The most defining moments of your life will be dictated by one thing…
Your ability to stay grounded in the midst of chaos.
When your life is spiraling out of control…when nothing is working and it feels like the universe is conspiring against you, it’s easy to fall into a dark pit. To be controlled by the fleeting emotions you’re experiencing in the present moment and make irrational decisions that can negatively affect your life.
In my own life, the times when I was not grounded…when I made a decision based on my sudden emotions and not my values…when I allowed something that happened to me, or what someone else did or said to control my reaction.
I often made the wrong decision which I later regretted.
Through all of the challenges and trials I’ve experienced, I’ve discovered that the answer to every challenge in life is to “Stay Grounded”.
And today, I’m going to teach you exactly what this means and, more importantly, how you can become a more grounded person and reclaim control of your life.
What Does It Mean to Be Grounded?
Before we can discuss the practical steps and mindsets you must adopt to become a grounded man, we must begin with:
“What does being grounded mean in the first place?”
The definition of being and feeling grounded is, first and foremost, about control. Not control over others or external circumstances but control of yourself, your emotions, and the stories you choose to believe about your life.
To “stay grounded” means that you have the ability to stay calm and connect to the core of who you are in the face of uncertainty. It means that you aren’t controlled by the chaos externally but rather your values, purpose and the vision you have predetermined for your life.
Here’s a few examples of being grounded…
When your romantic partner comes home from work and immediately snaps and starts a fight, staying grounded would mean that you remain calm and look at the heart of what is really going on beyond the surface layer actions. Instead of name-calling, losing your temper, or breaking dishes, you calmly step outside to clear your head, breathe and return to discuss whatever the problem with respect, concern and empathy while maintaining strong boundaries for yourself.
The opposite of grounded would be to fight fire with fire and engage in the conflict. To scream louder than her like a competition, call her a “bitch”, and allow her to control your state by giving in to the rage and frustration. Saying things that you don’t mean and exacerbating the situation, leading to further complication and unnecessary hardship.
When you launch a new product for your business and it fails spectacularly, generating a tenth of the revenue you had anticipated, being grounded would mean that you accept the failure in stride, looking for the root cause of your failure, finding the lessons then shifting your strategy, and persevering until you succeed.
The opposite of being grounded would be to view this one failure as the end of the world, to shut down the business, or buy into the lie that you’re “not cut out” for entrepreneurship, and decide to return to a soul-sucking office job for the next 40 years.
When you unexpectedly lose a loved one, being grounded means that you embrace the process of grief, honor the memory of the person you loved, and continue caring for yourself as you attempt to deal with the loss in a healthy way.
The opposite of being grounded would be to use your loss as an excuse to devolve into self-sabotaging habits. To turn to drugs, alcohol, and other distractions, burning your life to the ground because you cannot handle the pain of the loss.
At the end of the day, being grounded means that you are influenced, but not controlled by the chaos of externalities in your life. It doesn’t mean that you are emotionless and aren’t affected by loss or failure.
Simply that you maintain an unwavering commitment to your values, purpose and vision and use them as a guide to grow from the chaos of life instead of running from it.
Why Being Grounded is Essential to Success, Happiness, and Fulfillment
I am not exaggerating when I claim that making the decision to be grounded–and make no mistake, it is a decision–is the most important thing a man can do.
By staying grounded, you will minimize regret later in life.
You will make decisions based on what is true in your heart, not fleeting external circumstances, social conditioning or the opinions of others.
Learning how to stay grounded is hard. And when in the midst of chaos it is harder than ever. But at the end of the day, being grounded is the key attribute that will allow you to live the life you want and become the man you want to be.
By being grounded, you will earn the respect of others, you will be seen as a leader amongst men, and desired by high-quality women. But most importantly, you will earn self-respect and confidence, knowing that you are capable of facing anything life throws at you and emerge on the other side stronger because of it.
