Reality Shifting For Real People

Warning: I wasn’t sure the best way to communicate my point here (or title this post) without sounding like a p*ussy [sic] self-improvement blogger, but here goes:

About 3 months ago I was cooking breakfast at my place in Koh Tao, Thailand. I had 3 eggs frying in the pan in front of me, my bacon off the stove, cooling.

I was working the spatula, admiring my food. In that tiny moment, I felt a supreme sense of happiness and satisfaction. I was high on life just by cooking breakfast.

I stood there for a second, feeling wonderfully weird and I smiled. I turned to my friend Clay, and said, “I’m happy, man.”

Clay looked at me like I was crazy and I went back to my food.

That night I went to the gym – I was about 2 weeks away from completing a workout program designed by Clay.

In the gym, I found a zone of targeted anger. I killed my routine and then set off up a hill outside our apartment for my post-workout incline walk.

I got to the point in the walk where the streetlights end and it gets dark. In the bushes to the left I heard a rustling and my hair stood up. I was startled and I expected to see a dog dart out at me.

But then the oddest thing happened to me. I suddenly said to myself, and I’m not kidding you…”I’m the king in this jungle, bring it on.” And I began to sprint. I ran up the hill, adrenaline pumping through my body, and (still not kidding) I started grunting and saying, “Yeah, get it, yeah mother f*cker.”

I got back down the hill, covered in sweat, enthusiastic but exhausted. I felt like an ANIMAL (still serious) for the first time in my life.

Clay looked at me, and said, “Jesus dude. What’s going on?”

It was pure bliss. We went to a restaurant, I ate my meat and vegetables and I rode the high to bed that night, resting deeply.

I woke up in the morning with that same sense of satisfaction and carried it through the day.

But that night was different because it was the alloted time in the diet plan for letting myself indulge in alcohol.

The first beer that hit my lips didn’t taste quite right. The second, which is usually the best, didn’t go down smooth. I felt ‘off’ and decided to hold back.

I didn’t want to drink.

The next morning I woke up with a minor headache and bit bloated. Just 2 glasses of beer the previous night had derailed my morning.

The next week, my night for indulgence came and passed. I forgot about it. While in the previous weeks I’d wait patiently and think about the release time constantly, this week, I didn’t even care.


The point: you reach a certain tipping point in your life where you’ll never look back. And the ‘never look back’ part is important. You simply wont care enough to ‘look back’.

If you push yourself through perceived limits, you’ll reach a point where it doesn’t matter that you’re not eating pizza anymore. It doesn’t matter that you’ve got to exercise for 30 minutes today.  You’ll not care that you have to put in a solid 15 hours on your business. You’ll not care that you didn’t have a beer and get buzzed tonight.

You’ll need (not just want) to. You’ll feel depressed and bad if you don’t.

It’s simply not important because you’ve reached a cutoff point where it feels so good to be doing what you’re doing, that stopping really isn’t an option.

Your baseline reality will be different. It’s like resting heart rate. Say your heart rate when sitting and relaxing is 65 beats per minute. Then you start an exercise program and 3 months later your resting heart rate has fallen to 58 BPM. Your baseline has changed.

Real-life example: 30 minutes of exercise will become the equivalent of an ‘off-day’ before you started working out. There are infinite permutations of this in every realm of life.

I reached that moment where my baseline shifted. I saw the other-side. If there’s something you REALLY want, know that by sticking it out through the down-times, you’ll come out the other-side a truly different person. Your reality will shift.


This might not be revolutionary, but I’m new to this line of thought. Let me know what you think or if you’ve ever experienced anything similar.

Published by

Derek Johanson

The personal blog of Derek Johanson.

4 thoughts on “Reality Shifting For Real People”

  1. Great stuff, man.

    I gave up TV for a while, and when I went to sit down to watch it, I couldn’t even believe what I was seeing. Going from reading, creating, connecting to mindlessly absorbing was bizzaro.

    Keep it going.

  2. I wasn’t going to say anything, but I thought of this post when I was “training” the other day. I was listening to an audiobook on the economics of Henry Georgy whilst on an 8-mile loop in knee-deep snow. At some point, I came across a meadow… It was snowing like crazy so I could barely see across to the other side. For some reason, I had to put on ‘Pursuit of Happiness by Kid Cudi‘ and take off “sprinting”. (Not coincidentally, I was listening to that when I broke my shoulder… I’m kinda hooked on it now.)

    “..if I fall, if I die, know I lived it to the fullest. If I fall, if I die, know I lived and missed some bullets.”

    When I got back to the boat last night, I found myself walking around with a grin like an insane person for no particular reason… Rain pelting off my face in the dark… Homeless except for a boat… Perfection.

  3. Great post…I know what you mean. Spending a year solo backpacking through europe, north africa and southeast asia did that to me. You just know things will never be the same. The tricky part is remembering how great it was when you were cooking your breakfast in Thailand/staring out the windown onto the French Alps when you are in your condo in Toronto watching Glenn Beck blather on after you came back to ‘civilization’ for someone’s wedding 20 years ago and are surrounded by essentially domesticated cattle (your old friends) and are scared to go back and hit the road because you’re not sure what you will do with yourself. Sometimes I wish I never saw what i saw because now I am in the matrix and I’m tired of the mush…got to get out again and live.

  4. thanks a bunch for this. last year I suffered a horrible year being terribly sick and having to drop out of school. It feels since then I’ve been having very similar “epiphany” moments- like when the air feels still, and you can feel the calm. life feels wonderful for once and everyone around you, you just want to hug. I feel so happy to be feeling like this (the world is mine).

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