Path in woods

Most people blow the shit out of their 20s, because they make a very big mistake.

Most of the time when we’re lost in life, we do one of two things.

Think about the teenage years, when everyone is a little awkward, figuring life shit out, figuring parent-related shit out, and even figuring out sexuality.

Usually in those strange years, we tend to do one of two things.

The first thing is that if we’re lost, we just conform.

You know, our parents say, “Hey Jimmy, daddy was banker or a CPA, so you’re just going to go to school for accounting, finances or economics.”

And the kid’s either like, “Okay, fine, I don’t really care, I want a good job.”

Or, they tend to do the exact opposite.

Most kids just accept and conform, and work for mommy or daddy’s business, get the college degree, get married and get that whole white picket fence life – and just do what they see everyone else doing.

They don’t spend too much time thinking deliberately about what they want.

Most people just conform, which is fine.

Then, you’ve got another side of the coin here.

When we’re lost, we tend to either conform (and do what we see everyone else doing, going back to school, getting jobs, getting married, having kids), or we rebel against the system.

This is really easy to spot in the teenage years too.

You see kids going gothic for just a phase, from that 16-19 age, where they get piercings, black lipstip, fishnet shirts, and they’re involved in all kinds of alternative stuff.

Or you have those teenage girls that become lesbians for a few years, and magically become straight again by 21.

It’s just this fighting against the system, and fighting against the man idea (the whole preacher’s daughter syndrome).

Most of us conform, some rebel, but most people miss the magic: the third path.

The Third Path: Where The Magic Happens

The middle is where the magic happens.

Guess what? Neither of these paths are deliberate living. Neither of these paths get you to your dream life, because neiter of them are conscious, deliberate choices.

Most are just reacting to something (pulling or pushing) – accepting the push from your mom, or just pushing against it.

Neither one of those paths is me saying, “Hey, what do I really want from life, and where am I trying to go?”

The conforming path is just “okay, going with the flow…”

The rebeling path is just pushing shit away – just for the sake of rebeling, not because rebelling even gets you anywhere, it’s just about saying fuck you to mommy and daddy, or the man.

Neither of them are conscious choices about going down a deliberate path.

The secret is in the middle: what do YOU as an individual really want?

Most people are too busy going with the flow, like going back to grad school, or going off to thailand and becoming a digital nomad, stoner rhasta, saying “fuck you” to the man and promising to never get a job.

“I’m not dealing with this society bullshit” is a pretty common phase that almost every 20 something goes through at one point or another.

But both of these are losing paths, and neither of them really get you on the path that’s really fulfilling.

The Real Question About Figuring Out Which Path to go Down

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My question for you is simple: first, what bucket are you in?

Maybe you’ve been conforming for the past five years – which is fine – maybe you just got a job and got married because you thought that’s what you were supposed to do.

Maybe you didn’t get a job, and just dropped out of society to live on the fringes, smoke weed, and just mess around because you didn’t want to deal with this society and grown up bullshit.

But what do YOU want?

What do you really want?

What do you want your financial life to look like?

What do you want your spiritual life to look like?

Your work?

Your health?

Your relationship?

Your travels?

What do you want all of this to look like, in the absence of conforming or just fighting against mommy and daddy.

Then, only then, can you go after the path you want.

Everything else is just a distraction, a bullshit side path.

Stop Lying To Yourself

Stop telling yourself things like you can be “successful or happy” – it’s bullshit.

Stop telling yourself you can be “spiritual or rich” – it’s bullshit.

Always choose the and.

You can be successful AND happy AND fulfilled AND contribute AND have time with your family.

You can have both.

Think in terms of and, intsead of either/or.

Maybe you’ve rebelled, or maybe you’ve conformed.

But what do you really want?

Comment below which path you’ve been on for the past 5 years, and what your game plan is now.

– Alex

Images: used with permission from picjumbo and freedigitalphotos.net

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Wtf Thumb

My early 20s (until about 26) were literally the biggest clusterfuck you can imagine.

