Self Knowledge

Top Posts Of 2017

It's pretty wild how fast a year can whip on by. 2018 is here!

Many friends & audience members have been asking me where the hell I've been lately. I more or less disappeared from all online platforms since July.

Truth is I've been doing some deep inner work that I plan on sharing at some point, but not quite just yet...

Nonetheless, to close out the year I figured I'd do a highlight reel of some of my best pieces I've composed over the last year. I figure it's a good reminder to myself that I'm just getting started as a blogger/writer.

Plus, I am sure new and old readers alike will discover something new that they can benefit from as all of my creative work is done with the guiding principle of "empowering people to transform & self-actualize."

Some of these are personal favorites and some just got a lot of traction online (and some are both favorites & popular). I've broken them into categories to make it easier for readers to get to a topic they want to read about.

All of these are good articles to use in planning & executing upon your best year yet!

Alchemize Life Top Posts Of 2017:

FitnessHow To Be An Ultra Fit Entrepreneur

This is my overarching philosophy & daily/weekly strategies for being in incredible shape year round.

Meditation: The Four Universal Forms of Meditation

A guide that shows that there are more ways to meditate than just sitting.

Self Knowledge: Rebel With A Cause

I believe that self-knowledge is one of the premier aspects of living an awesome & empowered life. Here is a framework that empowers you to discover how you respond to inner & outer expectations. Super powerful.

Relationships: How To Find Your Twin Flame

We are all looking for love. Here is how I found mine.

Habits: Habit Stacking

We are defined by our habits. Here is how to get more out of the good ones (and the bad ones too).

Life Hack: Physical Alchemy

The body is powerful & wise. Use it to alchemize your life.

Books: Books That Radically Transformed My Life

These are books covering creativity, human potential, money, healing, spirituality & more that have had a huge impact on my life.

Wishing everyone an incredible New Year bursting with love, laughter, family, friends, success, abundance, health, healing, growth, transformation & magic!

In alchemy & service,

Justin David Carl 🌒

ALN4: How Do You Unblock Yourself?

Greetings my fellow Life Alchemists!

Here are 9 things I thought were worthy* to share:
*worthy defined as having the potential to alchemize/transform your life in some positive way if you take action on it.

1. Three Simple & Powerful Tools To Create Breakthroughs In Your Life

  • Morning Pages: This is 3-pages of unfiltered stream-of-consciousness hand-written (with pen or pencil) within 30-minutes of waking.
  • Artist's Date: This is a date by yourself (alone) for yourself (aka your inner child). Anything goes. The guiding rule is "fun!"
  • Walking or Moving Meditation: Take your problem, challenge, life-blocker on a walk (or bike-ride, swim, run, etc). Any repetitive movement will work.

For a more in-depth explanation of these powerful tools watch my video-blog:

Try out the tools above. I use them daily/weekly to move through blockers in my own life & to continuously improve upon my commitment to living a life worth living for!

Creative work is play. It is free speculation using the materials of one’s chosen form.
— Stephen Nachmanovitch

Apple Airpods. I would not quite call myself an audiophile but I am pretty adamant about listening to super high quality sound. I've been a longtime Bose user so I wasn't expecting the Apple Airpods to beat out both my wireless & wired Bose headphones on sound quality. In fact, I was kind of shocked.

Another amazing feature of the Airpods is they actually cancel out much of the wind-noise for the person you are talking to when you use them as a phone-headset. This is a game-changer for me because I have a rule that anytime I can take a phone call while walking I do. I was constantly apologizing for wind. No longer the case thanks to the genius of the Airpods!

4. WOD (Workout Of The Day) 💪🏼
A lot of people have been asking for my daily workouts so I decided to start sharing them on my Instagram Stories. This is version one of me attempting to share my workouts. Let me know what you think! And if you have ideas for ways that I can better share, shoot me a note via emailInstagram or twitter with suggestions!

5. BOOK 📕
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. This book unleashed me in so many ways. The tools that open this newsletter are from Julia. I dreamed of being a blogger for over 10-years even though I had never written for myself. In other words if it wasn't for class or work I had never actually written creatively on my own. I read this book and started a blog within a month or so. It's that powerful.

