If you want any perspective on life, you have to listen to this podcast immediately. All of it is great, but I am talking about the part from 41:39 to 48:22.
If you don't have time to listen then my summary is below, that surely will not do it justice, but here goes:
Remember that your time on this Earth is fleeting. Thinking about the history of human beings, if it was a 700-page book, you would only be alive for a sentence at most. This is the most exciting time to be alive and most people will not do anything that would make it into that book. There have been so many amazing shifts in technology and communication that it is very unlikely that you will make an impact big enough to hit the 700-page highlight reel of human history.
But you can still make an impact.
To your friends. To your parents. To your children. To your teachers. To your mentees. To your co-workers.
You do not have much time to be alive. Why must we waste any of it?. Each day is fleeting and we must make it our own.
We have a access to more information than any other human before us. Why is not everyone on the same page of working productively, of running that meeting properly, of avoiding interruptions? It has been covered in texts time and time again.
As Derek Sivers says, "if more information was the answer, then we would all be billionaires with perfect abs." Is the fact that we have more information mean that there is a proliferation of choice so it is hard to find the best advice to improve yourself? To make you better at whatever you choose to do?
Or is it actually that the majority of people do not choose to even try to make themselves better? To try to be more noble, more virtuous, more productive?
If you are even trying, then you are at least in the top 20%. If you are trying consistently, then you are in the top 20% of that.
Deadlines and rushing around. Why is it that we feel that adrenaline rush with the feeling of being busy? Where we can do all the things we have been meaning to do for weeks in the space of a few hours. Why is it that we let ourselves get distracted?
For me, I need constant reminders. Not of tasks to be done but of what is important.
In my morning affirmations I wrote, "...and I will put all of this ahead of work at my day job, or any other salaried job." When I wrote it, I realised that working for someone else, no matter how much money or how flexible they are, would not ultimately meet my goals.
It is very easy to get sucked in without this constant reminder. Sucked into the steady income. Sucked into the thrill of negotiating a raise. Sucked into the adrenaline feeling of all the tasks that need to be done in your current role. Sucked into the feeling of accomplishment when one is ticked off the list.
Until you realise that the steady income is never as risk-free as you think. Until you have lost half the raise through tax. Until you realise that none of this has moved you much further towards your ultimate goals and dreams and that you have been doing all this as an excuse.
An excuse away from starting that side project. An excuse away from making something. An excuse away from putting yourself out there.
You are very unlikely to get fired for being late. Work on your side hustle before starting your day-job.
No one really cares if you leave early and if they do are very unlikely to say something. Even if they do say something, they are very unlikely to fire you if you are producing results.
Focus on the 20% of tasks that produce 80% of the results and do these first. You will be producing more output than 80% of anyone else in the shorter time you are in the office.
No excuses. Even if you do get fired, at least you tried to make both work. And now you have been given the gift of focus.
No excuses. How many people do you know who got fired for their side hustle? None.
This distinction grabbed my attention in a post from @thefabulousjourney
Nothing is as hard as math in high school. Not much else in your life after that requires learning alien concepts.
The rest of your life is solely about putting in the effort.
It is not hard to do the work, it is just working 'hard'. Although there is really no 'hard' about it. It is just being consistent and not giving up.
The only person that can make you fail is you. By quitting.
Whether someone is overly loud or overly quiet, the cause is usually the same.
Lack of self-confidence.
It is just that the loud person appears more confident than the quiet one.
Whichever one you are, the key to success is always to keep working on yourself. And keep trying until you have developed sufficient self-confidence to succeed.
Being fit and healthy has to be number one priority. Without this, you will not accomplish very much.
There is a line between using this time as an excuse: "I cannot start that project because I have no time, what with all the exercise and warm ups and warm downs and juicing and protein shakes and nutribullets and meal preparation"
...versus using it to propel you forwards, Jocko Willink style.
Discipline equals freedom. And discipline in one area of your life will transfer to the rest of it. Starting with discipline enforces it for the rest of the day.
