4 countries in 4 days, with a ‘94% chance of living’


I normally don’t post this type of content on my blog, but my friends urged me to start sharing some of my adventures. I shared this a few weeks with them, and decided to share here.

To give a little context so the references make sense, I was living in Bali and had already had a run in with a bat a couple times. I had an open roof bathroom(my bathroom) and to keep the story short, there was someone flying around the bathroom a couple times when I tried to take a shower, and it wasn’t me. I posted about the encounters with the video of the roof opening to see if anyone had ideas how to avoid future run ins.

A week later, this happens:

 

I had just finished up my dinner at a local cafe(in Bali at the time), and was riding back to my villa on my bike. Something flew by and brushed my arm as I was riding. Figured maybe it was a bird or something. I get back to my spot and decide to wash my arm off. I go into the bathroom, throw some soap and water on my arm and it stings. wtf? Why does my arm sting? I look close and there were red marks. I squeezed and a little blood came out. Oh boy.

So… I start googling “bat bites”. If you didn’t catch my last Bali post, I had a few encounters with bats already, so it was something to be worried about. Turns out, bat bites are often really hard to feel, and many people never even know they were bit. I looked at the images and hmm… google bat bite arms look a lot like my arms. I couldn’t be sure but I decide I better get it checked out.

I ask the owner’s son for a ride into town and he suggests I should just throw some cream on it instead of going to the doctor. “You just rub it in!”, he says excitedly, clearly happy about providing me that advice. I thank him for a solid, and obviously well thought out idea, but I decide to make sure I don’t get rabies instead.

He drops me off in town at the doctor’s and I tell him what happened. He explains that it’s often pretty hard to tell with bat bites, so it possibly could have been a bird’s claw or something, but due to the fact that there were bats in the area, there was a definite risk.

Our conversation felt like some comedic sketch. There was times when I thought I was being punk’d.

Just to give you a sense of the scene, any info we’re exchanging is done so with the biggest grin ever on his face. No matter what kind of news balinese give you, they do so like it is the happiest/best news they could tell you. They always have a smile. If I was foaming at the mouth he’d smile and excitedly tell me that I didn’t look so good.

“Only about 6% of bats have rabies… It used to be 6.5%. Now only 6%”, as if the reduction was somehow relevant to my decision.

“Umm, but if it did and I don’t get the shots, I die right?”

“Yes, 100% fatal.

…but very low chance, so up to you.”

Da f$*k?

6/100 times I die if it was a bat and he’s talking about it like we’re deciding whether I should order a sandwich or not.

Umm, ya doc I think I’ll choose not dying.

“You are unlucky”, he says with a big smile on his face.

He tells me how rare it is for bat bites in Bali.

“I’ve only seen 4-5 cases with bats here”.

I’m like, “this year?”, because rabies scares are common in Bali.

“No, in my life…Haha!”

They laugh/giggle at everything too.

He looks at his computer screen and has a kind of puzzled look on his face.

“Seems you were also in here just a few weeks ago because of a cat!?”

I explain that I’d been bitten/scratched by a cat after accidently stepping on one at the gym. Silly me not looking out for cats in there.

catwatch

 

“Haha, you are very unlucky”, his grin getting even bigger.

I had him repeat it so I could record it, but it was 10x better in real time.

“You are unlucky vid”

I tell him to bring on the shots. I’d heard they’re pretty painful, so I ask if they’ll hurt much. “Maybe some”, he says while still grinning as if he’s going to enjoy stabbing me.

“I had to get them once.”

“Oh really?”

“Yes, my cousin bite me.”

“Wait, your cousin bit you so you got rabies shots??”

“Yes, human mouths very dirty!”

wtf?

“What, I don’t understand… were you worried your cousin might have rabies?”

“You can never be too sure!”

I can’t make this stuff up.

At least I’ll get to meet a pretty nurse out of this or something.

Instead, in through the door walks an enormously large man with a bunch of needles in his hand. Solid. He stabs me in each arm and throws a tetanus shot in my ass for giggles.

I head back to bat villa to live another day.

I wake up the next morning and decide I should probably get some more medical opinions. See, the doctor had told me that I didn’t need immunoglobulin because of the location of the bite. Seeing as though ‘death’ is the side effect if he’s wrong, I decide it might be worth an extra call or two.

To make a long story short, that ‘call or two’ turned into me gifting piles of money to Verizon, and learning more about rabies vaccines than just about any non rabies doctor on the planet. Based on the information I now had, it was decided I should get the immunoglobulin.

And, the thing with immunoglobulin is, if you need it, you need to get it within 7 days. The good news was, I felt confident it was the right move to get it. The bad news was, they didn’t have it in the city I was in. That was part of the reason I spent so long on the phones, not only determining that I needed it, but the type of the vaccine to get, as well as the best place to go for it.

The language barrier made the conversations much longer than normal, and much more entertaining.

Example conversation:

…after an already in depth conversation explaining that something flew by and brushed my arm, but I didn’t know for sure it was bat…

“So it flew by you?”

“Yes”

“But it might not have been a bat?”

“Correct. Could have been a bird, could have been a bat. Not sure, I barely saw it as it flew by”

“Was it a monkey?”

Most of these calls were done in broken english, which worried me that I’d show up in another country for a shot, and they’d have no idea what I was talking about.

I double checked that the place that seemed best would have doctors that could speak english.

“The doctors speak english right?”

“Almost.”

“Almost??? What does that mean?”

“Doctor almost speak english”

“Oh, that explains it. I’ll see you soon!”

After many exhilarating conversations with people from Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, I booked a flight to Bangkok, where not only were shots $1k instead of $4k+ in Indonesia, but they were leaders in rabies.

“Leaders in rabies, or leaders in preventing rabies?”, I wondered aloud.

Shit, who’s got time for details, I had a flight to catch!

Either way I’m freerolling with $3k, feeling like a rabid winner.

Well, I thought I had a flight to catch. Every time I tried to book the flight, it was declining. I tried another card, same thing. Occasionally when outside the country your card will get locked to prevent fraud charges. I called my parents to see if I could try theirs. Same thing, declined. Oh, boy. I have to catch a flight for an anti-death shot and they won’t let me book!

I didn’t have time to sit there and try and call the credit card company or airlines to see what was up. I was barely going to make it as is. I decided to just head for the airport and hope for the best. I figured I’d call the credit card company and airline on the way.

A month in Bali was packed into my suitcase in about 15 minutes, and after navigating on the back of a motorbike with luggage out of the ricefields, I met the uber driver in semi civilization and headed to the airport. I told him I had to make it there quickly, and he took his task very seriously as we swerved in and out of traffic at insane speeds for the next hour. I would have peed my pants but I hadn’t ate or drank all day… I was starving, dehydrated, and headed to the airport without a flight.

I got a hold of my credit card company and they said there was no issue with my card, it must have been with the airline. I called the airline, and they said the flight was full. I asked them if there was any way to get on. They said they may offer a voucher if someone wants to take a different flight, but no guarantees. After getting familiar with the american embassies the last few days, I decided to give them a shout. I mean, hey, if anyone could get someone on a booked flight I figured it might be them. No answer. Called more embassies. No answer. Cool, I’ll handle it myself. I barely had any cash left on me because in Bali almost no one takes a credit card. Like, seriously almost no one. Meals? Cash. Gym membership? Only cash. Rent?… ya just cash.

I only had 2 $100 bills that the exchanges wouldn’t cash because they had writing on them, and a very tiny amount of rupiah(indonesian currency). $200 is a lot there, so I knew my plan. If no one took the voucher I would stand in the middle of the gate, and make an announcement that I was putting an extra $200 on top of the voucher for someone’s ticket. I hoped to be mauled in excitement. It’d be a more exciting way to go out than rabies. With my luck the person to take me up on it would be a professional balinese money exchanger and tell me he can’t take it because it has a marker spot on it.

I get to the airport and it’s a very short line. Sweet, plenty of time to negotiate my way onto the plane. I check my watch, about 4.5 days until death… 6% of the time. I mean, you don’t die right away, that’s just when it’s too late to catch it. Shit, maybe it was higher. Who knows, I got that number from a guy who was vaccinating himself from human bites.

So, this tiny line was taking forever. I didn’t understand. There were maybe a dozen people in front of me, and 2-3 attendants helping them. An hour later, I’m literally in the same line. I finally make my way up to the counter and get ready to unload my sales pitch to get on this fully booked plane with no ticket.

“Passport please.”

“Okay, so, I don’t actually have a ticket I tried to…”

“Passport.”

“Yes but I’m not in the system my purchase didn’t go…”

“Passport?”

“Okay, sure!”

Long pause while she searched for my nonexistant trip, as I replayed my pitch in my head.

“Okay, Mr. Murphy, you’re in 47c on the first leg to Singapore and….”

“Wait I have a ticket?”

“Yes, you just need to pay for it it’s unpaid.”

She slid me a piece of paper that was literally an IOU.

I shit you not the airline had booked my ticket, and written a note to themselves that I still owed them money for it. Welcome to Indonesia.

As I waited for my boarding passes, I now realized why it had taken so long to get through that tiny line. She was handwriting me a receipt for everything. The time, the flights, what I paid… everything. lol

receipt1

 

receipt2

 

“Am I going to make the flight?”

I had gotten to the airport with plenty of time, but now I had burned close to 1.5 hours getting through a 12 person line, and still had to get through security.

A man who worked for the airline took a look at the security line, and gave me a nod.

“You should be fine.”

Sweet.

“You may have to book another ticket to get into Thailand though.”

“Another ticket? What do you mean?”

“You got a 1 way ticket, so they’ll want to know when you’re leaving. Sometimes they won’t let you in without an outgoing ticket.”

I didn’t have time to think about that now, I barely had time to get to the gate. I’d worry about that hurdle if it came up.

Finally I received some very nicely hand written receipts and off I went.

Made it through security in a breeze, and not long after slid into my seat, ready to get this show on the road.

I was so happy to be on the plane I didn’t care how bad the person next to me smelled. He was coming from an extended time in Bali and while I didn’t confirm it, I’m not entirely sure his place had a shower.

I started wondering what % of the time a bat would have to join me in the shower before I stopped showering(see previous post), before drifting off to sleep.

I arrived in Singapore and headed to the board to see when my flight was taking off. Hmm, not up there, maybe I’ve got some time for a meal. Uhhh, yep. After checking my ticket I realize I’ve got like 9 hours. lol. In my rush and excitement just to get to Bangkok combined with my lack of geography skills, I didn’t realize the majority of my 14 hour trek was a layover. Luckily Singapore airport is the shit. I would seriously consider living in it for a month. They’ve got everything. A gym, massage rooms, arcade, business center, movie theater, tons of restaurants and bars. They even had a sort of hotel there that you rent in 6 hour blocks. If I didn’t need to go to Thailand I would have worked out a long term deal on the spot. I grabbed a meal and went back and got a room. “We just have one room left, so price is …” and he named some price much higher than what was listed. “Cool, I’ll take it.”

“Your check out time is 5:30am, what time would you like a wake up call?”

“Umm, 5:29.”

“No, no, no, no. I’ll put you down for 5:15.”

Well, alrighty then!

As I was finishing checking in and about to head to my room, a guy came in and asked a lady at the desk if they had any rooms. “Yes we do!”

lol. I headed off to my room to grab some sleep.

I wake up, semi refreshed, and head off for a quick pre-flight meal.

Off to Thailand we go.

plane

 

I make it to Thailand with no issues, grabbed all my bags and headed straight to the hospital for the shots. It’d been such a whirlwind, I hadn’t even booked a hotel yet. As I waited for the doctor, I figured a better use of my time would be swiping through Tinder. Solid decision making continued.

“Oh look, I’ve got a mutual friend with this girl”…

“Vince! Ohh, ya I think he lives out here sometimes, maybe he’s in town.”

I message him on whatsapp to see if he’s around.

“Yo, I’m in Bangkok for like 24 hours, you in town?”

He is! Sweet. I’m starving so we make food plans.

After a few minutes the doctor is ready to see me. He is awesome. Super glad I booked the trip. This guy knew his stuff.

rabies doctor

 

I quizzed him on everything I’d learned in the last 48 hours like a newbie who’s just read Rich Dad Poor Dad for the first time and is pretty sure he’s just a few days away from having a real estate empire.

We decide it’s best if I get the shot, just to be on the safe side.

He tells me they’ll spread it out between both legs so it isn’t quite so painful. “Ahh, shit. These are the ones that hurt. I’d heard stories about how painful rabies shots were, and thought I’d lucked out with the ones I got in Bali. Na, it’s the immunoglobulin that’s the killer. I was getting 10 cc’s, so they were going to spread them out and do 5 in each leg.

I have no idea what a normal shot is, but all I can say is it’s significantly more. I got one giant needle in one leg for about 30 seconds worth of a shot, and after a quick break for her to get the other needle up to bat, another 30 seconds or so in the other leg. I didn’t time it, but it felt like a long time. The second hurt like hell coming out. Okay, these are definitely the rabies shots people don’t like. I get it now.

nurse

 

As the nurse and I were making small talk, she learned the bite was likely from a bat.

“Oh, how did it happen? Were you playing with it?”

I couldn’t tell if everyone was f*$king with me or these were genuine questions.

“Umm, no I wasn’t playing with it.”

I got out of there to meet with Vince. As I stood up, my legs were already starting to feel like I’d just finished a monster leg day in the gym. These were gonna be sore.

I checked out and got my bill. Only $848. Boom! Well worth the trip. I would have paid $4-$5k in Bali, and probably more in the states.

#winning

vaccinebill

 

I hopped in an uber and headed off for Vince’s.

Had a good time hanging and catching up. We hadn’t seen each other since Tony Robbin’s event in Dallas last year. Always good to run into friends from all over the world, and hear about their latest adventures.

mevince

 

I had been debating where I would go, and had reached out to my network to build a short list based on my criteria. With the help of friends, and Tinder, I slowly eliminated some choices, and Cape Town rose to the top of the list. I booked a flight, so I was off to South Africa the next day.

The following day I realized I had a poor understanding of how crowded it’d be to get a car to the airport in Bangkok rush hour. I find myself scrambling to hop on a subway, having no idea where to get off in a country that only a small % speak english. Vince told me I’d be fine and gave me lots of confidence when he said, “you can still make it”. Shit! That doesn’t sound good. Plus the worried look on his assistant’s face made me think my chances weren’t great. Welp, if I miss my flight I guess I can just book a trip to Singapore and live in the airport for a while. Sounded like a legit backup plan, and I felt good about it.

As I squished into the crowded subway with all my bags, I second guessed my decision to pack a suitcase full of books.

books

 

Seemed like a clever idea at the time. Now having a portable library didn’t seem so brilliant. I’m wayyyy old school, and refuse to reform, but okay Kindle, I see your value.

As each stop passed, it got slightly less crowded. I asked a few people if they knew how long until the stop for the airport. They just looked at me like, “maybe next time you shouldn’t pack all those books.” No english.

Then a stop or two later, I see a light. I know that light, it’s coming from a super white person like me.

“Hey man!” I say with an enthused glimmer of hope that someone will understand my question. “Do you know which stop the airport is?”

He tells me it’s about 8 minutes away and says that’s where he’s going.

“Great, I’ll follow you!”

Boom. still #winning

In my determined focus to make sure I didn’t accidently get off at some random stop in Bangkok, my mind now shifted to the next task at hand. Actually making it on the plane.

As the subway pulled to a stop I see the bright light arise from his seat, and he shined the way as I followed behind.

Once inside the airport, I raced off… well, walked quickly I guess. When you carry libraries with you you’re not going to win any races. There were four floors to choose from because hey, one would have made things too easy. After being pointed in multiple directions, I finally found where I was going. I rushed up to an empty check in desk. Ahh, easy game. Well, no wonder it was empty everyone else had probably checked in an hour ago. As long as customs wasn’t backed up I might make it.

They go to check me in, and tell me I need another ticket.

“Another ticket?”

“Yes, the system won’t let us process it unless you have a ticket out of South Africa. You only have a one way.”

“Wait, so I can’t get on the plane even with a ticket there?”

“Not unless you have an outgoing ticket.”

I’m glad I had heard of this the day before about Thailand, or I wouldn’t have had any clue what she was talking about. I guess South Africa is even more strict about that.

“So, if I buy one right now I’m good?”

“Yes.”

“Okay,”, I say as I log onto the internet. Fake ticket it is.

I attempt to buy a 24 hour refundable ticket so that when I land I can just cancel it. I mean, if I’m trapped in South Africa, at least I’ll be trapped inside, and not at an airport. Guess I’ll find out when I leave.

No internet signal.

They refer me to information where they can supposedly help get me online.

I run over to information while leaving my bags just laying on the floor. I mean, they were almost checked in, kind of like when the doctors would “almost” speak english, and that turned out okay, so I figured I was good. Plus, if anyone tried to steal them they’d probably go for the heavy bag thinking it was valuables and be really disappointed to get home and realize their jackpot was a bunch of books.

Information gives me some pamphlet about how to use the internet. After attempting many times to sign up for this internet, I realize I keep getting kicked off because of the signal still.

“Yes, the signal is very bad in the airport.”

“Umm, so how can I get internet?”

They suggested going to some coffee shop outside of the airport.

Am I being leveled? I’ve never seen the movie but it reminded me of that Jim Carrey movie where they put him in all these situations to see how he’ll react and he doesn’t realize that his whole life is a tv show.

In January my life had just been one big running Seinfeld episode. Cats, bats, headbutted by a monkey, comical motorbike accidents. You name it. What I’ve written is just my last 72 hours.

