Showing posts with label Mind. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mind. Show all posts

Notes & Quotes: Relentless by Tim S. Grover

The following are my favorite quotes from Tim S. Grover's Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable.

  1. I'm rarely the first guy players reach out to when they want to train; I'm the last. In case of emergency, break glass. There are plenty of trainers who will just give you a workout. That is not me--we train for one thing and one thing only: a championship. Lots of guys say they'll do anything for that ring, but there's a difference between saying it and actually doing it. So when a guy commits to train with me, it means he's really serious.
  2. You don't have to love the hard work; you just have to crave the end result.
  3. Why should anyone want to be told what to do? The whole point of this book is that in order to be successful, to truly have what you want in your life, you must stop waiting to be told what to do and how to do it. Your goals, your decisions, your commitment. If you can't see the end result, how can anyone else see it for you?
  4. Success is about dealing with reality, facing your demons and addictions, and not putting a smiley face on everything you do.
  5. From this point, your strategy is to make everyone else get on your level; you're not going down to theirs. You're not competing with anyone else, ever again. They're going to have to compete with you. From now on, the end result is all that matters.
  6. It's not about talent or brains or wealth. It's about the relentless instinctive drive to do whatever it takes--anything--to get to the top of where you want to be, and to stay there.
  7. Why do I call them Cleaners? Because they take responsibility for everything. When something goes wrong, they don't blame others because they never really count on anyone else to get the job done in the first place. They just clean up the mess and move on.
  8. Cleaners understand they don't have to love the work to be successful; they just have to be relentless about achieving it, and everything else in between is a diversion and a distraction from the ultimate prize.
  9. When you're a Cleaner:
    • You keep pushing yourself harder when everyone else has had enough.
    • You get into the Zone, you shut out everything else, and control the uncontrollable.
    • You know exactly who you are.
    • You have a dark side that refuses to be taught to be good.
    • You're not intimidated by pressure, you thrive on it.
    • When everyone is hitting the "In Case of Emergency" button, they're all looking for you.
    • You don't compete with anyone, you find your opponent's weakness and you attack.
    • You make decisions, not suggestions; you know the answer while everyone else is still asking questions.
    • You don't have to love the work, but you're addicted to the results.
    • You'd rather be feared than liked.
    • You trust very few people, and those you trust better never let you down.
    • You don't recognize failure; you know there's more than one way to get what you want.
    • You don't celebrate your achievements because you always want more.
  10. Those who talk don't know, and those who know don't talk.
  11. Do. The. Work. Every day, you have to do something you don't want to do. Every day. Challenge yourself to be uncomfortable, push past the apathy and laziness and fear. Otherwise, the next day you're going to have two things you don't want to do, then three and four and five, and pretty soon, you can't even get back to the first thing. And then all you can do is beat yourself up for the mess you've created, and now you've got a mental barrier to go along with the physical barriers.
  12. Do the work before you need it, so you know what you're capable of doing when everyone else hits that panic button and looks at you.
  13. Make no mistake about this: emotions make you weak. Again: emotions make you weak. The fastest way to tumble out of the Zone is to allow emotions to drive your actions.
  14. We're all born bad. Sorry, but that's the truth. Born bad, taught to be good. Or if you prefer: born relentless, taught to relent.
  15. Stop waiting to be taught something you already know. How many millions of diet and exercise books are sold every year? I promise you, every single person who picks up one of those books already knows the answer: eat healthier and move your body. You can eat these calories or those calories, you can move this way or that way, but the result is the same, and you already know that. You bought that book already knowing what you had to do, you were just waiting for someone to tell you. Again. And instead of just making the decision to eat healthier and move more--for a lifetime, not just for twenty-one days or five hours a month or whatever the trend prescribes--you sat down with a book to analyze the situation. Trust me: no one ever lost weight sitting on the couch with a book.
  16. Cleaner Law: control your dark side, don't let it control you. Do you want to smoke or do you have to smoke? All that nightlife--do you know when it's time to head home, or is it crushing your game? Do you drink because you like it or because you need it to cope with the pressure you feel? Can you be decent at what you do with an alcohol problem? Probably. But you can't be great. Cleaners never perform under the influence of anything; they place too much value on their mental state to allow anything to affect their minds and instincts and reflexes. Who's in charge, you or your dark side?
  17. There's a difference between confidence and cockiness: confidence means recognizing something isn't working and having the flexibility and knowledge to make adjustments; cockiness is the inability to admit when something isn't working, and repeating the same mistakes over and over because you stubbornly can't admit you're wrong.
  18. When a Cleaner gives you an opportunity, be ready, because he won't ask you again if you blow it. It's easier for him to just do the job himself, and if he's going down with the ship, he's going to make sure he's the captain.
  19. Regardless of how you build that team--any team, in sports or business or any endeavor--no matter how you snap the pieces into place, you need that one guy who never needs a fire lit under him, who commands respect and fear and attention and demands that others bring the same excellence to their performance that he demands of himself. He doesn't have to be the most skilled or gifted guy on the team, but he establishes an example that everyone else can follow.
  20. Figure out what you do, then do it. And do it better than anyone else. And then let everything else you do build around that; stay with what you know.
  21. Interesting how the guy with the most talent and success spent more time working out than anyone else.
  22. Each of Kobe's [Bryant] workouts takes around ninety minutes, and a half hour of that is spent just working on his wrists, fingers, ankles...all the details. That's how the best get better--they sweat the details.
  23. Trust me: privilege is a poison unless you know how to manage it.
  24. That's how you earn respect. Excellence in everything.
  25. A Cleaner views people as if they're tools, each with unique, indispensable qualities. A hammer can destroy or it can build; a knife in the wrong hands can kill you, but in a doctor's hands it can heal you. A wrench doesn't do the job of a drill, it only does what a wrench is supposed to do. You're only as good as the tools you've chosen, and your ability to use them to their maximum potential.
  26. When you're an A+ person, you want A+ people around you, and everyone has to be accountable for doing A+ work.
  27. Fuck "try." Trying is an open invitation to failure, just another way of saying, "If I fail, it's not my fault, I tried."
  28. If you aim at excellence, you have to be willing to sacrifice. That is the price of success. You never know how bad you want it until you get that first bitter taste of not getting it, but once you taste it, you're going to fight like hell to get that bitterness out of your mouth.