6. RUN FREE: The Paradox Of Cultivating True Freedom
A recent blog article about freedom & cultivating it in our daily life.

Run Free:

The Paradox of Cultivating True Freedom

7. HOMAGE 🙌🏼
If it isn't obvious by now this ALN's homage goes to Julia Cameron. She transformed my life. And she has transformed the lives of creators across all major life categories (not just artists) including business professionals, entrepreneurs, athletes, spiritual leaders & more.

She's published 40+ books in addition to her other creative work--plays, music, scripts, & more. Start with The Artist's Way. It's a powerful reminder that we are all Artists and it will create major movement in many areas of your life.

I recently had the privilege to learn from her in-person at her workshop at 1440 Multiversity. It truly was a transcendental experience. If you ever get a chance to take a workshop with her or visit 1440 do not miss it! Both are goldmines of life empowerment!

The only person or thing that is blocking us is our self. The ego wants us to blame some "other" person or thing for holding us back or holding us down, but really that is just an illusion designed to keep us stuck. The truth is that the only person that can un-block us is the one who looks back at us in the mirror.

I am always looking for new ways to unblock myself. Got some good tools? Please send them my way! One of my greatest joys from my work with Alchemize Life is how much I personally learn & grow from interaction with my brilliant audience. 

Thanks for reading! If you liked this newsletter and want to support it please forward it to a friend!

If you're seeing the newsletter for the first time, you can signup here.

In alchemy & service,

Justin David Carl 🌒

SPECIAL NOTE: Readers often comment that ALN (Alchemize Life Newsletter) is "dense." To graciously clarify: it is designed that way so that you can come back to it again & again whenever you need some empowering energy for your life (until the next issue arrives). I do NOT recommend trying to read & do everything in one day. Take what grabs your attention first and bookmark the html version and pop it open whenever you need some more creative fuel!

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ALN2: What's Your Vision?

When the communication & contact between self & the Creator become pure, then this we call Vision.
— Stalking Wolf 🐺

Greetings my dear Life Alchemists! 🙌🏼

Here are 10 things I thought were worthy* to share:
*worthy defined as having the potential to alchemize/transform your life in some positive way if you take action on it.

SPECIAL NOTE: Several readers brought up the point that my last newsletter was very "dense." To graciously clarify: it is designed that way so that you can go back to it again & again throughout the month whenever you need some empowering energy for your life. I do NOT recommend trying to read & do everything in one day. Just bookmark the html version and pop it open whenever you need some creative fuel.

1. For my 35th birthday last month I went on a Vision Quest. I wanted to kick-off a new phase in my life & this was the most powerful way I could think of. This experience included an entire week spent in the wilderness. For 4 of those days I was FASTING (water only) in complete solitude & silence. This is an ancient form of experiential transformation. And oh my God! It was the most powerful experience I've ever undergone! Curious? Send me a message with any questions. I am compiling my thoughts on Vision Quests and would love to cover any common questions/concerns. Also, I would be happy to refer you to where & with who I did my Quest if you feel the call. I highly recommend going on a Vision Quest if you feel lost or stuck in life.  They are designed to make you remember why you came here (to Earth). If you want to do your own research here is an awesome book on Vision Quests (opening quote is from the book).

2. I finally started vlogging (video blogging) and I am loving doing it "Live" on Instagram & Facebook (please follow me to see my "Live Stories" -- always full of empowering content!). Here is one episode I saved & posted on embracing fearmistakesfailure & creating empowering meaning in your life:

3. My most popular Instagram post in the last month. A short snippet about "choosing your possibility." 

4. My current favorite tool/toy... a fat-loss monitor! I use this to track trends in my body-fat levels. They say "what gets measured gets managed" & I can attest to this! By tracking & logging my body-fat daily I've managed to stay well under 10% body-fat (visible 6-pack) for over 2 years.

5. Why it is so empowering to have people that are HONEST with you (aka Why I Was Killing My Relationship & My Life). Especially when you are in a rut (yes, I am human and fall into slumps as well).

