What is the Alpha Life? Is it linear or all encompassing? Can it be taught and learned or is it hardwired into your DNA.
I spend a fair bit of time on the Alpha Nation focusing on the physical changes we can make to live a healthier, more bad-ass life.
We like to talk about things like eating healthy, getting more active, increasing exercise intensity, balancing hormones, getting more micronutrients in our diet, and boosting metabolism–all this in an attempt to live a healthier, happier life!
But the physical isn’t the only thing you need to take care of. Getting your mind aligned with your new healthy lifestyle is just as important as spending time in the gym or adding more fiber into your diet.
It’s equally as important to change your mindset as it is to change your eating habits or leisure preferences.
If you want to truly change your lifestyle, it’s time to focus on your mind as well as your body. Here are the 5 C’s for leading an Alpha life (pssst….psssssssssst… the Alpha Life is for guys and girls):
Compassion comes is broken into two categories:
- Self-compassion, an emotionally positive attitude that reduces self-judgement, regret, and guilt.
- Compassion to others, anyone who is not you.
Both are equally important for a healthy lifestyle.
Self-compassion is an important positive attitude that will counteract the negative effects of guilt, self-judgement, depression, isolation, narcissism, self-centeredness, and low self-esteem. There are three components of self-compassion:
- Mindfulness, the ability to be aware of painful feelings and thoughts without over-identifying them or letting them negatively affect you.
- Self-kindness, the ability to forgive yourself for instances of failure or pain, instead of harshly self-criticizing.
- Common humanity, the ability to see your experiences (the bad ones, mostly) as simply part of the human experience, instead of seeing them as something that makes you an outlier or outsider.
The combination of these three things will help you to be more compassionate to yourself when you make mistakes.
And trust me, as a human, you’re going to make A LOT of mistakes. But, instead of being plagued by guilt, low self-esteem, self-judgement, or negative thoughts, self-compassion will allow you to look beyond them.
Studies have shown that greater self-compassion can lead to improved psychological wellbeing, as well as improve positive personality traits. It’s time to practice self-compassion and allow yourself to be human.
Compassion to Others
No matter how bad you think you have it, there is always someone who has it worse. There are entire demographics that are marginalized or mistreated because of their skin color, ethnicity, religious beliefs, history, criminal record, or even gender or sexual preference. But if we can all be a little more compassionate towards others, the world would be a much better place.
A 2012 study found that a single act of compassion toward one person increases compassion towards all people, even those who we perceived to have wronged us or someone else. The more compassionate we are, the more compassionate we become. It’s a cycle of awesome that will spiral upwards until the world is filled with more compassion for others.
How can you be more compassionate to others?
- Empathize with your fellow man or woman. Try to genuinely understand what they are going through, and help them through it.
- Show concern for others, then DO something about it. Don’t just be satisfied with saying, “Oh, I’m so sorry” or “I’ll pray for you”, but actually do something to help. Even if it costs you money or time!
- Listen. Sometimes, people just need to feel like someone cares. Actively listen to someone, and try to understand and empathize even if there’s nothing you can do to fix the problem.
- Be genuine in your compassion. Don’t approach it from an angle of “I’m better, so I’ll fix things for you”, but be genuine in your concern and desire to help.
Compassion is shown through small actions every day. The more you practice compassion, the more compassionate you become.
This is likely the opposite of what you think.
The Alpha Life isn’t about controlling everything and everyone around you. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Instead, like the Serenity Prayer says, “the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” I have commented on similar topics as it relates to the stoic philosophy of living.
There are things in life we can control:
- The time we get out of bed
- The food we eat for breakfast
- The time we get into our car
- The dedication to our daily tasks
- The choice of leisure activities
- and the list goes on…
But there are many things in life we have NO control over:
- The traffic on the way to work
- The exhaustion after a poor night’s sleep
- The delays because one of your kids forgot a homework assignment
- The extra workload your boss randomly assigns you
- and so on…
Part of living an Alpha Life is being able to recognize the things that are beyond your control and being okay with them. Rolling with the punches, so to speak. Adapt, overcome and move on.
There is no way to be in TOTAL CONTROL of everything. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder stemming from a desire for total control, to the extent that daily activities are disrupted. It’s an anxiety disorder that can lead to unease or fear when the sufferer feels they’re not in total control. This would be a most challenging disorder to live with.
But remember: not being in control doesn’t mean the same as out of control. There are many things in life you cannot change, but that doesn’t mean you’re a victim in your own life.
You make hundreds of tiny choices in your life; many of those decisions lead to the “out of your control” circumstances. What matters is that you consciously make each decision you are presented. When the time comes to deal with something that’s out of your hands, you’ll be better-able (mentally) to set aside that need for control. In the end, letting go is often the best way to avoid unnecessary stress, pressure, and anxiety.
What is confidence, really? I like Psychology Today’s definition: “a belief in one’s ability to succeed.”
