I turned 33 yesterday. Compared to what Jesus got done, I’m slacking, but I’m trying my best.
It’s been eight years since I made a firm decision to change my life for the better.
It’s amazing what you can get done when you find something compelling to work on, stay consistent, and never quit.
Here are some of the many lessons I’ve picked up in life so far.
- Some people can’t be saved: One of my favorite quotes comes from the Matrix. “You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.” I do my best to share a helpful message, but I won’t try to force anyone to change their minds. Some are just hopeless.
- Do this instead of convincing: Lead by example. I’ve had many people come to me for help because they see that I’m serious about my mission and took the time to learn valuable skills. I focus on trying to attract the right people into my life instead of trying to convince them to be there.
- Remove hate and bitterness from your heart: I just wrote an article about this. The media and over-politicization of society have made people mentally ill. Literally. Stop concerning yourself with the latest scandal. Stop making mortal enemies about people who have different beliefs than you. It’s not worth it.
- The key to success: Is to not give a fuck. You have such a short life. Why spend it worried about what other people think about you, petty annoyances, and the unwritten societal rules about the way you’re supposed to behave? As long as you’re not hurting anyone, do whatever you want to do with your life.
- Stop lying to yourself: It takes courage to make a brutally honest self-assessment and act on that assessment. Most people can’t do it. They want to rationalize, blame others for their problems, or overestimate the role circumstances have vs their own decisions. Until you tell yourself the truth, you’ll stay stuck.
- Stop letting your emotions dictate your actions: You don’t have to feel like doing something to do it. You don’t have to be in a good mood. Once you separate your mental state from your actions you realize you can plow through certain tasks even when you don’t want to.
- Get your reps in: Another favorite quote of mine “Do so much volume it would be unreasonable for you to suck.” I’ve practiced my writing every single day for eight years without taking a break. That’s why I’m good at it. Most people don’t do a 1/100th the number of reps they need to do to get good at a valuable skill.
- Don’t participate in loser culture: I also call this the mediocrity meme. It’s the “LOL adulting is so hard. Wine o clock!” type of culture. You don’t have to be a productivity robot, but people underestimate the damaging effect of self-deprecation and settling for less.
- Solve your own problems: People concern themselves with complex societal problems because it’s ten times easier than fixing their own lives. It’s a way to feel like you’re doing something important without doing anything important. If you want to make an impact do it on a local level, not a global one.
- The truth hits a nerve: There are a lot of figures today who are controversial because they’re striking a chord with some and hitting a negative nerve with others. They reveal the truths that few people want to talk about but many people feel. People aren’t afraid of the harm they’ll cause, they’re afraid of the people they’ll wake up. If you have a strong reaction to what someone says, part of you agrees with them and doesn’t want to admit it.
- The institutions are dying and losing control of the narrative: The internet made it possible for people to see other perspectives than the mainstream and it terrifies the establishment. They can keep canceling and deleting people all they want. But information is like the hydra — cut off one head, ten others grow. The masses will never wake up, but the small army is stronger than it ever has been.
- So what should you do? I don’t hide my perspectives, but I calibrate them. I know how much of a dose of my personality someone can take. I’m not afraid of saying what I think. I just know when it’s going to be a good use of my time and when it’s not. I save my thoughts for forums like this, but I’m not going to go back and forth debating people on social media. Use the megaphone for your big ideas. When talking to others, just be normal.
- Try to disconfirm your own beliefs: Have you ever considered that your worldview might be wrong? Most people pay lip service to being open-minded when they’re extremely close-minded. There are some beliefs you won’t even consider questioning, which are the ones you need to question most. If you can’t argue the other side of your opinion, you haven’t earned it.
- Understand this rule of behavior: Charlie Munger once said “If you know the incentive, you know the outcome.” Some people have a hard time understanding why people don’t do things the way they think they should do them. Utopian thinkers have this problem. They think the world can be a big kumbaya session when that’s impossible because of human nature.
- Build a talent stack: If you are pretty good at a handful of complementary skills, those skills work in a multiplying fashion where you get a ton of output. I can write, speak in public, sell, make videos, and navigate basic tech. This makes me unstoppable. You can become unstoppable by stacking skills based on your natural talents and strengths.
- Focus on getting leverage: These skills also provide leverage, which just means you can get more for your effort. I can shoot one video that can reach thousands of people. I can write one blog post that reaches many at the same time. Since I can put myself in front of a bunch of people at once, I can make money faster than just trading my time for money. You want to create a system where you always get more than what you put in.
- Systems > Goals: Create a ritual you repeat over and over again that creates the outcomes you want as a byproduct. I know that if I write daily, I will get better at writing. If I hit the gym four times a week, I will get strong. If I focus on marketing my product and it’s good, it will sell. I structure my days around those core sets of activities and try to stay present, which gets me the results I want down the road.
