(#14) Flow State

What up y’all. After my recent podcast with Eric Hinman, I wanted to share some thoughts on flow state.

Flow state can be achieved in really any activity: basketball, golf, reading a book, hiking, shooting a bow, singing, chess, conversation… it’s all about being immersed in whatever you’re doing and getting out of your own head. Here’s a few examples of when I’ve experienced noticeable flow:

  • An engaging, meaningful conversation with someone where we are listening intently, responding authentically, and enjoying each other’s presence… not thinking about what the other person is thinking, or how your words are being interpreted, or how to “not make the conversation awkward.” Just vibing.

  • In a basketball game - not thinking about the crowd, the coach, the other team… just playing through instinctual reactions that stem from hours of practice, conditioning, and hard work - getting buckets and making plays.

  • Delivering a lecture to my class/public speaking - not thinking about my words or how the crowd is perceiving them. Not thinking about what the crowd thinks of me. Talking with my hands. Speaking my mind. Caring less about what the crowd thinks or wants. Speaking what I know. Explaining what I know.

These are just a few of the numerous examples I could write about, but I think you probably get the point. Flow state is simply reaction and performance without self conscious thought; a reaction to some stimulus in an authentic, non-predetermined way. Or as my dude Dr. Orville Easterly describes it, “living out here” not “in here” (pointing to his head).

It’s impossible to have anxiety in flow state. It’s impossible to be self conscious in flow state. It’s impossible to keep track of time in flow state. Flow state is freedom-filled, life-giving, and mindless. Imagine if you could always be in flow?!

That brings me to my next point: the present moment.

If you’ve listened to any self-improvement type podcasts, follow “motivational” accounts on IG/Twitter, or really just participate in social media whatsoever, you’ve most likely heard/seen people talking about the importance of “living in the present moment.” This topic has come up numerous times on my podcast, and I constantly see it being advertised across platforms. And here’s the deal: it’s important because being in the present moment is synonymous with being in flow, the two are interchangeable.

When you’re fully immersed in the task/activity in front of you, you’re in the present moment, you’re in flow. I don’t care if it’s peeling an orange, playing with your kids, or playing billiards. The present moment is where life happens. It’s all we have. The past is gone, the future is unpredictable and not guaranteed. The present moment all. we have. Even as I am typing this post, I keep going in and out of flow. When I’m in it, I’m basically word vomiting my thoughts and progressing effortlessly. When I get in my own head and start thinking things like, “is this good?” and “will people like this?”, I can’t type a damn thing. Thoughts of past/future wreck my flowage (is that even a word?).

Here’s the key: to be in flow/the present moment is to not be in your own head. To activate flow is to focus so intently on performing the task in front of you that you forget all about yourself. In flow, that annoying voice/narrative inside your mind is nowhere to be found, you are simply living right here, right now! That’s why it’s so important. That’s why we seek activities that activate flow. That’s why these social media philosophers and self-helpers post so much about it…we get relief from from ourselves! We get relief from that ever-present negative voice. I hate that voice.

Some activities (like public speaking) are harder to get into flow than others (like playing a sport), I get it. But awareness is the first step… knowing what flow is. The next step is practice/intention. Start immersing yourself in your tasks, focusing only on the completion of whatever’s at hand. Focus on excellence. Channel your natural abilities, and then do what you do! Seek out activities that get you in flow. Spend time with people you flow with. Be yourself. Love the moment. Live the moment.

Flow state is freedom.

Much love to you all.

Nick

Nick CarlileComment
(#13) The Enneagram

What up guys.

I wanted to supplement my recent podcast episode with a blog post regarding the Enneagram - an insanely powerful personality assessment tool. (If you let it, the Enneagram will speak to your soul).

I first heard about the Enneagram about 5 years ago, but didn’t give it much thought. I had taken various other personality assessments such as the Meyers-Briggs that were definitely interesting, but not very practical…(how does it help people when they know I’m an INFP?). Because of this, my view of personality-profilers was tainted, and I thought the Enneagram was just another one of those.

About 3 months ago however, I listened to a Carey Nieuwhof podcast with Ian Cron, who is one of the leading experts on the Enneagram. The episode had my intrigue maxed-out, and I proceeded to Alice-in-Wonderland it down the Enneagram rabbit hole. And let me tell you, that rabbit hole is deeeeeep. Like deep, deep. It’ll take you to familiar-feeling places you’ve never explored (wut?). It’ll make you feel vulnerable, inspired, and confident at the same time. It’ll help you understand your spouse, friends, co-workers, and family members like never before. The Enneagram is a game changer y’all.

