How To Set Goals If You’re Not Sure What You Want

“To solve a problem or to reach a goal, you…don’t need to know all the answers in advance. But you must have a clear idea of the problem or the goal you want to reach.” – Orison Swett Marden

After reading the recent post on how to achieve goals, you may be wondering,

“Hey Billy, what are your goals?”.

I normally never share my goals, but decided that I will this year. Partially because my goals are significantly different than I’ve normally done in the past, and not how goals are normally set. Partially because of something I read recently that pushed me over the fence to share them, and the other reason being that my goal involves you. I guess those reasons are all slightly related, but let me explain.

This year, I don’t necessarily have one specific, “I must reach X by year end” goal as my priority goal. As you know from reading my article on how to achieve your goals, having that priority goal is what I recommend doing. I don’t normally advise otherwise for most people. There’s a reason I’m doing things slightly differently this year. The last few years the biggest question for me has been, “what the heck do I want to do?”.

How To Set Goals If You Don’t Know What You Want

I haven’t had business/financial as my priority goal for years, as I would often set a goal that would bring me more success/money or whatever metric I was aiming to hit, and would often find myself very quickly bored out of my mind, and preferring to focus on a priority goal such as fitness, or another non-financially motivated goal that I was interested in achieving.

The problem for me wasn’t that I was setting financial goals that were too easy for me, but that the end result of accomplishing the goal wouldn’t change anything in my life.

See, I’ve already set my life up in a way where I can do pretty much whatever I want each day, and ironically the act of setting a goal that doesn’t change anything for me is doing nothing except eliminating the time I have to do whatever it is that I want to do.

There’s nothing I need that most goals will bring me. If you’re familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy, all my needs are taken care of, so having “more” doesn’t really do anything more for me.


So, that’s easy, just set goals for things you want to do, right? Well, it’s easy if you know what that is. For me, I’ve struggled with knowing exactly what it is that I want. Everyone says, “oh, that’s such a good problem to have. To wake up and do whatever you want to do everyday.” Well, it’s still a problem if you don’t know what it is. Sounds like a good situation from the outside looking in, but incredibly frustrating when you’re actually experiencing it.

In the video game of life, this hasn’t been my favorite level.

I spent most of last year trying not to work on much, and figure out what it was that I wanted to do. I won’t get too deep into ‘purpose’ related content in this post, as this will already be a mini novel on it’s own.

You may find this article insightful if you’re not 100% sure what your goal should be. It’s a common problem that no one seems to want to talk about. Everyone wants to pretend they have everything figured out. No one does, usually the people working hard to give that impression often have the least figured out.

There’s only a few reasons why someone will not hit a goal that they set:

They either quit way too soon because they didn’t see instant results so they assumed it wasn’t working.

They don’t have a plan how to actually achieve the goal, and are too reluctant to invest in themselves by hiring someone who’s good at it to help.

Or they don’t really want the goal deep down. A lot of people think they do, but if they sat down with someone who understands how to ask the right questions many people would quickly find out they don’t actually want what they’ve been telling themselves they wanted.

If you don’t actually want the goal, you’re not going to follow through on it. Now, I don’t mean like kind of want it. Everyone would take an extra $5k/month, but if the goal you set doesn’t change your life at all in a way that’s meaningful to you, it’s unlikely to really motivate you to push through.

There was a quote I read recently that pushed me over the edge to share my goals, as I usually don’t share them outside of a handful of people who help keep me accountable. I’m kicking myself because I can’t find the quote now, but it said something along the lines of it being important to share your goals if you believe that doing so would help inspire, or teach others. The quote itself was way better, and made me think I was doing a disservice by not sharing my goals, and my current process with you.

If you find yourself questioning your goals, or what you’re currently working towards, I think this article could help you quite a bit.

I actually hesitate to share about the struggle not because I don’t want to share it, but because I don’t want anyone having another excuse to use not to hit a goal. I know it’s hard enough for most people to hit goals, so I don’t want to give you another ‘out’ so to speak.

Don’t use this article for that reason.

How I’m setting up my goals

For this year, my priority goal is less focused on just one specific end result, but moreso on certain actions I’ll take. Instead of one yearly priority goal, my priority goals will be set in quarterly intervals, keeping in mind certain things I’d like to achieve for the year, but optimizing the quarterly goal setting for happiness and enjoyment, rather than progress towards one yearly priority goal.

Part of the reason being that in the past I would occasionally begin a project and instead of scaling/reaping the rewards once it started taking off, I’d find myself extremely bored, and even if there was a payoff waiting, I didn’t want to work on it.

We’re normally wrong about what we think we want, and besides the payoff not being a big driver for me, I felt I needed to set up my goals and my life differently to increase the chance of working towards something I truly wanted.

We either find out if what we are or were working towards was what we actually wanted, through achievement, or in learning more about ourselves.

If you agree with me that we’re normally wrong about what we want, then you would also agree with my belief that setting long term goals, if you have not spent the time to learn much about yourself, is a monumental flaw.

Many people spend their lives chasing goals they don’t actually want, but the chase keeps them too busy to even realize it.

So, I’m going to share with you not only my goals, but more importantly the thought process and the actions that led me to setting these goals.

I’ll show you what I did to try and figure out what I should be doing, what I learned from that, what I considered based on what I had learned, what I decided after giving proper consideration to each of the possible routes, what I’m specifically doing after making that decision, and what to expect.

What I did to find out what I wanted to do

Well, a lot. But a little.

See, one of the biggest changes I made was elimination of things. I knew that if I was ‘busy’ like everyone else, I wouldn’t gain much clarity about what it was that I wanted to do. So, I started working less. I traveled to Australia for a few months and just tried to do a better job of enjoying life. I learned to surf(I’m still a rookie!), worked less hours, and had a good time. It was a little experiment both in working less, and seeing if I enjoyed traveling for extended periods of time.

My ‘work’ was on figuring out what I wanted to do.

It wasn’t that I wasn’t doing anything. I did a number of ‘work’ things throughout the year, but didn’t usually work on them with the goal to create some big business venture from it, moreso if I was getting some enjoyment from it and adding value to people. When I think back on the year I don’t feel like I did a lot, but it’s because I wasn’t really forcing myself to do things I didn’t want to do. Throughout the year I grew an instagram audience for fun, showed others exactly how to do it, I co-wrote a book that’s not yet released, I helped other people start some cool businesses, or improve the ones they had, I lived in multiple different countries, lived at the beach with my family for over a month, met a lot of cool people, and more.

But, as far as having a direction for the year, I purposely didn’t have that the way I’d normally advise doing. My direction was on trying to figure out what direction I wanted to go.

It’s a good problem to have, but like I said, it’s still a problem. I’ve put myself in a great situation to be able to do whatever I want in life and well… now I just need to figure out what that is.

I even went out to San Francisco for a bit and debated creating a large start up. I have a friend who’s been extremely successful, and he urged me to only come up with ideas that had the potential to become nine figure companies. So, I ran a little experiment and did just that. He’d been telling me for years that I was passing up a lot of money, and impact not using my skills on a bigger project.  I’d always started niche businesses in the past, and wanted to explore other options. Five, six and seven figure projects are fine, there’s nothing wrong with sticking to niche businesses… but I wondered if I was bored because I wasn’t pushing myself with what I was capable of. Not just the money side, but impact.

As the year went on I did less and less. I’ve considered doing some speaking and got offered three speaking gigs during the summer. It was cool to be offered some great opportunities, some of which I would have got to speak with some very big names, and made some great contacts. And well, I turned them all down. They would have been great for the ego, but if you really want to know anything about yourself, ego must be eliminated. I asked myself, “would doing speeches help me figure out what I want to do?”. No, they wouldn’t. I probably would have enjoyed them, but I wouldn’t have figured out what I wanted to do by talking about something I already know.

I did a handful of things through the year to learn about myself while helping others. For example I sent an in-depth survey to ForeverJobless subscribers and asked what they were up to, what they were struggling with, how I could help them, and more. I then set up dozens of calls with people from those surveys to try and help them. Both because I wanted to see them do well and knew I could help, and also because I was curious to see how much I would enjoy it, and which parts specifically.

By the end of the year, I had basically eliminated all ‘work’, and found myself living in Medellin, Colombia, focused on optimizing happiness. I mean, I went to the extreme to not work. My goal was to wake up and do whatever I wanted each day. I didn’t know what that was, but unless I made time for it, how would I find out? I took spanish lessons, played basketball, wrote, read, worked out, hung with friends, you name it. But I wasn’t doing much of anything I didn’t want to do.

My daily schedule was basically reading, writing, and thinking. That’s what I did each day. If something fun came up I did that, but otherwise I focused on learning more about myself, and what I wanted. It blows my mind how few people make time to actually know themselves. Most stay so busy that they don’t even know that they don’t know what they really want.


“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom” – Socrates


Besides reading books some of the reading I did was from old journal entries, which was actually very helpful because it helped me determine what I was doing when I was enjoying life and what I was working on, and when I wasn’t, so I could try and figure out how to best spend my time. I compiled a list of things I enjoyed throughout the year, and spent time not just figuring out how to do more of those things, but in understanding why I got enjoyment from them.

Some of the reading I did included several exercises that help you to find your strengths.

how to find out what you want to do

Like I mentioned in the beginning, I won’t go too deep into purpose in this post- I plan on writing on it in the future, but knowing your strengths is a very important variable to knowing what you should be doing, and very few people know their strengths well. It’s easy to think you do, but since what we’re extremely good at often comes natural to us, it’s not easy to realize what you’re incredibly good at isn’t so easy for others. You don’t think of a normal skill of yours as incredible because it’s not difficult for you, which actually makes it incredible.

I reached out to some friends and family to try and uncover strengths in myself that I might not have been aware were strengths.

Around the same time, I got a few emails from friends who needed business or life advice. I found myself really excited to try and ‘solve’ the problems they were having. It didn’t feel like work. Several times I ended up turning what could have been a few sentences of advice into insanely detailed breakdowns mathematically proving the answer for them. One of them ended up being over 8,000 words calculating the expected value of every project a friend was working on or considering working on, to know what he should ramp up and what to scale down or eliminate.

Outside of writing some things for friends, I spent a lot of my writing time on subjects/styles that were significantly different than I had written in the past.

