Mistakes are hardly 20/20

I JUDGE MYSELF HARSHLY SOMETIMES.

Do you?

There are times when comparison robs my happiness and creates an imaginary world where I am lost, feeling low and frustrated.  

And it feels even worse when I can intellectualize and comprehend what is happening as I am more aware now than at any other time in my life, but sometimes our intellect and emotions are at odds. 

I know things take time and that doing the work that I enjoy is a win.

Yet sometimes society calls to me in the form of jealousy, scarcity, and temporary insanity…for example:

  • Seeing an “unheard-of” comedian get a Netflix special.
  • Feeling my net worth should be more substantial.
  • Hearing about books with more reviews or sales than mine can nag at me.
  • Talking to someone that eats whatever they want and still seems fitter than I am.
  • People that can go to sleep, stay asleep and get 8 hours or more.
  • Or someone older than me with fewer wrinkles – dicks.

Yeah, that is a little peek inside my comparison-based, petty, and scarcity thinking.

I’m an author of books on abundance, yet still human.

Comparison can create an overwhelming feeling, pushing my thoughts to the amount of work required to get “ahead”, to earn respect, and to build status or greater wealth.

Scarcity can be enhanced with difficult circumstances.  

Comparison can creep in during our dark moments.

Maybe your revenue is down, you are switching careers, you have a family member pass away or get a divorce, your health is struggling, or you made a mistake that hurts your confidence.

Or maybe like me, scarcity became my companion when traveling back from Europe only sleeping about 5.5 hours over 5 days.

That is the least amount of sleep I’ve ever had over a 5-day period.

It began on a Thursday night in Barcelona.

We set the alarm for 3 am to catch our flight.

I was worried I might sleep in and was having anxiety about making our connecting flight.

I was performing my One Man Show Keynote Saturday morning for 1,000 people and there was minimal room for error in order to make it home on time.

I was restless.

It was a long night where I managed to sleep from 10:30 to 11:30 pm, then stayed awake.

No worries, I’ll sleep on the flight, nope.

Instead, I wanted to escape into a movie or two and only found about 30-45 minutes of rest from Paris to Salt Lake.

Getting from Spain to Paris was stressful as our flight was delayed and this was the only direct flight, once a day, from Paris to Salt Lake with minimal time for the layover- maybe I overcommitted with this performance.

After we landed, I did all I could to stay awake until a reasonable bedtime.

I made it until 8.

Then I woke up at 11:30…pm.

That was the longest stretch of sleep I’d get over the 5 days, ouch.

I did what I could to prepare myself for the keynote and it went well.

After performing on 3 and a half hours of sleep, I thought I’d come home and take a nap.  

Again, nope.

Finally, that afternoon I started to feel sleepy but fought through to be able to go to bed at a reasonable time.

Nah.  Instead, I just stayed awake.

I compared my sleep in Spain (fantastic) to my lack of sleep once I got home.

Am I ever going to sleep again?  Am I going to have to move?

While awake in the wee hours of the morning, I found myself feeling anxious and had thoughts of despair, and was unreasonably harsh about every role and aspect of my life.

Critiquing my parenting, my production, my health, and even my hair (or the thought of losing it) and simply felt defeated.

Thankfully, my wife found me in this fragile state and held me, talked me through it, and let me know it was a matter of lack of sleep, not reality.

I got another half an hour that morning.

Progress.

See, it is in moments of scarcity, loss, disruption, and fear that we are most susceptible to mistakes.

Mistakes aren’t something easy to see, not often easily avoidable, and something that people regularly repeat.  

They are sneaky and can feel like a catch-22 at times.

Even though scarcity can create conditions for mistakes, sometimes success makes us even more vulnerable to mistakes as we are less likely to worry about details to see any signs as everything feels fine.

But, for many, it is comparison that is the constant culprit of mistakes.

Comparison robs the present and rewards effort and expediency over clarity.

It is often easier to work hard now, rather than do the hard work of knowing your win, creating your vision, and embracing clarity on how you want to live your life.

That is some of the hardest work.

Defining your path, determining your rules, and saying no to things that might even lose you money in the short term.

Again, immediate hard work can create immediate rewards, money now, but indefinite bondage – getting addicted to the moves of making money while losing meaning in life.

Or going back to what we know at the expense of what we really value or want.

Choosing a great life, a fulfilling life can be complicated at times.

For me, I could easily choose to do Wealth Acceleration Workshops for years to come and make money efficiently (we had the process down), but not easily.