In a very basic sense, the Enneagram is a set of 9 numbers, 1 through 9 (I am an Enneagram 4). Each number has very specific characteristics (i.e. fears, motivations, tendencies, habits, preferences, worries, needs, etc.). The numbers are also interconnected (for example in times of growth, I am similar to a healthy Enneagram 1 - and in times of stress, I am similar to an unhealthy Enneagram 2). There are also “wings” - which are characteristics one has that are similar to an adjacent number (for instance I am an Enneagram 4 wing 3). I told y’all it goes deep! In fact, it goes so deep that I created an “Enneagram Cheat Sheet” for myself - you can check it out here. I try and read over it a couple times a week to keep the enlightenment strongggg.

There are numerous ways to figure out which number you are. There are a bunch of online questionnaires that help direct you, but to me, the best way to “type yourself” is to go to www.EnneagramInstitute.com - click “learn” at the top - then select “type descriptions” - then read through each of the numbers. You’ll quickly eliminate numerous of them as you start reading, but a couple will hit home - those are the ones you need to focus on. Dive into those numbers and figure out which one is “you".” Perhaps have a close friend, family member, or spouse read through with you and help identify which number you are. This may take some time - I originally thought I was a 9 or 7, then realized I was a strong 4. The Enneagram Institute has a some tools to help guide you along the way (the “misidentifying with other types” links are helpful). It’s important to keep in mind that the motivations behind each number are what really matter - you may identify with the behaviors of many - but the motivations behind the behaviors are what you should focus on.

I started having my Freshman (I am a HS teacher) type themselves and put together a document about who they are. They love this project. One girl legit started crying because it was so accurate in describing her personality, true story. If you’re interested in working through the worksheet that I give them, feel free to check it out here.

I encourage you guys to dive in and see what you discover. You have nothing to lose, and a ton to gain.

Much love to you all.

Nick

Nick Carlile
(#12) Your God is Too Small

Yo.

If I told you, “your God is too small,” how would would you react? Do me a favor - stop reading and take 30 seconds to contemplate what you’d say back to someone who said that to you…

Alright cool. I’m sure responses similar to, “you obviously don’t know my God” and “how could you say that about the Being who spoke the entire universe into existence?” popped into your head. Understandable. But what if I told you that the statement isn’t addressing the actual size and power of the Creator whom exists, but is instead addressing the actual size and power of the Creator whom exists in your life? Read that bolded sentence again for me, then take another 30 seconds to respond to the original statement from that new perspective. How does it speak to you now?

Here’s what I’m getting at - if you are not constantly in a state of awe, worship, wonder, appreciation, gratitude, thanksgiving, prayer, rest, hope, joy, love, humility, and peace, then God is too small in your life… your God is too small. (This book addresses that exact sentiment - I haven’t read it, but the title is what prompted this post).

I know, I know… it’s impossible for us to embody ALL of these characteristics all day every day. I get it. I’m far from being that person, we all are. But our goal during our time here on earth should be to get there… to get to that point where constant awe, reverence, and worship is all-consuming and transforming…where peace, rest, and hope pervade our entire being… where joy, humility, and confidence saturates our soul and shines through us… where we are mature in our Christlikeness.

We are flawed beings and we live in a flawed world. We will never reach spiritual perfection here on earth, and the process of sanctification will never end; however, we can absolutely progress and mature in our relationship with Jesus Christ and God the Father, led by the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. The God in our lives will become bigger and bigger and bigger. Progress is the goal. And as you develop, you’ll start to become addicted to the sweet, life-giving taste of the progress, and it will start perpetuating itself. I promise you this.

Some basic, powerful ways to start/enhance your progression:

  1. Scripture - Immerse yourself in it. Memorize it. Dwell on it. Repeat it in your head throughout the day. Study it. Listen to sermons about it. Share verses with people. Meditate on it.

  2. Prayer - Talk to God. Thank Him. Ask Him. Seek Him. Communicate with Him as you go throughout your day. Pray with your spouse and loved ones. Be vulnerable with them and God. Confess your struggles. Ask and receive forgiveness.

  3. Solitude - Spend time alone with God. Rest in Him. Go on a hike. Go on a 10 minute walk. Sit under the stars for 20 minutes after your kids go to bed. Pay attention to your thoughts. Ask God to speak to you… to reveal things to you. Stand in awe of His creation and beauty. Let His peace cover you. Breathe deeply in Him.

There’s so much more that will support your progression, but these three practices will help the “Your God is too small” statement become less and less relevant in your life.

Much love to you all.

Nick

Nick Carlile
(#11) Life Goals

What up y’all.

I recently received some solid advice from Dr. Orville Easterly (listen to my podcast with him here) that I wanted to share with you as I feel it applies to a variety of people in a variety of situations.