To end the ‘what I did’ section, let me share something I wrote to myself during this time:

Right now it’s Friday night and I’m sitting in a cafe in Medellin. I’ve got my earphones in playing concentration music. Everyone walking by on the street are headed off to enjoy the weekend. The people around me in the cafe are all talking spanish, so I couldn’t understand what anyone was saying even if they wanted me to. Talk about elimination of distractions. Now, if I was back home near my friends and in my normal routine, I’d be more likely to be out right now, or watching movie or something. I know for me self discovery/writing what I’m writing is important. I don’t know what the results will be from doing so, but I feel like they’ll probably be significant. Maybe not in the way other people look at significance. Or maybe so. I’m not sure, but I’ve eliminated distractions for the possibility to find out.

What I learned from the journey of self discovery

So, what did I learn from doing all of this? Well, a lot.

Socrates demonstrated a long time ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery.

Where to start…

I realized that I’ve been “living the dream”… but I’m not living it. I’m always thinking of what the next dream is.

For a long time now I’ve had my life set up in a way that allows me to do what I want, but because I haven’t focused enough on self discovery, I probably didn’t actually know what I wanted. As frustrating as it was to realize and to try and solve a seemingly unsolvable problem, I realized it’s probably a good thing because in my quest to figure out my own solution, I learned that many people who think they have the solution, don’t. In some sense I was happy I was experiencing this frustration now, rather than going through most of my life assuming I had an answer, and then figuring out one day while I was old that I did it all wrong. Many ‘wise men’ operating under the guise that they have things figured out, are only wise in staying ignorant to the fact that they don’t actually know what they think they ‘know’.

As mentioned I did several exercises throughout this process.

One of the tests I took told me that my two biggest strengths were “analytical” and “futuristic”. This didn’t necessarily surprise me, it’s always been relatively easy for me to break down ‘complex’ things into very basic solutions, as well as logically thinking ahead to predict what’s likely to happen based on variables.

Here are some of the things the test told me:


  • Choose work in which you are paid to analyze data, find patterns, or organize ideas.
  • Find the best way of expressing your thoughts: writing, one-on-one conversations, group discussions, perhaps lectures or presentations. Put value to your thoughts by communicating them.
  • You might excel in entrepreneur or start-up situations (hey would you look at that!)
  • Seek audiences who appreciate your ideas for the future
  • You inspire others with your images of the future, yet your thinking may be too expansive for them to comprehend. When you articulate your vision, be sure to describe the future in detail with vivid words and metaphors.
  • Your futuristic talents could equip you to be a guide or coach for others. Unlike you, they might not be able to see over the horizon. If you catch a vision of what someone could be or do, don’t assume that he or she is aware of that potential. Share what you see as vividly as you can. In doing so, you may inspire someone to move forward.


Both sections told me to find a partner… essentially an operations manager. It’s something I’ve thought about in the past. Basically someone smart who loves taking action and wants to be the operator, but may not have the analytical/futuristic components that I thrive at.

(side note: It’s funny, everyone wants to be a start-up entrepreneur because it’s ‘hot’, but if someone’s wired as an operator they’d be substantially happier and make significantly more money if they embraced it and partnered their unique talents with someone who has the other stuff figured out. There’s a significant demand for amazing operators. Being a start-up entrepreneur is publicly hot. Being a great operator is secretly hot.)

Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong. Most often, people know what they are not good at- and even then more people are wrong than right. And yet, a person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weaknesses, let alone on something one cannot do at all – Peter Drucker

While the strengths that were revealed didn’t necessarily surprise me, what did give me an “aha”, was the fact that I’ve spent so little time on those things the last few years. I’ve literally spent almost no time on my top two strengths.

This is why it’s so important to make time and space to analyze yourself. It seems so obvious right?…just work on what you’re good at. Well, first you’ve got to know what that is, and second…if you’re so busy doing whatever takes up all your time, you’re unlikely to realize how little time you spend doing what you should actually be doing.

One should waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence. It takes far more energy and work to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence. – Peter Drucker

What I learned from coaching calls that I did:

I learned that I really liked helping people that would take action. I mean, I already knew I liked helping people. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed. But, there were sometimes when I helped people that I didn’t get much joy from it. I’d feel drained and not understand why. From helping people on the calls, and through email, or in the Incubator or mastermind, I figured out the difference for me. If I help someone and they get value and will take action, that makes me really happy. Partially because I know their life can change because of it and I’m excited to hear about it when it happens- it’s similar to the feeling of a vacation you can’t wait to go on: It may not hit the calendar for a little while, but you know it’s coming, and can’t wait to experience it. Partially because it’s fulfilling knowing some insight I gave them will help improve their life.

When I don’t feel like someone will take action, it’s really unfulfilling and I just feel drained.

Seems obvious, but it’s something I initially couldn’t figure out…why did I love helping people, but feel drained some of the time? That was why. If I spend time showing someone how they could change their life and come away feeling like they’re not going to do anything, I feel like the little time I have is wasted. Paid or not, I don’t like the feeling. You can’t pay me to hate my life.

When I talk to someone who appreciates the value they get, and will use it, I get really excited for them and feel energized.

What I learned from fun experiment projects:

I learned that I enjoy solving things, and then I’m bored. There has to be new challenges. Where most people would be excited that they figured something out and it would be wise and profitable to then scale it up, I am bored and ready to go onto the next thing.

For a simple example, I started an instagram account and decided to figure out how to scale it, and quickly grew an account of close to 100k followers. In a personal ‘30 day challenge’ I grew by over 40k followers, and got over 9k email leads, in one month. The most obvious thing to do would be to scale it up and go get a million followers and 100k+ email leads. That’s a normal, and profitable thought. Scale it up and print money off it. Instead, my first thought was, “meh”.

list goal

It was the same when I grew my podcast to 100k downloads in 7 weeks with a ‘baby’ email list at the time. Normal person thought: “wow, I can easily grow this to millions”. My thought, “Is this making a big enough difference?”.

podcast launch goals

I think part of it being like I mentioned above, that I really get excitement out of helping people who will take action. So, it’s somewhat irrelevant to me how many people I reach if I’m not helping them change their lives. I’m less concerned with quantity. If I have a platform of 1 million people and none of them do anything, I’d rather have an audience of just 100 people, who all take action and change their life.

I think the other part of it is due to the fact that the success of those things wouldn’t change anything for me. Others have the mindset of “I’m going to grow an audience and sell lots of shit to people!”. A popular way of thought and not necessarily wrong, but not ideal for me. ForeverJobless has likely been the most undermonetized site in the space, and it’s not really accidental. Like I mentioned in the first part, money and ego don’t really act as the drivers for me. Just chasing money goals for the sake of money isn’t motivating as I already have the means to do what I want. Plus the ego part is irrelevant to me. Other people are fueled by the size of their platform.



You can see them light up when they talk about it. I think I would have been the same way a few years ago, but that doesn’t drive me.

It’s not that I don’t like money. Far from it. It’s just that it’s far less meaningful at a certain point. The diminishing returns help crystalize what money and ego may distract you to work on.

The one common theme was the things I enjoyed the most were related to high level strategy/discussions, and/or figuring something out that’s interesting to me and/or helpful to others.

For example the exercise I did in figuring out opportunities that had the chance to become nine figure companies was fun for me. The idea generation was fun. The due diligence was fun. The finding out that I was successful at selecting some pretty good ones was fun, as I discovered in due diligence for two of the ideas that there were a few people already attempting to do what I had thought would be of value and had already raised eight figures to try and solve it. So, the ideas were clearly in line with having the potential to become nine figure companies. I then enjoyed trying to figure out why those companies hadn’t been successful yet and weren’t on the map, and formulating strategies based on my findings. I do things like that for fun.


Elimination of distractions is +EV

A big lesson for me was learning what I was capable of when I eliminated all distractions. I don’t think you necessarily need to take it to the extreme like I did in moving to another country and eliminating all work, but I surprised myself with what I was able to accomplish in doing so. There was one week when I was in Colombia where I wrote close to 18,000 words. And I don’t mean like rambles of words just to be able to pat myself on the back for a high word count, but six in depth articles, some of which I think was some of the best writing I’ve done(one of which has been posted so far: sunk cost fallacy).

The more I write, the more I discover. – Unknown

I can remember that being the best week I’d had in a long time. I didn’t really do anything except write that week. I think part of the reason I had fun was I was writing on things I thought were interesting or valuable. Much of the content was significantly different than writing I’d done in the past.

It’s easy to subconsciously trick yourself into writing(or swap out for whatever you’re doing) for what others think they want. I learned I had a lot more fun writing content I knew people needed, even if they didn’t know they needed it. Eliminating the care for money helped make it easy to write what I wanted.

One thing I’ve learned about myself in this process is that I enjoy teaching people to think more optimally, in a way others aren’t teaching, or explaining optimally. I have little to no interest in sharing the same exact message someone else has, even if the opportunity is good. I get more excitement in changing the way people think, and helping them see things from a perspective no one’s shown them before that can add value to their lives.

On top of that I want to spend time on things that are important and meaningful. A part of me felt like creating the best course on Instagram was like becoming the best t-ball player. If someone wanted to crush it on instagram, if they signed up and took action they would, but I feel the opportunity cost of me solving something like that for people is at the expense of me solving something bigger, or more important.


No matter what it is, I learned that no matter how much I want to help, I need to stop getting sucked into investing time if it’s not with action takers.

Non action takers won’t do anything with the time you invest, and normally want it for free, so it’s not helping you or them. Action takers will reap rewards for you and them both now in the future, and I don’t just mean monetarily. It’s fulfilling to share a part in people’s success.

While I learned a lot about what I liked and didn’t like in the process, I still had a lot to consider.

What I considered

  • When my main strengths came up as analytical and futuristic, my first thought was getting involved in VC or private equity, as I’m very confident I’d have an edge in those fields.

  • Real estate
  • Following through on the ‘9 figure business opportunity exercise’, and starting one of them.
  • Dating company: I got a few interesting opportunities presented to me- one of which was to run a new dating company. Dating is one of the most inefficient markets there is, and since I’m single I understand the pain points of current dating solutions, and it’s something I’d love to see ‘solved’. It intrigued me quite a bit because of my own personal desire to have dating/relationships become much more efficient.
  • Publish a book I’ve been considering writing for a while, and more articles. I think most of my best content is unwritten, or at least unpublished. I have all sorts of private posts that I’ve sent to friends or students, or posts that I just never published. Many topics I think are important are not talked about.
  • Focus on building a huge platform, and then write a best seller.

