Fake It Till You Make It

FakeThis is bullshit advice.

Writers write.

If you are writing, then you are a writer.

Exercisers exercise.

If you are exercising, then you are someone who exercises.

There is no separating the “doing” from the “being”.

Saying that you’re faking it is a complete lie and robs you of your power.

Give yourself some credit, make improvements when you can, and get after it.

 

 

 

The Myth of Special

To save you the mental gymnastics of having to imagine a 21 year old Rog wearing a traffic vest doing who knows what, here’s a little gem from The Vault of Adorability & Delight (ok, fine – it’s just my iPhoto collection).

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At the time, I weighed 165 pounds soaking wet with a hearty meal in my belly. I was new to exercise and one factor that propelled me forward was the desire to look mad sexy.

Despite my neophyte status, do you know what that didn’t stop be from doing?

Jumping to a new exercise plan every two weeks (I’m being generous with past Rog here), thinking that I needed an advanced program that Arnold Schwarzenegger, Stephen Hawkings and the entire team at NASA designed just for me.

Spending $200+ a month on supplements like fat burners, meal replacement powders and superfoods and pills I couldn’t pronounce the name of if you held a rocket launcher to my face.

Scouring magazines, message boards and obscure Geocities websites for any zany and exciting nuggets that I could add to my battle plan. To say I was deep in the information creep is an understatement.

Looking back, it’s no wonder that I spent a long time frustratedly spinning my wheels while the results I was looking for evaded me like Neo did bullets in The Matrix.

I thought I was a special, precious and unique snowflake.

Snow

I thought I could shortcut the process by adding more complexity into the mix. If less was good, a boat-load of more was way better in my mind.

Real foods? Nah, son, gimme that stuff where the ingredient list sounds like I’m trying to cast a magical incantation on my entire family.

If you see a little bit of yourself in my experiences, you’re not alone. I deal with people on a weekly basis who are struggling with their own unique variation of the same common pitfall.

The more that I interact with and learn from high level performers, the more I see that one of the most important factors in their success is that not only have they mastered the basics that give them a strong foundation to build upon, but they execute them consistantly on an extremely high level.

So, what are those basics when it comes to taking control of your health while building the body you want?

  • Commit to showing up and persisting despite any setbacks you make. Without this, there will never be lasting success.
  • Eat mainly whole foods that you like, but don’t lose your mind if you eat something that’s off your plan. You stressing about it will do more damage than the food ever will.
  •  Lift heavy things with your body. Lift light things with your body. Do this at least 2 times a week and work towards increasing the challenge as you become stronger.

  • Go to sleep. Minimum of 6 hours. 8 hours is even better. Recovery is sexy as hell, necessary and you’re less likely to do goofy things and put a lot of dumb stuff in your mouth.
  • Drink water. If it’s good enough for most of the Earth, it’s good enough for you.
  • Take your self-care seriously. Be kind to yourself and decrease your stress levels wherever possible.
  • Move daily in a way that you enjoy. Wanna know a Rog fact? I LOVE me some Zumba. There, I said it.
  •  Go outside and let the glorious Sun snuggle the shit outta you for at least 20 minutes.
  • Have that GOOD sex life. Even if you’re single, you can still get your solo freak on.
  • Surround yourself people that make you laugh until you literally feel like you’re gonna die the true death as well as with people that make you think and call you out on your nonsense.
  • Sing loudly and horribly to your favorite song at least once a day.

There is one mantra that I want you to walk away with and start applying today: when it comes to building the body you want, you are not special.

The sooner you let this sink into your DNA, the faster you can begin focusing all your efforts on taking the actions that will bring you the biggest return on your investment and letting every other distraction fall to the wayside.

6 Ways To Be a More Positive Person Today

Practice Gratitude

IMG_1520I love reading old birthday cards.

I love them so much that during an embarrassing emergency, I managed to run out of the house with only my license, keys and birthday cards.

Because apparently cards beat shoes in my world.

 

If putting yourself in a positive state of mind is something that you find difficult, this practice will be a game changer.

Everyone has something to be grateful for. If you’re in a dark place grasping for the smallest bit to appreciate, let’s start here: you are alive.

Now build on that and become the Scooby Doo of gratitude, sniffing out things that make your insides feel all warm and gooey like a Cinnabon fresh out of the oven whenever you think of them.

