Jon Levy is a human behavior scientist who has started several companies and traveled the globe collecting bold and eccentric experiences that at times seem stranger than fiction.
He recently chronicled his (mis)adventures and behavioral studies in his book The 2 a.m. Principle where he teaches readers how to engineer epic nights and breathtaking adventures (all according to science.
Favorite Success Quote
“The size of our life is in direct proportion to how uncomfortable we are willing to be”
1. To Improve Your Life, You First First Become Uncomfortable
There is an insidious fallacy that has permeated nearly every facet of modern society.
It is the belief that our purpose on this planet is to be comfortable and that our job as human beings is to have lives that are as easy as possible.
Both of these statements are false.
Rarely will you find a man who is fulfilled living the “easy” life.
The man who sits on his couch, watching reruns of TV soap operas, stuffing his face with Twinkies, and living in a relationship with the first girl he could find is rarely a happy or fulfilled man.
Instead, it is the man who is out there pushing himself.
The man who takes the leap, who is “In the arena” as Theodore Roosevelt put it, is the man who is truly fulfilled.
Even though he might get scraped, bloodied, and scarred, he still has a grin on his face.
Because he is living life on the edge, he is chasing his dreams, expanding his skillsets and abilities, and pushing himself to do the things that scare him the most.
If you want to improve the quality of your life, then start by improving your tolerance for risk and adversity.
Because almost everything that you want is on the other side of the uncomfortable and the scary.
2. Adventure Comes from Percieved Risk, Not Peril
There is a common misconception that doing something that pushes you out of your comfort zone, something that scares you, something that makes you grow, requires you to put your life on the line and risk everything.
In fact, you can grow and experience massive discomfort without ever putting yourself at a statistically significant risk of death or serious injury.
Skydiving, intentional homelessness, free diving, mountain climbing, solo travel.
None of these things (if done properly) ever put you at any real risk of dying, and yet, to the average person, each of them will cause significant amounts of growth.
On a smaller scale, simple activities like approaching that woman, starting a new workout, starting a side hustle, or taking that overnight trip to the mountains by yourself, can also cause massive growth and help you develop a tolerance for risk so that you can build up to the scarier activities later.
3. Fulfillment in Any Endeavor Comes from Variety and Engagement
Most people continue to chase down their ever elusive “calling”.
You know, that one thing that if they do not do it, they have wasted their entire life and skillsets on trivial activities and distractions.
Allow me to share a little secret with you. This doesn’t exist.
The reason that most people are not fulfilled in the work that they do isn’t because they haven’t found their “calling” but rather because they are bored and disengaged.
Most of the entrepreneurs I know love what they do, but they do not love it because they feel it is their life’s purpose.
Do you think they feel “called” to split test Facebook ads, optimize conversions for websites, or write blog posts about SEO? Probably not!
However, since they are constantly growing their capacity, skillsets, and daily activities, they are constantly experiencing variety and challenge.
And this is what leads to their love and addiction to entrepreneurship.
So instead of looking for your life’s purpose, look for things that will stretch you, engage you, and teach you.
Because that is where you will find true fulfillment and satisfaction.
4. Challenge is a Prerequisite to Peak Performance
One of the common missions of today’s entrepreneurs is to help push mankind towards peak performance and a constant state of “flow”.
And in much the same way that fulfillment in your career requires learning and variety, peak performance requires engagement and challenge.
Another way to say this is that to get yourself into flow state, you must be doing something that takes skill and is just outside of your current abilities and capacity.
You will never live a life filled with peak state and moments of breathtaking euphoria if all you do is the mundane and the familiar.
You will never be able to get yourself into states of flow where the world seems to stop if you never stretch your boundaries and push yourself to new levels.
If you want to truly grow and succeed, if you want to experience “flow” on a daily basis, then you have to push yourself.
If you want to flow… you gotta grow!
5. Create Projects, Not Goals
One of the mistakes that most people make whenever they are trying to upgrade the quality of their lives is that they set goals.
But here is the problem with a goal.
If your goal is to go to the gym 5 days a week and you miss one day… congratulations, you now feel like a failure and will be disheartened and probably continue the cycle of failure.
However, if you create projects, for example, to build a physique weighing 175 lbs. with 9% body fat, then the world opens up to you.
First and foremost, you are forced to do reserach to find the most effective way to attain the body that you desire.
Then once you know what to do, actually doing it becomes less stressful.
If you miss one day at the gym, no big deal, you simply make up for it the next day, because it is a project.
There will be setbacks, there will be failures, and there will be challenges.
But as long as you keep your mind right, you will succeed.
1. Influence by Robert Cialdini
2. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
3. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely