Whew! 2017. Seems like the years always just fly by right?
Last year was a unique one for me. Very bad in a lot of ways, but plenty of good too.
Was a really rough year for me. I ended up having some health issues(adrenal fatigue + more) which pretty much wiped me out half the year. Even the months when I was working on stuff, it was not me working anywhere near optimal levels. I can remember trying to write early in the year and it was like I was cutting through a cloud of brain fog, dizziness, headaches and fatigue just to transfer my thoughts through the keyboard. Was rough. At first, I thought I just had this recurring cold or something that was making me feel ‘off’. Plenty of days I’d wake up after a full 8 hours sleep, get up, and instantly just want to lay down. Not a lazy type ‘just stay in bed’ thing, but a ‘completely drained and exhausted’ feeling. Definitely not normal. So, I spent a lot of the year ‘laying down’, and trying to get my energy back. Obsessively healthy eating, and getting as much rest as I could get.
If I didn’t believe in Maslow’s hierarchy before, last year was a good reminder. When health goes, everything else becomes completely irrelevant. My goals switched from ‘accomplish XYZ’ to ‘do whatever is needed to get health back’.
Even when I was feeling ‘okay’, the year threw me interesting curveballs just for fun. My life literally felt like a Seinfeld episode. Luckily I write weekly update/accountability emails so I can remember some of the funny moments…well, let me just walk you through how last year got started:
How last year started
I arrived in Bali on New Year’s Eve. Caught a ride to my hotel and crashed early, so I could kick off the new year with an early writing session.
The writing session went great, and I headed off to Ubud later that day.
As I was chatting with my driver, upon hearing I liked coffee and had recently lived in Colombia he told me they had some of the best coffee on the way.
“You drink coffee? Best coffee in the world close by I’ll take you!”.
A short time later he pulls off the road and we walked back to this hidden garden and just hung out trying different kinds of coffee. I got to see how the famous luwak coffee was made.
An hour later we got back on the road.
Good start to the new year, as I headed off to Ubud to go look for a good place to live.
Kind of went downhill in Bali in humorous fashion from there:
(excerpt from my week 1 update):
I’m in Ubud. I got bit by a cat at the gym in Bali(I know, I should have been watching for cats in there!), so some of my time this week got eaten up by learning about rabies/seeing doctors. Besides that just trying to get settled in here. People are unbelievably nice and happy here.
So… ya, there was randomly a cat in the gym I went to. Welcome to Bali! Every time I travel I learn how different the rest of the world is from the US. Like, you wouldn’t accidently step on/near a cat while hitting up the gym in the states. I walked up to the front desk to ask a question, and all the sudden…“Wait, wtf is on my leg?”. Oh, just a cat. I guess he had walked below me and I either stepped on his paw or stepped near him enough to scare him. He was attached to my leg for 1 second and then sprinted away.
Normally if you get bit by a cat, probably not a big deal. But in a country where rabies is a real concern, I learned you’ve gotta be on top of that.
I went to the doctor and they put something on the wound to prevent infection, but they told me I had to try and go find the cat.
“Find the cat?”
“Yes, you need to see if it dies. If it dies, within a week, it has rabies, so you need shots. If it doesn’t die, you’re okay.”
Say what now!?
So, I was basically tasked with trying to track down this random cat that was in the gym, and periodically check in on him to make sure he wasn’t dead. Solid. I’ll add it to my to-do list!
I went in the next day and it turns out through the limited English I could speak with the employees, that one of the people at the gym owned the cat. We found him and told him what happened with the cat, and I asked him if it’d had a rabies shot.
“Oh yes, had shots.”
“Are you 100% sure?”
“80%!” followed by a Balinese chuggle which I loved, but it was a more beautiful sound when my potential death wasn’t a side effect.
They could tell I was still skeptical of the 80% vaccinated cat.
“It bite my friend too, he fine!”, as he motioned to his friend.
His friend excitedly showed me his scar and said, “ya it bite me here, and I’m still alive!”.
I didn’t know what was more humorous, his comforting line about not dying of rabies yet from the same cat, or the fact that these guys just kept letting this random cat that keeps attacking people in the gym, haha.
Anyways, I figured I’d follow doctors orders and keep checking in on the cat just to be 100% safe.
I continued my search for a great long term spot in Bali, which turned out to be much harder than I thought for what I wanted. Each place would have amazing photos online, I’d book a 1-2 day test run, and the place kept turning out to be nothing like the place in the photos, and/or not in an area I wanted to be in.
