Brain dump

I’ve repeatedly observed one single mindset that causes more failure than just about anything else.

I noticed it in myself in my early to mid 20’s, when I was floundering and wasting a shitload of time. And I now notice it in loads of 20 somethings that aren’t where they want to be in life.

This single mindset repeatedly causes more pain, discomfort, and failure than virtually anything else – and it often goes unnoticed.

Scared? You should be.

Two Insanely Powerful Life Shifts

Here are the two, which will determine how far you go in life, and whether or not you end up living the life you want:

Blame

and

Personal responsibility

In my early 20s, after just moving back from China to a shit job market, I had little personal development under my belt.

It took about 6 months to find my first job, all the while I was asking:

“What’s with this piece of shit economy, why can’t I get a job?”

versus

“How can I get creative, and/or start earning extra money now?”

I blamed my connections, thinking: “Damnit, if only I had been a more connected person, with more friends, a better network, and so on.”

Rather than:

“How can I start creating an epic network of people who can help me crush it?”

I bitched and moaned about not having money, rather than cultivating the true entrepreneurial spirit I have now, which asks:

“Okay, stuff is bad now. How can I make it better?”

As you’ll soon see… these two mindsets change everything. And just by having a 5 minute conversation with someone, the presence or lack of these two concepts immediately tells me everything about the state of their lives – EVERYTHING.

And I can predict, almost 100% of the time, where they’ll be in 5 years, and unfortunately, where they’ll be when they die – unless they change.

Why These Change Everything

All success originates in the mind – pretty much a conclusion that just about 100% of the most successful people on earth have reached.

Why? If you don’t believe you can do something, you won’t try. Simple as that.

There’s much more to it, but we often only look for what we want to look for. If we view life through the lense of blame, we choose blame to explain the story and our circumstances.

If we choose personal responsibility, that becomes the underlying theme of our epic story.

Let me give you an example, let’s talk about Blamer Billy and Personal Responsibility (PN) Nancy.

Let’s see how they adapt to a couple life circumstances – these are all true stories, and even though the individuals aren’t real, the stories are composites of thousands of conversations I’ve had with very happy, successful, fulfilled people, and well, not happy, or fulfilled people.

“My Relationship Goes to Shit”

Blamer Billy is in a relationship with the girl of his dreams. To keep the story short, she breaks up with him, and he’s crushed. Day after day, he goes out, smokes, plays video games, and tries to find as many distractions as possible for his mind.

In fact, this goes on for months. Three months later, he’s still like this. Friends and family get worried. “Blamer Billy, when are you going to get over this girl?”

But he can’t.

Whereas some people would blame the other person (“she doesn’t appreciate me” etc.), Billy goes on to blame himself. As he gets more and more depressed, he continues to blame himself for not being a high quality guy, for not being healthier, for not being more attentive to her needs. On and on it goes for Billy.

Personal Responsibility Nancy is also dumped by her boyfriend. She’s crushed. She goes through the similar nights of drinking wine and eating ice cream, watching movies, becoming a couch potato, trying to go out and drink as much as possible.

Her life is also in the dumps – but even though she blames herself, for not being a better girlfriend, and her boyfriend for “not being serious,” she decides that life is too short to be miserable. So she takes charge – creates an entire new friend group through meetup.com so she doesn’t have to see her ex again, she picks up a new hobby – karate – and she starts going to happy hour with her work colleagues more.

Which one of these two people do you think is doing better a year after the breakup?

“I lose my job (or can’t find one)”

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confusedThere’s pretty much only one way to die unfulfilled, and never achieve anything you want in life.

It all pretty much comes down to one thing.

It’s not being afraid.

It’s not “making the wrong decision.”

It’s not about not having enough money.

And it’s also not about failing to cross things off your bucket list.

There’s really only ONE habit that will prevent you from getting where you want, and it’s this:

It’s not about making the wrong decision, it’s about NOT making a decision at all.

Not Making a Decision IS Making a Decision

The other day I sat down with one of my perpetually lost friends and he was asking me about ten different life paths he was considering taking.

“Ehhh, I could be a musician, or a biologist, or do charity work. Lots of things.”

“I’m just not quite sure which one I should take, I’m afraid of investing time into the wrong one and getting set back a few years, and I already tried that and screwed myself.”

Me: “So what’s the problem?”

“Eh, not sure about committing to any one thing, maybe I should sit on it a bit longer and try to figure it out.”

But here’s the thing:

My friend and I had this exact conversation two years before, and he was literally in the exact same position in his life. Navel-gazing, thinking about paths to take, “trying out” different things, never committing, bumming around, and not making any progress whatsoever.

Two YEARS had elapsed in the time that he was “figuring it all out.”

Okay. Different story now.

My friend Matt is in a totally different position.

He got a secure, high paying job out of college as an accountant, which gives him the financial stability he wanted even though he’s horribly bored.

No biggie, he figured – he can just coast with his salary for awhile.

However, Matt has been trying to find a career he’s really passionate about – something that’s cool to talk about, that’s fun, that would be a great conversational opener at a party.

Thing is, just like my friend above, Matt has been an accountant for five years and hasn’t even interviewed for any other jobs, he hasn’t started a business or written down any ideas, and he isn’t physically any closer to this “new” Matt than he was five years ago.

And five years ain’t no joke. You can go from idea ==> six figures in a business in 5 years. You can go from 100 pounds overweight ==> fitness model in 5 years. You can go from lost, confused, depressed ==> found, calm, and incredibly happy in less than 5 years.

He was pissing time away.

In fact, I see this sabotaging a lot more 20 somethings than almost anything else. Waiting for “the right time.”

