Not getting anywhere in life? Learn why discipline equals freedom

In my previous post I brought up the idea that discipline equals freedom.  If you didn’t read the previous post, you can do so by clicking here.  Throughout today I realized the different areas in life where this is true. Let’s look a little further into it.

Dietary Discipline Equals Freedom

I have a friend that posts photos of entire plates of junk food that he consumes. I’m talking about plates full of marshmallow peeps, meringue cookies, burgers, fries and much more. What’s interesting though, is that he is also very lean. If you think along the lines of a normal diet, it makes no sense for him to look like this.

Discipline equals freedom - If it fits your macros
Peeps anyone?

You have to look at a diet from a different lens. 

What he does is follow the “If It Fits Your Macros” or “IIFYM” method. Basically you track your daily macronutrient intake and run it through a calculator. Of course this takes additional inputs such as heigh weight, activity level and current lean mass as well. Food wise, you can eat whatever you want, as long as you do not exceed any of your macro nutrient thresholds each day.

Trust me, it’s a challenge to track all of your macro nutrients. Most people struggle just trying to keep track of their daily caloric intake or glasses of water consumed. It takes discipline to stick with this plan. Yet at the end of the day it offers flexibility (freedom) allowing you to consume what you’ve been craving all day. Well, as long as it fits your macros.

Creating passive income – Discipline equals financial freedom

When I made my first course on Udemy I invested about 40 hours over the course of the month. I had to squeeze the course creation between working 9 hours a day, being a husband, being a father and working on network maintenances at night. I was absolutely exhausted and wanted nothing to do with creating a course.

But I stuck with it.

Now my course literally sells in my sleep. Most of the students that are buying are located in Europe or Australia. While the income from this course isn’t enough to live off of, it does provide some extra income each month. An income that keeps appearing wether or not I invest any time into it. Anyone that creates a stream of passive income with tell you that it requires discipline to set it in motion. You will work for hours with no guaranteed return, but it’s the moments when “you win” that make it all worth it. 

Discipline equals career freedom

screen-shot-2016-10-17-at-8-59-27-pmComing from the world of IT, there are many certifications that people hold. Some certifications require hundreds if not thousands of hours worth of studying to obtain. One in particular is called the CCIE. Some people will refer to this as “The Doctorate of Networking”.

Everyone I’ve know that has obtained the CCIE had to hide in a cave for 6-12 months to study. At the end of the process they come out with beards (even the ladies!), glasses and if they did it right; a certification that relatively few people have.

Assuming the individual has practical experience as well, they now have the freedom to pick and choose where they want to work. Cisco value added resellers (VARs) are always searching for CCIEs. Large enterprises and network carriers place a lot of value on CCIE holders as well. For most people in IT, it’s worth surrendering a year or your life to obtain this.

 Discipline can lead to a ripped physique, passive income, and the ability to “write your own paycheck”.

How has discipline helped you to achieve freedom?

Write your responses in the comments below.

5 steps to successfully meeting new people


Remember learning the buddy system in grade school? You took your first field trip and the teachers reinforce that you never go off alone. Even when children choose to not listen to figures of authority, they tend to follow this rule.

It’s in our DNA to surround ourselves with others. Since the beginning or our time, we have traveled in groups, or small tribes. It helps with safety, survival and general comfort to not be alone. Of course this behavior translates into networking events, shopping excursions,  bars, clubs and other social venues. The “tribal” mentality is still in full effect.People often wish to approach a group, but may experience fear due to a negative past experience. Maybe you were excluded from a conversation, completely ignored of your existence or had a drink thrown in your face. Regardless of the reason, there is a good chance that you approached at the wrong time, or didn’t follow protocols practiced by this specific tribe. Here’s how you change that.

Step 1 : Observation

If you see a group of people, always make a quick observation before approaching. Review the posture and facial expressions of those in the group. Anyone can tell the signs of a serious conversation by facial expressions. If that is the case, do not approach as you will quickly be rejected. Only make an approach when you see that people are smiling, and in a relaxed state.

Often someone in the group may initiate eye contact and a quick smile to you. This can be considered a “welcome tell”. In other words, proceed to the group.

Step 2 : Self Preparation / Frame of Mind

If you do not make the approach with the correct frame of mind, the “tribe” may reject you. To determine the frame of mind required, review your mental notes about the group demeanor. You will want to match them in facial expressions, energy level and vocal volume. These little details are important.

Think about it. Have you ever been having fun with friends when a stranger approaches that doesn’t match your frame of mind? It throws everyone off for a moment and then… awkward silence.

Again, review your mental notes, modify your frame of mind and get ready.

Step 3 : Approach

This is where anxiety begins to kick in. Your hands might begin to sweat, you start to feel hot under your collar as you begin your walk. With each step the fear of rejection from the tribe increases.

You are almost there. Now what? Who do you approach first? What do you say? This will vary based on the tribe. If you lucked out and observed another person make an approach did you learn anything from it? For example, what was the posture and footing of the stranger as they spoke to the group? Was there a visible change in their demeanor, did they appear to be rejected? Did they focus only on a single person (BAD!)?

