7 Steps to Living the ULTIMATE LIFE (Part 1)
Welcome to episode #2 of THE BE ULTIMATE podcast. In this episode, Travis shares the first 4 of 7 steps to living the ultimate life. This is Travis filmed in a single take as he passionately shares stories, quotes, science, wisdom and inspiration.
-Introduction to “The 7 Steps of Living the Ultimate Life.”
-How this formula can be applied to achieving any goal or dream
-Step One is PAUSE
-Step Two is VISION and INTENTION
-Step Three is REMOVING OBSTACLES and TAKING ACTION
-Step Four is COMMITMENT and COURAGE
-Inspiration from Ram Das, Muhammad Ali, Don Miguel Ruiz, Bernard Meltzer, Aristotle, Tony Robbins, Tendai Monks, Nelson Mandela, Pema Chodron, Joseph Campbell, and Hafiz.
[The following is the full transcript of this episode of “The BE ULTIMATE Podcast.” Please note that this is direct from Travis speaking unscripted and unedited.]
Hey, guys. Welcome to episode number two of “The BE ULTIMATE Podcast.’
In this episode, we’re going to be covering part one of ‘The Seven Steps of Living the Ultimate Life.’
So this was inspired by a master class that I teach all around the country. And that class was called The Seven Steps of Living the Good Life. So I thought we could take this same formula. And we could kind of break it down this episode because this is a formula that you can apply to any goal, dream, vision, endeavor, desire.
And I guarantee if you follow this formula, it’s going to make you achieve that goal. So let’s break this down.
1) Step one of living the ultimate life is to Pause. That’s right. Before embarking on your journey, before embarking to achieve your goal – whether that’s going in and rocking a business meeting or becoming a Super Bowl champ or losing 20, 30 pounds or doing the 90 day Power Yoga GOLD Program with Travis Eliot – to just take a moment and to pause.
Now, why would we want to pause? Look. Life is moving very, very fast. And with technology, computers, cell phones, things are accelerating at a frenetic pace, where it’s almost out of control.
And so for a lot of us, we are in this constant state of fight or flight. So our stress response is turned on. Adrenaline, cortisol is pumping through our veins. And this is not a good place to act from. So we want to take a moment to pause.
So, for example, in a yoga class, we often start in what’s called the child’s pose. And child’s pose is kind of like a bridge to help us come from whatever is going on in our day – taking the kids to school, running errands, working at our job – and then we come into the yoga studio. Before we move our body, we take a couple of minutes. Sometimes a few minutes just to land and arrive, to press pause. So this is very, very important.
It reminds me of that story that I read back in high school called ‘Sidharta’ by Herman Hesse. And it’s been a long time since I read the book, but I remember really, really being struck by the book. And I remember there was a particular scene in the book where Sidharta came across this intersection. And so he had these few options of which way to travel and which way to go. And he wasn’t sure which path to take. So he found a tree. He sat down. He pressed pause. And he took some time to land and arrive before he decided to make his decision. And, of course, from that place of pausing, he found clarity. It’s as if the universe came in and guided him, what to do and how to act. So we too want to pause before we embark on our journey.
The great teacher Ram Dass says, “The quieter the mind becomes, the more that you can hear.”
And he’s not talking about hearing something outside of yourself. He’s really speaking to hearing the voice of intuition. And that word intuition means to instruct from within. So wisdom, insights, they all come from within. But you’re never going to access that insight unless you pause. If you’re in that state of stress and you’re just like a bull charging through a china shop, then you’re never going to act from this place of true integrity and centeredness.
So as you pause, it’s as if your mind and the waves of the mind become like a really, really still forest lake on a windless day. And the lake becomes so still that you can see all the way to the very bottom in the depths of that lake. The mud, the dust, the crud, it all has a chance to settle, and you get clarity.
Now the beauty also of a really, really still lake, is that it becomes almost like a mirror. And it reflects all the beauty of what exists around that lake. And this is what it’s like to look into the eyes of somebody who has a really still mind. It’s almost as if you can see all the way down to the very depths of their soul. But at the same time, they are reflecting your beauty back to you. You can see into them, but they’re also reflecting back to you a certain essence and a goodness that also resides within you.
We get this by pausing. And, of course, we can pause by meditating. And so finding time within our day, whether it’s 5 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour– or me and my seven-year-old son, right now, we’re meditating seven minutes because he’s seven years old. So any parents that are listening, however old your child is, maybe you can meditate with them that period of time.
One type of meditation is called the Vipassana meditation. And if you’re unfamiliar, Vipassana means to see things as they are. So if our mind is busy and the waves of our mind are frenetic and choppy, do you think that we’re going to be able to see things clearly as they are? It’s like looking through a windshield, and the windshield is covered with dust and bugs and rain and snow. We’re not going to be able to really see things clearly as they are. When you pause, it’s as if you are clearing the windshield of your mind so that you can really see things as they are.
You’re no longer filtering the experience. You’re not bringing all your past stuff with you that’s coloring the experience. And therefore, you have this misperception as to what is going on in the world around you and what reality truly is.
When we pause, we take that moment. We have this goal. We have this mission that we want to accomplish. And we make sure that our ladder is leaning up against the correct wall.
A lot of people that just act, they throw their ladder up against the wall. Metaphorically speaking, they start climbing up the ladder. They do all this work. They hustle to get all the way to the top of the ladder. And then they realize, their ladder is leaning up against the wrong wall. So they got to go all the way back down, and they got to start all over.
When you pause, you make sure that your ladder is leaning up against the right wall. So that as you work hard and as you sweat and sometimes suffer and hustle, when you finally get to the top, your ladder Is leaning on the right wall. So again you want to make sure that you act from this place of true, true clarity. So that step one is the pause.
Now, let’s talk about step number two.
2) Step two is having VISION and INTENTION. Before you enter into the forest, before you embark on the journey, you got to have a map. You got to have a map so that you know where you’re going. If you don’t have the map, you’re screwed, baby. I mean, chances are you’re going to get lost in the woods. You’re going to get eaten by a bear. Who knows what’s going to happen if you don’t have a map? And the bigger your journey, the more important the map becomes.
Think about it like this, in aeronautics where everything has to be calculated to a very precise mathematical equation, if they’re off just an iota of a degree, you’re going to end up in the wrong place. If you’re Elon Musk, Space X, and you’re off with your measurements, you’re not going to end up on Mars. You’re going to end up on some crazy planet in some faraway solar system.
So having this vision and being precise and being clear and being specific is going to set you up for success of achieving whatever that is. So you want to envision your goal.
For example, you’re somebody who wants to lose say 20 pounds or maybe you’re somebody that wants to gain 20 pounds of muscle whatever it is, to take time to pause, step one. And then step two to really envision what you look like as if you’ve already achieved that goal. And this is huge because it’s going to trigger a whole sequence of events neurochemically within your brain, that’s going to start to help you move in this direction of fulfilling that goal. So you want to see the vision as if it’s already been done, and you can reinforce this with the power of your mind.
A very powerful mantra or affirmation is the “I Am.” And then you pick whatever your intention is. So you pick a quality. If your quality is health, “I Am Health.” If your quality is abundance, “I Am Abundance.” If your quality is compassion, “I Am Compassion.”
And then you repeat that, and you repeat it over and over and over again.
It’s as if you’re planting a seed into the soil of your mind. And just like in your garden when you plant a seed, you got to water it. You have to feed it. You have to take care of it. As that plant begins to grow, you got to make sure that you know the weather doesn’t come and knock it down. You got to make sure that some little raccoon or critter doesn’t come along and eat your plant. So you got to look after it. So you have your vision. You have your mantra, your affirmation. And you’re repeating that over and over and over again. And the more that you repeat it, the more that you feed that seed. And then that seed begins to sprout, and that seed begins to grow. And then it begins to grow out branches, and the roots get deeper. The more you feed it, the stronger that plant and that tree of your vision becomes. But not only do you got to think it, you also got to feel it. The thought sends the signal out to the quantum field, but it’s the emotion that draws the experience back to you like a magnet. So your feelings, your emotions that you’re feeling are a magnet. And that’s going to track that event back to you. So you’ve got to think it, level of the mind, and you got to feel it, the dimension of your heart.
