The Work Never Stops

Last night I had a conversation with a friend, colleague, and mentor about the amount of work I cranked out last week.

“The other guys, they’re wondering how you do it. It’s almost like you’re a monster.”

Monster, beast, whatever you want to call it, the remark stunned me. I’ve heard it before, but I don’t really understand why working hard and being productive is a bad thing. If you really enjoy what you’re doing then the “work” isn’t something that’s really seen as work. Moving forward with goals to accomplish what you want in life isn’t something that should be seen as “work.”

In the last week, I’ve launched a 501(c)(3) with an immense amount of detailed paperwork. I’ve cranked out YouTube and podcast content. I’ve written for Fault Lines. I settled a case in mediation with a contingency that will take care of a good portion of my bills. I did all this work and managed to still spend time with my family, cook dinner on most nights, and get in quality time with those I love most.

I even “worked” two days with a sick kid. That’s a feat when you practice law or do any form of business. I’m lucky to be able to work from home most days, so it wasn’t too terrible of an issue, but it did crack down on the amount of work I was able to produce. My various forms of work usually require peak focus, so having to divide my attention between cranking out a brief and doling out the next portion of crackers demanded by a two year old can hamper the work that gets finished on a certain day.

But still I work. I do more in a given day than the average Joe ever will, because I have to keep moving. I have to continually move towards my goal of providing for my family in ways I have yet to achieve.

When I don’t work, I experience a certain feeling of dread or anxiety. I’m comfortable with relaxing, mind you. It’s something that has to happen so the body experiences balance. If there’s tasks that need completion, and my mind actively knows it, then I have to work. There’s no time for playing a round of “Gunman Taco Truck” on the iPhone if even something as simple as dirty dishes are in need of cleaning.

Everything during my day is usually planned out the night before. This is a habit I’ve developed since starting the Best Self notebook mentioned in a previous post. It doesn’t always happen, but the Best Self format encourages you to block out your work in 30 minute slots. Sometimes my work takes more than thirty minutes for a task.

When you block out your work and plan your day, you find you get more accomplished. You move closer towards your goals. You get insane amounts of productivity because your body and mind are actively training to work more than ever before. You keep moving forward.

Even when I’m not working, I’m usually thinking about the next move or the next line of work to pursue. This is a habit from my law school days, when one of the Trial Advocacy professors told me in an inebriated rant “While you sleep, other people are figuring out ways to make your money.” I took from that a notion of never stop thinking about the next way to pursue what you want, especially if it’s a business endeavor that will lead to your success.

Have I reached a plateau of success yet? Not in the traditional sense that most people would think. I’m no millionaire, I don’t drive a Maserati, and I don’t dine at Ruth’s Chris on a regular basis. But I do have a good job, I have friends and family I can count on when needed, and I put food on the table. I have a roof over my head.

I set out to reach goals daily. I work daily to reach those goals. More often than not I manage to hit most of them, but that’s because I plan the work, I execute the work, and then when I don’t accomplish a task on a given day I try to figure out where things went wrong and learn from the missteps.

People don’t want to work in America. This is a fact few are willing to mention. They want to collect a paycheck, sure, but they don’t want to find a meaningful way to fulfill their lives. Some are so desperate they go on the dole, sure, but by and large we are a hedonistic, wage slave society.

Most people would rather count on the security of a paycheck, slaving at something they really hate doing, because they at least know the money is coming somewhere. In the meantime they go to the nine to five, converse with co-workers they hate, put up with the boss telling them to come in on Saturday, and count on those two days at the “week end” when they can put their feet up and binge watch Netflix.

This sort of work produces nothing of value to the person or society. It brings you money, sure, but work that brings you money and fulfills you is far more satisfying. It makes you a success when you can get up each day, do that which you love, and get paid to do it. Most people will never reach this level of work, because catching up on the latest episodes of “Black Mirror” or “Game of Thrones” is more important than creating work that will lead to a successful life.

One of the goals I set for today was to sit down and write 1,000 words about something. I had no idea it would eventually be about work, and the process or views I see as my work.  Yet here I am, at almost eight in the morning, and I’ve already reached a goal.

What will you start doing today to actively work?

Spring Cleaning At The Compound

Today I’m working, and Mrs. S. lets me know something that apparently slipped my mind.  Today was the day we did our “spring cleaning” and changed what was my office into our son’s new bedroom.

So I came home early, and helped get the bookshelves re-arranged and the baby bed in its new location.  I went through the mountain of garbage the office had collected.  I jettisoned old bits of my life that I didn’t need anymore (like 1L BarBri CDs), and re-organized the stuff I did need (now my deck indexes are easy to locate).

It was also fun finding a few things I missed.  I’d been searching for a wallet I’d bought about a year ago to house the coins I use for coin tricks.  By going through all the stuff I had to throw away or keep, I managed to find it, and it’s going to work better than the cheap gimmick I referred to as “Little Murray Sparkles.”

It was good to re-organize and get the house in order again.  Now, if I want to put something away I can just walk into one room and get it.  When I come home I can put all my stuff in the bedroom and not worry about where it might or might not be.  Everything’s in a great place, and it’s all organized for easy location.

On top of that, the cleaning meant I got to go through our book collection and re-organize the library.  My wife did a great job, but when it comes to organizing books I managed that like a hoss.  All my magic texts are in one place now, and all our really nice volumes of classic literature on another shelf.  The photo albums I let her sort, because that’s her thing.

In the end, my son has his own room, I can walk into my bedroom and get anything I need with a moment’s notice, and no peace in the house gets disturbed.  It was worth taking some time off today to get a little spring cleaning accomplished.