Assume that you have picked out who the “alpha” is in this tribe. It’s often risky, but worth while to approach them first. When approaching an “alpha” you can take the approach of being equal to them (posture, speech methods etc) or take a subservient role (show some nerves, and offer assistance on something).

In a business setting, you may have an upper hand by knowing who these people are (Linkedin, company “About” page, etc). Humans are often motivated by greed, vanity, honesty, dishonesty, and compassion. Use these factors when reviewing the background of a person of interest. Yeah, it sounds shady..but.. these methods are effective.

For example, you have found out that the HR Director runs a YouTube channel dedicated to fly fishing. As you approach you could say “Excuse me, but are you “John Doe”? I am an avid fly fisher and I swear I saw you in a fly fishing video”. As you have just engaged a passion of the individual you have a higher probability of being brought further into the group. The HR Director might not be the end goal, but you’ve bypassed a lot of guards with this approach.

In a standard social setting, you can appeal to an individual by complimenting or commenting on something. For example : someone is wearing a sports jersey, and you know a lot about the team. You could approach and say “I see the jersey, I’m a huge fan of too! What’s your opinion on < current team drama>?” After they make a statement, formally introduce yourself.

Step 4 : Make an Impact

Basically, you have to learn to be charming and charismatic. This is not a birth trait, but something that can be learned with time and practice. If you lack these skills, you can compensate in other ways. Just be careful.  I have a friend that becomes very aggressive sounding when he is trying to be funny in an uncomfortable situation. This has lead to a few people wanting to put a boot up his backside. Don’t make this mistake.

It’s imperative that you do not focus on only one individual in the group. You must engage in conversation with everyone to some degree. If you do not, you are pulling some attention from away from others.

It’s possible that one member of this tribe is extremely jealous that attention was taken from them. If this individual is not entertained, they will do everything in their power to expel you from the group.

As an example, imagine that two men are having a conversation at a sports bar when they see an attractive female approaching them. The female starts talking to one of the males, and this continues for about five minutes. If the other male feels neglected, he may start to get loud, rowdy, or rude in an attempt to push the female away.

Not everyone need an equal amount of attention, but remember to engage everyone to some degree.

Step 5 : Don’t overstay your welcome.

This is where you need to use your judgement, and review the non verbal communication of those around you. A few key indicators are, reduction in eye contact, feet that have shifted (or pointing in a direction that they want to go) and any sort of blocking methods (arms crossed or brief touching of eyebrows to block eye contact). Of course if the conversation has stopped, and everyone is starting to look AWAY from you, thank everyone for their time, smile, and walk away with confidence.

These are just a few tips for engaging a group at a networking event, or other social settings.

7 tips to make your relationship rock.

Relationships are not easy. Anyone that has been in a longterm relationship can vouch for that. Over time you will experience many joys and sorrows. It’s part of human nature and the way that we relate to one and another.

Many people like to state that “they married their best friend”. If I said that it would be absolute lie. When I met my wife she wasn’t my best friend. When I proposed… nope, still not my best friend. This year marks 10 years of marriage and 11 years of being together. I’m proud to say that I am still not married to my best friend.

I’m married to an amazing yet somewhat crazy partner that I have decided to share my life with. This is far beyond friendship in my book.

Over the course of these 11 years we have laughed, we have cried, and we have wanted to kick each other where the sun doesn’t shine. We have created life, and we have seen life end. From the many experiences we have learned a lot.

Learning is one of the most important elements of a relationship. When we stop learning we fail to grow. Learning pushes our boundaries and allows us to discover new paths that we may take in life. While I am not $100k in debt due to a graduate program in the psychology of relationships, I do fancy myself an expert in many ways. I’d like to share seven lessons that I’ve learned over the years as I know that they will be beneficial to you.


Figure out your Love Languages

In 1995 Gary Chapman wrote a book titled “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate”. Since then there have been a gazillion articles, online quizzes and other authors that have piggybacked off of this books success. To summarize,  people have a primary and secondary love language. These primary and secondary languages reside in the realms of “quality time”, “gifts”, “words of affirmation”, “acts of service” and “physical touch”.

Chapman states that people generally give love in the way they expect to receive it. He also states that the love languages of people do not change over time. They do however,  develop and need to be nurtured in different ways.

About two years ago my wife and I discovered what our love languages are. Since then we have developed many of our daily interactions around these concepts. It wasn’t difficult at all to incorporate these into our daily lives. Everything just happened naturally.

I suggest that you and your partner  take 15 minutes to take this test( I also advise that you do this away from each other. You don’t need the other party influencing your answers.

Guys  – I know what you are thinking.  I was hesitant to take this “girly” test as well. Just trust me on this one.  When you understand how to show your partner love you it makes a world of difference.

Don’t Stop Dating

This is of utmost importance. Especially when you have careers and children (or needy pets)  that consume the majority of your time. We often become so enthralled in everything other than our partner.