Confidence isn’t being cocky or arrogant; instead, it’s a quiet, internal thing that results from mastering your craft. Becoming a craftsmen is one of life’s most rewarding pursuits.
It’s easy to become overconfident. When you believe you know something to be unequivocally true, you can become (too) confident in that belief. When you know your skills or abilities are up to a task you begin to believe there is no longer a requirement to learn.
Listen, the day you think there is nothing left to learn, or the day you decide you longer wish to pursue learning you stagnate and become irrelevant.
True confidence isn’t blind belief in anything: your abilities, a fact, a system of operating, or a particular method. Even scientists only use a 90% confidence interval to determine the most accurate estimate.
Instead, true confidence stems from four things:
- Belief in your ability to adapt and solve. We will always face bigger and badder problems, but how certain are you that you’re up to the challenge of solving them? Confidence stems from an understanding that your mind is able to handle the new and bigger problems.
- Belief in your competence. This is both the result of mastering your craft (ability) and your success with previous endeavors. If you have had “repeated experience of success” in your past, that builds a confidence that you are competent enough to tackle new challenges and problems.
- Belief in your self-worth. We all have our own internal metrics for measuring intrinsic self-worth. It’s where we get our self-esteem from. It may be built on appearance, financial success, skills, or some other metric, but it’s the knowledge of how much we are worth to ourselves and others. The more well-established your sense of self-worth, the greater your confidence.
- Recognizing your ego can be your enemy. It falsely lets you think you have done all that needs to be done. It only lets you hear and believe the things that will make you feel good.
In the end, science has proven that confidence is as important as ability. To become confident, you need to believe in your ability to adapt to and solve new problems, trust that you have succeeded in the past and will succeed again in the future, and are a person that is worth a great deal—both to yourself and others. By building your confidence upon these four pillars will create the foundation, you have what you need to succeed!
Charisma is more than just good looks, in fact it has nothing to do with looks at all—it’s the way you affect and influence others, communicate with them on an emotional level, and connect with them. It stems from a number of things: your ability to express your emotions, the ability to read others’ emotions, your control over your emotions, an ability to engage with others in social settings, sensitivity to social situations, and the ability to fit into any social circle or setting.
It all starts with your sense of self-worth and self-esteem, which (as mentioned above) is built on your perception of self and your confidence. A confident person exudes charisma and charm, and that is appealing to others.
It takes time to build confidence, but you can start improving your charisma today.
- Stand tall and straight, and use power poses and postures of confidence. Use facial expressions and gestures that project confidence.
- Engage with others, and be both an active listener and participant in the conversation
- Dress fashionably in a style appropriate to your body type, profession, and social circles
- Speak using metaphors, personal stories and anecdotes, emphasize collective sentiments (“we believe…”), show your moral conviction, and be animated
These things are all charismatic behaviors that can be mimicked. Try to “fake it till you make it”, and people will notice how charismatic you are.
Competence is defined as ” the ability to do something successfully or efficiently”. It comes about through years of practice, study, and dedication to your craft. Competence is both engendered by and the creator of confidence.
As you acquire greater competence in your craft, you develop confidence. This confidence leads you to take more risks and try new things, which leads to broader competence. It’s an upward spiral that improves your life.
There is a very interesting theory about how we learn developed by Dr. Benjamin Bloom
Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning model is in three parts, or ‘overlapping domains’. Again, Bloom used rather academic language, but the meanings are simple to understand:
- Cognitive domain (intellectual capability, ie., knowledge, or ‘think’)
- Affective domain (feelings, emotions and behaviour, ie., attitude, or ‘feel’)
- Psychomotor domain (manual and physical skills, ie., skills, or ‘do’)
But how do you develop competence at anything?
It all starts with preparation, the first phase of learning. In this phase, your interest is aroused by something. You may have zero competence, but you find yourself intrigued.
This leads to presentation, or encountering the new skills or knowledge. You take a class, a course, or a seminar that helps you develop skill. You are now conscious of your desire to become competent in that area.
Practice is the third phase. In this phase, you apply the skills or knowledge you’ve learned. Perhaps you start out poorly, but with time and practice comes increase competence. Eventually, you move on to the final phase: performance.
Performance goes beyond just putting into practice what you’ve learned—it means integrating it into your life. You become what is referred to as unconsciously competent, which means you can do things without thinking.
It took me 20 years to reach this level of proficiency with weapons handling skills but there is still so much more to do.
You find ways to apply that skill or knowledge into your everyday life, or you start using it to make money, advance your personal or professional life, or enhance your repertoire. Over time, as you become more competent, it becomes an unconscious thing. It is automatically integrated into every part of your life without the need to think about it.
These Five C’s are the way for you to make the change to a happier, healthier life. In addition to all the diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes we recommend, these are the mental and emotional changes that will help you to live an Alpha Male life. Start putting these Five C’s into practice every day, and you’ll find yourself becoming a much happier, more confident, and more competent “you” than you ever believed possible.