Blakkbox Lifestyle

Sound Body + Sound Mind

The End

This experiment is finished (it has been for awhile). It was a necessary step toward the direction I’m heading, but overall was not well-planned or executed. By which I mean, it really wasn’t planned at all.

A new project I’m starting will tentatively launch in late March to early April. At that point this site will redirect. I might migrate some of my old content to my next project.

My new project will include and relate the subjects of strength training & fitness, nutrition, evolutionary psychology and theory, cognitive psychology, as well as stoicism and cognitive behavioral therapy, all wrapped-up and packaged neatly into a site that will help men recreate themselves into super-humans. Chew on that for lunch.

Thank you to anyone that read my ideas. I leave you with this quote:

“In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and one for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can achieve perfection.”  ~ Plato

Peace.

The Journey

Well its been an interesting few weeks. I haven’t been posting on here nearly enough, but I’m okay with that right now – this project is a marathon, not a sprint, and to be honest I’d have had a hard time writing and giving advice for the last couple months. I’ve really been focusing on myself and trying to get my own affairs in order.

This post is going to be a little different from others that I’ve written, but in the name of full transparency I think it’s worth putting up. If I didn’t, I’d somehow have to play off the reason I haven’t really been focusing on the blog and I don’t want to bullshit anyone. Plus, I felt like I couldn’t really move on other topics without covering this first.

The Discovery

So here’s the deal: While reading Michael Ellsberg’s guest post “8 Steps to Getting What You Want… Without Formal Credentials” on Tim Ferriss’ blog a few weeks ago (an awesome post by the way, makes me feel confident about Why I’m Not Going Back to College), I stumbled across a link to another article he wrote for Forbes.com. It was called “How I Overcame Bipolar II (and saved my own life).” So I read that article as well.

Now I’m no hypochondriac, but I so strongly identified with the disorder he described I began researching it from other sources as well. It described the oscillating periods of hypomania (literally, “less than mania”) and depression, times where those with the disorder appear as normal, albeit high-functioning people, and times of depression where they can barely get out of bed and face the day. I quickly realized I’ve been struggling with similar symptoms since my mid-teens, and that (at the time of reading) I was dealing with the latter symptoms.

It wasn’t easy to admit to myself, to be honest. No one wants to think they have a weakness. But a weakness can only be used advantageously if the proper steps are taken to deal with it, so that’s what I’m going to do. Aside from my own research and ideas, I’ll be talking to a doctor next week to see what else I can learn. I’m confident the outcome will be positive and this too shall pass.

The good thing is that as soon as I realized what it is I’ve been struggling with, it seemed much more possible to take control of it. It was a lightbulb moment, a sudden realization, and knowing what you’re up against makes a favorable outcome much more likely. As Sun Tzu wrote in The Art of War:

“So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.”

Everyone has their battle, their own private war. This is one of mine, an internal battle. I now know myself and I know my enemy and I will not lose.

If you feel like something is holding you back it is imperative to acknowledge and recognize it. Before reading and researching this disorder I felt lost and didn’t know what to do, but I knew something wasn’t right. Now I have a better understanding of myself and my weaknesses. I know what I need to do. I know myself. I know my enemy.

The Journey

At first I was somewhat worried about putting this online. I was afraid it would somehow reduce my credibility. If I’m not a perfect shining example of what I’m writing about on this blog then no one will listen to me, right?

But I’ve come to realize it’s about the journey. It will always be about the journey for everyone.

You can’t just suddenly jump from the starting point to the finish line. Not without putting in some hard work to get there. And that applies to every aspect of life.  Whatever your ultimate goals are – physical, mental, social, spiritual – they are all their own difficult journey, intertwined though they are, leading to the apex of your personal potential.

Let’s take the journey together. I could use the company.

*****

In other news I recently passed a test and am now a Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, and if all goes well by the end of the month I will also be a Certified Personal Trainer. So that whole bit about not having any credibility on my about page is now somewhat untrue, but I think thats okay.

In the coming weeks look for some more articles picking up where I left off in September.

October Update

So I’ve been slacking pretty hard on this blog. I won’t lie. But not entirely without some decent excuses, although to be fair all excuses are usually pretty lame.

One of the main reasons for my lack of updates is because I broke my hand about a week after my last post in September – a “boxers fracture,” according to the doc – and its been healing for the last 6 weeks. Believe me, typing is a pain in the ass when you can’t move your pinky finger. It’s a tragic story and I won’t delve too deeply into the details but let’s just say my fist had an unfortunate run-in with a face. Note: For the record, it was a bad decision and I don’t encourage that type of behavior. Unless its sanctioned and regulated. Or someone really deserves it. 

I also started working at a local supplement store which is unlike any other supplement store you’ve been to, guaranteed. For one all the employees are required to be N.A.S.M. (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certified personal trainers and fitness nutrition specialists. And the store pays for those certifications, which I think we can all agree is pretty legit. So now when I tell you how to eat and how to train I’ll actually have a little bit of accreditation backing me up.

I’m pretty excited about the opportunities this will bring me down the road and I see it as a stepping stone to the life I want to live. It’s a struggle for me to not always think in the immediate present and to try and view the larger picture of my own life – but I think this is definitely a step in the right direction. That’s it for now, stay tuned for more updates.

