How to be real no matter what.


“Real always works” – that’s what I’m always telling my clients and how I live my own life (really, “Real always works” is just a shortcut to circumventing all of the mind chatter that stops us taking action).

There’s only one problem: even though we may intend to be real, we’ve found ourselves in an unreal world where there’s more disinformation, BS, and confusion than probably any other time in history (really, not hyperbole or exaggeration: thanks to Internet algorithms and social media echo bubbles there’s more misinformation than ever before – we can all live in our own alternate (un)reality if we CHOOSE).

Here are ten things to keep in mind that can help us avoid the vortex of an unreal world and keep moving towards real life so we can be real no matter what.

1. Remember the times when you’ve felt most real.

I’m always reminding my clients (or readers of my books) to remember the times when they felt most real in the past. Almost always,  these will be times when they have stepped outside of themselves (or more accurately, their IDEAS about themselves) and they are fully present and spontaneous in the moment.

In my own life, the examples I always tend to give are:

  • Bounding down Mt Fuji one morning with the clouds beneath me.
  • Making love with somebody I truly care about.
  • Riding a motorbike.
  • Being outside in storms.
  • Really good yoga sessions.
  • Etc.

All of these experiences were times were my mind-body connection was heightened, I felt ‘one’ with my surroundings because I wasn’t only perceiving or interpreting everything conceptually, and where I got into a flow state of some kind and moved towards WHOLENESS instead of just mere fragments of living.

The lesson here is that you can’t always feel like this because these moments need you to take yourself out of the day-to-day world and to put yourself in the realest place possible.

Once you’ve tasted these moments, however, they do show you what real life is and show you the direction you need to start aiming back towards once the world begins to creep in again (really this is just the process of returning from the fragmentation of the world to the wholeness of reality: see Personal Revolutions: A Short Course in Realness if you want to build on these ideas).

2. Always keep the real vision in mind.

If your life feels unreal then there’s a good chance that it’s because you don’t have a vision for where you’re going or – if you do have one – it’s not compelling enough.

In my experience of coaching people, a ‘compelling’ vision just means that we choose something REAL to run towards instead of only trying to hide from the unreal stuff (for example, running towards something that is an expression of our true values – creativity, freedom, whatever – instead of trying to hide from our shame or guilt, etc.).

A lot of people set goals for themselves that are actually unreal and become outcome-dependent because they think they can fill the void inside themselves with external validation or other things that can never really save us.  My view of why this happens is because they set goals from a foundation of not knowing themselves (because they haven’t gone through the process of raising Awareness and Accepting themselves before taking Action).

Chasing an unreal vision will only serve to make your life increasingly more unreal as you push yourself further away from yourself; chasing a real vision will eventually bring real results that compound on themselves and make life more real overall.

You can remember it by remembering this simple formula (from the Personality Transplant):

Unreal in, unreal out; Real in, real out.

Make sure you’re aiming for something real before you get there.

3. Set goals and habits that structure your day.

You don’t need so much structure that your life becomes a prison but – once you have that real vision – you need enough structure to support its forward momentum and to carry you where you need to be.

For most of us, this just involves breaking the vision down into goals and also dedicating ourselves to the (almost) daily habits that will take us there.

The reason that this works is because real life is about working with time and that the only way to get RESULTS is to use cause and effect to manipulate time.

For example, if you have a vision of being a creative consultant of some kind then a goal you might have to support that might be to write a book. The habit that will support that is writing every day.

You need to break down your vision into the necessary goals and then be disciplined, consistent, and focused with your actions as you get there.

If you don’t have this basic structure then you will likely just fall into the trap of being distracted with activities, relationships, and thoughts that just make your life more unreal.

4. Value the truth more than anything else.

I’ve said it loads of times before but – in order to live a real life- you only really need to commit to doing two things:

  1.  Uncovering the truth (cultivating Awareness and Acceptance)
  2. Living the truth (Acting on it).

The only caveat here is that we often think we have the truth but all we really have is an interpretation of it. This is why you need to work on being constantly curious, constantly learning, and shifting yourself into having a growth mindset.

Sometimes, we think we’re doing this but actually we’re just tricking ourselves because of our EGO RESISTANCE and a desire to remain the same because of our unresolved emotional ‘stuff’ like shame, guilt, and/or trauma.

The ultimate barometer is how much FRICTION we feel in our lives – if we’re constantly coming up against obstacles or have problems that we just can’t find solutions to then these obstacles and problems are usually only lingering because we’re trying to hide  the truth from ourselves at some level.