There was a time where I felt like my marriage was nothing more than a business arrangement. My duty was to to work, provided shelter and food. Her job was to manage things at home. It was cut and dry just like that.

During this time, life sucked.

Then one day we started to date and rediscover each other. The rediscovery process is so important. Why is that? Oh just because You will realize that the person you are with is no longer the person you married.  Think about it. Are you the same person that you were ten years ago? I highly doubt it. Everyone changes over time. Get over it. 

Over this time you may have discovered a new taste in music or maybe started to eat crazy ethnic food. When I met my wife I wouldn’t allow wet food and dry food to even touch. Don’t even get me started about soup. I was mortified by it. Maybe you dislike your career and want to go in a completely different direction. No matter how small the changes, they add up to form a new and hopefully better version of you. When you realize the changes you have made, you will have exciting things to discuss with your partner over date nights.

Sex should be fun

Uh oh, taboo subject time. How dare I discuss something that is a major aspect of every relationship.  

To be honest, our sex life was never boring. It’s always been good. On the other hand we have had a number of friends over the years that complain about their sex life. Sometimes one partner isn’t getting enough. Other times a partner is afraid to mention sexual fantasies. As someone who used to be guilty of this I understand some reasons why. Often we fear what our partners will think and worry that the idea will be rejected. We think that we will be shamed for such a thought. In an unhealthy relationship that will happen, I can guarantee it. In a healthy, or mostly healthy relationship talking about sex can greatly improve what you already have.

Here’s some advice for you men out there. Ready? Get over yourself. When I finally started to talk about sex with my wife, our sex life went from good to amazing. It went from once per week to nearly every night. We also discovered concepts like Tantric Sex, the intimacy of massage and many other things that are none of your damned business.

Just remember talk to your partner about sex. You might be amazed at what sexy thoughts they have in their own mind.

Challenge Each Other

While the world consists of over 7.6 billion people you are a unique creature. You aren’t designed to simply exist and survive. We are meant to thrive. To thrive we must challenge each other due to our competitive nature.

The challenges that you put each other through can be simple or overly complex. You could challenge each other on who can clean a bathroom the quickest, and the loser makes dinner (after they wash their hands of course!). Or you can challenge each other to excel in something new. You can challenge your partner to finish college, or complete a certification that will give them an advance in their career path. Or even challenging them to workout twice per week.

You don’t need to pull any “Keeping up with the Jones” business to challenge your partner. It’s not all about material things. It’s not about who makes the most money. Hell, it’s not about the result but the journey there.

Allow each other to be Human.

I didn’t want to lump this into the “sex” section because it relates to so much more beyond that. By “allowing each other to be human” I mean don’t sweat it when you catch your partner checking someone out. Don’t give me that crap that “I only have eyes for him/her”. I call bullshit. Humans are an advanced life form, yet we have primal instincts. One of these is to look at objects that catch our eye. 

Imagine your partner watching the sunset from a beach. If they stated “This is beautiful” you probably wouldn’t have any bout of jealousy. Yet the moment most people “catch” their partner checking out another human, it’s the end of the fucking world.

My wife has caught me eye balling someone before. Guess what she said? Come on, take a guess! She said “Wow, she’s hot!”. I agreed then we went on with our day. That was it. I didn’t instantly fall head over heals for  this other person. I didn’t lust for them. Nope, I found them aesthetically pleasing to look at. 

Yes I have caught her checking out other guys before. Did I call her out on it? Absolutely!  I’ve said phrases along the lines of “Woah that dude is ripped. What do you think his diet consists of?”.  Again we went on with our lives. If you catch your partner eyeballing someone, don’t get pissed. Make fun of them because you caught them doing it, then forget about it. 

Bad times will soon pass.

During the bad times, it’s important to stick next to each other and put your heads together. It’s critical to support each other during the lowest of lows. It could be a time of financial turmoil, death of a loved one or another life changing event. I’ve been through all of them and i know they will occur again.  It’s not a matter of if, but when.

No matter how wealthy you may be, or which deity you pray to bad things will happen. Just remember to support each other.

You need alone time

There’s a reason why this one is last on the list. Of anything I could say it all pales in comparison to this. To have a successful relationship you need time to think. You need time to breath. You need to time to simply exist as you.

We all have busy schedules but do they really matter? You give so much of your time to your work, your commute and your family. What happens when you fail to show up? What happens when you cannot be at your peak performance?

 Everything suffers.

You need alone time. It doesn’t matter if your alone time is hitting the gym at 4:30am while the world is sleeping, or a midnight drive through a twisty canyon. I can’t tell you what you need, only you know where your happy place is.

I strive to provide alone time for my wife as well. There are times where I kick her out and “force her” to go to the salon. She is hesitant to go and worries about the cost, yet thanks me when she returns.

You know your partner better than I ever will. Watch for signs of stress, such as leaking eyes, drinking wine in a dark closet or rapidly shedding hair. When you see these signs, be sure to give them the opportunity to escape the house and be alone. Even fifteen minutes can make a world of difference when someone is overwhelmed.

…and there you are

A basic outline of how to not suck at having a relationship.