Matt McLeod | 17 Things That Make Life Awesome
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17 Things That Make Life Awesome

1. Caffeine

Coffee, energy drinks, tea, pre-workout — we don’t discriminate here. The world’s most popular drug has claimed that title for a reason. On top of being addictive, it’s also an effective fat burner, nootropic, and performance enhancer.

Research has shown it’s safe to consume up to 400 mg/day for healthy adults and habitual caffeine use is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. If you’re new to caffeine (meaning you’re either insane or a 7 year old), start with 100 mg and work your way up.

2. Good music

There is something spiritual about the way music makes us feel. When you have a song that resonates with you, it’s a euphoric feeling that is difficult to describe. Some people tend to focus more on the lyrics while others, like me, will focus more on the beats/overall ‘vibe’ of the song. There is no right or wrong answer, and each person will experience the song in their own unique way. To me, this makes music special.

3. Standing desks

Considering I’m standing at mine right now, I couldn’t help but mention it. Sure, the not sitting all day part is helpful (although standing all day isn’t good for posture either), but I like it for keeping my energy up. Every time I’m about to write or work on something important, I’ll raise my desk and put an upbeat song on repeat. This is my mental cue that it’s time to get shit done (it usually works). This is the desk I use (no affiliate).

4. Video Games

They often get a bad rap, but I genuinely enjoy video games. As with everything, you can use video games as a tool of escapism. And when used responsibly, it can be the perfect nighttime release you need after finishing your adulting for the day.

One game I love to play is called Rocket League for Xbox One. I think it’s perfect because each game is only 5 quick minutes and there’s not 10 million different achievements to unlock like an RPG game. I play a couple games and then I’m done after about an hour.

5. Stand-Up Comedy

Laughing at least once per day is a non-negotiable for me. I think every single person should start and end their day with a laugh, or at least a smile. Stand-up comedy has been my go-to. Most of my favorites are on Netflix, so just go there and type these in for hours of great comedy: Chris D’elia, Bill Burr, Tom Segura, Bert Kreisher, Joe Rogan, and Theo Von.

Another pro-tip is to type these guys’ names into YouTube, i.e., “best of [NAME].” You’ll find short clips to play as you’re getting ready for work or during your commute if you don’t have time for a full Netflix special.

6. Podcasts

I listen to podcasts every day, probably more than I should. Video podcasts on YouTube are like reality TV shows except you can learn tons of valuable lessons (or laugh your face off). Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows that I am a massive Joe Rogan fan. If you want my recommendations, start with this one to learn and this one to laugh.

I’m such a promotor of podcasts because they encourage the most genuine form of human communication: a non-interrupted conversation between two humans. It’s beautiful. And it’s also why I started one myself.

7. Social Media

If you think social media is ruining the world, I actually disagree (mostly).

You may be following the wrong people or not using it correctly. You control everything you see or don’t see on social. You control your time on each platform. You look at your phone at dinner instead of talking. You can’t put the entire blame on social media.

Does everyone have to use it? No, of course not. And fuck me, too, right? You don’t have to agree with me. There’s plenty of bad that comes with social media. I know these platforms are literally designed to make you addicted, but you have to be strict with your boundaries. And for the record, I would use it way less if it wasn’t my primary form of advertising for my 1:1 coaching.

But, to me, social media isn’t making people worse, it’s just exposing people. The good people are impacting millions while the bad people barely slip through to anything worth noticing, especially long-term. I think you should use social media to document your life, find ‘internet mentors’, and connect with friends/family from all over the world ⏤ not as a gauge to compare your life to others.

Always remember: your great-grandchildren will be able to see a large portion of your life if you’re on social media. What will their impression be?

8. Fresh local fruit

Big time fruit guy, here. Whether you need a snack, a side at dinner, or an underrated dish to bring to a tailgate (where dehydration is common) – fruit should be the go-to. The more colors, the better. Fruits and veggies are different colors because they contain different vitamins and minerals, which gives them different pigments. That’s why variety is so important.

9. Eating meals with friends

There’s nothing more human than this. An amazing dinner feels primal. Aim to do this at least once per week. My man crush, Nate Green (who inspired this whole article), offers some wonderful food rules for eating out with friends. And bonus points if you order a Kentucky Mule.

10. Ear plugs and eye masks

I have found nothing more effective (or cheaper) at improving my sleep than this tip right here. I use these ear plugs and this eye mask. If you think you won’t hear your alarm, try testing it out on the weekend, but my bet is you still wake up (turn on vibrate too).

Sleep is the most underrated life hack to more fat loss, more muscle gained, and improved well-being. Your diet and exercise can be perfect, but still won’t do shit if sleep is ignored. Aim for at least 6.5 quality hours of sleep per night. 

11. Listening to the rain

If you want to relax: sit/stand outside while it’s raining. Keep your phone inside. You can close your eyes, or keep them open and just look around, taking note of your surroundings ⏤ the way the rain falls, the water dripping off a roof or plant, smelling the air, the sound of water spattering on the ground. Take some deep breaths through your nose and out your mouth (3 seconds in and 4 seconds out). Just appreciate the moment.

12. Reading

If you’ve ever wanted anything in life, somebody has written a book on how to get it. Yet, so many people are too lazy to look for solutions to their problems. They are out there. And they’re usually cheaper than $20. If you want a book list, check this out

13. Being curious about others

If you’ve ever wanted somebody to like you, ask them questions about their lives. We love telling people about ourselves and trying to impress them. But the more you get the other person to talk, the more they’re going to like you. Not the other way around. Less is more.

And speaking of less…

14. Focus on less

The answer is to simplify. Go narrow with laser focus. Stop multi-tasking. Eliminate distractions. Great book on this, here.

2 questions to ask yourself at any moment:

1.     “Is this necessary?” – Marcus Aurelius

2.     “What would this look like if it were easy?” – Tim Ferriss

Before you read your next blog, read your next book, or listen to another podcast, go implement one thing you have learned here.

15. Surprising family members

My parents just recently celebrated their 30th anniversary together. So, my family and I surprised them with a fancy dinner at one of the best restaurants in Lexington, KY. It made my mom cry tears of joy and I can promise you there are few better feelings in this life than that right there.

16. Going into your partner’s world

I’ve never had anything to do with politics. It’s just never interested me. That is, until I started dating my girlfriend who is on the path to becoming a lawyer. She LOVES politics and I’ve started to learn more simply through osmosis. Listening to her talk about politics, just like she listens to me about fitness, has given me a new perspective and brought me closer to her. Win-win.

17. You guys

I sent out an email to my newsletter the other day asking one question: how I can help?

I got flooded with responses—ranging from lean bulking to dealing with insecurities—and I can’t begin to describe the feeling of gratitude that came over me while answering them. The fact that I have the opportunity to make even the smallest impact on each of you reading is truly an honor. I would not be able to do this without you.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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