My 2016 Integrity Manifesto

You know that moment when you do something that you didn’t really intend to do and afterwards you rev up the treadmill of self-blaming and frustration?

 

Yes you know exactly what I mean.

 

That moment when you behaved like an asshole to people you like because you were in a bad mood. Or that moment when you didn’t speak up for yourself because you were afraid of exposure. Or that moment when you didn’t initiate interaction because you didn’t feel like it. Or that moment when you lied because you were afraid of consequences.

 

I do that too. In fact I do it way more often than you might think. The result? More self-blaming. More frustration.

 

It’s not that I am not trying hard enough. It’s that I am a human just like you.

 

I am human with flesh and bones and instincts and emotions and all.

 

And no matter how hard I try, sometimes I can’t keep my integrity in place and I just want to say fuck you, everything is so insignificant, so it doesn’t matter.

 

The thing is that whenever I do something like that I just reinforce self-blaming. Because if I live with integrity there is no need for me to do things I wouldn’t support.

 

It goes full circle.

 

So, I realized that what I am probably doing wrong is that I have a false sense of integrity. I am just confused because I haven’t carefully crafted the ideal scenario for my personal integrity paradigm.

 

Therefore, this year I decided to start early and draft a simple integrity manifesto that you are more than welcome to emulate.

 

It is like a mental picture that I can look at whenever I feel that my integrity is about to be jeopardized.

 

In order to do that I need to keep things simple and focus on the two areas that affect me the most – my work and my personal life.

 

The way I will go about doing that is by answering the following two fundamental questions:

 

How am I going to make my work more purposeful and generate more income?

 

How am I going to optimize my life and experience more moments of aliveness?

 

Question 1: How am I going to make my work more purposeful and generate more income?

Answers:

 

1.Partnerships.

 

The Quintessential Man is still a work in progress that has been evolving in parallel with my own evolution.

 

I was lucky enough during this journey to have met Quan, who although lives in the other end of the world for me, our mental proximity is not affected by physical distance. I have learned many things from him and he from me. I owe him a lot and our lives would severely lack mindfulness if we hadn’t met each other.

 

Quan is currently working on his first book, which is going to be a roadmap for young people to transition effectively from adolescence to adulthood. I am so proud of his progress so far and I am sure that this book will impact thousands of lives.

 

Moreover, one of our readers decided to ask for my help with starting his own blog and I was more than welcome to help him in this endeavor. In return, he is going to be covering a new fitness section in our blog. In particular, he will be sharing his personal insights, which are going to be based on science due to his studies in the field.

 

Finally, I am already in touch with some other bloggers in order to create some form of alliance. It is very difficult to find people who speak a similar language to the one I do but I have already found some. Not sure if they will accept my offer but I am always in the look for interesting bloggers who might want to partake in such an initiative. If you have any suggestions please mention them in the comment section below.

 

2. Put emphasis on personalized posts.

 

Until now, most of our blog posts have been influenced by external sources (mainly great books we read). What I have noticed, however, is that when I share more personal views on different topics, engagement skyrockets. Some examples include “How to be unforgettable,” “Don’t overestimate the world and underestimate yourself,” “From engineer, to entrepreneur, to blogger.” All of these posts are condensed analyses of personal anecdotes and obviously things you can totally relate to.

 

Therefore, I will try to create more of those pieces in the future as well as add more personal pictures and graphs like I did in the last posts. Especially lately, I try to expose myself to different environments and life scenarios, thus allowing myself to get inspired. You can’t really discuss life issues if you don’t experience life itself.

 

3. Mentoring.

 

In an attempt to impact more lives and help some of you who find yourselves in a self-exploring or reinventing stage, I will introduce my mentoring program around mid-January. It will be an online, high-intensity, 1 on 1, 6-week program that I like to call therapy on steroids. I call it that way because we will focus mainly on analyzing yourself and life experience, enhancing self-awareness and through various processes help you eventually actualize your potential.

 

I had many mentors in my life and I can confidently argue that mentoring is essential for the personal development process. A mentor can speed up the learning curve and explain things in a way that is comprehensible and clear. He can motivate you, inspire you, kick your ass, wake you up, push your limits and ignite the fire that’s slowly burning inside you.

