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Well, I’ll be dipped. Hello and hallelujah you made it.

Welcome to the beginning of your journey into living an above average life. Notice, I didn’t say the best life. I didn’t say the greatest life. And I sure as shit didn’t say the perfect life.

I said above average life.

But why above average?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

You see, in my eyes, life is never going to be perfect. Ever. There are always going to be problems, stress, unplanned events, and situations that are entirely out of your control.

A realization that took me a wee bit longer than I wanted to figure out.

What an above average life means is, well, to be a little bit more than average. To try and be better in departments of your life that seem to be lacking.

With that said, I’ve come up with 12 rules and practices that I use to try and live an above average life. I know, 12 rules may sound like a bit much, and potentially a smidge overwhelming. But hey, good news, these are things that you have the rest of your life to master. Or don’t. Entirely up to you. 

12 Rules I Use to Live an Above Average Life

Gifts Suck. Try New Experiences Instead

When I think of the idea of gifts, I cringe a little bit. That might sound wildly contrarian to living in the golden age of consumerism, but gifts kind of suck. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy getting a very thoughtful gift from someone. I definitely appreciate the effort.

What I really have a problem with are the white elephant-esque gifts. You know, the kinds of gifts someone found lying under their bed. I’m here to say straight up, wrapping garbage up and slapping a bow on that bitch doesn’t change the fact that it’s still garbage. Albeit, prettier garbage, but still garbage. 

You know what’s not garbage? Experiences. The amount of joy I get going somewhere I’ve never been, whether that’s a restaurant or a breathtaking scenic view, is 100 times more impactful to me than a dinky foot spa machine that has been in Grandma’s closet for ages. 

I know what you’re thinking, gross, who would gift somebody a used foot spa that their Grandma used?! Well, me. I’m not proud of my decision, but it was a last-minute thing, and thought, hey, my white elephant recipient would appreciate this. Sorry, Nikki.

As I mentioned before, we’ve got our lives to figure these rules out. I’m clearly still working on this one.  

Everything Has A Purpose

I stole this rule from The Minimalists who, well, are minimalists. Now, don’t blackout because I simply said minimalists. This rule has nothing to do with throwing everything away. Unless everything you own serves you no actual purpose. If that’s the case, hey, who doesn’t like a fresh start?

What I mean by “everything has a purpose” is when I hold something, does it bring any value to my life? I define value loosely here. For everything I own, I ask myself does this thing bring me joy, sentimental value, utility, comfort, or quality of life? If yes, great. I’ll keep it. If no, as Arnold says, hasta la vista, baby. 

Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at this. I find the easiest way to implement this rule is to take a hard look at my clothes. Let’s say I eat too many dino nuggets over the course of a year and my pants or shirts don’t quite fit anymore. Well, into the donate pile they go and I’ll look to replace them eventually. To me, wearing clothes that are suffocating you like a medieval torture device isn’t quite my cup of tea. 

No more purpose, no reason to keep it. 

Tickle The Brain Daily

There has never been a better time to sit down and learn whatever my little heart wants. This ol’ brain of mine needs to be constantly engaged. Am I interested in coding? A boot camp is out there with my name on it. Man, what if I could cook a delicious creme brule for the stomach goblin living inside me? Well, Gordon Ramsay has my back. How about performing the Iron Lotus, a feat only Chazz Michael Michaels and Jimmy MacElroy were able to pull off? Done.

Well, maybe not the Iron Lotus. Unless you take Blades of Glory as a non-fiction movie. Your call there.

I find if I’m always learning, I’m always growing. I’ll dive headfirst into a Youtube blackhole and come out on the other side with bloodshot eyes and have completely lost track of time.

Partially, this is purely the result of Youtube winning and me getting stuck on their platform. Out of the preservation of my ego, I’d say it’s mostly my curiosity though. 

To my point, a few weeks ago, I went on an Alexander the Great binge. A man I never really thought about up until that point. I figured this guy has a mythical status surrounding him. Let’s find out why. Then 4 hours later, I had a crash course on everything I could care to know about that legendary man. 

In case you’re interested in Alexander the Great, I highly recommend checking out this documentary. My mind was blown by the sheer quality that the channel produces.

Enjoy The Little Things in Life

From sitting on the deck for hours and hearing the birds chirp away, to the smell of freshly baked brownies, I am an absolute sucker for the little things in life.

My love for the little things definitely stems from the kind of relationship Kacey and I have. We’ll touch feet while writing, cuddle up close together on the couch while we watch another episode of Bob’s Burgers, or grab each other snacks when we’re gaming. All these little things add up to create an astronomical impact on our relationship.