Never Settle: How to Beat Average

Who do you want to be in a year? In five years? In ten?

If you’re anything like me, you think about this type of shit fairly often. But I have news: the answers really don’t matter at all. What matters isn’t who, but how.

You see, the answer to “who?” is simple. I’ll tell you right now who you should be. Your goal should simply be to become the most fucking awesome version of yourself you can imagine being. That’s it.

Quick thought experiment: What would this version of yourself be like? Really think about it. Visualize it by imagining it is already your reality. Now work backwards in time, and think of the steps it’ll take to get there from your present reality.

How will you do it?

And this is where most people fail. You see, it’s easy to have dreams for the future. Pretty much everyone has them. But with most people, they stay just that: dreams.

knowing is not enough, you must apply

“Knowing is not enough, you must apply; willing is not enough, you must do.” – Bruce Lee

Knowing who or what you want to be is worthless if you don’t do shit to attain it. It’s easy to imagine what you want. It’s hard to actually get it.

For example, I’ve had a pretty rough outline in my head of what I want to do for the last year or two. And I’ve spent a lot of time trying to refine that sketch in my mind into some kind of imaginary masterpiece, trying to put the lines together perfectly and get the details just right.

And recently I’ve realized that this has resulted primarily in one thing: I haven’t taken enough action to actually make it my reality. I plan and plan and study and learn how to carry out my goals and all the while… I forget to take a step. Granted, I have taken a few steps. Probably more than a lot of people ever do. But I don’t just want to take steps. I want to run toward my dream.

And I’m sure you do too. So what’s stopping you?

A lot of people struggle with motivation. They know they should work out, but they don’t. They know they want to quit their job and start their own business, but they never do. It goes on and on. Knowing is not enough.

So if most people know what they should do and don’t, what does this mean? That they’re lazy? They just don’t care enough or it’s just not important to them?

Hell fucking no, that isn’t why. Why the hell would they even have dreams if they really weren’t important and didn’t want to attain them? Answer: they wouldn’t.

The problem stems from something much deeper than motivation. Before you can be motivated to change, you must give yourself permission to do so. Yes, I know that sounds like bullshit, but stay with me.

Dreams and Professional Athletes

“Life doesn’t care about your vision. You just gotta roll with it.” – Forrest Gump

Most people don’t change their lives because no one expects them to. In life, you have no teammates you fear letting down, no coaches to impress, no fans or community to answer to.

It’s just you. And no one cares about your dream. No one but you.

You haven’t fully achieved your vision because you don’t respect yourself enough and haven’t given yourself permission to be different from everybody else. I know it’s true for me. And that’s hard to admit.

Being different requires that you separate yourself from average. If average is normal, to be different you must either be above or below average. Obviously here we’re shooting for above.

If you are average, you are by definition a part of the majority. Which also means that the majority of people you interact with fall into this category – and giving yourself permission to be different from them, especially if it’s friends and family, is hard to do. After all, who the hell are you to want something different? (Note: I’m not saying you should cut ties with your friends and family or anything of that nature, just that you need to expect more than “average”).

Look at professional athletes. When it comes down to it, they’re people like you and me. But they hold themselves to a much, much higher standard than the average person. Why? Because it’s their job. Their career depends on it. It is expected of them by everyone. The most well-respected athletes don’t just hold themselves to a higher standard physically though. No, they are respected on and off field because their standards of behavior are higher than average as well.

But they aren’t superheros, despite impressive physical abilities. They just have a different mindset and a different environment. To see game time, they must continually prove their worth. They must play their best in practice and in the game. It’s expected of them by the coaches, themselves, and the team, and the community. They must nurture and build their bodies. They must behave respectably on and off the field and not draw negative attention to their team. Overall, they are held to higher standards by everyone in their life.

However, for us non-celebrity professional athletes you tend to encounter the opposite. When (nearly) everyone around you has average expectations they tend to expect you to have them too. Social pressure to conform is difficult to resist, especially when it’s from people close to you. Of course, most people don’t have bad intentions – they aren’t trying to limit you by having lower expectations. Oftentimes you won’t notice you’ve adopted another’s belief. The problem is it’s easy for these beliefs to turn into assumptions – something you hold to be true when in fact, there isn’t a grain of evidence to support it. But you must view your life objectively and ask yourself if there are any assumptions you have that are holding you back. And you absolutely must test your assumptions.

People instinctively fear the unknown and the majority of people know average. So what does that tell you? Don’t ever settle for average. Please. The world needs something different, something better.

So here’s what you need to do: give yourself permission to commit to higher standards than people around you who have settled and accepted stagnation. If you don’t want to be average, you cannot have average standards. You must hold yourself accountable for something better. You simply must be different.

Rule No. 7: Internalize Your Motivation

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.” – Muhammad Ali

The things that are most important to you, the things you need to accomplish must be motivated by something beneath the surface. Consider your goals. Ask yourself why each is important to you. Find what is motivating you to achieve your goals. If it seems to be a shallow, surface motivation at first then try looking deeper.  If you have no deep-seated motivation you will lose enthusiasm. But if you find something deeper that is truly important to you, internalize that motivation and don’t quit until you reach your goal.