The good news of the week was that the cat was still alive more than a week after our encounter- rabies free!
Finally found a good long term spot- a quiet villa out in the ricefields:
Since I’d moved away from the touristy areas, I was a bit of a trek from any gym. In Bali the only efficient way to travel is by motorbike, which I didn’t know how to ride. So, next task up was learning.
I walked around and found a small covered stand on the side of the road with motorbikes for rent.
“You want rent bike?” the man sitting inside asked.
“Yes, but I don’t know how to ride I need a lesson”, I replied.
He said, “You go like this(motioning with his hands what someone riding a motorbike looks like) real slow, and then faster later. You want bike now?”
He wasn’t even showing me on a bike, he was just sitting at his desk.
I think that was my lesson.
I ended up heading somewhere else to get a few actual lessons, but let’s just say I wasn’t the best.
Combined with the fact that it often rained in Bali, getting around to the gym and other spots made it not super optimal for me.
(excerpt from my weekly updates):
Bali continues to own me. Have felt like I’ve been on an episode of Punk’d the whole time I’ve been here. Small motorbike accident the 2nd day riding solo. The 3rd day got bumped from behind by a car. The next day while I was riding a bicycle back from a cafe a bat bit me.
I got rabies vaccines and now I’m packing up to go get immunoglobulin. After initially hearing I didn’t need it, spent all day yesterday getting more opinions from doctors and the embassies and I need to get it to be on the safe side. Was already ready to be done with Bali, so I’m just going to go get the immunoglobulin and book a flight to somewhere else from wherever I get the shot.
Flew to Thailand for immunoglobulin shots and then headed off to Cape Town, South Africa. You can read the whole ‘bat bite’ story here if you want some entertainment: https://foreverjobless.com/bat-bite/
I started the search for a good long term spot in Cape Town.
Cape Town was awesome.
But I learned that if you didn’t book super early during high season, it was hard to find a good long term spot.
Final rabies shot + finally found a great long term spot that just opened up.
Recap of my first 7 weeks of last year:
Week 1: Bit by cat. Tasked with tracking the cat to make sure it didn’t die of rabies.
Week 2: Still moving around Bali looking for a decent place. Found out I’m rabies free.
Week 3: Finally found a decent long term spot + learned to ride a motorbike(kind of).
Week 4: Small motorbike accident then got bit by a bat.
Week 5: Flew to Thailand for immunoglobulin shots then traveled to Cape Town.
Week 6: Searching Cape Town for good spots.
Week 7: Finally found legit long term spot in Cape Town. Final rabies vaccine.
Despite my year getting off to a chaotically bad start from a productivity/not getting distracted standpoint, I hit my Q1 goal, which was mainly how I was rating my success for the year. Not by a one big goal, or by monetary rewards. Quite the opposite.
I wasn’t overly concerned/committed to one big goal like normal, and like many of the last several years, I didn’t really have aspirations for a monetary goal:
From ‘How To Set Goals if You Don’t if You’re Not Sure What You Want’:
I decided my goal for the new year was to not focus on making any money, and to put out content that I thought was important, and helpful for people. Money can be a distraction, and lead us to unintentionally do things for that purpose. If money comes as a byproduct, cool, but I’m putting zero focus on making money this year. If I make $0 and release the content I’m planning on releasing, it will be a good year.
Pursuing a path that purposely avoids better financial rewards is definitely an uncommon path. Like I mentioned I’m more concerned with life/happiness optimization than monetary optimization at this point. It may lead to monetary gains in the future, but it’s not the focus so we’ll let it play out and let what happens, happen.
I was rating my ‘success’ for the year by my quarterly goals:
The priority goal will always be what the quarterly goal is. So, there’s a chance I double down on a specific goal and a victim could be one of the yearly goals, but that’s okay. As long as I ensure accomplishment of my priority goal(which at this point will be re-set each quarter for me), I’m happy.
My 2016 Q1 goal:
My priority in the first quarter will be releasing an average of one article per week to the blog. So, by the end of the first quarter I’ll have 13 new articles posted. However, even though it’s a number goal, the focus is on quality, not quantity.