What I decided

With the investing stuff, I thought I might lack fulfillment from doing so. I wasn’t going to change much from being involved, I’d just make whoever I was investing with/for more money than others could. That’d be fun for a while, to ‘beat the game’ so to speak, but knowing how I’m wired as soon as I knew I could beat it I’d probably just be looking for the next challenge. The monetary payoff would be good, but there needed to be something more to it for me.

It’s the same kind of world I was in back when I played poker professionally. When I knew I didn’t want to play anymore, I debated going into something like trading. Then I thought about it and it was the same thing as poker, just with a higher ceiling. Investing is the same. I know I can beat the game, but… so what? If I play the game nothing improves for me, or the world. I do something for money, and would basically be in the same position, just with higher numbers on bank statements.

My strengths fit in that world really well, so who knows maybe I’ll be involved somehow one day. It won’t be now though.

 The professional turns down roles that he’s done before. He’s not afraid of them anymore. Why waste his time? – Steven Pressfield

Real estate- I checked out my brother’s operation on the east coast right before I went to San Francisco, and there’s definitely plenty that excites me about real estate. However, even though I’m interested, I couldn’t get excited enough to make it the thing that I did right now.

Starting a nine figure company- I uncovered some interesting opportunities to attempt this, but for me I didn’t think getting into an opportunity just because it’s an opportunity would drive me for very long. The challenges would have been intriguing, but unless it was more meaningful to me or something I was passionate about, the running of a business just because it was a great opportunity clearly wasn’t what I was looking for. When I thought about the next X years I’d have to spend doing it, it was on things that I didn’t really care about that much. Yes, they’d make a significant difference if they came to fruition, but I didn’t know if I cared that much about the difference they made. It was ‘game changing’ for the industries they were in, but just not the type of games I wanted to play.

Dating business – This was probably the only company I seriously considered getting involved in. But as much as I’d like to see dating ‘solved’, I didn’t necessarily want to run a company right now. Maybe I end up doing some advising for them, but running a company doesn’t excite me at the moment.

Create a huge platform and launch products to fund the growth, and then launch a bestseller…

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. – Mark Twain

This is the rage these days, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just that attempting to launch a bestseller if that was my purpose is more of an ego ranking. I asked myself if I’d rather write the best book, or a bestseller, what would I want to write? I’d want to write the best book. The actions that I’d take if my goal was to launch a bestseller would be significantly different than the actions I’d take to write the best book.

The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like. – Steven Pressfield

I caught a post on Facebook from my friend Jayson that mentioned that you shouldn’t measure the success of a book by the number of copies sold, but instead by the success of the readers. I think that’s dead on. There’s a lot of bestselling heaps of ‘rah-rah’, but again, quantity isn’t the goal for me.

What results have to be achieved to make a difference?- Peter Drucker


If I wrote a book and it sold a lot of copies and I could call myself a best seller what would that do? Well, I’d maybe feel temporarily cool. Mini ego boost. That’s not a result that impacts very much for me or others.

If instead all of my focus went into putting out content that changes the way people think, that makes a big difference.

Great thinkers have always been motivated by the enjoyment of thinking rather than by the material rewards that could be gained by it. – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

When considering what route to take, I opened myself up to considering the possibility that I might be a better thinker/writer than entrepreneur. I don’t know if that’s the case, but I’m at least temporarily much more interested in it. If you took out all the parts of business I disliked, you’d be left with a business strategist/coach/advisor/writer or some other similar role. I often stayed away from these roles because of the mindset of “if they were good at it they’d be doing it not talking about it”, which may have been a limiting belief, along with the fact that business is significantly more leveragable.

Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself(and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. – Steven Pressfield

I know a big reason I limited the amount of ‘teaching’ was never wanting to fall into the ‘guru’ space, as many gurus aren’t even gurus for what they attempt to guru on. So, I didn’t want the comparison. Again, probably some sort of limiting belief, I’m not sure.

Noah Kagan from Sumome has been incredibly helpful in helping me think through things, and asked me what I’d do if no money were involved.

“What would you do with all this if there were NO money involved? You could do whatever you want for fun.”

I didn’t really find it all that difficult to answer.

I told him I’d write the book I’ve mentioned to him before.

That came to mind the second I processed the question.

I mentioned a small list of things, a couple of which included:

Continuing to help people with their goals/businesses but while implementing a high vetting process to only work with action takers

Spend time figuring out a more optimal way to meet high quality women

Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.- Seneca

I’d always debated writing, it was just one of those side projects that I thought maybe I’d get around to at some point. I was living flaw A from dream life. I’d put myself in a situation to do whatever I wanted, and unintentionally I wasn’t doing what I wanted. Ya, I could keep building up more money, and someday write things that I think would be helpful for people, but that didn’t seem very optimal.

The more resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise
is to you – and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it. – Steven Pressfield

I decided my goal for the new year was to not focus on making any money, and to put out content that I thought was important, and helpful for people. Money can be a distraction, and lead us to unintentionally do things for that purpose. If money comes as a byproduct, cool, but I’m putting zero focus on making money this year. If I make $0 and release the content I’m planning on releasing, it will be a good year.

The artist must operate territorially. He must do his work for its own sake. To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution…

“When the hack sits down to work, he doesn’t ask himself what’s in his own heart.He asks what the market is looking for…

“The hack condescends to his audience. He thinks he’s superior to them. The truth is, he’s scared to death of them or, more accurately, scared of writing what he really feels or believes, what he and himself thinks is interesting. He’s afraid it won’t sell. So he tries to anticipate what the market(a telling word) wants, then gives it to them….

“In other words, the hack writes hierarchically. He writes what he imagines will play well in the eyes of others. He does not ask himself, What do I myself want to write? What do I think is important? Instead he asks, What’s hot, what can I make a deal for? The hack is like the politician who consults the polls before he takes a position. He’s a demagogue. He panders…

It can pay off being a hack. Given the depraved state of American culture, a slick dude can make millions being a hack. But even if you succeed, you lose, because you’ve sold out your muse, and your muse is you, the best part of yourself, where your finest and only true work comes from. – Steven Pressfield

At the end of the day, I don’t know if I’ve necessarily ‘solved’ this problem of mine, in finding what I’m uniquely meant to do/brings me maximum happiness/fulfillment, but educating people how to think about things in a more optimal way and help enable them to live the life they want is definitely something that pops into the discussion for me quite a bit.

Self discovery questions

I wanted to share with you a series of questions I came up with that helped significantly when it came to making the decision. When looking at running a dating company, a market I really want to see changed, compared to writing, I asked myself:

Q: What would I do if I did the dating business, and it failed?

A: I’d go back and write.


Q: If the dating business succeeded and I made all sorts of money, what would I do?

A: I’d go back and write, I’d just have more money in the bank.


Q: If I did the writing that I wanted, would I go start a dating business after?

A: Hmm… probably not.

As many ideas as I have around the dating industry and as much as I want to see it solved, the running of a dating business isn’t necessarily a goal of mine. In the past I think I would have gotten distracted and done the newest shiny thing that had my attention. This series of simple questions helped me significantly, and could be helpful for you as well.

Several people sent me messages that pushed me more and more in the direction of writing/sharing advice/helping others:

You need to understand that you are incredible talent, with a real message and purpose. I would hate to see you attempt to take a shortcut to your real purpose – impacting other people’s lives. This is a “god given” gift, don’t waste it. – Paul

Messages like this really hit home a lot, probably moreso that I came across some of them while in the middle of trying to find out what unique abilities I had, and what it was that I should be spending my time on(without them knowing I was trying to figure something like that out).

Also, seeing the success of a few people I’ve helped has been really fulfilling. Much more so than if I started another business to try and make more money. It’d be temporarily cool, but not really fulfilling. Been there, done that.

So, if it wasn’t obvious, I’m going to focus on writing for the time being.

Although my writing has mainly been business focused up to this point, I may expand it to other areas as well.

Don’t speak unless you can improve the silence. – Unknown

I feel like I can. So I will.

My goal setting process

What am I doing about it?

In short, writing an absurd amount of content.

As I’ll discuss in the section below, my first quarter goal will focus on writing articles, rather than just instantly writing the book. I’ll be able to write on subjects I haven’t explored writing on yet, which may potentially lead me to material that becomes an important part of the book.

One major change as mentioned is that I’m setting quarterly priority goals and not necessarily a yearly priority goal. I’m basically optimizing my year for happiness. If I’m enjoying what I’m doing, I’ll renew at the end of the quarter and continue. If I’d rather be doing something else, I’d adjust the next quarterly priority accordingly.

How I normally operate is to set a yearly priority goal and if I want to guarantee its achievement I just reverse engineer it and let all other goals be secondary… nice to hit, but not at the expense of the priority goal. The big difference this year is that in some sense I have several ‘secondary goals’, although since I’ve eliminated most other distractions maybe I’ll have a chance of achieving them all as if they were priority goals. We’ll see. My priority goal adjusting per quarter allows me to dive 100% into something on a sprint basis, and either eliminate if I don’t enjoy, or double down if I do. Like I mentioned in the beginning of the article I don’t necessarily recommend this for most people- you must be honest with yourself and make sure you’re not creating excuses to get lazy, and it’s really more for people who are questioning what they’re working on. What I’m working on(writing) will be a new challenge for me, and so I’ll be tweaking the ways in which I try it, and going down the path I most enjoy.

So, there’s not necessarily a specific yearly path with a plan like this, but all I know is I’ll enjoy it and it will lead to good things.

Go as far as you can see, and when you get there you will see farther. – W. Clement Stone

The benefit of not focusing at all on the money is that I put out content that I want to put out. Like the quote about the ‘hack’ mentioned earlier, I don’t rent myself out to what’s hot, which is significantly different content than what matters. People want what’s hot. People need what’s important. The problem is, if it’s not hot they usually don’t realize it’s important, so the lack of demand for it creates an economy where everyone is producing content around the ‘hot’ subjects.

In the early years of this century, the most highly respected diplomat of all the great powers was the German ambassador in London. He was clearly destined for great things- to become his country’s foreign minister, at least, if not its federal chancellor. Yet in 1906 he abruptly resigned rather than preside over a dinner given by the diplomatic corps for Edward VII. The king was a notorious womanizer and made it clear the kind of dinner he wanted. The ambassador is reported to have said, “I refuse to see a pimp in the mirror when I shave.” That is the mirror test. Ethics requires that you ask yourself, What kind of person do I want to see in the mirror in the morning? – Peter Drucker

When I look in the mirror, as the quote says, I refuse to see a pimp, despite the profitability of becoming one in this industry.

First quarter priority goal

My priority in the first quarter will be releasing an average of one article per week to the blog. So, by the end of the first quarter I’ll have 13 new articles posted. However, even though it’s a number goal, the focus is on quality, not quantity.

Yearly Goals:

  • I will write a book that changes the way people think.
  • My fitness goal is getting to 2.9% bodyfat(calipers) while weighing 150+ pounds.
  • I’ll create a high quality singles event, or something similar that makes meeting high quality people more efficient.

The priority goal will always be what the quarterly goal is. So, there’s a chance I double down on a specific goal and a victim could be one of the yearly goals, but that’s okay. As long as I ensure accomplishment of my priority goal(which at this point will be re-set each quarter for me), I’m happy.

How I’ll accomplish my goals:

How I’ll accomplish my fitness goal:

Working out daily on my workout program outside of rest days, and eating a specific macronutrient breakdown.

Fitness is a habit that just has to be maintained- I already know how to do it, so it’ll make it a bit more feasible to accomplish a very aggressive goal while also pursuing other goals. I already went thru the struggle to ingrain the habits, so I just need to get them back on track by putting systems in place that ensure success. Once the habits are back, getting shredded is just an expected byproduct that you don’t even have to think about.

The variable that I’ll have somewhat limited control over will be the amount of muscle I can gain while cutting(which is difficult), but I won’t find out unless I attempt it.

How I’ll accomplish my book goal:

Having “writing a book that changes the way people think” as the goal keeps my values aligned with the book. If my goal was, “sell 50,000 copies”, or “get a $500k book deal”, my book may turn out differently, because my actions would lead to accomplishing that goal. If I wanted a $500k book deal, I’d be spending most of my time on marketing now, not writing. You don’t normally get book deals for your writing, you get them for your marketing. I don’t want to spend my time on marketing. That would make me unhappy. Clicking buttons and arbitraging traffic/subscribers would be profitable for me, but that’s not how I want to spend my time. There’s nothing wrong with marketing if that’s what someone enjoys doing, or if that helps them meet a specific goal. I just know it’s not what would make me personally happy at the moment. So, pre-marketing(building a giant list or huge traffic numbers) to hawk the book once it’s ready, which would be great for book sales, isn’t what I’ll be spending my time doing. My list and traffic is likely to grow as a result of publishing high quality articles, which is something I enjoy, but I’m okay sacrificing significantly bigger numbers for enjoyment, as well as the ability to put out as high quality of a book as possible. Maybe selling a certain number of copies will be a goal once the book is finished, but right now it’s not important to me. I enjoy tier goals anyways, and writing the best book I can is a good first tier to hit.

If I’m going to have any chance of accomplishing a goal, I must be motivated to achieve it. If I had set “get a $500k book deal” as my goal, I’d be marketing the shit out of everything this year and my posts wouldn’t be as good but I’d be likely to get some sort of book deal. However, I’d be a lot less happy because a book advance wouldn’t inspire me to wake up and market everyday, because I don’t want to do that. I want to write a book that changes the way people think. So, having another $500k(or whatever number) doesn’t help me do that, it just gives me another $500k. So, I’m not concerned at all with a book deal of any kind, just on writing the book I want to write. Now, 10 years ago?… Ya, a big advance would have been life changing, so it would have made sense for me to be marketing my face off to try and arbitrage a big book deal. Now, it would just make me unhappy chasing something that doesn’t positively affect my life. If I died in a year I wouldn’t say, “well at least I got a lot more traffic this year!”. No one would.

The reason I’m explaining my thought process behind this is so that you can think about it for your own goals. The first goal that normally comes to mind may not be the goal that would actually motivate you.

Before hoping to sell a certain number of books, first I need a book. How do I get a book? Well, I need to write. Writing a certain number of hours per day essentially guarantees I end up with a book at some point this year.

Maybe I finish the 1st quarter goal of writing one article per week and I say, “you know what I wrote my one article a week, but I’m not any further along to having a book”. Then, maybe my 2nd quarter goal becomes writing the same amount per day, but for the book instead of articles. Or, maybe I start writing twice as much per day, where the blog post habit is built in, but I put in additional writing everyday for the book. That’s the benefit of having these sprint goals. If I was tied to a certain long term goal without knowing exactly how certain parts of things will play out as I progress/achieve quarterly goals, and learn what I’m enjoying most, I may continue for a year doing something I don’t want to do.

How I’ll accomplish the dating event goal: 

Dating the way most people date is really suboptimal if your goal is to find a high quality person you match with. This would be a post in itself, plus it’s secondary to the other goals at the moment, so I’ll save for another day.

How I’ll accomplish my currently quarterly goal:

  • Write at least 4 hours/day

When setting your priority goal and your actions to guarantee achievement, it’s important your internal dialogue helps eliminate limiting beliefs that will either make you set a weaker goal than you’re capable of, or give you reasons to quit during your quest for achievement of the goal.

Example internal dialogue for me:

Goal: Average one article per week

Limiting belief Billy: How?… Some of my posts take 20+ hours to write.

Logical Billy: Okay, write 4 hours/day.

Limiting belief Billy: Per day! How?… Days get busy there’s all sorts of stuff that comes up.

Logical Billy: Okay, eliminate the things that come up. Wake up at 4:30am to make sure writing is always done.

Limiting belief Billy: 4:30! How?… I need 8 hours of sleep to operate well. That means I’d need to be asleep by 8:30.

Logical Billy: Okay, so be in bed around 8, so you’re asleep by 8:30.

Limiting belief Billy: 8! But I’d never be going out much at night.

Logical Billy: Okay, so don’t go out much at night

Limiting belief Billy: Oh, okay.



The only reason I’m including this internal dialogue is because of how many comical excuses I hear as to why people can’t achieve their goals. They’ll hold onto any reason they can justify as an excuse to explain to others why they aren’t doing what they want in life. When you tear away the nonsense, you’re left with nothing but an excuse, no matter how reasonable you attempt to make your excuse sound to others.

Goals are so easy when you really break them down. Yes, you have to sacrifice some things when you want to achieve a goal, but let’s really think about this…

If you look at my goal, the only thing I’m sacrificing is going out much at night. I can still go out, I can still hang with friends, I can still date, I can still travel, I can still work out, I can still do literally everything I’m already doing/want to do. The only thing that changes is I do them on an earlier schedule than I’m used to. So, occasionally there’ll be something fun going on at night that I’d prefer to do that I’ll skip, or maybe I go and am a bit tired the next day and need a nap. But, let’s take a look in the future a year from now. If I went out at night would I look back at the year and say, “wow, I’m sure glad I went out so much at night!”?

No, it won’t be something I miss at all. I can still see the same people I would have seen at night during the day. However, if I achieve my goal, it will be fulfilling for me and I’ll look back and be very glad I made the sacrifices I did to guarantee achievement of the goal.

When I hit a very aggressive fitness goal in the past, I didn’t look back and say, “man, I really miss the pizza and ice cream I didn’t get to eat this year”… Of course not, it gives you even more satisfaction in having sacrificed to achieve your goal, when you know most other people give in. As you progress towards your goal, the struggle is actually rewarding. I enjoy the struggle. If you truly commit, the struggle becomes the most fun. The excitement from goal achievement is awesome, but the struggle even more so. The pain or sacrifice is like candy and you get to be the sugar fiend.

What I’m doing to weigh the odds of achieving my goals in my favor:

Eliminating all distractions, and all monetary considerations.

I’ve always had something going on… now I’ve got ‘nothing’ going on, so it’s even more important I’m not interrupted. I initially got a private villa in Bali so that I could focus.

eliminate distractions

Since this posting I’ve relocated to Cape Town, South Africa, but in general I’m putting myself in situations where I’m not distracted.

No activity can be successfully pursued by an individual who is preoccupied … since the mind when distracted absorbs nothing deeply, but rejects everything which is, so to speak, crammed into it. Living is the least important activity of the preoccupied man; yet there is nothing which is harder to learn. – Seneca

I know I can’t be distracted by the things most people are distracted by if I want to have a year I’m happy about. The ‘time suck’ emails, the normal day to day that most people get caught up in, the new opportunities that will do nothing but distract me… they must all be eliminated.

People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy. – Seneca


Maybe other people are better at blocking out things, but I have as much shiny object syndrome as anyone. I have more business ideas in a week than many entrepreneurs have in a year, which is not always a good thing.

I know that for me, elimination of distractions and going more the essentialism route is +EV.

Is reading some awesome new strategy about building a list or the newest traffic hack or the hottest conversion trick going to help me?

Hmm.. lemme check my current priority goal:

One article per week.

Geez, doesn’t say anything about traffic or subscribers… I guess not.

May not learn the newest traffic hacks. Will accomplish my goal.

Here’s my tentative daily schedule that I will test and tweak as the year progresses:

If you want more details on how to set your schedule to accomplish your goals, download the pdf at the bottom of this post or if you’re already a subscriber you’ve obviously already received it in your inbox 🙂

  • 4:30 wake up
  • 5:00 writing
  • 9:30 main task
  • 10:15 gym
  • 12:30 other tasks, entertainment, or more writing
  • 8:00 read in bed
  • 8:30 sleep

I’m also eating a lot of food throughout the day to help reach my fitness goal, usually through a cook or meal delivery service to make more efficient.

So, I still have a packed day, just not packed with nonsense. I only do things that get me the results I want, and allow me to live a life I enjoy.

Let’s compare my schedule with the average person:

  • Wake up tired
  • Drive to work
  • Work on lots of random ‘stuff’
  • Check lots of social media so you don’t miss anything ‘important’
  • Throughout the day figure out what to eat, usually choosing very unhealthy options because it’s unplanned and that’s ‘easier’.
  • Sit in traffic on way back from work
  • Possibly some tv to distract their brain at the end of the day because they’re burnt out from doing things they didn’t want to do.
  • Sit awake in bed wondering why you don’t have the life you want
  • Repeat

Such a waste of time all day, and never going to magically produce living the life you want.