Carve out the time for this on a daily basis, ideally first thing in the morning. It could be as little as 30 seconds while you’re sitting on the toilet if you’re seriously that pressed for time.

Start with the present. What can you be grateful for right now?

Example: A strong and powerful body. My ability to write and connect with people. Having amazing friends and loved ones in my life.

Now, moonwalk to the past. What are some things you’ve experienced that you’re glad you did?

Example: Dancing like a complete fool to Kanye with my best friend Jerry at his wedding. Going to celebrate the cigar bar with John, Laura and Rob. Getting extra swole with Brian Patrick Murphy. Watching Lindsay absolutely nail her performance.

Finally, do your best ninja flip into the future. What are some things that you’re looking forward to taking part in?

Example: Competing in an upcoming jiujitsu tournament. Being in the wedding of one of my best friends. Getting to go to a comedy show with my boys.

Make your gratitude practice as general or specific as you want. I’ve found that deeper that I dive into specifics, the more I’m filled with a sense of happiness, so I urge you to use this as a time to Jacques Cousteau the shit out of your life. Old pictures, letters, conversations – everything and anything is fair game.

If you need a physical reminder, the Five Minute Journal is something I’ve used with much success.

Ready to level up your game even more? Express gratitude toward someone else.

It could be a thank you for something they’ve done, an e-mail/letter/carrier pigeon letting them know how they’ve impacted you, or an even more powerful in-person heart to heart conversation.

When in doubt, start with a quick hit of gratitude.

You’re uplifted by giving and they’re uplifted by receiving. Everyone wins.

Fill Your Cup First

You know that adorable pre-flight speech about sweet slides, conveniently located life vests and oxygen masks that nobody listens to while they diddle with their phones? It’s actually amazing advice.

I sat next to an anxious first time flyer and her precious baby boy, who by the smile on his face clearly had no idea that he was about to be hurtling through the sky in a metal tube of magic. As I’m talking to help calm her nerves, we hit a crazy patch of turbulence, and immediately my mind goes into “WHAT IF WE RUN OUT OF AIR?!” thinking.

Well, I’d be pretty useless to help those two if I were passed out in my seat like a doofus because I didn’t put my oxygen mask on first before tending to them.

Cup

The same concept applies to your state of mind. It’s hard to feel positive if you’re always running on empty.

Taking care of yourself, contrary to popular belief, isn’t selfish. Doing so actually puts you in the best position to help and serve the ones you care for. It sets the stage for you to be the best version of yourself, the fully pimped-out Batman instead of the asthmatic kid with broken glasses, narcolepsy, rickets, leprosy and 15 toes coming out of his face.

Your life is your cup. To fill it so that it overflows and puts you in a state of abundance, where you can give freely from that excess, identify activities that add to you and do them daily – your well-being is too important to lose it in the shuffle mundane tasks.

A few of mine are spending time with friends, stand-up comedy, martial arts, listening to podcasts, trying to put a smile on people’s faces and spending quality time alone.

Your list will be different.

Much like washing between your butt-cheeks, doing these things on a regular basis is non-negotiable, unless you want your life to resemble a crusty, crumpled up Dixie cup.

Choose Your Company Carefully

When I worked the front desk at the gym, I dreaded his arrival.

He’d walk in with the most downtrodden, Charlie Brown posture known to man; the look on his face resembling that of The Grinch’s while watching children play with puppies and unicorns in a field of flowers and sunshine.

For months on end, I listened to his tales of woe. There was always some new drama, some new thing that wasn’t going his way, some new person whose sole purpose in life was to destroy him. Never in my life have I wanted nothing more than to turn into an Alex Mack-esque puddle and slide out of a conversation.

Oh yeah, my point: be careful of who you let into your life, even casually.

DramaFree

As we tend to adopt the vibe of the company that we keep, the people in our lives have the power to uplift, challenging and helping us grow into the best version of ourselves, or they can act like an energetic punch straight to the crotch. The more we fill our lives with the former and distance ourselves from the latter, the more enthusiastic, free and capable we feel.

If your life were a movie, would you want to fill it Scar, Frank Underwood, Joffrey, Cruella de Vil and Vigo the Carpathian type characters? No.

Would you let someone run around your house projectile vomiting on every surface they could find before leaving, but not before promising to see you tomorrow so they could do it again? No.

This, however is a two-way street. To attract amazing people into your life, you also have to make sure that you’re the kind of person that they would want to spend their time with as well.

