Life’s big truths for phenomenal living: Know your roles


Last week you and I talked about the importance of taking chances in life and if you don’t risk nothing will be different. We even came up with a mathematical formula for making sh*t happen in your life.

100% intention + infinite mechanisms = results

  • Intention: Meaning or reason for doing
  • Mechanism: Tools, keys to drive your intentions
  • Results: The manifestation of your intentions

Basically there are an infinite ways you can go about achieving anything that you want but in order to get those results you have to be 100% committed to them.

Often our biggest obstacle (and definitely mine) is carrying way…. and I mean WAY to many to-do-lists. This keeps me from lacking any real clarity on what it is I want to actually achieve. My priorities are constantly in flux, so in essence I actually never have any priorities.

It’s pretty tough to move forward if you don’t know what you’re moving forward towards, you have to give it meaning.


I’d say that up until about the age of 28 I really had no idea what the hell I was doing. Looking back it seems like every decision I made was based on the idea that “this is what I was suppose to be doing.”

There are certain expectations that we’re all suppose to live up to or follow right?

  • You’re not suppose to drink out of the milk carton
  • You’re suppose to eat all of the food on your plate
  • You’re suppose to get good grades
  • You’re suppose to go to college
  • You’re suppose to get a good “secure” job after college
  • You’re suppose to save for a house
  • You’re suppose to get married my a certain age
  • You’re suppose to have kids by a certain time
  • You’re suppose to work hard for 50+ years, save for retirement, and then enjoy yourself.

Don’t do any of these things and you start getting weird looks from everyone. If you don’t pursue the things in life that the majority of people are pursuing then there has to be something wrong with you right?

Some of you just nodded your head, I know it.

Paul Graham puts it so eloquently:

“…Let’s start with a test: Do you have any opinions that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of your peers? If the answer is no, you might want to stop and think about that. If everything you believe is something you’re supposed to believe, could that possibly be a coincidence? Odds are it isn’t. Odds are you just think whatever you’re told.

The other alternative would be that you independently considered every question and came up with the exact same answers that are now considered acceptable. That seems unlikely, because you’d also have to make the same mistakes. Mapmakers deliberately put slight mistakes in their maps so they can tell when someone copies them. If another map has the same mistake, that’s very convincing evidence.

Like every other era in history, our moral map almost certainly contains a few mistakes. And anyone who makes the same mistakes probably didn’t do it by accident. It would be like someone claiming they had independently decided in 1972 that bell-bottom jeans were a good idea…

I’d say for me the better part of my 28 years on this earth have been lived doing exactly what I was told to do. It hasn’t been until recently (the last 4 years to be exact) that I actually started to formulate my own opinions and to actually gain some clarity on what I want my life story to say.

“It was I like I was just a book of blank pages with somebody else holding the pen.”

I’d torture myself with thoughts of what I should be. Asking myself why I wasn’t in the same place as everyone else… well as I found out it was because that’s not where I wanted to be.


Have you ever thought about doing one thing and for some reason your actions ended up being the complete opposite?

Yeah, me neither 🙂

The reason this happens is because the brain is working on three different levels all the time.

Level 1 – The unconscious brain: This part is what controls some of your basic functions for survival like breathing, heart beat, digestion, and relaxes. You know, all that stuff you do but don’t have to think about doing.

Level 2 – The conscious brain: This is the analytical part of your noodle or your voice of reason. It’s constantly processing information for you based on the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. It’s purpose it to exercise the power of choice that you have by evaluating all information that comes in and deciding what to do with it.

Level 3 – The subconscious brain: Emotions, memories, intuition, and experiences make up this part of the noodle. Knowledge, habits, beliefs, and attitudes about life are stored here. The conscious brain often uses it to help provide you with some direction or answers questions that you may have. It can act as an enabler or an inhibitor based on your perceptions towards something.

The conscious brain or the one that helps you make rational decisions can sometimes be in flux with the subconscious brain it makes decisions based on some of those memories, experiences, habits, and intuitions.

As new information, new experiences, and new knowledge comes in the two brains can sometimes be in conflict. This is one reason it can be so difficult to make certain decisions, change old habits, end relationships or start new ones, or even change your diet.

The way that we think is our way of understanding the world around us. Reality is shaped by our perceptions and interpretations of the events in our lives. In a recent book I read, “The Science of Self Improvement,” the process of understanding works like this.