I was tired, not enjoying it, counting the hours and minutes, even though I was great at it and it was profitable.

Choosing to write books, blogs, comedy, and a play is fulfilling, but the financial rewards have not been as substantial and not as immediate.

It requires a different kind of work – patience.

Being fulfilled doesn’t mean making less money, but it may mean investing more time for that money and system to build momentum and pay off.

The question is, are you doing work that you want? Do you enjoy your life or is work something you justify?

Well, one sign of going down the wrong road of work is regularly needing/wanting a getaway, a vacation.

When the escape becomes solace, you may want to reconsider your work and/or career.

And if you come back from a vacation dreading what you do, again, you might be in the wrong work or career.

When our work requires all of our energy to keep up a lifestyle, a narrative, and seeming success to feed our identity, we feel trapped.

Trapped.

This feeling is due to blind spots, to not knowing better.

I fucking hate blind spots.  I loathe them.

I get frustrated when I make a choice that is less than ideal and didn’t know any better.

Often hurting my health, damaging relationships, or seemingly delaying progress.

And yet, mistakes are the gateway to lasting learning, that is, if we examine them.

We learn if we don’t avoid the lesson or avoid the pain.

But what if the costliest mistakes happen before we even begin?

What is the cost when we buy into a faulty philosophy on life that leaves us working towards the impossible by spending our energy, draining our dreams, and where achievement alone is the fuel for our desires?

Achievement is great if it is what we truly want and helps us to feel fulfilled.  

It is great if we enjoy the process and life along the way, but is it worth it if we don’t?

What if, no matter the effort, if we are playing the wrong game, the only outcome is to make mistakes in the end?

What if what we have been told about success is a mistake?

And that mistake may be hard to detect initially, giving us temporary power and energy to accomplish more, but eventually leads to burnout, blame, sadness, depression, and scarcity.

Heavy.

And just because you design the life you love, it doesn’t mean there aren’t mistakes there too, it is just the process is worth it.

The work is the win.

When the vision is aligned with who you are, there is the win.

The value you create engages the best aspects of who you are, which is a winning formula.

So, even if you are designing your life in the best way possible, or you know your win and love your work, there will still be mistakes.  But those mistakes will be stepping stones to the next level of prosperity. 

Those can be little adjustments along the way to guide you toward your vision.

But when you are living your life in sacrifice, working at the expense of your energy, or to gain admiration or prove someone wrong, you are susceptible to society’s definition of success.

This definition is rooted in the zero-sum game of the Consumer Condition.

  • The Consumer Condition is a villain but like any good villain, hard to detect.
  • The Consumer Condition has its excuses, and reasons, and hides the full agenda.
  • The Consumer Condition is a frenetic philosophy of chasing trophies, working tirelessly, taking what you can, when you can, getting all there is, and seeing everyone and everything as competition in the game of comparison.

No amount of luck or discipline, no amount of effort or reward, and no amount control or net worth will even be enough if you are captive to the rules of the Consumer Condition.  

Someone else will always have more, there will always be something else to gain or get, and there is rarely room for celebration or quality of life.

This is why there is no lasting win in the Consumer Condition.

See, mistakes don’t happen with 20/20 vision.

Do you have that clarity in the vision of your life – unshakable, unbreakable, and undeniable because it resonates with every part of your being?

Anything less creates a blind spot.

Anything less allows for the Consumer Condition to become a distraction.

The Consumer Condition is so hard to see because it surrounds us.

It is perpetuated by conversations, entertainment, perceived power, and how money is promoted and perpetuated.

The Consumer Condition will whisper to go for “more”.

More is better.
More is power.
More is sexier.
More is fun.
More alleviates pain.
More is status.
More is love.

Yeah, wow, more is love.

Think about that one and let it set in.  Not to have more love, but the more you have the more lovable you are.  

That sly lie from the Consumer Condition.

In today’s hierarchy, people love and hate those with the most.

There is jealousy and fantasy about the lives of the wealthiest.

Most people secretly desire that level of power and respect, yet others resent it because it seems unobtainable and out of their reach or like too much work.

When we work without vision, we get trapped in and seduced by the Consumer Condition.  

When we compare ourselves to an imaginary life, one where money exists and pain doesn’t, we get trapped in the Consumer Condition.

When we think a new car, a new home, or more followers or more likes are the ways to create happiness, we are not only victims of the Consumer Condition, we chase clout at the cost of love, the cost of being present, and at the expense of knowing who we truly are.