I went through a dozen jobs by the time I was 27, because I hated every one of them, I didn’t make much money, and I couldn’t justify putting off all the cool projects I wanted to do in my life.

So I didn’t do anything.

Looking back now (after having made a lot of progress), there were really three strategies that worked well for me.

That’s what I want to share with you in today’s video.

3 Strategies to Combat That “WTF” Feeling

First things first, which one of these three strategies do you think you could implement to see good results?

Are you currently using any of them?

And if you aren’t taking action… wake your ass up and start doing something, because ultimately that’s what worked best for me.

I didn’t get any slap in the face from God saying that I should go down a certain path, and so I forced myself to go down any path.

You can always course-correct along the way anyway, so don’t let yourself get stuck thinking about life, instead of acting your way through it.

Also, as my first video, do you want me to do more video?

What about video + article?

Just written?

Let me know below.

-Alex

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What if the biggest reason you aren’t taking action is a complete load of crap?

For years now, even before his death, there was a famous Steve Jobs quote circulating around the internet that came from his Stanford commencement speech.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.”

Over the dozens and dozens of coaching calls I’ve done over the past few months, most of them were marred by one thing: lack of action.

Most of us are too busy being paralyzed because we’re confused as all hell.

Why would I ask that girl out again if I “wasn’t sure how I felt about her?”

Why would I take one of those three jobs when they all feel like boring, soulsuckers to me?

Why would I go down one career path when I’m not 100% sure if that’s what I want to do forever?

They all sound so logical.

And they’re all so wrong.

“None of These Are Really Calling To Me… I Just Need a Bit More Time to Figure It Out”

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There’s this feeling that “if I don’t know what my passion is, or if it REALLY is what I like… why commit 100%? What if it’s the wrong path and I end up MORE unhappy, or lose time?”

Years ago when I was looking for jobs in my early 20s (and was both an idiot in how I applied, but also got zero offers), I felt this on a daily basis.

Eh… personal training?

Eh… some marketing job?

Eh… park ranger?

They all sounded like good ideas, but none of them really sounded great.

Not one of them sounded like that one thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life. And as a result, I didn’t do anything – since none of them were the clear winner in my mind.

Years and years went by, and I made shit progress in my life.

But it wasn’t until I realized a concept (what I called “God Vision” to someone once), that everything changed.

Now, it’s a principle I think about on an almost daily basis.

God-Vision is The Most Powerful Force in The Universe

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God vision is what you cannot see in the future – but can only realize in the past.

In other words, if you were some divine being that could see your own life as a timeline, and all the micro experiences (and the big ones) that happened on that timeline, you’d be able to see first hand how much they served you and helped you.

It’s when that job you hated you took, but you got skills you later used to build a successful business.

For example, I took dozens (yes – dozens) of jobs from the ages of 23 to 28 that I didn’t necesarilly like, but I vetted them on one main thing: whether or not they would give me skills that I could learn and use later.

The issue of money was secondary, since I figured I could be poor now, learn what it took to succeed, and make money later.

The result?

I ended up using many of those skills from freelancing, marketing jobs, sales jobs – all things I hated – in order to build my own business. That became a crucial part of my story.

But if I never took the time to get those jobs because they weren’t my “dream jobs,” then I never would’ve acquired that skillset.

God vision in action.

Sometimes one step’s purpose is simply to lead you to the next step.

It’s when you passed up income to work for a crucial mentor, living at home, and instead, acquired more habits for success.

When I moved back from China, I moved back in with my parents until – get this – I was 26.

That’s a long ass time to move back in with your parents, especially if you’re fairly driven.

I decided to keep a string of part time jobs for almost five years, because there were other projects I wanted to work on on the side.

That was really important to me – meaning and purpose, more than anything else.

As a result, I made almost no money in my early and mid 20s, but I started little projects like Milk the Pigeon.

Milk the Pigeon taught me how to write, it taught me about blogging, it taught me about online business.

It introduced a new set of skills I never had, and guess what skills I used to launch my actual business?

Blogging.

