One of the best ideas I’ve learned in a long time is this one:

WE GET THE BRAINS WE’VE EARNED

I know that’s an unusual line. Maybe it irritates you a little (good–I’m here to disrupt your normal beliefs and behaviors so you make the changes that will change your world). Perhaps it scares you (even better–our greatest fears deliver our finest growth). Or maybe you totally get what I mean.

What I’m suggesting to you–with that line–(and with the awesome respect I have for you as a reader of my blog) is that the brains we currently have are far less the result of genetics and luck and FAR more the result of our daily habits and the routine influences we expose our minds to.

Brain scientists have been making large leaps in their understanding of the concept of neuroplasticity. They’ve realized that–contrary to common belief–the brains we’re born with are not the brains we’re stuck with for life. No. Our brains are plastic. They can be shaped, grown and sculpted into things of beauty (that serve our excellence brilliantly). By the way we use them.

Which brings me to Darwin. And Picasso. And Michelangelo.

Not one of these people were born into genius. The whole idea of natural born talent is mostly a lie we sell ourselves so we don’t have to rise up and feel the fear of doing something great in our work and with our lives. In truth, you can walk with the giants and play amongst the gifted–if you start making the different choices that will yield different results.

These people were pure ordinary-ness (ok–so I made up a word). But here’s what they did to make themselves “special”. They followed their “inclinations”. In other words, they pursued the work that made their hearts sing rather than doing the things others wanted them to do. And they had the audacity to become the people they wanted to be versus the people others wished they’d become.

BONUS TIP: one of the biggest ways we limit our potential and deny our genius is following The Herd and modeling The Crowd. If you want to win in 2013 and transform the way you work + live, you absolutely MUST break free of The Cult of Mediocrity. You absolutely must stop listening to the chattering voices of the cynics around you. You absolutely must trust yourself–and your instincts.

And that’s what EVERY Master does. They trust their gut. They follow their “inclinations”–those things that when they do them, their work doesn’t feel like work. Instead, it’s joy. Bliss. And LOVE.

And because it feels so good when you have the guts to pursue these activities, you do them a lot. You “work” really really hard at your “work”. You no longer see your job as a job but as your craft and your calling and your devotion.

And because of this, your devotion eventually becomes your BEAUTIFUL OBSESSION.

You practice it daily. Constantly. Consistently.

You have no time for TV and Call of Duty video games and Twitter or gossip. You need and hunger to do that thing that fills you. That inspires you. That gives you precious glimpses of your greatest self.

And as you do this, you stop living society’s life. You step into YOUR life. The life meant for you. The days of your destiny. This is how genius unfolds. No magic. Just trusting your passion. And putting in the work.

I so hope I’m not boring you. These words just poured out of me. As the waves cascade. As the sea air moves. As this fireplace flickers.

So please allow me to finish this post with A STATEMENT OF MY 6 UNUSUAL OBSESSIONS. These are the unusual commitments that govern my life. They are not so popular in this world we live in but they mean a lot to me. And my guess is they mean a lot to you.

MY 6 UNUSUAL OBSESSIONS

#1. THE MASTERY OBSESSION.

Commit–TODAY–to becoming a master. Ask yourself what are you best at? What things do you do that when you do them you feel happy + at peace–and sense your creativity and gifts pouring out of you. We get the life we’ve settled for. We get the brains we’ve earned. Start looking for those things in your work (and life) that you can become a Picasso at. Life shifts once you do.

#2. THE PROGRESS OBSESSION.

Yes, I’m obsessed with progress. With making every day better than yesterday. With making this year 1000X better than last year. Drives my team crazy. Sometimes irritates the people around me. But I fiercely believe we are built for growth (not stagnation). For expansion (not contraction). Good enough just isn’t very good as far as I can tell. The whole nature of the game is to see how far we can go–and to express our potential so we create the lives of our dreams. And elevate the world in the process. (Failing to realize your gifts makes the world less of a great place to be, no?).

SPECIAL NOTE: If you’re truly ready to make this year radically better than last year, read about the very big opportunity for you below. Registration is open to Your Absolute Best Year Yet, my revolutionary 12 week online program for extreme achievement and real Mastery. The level of interest has been nothing like I’ve ever seen. DOORS ARE NOW OPEN for a short time only so make the choice that will change your life and register right now before it’s sold out (It’s 100% guaranteed too so I’ve removed all risk for you).

#3. THE EXCELLENCE OBSESSION.

My friend and colleague Tom Peters made this word even more famous in the circles we work in. But here’s my take on it: leave everything you touch better than you find it. Surround yourself with excellent people. Use excellent words. Drink excellent coffee. Read excellent books. Wear excellent shoes. Create excellent projects. Be an excellent parent. Think excellent thoughts. You deserve no less.

#4. THE HAPPINESS OBSESSION.

Yes, I’m obsessed with being happy. No, I’m not happy all the time (I’m human after all). Sometimes people tell me “you don’t live in the real world”. My reply: “Who wants to live in the real world?” A world with negativity and wars and greed and chaos. I want to create a world of my own making–while living in this very real world. I want to do work that matters and live with the people I love and pursue my highest ideals and live the life I have envisioned. I want to be happy–and so I block out the noise. So I can do so.

#5. THE CREATIVITY OBSESSION.

We are designed to create. We are all Artists. Each of us is a Creative (not just the people in advertising and design). Accountants and firefighters, math teachers and breakfast servers. We are all meant to innovate + ideate and use our brains to birth our best ideas into the world. I write and record ideas everywhere. On flight sickness bags on airplanes. On paper napkins in restaurants. In my journal that follows me much of where I go. Yes, I’m obsessed with creativity. And that’s my encouragement for you too.

#6. THE CONTRIBUTION OBSESSION.

This one’s my oxygen. I’m revealing it to you here. My Dad instilled this value in me. Deeply. As I grew up, he spoke of Gandhi. And Mandela. And Martin Luther King Jr. And Mother Teresa. And other Saints of Humanity who on my best days I acutely remember. My father told me that the real purpose of life is to serve. To be of use. To uplift those around us. To be helpful. And for this ideal–I owe my Dad the greatest debt of gratitude. Yes, I run a business. Yes I want to win. But above all else, I want to serve. It’s my obsession. And I make zero apologies for it. Ever.

I really hope this post has moved something within you. To stop playing small with your gifts, talents and Dreams. Think about what I’ve shared. Talk about this post with your team + family. Share it with your friends. And then go out and change the world. Please.

by Robin Sharma

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