6. Monthly homage: Shout-out to my dear friend & fellow blogger Kevin Gao (also serial entrepreneur). He was absolutely pivotal in my personal unfolding as a blogger. He is brilliant, funny, a very deep thinker & is always sharing life-enhancing material. Check out his creative work at!

7. Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins - book I'm re-reading for awesome personal growth & development. 🔥 Yup, still re-reading this! Old me used to rip through books as if speed was the only way to read. I still consume massive amounts of books but lately I have added slow & deliberate re-reading into my personal growth repertoire. I was inspired by Kevin (above) to do this. I will read 1-3 pages and deeply think, write & talk about what I read and learned. I personally discovered that this facilitates deep learning (meaning I actually use the ideas/concepts in my real life AND they stick with me).

8. Speaking of books I finally put together my personal list of Books That Have Radically Transformed My Life! 📚 Do you have any life-changing books that are NOT on this list? If so, please share with me! I am looking for the next epically life-impacting book(s)!

9. Here is an awesome & brilliant short read about The 6 Human Needs. Two of them are: (1) Certainty & (2) Uncertainty... LOL! No wonder we always feel so conflicted in life!

10. My biggest recent learning: Experiment, test & play with everything that you think may even have a slight chance of empowering & enhancing your life. You never know what will really "work" for you until you try it. This has been a game-changer for me! It unlocked me from only writing & creating on my blog. My sense of creative freedom jumped ten fold. I have been testing (and playing) with every publishing platform I can get my hands on. I've completely fallen in love with Quora and still learning how to best use Medium LinkedIn. And yes, totally obsessing over Instagram & Facebook stories (Live & otherwise)

Your alchemical opportunityDo something today or this month that SCARES you! Explore those edges! That is where all the awesome growth & transformation happens! 🤘🏼

Thanks for reading! If you liked this newsletter and want to support it please forward it to a friend! 🙏🏼

If you're seeing the newsletter for first time, you can signup here.

In alchemy & service,

Justin David Carl 🌒

P.S. If there was one thing I could write, podcast, or make a video about what would it be? Email me or send me a tweet with your suggestions! Use hashtag #ALN (Alchemize Life Newsletter) for any tweets or Facebook & LinkedIn posts!

P.P.S. If you missed the April edition of my Newsletter please check it out here! Plenty more awesome material to EMPOWER YOUR LIFE! 🤘🏼

Books That Radically Transformed My Life

Reading is one of the things that brings me the most joy in life.

Reading also happens to be one of the most transformational growth-inducing activities I do daily.

I've been thinking about putting together a list of books that have radically transformed my life for the better for a long time.

I finally realized that I may as well start because I will never be done. And I can always come back & update this as I see fit.

Special note: This is a living-resource that I will continuously curate so don't feel the need to go through all of these as fast as possible. Just pick one book that catches your mind's-eye, take your time with it and come back here for the next one when you're ready!

So, without further ado, here are...

Books That Have Radically Alchemized (Transformed) My Life:


The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

Julia Cameron is one of my biggest mentors. This book was groundbreaking & truly life-changing. It unleashed me as an artist, creative & writer. It taught me to fall in love with journaling--one of the most empowering transformational tools I have in my repertoire. It also linked creativity as a pathway for spiritual communion. This paradigm radically alchemized my life in infinite ways.

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? by Seth Goden

Seth Goden is a brilliant writer & thinker. This book unbound me from own creative suppression. It gave me permission to create & share and naturally allow an audience to form around my creative work.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing & Life by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is one of my favorite writers. This book makes me laugh, cry, reel with delight, soar in intellectual & emotional brilliance & so much more. Her writing makes me desperately want to write. Inspiring and great life advice even if one has no interest in writing.

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

Mason Currey showed me that art & creativity and the work that goes into producing it comes in all shapes, forms, sizes, colors, shades & walks-of-life. There is no one right way. There is a way that works for you. Our job is to find & harness our unique ways that empower our personal creative process.

Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things No One Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

This book gave me permission to "steal" the work of others, combine it with other works in all fields & topics, and alchemize it all together to make it my own. Short. Fun. Powerful. Read this.

Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon taught me that it is not only okay but actually an integral part of the creative process to show your work even as your are developing it (aka before it's "done"). He empowered me to stop hiding my vulnerability & instead use it as a strength & pathway forward.

Human Potential, Personal Development & Money

Awaken The Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

First read this as a teenager. Radically transformed my life for the better. Went from loaner & playground bully to powerful social force for achievement as well as leader in all areas of life (school, sports, family, etc). It truly unlocked my potential. Aided me getting to Stanford University & beyond. Re-reading again in my 30s and diligently studying & applying. Having same effect it did when I was teenager.

Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins

Same case as above with Awaken The Giant Within.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons In Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

Foundational. We are our habits. Everyone should read. Also recommend the teenager version written by the author's son.

Willpower by Roy F. Baumeister & John Tierney

This book gave me an obsession with habits. Game-changer. Amazing parenting advice as well. 

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

One of my favorite books on habits & optimal conscious habit-design for your unique temperament. 

Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Probably one of the most timeless & popular success books ever written. There is a reason it's on so many incredibly successful people's must-read book-lists.

The Master-Key To Riches by Napoleon Hill

This is a lesser known gem by Napoleon Hill. Short & straightforward, yet you could study it daily for the rest of your life.

The Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives by Dan Millman

Dan Millman and this book made me realize & finally "see" the woman of my dreams. For this I will be forever deeply grateful. It also happens to be a life-changing book in many other ways.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere & Join The New Rich by Tim Ferriss

I read this when it first came out in 2007. I instantly thought to myself "Finally! I understand who I want to become!" My vision was similar to Tim Ferriss with the human potential & positive transformation leadership, but with my own alchemical fashion-forward spiritual-hipster twist! Ten years later I am finally living that vision. Forever my deepest gratitude to you, Tim Ferriss for helping me understand, see & live my own personal vision.

Psycho-Cybernetics Maxwell Waltz

Read this at a super young age (thanks Dad!). Awesome book about harnessing your subconscious & building self-esteem.

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Incredibly dense book. I don't agree with everything in it (in the sense of actually using the power to my advantage), but I can see how some people operate from some of these more questionable power-paradigms. That said, I strongly believe that having knowledge & awareness around power-dynamics is paramount to creating & protecting the life you do want to live.

Creating Money: Attracting Abundance by Sanaya Roman & Duane Packer

This book finally gave me the spiritual-connection to money that I had been seeking for so long.

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Classic. Another book that is on many super-performers must-read lists. No matter what field of business you are in this will be of the utmost service to your life-journey.

Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success by Carol S. Dweck

For a "recovering-perfectionist" like myself this book was life-transforming. I recommend this book to all students (those in formal schooling like high-school & college as well a life-students) and anyone who has kids or ever wants to have kids. This book teaches you how to learn & grow. It teaches you how to cultivate a learning/growth-mindset in your children. Powerful stuff.

Grit: The Power of Passion & Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

This book gifted me with one of my core-values: grit (defined as passion & perseverance). A great companion to Mindset (above).

The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday taught me to "follow the process, not the prize." This led me to fall in love with the journey of writing, blogging, business-building, etc. It is also an essential book to pick-up & re-read whenever one is feeling blocked by an obstacle.

A Guide To The Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine

A practical guide to the life philosophy of Stoicism and how to apply it in our modern world. The amount of joy I've experienced on a regular basis after reading this book & incorporating the lessons within it has been nothing short of AMAZING! If you read nothing else, just read the part about Negative Visualization. It will change your life for the better!

The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide To Creating Success On Your Own Terms by Danielle LaPorte

This book really helped me get clear on what success really deeply means to me personally (versus being lost to yourself by defining success on other people’s/society’s terms). Great book that leads one to greater Self-Knowledge which is crucial to living a life worth living for!

Healing, Intuition & Spiritual

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay

If I could only give others one book for the rest of my life this would probably be it. It taught me to truly love myself. Get the gift addition (I swear the artistic & colorful pictures empower the healing process).

Prayers to the great creator by Julia cameron

This is a book of prayers & declarations for a meaningful life. My Spirit is stirred just about every time I pick up this book & read from it aloud or in my head.