It’s when you decided to learn random skills for fun, and not for a financial purpose, and five or ten years later, they come back to serve you.

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When I moved to China at 23, I went because I wanted to take a few years off to study kung fu and meditation in some temples with monks.

Now even though I didn’t end up staying longer than a year, I ended up learning to speak, read and write Chinese – well – because I was putting in seven hours a day (four hours of class I paid for, and three hours on my own).

Everyone else was thinking of Chinese being useful from a business perspective, but I was just thinking one thing when I left my job:

“Fuck it, this is gonna be awesome.”

I had no intention of becoming a China based entrepreneur or capitalist.

So I learned a skill for fun.

And guess where it came back?

Next year, I’m starting school again for Chinese medicine – where knowing Chinese is a massive advantage when it comes to becoming world class at my craft.

God-Vision is simple: If you were God looking down – you’d be laughing, “It’s so perfect” and it is.

It almost seems like all of these events were related, and they had to happen.

But the reason why it’s so hard to trust the process is that:

  • A. it requires faith, which is scary as hell, and
  • B. we haven’t lived it yet

This is usually something you hear from people in their 50s and 60s, so if you haven’t lived it personally, it’s understandable that it’s scary as hell and makes no sense – how the hell can I trust the process?

The catch is that God vision only works if you live life right.

Here’s what I mean.

God Vision – How to Predict Your Own Future, Figure Out Your 20s and Live an Awesome Life

There’s a final scene in the movie The Last Samurai, where one of the Samurai leaders is having a flash back to a scene previously in the movie as he’s dying, about how death is perfect, like the cherry blossom.

When the cherry blossom is blooming in the spring, it’s this beautiful, short-lived perfection (which is a major tourist attraction in Japan), and is a metaphor for how quickly life passes.

Finally, as he lay dying near the end of the movie, he sees the tree again and says. “Perfect. They are all perfect.”

This is a part of that feeling Steve Jobs was referring to – you can only see the pieces connect in retrospect.

Life has to be lived forward but understood backward is another famous way to describe this effect.

It’s usually only at the end of a person’s life do you hear the stories about how they were in the right place at the right time, and ended up randomly meeting their wife, or a unique business mentor, or a book that impacted them.

It’s like the Stephen Spielberg two minute speech that’s been shared a lot lately: the intuition about what direction to go in is really subtle.

It’s not a massive god-slap in the face – but a constant, easy-to-ignore whisper in your ear.

There’s one catch: this kind of God vision, where shit just lines up year after year, only works if you live life deliberately and aren’t afraid to commit even when the path is dark in every direction.

Here’s what that looks like.

God Vision in Action: 3 Things To Do Daily

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I recently was on the phone with someone, and I was sharing just how eerie the last five years have truly been (regarding the pieces lining up) since I forced myself to work hard.

There was the eerie connection about learning Chinese and ending up studying Chinese medicine – and getting to meet some cool mentors only because I knew Chinese.

There was the piece about learning to write here on Milk the Pigeon, and my first successful business being a blog-based business (my health one).

And there was the other piece about sacrificing a large chunk of my 20s for the hustle and skill acquisition which later served me well.

In the middle of the conversation I tried hard to narrow down what I consciously chose that helped make it work, and I realized it was three things.

Intuition

The first skill to focus on is listening to those “little whispers.”

It’s the whisper that says that a guy or girl isn’t right for you, that a job “sounds” cool and pays well, but it’s not what you want, or that a certain opportunity is going to lock you down.

It’s like my intuition to avoid full-time jobs, so I could start projects on the side.

I didn’t know if it would work out, but I was literally unwilling to not try.

Growth

The second skill is to always choose opportunities based on Growth + love.

If you are thinking of moving across the country, taking a new job, breaking off something with someone, or are making a difficult decision, if you choose growth you always win.

Growth might mean taking a job you aren’t qualified for, and even though you feel afraid, you take it and decide to step up to the plate.

Growth might mean improving your career or work skills, it might mean starting a side project that you have no idea will workout (because it entails learning new things), or it might mean doing something hard in your business or job because you know you’ll learn.

