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Start Playing on Another Level

March 05, 202414 min read

Start Playing on Another Level

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Celebrities Play On Another Level

Today we’re going to talk about playing on another level.  Let’s start with a few stories.  I don't follow celebrities at all or know much about pop culture in general, so I had to google this stuff, but here we go.  Do you remember Naomi Campbell?  She’s a gorgeous British supermodel who I remember being a big deal in the ‘90s.  She’s 53 now and still stunning.  Anhow, for her 36th birthday, she invited a group of celebrity friends to come to her 3 day long birthday party at the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai (which is not the same one Tom Cruise climbed in Ghost Protocol, that’s Burj Khalifa).  Each day of her birthday party had a different theme.  There was all white day, hip hop day and Brazilian samba day.  Naomi spent $1.8 million on this birthday party.

Ok, back to Tom Cruise.  His daughter with Katie Holmes, Suri, who is now 17, when she was in elementary school, she went to a school called “Avenues” in Manhattan that cost $40,000 a year.  For elementary education.  And she’s definitely not the only kid in the country whose parents pay that much every year for elementary and middle school tuition.  Apparently I can’t stop talking about Tom Cruise.  Remember back when the world was good and Tom was married to Nicole Kidman?  Well, after their divorce, when Nicole married Keith Urban, they went on their honeymoon to an overwarter villa at St. Regis in Bora Bora.  Their room had a glass floor so they could see the sealife in the ocean beneath them and an outdoor stone bathtub.  A stay there is around $3,000/night, but there’s a good chance they paid more than that for more privacy or luxury.

How about houses?  George Clooney lives in an 18th century villa on the shore of Lake Como that’s worth around $100 million.  It’s called the “Villa Oleandra” and has a gym, a pool, tennis courts, a pizza room (yes, a room just for pizza) and an outdoor theater.  How about travel?  Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have 6 kids.  They’re getting a lot older now, but when they were still pretty young and Angelina and Brad were still together, they liked to travel with all 6 kids.  That’s expensive all on its own, but how amazing are they that they had the bandwidth to care for 6 kids while traveling?  Oh, it’s because their family vacations were not for 8 people, but for 14.  They would bring one nanny per child on their trips.

What About You?

These people are clearly playing on another level.  Do you feel bad that your house doesn’t have a dedicated pizza room?  That you don’t travel with 6 nannies for your kids or pay $40,000/year for elementary school tuition?  That celebrities don’t want to come to your birthday party, or that it didn’t cost $1.8 million?  I assume not.  I hope not.  Those things are kinda out there.  What makes these people’s lives so much different than ours?  They’re playing on another level because they have a lot of resources.  The dictionary defines “resources” as a supply of money, materials, staff or other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively.

These celebrities that we talked about have a supply of assets that we don’t have access to.  That’s ok.  I don’t really want a pizza room or a Brazilian Samba day.  But I have been thinking about this concept so much lately.  It keeps popping into my head.  Like, multiple times a day.  You can start to play on another level when you’re well resourced.  How would your life be different if you were better resourced in the ways that matter to you?  I could care less about getting a table at an exclusive restaurant or wearing an expensive watch.  But there absolutely are things I do care about being able to get to another level on.  And in order to get there, I need to be well resourced.

Celebrities are well resourced in terms of money, obviously, but also status and power and influence and influential friends.  This helps them play on a level the rest of us “normies” can only dream about.  But we have the ability to create a different future for ourselves than what is normal or typical in our society, too.  One where we start living more as we get older.  We shine brighter instead of shrinking back.  We have more gifts and strength to offer the world.  But in order to play on another level, we, too, need to be well resourced.

When you’re well resourced, you have so many more options, you can make better decisions, and are able to do things that seem really difficult, like traveling with 6 young children.  

What are you trying to create with your life over the next 40 years?  What resources would make you more likely to succeed?  Create those for yourself and you’ll be playing on another level.  This goes for any area of your life, but since I’m most concerned with you having more future years lived in good health from now to menopause and, ofcourse, after, let's talk about a few of those just to give you some ideas and get you thinking about what resources you want to create for  yourself.  Unlike personal chefs and private jets, they’re mostly low-cost and accessible to everyone willing to put in the effort.