The Four-Fold Way: Walking The Paths Of The Warrior, Teacher, Healer & Visionary by Angeles Arrien

Life-changing tools & easy-to-read guidebook on harnessing & building within these four archetypes (warrior, teacher, healer & visionary). I grew up with this book thanks to my Mom. It holds a special place in my heart.

The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice by Deborah Adele

Incredibly applicable way to live the philosophy of Yoga in modern-life. Super easy & fun read too.

Voyager Tarot: Way of The Great Oracle by James Wanless (plus Voyager Tarot Deck)

I've been practicing Tarot since 2009 to cultivate my own intuition & build deep self-knowledge. This is my favorite Tarot Deck & its in-depth companion guide.

The Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols by Angeles Arrien (plus Thoth Tarot Deck)

This is my favorite book on Tarot which is based on Aleister Crowley's Thoth Deck, my other favorite Tarot deck.

Animal Spirit Guides: An Easy-to-Use Handbook For Identifying & Understanding Your Power Animals & Animal Spirit Helpers by Steven D. Farmer Ph.D.

Spiritual Hipster incarnate. Yes I am! I traverse this magical world with my pack of Power Animals by my side. My family & friends call me "Dragon" and there is very deep meaning behind this. Want to discover your own power animal and/or develop your own totem animal pack? Read this book.

The Book Of Stones: Who They Are & What They Teach by Robert Simmons & Naisha Ashian

A key part of being a Spiritual Hipster is working with gemstones. I've studied this book in-depth for years and know I will constantly go back to it for the rest of my life. Check it out if you've ever felt the energetic call of the enigmatic crystal-allies.

Women Food & God: An Unexpected Path To Almost Anything by Geneen Roth

For much of my life I abused food like a drug. As a result I had an incredibly damaging relationship with both food & my body. This book was an integral part of the healing process. It was written for women, but if you have any food-issues this book will hit-home.

Awakening Spirits: A Native American Path To Inner Peace, Healing & Spiritual Growth by Tom Brown, Jr.

This book inspired me to go on a Vision Quest -- one of the most powerful transformational experiences I've ever undergone. The experience of the quest still continues to unfold its awesome power in my life every day. It also includes the teaching of a very powerful & easy-to-do meditation.

Fiction, Fantasy & Sci-Fi

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

My favorite Fantasy series of all time. Bar none.

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

My favorite Dragon-themed fantasy series. Dragon is my main power animal so this series holds a special place in my heart. There are also Elves. Another magical soft-spot of mine.

The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

Probably my second favorite fantasy series. It's not finished yet (only two books so far).

Redwall by Brian Jacques

This was the fantasy book that started my lifelong love-affair with fantasy (my favorite form of pleasure reading). I still vividly remember reading this during a childhood multi-day river-rafting/camping trip.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This book taught me to trust the journey and process even when what I am currently doing in life doesn't seem to be leading me where I am supposed to go. It is, it's just in disguise patiently waiting for me to understand, become aware & embrace the journey.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

My favorite Sci-Fi book and the book that caused me to fall in love with Sci-Fi. Ender's Shadow is just as good. I like most whichever I've most recently read.

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

I made fun of my mom & younger brother for about a year for reading "children's books" (how I ignorantly categorized the Harry Potter books). Then I finally began one and I was hooked. Read the first 3-4 books in about a week. That's how good it was. It also happens to be one of the few fiction series I've read in entirety more than once.

And that's it!  For now... 🤓 📚 🙌🏼

Do you have any books that radically changed your life that are not on this list? If so, please share! Leave me a comment (scroll all the way down), email me, or send me a tweet with your suggestion! 🙏🏼

I am always on the lookout for Life-Alchemizing books and I would love to add your favorite to this list after falling in love with it myself!

In alchemy & service,

Justin David Carl 🌒

Rebel With A Cause: How To Meet Internal & External Expectations & Build Good Habits When You Resist Everything

In short, it has been god awful frustrating.

All my life I've struggled against internal and external expectations never really understanding when and why I would meet resistance.

This includes simple & complex expectations as well as habits (exercise, family obligations, work tasks, all types of personal & professional goals, etc.)