But this gives me some pause. I threw a lot away today.  Stuff some people would normally save, or try to rationalize as something to sell at a “yard sale.”  Why did I just jettison it, turn it into a situation where I got rid of this stuff when others wouldn’t let it go?  Simple:  Because I can move past that which makes me uncomfortable.  Others cannot.  I can lose the past life stuff that most people want to hang on to.

Take some time and take stock of not only your physical possessions, but also that baggage you’re carrying emotionally right now.  Take some time and do your own “spring cleaning” that will make your life easier, less cluttered.  You just might find yourself better for it.

Book Review: POWA by James Brown

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James Brown is one of the most relaxed, confident people I’ve ever studied.  And let’s get this out of the way, I’m not talking about the deceased “hardest working man in showbusiness,” I’m talking about a Brit who does magic, hypnotism, pickpocketing, and more.  With his latest book, “Professional Opportunist Wrongless Approach”, Brown has managed to condense the most important parts of his courses into one easy to digest Ebook: how to manage your life in the most confident, relaxed manner possible.

The “Wrongless Approach” delves into the most common problem people face in life: fear.  Brown, as a performer, knows the subject better than 90% of the human race, especially given the singular traits with which he’s developed his POWA Academy courses.  I’ve bought both, and they’re steals for what you receive, but with the book POWA you get the best part of his entire courses for a reasonable price if you’re not interested in learning how to steal stuff from people for fun and entertainment or hypnotizing someone.

I see a lot of what Brown covers in his book as building from a time when he was a nurse, and then developing as he expanded his life skill set into other regions learning his calling as a “performer.” And we all are “performers” in some aspect of our lives.  James covers that mindset in his book.

But the biggest, most important aspect of the “Wrongless Approach” to life James covers is the subject of fear.  I will give this one aspect away of his book: 90% of what we fear is over things that haven’t happened yet in our lives.  If you stress and worry about things that haven’t happened yet, then you’re blocking yourself from living the conflict free life that is the Mediation is Dead approach.

When I ran that portion of the book by my wife, a veterinary surgeon, she completely bought into the Wrongless Approach method of living.

I don’t want to delve into more of the POWA method, because I really want you to buy this book to help live a conflict-free life.  Professional Opportunist Wrongless Approach is on the Mediation is Dead “Ten Books to Read For A Conflict Free Life” for a reason, and I know that when you buy James’s book you’ll get addicted to the rest of the POWA lifestyle.  You’ll even consider buying one or more of his courses at the POWA Academy like “Secrets of Pickpocketing” or “Reality Bending” (my personal favorite).

So buy James’s book here.  It’s more than worth your money.

What Weight Are You Carrying?

Today let’s talk about the notion of weight.  I’m not just talking about in the physical health sense, I want to discuss this in the form of mental wellness too.

Whenever I drive my wife’s car and place my briefcase and file folder on the passenger seat, I have to almost immediately put everything inside the passenger seat floorboard.  I do this because if I don’t, then the “fasten seatbelt” alarm will start to go off.

That’s how much weight I carry with me on a given basis: I have enough in my briefcase and in my file folder to set off an alarm in my wife’s car that says a person is sitting there absent a seatbelt.

How much weight are you carrying with you each day, when you go to work and come home?  There are some attorneys I know who work in child support court that stopped carrying heavy briefcases; they just roll carts of files into their respective courtrooms.  That’s especially true when it comes to trials.

Now let’s talk about physical weight.  Most people in the legal profession, or in society at large, are carrying too much weight on their physical frames at any given time.  This is largely due to dietary issues, but it could be any number of problems.  It’s bad for them.  When you weigh too much, and there’s no support structure there for that weight, you’re literally crushing your organs and sacrificing your health for no good reason other than you don’t want to change.

People don’t want to go through the work of losing weight, though, and that’s why we encounter terms like “fat-shaming” or “body-shaming.”  They’d rather live life completely unhealthy, cramming food down their throats they know is bad for them but is “comforting.”  They don’t want to eat vegetables, and they’d rather drink beer and eat hot wings.

That justification leads to another kind of mental weight people don’t want to carry.  They know in their heart of hearts what they’re doing is bad for or damaging to them; they just would prefer to live a life of comfort instead of doing the work necessary to drop the weight.  The mental “incongruency” they encounter is so damaging to them that it leads to a self-destructive cycle.

Which leads me to talk about the last kind of weight people carry.  It’s normally called “baggage.”  I’m going to term it “spiritual weight.”

When you go through life, you encounter situations that may stick with you.  It may be a failed marriage or a bad business deal.  Maybe it’s an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend from high school you can’t shake.  Or a person you thought was a mentor that betrayed you.  Regardless, if you carry with you the negative emotions and feelings that experience gave you it will affect the rest of your life.  It’s now “baggage” you’ll be carrying with you through every experience until you drop it.

When looking at “spiritual weight” or “emotional baggage,” visualize yourself at an airport with all that baggage you want to take on your next journey.  These days, if your baggage weighs too much, you pay a monetary penalty.  You also have certain size and shape restrictions on the personal items and carry-ons you take with you on a plane.  If you don’t fit those specific issues, then you pay a penalty.  You may not even be able to go on your journey unless you drop that baggage!

Until the next time, I challenge you to think strongly about what “weight” you’re carrying you don’t need.  Is it work-related?  Physical fat?  Or something deeper inside of you preventing your conflict-free life?

Drop the weight.  Live better.

The latest Collaborative Compound Podcast is on Weight, which you can find here.