Some other rules I’ve started implementing for myself this year that help keep my daily schedule in check, which help make my goals easier to achieve:

  • No flights before noon- this allows me to get my writing and my workout in, even if I’m traveling. I noticed that on days when I have flights it’s often hard to do these things. So, I just eliminate the possibility of creating forced off days for myself. Again, just eliminating things that hinder chances of reaching my goals.
  • No phone while laying in, or sitting in bed- I noticed ‘just checking facebook for a minute’ before bed, or when I got up in the morning often turned into an absurd amount of time spent absorbing that internet dopamine. It either limited my sleep, which then limited my productivity the next day, or delayed me from starting my day in the morning. So, a very simple good habit, no phone while touching bed, eliminates a bad habit with very little effort.

Remember, your life is a byproduct of your habits, and most good or bad habits are leading to the life you are living right now. A few small tweaks here and there will make a significant difference, even though it sounds like an insignificant change.

The flight rule might give me over a dozen extra writing days and workouts I might not have gotten this year, and the bed rule maybe a few hours/week. Add that up over a year, and potentially several weeks worth of writing or workouts will be accomplished that may not have without the new rules in place.

I remember the first time I met Jay Papasan, who co-wrote The One Thing(highly recommend reading), which is a great book that does a phenomenal job of breaking down how certain actions and habits act as dominoes that lead to accomplishing what you want. We were grabbing coffee in Austin where we’re both based, and as we were discussing our goals I remember him lining up salt shakers to illustrate the domino effect that each action has on everything else. Literally any small action, or habit, has a domino effect on other things that will happen in your life. This is something most of us dismiss because it’s hard to realize the importance each action and habit has on our life.


  • Don’t compare results with others. Focus only on what I want. I will clearly make less money in going the route I’m going, so it’s important not to let results from those profiting from what’s hot distract me into going a different direction. “I refuse to see a pimp in the mirror”
  • Not capping flow. I keep my day relatively flexible after getting my priority goal task done. This allows me to keep going with my writing if I’m in flow. Having mandatory stop times for writing if I’m in flow would be -EV.
  • Cut out time needed to travel from place to place. When I was in Medellin the first few weeks, I was spending hours and hours per day going out to try and find good food to eat, ordering, waiting, and then finally eating it. Once I got a cook lined up productivity skyrocketed. In Bali despite having a cook come to the house each day, the traffic and weather were horrendous, so a simple trip to the gym sometimes turned into a long, unproductive time waiting out a rainstorm with a motorbike, or hiring a driver to sit in bumper to bumper traffic to get there, and then waiting for one to do the same on the way back. A lot of wasted time just waiting around. This among other things made it super inefficient for my goals, so I hopped on a flight to Cape Town because I heard it was awesome, and I currently live right across the street from a major gym, with many cafes and coffee shops within a short walk to go write from.


I’m planning to spend the next several months in Cape Town. No distractions in Colombia helped a lot, and I want to replicate that effect here. Little extreme? Probably. Will I accomplish my priority goal this quarter? Most definitely.

What to expect:

  • 13 new articles by the end of quarter one
  • Higher quality articles than you can find anywhere else for the content I’ll write on. I’m committed to writing better content than anyone in the space. A part of me says, “wait, you’re not supposed to say that.” The other part of me knows that needs to be my mindset. It sounds semi-contradictory to ‘don’t compare yourself to others’, but in knowing this is my specific priority goal at the moment, making sure the quality is better than anything out there is important to me. Not getting distracted with other’s goals/numbers is a bit different. My goal is to make you consider new ways of thinking. I want each article to be the best article you can read on the subject. If it’s not, writing it seems like a silly use of time. My goal isn’t regurgitation of what’s already been said, it’s to say something new, and/or say something in a more optimal way for you to understand or put into action, that will lead to an improved life.
  • And if you’re interested, a quarterly breakdown talking about how the quarter went, how the priority goal went, how yearly goals are progressing and how I’m setting up the next quarter.

(Please comment below the article if this is of interest to you. If there’s enough interest I’ll do a detailed breakdown so you can track how I’m doing throughout the year.)

Closing thoughts on how to set and achieve goals

Don’t let “he was going to do it tomorrow” be what they write on your tombstone. – Unknown 

So, while this post basically gives you a really in depth look at what I decided and how I came to that decision, it really came down to not putting off something I know I wanted to do, despite passing up a lot more money from alternative routes in the meantime.

I have no idea what that will lead to, but it will probably be good things.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. – Steve Jobs

I’ve always believed if you want uncommon results, you’ve got to travel an uncommon path.  

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—. I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost

Pursuing a path that purposely avoids better financial rewards is definitely an uncommon path. Like I mentioned I’m more concerned with life/happiness optimization than monetary optimization at this point. It may lead to monetary gains in the future, but it’s not the focus so we’ll let it play out and let what happens, happen.

Successful careers are not planned. They develop when people are prepared for opportunities because they know their strengths, their method of work, and their values.- Peter Drucker


To be perfectly clear, I’m not saying you should follow this method for your goals. I’m just openly showing you what I’m currently doing and how I came to the decision. I can pick out potential flaws in my own plan- a part of me thinks that not spending time scaling up a bigger audience is a huge flaw(or hiring someone to do so) because less people will be exposed to the content I’m producing. If I significantly expanded the amount of people reading my content, I’d feel great about it and I’d positively impact more people. But, for me personally at the moment, I knew if I set a specific number for audience size it’d distract me and make me want to hit that number. It’s just how I’m wired. So, again, I eliminated all distractions for the time being, even ones that positively impact some of those goals.

I’ll leave the job of sharing/promoting my content up to you for the time being 

A man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal), he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).

In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life — the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual. – Hunter S Thompson

What I put out is only successful if it positively impacts your life in ways that others could not produce. I want to help those who are taking the action to help themselves.

You may not realize it but your shares and comments help me realize what’s most helpful to you. It’s a way of voting for value. So if there’s something in any of my articles that you found really helpful, or helped you get an “aha” moment, let me know so I can give you more of them.

Simply put, I want to help.


how to set goals

76 Responses to “How To Set Goals If You’re Not Sure What You Want”

  1. Darlene

    Where do I even start?

    So I’m reading along and about midway thru you mentioned how one of your strengths was to explain or show peeps ideas in optimum ways. BINGO! I’m thinking, that is truly the #1 reason I read practically everything you print.

    Then, later on…. what do you know, but that’s basically what you’ve decided to do in the form of a book.

    About that writing 4 hrs per day… I know you’ve got it figured out (and I LOVED the dialog you played for us on limiting beliefs and excuses) but I’d still like to share this:

    One of my favorite beach reads fiction author Claire Cook, writes 1000 words per day rain or shine. She’s done this for years. She said she can’t even put the boundary up of 2 hours a day (or whatever) cuz she might fiddle around for half of that time and then only truly write for the other part. So her thing is to write 1000 words per day, 7 days a week.

    Thanks for the HUGE share Billy. Greatly appreciated.

    Fellow Austinite, darlene 🙂

    • Billy

      Thanks Darlene! Really glad you’re still reading everything I write 🙂

      Ya, I may play around with the 4 hour rule. Good tip, thanks!

  2. Robyn

    You are amazing. I didn’t get to read through this whole post. I dont have the time at the moment. However, I completely related to what you were saying. I felt it, I felt like I wrote this, like it came from me. Amazing. I love when I find content like this. I hope I get time to sit and study your work. I would love to do half of what you have done. I have only just started my journey into online business. I haven’t finished reading so I won’t ask too many questions, although I totally want to pick your brain! You are making a difference and you have inspired me into action! More action! I want what you have!

    • Billy

      Awesome Robyn, thanks for taking the time to let me know! Really happy you related so well to the post.

  3. TomW

    Hello Billy!

    About a week ago I started reading your blog and I think it’s absolutely great.
    I’ve almost read all of your posts, only few left unread.
    This writing, you are doing is very important, you are helping a lot of people with it. Thank you for the honesty in this post.
    I can’t wait to be able to order your book, please make sure that you are able to ship it to Finland! Haha!

    Keep on writing and giving value.


    • Billy

      You made a phenomenal decision last week Tom 😉

      Really appreciate the comment, thanks for that. Means a lot. I’ll make sure we can get you a copy in Finland.

  4. Joe B

    You weren’t kidding. That was long, but a great read. I had to pause a few times for introspection (ex: Noah’s question). What would I do if money were not an issue?

    I’m still hung up on that.

    • Billy

      Thanks Joe, appreciate you taking the time to read.

      Questions that make you think are good. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come right away. It’s where progress will come from.

  5. Roy

    Well, you can certainly tick the “Write Good Content” box, Billy. This has been an amazingly detailed and thought provoking post, although I did do a detour through your earlier “Dream Life” post (damn shiny objects!). Both posts have made me think, though.

    True Scenario: (This is NOT meant as a Sob-Story)

    – I am a 57 year old British expat, living in Germany, married, with an outstanding Mortgage on a small flat – with my current salary I probably wont be able to pay the Mortgage off before retirement age.

    – In seven days my yearly work-contract, which has been extended three times in a row, will be terminated (due to ownership change) and I will become officially unemployed.

    As I said, no “awwwsssss” please – it is a situation and I will deal. My point is that I like the way you approach goal setting and how to look at goals from a different angle.

    In my case, the goal that I have set, to “get a similar job with a similar salary” won’t actually improve my situation:

    – I will still be at the mercy of contract termination by my future employer.
    – with a similar salary I still won’t be able to pay the Mortgage off before retirement.

    Ergo – Ad-hoc revised Goals (simplified for this comment).

    Priority One:

    Secure regular Income to cover present costs.

    Priority Two:

    Create additional Income of €30.000 over a period of 36 Months.
    30000 divided by 36 = 833/month | 833 divided by 30 = 28/day
    (Note to Self: Is it doable to sell just one €30,- E-Book a day?)

    OK, maybe a bit oversimplified – but something I could work with. Once again, thanks for the thought inspiring post!

    • Billy

      Thanks for reading Roy!

      Couple things:

      1. 3 year goal time frame is usually too long. 1 yr max is often better. Then break it down into quarterly goals.
      2. Make sure you read or re-read this post: Whatever you do to make the extra income needs to check the two boxes. It isn’t about selling x/day of something, at least not yet. It’s to set a goal you’ll achieve, focus on value to do so, and THEN set the necessary actions that guarantee accomplishment.

      • Roy

        Thanks for taking the time to reply, Billy. I will gladly take your advice, read the post, focus on value, and then take action!

      • Skip Johnston

        That, right there is what sets you apart from so many others writing in this in space.