By implementing the 7 principles below, you will discover how to get grounded and stay grounded in the midst of chaos and uncertainty and reclaim control of yourself, the present moment and your future.
1. Surrender to the Storms of Life and Remember the Words of the Great Epictetus
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore, is a habit, not an act. ~Epictetus
In October of 2018, I ended a four-year relationship with a woman I loved dearly.
Five months after dissolution of our partnership, right when I was beginning to feel normal again, I received an unexpected call in the middle of the night informing me that one of my friends had died unexpectedly in a freak helicopter accident.
I was in shock. We’d gone out to dinner the week prior and just like that…he was gone from the face of the earth.
As I began the grieving process and learned to come to terms with the unexpected loss of a dear friend I received another call; this time from the police telling me that my father had passed away unexpectedly.
My legs became numb and I fell to the floor instantly landing on my knees, “What the fuck is going on?” I thought to myself. Was life trying to break me?
To make matters worse, shortly after these events transpired, I began suffering from inexplicable fatigue, severe brain fog, confusion and mood swings. Multiple emergency room visits, thousands of dollars and more than 20 doctor’s visits later, I discovered that the source of my problems was a rare form of mold poisoning, an ongoing challenge that will take me at least a year to fully recover from, if not longer.
I don’t share this with you to garner your sympathy or pity. Rather to illustrate something we all know but seldom admit.
Life, even if it is happening for us, is unexpected and often brutal. It doesn’t care about your goals or ambitions. It has designs of its own and will put you on journeys whether you consciously accept them or not.
We do not have the luxury of picking every aspect of our journey’s in life. No matter how hard we try to wrestle fate into submission and carve our own destinies, life has a funny way of laying waste to our best-laid plans.
It will strike us down when we least expect it and then spit in our faces just for good measure. Failure to accept this notion only prolongs suffering.
But the inconvenient truth is that…
It doesn’t fucking matter.
We all deal with pain. We all face adversity. We all have to contend with unexpected trials and setbacks.
Sometimes, no matter how grounded we are, life sucks. It’s painful, overwhelming, and confusing.
The only thing we can do is to submit to the shit storms of life. For every storm has an eventual ending.
To embrace the journey on which life places us and commit to achieving excellence even when we don’t want to, or can barely get out of bed.
This year has been my personal trip to hell. It’s felt like life is actively messing with me. Trying to see how much I can take. Like someone, somewhere, gets a perverse pleasure from my suffering.
But through it all, I’ve chosen to endure.
To take the chaos life has thrown at me and swim through a river of fire to find my freedom.
I still miss my friend and my father. It still hurts every time I think about them. I still can’t focus for more than an hour with my toxic mold illness. It often feels like I’m in the body of an 80 year old man.
But I’ve decided to make the most of what’s in front of me.
To search for the lessons and find a way to use my pain for good.
And, to stay grounded, you must do the same.
Sometimes, life will kick you in the balls until you can’t take it anymore. And when this happens–and trust me, it will happen–the only choice you have is this:
“Will I give my all and make the most of this situation…will I commit to excellence and giving 100% to this journey, no matter how challenging it may be?”
Or, “Will I let this break me?”
It is my greatest hope that you will commit to excellence. To persevering in the face of adversity and giving your best no matter how debilitating the situation is.
Because that is the way of the of the Grounded Man.
2. The Grounded Mindset that Will Immunize You Against Failure
Failure is inevitable.
No matter how hard you work, how smart you might be, or how tough you think you are, you are going to fail many times in your life…and you’re going to fail hard. It’s an inextricable part of the human experience.
Whether your business venture burns to the ground, your boss fires you, your lover leaves you, or your body becomes plagued by chronic disease and pain, failure is coming. And it often comes when you least expect it.
However, there is a single belief, a paradigm shared by the most successful people in history, that will immunize you against failure and allow you to stay grounded in the face of overwhelming odds.
Enter the “The Growth Mindset.”
