Moment, Defined.

Beignet is the most recent of men to ask me a question that up until now, I hadn’t given the attention it deserves.  Because I chose to take the world by storm and live the life I chose, I am always under the scrutiny of people who are either trying to justify to themselves why their lack of profundity is acceptable, or, much to my delight, are looking for answers on how to jump-start their own lives, dreams, goals and ambitions.  The way I have.  

Watt:  How’s life out there?

Beignet: Bah. Humbug.  I just need a few things to break and then I will be good.  But I’m just running my paces now.  How is China?

W: China is sizzlin’!

B: Are you worried you live for the moment too much?

W: Please elaborate.

B: Fair statement, and I probably should have qualified it earlier. Out of all my friends, I am probably the one who is more akin to the rock. I stay strong, nothing fazes me.

Throughout my childhood I usually didn’t have too much. I was happy enough, but I definitely didn’t have what I wanted to have.  Ergo, I’ve not been materialistic… but I have always been concerned about tomorrow.

So I’m always worried about where my next… whatever will come from.  I have money saved up.  And I am comfortable.  But I’m definitely not happy.

I’d love to just get up and quit, but I see how many of my friends are totally in a bad place, because they can’t seem to catch a break, and it makes me more grateful that I just haven’t up and quit.  But at the same time, what does it matter if I’m not happy? I’m just wondering how you balance it all? You seem to be a free spirit. Happy and carefree. Enjoying life… while I seem to be rather constrained. Are you worried that when it comes to retirement age, you won’t be able to make do? How do you balance your future needs and your present wants?

What’s really funny is as I sit here I am frustrated with my job because its what I want to do, but I am stifled by the powers that be and I realise how much of my soul I have lost these last 5 yrs.

I’d love to bounce more ideas off you.

Beignet: Are you worried you live for the moment too much?

I’ll start with the direct answer to a direct question.

NO!

I don’t live in the moment too much, but I do live in the moment.  I live “in the moment” every minute of every day.

What a moment is.

For me, a moment can last a minute, a day, or a year.  I live in several moments at the same time, all the time.

Not a single one of the moments’ I live in, or have had in the past would have been possible had I sacrificed the long-term happiness that travelling the world, fighting, being loved by and loving women all over the world brings me.  I choose self-discovery over the false security and self-delusion that “Safety” would have enticed me with.

People who love you and care about you desperately want you to be as predictably miserable as they are.  Unless you have the responsibility of raising a child, you need to cut the mooring and set your own course in life.

Are you worried that when it comes to retirement age, you won’t be able to make do?  How do you balance your future needs and your present wants?

Living in the moment has never meant living recklessly or without an acute awareness of opportunity costs.  I save 30% of every dollar I earn.  Period.  It doesn’t matter how much or how little I earn.  30% of my income, liquid, is a nest egg that I have used to plan my retirement, save me in case of emergencies, and serve as “Fuck You Money”.

You claim that your job, and “the powers that be” are stifling you.  I disagree, you are allowing yourself to be stifled by not simply refusing to redefine the rules of the game you’re playing.

A bonus of travelling the world I discovered a long time ago, is that I can retire to a better quality of life, with less money, and younger, to several countries all over the world.  The American media, combined with men who chose “Comfort”, will try to seduce you into believing that life anywhere else is unbearable and not worth it.

They lie more out of ignorance that malevolence.

Beignet: I was happy enough, but I definitely didn’t have what I wanted to have.

Lets unpack that sentence.  I think that if you are happy, then you DO have everything you need.  I am a rabid fan of selfishness and capitalism, but I know that “things” can never replace “Experiences”.

Most men collect “things”, I collect experiences.

Go out and talk to the oldest person you can find and ask them what’s important in life.  My grandmother died at 101 years old.  Her husband, my grandfather died before I was born.  When she was still lucid, she told me stories of her life.  She told me SEVERAL TIMES that she didn’t regret the things she did, none of it.  She only regretted the things she didn’t do!

