Do you know the opposite of human flourishing? It’s languishing.
It’s when we feel like nothing we do matters.
One of the main causes of this is what psychologists call cognitive dissonance—it’s when our beliefs and behaviors don’t align.
So many people get caught up optimizing their behaviors—learning all the productivity hacks and researching the best way to set goals—they never stop to think if those behaviors and goals are aligned with what resonates with them on a fundamental level.
So today, I’m going to help you avoid this trap.
Let’s dive in…
An Introduction to Human Sacrifice (No, Not That Kind)
Every decision you make is a sacrifice.
When you’re at a fork in the road and you choose to go right, you sacrifice (aka, give up) everything on the left path.
This is a good thing because it reminds us who’s in control of the trajectory of our lives: Us.
But most people never actively choose which sacrifices they make. They just coast through life burnt out, disengaged from the work they do, and uninspired about their future.
Because they make unintentional sacrifices:
- They sacrifice their health goals by stocking their house with junk food.
- They sacrifice building an engaged audience by chasing growth hacks.
- They sacrifice their reputation by shilling scams and cash grabs.
But you can just as easily make intentional sacrifices.
Here are a few I’ve made that have had a huge positive influence on the trajectory of my life:
- I sacrificed the security of a steady paycheck from a therapy job for the freedom of entrepreneurship.
- I sacrificed binging tv all evening to learn new skills like copywriting and course creation.
- I sacrificed spending all weekend partying to build my business.
And every day, I sacrifice staying in my comfort zone and playing it safe to push myself to reach my potential, and help other creators reach theirs.
Because the sacrifices we make today determine the trajectory of our life tomorrow.
Where do you want to be in 6 months?
You and I make sacrifices every day whether we choose to or not.
Which is why we have to be intentional with the sacrifices we make.
So our life trajectory stays in the direction we actually want it to go.
Which brings me to my next point…
Choosing Your Struggle
“The struggle is guaranteed. Success isn’t.”— Tom Bilyeu
Sacrifices are the daily choices we make that influence the trajectory of our life, so how does choosing a struggle fit into this?
Think of sacrifices as the how, and your struggle as the what.
Your struggle is the overarching theme of this chapter of your life.
For example, I got this question recently:
People tell me they enjoy my writing, so you might think writing comes easy to me.
But no one sees my rough draft process—only the final version.
Every single time I write feels like bellycrawling through broken glass.
But I expect it to be painful. If it wasn’t, more people would do it.
Same with running a business. I rarely have any idea what the fuck I’m doing. Solopreneurship to me mostly looks like clacking away on my keyboard all day in a bathrobe, making sure I drink enough water to balance out the black coffee, and lowkey just crossing my fingers and hoping this shit works out.
It’s a daily struggle.
But it’s the struggle I’ve chosen.
Because being a writer and solopreneur are the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done.
The freedom and impact I can have on this path far outweigh the uncertainty and pain, so I gladly accept them.
This is my “secret” to staying motivated despite all the self-doubt, uncertainty, and pain of being a creator.
What struggle have you chosen, and how does it relate to where you said you wanted to be in 6 months?
The Key Ingredient to Human Flourishing
If sacrifices are the how, and your struggle is the what, then intrinsic motivation is the why that underscores everything else.
Here are 3 questions that can give you an idea of what intrinsic motivation looks like for you:
- What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about money?
- What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
- Who would you work with for free?
These are things you’d do purely because you love doing them without regard for any external reward.
Intrinsic motivation is the key ingredient to human flourishing.
The rest is taking action to build your life and business aligned with doing intrinsically motivating work.
Remember where you said you wanted to be in 6 months? Why is this path, and all the struggles and sacrifices that go with it, worth it?
Because none of this matters if you don’t get hyper-clear on why it’s worth doing.
I’m a big fan of the idea that the quality of your questions influences the quality of your life.
Hopefully, these questions can help you clarify what fulfillment looks like for you, so you can align your life and business accordingly.
If you have a journaling habit, try adding these to the rotation:
- Why is this the path that leads to doing meaningful, purpose-driven work that fulfills me?
- What struggles will I choose that align with where this path will take me?
- How will I make intentional sacrifices to stay on this path?
These are the 3 ingredients to flourishing as a creator.
Keep me posted on your journey.