The MMA Framework (for fulfillment)


400 weeks is a long ass time.

Think about it, what’s an activity you’ve done 400 discrete times?

A lot can happen during 400 weeks. That was the case for our family.

Two kids were born.

We moved to LA

I surfed 1,500 days.

All this was anchored by a single activity. Writing a weekly newsletter.

This creative act has connected me to thousands of beautiful souls across the world.

It’s launched multiple businesses.

But when it comes to a life well-lived, what has it delivered?

To answer this question, I turned to my trusty MMA Framework.

The Mindful Money and Ambition Framework

There’s the old cliché about the journey versus the destination.

Over the past 8 years, I’ve never been quite sure about the destination. But one thing’s for damn sure – if I didn’t enjoy the journey, I would have never lasted for this long.

And whether we’re talking about money, ambition, time, productivity and creativity – people often mistake these markers for the “end.”

But they’re really just a means in service of an “end” that you determine.

So when it’s all said and done – what’s the point of doing anything?

1. Freedom

The RadReads newsletter has brought me tremendous freedom.

I don’t set an alarm. I haven’t worn a suit in 8 years. I don’t commute. I don’t have meetings on Fridays (or before 11:30). I volunteer at the kids’ school.

The freedom of a digital business is bar none.

But as I shared on our recent podcast Is Freedom Overrated, my guest Larwrence Yeo and I concluded that:

Freedom can only solve freedom problems.

Insecurity, envy, low self-worth and doubting your own goodness will not be solved by more freedom.

So while I have infinite time freedom, I’m still chipping away at my portfolio of insecurities.

2. Aliveness

Money can buy a lot of things.

But it can’t buy aliveness.

Aliveness feels like should be obvious – but when was the last time you felt it?

Aliveness is a unique cocktail of passion, energy, lightness, joy – all remixed together.

Yet many people don’t know the difference between passion and interests. (Let alone, what makes them come alive.)

Some fall into the when-then trap.

Once I get promoted, then I’ll finally take that cooking class.

Others may delay gratification to the extreme, living some sort of deferred life plan.

There’s a simple question that even I found hard to answer in the early days of RadReads:

What makes you come alive?

Today it has become my anchor.I only do things that make me come alive.

(If you’re struggling with this question, my friend Carl Richards recommends keeping a Stoke Journal and documenting even the tiniest moments of aliveness.)

3. Impact

I always hesitate to use the word impact. Yes, I want to know that my work is helping others.

But at the same time, I want to be honest about the scale of this impact.

Most of RadReads’ is aimed at high-performers who have very much cleared the lowest two rungs of Maslow’s hierarchy.

For this group, questions of survival, shelter and physical safety are off the table. We’re writing to an audience whose focus is much more towards the top of the pyramid – esteem, belonging and self-actualization.

Furthermore, impact doesn’t have to happen at scale.

A teacher impacts the lives of 25 kids in their class each year.

A sanitation worker impacts hundreds of homes on their weekly route.

A kind gesture to a stranger can bring a smile to a stranger’s face.

So I want to honor tiny and grand impacts.

And the quiet and loud ones.

I’ll conclude by acknowledging the hundreds of messages we get about our “impact.” I’m super grateful and don’t take any of these messages for granted (in fact, I save them in my jar of awesome file).

4. Love

Ah, love – what a vast category. I do feel so much love from the community (as shown above). I also do get to express so much love in writing for you all.

My love of the craft of writing continues to propel me to continue to do this work for the next 8 years and beyond.

(My family also would “love” if I spent a little less time on my laptop.)

5. Status

I use this bucket as a catch-all for status, power and influence.

Now, I have a complicated relationship with status – especially on the Inter-webs.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t pay attention to follower counts, email subscribers and podcast downloads.

Sometimes I wonder if I traded the money game (i.e. Wall Street) for the validation game (i.e. Social Media).

But I have a (somewhat) healthy relationship with non-attachment, inspired by this principle from the Bhagavad Gita:

“You have the right to work, but for the work’s sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work.”

And tbh, I just kick myself off social media by setting a 7-minute daily limit with only Lisa having access to the password.password.

6. Equanimity

Does this newsletter bring me peace?

Ah, the ultimate question.

Does it quiet the chatter in my head? Does the work feel effortless?

Again, it’s all relative.

Yes, the freedom, aliveness and love bring tremendous joy to my life.

(At the same time, running a business is stressful.)

90% of my days pass the lottery test. Yup, this means if a billion dollars showed up in my bank account, I’d pretty much have the same exact day.

It’s a wonderful test to see if you’re living in alignment.

By that metric, I am.

But I’ve also found that true inner peace will not come from a purchase. An achievement. A thank you note. Nor a newsletter.

That journey is internal.

It’s also the journey of a lifetime.

And I appreciate each and every one of you beautiful souls for being on this journey with me.

Here’s to the next 400 issues!

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