Inner Reflections
December 10, 2019

The 5 Keys to a LEVEL UP Mindset

There are two ways you can move through life.

Option 1, you’re always looking for what’s easy, comfortable, and predictable —
or Option 2, you can be a seeker of growth, challenge, and mystery.

Research shows option 2 provides a life of joy and meaning.

In this podcast, we explore the five keys to level up your mindset!

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FULL TRANSCRIPT   [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.]

Welcome to Episode #43 of the Be Ultimate Podcast. This is your host Travis Eliot, and in this podcast we will be exploring the five keys to level up your mindset. So thank you for tuning in. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s always a pleasure and an honor to get to spend this time with you. You might be listening in your car, stuck in traffic. You may be working out at the gym. You may be going for a walk, a hike, or you may be cleaning up your home. I don’t know. But whatever you’re doing, thank you for listening, and thank you for supporting the Be Ultimate Podcast. Now, this week’s episode was inspired by my brand new yoga program called Level Up 108 which is – how do you say? – an epic powerful 108-day journey. We actually just released the trailer for Level Up 108 today. And not only was it a blast to make it but it’s also been a blast to see your guys’ response to this trailer. People are swearing and getting chills and goosebumps from watching the trailer. I always call those truth bombs. When you resonate with something that you’ve heard or seen on a deep level and you get those chills up and down the spine, it just means that whatever it is that you watch or listen to, you resonate with it on a soul level.

So to see you guys having that response, it just makes me feel grateful and fulfilled because we’ve been working hard. And I say “we” because there’s a whole team that’s working non-stop on bringing you guys an amazing yoga program. So the philosophy that I’m about to share with you in this week’s podcast, it’s a theme throughout the Level Up 108 program. But regardless of whether you move through that program or not, these five keys are universal laws applicable to really all things in life. In fact, if you’re a parent, this is goal. This is wisdom for you to share with your kids. I can only imagine that if more kids hear this material and put this into practice, just what a beautiful, powerful trajectory that they would be on. And I’m sure a lot of you listening have heard these concepts and probably teach these concepts to your kids, but it doesn’t hurt to hear it over and over and over again. We need that repetition because we don’t get it in a lot of forms of media. We don’t get it in marketing and advertising. So share it. Share with your kids. Share with your friends. Share with your loved ones. So with no further ado, let’s jump into number one.

The number one key to level up your mindset is: Embrace the challenge. Embrace the challenge. You see, growth, transformation, awakening can only come from one place and one thing, and that’s challenge. The Buddha talked about– the First Noble Truth is life is suffering. And suffering can be a loaded word for a lot of us where it can feel a little bit extreme. To me, it’s as if he’s saying, “Life is full of challenges, or life is meant to be a challenge.” And the word for suffering is often translated into the Polish word, Duca. And whether you feel like suffering and challenges and Duca are the same or maybe a little bit different, I do think that they all fall on the same ballpark of this wisdom that hey, look, we’re meant to be challenged. We’re meant to face adversity. We’re meant to fall down. We’re meant to make mistakes. We’re meant to struggle as human beings. And that’s part of evolution. I don’t know about you, but I look at a lot of people that I went to school with, high school, college. And a lot of people, they stopped growing right after college. And sadly, they even say that looking back on college were the best years of their life. And to me, that’s unacceptable. That’s not a good way to live life.

We should be in a constant state of learning and growing and stimulating ourselves, exploring new things so that life gets better and better and better. College wasn’t your best four years. This was the best year. 2019 was the best year. And 2020 is going to be an even greater year. And when you live with the level of mindset, it’s impossible for it not to get better and better. And that’s the upward crescendo that you can live your life on instead of being in the downward crescendo. So the only thing that’s growing for a lot of these people are their bellies, right? They’re stuffing their stomach with food. They stopped exercising. They stopped challenging themselves. And the things that should be growing, stop. And the things that shouldn’t be growing are out of control. Stagnation leads to depression. The moment you think you know it all, the moment that you’re done growing, you just become comfortable and complacent. We are creatures of just comfort, and we always want to be comfortable. We always want to be secure. We always want to be in control of everything. And I’m telling you all that that does is it puts you into a prison of depression, unhappiness. And it sucks the joy and the juice out of life.