During one of our sessions together, I expressed my frustration about how my motivation, optimism, and outlook on my podcast/blog/etc. tends to vary… meaning that some days I feel more excited and encouraged to put out content and seek out awesome interviewees, and some days I feel more discouraged, unmotivated, and pessimistic about what I’m doing. This fluctuation was driving me nuts, and I couldn’t figure out the root cause nor the solution. Easterly’s advice was twofold and helped me tremendously. I’ll do my best to explain it here. I also want to add that this advice can be applied to really any venture in life - sports, a project, a career, a task, education - the insight below will help redirect your thoughts and reestablish your motivation in whatever you’re doing. Below are the two concepts that helped me:

  1. The original goal: When these feelings of discouragement and pessimism arise, think back to the original goal of what you’re doing. What is it that you set off to accomplish? For me and my content, the original goal was this: spread goodness and health through information that helps/helped me. That’s it. That’s why I’m doing what I do. The power in the simple acknowledgement of that truth has been highly motivating and is exactly what I need to #KeepHammering (shout out my guy Cam Hanes). But beware!.. if you can’t identify your original goal, or if your original goal is something rooted in pride, lust, self-gain, selfishness, jealousy, or anything else unhealthy, you need to check yourself… and perhaps stop pursuing whatever you’re doing. This exercise will be eye opening for you either way.

  2. Separate feelings from truth: Feelings are real, but they are certainly not reality. Feelings are not truth. Feelings are not reliable. Feelings are simply bodily sensations that arise from thought patterns. That’s it. You feel a certain way because you thought a certain way, and unfortunately our default thought pattern is negative (listen to this podcast to find out why). Because of this, we must strive to separate our feelings from truth and reality. The first step in this process is to actually identify a feeling as, indeed, a feeling… nothing else. This is surprisingly uncommon, but easy adopted once practiced. And when you’re able to: identify a feeling as just a feeling, separate the negative thought patterns from that feeling, replace the thoughts with truth, and discard of the feeling - you will be set free.

Combine these two practices together and you’ll find yourself with a new outlook on whatever it is you’re doing. It’s almost like hitting a quick reset button. Whenever I find myself struggling for motivation, thinking negatively about what I’m pursuing, or anxious about outcomes - I revert back to these two practices.

Much love to you all.

Nick

Nick Carlile
(#10) Intermittent Fasting

Yo!

If we’re talking about my DM’s, I get more questions regarding intermittent fasting than anything else… by far! I typically refer people to my podcast episode #3, but apparently the application of the concept isn’t really clear to people, so I figured I’d write a blog post explaining it from another angle.

In the podcast episode, I focused on the timing of the consumption window, or the non-fasting window…the window in which you can eat and drink whatever you want. I explained that when you first consume something other than water in the morning, this starts your consumption window. The goal is then to end your consumption window no later than 12 hours after the start of it… and ideally, you even end it 8-10 hours after the start of it (this will optimize your results). For example. If you wake up and have coffee at 6am, you shouldn’t eat or drink anything (other than water) after 6pm (maximum: 12 hour window) or even 2-4pm (optimum: 8-10 hour window). I typically do 12 hour consumption windows every. single. day…. but I like to mix in at least one or two 8-10 hour windows throughout the week. I’ve seen profound benefits from this protocol.

Another way to explain this, and perhaps the easier way, is to focus on the fasting window. Here’s the idea: note the time you consume your last meal or liquid for the day (that isn’t water) - then add 12 hours to that time - then don’t eat until that time arrives! This would be a 12 hour fasting window, which is identical to the 12 hour consumption window mentioned above. And for optimum results, you’d want to add 14-16 hours to your last meal time and then not consume anything other than water until that time, this is a 14-16 hour fast, identical to the 8-10 hour consumption window mentioned above. Get it?

Here it is in a nutshell: a day is 24 hours long - spend 12 hours of that day fasting (consuming only water). Or for optimum results, spend 14-16 hours of that day fasting.

You can look at it from the consumption window standpoint, or the fasting window standpoint. They produce the same result.

I hope this helps. If you want to hear more about the science of intermittent fasting, why it’s important for your body and the various benefits, listen to the podcast.

Holler at me if you have any questions. I also want to hear about your results!

Much love to you all.

Nick

Nick Carlile
(#9) RECIPE ALERT (part 2)

Yo.

I wanted to share with you guys another one of my go-to work snacks that is low-glycemic, high in healthy fats and protein, and contains numerous essential vitamins and minerals.

Sandwich Salad

Recipe:

Avocado - (preferably organic). Add a whole, sliced avocado to the base layer of a container or plate.

