I messed up spectacularly a bunch of times in my 20s. But I’ve also done a lot right, and I’m glad I figured out some of the “right” stuff that produces massive success and happiness. Some of the “secrets” that the happiest, most successful, most fulfilled people in the world know.
But one of the best investments of time I ever made was making it a habit of studying and hanging out with the most successful people I could find.
For example, in the past few months alone I wanted to upgrade my social circle, like I frequently suggest many of you do if you want to take your life to the next level. I wanted to hang out with people who were crushing it, or who would be crushing it. People with a huge fire to improve their lives like I have.
The result just a few short months later? 75% of the time, the only people I’m texting, emailing, and hanging out with are people earning $200k+/year in their own businesses or ventures.
And let me tell you – they think WAY differently from most of us. From the average person.
But there’s one thing in particular that all successful people have, that I’ve noticed.
There’s ONE overarching principle that allows them to have epic levels of fulfillment, happiness, finances, health, relationships and a lot more.
They live life deliberately.
The truly successful people, not just the financially successful, think about everything and their own vision of the future.
It’s the exact opposite of how the average person lives – constantly waking up in a life they didn’t want.
Constantly wondering “how the hell did I get here?”
I get hundreds of the same types of emails – I woke up in this life somehow. I don’t know how I got here, but I don’t want to be here any longer.
It doesn’t matter if the person is talking about their health going to shit, their relationship failing, not having enough money, or just plain waking up in an extremely boring, mediocre life.
The origin is always the same: failing to live an examined life. Failing to take time to figure out what you want. Failing to learn the daily action steps that will help you get to where you want to be.
The solution is always the same: live life deliberately.
“Yea yea yea I’ve heard this before”
You’ve heard Thoreau before:
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
Living a deliberate life means you’ve thought shit out.
It means you think about WHAT YOU WANT regularly, and how you can get there. This is directly contrary to how most of us live.
Think about it.
Your job. How’d you get it? And why? Because it was your major or related to it? Because it was what you’re good at? Because it’s just what “Men or women in the Johnson family do?” Because daddy or mommy wanted you to be a particular profession? Because you’re scared of poverty? Because you crave feelings of power and admiration?
Romantic partners. I once sat in a cafe thinking about how strange some couples are.
Sometimes there is a huge mismatch in looks, personality or just compatibility.
Sometimes that’s just because billy bob and cindy lou hoo just happen to be the only two people that keep running into each other, and are slightly compatible on one tiny thing.
Sometimes they just happen to “be there” when the biological clock is ticking and we want to settle down.
Where you live. The majority of people choose two options: Option A: Close to home and family. Option B: Far away from home and family. So we choose to live in places not because they match our interests, hobbies, career opportunities, etc. but because it’s “just where our parents are” or because “we’re trying to get as far away as possible.”
Neither of these are “examined” decisions.
How we spend our lives.
Think about your daily routine, and the routine of most of your parents or elders. Work, bowling at night, American Idol on TV, the same family gatherings, not using your vacation time, movies on the weekends, etc.
There’s nothing wrong with it – but is that really what you want to be doing? Or have you never thought about what you’d rather really be doing?
Most of our life is lived by default – where your parents are, what you majored in, what people around you do, or going against what the people around you do.
And as a result, you end up living a life that’s unexamined. That’s fine – nothing wrong with it – but if you’re like me, you want MORE from life. You want *THE* life, and I can assure you, it’s possible.
So What’s The Fix?
It’s really easy… and really not that revolutionary, but almost no one does it. Especially not 20 somethings. Because “we’ve got time” (newsflash: you don’t have time. And you were born with a terminal illness: It’s called birth.)
Think about what you actually want.
And I don’t just mean think about it. I mean think about it constantly. Wake up an hour earlier in the morning and visualize it.
Visualize everything you want in a partner, in a job, career or business, all the travels, your house, how you feel every day, how you spend each day, the kind of people you hang out with, and more.
Here’s a sneak peek of my own morning routine.
This is something that I’ve seen in loads of the uber successful: morning routines, packed with visualizations, affirmations, motivational books, and more.
I wake up two hours before I have to work or commute anywhere.
And here’s what I go through:
1. Your purpose for getting your ass out of bed.
I really struggled with this for a long time. At first, they were financial goals. “I want to build this side business and quit my fucking job, BOO YEAH.”
But then I found myself struggling in the morning. It wasn’t powerful enough. Freedom was a great motivator, but the money in the business wasn’t really motivating me to get up and work longer hours, and work even on my weekends, when all I wanted to do was just turn my brain off.
And I came up with a better one: “I want to create this epic business as part of my epic life, to INSPIRE other 20 somethings by showing them that anything is possible if you have clarity and work your ass off every single day. I want to show others that it’s possible – because life is too short to wake up and do shit you hate, repeat that for 75 years, and call it a life.”
When you wake up in the morning, read your purpose, and if you don’t have one now, make it up.
2. Your big, one thing for the year. Warren Buffet’s #1 productivity tip (aka, getting lots of shit done in a short life) is this: pick your top 25 life goals, then circle your top 5.
Then delete the other 20 from the list – they are considered “AVOID AT ALL COSTS” goals.
Focus is the secret to success. Let’s say it takes you 5 hrs a day for 5 years to achieve a major life goal. If you’re working on three goals, it’s now going to take you 15 years to achieve it (three times as long).
Sit down and think about your biggest ONE thing that’s most important to you for the next 5 years, and will make the biggest impact. Look at the goal, visualize yourself achieving it as if it has already occurred, and visualize every aspect of it.
3. Your financial life / biz / day job. Want more money? Want a raise? Want to finally start a business and quit your shitty job? If you aren’t thinking about HOW to make that happen, it’ll never happen. It’s like those deathbed regrets emails I get.
People think that you’ll magically wake up one day, you’ll magically appear to be in the life you love, all will be dandy and you can ride a unicorn into the sunset. That ain’t how shit works! That’s almost never how it works.
You need to start being DELIBERATE.
A person who is deliberate about earning more thinks about a few things, like:
A. What’s the problem? (I’m not earning enough)
B. Why does the problem exist? (My job only pays me $500/week. Why: I’m not a very valuable employee, so my employer doesn’t pay much.)
C. What can I do to improve it? (Get a raise by becoming more valuable and asking. Earn money on the side. Start a side business. Get another job on the weekend)
… And then start listing what daily actions you need to take in order to get to where you want to be.
4. Relationship, Health, Spirituality, Happiness, Other Goals
Visualize what it is you want – the big picture. And then visualize what smaller goals and habits are going to get you there.
The Formula For Awesomeness
1. Visualize it as if it has already occurred (Think and Grow Rich 101)
2. Visualize for 30-60 secs what action steps have to occur to get there
And as a special bonus: you want to know what’s eerie about this? The more you visualize these things, the more they subconsciously alter your actions. You often wake up a year later, flip through those old visualizations and go, “holy shit. I’m literally living the exact life I envisioned daily all last year. Freaky.”
You can pass it off as woowoo, but what you think about and focus on expands – you think about how much you hate your job, and that’s all you can think about. You think about how much you want to start a business, and guess what? You start one.
I’ve been there – in both spots. The mind is powerful. When you think about how much shit you hate and can’t stand in your life, your life becomes one big, steaming pile of shit. You start hating everything.
But what happens when you start thinking your escape plan? Day after day, it starts coming true.
Thoughts on this? Share them below.
P.S. Monday Nov. 10 the crossroads program opens (That’s next Monday). For those of you that are seriously ready to make more progress towards that kickass life in 2 months than you have in 2 years – the dream job, figuring out what the hell path to take, finding your passion, and more – this is the way to make it happen FAST, for less than $1 a day. Can’t wait to see those of you in there. Want a tribe of “A players” who are serious about making shit happen and will hold you accountable? Here’s where to find them.