 

It is a process that can make both you and me feel alive and I am aiming to enrich my life with such processes as I will mention below.

 

4. Online course.

 

End of March – beginning of April I will make available our first big online course. I am almost finished with the transcripts and I am ready to start the recordings next year. It will be a 6-week online course that will focus on six major areas of personal development.

 

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Social intelligence
  • Advanced social skills
  • Masculinity
  • Attraction
  • Habit building – Deep learning

This is probably the most thorough and holistic course that has been developed in the self-growth sphere. I have been working on it for months and it covers all the areas a man needs to work on in order to dramatically improve his life quality. It capitalizes on all the knowledge I have gathered over the past five years and it is a mixture of personal theories mingled the most powerful works in every field I am investigating.

 

5. Other activities – keeping faith in my goals and ambitions.

 

I am also working on another business project that has nothing to do with the blog. It is a personal business idea that I had since a year now and I think it is time to pursue it. I don’t want to disclose more information but I will most probably reveal more while sharing personal stories in the future.

 

The point is that it’s important to not have all your eggs in one basket and try to increase the number of activities that comprise your portfolio. Although this needs to be done with great planning and consideration, it is a process that empowers antifragility and also helps you avoid burnout and getting uninterested in your main project. Variety keeps people engaged.

 

It is something I would encourage you to do to.

 

Many readers have also asked me to start creating podcasts and YouTube videos. Guys, I would love to but those things require time and good preparation. I don’t want to create a podcast or a youtube vlog that’s ordinary and doesn’t add value. When I feel confident that I have a good idea about something that will stand out I will most definitely do it.

 

Question 2: How am I going to optimize my life and experience more moments of aliveness?

Answers:

 

1. Improve eloquence and verbal dexterity through exposure.

 

I have noticed recently that I lack eloquence and verbal dexterity. I tend to think about it whenever I see people like Russel Brand and Milo Yiannopoulos giving interviews. The way they use their language simply amazes me.

 

Obviously, I am smart enough to understand that we don’t have the same habits and exposure, so trying to compare my verbal skills to theirs is kind of stupid. The point is that I have become aware of the fact that verbal dexterity can only be improved through interaction and exposure.

 

I tend to spend most of the time at home so whenever I go out and initiate discussions, I feel rusty. I do, however, become more eloquent and persuasive after some time and especially when I enter flow, but there is definitely room for improvement.

 

The way I will go about developing it, is through small talk and focusing on me doing most of the talking, as well as practicing video talks in front of the camera. In combination to that I will try and study some aspects of comedy, so I can add a humorous twist in my words.

 

I write a lot about talking without running out of things to say and comedy in chapters 3 and 6 of “Speak like a Leader” in case you haven’t already read the book.

 

2. Balance awareness with presence.

 

Not sure if it happens to you as well, but the more I become aware of certain things, especially in the sociology and behavioral psychology domain, the more I tend to overanalyze situations. I’ll might be walking down the street and see person exhibiting a specific behavior, I will most probably try to analyze it and discover its roots.

 

That’s just one of the numerous examples when this happens but I don’t want to really delve into every single one. You get the point. The problem with this habit, however, is that it doesn’t allow me to be fully present in the moment and I often get distracted from my main activities.

 

The secret here is to manage to catch yourself the very second you do it and eventually return your focus to the present moment. Whenever I do that I immediately feel more grounded and immersed in my activity. I just need to do it more often.

 

3. Shut up and be patient.

 

Mark Manson wrote a great piece earlier this month titled “Shut up and be patient.” The title is quite self-explanatory and it totally reminded me of my situation. As a proud ENTJ, patience hasn’t always been my most defining characteristic.

 

It happens especially in the income part. Before I started my blog, I used to enjoy 2.5x the salary I enjoy now. Sometimes I even think that instead of working on my blog I could use this time to prepare myself and apply for one of the Big 4 consulting firms or an investment bank. I chose not to do so. My choice was very conscious and I don’t regret it. My work already impacts thousands of people around the world and in some years this blog will be making more money than any of those companies can offer.