Salt - (use a non-table salt. I use this pink Himalayan salt that has over 70 minerals and numerous health benefits. This Celtic sea salt is also a good choice.) Sprinkle salt over the top of the avocado.

Pepper - (use a pepper mill to obtain freshly cracked pepper, previously-ground pepper is exposed to oxidation which reduces taste and benefits). Crack pepper over the avocado.

Meat - (preferably organic and/or grass fed… I typically switch between turkey breast and chicken. Other options could be ham, roast beef, pastrami, etc. ). Add meat on top of the avocado.

Veggies - (preferably organic… my go-to’s are diced pickles, onions, and broccoli sprouts. Other options": diced cucumbers, diced carrots, diced celery, etc. you can get creative here!) Add the veggies on top of the concoction.

Sauce - (stray from anything with sugar, seed oils, and/or trans fats). I typically just use plain yellow mustard. At some point I will start using this Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo ). Add the sauce on top of the other ingredients.

Questions, comments, concerns? Holler at me on IG @MyLifeEnchanted

Much love to you all.

Nick

Nick Carlile
(#8) Free Your Shackled Mind

What’s up y’all.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “the truth will set you free” at some point in your life. It’s a common thing said when people are caught up in a lie, bottling up a confession, or not expressing their true opinion. But do you know where that quote comes from and who originally said it? The answer is Jesus, my friends (ain’t it always?!).

In the gospel of John, Jesus said, “…if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

“The truth will set you free.” Pretty self-explanatory of a quote if you ask me: practicing truthfulness is freeing for your spirit. We’ve all experienced this powerful truth in various situations, and we see the power within it. But for some reason, we rarely apply this quote (and its inferences) to our minds and our thoughts, and that’s why I’m writing this post.

If truth sets you free, then the inverse must also be true: lies bring bondage. Lies keep us in chains. Lies prevent us from progressing. Lies imprison us. And what really sucks is, we often think in terms of lies, our minds are riddled with them.

Y’all know how passionate I am about the thought-life. It makes us who we are. We are ruled by our thoughts. We. are. the. way. we. think. We. are. what. we. think. Call it perspective, call it attitude, call it whatever you want… but our thoughts determine our life. Period. And fortunately for us, we can choose what to think about.

Our mind’s default setting constantly peppers us with a barrage of negative hypotheticals and false-definites we fail to identify as such. “They don’t like me.” “I look stupid.” “They’re all judging me.” “This is gonna fail.” “I’m not good enough.” “I need to act like this to be liked.” “I need to look like this to be liked.” Are some examples I’m sure you can relate to. And I’m sure you can think of countless more. These lies bring chains… they bring the opposite of the freedom mentioned in the John 8 quote.

Because of this, it’s imperative we start to identify and choose: identify our thoughts for what they are, and choose what to think about in terms of truth. In turn, this will set our minds free.

So what is truth? Truth can be different for different people. You can develop you own truths pretty easily if you sit down with a pen and paper for 10 minutes. Below are some examples I try to focus on regularly depending on which lies I’m struggling with, and which situations I find myself in. Some may come off as arrogant, but please overcome the temptation to think so. It’s important we recognize and embrace the gifts God’s given us, leverage them, and humbly accept them.

“The creator of the universe knows and loves me deeply.”

“The well-being of my family is all that matters.”

“I am a great communicator and conversationalist.”

“God is faithful and will provide in this situation, as he always has.”

“I am skilled and competent in my job.”

“My opinion is valued and valid.”

…I could go on and on here…

I implore you to start thinking about what you’re thinking about. The truth will set you free.

Much love to you all.

Nick

Nick Carlile Comment
(#7) RECIPE ALERT (part 1)

I’m not a big fan of eating giant breakfast or lunch meals, they tend to bog me down. Because of this, I’ve messed around and developed some healthy concoctions that provide me with clean fuel while keeping me adequately satiated.

This will be an ongoing series for the blog. Please enjoy.

Yogurt Butter

This is my go-to mid-day work snack. Often consumed between 11:30 - 12PM, it holds me over until I’m ready to stuff my face with an early dinner (intermittent fasting anyone?).

Recipe:

Granola - (preferably organic, grain free, low sugar… I use this one from Costco). Pour a base of granola into a container or bowl.

Yogurt - (preferably organic, preferably made with coconut milk - or choose a whole milk low sugar option, high in saturated fat is a good thing). Cover granola with Yogurt.

Chia Seeds - (preferably organic, I use this one). Sprinkle 1 tbsp on top of the yogurt.