Embrace Your Emotions

Fear. Anger. Sadness. These are just a few of the wide range of emotions that we each have access to, every last one serving a purpose.

Emotions are like science, physics and other laws of the universe. They exist, and while you can refuse to believe their importance all you want, you can’t escape the very real consequences of doing so.

For the majority of 2015 I was in a state of depression. I deleted social media accounts. I stopped taking calls and texts. I let my e-mail build up and generally kept to myself. Part of the reason I stayed in it for so long was that I didn’t fully acknowledge the rough shape I was in.

I spent much of my life glossing over the “darker” emotions because I felt like they were bad and unnecessary, so when the time came to deal with them I was woefully unprepared.

I felt like shit, and I didn’t want to feel like shit, so the only logical solution was to skip past the shit and pretend like I felt amazing.

Wrong answer. Like trying to sprint on two freshly broken legs, it only made things worse.

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There will be days, maybe even a long stretch of them, where everything isn’t fine, where you don’t want to put a smile on your face and you’re seconds away from uppercutting someone if they make one more well-intentioned but asinine comment about “everything happening for a reason” and “one door closing so another one can open.”

And that’s ok.

If you want to strengthen your optimistic outlook on life, these are the most important days.

Stay with the emotions. Don’t try to shortcut the process and skip them. Feel them fully, deeply and completely. Own them without censorship so they can run their course.

If you don’t, they’ll come back even stronger like a horror movie villain, popping up in your life in the strangest of ways: road rage, yelling at an old lady because she’s taking too long counting her change, cruelty to animals, destructive belief systems.

Embracing your emotions doesn’t mean dropping to your knees in the middle of the street, ripping your shirt open and crying to the sky as cars honk at you; there’s a time and place for everything.

It can be a quiet, inward process as well as an explosive outward one that requires help. Men, get in touch with the men in your life that you trust. Women, do the same with your women. If you’re really having trouble, don’t be afraid to find a therapist to help you work through them.

It can be a scary and vulnerable process, but also an empowering one. Once you work through and integrate the emotions, they lose their grip on you and you’re free to return to your happy baseline, only now you’ve added more tools to your tool belt.

Embracing your emotions doesn’t make you weak, a pussy or anything other than a complete human. The more you numb yourself from one emotion, the more you numb yourself from all emotions, including joy.

Now when you choose to adopt a positive mindset, it’s an active choice instead of it being the only option you actually have. That’s true strength and freedom – the ability to adjust your internal state to appropriately meet the demands of an external situation.

Get Into Your Body

It’s easy to have so many thoughts and worries bouncing around our heads that we actually forget we have a body.

You know, that awesome meat suit we experience everything awesome in this world through. That thing.

If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed, move.

Go for an intense workout. Go for a softcore workout that would make the elderly point and laugh at you. Jump around like the Holy Spirit just invaded your bones. Take a leisurely walk. Meditate. Have sex. Do some jumping jacks. Sprint until you’re gasping for air. Dance to your favorite song. Stretch. Take 30 deep breaths.

Maury

It is through the body that we take action and through action which that we transform ourselves for the better.

It’s also a method that we can use to sharpen our intuition, developing the ability to hear and “trust our gut.”

I don’t know exactly why it works, but it does. Do it and I promise you will be in a better place than you were beforehand.

What If It Was a Gift?

In his book No More Mr. Nice Guy, Dr. Robert Glover challenges the reader to ask themselves a simple question whenever they find themselves spinning their wheels and stuck in stagnation: what if it was a gift?

I lost a relationship with the woman I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. What if it was a gift? It lead me to develop a rock-solid sense of self-esteem. It showed me the importance of integrity, self-love, ]setting healthy boundaries and illuminated personal short comings that I can improve on.

I slipped into a depression that I didn’t think I would make it out of. What if it was a gift? I found several groups of men – something that before I had no idea that I needed – who are committed to growth and playing the game of life at a higher level. I learned to ask for help and that I don’t have to do everything alone. I discovered Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I developed a greater sense of empathy for the struggles, known and unknown, that we all go through.

I injured my knee badly. What if it were a gift? I stopped ignoring my restrictions, hired a coach and started to take my health and movement quality more seriously, setting myself up for a great quality of life further down the road.

Bless

Painful events happen and will continue to happen until the day we die. That is out of our control.

