What does ‘transform your life’ even mean?
Does it mean you make a bunch of money? Start a crazy cool business? Check off all the boxes on the self-improvement habit list?
Transforming your life just means you make educated guesses as to what you want your life to look like in the future, act on those guesses, and see the results you get.
It doesn’t have to be this huge overnight turnaround. You just observe the way your life currently is and resolve to change it because you realize you don’t want to keep living this way your whole life. It’s not about society. It’s not about your friends, family, peers, or even me.
You know whether or not you’re living the life you want to live. You don’t have to have insane goals to realize you’re living below your potential.
Keep it simple.
You know you could do better. You know you have some ideas that would be pretty damn cool if you pulled them off.
Sure, you don’t want world domination, but don’t create this false dichotomy between total mediocrity and uber success. There’s a middle ground there you know you want to get to, but of course, you’re a little bit afraid.
The actions themselves aren’t inherently hard — any dream has some series of steps needed to accomplish it — but maintaining the right attitude throughout the process is hard.
Think about how much the quality of your life is dictated by nothing more than your attitude, your perception, the way you see things. That’s it. You can change a lot about your material world and circumstances just by changing your attitude.
Here are some attitudes to consider adopting.
“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” – Charles Bukowski
You want to care deeply about the process of what you’re doing but totally let go of the outcomes. And you won’t totally let go of the outcomes because…you want the outcomes. But try.
On the one hand, I’m dead serious about my writing career. I want to become as great of a writer as my talent allows me to. On the other hand, none of this matters. My writing career doesn’t matter. I’ll be dead in 70-80 years tops. What happens after that? Who knows. But I won’t be writing anymore.
I flip nihilism on its head. I use the absurdity of our existence as fuel.
You take yourself seriously in the worst possible way. You don’t apply this seriousness to your major long-term goals. Instead, you apply seriousness to your self-doubts. You don’t adopt a carefree attitude in pursuing your dreams. Instead, you apply a carefree attitude to your vices.
Everyone is so worried about their little careers, resume, what other people think of them, what kind of car they drive, and the house they own. Worried about all the wrong things.
Apply the seriousness you usually reserve for the banal life of the Joneses and apply it to your dreams, while also not caring a ton about exactly what happens in the future, when it happens, and how it happens.
“The internet has massively broadened the space of possible careers. Most people don’t understand this.” — Naval Ravikant
The level of opportunity in the world amazes me. I saw this tweet from a sixteen-year-old kid who wrote a letter to Elon Musk and received $500,000 of funding for a project he was working on.
This is the same world where an eight-year-old can become a multi-millionaire YouTuber, you can start a business for $100, and people like me can make a living writing.
Once you adopt the attitude that opportunities are everywhere, you’ll start to see them. Sadly, most people live in a parallel reality where there are no opportunities. And in their world, there aren’t. If you try to follow the old rules of careers and business then, yeah, your prospects aren’t good.
I could rattle off 75 business ideas that might not make you rich but can help you build a little mini-empire doing what you love. You don’t need to be a genius to pull one of these ideas off.
You need to be patient and persistent, sure, but mostly, you need to be optimistic. Seems simple, but most people don’t have a true optimistic nature to them. If you don’t, you’ll have to train yourself to have one.
If you want to change your thoughts and belief systems, you have to barrage yourself with counter-evidence. Spend a day on Google searching so many success stories your head spins. You’ll find people dumber than you who are more successful because they’re optimistic and opportunistic.
Honestly, so far, I’ve lived a lucky life, a charmed life, but I actively seek out lady luck. When I spot her, she’s mine. In your case, understand that opportunities don’t always show up in your life like some neon green sign. Sometimes they’re subtle whispers.
Get in the habit of just trying things — start little projects, attend random events in your town, talk to strangers. You never know.
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Aristotle
I started writing five years ago. A blogging expert I came across said it would take four to six years to build a solid career as a blogger. When I read that, I paused and fully accepted it. Five years isn’t that long. And the time flew by.