Nut Butter - (preferably organic, low sugar, I switch between this almond butter, this cashew butter, and this combo butter). Put a generous scoop of the nut butter on top of the concoction.

Fruit - (preferably organic, I typically use a combination of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries). Decorate the top of the concoction with the fruit. Try and choose low glycemic variations.

Much love to you all.

Nick

Nick Carlile
(#6) Mindfulness Meditation, Thoughts, and Faith

I have been practicing mindfulness meditation for a little over a year now, and with every “sit” the benefits become more and more tangible. (If you are unfamiliar with mindfulness, you can listen to my short podcast about it here).

When I say the word benefits, here’s what I mean:

  • I’ve developed more of a “space” in my mind where I can step back and observe the narratives I’m telling myself as well as the content of my thoughts. This is especially pronounced in situations when I’m feeling upset, nervous, anxious, etc.

  • After a mindfulness sit, my mind is slower… but in a good way; I typically have much less chatter going on inside my head afterwards. I attribute this feeling to the opportunity I give my brain to spit out and sift through various thoughts during the sit.

  • Piggybacking on the bullet point above, I also have a higher sense of clarity after a sit. I typically find myself with an organized and prioritized list of what I need to do and when I need to do it with regards to really anything… podcasts, relationships, grocery lists, creative ideas, etc.

  • There’s been a tangible increase in my ability to think in terms of “truth” throughout the day. Here’s what I mean: becoming more aware of my thoughts has led me to become more aware of which ones are truth and which thoughts are lies. Here are some examples of truth that I CHOOSE to think about: “I am the beloved creation of the being who spoke the universe into existence.” “I have a wonderful family who loves me dearly.” “I am competent at what I do.” “God’s faithfulness has never failed in my life.” “There is absolutely nothing that I need to prove to anyone.”

When I started hearing all the hype about mindfulness and meditation, I really didn’t know what to think. On one hand, it was super intriguing, especially considering I was at a point in my life where I was desperate for something that could change my mind. But on the other hand, I knew that meditation had it’s roots in Eastern Buddhism, which as a Christian, scared me. I wrestled with this for a couple months at least…

Is it okay for me to practice this?… I don’t believe in Buddha or anything, but am I playing with fire here? Do I need to focus on God throughout my sit to make it okay? Should I just pray more instead? Or is that even mindfulness? Should I develop a God-centered mantra that I recite throughout my sits? Is this an idol I am creating here? How exactly do I practice mindfulness and glorify God?

I still don’t have peace with all of these thoughts, but here’s where I currently stand:

  • Mindfulness is an exercise for my brain, just like a kettlebell swing is for my body. Practicing to identify and navigate thoughts is a mental exercise that promotes positive growth.

  • Building my “mindfulness muscles” allows me to focus easier on God’s truth, “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

  • My mindfulness exercises have literally zero to do with Eastern religions.

Here’s the thing… I love God and I seek to serve Him to the best of my ability. I am constantly asking him to lead me, and I wholeheartedly trust that His faithfulness will prevail. Mindfulness allows me to connect deeper with Him and with myself, and that’s all that really matters.

Feel free to sound off in the comments section below.

Much love to you all.

Nick

Nick Carlile
(#5) Warrior

My wife is a big Rachel Hollis fan. She’s read her books, she listens to her podcasts, and she’s even attended her conferences… and I must admit - Rachel is pretty rad. Although she caters to the business-minded-self-improvement-females of the world, she puts out solid content and has undoubtedly had a positive impact on millions. One of Rachel’s suggested practices/concepts is the the reason I am writing this post.

A couple of nights ago, after the kids were asleep, my wife and I were posted in our room having an insightful “life” conversation about what’s important to us, where we want to be in 5-10 years, etc. (these types of conversations are super important to consistently have with your significant other by the way). And as we were talking, my wife mentioned this, “best self” practice she’s heard Rachel and others talk about. From what I understand, the practice sums up to this: every morning write a list of the top 10 things you envision your “best self” having/doing in 10 years. A typical list will contain specifics such as, “working out 3 times a week,” or “living in our dream house,” and “making 6 figures from my business.” The idea here is to think, or write I guess, these things into existence; and after talking with my wife about it, I decided to partake (she’s already been doing it for the past year and has surprisingly seen some of her items already come to fruition).

I’m not going to share with you my entire “Best Self” list, but I do want to share with you the first item on it: “I am a prayer warrior.” This is the first item on my wife’s list as well.

Believers are called to pray often. It’s a direct line of communication with the Almighty. Scripture reminds us of these truths:

“…if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14

“…pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Ephesians 6:18

“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12

…there are numerous other verses related to the importance of prayer as well.