I don’t have time to find the cameras so I run back to the counter to tell them what’s up and ask if there’s anywhere else to get internet. One guy feels my pain and asks for my phone, and puts in his personal internet code. Boom, VIP, no need to see ID. Don’t know who this guy was but he’s the only guy in the building with internet access.

I quickly log in, buy some random flight while double checking that it’s within the 90 day visa window so that I don’t run into another problem, and bam, a hopefully refundable $1k later I’ve got a ticket out of South Africa.

At this point my bags are gone, so either some thief is about to become way smarter while enjoying an excellent green wardrobe, or they checked my bags. Boom, bags checked. Still #winning

I ask my VIP friend what it’d take to get a VIP pass through customs. This dude hooks me up again. My man!

vip

 

Eight minutes until boarding, with customs still to go. I decide I should take a second to take a picture of the premium pass in my hand to remind myself to tell this story later. Another solid time investment, spewing dividends on the keyboard as we speak. I see the customs area and start going that direction. I notice a flight board listing the flights. I think about how much better this story will be if I can get a selfie with the flight time while it’s boarding. I laugh. This sounds like a great idea and would be funny, I tell myself. Maybe I’m slightly delirious from the lack of sleep and all the cc’s in my leg, which at this point feel like I squatted 500 pounds and I’m just kind of dragging my legs along. I decide maybe it’s better to get on the plane.

I drag my legs with me and confidently show the premium pass to the security lady. She points me to a line with almost no one there. Sweet. After a very small wait, I get up to the counter, and am told I didn’t fill out some form. I’m sent back to fill it out. At this point these things make smile. I know I’m on camera and want the audience to see how cool and calm I am. I fill out the form and go back to the line. She sends me through. I find the gate. I make the plane.

I settle into my seat amazed that I made the plane, and ecstatic that I won’t get rabies.

I decide it’d be funny to tell my seatmate the story about the bat, and then somehow make it look like I’m foaming at the mouth and want to bite him. Maybe I’m still delirious, and decide it’s probably a good time for a nap instead.

I realize that in 17 hours I’ll land in South Africa, with no idea where I’m staying.

Things have a way of working out. I dose off, and get ready for the next adventure.


Dream Life


What is your current goal?

If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when that question is posed, is related to money.

Does money buy happiness?

I won’t dive too deep into whether or not money buys happiness in this post, but what I will say is money significantly increases the chances of happiness. It provides more choices, and allows more freedom, both of which have the ability to increase happiness. The issue is when people pursue money without realizing what they’re really after.

I’ve always been interested in making money, but I grew disinterested in the acquisition of more money, just for monies sake. See, gaining more money didn’t affect my life at all- I already did what I wanted, when I wanted. I’d hit the height of diminishing returns. Whether I worked to make an extra $100k, or $1m or whatever the amount, it changed nothing in my life. I already traveled when I wanted, ate what I wanted, spent my days doing whatever I wanted. So, forcing myself to work in an attempt to add more dollars to accounts, did little since there was no real purpose for the money. See, I’d already created the life I wanted, except in a sense I was forcing myself not to live the life I wanted because of the tunnel vision that focused on the acquisition of more.

You’ve heard the popular response to the question, “what’s your number?” …

“More!”.

Well, when people answer in that way, all they’re saying is they do not know themselves. They are using a level one thought process. To someone else with a level one thought process, they sound intriguing. They sound smart. “Wow, that’s what I need to do is keep aiming for “more”. Well, “more” of what? It sure isn’t more clarity, because their answer proves they do not have it.

As Socrates taught us, the most important thing in the world is to, “know thyself.”

So, when someone is asked the question, “how much is enough?” or “what’s your number?”, and they answer, “more”… well, really all they’re doing is showing their own lack of clarity, since in reality the answer should be close to the opposite. “Less” would be a more accurate answer if they really do not possess the clarity that would help them come to an answer.

Blanket statements like “more”, “another million”, or whatever other answer does nothing but fill the air with words that will confuse only others who lack the same clarity you do into thinking you know something they don’t, to be able to respond so confidently with the words you speak. The false confidence you present only delays your own clarity, bringing you further away from the road you need to explore. Any audience you impress will not be a wise one.

So, where am I going with this, and why did I decide to write this post if I’m not going to dive all the way into how money buys happiness?

Well, a lot of people’s misunderstanding of how money affects happiness causes them to do things with their time that decreases happiness. A lack of clarity causes “more money” to be the answer when it comes to goal setting. The flaw with this is when the increased monetary goal does nothing to increase happiness and help you live your dreams. This can happen in two ways:

  1. the monetary amount is not enough to make any significant changes, changes which would impact happiness levels.
  2. the monetary amount has hit diminishing returns to a level where your happiness levels are being affected negatively without purpose.

I’d like to break both of these points down so that when you’re goal setting, you can make sure that you aren’t making one of these glaring, but all too common mistakes.

Live your dream

For starters, even beginning goal setting with a monetary amount is a giant flaw. The only way that’d make any sense would be if money itself was the direct cause for happiness. It is not, and thus cannot be the starting point for goal setting. You should be working backwards from what it is you actually want and how you could live your dream, and often in the second part of the process you will decide if a monetary goal will help you achieve those things. It often will. It is at this point I’d like to focus on, to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes most do.

I’ll give examples of how most people think related to these points and why it is flawed thinking, so that you can avoid these traps. This thinking, or lack thereof, is a common cause of unhappiness, so much so that setting no goals at all would have led to more happiness than to setting monetary goals with one of the two common flaws.

Let’s take a look at flaw A:

  1. the monetary amount is not enough to make any significant changes, changes which would impact happiness levels.

‘Johnny’ is ready to conquer the new year and has decided to set some new goals. He made $50k last year in his job, and has decided he will aim to work extra hours and make $60k this year, which will set him up nicely to receive a good promotion the following year, which will likely lead to $70k pay. What Johnny hasn’t thought about are his actual goals. Remember, a monetary amount is not your actual goal, it’s just what will often help enable your goals to happen.

Johnny, when pressed about why he wants to work extra hours to try and make $60k, answers that it will give him a chance to get a promotion and $70k the next year. This is a common way of thinking, and the way most people respond when pressed about why they are after a certain money goal. ‘If I achieve X, it will set me up to get something even better than X’… and they often incorporate subconscious ego driven incentives with it- praise, admiration, and even envy from others, etc…Very rarely is their actual goal carefully considered and calculated.

When I asked “what would allowing you to make even more than X do?”, Johnny, and most other people cannot accurately answer this question. They are in the money hamster wheel, where they will stay until they learn their actual goals.

hamster

Even most entrepreneurs who claim to be free are far from it. They’ve escaped one prison(rat race) for another. The lack of a boss confuses them into thinking they’ve escaped, but they are their own warden, and they don’t know themselves enough to discover the key that would unlock the doors to their freedom. Other than eliminating a boss, they’ve changed nothing. The freelancer who brags about being free, but works endless hours(often more than when they had a job) to be able to tell others they’re ‘living the dream’, either to enable them to sell the dream, or just to mask their own confusion and disappointment, as they secretly know this isn’t the ‘freedom’ they signed up for.

Johnny, like most people, doesn’t know what to say when pressed.

Johnny: “If I work hard to make $60k, I’ll put myself in a position to make $70k the next year”.

Me: “And what will $70k enable you to do”.

Johnny: “I’ll be one of the highest earners in the office”

Me: “And what will being one of the highest earners in the office do for you?”

Crickets. Johnny has no answer. He could make up an answer like most people do. When most people don’t have an answer they usually just fill the air with words to avoid others, or even themselves finding out they have no clarity about what it is they even want. Many people don’t want others to know this. It’s human nature for us to want to feel smart, and most people would rather fill the air with nonsense than to gain clarity, which can only happen from first being honest about the fact they lack that clarity. 

smartanswer

Once ‘$50k Johnny‘ opened up about his life and really dug into what he wanted, becoming ‘$60k Johnny‘, or even ‘$70k Johnny‘ didn’t get him there. The carrot that he dangled for himself just kept him a clueless rabbit. It just distracted his mind from realizing that the path he was on wouldn’t get him where he wanted to go.

See, Johnny‘s ultimate goal was to buy his dream house on the lake of his favorite golf course that he’d wanted ever since he was a kid. He’d live there with his wife and future children, teaching his kids to golf, which was a passion of his. He also wanted to be able to take his family on amazing vacations. His wife was a teacher and had always talked about how much she wanted to be able to spend summers in Paris together. Not only had she always wanted to spend time there, she thought it’d be a great life experience for their future children.

Well, finally Johnny realized the flaw in his plan. The path he was on didn’t create an opportunity to achieve their ultimate vision. At the moment Johnny and his wife lived in a small apartment in an average area of town where they were saving up money to feel financially stable enough to have kids. Once Johnny sat down and ran the math on what he’d need to make to give himself and his family the life they aspired to live, he realized he’d never get there. His dream home was a 4,000 square foot, 5 bedroom, 4 bath home that was worth around $800k.

goal2b

 

He was noticeably frustrated when he started doing the math. He’d never realize his vision on the path he was on. He’d need to put more than $200k down for the home and pay a monthly payment of around $4k/month to live there. That didn’t include the day to day costs of providing for his family, or the five figure summer vacations in Paris.

His living expenses would only increase once they had children, making it harder and harder to reach their goals. How were they going to reach their goals? Well, they weren’t. Not with the path they were on.

And this is what happens with most people. They set number goals that are supposed to magically lead them to the vision in their head, but they never do the math to see if their current path matches up to allow them to achieve their ultimate goals.

Once Johnny ran the numbers, he realized they’d never be able to financially afford to do the things they wanted to do. It’d take decades to save the amount of money they’d need even if he kept working harder and harder to get continued raises, and by that time their kids would already be grown up, missing the window to realize his wife’s dream of spending summers in Paris with the kids, as well as his own dream of living in his dream lake home on the golf course teaching his kids his favorite sport.

Once he realized this, he knew he had to change the path he was on. If he didn’t line his financial goals up with his actual goals, his goals would never be realized. His success in his career path would lead to guaranteed life failure. He’d just keep chasing a carrot that would lead him to a new carrot, that would lead him to a new carrot, that would only lead him to extreme frustration and unhappiness because he’d be working all that time, and never see his dreams become reality.

Johnny knew he must seek out a different path that would give him the opportunity to realize the dreams his wife and he had. All the current path was doing was keeping him too busy to realize he’d never achieve them.

This new clarity allowed Johnny to make a life change now, rather than waiting until it was too late. On the current path he was on, the chance of goal achievement was close to zero. So, even if Johnny takes what would many would view as a risky decision to leave his current job, it’s the only logical decision if he actually wants to achieve his goals. As you’ve probably learned from reading my post on expected value the riskier decision would be staying on a path that all but guarantees he won’t achieve them. It is irrelevant if his short term income is lower. He must put himself in a situation where his expected value is high enough for goal achievement. Most people let short term income confuse them into choosing paths that won’t lead them to their desired result. Textbook ‘flaw A’.

Let’s look at flaw B.

  1. the monetary amount has hit diminishing returns to a level where your happiness levels are being affected negatively without purpose.

‘Jake’ works for the same company as Johnny. They’re friends and keep each other accountable for their monetary goals. Like, the popular Jim Rohn quote goes, “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. So, it’s not unusual that Johnny and Jake share similar goals. The problem is, up until now their peer group has lacked clarity and blindly set goals without purpose, which is all too common.  So, Johnny and Jake have pushed each other to reach similar monetary goals, without even asking each other what their actuals goals are, which should be what sets the monetary goals.

Jake’s ultimate goal is to travel the world while reading and writing. He, like Johnny, has not taken the time to calculate how his monetary goals are affecting his ultimate goals, or he would realize he’s hit a point where he’s already hitting substantial diminishing returns. See, Jake’s a simple guy who would only need $25k/yr to travel the world in the way he wanted, and he already makes $50k, $35k of which he keeps after taxes and loan payments. Much of his work could be set up to be done remotely, which he’d realize if he wasn’t so busy spending his time trying to make more money.  Working extra hours in an attempt to make an extra $10k, does nothing but decrease his happiness, since he’s spending more time working, and less time traveling, without a benefit to his goal, which would be a benefit to his happiness.

 

goal1a

See, Jake has a similar problem to Johnny in that working harder for a new monetary goal won’t affect his happiness, but for a different reason. Jake has a goal that he could already be living if he wasn’t chasing carrots. He’s confused by the all too common misconception that he must work very hard to some day live his dream life, rather than just living it now. 

Ever since he was in high school, he’d envisioned traveling the world, meeting new people, learning new languages, and maybe even turning some of his writings into a book. That was ‘living’ to him. But, instead of living he was too busy working. He’d barely written lately, and the stack of books he’d been meaning to read had started collecting dust since he was so focused on trying to make more money in his job.

I posed a similar question to Jake as I had Johnny: “What will making an extra $10k do for you?”

Jake: “I’ll be able to save more money”

Me: “What will saving more money do for you?”

Jake: I’ll be able to travel the world one day?

Me: Which day will that be, and why is it not today if your income already exceeds the amount that would allow you to live that dream?”

Jake didn’t have an answer. This was the first time he’d thought about it like that. He hadn’t taken the time before to realize that he’d already put himself in a position to live his dream life, he just wasn’t living it. He was spending the time that should have gone towards activities that equated to increased happiness, working for more money. Essentially, going towards lower happiness activities. The extra money he was sacrificing time and happiness for did not serve a purpose. He’d already reached diminishing returns. Working for an extra $10k did nothing other than to control his time. His time going towards chasing carrots, instead of living the life he wanted to live.

Jake had the mindset that many people do: ‘I’m going to work hard and save X amount of money, and then live my ideal life’. Well, the problem is since Jake could already live his ideal life, but wasn’t, he was living suboptimally every day. His happiness was lower than it needed to be, without reason.  For Jake his diminishing returns meant decreased current happiness, without increasing future happiness as a result. Textbook ‘flaw B’.

Since both Johnny and Jake’s goal setting up to this point had been logically and mathematically flawed, the numbers they chose weren’t going to have any affect on the life they wanted. Achievement of the number wasn’t a help, but a hinderance to their respective goals.

The monetary goal setting bubble without factoring in actual goals causes tunnel vision monetary goals that create a life of frustration because you don’t realize why you never attain happiness. You don’t attain happiness because you never attain your actual goals(flaw A), or you push off happiness longer than you have to(flaw B). Your failure to attain your actual goals is because your goal setting usually doesn’t even consider them, which sounds insane, but monetary goal setting without an understanding of why and the mathematical calculations that ensure achievement is goal setting that’s laced with insanity, since you’re trading your most valuable asset(time), going after goals you don’t actually want since you assume green paper with a number tied to it will help improve your life. It might, but only if there’s clarity to allow you to know how much green paper you need to attain the life you want, which allows you to attain happiness.

When Johnny and Jake walked into the office Monday morning, they knew what they had to do. Jake asked to start working remotely, and Johnny declined to work the additional hours his boss had offered, so he could spend that time searching for an opportunity that gave him a chance to achieve his goal. To their carrot chasing co-workers it seemed like a crazy decision, but they felt excitement, and at peace with the clarity that they were finally choosing a path that gave them a chance to live to a life that would fulfill them.

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There’s a good chance you may be making one of the same mistakes Johnny and Jake were making.

I urge you to re-explore your goals, and to ask yourself if you might be operating under either of the two flaws.

If so, I recommend making a decision that may seem temporarily uncomfortable, and hard for others to understand, but will give you a chance to live the life you actually want, rather than being a professional carrot chaser.

carrot

The biggest risk you can take is not pursuing the life you actually want to live.

 

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The Packed Gym of Failure


For every goal that anyone has ever had, there’s a packed gym of people ready to achieve a similar goal at the beginning of the year. Very quickly, many of them drop out and quit, with no chance to achieve what they had initially set out to do. Are you one of the people just crowding up the gym, or are you still showing up, taking the daily action that will lead to the accomplishment of your goal?

Why do people quit on their goals?

There’s only a few reasons why someone will not hit their goal.

They either quit way too soon, usually because they don’t see results overnight.

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They don’t have a plan how to achieve the goal.

Or, they don’t actually want the goal they initially set. It’s not something that will improve their life in a way that’s meaningful for them.

Often it’s a combination.

The majority of the time people fall into the ‘quit because they didn’t see instant results’ category.

Have you ever been in the gym after new years?

It’s packed. Everyone is in there because they set a new years goal to get in shape.

It’s probably the most popular goal there is.

If you go to the gym in early January, chances are you’re going to have to wait for certain equipment, because a bunch of new years resolutioners are in there, using up space for the first few weeks.

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Go to the gym in February, and you’ll have plenty of room, and no wait times.

Why is this?

Well, it’s a lot easier to accomplish talking about a goal, than to actually take the action necessary to achieve the goal.

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It feels good to tell everyone about your new years goals. You almost feel a sense of accomplishment just talking about them. It feels great. It feels less good to have to put in the daily effort that it would take to reach them.

January 1st or 2nd, working towards that goal is easy. You’re excited. You’re motivated. You can taste the end result already.

The 2nd or 3rd week of January, taking the actions on a daily basis that are necessary to achieve the goal seem a lot less appealing. Making excuses as to why you need a day off, or why it’s not that important to you anymore creep up. By the end of the month you’re probably taking such little action towards your goal that there’s no progress being made. By February most people have trouble remembering what their goals even were.

So, great, what does the fact that almost everyone is a quitter have to do with you? Well.. a lot.

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures” – F.M. Alexander

Everyone from me to you deals with the same decisions on a daily basis. Chances are you don’t follow through. There’s been plenty of years where I had a goal, and fast forward later in the year there’s no way I could have even told you what my goal was. I didn’t remember, because I didn’t take action on it for a long enough time period to become a habit, and since it didn’t become a habit, it basically gets forgotten altogether.

