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Purpose > Illness

By: Michael Blankenship |

“Embrace embarrassment. Feeling foolish is part of the path to achieving something important, something meaningful. The more a major life decision scares you, chances are the more you need to be doing it.”

– Mark Manson

Good morning!

Did you know in Minnesota’s Orfield Laboratories, scientists have built a chamber so quiet that the background noise is measured in negative decibels? People in the chamber have trouble standing up because humans use sound to orient themselves. The longest anyone has lasted in the chamber is 45 minutes. Want to try for yourself? Good luck. We’ll watch from the outside. 

Today’s email is made possible by Long Wknd — they sell hair and body wash bars that help clean people and the earth. We love their eucalyptus mint body bar.

– Mike & Alec, Co-Founder of The Tonic

Purpose > Illness

According to ADAA, 18% of people in the U.S. suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder. And 1 in 5 adults experiences some sort of mental illness every year — depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, etc.

It’s far from unusual.

Still, it’s tempting to believe that an illness — whether physical or mental — disqualifies us from success, from making the money we want to make, having the impact we want to have, or mastering the thing we want to master.

But let’s play devil’s advocate.

Jon Morrow, who’s paralyzed everywhere except for his face, has built a blog — SmartBlogger — that makes over $100,000 per month.

(Read his story here)

Stephen Hawking was cursed with ALS and yet made massive contributions to science.

Nick Vujicic was born without limbs. But that didn’t stop him from becoming a world-renowned motivational speaker.

Cornel Hrisca-Munn was born with a deformed leg and no forearms, but has become a YouTube star for his incredible drumming.

While he was dying from lung cancer, Paul Kalanithi wrote his bestselling book, When Breath Becomes Air, and has impacted millions of people because of it.

Here’s a list of celebrities who’ve struggled with depression — it includes Dwayne Johnson, Katy Perry, Jon Hamm, and Lady Gaga.

So… what’s your excuse? 

Illness does not disqualify you from success — in fact, it’s possible to be successful in spite of your illness, to find ways to work with or around the demons that plague you.

How? 

By discovering a purpose that’s more important to you than your illness. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

This post is made possible by Long Wknd

Climate change is overwhelming. 

The most important thing we can do as consumers is to create demand for products that have little to no carbon footprint (supply follows demand!). 

That’s a big reason why I love Long Wknd.

They’ve created sudsy and sustainable hair and body wash bars to keep you feeling clean and smelling delightful. Not only do the bars come in completely recyclable packaging, but they create zero plastic waste like most toiletry products (and not to mention the mess in my shower). My family and I all tried the products for ourselves (I’d never used a shampoo bar before!) and we loved them. The bars didn’t dry out my hair or skin, and I was surprised at how soft and clean everything felt after using them. 

I’m definitely going to order more (my favorite of the trio is their eucalyptus mint body bar).

Lucky for you, today, Long Wknd is giving The Tonic subscribers — YOU! — 20% off to try the Sustainable Shower Swap (body wash, shampoo, and conditioner). Click here to do your part toward building a more sustainable (and sudsy… sorry) future. 

Picky about the body wash you use to keep your skin clean? 

And, you ALSO care about the environment? 

Sadly, more than 552 MILLION shampoo bottles end up in landfills every year.

But that’s completely unnecessary. 

In fact, the hair and body bars (body wash, shampoo, and conditioner) from Long Wknd are more sudsy, last longer, and keep your skin feeling fresher than traditional shower essentials. 

The best part? 

Not only do the bars come in completely recyclable packaging, but they don’t create any plastic bottle waste like most toiletry products do.

My family and I all tried the hair and body bars for ourselves (I’d never used a plastic-free shampoo bar before!) and we loved them. The bars didn’t dry out my skin or hair, and I was surprised at how soft and clean everything felt after using them. 

I’m definitely going to order more (my favorite of the trio is their eucalyptus mint body bar).

Lucky for you, today, Long Wknd is giving The Tonic subscribers — YOU! — 20% off to try the Sustainable Shower Swap (body wash, shampoo, and conditioner). Click here to do your part toward building a more sustainable (and sudsy… sorry) future. 

Your Sh*t Sandwich

It wouldn’t be fair to talk about purpose without giving you some tips on how to find such a thing. 

