THIS IS ISSUE.016 OF THE SMRT LIST
In this edition of THE SMRT LIST, we’re going to chat about inner peace aka Serenity (I even named my new bike after this).
Imagine waking up one day realizing ten years have passed and you haven’t made any progress because you’ve been avoiding the real problem: YOU.
The unexamined life is not worth living. The best way to examine one’s life is through journaling.
You can’t solve a problem from the same place that created it (YOUR MIND). If you’re not writing things down, speaking to a therapist or a coach, and trying to do better than yesterday, you’re not growing.
The world isn’t going to slow down for you. STOP WASTING YOUR TIME.
Our inner peace is hugely influenced by triggers and most of them stem from the 3 relationships in life that matter, and define who you are:
- Your relationship with yourself: shapes your self-worth and beliefs.
- Your relationship with your parents: influences early emotional connections. You can learn a lot about yourself because your parents are often the source of all your good and bad traits.
- Your relationship with your significant other: reflects attachment and subconscious programming.
If you don’t have these foundations set up— forget about your friendships and even your kids. You can’t show up as your best self, and you can’t help anyone unless you help yourself. Focus on these relationships and you’ll find yourself leveling up quickly.
The truth is that everyone and everything will trigger us but the secret is to learn how to switch emotional states ASAP *but not sweep things under the rug at the same time*
It’s your choice. Do you want to take baby steps… or leaps?
Every year, I adopt a one-word theme to guide my journey and hit my goals, and in 2021, my word was “CALM.”
That was the year I truly began to work on healing from my car accident, gut shutting down from chronic stress, going blind from a concussion, exiting a super toxic relationship, and burnout from starting a couple of businesses during the pandemic. It was the best and worst year of my life— a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions. I like rollercoasters. 🙏🏼
We all need suffering and the earlier the better (will get harder as you age). I think our 30s is the perfect time for a breakdown of epic proportions because by then, hopefully, you’d have the wisdom and finances to navigate it effortlessly.
It was undoubtedly hard AF, but witnessing others remain stuck for decades motivates me to persist and grow.
The Profound Benefits of Inner Peace
- Become immune to opinions: Most people never experience success because they’re scared of what others think it’s all SELF-INDUCED. No one cares about you but yourself. Hard fact.
- Clarity to focus on happiness: Inner peace creates space in the mind to focus on what truly brings joy and fulfillment. Most people fail to reach their goals due to the constant noise of unnecessary rumination and cognitive overload, but there are strategies to overcome these obstacles.
- Bye-bye judgmental vibes: Being judgmental is often a reflection of our own insecurities. Embracing inner peace has allowed me to be less judgmental and more accepting of both myself and others, making life more peaceful and rewarding. Happy and confident folks have no time for judgment— we’ve got better things to do.
An Epic Quest for Serenity
I achieved my sense of calm by confronting everything that triggered me or made me uncomfortable head-on. It was no leisurely walk in the park; it was an all-out sprint. I don’t have time to stay stuck.
Uncomfortable truth: “Nobody was coming to save me but myself.”
As it turns out, life can be quite the buzzkill.
Imagine having your well-being go from 110% down to a measly 20%?! 🚫 My 20s were fucking amazing— I was an overachiever and achieved all my goals through hard work, persistence, and facing all my fears. I also did it on my own because I didn’t come from a moneyed background which means you have more resilience because you stay hungry. You learn to fight. It just becomes your thing.
I thought I had it together… until you don’t! After you understand what it feels like to live in OPTIMAL health and brain states, you will do anything to get back there.
One night as I broke down because my brain was a mess, dealing with chronic pain, not being able to ride my bike, and I kept on missing my physio appointments while trying to run my online businesses at the same time, I decided that things needed to change radically.
I made it a “game” of self-improvement. I remember the exact day: I was journaling and decided to change the story I was telling myself. Instead of agonizing or freezing in response to adversity, I told myself:
I’m going to make the most out of this journey and learn so much along the way. I can’t wait!!
Sounds lame, but this simple shift in perspective works wonders. This was the mindset I approached with my career, fitness, and everything in between
I used the same strategy to heal.
How To Achieve Inner Peace
If something works, don’t change it— optimize it.
🔥 Sprint towards everything that makes you uncomfortable.
🔥 Chase your triggers.
This included friends, opposing opinions, negative feedback, people who intimidated me, guys I dated who triggered me AF, dealing with unmet needs popping up from my childhood (parents), and general bad vibes.
Instead of running away or projecting yourself onto others by getting pissed off, angry, and annoyed (or beating myself up) as most people and my old self would, question yourself.
I took “living on the edge of my comfort zone” to a whole new level. Of course, it didn’t happen right away— it took an entire year but I reframed it as an adventure.