What is in our control, however, is how we respond and the meaning we extract from these events. It’s just as easy to paint everything that happens to us in a negative light as it is to draw conclusions that guide us in the direction of positivity and inward growth, and this exercise is a fantastic way to develop out ability to choose the latter on a consistent basis.

Further Resources

Everyone:
Find a mental health counselor

Men:
The School For Men
The Maintaining Alpha Facebook Group

Women:
Untame Yourself: Reconnect to the Lost Art, Power and Freedom of Being a Woman
Untame The Wild Soul Woman podcast

 

Compare More and Create More

StarsAs part of the Instagramed, hyperconnected culture we live in, comparison has gotten a bad rap lately, becoming as universally despised as stealing candy from babies or pushing the elderly down elevators shafts. I’ve even taken part in that conversation.

– Your friends are in relationships, eating wedding cake (mmmmmm!) and having all the sex while you stare wistfully out the window, waiting for your one true love to appear as a single tear rolls down your cheek.

–  You hit a personal record in the gym, only to watch someone warming up with your newfound max.

– You pull out of the lot after just buying a used car, only to have someone pull up next to you in your dream ride. For added insult they’re also making it rain like they’re the King of Zamunda.

But what if comparison could actually be used as a tool for growth?

We’re often told to avoid comparisons completely, but by doing so we take a major catalyst for our own evolution off the table.

1. Don’t use comparison as a tool to measure or define your self worth.

It’s unacceptable.

We only deal with the productive around these parts, and using comparison in this way is as unproductive (and messy) as trying to eat ice cream with your forehead.

You are great right now, as is. You are enough, as is.

This is your mantra. Come back to it as often as you need to. It’s absolutely true and is the basis for any self improvement going forward.

Now, let’s go about making great even greater.

2. Their success does not detract from yours.

Unless you’re one of the immortals from Highlander, that is.

Highlander

Life isn’t a zero-sum game where for you to win someone else has to lose.

My swole doesn’t take away from your swole. Her accomplishments don’t take away from his.

A scarcity mindset will grab your life by the neck and slam it face-first into the dirt if you let it.

There is enough out there for all of us.

The sooner you incorporate this into your daily operating system and stop focusing on what you don’t have, swimming in a pool of emo, finger pointing and excuse making, the sooner you can free up your mental and physical resources to cut loose, go out there and get yours.

Abundance: it’s more than a word describing dancing bread.

Now that my terrible pun is out of the way…

3. Comparison is rocket fuel for growth.

Two of my favorite writers are Julien Smith and Mark Manson.

From the seemingly effortless manner in which they convey messages sticks like Spiderman webbing, when I read their content I feel something stir inside me (insert dirty joke here) and I want to stop whatever I’m doing and write until the lead of my stubby little pencil snaps off.

Here is my Brazilian Jiu-jitsu instructor Gabriel Gonzaga, a UFC heavyweight fighter, 4th degree blackbelt and a stand-in for the Rocky Mountains on the weekends.

TeamLink

On a regular basis I witness him and my other teammates perform moves that look straight out of a comic book – and I compare myself to every single one of them.

They’ve shown me another level of what’s possible in areas that are important to me, and I’m better because of it.

Ultimately, comparison can serve as a spark for asking better questions:

What do I admire about what they do and how they do it?

What lessons can I learn about myself? 

What virtues do they display that I can personally improve upon?

What inspiration/mojo can I glean from their feats that I can take back to my own unique practice?

As humans we are wired for growth and are happiest when we’re doing so.

When you surround yourself with and compare yourself to greatness, or at least those who are further along the path than you are, with the right mental framing the only option is motivation to step your own game up.

Don’t coddle yourself into living a life any less magnificent than the one you want to lead by refusing to stare wide-eyed into the accomplishments of others and turn inward.

Success in any area leaves crumbs, so eat ‘em up and get to work on bringing the best out of yourself as only you can.

“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you.

There are better writers than me out there, there are smarter writers, there are people who can plot better – there are all those kinds of things, but there’s nobody who can write a Neil Gaiman story like I can.” – Neil Gaiman

The Fuck Factory

Imagine that you run the most prestigious company in the world, Fuck Inc.

Your job as CEO is to deliver potent, pristine, high-powered fucks when they’re needed the most.

You’re the equivalent of Oprah in her prime.

