I'm very privileged to be able to include Anthony Ongaro in my new Everthrive Profiles project, in which I seek out individuals who are living their lives in "Everthrive" ways, and ask them "How do you thrive?"
Ongaro is a very inspiring person. He created a site called Break the Twitch where he exposes the "twitch." He defines this as a "compulsive, uncomfortable response to discomfort." For example, when we stop in the middle of a tough task and reach for our phones, we are twitching. When we mindlessly scroll through our Facebook feed and lose 30 minutes in what seems like 3 minutes, we are twitching. To dull the tedium of waiting for our train, we scroll through headlines on CNN. This is also twitching. Twitching doesn't always have to do with technology. You can get distracted by many elements in modern society, including television, shopping, eating/drinking, and even by playing video games.
To counteract the twitch, Ongaro promotes awareness. Instead of succumbing to the twitch, we should be aware of why we are twitching. Breaking the twitch requires us to minimize distractions, build good habits, and create opportunities to lead a fulfilling life. Through his blog and also through YouTube videos, Ongaro shows that everyone can live a life based on the principles of minimalism. He makes minimalism completely accessible, "whether they live in a mansion or an RV."
Naturally, I gravitate towards the ideas that Break the Twitch promotes, and I'm inspired by Ongaro's mission to motivate others to lead simpler, more authentic lives. In a recent email discussion with him about living to the fullest, Ongaro highlighted that the best way to live is to focus on authenticity first and foremost. What follows are Ongaro's ideas on how surpass survival, and how to really thrive.
In order to live authentically, I focus on the small actions that I do every day. Initially, I was very inspired by the Annie Dillard quote, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." It inspired me to begin focusing on what an ideal day might look like, as many ideal days compile into an ideal life. This helped me begin choosing small daily actions that I do every day and shifting as my priorities change.
Making sure that I complete these small actions is how I make sure that each day I'm focused on doing the things that align with my values. Each person will have different things they choose to do each day, but I focus on writing 500 words every day, doing two sets of push-ups every day while increasing by two every week, and simply creating something every day.
These are very simple but tend to be catalyst actions. I've always found that the hardest part about writing 500 words is writing the first 100. My first 500 words of the day often end up being 1,000 or more once the creativity starts flowing and this theory tends to apply to the other things as well. Doing my two sets of push-ups often leads to eating better or thinking about my other exercise levels more consciously.
Building up and checking off these small actions nearly every day helps me stay focused on the things that will create my desired outcomes over time.