Energy

When you’ve got abundant energy, the world is your oyster.  I’ve always thought that’s a weird saying, but whatever.  Studies do show that the #1 virtue correlated with flourishing is zest.  When you have the energy to deal with the demands of life, your experience and your outcomes are better.  You approach challenges well-resourced.  You’re capable of thinking big and working hard.  It really is a more valuable asset than money or status.

I’m sure you can think of some good ideas of how to increase yours.  Supporting your mitochondria like we talked about in episode 15 is the best way to have enough energy, because your mitochondria are the little energy factories in your cells.  (They also do way more than just that).  Getting enough sleep is something that everyone talks about and almost nobody actually does.  We talked about it in episode 49.  You are humongously better resourced for any challenge- physical, mental, emotional- if you show up for it well-rested.  Moving your body frequently throughout the day like we talked about in episode 28 makes a big difference in how energetic you feel throughout the day.  

I could go on and on.  Most of what we talk about ties back to energy and zest.  What one thing do you know deep down will make the biggest difference for you?  Eating certain foods or not eating certain foods?  Matching your tasks to your energy level at certain times of the day like we talked about in episode 33?  Protecting yourself from toxins and EMFs?  Supporting your hormone levels?  Getting out into nature daily?  Do whatever feels right for you.

Equanimity

Another resource that I think helps us play on another level is equanimity.  Being able to approach our challenges and deal with other flawed humans along the way while maintaining a deep and abiding sense of calmness and peace.  Equanimity literally means “even mind.”  We show up to an argument with our teenager better resourced when we are naturally inclined to maintain our composure and stay grounded. We are better employees when bosses, coworkers and customers aren’t easily able to knock us off balance.  We’re more likely to survive and be able to help others survive some kind of attack or apocalyptic event if we've trained ourselves to not be swept away by thoughts and emotions.  

Training equanimity is a matter of practice.  Which means you need some upsetting things to happen from time to time to see how fast you can rebalance yourself after getting a little wobbly.  Like everything, think of it as a practice that you won’t be perfect at and start with little things first.  A regular meditation practice, even a very short one, literally changes the structure of your brain and helps you to be less reactive.  We talked about some more ideas for training your tranquility in episode 24.  The ability to keep an even mind in all kinds of circumstances is a huge asset.  Being able to be intensely all-in and care deeply about your commitment and how you show up without being attached to the outcome.  It’s not for sissies.  And it’s contagious, which is pretty great.

Perspective

health perspective

A related resource that helps you show up abnormally well is that of perspective.  When the server forgets your guacamole, does it really matter?  If you pitch what you think is a great idea and it gets shot down, is it really the end of the world?  How would your life improve if you were able to approach everything with a broader and wiser perspective about what’s actually important?

I think perspective is definitely easier to access the older you get.  At least it is for me.  I feel like I still care about what’s important, but I don’t get nearly as annoyed or worked up as I used to when I was younger.  Not sure why, but it’s pretty easy for me to see now that if my biggest problem with my teenage boys is that they spontaneously decide to make koren hotteok  (haa-tuck) from scratch and let their dough over-rise, life’s actually pretty good.  Messy countertop and all.

You can also purposely cultivate perspective.  When you can learn to not sweat the small stuff and then realize that it’s all small stuff, you’re better prepared to handle life’s difficulties and see the opportunities for growth in all situations.

Willingness to Be Uncomfortable

An enormous resource that will truly help you start playing on a whole new level is a willingness to be uncomfortable.  Being willing to slog your way through obstacle after obstacle is the very thing that develops the strength to be able to overcome obstacles.  Your ultimate potential exists outside of your comfort zone, and you’re able to progress by leaps and bounds just by being willing to be uncomfortable.  

I’m listening to an awesome book right now (Hidden Potential by Adam Grant) and he explains how the most important resource in learning a new language is the willingness to be uncomfortable.  And that the biggest reason children are able to learn foreign languages faster, more than having more neuroplastic brains or less information overload is that they’re willing to just start talking whether they sound like a caveman or accidentally ask for newspaper fruit or fresh frog technology.  They’re not avoiding the discomfort of sounding silly, so they progress.  They’re playing on another language learning level.

