Ready for some honesty you don’t see much on the Internet? Here we go:
I am 26 years old, have started exactly zero companies to date, and currently have a net worth of approximately not very much.
I have 3 very close friends and a pretty close family. I have a job in which I’m paid market value (barely), and I have 1,400 or so email list subscribers to my personal site.
I am 5’9, weigh 142 lbs (my fighting weight!), have only slept with one woman in my life, and spent most of my school days feeling left out because my friends were club-hopping party animals and I didn’t want to spend time doing that.
I am completely average from head to toe.
And I only tell you those things to tell you this:
I am still probably the happiest person in the universe.
Here are a few things that got me there:
1. I started getting up earlier
I hate giving this advice because it’s SO been beaten to death, but it made a huge difference in my life:
- not because I get up to run — I don’t
- not because I get up to put down an extra green smoothie — I don’t
- not because I get up to get ahead — I write sometimes, but read more often
- but because waking up early gives you perspective.
When you wake up and immediately start getting ready for the god-awful 9 to 5 rat race you’re about to hurl yourself into, it’s easy to feel defeated. Life feels outside of your control when you “have to” do all these different things.
But nobody can stop you from getting up early. That’s all you. Perceived control leads to real control.
2. I went all in on the few relationships I do have
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, after eating and finding a place to not die, you need 50 imaginary “Feel Good Points” to be secure in yourself.
I know what the triangle says, but “Feel Good Points” are much more tangible.
The thing is, those points come differently for different people.
Susie the Cheerleader is well liked, sought after by men, and goes out all the time. She’s drowning in Feel Good Points by default — everyone likes her.
You might not be able to get your points by quantity, so get them by quality. I said I don’t have many friends, and that’s true. But the friends I do have, I would die for.
My wife gives me a security I can’t explain. I’m not saying “go get married” is practical advice, but it’s the route I chose to go. If I died today, she could get her Feel Good Points elsewhere. If she died, you might never hear from me again. It’s scary, but that’s how I roll.
When you feel like you don’t belong with most people, go all in with the people you like.
3. I work every day to identify what I like
And then do more of that and less of what I don’t like — every day.
The change does not have to happen immediately.
In fact, sometimes it’s better if it doesn’t. Often people who win the lottery don’t know what do do with the cash so they blow it. A better job, a girlfriend, a six pack, will all mean nothing if you don’t earn them.
Life change is only impossible if you’re impatient. If you’re looking for a shortcut, there isn’t one.
- Find the 10% of your job you like most — do that more and do it better.
- Find the 10% of exercise you like most — do that more and do it better.
- Find the 10% of things you like to read most — read that stuff more.
- Find the 10% of healthy food you like most — eat that more and eat lame salads less.
- Find the 10 % of people you like being around most — be around them as much as possible.
I did exactly this in my first corporate job. I found what I liked about the role and did that as much as possible as well as I possibly could.
Then I started doing that work for other managers
Then I started doing that work for everyone.
Then I got a new job, a new boss, and made double what I started with — all in 6 months, and I didn’t hate what I was doing along the way.
Money is attracted to passion. It’s not the other way around.
4. Realize happiness is a moving target
Tony Robbins says:
Fulfillment is not a science, it’s an art.
I hate that.
I hate that because art is messy and unpredictable. I hate that because you can’t find a “happiness formula.” Even if you start doing the things I’ve done, it’s nothing more than a starting spot.
I know I will be bored of my job in a few months.
I know I will be sick of a new business effort before too long.
I know I will get tired of most of the things which bring me joy.
Which means I will have to try.
Every day I will get up and look for things to be grateful for. Every day I will come up with new ideas. Every day I will look for things to improve. There are no free passes.
You may not be able to make your life radically better today.
But you can make today radically better today.
Stay focused. Stay balanced. Learn, and most importantly: