Most of my 20s sucked shit.
I’m totally comfortable admitting that to myself now at age 28 – it really sucked. I found myself working these goddamn awful jobs, that didn’t pay me much, that didn’t mean much, and didn’t have opportunities to even grow or learn much.
When you aren’t learning new skills…
… And you aren’t getting paid much.
… And you don’t like what you do.
… I call this “shit city.”
It’s literally, in every sense of the word (or phrase), a waste of your life. But sometimes that’s a price you have to pay temporarily.
Problem is, when you find yourself getting stuck like this, it’s easy to fall into a depression and lose the steam that’ll push you out of it. So here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me all those years ago, when I could’ve progressed so much more in my life.
#1 Learn Hard New Shit
This first principle is so shockingly simple, but rewarding, that I’m surprised I didn’t realize it sooner.
Just pick a new aspect of your life to grow in – so maybe you’re doing the soul crushing (or simply shitty) ten hour workday somewhere else just to barely pay your bills.
What are you doing after that though?
I heard this awesome quote by Earle Nightingale yesterday that went like this:
“All around me I hear people complaining about their lives. Well, what are you doing in your leisure time? In 25 years you haven’t done anything to advance yourself? In 25 years of leisure time you could become an open heart surgeon, so what are you doing?”
Obviously, this one appeals to my real workaholic-ness, but it makes sense: Even an hour a day after work and on weekends, added up over the course of a year, is 365 hours. Over two years, it’s over 720 hours, and over three years, 1,000+ hours.
Considering the “10,000 hour rule” to become a world-class master at something…. that means every 27 years you could become WORLD-CLASS at something.
Oh, in your part time.
In 1 hour a day.
You could become Steve Jobs level at something.
Michael phelps level at something.
Or some other person you admire in that time.
Pick GROWTH – what new thing do you want to try that requires learning, effort, and has a bit of difficulty?
2. Get Some Mad Skillz
This is my favorite.
In my own business, and my life, each quarter I set a growth goal. And it only has to have TWO prerequisites:
1. It must be fucking awesome (= intrinsic motivation).
2. It must require growth.
Here’s how I define growth: It has to require skills, connections, a mindset, or a work ethic that I currently do not have. First quarter of last year, that was writing a book. I didn’t know anything about writing that many pages, formatting, marketing, selling, etc.
But I still managed to do well and hit #1 in three Amazon health categories and get rave reviews.
In your life, it could be a personal goal like asking out a guy or girl that scares you shitless.
It could be speaking on a stage. It could be launching that website you’re waiting on.
Just focus on difficulty and fun. You’ll grow.
First quarter of the next year, that’s January, February and March – what’s a goal you could pick up for just 100 days?
1. It must be awesome, so you’re naturally motivated to do it.
2. It must require growth.
If the current version of yourself can do it now, it’s not a worthy goal.
3. The Harry Potter Scribbles
Getting overwhelmed, frustrated and depressed is the name of the game for 20 somethings.
One thing I always found myself struggling with was trying to narrow down the possible paths I could take. I felt like a schizophrenic – some days feeling like I had jack shit as far as options went, and other days feeling like there were too many which made it impossible to decide.
Rumor (or shall I say rumour?) has it, that J.K. Rowling began writing harry potter on tissue paper in a cafe in Edinburgh.
Personally, I’m a coffee shop addict, since I tend to spend a lot of time alone and working in a coffee shop gives me the feeling that I am interacting with human beings (while still getting work done).
One thing I like to do quite a lot is just open up my own mind, and pick a bunch of random paths that would be “cool” to go down.
A thing I’ve learned in life is that the best motivation to go do something is not because of the reward, but because IT’S COOL AS HELL.
I’ve tried all kinds of things – do this to get rich, do this to get famous, do this to feel better about your life.
But all the motivation wanes when those are your drivers.
When I pursue a goal because it’s so cool that I can’t stop talking about it… now that’s when I keep going.
Take 20 minutes and write down all the potential “dream paths,” just let your mind roam and you’ll see that some of them may actually turn out to be logical paths.
4. The Traction Principle
A friend introduced me recently to a great business book – traction.
I often wondered what I was really good at when I was younger – what’s really something I can become world class at?
And I ended up struggling with this for the longest time, until I figured out the traction principle.
If you’re pursuing multiple jobs, interests, or, shit, even people you want to date, here’s how I would go about it:
…Do each one for 30 days, and then see which one is working the best, which one is lining up, or which one you like the most.
(Starting to see the idea of “which one gets traction?”).
Then ditch the rest, focus, and double down until you really start seeing better results.
It’s so simple but works so well.
Pick five or ten things, test them rapidly, see what sticks, and move full-speed ahead.
And yes, I guess I’m technically saying you should date five people at once ;-).
5. Don’t pursue goals whose PROCESS you do not like
This was a colossal fuck up in my life (and still is).
I found myself attracted to the various outcomes from certain goals – a business with income, being world class at Judo, traveling the world, etc.
But I didn’t realize the secret sauce of achievement – you have to love the process more than you love the outcome.
Let me repeat that, beacuse this realization was worth about 10 million dollars to me.
If you like the IDEA of being a famous guitarist, or being in a famous band, but you aren’t intrinsically motivated to play guitar 3-5 hours a day, give up the goal. You won’t likely get there.
If you like the IDEA of building a business, but you hate what you have to do every day, it’s going to require a shitload of willpower and you’ll probably quit.
The secret sauce of life is PROCESS. THE process.
If you find yourself following all these goals and day to day you absolutely hate the shit out of them – taking 500 basketball shots, spending three hours in the gym, writing 2,000 words a day, shooting videos – why are you even doing them?
The “success” industry attracts some of the most ass-backwards advice because people are too busy killing themselves over some imaginary exit in the future (that may or may not come).
Take it from me: As someone who was constantly depressed and unhappy, as someone who saw friends end up in the hospital from nervous breakdowns due to overwork, and as someone who saw close friends commit suicide, you have to love the process more than you love the outcome.
This is the secret of most top achievers, anyway.
Some Awesomeness Coming in January…
I apologize for not writing that much lately – I published my first book in the health industry here, and have been working like a dog.
I’m launching something I’ve never done before here in January to a small group of people 1:1, to truly help them make this the best year ever. It’s going to be much higher touch, involving live 1:1 calls with me and direct followup.
I’m going to be opening enrollment to between 7-10 people – first come first serve.
Thoughts on the stuff I talked about here today?