Been there. Anyone who says they haven’t is probably lying.

We have the opportunity on a daily basis to decide to do what no one else is willing to do, to get results no one else is going to get.

The interesting thing is, most goals are relatively easy to reach. If you want to achieve your goal it’s just one small action, repeated many, many times.

“If you are what you repeatedly do, then achievement isn’t an action you take but a habit you forge into your life. You don’t have to seek out success. Harness the power of selected discipline to build the right habit, and extraordinary results will find you.” – The One Thing

Anyone can repeat an action for a few days, or a few weeks. That’s easy. The decision to keep repeating that action over and over, when faced with easier alternatives in the short term… That’s what makes successes. Most people will choose the easier alternative: the excuse.

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Excuses will come easy, so every day you’ll have a decision to choose the excuse, or the action that leads to success.

Whatever goal you set, you’re going to start out with a packed gym of people with the same goal.

I don’t just mean for fitness goals, I mean for any goal.

Maybe your goal is to start a blog, or a podcast, or to travel the world, or get your first 10 customers. Whatever your goal is, envision a packed gym of people with that same goal.

Every day you keep showing up with action steps towards your goal instead of excuses, you get that much closer to your goal. The competition you face becomes less and less relevant as you string together day after day of dedicated action towards your goal.

A month or two later, the gym of whatever goal you’re aiming for will be less crowded. Maybe your competition is just not showing up as often. Some of them will have already cancelled their membership altogether.

dreammembership

You might feel like you have such a long road to go. You may just have a small number of sales, but no where near your goal. The thing is, as each one of your competitors checks out on attaining the goal you both shared, you get that much closer. There’s less competition, so more people will find your product or service. You’ll gain traction that people who don’t stick it out will never see, because results won’t compound on their inconsistent efforts, but yours will.

Whenever your competitors drop out, all that means is there are a higher number of people likely to find you, assuming you don’t quit like everyone else does. If we pretend there was $10m in a market, and the average competitor did $100k in sales, over time most will drop out either due to not having success quickly enough, not wanting to be in that business, or because they don’t know how to gain more customers. Those who remain, reap the benefits of everything the competitors who quit left behind. The people who were looking for that product or service still remain, the only thing that doesn’t is as much competition. Even though the average competitor who quits will probably have less revenues than the ones who don’t quit, which is part of the reason why they’re quitting, over time there will still be a significant benefit if you’re one of the few who push through and don’t quit like most of your competition will. In the theoretical example below, the companies who stick it out initially have just $300k in revenue, but after all the quitters quit, over time they gobble up all the revenue of the much smaller competitors and average $1m. The money has to go somewhere, it doesn’t just disappear if people are looking for a certain product or service. Again, the competitors often disappear, the customers don’t. You’ve obviously got to know what it takes to create a profitable business, but a lot of your success will just be in not quitting like everyone else does.

MarketSize
 
Even if you’re not even monetizing yet and just trying to build a platform, it works the same way. Have a blog or podcast or app that you want to grow? Great. Do it for a limited time like everyone else and you’ll get what they all get- limited time results. If instead you continue delivering value to your audience over time as everyone else quits, you’ll reap the rewards of the audience they left behind coming to you instead.

 

Traffic_final

The downloads or traffic don’t disappear from the niche, they just get redistributed to the people that didn’t quit and continued offering value for what people were looking for.
I get it… in the beginning you’ll feel like you’re no where close. But again, stringing those days together of the actions that guarantee progress towards your goal, will start compounding. It’ll get easier and easier, not just because your competition keeps dropping out, but because the action you’re taking on a daily basis towards your goal will start compounding. It may take a month, or 3 months, or it may take a year… but every day that you are faced with the decision to take action towards your goal or choose an excuse, just understand that each excuse day = one more day you fall behind, and each excuse day makes it that much harder to create a habit.
Super-successful people aren’t superhuman at all; they’ve just used selected discipline to develop a few significant habits. One at a time. Over time.”- The One Thing

Whatever your goal is, there’s a gym packed with people who want the same thing you do. The only person that’s going to get results, is the person that shows up every day, even on days they don’t want to.

What’s your packed gym?

Are you one of the people just crowding it up for the first few weeks, or are you actually going to do what’s necessary to still be in there at the end of the year, with the results that you told yourself you’d get at the beginning.

Did you take the action necessary today, to get you a little closer to your goal? Or did you find an excuse why you couldn’t do it today?

If you’re a writer, did you write today? If you’re a podcaster, did you record today? If you’re an entrepreneur, did you take action today that will move your business forward? If you’ve got fitness goals, did you show up in the gym today and eat healthy?

I can remember when I first started pursuing some fitness goals. Almost everyone in the gym looked better than me. I’d go to the gym around the same time and see a lot of the same guys almost every day. No wonder many of them were ripped. Pretty easy formula- the guys I saw every day were always the ripped ones. The guys who came occasionally always kind of looked average. Then, because I kept a ‘no excuses’ routine, I slowly surpassed even the ripped guys who were in phenomenally better shape than I was at the beginning of the year. Why? Well, occasionally they’d skip a week or two, or their diet was off for a bit. I just didn’t miss days. That was literally the only difference. They’d go backwards for a bit here or there, and I never did, so my results kept compounding.

There’s a packed gym of failure in every industry, for every goal out there.

 

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Are you taking the action steps on a daily basis that get you to your end goal, or are you so busy finding excuses that you won’t even remember what gym you signed up for?

No one but you will know if you short cut yourself. However, the results you and everyone else sees, cannot be hidden. Results are not a byproduct of luck, but on having a daily decision of action vs. excuse, choosing the right one, and choosing it consistently.

Don’t just take up space.

Whatever your goal is, imagine a packed gym of people with the same goal. To have any success you need to show up. A lot of standing out as a success is due to continuing to show up, when most others won’t. You want success? Just be the last person to still be showing up everyday.

how to achieve goals


Sunk Cost Fallacy


Have you heard of the term sunk cost fallacy before? Many people haven’t, and even if you have you may not fully understand the impact it has on your life. In this article I’m going to explain how it may be controlling major life decisions of yours in very negative ways, without you even realizing it.

What is sunk cost?

Sunk Cost Definition

The definition of a sunk cost is a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. So, why is this important? Well, most people fall victim to sunk cost fallacy, which means we often make incorrect decisions when it comes to sunk costs. We incorrectly value the sunk costs we have as more than $0, which leads us to suboptimal decision making. Even people who understand expected value(EV) can fall victim to this trap. We’re wired to believe that the time or money we already have invested into something should be factored into our current decision making. This is flawed logic.

This is a bigger problem than you realize, and it’s negatively impacting your life. Sunk cost fallacy leads to -EV decisions, which leads to suboptimal results, which leads to decreased long term happiness.

Take your average entrepreneur. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “but I’ve already invested X amount of dollars”, or “but I’ve already spent Y amount of hours”. Well, the previous time or money spent should be irrelevant to future decision making.

A lot of people allow their past to determine their future, and I don’t mean that as some regurgitated inspirational quote. I mean that specifically related to sunk cost fallacy and the impact not overcoming that mentality has on your results.

I know of many people who’ve invested money into a project, and incorrectly make future decisions based on feeling committed to the project, even after realizing it probably wasn’t optimal. Just because you happened to make a -EV decision in the past, doesn’t mean you should keep making -EV decisions.

It’s the sunk cost fallacy at work. We tend to compound our mistakes because of our failure to separate emotion from logic when in the moment. We compound -EV decisions, with more -EV decisions. Sunk cost bias has a crippling effect on the illogical mind.

sunk cost investment of time and money

Let me do a thought exercise with you. Let’s pretend you have three projects going on. You have $1,000 invested in one project, $5,000 invested in another, and $25,000 invested in the third. I tell you that you have to eliminate two of the projects, and only focus on one.

Which do you choose?

Well, if you’re like most people, you’d answer this question without even asking for more information. You don’t even know the EV of each project or your level of enjoyment from them. Not only would most people answer the question with no hesitation, pretty much everyone would choose the project they’d invested $25k in, even if the expected value or happiness from the other projects were higher. Sunk cost bias has enormous control over most people’s minds, influencing them to make incredibly flawed decisions.

At the risk of getting too philosophical on you, let me bring up one other reason the sunk cost fallacy often controls our decision making. A lot of times we make the irrational decision to succumb to sunk cost bias because subconsciously we may feel the need to justify our decision to irrational people. If someone can’t think logically, they won’t understand why you spent money on a project, then didn’t do anything with it. That’s illogical to them. Well, for a logical person, it’s illogical to think that’s illogical.

Most people want to conceal what could be conceived as a mistake. We may not have even made a mistake, it might have been +EV at the time, but is no longer +EV based on changes in the market or new information we didn’t have before. Or, we may have discovered better opportunities, so maybe it is still +EV, but no longer +EV relative to the new opportunities. The opportunity cost of bypassing a higher EV option is essentially choosing a -EV option, no matter what your sunk cost is. It’s a sunk cost, it is irrelevant. If you already invested $5k in a project where the EV is $50k, and you find an opportunity where all else is equal(time, happiness level, etc…), but the EV is $150k, most people would let the $5k they invested on the previous project keep them from gaining an extra $100k on a better opportunity.

sunk cost fallacy

Sunk cost bias would convince them that they can’t give up the initial project or they’d lose $5k. Most people have not trained their mind enough to overcome the sunk cost fallacy to make an additional $100k. Also, even if the monetary expected value has not changed, if your happiness EV(which I’ll write about in an upcoming post) has changed relative to where you’ve invested time or money, you should still cut your losses.

 

Sacrificing money or time because of a sunk cost bias is an amateur move, that even most professionals make.

 

Sunk Cost Fallacy Examples

There was a popular study done a long time ago that confirmed how strong of a hold sunk cost fallacy has on our minds. Hal Arkes and Catehrine Blumer did an experiment several decades ago about the psychology behind sunk cost. Their study asked subjects to assume they had purchased tickets for two ski trips. One was a trip for $100, and a second, even better trip for $50. The subjects soon realized that the two trips actually overlapped, so they could only go on one of them, and neither ticket could be refunded or resold. The majority of the people in the study chose to attend the less enjoyable trip, because it was more expensive. The loss seemed greater to them, even though there was no actual loss, it was just the sunk cost fallacy playing tricks on their mind. They couldn’t get the money back from either trip, and they still chose not to attend the trip they would enjoy most. They let their past decisions incorrectly influence their future decisions, and future happiness.

It’s pretty mind boggling that we’re wired in a way to make suboptimal decisions even when we know exactly what we want. I believe we can overcome the sunk cost fallacy with practice. Starting with small decisions, and working our way up to where it’s natural for us to think in terms of expected value, instead of being influenced by sunk cost bias.

Let me give you an example from my own life where I practiced not falling victim to sunk cost fallacy with a conference I was supposed to attend:

See, there was a conference I was supposed to go to. I had purchased the ticket a while back, but decided it wasn’t a good use of my time.

So, I threw the $500 ticket in the trash.

Why?

Well, based on a lot of my goals changing, conferences don’t serve me much at the moment. It would have been a distraction for me.

I had many friends who couldn’t believe I was going to throw away a $500 ticket.

In hearing that I wasn’t going to attend, more than once I heard something along the lines of, “I don’t really want to go either but I already spent $500.”

That’s the sunk cost fallacy at work. Not only that, if a conference no longer serves someone, they’re losing even more in opportunity cost by allowing sunk cost bias to control their decision making, not to mention that the same people spent even more money doing something they didn’t want to do by buying plane tickets and hotels. Think about that. They admittedly didn’t want to go, but since they spent $500 they don’t want to feel like they lost it, so they spend another $500-$1,000 on room and airfare!

sunk cost fallacy psychology

Me attending the conference would have been me saying, “I will let a sunk cost that no longer serves me convince me to make a -EV decision so that I won’t feel like I lost money on the ticket”. The problem is, that decision to let a past decision influence future decision making is actually costing me money. Not just money, but time and happiness, since I know it no longer serves me.

Remember I’m not losing $500, it’s a sunk cost.

I think a lot of people feel obligated to stay committed to certain things just because you have a sunk cost, even when it’s obvious that it won’t help you achieve your goals.

Let’s look at some common examples where you may be allowing the sunk cost fallacy to negatively influence your life:

Relationships:

How many of us have stayed in crappy relationships because we’ve invested so much time already? Even when it’s obvious it’s not a fit, we choose to continue because we feel like we’ve already invested so much in it. Instead of freeing our time for someone who’s a better fit, we stay involved with someone who’s obviously not because of sunk cost bias.

Not just romantic relationships, but friendships as well. How many friendships that do not serve you are you still holding on to because of the time you already invested? You’re allowing bad choices from the past to determine future choices, even though these future choices will negatively affect your happiness. Eliminating sunk cost bias from your thinking helps you eliminate bad decisions. Eliminating bad decisions helps you increase good decisions. Increasing good decisions will ultimately increase your happiness.

good sunk cost decisions

 

Investments:

Let’s say you invest in a stock, or a piece of real estate, and you realize it was a bad investment, and may not end up doing very well. If you have already lost money on the investment, you may be inclined to stay in the investment even though you already know it’s not a good one. You’ll incorrectly want to make your money back before you get out, instead of making the correct decision to just get out. In a stock, you may watch it continue to go down in value, not selling because it’s not back to the price you paid. The price you paid is irrelevant, yet that is how you are wired, to continue losing money as if the price you paid mattered. In real estate, not only will you lose money on a bad purchase, you’ll probably end up going even further into the hole, as you’ll need to continue dumping money into it to hold it. Throwing good money after bad is obviously -EV, but most people have not trained themselves to overcome sunk cost bias, so they do it anyways.

They may as well be gambling, and this mindset is relevant to the gambler’s fallacy:

Gamblers Fallacy

The gambler’s fallacy is the mistaken belief that something with a fixed probability will start happening more, or less, based on past results. For example, a coin flip is heads five times in a row. You’ll see the gambler’s fallacy at work when you hear someone say, “oh, it has to be tails this time”. The past results haven’t changed the fact that it’s still 50/50.

When I played poker for a living, I profited from the gambler’s fallacy many times. Players would have trouble walking away from the table when they were losing, even if they were at a big disadvantage. Their mindset was, “I just need a couple big hands to get back to even”, even though it was unlikely they’d make their money back since they weren’t skilled enough to be a winner in the game. Their sunk cost fallacy of being down money, combined with their gambler’s fallacy of ‘being due a good run of cards’, kept them at the table, which often resulted in much greater losses. Good for me, bad for them.

The gambler’s fallacy is also called the Monte Carlo fallacy because of what happened at the Monte Carlo Casino. In 1913, some gambler’s lost millions at the roulette table when it spun black 26 times in a row. They kept betting more and more money thinking it had to land on red the next time. While the probability of it coming up black 26 times in a row is extremely unlikely, the probability of each following spin did not improve based on past results, it stayed exactly the same. If they’d understood the gambler’s fallacy, as well as not getting caught up in the sunk cost fallacy of needing to make their money back, they would have saved millions of dollars.

Consumption:

‘I must consume, because I have purchased’ is a common way of people falling to victim to the sunk cost fallacy. Watch someone at a restaurant attempt to eat all their food even though they are already full. Even people who are on a diet often allow this bias to control their actions: “I need to finish my plate”. They even attempt to justify it with illogical statements like, “there’s people starving”, as if that’s related to their decision. Well, then how does eating it help them? A more logical question would be how to get the food you won’t finish to the starving people if that’s a real concern of yours, otherwise you’re just making illogical statements while getting fat.

Endowment Effect

Like anyone else, I’m often bad at throwing things away. I’ve got all sorts of clothes that I never wear. So, why do I still have them? For some reason I still value them, even though they’re of no value to me. The reason for this is less related to sunk cost fallacy, and more about the endowment effect, which is when people place more value on things they own, only because they own them. The reason I wanted to include this example is because it relates to the mindset entrepreneurs have about projects they’re involved in. They tend to hold on to projects they shouldn’t be involved in because of a combination of the sunk cost fallacy, or how much time or money they have invested, and the endowment effect, where they’re overvaluing the project, only because of their ownership in it.

A long time ago my mom taught me a good way to deal with my clothes, that I think will help you deal with your business decisions. She said, “if you saw this shirt in the store today, would you pay $5 for it?” I was amazed how many clothes I wanted to hang onto, that after applying the $5 rule to, I quickly got rid of. I was able to fill up many bags of clothes to donate, that would have just collected dust in my closet.

How can you apply the $5 rule to your current job or business situation? Let’s take a look:

The sunk cost fallacy of your job or business venture

This is probably one of the most vital for you to think about. A common line of thought:

“I’ve been at my job for X years already, I can’t leave now.”

It’s irrelevant that you made the bad decision of getting that job in the past, don’t continually make more bad decisions because of your sunk cost bias. Maybe it was a good decision for you at the time but you’ve since realized you want more out of life. Great, make the decisions that allow you to get more out of life. Every day that you wake up and fail to leave your job or business if it’s not the optimal situation for you, you’re likely falling victim to the sunk cost fallacy.

If you’re involved in a job that is no longer a good one, or no longer makes you happy, you need to leave it. It does not have to be more complicated than that. Don’t allow the time or money you have previously invested to influence your future time and money commitments. Always make the +EV decision.

If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s the same for you and your business venture. It does not matter what previous time or money you have into something. The sunk cost fallacy will only confuse your thinking in a way that leads you to less profits, or less happiness.

bad sunk cost decisions

So, how would I apply the $5 rule to your job or business venture?