You told me that you grew up with not much.  That means it stands to reason that all of the academic accomplishments and degrees you have were hard earned, but can never be taken away.  Your mind will get better with age; your drive will dwindle if you don’t use it.

Stepping out of my comfort zone.

A moment started when I decided to leave the USA.  I was 19.  Since then, I’ve been living in that moment every day.  Even when I was back home in the USA, I was In the moment and planning my next trip abroad.  I’ve spent years travelling the world and I’ve lived in sixteen countries, across four continents.  In some places for months, years in others.  I am still in that moment, writing to you from a street side café, watching bright lights advertising everything from movies to massages in downtown Shanghai, China.

A moment started when I began training in Martial Arts and found my love for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  I’ve trained with everyone from world-class fighters and competitors to men who use martial arts to stay mentally focused and just have fun after work as well countless other types of men with innumerable motivations.  That moment has lasted for over a decade.

A moment started when I watched a video on Blacksmithing and ended after nearly two years of forging my own knives.  That moment can start again as soon as I find a new shop.

Beignet: “And I am comfortable.  But I’m definitely not happy.”

That’s entirely your fault.  A man that makes the sad attempt at trading happiness in exchange for comfort ends up with neither.  You are a man,  what need have you for comfort?

That was not a rhetorical question, please email me privately, or leave an answer below.

Seek comfort if you must, but not for its own sake.  Give it to your parents, brothers, and sisters if they need it, or, in moderation, the women you choose to love.  Just don’t seek comfort for yourself.  Comfort is debilitating to a man’s drive to win in life. Comfort should be rooted out and drowned like a runt puppy.

Beignet: I’m just wondering how you balance it all?

I am a control freak.  It grates my nerves to say that I do not have a fine-tuned control over every aspect of my life.  The balance I achieved comes from planning in one, three, and five-year slots.  They are broken down into tiny days and months when needed.  I start with the end in mind and do a step-by-step until I get there.

I know that sometimes my plans fail and fall apart.  That’s OK.  Travel and exploration give you a set of critical thinking skills that are hard to define.  When things go wrong, you deal with it.

Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t.  Over time, you will succeed, more and more often because you will have a vast library of experience to draw from.

If you want help planning, please, just ask.

Beignet: I’d love to just get up and quit, but I see how many of my friends are totally in a bad place, because they can’t seem to catch a break, and it makes me more grateful that I just haven’t up and quit.

You friends aren’t in a bad place because they can’t catch a break;

YOUR FRIENDS ARE IN A BAD PLACE BECAUSE THEY ARE LOOKING FOR A BREAK!

To be clear, your friends are men bereft of the self-actualization needed to be more than they are, and the men they want to be.  It is their own fault.  So long as you listen to that line of reasoning, or believe that it’s valid for anyone, you’ll believe it’s valid for you.  Then you will continue to be comfortable, but not happy.

Eventually the comfort will go away.  However by the time you notice it you will have already have slid into a cycle of misery and unhappiness that you won’t have the strength or integrity to get out of.  I have seen it happen top people over the years.  It’s pitiful and revolting to see a man cry and complain about his life. Rather, it’s sad to see a man cry and complain as they ask “Why didn’t I just______when I still had the chance?”

Who told them that they deserved a break?  How do they (or you for that matter) assert and/or justify your belief in DESERVING a break?!

That was not a rhetorical question, please email me privately, or leave an answer below.

Beignet: You seem to be a free spirit.  Happy and carefree. Enjoying life… while I seem to be rather constrained.

I am a free spirit, I am happy.

I am NOT carefree!

I have all the same problems you do.  There is no hardship that is unique to a man’s life experience.  The only difference is how we handle them.

Yes, you are “Constrained”.  That’s why I am writing this.

Beignet: I stay strong, nothing fazes me.

I challenge that assertion!

You have yet to step into an unpredictable situation that will shake you to the core of your being, in a far away land, surrounded be people who don’t even speak the same language as you do, with nothing but your wits and an indomitable spirit to see you through.

“Second star to the right and straight on until morning.”

“Second star to the right and straight on until morning.”