They did a study in preparation of this exploration, of hey, could we live on Mars? Could we really legitimately colonize this planet and move the human species to Mars because we’re wrecking our beautiful home of planet Earth that we already have in so many different ways? So let’s just go to a new planet, which is a little bit absurd. But anyways, they created this experiment. So they created a [geo dome?] where they could control all the elements inside the dome, similar to what the conditions are like on the planet of Mars. And they started growing plants, and they started growing trees. And in this environment, there were no elements. There was no adversity. There was no bad weather. And what they found was that the trees that were inside the dome, they actually lost their strength. They actually became unhealthy. They weren’t strong and healthy because trees need adverse weather. Trees need the elements. There’s something about that conflict. There’s something about that edge that makes the tree become stronger. Same thing with the river. You put a huge boulder in the middle of a river current. And what does that create? It creates a rapid. It creates the physics of dynamicness and force and energy. So us as human beings are the same way. We need adversity. We need challenge. We need to stop running away from the challenge, and we need to start looking for the challenge.

Now, you’ll get a kick out of this. They also did another study with plants, separate study. And what they did is they play different types of music around these plants. So one type of music that they played was classical music such as Mozart. But the other type of music that they played was Tupac, so they played hip hop with a strong beat. And crazily, the plants that had Tupac playing in the background became healthier stronger plants. So again, there’s something about the edge. There’s something about boldness. There’s something about friction that creates strength. In Tibet, which is a very, very, very wise culture, they believe it’s all about challenges as well. They actually pray. They have a prayer where they pray for challenges to come their way because they have the deeper wiser understanding that those challenges that come their way help them to unlock their potential. In India, there’s a saying that says, “No mud, no lotus.” The beauty of the lotus flower needs the mud to grow out of. Without the mud, we don’t get the beauty. The mud is the metaphor of the challenge. The lotus is the metaphor of greatness, of awakening, of strength, the power, those themes that we crave, those things that we know within the depths of our heart that we want. Dolly Parton said, “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you have to put up with the rain.” So embrace the challenges. That’s number one.

Number two. Focus on effort and never the outcome. In yoga, there’s this sacred text called the Bhagavad Gita. And if you’ve never read the Bhagavad Gita, I highly, highly recommend it. There’s so much wisdom and so much inspiration and so much knowledge packed within the Bhagavad Gita. And one of the big core lessons and themes of this story is to be detached from the end result of things. Krishna, who’s the lord of love, has come down, and he’s speaking to Arjuna. And Arjuna is man, is human form. And Krishna’s there to help counsel him and teach him the universal laws of Dharma, the laws of the way, the path of nobility and dignity and righteousness. And one of the things that he says to Arjuna is that when you’re attached to the end result of things, you create suffering or what the Buddha called Duca. And you think about it. The more attached that you are to something and then when you don’t get it or you lose it or it’s taken away from you– and by the way, all things in this world that’s material is going to be taken away from you, whether it’s an object, another person, or the body that you’re living in. So to deny that is to deny the very fundamental laws of nature in the universe. So when we go against that stream, when we fight against that, we create our own suffering. So we learn the wisdom of healthy detachment. It doesn’t mean that we don’t care. It doesn’t mean that we don’t tend to the things that are important to us. It’s not like we have to leave our front door unlocked and let anybody come in and take whatever they want. That’s not what I’m saying.

But what I’m saying is to be less attached to stuff and things, and especially the outcome of things. So if you’re in school and you bust your ass to study, study, study– you have an exam coming up. You have a test. You have a project that you’re working on, or you have to give a talk somewhere at work, your job. You have to do a presentation. And you work your ass off on that, and then it doesn’t go the way that you want, or you don’t get the grade that you want, or even worse you don’t get the grade that your parents expect of you. I don’t know about you, but I have a couple of kids, and I have a third one coming on the way. But if I see my kid putting all their effort into something and they get a B or even a C, I’m going to applaud them for the effort if I really see that they did their best. That’s what really matters. I’d rather have my kid in a really challenging class and make a B or C than to have them in a really easy class and make an A-plus. And that’s the problem with the education system, right? We reward people based off these grades, the outcome, the end result, instead of the effort. So you focus on your effort. You do your best in all things, even mundane things like doing your chores and washing dishes. That was one thing that I learned from my mom. I used to sweep the walkway from the driveway up to the front door, and she would come out and she would inspect the job that I did. And if I didn’t do the best that I could, she would shine the light on that. And she would say, “If you can’t do the small things right, then how are you going to do the big things right?” And it’s so true. This is why it’s important to make your bed. And they find that kids that make their bed first thing in the morning go on to be more successful people in the world later on in life. Gandhi said, “Full effort equals full victory.” Give it all you got. Do your best. Let go of the rest. And it’s all good.

