What does it take to become the best possible version of myself?
To live life to the fullest? To show up for everything I do on top of my game? To unlock my full potential? To leave it all out on the field?
What does it take for me to become Superhuman?
These are the questions I've been asking myself the past few years. By no means do I have all of the answers, but I'm now able to see the pieces to the puzzle and start to align some corner pieces. I've got a long way to go on this journey, but I'm focused on getting a little better each and every day.
Ultimately, becoming a Superhuman really just comes down to one thing: unleashing the best possible version of myself upon this world. Anything less that that is a waste, and we all know the saddest thing in life is wasted talent.
Unfortunately, that one thing is quite difficult to achieve.
That's because this is, by nature, incredibly different for everyone. The best possible version of me is going to look quite different than the best possible version of you. And that's totally ok.
There are some common variables in the equation that we all need to solve for. These cornerstones are universal to all of us, although we may place vastly different importance on each one. This is what makes us unique.
In order to be the best me or the best you, we need to make sure we are firing on all cylinders in these four areas:
This may be the most important cornerstone of all, because without our health we have nothing.
As far as I can tell, we only have one body in this lifetime. It is literally irreplaceable, and yet we treat our bodies like shit. Many people treat their shoes better than they treat their own bodies.
There is a fundamental lack of education around health and wellness. There's so much bad and conflicting information out there that it's hard to tell right from wrong. We take the philosophy "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." We sometimes even rationalize if it's only a little broke, ignore it. I know I'm guilty of this. We assume everything is good until one day it's not. Years of unhealthy choices catch up to us, and when it does finally break, we can't fix it.
In the ultimate selfish act, I plan on living an awfully long time. 120 years old? Sure, why not? Through a combination of amazing advances in biotechnology and immaculate maintenance of my body based on current scientific knowledge, I'm convinced I could reasonably live into my 100s in good health. It's like the typical advice you hear regarding your 401(k) account:
"If you start early, you'll be set for life. If you wait too long, you're fucked."
Maybe I'm paraphrasing a bit, but you get the point. I want to ensure I'm doing everything I can now to properly fuel and maintain my body so I can live long enough for technology to fill in the gaps.
I know that to bring my absolute best to this world, I need a pristine bill of health.
This is a super tricky one. There is a huge distinction between wealthy and rich, although many people use these words interchangeably. Rich can be incredibly relative. There's a famous Wall St. joke:
A couple of old friends are reunited at their high school reunion. Trying to stir up conversation, one of them asks, "What would you do if you woke up tomorrow morning with $1,000,000 in your bank account?" One person says that he would quit his job. Another says she'd pay off her mortgage and save the rest. The Goldman Sachs banker says, "I'd freak out and wonder where the rest of my money went."
Rich is relatvie. Being wealthy is completely different. It's not predicated on a dollar amount.
Here's the best definition of wealthy I've been able to find:
"Wealthy means being able to do the things you want when you want without regards to financial consequences."
Do you need a tremendous amount of money to be wealthy by that definition? Not necessarily. It really depends on your lifestyle. Obviously, you need a certain minimum threshold income per year to cover the necessities, but after that the threshold of being wealthy is entirely up to you.
Most people equate rich and wealthy to not having to work ever again. I don't think that's right. I want to "work" until I'm 120. Perhaps, there are times that work will bring me significant income. Other times it may not come with any. If it feels like my "work" is exactly what I want to be doing when I want to be doing it, then I'm not really concerned at all with what my financial compensation is in return.
To operate at the highest level, I need to free myself from financial constraints so I can produce my best work.
Once the cornerstones of health and wealth are met, it's important to move on to the next level stuff: Contribution and Growth.
I'm not sure when this feeling started for me, but I think it was a seed that had been planted during my childhood. Being able to contribute to something that is bigger than myself is what drives me since as early as I can remember. This contribution has taken many forms over the years, but I like the way Kevin Spacey said it:
"If you’ve done well, it’s your obligation to spend a good portion of your time sending the elevator back down."
This philosophy is what has built mankind into what it is today. A burning desire by each generation to make progress, to further society in some tangible way, to contribute.
It's easy to put this contribution off for a later date. As Kevin says, "if you've done well." I don't buy that part. You don't need to wait until you've "made it." There are things you can do to contribute at any stage of life. Even if you're only on the second floor, you can be damn certain there are people on the ground floor or in the basement that would love to see that elevator door open.
Contribution comes in many shapes and sizes, but regardless of the form, it is what I need to thrive.
I blame it entirely on the Legend of Zelda. As a small child, I can't tell you how many hours I sunk into this video game (and then many similar games after that). The goal was to level-up and improve the main character Link so that he could beat tougher bosses in increasingly difficult dungeons. And that right there is a microcosm of my life.
I am constantly trying to improve my skills and abilities, but instead of trying to shoot the Silver Arrows at Ganon, I'm focused on solving bigger and more complex problems. I invest a significant portion of my free time, money and resources into making myself better.
"A constant, never-ending commitment to consistently increase the quality of my life every single day would give me the power to dominate the markets of the world." via Tony Robbins
The best version of me is definitely better than the current version of me, and the only way to get there is to continue to grow.
When I was in college, we weren't exactly model students. Sometimes we had a little too much fun, but we did what we had to do to get our shit done. There were times where we had to kick it into hyperdrive in order to get everything done. We had to become better versions of ourselves. My roommate referred to this as Operation Superhuman.
We would eat healthy, exercise, study, not drink or party, and just become laser focused on being uber productive. We were doing everything we could to operate in a peak state. We were unleashing the best versions of ourselves in order to get our work done -- even if it was only for brief periods of time.
My goal now is to try operate in this peak state all the time. By taking care of my health, focusing on building long-term wealth, making sure I'm contributing to something bigger than myself, and leveling up like the Legend of Zelda, I am in my happy zone. I can dominate. And I can unleash the best me upon this world. That's what life is all about.