The Importance of Why

Recently I’ve been thinking about the factors driving motivation, how some people have it and some people are lacking in it. What are the commonalities of those people with a burning desire to succeed and those who are more inclined to let life be dictated to them?

[Even if you don't like basketball I highly recommend watching the video in its entirety to appreciate the level of dedication this young man has to achieve his dreams]

I watch a lot of basketball and often enjoy drawing parallels between the drive and determination of basketball players and that of successful entrepreneurs and musicians. Yesterday I watched a video of Stanley Johnson, a high school basketball player from California who recently took his team to four straight national championships – very impressive stuff! Stanley Johnson is a freak of nature when you watch him play basketball, he is tall and fast, a good defensive player and has great knowledge of the game. Sure many people will attribute his talent and skill to some God-given talent but that is what most people do to justify the success that others have that they perceive they don’t.

A section of the video is focused on his mother, who was a champion basketball player herself in college, and she talks about Stan’s love of basketball from the age of 5 and his determination to be a professional basketball player from this young age. Understanding that her son had this drive she began to develop an extremely long term path of training and dedication for him that would later pay dividends to his yet-to-begin professional career. She raised him to become hard-working and to have the long term always in mind, for the first 5 years that he was able to dribble she would tie his left hand behind his back to develop his right hand skill. Then she would tie his right hand behind his back to develop his left hand skill. Then she would make him dribble the court with a blindfold on so that he wasn’t dependent on any one sense.

There are multiple lessons in this beautiful story but I want to focus on one first. The Why.

I often see people struggling with finding meaning in their life or just lacking the motivation to push them that one step further in their journey to improve their lives or to mastery. I believe that most people before they even begin doing something fail to ask themselves the most important question, why am I doing this? It sounds very simple but more often than not simplicity is often the best solution to many of our problems.

If you break down what it is that motivates us it all boils down to this one question, why am I doing something?

If you find it hard to get out of bed, ask yourself, why am I doing this? What do I want to be? Where do I want to go? What do I want to learn or achieve from this?

If you find yourself soon ready to give up after a long plateau or feel there is no positive end from now, ask yourself why am I doing this? What do I want to be? Where do I want to go? What do I want to learn or achieve from this?

By doing this, you are consciously asking yourself this question and the answer will come from something deep inside you, from your subconscious. In your subconscious are the true drivers for your motivation and your meaning of life, in the process that you are looking for to be a successful human being. If you just go through the motions without diligently questioning yourself in this way, you lose the ability to stick to the process without keeping the long-term end goal in mind.

Right now just ask yourself, “am I struggling with something?” or if you’re thinking I just can’t do it anymore, ask yourself why am I doing this? Actually do it.

Do you feel your body reacting to the answer, have you pictured in your head a successful version of you in the future? Why are you doing what you’re doing? Is it for money? Is it for security? Is it for freedom? Is it for your family? Is it to feel alive and break free from the monotony of a normal life? Is it for glory?

It doesn’t sound like much but this is something I personally use all the time and I have found it to be incredibly powerful in helping find my own answers and help me stay motivated.

Remember in life to try and keep it simple to strip everything back to its minimal core, no enemies within, no enemies without.

Be Well

The Shining Man.

Real men – Kevin Durant MVP


Greetings all! I know it’s been a long time between drinks and I must apologize for that, I tend to go through cycles of working hard with my head down and not being able to focus on the blog and getting my thoughts out there. Now is the time!

I will keep this one short and sharp.

In case you haven’t done so already please do yourself a favor and watch this clip of Kevin Durant from Oklahoma Thunder giving this speech http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2053737-kevin-durant-gives-heartfelt-thanks-to-teammates-while-accepting-nba-mvp-award.

This really touched my heart and struck a massive chord with me. For those who don’t follow NBA, Kevin Durant is one of the star players of the league and for his franchise the Oklahoma Thunder. This guy truly is all class and he is very much a Shining Man.

The thing that I loved about this speech was the massive amount of praise he gave to his team mates for being there and for pushing him, and most importantly for his mother and his family.

What is the true sign of greatness? Greatness comes from being humble and from never forgetting where you came from and who you are. KD talks about how much the rest of his team mates push him and how much their comments and support help him when he is down, and I mean truly down. This is the sign of a true champion. I admire athletes for the ability to continue to push towards their goals and more importantly never lose focus or become hampered by defeat.