I ended up publishing over 50,000 words in Q1:
Blog post 1: How To Achieve Your Goals (9,605 words)
Blog post 2: Sunk Cost Fallacy (3,739 words)
Blog post 3: The Packed Gym of Failure (1,948 words)
Blog post 4: Dream Life (3,242 words)
Blog post 5: 4 countries in 4 days, with a ‘94% chance of living’ (4,467 words)
Blog post 6: How To Set Goals If You’re Not Sure What You Want (11,638 words)
Blog post 7: Arnold Schwarzenegger Infrastructures of Wealth (2,200 words)
Blog post 8: Learned Helplessness (2,524 words)
Blog post 9: Easy Business To Start: The ForeverJobless Free Business Idea Edition (4,685 words)
Blog post 10: Don’t Cap Flow State: Extreme Hyperfocus (1,991 words)
Blog post 11: Entrepreneurial Quicksand (2,313 words)
Blog post 12: James and the Giant Bamboo (2,710 words)
Blog post 13: The Penny Stakes of Business (1,819 words)
After hitting the Q1 goal, I planned to significantly ramp things up in Q2 with a focusing on marketing. The articles had gotten a great response from readers, but they were mainly just reaching ForeverJobless readers, so I wanted more people to see them.
But, besides getting through the comedy that was my life to hit my Q1 goal, there was something else I was battling. I was basically feeling extremely tired most of the time. Not tired like woke up too early, tired like no energy even when I got plenty of sleep.
I’d been dealing with it before when I was in Colombia prior to Bali, but figured it was some cold I couldn’t kick or something. So, I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it returned strong in Q1 and I was constantly tired for no good reason. Like, ridiculously fatigued. I’d wake up after a full night’s sleep, and just want to lay down. Not only that, as mentioned I had constant headaches, brain fog and dizziness.
When I got back to the states after South Africa my main goal became: figure out what the heck is up with my health/energy, and fix it. Q2 and 3 were basically a lot of resting/recovering for me. As mentioned other goals became irrelevant pretty quick once health became an issue.
If I look at my ‘goal accomplishments’ for last year, it’s hard to say if I’m happy with my performance or not. When I was functional, yes. The 2 quarters I had half decent function I hit my goals. Crushed Q1 writing goal, and my Q4 goal of helping a certain # of people in the Incubator 2016 class blew past the initial goal significantly, enough so that I had to stop accepting signups to make sure everyone got enough personal attention. Much of Q2/3 I wasn’t functioning, and my main goal became: get health back. So while I can’t say I crushed 2016 because I basically took 2 quarters off, the two quarters I was on, I hit the goals I’d set those quarters- I even finished writing an unreleased book(actually ended up deciding not to publish). I would have loved to accomplish much more in 2016 but randomly chopping away 50% of the year made more aggressive goals pretty difficult. Obviously fitness and dating goals went out the window(no lifting weights or dating since April).
Energy levels have mostly come back, but it’s still a work in process, not an overnight thing. The goal is to prioritize continued rise of energy(so I don’t risk reverting back to same issues) until I have superhuman levels, while being aggressive with goals at the same time.
What did I learn last year?
There was a lot of good takeaways from the year, and things that are good to think about and review.
- Having money is goooood. Very good.
I was incredibly thankful to have money when dealing with the health stuff. I usually don’t appreciate it much since I don’t spend it on a lot of things. Like, I didn’t care what anything cost when I wanted to make progress. The only question was, “what is the most optimal thing I can do right now based on the information I have?… okay, I’ll do that”. Most times the optimal thing will definitely not be the lowest cost. I could pay to get 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 8th opinions and run whatever extra tests I wanted, and spend whatever money I needed for the optimal foods and supplements, on top of everything else. I’m sure I spent $10,000+ out of pocket just in ‘extra’ expenses for health stuff that insurance doesn’t cover. I’ll likely spend at least as much this year just for continued health optimization.
Having the health issues last year actually motivated me to want to make more money once healthy, something I haven’t cared much about the last few years. If I ever ran into a serious, serious health issue it’d be nice to be able to pour unlimited amounts into whatever I needed to find a solution.
Another thing I learned through the process was that people betting their entire welfare/health on traditional health care are a bit naive. It was a little scary how behind the times some things in traditional medicine were. If you’re only getting advice from traditional docs, you’re definitely operating suboptimally. I was up until last year, and feel like a total newb for doing so. I’ve learned a lot since. Based on my still novice opinion, a mix of traditional + non-traditional is likely a much better route to go for your health and overall well being.
It’s very freeing to be able to make decisions based on what is best for you. I think money is more valuable than most people think, as funny as that sounds with how much value people place on it. I think the ‘mental freedom’ it gives you makes it worth significantly more than people realize.