I will say, I have one specific little thing in life that makes my day every time. There’s nothing better than waking up and starting the day off with a nice cup of coffee with, Kacey. We’ll sit at the table or plop down on the couch, kick our feet up, and talk about what our day looks like. Or take a post-wake-up nap. It really depends on how much sleep we’ve gotten the night before. 

This has become our little ritual together every morning now. I’ve woken up an absolute grumpy guss before, much like I did this morning, and poof. Grumpy Guss Tyler is gone. Thank God. What a Debby Downer that version of me is. The amount of happiness this morning routine brings me is out of this world. 

That small part of my day, a mere 30 to 60 minutes, has such a positive impact on the rest of my day.

Laugh Until You Puke

In my mind, there’s nothing more therapeutic than laughing until your face hurts, tears start running down your face, and you puke a little on your Grandparent’s basement steps. 

Puke a little? Oh yes.

I should probably provide some backstory here.

You see, back in the prehistoric days of the PlayStation One, there was a classic golfing game called CyberTiger. This game was a 2 player experience, and boy did they nail it. The best part of the game, hands down, was you could taunt your opponent while they were mid-swing. My older brother used these taunts to perfection.

Imagine yourself on hole 8. You’re about 70 yards from the hole, and if you nail this shot, good lord, you’re sitting in birdie territory. 

Easy enough. You pull out your pitching wedge, line up your shot, and as soon as you’re about to swing you’re rudely interrupted by the perfect fart sound. 

Thinking you might’ve let one slip, you shake it off and line up your shot again. You go to swing, and there it is again. It’s like a flock of geese just flew overhead. By golly, who’s farting?!

Except this mature and refined reaction was not how I responded.

At the ripe age of six, I was curled up in the fetal position laughing my ass off because my brother would not stop hammering the fart noise. Oh my god, tears were running down my face. I tried to crawl away from the fart noises, but my poor body only made it to the bottom stair. 

Then, in the blink of an eye, I literally threw up from laughing so hard. Holy shit, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that hard in my life. 

That’s the power of laughing. I remember that episode of hysterical laughter 22 years later like it was yesterday. 

Those moments of laughter are everything.  

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

I am such a creature of comfort. I like my small circle of people, my time spent at home, and my daily routine. Realizing this, I take these clown-sized feet of mine and step outside of my zone of comfort on occasion. 

For me, It can be as simple as bullshitting with a stranger who stopped by the house to buy something off of Facebook, trying out a new hobby like woodworking, or taking on a home project.

Oh boy, don’t even get me started with home projects. They never end! There’s always something to be done when you own a home. There’s typical maintenance, of course, painting to be done, fixing rotten siding, replacing windows, or slapping an entirely new roof over your head. 

Yes, I know. These are all things to be expected when owning a home. I’m just saying, my skill level in these departments is that of 6-year-olds. In turn, my comfort level is not quite where I’d like it to be. But, I’m taking baby steps to improve that area of my life. I’m trying to get these clown-sized feet of mine outside of my comfort zone and tackle more at-home projects. A work in progress to say the least.

You Are Who You Surround Yourself With.

I stumbled across an amazing statistic, actually today, tweeted out by Codie Sanchez that highlighted this rule in bright fuckin’ yellow to me.

There was a study done of 58,000 people in 11 different companies. The study put to test if you would perform better if you sat 25 feet from a top performer vs a poor performer. The results blew me away.

What happened was that if you literally sat 25 feet from a top performer, you would perform a shocking 15% better. You are no smarter, and you’re not working any harder, yet your performance goes up. Say you’re making $100,000 a year. Well, by just sitting your ass down next to them, you’d be making $115,000 a year. Crazy? You fuckin’ betcha.  

Now the poor performer results are what made the “You are who you surround yourself with” really hit home for me.

If you sat 25 feet away from a poor performer, your performance dropped by a whopping 30%. A whole 30%! That’s horrifying. When you think about that though, it makes sense. If you’re surrounded by people who aren’t out to win in life, full of negativity, and feed on buffets of drama, I can see exactly why performance would drop so much. It’s all toxic energy.

Finding your soulmate, a tight group of friends, or people that just want to crush life is one of the most important rules I’ve listed. 

Show an Attitude of Gratitude

I can thank Mr. Tony Robbins for this particular insight into living an above average life. Adopting his attitude of gratitude has been a  powerful practice that’s given me a completely new perspective on life. However, having an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done. Especially during moments where you feel like life’s top MMA champion has you in a rear naked choke and you’re about to tap out.  

I’ve had a few of those moments in my life now. I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the financial chokehold, a relationship armbar, and the ever-so-lovely mourning guillotine. 

You know what helped me get through all of those terrifying submissions? Gratitude. 

I know that sounds cheesy as hell, but hear me out here. 