There is a reason why extremely successful people, billionaires, legendary athletes – and so on and so forth – are where they are, they did things in their lives so few are prepared to do with their own. They sacrificed to chase their dreams, but the really great ones, they get there without forgetting where they come from.

We were all dealt our hand, some of us more fortunate than others, but what sets us up for failure or success is our determination to never let our past negatively affect our future. Have a look around you at the people you are surrounded by and ask yourself this question, are these the people who are going to push you to your potential? Do these people annoy you sometimes because they are always on your back? The only reason you respond negatively to them is because they are smacking you in the face with the truth, and if you aren’t reaching your potential, if you are getting lazy, this reaction is your sub-conscious realizing you haven’t been operating at your limit.

Your true friends are those that really know you, that really know what you fear and are prepared to ride with you ’til the end. They are there to hoist you up on their shoulders when you think you can’t go on any longer. KD knows this which is why it is so amazing to hear him praise each and every one of his team members.

We are all here for each other and if you are here reading this blog I hope my writing inspires you to realize your greatness or gets you moving in the right direction.

Be well,

The Shining Man

Embracing Uncertainty

I love to read a lot, and I mean a lot! I’m constantly diving into new books, starting new ones, finishing old ones constantly absorbing information from different areas from fiction to finance, the occult and nature. I developed this appetite as a voracious reader in school, spending a lot of time by myself playing music and getting lost in the pages of good prose or poetry and it has really helped in my personal development as a young man.

I was driven to look for knowledge in books because I lacked the direction afforded to most young men in the form of a role model or whatever have you – but no excuses here! I noticed that after reading a book I was in some way invigorated like I had discovered some new secret that no one else knew and I walked around with a little smug smirk on my face somehow feeling more self-confident full of self esteem. Has this ever happened to you?

I gravitated to more books about self-development and grand fictional stories of characters with strong principles and I would sometimes absorb those principles and attributes that I too wanted to cultivate – in a way it gave me power…but it also made me dependant and like a drug addict I was always searching for my next hit, where was it going to come from? Ayn Rand? Homer? Marcus Aurelius? Henry David Thoreau? Suits? (haha it’s true you can get knowledge from anywhere!)

Life is funny because you move through so many different cycles, learning lessons at the bottom when you felt that you were finished, and forgetting lessons at the top thinking the good times will keep rolling on. I am a devout believer in respecting the process because I believe that it is through repetition of a correct process that people begin to develop skills and I mean truly develop the skills that will propel them to something great or feeling great. Sadly, 95% of us never reach that stage of dedication, opting instead to take the easier path, the road that doesn’t tear at us, rip us apart, make us feel stupid, make us feel like failures, make us feel lost…and the list goes on and on. That’s okay though it’s human nature and it takes some extraordinary willpower to get there, but that’s why you’re reading this right ;)

The majority of people will never walk down the road less travel because it is UNCERTAIN and people hate uncertainty, we are hardwired to respond to leadership and respond to orders, it subconsciously takes the responsibility away from us and from our decisions because “someone else told us to do it”.

I found that I constantly went to books because I was looking for that exact thing, some sort of certainty some sort of guiding hand to help me along my journey, I, like many people was searching for assurance. I came to realise that the world is completely uncertain and the huge paradigm shift comes when we can accept that uncertainty and embrace it even using it to help guide us.

The answer lies within. It hit me that all this time searching for the shortcut or searching for the path to walk was me searching for certainty, searching for directions to take away the pain and embarrassment of failure. I had a huge change in perspective and a massive paradigm shift once I did this.

We are all scared of the future, most of us don’t even know what is going to happen. Some of us are in a job or a career that we question, unsure of what we are supposed to do next. Some of us leave it until tomorrow, but how soon tomorrow becomes never. Most of us are trigger shy because we are uncertain of what is going to happens. Most of us seek advice in the hopes of comforting us in our decisions, but those same people are in the same boats as us. Remember, this is your life and you are reading this because you are on the same wavelength as me, you are seeking change and looking for likeminded individuals in the hopes of removing some uncertainty! 

No one can predict the future and the harsh reality is that you could be here today gone tomorrow, really really really think about that. Most people are stuck in hypnosis believing that they will live forever, leaving their passions, dreams, business ideas until another day. Don’t get stuck in that loop because it is so hard to break out of once you are under the spell that mainstream society has cast upon you. Most people are already dead just going through the motions seeking cheap thrills to take their mind away from their mundane existence – it’s harsh language but I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. Don’t seek cheap thrills, seek a life that you want to live, seek the passions and the dreams that will make you feel alive.