I’d kind of dismissed the need to go out and make a lot more money and not really given it a lot of thought the last few years, but the health stuff combined with some overly analytical exercises I did on how much money I’d want in different future situations(family, kids, impact, etc…), I plan to at least have some focus on turning up the flow of the money faucet this year.
Most of the last 3 years I haven’t had a huge focus on business or a desire to ‘go make more money’. I think some clarity from my time away + my regaining some energy from my fatigue issue has made me more motivated in those respects.
If my desire was to make ‘real money’, clearly writing/ForeverJobless is not the optimal route, but I’m enjoying it at the moment and feel I have unfinished business. I have a book in progress that I think people really need to read + I want to help more people start profitable businesses like I have in the last two Incubator classes. And much like last year, enjoyment is still at the top of the list for me. I don’t want to dislike something I’m doing just because I can make a lot of money with it.
When I was really wiped out this summer energy wise, and just laying around a lot trying to recover from the fatigue issues, I would do little exercises on certain companies I was interested in starting, and found one that looked like a perfect fit for my skillsets, seemed fun, and would be extremely profitable. The ‘entrepreneur addict’ in me wants to just start it up, but I know I’d be unlikely to hit any of my goals if I tried to do them all at the same time. Sometime later this year I may bring on the ideal project manager, and get it started up.
One of the things I’m putting focus on this year is in trying to set up the most optimal life possible. I think that we all try and ‘save’ money on things and say we don’t ‘need’ more money. We don’t, but we do if we want life to be more optimal we just often dismiss the fact that money makes an optimal life much, much easier.
Creating a more efficient and optimal life frees up as much time as possible to do more of the things you or I want to do.
You can never be what you want to be unless you delegate everything except for what you love
I hired a personal chef and a 2nd assistant, and may be hiring some more help to bring in people who are great at what they do, so I have more time to do what I’m great at.
This helps make my life more optimal, which means I can spend less time doing things I don’t like, and more time doing the things I do like. That = a more enjoyable life.
It allows you to spend your day chasing antelope instead of mice:
A lion is fully capable of capturing, killing, and eating a field mouse. But it turns out that the energy required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself. So a lion that spent its day hunting and eating field mice would slowly starve to death. A lion can’t live on field mice. A lion needs antelope. Antelope are big animals. They take more speed and strength to capture and kill, and once killed, they provide a feast for the lion and her pride. A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope. The distinction is important. Are you spending all your time and exhausting all your energy catching field mice? In the short term it might give you a nice, rewarding feeling. But in the long run you’re going to die. So ask yourself at the end of the day, “Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?
–Buck Up, Suck Up . . . and Come Back When You Foul Up
Besides eliminating the chasing of mice, you must also eliminate headaches.
I ask myself the questions:
What drains me? Eliminate these things
What gives me energy? Do more of these things
Something I did last year was that I completely stopped trying to help those who won’t help themselves.
Cutting out tire kickers = one of the best things I did. It was way too draining.
Only working with action takers = way more fun/fulfilling.
I used to try and help those that said they wanted certain things instead of showing with their actions they wanted certain things. You can’t help those who won’t help themselves.
I used to try to help too many people who needed me to hold their head up to keep them from drowning. That is an energy suck and keeps me from doing great work and giving value to those who will put it to use.
The people in your life are either giving you momentum, or they are taking it away – Alex Charfen
If you’re helping someone who won’t help themselves, you’re just lighting your time on fire.
As much as I want to help people, I’ve learned you can’t negatively affect your own life to do so.
Large guaranteed decrease in present quality of life doesn’t justify a large speculative return – Tim Ferriss
It’s amazing what happens when you only help action takers and eliminate all headaches. Life’s a lot easier and much more enjoyable.
I look at the people we accepted into the Incubator vs. a lot of the cold emails I get, it’s just a completely different level of player. It’s people who want to make a significant life change and who put in the effort to do so. Time going towards action takers instead of tire kickers makes a much bigger impact, and is much more fulfilling.
I get the most excitement from helping others succeed. I get pumped when I hear from people like Jordan or Corey about how they’re doing with their businesses, or Incubator 2.0 members and how their launches are going.
Knowing you’re helping people is the best kind of drug. Tire kickers/energy drainers deprive you of your high.
It works the same with employees.