I would ask the question that if I had never been involved in the project up to this point, would I still want to get involved? Would you pay to get involved, or is it no longer as enticing when you’ve eliminated sunk cost bias from your thought process? You’ll find that it has often lost it’s appeal.

That shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing. It’s a good thing, because sunk cost fallacy was influencing your decision of what you should be working on. With the sunk cost bias eliminated it will allow for more clarity as to what you should actually be doing.

Still having a hard time overcoming sunk cost bias with your current opportunities? Try this:

Write down every project you’re involved in. Imagine you are no longer allowed to be involved in any of these projects. Next to each project, write down exactly how much you would pay to get back in. It’s a quick way to get honest with yourself. If you’re not willing to pay good money to be involved, there’s a good chance sunk cost fallacy has a hold of you, or else you’d already have quit being involved. This should help give you clarity about which projects you should actually be working on. If there’s projects on the list that you wouldn’t be fighting to get back in, you shouldn’t be letting the sunk cost fallacy hold a cloud over you and be using you as a puppet to work on projects you shouldn’t be in.

cutstrings

Can you ever use the sunk cost fallacy to your advantage?

Yes!

Sometimes having a sunk cost bias can be good. Now that you understand that our mind is made to react in this illogical way, you can actually use it to your advantage. Let me give you an example:

If you invest in a gym membership, you’ll feel more obliged to go, when you normally might have stayed on the couch. The same sunk cost fallacy justifications you use against yourself, can be used for you as well. You’ll be likely to justify going to the gym with statements such as, “oh, I have to go to the gym today I already paid”. Even though you having paid is not relevant to whether or not you go to the gym today. You’re allowing sunk cost bias to influence your decision, which happens to be a good thing in this case.

I’ll purposely put myself in this situation. I travel often, and one of the first things I do is to get a gym pass somewhere. I know it will make me want to go, simply because my mind doesn’t want to feel like I’m losing something by not using it. Short term memberships are often more expensive, and I’ve found that the more expensive it is relative to what a normal membership would be, it actually increases the chance you’ll go. For example, last year I was in Melbourne, Australia for a few days, and I bought a three day pass to a gym for around $40. That’s a lot for three days in the gym, so even though I fully understood the sunk cost fallacy I could feel myself being more driven to go to the gym because subconsciously I felt like I was wasting $13/day if I didn’t go. So, sometimes sunk cost fallacy can be helpful, and you can use it to your advantage.

Whether that’s investing in a gym membership, a trainer, a business coach, or something else where you can take advantage of the flaws of your mind, for your own benefit.

Take advantage of the flaws of your mind, for your own benefit.

 

What to remember about the sunk cost fallacy:  

Whether it’s money or time related, you need to consider the influence sunk cost fallacy has on your mind. Consider the opportunity cost of operating with sunk cost bias driving your ship, instead of logic. Correctly evaluating your expected value, and opportunity costs will help you.

Don’t think like this: “I’ve already got $5,000 into it, I need to make my money back first before I can move on.” Well, no you don’t. If it’s a crappy business project you’ll make $5,000 back much faster by focusing on a good one.

“But I’ve already got 6 months into this idea, I have to make it work!”. The months you have into something is irrelevant to whether or not you should be spending future time on it.

sunk cost bias

Think like this instead: would I still invest in this project if I wasn’t already involved? Disregarding previous time and money invested, how does this compare to other opportunities?

A lot of people’s failure to understand expected value means they consistently make -EV decisions, that they attempt to justify with emotional rationalization, a common one being sunk cost fallacy.

The funny thing is any time you allow sunk cost fallacy to influence decisions, you’re actually going to make it harder and harder on yourself to let go in the future. Essentially, falling victim to sunk cost bias not only means you’re making a -EV decision now, but increases the chance you’ll make a -EV decision in the future because at that point you’ll be even more invested.

Is there anything you’re currently spending time, or money on, that one of the main reasons you’re doing so is because of the time or money you already have invested?

If so, I urge you to step back from what you’re doing, and evaluate the situation logically.

Is this the best use of your time, or money at the present moment?

If not, for your financial future, and happiness, it is imperative that you realize sunk cost fallacy is driving your ship, and you must take over the wheel. You will make substantially more money long term if you understand the concept of sunk cost fallacy, and more importantly how to make sure you only let it influence your decisions when it’s to your advantage. The rest of the time you need to make sure it’s not taking you off course.

This will open you up to more + EV opportunities, and less stress.

More +EV decisions + less stress = increased happiness.

 

how to achieve goals

 


How To Achieve Your Goals


Another year down, and a new one has begun.

For some of us, this means reminiscing about how successful your year was, the business or personal growth you experienced, the goals you achieved and excitement about expanding on that success this year.

For others, disappointment and frustration that another year passed without achieving your goals that you initially set out to accomplish.

For those of you that have been reading ForeverJobless for a while, you know that for the last few years I’ve published a post that shows you how to achieve your goals, and many of you who’ve followed the guide have written to let me know the success you’ve had. If you’re a new reader to ForeverJobless, I’d highly recommend taking the time to read this post without distraction, as well as printing the guide you can receive at the bottom of the post, and putting it somewhere you’ll see it each day.

The people that are following this guide daily are achieving some incredible goals. Everyone from first time entrepreneurs who’ve since started a successful venture, to people achieving extreme fitness results, to those who’ve told me they’ve achieved millions of dollars in revenue using this as a guide.

Don’t short yourself. If you’ve followed this guide for past success, you know the results you can obtain by committing(please email me and share your results, I’d love to hear!). If you’ve read one of my goals posts in the past but have failed to take action, why put yourself through another year of disappointment. Commit to yourself and change your life this year accomplishing your goal.

First, you have to know the most important question:

What is your goal that you’d like to achieve?

Notice I didn’t say “goals”. You must pick one main goal, and focus on that. Most people list a bunch of goals they’re going to attempt to achieve, and within a week or two they’re already so distracted by trying to do so many things, they already feel underwater and a feeling of failure. They feel like they should give up and the year has barely even started yet. The problem is, they’re not actually setting goals, they’re listing dreams. Unless you have a specific plan to achieve a goal, and one you won’t constantly be distracted away from, it’s just a dream. If you have 10 big goals you are definitely not going to do what you need to do on a daily basis to form the necessary habits to achieve the goals. It’s just not going to happen.

You can dream dreams, or plan goals. One will lead you to success, the other will lead to unhappiness that you’re never achieving your dreams.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting to dream. I love it just like anyone else. The problem is, it often confuses you to thinking you’re doing something about attaining it. Setting a goal that would allow you to live that dream, and following a process that guarantees goal achievement- that is what will allow you the chance to bring dreams to reality. Dreaming is great, but only in a small enough dose to motivate you to set a goal. Any more than that and dreaming just becomes a distraction from achieving the goal, that will let you achieve the dream.

I do think it’s okay to have multiple goals, but you must fully commit to one goal in particular. Other goals are secondary, and cannot ever be used as distractions to achieving your main goal.

A good way to decide what your main goal should be is by setting a goal that would help you achieve other goals. If you have five related goals, which goal makes the other goals easier? That becomes your main goal.

Diversification is for people who don’t know what they’re doing. They’re not confident enough about something to make a bet on it, so they sprinkle their bets everywhere, essentially hoping for mediocrity at best. I wrote a post on diversification in business.

 

“There’s no reason to have a plan B, because it distracts from plan A”

For the same reasons you shouldn’t try and launch 10 businesses at the same time, you shouldn’t try and achieve 10 goals at the same time.

too many targets to achieve your goals

I used to set 10 new year’s goals. Well, all I was doing was setting up 9 distractions to whatever my #1 priority goal was. As a byproduct, none of them got done, or at best the easy/non life-impacting goals got done.

If you did nothing except followed this one piece of advice for your goal setting, you’d immediately have an edge on most people.

There’s a lot of ordinary people out there achieving extraordinary results just by staying truly committed a goal. You’re probably much smarter than many of them, but don’t have the results they do. This is why. An ordinary person with obsessive focus and commitment will beat a genius who dabbles almost every time.

Want to guarantee you achieve your goal this year?

Just figure out what you need to do on a daily basis to achieve it, and then do that everyday. It’s not anymore complicated than that.

“If you are what you repeatedly do, then achievement isn’t an action you take but a habit you forge into your life. You don’t have to seek out success. Harness the power of selected discipline to build the right habit, and extraordinary results will find you.”- The One Thing

One thing to keep in mind about your goal is to set a goal that when achieved has the ability to change your life.

Don’t fall into the trap of setting low goals so that you can hit them. Then you’re just going to be “successful” at hitting goals, but unsuccessful at life.

If you just set a goal to lose five pounds or make an extra $500/month, it probably won’t really change anything in your life. You’ll actually be much more motivated to continue pursuit of a goal that would have life changing results for you once achieved.

That doesn’t mean you have to try and make a million dollars this year. If you’ve never made money before that’s going to demotivate you since you don’t know how yet.

So, while it’s important to set big goals that will change your life when achieved, it’s also incredibly important to be realistic. Stretch yourself, but don’t set something you have no chance of achieving just to set a big goal. It’ll demotivate you and cause you to give up.

So you might be wondering, how do you find the balance between a goal that’s big enough to change your life, but is also realistic? Well, it’s actually relatively simple. See, a lot of people get away from goal setting when they’re advised to think big. They start announcing dreams. One of the easiest ways to test your big goal is to ask yourself, “how will I achieve this?” If you cannot answer how you’ll achieve it, you’ve listed a dream, not a goal. You must be able to set daily actions that will all but guarantee accomplishment of the goal.

For example, when I set my fitness goal, I didn’t say, “my goal is to be ripped!”. I had to figure out what ‘ripped’ meant. So, I hired someone who understood how to get ripped, and asked what that meant for me. First, we figured out exactly where I was starting from. Then, we got specific with exactly what I wanted to look like, and we put a roadmap together to make sure it happened. “Ohh, I need to gain x amount of muscle and get to y% body fat? Great, how do I do that?” … “Okay, eat these foods and do these workouts?”… “How long will it take?”… “Okay, that many months… what do I need to be doing on a daily basis to make sure that happens?”… “Okay, and that’s it? Sounds good I’ll have that!”

achieve your fitness goals

 

(pictured with Kamilah Powell)

“If I want to do it, it’s done. It’s already done the second I decide it’s done, it’s already done. Now we just have to wait for ya’ll to see.” – Will Smith

I already knew exactly what I would look like because I had a specific plan in place to make sure it happened. I basically selected the body I wanted, and hit the order button. It was essentially all but done already, because I’d committed to complete the actions needed to acquire it.

Now, if you know of something you absolutely want to achieve but aren’t 100% sure how to accomplish it yet, there’s a fix for that too… tiered goals(besides coaches and masterminds which we’ll talk about later in the post).

I do these myself, and when someone joins The Incubator one of the first things we do if their ultimate goal is a big one is to have them set a tiered goal.

For example, if someone has never started a business before, it’s great if their goal is to make $50k/month, but it’s unlikely that they fully understand how to make that happen. If they don’t understand how to make that happen, they won’t know what their daily actions should be. If they don’t know what their daily actions should be, how will their daily actions lead to their ultimate goal? They won’t. So, I’ll have them set a smaller first tier goal that gets them heading in the direction of their ultimate goal.

“You don’t try to build a wall. You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t set out and say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.’ You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick, as perfectly as a brick can be laid’, and you do that every single day, and soon you have a wall.” – Will Smith

So, instead of someone wanting to make $50k/month, and giving up a few weeks in because they have no idea how to do it, they set a $5k/month goal with a specific plan to achieve the goal. After accomplishing the tier one goal, they re-evaluate and set the next tier. It’s also helpful because of the much shorter time periods. For example accomplishing 30-90 day tier goals keeps you much more engaged than if you set 12-18 month goals. So, something you might want to consider is setting a big yearly goal, and then set a first quarter goal that will put you on track to hit your yearly goal. Setting shorter term goals will allow you to see things that need adjusting to be able to hit your longer term goal, and you can tweak the plan to add or subtract daily actions that insure accomplishment of your goal.

Just because you break down a smaller tiered goal doesn’t mean you should stop there. No matter how long or short your goal, you should definitely be tracking progress on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. That way you’ll see the progress you’re making and/or adjust if it’s not quite the progress you want. Not only will it improve performance, but it’s great for maintaining motivation.

“Scorekeeping stimulates us to create more of the positive outcomes we’re keeping track of. It reinforces the behaviors that create the outcomes in the first place.”

To give an example let’s say you had a website and wanted 100,000 people/month to visit. That goal seems huge if you’re starting out small. However, if instead of just focusing on the 100k, you said you wanted to hit 25k by April 1st, that’s a feasible goal that’s more likely to keep you hungry. You might hit 15k relatively quickly for example. That would put you pretty close to your quarterly goal, giving you the motivation to push through and hit it. Now, if you were at the same exact 15k but were only focusing on hitting the 100k goal, you’d be in the same exact place but feel like you were making no progress because you’d still be 85k away from your goal. It would almost seem insurmountable, even if you had a plan in place to achieve your goal. It’d be significantly more difficult to stay motivated over the course of an entire year.

Does sharing your goals with others help you achieve them?

I’d highly recommend sharing your goals with people who can keep you accountable and/or help you on your path to achieving it, but not wasting time sharing it with others outside of that. It’s exciting to talk about, but it gives you a false sense of accomplishment. It’s like when you were a kid and you shouted “mommy, daddy, did you see the drawing I made!”, or “did you see me jump off the diving board!” You just want someone to tell you you’re awesome so you can feel good about yourself. Many of us have subconsciously trained ourselves to crave praise for talking about things, instead of actually doing and achieving things. All you’re doing is giving yourself an unearned dopamine rush.

“Don’t dilute it’s power. The dream is for you. It’s between you and your Muse. Shut up and use it.” – Steven Pressfield

Follow the No Exceptions Rule To Achieve Your Goal

Once you’ve made a commitment to your goal, there are no exceptions for not working on the thing that will lead you to that goal.

The Decisions You Make On The Hard Days, Will Make The Road To Success Easy For You

Tired? Doesn’t matter, no exceptions.

Busy? Everyone’s “busy”. You can be busy after you finish. No exceptions.

Someone in town visiting? Great, hang out with them after you’ve finished. No exceptions.

“If he caves in today, no matter how plausible the pretext, he’ll be twice as likely to cave in tomorrow.” – Steven Pressfield

Working on Your Goal First Thing In The Morning Will Ensure You Achieve It

Do NOT start your day until you work on your main goal. Remember, if you’ve set your goal correctly, that is the thing that if achieved would change your life. Do that first. One, it basically guarantees you get it done. If you don’t start your day until you focus on your goal, it’s literally impossible to get too busy to do the daily actions needed to hit your goal, and as a byproduct, literally impossible not to achieve your goal and change your life.

“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.” – Somerset Maugham

If you plan your life around your goals, you’re going to have the willpower and energy to make sure they get done. If you plan your goals around your life, life tends to get busy and things come up, and then you’re left at the end of the day tired with the most important task still to do, and you’ll find yourself in a mental battle of willpower vs. excuses. Since your willpower is drained at the end of the day, excuses will win out in a lot of people, especially people who haven’t trained themselves to avoid giving in to excuses.

“Willpower has a limited battery life. Make doing what matters most a priority when your willpower is its highest” -The One Thing

Make it easy for yourself to follow the “no exceptions” rule. If you’re worried about your ability to overcome potential excuses, just remove the possibility of them all together.

Paul Graham has a great article on how he structures his day for this: Maker’s Schedule

To experience extraordinary results, be a maker in the morning and a manager in the afternoon.

Block off however much time you need to work on your priority goal.

If you can just start doing your priority goal first thing each day, then all you have to do is Don’t Break The Chain.

I have multiple calendars to check off days that I do something, so that I don’t break the streaks and can develop a habit. I think you should only attempt one, big new habit per quarter, at most. The extra calendars I have up are for habits I’d like to maintain, or for smaller habits that don’t require much effort, but are beneficial for me. You’re not always going to want to do it, but if you can string enough of those days together you’ll have a habit that’s not hard to maintain, and rewarding results that come with it.

If you are obtaining good habits, they’ll translate into results that are significantly better than the results others are getting.

If you are getting results significantly better than others are getting, it will lead to a life that’s significantly better than others are able to live.

It’s all tied together.

“How long do I need to do something for before it becomes a habit?”

There’s no definitive answer but the more days in a row you do something, the higher the probability of success in your habit sticking. I recommend 90 days. If you can string together 90 days of consistently doing something on a daily basis, it will most likely become a habit. Once the habit is formed, it won’t require a great deal of effort on your part to maintain, it will become the norm for you. This will allow you to dedicate time to new habits, and each of these habits will lead you to new goals, or new tiers towards your ultimate goal, which will lead to a much improved life.

Do you find it difficult to brush your teeth each night? Of course not, because it’s a habit so you don’t even have to think about it anymore, you just do it. If it wasn’t a habit you’d have messed up teeth that negatively impact your life. Financial, fitness and other habits work the same way, it’s just that most people never set the habits that guarantee the results from them. If it was not normal to consistently brush your teeth, most people would have rotten teeth. It’d become the norm. Well, the norm for most people is not going to the gym or eating healthy, and not having any sort of financial plan, so most people are out of shape, with a rotten financial picture.

Successful people just work hard focusing on building habits that will give them extraordinary results in whatever areas of their life they want them in. That’s why a lot of successful people make things look easy. It wasn’t easy for them at the start, it was probably just as hard for them as it would be for you. It’s just now that it’s a habit, it is easy for them.