You get a fuck, and YOU get a fuck, and you, so far in the back row that I’m not sure you can see me? I hope you’re ready to catch, because I’ve got a hot fuck coming your way!

You’re passing out fucks like you’re the Mayor of Fuckville.

Money is growing on trees, puppies are running into your arms like you’re a magnet for all things adorable, and steaks are cooking themselves and jumping into your mouth.

Life is good. Until it isn’t.

A sudden, unexpected demand of fucks comes across your desk and you’re caught with your pants down on a day you’re going commando.

You run downstairs into your Scrooge McDuck vault where you’ve stashed away a few hidden fucks for such an emergency.

Too bad it’s not enough, and your ration is quickly depleted. Your company is now forced to do something it has never done before: write fuck I.O.U.s

Like showing a starving man a picture of buttermilk pancakes, this does nothing for those whoneed them right now. You’re doubly screwed, compromising the quality of your once pristine product while simultaneously digging yourself into a fuck deficit the likes of which the world has never seen.

Soon you’re forced to shut down your once thriving business because you can no longer keep up with the demand.

So, how do we keep Fuck Inc. from closing its doors for good?

Know your value

Worth

This is the well from which all future fucks spring.

Your fucks are valuable, in limited supply and take time & energy to replenish, so don’t give them out to people and situations that don’t merit one.

Most things in life only require a damn, which you have a stockpile of at any given moment.

If you don’t value your fucks, then you’re sending signals to everyone else that they shouldn’t either.

Plug the holes

ByeFelicia

If you’re leaking fucks faster than a new Kanye album, it’s only a matter of time before you deplete your supply all over again, only this time it’s worse because you knew better.

Learn to say no.

To naysayers and doubters.

To expectations placed on you by others, both real and imagined.

To feeling like you have to eat all the food on your plate because if you don’t, some kid in China will starve.

To modes of exercise that make you want to stab yourself in the neck with a pencil.

To knowing (or worse, caring) about what’s going on in Kim Kardashian’s world; she gives approximately zero fucks about the happenings of yours.

This is your life. If you aren’t careful about what you give your energy to you’ll find yourself being pulled in a million directions like the last flat screen TV on Black Friday.

Everyone has a voice, but that doesn’t mean you should listen to their unfiltered jibbajabba. Don’t discount your self-awareness for the sake of prioritizing theirs.

The simple act of plugging your holes gives you an instant fuck boost. The fucks you do have now stay in your bucket waiting to be spent instead of immediately leaking out.

And the next time you sense a fuck-draining vampire scenario coming your way, lean back and dodge it like Neo in The Matrix.

Aggressive Fuck Redistribution

fuck-this-shit

You’ve patched up your leaks, started saying no to the bullshit and took back your power by hiring a bouncer to keep all the fuck thieves out of your party. Here’s where it starts to get mad delicious.

Now you get to say yes and actually choose where you spend your fucks.

The whole “zero fucks given” movement is misguided, the equivalent of hopping in your car and yelling “zero wheels needed” and then being upset that you’re not going anywhere.

Fucks are our rocket fuel, and to live a fulfilled life you actually do need them. Our attention is our most valuable resource, so it’s time to do the work and prioritize where you want to allocate that resource.

What are your values? Spend your fucks in a way that reinforces them daily.

Who do you love and want to serve? Spend your fucks in a way that supports them.

Who do you want to be? Cast your fuck ballot in a way that creates that person through action.

AFR: Aggressive Fuck redistribution.

Having your fucks siphoned of can leave you feeling, tired, dirty and worse for wear than if your browser history was made public.

On the other hand, actively choosing from moment to moment to allocate your fucks in a meaningful way is empowering.

Wisely spent fucks beget more fucks. Spend 1 and get 2 (or more) in return.

Congratulations – you’ve just turned yourself into a perpetual fuck machine.

When you feel like you’re running low on your fucks, that’s the time to do whatever you need to in order to bring them back to baseline – exercise, hang out with a friend, go sit in nature, eat some ice cream in the dark and fill the carton back up with your tears.

There is nothing noble about running yourself into the ground. All guts and glory will only get you so far. In the marathon of life, it’s a constant dance of knowing when to push like the Devil is hot on your ass and knowing when to lay back in the cut and recover.

From this moment on, a fuck deficit is no longer acceptable.

Do this by any means necessary, because if you wait until you’re truly at zero fucks, everyone loses – both you and the ones you love and serve.