Someone very close to me is the definition of a beacon of light. They’re ridiculously positive, boldly empathetic, and one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. To anyone they meet, they seem like an inspiration for the power of positivity and using love to save the world.
However, they also have a dark side.
Not a hateful dark side, but a painful, sad, dark dark side.
You don’t really hear about the dark side on social media and you certainly don’t see it during face-to-face interactions, but it’s there. For as much happiness as you see on the outside…
I’ve always been fascinated by polymaths.
Da Vinci and Plato (especially because Plato was a wrestler like me) are prime examples, but I’m also interested in modern polymaths like Tim Ferriss. Ferriss is an entrepreneur, author, and podcaster, along with being a former kickboxing national champion and successful tango competitor.
I’m fascinated not by the achievements themselves, but the thought processes, habits, and mindsets that have helped create these polymaths. That’s where these books come in.
I read primarily to learn, and my favorite skill to learn about lately has been “how to get good at stuff.” It’s one thing…
When I was in the 8th grade, my record on the wrestling mat was 4 wins paired with 28 losses.
I lost about 85% of my matches that year, and I spent most of my car rides home from tournaments either crying or silently dreading the upcoming week of practice. I was literally a loser. I was overweight, out of shape, and stripping down to my little singlet to compete and get my ass kicked made me want to crawl out of my skin.
Yet now, when I look back at wrestling, I can’t help but be grateful for the…
When I started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2015, I was a child.
I was 17, kind of afraid of violence (but obsessed with fighting), and a terribly slow learner. Growing up with ADHD only further ingrained the thought in my mind that I was a stupid, slow learner who had to work twice as hard as anyone else to develop the same amount of skill.
In a sport where many athletes train for 4–6 hours per day (sometimes more) and literally live in gyms to focus on training, everyone is working hard. …
The rate of depression and anxiety in elite athletes could be as high as 45%. That number is several times higher than the rate of mental illness in traditional careers that have the most mental illness. Athletes are more likely to be depressed than overworked lawyers, bus drivers, or realtors.
Part of the problem could be the ridiculous expectations athletes put on themselves, and part of it could be the evils that come with pursuing competitive endeavors at the highest level.
I mean, I’m a former world champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. If anyone should be happy, it’s me, right?
When I was a budding high school senior, my parents, teachers, and even the great writer David Foster Wallace in that one YouTube video all told me that college was meant to “teach me how to think”.
In my naive, self-centered 17-year-old mind, this was insulting. Apparently, there was something wrong with the way I had been thinking. It didn't matter if I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had to go to college and get a degree because I had to “learn how to think”.
Now, I’m a year removed from college…
“This will be the last one, at least for now,” I told a close friend of mine, just days before I was supposed to fight in the Jiu-Jitsu world championships back in 2019.
“I want to quit this fucking sport,” is what I really thought, but I couldn’t show that much weakness before a competition.
Still, saying I was going to take a break was liberating.
After that conversation with my friend, I felt a sense of peace for the first time in the 5 years that I’d spent training and competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You’d have thought I was…
Passion is overrated.
Effort, on the other hand, is not overrated. Effort is undervalued. People throw effort around like it’s crumbs on the floor or pennies on the street.
In reality, your gas tank is very limited.
What we fail to understand is that humans have a very limited capacity for effort. Our biology literally wires us to be lazy, but we’re constantly told to hustle, work hard, and push our limits by our culture’s marketing machine. The result isn’t a healthy relationship with hard work, it’s a tendency to go “all-in” in every aspect of our lives.
Hard work has been getting a bad rap lately.
People are incredibly fed up with the idea that working hard will make them successful, happy, or fulfilled, and they’re starting to get pissed off about it.
Even just telling people to “work harder” is a great way to start fights regardless of whether you’re talking to strangers on the internet or family at a dinner party. The concept of “working harder” divides people into social categories based on how much they believe in the power that hard work to impact their success and happiness.
By doing this, we’re missing the…