You asked if you could bounce ideas off me, lets get started.

When you make the decision to step out into the great unknown, I’ll be there, preparing a place at the table for you.  Until then, please tell me what I can do for you, or anyone else reading this who can benefit from my experiences.

~Watt

14 comments

  1. Kennaleo

    Great post Yusef. To your friend Beignet.. I would personally like to encourage you to start living the life you’ve always wanted to live. I’m from California and coincidentally, I am typing this message here from my humble hotel room in Kathmandu, Nepal. I like what Yusef said about collecting experiences moreso than collecting things that generally don’t matter. You are responsible for your own happiness and you can direct your destiny. Instead of speaking negatively about your situation, speak LIFE into it. If you don’t like your job, get a new one or create a new job. If you want to travel, do it..build a budget if you must but DO IT. Let nothing..not even fear hold you back. Trust me, I am finally living my life and not worrying too much. I come from a humble background and for years wouldn’t do anything to treat myself but I changed that. Do it..you deserve it. I cannot wait to hear about your new job or perhaps a new adventure you WILL undertake soon.

    Namaste

    Like

  2. Phyllis Rawley

    Thanks Watt for your post. I started this piece in answer to the same question from friends back home, it’s called Are you Scared?

    Are you Scared about making wrong choices all the time? I am too sometimes.
    Afraid of making a mistake, and what if you do? You can make another choice. And you need the mistakes to know how to do things right. I’m scared though, as I just put my husband back on the plane back to the US. I’m on the next leg of my journey alone. I go to pursue the calling on life that I signed up for. The one I said at all costs for the greatest good, use me universe, yeah that one.

    What would you regret most with taking a bold step? Having the courage to take a leap and slipping or not having the guts to even try.

    I could spend the rest of this post sharing my mistakes in life and how that has left me, but commiserating is for the past and the guess what the past is gone. It only lives in your memory PERIOD. So stop repeating it to yourself.

    The present is the only thing we have and the future is for you to create. So this is what I have to say to you. Take bigger steps. Baby Steps are for Babies. Be Bold. Reach for the starts of possibilities, believe in the impossible and go for the real secret desires of your heart. Then sit back and wait for them to start happening. Write them down please and share the manifestations when they happen. So you will have a new history to think about and we can thank the universe together for helping us realize why we are here on the planet.

    Teal Scott said the way to grow faster spiritually was to pursue your desires. Sounds crazy right? But true. It’s about living who we are intended to be and once we start getting our memories back, the fear, frustration and inability start to leave us.

    So how do you begin?
    Start with looking at yourself in the mirror and say thank you to yourself. You have a dream for something more and that’s what the marvelous technology of being human is all about you. There is nothing wrong with you and you are beginning to show the signs of being a healthy human by thanking the person in the mirror for getting you this far. So look at yourself with the eyes of someone who loves you. Smile and tell the person in the mirror what you want to do and where you want to go.

    You’ll hear the negative thoughts pop into your head soon enough. It’s called polarity, it happens to all of us. Don’t get sucked away from the mirror though you’re not done yet. Just watch the thoughts for awhile and let the brain chatter simmer down. Keep looking in the mirror at the person who believes in you and loves you. Keep looking till you see that person again.

    Then start visualizing what you want next. Picture where you want to go. Imagine the smells of it, taste, feel and sound of it. Spend a long time with these thoughts. Thank the Universe, God, Goddess whoever your higher power belief is for bringing them and then realize that you just prayed. No begging required, just thankfulness for the vision you created.

    When you look away from the mirror, begin to look for the opportunities to realize your dream. They’ll start showing up like magic in front of you. Now take the step toward them. You asked for them in the mirror, now it’s up to you to take the opportunities as they come before you. Make it your daily meditation.

    Ain’t no stopping you now. You are living life as you are meant to. And now your meditating.

    Phyllis Rawley
    http://www.goddessuniversity.org
    From the mountain jungles of Northern Thailand

    Like

    • YusefWateef

      Phyllis has been sharing her sage wisdom with me for many years. She’s a valued mentor who sees the world in a way that takes her to places in life and in the world that I aspire to see.