First coined by Dr. Carol Dweck, (the best-selling author of Mindset), the term ‘growth mindset’ simply means you believe any skill, talent, or ability can be acquired through hard work and dedication.
Or, as it pertains to this conversation, it is the belief that:
“The future can be better and I have the power to make it so.”
When faced with adversity or failure, our fight or flight response kicks in and our gut reaction is to anticipate the worst. To assume that this single failure marks the end of our lives as we know it and the beginning of the end.
Considered from the standpoint of evolutionary psychology, this reaction makes sense.
For our ancestors, small mistakes often led to ostracization from the tribe or even, death. And our 200,000-year-old brains are still trapped in this paradigm and have yet to catch up with the remarkable complexity and relative security of modern society.
However, this propensity to predict (and dwell) on the worst possible outcome does not serve us in the 21st century.
Times have changed. Life on earth is safer, easier, and more flexible than it’s ever been.
You’re likely not living in actual fear for your life. You’re not worried about starving to death or not having clean drinking water. If you lost everything tomorrow, you’d still be okay. Think about that for a moment…
The simple truth is that failure is rarely fatal like it was for our ancestors.
No matter how deep of a hole you find yourself, you can find a way to climb out inch by inch, recover slowly and rebuild a brighter future.
And it is this belief that lays the foundation for developing a grounded mindset.
To stay grounded you must believe that whatever you are facing is temporary. And that it can be overcome. This too shall pass. You must believe that you can endure the challenge and learn the skills necessary to overcome your adversity.
It doesn’t matter where you are right now. It doesn’t matter how much debt you have, what addictions you have, how overweight you are, how many failed relationships hang in your rearview mirror, or how many times you’ve broken integrity with yourself. You can learn to think, act, and live in a completely new way.
No matter how horrible your situation is right now, other people have suffered setbacks far more devastating than whatever is facing you…and they found a way to overcome it and triumph in the face of overwhelming odds.
Nelson Mandela was unjustly imprisoned for 19 years, tortured, and humiliated. Yet he emerged from his captivity as a leader and changed the course of an entire nation.
Bill Gates first company Traf-O-Data went bankrupt and failed spectacularly before he went on to achieve unprecedented success with Microsoft.
Stephen King received so many rejection letters (more than 30) for his first book Carrie that, when he pinned them up in his office, the weight of the papers tore the nail from the wall.
When you look at the lives of the world’s most successful people you will find that every great success was preceded by a string of failures. Failures they notably chose to overcome and grow from.
So no matter what happens in your life…how hard times become…how spectacularly you fall flat on your face…realize that you can always choose growth.
3. Travel “Through Time” to Keep Perspective and Control the Chaos of Your Life
When surrounded by chaos in our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to slip into panic and “turn molehills into mountains.” To view relatively small obstacles as insurmountable challenges that are a threat to your very way of life.
The problem is that human beings tend to dwell in only one of two times: The past and the immediate future.
We are either replaying the mistakes of yesterday. Engaged in perverse self-flagellation and wishing we could “rewind the clock” and try again.
Or we are projecting our purported failures into the immediate future. Mentally rehearsing a worst-case scenario and imagining a devastating turn of events (that is never as likely as we believe).
The problem with both of these habits is that they ignore the immutable truth of human existence.
Life is not a game played in days or months…but decades.
Barring a fatal accident or disease (both of which are statistical anomalies), you will likely live well into your 80’s, if not longer given medical advancements.
The setbacks and frustrations you are experiencing today will be a mere speckle on your life’s timeline.
Over the course of the decades, you will face and overcome more adversity than you can possibly imagine and whatever you are facing today is nowhere near as fatal as your monkey mind would have you believe.
To stay grounded, you must embrace this truth and learn to accept the long game of life.
The chaos that is happening right now, as painful as it might be, is temporary. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small redirection on your path to bigger and better things.
Even if you lose someone close to you, the pain will eventually subside. You will never forget their memory and you may never truly heal from the loss, but it will get better and you can find happiness again.
