I know that the part of me that wants to be better will never be satisfied.
The drive to be a better partner, a better coach— or friend, thinker, feeler, athlete, businessman, writer, cellist, son, man— is permanent.
Each successive level up is satisfying, but not enough.
Each success is exhilarating, but temporary.
This may seem absurdly obvious, but it took me a while to really notice it.
So I finally did. And I realized I had a choice.
I could give up, reject the struggle, and practice simple contentment as a way to escape the entire game.
Or I could play all-the-fuck out, embrace the constant dissatisfaction as fuel, and commit to becoming better in everything that I do for the rest of my life.
I chose the latter. If you chose the former, there is zero shame in that. A life of simple contentment makes a lot more sense.
But if you made the same choice I did, here are six tools I’ve found to be some of the most powerful assets in this wild adventure.
1. Demand insanity.
No one will ever demand from you what you’re truly capable of.
You can easily exceed everyone’s expectations, because everyone has sane and reasonable expectations.
Exceeding other people’s expectations isn’t enough. You’re the only person who knows what you’re actually capable of.
Demand success of yourself that’s impossible in the eyes of others. Demand insane accomplishment.
No one else will do it for you.
2. Deconstruct your peaks.
You will have moments of incredible brilliance. Inspiration, epiphany, game-changing artfulness.
If you just keep going, you stay at the same level, waiting for the next moment of inspiration to strike.
If you systematically deconstruct every element of your moments of greatest brilliance, that brilliance becomes your new baseline.
Figure out why you were brilliant. Figure out why it all worked. Then do that again, until the next level of inspiration strikes.
3. Drill the skills beneath the skills.
Your skills come from somewhere besides experience.
Creative ideation? Focus? Social intuition?
Figure it out. Then devote time to practicing those foundational skills simply.
Professional basketball players don’t just play basketball. They work out intensely to strengthen specific muscles.
Mastery comes through practice. Real practice happens outside of the game.
4. Use everything.
It’s a myth that fear is bad. It’s a myth that greed is bad. It’s a myth that any part of you is bad.
If you’re living a life of serving the world and creating a masterpiece, and you’re not using your fear, greed, and ambition, then you’re swimming upstream.
Love and service divorced from rage and hunger are half-hearted love and service.
Ignore your darker parts, and they cause havoc.
Use them, and you evolve from a simple metal to a magnet.
Urgency inspired by the finitude of life is a tremendously useful tool.
And, it only gets you so far.
The real magic happens when you decide to die.
Now you’re already dead.
All that’s left is the lucid dream after death that you’re currently sitting in.
The urgency can continue, as a tool or a game.
But a masterpiece requires perspective, and real perspective only happens when you’re outside of the game.
You died. Now you’re outside it.
Now you can not only win— you can win with style.
It’s truly up to you, because you’re already dead.
Choose. Live. Die again.
That’s all there is. Enjoy it.