Growth always pays off in god-vision land, because the more you grow, the more it impacts every part of your life.

Skills

The third skill is focusing on learning skills.

This is something I harp on all the time here, but in retrospect I realized that the most valuable things that I have now (even though I’ve long forgotten all those awful jobs) are skills.

Skills pay the bills.

Skills are how you build a business, get a job, or even get a romantic partner.

Having skills mean you are good at something, and you get skills in the arena.

So if you see an opportunity to develop skills – video editing, writing, blogging, marketing, selling, playing a guitar – take it.

And even if you don’t like your job now, if you can get skills, those skills might be the missing piece to your jackpot that comes together in your next job, business or opportunity.

That’s God vision.

You can’t predict the future, but if you do these three things you can have absolute faith they’ll come back and help you.

The trick is, right now you just don’t know how yet.

The One Thing To Remember

The ultimate question to ask yourself is simple – is this opportunity cool?

Would this give me skills to have?

And ultimately, is this the direction I want to go in?

If you keep doing that long enough, one day you’ll look back, with that faith and experience of knowing a life well-lived, and you’ll too think:

“It was perfect.”

– Alex

Thoughts on this? Share them below.

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Cut the shit.

So many of you could be uber successful, happy and fulfilled if you stopped waiting for the savior on the glowing white steed to come save you and say, “yes, you’re special! Now go!”

I hear it every day, and I went through it all myself:

I can’t be a coach because I’m not an expert.

I won’t get that job because everyone else has degrees and I don’t.

I can’t travel the world because it’s expensive.

I can’t be successful and be a great husband/wife and have a healthy family life.

All of these beliefs have the same origin: you’re waiting for the white knight.

You’re waiting to be chosen.

Stop Waiting For Prince Charming & Your Savior (He’s an Uggo, Anyways)

Prince Charming Gif

ALL of these have the same underlying feeling – we’re waiting for someone to come along and give us a pep talk.

You are good enough.

You can do it!

Kick ass!

And those thing are great, if you have them. But if you don’t, then what?

YOU need to choose YOURSELF.

I’ve witnessed these incredible transformations – you see a person who is on the fence, or who is highly doubting herself and the second you tell her that 100% of her excuses are legitimate bullshit, she opens up.

She takes action.

The fear goes away just 1% – enough to allow her to see success.

She finally commits, takes off, and then flies.

What changed? Almost nothing! I gave her permission – I said, “these are all bullshit, so get creating and get started.” And it’s amazing what actually happens when you give someone permission to act – they act.

So many people are sitting around telling themselves some bullshit story about why they aren’t doing well, and I went through the entire goddamn list myself.

I’m an introvert, I suck at making friends.

I’m a first time business person, I don’t have any skills.

I’ve never done this before and I don’t know any other people < in this field >.

How in the hell do I even do this, anyway?

At the end of the day though, I didn’t possess some magical confidence, the only thing I possessed was an utter hatred of my daily life, imagining the cubicle existence of the average person who dies before having done anything they want in life.

Fuck that.

How I Chose Myself (And Figured It Out)

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When I started Milk The Pigeon, I started it because I didn’t see a single person that was living out their dream. In other words, a conscious life they had created mentally, that they then created in the physical world.

I didn’t know one.

So I figured, “Fuck it, I’ll be the first then.”

Even though I later realized that there are lots of people like this (thanks internet), for whatever reason I was frustrated and pissed off enough that I told myself I would do it and figure it out.

The very first article I ever wrote was “The Generation of Dreamers is Dead.

I wrote how I was beyond frustrated that I couldn’t find ANYONE that was committed – as long as it took – to create that dream life.

I didn’t have a SINGLE friend who was willing to be poor for a decade, start and quit 7, 8, 9, 10 jobs (yes, did that), and suffer to the point of depression because he or she had so much commitment to the dream.

Not one.

Needless to say, it’s been a long (and often lonely) few years, but there’s something else here: I chose myself.