Recently, I had the realization that I have too much to manage and still be an artist (writer, performer, comedian) or be totally present with my relationships (family, friends, clients). 

Pursuing too much was at odds with living a peaceful, present life.

My house requires stewardship.

My cabin requires time, attention, and responsibility.

Recently, I bought a new cabin with land to build a music studio as well.

Plus, I’ve got two books coming out this year, a comedy special that has yet to be sold, this blog, two teenagers, and a love for the ages with my wife.

Trying to do too much means I could be putting that (and my health and sanity) at risk.

Oh, the Consumer Condition creeping in with its friend and my foe – comparison.

All of this was more than I could currently handle without compromising my spiritual practice, family time, hobbies, and career.  My business partner and co-creator helped me to see this with how I was doing comedy.  How I was taking on too much, even though many of them valiant and worthy things, but unnecessary in such a short time frame.

Create space and build a life you love.  

That is my message, that is my mantra, and yet I still get tempted.

Doing less to live a more fulfilled life is a departure from my belief and feelings during my 20s.

The more the better.

More net worth, more money, more employees, more revenue, more stuff, more status, and the list goes on.

And in that pursuit of more I had less love, less time to myself, less time in the things I enjoy, less clarity of what I really wanted, and less time with my family.

I actually ended up with less money because I couldn’t be a proper steward of all that I had.  

This ends up creating not only leaks of energy but leaking of money.

The solution:

  • Focus
  • Clarity
  • Protected time

I thought I would have learned in 2008 by taking on too much and yet I got so excited in 2021 that I took on too much, said yes too often, and needed a reminder. 

That is why co -creators, partners, mentors, and coaches are so essential.  Outside perspective. Carved out time to assess and address issues while they are small.

Doing too much at once is a mistake, one that I repeated, but in a different way in 2021. 

Rather than having the greed of growing my net worth with large amounts of real estate, I was looking to grow my network.  

I was looking to skip steps, rush into a new career (comedy), and forgot about measuring the impact, the bandwidth or the impact on those I love.

See mistakes have the yin and the yang.

The good and the bad.

The up and the down.

Even when the mistake begins with a noble or fun purpose, it can blind us from gaining clarity, designing our life, and knowing our win that is sustainable, it ends up with a consequence.

The consequences are carried by the Consumer Condition, rewarded by society, and filled with recognition that belongs more in a bio than in everyday life.

More applause.
More creativity.
More impact.
More reach.
More highs.
More excitement.

Those are still preceded by “more” at the expense of other areas and aspects of life or without consideration at least.  

Those considerations can be:

  • Important conversations
  • Taking time for something to fully develop before destroying the team’s bandwidth
  • Health, love, rest and relaxation, memories… and the list goes on.

The list of more can be convincing as they all sound positive.

By not asking what I really wanted with my real estate portfolio created from 2002 to 2008, much of that time and work was eventually rewarded with a major loss and hit to my net worth.

Taking on more than I could handle in real estate.

It took a ton of time to acquire and even more time to sell.

It sucked out lots of money and robbed me of plenty of moments that I’ll never get back.

A mistake.

Born in greed, due to a lack of understanding, and being a prisoner of the Consumer Condition.

Yet the key was with me all along.

My Soul Purpose.
My Investor DNA (only investing in what I know and knowing when to say no).
Designing a life I loved.  
Living with intention.
Co-creating with the ones I love the most.

By knowing who I was, I would have been able to say no.

Not knowing made me vulnerable to the agenda of society – in 2008 and again in 2021.

It wasn’t like friends and mentors didn’t try to help.

I didn’t listen to my mentor before the 2008 meltdown Steve D’Annunzio.

He was also a business partner.

He didn’t give in to the temptation of real estate.

I even remember judging him thinking he was missing out, but he was focused on his Soul Purpose.  

Steve loved what he was doing and it was providing a great life for his family while still having time to play in his band, take a swim, and have a day off.

I didn’t listen to my partner Corey Wert about my relentless pursuit of filling comedy clubs for a 16 -city tour during a resurgence of COVID.  

I was too busy chasing the trophy of a streaming service or standing ovations at the end of my sets.

Very external and eventually exhausting.

There is nothing wrong with Real Estate or comedy, they were just being pursued within the context of the Consumer Condition.

Proving something to someone else.

Getting to an endpoint so I could feel whole and complete.

Letting society be my guide at the cost of my life, my intuition, or my overall vision.

So, as I look back to when I began in finance, there was also terrible, Consumer Condition, advice along the way too.