- The real productivity battle you have to fight: The hardest part of building a business, finishing a project, or reaching a long-term goal is boredom and tedious work. It’s all the little things you have to do, combined, that knock you off track. I hated taking courses, watching instructional videos, pausing them to do the step, hitting play again, learning, pausing, doing the step again, hit play again. It’s maddening. I don’t have a great answer for how to do it other than you just have to fucking do it.
- Big goals take years: Hell, decades. So many new writers ask me about these super short time windows. “Do I really have to write for 90 days straight Ayo?” No, you have to write for 90 days straight and then do it again, 16-20 times, just to get pretty good. If you want to be great, you have to do it every day until you’re dead.
- Take solace in this: I love the quote “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” Fuck it. That’s been my attitude. I just plod along inch by inch, every single day, without trying to get too ahead of myself. Might as well, right?
- You will experience large leaps: It won’t be an endless struggle forever. You will break through if you don’t quit. Another quote from Munger “Step by step you get ahead, but not necessarily in fast spurts. But you build discipline by preparing for fast spurts… Slug it out one inch at a time, day by day, at the end of the day – if you live long enough – most people get what they deserve.”
- Learn how to deal with loneliness: When you go on your own personal mission in life, you just won’t be able to relate to other people as well. You’ll have to say no, skip out on parties, and spend less time “having fun.” You’re going to feel like you’re missing out. Sometimes you’ll wonder why you’re even working on your project at all. You’ll consider quitting and joining the safe and comfy acceptance zone where you get to feel like you belong again. Most of you will quit because you can’t handle loneliness. If you want to stand out and make it big, though, you have no choice.
- Learn how to work with others: Nobody’s an island. You will need people to help you along the way. You have to learn how to find these people. There are enough like-minded people out there who can work together. Your mission has to be compelling to other people and you’ll have to learn how to delegate and put power in the hands of others. You get what you want by not making it all about you.
- Always ask yourself this question: What’s in it for them? Why should someone want to read your blog post? Why should they want to buy your product? Most people are too preoccupied with themselves to put themselves in other people’s shoes. They think the simple fact they created something means other people should want it. No, the market always decides what’s good, not you.
- Learn to build, learn to sell: If you can learn marketing, persuasion, and sales, there’s nothing you can’t do in this life. It’s about more than just money and selling products. Everything in life is marketing and sales — from getting a job, a date, or getting anyone do to something you want them to do. Master the ability to understand the psychology of other humans.
- What to do if you want to make a lot of money: It’s true. Getting rich won’t make you a better person or fill the void in your life. Still, if you want to do it, you have to stop taking money seriously and treat the accumulation of it like a fun game. Ironically, people who work hard at jobs they hate to make money seem to be deep under its spell because lack of money makes it dominate their minds.
- How to think about wealth: Wealth just means you have your time back and get to live the life you want. You can either lower your expenses or raise your income to achieve wealth. Getting rich isn’t important, but building wealth definitely is. Get your freedom back and spend your life doing things you want, not things you think you have to do.
- Let people say what they want about you: Along the way, you’ll have all sorts of naysayers, haters, and trolls. If you believe in your causes, they shouldn’t get in your way. Every time someone leaves a negative comment, I just remember that when I close my computer, I get to continue loving life. When they close theirs, they get to continue being a loser.
- Be kind to others: I’m brash and aggressive when I write because I’m trying to get a message across. If you met me in real life, you’d see I’m one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. I’m polite, courteous, and pleasant to be around. You never know what people are going through, so just be kind. Kind doesn’t mean being overly peppy and fake nice. It just means you show other people respect and basic decency. Don’t talk shit behind people’s backs. Don’t bark your orders at waitstaff without saying please and thank you. Smile. Check in on your friends. Try to leave people better off than when you found them. Simple.
- Take responsibility for your life: Act as if everything is your fault, even if it isn’t. We live in this growing culture of coddling grown adults. Everything is a big systemic issue. Everyone is oppressed. It’s nonsense. The further removed you are from your upbringing, the more heavily you should way your decision-making. You’re the problem. You’re the common denominator. You know it. Stop lying to yourself.
- Believe whatever you want, do whatever you want: But don’t expect everyone to fall in line with your beliefs. You don’t have to listen to me or anyone else, but don’t get mad at the world and make it our problem because you don’t like your life. Live how you want, but don’t complain. Well, again, do whatever you want, but just know that it’s fruitless to scream at the sky when things aren’t going your way.
- You know what to do: So just do it. You know exactly how to fix your life and what needs to be done. I’m just here to remind you. “We need to be reminded more than we need to be taught.” I remind myself every day, too. I’m not perfect. I just get up every day and do my best to do what I know needs to be done.
- Always remember this: You’re alive. As long as you’re alive you have time to re-write the story. The odds of you even existing are a statistical miracle. Enjoy life. Don’t waste it. We all make mistakes and dig holes for ourselves. It’s not the mistakes that screw us up, it’s the dwelling. Let it go. Start over. Now. There’s always time...until there isn’t. Better get moving.