Contentment, Ambition, and the Long Climb

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
– Epicurus

Seems like simple advice at a glance.

However, if on a closer read this quote appears somewhat paradoxical to you, that’s because it is.

Epicurus cautions us first to avoid desiring more than we have, as this is sure to spoil our happiness. He then adds that we must remember that our current circumstances, the ones we are supposed to be content with, exist because we previously desired more than we had… wait, what?

Which one is it, Epicurus?

Should we strive to be content with less, or strive to create more for ourselves?

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An interview with the 2016 World’s 3rd Fittest Man, Patrick Vellner

My brother, Patrick Vellner, surprised everyone last year when he hit the podium at the 2016 Crossfit Games, his first appearance as an individual competitor there, earning the titles of “3rd Fittest Man on Earth” and “Crossfit Rookie of the Year” .

Perhaps most surprising is that Crossfit is not even his full-time focus. Pat is a Chiropractic student, and has repeatedly told interviewers that school is his top priority. Crossfit is more like his “hobby”.

Either way, he’s recently become a household name in the Crossfit community, and has consistently been ranking among the top in the world.

Earlier this week I caught up with Pat for a chat as he prepares for the upcoming Crossfit Games.

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The Goal, and the Game

I recently had the pleasure and privilege of taking an introductory clown workshop with the amazing Shannan Calcutt (Clown and Comic Act Designer at Zumanity by Cirque du Soleil) alongside a dozen other Cirque du Soleil performers.

The aim was to get outside of our comfort zones and be introduced to new concepts of performing that we may not already be familiar or experienced with, all while having a lot of fun.

I went in hoping to better myself as an artist. What I didn’t expect was that this workshop would leave me feeling a better, fuller person off the stage as well.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that EVERYONE should take a clown workshop at some point in their life. It’s a safe and fun way to begin to break down your inhibitions, follow your impulses, and learn to connect with the people around you (areas we all could stand to improve).

There were several epiphany moments for me over the course of the workshop, but in this post I want to focus on the concept of “the goal, and the game”, what it means to a clown, and what it means for you.

I believe that understanding and applying this concept can help anyone to live with more direction, more connection, and more joy in their daily life.

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The most insidious form of procrastination…

Everyone struggles with procrastination at times.

Sometimes you just don’t have the energy to work on your important tasks, so you put them off in favour of something more enjoyable. You might, for example, watch a movie when you know you should be studying.

I’ve been there a lot. Everyone has. It’s totally normal.

And the truth is it’s not really a major problem, unless you do it all the time.

When you’ve got important work to do, it’s OK to get sidetracked from time to time, as long as you’re able to catch yourself procrastinating and get back on track.

The problem is that sometimes we don’t actually know we’re procrastinating.

That’s because it’s not just TV and social media that sap up our time and energy. It’s also possible to waste a lot of time on things that appear to be useful work on the surface.

I call this insidious form of time-wasting: “producti-crastination”, because it feels a lot like productivity, only without the results.

It’s easy to fall for, but thankfully it’s also possible to beat.

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Achieve twice as much with the help of an “accountabilibuddy”

What if you knew a strategy that allowed you to be more motivated, more productive and even more creative in the pursuit of your goals? Imagine what you could achieve.

Well, you’re in luck.

It so happens there’s a free and abundant resource that can provide you with all of those benefits and more; the people who surround you every day.

Your relationships are your most important asset. In particular, there is one very special relationship that can help you to achieve much more than you could on your own.

This person is your “accountabilibuddy” (an amazingly catchy term recently introduced to me by a friend). Let’s talk about what this person is, and how they can help you achieve more.

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A simple exercise to help you overcome social anxiety

It is often said that people’s number one fear is public speaking, with death at number two. We are so afraid of committing a social faux pas that, as Jerry Seinfeld puts it, “to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

What scares people isn’t really speaking though; we can all do that just fine. Speaking or not, what we’re really scared of is embarrassing ourselves, especially in front of a crowd.

The good news is that, with time and training, your fear can become confidence, which is incredibly freeing. 

Let me show you a simple trick that can help you to slowly overcome social anxiety.

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The key to staying motivated? Celebrate small victories.

Why is it so hard to stay motivated and stick with our resolutions?

Have you ever taken on a goal, sure that you would succeed, only to find that after a few months, a few weeks, or maybe only a few days later, you feel you’re getting nowhere? Your excitement turns to disillusionment. Your motivation dries up. The distance between you and the finish line begins to seem overwhelming. “What’s the point?” you wonder. With nothing left to keep you going, and nothing to show for your efforts, you decide to throw in the towel.

I’ve been there…

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