And this isn’t just some New Age bullshit. I mean, you look at the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali, who says,
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
So even Muhammad Ali would use these affirmations to create the belief and the conviction so that he could, too, Be Ultimate, the ultimate boxer of all time. So you got to get on board with the affirmation and the repetition. Now, you also want to know what’s your why. Why do you want to achieve this goal? Why do you want to win the Super Bowl? Why do you want to lose 20 pounds? Why do you want to rock your meeting? Why do you want to be a more loving mother or father?
Now here’s the secret, your why has to be so magnificent, so large, so spacious that no obstacle can stop you. If you’re why is rooted within ego or vanity or aesthetics, do you think that when you encounter challenge and struggle that you’re going to be able to overcome that? No. You’re not going to. So your why has to be so big and beyond your ego that nothing can stop you. So usually that means your why has to be for the contribution to other people, to give to other people, to make your why so large that nothing can stop you.
Think about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he didn’t do that for his ego. He didn’t put himself in harm’s way because he wanted to look good or to get famous. His why was to bring justice and equality to all people regardless of what their skin color, their gender, whatever their nationality was. His why was a vision that was so grandiose that nothing could stop him.
Same thing for Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi brought down the entire British Empire because his why was so big. He wanted his people to have equality. He wanted his people to have respect. And both Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., they did it all through non-violence. Do you know how much courage that takes? How much strength that takes? Their why was so infinite nothing could stop them. So what’s your why? Be clear as to what your why is.
These words that you have running through your mind as you’re moving to fulfill this journey are so important.
This from the spiritual author Don Miguel Ruiz who writes, “Your word is the power that you have to create. It is through the word that you manifest everything. The word is a force. It is the power you have to create the events in your life.”
So know your affirmation, know your intention, that’s step two.
Now, let’s move on to step three.
3) Step three is REMOVING the OBSTACLES and TAKING ACTION.
In India, there was a really famous artist. And he was world-renowned for creating these life-sized stone carvings of elephants. And when reporters would ask him, “How do you do what you do? How do you make these elephants look so real? The detail, the nuance, the intricacy of your craftsmanship, how do you do that?” And he said, “I chisel away at everything that’s not the elephant,” which is kind of like Leonardo da Vinci speaking about Michelangelo.
When we talk about removing the obstacles, we’re talking about chiseling away everything that’s not in alignment with what your vision is and what your intention is. So you got to get that hammer and chisel out, and you got to start chiseling away. You got to start letting go of everything that’s no longer serving you in a positive way.
It reminds me of another great story about this golden Buddha statue in northern Thailand. And there was this village up there in The Golden Triangle area near Laos and Burma. And this statue that the village had was made of solid gold. It was their prized possession. And one day the villagers heard word that there was an invading army coming through there their land. And so they all got together, and they gathered all the mud and rocks and clay that they could. And they covered up the statue. And it worked. ]Because when the army came through, they didn’t notice this statue. But they took all the villagers with them. And for many years that village was deserted. Eventually, another group of people decide to settle in that same area. And one afternoon this small girl was playing. And out of the corner of her eye, she saw this golden shaft of light penetrating out at her. So she went to go explore the source of this light. And so she started to use her fingertips to peel away at all this hardened clay. And as she peeled at the mud, more of this golden light began to spill out. She got excited. She called her friends over. Her friends joined in. They too start clawing at the mud, removing the rocks. More light started just radiating out. Then the adults came over. They came in, and they helped to finish the job with the kids. And before you know it, the original glory of that Buddha statue was completely, fully restored back to its full luminosity.
I love this story because it reminds us that very often, it’s more about letting go than it is about adding on or fixing or needing to perfect ourselves. A lot of times we think that we need more. But really many of the great wisdom traditions teach, it’s just this simple removing of that which no longer serves.