How to Become “Expert Enough” 

Master The Day Book

People have introduced me as an “expert” because my book is an Amazon bestseller, and has really good reviews.

One thing that comes up a lot here is that people wait until it’s the right time, until someone says “yeah, you’re good enough!” or until they’re an expert to begin.

It’s almost that perfectionism, the feeling that a lot of guys in their 20s have that, “I can’t get married or settle down until I’m already successful.”

Clearly it makes no sense.

But if you wanted to theoretically acquire the skills required to be skilled enough to be paid for your skills, here’s how.

Don’t forget, the line between expert and non-expert is blurry.

Does it require a PhD? An M.D.? 10 years experience? Or just the ability to get people results? For example, I wrote my book which became an Amazon bestseller, but a lot more importantly, has great reviews because it’s helped people.

I’ve never once called myself an expert, but lots of people do once they see my book and the reviews its gotten.

So who’s right?

Even though I took a lot longer (e.g. I’ve been lifting weights in the gym 4-5x a week for 10 years now – since I went into college at 18), you could actually acquire the skillset required to be proficient enough to sell your services in 6 months or less.

The 6 Month “Expert” – Getting Paid For Actually Helping People

Is Alexander Heyne picture James Franco?

Does putting extremely pretentious modeling pictures of myself like this on my “about” page make me an expert?

What does an expert know that you don’t?

Well, most experts I’ve met know a lot more than the average person, but that’s really not that impressive since the average person knows jack shit and watches endless TV rather than taking time to read / grow / improve.

Here’s how I view an “expert” on writing, for example:

  1. They’ve read other experts on writing
  2. They know the basic principles of writing
  3. They’ve written

So what are these major categories?

They’ve read about the subject (consuming).

They know the basic principles (the skeleton skillset).

They’ve written (concrete skills).

And seeing how many “social media experts” I’ve seen come up over the last three years, who are so laughably bad, the bar is set pretty low.

But here’s what you can legitimately become a freelancer with:

Month One – Modeling

Web design

Here’s the first step: read the other ‘experts’ on your craft.

  1. Go to amazon.com
  2. Type in “web design” for example or “how to write” or “programming” or “video editing”
  3. Order the top 10 books that are highest rated
  4. Read them (approx. 7 hours per 200 page technical book = 70 hours of reading)

Month Two – The One Page Summary

Put together one page summaries on the key principles in the books.

Structure them like this.

The Big Idea is:

The core, tactical principles are:

1.

2.

3.

Three habits I can start doing today:

1.

2.

3.

Month Three – Synthesize

Synthesize the basic principles.

Okay, so you’ve read ten of the top books. Now what are the similarities in the principles?

If you’re a fitness coach, you might have realized, okay, diet is 80% of the work.

And X Y and Z are the main principles I need to help my clients with in order to get them results.

And you can use weight training for both men and women to tone them up, then intermittent fasting as an advanced concept.

If it’s writing, you might learn about storytelling, sentence structure, beginning stories in media res, etc.

If it’s programming, you might have learned what the heck programming really is, and how it works.

Month Four – Six: Deliberate Practice & Skill Acquisition (One Hour a Day Philosophy)

At this point, theory virtually doesn’t matter, because if someone is paying you, they just want results.

So in month four, the key thing is to get three free clients.

If you’re a programmer, just try creating something (you’re own web page).

Set aside 1 hour a day.

If it’s writing, just start writing articles and pitching them to The Huffington Post or other websites that are smaller that you’re currently afraid of.

If you’re a designer, offer to design a friend’s website for free. Get the actual skillset, break shit, and then figure out why you broke it.

If you’re working on coaching, coach a few friends for free! Do hourlong coaching sessions, get their feedback, see if it helped, etc.

You’ll quickly realize if you’re good, what needs improving, what you may like or not like, etc.

Month Five – Get A (or More) Free Clients

The next step is to actually get more clients, free ones (or if you feel comfortable, paid ones).

First, go through friends, then just go to local events using meetup.com, post your services on craigslist, or start setting up a website.