Number three. Be at peace with imperfection. One of the biggest things that holds us back from taking a risk or leveling up is our fear of not looking good. It’s our fear of failure or things being messy or ugly or just not good. And I remember one of the things that kept me from going to my first yoga class was that fear of not knowing what’s going on, looking like an idiot, looking like a fool. And this holds us back from trying new things. But once you establish this level up mindset of being at peace with imperfection, of knowing that this is just part of the process, this is a phase that we all have to move through– anybody that’s great at something, they had to move through this phase of imperfection, of making mistakes. And those are actually indicators and signs that you’re moving down the highway of success and greatness. I love the way that author Brene Brown who’s very famous on her research for vulnerability and has really brought that to mainstream audiences with her books and podcasts and interviews and whatnot– and the way she puts it is the biggest thing that holds a future potential author back from writing their book is what she calls the SFD, which stands for “shitty first draft”. She talks about every book that she’s written, she’s had to go through that process of just writing a horrible first draft.

And I think about my last book that I wrote, A Journey into Yin Yoga, and same thing. The product that you guys see– the product that people see at the end is a product that’s been polished. There’s a whole team of editors that go through it for months and just basically take out all of the horrible mistakes that you’ve made as a writer. And they make you look good. They make you look like this amazing writer. But the reality is, is it wasn’t pretty in the beginning, and it wasn’t pretty for many months. But you keep coming back to it. You keep moving through it. You keep improving. You keep growing, and it gets better and better. You keep leveling up your manuscript or your book. And you can take that approach to, of course, anything in your life. Other wisdom cultures also embrace this theme of imperfection. In Japan, they have a type of pottery where the cracks that happen in the pottery from when they place the clay in the furnace– instead of starting all over, instead of hiding the crack in the pottery, what do they do? But they actually trace those lines of imperfection with gold.

How beautiful is that? They put gold around the imperfection because they recognize this is part of nature. This is part of life. And guess what? This is part of being a human as well. So let’s stop having shame and guilt around our imperfections. Let’s stop worrying about being messy and not looking good, and let’s move through those phases where we have to make mistakes. And we have to fail sometimes, but we learn from that. And then those falls or those moments of failure, they become ammunition to success, to greatness. Learning to love our imperfections is one of the greatest spiritual practices. No human is perfect. Zen Master Suzuki Roshi says, “You are perfect just the way that you are, and yet, there’s still room for improvement.” And I love that wisdom quote because it brings light to the paradox that you are perfect just the way that you are. But at the same time, there’s always room for growth. There’s always room for leveling up.

Number four. Anything is possible. You see, the only thing that is holding you back from leveling up in your life, the only thing that’s stifling you from major growth, transformation, awakening, I’m going to tell you, it doesn’t exist outside of you. It’s not in a person. It’s not something that happened in your life. It’s inside of you. The only thing holding you back is yourself. It’s your limiting beliefs. It’s your negative self-talk. Now I’m pumped. I’m pumped. I don’t know if you can tell on his podcast, but I got an extra charge running through my physiology because – what’s today? Monday – two days ago, I ran a 50K race, 50K, 32 miles, 5,500 in feet elevation gain through mountains. Now, this is crazy because 15 years ago, I was walking across the street, downtown LA, and I got hit by a car. And although I was very grateful that I survived the accident – it could have been much worse – the truth was I was injured. I walked with a limp for many months. Every time I would take a step, my right knee would buckle. It would give out. I could no longer run. I could no longer jump. I could no longer do so many physical activities because I got hit by this car. And by the grace of the universe, I was able to use yoga, and especially yin yoga, to heal my knee injury.

And after just a couple of months of doing yin yoga, it repaired the connective tissue. It repaired the joint. Not only was my knee better but it was actually better than it was before the injury took place. So flash forward. From right after that accident, I was depressed. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do some of these things I loved anymore, and maybe you can relate. To say that I would be able to run 32 miles through the mountains, raining, muddy, elevation, that felt impossible. If you would have said that, I would have said, “You’re out of your mind. You’re crazy.” And I probably would’ve thrown an F-word there. But two days ago, I ran the 50K race. And not only did I run it but it was actually one of the best experiences of my life. It was effortless. It was easy. The time flew by. Now, there are a lot of things that I want to share with you in greater detail about this race on a future podcast because there were a lot of insights that I gained, but what I want you to know is that nothing is impossible. And again, the only things stopping you are your own limiting beliefs.