“… We take in information about our environment through our senses, then our brains process that information into thoughts and beliefs about how the world really works. These beliefs than tell us how to act, which will play a big role in the results we get out of life…

Environment → Senses → Thoughts → Beliefs → Actions → Results

As an infant our brains are like a blank slate and can easily take in new information, process it, and shape new beliefs. As we get older this process becomes much more difficult although not impossible, it just requires more time and effort because we have already had experiences (various success and failures) that have led to our current beliefs.

Think about this for a second for me if you don’t mind (no pun intended). Imagine that you want something really, really….. really bad , but for some reason you don’t think you are deserving, capable, or have the ability to achieve it. How hard do you think you’ll work for it?

Probably not to hard huh?


Do whatever it takes to be who you want to be.

Unfortunately it’s just not that easy as we tend to have a variety of roles in life. If you want to avoid being just a passive spectator then it’s important to get clear on what those roles are.

You may play some if not all of the following:

  • Brother
  • Sister
  • Student
  • Father
  • Mother
  • Friend
  • Lover
  • Husband
  • Wife
  • Daughter
  • Son

I’m sure I am missing some as I bet there are a few that are unique to you.

Anywho, add all those roles up and you’ve got some stress and confusion about who you’re suppose to be all the time.

If you’ve never taken time to define those roles I highly suggested taking a weekend or longer if you need it to get clear on what they mean to you.

Key word, what they mean to YOU. Not someone else’s idea of what those roles should be.

One of the best ways I have found for gaining some clarity is by envisioning your funeral.

I know, I know, a little morbid but I think you all can handle it.

Close your eyes and envision all of the most important people in your life at your wake. Think about the things they are saying about, the ways in which they remember you in those roles you play.

How do you want to be remembered?

  • If you’re married how to you want your wife or husband to remember you?
  • If you’re a father or mother how do you want your kids to remember you?
  • If you run a company how do you want your employees to remember you?
  • If you were standing over your own coffin how would you want to be remember yourself?

After getting clear about all the roles that you play put them in order of most importance.

Again, if you don’t consider yourself to be of high importance I’d suggest that you revisit that thought. Your health, rest, and happiness are all vitally important in how you participate in your other roles.

For instance, how can you be a better father if your health is deteriorating?

Now this is a trick I picked up from Micael Hyatts life plan workbook. You’ll want to do each of the following for the various roles you play.

1. Purpose statement: What is your purpose for each role? I also like to find a powerful quote that goes well with how I define my purpose in each roles

2. The future as you see it: This is where you envision the best possible scenario of yourself in that role.

3. Reality: Check in time. Where are you currently at in each of these roles. What gets measured gets managed and you have to have some sort of sense of where you are in order to know where and how far you have to go to get to that ideal visions of you in that role.

4. What do you need to do: What are some commitments (behaviors) you need to start making TODAY that will help you bridge the gap between your current reality and the future as you see it.


If you need help with this think about the one thing you can commit to that will change your life within each role. That one big thing that will really help to bridge the gap between your currently reality and the future you.

Also think about the one big thing you can stop doing right now that inhibits your progress.

It’s important to revisit this often. How often? Only you’ll know but once a month should be sufficient.

As Ferris Bueller says:

Life moves pretty fast? If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while you could miss it.

Things change, you’ll have to adapt, and priorities will likely get shifted. That’s why it’s so important to review what’s going on in your life on a consistent basis.

Pair commitment with discipline and you’ll have a match made in heaven

Happiness is the currency of life. Everything that we do is to increase our levels of happiness. From the the things we buy, the decisions we make, and the people we surround ourselves with.

Many of these things are a means to an end and do not necessarily guarantee us a bigger smile when we wake up tomorrow.

It’s very easy to get wrapped up in the bigger and better cycle. However the true path to authentic happiness is by living within your truth.

Every role that you play, every situation you will be in, and every experience you have is essentially neutral; there is infinite potential and they can be interpreted in many ways.

Getting clear on your expectations is one way to help shape those roles, situations, and experiences.

Create more discipline in the pursuit of your ideal roles by setting realistic expectations, EXCEPT failure but DO NOT expect it, and never be afraid to share who you are, who you want to be, and where you want to go in this world.

Live Limitless,


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