lasts 1-3 months, more or less.
Then, you hit the intensity threshold.
You exhaust the progress you’re allowed to reap from reality with that specific vessel.
You can keep pushing, but you will be disappointed to see that your efforts aren’t going as far.
At this point, you must attempt to enter a maintenance phase so you don’t drop straight into feeling lost.
Reaching New Baselines
In bodybuilding, there are 3 common phases for sculpting a desirable physique: cutting, bulking, and maintaining.
We can think of cutting as gaining clarity.
You let go of the fat, physical or mental, to reveal what you’ve built from previous bulking cycles.
We can think of bulking as an intensity phase.
You are in an environment that is conducive to muscle growth, physical or mental, until you reach a point of feeling groggy and demotivated.
In between either bulking or cutting you can enter a maintenance phase.
In bodybuilding, this is where you attempt to maintain a new baseline of muscle mass that you’ve reached.
In business, you maintain baseline revenue.
In relationships, you maintain a baseline of fulfillment.
In spirituality, you maintain a baseline of happiness.
You do all of the above by creating a system.
In other words, a routine that prioritizes the actions that get the most results.
The goal is to make this a sustainable part of your life.
One that doesn’t take too much conscious effort to maintain.
With time, effort, and consciousness of these cyclical phases of life you begin to create a lifestyle that you enjoy.
The Supreme Law
Nothing is permanent.
Feeling lost isn’t permanent.
Intense progress isn’t permanent.
Even happiness isn’t permanent.
These phases of life will come and go, but you can trust that if you seek to understand them year after year, you will get holistic results with time.
If you grasp at any phase and attempt to make it permanent, you will experience chaos.
Don’t fight with reality, flow with it.