There’s these famous stories about people like Michael Jordan who got cut from the varsity high school basketball team. Obviously, he went on to become one of the greatest if not the greatest basketball player of all time. And another one of those basketball players of the great legendary athletes is Kobe Bryant. When Kobe Bryant was about 12 years old, he also faced failure and adversity. He was this skinny, scrawny kid just getting beat up by all these other kids. But every year, every summer, he would go to basketball camp, and he would focus on one thing. He would focus on a certain drill, a certain technique, honed that in. And every summer he came back. Every year he came back. He leveled up. He was that much better. He was the first to show up to practice, and he was the last to leave practice. Discipline plus determination equals mastery and greatness. I’m going to say that one more time. Discipline plus determination equals mastery and greatness. Another person just recently, Eliud Kipchoge, ran a sub-two-hour marathon. People said this was impossible. First man to ever do it. And the dude did it with a smile on his face. And how about Roger Bannister? The first person to ever run a sub-four-minute mile. People said it was impossible. He broke the record. And then what happened? Within one year after he broke the record, 37 other people then went and did it because you leave a footprint in the field of consciousness of what’s possible. Once people know that it’s possible in their minds and inside their brains, then it becomes achievable. So remember the word impossible even says I’m possible.

And this takes us to our last number five key of leveling up the mindset, and that is to enjoy the journey because look, you can do all these things. You can achieve mastery and greatness in your field, in your world. But if you don’t enjoy the journey, if you’re not having fun along the way, if it becomes a grind and you feel dry and exhausted and soulless like you sold your soul to the devil to make it to the top, what’s the point? And even prolific athletes like Michael Phelps, they’ve achieved everything. And yet he still suffered severe depression. You look at somebody like Robin Williams. One of the greatest comedians of all time, a TV star, an Oscar winner. He was severely depressed. He ended his own life. You see, we have to have the wisdom and the perspective to have fun, to stay humble, and to give gratitude, to be grateful for every step, every moment on the way to the top, every moment on the way to the summit. And I think about one of my clients who is one of the most famous pop rockstars in the world, and he embodies these qualities. I mean he’s a megastar. There’s nobody bigger than him, but he’s enjoying the journey. He’s humble. He’s generous. He’s happy. He’s joyful. He’s grateful. He’s achieved greater success than anybody else that I know. He has physical financial abundance. But more important than that, the happiness isn’t in the stuff. The happiness is in your heart. It’s in your mind. And back to Eliud Kipchoge who busted the sub-two-hour marathon. I want to hug that guy. That guy looks like a guy that I just want to hug. He just seems like a beautiful, beautiful soul. He’s happy. I want to be around it. So love it all. Love the journey. Have the level up mindset that as you move through those moments of adversity and challenge, you move through the highs, the lows, the ups, and the downs, that you can actually love the highs and the lows equally. That’s it.

Now with the New Year right around the corner, bring these five level up keys into 2020. How awesome would that be? Write these out. Post them where you can see them daily. Put it on your mirror in your bathroom while you’re brushing your teeth. Look at them. Think about them. Put on your screen saver on your computer. Put in your car so you can see it wherever you see it and make these five keys your mantra. Make them your mantra, and then share them with your friends. Share them with your family. Number one, embrace the challenge. Number two, focus on effort and never the outcome. Number three, be at peace with imperfection. Number four, anything is possible. And number five, enjoy the journey. Shout those out on social media. If I see them, I’ll do my best to share them or repost them. I love it when you guys do that.

And if you feel inspired, join me and many other people across the world, across the globe that are going to be doing the Level Up 108 program. Our first official rotation begins January 6, 2020. That’s the first Monday in January in the New Year. I didn’t want to do it January 1st because people are traveling. Some people are even hungover. So Monday, January 6. The first ever rotation. But you can start at any time, but it’s kind of nice to get to go through it the same time that thousands of other people will also be moving through it so you can support each other. So visit for more information. You can leave your email there for updates and for a special VIP code.

Let’s finish with the 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.