But here’s the thing: on average, we don’t pray as much as we need to, or should. We are doing ourselves an extreme disservice by not tapping into the power of prayer, and I myself am going to do something about that. Hence why it is the first item on my list.

My prayer life has improved drastically since starting my daily “best self” practice, and my overall well being has enhanced as well. Random coincidence? Naaaaa.

It seems that writing down, “I am a prayer warrior” in my journal every morning, in fact, makes me more of a prayer warrior! And since I’ve become more of a prayer warrior, my faith has been taken to new heights. I am more focused on God. I am more patient. I am more joyful. I am more hopeful. I am more at peace in my mind. I am more positive.

But here’s the best thing that’s happened since starting this practice: my wife and I have spent time praying together every morning. After coffee, after journaling, and after spending some time in our current books, we sit on the couch and pray together. This has been a super special time for us; the vulnerability, honesty, and dependence on God that accompanies the prayer is beyond healthy for our marriage and faith.

My hope is for you to enhance your prayer life, or if you aren’t a believer, to actually start praying. Become a prayer warrior. God is faithful. We find Him when we seek Him. If you need guidance, help, encouragement, please feel free to drop a comment or send an email.

Much love to you all.

Nick

Nick CarlileComment
(#4) Lessons from Africa

Plot twist: I’ve never been to Africa.

Yo! A couple days ago I was listening to one of Tim Ferriss’ most recent podcasts (big shocker I know) with Patrick Collison. Patrick and his brother co-founded the company Stripe, which is an online payment platform worth an estimated $20 Billion. (Yeah, you read that right… homie is my age sitting on a casual $20bil). Tim and Patrick had a fascinating and insightful conversation, and I highly suggest you listen to it. But one thing in particular they almost casually brushed over struck a significant chord in me, and is something extremely telling; I want to share with you what I heard and my subsequent thoughts…

As Tim and Patrick were exchanging stories about their time(s) spent in Africa, Tim shared something he noticed about the people he encountered in Ethiopia: everyone was always smiling. Everyone seemed so happy.

(I’m sure you just had familiar images of African locals with giant, bright smiles flash through your mind. We’ve all seen it!)

After observing this, Tim spoke with a local female and asked her, why…? Why does everyone always have a smile on their face here? Why does everyone seem so happy? Her answer to that question is why I’m writing this post…

She responded with this: “People here are happy until they get a TV.”

Hold up, what? I was not expecting that response, and I’m sure you weren’t either. But please take a second to think about what she said: “People here are happy until they get a TV.”

It comes down to this: exposure and comparison. This lady noticed people in her village, or in Ethiopia, or in Africa I guess, are generally joyful and happy until television exposes them to what they do not have… until television forces them to subconsciously compare themselves to the Kardashians and the Real Housewives of New York… until exposure and comparison rids them of all gratitude and contentment.

This lady’s observation is uber revealing, and applies to us directly.

On average, we spend 135 minutes a day on social media. That’s a lot. That’s over 2 hours of our day spent scrolling through the highlights of other people’s lives. (Ain’t nobody posting the boring, monotonous, uneventful stuff, let’s be real). And we don’t just follow our friends; we are seeing the highlights of celebrities, old classmates, extended family, and random people on the explore page. It’s just highlight after highlight after highlight… but we don’t cognitively process it as such, so we aren’t really aware of the damaging effects. We just scroll mindlessly for two hours with thoughts of, “oh that’s dope!” and “I want one of those!” and “Relationship goals!” and “I wish I had her/his body” and “I would die to travel there...” You can’t tell me you don’t do this. This is facts. Big facts (as the youth would say).

I’m 100% guilty of this.

These false realities depicted by the meticulously curated content gives us a twisted vision of what our life should be like, and what we need to be “happy.” Do you see how damaging this is? The rise of social media is positively correlated with the rise of depression, anxiety, and suicide. Again, big facts.

This exposure to everyone else’s highlights is draining us of the key component to happiness: gratitude.

Without gratitude, our mission to Happiness Land is about as promising as Lebron’s hairline. (Lebron if you ever read this, I’m truly sorry and I love you and will you please be on my podcast?)

Look, I am not saying anything new here. I’m sure if you search, “social media gratitude unhappiness” in Google you’ll find 1,000 other blogs and articles talking about the same things I’m mentioning. But this African lady’s simple yet profound observation is a direct testament to the psychologically damaging effects of social media, and it hit me right in the gut.

I love social media. I’m not a big Facebook guy, but IG and Twitter are some of my best friends. And I’m not saying we all need to abandon the social media ship, we just need to be aware of what’s occurring here. That’s all. We can’t expect to find happiness if we are constantly being stripped of our gratitude.