The cure is to look inside yourself and see what you’re not yet willing to accept – only if you uncover that can you find a solid foundation to build on and move forward. Without valuing the TRUTH above all else, though, you’ll never be able to do that work as you’ll always be judging what you find.

5. Remember that your time, energy, and attention are the most important things you have.

You’re going to be dead one day. That’s a real FACT that we can all agree upon.

This being the case, it means that the most precious and valuable things you have are your time, energy, and attention.

A lot of us end up being unreal because we forget this and we give our time, energy, and attention to distractions and BS that don’t deserve it (the short version of what these distractions and BS are is that it’s anything that causes us to deviate from that real vision and growing into who we need to be (with our goals and habits) to make the vision a reality).

To stay real, you need to condition yourself to keep checking in with yourself to make sure that you’re CHOOSING to give your life to the things that are real to you and will allow you to be more real.

All being real means, ultimately, is that you know WHY you’re doing what you do (because you have a real vision), you know HOW you’ll do it, and you choose to do WHAT you need to do to get there (the ‘What’ may sometimes be to do nothing so you don’t burn out).

6. Remember that the world isn’t real, it’s just other people and their ideas.

One of the biggest causes of unreality is that we IDENTIFY with the world and think it’s real – in other words, we allow ourselves to be conditioned from the outside-in thanks to the media, our parents, other people, the system, etc. etc. etc.

Really, the world is not real at all – it’s just a bunch of conceptual ideas and the end-result of our collective thoughts and interpretations about life and reality based on our collective emotional ‘stuff’ and how much light we’ll let it.

As we said above: unreal in, unreal out – if most people in the world are distanced from themselves then the world we build will be an unreal extension of that.

If you’re not aware of this,  then you might try and FORCE yourself to fit into the world, but all you’ll be doing in that case is trying to deny all the real parts of yourself that can make the biggest difference to your life.

Flip the script and start with reality before the world.

7. Don’t be discouraged when things don’t go to plan – that’s just how life goes.

Even with the greatest vision and all of the consistency, discipline, and focus in the universe, you’re still just a human being in an imperfect reality and things can and will go wrong.

Being real just means that you don’t let this turn you off – you know that the map is not the territory and so you will have to adjust and adapt to get where you need to me.

The more unreal you are, the harder this will be because being unreal means that you try to control everything in an attempt to hide from your own unresolved emotional ‘stuff’.

If you find yourself lapsing into control freakery and being emotionally wounded every time you fail or get rejected or whatever then you need to work on accepting yourself and reality so you can see things clearly.

Being real means if you fall down 7 times, then you get back up 8.

8. Learn to listen to yourself and to act accordingly.

Your body and your mind will give you clear signals if you’re being unreal – learn to listen to yourself and to make changes as necessary.

When it comes to your body, it’s kinda obvious: if you feel burned out, depleted, or in pain then you need to rest.

If you feel lethargic, then you may need to exercise more as the more energy you use, the more energy you get (only you will know what you need to do but you need to DO something).

Anxiety and depression are often also signs that you need to listen to yourself:

In the case of anxiety, it often means that you’re living according to a FAKE/unreal version of yourself and so you’re constantly getting feedback from reality in the form of friction. This constant friction would make anybody anxious and will turn to frustration and misery if you don’t listen to yourself and make changes.

In the case of depression, it often means that you’ve developed a passive mindset and have lost touch with your purpose. When this happens you stop moving, have no vision for the future, and become miserable.

In all these cases – and others like them – listening to yourself at a real level and acting on it is the solution.

9. Make sure you’re living your real life and not somebody else’s unreal one.

A lot of the time, you might think your living ‘your’ life but if you feel restless or even miserable then there’s a 99% chance that you’re actually living somebody else’s life in the form of goals that aren’t yours.

Only you will know whose goals they really are? Maybe it’s your parents? Maybe it’s some Hollywood movie? Maybe it’s just ‘society’ as a whole?

If you want to be real, you need to learn to decondition yourself and make sure that what you invest your time, energy, and attention on actually comes from deep within yourself.

10. Embrace your weirdness.

When we’re being real, we might be judged by the world for being unconventional or deviating from standard paths and ways of doing things.

If you resist embracing this weirdness at some level, then it means that you’re still JUDGING yourself. All judgement is unreal because it brings in value judgements of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ (whereas what is real is beyond duality).

If there’s something weird about you and you’re not hurting anybody then don’t hide from it, embrace it.

Your weirdness is one of your greatest gifts to the world as it allows you to express the truth and the truth allows others to learn and embrace themselves too.

Don’t give into the pressure to hide from yourself because of your unreal ideas about the world. Life is for the living and real life is always a bit weird.


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