Most entrepreneurs who struggle to manage people think they need to spend forever trying to get better at management. I’ve learned the hard way that an easier fix is just working with people who need less management.
Get people who already do good work and don’t need much hand-holding. Less time holding hands = more time doing what you’re good at and/or enjoy.
Besides elimination of headaches, elimination of remaining distractions is incredibly important:
Eliminate all noises/notifications from your computer and phone- it’s a game changer. I don’t have many apps on my phone- I highly recommend deleting most. I use things like News Feed Eradicator on my computer for Facebook which eliminates your news feed, so you’re less tempted to visit an insanely distracting site. I’ve probably only averaged one FB post per month on my personal page which has helped too- because many people have the constant urge to go seek out more dopamine from new ‘likes’ and ‘comments’. In addition, I spend much of the day with my phone on airplane mode. Eliminating situations where you’ll seek those things out is super helpful.
Keep in mind this is not stuff I’m naturally good at. That’s why I eliminate opportunities for me to suck at it. The reason I point this out is I think sometimes from a reader perspective people often get the false belief that the person who’s writing is just magically good at X, Y or Z. Quite the opposite. I’ve always naturally been unorganized/easily distracted. Similar to what I mentioned about managing, it would be hard to completely change how you respond to certain things if you keep the same situations- that’s decades worth of habit built in. Much easier to eliminate the situations that distract you. If you have less to organize/be distracted by, it’s much easier to be better organized/focused.
Fail more/learn more about flaws
You’ve got to be experimental to accomplish anything important. That means you’re going to be wrong a lot. – Jeff Bezos
Changing your mind a lot = good in some respects. It’s like poker… you make the best decisions you can with the information you have in front of you. When you have new information, it may change what the most optimal decision is.
I learned that finding out what is true, regardless of what that is, including all the stuff most people think is bad—like mistakes and personal weaknesses—is good because I can then deal with these things so that they don’t stand in my way.- Ray Dalio
Most people are really unaware of what they’re not good at. They don’t like to hear about their flaws, so they try not to listen, and by trying not to listen they can’t improve. Getting better at this, means getting better at life. Just temporarily learning you’re not perfect, which no one is, will only make you better.
I learned that being truthful was an extension of my freedom to be me. I believe that people who are one way on the inside and believe that they need to be another way outside to please others become conflicted and often lose touch with what they really think and feel. It’s difficult for them to be happy and almost impossible for them to be at their best.- Ray Dalio
This is something I used to be horrible at. I used to try to please people and/or not upset them, and the result is you basically get stepped on a lot of times. You say “yes”, then you say “yes” more… And each time get slightly more frustrated getting taken advantage of.
Now when I don’t agree or don’t want to do something I just let it be known. Someone’s frustration about me saying “no” doesn’t affect me, that’s on them. HUGE life benefit – why get frustrated at them getting frustrated? The only people who won’t like it are people you don’t want to associate with anyways.
You have enemies? Good. that means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life – Winston Churchill
‘Enemies’ is a strong word, but if you are basically making decisions just to please/not upset others, what will happen is you definitely won’t be happy yourself, you’ll make your life harder/less enjoyable. You can still be very nice and not be a pushover.
Again, if you stand firm that you’ll do X, and someone wants X+Y and you say no- sure some people will be temporarily frustrated when they don’t get their way. But if you start sticking to your guns and don’t do things you don’t want to do, it = you being MUCH happier. The amount of mental space free once you stop sweating people’s responses = super freeing.
While most others seem to believe that learning what we are taught is the path to success, I believe that figuring out for yourself what you want and how to get it is a better path. – Ray Dalio
One way to ‘figure out what you want’ is to stop looking for validation from people. I think most people are subconsciously operating for others, instead of themselves. They feel so much need to impress others that they make decisions they think others would like. It sounds absurd, and it is, but that’s the way most people operate even if they don’t realize it.
People ask me why I never post pics on Facebook while I’m traveling. This is why. I feel like most people unintentionally do things to impress others. While I live a very good life, I feel like posting daily pics about it as I live it would make me desire certain things more than I might actually want them. It’s hard enough for us all to figure out what we want, and having the unintentional influence from the dopamine we get from others telling us how great our life is isn’t needed- no sense making something that’s already hard, more difficult.
After a lot of recent traveling, I learned that for me I don’t desire to travel as much as I have in the past, at least for a long while. I like my life in Austin. I still enjoy traveling, I’ll just probably scale it back significantly.
