Around 4 years ago, after finishing university I started a new chapter in my life. Back then i’d have said “I’m on a mission to build a business”, but looking back I was actually on a mission to build a better version of me.
I realised I had lots of work to do. I needed to take a new direction if I was to be truly happy and become the man I wanted to be. My uni days were over, no more acting like a drunk teenager, or drinking Killer K ciders (lethal!). No more waking up after midday or ordering dominoes pizza’s, or playing pranks on taxi companies! It was time to grow up and become a responsible young man.
Investing £60,000 to become the best version of me…
Over the last 4 years i’ve invested time, and a small fortune into my own self development. Last year I figured out that id spent £60,000 on my development (read full story here). In this time i’ve also read 166 books, listened to 64 audiobooks and approximately 400 podcasts.
I’ve attended courses with M10 Fitness, Phil Learney and invested in private mentoring with health, fitness, business and life-style coaches. During this time I feel as though i’ve learned a heck of a lot about myself, life, and business.
Now I don’t claim to know it all, in fact I still view myself as a beginner, at the start of my journey. I do however believe that some of the lessons i’ve learned can help people with their own lives and that’s what prompted me to write this post.
In this article I endeavour to highlight some of the most important lessons i’ve learned over the past 4 years. I’ve broken them down into 2 segments:
- Health & Fitness
1) PERSONAL LESSONS LEARNED…
For years of my life i’d constantly be looking for the next thing to make me happy. I’d set a goal, achieve it and then move onto the next thing! In my head i’d say stuff like “ill be happy when I have a 6 pack” or “ill be happy when I have more money”.
The truth is that although these superficial things can temporally make you feel better, they are short term and largely unfulfilling.
It’s great to be ambitious and strive for more but take a moment to realise how great your life is already. Happiness can be found right now, you don’t need a Ferrari, or 6 pack! Take a look around and focus on all the great things you have in your life right now.
Its okay not to be okay…Okay?
We all have off days. It’s normal. Crikey , I talk about mine all the time, about my struggles, and set backs. People connect with you more if you’re authentic and real than if you’re trying to hide the real you.
Personally I want people to be attracted to the real me, not some fake persona. So, I’ll openly admit I’m still growing in many areas of my life, I still struggle with stuff but each time I overcome something I share what I did and how I managed to get over it.
Enjoy the journey
I’m in a rush! I need to get there asap! I want it now! It’s all too easy to focus on the end result instead of enjoying the process. The journey is actually where the real lessons are learned. The ups and downs and everything in between. The journey is where character is developed, insights discovered and new ideas spawned.
You’re trying your best
I’m my own biggest critic, and i’ll beat myself up when I fail or fall short of a goal. This is something i’m still largely working on but one insight that’s come to me this year is that “you’re trying your best with what you have” – meaning you don’t know all the answers but you’re endeavouring to be better.
The notion of ‘aiming for progress instead of perfection’ is a comforting one. As long as you endeavour to keep improving yourself you can rest peacefully at night knowing you’re trying your best.
2) HEALTH & FITNESS LESSONS…
A good body doesn’t make you happy
For years I spent my life in the gym (sometimes i’d train 2hrs a day 7 days a week!). In my spare time I’d spend hrs watching videos on Youtube of the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Greg Plitt. These guys were awesome! I wanted a body like those guys, they were what I thought being a man was all about.
Looking back I was training for the wrong reasons, I was insecure about my body image and I believed that having a new and improved body would make me happy…it didn’t! If anything it made me more insecure! I’d constantly compare myself to people better (a vicious and never ending circle!).
Now I train because I enjoy the feeling it gives me, the improved body is a byproduct but not the main goal. I see the gym as a place to push my boundaries and build myself on the inside as well as the outside.
Don’t get me wrong looking good will enhance your life but only if you’re truly happy on the inside. If you’re working out to impress others and to boost your ego then it’s more likely to magnify your problems. Do things for the right reasons.
Leading a sustainable life
For 1 year all I pretty much ate was meat, fish, vegetables, potatoes, rice and protein shakes! For crying out load I was living out of tupperware boxes! On the outside I looked great, fit, healthy and strong. On the inside however, I was unhealthy, In fact utterly miserable! I’d even miss out on social occasions, so I could stay in and eat chicken and broccoli (WTF!?!?).
Now If you want to be an athlete or professional bodybuilder then you have to be extremely disciplined, every detail matters, however most people don’t want to be athletes or bodybuilders! In my head I thought I wanted this life but in reality I didn’t.
I was fighting a battle with myself. It took me 1 year to realise this (365 bloody days!) that I actually wanted a healthy lifestyle and good body but I also wanted to be able to go out with friends, eat chocolate, and ice cream without feeling like a total failure!
As soon as I stopped trying to be perfect my life started to improve. Instead of being super restrictive I opened up the door to a new, happier and more sustainable way of healthy living.
Have some blooming fun!
It’s crazy writing this post, because i’m having so many flashback of how I used to be! I remember on many occasions walking to the gym and thinking “im really not looking forward to this!”. I’d put myself under extreme pressure to perform and quite frankly hated training! Again I was doing things for the wrong reasons.
One thing i’ve realised is that you’ve got to enjoy your workouts. There’s no point in running if you hate it! There are so many ways to get fit: walking, gym classes, weight training, circuits, fitness classes, running, homeworkouts, dvd’s, etc, etc x 1000! Figure out what you enjoy doing and then go do it!
Nowadays I only train 4 days per week and i’m in the gym no longer than 45 minutes. My workouts are short, intense and I do stuff which I enjoy, which at the moment is heavy lifting and sprint training. I go into the gym excited about training and i’m a much happier person for it!
The Journey Goes On…
For those of us who are on personal missions we’ve got to keep pushing forwards, and accept that there will be many ups and downs. The journey is bumpy, at times you’ll make quantum leaps at other times you’ll go backwards, lose faith and want to give up.
Make-sure that you’re trying to build the life you want but at the same time acknowledge how special you are already and give yourself a pat on the back…
Be proud of who you are and keep trying your best.