So, I read a book.

Don’t everybody clap at once. I need to read 11 more this year to hit my goal of 12 in 2018.

But I’d like to talk a little about some key takeaways from this particular book, because it’s actionable for just about anyone.

Urban Monk by Pedram Shojai is a book that takes the problems that are launching themselves at us, full steam ahead, every day, and provides a framework for how to deal with them, monastically, without leaving your worldly possessions (and wife and kids) and heading into the Himalayas.

So here are my big three takeaways.

It’s not about meditating

Well, at least it’s not all about meditating.

For years, westerners have had this idea that they could hack their way to Nirvana by simply reading a blog about meditation and doing that a couple of times a week.

The arrogance of thinking that we can master our lives with a couple of breaths when monks spend decades trying to is astounding to say the very least.

One of the main points that this book tries to make is that surface changes aren’t going to make a difference. This is not to say that small, simple changes to our routines can’t have an impact, but rather that the big wins, the life altering changes, require a commitment that you don’t get from a New Year’s Resolution that you’re going to meditate sometimes.

Put in the work. For real.

Garbage In. Garbage Out.

Much of the blame for the issues that arise in our lives comes from the input/output cycle.

We eat chocolate bars and drink alcohol and wonder why our body feels terrible.

But it’s not just about what we eat.

It’s about what we consume.

So when we consume tragic, devastating, depressing news via social media and network news, the impact on our mental self is the same as when we eat junk.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t know what’s happening but rather you should not be brought down by it.

Know what’s happening in the world and do what you can to fix things, but most of that starts with you.

Everything Is Possible

I’m a large man. I’ve lost some weight, but I still have a long way to go to feel comfortable and healthy in my body.

So let’s say that I’m 64 pounds over the weight I’d like to be. Let’s just say.

Over the past 20 years I’ve gained and lost THOUSANDS of pounds. So while there is work to be done to lose that 64 pounds, it’s not as daunting a task as it might seem. Sure, it’s work but it’s not impossible.

Sometimes we feel a long way from possible and much of that time, we’re so close.

But we must be intentional at all times if we’re going to make changes.

Shit happens, but shit doesn’t just happen.