USE it or LOSE it: The Art of Cultivating Your Life


We all tend towards entropy. Our supercomputer subconscious brains are working to keep as running at maximum efficiency, but at a time where we don't need to fear for our lives from large cats or other predators, our built-in conservation mechanism can do us a great disservice. This is because of a universal law at work: You can use it, or you can lose it. Our bodies require stress to function. When astronauts leave the force of gravity behind, they also lose its effects. They begin to atrophy as their bodies suffer the confusion from the lack of "stress" on them. Just like any muscle in the body, being your authentic self and living the life you dream of are practices requiring cultivation.

Smiling has been said to be easier than frowning. It requires fewer muscles, after all. Yet how many people do you see in your daily life walk around with a smile beaming on their faces? Probably too few. Perhaps because I've reached the tipping point in my own journey, I now realize gratitude is easier than annoyance and frustration, yet this requires creating new neural pathways which come only with practice. 

When I decided to run a 5k barefoot, I knew it wouldn't be something I could do cold turkey. I trained for it, I conditioned the souls of my feet. I did things barefoot every day, both walking and running. I ran the race successfully and had a great time doing it, even though my feet were STILL sore at the end. In the weeks that followed, I was not spending as much time barefoot. I went running around the block barefoot and found it extremely challenging, something I could do easily only weeks prior. What happened?  I didn't use my feet, so I lost the conditioned toughness. If you don't use it, you lose it. The same goes for the rest of your life. 

Are you unhappy with your life? Begin to flex your gratitude muscles. Form a practice that involves daily rituals and moment-by-moment reframing. Is there a state of fitness you hope to achieve? The first step is to get active. Choose one activity and stick with it until it becomes second nature. From a sense of purpose to happiness in the work you do, the entirety of your life is something that is first received and then cultivated. Being honest with yourself and others may look effortless, but it takes work. The people in your life who you deeply admire and respect didn't just become who they are by accident, they worked at it. 

Use it or lose it. Being who you want to be requires using the abilities and BEhaviors you have in your arsenal. From your health and wealth to your relationships and dreams, culivate your life with focused effort daily.