Getting Started


Photo by Witch Kiki on Unsplash

Getting Started

I receive absolutely no compensation for any resources shared here, I am merely passing them on because I have found them useful in my own life.

Your life is built, or ruined, a day at a time. It is those activities you do day in and day out that make the difference years down the road.

There are some things which I believe would benefit virtually everyone, or at least have the potential for doing so.

By no means is this a comprehensive list but none the less, if you were to implement all or a few of these, I think you would notice a positive difference in your life.

Meditation

The potential is bottomless and thus the benefits are countless. There is perhaps no greater tool if you wish to gain greater composure, compassion, contentment, and understanding of yourself and others. Here are some resources to get started:


Reading Non-Fiction

Humans have basically distilled the optimal ways of life into books, many of which are classics. The techniques, tools, and principles that foster the growth and becoming of your potential can be found here. If you have a problem, it’s almost guaranteed that someone has written a book on how to solve it. If you don’t know what to do with your time, pick up a book or listen to one. Here are a few I recommend:

  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  • The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Mastery by George Leonard
  • Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl


Podcasts

Listening to long-form conversations brings a whole different level of authenticity and depth compared to other forms of media. Here are a few I enjoy:

  • Actualized.org with Leo Gura
  • The Jordan B Peterson Podcast with Jordan B Peterson
  • The Rich Roll Podcast with Rich Roll
  • Tangentially Speaking with Dr. Chris Ryan
  • The Robcast with Rob Bell


Solitude in Nature

Solitude is the fountain from which many, if not all, insights arise. By being in nature, we connect with that original source and gain a greater appreciation; a sense of mystery.

Cardiovascular Movement

We all know that exercise is good for the heart and overall health.

  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Sports


Stretching

The body does not remain limber on its own accord. A few stretches daily go a long way to creating a greater sense of stability and flexibility in your body. These are a few that I do everyday:

  • Cat & Cow Stretch
  • Back Extension
  • Butterfly Stretch
  • Child’s Pose
  • Back Bridge
  • Seated Spinal Twists


Weight Training

The goal is not necessarily to be a bodybuilder but increased, functional muscle mass is important for longevity and overall health.

  • Pull-ups
  • Pushups/Bench Press
  • Pike Press/Shoulder Press
  • Rows
  • Squats/Deadlifts
  • Curls/Overhead Press


Tea

Coffee is fine once in a while but tea offers a plethora of benefits in comparison. There is a reason why healthy, long-living populations drink a ton of the stuff. There are too many to name so try and find some you like. Avoid ones with sugar if you can.

  • Green Tea
  • Bengal Spice Tea
  • Chamomile Tea


Whole Food Based Diet

I believe that we should consider where our food comes from, how it affects other beings and people, how it affects the planet, and how it affects our own health. Also, don’t think of food in terms of a diet, but instead in terms of a long term life style. Chow down and add more whole plant foods to crowd out the processed junk.


Meaningful Music

I can’t comprehend a life without music. I am a fan of all kinds, but certain genres have a profound self-reflective aspect to them. Here are a few artists I enjoy:

  • Olafur Arnalds
  • Nils Frahm
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto
  • Fabrizio Paterlini
  • Bach
  • Mozart
  • Beethoven
  • Otto A Totland


Journaling/Writing

You do not know what you think until you have seen in front of you; until you have organized it and built it up from the scrambled mess in your mind. Not everyone needs to be a writer, but we would all be better off if we had the skills to sort out our thoughts in a coherent, honest way.

  • Write down whatever comes to mind and ask ‘why?’


A Creative Endeavor

A unique feeling comes with the embodiment of creativity. In a most surreal sense, everything we do is a creative act, the question is whether it is something you want and love to do or not.

  • Painting/Drawing
  • Speaking/Writing
  • Instrument/Singing


Studying Psychology (& Philosophy)

Mastering life is primarily about mastering your psychology. Put simply, if you can understand and control your mindset, you can accomplish anything you put yourself to. Here are a few topics to understand despite the fact that they may not be entirely “correct”:

  • Spiral Dynamics
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  • Self Deception and Cognitive Bias
  • Evolutionary Psychology & Tribalism
  • Humanistic Psychology
  • Addiction
  • Stoic Philosophy
  • Buddhist Philosophy


Something that Scares You

All growth lies outside our comfort zone. I know it’s difficult, but if you can see yourself as the person you could become instead of the person that you are, perhaps you will find the strength in the realization that the other option of stagnancy is far worse in the long run.


Solo Travel

Traveling alone is one of those things that really pushes you outside of yourself and shows you have much you have yet to learn. Whether it’s a road trip or a flight to a different continent, you will grow more from a thorough and honest experience in a new and unknown place than you would in the next ten years if you stayed where you are.


Service

Are we here to help others? I don’t know. But it sure feels good and if everyone was to take a role in their community, we would solve societal issues at their source: individuals and communities instead of countries and cultures. Here are a few ideas for volunteer work:

  • Community Garden
  • Hospice Center
  • Homeless Shelter
  • Animal Shelter
  • Meditation Center


Identify Your Top Values & Strengths

You must know what you truly value in life if you are to make fulfilling decisions long term; anything else is out of alignment with you and your potential.

  • Stay tuned. I’ll be releasing a short free course on finding your values soon.
  • VIA Strengths Test


Discover Your Life’s Calling

If you have yet to understand how you exactly want to impact the world with your life than this should be your main priority. One of the primary components of a fulfilling life is contributing to a mission that is greater than yourself. Find your life purpose and find it as soon as possible… Here is a course that has helped me tremendously:

  • Actualized.org Ultimate Life Purpose Course


Declutter and Clean Up Your Room

This is about aligning your actions and your belongings with your values. It’s about clearing up what you own so that you may gain greater autonomy, happiness, and peace of mind.

  • Start with cleaning at least one room or closet in your house.
  • Packing Party
  • Give at least one thing you own to someone everyday.


Vipassana Courses

Vipassana Courses are service based retreats that teach you the fundamental techniques of Buddhist-style meditation. These are great opportunities for anyone since they are run off donation and student service. In short, there are 9 days of silence with approximately 10 hours of meditation per day. On the tenth day, you get to converse with your fellow students before leaving on day eleven. I can’t recommend these enough.


Self Reflection and Questioning

Visualizing and planning your future along with recognizing where you have been and currently are is foundational if you are to form a profound life. Turning inward is the perennial wisdom and questioning your motives, beliefs, actions, and assumptions is at its core. Here are a few resources to get started:

  • Jordan B Peterson’s Self Authoring
  • Nathaniel Branden’s Sentence Completion Exercises


Go Beyond the Episodes + Free PDF

Sign up for the Meme and Meaning Newsletter and in addition to updates and resources, receive a FREE PDF copy of Steven's Top 22 Exercises for Self-Reflection.