      Thank you for sharing.

      Like

  3. Anonymous

    Okay, so question. The second to last paragraph . . . it’s so lofty. A wonderful notion to live up to and I currently wonder if I do. But . . .your post is about how a man should be. This is not my genetic case, so does this post . . .or can this post be a guide for women as well?

    Like

    • YusefWateef

      Men and women generally have different, unique skillets available to them that help them get what they need and want in life. I am certain that a woman could follow the same directions and get a similar result, but I don’t think that a woman should. Men behave and prosper differently. Generally through means that would seem out of place at best, and repulsive at worst to the people around them. This is something my friends and I delve into a bit in my 3-Way Podcast, and a few other posts. I’m working on a piece that addresses the issue you just brought up.

      Like

  4. Lovenia

    Dear Beignet – “We are kept from our highest goal, not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” Robert Brault and “The quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with”. Tony Robbins. I don’t believe we were put here to be comfy and static. All of life is about growth and change, all of it. Our bodies do it all the time everyday w/out us give it permission to do so. But unfortunately, when it comes to our minds and spirits, our permission is necessary. We have the power to keep our minds and spirits from growing and expanding, even though just like everything in life, that’s exactly what is needed. But we make choices that prevent it, mostly b/c our culture and society program us to do just that. It tricks us into thinking that the accumulation of material things is growth, and when we wonder why we’re not happy and feel constricted and wonder what we need to be doing differently, we believe that the same kind of thinking that has been guiding us all along is going to give us the answers. So we stay stuck and confused. They only way to change your life is to change your thinking. And I think it’s a good idea to stop comparing yourself and surrounding yourself w/folks who by your own admission are worse off than you are. What can you learn from them? It might make you feel better about your own position, but what can you learn? Find people who are doing what, deep down, you wish you could do, and connect with them, read the info they read, and take your cues about how to change your life from them. When I decided I wanted to move abroad, I started connecting with people and groups (even though only virtually through Facebook because no one in my immediate circle had done it) that were doing it. And it expanded my mind about what was possible, it let me know that what I wanted to do wasn’t “crazy” and it got my mind focused on what I wanted for my life instead of what I didn’t want. Like they say, life will agree with whatever you decide is possible. If you think you can’t you’re right. If you think you can, you’re right. What you focus on is what you will see. If you focus on the possibilities for your life, you’ll see more of them. If you focus on the obstacles and challenges, you’ll see more of them. Life is a head game more than anything else, it is not about lucky breaks or chances – we all need to keep our minds strong and open because that’s how we begin to understand that we are the ones who really create our own breaks and that it is us that needs to give ourselves a chance, not the world.

    Like

  5. cassandranvincent

    Wateef you could very well write a “how to” guide on taking the plunge, living outside of the comfort zones we create, and living a life that is rewarded by adventure and such. Great read, much needed read.

    Like

    • YusefWateef

      You’re not the first person to say that. I’ve been working on that as a project in my spare time, it just seems to get longer and longer. I am considering posting instalments on travel. Breaking my night down into more manageable pieces.

      Like

  6. Carla Corrie

    This writing really touched me and reinforced a lot of my own thoughts about taking risks or at least not being risk averse – because what is the worst that could happen? I don’t mean that as a general thing I mean to you specifically what’s the worst that could happen if you take the risk you are avoiding. I’ve never had an answer to that question that has made me stop and decide not to take a risk. However the risk of spending life not taking risks of sailing along not rocking the boat working 9 – 5 for a corporation and not dreaming and wishing and trying. For me that doesn’t bear thinking about.

    Your writing reminded me of IF by Rudyard Kipling – in particular

    “ If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss; “

    I think people could take a lot of life lessons from IF

    Moments won’t last forever, make memories that do.

    Like

  7. Pingback: Big Thanks! | Yusef Wateef, Adventurer!
  8. Pingback: 40/40 Vision: A Retrospective. | Yusef Wateef, Adventurer!

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