So for a lot of us, the thing that’s not serving us in a positive way, the obstacle that we need to remove, is the obstacle of negative thinking. This is a huge, big obstacle. Our limiting beliefs, negative thoughts, if that’s running the show, we don’t even have a chance of fulfilling the journey. We’re never going to fulfill that goal.
So a little bit of science for you. Your brain is like a radio tower, and that radio tower is broadcasting its signal throughout all the trillions of cells in your body. So think about all the cells that make up you and your body as little people. And these little people, they have no idea what’s going on in the outer world. So where do they get their information from? They get their information from the brain that is sending the signal out. So if you take your body and you put it in paradise, like say Hawaii – and you’re on a beach. You’re surrounded by turquoise blue water. You got a nice warm breeze going – but inside the mind, you’re thinking negative thoughts. And you’re creating all this suffering inside of your mind. That’s what your cells are going to key off. Your cells aren’t going to know they’re in Hawaii. They’re going to feel like they’re in a place of misery.
Now adversely, if you take a person and you put them in a place like say a prison– and so they’re in a really challenging, difficult place, but inside their mind, they’re thinking positive benevolent thoughts.
You think about somebody like Nelson Mandela who said something along the lines that, you can put my body in prison, but you can never imprison the spirit.
And again that’s just a paraphrase, but the idea is that if you’re in that prison and you’re staying in that positive mode of thinking, then the cells in your body are going to key off that experience.
Each cell in your body has a little antenna attached to it called an IMF protein. And that IMF protein, that serves like an antenna is picking up on the signal that your brain is communicating. So people that are really depressed, people that are really miserable, all the cells in their body are just acting upon what it is that the brain’s speaking to them.
In other words, you have to choose your thoughts wisely, and you have to begin to let go of the negative thinking. You have to realize that although the negative thoughts may be there, you don’t have to listen to them. You don’t have to believe them and that you have a choice. You have a choice. You get to choose which thoughts you want to feed, which thoughts you want to support, which thoughts you want to reinforce. You as a human have that choice. Thank God for that, right?!
Now another thing that a lot of us need to explore is this baggage that we’re holding on to. And for a lot of us, this involves the practice of forgiveness, which is very, very difficult. We’ve all had things happen to us. Some of us have been abused. Some of us have been cheated. Some of us have been betrayed. We’ve been hurt. And we hold on to that trauma. We hold onto that pain within our body, within our mind. And our brain sending out that negative thought, “God, I hate that person. God, why did this happen to me?” And then we slip into what’s called victim consciousness. And the moment that you start playing the role of a victim, you just keep attracting more things that create you to be a victim.
There’s that great quote by Pema Chodron that says, “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches you what you need to learn.”
If you notice the same recurring themes coming up over and over and over again, it’s probably because you haven’t really learned the lesson. And once you learn the lesson, you break the pattern. You transcend, and you grow beyond that. And then chances are, you’ll encounter a new pattern. And you keep growing. And then you encounter a new pattern, and you keep growing. And this is what it’s like to be in the school of life. So we don’t want to be defined by our past. I’m not saying that you have to forget what happened in your past. But what I am inviting you to do is to forgive. Because the person that it hurts the most when you don’t forgive is yourself. You’re still bounded like a chain to whatever that event or that person was. So after we’ve moved through the grieving process – we’ve done the work to move through the trauma – at some point, in order to be ultimate, in order to fulfill your goals, then you’re going to have to forgive.
Bernard Meltzer, the great radio host says, “When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure change the future.”
So if you want to change your future, this is one of the most powerful things that you can do. So once you let go of the obstacles, now it’s time to take massive action. You got to take massive action. You can’t just expect everything to fall into your lap.
For example, when I got offered a book deal for my book “Journey Into Yin Yoga,” – awesome – got offered the book deal, but somebody had to write that sucker. And the writing process took incredible discipline, focus, concentration, sacrifice. I had to take massive action in order to complete that book. So again, this isn’t all about just thinking that we are going to attract everything, that’s BS. So you got to take massive action to fulfill the goal. So as you start to take massive action, you start to rewire your nervous system. You start to rewire your brain. The cells in your body get in alignment. They get on the same page with that signal that your brain is communicating throughout the body.