So I end with this: what steps can you take to enhance your gratitude?

Let’s chat about it in the comments below…

Much love to you all.

Nick

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(#3) A New Year

What up y’all. Happy New Year! I hope 2018 treated you well and you were able to progress your health and wellness in the right direction. Let’s keep it moving into 2019.

As per my Instagram post, I wanted to share with you a couple things related to my weekly goals for this next year.

But first let me clarify my overall goal/focus for 2019, which is to continue to develop my relationship with the Lord. That’s super general, and loaded, I know… but within that falls all the joy, hope, health, grace, humility, patience, confidence, etc. that I could ask for. What means will I continue to adopt to help me achieve this? Prayer. Reading of scripture. Reading of books. Worship. Meditation on the word. Memorization of scripture. Fellowship with friends and fellow believers… and more. These things are baked into my daily routine, and aren’t activities I need to “monitor” because I know I’ll be doing them regardless.

I do however have specific weekly goals related to health and wellness that I am going to be tracking. I’m using an app called Tally to do this, which is actually really dope. Its interface is easy, usable, and effective. It’s free for up to 3 activities, anything more than 3 requires a one-time $5 purchase (which was necessary for me).

  • My first goal is a 16 hour fast at least 3 times a week. This leaves me with an 8 hour consumption window for that day. I typically do a minimum 12 hour fast every day, but I wanted to extend it a couple times a week to reap the benefits. As discussed in episode #3 of the podcast, Intermittent Fasting has been THE MOST tangible and effective biohack for improving my energy, sleep, weight, and muscle management.

  • I’m also going to take 5 cold showers per week, and considering it’s currently 30 degrees outside, this one will be tough. The benefits from acute cold exposure are amazing however, and I crave the superhuman feeling that occurs when exiting the freezing cold (whether after Cryo, ice bath, shower). My go-to is to take a cold shower immediately after I workout. My body temp is already way up, and that makes it a bit easier to deal with the intense cold. Couple the cold exposure with the Wim Hof breathing method, this biohack has been a game changer for my energy, mental clarity, and immune system. I dive into the Wim Hof method and the benefits of cold exposure in this episode of the podcast. I also may sometimes substitute a cold shower for cryotherapy, or jumping in a local river :)

  • Between being a father, teaching, prepping for a podcast, writing a blog, being an adequate husband, working out, studying for CSET exams, cooking… it’s hard for me to make time for friends, which I am not proud of to say the least. This is perhaps the most important goal for me on this list: connecting with a friend at least 3 times a week. This could be meeting for coffee, shooting hoops, going on a run, watching a UFC fight… whatever. I really don’t care what it is. Being around people whom I respect and enjoy is energizing, motivating, and brings me joy. They say that you are the average of your 5 closest friends, so I’ll definitely be taking that to heart as a make time for this one.

  • Next, I’m going to be reading every day of the week. And not internet reading, but book reading. There’s something about progressing through a physical copy of text, advancing through the pages, underlining key ideas, etc. that is more satisfying and fulfilling for me. I pretty much already hit this goal, but I want to make it a point this year to not skip any days. I’m currently on a John Eldredge bender… just finished “The Utter Relief of Holiness” (for the 2nd time in 3 months) and am about 20 pages into “The Journey of Desire.” I highly recommend both. Reading makes my mind feel optimized and healthy.

  • I was never a “runner” - it just didn’t really interest me. I’d much rather put in the headphones and get a cardio-sweat going on the basketball court. This however changed last year, when I started running this 2.7 mile trail near my house. During the summer I was hitting it like 6 times a week, but that number has dwindled severely during the winter. On a good day, I can leave my front yard and be back in about 21 minutes, on a bad day about 24. It’s a dirt trail, there’s plenty of incline and decline, and there’s never a soul on it. I think out of the 50+ runs I’ve gone on in the last year, I’ve seen 2 people on it. It’s become my sanctuary yo. I no longer run with headphones, because I’ve found I have the most transformative experience when it’s just me, my breath, and nature. I never regret running that trail. Sure, it sucks at times… but I’ve never once regretted it. The trail has strengthened my legs tremendously, and has been a key factor in getting into the best shape of my life.

  • The last goal I want to hit is going in the steam room or sauna at least twice a week. I freaking love the steam room. The blissful euphoric feeling of stepping out of a 15 minute intense steam sesh is AMAZING; plus, the research behind the health benefits is piling up (search “Dr. Rhonda Patrick Sauna” and you’ll find a ton of info on the positive effects of acute heat exposure). I currently have to drive about 15 minutes to the closest gym with a steam room, but that’s all changing shortly as we are adding one into the enclosed shower at our house. After that occurs, I will most likely up the heat exposure goal from 2x to 5x a week. Suuuuper stoked for that.