How can you practice getting a little more uncomfortable?  We talked about some ideas in episode 99, “The Side Effects of Comfort.” Start with little things.  There are both emotional and physical discomforts that will make you stronger.  When you’re willing to get cold or hot or hungry or exhausted or embarrassed or confused or heartbroken, you open up possibilities that are not available to people who are not willing to.  You might reduce your chronic inflammation levels, improve your immune system, reduce your risk of heart disease, earn a nursing degree in your 50s or change a child with special needs’ life forever.  The willingness to experience discomfort is a resource that can make so much more possible for you.

Focus

Next up is one of my all-time favorite resources to talk about.  I know I say this alot, but it’s because it’s true: the ability to put your attention where you want when you want for however long you want has become a rare superpower.  Employers and organizations used to look for rare people with genius, but focus really is the new genius.  When you can focus, you can scuba dive into topics instead of jet skiing over them.  You can help people more, get more done in less time, make more money and make fewer mistakes.

Like everything else we’re talking about, it takes practice.  Like everything else, start practicing in small ways.  How could you practice improving your focus in your everyday life?  Meditation is always key.  But so is just putting your phone in another room.  Resisting the temptation to Google every question that pops into your head.  Going analog whenever you can.  Staying offline whenever possible.  Going for a walk or doing the dishes without inputs of any kind.  Stillness.  Allowing your thoughts to pass by like leaves floating down a stream.  Also, I think having a reliable way to capture tasks that need to be done is a good way to make sure you can allow thoughts to pass without getting hooked by them.

Physical Health

You know I could talk for hours and hours about how your physical health, starting at the cellular level, is a powerful resource that allows you to more effectively contribute to the world.  Talk about being well-resourced!  If you’re physically strong, your opportunities for adventure and contribution to the world are much more broad.  If your body is given the nutrients it needs, it’s well resourced to create health, which is what it’s naturally inclined to do.  If your hormone levels are balanced, you sidestep a lot of issues that hold many women back.  If your mitochondria are firing on all cylinders and you’re sensitive to your insulin, meaning you’re metabolically healthy, it’s much more effortless to use that energy to be a powerhouse for good.

Your physiology affects your psychology and your experience of life.  You can get 100% consistent following an intelligent plan to stay physically healthy for many years to come.  I’m here to help you do that.  Imagine the possibilities.  Most people slowly stop living before they die.  It’s normal to collect a list of diagnoses as the years pass and watch your abilities slowly diminish.  But when you can prevent or drastically delay those infirmities, you’re playing on another level.  You’re the one able to go visit your NFL star boyfriend in Missouri 12 times a month even though you’re busy working in Sydney or Tokyo, because you’re well-resourced.  You have a metaphorical private jet that can get you anywhere you want to go.

When you’re well resourced, you can create the adventure of a lifetime.  And then another one after that.  It starts with figuring out exactly what you want and creating an intelligent plan that will get you there, then learning how to love consistently executing the high leverage steps of that plan.  It’s possible for you.  I know that to be true.  

There are so many other resources that can help you start playing on another level.  Like love, experience, skills and education.  I hope as you think about what are normal parts of life and also about upcoming challenges, that you consider whether you are showing up well resourced.  Or how you might be able to show up better resourced.  Give your future self the option to start playing on another level by acquiring more assets.  Money, fame, status, and influence if that’s your thing.  Or energy, equanimity, perspective, willingness to be uncomfortable, focus, physical health and anything else that you think will help you show up to life well resourced.

If something doesn’t go the way you want, maybe you could ask yourself whether you were well resourced to get the outcome you wanted.  Maybe you just didn’t have the resources to be able to travel with 6 nannies and a professional stylist.  That’s ok.  Or maybe you hadn’t developed the equanimity to be as zen as you would have liked during a disagreement.  That’s ok, too.  That’s something you can work on and show up better prepared next time.  If your health metrics indicate that you’re on a course toward a destination you don’t want to go, you can acquire the resources that allow you to change course.  But the time to start is now.  Like today.  When things do go well, you can stop and consider what resources you had available to you at the time.  Note to self: pay attention to signals from your body more often.  It paid off.  Right?


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Christina Hackett, Pharm.D.

Healthspan Coach and founder of The Health Courage Collective

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