Super-successful people aren’t superhuman at all; they’ve just used selected discipline to develop a few significant habits. One at a time. Over time.”- The One Thing

Look at the habits of a fat person, and someone who’s in incredible shape. The fat person eats what they want, occasionally goes to the gym at best, and looks like crap because of it. The person who’s ripped works out daily at eats good food. Both the fat person and in shape person understand that this is what’s needed. So, it’s not complicated for either, but without the habits that insure those things happen, the daily decisions are difficult, keeping the fat person fat, or the poor person broke. One person’s habits gets them in the gym each day with healthy food on their plates. The habits insure that the decisions are automatic instead of difficult. The other lacks those habits. The person in incredible shape just used selected discipline to target a habit they wanted to form that would get them the results they wanted in that area of their life. So, their return on that investment is life changing results.

Don’t overcomplicate it. Your results are simply the byproducts of your habits. Great habits, great results. Bad habits, bad results. Therefore, prioritization of life changes that would be most meaningful for you, is simply prioritizing the most important activities to ensure they become habits. Ensuring this, ensures life changing results.

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures”- F.M. Alexander

If you want to achieve your goal you must eliminate large to-do lists

Focus on the four D’s:

  • Do it
  • Delegate it
  • Delay it
  • Dump it

Anytime you get an email/letter/request, decide whether you’ll ever do anything with it. If not, dump it. Anything you don’t want to do but needs to be done, delegate it. Anything you can do within 10 minutes, do it.

The to do list is a struggle for most people, myself included. The more items on your “to-do” list you can eliminate, the easier your life will be.

It’s easy to hold on to things we really shouldn’t be doing. You may have a huge list and just don’t know how to wittle it down to a small action list. Here’s something that will make it easier:

Go down the list and just eliminate anything that doesn’t relate to your main goal. I know your first thoughts will be all the reasons why you must hold on to meaningless tasks. I go through the same thing. If your goal is meaningful to you, all of the other tasks that aren’t related will do nothing but distract you and decrease the chance you achieve your goal. You can always save these things on a ‘some day’ to do list if you want, but they aren’t important so remove them and your life and your goal becomes easier.

Knocking out a hundred tasks for whatever the reason is a poor substitute for doing even one task that’s meaningful. Not everything matters equally, and success isn’t a game won by whoever does the most. Yet that is exactly how most play it on a daily basis.” -The One Thing

How many of those coffee meetings and random ‘catch up’ calls were meaningful to you last year? How many tasks while technically beneficial, if they were never done would not really negatively affect your life at all? 100 ‘to dos’ can turn into 5-10 pretty quick if you just eliminate everything not related to your goal. No one dies if these things don’t get done, or don’t get done as well as you could have done them. The only thing that dies is your chance of failing. You remove more barriers that could keep you from achieving what you actually want.

“My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do” – Francine Jay

Still struggle with ‘to dos’ even with a small list? Find out where your time is going. You’re probably getting distracted by little tasks or distractions you don’t even realize are taking up your time. Eliminate facebook and twitter. Stop reading so many internet articles and watching youtube videos. Clickbait titles will grab your attention and burn your whole year, an article or video at a time. While it feels productive, unless they are specifically related to helping you achieve what you are trying to achieve, they do you more harm than good.

eliminate to do lists to reach your goals

Ask yourself about all of the social media you consumed last year. You likely spent 10+ hours/week on it, or 500+ hours during the year. You probably struggle to remember any of the consumption from your social media binging, or exciting times it helped you experience. It’s because it takes the time that would have given you experiences or memories, and eats them up. If you had instead invested that 500+ hours into your goal, the chance of succeeding skyrockets. Instead of burned time that gave you nothing in return, you might have helped create a life changing accomplishment, or done something to create life long experiences or memories like traveling, or learning a new skill. Don’t be a dopamine addict, giving yourself hits when you don’t deserve them.

You do not understand what you are capable of, because you are keeping yourself too busy to give yourself a chance to find out.

A day of working on random tasks mixed in with videos and articles followed by a tv show to wind down because you’re tired is a normal day for many. You give the reason that you were “too busy” to work on the thing that would have changed your life. You’re not too busy, you’re just an expert at doing meaningless shit.

I did some testing with extreme essentialism towards the end of last year. I was living in Medellin, Colombia for a couple months. I spent most of my time doing nothing but reading, writing, and thinking. There was one week where I was pretty sick, so I didn’t go to the gym, and never went out other than to cafes to write. I wrote about 18,000 words in one week. What seems like an impossible amount of words to write in such a short period of time, was made possible because I literally did nothing else that week. Eat, sleep and write. That’s it. I’d never think that was possible if I hadn’t tested extreme essentialism. It wouldn’t be possible most of the time, because a normal week would be inserting in dozens of other activities that would do nothing but stop the writing. If other activities don’t even exist, you’ll surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go” – T.S. Eliot

You might not be able to go that extreme, but do the best you can. Go past your comfort zone and you’ll realize nothing bad happens by not working on things that don’t serve your goal. Most people allow things like returning emails and phone calls to drive their life. I had my phone turned off for the majority of my trip.

“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook”- William James

Guess what? Nothing bad happened. I probably never got some messages, and others I returned a week or two after they sent. No one who’s doing anything with their lives is going to be upset if you take time to get back to them. The only people who will get mad at you for not playing your life on their schedule are people who maybe shouldn’t be in your life. If you’ve spent your whole life training people to expect a response from you in ten minutes, you may just have to let them know you have a goal you’re trying to accomplish that will keep you busier than normal. The people who want the best for you and should be in your life will understand. The people who are upset you can’t run your life on their schedule are probably upset because you’re offering more value to them than they are to you, so they’ll identity themselves for you and make elimination simple.

Here’s how I’d recommend working on your tasks:

Obviously your priority goal is done first before anything else. Then, have 3-5 other tasks you want to accomplish for the day. Those are the only things that should show up on your daily to do list. Having so few things to do will not only make you happier because you’ll feel accomplished at the end of the day having completed your tasks, but you’ll prioritize more important things instead of doing the easiest, often unimportant things off of a huge list.

Out of those 3-5 daily tasks, I recommend doing the most difficult one first.

There’s a book called Eat That Frog that talks about why it’s so important. I often struggle with it so I even bought a random toad that I put on my desk to remind myself:

toad

 

If you have items on your to-do list that never make your daily top 3-5 tasks, all that means is they were never important enough to do in the first place.

Leaving some things undone is a necessary tradeoff for extraordinary results.” – The One Thing

 

Feeling comfortable on how to structure your day but not sure how to structure your week? Jack Canfield has a great book called Success Principles that follows the formula of having four focus days, two free day, and one buffer day per week.

goal setting calendar

 

The buffer day is essentially a day where you do the things that allow the focus days to remain focus days. For me this means things like most appointments, some meetings or phone calls, etc… Got a dentist appointment? That goes on your buffer day. Bunch of mail piling up? Great task for buffer day. It’s similar to why you work on your priority goal first thing in the morning, to avoid distractions. Well, buffer day works the same way. You eliminate tasks that could have been distractions and put them on a certain day.

You don’t have to follow this calendar example exactly, but it’s a good framework to use. Maybe you like working six days per week instead of five. Maybe you only want to work three days per week except for your priority goal which you do seven days. Try things out and see what works for you. I just want to give you frameworks to make your life easier.

Just don’t try to throw things in your calendar to maintain ‘balance’, as they like to call it. Trying to have a similar balance to everyone else just means being average is your goal.

Balance significantly reduces your chances of achieving your goals

The #1 thing that will lead you to missing days, which will ultimately lead to missing that goal… well, trying to focus on many things in your attempt to maintain balance.

A balanced life is essentially guaranteed mediocrity in many areas.

Remember that everything outside of what leads you to achieving your priority goal, is just a distraction. Distractions lead to excuses why you need to take off days. Taking off days leads to excuses as to why you couldn’t pick up the habit you needed. Not picking up the habit you needed leads to excuses as to why you couldn’t hit your goal. Not hitting your life changing goal, means your life doesn’t change.

 


goal celebration

 

People who live a balanced life, can’t really expect to compete against someone with the same goal who’s living an unbalanced life.

“If You’re Living a Balanced Life, There’s Somebody in Your Niche Living an Unbalanced Life, Kicking Your Ass” – Nathan Latka

I’ve realized that most of my achievements have come when my life was somewhat out of balance.

When I’ve been most successful, all of my thoughts and actions throughout the day were around whatever it was that I was focused on. I wasn’t splitting my time between a lot of different things. As many of you know, shortly after college when most people were stuck in an office with entry level jobs, I chose a very different path, and played poker professionally. I was in my early 20s and had months where I would make tens of thousands of dollars as a professional poker player. How? Well, I was playing a ridiculous amount of hands, and when I wasn’t playing I was studying them, and when I wasn’t studying them, I was talking strategy with other good players. My life was… well, unbalanced. However, the unbalance brought success, because all of my thoughts and actions revolved around achieving that success. It was somewhat inevitable that I would have pretty extreme results.

I train and I go home, and when I’m home, I think about training. That’s my life every day, and that’s it. – Conor McGregor

conormcgregor

While most of the people I graduated with were doing the 9-5 thing and leading a balanced life, I may have been leading an unbalanced life, but because of that, the income potential I had vs. what everyone else had was going to be extremely unbalanced as well. The income potential being heavily balanced in my favor, allowed me to then go live an unbalanced life in the other direction, taking off on vacations for a month at a time traveling with friends.

When I got serious with my fitness goals, I had to sacrifice some things like drinking beer and pizza. To achieve the results I wanted wasn’t possible with that kind of balance. Balance keeps you closer to mediocrity than it does life changing results.

Everyone talks about balance in a positive sense. They’re not necessarily wrong. It’s just that many people haven’t experienced the unbalance, and the upsides of living unbalanced for a certain period of time. So while they’re not incorrect that balance can be good, they’re also not necessarily qualified to say that living unbalanced is bad.

There’s pluses and minuses to each. If you do want to achieve any goals that are extremely lofty, you’re going to have to consider living unbalanced for a certain period of time. That unbalance, may allow you to live a life of balance that’s many multiples better than other people’s, once your goal is reached.

Do not multi-task, it will hurt your chance of achieving your goals

‘An essentialist never attempts to do more than one thing at a time… We can easily do 2 things at a time, but we cannot concentrate on 2 things at a time… Multitasking is not the enemy of essentialism; pretending we can “multifocus” is’ – Greg McKeown

Attempting to multi-task just means we wear our brain out from having to constantly re-focus on what we were supposed to be doing in the first place.

An easy hack that helps is this:

Delete your browser history and leave one window open related to your priority goal before you go to bed. That way you won’t have distracting website options, you just sit down in the morning and start working on your goal.

Eliminate all noises/notifications from your computer and phone. I highly recommend deleting most apps from your phone. Use things like News Feed Eradicator for Facebook which eliminates your news feed, so if you are tempted to visit distracting sites, the distractions are gone. I haven’t seen a facebook feed since the new year. I have no idea what people’s babies look like or what food people have been eating. Amazingly, I am still okay!

Make it impossible for anyone to distract you during priority goal time. Phone, skype and email should all be off.

“Without great solitude no serious work is possible” – Picasso

Also, I get up very early in the morning. So, when I’m living in the states, even if someone wanted my attention, chances are at the times I’m working on my priority goal, they’re still sleeping. Make it as difficult as possible for yourself to be distracted. Even in non-priority goal work time, I’ve been doing a lot of this. My phone is off or on mute almost the entire day. I don’t have the tv on, and the remote is behind the tv so that I would have to make a conscious decision if I decide to turn it on for anything.

“Good or bad, habits always deliver results.”

Your workspace should be clutter free. I’m normally a messy/unorganized person, but if I want to be productive, I know my desk should have nothing on it so I can focus 100% on what I’m doing.

Can you make time to have fun and still achieve your goals?

It’s important that you make time for play.

“They times we feel most alive, the times that make up our best memories, are moments of play.” – Greg McKeown

You should plan vacations well in advance. If you don’t, it’s unlikely you’ll end up going on them. Plan your year’s vacations now.

Instead of attempting to plan your vacations around your work, plan your work around your vacations.

Maybe you start with trying to do one vacation somewhere per quarter, even if it’s just a short getaway. It might be a great reset for you to use that time to set up your next quarter, so you can crush your next habit, and make sure you know what you want to accomplish towards your goal in the next 90 days.

I’m currently living out in Bali, so if you make it out here let me know!

You definitely shouldn’t be working all the time. It’s important to have fun.

Not only should you plan vacations, but some free time on weekends as well. Plan a hiking trip, a ski trip, a wine tour, or a party with friends. You’ll remember those things. Work hard, play hard.

“Play leads to brain plasticity, adaptability, and creativity. Nothing fires up the brain like play.” – Stuart Brown

In Essentialism, it mentions three big benefits of play:

  • It helps us see possibilities we wouldn’t have seen.
  • It works as an antidote to stress, which is huge because stress is the enemy of productivity and can shut down the creative, inquisitive, exploratory parts of our brain.
  • It has a positive effect on the executive functions of the brain- planning, prioritizing, scheduling, delegating, deciding, analyzing, etc…

You should also make sure you’re staying healthy by eating well, exercising and getting sleep.

“While there are clearly people who can survive on fewer hours of sleep, I’ve found that most of them are just so used to being tired they have forgotten what it really feels like to be fully rested… Sleep breeds creativity and enables the highest levels of mental contribution”- Greg McKeown

I can’t imagine someone being healthy and having high energy if they aren’t sleeping well, eating well and getting in the gym. Also, drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated will help you maintain energy throughout the day. If you’re not doing these things, you’ll see significant drops in productivity due to energy.

“What else should I be doing?”

Will a mastermind group or accountability partner help you achieve your goals?

These are great. However, make sure you’re working with people at your level or higher, or it’s just not a good use of time. Keep in mind that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If you’re in a mastermind group where no one has had any success before, it’s probably not going to be a group that breeds much success. Much like reading articles and watching youtube videos all day, it confuses you into thinking you’re making progress, but you might just be confusing yourself because the information being exchanged in the group is not information that’s likely to take you to the next level.

If you’re thinking of getting in a mastermind full of 6’s, you’re in a ‘master’ time waster, not a mastermind. Do you aspire to be like the others in the group? If not, you’re in the wrong group.

Make sure you surround yourself with others who are viciously pursuing their goals. If you’re surrounded by people who don’t have goals, or who give up on their goals easily, you need to find a new circle quickly. That’s poison to be around. It makes it easier for you to give up. Eliminate any excuses for giving up once you know what you want.

Get a Coach.

“The single biggest difference between amateurs and elite performers is future elite performers seek out teachers and coaches and engage in supervised training, ones that remain amateurs rarely do.” – The One Thing

It’s unbelievable to me how much money people will spend on things, but refuse to invest in themselves. They wonder why they never progress, and they’ve got more money invested in the latest tech gadgets than they do their own self development.

Getting a coach is one of the most +EV things you can do. If you’re not familiar with EV(expected value), read my post on it.

Working with someone who’s been there and done that is going to save you an enormous amount of time and money.

I’ve had coaches in poker, fitness, business – you name it. When I was living in Medellin recently I hired a spanish teacher to fast track my ability to communicate. Anything I’ve gotten results in I’ve invested in someone to help cut down on the time/money I’d spend making mistakes. Instead of things taking forever trying to learn on my own, I work with someone who will help me get the result I want.

Only an amateur tries to do it alone. Most never make the progress they hoped for. They’re likely to remain an amateur, instead of investing in themselves to get the results they desired.

Visualizations/Affirmations:

An affirmation is a statement that describes a goal in its already completed state. It should be brief, but specific. Repeating affirmations will help you think positively, and help your mind constantly think of ways to help you reach your goal.

You may have heard of Stephen Curry, who’s taken the basketball world by storm the last few years.

stephen curry affirmations

 

He went from a player some weren’t sure would make it in the league, to literally the best basketball player in the world. What you may not know is he’s been writing an affirmation(“I can do all things”) on his basketball shoes way before anyone knew who he was.

stephen curry i can do all things shoes

 

Something I’ve learned is that visualizing the process over the outcome can actually help improve your results. With my own goals I focus less on end result, and more on process, since if you get the process right, you get the end result. Get excited about crushing the process, and you’ll crush your goal.

Journaling

 

I’ve done bits and pieces of journaling over the last few years. I plan to do significantly more than I’ve done in the past this year. I wasn’t seeing much for results from journaling, and then once every six months or so I’d read back through only journal entries and be amazed at how many insights I had from going back through. Everything from things that excited me that I totally forgot about, which seeing again allowed me to re-explore, realizing more about what made me happy or unhappy, so that I could do more or less of those things, and just overall gaining more clarity by reading what I was thinking at different points of my life.

If you find it difficult to write openly to yourself, some questions that I’ve personally used quite a bit I found reading The Saint, The Surfer, and The CEO:

  1. How would I live out this day if I knew it were my last?
  2. What do I have to be grateful for in my life?
  3. What one thing could I do today to make my life extraordinary?
  4. What can I do to make today incredibly fun?
  5. How can I help someone today?

Answering these questions may help spark some other thoughts for you. When that happens, write them down so that when you’re struggling to gain clarity in the future you can refer back.

Reading

Reading is great, just make sure it doesn’t distract you from producing. It can trick you into thinking you’re productive if you aren’t careful. I try and read in the morning when I wake up and in the evening before I go to bed. If you’re reading the right books, you can get a lot of knowledge on a subject very quickly- just make sure it’s knowledge you’re going to put to use.

I even take a suitcase full of books with me when I travel

books when i travel

Plan Your Day The Night Before

This has been an unbelievable productivity booster for me. When I don’t do this, my day is noticeably less productive.

