What is The Mental Architect?
In life there exists an uncountable number of things to focus on. Diverting your attention away from negativity and towards positive thinking is only half the battle. Once you’re operating under the framework of self improvement, ambiguity is your greatest enemy. By virtue of reading this, I can assume that a great deal of your mental processes is already devoted towards the path of growth. However, the path of growth is not a straight line, but more of a spider web of inter-tangled routes you can potentially take. What route is correct? What areas in my life will yield the greatest fruits of fulfillment? Simply put, what should I choose to focus on?
I’m glad you asked.
A life of fulfillment can be broken down into 5 primary components. Any action you take should be positively aligned with one of these five areas:
Purpose, Health, Wealth, Relationships, and Mindfulness.
This is your North Star, your reason for getting up in the morning and your reason for staying awake so late at night. It is your legacy and your contribution to the world. All human beings have an innate desire to feel that the world has been somehow changed by their existence. We all want to feel that we have made a difference.
Purpose is a tough word. It can conjure up a lot of romantic notions in one’s head that can tend to lead them astray into a land of unrealistic expectations. A much more productive definition would be Responsibility. Purpose, at its core, is based in responsibility. It is crucial that you carry a load greater than yourself. The weight of that load is measured by the impact your responsibility has on the society around you. The greater the load, the better. So long as you don’t find yourself crushed underneath it.
Weather it’s to a group of people, an idea, or even the earth we walk on, it is imperative that you incur the greatest level of responsibility you can muster. Someone, or something, must depend on you. This is the secret to living a life of purpose.
As you’re reading this, it’s more likely than not you are thinking to yourself “well that’s all fine and dandy Sam, but I have no idea what my purpose is.” For the majority of my life, I would’ve said the same thing. In this case, I would encourage you to consider one crucial exercise in order to bring you closer to your purpose.
Imagine that for the past hour you have been on a stage in front of an audience made up entirely of the people in this world you respect the most. Every mentor you’ve ever learned from, every author you’ve enjoyed. Every teacher, friend and family member that has made a difference in your life. For the past hour, you have been on stage, delivering and expressing the depths of your creative soul to the audience. You walk off stage, and you leave the room.
Now that you have left the room, what do you want these people to say about you?
The answer to this question, answers the questions of the legacy you want to leave behind in your life. The legacy you want to leave behind in your life, answers the question of your purpose.
If you want people to think “wow, that was the funniest guy I’ve ever seen in my life. My sides hurt from laughing.” Chances are, you are meant to be a comedian. If you want people to think “wow, I never knew people in Africa suffered so much and I never knew how much we could do to help them.” You are meant to be a philanthropist. If you want people to think “Holy shit I never knew that about the human body. From now on I’m going to eat right and exercise.” Chances are, you are meant to be a physical trainer, nutritionist or health teacher.
Consider your strengths. Consider the legacy you want to leave behind. Consider your purpose in life.
You can give a man a victoria’s secret supermodel girlfriend, a fleet of yachts and luxury homes around the world, a purpose that leaves him feeling fulfilled and satisfied, and a toothache. Through all that, he will be unhappy. Why? Because it doesn’t matter what you have in this world. If you have a toothache, all you can possibly focus on is the 1000 things you would trade to make your tooth feel better.
Our health is one of those things we don’t particularly pay attention to until it’s gone. And once its gone, its all we can possibly pay attention to until we get it back. 50% of people in the united states have a chronic disease. 100 million americans are either diabetic of pre-diabetic. And you can bet the farm that these statistics will only get worse. Often times, when people visualize health, they envision a man with six pack abs or a woman with an ass that would make a ripe peach jealous. These are noble goals of health, and I encourage you to pursue them. However, active pursuit of your health is important not just for reasons of athleticism and vanity, it is important in the sense that without it you will literally die.
We have hit an age of comprehensive availability of murderous foods and a sedentary lifestyles. In doing so, the stakes of our health have been raised. Without actively researching and improving your health habits on a daily basis, you will fall into the common denominator of health. These days, the common denominator is obese and diseased. This is not cynicism, this is statistics. Without health, you will not have the energy, capability, or motivation to pursue your purpose, your relationships, or any of the other principles of fulfillment. Health is the most basic foundation atop which all of our other goals will rest. Your tower of ambition can, and will, be knocked down over and over again throughout your life. So long as the foundation on which it was built remains strong, you can simply rebuild. However, if the soil on which your tower is built begins to corrode, if your health degrades, it is incredibly difficult to restore this foundation. Become healthy, and once you have the wolf by the ears, don’t let him go.
If you have spent much time digging around the generalized teachings of the self development community, you will have noticed a commonality amongst many of the greatest works.
Money doesn’t make you happy.
This is an incredibly misleading way to phrase the truth. While this saying touches on the boundary of truth, it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Allow me to rephrase this nugget of wisdom in a way that reveals the nuance of the situation.
Material possession doesn’t make you happy.