Notes & Quotes: Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

The following are my favorite quotes from Rich Roll's Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself.
  1. I've been there. I too bought into the great lie. Blinded by its false promise, I spent years in pursuit of a life I didn't mindfully choose. But rather than do something about it, anything, I simply medicated myself to salve a pain I wasn't even consciously aware I harbored. Drugs, alcohol, fast food--you name it. It's a path that took me to some very dark places. And it's a life that left me profoundly desperate, accelerating me to the grave without any awareness that deep down, lying dormant, was a song. A song yet to be discovered. A song yearning to be sung.
  2. If my story stands for anything, it is that the human body, mind, and spirit are far more resilient than you can possibly imagine. My testimony is that each and every one of us is sitting atop vast reservoirs of untapped potential. We're all capable of feats beyond our limited imagination. And personal growth isn't just possible, it's our mandate.
  3. From my adventures in the subculture of addiction recovery, I'd learned that the trajectory of one's life often boils down to a few identifiable moments--decisions that change everything. I knew all too well that moments like these were not to be squandered. Rather, they were to be respected and seized at all costs, for they just didn't come around that often, if ever. Even if you experienced only one powerful moment like this one, you were lucky. Blink or look away for even an instant and the door didn't just close, it literally vanished.
  4. She [my wife] understood a crucial spiritual principle I'd yet to grasp. You can stand in the light. And you can set a positive example. But you simply cannot make someone change.
  5. The idea that hard work and discipline left me solely responsible for the result--win or lose--was a revelation.
  6. I quickly became aware that I lacked a certain level of God-given talent. If I wanted to catch up and make the leap to the national level, I couldn't rely on innate gifts. I was going to have to go the extra mile. I decided to focus almost entirely on the 200-yard butterfly; widely considered one of the most difficult and draining events, most people had no interest in swimming it. This gave me an immediate advantage. Less interest and fewer competitors meant better chances for success.
  7. To the casual observer, everything seemed fine. But I was in my own private hell. Man, did I want to drink that night. Just one strong drink to numb this misery. But I knew I could never have just one drink.
  8. Armed with Skip's hall pass, I walked outside to meet the bright sun wash and headed straight to the liquor store. I had one night of solitary drinking left, and I wasn't about to squander it. Because despite all the pain I had caused others, the bridges I had burned, and the misery I had brought upon myself, I still didn't want to let this life go. That, in a nutshell, is alcoholism.
  9. All my confusing feelings boiled down to one singular emotion. Fear. Fear of people. Fear of situations and institutions. Fear of economic insecurity, the unknown, and events that hadn't yet and possibly would never transpire. All told, fear of everything. And there's only one cure for fear. Faith.
  10. I have come to appreciate that great beauty lies in destruction. Looking back, it is undeniable that the wedding that nearly destroyed me was absolutely crucial in precipitating my ultimate salvation. And for this, I am--and will always be--eternally grateful.
  11. Getting overly caught up in such minute details leads to burnout. And burnout always leads back to old habits. The name of the game is sustainability. And simply put, if it's too complicated, it's not sustainable. And if it's not sustainable, what's the point?
  12. It was this new lifestyle--not race results, finishing times, or age-group rankings--that captivated me. I reveled in the simple purity of the outdoor experience that washed over me in the midst of a trail run, the feeling of calm that enveloped me while engaged in a hard swim, and the satisfying camaraderie I discovered while pedaling with gung-ho fellow bikers.
  13. Stress + Rest = Progress. The concept seems self-evident, and, in fact, it's the current operating system for most endurance, track, cycling, swimming, and triathletes today.
  14. They're called supplements for a reason--to be used sparingly, and never as a substitute for real food. My focus is always on meeting my protein needs through whole foods, and yours should be too. 
  15. On a weekday morning that normally would have been spent chained to a desk, I mounted my bike for the first time in months and began pedaling toward the Santa Monica Mountains. Soon I was ascending Topanga Canyon, and as the sun rose into the clear blue skies above the ridgeline, I spotted a hawk. In a perfect symbiosis of air and wing, the majestic bird sailed its perfect arc across the morning sky. And that's when I understood. If I could summon the courage to pursue my passion with purpose and without fear, I, too, could experience such synchronicity. Somehow, everything would work out.
  16. Safety isn't just an illusion, it's a cop out. I know it sounds trite, but there's simply nothing like a near-death experience to remind one of the impermanence of everything. And living imprisoned by fear only to die with regret over dreams postponed was a life neither of us was interested in. 
  17. I didn't get into ultra-endurance sports to win races, beat others, or stand atop podiums. I got into it because it's a perfect template for self-discovery--a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual odyssey to more deeply understand myself, determine my purpose, and discover my place in the world. A way to tap into my unexplored reservoirs of potential--and touch the other side. This was the promise of Ultraman. And it delivered in spades.
  18. Bliss in depletion. I finally got it. It's that beautiful place of ascetic purity that is permitted to bloom only when the mind is stopped dead in its tracks and everything else is stripped away, leaving your soul--or who you really are--to forge a connection with the truth.
  19. To realize this vision, I risked everything. Because when the heart is true, the Universe will conspire to support you.
  20. My accomplishments were not won by virtue of some life-hack. Nor by taking any short cuts. I didn't leverage some "new idea" or act upon a secret previously unbeknownst to man. No, my accomplishments were wrought through pain. Through relentless perseverance and unwavering persistence. Through a commitment to being a little bit better today than I was yesterday. I am here because I embraced the journey, and all the pitches it could throw. I am here because I had extreme faith--in myself, in my song, and in something powerful beyond the self. And then, I busted my ass.
  21. Inspiration is easy. Transformation, and the heavy lifting required to achieve it, is hard.
  22. Employ what resonates, discard the rest.
  23. The search for what makes your heart beat hardest--and fidelity to its fullest, most devoted expression--is the very stuff of life. Rooted deep in our souls and coursing vigorously through our veins, it is our birthright, it is our lifeblood. And it is our sustenance. So, to repress that urge, or worse yet deny its very existence, is to squander the extraordinary gift of what it truly means to be human.
  24. Before you decide on the what, you need to know your why. To know your why, you need to know yourself. And that, my friends, is an inside job.
  25. As a precondition to freedom--the freedom to transform and manifest the life to which our higher self aspires--we must understand that this concept of identity we so desperately cling to is pure fantasy, constructed from a few isolated past experiences we improperly project as foregone conclusions to predict future outcomes. But none of this is real.
  26. The excuse that you don't have enough time is just that--an excuse. You do have time. It's a question of priorities. So turn the TV off at night. Shut down the internet. Take inventory of how much time you fritter away on non-essential activities that unnecessarily crowd your days and unjustifiably squander precious hours. Go to bed earlier. Then create a healthy boundary around your morning routine--this is your time, and you are not to be disturbed or interrupted. 
  27. Setting goals is important. They bring us focus and order to how you prioritize your resources, allocate your time, and exert your energy. They structure your day and bring intentionality to your actions and decision-making. Plus they're exciting.
  28. Although a goal must carry great personal meaning, in my experience, the pursuit of that goal is best served when it is also in service to something beyond the self.
  29. Stop being a supporting player in the movie that is your life. Become the movie star. This is a hero's journey you have embarked upon. It's high time you start acting like it.
  30. The configuration of our homes and offices, the restaurants we favor, the bars we frequent, the entertainment we enjoy, and the information sources we seek out all powerfully impact our state of mind, and thus our actions.
  31. Mood follows action. It's a simple yet profound mantra I rely upon daily to successfully combat psychic resistance.
  32. Understand first that failure indicates courage. It means you had the bravery to test yourself. The temerity to challenge your status quo. The audacity to step outside your comfort zone. That impulse is both inspiring and empowering. Hold on to it. And congratulate yourself for trying.
  33. There is only evolution or devolution. Growth or regression. There is no cruise control. Because stasis is an illusion.
  34. If my story stands for anything, it's that change isn't just possible, it's our mandate. And it's never too late.
  35. My mantra has become: Do what you love; love those you care about; give service to others; and know that you're on the right path.
  36. I can state with full confidence that an alkaline-promoting, whole-food plant-based diet is the most rapid recovery tool available to the athlete, a buffer against weight gain and lifestyle disease, as well as a crucial component in my success.
  37. Healthy gut bacteria create a craving for healthy foods, while pathogenic bacteria create a craving for unhealthy foods. Change your microbes and you change your cravings. Change your cravings and you change your life.