But by this point, you already have a skillset that’s valuable and you’re good enough.

Month Six – Make It Happen

It’s time to start charging. I’ll keep it simple, because even though this is another huge mental hurdle for new people (please don’t charge $10/hour), it’s best learned in the trenches.

Two things:

1. Charge monthly (because you can’t feed yourself on hourly jobs)

2. Charge more than you feel comfortable with

If you feel like $50 a month makes you comfortable, charge $100 a month.

Stop Waiting – All The Greats “Figured” It Out

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It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

- Leonardo da Vinci

It’s a little secret that most successful people just “figured it out.”

Entrepreneurship (like life) is sometimes like running face-first into a wall, smashing your head, and then trying to figure out how it got there, and how to get over it or around it.

You just look around, test, and figure it out. There often isn’t a roadmap.

Guys, do you think I had a damn clue about how to build a business?

How to write a book?

How to have a remote job, or how to write, or how to give talks, or how to travel on a shoe string budget?

You can figure all this shit out.

And as long as you have that mindset, you will be successful – because anything can be learned. Literally almost anything. And you have the most unfair advantage of all – the internet. Consider that no one in human history has had the internet like you do now.

You can google something and half a second later have a dozen tutorials on how to learn a skill.

Do you realize how unfair of an advantage that is over anyone else that has ever existed in history?

Look, you can come up with a story all day long, or you can get your ass to work, but you can’t do both.

Choose yourself, stop waiting for prince charming (or your mom, or a mentor, or me) to tell you you’re good enough, and figure it out.

You can do it.

We all start somewhere – so just start.

-Alex

Thoughts on this? Share them below.

Images: “Dreams” used with permission from freedigitalphotos.net,

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Map

Last week I shared an epic article on the core strategies that helped me turn 2015 into my most fulfilled, happy and successful year ever.

Five years ago when I created Milk the Pigeon, I had no idea that this would be the direction it would go in.

Today, I want to help tackle something that I know has  been holding you back:

How the hell do you go full-steam ahead if you don’t know what your passion or dream job is?

Here are a few strategies that have helped me dramatically – things I would’ve KILLED to know five years ago.

Follow them, and you can seriously leapfrog the competition and get ahead.

Strategy #1 – Stack The Bricks

Stacking the Bricks

Literally, three years ago, if I told you I’d be where I am now, I wouldn’t have believed you.

And you know what’s funny? I’m not even crushing it yet or doing that well.

I can’t wait to see where I’m going to be in three years, now that I’ve realized this stacking the bricks concept.

There’s a fantastic talk by Amy Hoy called “Stacking the Bricks,” where she talks about a lesser-known success principle, which is….

You just have to keep stacking bricks before you hit it big.

But if you don’t stack brick #1, you’ll never get to see what results from brick #35.

Here’s the problem:

Most of us don’t act, because we can’t see the next step, but the paradox is that you have to keep stepping in the darkness BEFORE you get to see the next step.

She talks about knowing Gary Vaynerchuk while he was pouring wine at some startup event, thinking he basically was some clown that had ADD.

Five years later, Gary is a household name and absolutely dominating in his business.

Here’s the thing:

In my own business, when I launched it, I didn’t have a goddamn clue how I was going to help people, build an audience, and run an actual business. I had an idea, but ideas always change when the rubber meets the road.

It started with a cheap course.

Then a more expensive one.

Then a coaching program.

Then a continuity program.

Then a book.

Then speaking, and other gigs.

And here’s the catch: IF I NEVER LAUNCHED THE FIRST THING, I NEVER WOULD’VE WRITTEN A BOOK.

And right now, the book has been the most impactful, fulfilling project I ever worked on.

You have to stack the first brick, before you find your way to the last.

Lesson: If you find yourself paralyzed and not taking action whether it’s finding a job, or changing careers, take the damn step, because you have no idea where hustle can lead you (even if you can’t see the entire staircase right now).

That brings me to lesson #2.

Strategy #2 – Ladder Hopping

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