When you are thinking and strategizing decades ahead in time, you will learn to see your present problems for what they are. Lessons in life that made you a stronger and more capable human.
Although this practice in and of itself doesn’t solve the situation–you still need to find a job, get over a breakup, or heal an injury now–it gives you perspective on what is happening and helps you maintain hope when it’s needed most.
Your frustration, fear, anger, and hurt will lessen. You will realize that as challenging as your situation might be, you will eventually overcome (and likely forget) it, in time.
So the next time you are faced with a challenging situation, ask yourself, “What will this mean 10-30 years from now? Will I still remember this setback in a decade?”
Consider that over a decade ago you had many challenges in life, health, financially, relationships that you can’t even remember today. Let that sink in.
Although it can be challenging to “play the story forward” when in the midst of a crisis, never lose sight of the future.
4. One Day at a Time: Owning Life’s Hurdles with a Dual Perspective
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time” ~Navy SEAL saying.
Although embracing a long term view of your life can help allay your existential anxiety and give you hope in the face of adversity, this strategy is only effective when coupled with an extreme bias toward massive action.
If your wife leaves you, your boss fires you, your business goes under, or you are stricken with a violent illness, trusting that things can and will get better does little to solve the immediate problems you’re facing.
Even if you trust that things will improve, you have little to no knowledge of how they will improve.
And in this situation, you must adopt the Navy SEAL mentality and accept that the only way to “eat an elephant” is one bite at a time.
Simply put, you cannot control the future. You can’t control all of the outcomes or force the story to play out the way you want.
But you can control what you are doing in this moment, right now, so focus on what you can control, one day at a time.
Trust that things can get better and spring into action immediately to make them so.
Focus on the ONE step you need to take right now and take it. Then take the next step and the next.
Instead of allowing yourself to be overcome by depression and overwhelm, become myopically focused on the task that is right in front of you.
If you lose your job today, get up tomorrow and immediately search for a new one or invest all of your spare time and energy into creating the business you’d always wanted.
If your partner leaves you, spend a few days alone journaling, meditating, and figuring out exactly what it is that went wrong and figure out how you will improve for the next relationship.
If you are diagnosed with a serious illness or injury, figure out the one thing you can do to begin your road to recovery and implement it immediately.
To be grounded is not only to accept what you can’t control but to take action on what you can, even if it’s a small action.
In every situation, you must ask yourself, “What does this really mean” (the long game), and “What am I going to do about it?” (today’s action).
5. Your Response to Life’s Adversity Determines Your Reality
There are eight words that, when internalized and believed, have the power to transform your life.
“Life is happening for me, not to me”
In every painful situation, through every failure, and throughout all the chaos of human life, you have a choice.
A choice to believe that the universe is conspiring against you, that life is happening to you. Or a choice to believe that everything is happening exactly as it should and life is happening for you.
How would you act and feel if the latter were true?
If the “bad” thing that was happening to you right now was the exact thing that needed to happen to redirect the course of your life and for you to live the life you always wanted, how would you respond differently?
If losing your job opened up the opportunity for you to pursue the career you really wanted, how would you feel now?
If the devastating breakup was the catalyst for unprecedented growth and starting a new relationship more spectacular than anything you’ve ever experienced, how would you respond now?
If everything that happened to you was actually happening for you, even with the challenge, how would you live your life differently today?
Again, to be grounded is to accept what you cannot control and change what you can.
You can’t control the economy, the health of your loved ones, the emotions of your partner, or the disposition of your employer.
But you can control the story you choose to tell yourself about what is happening in the present.
Your best options is to choose a more empowering story that will fuel a greater life.
Choose to believe that life is happening for you. That adversity is simply success with a time limit in disguise. That all of the pain, heartbreak, and frustration you are experiencing is simply preparing you and strengthening you for a life more magnificent than you could possibly imagine.