I liked this short post from Sol Orwell about how you should make it harder to go on vacation:
What should I do this year that would make me less likely to want to go on vacation? – Sol
Now that I’ve settled back in Austin I feel like I’ve quickly set my life up so that a vacation doesn’t look super appealing, since my normal life is already set up with so many things I like. Plus it’s much easier to hit goals when in routine.
I read this somewhere and thought they were great lessons from obviously genius people, and echoes what I’ve slowly figured out the last number of years:
Lessons from Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger:
- find what turns you on
- don’t worry about what everyone else is doing
- know your strengths
- fewer and higher quality
- know what you like and forget the rest
Slowly you’ll chip away and become closer to the version of yourself that you want to become.
Similar to last year, I reviewed my strengths + things I would enjoy when thinking of what I would spend time doing this year.
My strength results(from test):
- Choose work in which you are paid to analyze data, find patterns, or organize ideas.
- Find the best way of expressing your thoughts: writing, one-on-one conversations, group discussions, perhaps lectures or presentations. Put value to your thoughts by communicating them.
- You might excel in entrepreneur or start-up situations (hey would you look at that!)
- Seek audiences who appreciate your ideas for the future
- You inspire others with your images of the future, yet your thinking may be too expansive for them to comprehend. When you articulate your vision, be sure to describe the future in detail with vivid words and metaphors.
- Your futuristic talents could equip you to be a guide or coach for others. Unlike you, they might not be able to see over the horizon. If you catch a vision of what someone could be or do, don’t assume that he or she is aware of that potential. Share what you see as vividly as you can. In doing so, you may inspire someone to move forward.
Since what we’re extremely good at often comes natural to us, it’s not easy to realize what you’re incredibly good at isn’t so easy for others. You don’t think of a normal skill of yours as incredible because it’s not difficult for you, which actually makes it incredible.
If you were to give yourself advice, what would you advise yourself to do? (You often know the answers but don’t step out of your own busyness to come to what may be obvious conclusions for you.)
“Seneca called euthymia—”The belief that you’re on the right path and not led astray by the many tracks which cross yours of people who are hopelessly lost…
The sense of our own path, and how to stay on it without getting distracted by all the others that intersect it.
Each one of us have a unique potential and purpose.
It’s about being what you are, and being as good as possible at it, without succumbing to all the things that draw you away from it. It’s about going where you set out to go and accomplishing the most you’re capable of at what YOU choose.
Only you know the race you’re running – Ryan Holiday
At the end of the day, I don’t know if I’ve necessarily ‘solved’ this problem of mine, in finding what I’m uniquely meant to do/brings me maximum happiness/fulfillment, but educating people how to think about things in a more optimal way and help enable them to live the life they want is definitely something that pops into the discussion for me quite a bit.
This has remained true for me
Last year’s Incubator was supposed to be the final one(of two total). I didn’t plan to do it after the 2nd, as I was just doing it because I had enjoyed it/liked helping people. I initially expected to bring in X amount of people, help them crush it and then I was going to launch a new company. Then… I had even more fun than the first time after adding weekly calls and more to the mix. It was a blast.
Plus, seeing the results has been super fulfilling. Someone from our 2015 Incubator class is doing 7 figures/yr. Someone from our 2016 class that just ended already had a $10,000+ week during the initial 10 weeks. I think I get more excited about it than they do!
We kind of didn’t want it to end so a bunch from this year’s class are flying out to Austin to give updates on their businesses since the Incubator and work on them together with me in person.
There were also a lot of people who wanted to participate that we couldn’t fit in- we got bombarded with requests to join, and had to shut off signups fast. I’ve consistently got emails since asking if I’ll run another. After talking with friends who thought I should do it again, and thinking more about it, it was like… why are you stopping doing stuff you like?
After considering how much I enjoyed it and the number of people who’ve made incredible life changes out of the program, I’ve decided to launch a 2017 Incubator in April.
This year’s goals:
- Energy 100% back to normal + back to ‘fitness model’ shape(at least 5.5% bodyfat(calipers) while putting muscle back on)
- Incubator: have the highest % success rate to any program in the space
- Find girlfriend material girl and see how a legit relationship goes
- Write X book
- New business project launched
- $ increased by X
(x = name or amount not shown)
We all make New Year’s goals, but most of us don’t make goals for things like more conversations with people who matter. Here’s some personal things I’m doing in 2017:
- Make a list of people I want to do a better job of staying in touch with through the year, and either see them in person, or call/email on regular basis… and don’t be such a hermit.