Salespeople told me to go into debt so I would stay motivated.

Or act as if (essentially lie) to get ahead.

I’m happy to say, I didn’t fall for those more obvious myths, but I did buy into building bragging rights.  

There was a belief in competition and getting all I could and working more than anyone else.

I didn’t design my life, the Consumer Condition did.

And even after making the mistake in 2008, I did it again, but guided by passion in 2021.

See how tricky, it was something I loved instead of something I hated or tolerated, but still left me exhausted and dealing with the impact of my blind spots.

So, the question is:

Did you design your life or did you fall to the default of society?

The American Dream.

Forget white houses and picket fences, I wanted to be a fat cat, a high-roller and a big spender.

The road to “societal” riches is on the highway of the Consumer Condition, but that road is filled with potholes and problems.  

This isn’t about society’s definition, it is about you living your richest life.

Where you chose or pave a different road.

Where you can have wealth and live well too.

Abundance is real and exponential.

But you have to create the game.

You define the rules.

In the Consumer Condition, you can win the game and lose at life while losing your life.

Missing moments for work.

Working for an unknown future.

Losing out on life as you forget how to play.

Having money and pressure, working tirelessly, and wanting to escape, rarely feeling fulfilled.

That is better than being poor and feeling pressure, sure, but there is still a better way to live.

But it is up to you to decide and even deal with your scarcity demons.

To take responsibility and admit how you feel and assess where you are.

Are you where you want to be?

Doing what you want to do?

Living a life you don’t want to retire from?  

If not, you might just be in the Consumer Condition.

Hey, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been there, doesn’t fall back into it at times, or is so enlightened they won’t make future mistakes.  

So, this isn’t from a place of judgment, it is a calling to live a better life.

You think since I’m writing this, I’d have figured it out and know better?

Just more aware this time around.  Able to navigate it in less time, but still susceptible.

Again, I’ve shared the mistake of how I approached comedy combined with the process of selling my business and transitioning to the next phase saying yes too often.

I got overextended and overworked because I wanted more status, that Netflix special, and sold-out venues.

This is where creating space is essential.

Create time for yourself.
Create time to think.
Carve out and create time to design your life.
Create time to question.

Sold-out stadiums and standing ovations are a by-product that can follow a life well lived.  

Thinking it has to happen now, to circumvent the process, surprise society, and get there faster are all ingredients for The Consumer Condition.

To rise above, questions are the keys to a better life, to your winning game, and to finding and remembering your purpose and vision.

If you let society answer, they already have everything planned for you, good luck.

When we create time to think and invest time in ourselves, we can learn from our past.

I recommend writing about lessons, revisiting mistakes, and then talking to someone that can ask great questions to cultivate the lessons and get to the root of our behavior.

So, first off, the Consumer Condition creates a container that is a mistake.

There is plenty to learn from in the Consumer Condition, but ultimately, there will be no lasting win.

Utilize outside perspectives from peers and mentors.  I have found this more helpful than any book or video because they can ask questions that unlock the answers from within.

Even if we create our best life, know our win, and live our vision, mistakes will still be part of the process, but they won’t define us though.

They will be guideposts, guardrails, and nudges to get back on our path.

Mistakes aren’t silly things that should have been easy to detect.

Mistakes often don’t come easily at all.

They happen over time.

From an unlearned lesson or previous hurt.

Mistakes come from our unresolved past when we create habits and protection mechanisms to avoid conflict, push away our feelings, and ignore what matters to us in the name of carrying a burden for another.

So, why are mistakes so hard to detect?

I think there are several reasons (but would love to hear what you think in the comments as well).

Maybe it is some form of trauma when we are ill-equipped to deal with it as a child.

Or in the name of love, we neglect loving or caring for ourselves because we don’t want to hurt someone else.

Mistakes happen when busyness takes priority over vision, labor over clarity, and outcomes over understanding and love.

Mistakes can be caused by greed, but greed is often fueled by comparison.

The Consumer Condition loves to use false narratives in ads, in interviews, in magazine covers to keep us frenetically in effort to have more and feel more significant.

But often, mistakes are hard to detect because we don’t want to see them.

We may not like the answer.

We may not want to feel the cost.

We are told to think positively (often at the expense of reality).  

Sometimes positivity is a blinder.  Positively at the expense of assessing what is, hampers our ability to create a better circumstance, learn or take responsibility.

Being in reality, is not negative, it is required.

Mistakes also exist because relationships are dynamic.