When nothing seems to be going your way…
When obstacles arise at every turn…
When your life seems screwed up beyond all recognition…
When you are feeling the depths of hell closing in, pause, stay grounded and ask yourself, “Is this my downfall, or the makings of a brighter future?”
6. Your Body, Your Soul’s Sword: Sharpening for Resilience
To stay grounded, stand strong in the face of adversity, and maintain an optimistic state, you must take care of yourself.
In the same way that ancient Samurai warriors would spend days sharpening their swords before a battle, you must treat your body and mind like a weapon and ensure that you engage in the right habits to maintain your “edge.”
Even the most grounded man when sleep-deprived, hungry, and emotionally exhausted, will slip into ungrounded behaviors and toxic thinking.
It’s simple biology.
We often practice self care when times are good, and in challenging times, we simply don’t have the time anymore. But why?
When shit hits the fan, our natural instinct is to abandon our self-care rituals and practices. To forgo our training, sedate our pain with unhealthy foods, alcohol, and drugs, and opt for distraction–in the form of video games, TV marathons, or porn–instead of growth.
But it is times like these when you must double down on self-care.
Personally, this has been one of the most challenging years of my life.
And I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been tempted to give into my old vices and temptations. To pursue the path of alcoholism, drug abuse, and rampant sedation in an attempt to forget all of the pain and suffering with which I’ve been faced.
But I haven’t.
Instead, I’ve chosen to sharpen the sword.
I’ve been sober for months. My diet is cleaner than it’s ever been before. My days begin with yoga and mindfulness and include some form of physical activity. Instead of isolating myself and hiding from the world, I’ve sought help and support from those I trust and invested more time and energy into relationships.
As a result, I’ve been able to deal with my challenges instead of hiding from them.
I’m stronger, happier, and more grounded because I chose to face the pain by keeping the sword sharp.
And to stay grounded when faced with adversity in your life, you must do the same.
To stay grounded take care of your body and mind. Exercise, eat clean, get plenty of sleep, minimize or eliminate altogether drugs and alcohol. The stronger you are physically, the stronger you will be mentally and emotionally.
Sharpen the sword. Take care of your soul, and it will take care of you.
7. Grief, Growth, and Gratitude: Discovering Meaning and Purpose in Every Challenge
The final and possibly most powerful way to stay grounded through the chaos of life is to transmute your pain into power by asking a simple question…
“How can the pain I am experiencing right now serve other people and do good in the world?”
As I’ve wrestled with the challenges this year has presented, the main thing that has kept me going…the only thing that prevented me from turning to the bottle, snorting myself into oblivion, and abandoning my attempts at growth and development is… you.
Men like you who read this content, who engage with this mission, and who listen to my rants and improve your life because of them.
Through every challenge and tribulation, I know that my pain could be used to serve others undergoing the same.
The pain I’ve experienced after losing two of the people who were close to me has equipped me with an intimate understanding of the process of grief. And now I can help other men suffering from similar challenges cope with their loss in a healthy way and avoid the path of self-destruction.
My battle with mold poisoning has taught me the value of health and sent me down a mad scientist rabbit hole that has given me a greater understanding of the human body and how men can optimize their health to get more out of themselves and put an end to unnecessary suffering.
In an ideal world, I could have uncovered these lessons without the pain and heartbreak that accompanied them.
But we don’t live in an ideal world, do we?
We live here, on earth. On a majestic but undeniably fucked up rock that is equal parts beauty and tragedy. And it is our duty to take our experiences, both bad and good, and share them with others.
To pay it forward and transmute our suffering into the life lessons of tomorrow.
Not to lessen it, but to give it meaning. To find purpose in the pain and leverage it to make the world a better place.
Life can be a cold heartless bitch, I know. There’s no getting around it. And no amount of positive thinking, law of attraction or visualization will change that.
Sometimes, the only thing we can do is to take the focus off ourselves and remember that everything we are experiencing can be used for good…if only we are willing to first see the good in the chaos.
Stay grounded, brother.
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