This will change how your day runs completely. Most people who don’t plan their day ahead of time spend the first part of their day figuring out what heck they’re going to do that day, and often end up doing whatever pops up, since they didn’t have a plan. If that happens you don’t end up getting much done. That’s why besides just blocking out time for your priority goal it’s vital to know what else you should be doing. Otherwise you end up running around spending your time on unimportant things.

“Either you run the day or the day runs you” – Jim Rohn

Wake up Early

Waking up early can be hard if you’re not used to it. As difficult as it was initially to get used to, I know I get much better results when I wake up early. Anytime I’ve stopped waking up early, I find it much harder to maintain the same productivity. Most of my friends who are waking up early are noticing significant increases in results as well. It just makes sense- no one can bother you if you wake up early enough, so productivity tends to skyrocket. I’m testing 4:30am wakeups for the first quarter. You don’t have to do that early, I’ve just never tried that early before so wanted to give it a shot. Treat your life like one big experiment 🙂

Don’t limit yourself to thinking you can’t work on your priority goal in the morning because you have a job. Yes, you’ll have to sacrifice something like going out late at night, but any significant results will take sacrifice.

One of my friends holds a full time job, and had some big goals he wanted to achieve. He started his business just last year. He posted in The Incubator that he wakes up at 4:30am everyday to work on his business before he goes to work. I know what happens when you read that. Your own limiting beliefs kick in and the voice in your head is telling you all the reasons why you wouldn’t do that. “Oh, I’d be tired all the time”, “I’d never get to go out with my friends”, “I don’t want to risk not sleeping enough I heard it’s bad for you”, etc… Everyone has those limiting beliefs. The only difference is the results of those who decide to push through them. He ended the year with a business making $20k+ profit/month. It didn’t even exist at the beginning of the year. Big sacrifices reap big rewards. Sure, he might be a bit tired some days, but while you’re curled in bed snuggling with your limiting beliefs, he can probably generate some extra energy counting all the money coming in.

—–

You can literally do anything you want. As I’ve mentioned most people unintentionally try to do everything, and as a byproduct don’t do anything. At least anything meaningful. That is why most people lead mediocre lives. They don’t spend their time doing anything important. They’re just busy.

“To attain knowledge add things every day. to attain wisdom, subtract things every day.”- Lao-Tzu

Besides just getting rid of the obvious non-essentials, you need to be getting rid of “good” opportunities as well.

Turn down good opportunities to leave room for the opportunities that you absolutely have to do. You’ll be much happier only focusing on things that are a “hell yes”, instead of just good.

You should enjoy what it is you’re doing. If you enjoy it, you’ll perform better. If you perform better, you’ll also enjoy it even more.

Good opportunities, become very bad opportunities, and very bad choices for your overall happiness and productivity if they’re taking time away from great ones. Lower happiness and productivity lower your chances of achieving your life changing goal.

When presented with an opportunity, ask yourself to rate it. Is it at least a 9 out of 10? If not, it’s a “no.” That’s it. Just don’t even entertain the possibility of doing things that aren’t at least a 9 out of 10 for you.

You can apply it to anything in your life.

Not sure about an investment opportunity? Is it a 9 or 10?

Don’t know if you should date someone or not? Are they a 9 or a 10 for you?

Going to a lot of networking events? If they aren’t 9s or 10s, stop going.

Have so many friends you have trouble keeping up with everyone?  Why not just spend time with the 9s and 10s?

Lots of people wanting to meet, pick your brain, catch up, etc… If it isn’t a 9 or 10, it’s only taking you away from doing something that is a 9 or 10, or is related to making even more progress on your priority goal.

Do things that are meaningful to you and others. No one’s going to list “attended 1,000 coffee meetings” as a great accomplishment of their life.

Make it easy on yourself. You’ll have more time for things you actually want to do.

“Well, what if it’s an 8. I mean, it’s close enough right?”

No. Equate everything that’s not a 9 or 10 to a zero.

There have been many things in my life that were never anywhere close to a 9 or 10 for me. Some of them were ‘good’ things, but that right there tells me I was wasting my time. Good things will only distract you from spending time on great things, or finding other great opportunities/people you haven’t been exposed to yet.

‘Eliminate the nonessentials- don’t just get rid of the obvious time wasters, but cut out some really good opportunities as well. Focus on what is absolutely essential and eliminate everything else.’- Greg McKeown

In Essentialism he mentions a question you can ask yourself if you’re struggling with getting rid of things in your life you don’t need and would probably be better off without:

“If I didn’t have this opportunity, what would I be willing to do to acquire it?”

You’d be surprised how much you spend your time on that you don’t really care to be doing in the first place.

Get good at saying “no” to even very good opportunities.

“Remember, anytime you fail to say “no” to a nonessential, you are really saying “yes” by default…Say “no” and regret it for a few minutes, or say “yes” and regret it for days, weeks, months or even years.”- Greg McKeown

Do not feel guilty about saying “no” to anyone or anything.

There’s a perfect analogy for this relating to what they tell you on an airplane.

They tell you that in the event of an emergency, a mask will drop down to provide you air, and before you attempt to help children and other passengers, you must put the mask on yourself first. Reason being, you wouldn’t be able to help anyone else in that situation if you ran out of air yourself.

It applies the same way when achieving your goals. If you’re spending all your time and energy straying from your goals to attempt to solve everyone else’s goals/problems, you’ll suffocate in requests that won’t help you get to where you want to go. A byproduct of you suffocating in requests that lead you away from accomplishing your goals will actually decrease your ability to help others, because you’ll constantly feel like you have too much to do, be stressed, and unsure of what to focus on. Just remember to concentrate on your priority goal, and this will allow you to do more of what you want to do in the near future, including helping others. You just need to help yourself first, to be able to help others. Many people don’t understand this.

Do Not Set Goals To Compete With Others

Something else that will lower happiness will be setting goals to compete with others. It doesn’t matter what others goals are, don’t let their goals lead you to believing that your goals should be anything like them.

When setting your goal, ask yourself why you want it. Do you want to achieve the goal, or does your ego desire the praise and admiration for achieving it? If you’re setting goals that are unintentionally more for others than yourself, all you’ll do is increase the stress in your life and limit your happiness.

Keep in mind that eliminating ego from your decisions will make your life much easier. Forget looking good to anyone except the person staring back at you in the mirror. At the end of the day you must only be true to yourself.

“Everything you do should be an expression of your purpose. If an activity doesn’t fit that formula, you wouldn’t work on it. Period.” – Jack Canfield

When setting your priority goal, it’s extremely important to pick something you’re genuinely interested in. I won’t get into the whole passion vs. profit argument in this post, but it’s very hard to stay motivated to achieve a goal if you’re not passionate about it.

The goal must be something you truly want. I’ve learned from my own goals and from watching others that if you don’t really care about the end result deep down, you won’t push through because it’s not that important to you. It’s easy to stop if you don’t want the goal bad enough. So ask yourself the question, “why do I want to achieve the goal?”. Do you want to quit your job, buy a house, buy your dream car, travel the world…? It doesn’t matter what it is, all that matters is that it actually matters to you, otherwise it won’t be something you push through to achieve. So take extra time now to really question why you’re pursuing what you’re pursuing. When someone quits on a goal, surprisingly it can often be tied to not really wanting the goal very much in the first place. It sounds funny, but if you track back to why someone set a goal, they often didn’t put enough thought into it. They listed some metric they thought would be good to hit, and then when it got tough they stopped. When quizzed on why they set the number they did, they either:

  1. set it based on what they saw others doing(competing with others, which is a flaw we mentioned)
  2. didn’t really have a reason, it just sounded like a good target
  3. set the number to acquire something they didn’t actually want very badly in the first place

If something doesn’t get you excited, it won’t make you motivated enough to push through to form new habits. If you’re not motivated enough to make new habits, you’re unlikely to make big progress. If you don’t make big progress, you’ll likely remain in a similar spot to where you are now.

People who do not have a strong enough reason for accomplishing a goal will let small barriers totally derail them. On the flip side, if you had an absolutely burning desire to obtain a goal you desperately wanted to reach, you would not spend time getting caught up in every little detail. You’re never going to know everything about everything. Those small details that you don’t know how to do will stop you from taking action if you don’t have a reason to push through. It’s an easy way to create an excuse to stop taking action and remain in the same place you are. You’re creating opportunities for yourself to give up. Sometimes it’s because you didn’t invest enough time setting a goal that you actually wanted, either because of limiting beliefs or laziness. When the same situation arises for someone who desperately wants to reach their goal, even if they don’t know what to do they’ll take action. If they don’t know the answer they’ll hire a coach or join a mastermind to get them past that hurdle. It is phenomenally important that the goal is something you want. Don’t just set a goal so you have a goal. Set a meaningful goal for yourself.

If you know exactly what you want, and your plan is truly mapped out for your goal, it’s just a matter of doing what’s needed, and the goal is all but accomplished already.

Remember this quote I mentioned earlier:

“If I want to do it, it’s done. It’s already done the second I decide it’s done, it’s already done. Now we just have to wait for ya’ll to see.” – Will Smith

You can predict your own success if you’re willing to follow the guidelines in this post, and truly commit to yourself. The only thing holding you back from a huge year, and life changing results is stringing enough days together to form habits that guarantee accomplishment of your goal.

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” – Steven Pressfield

I highly recommend you print out the ‘Goal Accomplishment Calendar’ you can get below(if you’re already a subscriber, you should have it in your inbox). Put it somewhere you can see it. If you’re thinking that sounds like a nice idea but you probably won’t do it, I strongly urge you to reconsider. What will often happen is a lot of excitement and motivation the first few weeks with a new year beginning and then most people forget how to make their goal happen all together. Make achieving your goal easy on yourself. Print and follow the cheat sheet and calendar below(my personal daily routine is included as well for you to see). If you get stuck and want my help, join The Incubator, which has a great group of members who can help hold you accountable, several of whom achieved massive goals themselves last year.
Hope your new year is off to a great start, and I look forward to hearing all about your success this year.

 


You Do Not Need Money To Start a Business!


Does it take money to start a business?

Well, it can, but usually it does not. I don’t mean usually like 51% of the time, it’s closer to 99% of the time. And if your first thought is, “I’m probably the 1% that does need money to start”… you’re not.

I recently sent out a survey which over 500 people filled out. One of the things that shocked me was how many people were not taking any action because they think they need money before they can start.
Do you need money to start a business?

start up funds

biggest problem starting a business

what's wrong with your business

starting a business

This is just a small sample of a lot of answers like this.

There’s an extreme misunderstanding with beginning entrepreneurs that they need capital to start a business. As you’ll learn from this post, you do not need money to start a business.

In some sense, you already have capital in the form of sweat equity, you’re just lighting it on fire by not using it. Instead of using the capital you do have, you’re waiting for paper money to come rescue you from inaction. The only action you’ll take once receiving is to light that capital on fire as well, because the lack of knowledge in execution will have you putting it towards the wrong things.

In some follow up emails with a number of people who said they needed money, it didn’t take long to find out that money was definitely not what they needed. Knowledge was.

Them: “I need funding”

Me: Why, where specifically are you stuck?

Them: “I need to reach my market and I’m not sure how.”

Wait, what? What does that have to do with needing money?

If they knew how to market they’d be unlikely to need funding since marketing efforts would fund growth.

Most of the follow up answers had nothing to do with the money that they didn’t actually need, it got to their actual struggle.

Many view money as this magic cure that’s going to solve their actual problem. It’s not. Knowledge + action will, and no knowledge is gained from inaction.

Them: “I need money”

Me: “What have you tried?”

Them: “I’ve never tried anything, I need money so I can start.”

Money is beneficial when you already know what you’re doing, because then you can scale something successful, not throw money and pray. If you’re waiting for money to do something, you won’t know what you’re doing, and thus, won’t need money.

Them: “I need investors”

Me: “Why?”

Them: “So I can start a business”

Me: “What would having money from an investor do for you?

Them: “Then I could spend money on marketing to grow a company”

Me: “Where would you spend the marketing money?

Them: “I don’t know, do you have any ideas?”

—-

Them: “Capital”

Me: “What would you do after getting capital?”

Them: “Not sure.”

You don’t need money to start your business

The majority of people who think they need capital to start their business do not need capital, they need an elimination of excuses.

If it wasn’t capital, it’d be something else. If someone claiming they needed capital were handed $5k, or $20k, or whatever phantom number they claimed they needed, they’d just have another excuse since they don’t actually know what to do.

That’s the point. You’re not going to learn what to do sitting on the sidelines. Money is irrelevant, especially early on in the game. Money won’t solve your problems, knowledge will.

Using capital as an excuse as to why you haven’t started your business is an easy one to use because so many other wantrepreneurs use that. You feel justified in using that as the reason to not do anything. It gives you the satisfaction of ‘knowing you’d make it if only you had money’. Well, if you had money you’d still be on the sidelines with the next excuse.

“Here’s $10k, why are you still not taking any action?”

“Well, now I need a mentor.”

“Here’s a mentor, why are you still not taking any action?”

“Well, now just need more time, there’s only so many hours in the day.”

“Here’s a bottle of unlimited time, why are you still not taking any action?”

There’s always reasons you can give yourself for why not to take action. It’s ‘easy’. But, it makes the rest of your life hard.

Guess what…

There’s no capital for no action.

There’s no mentors for no action.

And time is irrelevant if you aren’t going to use it to bet on yourself.

It’s not a money problem, it’s a mindset problem.

The limiting belief of telling yourself that you can’t start without money keeps you on the sidelines, and away from making the very money you claim to need to start.

The only thing that’d happen if you got capital was it’d just give you more money to lose since you don’t know what you’re doing yet.

The more beginner the entrepreneur, the more they think they need capital to start a business.

You aren’t Silicon Valley, and you aren’t building the next Tesla.

YOU DO NOT NEED MONEY TO START YOUR BUSINESS.

Are there some people who need capital to start a business? Yes, absolutely. I personally called a number of people who filled out the survey, and some have good ideas that legitimately will need capital.

The funny thing was though, the few people who did actually need capital were still taking action by way of due diligence, which will allow them to know the market and know exactly how to best use the money. That knowledge will allow them to raise the money they need, or feel confident to invest their own money by making a calculated, +EV decision.

The ones who did not need money were often taking zero action, so they wouldn’t learn what was needed to execute. If they had, they’d learn that what was needed to execute would not take much if any money. That knowledge would allow them to take action, which would allow them to make money.

 

needmoney

Many projects I’ve started that made money have taken little to no money to start. Most of my entrepreneurial friends who’ve been very successful in business usually started their projects with little to no money as well.

Started Poker with Pennies

I remember playing poker for basically pennies when I was starting. This was after I’d already taken action by reading books on how to play, and playing for ‘play money’ to learn how to do it. I deposited $50 and the blinds were $0.01/$0.02. I worked hard and scaled the initial deposit of $50 to $100, then $1,000, then $10,000, then significantly more, including a $43,000 month. Going from playing for pennies to making $43,000 in a single month did not happen overnight, it took a lot of practice.

The practice gave me the knowledge of what worked and didn’t work. I applied that knowledge to keep getting better, and when I got better my income increased as a result. If I had used the excuse of needing money before I started so that I wouldn’t have to play for pennies, I’d still be on the sidelines. The inaction of waiting for more money before starting would have kept me from earning the knowledge, that earned me the money.

Started an E-commerce Store for $500

The first niche e-commerce store that I started was only around $500 to start(example #4 from How To Get “Lucky” in E-Commerce), and I could have easily started it for less by not outsourcing some of the initial tasks, and learning to do them myself. The only reason I spent that is because I was able to, and I valued my time, which could be spent on more valuable things.

After making four figures/month passively on it for a while, I sold that store in a small package for almost $70,000. Other people who want to get into e-commerce are “waiting for more money” to start, because that will supposedly allow them to make money. That’s not how it works.

ForeverJobless: from action to… oops I built another business 

ForeverJobless has been a side project just trying to give back and talk about entrepreneurship and other things that I really enjoy talking about. It may turn into a business almost accidentally as a byproduct of just taking action and providing value. I mean, it’s never been treated as a “business” up to this point.

What will likely go from a fun side project, to a six figure business, was only made possible by action.

That action has led me to learning how to write blog posts, which made me realize people wanted to listen to content as well, which led to the action of learning how to launch a very successful podcast(which due to popular demand will be having a new series released soon), which compounded the number of people asking for more help, which led to the action of helping action taking entrepreneurs start profitable businesses, which made me realize how much I could help people, which led me to figuring out how to grow a massive social media following fast to reach more people, which made me realize a lot of people are at the very beginning of their journey which has led to the action of writing a book to help them(coming soon), which all compounds and continues to grow the ForeverJobless platform, which leads to more opportunities, which will lead to more action to add value, which will lead to more growth.

A side effect of all that action, is income.

No action would have equated to no learning, no opportunities, no growth, no income.

The more action you take, the more opportunities you will have.

If we had a business competition, and I gave someone who’s never taken action $10k to start, and I started with $0, what do you think’s going to happen? They’re not going to ‘win’. Why? Because needing money to start your business is not actually why you’re not starting. It’s needing knowledge, and taking action. The more action you take the more knowledge you gain on how to take future action. If you’re too risk averse to bet any time or money on yourself, you’re not going to pick up the knowledge you need.

Think of yourself as a stock. The more you invest in yourself (time or money), the more your future earnings will be. The faster you have higher earnings, the more those earnings compound and can be re-invested.

Some of you even have the money you claim to need to start, you just don’t want to risk it. You’ve got a certain amount of money put away, and you’re saving it as if having it sit in the bank or a stock is doing anything to help you. All it’s doing is validating the fact that you aren’t willing to bet on yourself.