Embrace uncertainty.

You will never stop the feeling of fear at doing new things.

It never goes away, it just gets easier to get started. 

Be prepared to fall, you will get up again.

Be prepared to make mistakes and face ridicule – there will be those that are scared of your willpower because they can’t take action themselves

Look inwards and clear your mind – trust you will get to where you want to go.

 

Be well,

The Shining Man

 

 

The Only Thing You Can Control is Yourself

I’ve decided to give The Shining Man a little bit of an update cosmetically and keep it much more simple, which goes hand-in-hand with how I like to live my life. Simplicity is king.

It’s been about a month since I’ve last written and for good reason too, I have been super busy working on a new business and that plus Sons of Midnight is taking up most of my time. I can safely say that 2013 will definitely be earmarked as a year to remember for me, so many things have happened and I am so grateful to have had these amazing life experiences.

Starting a new venture is really fulfilling, really draining and really scary but I am convinced that the best way to truly embody the principles of a Shining Man is to go out on a limb and try something. Entrepreneurs are THE coolest and baddest motherfuckers out there, they took a huge risk with their life and their capital and were probably faced with outright skepticism from the beginning, so kudos to you if you had a great support network. Entrepreneurs are the life blood of capitalism and help push society forward, which is why the most successful ones are the most handsomely paid – just google Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Joshua Kushner, Tony Zappos to name a few.

Enough about that though, today I wanted to write about self-control.

The concept of self control is THE central belief system that we must install in our heads, because without it all else fails. You must have the belief that the only thing you can control in this life, in this universe is yourself. You control your actions, you control your beliefs, you control your emotions and how you react to situations. Life is about probability and we have no idea what the universe has in store for us next, but the most important thing is that we are prepared by taking ourselves into our own hands.

Fortune favors the prepared mind – Louis Pasteur 

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The meeting of preparation with opportunity generates the offspring we call luck. – Tony Robbins

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation – Henry David Thoreau

Is there something that you really want, a life that you imagine for yourself now? In the future? In ten, twenty or thirty years? The most important thing is not IF it is possible but that you are moving in that direction. The only people that ask if are the people that can’t imagine making mistakes, can’t imagine failing and can’t endure pain. Don’t ask if but take the first step towards where you want to go. Success in life is little about how and more about that grit and determination in getting there, after all life is a journey and the journey that you take to get there is worth more in the end.

There are no rules in life, and lady luck will tend to throw us all curve balls which leads us to going to Plan B, Plan C, Plan D et cetera, life is not perfect and neither should your plan because I can guarantee that things WILL NOT go the way that you planned.

So what can you do?

  1. You control your beliefs
  2. You control your actions
  3. You control your reactions

Those above three steps all build on each other because once you believe that you control your beliefs, everything will fall into place. Once you have that and start controlling your actions, your taking action will reinforce those beliefs which will allow you to control your reactions, which leads to a beautiful and positive self-reinforcing cycle of belief and action. No matter what anyone tells you, you CAN do it.

Are you trying to lose weight and boost your self-esteem – note not self-confidence but self-esteem

  1. Realise that your current behaviours are unhealthy
  2. Take the necessary action by starting to exercise and PUSH YOURSELF
  3. Your good and positive emotions and your body transforming will reinforce 1 and 2.

Are you trying to hustle, be successful and ultimately become a boss?

  1. Remember that YOU CAN DO IT and every one “starts from the bottom”
  2. Think about a solution to a problem (if you are selling a product)
  3. Educate yourself and build the skill-set or bring together a group of people with the skills that you don’t have
  4. Start something new
  5. When you begin to achieve success (however you want to define it) these actions will reinforce those beliefs.

This is why, to me, reading is so crucial to success. Most people say they can’t read or don’t have the attention span, but remember your brain is a muscle which means you have to train your brain to be able to sit down and read. Start small, start by reading a chapter every few days, then a chapter a day and soon enough you’ll be chomping through books. Did you know that some of the most successful people on earth are voracious readers. That exercise is an example of the system I was explaining above.