People don’t do the work because it’s hard AF. As you go deeper and deeper into the hidden depths of your subconscious, you’re going to uncover cringe-worthy traits that you HATE about yourself.
But you can’t fix what you don’t know so they must be brought into awareness.
Turn Frustration Into Curiosity
- When someone made me uncomfortable, I’d ask: “Which of their qualities do they have that I want?” Intimidation is your brain protecting you from your own feelings of lack.
- When someone says something that triggers me, I’d ask myself, “Am I annoyed at this person because what they say could be true?” They were breaking the paradigm of my internal bubble. Your brain’s only job is to keep you alive so when presented with unfamiliar stories, it gets defensive.
- When I got annoyed at my dad, I’d ask myself, “I know dad loves and only wants the best but what am I really feeling?” This was when I learned I got some of the bad habits I hated about myself from my parents. And when your parents do anything no matter how minuscule or silly, it’s amplified because they were your caregivers growing up (attachment theory).
- That person who avoids you because of their ego? There’s nothing wrong with pursuing because it’s much better to not leave anything on the table, and you have nothing to lose. You lose more when you avoid your problems.
I did this almost every single day. It was hard AF but I stuck to it and standing up to my own triggers was the most empowering feeling ever. It gave me a sense of control over my reality and I’ve literally “seen” how the power of your thoughts and actions can truly change your life.
Lessons from the Pursuit of Inner Peace
- Sitting with uncomfortable emotions: People numb themselves or avoid the hard truths, and we all know how that turns out. 🚫 Nothing ever gets resolved.
- Learning how to switch emotional states on the fly. I mastered the art of switching emotional states, moving from anxiety or frustration back to a state of calm without numbing or avoidance. You can elongate the gap between stimulus responses with techniques such as emotional regulation, mantras, meditation, journaling, stepping back, and reflection proved invaluable.
- Detachment from outcomes: These days when something bad happens, of course, I allow myself to react but not for long but I literally get over it just like that. Everything can be solved with a conversation or a moment of personal reflection.
- Deep compassion. I don’t judge anyone. I’m pretty opinionated and I had a few “friends” project themselves onto me because of a tiny slice they saw of me, along with their own insecurities (and ghosted me after) but this inner work helped me get over it so it doesn’t affect my well-being because I understood why they did what they did.
- Learn by observing others. It’ll motivate you to do better… because when you see somebody continuously repeating harmful patterns, isn’t it common sense to make sure it doesn’t happen to you?
- NEVER REPEAT THE SAME MISTAKE after you’ve brought it to awareness. The #1 rule I live by.
- Being kind to myself: letting go of self-induced pressures that cause unnecessary cortisol spikes that affect my holistic well-being. You can never control external forces but you’re in absolute control of your reactions.
Embracing Uncomfortable Truths
The pursuit of inner peace is not without challenges. As I grew, I realized that some friendships may not withstand the transformation. While it’s essential to be there for friends, it’s equally crucial to recognize when they resist growth or refuse help for mental health issues. Sometimes, we need to make cuts. They’re not your responsibility. I’m not your responsibility. We’re only responsible for saving ourselves.
Triggers will never entirely disappear, but confronting them allows us to grow and heal. Denying or suppressing these emotions can lead to profound consequences for our mental and physical health. These unresolved emotions are why people get sick, get cancer, and develop autoimmune issues.
Victory Day: My Serenity
As 2020 came to an end, I found myself back in LA, armed with newfound wisdom and a heart of steel. I was out on a bike ride in my beloved Santa Monica Mountains and had a moment of clarity.
I had decoded my true needs and desires by questioning my shadows and deep-rooted fears. Armed with this self-awareness, I found the courage to step into my power, embrace my self-worth, and confidently ask for what I wanted in life.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
Whether the answer was going to be a yes or no, it didn’t matter because you’ve developed a relentless drive to get what you want and never settle for what you don’t deserve.
That February of 2021, I spontaneously bought my new bike frame while dropping by my shop in the middle of a ride. She was finally finished in spring of 2023 after another profound experience of grief and death earlier this year. Her name is Serenity to remind me of this paradigm shift and how much I’ve grown.
Serenity is my trump card.
⏱ Current: 4 real-life examples of how I hardwired my brain to LOVE challenges, mountains, and the pain cave.
🥑 Health: Benefits Of Acupuncture & A Brief History
💸 Wealth: 3 Easy Hacks To Become An Executive Athlete
💕 Love: Uncomfortable Truths For Resilient Relationships
🥂 Life: My toxic trait: judging people who judge people for liking pineapples on their Pizza.
🧬 Science: Unlocking Flow State: Harnessing Flow Triggers For Peak Performance
🔮 Future: Create A Disciplined Self
⌛️ Past: Finding Serenity Amidst Chaos: How Inner Peace Heals The Nervous System