Notes & Quotes: Endure by Cameron Hanes

The following are my favorite quotes from Cameron Hanes's Endure: How to Work Hard, Outlast, and Keep Hammering.
  1. Some people live their whole lives never finding their true passion. I was twenty years old when I first tasted bowhunting success and that marked the time I discovered my purpose. Suddenly I had something in my life to focus my energy on. I quit college and quit about everything else just to be able to bowhunt more.
  2. I don't tell people what to do, nor do I try to speak for others. I just share what I do and what I'm passionate about, because life without passion is simply existence in my opinion.
  3. You just need to get out the door and worry about today only. Don't worry about tomorrow. Don't worry about a week from now. You worry about today. Win the day. Do something positive. Worry about tomorrow tomorrow.
  4. Average effort yields average results.
  5. We all have struggles, and those struggles can define who you are. It's all part of the journey.
  6. Don't ever prejudge who can and cannot make an impact in your life. Even the most unlikely of people can turn out to be instrumental in your journey. Maybe the villain in your story is actually just an antihero in disguise.
  7. There are so many crutches people want to use to justify themselves, but for me, you have to eliminate every single one of them. Get rid of all of them. Then tell yourself it's up to you. What you are you going to do now hat you've let go of those crutches?
  8. We all have routines. They can be productive or they can be poisonous.
  9. Mountains are the great equalizer in life. Roy and I believed this, so we sought out more rugged country than anybody else, knowing that would give us an advantage because in the regular world, the people with money or connections had an advantage over regular guys like us. But material success, money, and reputation don't mean anything in the mountains.
  10. My success isn't all about what I do. It's also about what I don't do. I don't drink, fish, golf, play poker. We haven't taken any family vacations. Nothing distracts me from being disciplined. Most people won't give up all I will. It's as much about what I don't do as opposed to the daily work I put in.
  11. Don't make excuses. Give it your all. Show up when you're supposed to show up. Speak your mind. Own up to your mistakes. Think with perspective. This is how you live a life worth remembering.
  12. The truth is that I've always worked really hard because I've never really felt like I had a ton of natural skills or talent. It would feel unnatural to me not to have a regular job. I feel like such a life is reserved for someone who's a star, and I don't think I've got that, so I grind it out. I grind it out at training and I grind it out at work.
  13. I've always been a hard worker, but that's just the start. You can't just have a work ethic; you have to earn it. Discipline and excellence aren't something you can just think about and achieve. Decide to do something every day for a year. Whether it's running a mile, reading a chapter, writing a paragraph, eating breakfast, or drinking a gallon of water: find something that will help you improve yourself and do it every day for a year.
  14. Those who work that hardest are successful, period. Get to work.
  15. Training hard is not easy. It'd be really easy not to run every day. It'd be really easy not to lift every day. It'd be really easy not to shoot my bow every day. Only problem: Easy sucks!
  16. For those who says it's "too much" to hammer every day with all you have, I can't relate to that mindset. And I don't want to. Life ain't easy. Just gotta keep grinding.
  17. The only way to make dreams possible is to sacrifice. 
  18. All I know is that you don't need anyone to believe in your dream. With tunnel-visioned focus, you can be whatever you want to be.
  19. What brings you fulfillment and a sense of purpose? Focus on that and foster a life built around it. Study your craft and spend time excelling in it, whatever "it" might be. Find others who share your passion and follow their footsteps. Love the journey and ignore thoughts of the finish line, as this is a race that never ends.
  20. Nobody really cares about your goals. Nobody cares about your excuses for not achieving what you said you would or what you thought you deserved. You want people to care? Then do something special. Do something that people can't ignore, easily dismiss, or one-up.
  21. I'm not blessed with insane talent. My secret is time. And I've been grinding for years to get where I am at.
  22. Easy seldom makes memories.
  23. Your "bowhunting" is out there. I promise. It will open doors for you as well. But be warned: when you become obsessed, it takes over your life. This obsessive approach works for me. It has changed my life, impacted others positively, and most importantly has taught my kids that anything is possible.
  24. "Mediocrity feels so fucking good!" [David] Goggins posted. "If you have to wake up and don't want to work out, all you have to say is 'Fuck it, I don't give a shit!' And if you're mediocre, you are probably handing around other mediocre people, so they are happy that you don't add pressure to their life! One big happy soft-ass family!!! People don't like hanging around that motherfucker who makes them feel uncomfortable or life an underachiever on a regular basis! We stay away from the fucking savage who wakes up at 0330 regardless the weather, if they got a good night's sleep, if their life sucks and times are hard. People stay clear of that cat! Those kind of people make you question yourself. They also let you know where your life ends and their life begins!"
  25. "No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable." Socrates
  26. Surround yourself with those who push you to be a better human. Strive to find people you can model yourself after and you can see qualities and characteristics that you want to possess yourself.
  27. Doesn't is seem odd that "winners" seem to find a way to win at everything they do? They win at life. I think it's because they put the same amazing energy, effort, and focus into everything they, training, their craft, mental strength/growth, diet, etc. They never make excuses. Instead, they will push themselves to excel and win.
  28. All I have...All I can bring to the table...All is can do is to outwork everybody.
  29. If you're not the hardest-working person you know, you're not working hard enough. An outlier will never allow someone to outwork them.
  30. I recently negotiated a new contract with one of my best sponsors, Hoyt, which is the brand of the bow I shoot. I was underpaid and knew it, but for years I wasn't worried about it because I'm not motivated by money. However, when the time came to sign a new contract, I decided to be more serious about my value, because if we aren't our own advocate, how can we expect someone else to be?
  31. All I ever say to them is, "Do you love shooting your bow?" "Yeah," they might say. "Okay, then shoot your bow. A lot. Get good at shooting your bow. Worry about all the other stuff later." You can't design a hunting boot before you destroy your first few pairs.
  32. I always say to make sure your journey is fueled by your passion. Don't set the goal to be a great marathon runner unless you really love to run. Unless your passion is there, it's just not going to work.
  33. If you want to make it in any field, including the hunting industry, get to work. And do it with a smile, because every day is a gift. Honor that gift.
  34. Know what your weaknesses are and don't play into them. Concentrate on your strengths. My strengths are: I'll put in the work every day and I won't quit. I do things that enhance my strengths. That's running. That's lifting. That's hunting.
  35. Your body gives what you ask of it. Don't ask much and it won't give you much. Ask a lot and it will give you a lot. I haven't found my limit yet, but I am trying.
  36. Maybe some people don't believe me when I say I'm not that talented. It's like, no, I'm just working harder than you. That's all there is to it. Maybe you're better than me, but you're not sacrificing. That's how I've always felt.
  37. If you love animals like elk, moose, and deer, death by a hunter is about the best they are going to get. Man has compassion, animals don't.
  38. Life is too short to be bitter, prideful, or vengeful. Tell them how you feel sooner rather than later as tomorrow isn't guaranteed.
  39. My alarm is set for 4:55 a.m. because getting up "in the fours" sounds better in my head than getting up in the fives, more committed, but I never make it to the alarm. I turn it off before it goes off. I don't dread getting up; I love it. It's another chance to hammer.
  40. The saying goes, the greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward. Always has been true. Always will be true.
  41. Tomorrow's never guaranteed. I could have big goals and dreams down the road, but I could be dead tomorrow. So I pretty much take one day at a time. I give the best I can every day.
  42. Be obsessed or be average, I say. Sometimes it takes obsession to succeed at difficult tasks.
  43. You have to work hard and sacrifice. You have to stand out to succeed. You have to pick and choose what you're going to be, what you're going to excel at. You can't excel at 100 different things, because you have to be obsessive to excel. So if you're obsessive about business, you're probably not going to have time to be obsessive about archery. Because that's what it takes. Obsession to be the best at one thing.
  44. I live every day feeling like if you're not giving all you got, then you're not really honoring the gift of life.
  45. No excuses, give your all, show up when you're supposed to, speak your mind, own your mistakes, think with perspective, and live a life worth remembering.

Notes & Quotes: Scars and Stripes by Tim Kennedy

The following are my favorite quotes from Tim Kennedy's Scars and Stripes: An Unapologetically American Story of Fighting the Taliban, UFC Warriors, and Myself.

  1. Your life only gets better when you do a few things:
    1. Take accountability for it. It's your fault.
    2. Failure is going to happen. When it does, see number 1. If you want to fail less, see numbers 3-7.
    3. An ounce of prevention prevents a pound of cure. The best time to start preparing is right now.
    4. You cannot mass-produce elite people. They need to be forged from hard experiences. If you want to be one of them, you need to seek these challenges consistently.
    5. Take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. For some people that means therapy. For some people that means yoga and a cup of tea or fishing with the family. For me that means embracing a constant struggle. Rejecting comfort makes me... well... comfortable.
    6. Surround yourself with good people striving to also improve themselves.
    7. Build goals and pursue them to the end of the earth.
  2. Do the right thing, even when there's negative consequences for your actions.
  3. My parents did what they always did in a crisis. They helped. People always told us that the Kennedys were good at death. And I guess they were right. When everyone else was mourning, or didn't know what to do, we took action. It's not that we didn't hurt. It was just better to be useful. So I learned from my mom and dad to always be useful.
  4. Suffering is the great equalizer. The cadre, the missions, the lack of food and sleep, and the elements bring everyone to a place where they no longer hide their real feelings. You might be my best friend in the world in real life, but so help me God if you fall asleep on that SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) one more time, I am going to murder you.
  5. I generally live by the rule that you don't rise to the moment but rather fall to the level of your training.
  6. I am very proud of being a sniper. I'm proud of the training I put myself through to be able to do what I do. I'm proud of our profession. We save a lot of lives, and I'm convinced I saved American and Czech lives that day, but there's something most people don't understand about our job. Our kills are up close and personal, even though we're often very far away. We see their last breath through that scope. We see their faces. It's one thing to kill a man who is actively shooting at you, or even to shoot a leader responsible for atrocities. I never lost any sleep about those shots. But these shots are awful. There is no satisfaction. There is no rush of knowing you quieted the gun that was hunting for American lives. This is just killing. With every trigger pull, I lose a little bit more of my soul.
  7. I wanted it to feel better when I killed these guys--these pieces of human garbage who used women and children as a shield. I desperately want my pain to be washed away, but it isn't. This isn't like the movies, where vengeance is the cure. Reality is awful. The pain of what I have done is overwhelming, so I descend into an emotional void. There is no Hollywood moment of vengeance and them getting what they deserve and me getting my hero moment. The kids are still wounded or dead. These deaths cure nothing. Help nothing.
  8. We're taught over and over again that a good hasty plan executed violently is far better than a flawless detailed plan executed with hesitation. We hit them hard with absolute violence of action and we destroyed their will to fight. We took them from "kill mode" to "flee and regroup mode." We aggressively took the high ground and key terrain features and cleared everything from that point to the main supply route (MSR). And if you were a man and you were outside, you are probably dead. It was absolute dominance.
  9. When you think about other people, you tend to take less risk. You don't want to get anyone killed, and you also realize if you get killed or injured, you put the rest of the team in a bad spot.
  10. Whether anyone likes it or not, in 2003 we simply do not have enough SF (Special Forces) guys to do the mission, so the 18 X-Ray program is needed. And the situation will keep getting worse. From 2012 to 2020 the average age of a Special Forces soldier will drop by seven years. That means the average team will lose eighty-four years of tactical experience in less than a decade.
  11. I could see his exactness and attention to detail in every range card, laying out the fields of fire for each weapon system. Seeing his signature on this beautiful setup made me proud. He whole-assed this job just like he did everything.
  12. There is a recurring pattern that is forming in my own life, and I don't like it. I don't necessarily run from my problems, but I'm definitely not addressing them either. I've always found a path around the thing that scared me, hurt me, or upset me. It is the same unhealthy coping mechanism that I have used ever since Jared died. Fireman problems? Cool, no big deal. I'll become a cop. Screwed up my chances of being a cop because I paintballed a kid? Cool, I'll go Army.
  13. Every dead man is someone's father, brother, or son. Every dead woman is someone's mother, sister, or daughter. Every time you kill someone, you create five new passionate enemies. 
  14. I decide as I board the plane to fly back home to Fayetteville, just as the UFC Fight for the Troops event is starting at Fort Bragg, that I am going to spend the rest of my career stacking the deck in my favor so the men around me will never have a liability in their midst. I will never live up to being the man I once thought I was. And I will certainly never be perfect. But I can be better.
  15. After three years of Hunting Hitler, I'll tell you this: Hitler probably didn't get out, but his ideology did, and that is how he truly escaped.
  16. If we do this right, we can hurt the big boys. We don't care about the local pimps. We want the power players who bribe politicians and serve the Harvey Weinsteins or Jeffrey Epsteins of this world, for lack of a better term. It's shocking to me our government doesn't have an organization who chases these cretins, but the more time you spend fighting trafficking, the more you realize how many wealthy and powerful people have a lot to lose by breaking the whole thing apart. The blatant manner in which power and money have been used to stop us from bringing these people down is appalling. I don't generally condone vigilante behavior, but if I ever lose it and go full "Punisher" mode, these guys are at the top of my list.
  17. Failure isn't final. It's necessary. It's the fuel that allows you to advance, to succeed.

