Survival – How Adaptable Are You?

Transcript based on March 5th, 2013 podcast WAKE UP: Survival – How Adaptable Are You?

If you’re squeamish or easily offended, stop reading right now. This isn’t for you.

Still with me? Good. Then let’s talk about it like it is.

Survival – How Adaptable Are You?

I have a new friend on Facebook named Loy Machedo. Meeting him was a wake up call for me. Talk about “wearing your heart on your sleeve”. Talk about “no holds barred”! Talk about saying it the way it is! Talk about being in “pattern interrupt”! 

To me it’s tremendously inspiring to see people who are committed to being in “pattern interrupt” because, at the end of the day, life is happening right now.

So many times we get lulled into thinking “status quo” is good enough, and that mediocrity will get us to the finish line. 

True, mediocrity will get you to the finish line all safe and sound.. You’ll have a perfect paint job, all the tread on your tires, and all the gas in your tank. That’s fine if your goal is to arrive safely at the grave.

If that’s your goal for your life, that’s fine for you. Really. As for me, just the thought of it makes my blood boil.

Those who take today for granted are those who are waiting to arrive safely at the grave.

I feel that getting to the end is not the goal. Living life today to the fullest is the goal. I’m talking to myself here, and you can agree or disagree with me, but to me that’s a subtle shift in thinking that makes all the difference in one’s life. I’m about to be 36 years old, and there have been many days where I was just coasting along and living for the end. Many comfortable days. We all have them; days when you take your life for granted, take business for granted, take your relationships for granted, take God for granted. We have all this stuff that we just take for granted.

There are people that literally have to put on their coat of armour just to make it through a day.

Do you realize how many people there are in the world who don’t live that way because they can’t? Because they don’t have those things? They don’t have running water, electricity, or even their own personal safety. Those people live for today because it’s all they have. Having that kind of mindset is also valuable to those of us who don’t have those types of circumstances to deal with.

Whatever you’re dealing with right now, if you’re taking life for granted, you’re just waiting to arrive safely at the grave. That’s a waste of today. It’s a waste of you.

This world is so full of lemmings who just go with the flow, avoiding any kind of risk or situation that might hurt. Their objective is to arrive safely at the grave. Let’s not get heartbroken. Let’s not get scammed. Let’s not ever go for it. These people are perpetually victims of their circumstances, of other people’s ideals and opinions. Invariably it’s someone else’s fault that they don’t live the way they want. They become victims of the life they’re meant to live.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. -Charles Darwin

If you’ve got sensitive ears, don’t hang out with me on the WAKE UP shows every Tuesday at 10:30 AM EST because I don’t want you to be comfortable. I want to be a pattern interrupt and blow you out of your comfort zone, which is something a lot of people aren’t ready for.

Why would I want to do that? Because I know that comfort and status quo in life, have never gotten the job done for anyone who has done something amazing. You don’t build Apple computers or Microsoft or Levi’s Jeans by being status quo. Success cannot exist within your status quo. Did you know that Levi Strauss, the founder of Levi’s had to travel over 18,000 miles from the east coast of the U.S. to the west coast to start his business? He sailed all the way around the tip of South America to reach the west coast and sell merchandise to the California gold diggers. This was before GPS and jet planes.

18,000 miles on a boat in a deadly dangerous journey, all to sell stuff to gold diggers in San Francisco? Consider what he had to deal with to start a business. Here, today we can start one by walking up to our computers, and we think that’s hard – seriously? Look what Levi did with his brand! Look what he accomplished, despite the many hardships he faced!

It’s all about perspective.

You cannot tell me that people back then were any smarter than people today. Everyone reading this is just as smart as Levi Strauss plus we have infinitely more resources which makes it easier to create success for ourselves. I always looked forward to going back to school because that meant I got a new pair of Levi’s jeans. I loved them. All that started with a journey of 18,000 miles a hundred and fifty years ago, by a guy who just wanted to sell shovels, picks, clothes, and whatever was needed to the prospectors. He risked his life. That’s what it took, so that’s what he did.

I don’t think Levi Strauss was thinking about building a global brand or a billion dollar empire when he made his trip. He was thinking about survival, and about his competition. For a person to make that kind of trip, they’d have to believe that they had a better chance of success where they were going than they had where they were right now. He figured it was a better idea to sail 18,000 miles and risk his life rather than stay in New York City and try to compete with all the other businesses there. Why else would he do it? It had to be a matter of survival. It was instinct.

I’m a hockey fan. And let me tell you, whenever I tried to make the pretty play – make that perfect pass, get in the perfect spot, and unleash that perfect shot – the moment of truth comes, and it just isn’t reality. Reality is off the cuff, on the fly, making it happen on instinct. It’s asking what are you going to do right here, right now.