Notice the difference between these two phrases. It can be difficult at first, because for many of us, wealth equates to material possession. When you think of a wealthy man or woman, you picture the lifestyle of nice cars, nice homes, and nice things. The problem with these possessions is that they bring you happiness, not fulfillment. Happiness is based on stimulation. A well cooked steak and a skilled blowjob will make me happy. But these things will not bring me fulfillment. Fulfillment comes from becoming the person that you are meant to become. Moreover, the happiness these things bring you is fundamentally temporal and fleeting. When you experience a pleasant sensation, you develop attachment to that sensation. Unfortunately, all things are impermanent. There is no steak or blowjob that lasts forever. And when they are taken from you, your attachment turns to suffering. Based on these principles we can see very clearly that obtaining possessions or physical sensations are fundamentally flawed paths to achieving true happiness.
So why is wealth important you ask? What can my wealth afford me if not sensation?
Wealth buys you freedom.
Spending time pursuing that which you find meaningful will bring your happiness. If you are struggling to put food on the table or make rent, this is an incredibly difficult thing to do. Many self development teachers will tell you to make your passion your work, that way you can make money doing what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life. Yes, if you can successfully make a living doing what you love, that is fantastic and I envy you. However, I am here to tell you the hard truth, that life is not always that simple.
You must accrue wealth to allow yourself the luxury to pursue that which you find meaningful, often times a pursuit which is very difficult to monetize. You must accrue wealth so that you have the freedom to have flexibility in the location in which you live such that you have the opportunity to travel and experience the world. You must accrue wealth because, as we all know, organic kale and wild caught salmon is fucking expensive and as we established earlier, you’ve got to stay on top of your health. Become wealthy, but do it for the right reasons.
Human beings are social animals. Weather you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert, that doesn’t change this simple truth. It simply changes how this truth is expressed. In life, all we really want is to love and to be loved. Nearly everything we do in life is in the pursuit of approval from our family, our friends, and the people in this world we find to be most sexy.
Top Five Regrets of the Dying is a book in which the author interviews people on their deathbed, asking what they would have done differently in their life. The most common regret amongst them is that they wished they hadn’t worked so hard, and instead, had spent more time with the people they loved most. “This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.”
Human connection is what makes this life worth living and its closely tied into every other principle of fulfillment laid out before you. Your purpose in life is inextricably tied to the responsibility you have to others. Wealth is inseparable from the freedom it grants you to work less and spend more time with those you love.
Depression, anxiety and a generalized sense of unease are all on the rise. One of the most common factors of contribution towards these ailments is social isolation. The relationships in your life are paramount to your mental health. Moreover, if you want to experience the exact opposite feeling of depression and anxiety, an abundant sense of social connection and acceptance by the opposite sex is the most surefire way to get there.
Jordan Peterson proved that social hierarchy is not a construct of modern civilization. It has deep evolutionary roots going back hundreds of millions of years. This social hierarchy is designed to alter an organism’s physiology and keep it in its place, thereby keeping it safe from retribution amongst organisms higher up in the hierarchy. Organisms low down in this hierarchy are much more likely to suffer disease, die early, take less risks, and fail to reproduce. Moreover, those at the top enjoy all the benefits of an abundant life.
Luckily, we no longer live in a tribe, and we are able to hack this system. Achieve a high spot in the social hierarchy. Become accepted by high status men and desired by attractive women. In doing so, you will fundamentally change the physiology of your brain. New neural pathways will open up and the path to success will become not only clear, but inevitable. And the best part, the people you’ve cultivated relationships will help you along the way.
Think of purpose, health, wealth and relationships as a delicious meal, with each category representing its own essential food group. If these four fundamentals make up your meal, than mindfulness is the plate atop which it is all served.
Mindfulness is the lense through which you experience reality. More specifically, mindfulness is the lense that allows you to actually experience reality. Without it, you are experiencing a manufactured and incorrect version of reality that is based in craving, aversion, and ultimately suffering. Mindfulness allows you to see the world as it truly is.
What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the state of being aware of the inner workings of your mind. It is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Rather than being a slave to your thoughts, you become the master of your thoughts. Rather than being a servant to your emotions, you learn to control them. Mindfulness is nothing short of a superpower. It is a cheat code for happiness and fulfillment. Rather than attempting to cultivate positive emotions from external sources, it allows you to tap into the endless stream of contentment and positivity which is common to all human beings. This fountain of bliss is your birthright. A birthright society has been attempting to drive you away from for years.
How do you cultivate mindfulness?
It’s really that simple. There are about a million different styles of meditation out there. Personally, I would recommend Vipassana meditation. But, feel free to do whatever works for you. Although meditation can sound intimidating, I assure you it is one of the simplest things you’ve ever done.
As a starting point, set a timer for 20 minutes. Sit down comfortably, and focus all your attention on your breath. Any time a thought enters your head (it should take about 3 seconds before one does), simply acknowledge the thought without reacting to it, let it go, and return focus to the breath.
Just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. 20 – 60 minutes of meditation a day is by far the best ratio of time investment to fulfillment and happiness you could receive from any activity in life.
Sam is an ambassador for personal growth. When Sam started to take action towards a better life, it wasn’t long before he was hooked faster than Captain Blackbeard’s left hand. Years later, Sam strives to produce change in others similar to the identity level transformation which occurred within himself. His aim is to break fulfillment down into a series of straightforward steps, and introduce it into the life of anyone who is willing to embark on the path of action, education and ownership.