  6. naved

    This was excellent and a seed for introspection for me. My own notes
    – Think seriously. Don’t think at the surface.
    – Write. It helps you clarify your thoughts.
    – You must change your current actions and routine on order to achieve.
    – focus
    – Question yourself and conduct thought experiments to extract the truth from yourself. Don’t fool yourself.
    There are more but I will need to re-read this post and your others. thank you.

    • Billy

      Thank you Naved!

      Ya, I can say writing helps you clarify your thoughts more than just about anything. I edited and re-edited this post dozens of times because of my own questions to myself to clarify things even further. With each edit, came further clarity. Not big changes at all, small ones that made things even more clear.

  7. Alex

    Loved this post and would love to see the quarterly breakdown.

    Really made me reflect on my own situation. I spent the last ~8 weeks of 2015 taking time off to recover from a little burnout and think about next steps. I landed in what past-me and most everyone I talk to thinks is an amazing place, but still have a very unsettled feeling. Related to that, a few questions popped up:

    1) How confident were you in those strengths and personality tests? I’ve taken some and wonder how many of the answers are true, or are a projection of social pressures or who I think I want to be.

    2) Thoughts on doing a deeper reflecting process when resource and/or time constrained? After doing a 10 day vipassana I think there’s immense value in stopping to unplug, but wonder how more people who aren’t able to take such a break can do this vital mental work.

    3) How do you differentiate the resistance of something you need to do and something that should be quit asap? I’m struggling with figuring out which I’m in the middle of right now (and I know this is very subjective).

    Thanks again, I’m really excited to be able to read more of your work regularly!

    • Billy

      1. I thought they were pretty accurate.
      2. I’ve debated doing Vipassana but have yet to. I was definitely in a fortunate situation to be able to unplug more than most, but I know many people who rave about something as simple as 10 minutes/day worth of meditation(something I don’t do). I think unplugging is extremely important, and something I personally haven’t done enough of in the past.
      3. Talking to people who know me/that I respect and trust, combined with taking the time to really ask myself questions and be honest with myself. I think that’s part of the reason these sprint goals help, because it allows you to fully commit for a relatively short period of time. If you’re feeling constant resistance over that period, why is that? It’s hard to dip your toe into the water and be successful at something, so fully committing on a temporary basis if you’re unsure seems to be a good alternative for me.

  8. David

    That is an epic post. Thanks for sharing so much! Removing money from the process clarified my own thinking about what I want to do. It’s a bit scary as I’m not on as firm a financial base as I suspect you are. Or maybe that’s “limiting belief David” trying to talk me out of going after a goal that is off the beaten path. Thanks again for putting out great writing that really does help me think differently.

    • Billy

      Awesome! Really glad to hear David.

      Ya, most of our goals are NOT actually OUR goals. They’re goals we think other people would think we’re awesome for hitting. But, then what? Often, we’d finally get around to doing what we actually wanted to do, just taking a longer road to feed our ego and the goals we thought we were supposed to be chasing.

      I’ll probably write a post on this at some point, but even if we pursue something that’s not as financially rewarding, if it’s something we enjoy and will do for a significantly longer period, we’re often likely to reap greater financial rewards than doing the thing that would normally be more profitable. It’s hard to calculate the massive compounding effects of wanting to work on something and putting significantly more effort into it.

  9. Ben Dziwulski

    Absolutely epic.

    I found myself thinking the same things this past week.

    After coming off of my most profitable week ever, I thought to myself “Okay, so what if this gets ’10x-ed’ and I make more money than I know what to do with, will I be truly happy?”

    The answer wasn’t a resounding “YES”. It was more like an “Ehhh, maybe?” which makes me realize that a shift needs to happen. While I don’t know what that shift is, I am not going to forget about it. I am going to hunt it down and make it happen.

  10. Paul

    Hi Billy. That was really an open and honest post. I too struggle with my thoughts on “what do I really want?” So your path through this gave me some hope. Id really like to hear/learn about how you found your strengths. What programs and process’s did you use?
    Paul. Bunbury, West Australia.

    • Billy

      The books in the picture were a few of them- Strength Finder and Unique Ability. I read a bunch of them though, and talked to a number of people. I’ll have to compile a list of them all in a future post, but those were a few that helped for sure.

  11. Jim

    Regardless of the near term payoff for you personally, the unseen impact of getting more of your ideas out there could be really significant. You mentioned the importance of time. As an example of your unseen impact, how I spend a significant part of my day, everyday, is from a direct result of your writing and ideas. There’s already a ton of clickbait crap – some even coming from “good” people who didn’t even take the time to question the intent. Given the impact your writing had on one random dude – again in a very tangible but unseen to you way, I could see how sharing more of your uncommon ideas would do more of the same.

    • Billy

      Thank you Jim! Always appreciate your comments very much, and really happy you’re getting value from what I’m putting out.

      Very glad your days have been impacted in part because of the content. That is ridiculously awesome to hear.

  12. Costa

    I vote Yes for quarterly status updates.

    I also try to keep the forces of ego at a minimum because I’ve found that ego will cloud decision-making when it comes to choosing goals. Lots of goals people set for themselves can be distilled to “I want to be famous”. Which can be distilled to “I want to be seen and noticed”. Which really tries to answer the question “Does the fact that I’m alive actually make a difference to anybody? Is my existence “worth” anything?”.

    The way I see it is that the last question can be answered “yes” without ego and without “being famous”. So I regularly ask myself “Would I keep working towards this goal if it required a “pen name” and nobody would know I had anything to do with it’s success? Would I still feel fulfilled?”

    So, for example, would you still have these goals if you had to use a pen name for your book? If the profits of it were given to charity in someone else’s name?

    Yes, you could read all the praise and thanks from everyone and interact with them, but not under your own name. Yes, you’d see the changes and results you created in your readers, but your friends/family/etc would have no idea you were the one behind any of it. Would you still be excited every day to attack that goal?

    (all rhetorical questions; not asking you directly)

    I asked myself these questions a while ago and came to my true goal. It’s an artistic goal (video games that may or may not make any revenue) so right now I’m figuring out how to make enough money so that I can pursue it without stressing about my living expenses. So my yearly goal: 4 streams of passive income. Quarterly goals: 1 passive income stream.

    Thanks for these meaty posts, ignore those dopamine addicts that want shorter posts. 🙂

    • Billy

      Great, great comment Costa. Phenomenal questions!

      Many years ago when I was just starting in business, I had an older/wiser friend pose the question of “if no one could ever see you driving your dream car. no one even knew you owned it. would you still want it?” it was interesting how less appealing a lamborghini seemed.

      Thanks again for an epic comment- hope to see you here more!

      • wg

        Thank you for this great post! I took 3 pages of notes while reading and re-reading it. Your question when debating what goal to pursue, “If I did A, would I go do B after?” is incredibly clarifying. I also really like the question from Costa, “Would I keep working on this goal if it required a “pen name?”

        I wish I had started reading your website earlier! I had seen a couple things about “Forever Jobless” here and there before but was like, “I still want a job! Just a meaningful one.” This post and the +EV post in particular have changed a lot of my thinking in pursuing goals.

        If you have a moment to give some advice, how would you go about making a very vague, lofty goal, more defined? For example, I see a lot of big problems in the world that I’d like to help work on solving, like racial injustice. But having a goal like “help solve racial injustice,” obviously isn’t defined enough to actually accomplish. There are a thousand ways one could work on that. How would you break it down?

        Your limiting belief dialog was also incredibly helpful. I recognized so much of my own thought process in it…it was a revelation to see how much of it I’ve been doing.

  13. Ryan M Hall

    Fantastic read.

    Loved the vulnerability in this post

    I think my biggest take away was the question if the dating site didn’t go well, what would you do, and if it did, what would you do.

    Simple but clarifying.

    Secondly, to labor (in the arts) for anything other than love is prostitution.


    Looking forward to updates and more!

  14. Ace Tully

    Subscribed about two years ago to an email address I rarely use. Somehow stumbled upon this post. I am currently walking somewhat blind through teaching English in South Korea. Have a rough outline of goals for the year and monthly goals that I blog about. Was planning on really getting a clear vision within the next 1-3 month. Will be revisiting this post 100% at that point! Thank you for the in depth and inside look on your process.

    • Billy

      Let’s get you on a better email Ace! 🙂

      Glad you found this post, and happy to hear that it may be helpful for some decisions you’ve got.

  15. Fred

    This is a great article, I like how you carefully broke down your whole process by which you determined what you wanted to do (or at least, would help uncover the next steps). Revealing a process, rather than the end result is awesome, now I can take your process and come up with my own goals.

    Your comments about the dating world are really intriguing. In my experience there seems to be two cultural forces which seem to make it way WAY harder than it should be:

    1. There is no training. Being a partner to someone else is, in most ways, a skill. It is a very valuable skill (or set of skills) because it revolves around very personal inter-relational skills, applied in a specific, unique circumstance. The current avenue for ‘upgrading’ these skills comes from counselling, which is crazy because it already implies something is already wrong.

    If I started a business with no business skills and then landed in business ‘counselling’ because I was about to go belly up, the first question anybody would want to know is how I thought I was going to pull it off when I was so clearly lacking any effective guidance beforehand. Committing yourself to someone else while still being immature, even in subtle ways, will completely torpedo any chances of life working out for the two of you. Would you go into business with someone who was completely clueless about what they were getting themselves into.

    2. Dating has so much dead weight around it, all the unwritten rules and obligations. There is probably a few reasons for this; dating is the only chance many people get to practice being a partner, so in some ways, the obligations probably exist to create a groundwork for people to build off. Problem is, if the people in a relationship don’t build on it, it’ll just stagnate.

    It would be great if dating were agile. What I mean by this is that dating becomes a ground by which you (as a person skilled up re:point 1) are looking for someone which you:
    – find attractive, and are comfortable with being yourself
    – is also skilled up (point 1)
    – you can invest into
    – they can invest into you

    It seems you can evaluate relationships using the four steps. Heck, you can figure out if a relationship would be EV+ for the long term. After all, the longer the relationship lasts, the better (I hope) for both people. Seriously good relationships are a powerful force, there is even evidence that people in awesome relationships live longer (and die closer together).

    If dating were agile (so that breaking up had less stigma and was less significant), you could move on when it wasn’t working. This doesn’t mean being a jerk, just a mutual admittance that you aren’t a great fit, quickly and cleanly. The present state of things seems to support staying together over splitting up (sunk cost?) until marriage ending in divorce: EV+? I doubt it. Plus is makes for a great book title “Agile Dating: Finding the person you should spend the rest of your life knowing sooner”.

