How I Found Gratitude in a Bowl of Stew

Bowl of Stew

“This food reveals our connection with the earth. Each bite contains the life of the sun and the earth. The extent to which our food reveals itself depends on us. We can see and taste the whole universe in a piece of bread!”- -Thich Nhat Hanh

It’s true. I found gratitude while eating a bowl of beef stew.

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The Ben Franklin Effect: An Unexpected Way to Build Rapport

Ben Franklin

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.” – - Benjamin Franklin

On rare occurrences, life moves in such harmony where it provides you with an experience that prompts you to question why something happened, and then subsequently provides you with the answer the next day. A few days ago, I was lucky enough to experience this phenomenon.

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A Lesson From Socrates

The Death of Socrates

“I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do.”- Plato’s Socrates

Around 2,400 years ago in ancient Athens, mankind was dealt a humbling blow to our collective self-confidence, and it came by the way of Socrates.

We all know the name Socrates, but few know what he stood for.

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The Real Reason to Earn a Black Belt

Ricardo Almeida Black Belt

“Let no act be done without purpose”- Marcus Aurelius

I have been given the rare opportunity to teach Jiu Jitsu for a living. This is a privilege that I wake up everyday grateful for, and a responsibility that I hold dearly. I understand how rare it is to be employed through a labor you genuinely love, and one which can be used as a vehicle for positive change in the lives of others. Even rarer still, I am often reminded of the quality of Jiu Jitsu I have learned, and the opportunity to have learned it.

Nearly 7 years ago, while working as a strength and conditioning coach, a friend suggested that I try learning Jiu Jitsu at the school right down the road from my house, and it wasn’t until some enlightening years later when I realized the fortune of having that school be led by Ricardo Almeida.

Fast forward to today

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Is Karma Real? The Definitive Answer

Is Karma Real-

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching” -C.S. Lewis

Guys, I solved it!

I finally figured out the answer to a question that has confounded humanity for thousands of years!

Perhaps for those who fundamentally subscribe to the Hindu & Buddhist religions, this question has already been answered, but for the rest of us, it’s still persisted:

Is Karma Real?

And, I, Chad Daniels, have finally answered that question definitively:

It doesn’t matter whether or not Karma is real.

Yes, I said it. That’s not a knock on Buddhism or Hinduism. They may be right, and all of our actions in this life will influence the situation of lives further on. That one, I can’t answer. However, it should not influence the way we act in our day-to-day lives. Why?
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#Human: The Preface

#Human Front Cover


With extreme gratitude we announce the release of my new book #Human: Learning To Live In Modern Times. Very much in line with the ideologies of My Mastery: Learning to Live Through Jiu Jitsu, this book dives straight into the matter of cultivating an amazing life. Traversing the spiritual landscape from seeing through the illusion of self to serving our fellow man, this book is a guide in assisting the reader’s growth toward a self-actualized life. This is the preface of that book, and I hope it finds you well.

Pre-orders for the Ebook are available now on Amazon, and both the Ebook and Paperback will be available on Monday, December 15th.

All of the proceeds from this book will be donated to Feeding America! This means that each Ebook sold will secure and provide 62 meals to those in need, and each and every Paperback will provides 42 meals! Our goal is to use #Human to provide 100,000 meals to those in need!

We are both excited and humbled to be able to serve on such a massive scale, and we sincerely hope that you join us!

All the Best,

Chris Matakas

#Human- Learning to Live in Modern Times


“One does not discover the absurd without being tempted to write a manual of happiness.” – Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

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We Are All Artists

Van Gogh Self

“When I was a child my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll be the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.” - Pablo Picasso

Many, many generations ago, when man existed as wanderers across the land, and hunted in packs, societal acceptance was an absolute prerequisite to survival. Our very life depended on the acceptance of the group, and so we acted accordingly to ensure that we would remain part of that group, and be granted the benefits of the pack. We received food, shelter, safety, and mating opportunities as a result of this acceptance.

There is a distinct evolutionary advantage to being liked by your peers, and a biological leg up to those who were capable of facilitating this. Those outside the norm were more likely to be outcasts and less likely to pass on their genes resulting in a Darwinian urge for the human race to seek peer approval. This has served us well as we have exchanged caves for houses, fire for electric, and brute force with cunning invention. This desire for acceptance is a direct source of the jobs we earn, the relationships we cultivate, and the friendships we enjoy. But, as with just about anything, excess breeds folly.
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Life’s Standards of Performance: 12 Do’s and Don’ts

Dos and don'ts word art

There you are, walking away from a heated argument. But you feel good. You feel accomplished. Your head is held high. Finally, you got to say exactly what you wanted to say when you wanted to say it. What a rare opportunity! But, the next day you wake up, that conversation is still on your mind and you don’t feel as hot as you did 24 hours ago.

“What gives? I won. I should feel great, but now I just feel like crap.”

Yea. That’s a place I’ve been to a few times. My ego transforms into this uncontrollable giant fire-breathing grizzly bear thing that consumes everything in his way (it must be the redhead in me). Each time I apologize and subsequently promise myself that it won’t happen again… until it does.

On the path of self-discovery, you become faced with the same challenges over and over again. Despite your values, there are flaws in yourself that you just can’t seem to overcome. I listened to the awesome Tim Ferriss/Tony Robbins podcast the other day. At one point (around 48min), Tony talks about what drives happiness – and it’s so simple, but rang so true:

Progress = Happiness

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My Birthday Manifesto

Fall Creek Falls

It was mid-July 2013 and I was on the tail end of a road trip with two of my closet friends. Departing New Orleans in the morning and driving through the day, weary, with tired eyes, we arrived at dusk in Fall Creek Falls, TN. Luckily, we arrived thirty minutes before the sun set, and decided we had to hike to the base of the waterfall before we lost all light. In those thirty minutes, at the base of the waterfall I experienced awe in its purest form. It was so amazing, I actually didn’t speak.

However, I was so moved, it made me think about life, and with all the emotion that was flowing inside of me, I left my friends, and wrote a manifesto for myself. These were words that I knew would lead to happiness if I followed them.

Today is September 11, which also happens to be my birthday. Obviously, I share it with one of the most tragic days in American history. On every birthday, I evaluate the year I just lived, and decide if I’m moving on a path that’s ultimately going to lead to a life well-lived. Simultaneously, this day reminds us to “enjoy every sandwich”, and know that each day we get is a gift, not a privilege.

Today, on my birthday, I wanted to share my manifesto – the rules I live by. I hope they make some sort of impact on your day. Here goes:

Be kind.
See the world.
Complement people you don’t know.
Turn your phone off.
Who cares what people think you look like when you dance?
Don’t stick your ass out when you give a hug. All or nothing.
Make up rules to games and play them.
Go on a road trip.
Stay in a hostel.
Pay attention.
Seek experiences, not possessions.
Never stop learning.
Never stop teaching.
Say yes.
Challenge yourself.
Get uncomfortable.
Go to nature.
Eat cheaply.
Try on funny hats.
Build a fire.
When in good company, drink late into the night.
Embrace struggle.
Seek out wisdom. People have probably already made the same mistakes you’ve already made and many you’ve yet to make.
Read Aristotle.
Fall in love.
Be vulnerable.
When appropriate, listen to music and sing loudly.
Find your values.
Live by them.
Sleep outdoors.
Find your art.
Listen to your friends criticisms, those are the people who will tell you like it is.

At the base of the falls

On the Oneness of All Things

bee and flower

“You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.” - Alan Watts

True intelligence and awareness is gazing at a bee on a flower and understanding that the two are actually a single organism. In our attempt to break down the world into small, digestible chunks, we have created a misperception in the way in which we view, and articulate this view, of the world. As our ability to verbally communicate has grown over the eons so has our vocabulary to make this possible.

The human language is an addict’s rendition of classification, where we continuously divide experiences into farther and more select subsets of various types. We do this in an attempt to better understand the world. We as a species feel the more specifically we can label an experience or entity, the greater we can heighten the illusion of an isolated experience, the better we come to know that very experience.

There is no greater example of this than taking place at the nearest flower.

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