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The Long Game - Issue #116

We are almost halfway through 2019. Are you where you want to be? Are you still working toward the go
Taylor Somerville
The Long Game - Issue #116
By Taylor Somerville • Issue #116 • View online
We are almost halfway through 2019. Are you where you want to be? Are you still working toward the goals that you set at the start of the year or did you forget them in February and continue on the same path you were on in 2018?
 For most people, nothing changes for the long term from year to year. If you are struggling to move forward, three Stoic principles will help get you on your way. These principles are: (1) control your perceptions; (2) direct your actions properly; and, (3) willingly accept what’s outside your control.
“All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way.” Marcus Aurelius
1. Control your perceptions
One of the few things we can control are our thoughts. Do we allow negative self-talk to beat us down and keep us from achieving what we want? When someone pisses us off, are we reactive and attack them back? No matter what happens to us during the day, our perception of the event is under our control. If we allow others to dictate our mood, it is much easier to get angry and upset. At times, defending ourselves is justified. However, most of the time it is not worth the hassle. When someone talks bad about you or trashes your work, it is their insecurities that trigger the statements, not you. When I experience this, I try to remind myself that we are all struggling in some way and have our own issues and insecurities.
 
2. Direct your actions properly
Directing our actions properly is also within our control. Do you look at Facebook and Instagram all day or do you put in the hard work to better yourself? Are you present when you are with family and friends or always on your phone? Do you give your time to help others? Are you taking the right steps to achieve your goals? These can be difficult for all of us, but if you are want to improve your life, they are important.
Since starting my own business, there are days when I struggle to do what I know I need to do to move forward. When I experience this, I use Mel Robbins’ 5-second rule, which involves counting “5-4-3-2-1-GO” and moving towards action. This forces me into taking the action I know I needed to take. If we want to be in a different place one year from now, we must take the proper actions today.
3. Willingly accept what’s outside your control
Our thoughts and our actions are all we control. We must willingly accept this and move on. We do not control other’s responses to our work. No matter what we do in life, some people will hate it, some will love it, and some won’t care. We cannot worry about all of the negative news or gossip going on in our social and professional circles. This information will do nothing to move us forward in life. In fact, they are parasitic. Turn off the news and the friends or co-workers who constantly talk about others. We cannot worry about these petty issues. We must keep pushing forward, doing our work and eventually what we want will all come together.
As I struggle through the ups and downs of running my own business, these principles help me immensely and I hope they do the same for you. Let’s go ahead and jump into this week’s links.

Wow, this is a powerful video that brought tears to my eyes. In all honesty, I’ve been a little down on myself recently but after watching this kid, it helped me get out of a funk. My problems are nothing compared to his and he has an incredible view on life. His comment, “don’t waste energy feeling bad for yourself” reminded me that most of us go through times where we get the “poor me’s”, but this mindset won’t help us move forward. We must pick ourselves up when we falter. If we feel bad for ourselves, it will only create a negative feedback loop. The better approach is to take action and get going again. Watch the video to check out the rest of his philosophy for a happy life.
This is an interesting piece that dovetails in to Principal No. 1 from my intro - “control your perceptions.” How we tell our life story has a direct relationship to how we feel. If we can find the positives in traumatic experiences such as losing a job or loved one, we are much more likely to have a fulfilling life. Learning how to reframe our past experiences into a positive light takes work, but is worth it.
Achievement doesn’t equal happiness. Most of us have told ourselves, at some point in our lives, “when I achieve X, I can be happy.” Whether it is the promotion, winning a race or getting the big house, none of these will make us happy or fulfilled. Human relationships are a key indicator of happiness and without them we cannot be fulfilled and satisfied. The journey of life is a process that brings the fulfillment. We can’t expect completing a goal to bring us long-term life satisfaction. It is more important to have quality relationships, move forward in our pursuits, enjoy the journey of life and forget about the outcomes.
If you’ve ever been to one of my breath classes you will hear me discuss these techniques. Box breathing is a great way to center yourself for the day and can be done in as little as 5 minutes to reset yourself. Box breathing includes an inhale, hold, exhale, and hold all for the same amount of time. Start with 3 seconds and work your way up as you feel comfortable. The article also discusses a technique called tactical breathing, inhale for 4 seconds and exhale for 4 seconds with no holds. I recommend making your exhale longer than your inhale because it is a stronger trigger in the mind to tell your body to relax. I recommend inhaling for 4 and exhaling for 6-8 whenever stress gets you in the heat of the moment.
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Before I go, here are a few more interesting articles to check out.
If you would like to support The Long Game, please visit my patreon page. I hope you enjoyed another edition of The Long Game, feel free to pass it along. Have a great weekend!
In Health,
Taylor
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Taylor Somerville

The Long Game is a newsletter for people that want to grow and challenge themselves. It is about the drive to better ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually while having the curiosity to enjoy the journey. I will include articles, podcast, videos, and blogs on a variety of topics ranging from psychology, fitness, meditation, and nutrition. I am a certified XPT Coach, I hold the Art of Breath certification, I am a CrossFit Level 1 trainer and hold the Aerobic Capacity certficate. Checkout my website www.symmetry.live to learn more about the services I offer.

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