The Quest for Awesome's Manifesto

Building Freedom Through Methodical Discipline

1 - Daily Discipline

Continually run into the feeling of not having the space to do something and then doing it anyway creates massive long-term transformation.

2 - Minimalism

“The things you own end up owning you. It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything.”

― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

3 - Consistency Before Complexity

Consistency leads to deep understanding, which leads to the adaption and self-organization needed for truly complex (not chaotic) systems to develop.

2012 is the year I sold everything I owned except for a 10kg (22lb) backpack and started a year-long journey around the world to 23 different countries.

It's also the year I finally defended my Masters' Thesis in Biomedical Engineering. 

It was a transitional and massively transformational year.

And the driving force behind it all? A yearning for freedom. A freedom to see the world with zero responsibilities—no social, no school, no work.

However, as I've reflected back there is an opposing driving force creating all the freedom I crave.

And that is discipline. Methodical discipline.

These opposing forces—freedom through methodical discipline—are the core essence of The Quest for Awesome.

For me, freedom through methodical discipline has been built through three aspects: daily discipline, minimalism and consistency before complexity.

Let's dig into each one individually...

Doing Something Everyday Teaches Discipline & Discipline is Key

Discipline is one of the most powerful characteristics I've cultivated in myself.

This ability to choose to do something because I know it's good for me in the long term and then consistently showing up to do it, even when I don't want to...ESPECIALLY when I don't want to. 

“A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.”

― Anthony Trollope, Novelist

Life will always find a way to get in the way, but showing up and doing the work anyway turned out to be a powerful characteristic to build in myself.

Turns out big goals and transformation often require a lot of work and time. And it turns out small, consistent action trumps large, intense bursts in the long run.

A daily discipline practice forces me to continually run into the feeling of not having the time/space/energy/desire/willpower/[any-excuse-my-brain-came-up-with] to do something and then doing it anyway.

Once I had this skill I could apply it to more complex areas of life to experience some next level transformation. Discipline has helped me build a(n):

  • Daily journaling practice, which has been going strong since 2012
  • 6-Pack
  • Daily meditation practice
  • Location independent lifestyle
  • Life of minimalism and focusing on experiences over stuff
  • Daily flossing habit
  • 60 second handstand
  • Increased flexibility of my hamstrings

There are lots of things you could do everyday to build discipline, but I recommend a very specific activity to everyone, because I think it's important to be strategic with this choice as it's an activity you'll be doing everyday.

Daily Journaling is My Favorite Discipline Building Habit

Daily journaling is my favorite habit to build discipline.

It provides so many additional benefits that when you start doing it everyday it starts to compound and can create some startling transformations.

Here are some of the ones I have personally experienced...

“I write in a journal daily. This extraordinary ritual has revolutionized my mindset, transformed my heartset, and generally influenced my life exponentially.”

― Robin Sharma, Author 

  • Elevated mental clarity and spiritual awareness.
  • Faster personal growth through goal setting, progress tracking and following through on projects/commitments.
  • Deeper understanding of myself.
  • Showing up as my best, authentic self more often.
  • Able to distill down abstract thoughts or feelings and ground them in reality.
  • Finding comfort in the ebbs and flows of my mind.
  • More progressive, anchored and spiritually alert.
  • A form of personal therapy where I can resolve emotional, social, professional, and spiritual issues.
  • Awareness of the juicer bits of life I often brushed under the rug.
  • A written record I can use as a practical source of information.
  • A more colorful, rich and clear memory of my past.
  • Becoming a better writer, with nicer handwriting.
  • Seeing many of my wildest dreams fulfilled simply by writing them down.

Living a Minimalist Lifestyle

At the end of 2012 before I left on my trip around the world for a year I realized I had accumulated SO MUCH stuff and I was faced with a tough dilemma.

What do I do with it all? I love all of this stuff...

and I will definitely need it...

“The things you own end up owning you. It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything.”

― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Ultimately, I decided to sell as much of it as I could through garage sales and then donate the rest.

This gave me a ton of extra money for my trip as well as saving me a bunch of money from not having to get everything in storage for a year.

This was an amazing decision. Turns out I didn't actually love the stuff and I didn't really need any of it.

I proved it by living for the entire year out of a 10 kg (22 pound) backpack and having an absolute blast at the freedom of it all.

It was on this year-long journey I decided I'd continue to be extremely mindful of the things I brought into my life. Because I was constantly moving and only had a small backpack, anything I decided to carry along with me had to be carefully considered.

To this day I continue to live out of carry-on luggage.

There's something amazingly freeing about knowing I can pack up everything I own into a small backpack in a few minutes and leave wherever I am at the drop of a hat and know I don't have to come back because of stuff.

Consistency Before Complexity

The problem with complexity is the more complex the system, the more effort it takes to keep sustainable.

This is because the more individual parts you add to the system the greater chance of break down.

 This goes for any system—morning routine, workout, military, or business. 

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”

—Jim Rohn, Entrepreneur

The more complex, the more difficult it becomes to manage, which is why true complexity is less common than we actually think. Often what we take as complex, is actually chaos.

True complexity is unsustainable without constant maintenance, self-organization, or adaptation.

So the solution is the KISS strategy (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

However, keeping things "simple" isn't so easy.

Boiling something chaotic or complex down to it's essence requires hard work and a deep understanding to be able to strip away the "right" distractions from the main work.

So the best solution is to focus on consistency, first.

This is because life is messy and will always find a way to get in the way.

Focusing on staying consistent through the unpredictability of life will force simplicity because when you're committed to getting something done consistently it forces distractions to be pulled away to keep the essence when life starts getting in the way.

This then leads to a deep understanding of the true main work needing to be done, which will bring about the adaption and self-organization needed to keep up with the maintenance a more complex system requires.

Freedom Through Not Freedom?

It's interesting, these three principles—do things when you don't want to do them, don't buy stuff, focus on consistency—are rigid.

The opposite of freedom.

Yet, it's this rigidity that allows the space for freedom to emerge.

The skill of discipline allows me to work on long-term goals slowly and methodically with minimal overwhelm and impact on other areas of life.

Being strict on what material goods I bring into my life allows me to not get tied down by stuff and able to change apartments, houses, cities, towns, states, countries, or entire continents on a whim.

Consistency helps me build strong habits that happen on autopilot, which frees up my mind to stay more present in the moment and take on higher level activities more often.

It has been exciting to witness and it continues to push me to expand and share.

So if you've made it this far, thank you. And if these principles resonate with you, I invite you to sign up and join my newsletter below for more.

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