Notes & Quotes: How to Be Perfect by Michael Schur

The following are my favorite quotes from Michael Schur's How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question.

  1. We get better at the thing by doing the thing, and if we stop doing it, we'll get worse.
  2. Extreme deficiency or excess of any one quality then becomes a vice, which is obviously what we're trying to avoid.
  3. If we take the time to mull over what we've done, if we really commit to examining both our own actions and the actions of those around us, we can eventually come to understand what's too little, what's too much, and what's "just right."
  4. The best thing about Aristotle's "constant learning, constant trying, constant searching" is what results from it: a mature yet still pliable person, brimming with experiences both old and new, who doesn't rely solely on familiar routines or dated information about how the world works.
  5. Utilitarianism often runs into problems like this, because human beings, it turns out, are weird, so searching for actions that create the most "total happiness" can create bizarre situations. It doesn't seem fair to prefer a ton of pleasure for one Hawaiian pizza-loving sociopath over smaller pleasures for a large number of more decent and stable people, who understand that the proper places for ham and pineapple are in sandwiches and fruit salads, respectively.
  6. The most important idea in Kantian ethics is fairly simple to understand. It's called the categorical imperative: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.
  7. In 2006, Nelson Mandela was asked to define ubuntu and said this: In the old days, when we were young, a traveler to our country would stop in our village, and he didn't have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, and attend to him. That is one aspect of ubuntu, but it [has] various aspects...Ubuntu does not mean that the people should not enrich themselves. The question, therefore, is: Are you going to do so in order to enable the community around you to be able to improve?
  8. Buddhist philosophy suggests that true happiness comes from remaining focused on the things we do, and doing them with no purpose other than to do them.
  9. Whataboutism is most commonly deployed as a defensive strategy. Someone is caught doing something bad--anything from an actual crime to saying something mildly offensive on the internet--and then instead of owning up to it, he says, "Well, what about [Way Worse Thing X]?!" or "What about that bad thing you did?!" or "What about the fact that I also did [Good Thing Y]?" It's a way to throw sand in the eyes of the people making the charge, blinding them momentarily and giving the accused a chance to wriggle free. Nearly all whataboutisms are indefensible, because by definition they fail to address the moral shortcoming the bad actor has exhibited.
  10. Shame has a function in a healthy world, because it gives us a weapon in the war against bad behavior. If people were incapable of feeling shame, they would do whatever they wanted with impunity, never worrying that their reputations might suffer in the public square.
  11. No one--not even excessively rule-following dorks like me--follows every rule. It's impossible. But if we're trying to be good people, we should know how to deal with the moments when we actively choose not to be.
  12. The choices we make may be our own, but the life into which we're born, and many of the events that befall us after that, are things we often have little or no control over.
  13. It's not a meritocracy if some runners start the race ten feet from the finish line and some are denied entry to the race because of systemic biases within the Racing Commission.
  14. People who achieve (or inherit) a high level of wealth and success are invested in the idea that they earned it. That belief allows us to feel like we have control over this big dumb scary world--that if we're smart and work hard we will be appropriately rewarded and everything will be fine. Conceding that a lot of this dumb luck--including, most significantly, embryo-related stuff that happened before we even conscious beings--is to concede that there were other factors at play beyond our own incredibleness, and that we're maybe not as amazing as our lot in life would indicate.

Notes & Quotes: Tough by Terry Crews

The following are my favorite quotes from Terry Crews's Tough: My Journey to True Power.

  1. When I promised [my wife] Rebecca to walk away from that fight, I took the first step on a road to becoming a completely different person, and to become a completely different person, you need more than a promise. You need therapy. You need mentorship. You need love and support and patience from your family and friends. More than anything, you need time.
  2. Half the reason I kept chasing my football dream was to get out of Flint [Michigan] and away from the guys like Juice and the Top Dawgs. So, needless to say, I was surprised to find out that joining the NFL meant I hadn't left the streets at all. I had teammates who were gang members. And I'm not talking about "former" gang members. These were guys with active ties to the Crips and Bloods, and they brought all that macho bullshit into the locker room with them.
  3. Something needed to change, but looking at yourself in the mirror and facing your demons is the hardest thing you will ever do in your life. You will duck it and avoid it--and make excuses for ducking it and avoiding it--for a long, long time.
  4. The purpose of being tough is not to attack, but to protect. The purpose of being strong is not to dominate, but to support. The purpose of having power is not to rule, but to serve. What I've learned is that to be a true man is to be the ultimate servant. With any talent or advantage that life has given you, whether by birth or by circumstance, your duty is to use that advantage in the service of others.
  5. Between [my dad] Big Terry and [my mom] Trish, I caught it coming and going. If my father was addicted to alcohol and anger, my mother was addicted to religion and fear. Neither of them knew how to overcome, and together they made for a toxic pair. When they went at it, it was legendary. It was always brutal, and we were always in the middle.
  6. The way addiction works, whether it's alcohol or heroin or food or sex, is that you latch onto a thing or a habit or a substance that gives you a reprieve from reality. But when more problems arise from the substance you're abusing, that substance then presents itself as the solution to the same problems it has caused. And round and round you go, not even recognizing the cycle you've created for yourself. It's only looking back now that I can see the pattern.
  7. HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired). If an addict is feeling any of these emotions, those are the times when he's most likely to slip. So I learned to examine my feelings and create new triggers for healthier behaviors.
  8. Luck doesn't always fall from the sky. You can't just name it and claim it. Yes, it's luck, and you don't control when or where it happens--or if it's good luck or bad--but it comes only if you're working for it. It comes as the fruit of what you're putting out into the universe. For a long time, the only vibe I was giving off was arrogance, selfishness, and entitlement, and nothing came my way. After my experience at Labor Ready, I was giving off only exuberance and enthusiasm and dedication, no matter how menial the task. People noticed.
  9. We always tell ourselves we don't have time to spend an hour exercising every day. We're too busy with work and with family. But the thing about the hour of exercise is that it makes you feel so much better that the other twenty-three hours of the day become that much more productive. Giving up that hour of time actually gets you more time, because it gives you better use of your time. You sleep better. You work more efficiently. You eat better, too, and not because you're forcing yourself on some diet you hate, but because your body doesn't want that unhealthy food anymore. More than anything, it forces you to manage your time to make sure you have that hour for the gym, and that fact alone ensures that you're paying attention to your days and making the most of every moment.
  10. Tithing helped me understand that money doesn't really exist. It's a symbol, a representation of value given for value received.
  11. The best way to become successful is to serve people. The more people you serve, the more valued you are. The more valued you are, the more you receive, which can come in the form of more money, or it can come in the form of other intangibles that are worth more than money, like happiness, respect, and a sense of purpose. Work becomes its own blessing. So now, the question I ask myself every morning is not "How do I make more money?" The question I ask myself is "How do I increase my value?"
  12. Somebody's always jacked in. Which is why you always have to be cognizant of who that person is and how much power they have over you. Like my son with his iPhone, whoever's got that cord controls what you hear, which means they can set your mood. If they can set your mood, they can influence how you feel. If they can influence how you feel, they can change the way you think. And if they can change the way you think, they can control the way you behave.
  13. The kids who were misbehaving, they weren't that different from me, actually. When you see poor kids in the hood acting out, a lot of them are trying to find out if anybody gives a damn about them, because their whole lives they've grown up with the feeling that nobody does.
  14. We should always strive to create a world that is just and fair, but injustice and suffering will always be with us. We cannot will them out of existence, and we cannot control when or how they will be inflicted upon us. We can only control how we respond. Power and agency come from within. Dignity and self-worth come from within.
  15. Letting someone else make you angry is giving them too much control over your life. You cannot control what happens to you, but you can always control how you respond. You are never powerless. You always have a choice.
  16. An insult hurts only if there's a ring of truth to it; it only hurts if you believe it. My mother calling my dad a broke-ass drunk cut him to the bone, because it was true. But if you called Bill Gates broke, you wouldn't be insulting the man, because he knows he isn't broke. He'd laugh at you and shrug it off.
  17. As the city started to crater, the newspapers salivated over every detail. If it bled, it led, and if a black man was responsible for it, all the better. Anytime a black man did anything, the headlines would literally read a black man killed three people today or a black man has crack den or four dead in crack den, with several black people. If it was a white man, he was just a man, but if it was a black man, his race was always called out.
  18. Seventh grade was the year I went from being treated like a black boy to being treated like a black man, and the difference was stark. I noticed it the minute it happened. My mother loved going to the big department stores at the mall. As a kid, I hated it because she would spend all her time trying stuff on but then never buying anything because we didn't have any money. As an adolescent, I hated it because I had white salespeople on me all the time. "What do you want? What are you looking for? What do you need? Can I help you?" Even after they backed off, I could feel their eyes following me around the store, like I was about to steal something.
  19. Every situation carries with it the potential for social miscues and misunderstanding. If you go into those interactions expecting the worst, you're going to get it. Because all you get back from any situation is what you put into it.
  20. Frederick Douglass understood power and agency in the same way that Viktor Frankl understood power and agency. They come from within. We can and should protest and call out injustice in the world, but we cannot control or stamp out every injustice that exists. What we can control, what we do have power over, is ourselves. We can always choose what we say and how we respond. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and Fannie Lou Hamer and Shirley Chisholm understood that, too. Those men and women were able to endure everything from segregated rail cars to prison cells, because nothing the world threw at them could dim the light they carried inside themselves. That is true power.