The first step, as Mark Mason explains, is to let go of the idea that we have some sort of divine mandate:

“Part of the problem is the concept of “life purpose” itself. The idea that we were each born for some higher purpose and it’s now our cosmic mission to find it… Here’s the truth. We exist on this earth for some undetermined period of time. During that time we do things. Some of these things are important. Some of them are unimportant. And those important things give our lives meaning and happiness. The unimportant ones basically just kill time.”

Instead of asking, “What is my purpose?”, he encourages us to ask a far better question: “What can I do with my time that is important?”

Not sure how to answer that? 

Well, he’s got 7 more provocative questions to help you. Number 6 is our favorite. 

What’s Your Favorite Flavor of Shit Sandwich and Does It Come With an Olive? — “What unpleasant experiences are you able to handle? Are you able to stay up all night coding? Are you able to put off starting a family for 10 years? Are you able to have people laugh you off the stage over and over again until you get it right?… your favorite shit sandwich is your competitive advantage. By definition, anything that you’re willing to do (that you enjoy doing) that most people are not willing to do gives you a huge leg-up.”

What’s True About You Today That Would Make Your 8-Year-Old Self Cry? — “Something about the social pressures of adolescence and professional pressures of young adulthood squeezes the passion out of us. We’re taught that the only reason to do something is if we’re somehow rewarded for it. And the transactional nature of the world inevitably stifles us and makes us feel lost or stuck.”

What Makes You Forget to Eat and Poop? — “Look at the activities that keep you up all night, but look at the cognitive principles behind those activities that enthrall you. Because they can easily be applied elsewhere.”

How Can You Better Embarrass Yourself? — “Great things are, by their very nature, unique and unconventional. Therefore, to achieve them, we must go against the herd mentality. And to do that is scary.”

How Are You Going to Save the World? — “You’re not going to fix the world’s problems by yourself. But you can contribute and make a difference. And that feeling of making a difference is ultimately what’s most important for your own happiness and fulfillment.”

Gun to Your Head, If You Had to Leave the House All Day, Every Day, Where Would You Go and What Would You Do? — “For many of us, the enemy is just old-fashioned complacency. We get into our routines. We distract ourselves. The couch is comfortable. The Doritos are cheesy. And nothing new happens… But discovering what you’re passionate about in life and what matters to you is a full-contact sport, a trial-by-fire process. None of us know exactly how we feel about an activity until we actually do the activity.”

If You Knew You Were Going to Die One Year From Today, What Would You Do and How Would You Want to Be Remembered? — “Ultimately, death is the only thing that gives us perspective on the value of our lives. Because it’s only by imagining your non-existence that you can get a sense of what is most important about your existence.”

The Little Things

With all this talk of finding and fulfilling your life’s purpose, it might seem silly to discuss the little things — doing the dishes, making your bed, loving your family, getting regular exercise…

… and yet, those little things are just as important as the big things.   

Why? 

Because they are the things we do every day

And they have a ripple effect across the rest of our lives.

As Jordan Peterson explains in this video clip

“Your life isn’t margaritas on a beach in Jamaica. That happens now and then, those are exceptions. Your life is how your wife greets you at the door when you get home every day, because that’s like 10 minutes a day. Your life is how you treat eachother over the breakfast table, because that’s an hour every single day. You get those mundane things right, the things you do every day, you concentrate on them and you make them pristine, then you’ve got 80% of your life put together. These little things that are right in front of us, they’re not little, that’s the first thing. They are not little. And they’re hard to set right. But if you set them right, it has a rippling effect. And fast, too. Way faster than people think.”

The little things matter. 

The big things matter, too. 

It’s only once we realize how irrevocably interwoven the big and little things are that we can start making wonderful progress in our lives. Meaning creates joy. And healthy routine gives us the freedom to chase the things that are meaningful to us. 

We all need to feel that we’re working toward something greater than ourselves. 

But we also need to make our bed.

Extra Stuff

Here is some other stuff we found interesting this last week!

This Week’s Image

“A new view of the Phantom Galaxy, taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, seen in this image released on August 29, 2022. Webb’s instruments reveal delicate filaments of gas and dust in the spiral arms that wind outward from the center of this image.” via The Atlantic

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

Forward I am heavy, but backward I am not. What am I?

This Week’s Journaling Prompt

Take some time to think through the following journaling prompt. 

Choose a question from the list in the “Your Sh*t Sandwich” section of this email and spend some time answering it. 

This Week’s Challenge

What’s more important than spending time with the people you love? Make it a point this week to enjoy the company of people you care about. 

Riddle Answer: Forward I am ton; backward I am not.

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