January is a great time to start afresh. But only because that time is now!
Start anytime. Do not wait for an entire year if you have already given up on your New Year's resolutions. Just get back on track as soon as possible - now, this afternoon, tomorrow - but do not write off an entire year.
Putting yourself first could be seen as arrogant and dismissive of others, but actually, the opposite can be true.
By thinking of others and then trying to fit that into a prioritisation list with yourself at the top, what you need to do becomes clear.
If I want to look after my wife and son and spend the time I want with them AND I am also putting myself first (I need to exercise, meditate and complete the rest of my morning routine to be the best I can be and have the energy to deal with the day) then I need to do my stuff before anyone else gets up.
There are a lot of problems that can be solved by just getting up earlier than everyone else.
Is it mindless to constantly do the same thing over and over and lose conscious thought about it? When thinking about the daily commute or the grind of working for a big corporation in a low-grade job, then it seems prudent to stop and reassess where you are where you want to get to.
When thinking about daily habits, it seems more sensible to set it and forget it - to keep the existing ones and build on top. Unless you have bad daily habits, in which case replacement should be the focus.
The ones I am talking about are the ones that were developed from active thought. Ones that were developed from Hal Elrod's Miracle Morning, for example.
These active habits: exercise, meditation, yoga, journaling, affirmations - these do not ever seem like they are mindless or futile to just keep doing every day. Quite the contrary.
Doing this practice every day helps to be more mindful, more present and more grounded. And if you have reached the stage where you are doing them consistently without thought, then you have truly mastered the habits necessary to bring whatever wealth you desire into your life.
Ideally, when I did the website for our app launch I wanted to remind people they are going to die, but I didn't think this would be well received. Most people think that remembering death is morbid rather than liberating.
I have just bought two coins from dailystoic that have made a prominent place on my desk. Memento Mori, remembering that we are going to die, I find a great daily (and more frequent the reminder the better) to treat people better including myself. I need to treat each hour as every hour ticking away.
Do you really want to waste a precious human life sitting for an hour in a meeting that is going nowhere? That is no use to anyone involved?
What if it was your last hour alive? Well should it be any different to this hour, that all count towards death the same.
I read the following from Seneca today which puts it better than I could:
"But we to whom such corruptible bodies have been allotted, nevertheless set eternity before our eyes, and in our hopes grasp at the utmost space of time to which the life of man can be extended, satisfied with no income and with no influence. What can be more shameless or foolish than this? Nothing is enough for us, though we must die some day, or rather, are already dying; for we stand daily nearer the brink, and every hour of time thrusts us on towards the precipice over which we must fall. See how blind our minds are! What I speak of as in the future is happening at this minute, and a large portion of it has already happened; for it consists of our past lives. But we are mistaken in fearing the last day, seeing that each day, as it passes, counts just as much to the credit of death...
The little things are the big things.
Whether personal habits or for businesses, it is always the little things done consistently that make the most difference.
Scaling the unscalable. Thoughtful comments on posts in a given online community. Picking up a dropped time in the supermarket for an elderly lady. Sending a bespoke email rather than an impersonal shotgun blast. Keeping in contact with an old colleague. Saying thank you.
These are the things that people looking in from the outside miss and then attribute results down to luck.
Serendipity cannot happen if you never interact on a personal level with anyone. At some stage, you have to put yourself out there and then keep doing so.
The biggest little thing you can do is to keep adding value to others and keep working on yourself daily.
"Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices." ~ Benjamin Franklin
This is going to be the best year of your life, as every year should be. To find out why read my previous post.
This year my focus is on being fit and healthy. I have realised that after sacrificing some time in my morning in order to get some business stuff off the ground, that nothing is sustainable without finding time for exercise, yoga, meditation and eating right. Shortcutting these things inevitably leads to suboptimal performance showing up elsewhere.
There are a lot of things that can be fixed by just getting up earlier in the day.
What are you making time for this year?