I got the opportunity to spend the last week in Hawaii. Specially, I stayed on the island of Oahu with a good friend who is out there filming a documentary. After having tons of fun, and lots of new experiences I thought it would be cool to share some thoughts that were inspired by my little get-away. So here are 8 random Hawaiian epiphanies and some photos to go along.
1. Happiness is a choice
After spending quite a bit of time at the beach I fully realized that happiness is ultimately a choice. Obviously I already knew this, and have even written a bit about it here, but it got reiterated while contemplating things in the peaceful ocean side environment. Happiness is a habit that comes from choosing to be it in moments of personal decision. Miserable people find a way to be miserable, no matter where they are, or what they’re doing. They could be in the middle of paradise, with everything perfectly in order and could still have a discontent cloud accompanied with a funk of unhappiness. I’m sure we all can think of someone who fits this bill. There seems to be a lot of them in our modern, spoiled society. These people are always seeing the brown in life, never content, never fulfilled, and I never want to be one of them.
Conversely, I’m sure we all know someone who could be in the midst of what others would perceive as a personal hell and still have an internal sense of gratitude and happiness (this guy is a great example of this). People who can spot the beauty in virtually all scenarios and situations. This is the person I want to emulate and become and it starts with moments of decision. Ask yourself “what in my life can I be grateful and happy about if I wanted to be grateful and happy.” When you’re honest with yourself, you’ll find a multitude of answers.
Happiness is a habit. It starts with a choice in a moment of decision and when developed turns into a habit of emotion. I challenge myself and anyone reading this to develop the happiness habit.
2. Deadlifts are the best back exercise
***Yes this is me marking my territory at a peak of a Hawaiian mountain….shows off the back perfectly though.
I’ve been focusing on deadlifts as the foundation for my back-day weight lifting routine. I’m not talking about pussy-footing around either. I’m talking about packing on the weight and pulling as intensely as possible. Before I left for Hawaii I had gotten up to pulling around 450 lbs 6 times on my best set. After getting a few pictures I can tell that these hellish workouts of pain and glory are paying off. The deadlifts are brutal. They can leave you wilted and broken physically and mentally after completing just 4 intense sets. They are worth it though, and I believe they should be one of the core lifts for anyone and everyone trying to improve their body (yes ladies too).
3. Genetic variance is vast, only compete with yourself
It was interesting seeing the wide genetic variance within some of the local Hawaiians. Some of them are literally giants of people without having ever set foot into a weight room. We’re talking about human beings that are 6’6 weighing over 300 lbs, while being strong as an ox. It’s incredible to me the wide variance of genetics that the human populous contains.
What’s the point? The takeaway is simple: compete with yourself and don’t look around at others because we all have different genetic tendencies and ceilings. I’m not the biggest, I’m not the most naturally ripped, I will never jump like Lebron James, my genetics aren’t elite, and I don’t care. I’m not competing with anyone but myself and you better believe I am going to do everything in my power to optimize my body and my genetic potential anyways (see this post and this one for more on this from me and check out this awesome article by Lyle Mcdonald). Sure it’s probably useful to look at others who are succeeding as a motivating force, but in the end, improving your body is about YOU. Don’t get down. You have your genes, and they have theirs. Put in the work, and effort to optimize you genetics and let the ‘chips fall where they may.’ Have fun with it! The reward is inherent within the challenge. If it wasn’t hard, if there was no struggle, it wouldn’t bring fulfillment. Keep this in mind, and ONLY compete with yourself.
4. Good friends and synergistic relationships are what matter most
As I’ve stated many times, I believe life can be ‘chunked’ into 6 categories:
If you’re neglecting any one of them, you’re missing the point and creating imbalance. However, what I’ve noticed is that friendships/relationships is the category that ends up mattering the most. We humans are programmed to be social and tribal. This is where the joy comes from. Find friends that support you and want to help you succeed and share in the joy that is life. There’s really nothing better. This creates synergy. Synergy is when 1+1 doesn’t just equal 2, but a number greater. With good friends and synergistic relationships you create more fun, more joy, more insights, more humor, more everything than you ever would on your own.
5. Waking up early can be a good thing (occasionally)
I’m the first to admit that I’m not a morning person. However, getting up at 4:00 am to take pictures of this sunrise was totally worth it. I’ll have these pictures and memories for the rest of my life and there was a strange sense of peace and personal clarity that came from this experience. I will likely be scheduling some more butt-crack-of-dawn moments in the future. It’s great reflection and meditation time. It’s in these moments that you literally create yourself and therefore your life. The visible parts of your life starts with the invisible. If you’re not taking time for reflection and mediation you are missing out….big time. If you haven’t already download my favorite TINY book “As a Man Thinketh” which articulates this truth flawlessly and elegantly.
6. Photography is one of the best hobbies to get into
Photography is something that I’ve recently picked up as a hobby and I must say it has been one of the best decisions of my life. It’s a hobby that is super challenging and allows for constant learning and improvement. Even more importantly though is this: you are capturing your life and the experiences you’re blessed to have. Memories will fade. Photos will remain. What an amazing technology. I’m sure glad some smart people have figured out how to create a devise that allows me to gain a higher quality of life by adjusting some settings and clicking a button. We are blessed. Take advantage.
In addition to that, I’ve found that photography as a hobby has a way of forcing you to look for beauty. After all you don’t want to take crap pictures right!? “Seek and ye shall find.” When you’re seeking out beauty, even if it’s for a photo, you will likely find it. The bottom line is it forces you to become more conscious of all the beauty that surrounds. You can’t help but become just a bit more happy because of this. Not a bad deal if you ask me.
7. The purpose of life is to experience
In the end, I believe it’s experiences that matter most. When you and I pass on, what we will take is the experiences we’ve had that have allowed us to grow. After much questioning, I’ve come to the conclusion that the purpose of life is simply to experience. After I realized this, it started to become my new ‘target.’ I found myself wanting to do more, be more, experience more. For me, with this clarity has come a sense of power and joy that has allowed for a fuller and richer depth of life.
8. Be a kid
Kids posses a youthful energy that so often fades as we get older. If you don’t consciously decide to keep it and maintain it, it likely will go away. Kids have fun and find things, events, and scenarios fun and interesting. Kids laugh. Kids let loose. Kids play and are happy. “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys ‘R Us kid” comes to mind (good marketing you did there Toys ‘R Us) haha. I never want to lose that youthful fun energy and I hope that you don’t either. The world needs people who are truly alive. Kids are truly alive. Allow yourself to stop taking things too seriously and just be a kid again. I always remind myself and others “have fun with it.” Whatever ‘it’ is. Better performance comes from having a background hue of fun anyhow. Take right action, and have fun.
Created by Jace LeRoy