It’s so damn easy to get comfortable. You can become complacent. There’s zero creativity in that space. There’s no drive. There’s no need for instinct there because there’s no need to worry about surviving. You’re doing fine, going with the flow, status quo. All the circumstances that you feel are making your life so painful and are holding you back just make it so easy to slip into that complacency mode.

Fearing failure, is to fear progress; have courage!

Think your circumstances are tough? Think again. Do you have to sail 18,000 miles across the world with nothing waiting for you, nothing guaranteed, no infrastructure, no clean sheets, no high speed internet, just to try to make it?

It’s all about your perspective. If you feel as though you’re having a shitty day, remember: Shitty, relative to what circumstances? Relative to whom? Alright so you think your life is so tough, compared to what? I disgust myself sometimes by what I take for granted. If I want to go somewhere, I just waltz up to my car and go, never thinking about whether I’ll have enough gas or whether it will break down. Or have you ever seen someone who is honking their horn at a green light because the person in front of them didn’t immediately start driving? They get held up for a matter of seconds, and they’re honking. Talk about messed up perspective.

We will never outperform our self image. Levi Strauss lived his self image when he struck out and risked everything to make it. I would never have been willing to do what he did to be a success! (The beauty of living in today’s world is that I don’t have to be willing to do that to be successful, but this can be a curse if we take it for granted.) If I did have to do that, it would be like me going to Antarctica to open a business. Really?

We all coast through life sometimes. I know it. I do it too. But we don’t get to be complacent and complain about life at the same time. We just don’t. You cannot have it both ways.

What’s going to motivate us and wake us up to take action in a world where everything is so much easier? The secret here is if you look at the sides of that coin for Levi Strauss, he must of been motivated by one of two things. The first was the pain of competition in New York City. (Though I don’t think this was his motivator.) The second was the opportunity to create his own life in his own way.

The most successful people – the people who live life to the fullest and are most fulfilled by it – are not motivated by pain. That’s because they’re not addicted to living in a space where they’re constantly reminded how much life sucks. Instead, they are awake to the  opportunities that are showing up in life: “Where can I give 110% today? What can I do to my utmost best? How can I make an impact?”

Approaching life from that angle makes a huge difference!

We are so spoiled today. We don’t have to risk our lives for success. And if you want to show up nice and comfortable, safe, all your defenses up to new possibilities and new risks, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not judging that at all here. However, you can also choose to find out what more there is to life, beyond that what makes you comfortable.

I used to be addicted to comfort. However, when I made that subtle shift and committed to my own growth beyond my comfort zone, it is amazing how life tends to show up in a certain way to help that growth happen. It’s like wearing a protective bubble wrap and having a pin prick the bubbles away, one by one. Each of those little bubbles is a comfort zone we built for ourselves that tells us we made it. We wrap ourselves in them, get safe, and stop creating. We stop taking risks and challenging ourselves. We start to buy into our own bullshit. We believe we’ve “made it”. That’s when we lose the hunger, the drive that makes us grow into who we could be.

This is all directed at myself first and foremost because that’s how I was, and let me tell you, when you commit to growth, you’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’. You’re gonna get walloped. Does that scare you off from wanting to grow?

You cannot be complacent and creative at the same time. You can go with the flow, or against it, but not both. I look in the mirror every day and see the possibility inside me. Am I closer to unleashing it today, or am I locking it away? Whatever your possibilities are, stop minimizing them. Stop undermining the value you can have to society. Don’t be afraid of your own awesomeness.

Our biggest fear can be of our own greatness. “Oh my God! What if I could be that awesome? It would be so much harder to have all these higher standards to live up to. Then, I would be accountable to so much more from myself.” It’s all about self image, not circumstance. That’s where success is derived from. Trust me.

Figure out who you are and stop settling for less.

Once you realize how awesome you are, you can’t help but unleash your potential into the world and all the while you’re growing out of your comfort zone in order to make it happen!

There are people out there who deal with far worse circumstances than you have to every day of their lives, and yet, they show up despite that. It’s all in your perspective. You see your future through the lens of your perspective. It’s either looking at your life experiences as good things or bad things. You can look at all the tough stuff and say, “Thank God for all of that! It gives me a unique perspective. It gives me unique value. That’s my X factor.”

Or maybe it taught you tough lessons that became your core values, (or your Y factors), then, you can use all the things that were holding you back as a form of leverage and turn them into your Z factors (or Zed factors, for all my Commonwealth brethren.) It’s all about looking at the right side of the coin. You start living like that, and life will become a viciously good cycle of what happens.

Recently I hosted a special webinar titled, “WAKE UP: The X, Y & Z Factors of Successful Living”. Check it out. It was epic!