Notes & Quotes: Unbreakable by Jay Glazer

The following are my favorite quotes from Jay Glazer's Unbreakable: How I Turned My Depression and Anxiety into Motivation and You Can Too.

  1. Vulnerability is true strength. If I am vulnerable, it may inspire a teammate to be the same. It may help lift them out of their own pit.
  2. I did everything I could to stand out! Don't just quietly go about your business. Stand the fuck out!
  3. I took some advice my dad had once given me, about getting ahead by being loyal and outworking the world, and I spun it out into three mantras I would use to make me stand out: Be different. Outwork the world. Be the last one standing.
  4. Trust. That's the secret ingredient to being an NFL Insider. Gain trust. And never ever, ever fuck that trust over.
  5. I can give two shits about rejection. That's another superpower of mine. I don't give a fuck if you turn me down. Why? Because what good does that do me, to live in fear of something that hasn't happened yet? We can't hit a home run if we don't swing the bat. We can't win a fight if we don't throw a punch. Fuck it, teammate, might as well swing.
  6. Every time you do something, however small, view it as big. Because it is. It all has a ripple effect. You may have helped someone, or you may have, without knowing it, saved someone. Maybe you did something for somebody, and because of that they had a better day, and then, they turned around and did something to life someone else, who was in their darkest place. You never fucking know!! It really and truly all helps. Suddenly, it's expanding exponentially, until hundreds, then thousands, of people are finally getting the help they need. So, love yourself up when you do something of service for others. You did good!
  7. We live in a society where we are constantly comparing ourselves to someone else's "filtered" fraction of a second of their lives on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, so of course we often think our own lives suck. Or we feel left out of everyone else's "successes," many of which are full of shit, because they are filtered, edited, highlighted, or enhanced.
  8. "You never know what lies around next Tuesday." As in, you'll never know when life will change for you. Some of the shittiest things that can ever happen, could, in fact, end up blessing the world. How many times have we felt despair from not getting a job or losing a relationship or having something completely shitty happen, only to one day have it all turn around? You just never know who you are going to meet that will change your life. You never know what will come into your life to suddenly empower you. You never know what lies around the corner...or next Tuesday, as I put it.
  9. The team that challenges you is the one that grows you.
  10. There is never an end of the road, gang. Never. But you have to decide that and follow through with conviction.
  11. The 5 Pillars of the Unbreakable Mindset
    1. Find out who the best is...and do more than them.
    2. Be relentless. 
    3. Push your breaking point, push your breaking point, push your breaking point.
    4. Neutral face: don't ever show you're hurt or tired.
    5. It's your honor to fight hurt.
  12. Find out where you want to be in life and do more than everyone else to get there. Outwork the world. That's the big magic bullet for success.
  13. When we walked inside, every single light was off...except one. Sitting alone, in a meeting room, with film on and notes in front of him was [Drew] Brees. Ten-forty-five at night. All alone. "Dude what the fuck ya doing?" I asked, shocked at what I'd stumbled upon. Brees shrugged and delivered the greatest, unintentional motivational line I've ever heard in my life: "Sometimes trying to be great is lonely."
  14. Always reward and celebrate growth, teammate...always.
  15. That's how you want to live your life--focused on yourself, on what you're getting out of the fight, on what you can learn. You want to grow and emerge even more badass the next time out. 
  16. Every loss presents an opportunity to improve, presents an opportunity to overcome. Adversity is a gift. It's how we grow. But in order to truly do this, we need to take our ego and pride out of it. Being Unbreakable means we have been knocked down, we have taken losses, we have been hurt, but we got back up every single time.
  17. Be authentic. Too many of us try to be something we are not or try to act a certain way to impress others. That's when we get into trouble, teammate. Just be authentic. We all have things that make us different, so learn to lean on what makes you, well, YOU. And then run with it. 
  18. If you are loving, and stay authentic, you will attract other loving people. If you are an asshole and stay authentic, you'll probably attract other assholes.

Notes & Quotes: One Hit Away by Jordan Barnes

The following are my favorite quotes from Jordan Barnes's One Hit Away: A Memoir of Recovery

  1. It was a realization that changed everything--if a lone wolf doesn't make the kill, he'll starve to death unless scraps are thrown his way.
  2. For too long, drug dependency has robbed me of the simple things in life that make it worth living, like deep or uninterrupted sleep.
  3. When he spots me shambling toward him, a smirk from Luiz says he knew I'd be back again. It's business. Bad business, but still business. We have a love-hate relationship that makes me resent the power he and every other dealer will forever reign over me.
  4. I have no problem taking whatever I wanted, whenever I want to feed my habit--the irony is that charity is hard to accept.
  5. The very nature of my addiction is a self-imposed imprisonment, one that requires me to return to my dealers like an animal to a watering hole .I have no control or independence regardless of how tough I act. No matter how I cut it, there is no free will here. Dependence has taken away any illusion of choice.
  6. I'm overwhelmed by my first actual step, taken on my own accord, to disassociate myself from the lifestyle I have long struggled to endure. Rising to the occasion is more than just empowering--it's authentic.
  7. When the desire to use instinctively crosses my mind, I have to remind myself that I'll ruin a good thing if I'm allowed to.
  8. Don't let your past poison your future. 
  9. There's no shortcut to any place worth going.
  10. I'm looking forward to developing and renewing my faith, joining my family again as a loving son and brother, and having healthy relationships built on trust. Most importantly, I'm looking forward to loving myself, which starts with facing my hurdles and tackling them one at a time.
  11. I realize that I can fight for something without ever raising a fist. I can fight for myself and my sobriety without letting others stand in my way or knock me off track. Bennett challenged me to lose my cool, and for a moment, I did. I have to work on that self-control and remember to rise above the bullshit as Mike so eloquently puts it.
  12. I respect his maturity in acknowledging that waving the white flag is actually a sign of strength. There is no shame in tapping out when you know that continuing will only wreak havoc.
  13. I saw enough progress in the mirror that I became a firm believer that if you do the right thing, you get the right results.
  14. Remember, if you're anything like me, your best thinking probably got you to where you are, so if you don't know what to do, don't do anything at all.

Notes & Quotes: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

The following are my favorite quotes from Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.

