For most of us, upping your Zen game isn't just about living in a state of bliss and having a clear and empty mind.
You and I aren't monks living on a mountain top, with endless days and nights to develop our inner most peace whilst we hone our spiritual mastery towards enlightenment. Hell no.
We are urbanites, dealing with a thousand and one #firstworldproblems. But still, we can work towards a kind of urban enlightenment.
I've coined the term Urban Enlightenment to simply mean that in spite of our super busy, crazy lives, we can still strive to have more confidence (here I mean having true confidence that comes from knowing yourself, and being totally, utterly cool with that), having less stress, and to feel amazing.
One core element which feeds into all three of these categories (more confidence, less stress, feel amazing) is fearlessness.
When you are truly confident, you are free to act fearlessly. When you are no longer full of stress, doubts and worries, you are free, and hence you are fearless. And when you are fearless, you feel truly amazing. SWEET!
So given all of this, it's no wonder when I recently read 50 Cent and Robert Greene's book, The 50th Law, it was a TOTAL gamechanger for me. To be super clear, this book was actually released back in 2009, so you've probably already heard of it, or read it. I'm just a little late -- okay like five years -- to the party. But better now than never.
Even if you're not a 50 fan please stay with me, because the insights and mindset expressed in this is book are GOLD.
Here are just four lessons on fearlessness, taken from The 50th Law:
Lesson 1. What is the 50th Law? What are the key characteristics of people who live according to this law?
The 50th Law is based on the notion that good and bad things happen to us in life, things which we don't have much control over. But the one thing we can control, is our mindset in how we respond to these events.
... if we are able to overcome our anxieties and forge a fearless attitude towards life, something strange and remarkable can occur -- that margin of control over circumstances increases ... And the people who practice the 50th Law in their lives all share certain qualities- supreme boldness, unconventionality, fluidity, and a sense of urgency -- that give them this unique ability to shape circumstance. (page 19)
Lesson 2. Why it doesn't pay to be conservative, or a people pleaser.
[When you bring] your usual fears into any encounter, you narrow your options and your capacity to shape event s... Being conservative, for instance, can force you into a corner in which you are more likely to lose what you have in the long run because you also lose the capacity to quickly adapt to change. Trying so hard to please people can actually end up pushing people away -- it is hard to respect someone who has such an ingratiating attitude. (page 21)
Lesson 3. Taking action in spite of your fear is the answer to being supremely powerful.
Being afraid of things is totally okay. But we can't let our fears stop us from speaking up or taking action.
Here's what 50 thinks:
The key to possessing this supreme power is to assume the active mode in dealing with your fears. This means entering the very arenas you normally shy away from: making the very hard decisions you have been avoiding, confronting the people who are playing power games with you, think of yourself and what you need instead of pleasing others, making yourself change the direction of your life even though such a change is the very thing you dread. (page 21)
WOW. How many people do we know like this? Doing the same thing, thinking the same ways, stuck in the same cycles because they are too afraid to make decisions and take actions to change their circumstances.
If this is you, maybe now is a good time to ask -- is this how I really want to live the rest of whole life?
What fears are keeping you locked inside an invisible cage?
What life might you be able to lead, if you were to act in spite of your fears?
Lesson 4. Being unafraid to live with a sense of wonder and an open mind is essential for creating opportunities.
With time, our minds tend to close off. At some point, we feel like we know what we need to know; our opinions are certain and firm. We do this out of fear. We don't want our assumptions about life challenged ... What you need to do in life is return to that mind you possessed as a child, opening up to experience instead of closing it off. Just imagine for a day that you do not know anything, that what you believe could be completely false ... See everything as a source of education ... When you operate this way, you will notice that something strange happens. Opportunities will begin to fall into your lap because you are more receptive to them. Sometimes luck or serendipity is more a function of the openness of your mind. (page 40)
The stories and insights about 50 in this book are truly inspiring, but this book has nothing to do with rapping and everything to do with mindset.
So if you'd like to live in greater freedom with less fear, I seriously recommend you read this book and actively put your attention on living a more fearless life.
Hell, why not do something right now?
Now's the perfect time to do that thing you've been putting off because it's just too scary/overwhelming/unnerving/intimidating. Whatever.
Make that call. Tell that person. Look in that mirror.
Whatever is it -- take action. Go hard. Be fearless.
50 would be proud (and I am too).
This article was originally posted in Pimp My Zen, a blog about Urban Enlightenment.