Reading has a special place in my heart because if you are trying to break free from your current state and you don’t know where to turn to first, read a book. Read an autobiography or a book about a successful person because chances are there is something in there that you can relate to and take lessons from. Remember that the person who wrote that book spent a considerable amount of their time to assimilate their life lessons and experience in a condensed and effective format to help you.

 

“Be – don’t try to become” – Osho

 
Yours always,

The Shining Man

A Daily Reminder

I have big dreams and aspirations. I work hard everyday to realise the vision I have for my life, every moment is another experience and another step in my journey to achieving my dreams. Where things should have been a weakness for me, I was fortunate enough to turn them into my strengths. Growing up without a dominant male figure in my life – which is a common story in our modern society – I was blessed with the thirst for knowledge, to learn on my own out of necessity, but I always had one thing that drove me – to be better.

My friend recently asked “why do I always hate losing, in anything that I do?” – I was surprised, that isn’t a bad thing! Most people can’t even summon the courage to put it all on the line day in day out in the pursuit of personal glory. It’s better to absolutely hate losing because you’ve put everything on the line, then unconsciously go about your life with no competitive streak!

Do you have a vision for yourself, can you see where you want to go and where you want to be? Visualisation of your future is so important to me and it has really helped me a lot. Sure I am content with what I’ve got but having to be grateful for how fortunate we are is used as a justification by some people to not push forward. Sadly I think it is a filter, we are constantly surrounded by things in the mainstream press and – subconsciously – by our friends and family of the limitations that we face. Have you ever had such a big dream but were constantly shut down about it?

Most warnings and the limiting beliefs that people project onto us are warnings to people that haven’t got the hunger to realise a vision for themselves, or even the self-belief to do so. IT IS EASY TO TAKE IT EASY.

Pain is good, it means you’ll get better. The process of success hurts because you’ve fallen over so many times on the way up. Look at yourself in the mirror, picture your vision and take the small steps forward, push yourself and make it hurt. What is it that you really want?

The Door of Opportunity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good morning, just thought I would share something with you that really struck a chord with me. It’s about opportunity and just putting yourself out there. So many people think that just creating content, whether that be music, writing, blogging, fashion, or anything will get you noticed – it’s part of the entitlement syndrome that modern society has bred in us, we think we deserve the world. I’m not saying don’t work hard, but play the game too, be social and get out there get noticed. Sometimes in life, as you’ve heard many times before, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

When the Door of Opportunity Opens
by Chris Widener

Anybody can achieve anything—do you believe that? I do. But there is a caveat that must be made. Those who succeed are those who walk through the door of opportunity when it swings open. That we know. But what is the secret to getting through the door of opportunity?

Being outside the door when it swings open.

As the story goes, Frank Sinatra got his big break while working as a waiter. One day, as he was waiting tables, who does he see sitting in the restaurant, but one of the biggest names in the music industry. Old Blue Eyes did the unbelievable: He cleared off a table next to the gentleman and got up on it and sang! He knew he was done at the restaurant for doing so, but how many times would this door of opportunity open up? Needless to say, the rest is history.

You may have heard about the stagehand for Kenny G who one day was in the auditorium with Kenny, just the two of them, when he started to play every song for him on the piano that was set up. Kenny didn’t even know the guy could play the piano. Guess who is now the lead keyboardist for Kenny G? You got it!

You see, you never know when the door of opportunity is going to open wide. For some, the big break comes early in life, and for others, later on. But for all of those who become successful, there is one key similarity: They were ready. And for every one of those who were ready, there were thousands more who weren’t.

So the principle for us is: Be ready!

Are you ready? Here are some thoughts for you to consider.

Are your skills as sharp as they could be? Are they enough so when your shot comes you can perform? Is your character deep enough to handle success? Let’s face it; you don’t want big success if your character won’t be able to handle it.

Are you working hard to position yourself now? The job to do while waiting for the door to open is to develop your skills and your character, so as to position yourself to get through that door before it closes.

Your door will open someday. It opens for everyone. It may only open once or it may open many times. It is different for everyone and life just isn’t fair that way. But everybody gets a shot. Will you be ready?

When that huge door of opportunity opens up, will you be able to walk boldly through it?

Do everything you can to be ready. Don’t just sit and wish and dream. Be proactive and make sure that you are the most qualified when the door opens. Make sure that you are the hardest worker. Make sure you are the closest to the door. When it opens, be ready!