What are some things you want to work into your 2019 schedule? Feel free to comment or leave any thoughts below…

Much love to you all.

Nick

Nick CarlileComment
(#2) The Day After...

What up y’all. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas - full of family, good food, laughter, and love. If you’re reading this, you have a ton to be grateful for. I hope you know that.

As I write this, I can’t help but notice an extreme sense of gratitude that’s surrounded me the past couple of days. Christmas is a special time, where families come together, love and appreciation is shown through the giving of presents, and the story of God sending his Son to save us invades my mind; and as I get older, the more Christmas becomes about just that: Christ being born to save us from condemnation. Those thoughts bring me great hope, joy, and peace. I hope you can experience the same.

It’s a shame however that it takes a special holiday for me to really embrace that revelation. It’s available 365 for me to meditate on. I pray that it invades my mind more and more each day.

My sister-in-law just got back from Semester at Sea (SAS) - for those of you unfamiliar, SAS is basically a study abroad program on steroids. She was on a cruise ship for over 3 months traveling around the world with 600 other people, making various stops in Europe, China, Africa, Japan, India, Hawaii, Vietnam… an experience of a lifetime to say the least. Yesterday we sat with her on the couch as she narrated her trip supplemented with iPhone photos/videos streamed to the Apple TV. As she shared with us her experiences, and as I saw the numerous/diverse faces and cultures that she came in contact with, it shrank my world… in a good way. Meaning that it gave me the much needed perspective of how vast and great our world is, and how small and limited my California-Caucasian-middle-class-male world is. It made my “problems” seem much more insignificant. It took me out of my own head. It brought me wonder, and joy, and appreciation.

How great our God must be that he knows and cherishes EACH individual on this giant planet?

How stupid of me to have anxiety about having anxiety when thousands of kids are dancing daily with giant smiles on their faces in the primitive villages of Africa?

….. thoughts such as these were circling my mind as I observed hundreds of pictures and videos of the beautiful souls that inhabit our Earth.

It’s a shame however that it takes a special circumstance for me to really embrace those revelations. It’s available 365 for me to meditate on. I pray that it invades my mind more and more each day.

Hmm.

I feel like I can keep ranting about this… but I think you get the gist of what I’m trying to say and the common thread that weaves through this post. We have access to so much joy, appreciation, goodness, hope, peace, and love - it just takes a perspective and mindset change.

Much love to you all.

Nick

Nick CarlileComment
(#1) What. Is. Gooood?

What up y’all. Thank you for coming to the website, and more specifically, checking out the blog. I’m really stoked for this. This whole Life Enchanted thing started as a fantasy thought in my head a couple years back, something I never thought I’d actually pursue or dive into, mostly because of fear.

I hate fear; I’ve slowly learned it’s the root cause of a lot of the things I struggle with (and the world struggles with as well), and I’m tired of it gripping me. Its amorphous presence constantly hinders me from making myself better. And now that I am aware of it, I can take steps in overcoming it.

Take a second right now and try to identify something in your life that you aren’t pursuing, participating in, or whatever… because of fear. Then ask yourself, what are you truly fearful of related to this? What’s the worst that can happen? Doing this exercise will most likely make you feel stupid, because you’ll realize how stupid your fear is…. you’ll probably end up with: “I fear what people will think about me” and “I don’t want to fail” - NEWS FLASH - failure is the biggest component of success, yo. There is no success without failure. Think about it. And who cares what people will think about you. We pursue things, participate in things, and explore things FOR OURSELVES, and no one else. Sure, what you do may have a residual impact on others (i.e. a podcast), but you do it for yourself. Period.

When I was able to embrace exactly what I just wrote, I stopped playin’ and recorded my first podcast; and once that first one was done, there was zero fear left in me in regards to my pursuit. I was ready to rock, I just needed to show myself I had the courage to step through that door! Now here I am with a website and a blog, I just hit 5k downloads on the podcast, and I’ve been able to have numerous conversations with awesome people about tons of interesting stuff. None of this would be occurring if I wasn’t able to conquer my ridiculous fear.

What ridiculous fears are holding you back?

In other news: I hope to be posting to this blog at least once a week. My aim is to fill it with thoughts, concepts, insights, wisdom, revelations, takeaways from articles and books, etc…

Please copy this link: https://mylifeenchanted.com/blog-1/ and share it with someone whom you think would benefit. This is how we spread ideas, wisdom, knowledge and goodness. And feel free to leave a comment or drop a like below :)

Much love to you all.

Nick

Nick CarlileComment