 

I just need to work more on mustering the willpower required to enjoy every part of the journey. And of course shut up and be patient.

 

4. Focus more on activities that make me feel alive.

 

I recently stumbled upon the following quote:

 

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.” – Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

 

This is definitely among the top 5 quotes I have ever read.

 

Being alive.

 

Such a difficult concept to grasp.

 

What suggests aliveness?

 

I will cover this topic in a future article because I consider it very important, but in a nutshell, aliveness can be experienced through two different ways:

 

  1. Creative ego satisfaction
  2. Flow

With regards to the first, I use the word “creative,” because ego satisfaction can also be a very self-sabotaging process. You can, for instance, satisfy your ego and feel good by winning an argument with a friend but this doesn’t feel fulfilling.

 

A creative ego satisfaction can bee achieved via activities that don’t necessarily involve conflict. They can include an aspect of power or dominance, but let’s say in a more regulated way.

 

Some examples include:

 

  1. A competitive sport (this can vary from MMA to chess).
  2. Trying to win a deal over a salesman.
  3. Trying to close a deal.
  4. Trying to spark attraction.
  5. Trying to persuade a business partner to follow your plan.

There are even more examples that can be mentioned but you get the idea. These types of activities help you keep the animalistic aspect of yourself in place and also break out of a homeostatic state, thus making you feel alive.

 

With regards to flow, there are many ways it can be achieved, but my favorite ones include:

 

  1. Creative processes like writing, painting, music etc.
  2. Going out and achieving flow while in social environments.
  3. Public speaking.
  4. Extreme sports and activities.

Having all those activities in mind and managing to design your lifestyle around them, is the fundamental answer to the aliveness conundrum.

 

As far as I am concerned, I tend to focus only on flow activities (mainly creative processes and achieving flow in social environments) and I am probably neglecting my ego. Therefore, the areas I will dive into this year are:

 

  • Public speaking.
  • MMA.
  • Initiate conversations that will help me improve my verbal dexterity as I mentioned before.

I will also make sure to do “30 Challenges – 30 Days – Zero Excuses” at least twice this year in order to reboot and reenergize.

 

5. Carefully manage my energy levels.

 

I will be elaborating a bit on that in a future article as well, but the essence of this sentence can be summarized in the following tweet:

 

 

This has become quite apparent to me while I grow older. I don’t have the same stamina as I used to have 10 years ago and I tend to feel tired easier. This happens usually when I go out and also when I spend hours or even days only on one task. It can, however, be improved.

 

Managing your energy levels can be achieved via different ways. Most important include:

 

  • Strategic doses of caffeine
  • Nootropics (link includes the ones I use)
  • Good Food
  • Cardio
  • Good sleep
  • Strategic approach to your activities (e.g. when you go out what do you want to achieve in order to have fun and how much time does this demand?)
  • Minimizing commuting
  • Well structured week schedule

Creating a lifestyle around those areas can help you avoid energy drain and also burnout. As I said, I will be analyzing them in full detail in a future post but if you can’t wait, I found this great sample week schedule on an article posted by a Google executive and I consider it ideal:

 

schedule

In closing

2015 is coming to an end.

 

It has been a challenging year. A difficult year. A thoughtful year. An instructive year. A beautiful year.

 

Also a great year for The Quintessential Man as we hit more than 1 million pageviews.

analytics

 

I would like to thank all of you for sticking around and I hope that you will keep following us in our journey as we try to make your journey more purposeful.

 

Take some ideas from this integrity manifesto and have in mind that integrity has two meanings:

 

  1. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
  2. The state of being whole and undivided.

Both are relevant.

 

Both are important.

 

Take care.

 

Happy New Year!


 

Adrian Iliopoulos

I am the founder and main contributor at "The Quintessential Mind" - A unique personal blog that offers a holistic approach to self-development. I am striving to create high-quality content by investing in a reality-based form of self-help, informed by a deep understanding of psychology, philosophy and my own personal experiences and social adventures.
Adrian Iliopoulos