    Just my thoughts.

    • Billy

      1. ya, it’s funny that the thing that most people have in their life(a relationship of some sort), or want in their life, is the thing they don’t spend any time learning about.
      2. ya, most of current dating is a waste of time based on society’s ideas of what it should be, those ideas coming from flawed thinkers.

      Great thoughts, I’ll likely get around to writing a big post on it sometime in the future.

    • Sonny

      Great comment Fred. I feel very much the same way about dating in that I feel I know if there’s a fit sooner than later but due to the mess that current dating and breaking up is tend to avoid dating and therefore remain single…

  16. Andrei

    Stop stalking me Billy! Just kidding. Another timely post just like the one before last.
    I’m guessing you got the same survey email from Gallup last week I did that caused this post. I’ve been reviewing my top 5 Strengths from the test I did over a year ago as their email reminded me of it.
    Back then I had just finished college and was looking for a direction to take and took the test. I wasn’t sure about the results at the time as I couldn’t “see it” in my life. Now after one year of the 9 to 5, looking back at how I handled the challenges and such, I think they are more true than ever. My top 3 are Learner, Individualization, Analytical. Basically from their assessment I make a good coach, consultant, writer.

    The thing about your post that stuck out to me the most is this:
    I get more excitement in changing the way people think, and helping them see things from a perspective no one’s shown them before that can add value to their lives.

    This is exactly the way I feel and used to feel for a long time. As I was thinking over the weekend on my strengths and where I could go from here, basically asking the same questions you asked, I remembered why I stopped sharing all the cool stuff I learned and found interesting. While I was a child I used to slip interesting stuff into conversations and was usually greeted with the response: “Why do you know all this…it can’t be true, you must be lying.”
    I ended up coming to the same conclusion. It’s not worth trying to share/help people who don’t want it and don’t appreciate it.
    Basically I am currently thinking of doing the same thing as you, pumping out content on a daily basis.
    Also wanted to share this article with you, it also helped give me perspective and I think it will be of value to you also:

    Keep up to good work, can’t wait for the weekly posts!

    • Billy

      Keep me posted on your progress Andrei. Would love to hear how it goes for you.

      Thanks for sharing that post- it’s one of the only blog’s I read, and I really haven’t read much of it yet due to trying to write a lot more. Will definitely give that post a read based on your suggestion.

  17. Nenad Ristic

    Let me add my voice to the chorus asking for quarterly updates.

    I am currently in a seeking stage. While I am not as financially strong as you, I find myself questioning my daily work, and trying to figure out what I actually want to do with my life. this post came at a perfect time for me, and I would like to thank you for being so open and honest about your process.

    I would like to know what books and resources you have used in your quest to self-understanding? Or will that be in the promised purpose post?

    • Billy

      Thanks for letting me know you want to see the quarterly updates Nenad.

      I’m glad this post came at a good time for you, happy you got some value out of seeing the process I went through.

      I’ll try and compile a full list of the books, many are back in the states, but a couple that definitely helped were the Strength Finder and Unique Ability books(seen in the photo).

  18. Umi Hussaini

    Wow, beast of a post, Billy! This was truly insightful, motivating, and well…scary.

    It really puts into perspective that no matter how much monetary wealth one has, the feeling of purpose affects us all. Although for you, you’ve reached a point where having more wealth does not affect you in any meaningful way, for me and I’m sure the majority, we aren’t at that point yet, and it is inspiring to work towards that level of success. Overall, great post Billy- looking forward to reading your upcoming material!

    • Billy

      Thanks Umi! Appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      I may make a post in the future about levels of success, and how to balance getting to the next level with long term goals.

  19. Corinne Meharg

    Hi Billy,
    I am a visitor from your childhood. Michael and I lived across the street from you in Watertown and knew you were going places even then! I follow Colleen on FB, so I occasionally see photos of family reunions or visits. We have a second home in Tucson to escape upstate New York winters and I think you lived there for a while during the poker period. I got halfway through your blog and will get to the rest of it, but right now, I’m getting off Facebook and I’m just going to do something that I want to do. I knew you’d approve!
    erin will say hi too once I tell her you’re a blogger.

    • Billy

      Wow, so good to hear from you! Yes, lived in AZ for a few years as well, now mainly based in Austin, but traveling out of country for a while.

      Tell Erin I said hello. Hope you are all doing well!

  20. Eric Gonia

    Awesome post Billy! Please keep us updated.

    I have been going through this process myself. I found that my current purpose in life is to give my two teenagers the character and life skills they need to succeed. I’m using entrepreneurship to teach them.

  21. Evelio Pereira

    Hi Billy!

    Amazing article as always bud. I thought I was writing the article myself and I feel like I am in the same spot right now. Also trying to declutter some of the things I was doing so I can let my mind concentrate on what I truly want to do.

    Looking forward to seeing what you do in the future…

  22. Raymond

    Your posts are truly inspiring, Billy. I follow you from the beginning and I have to say that I actually enjoy getting mails from you because they don’t have a ‘secret agenda’, unlike many other people’s newsletters. I took many of your advice in my own new business and keep learning from you, especially after this post 🙂 So thank you very much for that! Keep writing, you’re a true inspiration!

    Ps. I also love your podcasts, is there any chance you will continue doing these?

    All the best!

    Antwerp – Belgium

    • Billy

      Thank you Ray! Appreciate you being with me from the beginning.

      There is a 50/50 chance the podcast comes back in Q2. Anything specific you’d like to see if I bring it back?

  23. Chris Yates

    Love this Billy. Perhaps a worthy challenge for you would be to figure out how to turn the non-action takers into action takers. If you can crack that, you’d definitely be changing the way people think and you’d always have action takers to make an impact on. 🙂

    • Billy

      That’s something I’ve been thinking about a bit. It’s definitely a gigantic challenge.

      There’s tens of thousands of people on my ForeverJobless newsletter who are looking for an idea, yet even if given an idea, no one takes action on it:

      Pretty wild.

      Definitely an interesting problem to solve. Not sure I’ll put my energies into trying to solve it anytime in the near future, but it’s a big one.

  24. John

    Dude. I want more.

    My favourite part was the internal dialogue, and the “is because of how many comical excuses I hear as to why people can’t achieve their goals”.

    I’m decent at this, but that part really made me think about how I can step things up more, and eliminate even more excuses from my life.

    While I’m not in the same financial position (yet) that it sounds like you’re in, I can definitely empathise with the stage you’re in. I’d love to hear more about the purpose aspects.

    I’ve noticed that everyone hits this stage, or stages, at different times. For some people, it takes hitting that point of not having to work. For others, it happens before that. Either way, at some point, everyone starts to wonder what the whole point of it is.

    For my part, I’m still figuring it out.

    A couple things I’ve learned recently on my own journey:

    #1 – There will never be a moment when you or I realize our “be all end all” purpose, the thing we were born to do, our destiny. To use the age-old cliche, it’s a journey, and the purpose we feel we have now isn’t going to be our purpose later. What we enjoy now isn’t going to be what we enjoy later.

    Right now, I’m really enjoying making electronic music. I can’t describe the excitement I get when I nail the right sound, or make the perfect build, or come up with a wicked melody. It gives me goosebumps and gets deep into my soul.

    But in 5 years, or maybe 10 years, when I’m married and have kids, my kids might be the purpose.

    And when I’m 80 years old, it might be my grandkids, and my legacy.

    Who knows?

    But there’s no final answer.

    I’m finding it helpful to accept that.

    #2 – Simply setting goals, or process targets (such as, go to the gym 4x a week), doesn’t lead to lasting fulfilment. At least not for me.

    I recently read the classic 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I thought the cheesy title meant a cheesy book, but it was surprisingly meaty.

    One of the “habits” is developing a personal mission. So instead of having a goal to make money or whatever, you develop a mission statement for an area.

    For example, in my health, I have targets like hit the gym a certain amount of times, or gain X lbs of muscle, or hit X% body fat. But my mission is to get leaner, stronger, faster, healthier, than yesterday, and to treat my body as a temple.

    The mission is a principle, and isn’t something that’s achieved but something that’s lived.

    #3 – Sometimes we’re asking the wrong question.

    Instead of “what should I do with my life” or “what excites me”, try asking “what do I want people to say about me at my funeral?”.

    Or come up with your own question.

    . .

    I’ll leave you with a couple book recommendations –

    30 Lessons for Living (a book about old people, where the author interviews old people for their lessons to younger people on life, relationships, purpose, money, values, and everything under the sun)

    7 Habits of Highly Effective People (if you haven’t read it, read it – I was surprised, and definitely right up your alley)

    . .

    I signed up to your list, and I’ll be following along. Look forward to being challenged in my thinking, and reading your wrap up.

  25. Josh

    You worked hard on this article. Much appreciated, Billy.

    Seems you may be digging into Stoicism, as multiple quotes were of Seneca. I would imagine then that you have read “A Guide to the Good Life?” If not, I highly suggest it.

    It has been incredibly intriguing to observe your development over the past few years, both in thought processes and portrayal of those thoughts. The evolution of values and actions towards those values is quite interesting.

    I enjoy and appreciate your work, my man. The quarterly updates will be worth your time. Do them.

    Here is a quick video from Alan Watts that you may enjoy, or re-enjoy if you have already been exposed to it.

    Have a wonderful day writing my friend.


    • Billy

      Thank you Josh!

      Will pick up that book, and I plan on doing quarterly updates this year.

      Have watched that clip dozens of times- love it 🙂

  26. Carl


    I’m 45, however I’m just coming to terms with the importance of mindset.

    I’ve started a new morning regime with meditation, journalling and visualisations.

    I’m 41 days into the process and building it as a habit.

    I’m focused on building an online business as my primary goal, with improving my health as a secondary goal.

    I’m aware I need to set more effective goals, so your thoughts on that subject would be most welcome.