I was patient. The way I looked at it, either I’d get the dream to work or I’d be stuck at my job. That alone was enough to convince me to work on my writing until I got it to work. Use this sort of deductive reasoning to develop a patient attitude toward your purpose.
If it takes you a decade, it takes you a decade. The alternative is you being stuck in the rat race for four to five decades. “But what if I waste time?” You’re already wasting time. Stop letting your mind play those little tricks on you.
You’ve heard the quote:
Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway
For those that have been reading me for a while, what do I always say? Self-improvement is the process of deeply embracing cliches at an emotional level. Embrace that cliche. The time will pass anyway.
And when it comes to the nuts and bolts part of building out that dream, you don’t have to spend that much time working on it. An hour a day is fine. Repetitive ruthless execution of small chunks of time creates crazy results.
So you’re patient long-term, but then you’re impatient short term. You’re always trying to get better every day as if tomorrow is going to be the day where everything pops, but you never know when that day will actually be.
You can’t use patience as an excuse not to stay diligent and try to improve as much as possible as fast as possible. Fake patience is “I’ll start eventually.” Real patience is “I’ll work hard at it, daily, and the results will happen eventually.”
“Forget everything you’ve done. Start over.” – Marty Rubin
I wasted a bunch of time yesterday and beat myself up for it. Today, however, is a brand new day and I’m much more productive. I wipe my slate clean that way, every single day. I wipe my slate clean all the time.
You can’t become a prisoner to your mistakes, your shortcomings, your past. You want to believe in the power of being able to reinvent yourself, always letting the past go — whether the past means yesterday or years of your life.
From age 20-25 I developed a rap sheet, a drug habit, and a sense of hopelessness. From age 25 to now, I’ve discovered my purpose, written three books, cleaned up all my toxic habits, and feel proud of myself. The old me doesn’t exist.
You can just let the ‘old you’ go. You know that, right? The concept of ‘you’ is whatever you want it to be. “This is just the way I am.” Incorrect. It’s the way you think you are.
Why do you hold onto this negative self-image? Because having a void, a vacuum for a personality feels weird. You’d rather have a sense of self, even a negative one, then feel like you’re re-building the concept of you from scratch. It doesn’t have to be from scratch though.
You can rebuild your life gradually, wiping different ‘mini-slates’ in your life clean. Next thing you know, you’ve developed this long list of positive habits to fuel your mission. One day, you’re a new you.
And you give yourself that opportunity to start over in small instances as many times as you need to. In the past five years, I’ve scrapped many projects, projects I worked on for months, but I never stopped the overall mission.
Whatever doesn’t serve you can be wiped clean if you decide to do it.
“We suffer more in imagination than reality.” Seneca
I love this metaphor.
You see someone across the room. They look absolutely stunning. You look at them. They lock eyes with you. What do you do next?
Do you walk up and introduce yourself or do you worry about being judged? What if they don’t like you? What if you say something stupid and embarrass yourself?
There’s one other question to ask yourself — what if this person is the love of your life? What if this conversation becomes the spark that leads to a date that leads to a bunch of dates that leads to a life-long relationship that leads to kids and grandkids and a house filled with love?
The upside? You get the love of your life. The downside? You’re not that cup of tea. Seems like a pretty solid ratio to me.
That’s what dreams are. Really, the worst that can happen if your goals don’t work out? They don’t work out. Kind of a bummer. But not a huge deal. But if you get your dream to work, then it works. Infinite upside and almost no downside.
Our minds play crazy tricks on us. The resistance, that evil form of self-doubt, just whispers sweet nothings into our amygdala, making us afraid of basically nothing.
Fear is real, palpable, and imaginary at the same time. You’re afraid of uncertainty and an unknowable future. And I know breaking it down to you this way doesn’t cure that failure at all, trust me.
I don’t know if anything cures fear. I think you’re just afraid all the time and either you do the damn thing anyway or you don’t. The spark for that courage is constantly thinking to yourself, what do you really have to lose here?
Screw it. Why not?
When it comes to success, why not you?
Being alive is a kind of insane madness. You should at least try to make the best out of it, shouldn’t you?