• Curt Mercadante

Cold showers have become a part of my days during the past few years.

There are a variety of physical, mental, and spiritual reasons why I love cold showers…

But one interesting part of a cold shower is that when you go into it by tensing your body, with the intent to “fight” the cold, the shower is more unbearable.


Your heart rate goes up, your muscles become rigid, and you just can’t wait to get out of the cold.


When you go into the shower “loosely”, letting the water wash over you and embracing it while taking slow nasal breaths, a funny thing happens…


The cold water begins to feel warm. It does so rather quickly.


Loose vs. tense.


Flexible vs. rigid.


Embracing vs. fighting.


Now, let’s think of that cold water as “chaos.”


When chaos, or uncertainty, enters our life, how do we respond?

Do we become tense and fight? Rigid?


Do we grasp for systems of order to “dam” the flow of the chaos?


Much of self-help and even psychotherapy is focused on creating systems of order to help individuals deal with chaos.

It’s all well-meaning and many times can have the effect of stopping the “mental bleeding” by applying a psychological bandage of order.

But does it actually cure the wound?


Or, like damming a river, does it sometimes cause a backup of water that destroys the surrounding towns…


Or, simply create a wall behind which the energy of the water gathers and grows, threatening to break the dam at any time — and thus creating a need for us to keep building more dams, apply more bandages, creating more anxiety in the process?


What if, as with the cold shower, instead of learning to fight with systems of order, we learned to embrace the chaos?


What if, instead of building a series of dams, we learned to ride with the flow of the water?


To be sure, it’s scary as hell — either right before you step into the cold chaos, and it’s a shock at the moment you step in…


But when you remain loose, flexible, and yielding, the water becomes warm.


The initial anxiety dissipates.


Your heart rate drops.


Your breath slows.


You love the water, instead of fearing the water.


What if, instead of striving for order…


We learned to embrace the chaos…


To ride it like a surfer riding a wave in the ocean?


****


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  • Curt Mercadante

“Now, when we fought, you had that eye of the tiger, man; the edge! And now you gotta get it back, and the way to get it back is to go back to the beginning. You know what I mean?”


— Apollo Creed, Rocky III

Rocky had gotten “soft”. The big house. The nice cars. The money. The fame.

That, according to Apollo, had caused Rocky to get knocked out by Clubber Lang.


But it wasn’t just that Rocky wasn’t “hungry” enough.

And it wasn’t just that he wasn’t working “hard” enough.


You see, when Apollo ended up training Rocky, he worked on Rocky’s “flow”. He taught him to box with rhythm; to be light on his feet.


He wasn’t teaching him to stand toe-to-toe and simply punch harder — he was teaching Rocky to be smarter, be more flexible, conserve energy, and tire out Clubber.

That’s what the “Eye of the Tiger” is truly about.


Fast forward to earlier this week, when my family and I attended the “Out of Africa” wildlife safari park here in Arizona.

One of the main attractions is the “Tiger Splash” in which the trainers play in a yard, with a pool, with three bengal tigers.


The trainers hold out inflatable toys for the tigers to chase and with which they play.


But the tigers don’t just see the toys and engage in an all-out sprint across the yard to catch them.

The tigers slowly prowl.


They make themselves look lazy.


They lull their “prey” to sleep and get close.


Then, they pounce.


According to the trainer, the tigers do this because, while they could wage an all-out sprint and catch the prey — they instinctively think…”why would I expand all that energy?”


The tigers conserve energy when they can.


They lull their prey to sleep.


Then they pounce when the time is right.


It’s nature.


But it’s not just innate to tigers; it’s innate to humans, as well.


Or, at least, it should be.

But the “hustle and grind” pornographers would have us believe it’s just about punching harder.


It’s not about conserving our energy and then pouncing in short bursts of energy.


No, no, no…


To the “hustle and grind” pornographers, success about running a marathon at six-minute-mile pace all day, every day.


And that type of message sells because it weaponizes and capitalizes upon our guilt.


After all, if we don’t achieve success, it’s our fault; we didn’t work hard enough.


So we fight angry; we simply fight harder. And we get knocked out.


We box with adrenaline; instead of with flow.


Unlike the actual tiger, we don’t conserve and pounce.


We run. And run. And run some more. We don’t actually catch the prey (because we’re told life is about endless striving), and we get burned out.


There is a lesson to be learned by how Apollo trained Rocky.


And it goes to the innate lesson we can learn from Tigers.


“Hustle and grind” sells books.


It gets video views.

It sells motivational speeches.


But there is another way. A more effective way that not only allows you to catch your prey…


But to catch your prey while expending less energy.


To get a blueprint on that "more effective way", please click here to grab your copy of my book, "Five Pillars of the Freedom Lifestyle."

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  • Curt Mercadante

In professional sports, free agents reign.


Top-performing free agents are feted and fawned over by teams who need them, offering top dollar to lure the top players to their team.


The free agents have the freedom to choose the team they like best, and often cash in big on their choices.


There's no reason you can't be a free agent.


I'm not talking about sports.


Last year, the great Randy Gage and I discussed the scourge of tribalism in our society (watch here and blog post continued following the video):



At it's heart, tribalism is about committing yourself to a team. And quite often, you don't commit to a team based on your reasoned choice. You do so out of guilt; fear of missing out; or desperately latching on to something that will fill the gap in your life resulting of a lack of meaning.


Your tribe might be a political party; it might be Team Vaccinated/Team Unvaccinated; Team Mask/Team No Mask; a certain cable TV channel; a cult; or, something else.


In professional sports, when a player commits to a team, he or she is now COMMITTED.


That player has to be loyal; has to wear the uniform; has to comport him or herself in alignment with the team's rules and values, and on and on and on.


There's nothing inherently wrong with that, though sometimes "free agents" find themselves on losing teams, teams with a poor culture, teams with crappy ownership, etc.


But they're committed: Locked up for a set period of time via contract.


Quite often, they don't have the same freedom after signing the contract that they had just before signing the contract.


How about you?


Are you giving up your freedom by signing with a tribe?


Do you have to check what your tribe's chosen leader or chosen media figure says on an issue before you can formulate an opinion in your head?


Do you reflexively go to battle over any decision your team leader makes, even if, in your heart, you know it's the wrong decision?


You see, there's power in being a FREE AGENT.


A free agent doesn't feel the need to identify with any given tribe.


A free agent uses the power of critical and creative thinking to formulate ideas.


A free agent doesn't have knee-jerk, violent responses to anything that insults the tribe.


A free agent is FREE.


A free agent is also a threat.


This is because a free agent can't be neatly categorized by those who want to sell you products or buy your votes.


When someone can be neatly categorized, it's easier to find them with an algorithm or target them with product/political advertisements and mail.


A free agent isn't reliant on politicians to live their lives, and so the politicians don't hold as much power to sway or instill fear in the free agent.


A free agent doesn't feel like a prisoner of a toxic work culture, and will not hesitate to find a culture that fits him or her better.


A free agent knows that as soon as they sign on the dotted line of their tribe, they're locked in to and with that tribe.


And that free agent knows that his or her freedom is more right before he or she signs with the tribe than it is right after.


A free agent has power.


And a free agent is a threat.


Are you a free agent?


If not, what's keeping you from becoming one?

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