    Regards… Carl

    p.s. Thanks for the recent follow on Instagram :O)

  27. Victor Silva

    As one who has a hard time taking action, I’ve always wondered about how such difficulty comes up. Best answers I found for myself were “I don’t want to do it” (I even posted about it in the Incubator), lack of discipline and having a very hard time getting out of my comfort zone. This post helped me clarify something I had already kind of figured out. Working on creating good habits is the best way towards becoming more disciplined. Getting out of the comfort zone is also a habit, plus it should expand the comfort zone exponentially. Since the post was about knowing oneself, it does help figuring out the whole thing.
    Although you mentioned you don’t feel fulfilled when you give advice to people who won’t take action, I couldn’t help but wonder what a good advice would sound like to someone in such state. Some authors have written books about it, some of them about how to stop procrastinating. I am a bit skeptical, though, that any book or article would be very helpful in adressing people not prone to take action, since good readers, poor “doers”, myself included, are usually good at acquiring information like collectors but have a hard time getting out of their heads and into the action space, which will probably lead to turn such new book into only another informational material collected. I’m myself trying to figure it out.
    All “buts” aside, I think (always thought) you are a great writer and you’ll sell a lot of books once you finish one, because I have all the confidence step 1 (incubator) will then be very much solved.

    • Billy

      How to get people to take action who won’t, is a very interesting/big problem to try and solve. It’s a tricky one for sure.

      Thank you Victor! Looking forward to having a book for you to check out.

  28. Hermann

    Great post! One silly comment. You reference “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. I love that poem, but it’s meaning is usually the opposite of what people think. Generally people think it’s about how important it is to take the more challenging road in life.

    That’s what is SEEMS like it says, but actually it’s very different.

    The key is in two lines:
    “And both that morning equally lay,
    in leaves no step had trodden black.”

    This sets up the situation that the roads are ACTUALLY the same when the narrator approaches them.

    Second clue:
    ” shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:”

    and that’s where the clincher comes that everyone quotes… that the narrator took the more difficult road and “that has made all the difference.”

    What’s really going on is that the narrator is looking back and changing history to suit his needs. At the time, the roads looked the same, in hindsight it’s convenient to “sigh” and say “Whew… I really took the hard road and that made me the person I was.”

    in Frost’s own words he said the poem is about a friend of his: “a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn’t go the other”

    So I think the quote still applies 100% to your article! Don’t worry so much about the extrinsic rewards and instead take the road that you like, and don’t worry so much about the ones you didn’t. The joy is primarily in the journey.

  29. Tom

    Hey Billy,

    I hope 2.9% bodyfat was a typo, and you meant 12.9?

    I’m consistently estimated by handheld and step-on scale impedance devices at 14% on my carby ‘bulking’ diet, and 10% on keto. I choose carbs when I seek to gain strength and muscle (and a bit of bodyfat), and subtract carbs to be ~10lbs lighter for agility, and have quicker recovery and a lower RQ for endurance performance. I always keep well-defined abs, though as you write, it’s more a side effect of a system of habits than a purpose or goal for its own sake.

    If you read journals, most competitive bodybuilders rarely choose to maintain below 10% , and will ‘peak’ for competitions with hormones for weeks and intense dehydration on the competition day, to <6%.

    Whatever your deeper, bigger-picture goal is, whether to appear sexually appealing, or to jump higher, run faster, lift more, perform better, it will almost certainly be better served at something like 10-12% bf than 2.9% bf.

    Some growing teens running cross-country in my high school got around 3-4%, and had to stop competing, cut training by 90%, and see doctors and eat more, because at that low bodyfat, even the essential fat padding joints can sometimes be metabolized. That's very bad for athletic performance, and dramatically increases chances of injuries.

    I'm not a doctor, but please reconsider that goal.

    I really enjoyed the post, a few nights ago I was just discussing this with a friend, and similar principles as the book Goal-Free Living, or James Altucher's "live by themes, not goals" mantra, etc. I live this way, and can only imagine how much worse off I'd be setting specific goals vs living out themes while experimenting and exploring.

    • Billy

      2.9% on calipers, which is a good amount higher on a different measuring device.

      Living by themes is interesting, and not something I’ve tried yet. Will check it out, thanks.

  30. Skip Johnston

    +1 for quarterly updates.

  31. Stuart

    Wow.. what an incredible post. And I thought I was a good writer. You put us all to shame..

    I have a bad case of shiny object syndrome, but one thing I always come back to is writing, so this post was very motivating. I dabbled in writing books on Amazon (back when you could make money writing erotica) as well as published some of the non-fiction stuff I write.

    But honestly, my favorite thing to do is write very long, detailed journal entries about what’s going on in my life. I’ve been doing this for years, and only recently have been putting everything up.

    (The problem is that my life hasn’t been very interesting lately because I’ve been chasing the money!)

    It’s a bit different than what most people do, as I’ve found they tend to write about an actual topic, like your blog for example (although you do use references to your personal life). I’ve done some of this as well, but my writing just doesn’t have the flair that it does when I write what amounts to a massive journal entry.

    So my question to you is this: based on the spirit of this post, is it feasible for me to keep doing what I enjoy doing and figure out how to “connect the dots” later on?


    • Billy

      Just because something is what you like doing doesn’t mean you have to monetize it later on. That’s what many hobbies are.

      Not 100% sure if that’s what you’re asking though.

  32. Ralph

    Hey Billy, just want to let you know that you are just tremendously friggin awesome. I’ve been reading your stuff for a while and you truly provide so much value through your writing and further, through practicing what you preach, without charging us a dime for it. Compared to the other stuff I read, you don’t do the hard sell, you just provide value full stop and don’t spam emails which is what I really appreciate. It’s none of this give give and then sell, sell, sell, sell. I’ve quit reading everyone else’s stuff and have just solely been reading your content, I’m just sick of being sold to, no matter how subliminal or obvious or proven others sales tactics may be.

    I started my own business early this year and am in the design/marketing/prototype stage for my product and honestly lost motivation. After reading this article, I’ve somewhat been fired up to not only finish what I started but be clear about where I’m heading and why. Your articles truly resonate with me, even if they’re 20+ mins long, they’re so worth reading and contain so much value. This is the first time I’ve left a comment on someone’s site which I suppose says a lot about the way you’ve moved me to take action!

    Keep up the great work and thank you so much once again!!


    • Billy

      Thank you Ralph! That means a lot.

      Keep me posted on your progress with your project.

      And first comment… boom! Thanks

  33. Gabriel

    So this is the first Forever Jobless post I have read and it was awesome! So much valuable information here!
    Thank you for sharing this knowledge with us all!

    I would love to get updates for the quarterly progress so +1 for that 🙂

    Also as an aside I’ve tried subscribing a couple of times now with a few different email addresses and I’m not recieving any emails. 🙁
    Not sure if there’s something wrong with the subscription setup?

    • Billy

      Thank you Gabriel! Sounds like you have some more reading to do if this is your first one 🙂

      How did you come across it?

      Planning to do the quarterly updates this year, so keep on the lookout. I subscribed you, let me know if that worked.

  34. Justin

    Thanks for all you do! I miss the podcast brother but I know that writing is the path that will give you your best platform to help thousands or more. Good luck! The EV math has helped me the most along with goal setting and removing distractions. I wish I had a coach or mentor with your insight who could help me build my business. I too am in the teaching/empowerment area and would love to know how to scale up. I believe that if I help enough people get what they want then I’ll get what I want. Keep on trucking brother!

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  36. Colin

    Hey Billy great post! I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts and have found them to be very helpful.

    I definitely know what you mean when you talk about doing things that don’t really align with your end goals. This is something that I am currently struggling with in determining if what I am doing is really helping me with my end goal, or if what I am doing currently is even necessary to achieving my goal.

    I am still trying to discover myself to know what it is that I truly want. It has been a journey of trial and error. What books have you found to be the most helpful in discovering yourself?

    Many thanks!

  37. Suzanne

    This part really captured me:

    “The artist must operate territorially. He must do his work for its own sake. To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution…”

    “When the hack sits down to work, he doesn’t ask himself what’s in his own heart. He asks what the market is looking for…”

    I’ve come to the realisation I am both and I do both, regularly. The work is unfulfilling, but the result of either producing my own little masterpieces or having a customer rave about it make for cheerful days later on, so I keep doing it in my own endeavours. Not sure we need to be “fulfilled” every minute anyway as these feelings are designed by nature to come and go. Seth Godin has mentioned how unfulfilling the artist part can be, and I think he’s spot on.

    In reading most of your long blog post, I really wonder why you are single…you are succinct, imaginative, interesting and have all the obvious tickboxes that women would want. Maybe it’s the obvious tickboxes that get in the way and attract the wrong sort? (such as having many things figured out, having money and being good looking?)

    Anyway, I really hope you don’t give up entirely on the dating site/advice idea. I can think of a zillion ways dating sites could be improved, from speciality niche sites with better matching algorithms or even better matching techniques than algorithmns, to ratings and feedback given on dating experiences, to sites treating people as more than 2D anthropods and capturing more essence of a person perhaps (video?)

    Or maybe all the people suck on dating sites for me (I’m single too) and they’d do so, video or no video, because hey, my knowledge bank and lingo are quite different to an average Joe’s and so I’m just not meeting my crowd at all 😉

    I think what’s missing from my life (as another bored being in THAT club) is an actual ability to change the world physically IN A BIG WAY to be a better place. It’s nice to do little things that we think will improve it here and there, but ultimately, there’s still that annoying system in the way that likes to trample passion and burnout creativity while effectively, keeping audiences entangled in what does not matter.

  38. Thanh

    Thanks Billy for such a great post.

    I don’t know what to say here. I need some time to digest what I have just read.

    How long did it take you to write this post?


  39. P

    A million times thank you for the amazing value you are delivering with this article!!
    Reading it was like having a conversation with myself (very weird feeling) since it dealt with exactly the matters that are most important to me right now, and we happen to have so many points in common (enjoying giving advice, poker, investing, the dating website idea).
    I’m very interested in the idea of eliminating distractions to make room for introspection and finding one’s own true goals.
    I feel it is so easy, for people like me who have an addictive personality, to fall into this trap where you put in crazy amounts of time and effort into one activity (could be work, sports, art, …), but are to lazy (or not brave enough) to do the kind of work that really matters (introspection, self-actualization).
    I’m a bit struggling at the time being to set up a “framework” to force myself to actually take action, instead of just reading and discussing personal development content. I feel that eliminating activities and setting new habits (sleeping and eating well, exercising, meditation) is so much easier than to actually take the time and mental energy to do deep work on myself.

    I feel that you really went to the bottom of the issue in this post, bringing together a lot of ideas, and at the same time these considerations really opens things up in terms of goal-setting perspectives.


    This is awesome stuff. The content, the quotes everything that you put in the article is just perfect. I am still wondering how late I am to find such good things in my life. The thought about eliminating distractions to achieve your goal is the most practical one. You are helping so many people to gain clarity about there life and what they want to achieve. Thanks for such a great article.


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