As Aristotle says, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
So we create these positive habits. We create these habitual patterns that become ingrained within every part of who we are.
There is a story about Larry Bird, one time, who had to shoot a commercial. And in this commercial, they said, “All right. Mr. Bird, we want you to throw the ball up into the air. And we want you to hit the rim, but we do not want the ball to go in the basket.” Legend has it, it took him 26 times because he was so wired, they had to do take, after take, after take. Because he would throw the ball up, and it would just swish through the net because he had ingrained his whole entire physiology to make that basket.
So that’s what you want to do. You got to, day, after day, after day, be moving through your journey, moving to fulfill your goal, doing whatever it is that’s required to get the job done.
Tony Robbins says, “Repetition is the mother of skill.”
So you repeat over and over and over again. Right now, I’m doing the Power Yoga GOLD Program. It’s a 90-day program. Every morning waking up, getting all my yoga mat, and I’m doing it day after day. I think today I’m on like day 25 or something. And man, my body’s feeling good. My mind is feeling good. Things are happening because of that repetition of showing up day, after day, after day. So step three removing the obstacles, taking action.
Now, we’ll move into our last step for this part of the seven steps. This is step number four.
4) Step number four is COMMITMENT and COURAGE.
There’s these monks in Japan that are ultra distance runners. They’re called the Tendai monks. These Tendai monks, they run insane distances, sometimes a 100 miles, 150 miles. And if they don’t complete the track, sometimes, they’ll even commit suicide. So these monks are full-on crazy.
And they have this expression that says, “When you commit to nothing, you become distracted by everything.”
I love this quote because it’s so true. There are way too many things in this world to distract you from ever fulfilling your goal.
Science says that every moment of your life you have 11 million bits of information that are coming in through your five senses. 11 million bits of data coming through you. And again with technology, with the news, with the media, with TV, with social media you have all this stuff coming at you. And if you’re not clear as to what you want if you’re not committed to what it is that your goals are, do you think that you’re ever going to fulfill that goal? Chances are sadly, no. And most people don’t because they don’t have the commitment.
So you got to come back to your intention. You got to come back to your why. Again, the why is bigger than just you. It’s about other people. So being committed and also being courageous.
The bigger the reward, the bigger the challenge, and the bigger sacrifice that it’s going to take.
In Tibet, they actually have a prayer for challenges. They actually pray for challenges. Most of us, we’re running away from challenges. We want to be comfortable all the time. We want to be in our comfort zone. And the last thing that we want, is to be challenged. Not only are they okay with being challenged, but they actually pray to be challenged because they know that the challenges are going to help them grow. They know that the challenges are going to help them awaken. They know that the challenges are going to propel them into a whole different state.
We want to have a relationship with challenges that’s exactly like that. Now as you make it down the path, you’re going to fail. And you’re going to fall. And you’re going to struggle.
Nelson Mandela said, “Don’t judge me by my successes. Judge me by how many times I fell down, and then I got back up.”
So when you fall and when you fail, fail forward, fall forward– know that you’re right where you’re supposed to be, and that it’s not a bad thing. You’re not alone. I fall all the time. None of us are perfect. And so you’re going to fall at times. It takes courage to be ultimate. It takes courage to be bold. It takes courage to realize your goals. It takes courage to own your power.
The biggest enemy that exists isn’t the enemy outside of you, it’s the enemy inside of you. And it’s called the enemy of fear. And most people are limited by their fear. They’re imprisoned by their fear.
Joseph Campbell said, “The cave that you fear to enter, holds the treasures that you seek.”
When you move through your fears, when you move into those fears, when you pray for the challenges, and then you move through that, you move through that which scares you. You start to discover and experience the greatest treasure that you could ever want. And once you get a little taste of it, you become unstoppable. And you realize anytime your mind goes into fear mode, you say “All right. That’s it. I got to move into that. I got to move through that.”
Hafiz, the great Persian poet, writes, “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I’d like to see you in better living conditions.”
So why live in a dingy little closet, why live in in a tiny little room, when you could live in a palatial palace? This is what’s possible for you when you move through your fear and when you allow your courage to become way stronger than your fear. And the fear probably will never go away.
Fear can be a very, very good thing. You got to be scared sometimes. But it’s all about your relationship to that fear.
Last year I had the incredible honor of going to teach yoga in a maximum security prison. I had never done this before. I didn’t know what to expect. And honestly, I was scared. And I was so, so, so scared because it was just unfamiliar territory.
But I knew– I knew deep within me that doing this experience and moving through that fear would become one of the greatest experiences of my life. And it did. It changed my life. It changed my life. And I’ll probably dedicate an entire podcast to what that experience was like because there’s so much I want to share with you guys. But for this episode, I just want you to know that I get scared too. I get scared all the time.
And what I’ve learned over these last 41 years in my life is that when I’m scared of something, if I run away from that fear, I don’t feel good about myself. I feel small. I feel weak. I don’t feel good. And so I’ve learned to embrace that which scares me. And I hope you’ll do the same. And you’ll see other people– there’s a lot of people that are freaking out in the world right now. There’s a lot of things that are crumbling. Things are really being redefined – our climate, the political system, and the economic system and much, much, much more. And when other people are freaking out, you are going to have to be extra courageous.
You’re going to really have to come back to your courage, which takes us back to step one, to just pause and come back to your strength.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “One person with courage is a majority.”
So even when hundreds or thousands of other people are freaking out, by you being courageous, you’re going to affect everybody else around you. So be courageous, not just for yourself, but be courageous for other people.
All right, you guys. Well, that’s the part one of the seven steps of living the ultimate life.
Step one, Pause.
Step two, Vision and Intention.
Step three, Remove the Obstacles, Take Massive Action. Step four, Be Committed and Be Courageous.
Next week, next episode, we will move on into step five, step six, step seven. I hope that this was helpful for you. I hope that you will join me again for part two next week.
Now let’s finish with The Be Ultimate prayer.
May we bring strength where there is weakness.
May we bring courage where there is fear.
May we bring compassion where there is suffering.
And may we bring light, where there is darkness.
May we be Ultimate!
All right, you guys. That’s it for episode two, for the full experience of The Be Ultimate Podcast, check out my website traviseliot.com. Because on that website not only do we have the podcast audio, but we also have the YouTube video. We have shareable quotes from the podcast. So you can share that with your community. You can share that with your friends. And we even put the whole full transcript up there, so you can go back and read this stuff for you know whatever you want to do with it.
And special shout out to TranscribeMe.com for helping out with that transcribing service. If you ever need anything transcribed, go check them out. Super easy. It’s fast. It’s quick. It’s efficient. I love them. Check out TranscribeMe.com.
We have February 15th through 17th San Luis Obispo Slow Yoga. I’ll be teaching three master classes Friday night, Saturday afternoons, Sunday morning with my lovely wife Lauren.
We also will be featured at the Toronto Yoga Conference. This is our second year. I’m pumped for that one. That’s March 28th through the 31st doing tons of teaching for that.
Also going to GoYoga USA in Columbus, Ohio. That’s go, not goat yoga. Goat yoga’s become a big thing. But this is not a goat yoga studio, thank God. That’s going to be April 26th through the 28th.
I’ll be in Hallowell, Maine right near Augusta, Maine at Panacea Yoga May 17th through the 19th. Right before that, I’ll probably be going to teach in the prison there. You’re not really invited to that, but hopefully, you won’t be there. But I really am looking forward to seeing our students and are our guides inside the prison.
And then we have the Portugal retreat, which is almost sold out, May 25th through the 31st, that’s going to be epic.
And then lastly, I’ll be teaching at the Mammoth Yoga Festival June 13th through the 16th. Those are the upcoming events.
Please subscribe to the podcast. Please share the video with your community. If you’re on YouTube, leave a comment. If you’re listening, please leave a review. Thank you for listening. That’s it for this, Be Ultimate!