There Is No Right Time, There is No Quantum Leap, There is no Big Break

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map 2

Yesterday, many pieces came together and I had one of the biggest “aha” revelations of my life.

I want to share it with you because I’m positive it’s going to help you get way more happy, successful, and fulfilled.

People are always looking for the secret. The map.

To the perfect relationship or the perfect marriage. What rules do I follow? What actions do I take? What should I say or not say?

Or we’re looking for “secret” of success. What’s the map I should follow to become the next Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates or Steve jobs?

What book should I read next to make me more successful?

What daily actions should I take in order to crush it?

Maybe it’s the key to happiness.

The happiness movement has exploded in recent years – books are flying off the bookshelves, the positive psychology movement has sprung up, and it’s quite possibly the biggest sub niche inside of personal development that has ever existed.

So what’s the secret to happiness? What should I be doing every day to be happy?

Or for those of you fellow 20 somethings, maybe you want the road map to no longer being lost. You just want a quick formula to follow:  passionate work + good relationship + adventure = no longer being lost.

But here was my huge revelation:

THERE IS NO MAP.

Sounds Scary? It’s Not – Here’s Why That’s Awesome

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Success, however you define it, is never an accident.

It’s funny – watch this awesome music video, and then read this guy’s comment:

“Life isn’t that beautiful, nobody can live like this, not even rich people.”

Here’s what I wrote back:

my responseSo let’s talk about how you can never end up like this guy.

As sad as it seems, he really believes this is a life unique to the top 1% of the world.

It’s not.

Living an Epic Life is NEVER An Accident

Dream job.

Dream lover.

Dream location

Dream life.

All of these things are DELIBERATELY CRAFTED.

This is my core message on milk the pigeon – if you want to live a special or extraordinary life, you have to PAY THE PRICE. [click to continue…]

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house and car

My early 20s was like one kick in the nuts after another.

In-case you were living in a bubble, or you were raised middle or upper class, or you were sheltered, real life was probably a shit storm for you. It was for me.

I was raised in a mid upper class white area, went to a good school, yadda yadda, the typical scenario you see on front of a magazine advertising universities. Preppy little white boy goes to college. I was given a lot more than most people on earth from the start. Half the battle was already won.

… But it wasn’t until I reached my early 20s (and left college) that I realized how much of a disservice this was.

Except for getting good grades, I wasn’t used to working hard.

I wasn’t used to figuring out shit on my own.

I wasn’t used to solving problems that didn’t have equations to work with (Ahem… success… life… happiness?)

I wasn’t used to HUSTLING.

There were some really hard knocks and life lessons I went through in the five years between 22-27. I’m going to share those with you today hoping that the sooner you realize them, the easier your life will be – whether you’re in your 20s, 30, 40s or later.

#1 The Epic Battle: Your Passion Vs. Your Rent

Truth #1.

Most of what you’re struggling with is going to be two things:

A. Money

B. Fulfillment.

If you were raised in a wealthy family, you’re usually going to choose fulfillment, until you realize you aren’t making money, then you’re going to go for the highest paying job possible, then you’re going to email me because you’re unfulfilled (just kidding, I hope).

Caveat: Unless you’re an immigrant or someone who was brought up struggling – and was told to follow safe/secure routes – in which case you were probably pushed into a high-paying job you hate and wasn’t at all related to what you love.

So it’s going to keep coming back to:

Having enough money.

Doing what you want.

Usually you won’t be having both – the goal is to have BOTH situations occur 90% of the time.

So most days you’re waking up, doing what you want, and have enough money to do what you want.

Surviving #1:

Here’s how I survived #1:

First, I freelanced on the side for the extra $5-10,000 a year it gave me. That was plenty to do whatever I wanted, travel, etc. Learn to freelance if your job isn’t paying you enough (who knows, it might turn into a business too).

Second, learn to ask for raises and how to negotiate. I won’t give you any other resources other than Ramit over at Iwillteachyoutoberich.com. Just follow him, read everything, and buy his products. They’ll make you rich.

Truth: You will almost NEVER get a raise, unless you ask for a damn raise and prove why you should get one (hint: not just because you’ve been there for a few years doing a shitty job surviving).

Learn how to ask for raises and become the “linchpin” at your job. Read this book.

***

#2 No One Cares About You… Only You Care About You

Holy jesus if you learn this one principle you will succeed AT ANYTHING YOU DO IN LIFE.

Look: no one cares about you. They only care about what you can give to them. Yes, even friends. Yes, potential employers. Yes, ANYONE you email.

The sooner you learn this, the higher you’ll fly.

Examples:

Emails: Don’t email someone important or busy and ASK FOR THEM TO DO SHIT FOR YOU. They will either A. Not respond B. Think you’re an asshole, C. Just push delete.

Also, anything over 5 lines instantly gets deleted or archived.

Want a mentor or want to meet someone influential?

Reach out and OFFER help. A book to read. Blog post ideas. Free help with something.

They WILL respond if you make an offer like that. Add value.

Reaching out to make connections:

Again, never tell a busy person “hey could I pick your brain?” Hell no, they’re busy and you’re a nobody – what do you think they’re going to say? (Don’t worry, I’m usually much nicer :-))

Offer something. Provide value. Add value to their life. GIVE.

Friends: Want awesome friends? STOP texting people only when you need something. Text when you have something to offer. A great book. A movie. A game. Free tickets.

They will become lifelong friends.

This is seriously one of the most important life skills you can learn.

***

#3 If You Want Your “Dream Life” You WILL Work Your Ass Off

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