Once I put the attitude of gratitude to the test, my perspective completely changed. Instead of thinking about the absolute negatives like oh my god I’m being buried in debt, no one is ever going to love me again, or I’m so angry at my Dad for passing away, I flipped the script. 

I instead thought, you know what, I’m grateful for this lesson on how to not handle my money. I’m grateful for the lessons I learned during that messy breakup. I’m grateful for the examples my Dad gave me on how to be a great father.

A simple shift in showing gratitude helped me move past these events and grow tenfold from them.

Take Care of The Meat Wagon

Yes, meat wagon might sound like a mildly disturbing way to describe the human body, but it has to be one of my favorite phrases to use. This ol’ meat wagon of mine, unfortunately, isn’t as well-oiled as it used to be. I’ve had the pleasure of finding that fact out as I get older. 

Back in my soccer days, I could eat all the garbage I wanted, throw my body around on the ground like I was on a trampoline, and have not a single care in the world. 

Oh doctor, what a wake-up call it’s been since then. I’ve got pizza slices going straight to my ass, and ankles that feel like they’re about to pop off like a Bratz doll. Plus, I’ve realized adulting is certainly not a carefree endeavor. 

Well, sitting here at 28 now, I’ve come to the conclusion that my personal meat wagon needs a smidge of maintenance. 

I’m starting to watch what I put into my body, exercising like it’s a part-time job – a big thank you to tennis for facilitating this – and taking steps to keep my mental health in check. Sometimes you just gotta watch Up and cry a little, ya know?

Needless to say, if you wanna live an above average life, taking care of all the different aspects of your body is vital. I’d even argue it’s the entire foundation.

Be Unapologetically Yourself

I was always trying to please people and be the person I thought they wanted me to be. Then, after that failed me miserably, whether that was in romantic relationships or with friends at the time, I took a hard look at myself and asked, “Who the fuck am I, really?”

This moment of self-reflection was, how should I say this, a nice punch to the gut. A much-needed gut punch though. Embracing my actual self was liberating. I mean, not giving two fucks what people thought about me and being unapologetically myself? Man, I should’ve done this sooner. 

I adopted the mentality that you’re either gonna love me or hate everything about me. There’s no in-between. Because I think that’s honestly how life is. Not everyone is going to like you for you, and that’s ok. Their loss, am I right?

Work to Live, Not Live to Work

Boy, do I wish somebody told me these seven words earlier in my life.  

In a society that often glorifies busyness and places excessive value on career achievements, it’s important to remember that work is a means to an end, not the sole purpose of life. 

Believe me, when I say this, getting caught up in the rat race leaves you with nothing at the end of it. 

I’ve done the classic “put your head down and grind” lifestyle. You know what I got out of it? Fractured relationships, depression, and time I’ll never get back. 

I sound dramatic here, but I feel like I need to emphasize the fact that we were not put on this Earth to drain all of our hours living to work. Yes, work is necessary to afford to live. I get that. 

So, work to live.

That hard-earned money that I made during my time grinding was cool, I guess. I mean, I had no time to enjoy it, so there it sat. I never enjoyed the fruits of my labor. That just wasn’t an option for me. 

I know it can seem like finding that work-life balance is damn near impossible. But that has to be a priority if there’s any chance at an above average life, at least in my book. 

Live a Little Old Fashioned

In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, it is a breath of fresh air to embrace a slower, more intentional way of living. 

What I mean by living a little old-fashioned is to unplug from technology every once in a while. Go touch grass or something. Heck, maybe even read a book, talk to someone in person, or take up the art of writing by hand. They do still make pencils, you know. Just in case you forgot.  

Now, why do I recommend living a little old-fashioned?

Because the impact I’ve seen in my own life is too powerful to not recommend. Living a little old-fashioned is just peaceful. 

Speaking of being peaceful, Kacey and I have started gardening, which is something I thought I’d never get into. We plotted a spot out in our backyard, tilled it all up, and planted every vegetable in that bitch by hand. We’re like proud parents when each plant starts to blossom and grow taller. 

When I go to water my little veggie children, I feel proud, grateful, and at peace. I feel grounded. 

That’s what living a little old-fashioned is really all about. Grounding yourself.

Now, these 12 rules and practices may seem simple on their own, but working in unison, man, what a profound impact they’ve had on my life so far. Yes, if you’re looking to slide these rules into your life all at once, you’ll certainly be overwhelmed. I’d recommend getting really good at one rule and developing your filter over time. I know that’s helped me tremendously. 

Oh, And one more little snippet of above average advice. Rome wasn’t built in a day. This means an above average life won’t happen overnight. Luckily, you’ve got your entire life ahead to keep working on it.

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