  1. The average food item on a U.S. grocery shelf has traveled farther than most families go on their annual vacations.
  2. We call our food animals by different names after they're dead, presumable sparing ourselves any vision of the beefs and the porks running on actual hooves.
  3. We don't know beans about beans. Asparagus, potatoes, turkey drumsticks--you name it, we don't have a clue how the world makes it.
  4. Obesity is generally viewed as a failure of personal resolve, with no acknowledgment of the genuine conspiracy in this historical scheme. People actually did sit in strategy meetings discussing ways to get all those surplus calories into people who neither needed nor wished to consume them. Children have been targeted especially; food companies spend over $10 billion a year selling food brands to kids, and it isn't broccoli they're pushing. Overweight children are a demographic in many ways similar to minors addicted to cigarettes, with one notable exception: their parents are usually their suppliers. We all subsidize the cheap calories with our tax dollars, the strategists make fortunes, and the overweight consumers get blamed for the violation. The perfect crime.
  5. The multiple maladies caused by bad eating are taking a dire toll our health--most tragically our kids, who are predicted to be this country's first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. That alone is stunning enough fact to give us pause. So is a government policy that advises us to eat more fruits and vegetables, while doling out subsidies not to fruit and vegetable farmers, but to commodity crops destined to become soda pop and cheap burgers.
  6. For most of us, if we see asparagus in any month far removed from April, we're looking at some hard traveling.
  7. It's hard to reduce our modern complex of food choices to unifying principles, but this is one that generally works: eating home-cooked meals from whole, in-season ingredients obtained from the most local source available is eating well, in every sense. Good for the habitat, good for the body.
  8. Modern U.S. consumers now get to taste less than 1 percent of the vegetable varieties that were grown here a century ago. Those old-timers now lurk only in backyard gardens and on farms that specialize in direct sales--if they survive at all. Many heirlooms have been lost entirely.
  9. Six companies--Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Mitsui, Aventis, and Dow--now control 98 percent of the world's seed sales. These companies invest heavily in research whose purpose is to increase food production capacity only in ways that can be controlled strictly.
  10. A thriving field of vegetables is as needy as a child, and similarly, the custodian's job isn't done till the goods have matured and moved out.
  11. Grocery money is an odd sticking point for U.S. citizens, who on average spend a lower proportion of our income on food than people in any other country, or any heretofore in history.
  12. The larger the corporation, the more distant its motives are apt to be from the original spirit of organic farming--and the farther the products will likely be shipped to buyers who will smile at the happy farm picture on the package, and never be the wiser.
  13. A survey of National Merit scholars--exceptionally successful eighteen-year-olds crossing all lines of ethnicity, gender, geography, and class--turned up a common thread in their lives: the habit of sitting down to a family dinner table. It's not just the food making them brilliant. It's probably the parents--their care, priorities, and culture of support. The words: "I'll expect you home for dinner."
  14. As a rule, the harder the cheese, the lower the lactose content. (Anything less than 2 percent lactose is tolerable for just about everybody.) Also, higher fat content means less lactose--butter has none.
  15. Buying your goods from local businesses rather than national chains generates about three times as much money for your local economy.
  16. If we draw the okay-to-kill line between "animal" and "plant," and thus exclude meat, fowl, and fish from our diet on moral grounds, we still must live with the fact that every sack of flour and every soybean-based block of tofu came from a field where countless winged and furry lives were extinguished in the plowing, cultivating, and harvest. An estimated 67 million birds die each year from pesticide exposure on U.S. farms. Butterflies, too, are universally killed on contact in larval form by the genetically modified pollen contained in most U.S. corn. Foxes, rabbits, and bobolinks are starved out of their homes or dismembered by the sickle mower. Insects are "controlled" even by organic pesticides; earthworms are cut in half by the plow. Contrary to lore, they won't grow into two; both halves die.
  17. I don't want to cause any creature misery, so I won't knowingly eat anything that has stood belly deep in its own poop wishing it was dead until bam, on day it was. (In restaurants I go for the fish, or the vegetarian option.)
  18. No fickle wind messes with the track of the sun. It's a crucial decision for a living thing: When, exactly, to shut down leaf growth and pull all resources down into the roots to stock up for winter? A mistake will cost a plant the chance to pass on its genes. So in temperate climates, evolution has tied such life-or-death decisions to day length. Animals use it also, to trigger mating, nesting, egg-laying, and migration.
  19. It never really stops, this business of growing things--garlic goes into the ground again in October, just as other frost-killed crops are getting piled onto the compost heap. Food is not a product but a process, and it never sleeps. It just goes underground for a while.
  20. Eating locally in winter is easy. But the time to think about that would be in August.
  21. The great majority of modern turkeys can expect an earthly duration of only four months before meeting their processor. Free-range turkeys may take as long as six months to reach slaughter size. But any bird that lives past its first Thanksgiving inhabits a domain occupied by fewer than one-half of one percent of domestic turkeys.
  22. The three basic components of responsible eating are to favor food grown in an environmentally responsible way, delivered with minimal petroleum use, in a manner that doesn't exploit the farmers.

Notes & Quotes: Ten Years a Nomad by Matt Kepnes

 The following are my favorite quotes from Matt Kepnes's Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler's Journey Home.

  1. Americans trade time for money and, although we all complain about it, it's an arrangement we've kept in place for decades. Even as traveling and career breaks have become more mainstream, this fundamental arrangement has not changed. Taking extended time off is simply not part of our cultural norms--and I don't think it ever will be.
  2. Here, In Thailand, were people who didn't want to live that [American] life at all. People who were happy to be from somewhere other than America. People who believed, and acted as if, life was for living--not planning, saving, and climbing up to the next rung. It wasn't about working until you retired so you could then start your life. It was about living right now.
  3. Some people travel because they have places to go. Others travel because the journey is their true home. They want to see and experience and live as much as possible in their short time on this earth.
  4. Learning to go with the flow is the most important part of travel planning. Travel is about letting things unfold and happen naturally. It's better to see fewer attractions and go deeper into a city or a region than to cast a wide net and go shallow.
  5. Traveling solo, you learn who you are and what you are capable of. You learn how to be comfortable with only your own thoughts for companionship. In this sense, solo travel is a wonderful teacher, because it teaches self-reliance.
  6. Travel is all about seizing the opportunities in front of you--especially when they're opportunities to throw away your plans.
  7. "A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." Lao Tzu
  8. There's a difference between taking pleasure in spiting someone, and taking pleasure in exceeding expectations about yourself. The former is fixated on negativity, the latter is all about well-earned pride.
  9. I'm not trying to avoid life, I'd tell my doubters. I'm trying to avoid your life. I'm not running away from the real world--I'm running away from your idea of what the real world is. Running away from office life, commuting, and weekend errands, and running toward everything the world has to offer. Running away from monotony, nine to five, rampant consumerism, and the conventional path.
  10. A place is only as boring as you are. Adventure and activity isn't something that just happens. It is something that must be sought out.

Notes & Quotes: Living a Life that Matters by Harold S. Kushner

The following are my favorite quotes from Harold S. Kushner's Living a Life that Matters.

  1. God understands that when we give in to temptation it is a temporary lapse and does not reflect our true character.
  2. Much of our lives, much of our energy will be devoted to closing the gap between the longings of our soul and the scoldings of our conscience, between our too-often conflicting needs for the assurance of knowing that we are good and the satisfaction of being told that we are important. 
  3. It hurts to be defeated by conscience, to feel compelled to take the more demanding high road, to resist temptation, to apologize. But I suspect it hurts more to keep winning out over conscience. Too often, we compromise our integrity, we do something we really don't believe in doing, to reach some important goal, only to find one of two frustrating things happening: Either we gain the prize and realize it wasn't worth gaining, or we end up with neither the prize nor our integrity.
  4. Without a modicum of selfishness and aggression, the world could not go on. It is a part of us, a problematic but essential part of us. 
  5. Like the man or woman who lifts weights at the gym to become stronger, a process know as "resistance training," we strengthen our moral fiber by the exercise of resisting temptation.
  6. Good people will do good things, lots of them, because they are good people. They will do bad things because they are human. In the daily, if not hourly, wrestling matches that set the tone of our lives, sometimes the angel wins and sometimes the angel loses. With luck, we will not be overwhelmed by guilt when the egotistical impulse defeats the angel, and we will understand that the victory is temporary, not permanent, when the angel wins. We will understand that, to be human, we need them both. But we will never stop asking ourselves, What kind of person do I want to be?
  7. Perhaps the instinctive desire for revenge is less about hurting the person who has hurt us and more about restoring the power balance to what it was before the crime. We don't really want to hurt our assailant so much as we want to reclaim from him the power, the sense of being in control of our lives, that he stole from us. 
  8. Someone once compared getting into an argument with a boorish neighbor to wrestling in the mud with a pig: You will both get filthy, but the pig will enjoy it.
  9. For the person of integrity, life may not be easy but it is simple: Figure out what is right and do it. All other considerations come in second.
  10. If the words you speak are hard for you to utter and hard for others to hear, if you get no pleasure from speaking them but you feel you must, then you can believe that they come from God. On the other hand, if your words make you popular and win you easy applause, or if people don't like hearing them but you get a certain pleasure from speaking them ("I'm only telling you this for your own good"), then you may have reason to suspect that those are your own thoughts disguising themselves as the Word of God.
  11. Love, expressed primarily but not exclusively in marriage and parenthood, is the most accessible way we have of being supremely important in another person's life. It not only gratifies our sex drive and reproductive impulse. It meets our need to matter, or, as one person put it, "to be somebody's somebody."
  12. Psychologist-author Carol Gilligan has pointed out that young girls tend to latch on to best friends, as if they were rehearsing for marriage, whereas boys play competitive games with their friends, as if they were rehearsing for the business world.
  13. When we worry that our lives are passing in a parade of trivialities and insignificant events, we yearn to do things that matter and feel like failures because we haven't, I have always found that an effective cure for that feeling of insignificance is simply to find someone who needs our help and reach out to that person.
  14. Every life touches many other lives, and rare is the person who knows how much of a difference he or she has made.
  15. I believe that ordinary people joining forces can do things that heroes acting alone can't do. 
  16. The small choices and decisions we make a hundred times a day add up to determining the kind of world we live in.