Safe Money = Slow Money

A lot of the people who “need money”, often have money, they just want more before starting so they don’t risk losing what they already have. If you understand expected value(EV), you’ll realize you are losing it, in the form of opportunity cost by not making the optimal decision. You’re choosing a -EV route, and avoiding a +EV route just to avoid the possibility of losing. As a byproduct of avoiding the possibility of losing, you are losing. You’re losing time and money that should have been spent in the game, investing in yourself + improving your knowledge.

If you’re keeping your money “safe” on the sidelines instead of making a +EV bet on yourself, you’re actually being very risky. You’re risking knowledge, and future income. If you risk these, you risk the future you desire.

Many people say they “can’t afford” to buy a book, or a course, or go to a conference, or hire a coach, but that same person is spending money at the bar, has new clothes, the newest iPhone, and other possessions.

They feel like they can make up for their lack of knowledge sometime in the future with ‘hustle’ and ‘grit’, and other words they’ve heard successful entrepreneurs use that they confuse for being the reason they succeed. If you hustle your way in the wrong direction you can go as hard as you want, but you won’t end up where you want to go. Spend the time and money investing in your roadmap and taking action.

Knowledge compounds very quickly. When your knowledge compounds, so can your income. You should be betting on yourself, which will be the best investment you can make. It will give you significantly higher returns long term than anything else.

If you’re thinking, “that’s not me I don’t have any capital”, you need to realize that you actually do…

Sweat equity is your capital when you’re starting out

 

“Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is. Know your business and industry better than anyone in the world.”  Mark Cuban

Paper money is just one form of capital. Even if you literally had no money at all, you have time, which most people tend to dismiss but it’s probably your greatest form of capital. You could spend the time you have pursuing a business and learning how to do it, or you could burn it. Most people burn it. That’s real capital you’re burning, but since it’s not in a material form that you can see, most people blindly burn that capital every day, and claim that they have none.

Almost every entrepreneur I know started with little to no money when they started. They had capital in the form of time, so through sweat equity they hustled their way to learn, and in the process grew some initial capital.

The reason I ran the survey was to know what type of content would be most helpful to put out on ForeverJobless. I wrote this post because there was such a large number of people that I realized weren’t taking action only because they incorrectly assumed they needed money to start a business.

If that’s been you up to this point, or if you know someone who’s been waiting to take action for that reason, make sure to share this post with them.

Realize that we’ve all got an enormous amount of capital, money is just one form.

Time is money.

Make sure you’re not lighting it on fire.

It will fund your future, and the life that comes with it.


What I Learned From Traveling For 2 Months, and Why You Should Immediately Book a Trip


I wrote this post shortly after returning from Australia, and neglected to post until now. If you travel, or if you’ve always wanted to travel, I think you’ll enjoy:

Several months ago I bought a one way ticket to Australia. I didn’t know when I’d return. I packed up my bags, left my place in Austin empty, and headed to the airport. I didn’t have a specific reason to go to Australia. I’d never been, and thought it would be fun to check out another country for a while. Getting a return flight didn’t seem to make much sense to me. If I was having fun, I’d stay. When I felt like getting back to Austin, I’d just book a flight.

It was funny to hear the comments from people when they realized I didn’t have any set return date.

“What about your place?”, “Won’t it be more expensive to book last minute?”, “What if you don’t like it?”, “What if someone breaks in to your apartment while you’re gone?”, “Don’t go in the water, there’s lots of shark attacks!”, “There’s poisonous spiders and snakes everywhere, don’t go outside!”.

It was like every reason why it was bad to live without a plan was presented to me, even bringing potential death into the situation since there wasn’t actually a logical reason not to do it.

Most people stay so busy trying to make money that they forget the whole point of life is to enable you to do things you want to do. If you don’t have the freedom to do that, money loses a lot of it’s value. I wouldn’t be able to do things like that without money, but more importantly without freedom. I see so many people in good situations financially who are doing nothing more than racing towards death, since they don’t have the freedom to put it to use.

That’s why being “ForeverJobless” is so important. It gives you the ability to actually live, spending time doing things you want to do, with people you want to do them with. I see so many people who go to work in a job they don’t enjoy that will never provide them the life they want. It either doesn’t give you enough freedom, doesn’t give you enough money, or both. If you’re too busy working to live, you’re doing it wrong.

A lot of people consider traveling as a ‘vacation’, something they get to do two weeks out of every year. Most people trade their lives away for weekends and vacation.  That doesn’t make any sense.

“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life” – Steve Jobs

If you’re not spending your time doing what it is you want to do, don’t wait for someone to give you permission to change your life. The person in the mirror is the only one capable of giving you the command, and chances are you’re too “busy” to realize it.

Getting out of your normal routine also presents you with new opportunities. While I was in Australia I learned to surf, met some cool people, lived on a cliff next to a famous actor, swam above a shark while snorkeling, made some really unique investments, and oh… negotiated a book deal.

It made for a much more interesting life than if I had just stayed in my normal day to day routine, and exposed me to things I wouldn’t have been exposed to had I not done it.

“Ya, but it sounds so risky to just pick up and travel!”

“If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary” – Jim Rohn

If you are living a life you don’t enjoy you need to realize it’s the only one you’ve got and time is ticking on it as we speak. 

“Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs

How to be productive while traveling:

“I’d love to travel but I need to work”

You can still get your work done while traveling. Here’s what I recommend for productivity:

Stay focused on your priority goal and knock out your main task around that first thing in the morning. If you keep your priority goal your priority, traveling won’t affect you accomplishing any goal you want.

I realize when I travel I actually do a better job ignoring irrelevant tasks, because I want to explore and enjoy the new surroundings.

I can remember surfing during the middle of the day, or sitting on our cliff reading and realizing I was able to because I was only working on what was actually important, and not busy work like most people consume their time with.

cliffreading

This is one of the most important skills to improve at, but very few people even realize that a lot of their “work time” is wasted time because it was work that they shouldn’t have been doing in the first place. Your time should be spent on the most profitable activities or on increasing your knowledge, which will increase profits even further. This gives you freedom, which allows you the ability to spend your life doing things you enjoy.

This is something I continually try to improve at, and is one of the most important things you can do. I realize I significantly improve at this while I’m traveling. It’s forced focus, since if you are visiting another country you’re not going to spend all your time indoors doing ‘busywork’. It becomes much easier to disregard those tasks, and you realize eliminating a lot of those tasks doesn’t negatively impact your life. All it does is give you more time to do what you want to do.

Also, stay somewhere long enough to get into a routine. When I was in Bondi Beach I stayed for a month, so it was easy to get into a routine. Work in the morning/early afternoon, hit the gym and the beach, and walk to a handful of restaurants that had healthy food nearby. I even had a meal delivery service deliver some of my meals to try and stay on track with my fitness goals. It was very easy with this setup to get the work done that I needed to do. Still had plenty of time to explore outside of that routine.

When I traveled to other places such as Melbourne, the Great Barrier Reef, Manly Beach and Byron Bay, it was a lot tougher to get into a routine since I was usually there about a week, so that by the time I learned my way around, discovered healthy restaurants, a good gym, etc… I started the process all over in a new place. So, I was substantially less productive when I was moving around all the time.

I normally get all my meals delivered which is one of the biggest productivity hacks I recommend. I realized when I was traveling in cities that I didn’t get meal delivery service in, I would often unintentionally spend 3-5 hours/day just on food. Walking around a city to find food + sitting and eating in restaurants consumes a lot of time. It’s obviously enjoyable to explore and check out new food spots; it’s one of the cool things about traveling, but if you’re also needing to be productive it’s probably the simplest ‘hack’ you can have for productivity while traveling. 

A few very clear benefits of traveling:

As with most things in life, people tend to worry about the potential downsides of trying something new, but fail to factor in all the upsides.

Less Stress

Many people feel stressed in their day to day life, so getting out of that environment helps bring you to a new state of mind. Because of the ‘new experience’ and new surroundings, you tend to be in a happier, less stressful mindset.

New Friends

You also tend to meet a lot of new people since you aren’t in your normal environment. This is something else that boosts happiness. Potentially long term happiness as well, since most people don’t tend to do a good job of meeting new people when they’re at home in their normal routine since they already have friends and family they spend time with; so in being more open to meeting people you’ll often find friends you get along with even better than the usual people you hang out with. Reason being, you’re only exposed to people in a very, very tiny section of the world. A lot of people only spend time with people in a little 10-25 mile radius. This is kind of comical when you think about it. It’s mathematically improbable that you are with your ideal group of friends or that you will meet your “soulmate” within your little bubble. Yet if you remain in that little bubble you’ll continue to incorrectly assume it must be true.

New Business Ideas

For any entrepreneurs, I guarantee you will come up with new business ideas from traveling. Why? Because you’ll be exposed to new things. New ‘things’ or experiences will translate to new ways of thinking for you, and you’ll discover new opportunities because of this. There were dozens of new ideas while I was there I never would have thought of if I hadn’t been exposed to something new. Traveling is a great idea generator. If you do enough of it and learn the correct mindset for profitable ideas, you’ll come up with more ideas than you know what to do with.

This post isn’t about starting profitable businesses or making money though. It’s about living the life you want. Most people say one of their dreams is to travel, yet they don’t take simple steps to just go do it. Becoming “ForeverJobless” is easier than you realize, and not taking action to create the life you want is costing you…well… your life.

Most people fund their work with payment of their life. That’s not a good exchange. Fast forwarding through life waiting for two weeks of vacation. If you do it right, you can fund your life with your work.

Living your life around your work is the wrong way to do it. 

Work doesn’t have to be your life. It should fund the life you want.

Set your life up in a way that you can work on what you want, when you want, from wherever you want.

great barrier reef

It’s great to focus on making money, but make sure freedom comes with it.

Travel. You’ll remember the experiences.

Book a one way ticket. Don’t list out all the reasons why you can’t, list out all the reasons why you should.

Like in life, most people have already booked their return ticket without even knowing if that’s what they’d enjoy most. They plan the itinerary of their life as if their goal was a race to death. They just want to get there.

Don’t spend your life waiting to do all the things you want to do. You can’t buy your time back later. 

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”

Leave a comment below and tell me where you plan to travel next. If you’ve been putting it off, what are you going to do to make it happen?


Do 80% of Businesses Really Fail? And Is It Predictive of Your Chances?


“Over 80% of businesses fail.”

I’m sure you’ve heard that line before.

It’s not entirely accurate, and it doesn’t tell you the whole story. In some ways it’s a very low estimate. In other ways, very high. See, it’s too broad of a statement to extract any valuable information from. People just regurgitate it as if they’re proclaiming some wisdom. All they’re doing is repeating meaningless statistics they heard somewhere about something that’s irrelevant.

It’s like if we said that x% of athletes become professional athletes. It means nothing, other than letting people know that it’s extremely hard to become a professional athlete. However, it’s not difficult to become successful as an entrepreneur if go about it the right way, yet that regurgitated statement would make you falsely assume that it was.

Aspiring entrepreneurs tend to look at a broad statement like that and assume they’re going to be a failure the majority of the time. They go in expecting failure. This keeps most people from even trying at all, and instead deciding to settle for a mediocre life to avoid the possibility of becoming part of that 80% that they’ve heard so much about.

Except 80% isn’t the right number to be using.

If you decided not to pursue creating your dream life to avoid that potential failure, you’re actually in a different equation all together. You’re in the 100% group. 100% of the people who avoid taking a risk to create their dream life, fail by default.

I became “ForeverJobless” by taking risks. I took a “risk” to become a professional poker player.

playing poker

I could have failed. Most people thought I would. I didn’t, so reaped rewards I wouldn’t have reaped without taking the “risk”. If I had stayed on the sidelines, I would have gone through that period of my life without “risking” failure, but guaranteeing I would not reap those rewards.

I have taken many “risks” in starting businesses. I could have been a failure as an entrepreneur. I have had some good successes, so I have gained rewards I wouldn’t have gained without taking the “risk”. Much like poker, if I had stayed on the sidelines, I would have avoided potential failure, but as a byproduct of avoiding that failure, would have avoided any success.

Playing it “safe” would have actually been the riskiest thing I could imagine.

If you’re reading this and getting the feeling that you’ve played it safe up to this point, do a real honest self-evaluation and ask yourself if you’re happy with the results this “safe” route has gotten you. Chances are, the dreams you had for yourself 5, 10, 20 years ago have not come to fruition. If you’re not taking “risks”, they can’t, because as a byproduct of avoiding the risk of failure, you’re guaranteeing avoidance of success as well. Avoiding giving yourself a chance at success also means avoiding living the life you aspire to live.

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting here in Australia overlooking the water and having my morning coffee. I’m here right now because I took “risks” in the past that now enable me to live a life that allows me to travel where I want, when I want.

coffee

What I want you to understand is the “risks” I took, and continue to take, aren’t really all that risky.

I probably fail more than you. I’m okay with that. Once you understand that temporary failure means nothing, it allows you to take “risks”, because they’re not really that risky.

It’d be a much scarier risk to not give yourself an opportunity to live the life you want to live.

Pursue opportunities where your losses are capped, but your ceiling is uncapped. Reading and re-reading Millionaire’s Math will help you with this process.

Let’s talk about the 80%.

What does this really mean? Well… not much.

First of all, comparing your chances to any random aspiring entrepreneur is not a good benchmark.

Those 80% of people are either going in clueless, or jumping in with bad advice from someone. Some might not be getting any advice at all- although I’d argue that taking advice from people who don’t know what they’re doing is probably more dangerous.

Just avoiding taking action based on bad advice will lessen your chance of failure.

Listen to those you aspire to be like. Ignore everyone else.

For the people who do jump into the game of business, a certain % of them will only take action for a few weeks, or a few months. At the first sign of uncertainty or difficulty, many of them will quit. Maybe they would have failed, but maybe they were closer than they think to success.

diamond

 

I see businesses all the time where a slight tweak would change everything for them. In The Incubator I teach the 4-step process entrepreneurs need for a successful business, and sometimes a tweak to one of their steps will change the whole outcome of their venture. Turning what would have been a dud, into a profitable business.

If you don’t have a process to follow, you may jump to another opportunity not even understanding where you went wrong on the last one, which means your odds on the new venture won’t necessarily improve, or you may quit altogether and decide the “safe” route of a job will protect you. The only thing it’s protecting you from is living the life you’d rather live.

So, if you avoid taking bad advice, and also continue taking action rather than quitting like most do, you again move the odds even more in your favor.

Now, if you’re one of the few that actually invest in yourself, you’re going to substantially move the needle further in your favor. Avoiding bad advice is great, but if you’re not investing in yourself to make sure you’re getting good advice, that’s still an investment choice you’re making. You’re just choosing 0% returns. Personally, I think investing in myself is one of the greatest investments I can make. There’s nowhere else I can get such a high return. I’m constantly investing in conferences, coaches, consultants, masterminds, books, that will help increase my chance of success.

If I invest $0, I’m not “risking” money, but I’m risking my chance of success, which in turn, risks earning money.

Every time I’ve attempted to do things 100% on my own, my results have not been anywhere near where they’ve been when I’ve invested in myself by getting guidance from people who’d been where I wanted to go in that specific space.

When I played poker, I hired poker coaches. For my fitness, I have a trainer. As an entrepreneur, I get business coaching. Could I have gotten the results I’ve gotten on my own? No. No where near the degree I have. Would I had saved money? Sure. Short term money. Saving the short term money would have cost me long term results. The long term results I produced have returned me many, many multiples the investment that I made in myself. Think of yourself as a stock. You’ll make much bigger returns investing in yourself than you will other investments. Yet, most people bet on everything else except themselves.

If you aren’t willing to bet on yourself, this will keep your chance of success much lower than it should be.

Investing in yourself also helps increase the % chance you’ll keep taking action instead of quitting like most do, since continuing to take action is a lot easier if you’re confident you have a roadmap to get to your end destination. Investing in yourself by acquiring knowledge from people who’ve already been where you want to go helps give you that roadmap, rather than trying to navigate everything alone, or navigating with a broken compass because you took advice from people who haven’t been where you want to go.

Another reason the 80% number is irrelevant is because temporary failures mean nothing. I feel like many aspiring entrepreneurs fear that number as if it means something. We already talked about why so many fail, and how you can avoid being one of them, but even if you do have a “failure”, it’s nothing more than a learning experience as long as you continue playing the game.

You increase the chance of success on the next on one. Here’s a short podcast episode where I explain this concept: The Entrepreneurial Coin

As Mark Cuban says,

“You only have to be right once”

So, again, I don’t think entrepreneurs fail 80% of the time.

I think aspiring entrepreneurs probably fail more than 99% of the time, because most do not take any action. They fail by default. They’ll live in mediocrity forever to avoid risk, but all they avoid is living a life they’d actually prefer to live.

“When I’m old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say ‘wow, that was an adventure’, not ‘wow, I sure felt safe.” – Tom Preston-Werner

On the flip side, I think entrepreneurs that invest in themselves, get advice from the right people, and take continuous action based on that good advice, fail much less than 50% of the time. If you do fail, it’s only a temporary loss of time and money. When you succeed, you’ll make substantially more than when you fail, and it’s often a long term income source, so even if you theoretically failed 50% of the time(which you won’t), it’s extremely + EV.

Remember to weigh the odds in your favor as much as you can.

The odds will go one way no matter what, so you might as well do what you need to do so that they’re pointing in your direction.

There’s millions and millions of aspiring entrepreneurs, but only x% of those will ever take any action.

Only x% of the ones that do take action will do so past the first few weeks or months.