Some of the times I encounter little to no resistance. Other times massive resistance despite knowing that meeting the expectation would be awesome for me and my life.

I didn't understand why sometimes it was easy and other times incredibly difficult (even when the expectation itself was fairly easy).

It's been like having a super powerful machine that only turns on sometimes. When it turns on it is incredibly efficient, diligent, and reliable. However, it only turns on sometimes no matter how I hard I "try." 

For some things, like exercising regularly, I have basically zero resistance and it is incredibly easy for me to do this every week with an almost fanatical zeal. This holds true for me whether the expectation comes from within myself or from an an outsider (people, society, etc.).

Yet, other things, like doing my taxes on time or early have been incredibly difficult. This is despite consciously knowing that it is in my best interest to get them done on time at the least.

I've often been bewildered by fact that I am so diligent with exercise, something many find difficult to stick to, and yet I still run into resistance for other things many would consider much easier than regular exercise.

Along the same vein, for the longest time I could not understand why I resisted great suggestions from my partner, family, and friends. A prime example of this is journaling. I always secretly wanted to be a writer. And yet I resisted my mother, partner, teachers, books, etc. until finally I began at the beginning of 2014 (more on that here).

I've run into similar issues with my own good ideas for myself in all areas of life.

If it is my idea I found that I have at least a 50% chance of following through on it. This is a rough estimate.

If the idea was suggested by someone else in the frame of "you should do _______" my internal resistance flairs up immediately most of the time and the chances of me meeting the external expectation go down a lot.  

I often resist whether someone tells me to do something or kindly suggests it.

Yet, sometimes someone makes a great suggestion and I immediately implement it.

Like I said before. Ridiculously frustrating.

I can't even imagine how annoying that has been for the people in my life. Especially my Mom and significant other.

Despite how frustrating it must be for others I always felt like my Mom did an amazing job parenting me. She gave me a ton of freedom and created an environment where I could truly thrive through my own self-direction. With the freedom there were reasonable boundaries that I had no trouble respecting (most of the time).

I've come to somewhat understand how she did this for me in the last few years through many deep talks. The basic gist is that she always gave me options and let me make the choice.  

She almost never (if ever) made the choice for me. And since I made the choice I was able to meet the expectation (most of the time).  

A fiercely independent individual like myself has always bucked hard against anything that felt like it was limiting my freedom. Fortunately, my Mom who also highly values freedom never did this to me.

The CEO of my company Ohmygreen has also created an environment where I am constantly asked "what do you think you/we should do?" We almost always discuss options & related consequences. Then ultimately, I am always empowered to make my own choice. I'm not even sure if he's ever specifically told me what to do.

This has resulted in the most fulfilling career/calling of my life thus far and I have been massively successful in my role at the company as a result of this personally empowering environment.

I have a highly similar "pro-choice" environment in my home life with my fiancé -- one of the big reasons I know we are going to be successful and happy in the long-run. Basically, my significant other never tells me what to do, always explains the reasons behind anything and everything we are doing (often before I even ask for the reasons), and ultimately I am always left with the power to choose.

To some, this need to understand and choose may seem somewhat unruly and rebellious. To others you may see yourself in this. Regardless of the personal resonance, almost all of us know someone like this (whether we are consciously aware of it).

Well, thanks to an awesome podcast interview by Chase Jarvis along with the developing work of the Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project & Better Than Before) I believe I am finally coming to understand myself in a new & deeply profound way.

And holy hell I am grateful!

I may have just stumbled upon the missing pieces for the keys to consciously understanding & empowering my ability to meet both internal and external expectations.  

I am still personally testing this, but I wanted to share now because I am so excited about this discovery and I want to up my rate of understanding & learning by interacting with others who may be going through the same thing with themselves or someone they know. . . so please leave comments!

According to Gretchen's Four Tendencies quiz I am a Rebel (take quiz here). And according to her framework as a Rebel I resist all expectations, outer and inner... Wait, what?! This sounds so familiar!