- Spend more time/effort working to make a positive effect on people’s lives- whether it’s being a positive influence on people I come across that I can help, helping Incubator members make a positive life change through a new business and new way of thinking, being a ‘good dude figure’ as “Uncle Billy” to my nieces and nephews, etc…
- Vacations with family and friends: My mom sent me this link a while back and it’s super interesting/thought provoking: http://seeyourfolks.com/. We all probably have only X years to do certain things we want to do. I’m not just talking about seeing family or friends. You can think about this for other things too- how long are you going to be single? Or without kids? Or your friends being in those situations, etc… Meaning, you likely don’t have as long to live life a certain way as you think. “Someday I’ll do X” is a good way to never do it. Do the stuff you wanna do with the people you want to do them with now.
- Mansion Mancations: If the things you want don’t exist, just create them. I’m putting together a group of 10-20 great guys/entrepreneurs in March and just spending 3 days hanging with good people, many of who I don’t get to see enough. Way better way of hanging with people I want to see than attending conferences.
I used to attend a lot of conferences, but it was just too much ‘conference’ and less of the stuff I wanted, so I haven’t really been to conferences the last couple years. This year I’m just doing this- basically sending invites to the people I’d want to hang with if I went to conferences, and just eliminating the conference aspect and all hanging, having fun and masterminding together. I attended one a few years ago and it basically made me not want to attend conferences anymore. Much more quality time with people you want to hang with, much deeper conversations, much more in depth strategy talk and big idea sharing, and way more fun time since all the conference stuff(speakers, etc…) is eliminated. Highly recommend.
Expanding my network in other areas:
I’m making an effort to network even more outside of my normal business circles. I think it’s easy to always think about the same stuff if the majority of people you know do X. Most of my thoughts/ideas are in a much smaller window than I’d like them to be because 80-90%+ of my friends are in that window. Being obsessively focused on one space is great if you’re only doing that, but with me eyeing the pursuit of a new project in the near future, I plan to explore other industries and strategies a bit more.
Kind of along the same lines I’m focused on connecting with higher level people. I remember when I was just starting out, I did whatever I needed to get around people smarter than I was so I understood how they were playing the level of game that they were. Even when I didn’t have much money as a kid I flew across the country to go meet people- since I knew I could learn a lot from people already investing and starting businesses. Now that I’m at a different stage and have the desire to get new projects going again, I need to do those kinds of things again.
Optimal life/energy choices:
Even as my energy continues to return to normal, I plan to remain obsessively focused on optimizing health to an extreme level, which means very strict diet, no alcohol, etc… I’m sure I’ll maybe have a glass of wine or whatever sometime in the future, but for now doing zero alcohol, bad foods, etc… I’m not opposed to drinking/eating ‘fun’ food, but I’m opposed to not feeling highly energized at all times. I want to feel as optimal as possible.
Previously flawed content plan?
I realized I had a flawed content plan- I was writing more blog posts on FJ, but not reaching enough additional people to help knock down other goals- reaching more people who the book will help, + more people I can help start profitable businesses in the Incubator.
So while I’ll still be putting out content on FJ, it will be more sporadic, but when I do they’ll tend to be very unique pieces of content(you’ll see). The main content creation time will go towards my book- I think that will have a significant impact on the people who read it so it’s important for me to get that done.
Things I’m doing to accomplish my goals/keep improving
I eliminated TV(never hooked it up). I got used to not ever using a TV when traveling. I used to put my remote behind my TV just so I really had to think about it if I was going to turn it on, but even though I get it/pay for it through the building I live in, I’m just not going to hook it up.
Got a 2nd assistant to help with day to day stuff.
Got a chef so I can eat as healthy as possible + not waste time figuring out what I am going to eat each day/where I’m going to get it, etc…
Got an accountability coach + got in a high level mastermind with people outside of my normal network.
Inbox Zero – I used to always be at 5,000+ emails and got to inbox zero before the new year. Did a perfect job of staying at 0 until I was out of town for a few days, and plan to get it back and keep it all year. I’ve very seriously considered just eliminating email completely, and may possibly do that in the future. Warren Buffett and many other insanely successful people do not use email. Not surprisingly, they are less distracted by the requests of others and can focus on doing great things.