Only x% of those will get over the mental barriers of investing in themselves, and getting direction from people who’ve already been where they want to be, to shortcut the process.

Only x% of those will continue past the first big hurdle or failure, many not realizing it’s nothing but a learning experience which will improve their odds even further.

Most aspiring entrepreneurs are only that. “Aspiring” to become an entrepreneur, but they only dream about it and don’t take the necessary action that will get them there. So, they go around claiming how “risky” business is and adding to the number of people who regurgitate irrelevant numbers like the 80%, to attempt to justify their decision not to take action. Talking and dreaming about entrepreneurship is easier.

As I hope you’ve learned from this post, if you invest in yourself and learn from others who’ve been where you want to go, and take continuous action without giving up, you actually have an extremely high likelihood of success. When you do hit temporary hurdles or failures; realize it’s just that, temporary. Nothing more than a learning stop on your journey, Even if you don’t hit a home run on the first one, you will if you keep swinging.

The decisions you make today will give you the life you live tomorrow. If you woke up today and didn’t enjoy what you had to do, take a risk to change it. Or, you could just keep doing what you’re doing, which would be the biggest risk of all.


My Friend Started a National Newspaper, and Failed Miserably


I have a friend who started a national newspaper.

In this post I’m going to explain what he tried, why he failed, how you can avoid similar failures, and I’m also going to reveal who my friend is.

My friend’s goal was to try and build an audience up through the newspaper, and then profit by advertising things the readers could buy.

He saw what other successful newspapers were doing, so he figured he’d put out the same type of content as they were, since it seemed to be a proven model.

It saved him a lot of time and energy. He could just replicate what was already working, and reap the rewards.

He decided to offer the newspaper for free in hopes that he’d grow the audience more quickly, which he thought would enable him greater profits long term.

He launched his newspaper and ran into a big problem. Despite offering it for free, he couldn’t give it away! He tried all sorts of popular marketing tactics, and couldn’t get any traction.

Some people would take a copy here or there, but it was hard for him to get them to come back for another.

“How am I ever going to sell them stuff if they won’t read my papers?!”

He’s right, that would be a problem.

So, he worked even harder on marketing. He wrote articles for other newspapers, appeared on TV shows, and basically did anything and everything he could to get the word out about his newspaper.

He slowly started to get a small audience just because he was working so hard to promote it.

newspaper Image courtesy of https://library.hsu.edu/

He wanted to start monetizing since he wasn’t charging people to read it.

So, he wrote a book and started marketing that in the newspaper. He also started offering a seminar teaching other people how they could start a national newspaper.

I ran into him and he was just glowing.

He was stoked about the potential of this. He had been waiting to make the newspaper profitable, and now not only did he have an income source, he launched two different products at the same time.

“This is what I’ve been waiting for”, he said. “After this I’ll never have to work for anyone else again.”

He had a swagger in his step. Now that he was launching these products, he was as confident as I’d ever seen him.

A few weeks later I got a phone call.

It was him.

He was frantic.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“No one’s buying my stuff”, he said.

He continued and vented about the fact that he needed people to buy or he’d have to go back to his job. He didn’t want to work for anyone else so he had to figure out a way to sell these products. I could hear his voice cracking, and could tell he was tearing up on the other end.

I was pretty confident I could help him solve his problem, but I wanted to be careful not to upset him further. He seemed devastated that this wasn’t going as planned.

I asked him if I could help him try and solve the issue by asking him some questions. He seemed to perk up a bit when he thought their might be a solution. He said I could.

I thought a few simple questions could help get to the bottom of the problem:

Me: So, one of your products teaches people how to start a newspaper… why would readers want to start a newspaper?

Him: To make money!

Me: But, isn’t one of your frustrations with the newspaper that it doesn’t make money?

Him: Ya, but if I can figure out how to get people to buy my products it will make money. I need to focus on copywriting and conversions. That will help sales.

Me: So, copywriting and conversions are why the products aren’t selling? If that were really the case, wouldn’t it be a relatively easy problem to fix?

Him: The market of people who read newspapers is so big, if I can just get a fraction of the market to read my newspaper, and then convert a small percentage of them, I’d crush it.

Me: So, you believe that the entire market of people who read newspapers is your potential audience?

Him: Well, not necessarily the whole market, but for the topics my newspaper covers.

Me: Okay, so for the topics you cover, what do you cover better than any other newspaper in the world?

Him: Better than anyone in the world?? I’m not trying to break records here, I just want to make enough to not have to work a real job.

Me: But, how does you not wanting to work a real job add value to your readers?

Him: What do you mean?

Me: Well, every decision you seem to make surrounding the newspaper seems to be revolving around all the things the newspaper can potentially do for you. You started the newspaper because you didn’t want to work a job. You wanted to focus on selling a book and seminars to try and make yourself money. You haven’t once mentioned the value that your readers or potential customers are getting.

Him: There’s lots of newspapers with the same information I’m putting out. There’s also people selling books and seminars on these subjects. So obviously there’s a market there for it!

Me: You just described another one of your problems. You’re putting out content and products that already exist. Your offering doesn’t differentiate from what already exists in the market, so why the heck would anyone want it? If you aren’t offering something that’s better than what currently exists in the market, why does it need to exist at all?

It was silent on the other end of the phone.

I couldn’t tell if he was angry at me for having been blunt with him, or if he was finally realizing why he had failed up to this point.

When he finally spoke, there was a hint of frustration, but he seemed to have a bit of clarity. The frustration seemed to be that he couldn’t believe no one had told him his offering wasn’t any good before. They’d all congratulated him on launching, and told him how impressed they were that he was launching his own products.

He had felt like a king for all the wrong reasons.

He was king of a no value throne that constantly swallows up aspiring entrepreneurs by focusing on everything except what’s important.

You see, the problem he was trying to solve, was the wrong problem.

He started the newspaper based on what he thought it could do for him. If he wanted his newspaper to be successful, he needed to start a newspaper based on what it could do for his potential readers.

He was more concerned with solving the problem of how the newspaper was going to make him a lot of money. A byproduct of making that his focus, means that the value to the readers would be low, because that wasn’t his priority.

He wanted to help himself, not his potential customers. His goal didn’t align with the customer’s goals.

“I don’t want to work”, was his goal.

That translated to his thought process being, “I need to convince people to buy my shit”.

This fooled him into thinking that more marketing tricks were the answer.

His answer should have been “let me offer something of value better than anything else in the market”. That goal aligns with his customers, and would have helped with his goal of not wanting to work a job.

I have a confession to make about my friend.

My friend is probably you, or someone you know.

I see thousands of people who launch ‘national newspapers’. They’re called blogs.
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Almost everyone who launches their ‘national newspaper’, launches it because of what they think it can do for them.

It’s an “easy” business to launch. The launching of businesses are what’s celebrated these days.

Remember the swagger my friend had after launching?

Well, he got his swagger from the wrong place. He got excited about the “launch” of the products as opposed to ‘making something valuable.’ That’s where your swagger should come from!

Whether it’s blogs, or businesses, people view ‘the launch’ as the success.

That’s absurd.

That’s like walking into the gym and high fiving everyone and celebrating just for having walked in the door, then going home.

It sounds comical, but that’s exactly what everyone online is doing.

Courses congratulate people for “launching”, as if they accomplished something, even though they shouldn’t have even launched. They want people to “launch” so they can claim great “success” rates, even though they’ve ‘succeeded’ at nothing other than launching a shitty business.

They’ve accomplished nothing, but are tricked into believing they have done something worthy of praise.

This false praise is only going to confuse and distract from the reality that you have succeeded in launching something that no one wants or needs.

Those who give false praise to their neighbors are setting a trap for them.

-Proverbs 29:5

Have you been showered in false praise recently? Many times those showering you in false praise are doing so, because they profit from you.

Here’s a message I saw recently on one of my feeds(some things x’d out for privacy):

“Congratulations to XXXXX, a XXXXX student who has successfully launched their XXXXX devoted to promoting your ebook.”

Holy false praise of false praises. With one look at what they were offering you could tell that not only did they not offer anything substantially different than what the market already offered, but their marketing/promotion plan for their launch was not good, yet they were launching something teaching other people how to promote, when they clearly shouldn’t be.

They were congratulated with false praise on the “launch”, by someone who financially benefited from telling them to launch it.
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It was a perfect example of someone who either doesn’t understand what makes a business successful or doesn’t care, telling someone else to launch something because they profit from it. All they’ve done is helped someone “launch” something of little to no value, which means the person launching it will receive little to no value in return for their efforts.

All that “coach” did, was get them into something that will lead them down a path of a lot of wasted time. The coach happily promotes the “success” story of a launch, but no one will hear that the business will fail, along with the majority of their other clients who “successfully” launched future failed businesses.

Most people are looking for the marketing tips and tricks that will help make their product or service succeed. The thing is, solving the problem doesn’t involve continuing to force a mediocre product or service down people’s throat, it involves scrapping it in exchange for a product or service of great value. The popular/exciting answer, and the one most “coaches” and “consultants” are paid for is telling you to launch your idea and then start marketing, but that’s usually not the answer you need.

In The Incubator, I actually tell many people NOT to launch their initial idea.

At first, many people say, “wait, I thought the goal was to launch a business?” That’s where people get confused. The goal should be to launch a successful business.

It’s more exciting for people to be sold the dream of the launch, but that’s not very helpful. Once the temporary excitement of false praise wears off, you’d still be left with a shitty business.

I won’t lie to you and pretend that you launching something that adds no value is an accomplishment.

There’s plenty of people making a living selling false praise for that.

“Just put out content and then sell stuff to make money.”

“Just launch and use these marketing tips and tricks to increase profits”

Those sound easy.

Easy is sexy.

What’s not sexy is putting in the work necessary to be #1 at whatever it is you’re doing. What’s even less sexy is understanding the variables that make becoming #1 a possibility.

The dream is easier to sell, and thus, is sold.

—–

Are you creating something of value better than what already exists in the market?

If not, you’re probably letting the bright lights of the “launch” blind you from what real success actually is.

One will lead you to success and financial rewards. The other— temporary excitement and false praise.

Make the decision to invest your time and money creating value in a way that no one has done yet.

Otherwise you’ll find yourself swimming in a fountain of false praise where you’ll find no coins at the bottom. Dive as deep as you want but you’ll drown before you reap the financial rewards you seek.

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I Dare You To Fail For One Year


If you’re like most people, you may have a habit of thinking you aren’t good at something, despite never having put in the effort to become good.

The byproduct of putting in that effort, would be a level of success you can’t possibly fathom at the moment. Success at something you initially assumed you weren’t any good at.

If you assume you can’t achieve a certain level of success at something, the byproduct of that assumption will be you not putting in the effort necessary to achieve it.

Have you ever heard the saying, “When you assume(ASS-U-ME), you make an ASS out of U, and ME.” Well, right now you’re just making an ass out of “U”, by giving yourself a fake excuse as to why you aren’t accomplishing what it is that you want, and living the life you aspire to live.

Don’t assume.

There’s plenty of things in my life that after having challenged myself to do what I assumed I couldn’t do, realized after a little bit of hard work I had gained abilities I had initially dismissed in myself.

I never thought I could get in the type of shape I wanted to be in. I spent most of my life with the limiting belief that I had to remain scrawny, and that I “just didn’t have the genetics” to get ripped. That’s a great excuse for someone who wants to be lazy. But that’s all it was, an excuse.

That limiting belief kept me from seeking out the answers that would get me the result I wanted.

Once I stopped being a wuss and just got in the damn gym, I started failing my way to the body I wanted. In the beginning, I struggled with tiny ass weights because I was a tiny ass dude. That’s how you’re going to start if you spend all your time up to that point with a limiting belief that doesn’t even get you to the starting line.

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Courtesy of gq.com, Illustration by Ward Sutton

I’d lift my miniature weights and see guys at the gym that I wanted to look like. “Man, I wish I could look like that!”, “Damn, he’s so lucky he’s built like that”, “Wow, that guy’s ripped, I wish I had his genetics.” I slowly got rid of those stupid limiting beliefs and just kept failing my way along, day after day. After a long time of putting in the work, I’d occasionally catch a reflection in the gym mirror and think, “Damn, I want to look like…oh shit, that’s me!”

I had failed my way to the result I wanted.

We all have limiting beliefs.

A lot of people think they don’t have limiting beliefs, but they do.

For example, why haven’t you started a business yet?

“I need money to start a business”

“I need a partner”

“I need a mentor first”

These are all limiting beliefs. You don’t need any of these things, but if you’re looking for an excuse, those will all do just fine. They’re commonly used so you can convince yourself that they “must be true.” Notice the only other people saying these things are sitting on the sidelines, accomplishing nothing.

Most people use the classic: “I wouldn’t know what to do” line.

That’s a limiting belief.

Of course you don’t know what to do right now because you’re not trying. It’s impossible to know what to do from the sidelines.

No one knows what they’re doing when they first start out.

A lot of people assume ‘the successful’ got lucky, or they inherited money, or that they were born smarter, or whatever it may be.

Most of the time, the person just worked hard to learn what they needed to do to be successful.

Almost everyone I know who has a successful business, did NOT know everything about how to make that business successful when they started. Many of them had no idea. If they had a limiting belief that told them someone smarter, or luckier, or richer would start the business instead, they’d still be on the sideline complaining about how it’s just not in the cards for them.

You need to realize, a lot of the reason successful people achieve success, is because they understand that short term failure is irrelevant, and they know that they control the end results. It’s hard, they learn, they fail, they learn more, then they succeed and everyone on the sideline calls them lucky.

They only thing that makes them lucky is that so many people are sitting on the sideline instead of competing against them, making the game all that much easier for them and everyone else who’s taking action.

——

At one point last year I was listening to a speech from Eric Thomas, a motivational speaker.

In one part of his speech, he said that we need to:

“Be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are, for what we could be”

He said someone might say: “I’m not good in writing”

His response: “Cause you ain’t never written before!”

He said:

“But I dare you to fail at writing for a whole year to see if you could get to the end.”

It was funny to hear him say this…

See, I struggled with writing…

When I started writing blog posts on ForeverJobless- I’m not kidding, some posts literally took me 40 hours to write.

I was “not a writer.” But as I’ve learned, it wasn’t really that I wasn’t a writer. It’s that I wasn’t a writer yet. See, as Eric Thomas said, ‘how could I expect to be good at writing, when I hadn’t ever written before?’

I couldn’t…

So, as I’ve practiced writing more and more over the last year, it’s gotten easier and easier. The more I write, the easier it gets. I wake up each morning now and write. When I started doing it, it was hard. I’d have a blank page for 20 minutes…30 minutes…an hour.

Now there’s some days where I’ll crank out several thousand words. In one day.

A year ago, if I was to write a post, it would take almost a full time effort if I wanted to get one up the next week. I was a very, very slow writer. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a LOT to improve, but it’s been crazy how quickly I saw myself go from “not a writer”, to someone who can write 500-1,000 words/day without a problem.

I put in the effort, to make it become effortless

If I write just 500 words/day for 1 year, do you know how much that is? That’s 182,500 words. That’s several books worth of content.

I have a lot of ideas I want to share, and for a long time I just gave myself the excuse that I wasn’t a writer.

It was a limiting belief that was keeping me on the sideline. You don’t improve on the sideline.

If you find yourself sitting on the sideline right now with your own limiting belief, be real with yourself and understand that limiting belief is limiting your possibilities in life until you remove it, and make progress towards what it is that you want. As long as you hold that limiting belief as your excuse, you’re just delaying the progress you’d make towards your goal.

The progress you’d make would open you up to opportunities you can’t see from the outside.

As I hope you’ve learned from reading the ForeverJobless blog or listening to the ForeverJobless podcast, you’re never going to be or have what you want, until you put in the daily work necessary to get the results you desire. Writing every day for months on end… now I have an ability to write that I didn’t have last year that will allow me to share ideas that I want to share.

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Most of the ideas I want to share are still unpublished. If I start publishing them and all the sudden go from writing a handful of posts per year, to pumping out a massive amount of content, creating a lot of fast growth, it will cause a lot of people to say “luck” or “overnight success”, or find some other reason why that happened, other than the boring answer…

A lot practice.

You and I both know “overnight success” isn’t really how it goes down.

The more work you put in on a daily basis towards something you’d like to achieve, the more confident you can be that whatever goal you set, you can predict and expect success because the daily work you put in all but guarantees it. All you have to do is set the goal you want, then form the habit to insure the work gets done that takes you to that goal.

There’s a quote I love from The One Thing

“If you are what you repeatedly do, then achievement isn’t an action you take but a habit you forge into your life. You don’t have to seek out success. Harness the power of selected discipline to build the right habit, and extraordinary results will find you.”

See, when the results come, it’s not by accident. I’m following the same patterns whether it’s podcasting, fitness, writing, or anything else I want to achieve. When I fail, it’s because I failed to do something I know I should have done. Most likely, I failed to do something on a daily basis that guarantees progress. When I succeed, it’s not because I have some special talent. I’m just as talented, or untalented as you are. When I succeed it’s because I do the handful of things necessary that equate to success. That’s it.

So, for me, what Eric Thomas said was true:

I wasn’t good at writing because:

“you ain’t never written before”

And I took the challenge when he said:

“but I dare you to fail at writing for a whole year to see if you could get to the end”

So, you can replace “writing” for whatever it is you want to get better at. If you do whatever “it” is for you on a daily basis, you can’t not improve. You’re just not there at the moment because you haven’t done it before.

So, here’s my challenge to you:

I dare YOU to fail at your goal for one whole year, to see if YOU can get to the end.

If you do…

You don’t have to worry about failure.

You can predict your own success.
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