In Gretchen's words she says the following about Rebels [my comments in italicized brackets]:

  • They choose to act from a sense of choice, of freedom. Rebels wake up and think, "What do I want to do today?" [LOL! This is too familiar. I usually have a running list of a dozen or more things I want to do daily and each day I wake up and intuitively do what calls to me the most.]
  • They resist control, even self-control, and usually enjoy flouting rules and expectations. [I definitely resist any sort of outer control, bending rules does often appeal to me (that doesn't mean I always bend them), and expectations often drive me crazy. I often consciously and subconsciously subvert outer expectations placed upon me. Nonetheless, I have serious self-control when it comes to things related to my identity. More on that below.]
  • Rebels place a high value on authenticity and self-determination and bring an unshackled spirit to what they do. Rebels work toward their own goals, in their own way, and while they refuse to do what they're "supposed" to do, they can accomplish their own aims. [Definitely agree. I often find myself purposely trying to do things in my own way, different from the usual way. I get a strong sense of satisfaction doing things uniquely. And "unshackled spirit" couldn't ring more true.]
  • Rebels often frustrate others because they can't be asked or told to do anything. They don't care if "people are counting on you," "you said you'd do it," "your parents will be upset," "it's against the rules," "this is the deadline," or "it's rude." In fact, asking or telling Rebels to do something often makes them do just the opposite. [I had to teach my fiancé how my Mom parented me in order to avoid the chaos this could cause in a relationship.]
  • The people around Rebels must guard against accidentally igniting their spirit of opposition--particularly challenging for the parents of Rebel children. [Both my parents, CEO of my company, and fiancé all do an incredible job of avoiding this.]
  • In fact, Rebels sometimes frustrate themselves, because they can't tell themselves what to do. [Definitely run into this too many times. I believe I've finally consciously discovered solutions & strategies to overcome this (see below) . . . Amen!]

Three important strategies Gretchen brings up for the Rebel are [my comments italicized, but much is paraphrased from the reading of Better Than Before & scouring Gretchen's blog]:

1. Strategy of Clarity

  • This is all about having a strong "why" behind why you are doing something. This includes the "why" related to your corresponding values & the "why" related to the action.
  • I.E. I exercise because health & fitness is an important value to me and I exercise because it makes me feel energized and I love looking & feeling fit. 
  • By being able to powerfully articulate in your own words why you are doing something the impetus to follow through in a way that actually brings satisfaction and a sense of looking forward to meeting the expectation can be consciously created.

2. Strategy of Identity

  • This is consciously tying the expectation (inner & outer) to who you see yourself as and who you want to see yourself as. This strategy of Identity is PARTICULARLY POWERFUL for me personally (more on that in the "Alchemical Learnings" at the end).
  • Case in point #1: When I finally read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron I was able to deeply tie my personal identity to journaling, writing, and reclaiming myself as an artist. Her work struck such a strong chord within me that after more than decade of resisting the suggestion of journaling by teachers, family, & my partner I have now been journaling & writing with consistency ever since reading her book at the beginning of 2014.
  • Case in point #2: When I first started Transcendental Meditation (TM) I decided that this was who I was and wanted to be (a meditator) and almost two years later I've meditated every single day (twice a day for 20 minutes) without ever missing a single session. Even I am surprised at this commitment to meeting an expectation. This identity was reinforced by the fact that people I aspired to be like also did TM (Tim Ferriss, Oprah, Hugh Jackman, George Lucas & many other powerhouses). 
  • Another personal example is my fitness. A huge part of my personal identity is being incredibly fit so I have no problem exercising regularly and eating in a way that supports optimal aesthetic fitness.

3. Strategy of Other People

  • Rebels pride themselves on being "different" from other people. This has been the story of my life. I've always enjoyed taking the path less traveled and doing things people either said I couldn't do or doing things that I "thought" other people thought I couldn't do. Whether they actually do doubt me doesn't even have to be true as long as I "think" they are doubting me. Ludicrous, but true for me many times in my life. Proving "other people" wrong and breaking societal norms brings me joy and action-taking energy.
  • Case in point #1: It was uncommon for people in my high school to go to Stanford University (or equivalent level University). I even thought that most "other people" I shared this dream with doubted me. Whether they actually did doubt me is totally up for debate, but since I thought they did I had infinite energy to pursue this goal and even after being denied the first time I made it into Stanford on the second try.
  • Case in point #2: It was uncommon for people who went to Stanford to go work in nightlife . . . I ended up working in Hollywood Nightlife for 7 years.
  • Another personal example is my bodybuilding and yoga dual nature. I consider myself both a bodybuilder and a yogi -- a combination that isn't commonly found. I find it personally gratifying that I can be both when often a bodybuilder has no interest or sees no point in doing yoga and vice versa. And I personally get a kick when I am met with a surprised look after explaining my passion for both physical disciplines.