Weekly emails to a friend- Every week going on almost 2 years now I email my friend what I did in the last week, what my plan is for the upcoming week and why, and other small things- it kind of morphed into a mini blog with an audience of one, with random thoughts/lessons intertwined. He asks really good questions + is smart/successful, so it’s been super helpful as he often challenges me on things and we go back and forth on most optimal paths- not just with business/money, but life stuff. Probably would be a fascinating exchange for someone to read. Highly recommend doing something similar.
Something I haven’t done yet but plan to is to stop working earlier in the day. I used to just work until ‘whenever’, but what happens is while you sit at the computer for a long time, it’s not super productive time. Similar to how many people have a ‘start time’, I’d like to start having a hard ‘stop time’.
I can do this if I’m strict about not capping flow, by pushing morning meetings/calls, etc… back into the middle of the afternoon at the earliest, so that all main work is already complete by early afternoon.
Business people in Silicon Valley (and the whole world, for that matter) have speculative meetings all the time. They’re effectively free if you’re on the manager’s schedule. They’re so common that there’s distinctive language for proposing them: saying that you want to “grab coffee,” for example.
Speculative meetings are terribly costly if you’re on the maker’s schedule, though.
… At this point we have two options, neither of them good: we can meet with them, and lose half a day’s work; or we can try to avoid meeting them, and probably offend them….
Those of us on the maker’s schedule are willing to compromise. We know we have to have some number of meetings. All we ask from those on the manager’s schedule is that they understand the cost.– Paul Graham
How my days/weeks look
Sunday: I always plan the following week.
This is continually evolving as I test what works/doesn’t work for me, but as of right now I usually wake up and get some writing related stuff done, meditation, cold shower and walk.
I plan the following day, which is usually just small tweaks to what I already set up during the Sunday planning session.
Something I haven’t implemented yet but plan to shortly is an evening review.
Planning to read this at the end of each day to make sure I’m staying focused/on the right road:
Was I happy today?
Was I productive today?
If anything needs ‘fixing’, how will I do that to be happier and more productive?
I used to just randomly work on stuff sometimes every day, even if it was a ‘free day’ for me. This year I basically almost never work on Saturday.
The mind must be given relaxation – it will rise improved and sharper after a good break. Just as rich fields must not be forced – for they will quickly lose their fertility if never given a break – so constant work on the anvil will fracture the force of the mind. But it regains its powers if it is set free and relaxed for a while. Constant work gives rise to a certain kind of dullness and feebleness in the rational soul. – Seneca
Hopefully some of what I’ve learned/done in the past year, and what I’m currently doing helps you think through some of what you’re doing.
If you’re a new ForeverJobless reader and haven’t yet read How To Achieve Your Goals, I highly recommend it and guarantee it’ll give you an edge this year and help you accomplish the goals you really want.
I often get emails from some of you asking how you can help me. I love you guys and you’re the reason I haven’t eliminated my inbox 🙂
I usually haven’t had an answer, but now I do. Here’s a few ways you could help:
- If you’re someone who writes for Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, Business Insider, Success, Fast Company, or another similar publication, I have a few interesting stories/angles I’d love to have someone write about with some things we’re working on. Would make for a very unique article.
- If you have a large audience of entrepreneurial minded folks and would like to promote the Incubator, I plan to work with 1-2 additional people to do this(we cap the Incubator to maximize success rates + quality of the group, so would be selective about the audience/promotion)
Ways I plan on bringing you value this year:
I plan to put out some limited, but unique content this year for FJ. One project we’re working on will be very different than anything on the market, and will be entertaining and highly valuable. If you’re subscribed to the newsletter you’ll be notified as soon as we release(likely next month).
If you’ve been wanting to start a profitable business for a while but still haven’t made it happen, I’m going to open a 2017 Incubator class in April. It will be unlike anything else you could join and I guarantee you that I care about your success more than anything like it. I’m obsessive about the process and insanely committed to the group- ask Incubator members. Those who are serious about wanting my help in launching a profitable business, I’ll do everything in my power to help you launch one.
As mentioned I’m planning to write the book I’ve been wanting to write for some time this year. The goal is to complete it by year end, so I’ll have my head down creating something much more impactful for you than my articles.
Like I mentioned last year, what I put out is only successful if it positively impacts your life in ways that others could not produce. I want to help those who are taking the action to help themselves.
Leave me a comment letting me know what your big 2017 goal is.
Also, if you want to include your favorite FJ article from 2016 and why, I’d love to hear about it.