The world is ever-changing.

When people don’t know what to do, they often escape to drugs, alcohol and entertainment rather than face pain or create clarity.

Why are we so afraid of pain?

I know it is unpleasant.

But what if we saw it as part of love?

As the nudge needed to bring awareness, get us on track, or allow us to see what we might otherwise remain ignorant of.

Maybe pain is love, bringing our attention to something we might otherwise ignore.

Pain is a major ingredient for learning.

I think we are here in this life to learn, and mistakes are markers of reflection, and moments of pain, that create motivation to look inside.

But often we look outside of ourselves.

To the world.

We become victims of circumstance, placing blame rather than taking responsibility.

Blame holds us captive to pain, blinded by scarcity, and we lose our power.

I’ve done this in my marriage.

When we argue or she says not now to my sexual advances (not now, the polite way to say no), I have felt powerless, withdrawn, and start to create a long list of blame rather than look at my responsibility.

This is how I felt in 2008 when the real estate market melted down.

So easy to blame the fed, the government, or Wall Street.

Being a victim, no matter how justified, will prolong the pain.

The pain will create a narrative that keeps us stuck, suffering, and smoldering over the past.

Stop it.

Pain is part of the process, but as Buddha said, suffering is optional.

Mistakes can cause pain.

We may be sensitive because mistakes can come from wanting to protect our reputation or please the people we know and love.

Or when we are trying to earn respect or allow others to make our choices for us.

Or when we don’t want to address something hard, so we hope it goes away as it robs us of energy and the ability to be present.

But always remember, mistakes don’t make you less lovable, they make you human.

We all make mistakes.  

It just that often people repeat mistakes due to lack of examination, lack of self-awareness, and habits that are formed to protect us from feeling abandoned, like an outsider, wanting to earn or gain someone’s admiration, or fooling ourselves thinking it will eventually work out or pay off with patience.

Rarely is there a perfect time to address something.

We have busy lives, we care about others’ feelings, and simply don’t always know how to approach an issue.

So here is some help.

I’ve used it many times to talk with people where there was an issue I didn’t want to address, but knew it was required to progress.

It is the 5 -step relationship transformation and helps minimize mistakes with people and instead resolve relationship blind spots.

The 5-Step Conversation to Relationship Transformation is a powerful framework for having difficult conversations and transforming a relationship. This helps establish the foundation of the exchange as a non-threatening conversation intended to achieve a specific outcome.

  1. Focus on the assets of the relationship. This would be accomplished by communicating any characteristics that you appreciate and admire in the person. Be real, and authentic, and do not say anything you do not truly mean.
  2. Communicate any liabilities that you have brought to the relationship. This would be accomplished by addressing where you have been inauthentic, out of integrity, or lacked proper communication. Take responsibility and apologize when possible.
  3. Communicate the liabilities that you would like to address that currently leave the relationship in a less than ideal position. These would be the issues that you would like to transform. This would be accomplished by addressing any liabilities that you would like to overcome. It is critical to address your intent for addressing these liabilities and asking the person “How would you handle this if you were in my shoes?”
  4. Communicate what excites you about moving forward. This would be accomplished by addressing the possibilities, strategies and commitments that are made as a result of step 3.
  5. It is critical to re-address and engage in conversation sometime between 24-48 hours after you initiate the first communication. It is imperative to give the other party a chance to express how they are feeling and what they are thinking since your conversation. Primarily focus on listening. If there are any unresolved issues, repeat the process.

I usually write everything out first, and then schedule the meeting. I don’t take those notes in, it is only when there is anxiety or I am wanting to delay the conversation.

One of the big mistakes people make: avoiding conversations.

Dodging conflict.

If you are willing to be uncomfortable for moments, you can have a more monumental life, without as much chronic stress and worry.  

Special moments happen when we deal with our worries, embrace peace, and create from a more powerful place.

These are some of the critical steps to abundance:

  • Be a steward of what you have been given without letting greed take you beyond what you can handle.
  • Invest in yourself and your relationships.
  • Ask for support when you are struggling.
  • Realize pain is part of the process and see it as a gift, even when you hate the wrapping.
  • Gratitude.
  • Feel it, share it, and acknowledge what is best about you, and compliment and thank others too.
  • Have uncomfortable conversations and create new possibilities with your key relationships.

Make no mistake, there will be more mistakes.

But remember, you are loved.

You are lovable.

You are more than your net worth and your status.

Choose love and gratitude to be set free.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below.

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