Part bodybuilder, part yogi, all Rebel 🌓 

Part bodybuilder, part yogi, all Rebel 🌓 


These strategies (Clarity, Identity, Other People) have value for all Four Tendencies. A brief overview of those Four Tendencies from Gretchen are:

Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin


  1. Upholder: "I do what others expect of me--and what I expect of myself"
  2. Questioner: "I do what I think is best, according to my judgment. If it doesn't make sense, I won't do it."
  3. Obliger: "I do what I have to do. I don't want to let others, but I may let myself down."
  4. Rebel: "I do what I want in my own way. If you try to make me do something--even if I try to make myself do something--I'm less likely to do it."

Curious what you are and want to know more? Go take the quiz & find out! Takes less than 5 minutes.

Alchemical Learnings

  1. I finally have found a framework that makes sense as to why it is so easy for me to form and keep some habits and so difficult to create and keep others. Same goes for internal and external expectations set my by myself and other people.
  2. I now have three strategies (Clarity, Identity, & Other People) with which I can consciously use to strategically build empowering habits and meet internal & external habits. [I am still testing so will update this article if I come upon deeper insight or new & improved Rebel strategies. Please leave me a comment if you have any!]
  3. The strategy of IDENTITY seems to be the most powerful tool for me. Despite being a rebel I've always been highly successful in business because I've always considered being a topnotch businessman and entrepreneur an incredibly important part of my core identity. Same goes for my fitness. I am now testing this strategy more thoroughly seeing if I can tie my identity to areas and expectations I've resisted in the past.
  4. I can easily give the following getting-a-Rebel-to-meet-expecations-framework to anyone who is looking to personally or professionally work with me in a co-empowering way. Discovered by mother originally in my life and personally consciously re-cognized by Gretchen during her interview with Chase Jarvis where she says, "Information, Consequences, Choice." The framework for working with a rebel is:
    1. Go over ALL the information behind and around the expectation (or habit).
    2. Go over ALL the consequences (good, bad, & neutral) of various choices and possible outcomes.
    3. Let the Rebel make the final choice once step 1 & 2 have been thoroughly vetted.

Alchemical Opportunity for the reader:

  1. Go take the quiz & find out what your tendency is!
  2. If you are a Rebel try out the strategies of Clarity, Identity, & Other People with an expectation you have (internal or external). I am trying these strategies out with my taxes (which I have notoriously avoided and been late on way too many times in this lifetime).
  3. Think you interact regularly with a Rebel? Try the Information-Consequences-Choice strategy and see how it works.
  4. Leave any/all comments below about Rebels (yours personally if you are Rebel & your experience working/dealing with a Rebel in your life).

Life is full of expectations and habits. Our own. Other people's. And society's.

Self-knowledge is such a powerful tool. Deeply understanding what and how we are motivated is an incredible way to bring effectiveness, more grace and increased happiness to our very own lives so that we can meet inner & outer expectations and build & break habits with the least amount of friction possible and in the most efficient way for our individual way of being.

In my own life I’ve discovered that despite being a Rebel I can be effective with meeting internal & external expectations and build awesome life-affirming habits as long as I have strong reasons behind me. This is why I consider myself a REBEL WITH A CAUSE.

Despite your tendency two maxims hold true & empowering for you and for me . . .

As Socrates said, “Know thyself.” And as Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true.”

In alchemy & service,

Justin David Carl 🌒

P.S. I am looking forward to Gretchen more fully drawing out this empowering framework in her upcoming book on the Four Tendencies.

P.P.S. Positive transformation is an ongoing never-ending part of an empowered life. Why not mechanize the process by joining my NEWSLETTER?!