Notes & Quotes: Attached by Amir Levine & Rachel Heller

The following are my favorite quotes from Amir Levine and Rachel Heller's Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment.

  1. If our partner fails to reassure us, we are programmed to continue our attempts to achieve closeness until the partner does.
  2. If you want to take the road to independence and happiness, find the right person to depend on and travel down it with that person.
  3. Having a partner who is inconsistently available or supportive can be a truly demoralizing and debilitating experience that can literally stunt our growth and stymie our health.
  4. Keep in mind that when you're excited about someone, your objectivity is compromised and you tend to create a rosy picture of him or her. Anything that doesn't fit this picture fades into the background. In the initial stages of dating, however, it's important to pay equal attention to all messages coming through and address them securely. This will help you determine if the relationship is right for you and ensure it is going in a positive direction.
  5. By being someone you're not, you're allowing another to be with you on his or her own terms and come and go as s/he pleases.
  6. By dividing attachment behavior along gender lines, we can fall into the common trap of equating avoidance with masculinity. Research findings, however, prove that there are many men who are far from being avoidant--they communicate freely, are loving and affectionate, do not retreat during conflict, and are consistently there for their partner. 
  7. One of the most important roles we play in our partners' lives is providing a secure base: creating the conditions that enable our partners to pursue their interests and explore the world in confidence. Brooke Feeney and Roxanne Thrush, of Carnegie Mellon University, in a study published in 2010, found that three specific behaviors underlie this broad term. You too can provide a secure base by adopting the following secure behaviors:
    1. Be available: Respond sensitively to their distress, allow them to be dependent on you when they feel the need, check in with them from time to time, and provide comfort when things go wrong.
    2. Don't interfere: Provide behind-the-scenes support for their endeavors. Help in a way that leaves them with the initiative and the feeling of power. Allow them to do their own thing without trying to take over the situation, micromanage, or undermine their confidence and abilities.
    3. Encourage: Provide encouragement and be accepting of their learning and personal growth goals. Boost their self-esteem.
  8. Suzanne Phillips, coauthor of the book Healing Together, describes our connection with our pets as a source of inspiration for our romantic relationships. In her writing, she points out that we tend to perceive our pets as selfless and loving despite their many misdemeanors: They wake us up at night, destroy our valuables, and demand our undivided attention, yet we tend to overlook these behaviors and feel positively toward them. In fact, our connection with our pets is an excellent example of a secure presence in our lives. We can tap into our attitudes toward our pets as a secure resource within us--we don't assume our pets are doing things purposely to hurt us, we don't hold grudges even when they eat something they shouldn't or make a mess, we still greet them warmly when we come home (even after a rough day at the office), and we stick by them no matter what.
  9. It's never too late to start using effective communication to improve your relationship. It's one of the most powerful tools secure people use in their everyday life, with their partner and kids, and at work. It can really transform the way you handle yourself with the people around you.
  10. The Five Principles of Effective Communication:
    1. Wear your heart on your sleeve.
    2. Focus on your needs.
    3. Be specific
    4. Don't blame.
    5. Be assertive and nonapologetic.
  11. Effective communication is not about highlighting the other person's shortcomings, and making accusations will quickly lead you away from the point and into a dueling match. Make sure to find a time when you're calm to discuss things. You'll find that attempting to use effective communication when you're on the verge of exploding is a contradiction in terms--you'll most likely sound angry and judgmental.
  12. Attachment theory shows us that these assumptions are unsubstantiated; all couples--even secure ones--have their fair share of fights. What does distinguish between couples and affect their satisfaction levels in their relationships is not how much they disagree, but how they disagree and what they disagree about. Attachment researchers have learned that conflicts can serve as an opportunity for couples to get closer and deeper their bond.
  13. Five Secure Principles for Resolving Conflict:
    1. Show basic concern for the other person's well-being.
    2. Maintain focus on the problem at hand.
    3. Refrain from generalizing the conflict. 
    4. Be willing to engage.
    5. Effectively communicate feelings and needs.
  14. Attachment theory shows us that our happiness is actually dependent on our mate's and vice versa. The two are inextricable.
  15. It's always more effective to assume the best in conflict situations. In fact, expecting the worst--which is typical of people with insecure attachment styles--often acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you assume your partner will act hurtfully or reject you, you automatically respond defensively--thus starting a vicious cycle of negativity.
  16. Don't lose sight of these facts:
    1. Your attachment needs are legitimate.
    2. You shouldn't feel bad for depending on the person you are closest to--it is part of your genetic makeup.
    3. A relationship, from an attachment perspective, should make you feel more self-confident and give you peace of mind. If it doesn't, this is a wake-up call!
    4. And, above all, remain true to your authentic self--playing games will only distance you from your ultimate goal of finding true happiness, be it with your partner or with someone else.

Notes & Quotes: Karma by Sadhguru

The following are my favorite quotes from Sadhguru's Karma: A Yogi's Guide to Crafting Your Destiny:

  1. Karma is about becoming the source of one's own creation. In shifting responsibility from heaven to oneself, one becomes the very maker of one's destiny.
  2. For every other creature on this planet, the struggles are essentially physical. If they eat well, they are just fine. But human beings are different. For humans, when the stomach is empty, there is only one problem; but when the stomach is full, there are one hundred problems!
  3. It is up to us to decide the nature of our bequest to the planet. This is what the anonymous Jain monks of Velayudhampalayam did. Aware that every action has a consequence, they chose to live consciously. As a result, the achieved a certain kind of immortality that the rich and powerful in the history of the world have seldom managed to attain.
  4. Karma is not a punishment or reward; it is just the process by which life tries to fulfill itself.
  5. When your actions are no longer about you, when they are simply based on the demands of the situation, when narrow self-interest no longer fuels your volition, you have reached the end of karmic production. Your liberation is assured.
  6. If you avoid any experience--whether pain or pleasure, sorrow or joy--it is big karma. But if you go through the experience without resisting it, the karma dissolves.
  7. Your karma is not what is happening to you; your karma is in the way you respond to what is happening to you. 
  8. When you involve yourself intensely in physical activity, you expend a great deal of nervous energy. But now that human beings have become so inactive, almost every person suffers from some kind of anxiety or unease. This is simply because of trapped physical energy. In comparison, you will find that those committed to some form of intense physical exercise are often at a different level of balance and peace and peace and much less entangled in sexuality and other physical drives. This is because one aspect of the person have found full expression.
  9. It is impossible to perform physical activity without your thought, emotion, and energies being involved. The same activity can, of course, be performed with different levels of involvement. Those who work only for a livelihood often feel constrained and suffocated. But when you are deeply involved in your work on every level, you will find activity invigorates you; it does not exhaust you.
  10. The goal for every freedom seeker is the same: to attend to your karma now rather than wait for life to throw it at you.
  11. We have always had a choice: between inclusive action and paralyzed volition, between intelligent dynamism and pathetic fatalism. Why do we so often chose the latter?
  12. The one thing every seeker needs to remember is that the inner journey can only be taken alone. Once this realization dawns, it marks the birth of spirituality. This realization is sometimes scary for those who are used to living in groups, to making collective life decisions. Yes, you can walk together in the outside world, but in the inner world, everybody walks alone. 
  13. On a certain day, three men were working on a site. A passerby came and asked the first man, "What are you doing?" The man looked up and said, "Hey, are you blind? Can't you see I'm cutting stone?" The passerby went to the second man and asked the same question. "What do you think I'm doing?" growled the second man. "I'm trying to earn my living. I need to fill my belly." The passerby went to the third man and asked again, "What are you doing here?" The man stood up in great joy. "I'm building a glorious temple!" All three men were doing the same work. For the first man, his work was simply cutting stone. For the second, his work was simply a means to eke out a livelihood. For the third, his work was an opportunity to create something beautiful that he cared for deeply. The how is the pivotal issue.
  14. It is not the content of your life that matters. It is the context of your life that does. 
  15. When my daughter was twelve years of age, she came to me, a little troubled. I gave her just one guidance: "Never look up to anyone; never look down on anyone." If people practiced this simple sadhana, they would see everything just the way it is. If you look up to someone, you will exaggerate their positive qualities; if you look down on someone, you will exaggerate their negative qualities. But if you simply look--not for something, but just look--you will see things just as they are. Now your ability to navigate your way through life is greatly enhanced.
  16. Karma yoga is usually interpreted as doing one's duty. This again is utterly false. Now, this may sound outrageous, but let me say it: there should be no such thing as duty in this world. Duty is tyranny. The very idea was concocted by people with vested interests.
  17. You have love for something, you do it; if you have no love, it is better to simply desist from action. Doing something miserably or self-righteously is not a contribution to life.
  18. You will see after rigorous, immersive work that there is suddenly no intention left in you to do anything. Now the real spiritual process unfolds. Only if you have known intense action will you know the bliss of inaction. Once your energies get to a boiling point, it is very easy to transform them and make your life happen in the most harmonious way possible. That is the whole purpose of karma yoga.
  19. These are the only two things that you are suffering right now: your memory and your imagination. Nothing more.
  20. This moment is all there is. Accepting this is not a formula. It is not a theory. It means seeing reality just the way it is. It means aligning yourself with the way things are, not the way you think they should be.
  21. The very way in which you experience life--whether you see it as sweet or sour, beautiful or ugly, pleasant or unpleasant--is your responsibility, as your ability to respond is what determines the nature of your experience.
  22. The more you start seeing that you are responsible for your life, the closer you move toward your liberation. If you try to pass the buck to somebody, you will start moving toward your entanglement.
  23. Whatever you eat, drink, and breathe is energy. Whether you transform it into physical, mental, or life energy is up to you. Energy is neither created nor destroyed; it is only transformed.
  24. Many choose to live their lives at this superficial level. They opt for self-improvement rather than self-transformation, hoping that a life of tepid affability and general agreeability will take them to the ultimate. They forget that the social has nothing to do with the existential.
  25. Whether you smoke or drink or pray all day, your actions can still be compulsive. Whatever you do, if it is done with joy and gratitude and if it moves you toward freedom from cycles, it makes all the difference. If a certain prayerful attitude grows within you out of your joy and gratitude, that is beautiful. It is the context, not the content of your life, that determines karmic accumulation.
  26. The eights limbs of yoga (ashtanga yoga, as it is known) are structured in a particular way: the first three limbs (yama, niyama, and asana) are considered to be the fire aspect are purifactory; the last four (pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi) are considered to be the light aspect and are enlightening. The fourth limb--pranayama--is considered to be the intermediate transitory step, combining both fire and light.
  27. I want to invite you to that place of borderless ignorance--that the ancients have called enlightenment--and the only way to get there is to lose yourself. There is no other way.
  28. A teaching, after a certain period of time, becomes a block by itself. You will twist it to your convenience. People have done this to teachings all over the world. Initially, a teaching has an impact on you because it is new and you have no clue as to how it works. But over a period of time, you will start twisting it to your convenience. You will make the teaching support you. This is counterproductive, because the teaching is not meant to support you; it is meant to demolish you!
  29. The realignment of the chakras--or energy centers--in the human system can produce dramatic results. Energy interventions can completely rewire the system and alter the impact of genetic, evolutionary, and elemental memory. It is these dimensions of memory that unconsciously restrict us in many ways. To become free from their impact or to learn to disconnect from them when necessary is a very important aspect of yogic practice.
  30. The longing for liberation, or mukti, is not because life is miserable. When you are miserable, you long for heaven, not liberation. The longing for liberation arises only when life is good, but you naturally want to evolve to the next dimension. You do not want to go through the tedium of the same cycles time and again.
  31. If you function unconsciously, your karma rules you absolutely. As soon as you can function with some awareness, the power of karma over your life weakens. In life beyond the body, discretion does not exist, so karma rules absolutely. If you have pleasant karma within you, it gets magnified, and if you have unpleasant karma within you, it gets intensified. It is these internal conditions that are referred to as heaven and hell in many traditions.
  32. It is your responsibility to exercise the choice every moment of your life: either to follow your tendency or to make a conscious decision. If you live with this sense of responsibility, your tendencies will not rule you, and your future will not mimic the past.
  33. If your pursuit of external science and technology were accompanied by a pursuit of inner well-being, this would be less of an issue. But enhancing the physical without finding access to the nonphysical dimension is the fundamental problem.
  34. A mirror simply reflects everything. Nothing sticks to it; no residue is left upon it, and it never makes any judgment about what it reflects. It does not discriminate between pleasant and unpleasant, beautiful and ugly. When your mind becomes like this, you are in a state of samadhi. When all these distinctions drop away, the life energy no longer clings to the body. At this point, it starts dislodging itself from the physical.
  35. For the yogi, the ultimate aim is mahasamadhi, or ultimate dissolution of the limited identity. This means a voluntary relinquishment of the physical, mental, and energy bodies. There is nothing life-denying about this. It is instead about giving up the limited for the unlimited. You could think of it like this: Instead of sitting on the beach, you choose to become the ocean. You choose to move from limited pleasure to the unfathomable ecstasy of boundless existence.
  36. Existentially, no distinction exists between the life of one being and that of another. But physically and mentally, there is, of course, separateness. By linking the two on an energy level, you can create a certain life support system for yourself.
  37. The ultimate guidance you can offer is to help someone transcend their suffering. This is what the great sages and mystics down the ages have done. They remind the world that there is a way out of suffering. Even if there is pain, there need be no suffering. The ability to see this difference is the supreme human attainment.
  38. My only aim is to help you recognize the miracle of life that you are. Everything else is a distraction.
  39. Karma does not mean God is sitting up there punishing bad people and rewarding good ones. There is no such thing. But what kind of society we live in--is that not our collective karma? That we are living uninvolved in a society in which horrific things happen--is that not our karma? If all of us live without any humanity in our hearts for all the atrocities going on around us, that is our karma. We get the society we deserve.
  40. If there is collective will, we can bring many things to some sense of order. With concerted and participatory action, much can be changed. But if you attribute all this to divine will, things will go on endlessly in the same way.
  41. Now, suppose you were driving with a drunk friend. If he crashes his car, you might also be seriously injured. If you were to say "This is unfair--this is his karma, not mine," it would be absurd. Your karma is that you were with a drunken friend. This is the way existence works. If you are in tune with, it will not crush you. If you are not in tune with it, it will crush you. 
  42. Anything that is karmic dissolves only when the discerning mind is in function. If you just leave it unexamined, it hardens into a tendency. These tendencies are working upon you all the time.
  43. With children, the less you try to influence them, the more they are influenced by you. The more you try to try influence them, the less successful you will be.
  44. For those who have died without living out a full life cycle, the Allotted Karma, or prarabdha, has to wear itself out. The pranic body has to come to a certain state of passivity or inertness. This happens when there is no longer any active karmic substance. Now, the new allotment, or installment of prarabdha, will begin to manifest itself. As this happens, the energy body regains its vibrancy and will then take on another physical body.
  45. This is what every human being should aspire to: discrimination only on the level of action, not involvement. Action is necessarily limited. It involves a certain expenditure of energy, time, competence, and other factors. Discretion is necessary only on the level of action; otherwise you will waste yourself. But involvement is an internal state, and it needs to be all-inclusive. 
  46. There has been a great emphasis in the yogic tradition on cultivating the right attitude toward life because, depending on your attitude or quality, you attract that kind of thought, emotion, and experience toward yourself.
  47. The moment of death is particularly important in determining the kind of quality you have and the kind of karma you attract. So if you die in anger, in hatred, in misery or in pain, you attract another kind of karma.
  48. In the last forty seconds of a person's lifetime, many lifetimes of Accumulated Karma play out in fast-forward. In those crucial forty seconds, if a person manages to stay aware, they can drop lifetimes of karma. It does not matter what kind of life they have lived. If they are in a consecrated space, or if they have done some spiritual practice and manage to stay conscious, that intense phase will wipe them clean and they can dissolve their karma altogether. 
  49. Dying in joy or love is a wonderful way to die. Dying in what the yogic tradition calls the samadhi state is the ultimate way to die. This means that while you are living, you walk consciously into death.
  50. Tigers have no real choice other than to be a tiger. They go by their instincts. They have no choice as we know them: they cannot transform themselves into vegetarians or get married or become yogis! Their life is fixed, so there is not much karmic action. Certain personality differences still exist: there are angry tigers, docile tigers, lazy tigers. But there are no major differences. Human life, on the other hand, is not fixed. You have the choice and the ability to be any way you want in a given moment. That is the freedom and the curse. Most human beings are suffering their freedom.
  51. Every human being is in the process of becoming divine. Every human being is in the process of awakening to their own destiny. Whether this happens today, tomorrow, ten years or ten thousand years later, is always open to question. But once you see that life is moving toward its ultimate nature of its own accord, you also put your energies into it and go faster. That is, you turn consciously spiritual. Collaborating with Nature's plan is all you need to do.
  52. What about me? If you are able to completely eliminate this question, you have annihilated the enormous sense of self-significance that most human beings live with. Now you can dismantle the elaborate karmic chains in one swift single stroke. You emerge from the debris of your karma a liberated being.
  53. There is a difference between walking out of the body and committing suicide. Suicide means you want to escape a difficult situation. Walking out of something means your term is over and you are stepping out joyfully. If you escape from prison, you will be on the run the rest of your life. But if you are freed from prison because your term is up, you are a free man. That is the difference. And it is a big one. 
  54. In order to fly you need to be willing to drop all investments. You need to reach the point where you are no longer interested in saving yourself. You no longer want to take incremental steps toward your liberation. You realize that if you take incremental steps to infinity, you become endless installments and never get there. When you see your limited identity for what it really is--a hollow bundle of thoughts, likes, dislikes, and prejudices--you are ready to abandon it.

Notes, quotes, Karma, A Yogi's Guide to Crafting Your Destiny, Sadhguru