Here is my best suggestion for creating a bulletproof mindset:
Read The Book of You.
I know. That’s an obnoxious, self-helpy, woo-woo suggestion. I hate myself a little for writing it.
As worshiped as they are in this weird “read-a-billion-books-or-you’ll-never-be-respected-in-life” culture, Business Bibles can send you down the wrong path. I ran in circles with Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Work week trying to create a product which could make me rich.
Then I remembered something.
I hate products. I don’t buy them. I don’t shop for them. I don’t look at them. I don’t like selling them.
Taking a book as truth is dangerous territory without first reading and memorizing The Book of You.
Here is how you read that book:
A) TALK TO YOURSELF
Okay, quick drill. Tell me the last podcast you listened to and three things you learned from it.
If you weren’t able to come up with anything, it’s highly possible you are a Podcastaholic.
Symptoms of Podcastaholism include:
- Listening to shows on 2X speed so you can get more in
- A feeling of panic when you forgot to turn the Wifi back on your phone so it missed the automatic download
- Listening to the same guest on 6 different shows (“just in case!”)
- Pretending you are the co-host on your favorite cast.
- Heightened feelings of superiority that others don’t have the knowledge you do (“Oh, the new Miley Cyrus song? Haven’t heard it. Too busy getting smart.”)
Try this exercise today: instead of blazing through podcasts, talk to yourself. Do it for an hour. Do it constantly.
Find out what you feel about your day, your past, your future.
Talk to your steering wheel. Ask if it has any business tips. Then bring your windshield wipers into the conversation.
When you figure out what you DO know, you become more conscious of what you DON’T. Then bring the podcasts or whatever back in.
(See also this Quora answer: How to Make a 3-Hour Commute Productive)
B) DO BORING WORK
Oh, ho. This tip always gets trashed.
“But I should be following my passion!”
Yes, you should. But what if you don’t know what that passion is?
Here’s how to not find your passion — accept comfortable.
In my experience, nothing reveals a passion like participating in an activity you are violently NOT passionate about.
Do boring until you day dream.
After that, chase the day dream.
C) PRACTICE STREAM-OF-CONSCIOUSNESS WRITING
I was introduced to this tactic in middle school, but because I am a slow learner, I’ve only just now realized the value.
The rules are simple — there are no rules. Simply write as fast as you can for 7 minutes. Paper, Pen, Phone Keyboard — doesn’t matter.
Your goal is to capture every single thought which crosses your mind in those 7 minutes.
When finished, you will likely have two thoughts:
1. “I am a freak” — (Don’t worry. We all are.)
2. “Wonder why I am thinking about ______”
After the first 3 minutes, you will follow your brain into a place you didn’t even know existed. Ride the wave. Explore every crevice.
Throw the page away.
You don’t need it. You’ve already learned what you need to know.
D) BE DUMB
I’ll bet I say “what are you talking about?” 85 times more than the average person. I do things the wrong way constantly. I am running to YouTube for instructions on the easiest task.
It’s good being the dumbest person in the room.
Here’s the thing about “smart” people. They get used to understanding things. They do well in school. They are praised by everyone. Once they reach the open market, advantages suddenly disappear. Not because they are incapable, but because they have been praised for their intelligence all their lives.
Smart people often are:
- Too comfortable (see point B again)
- To figure out what they don’t know (see point A again).
- Which often this leads to a backslide of dirty self-talk (see point E)
- Or surrender.
When you are dumb, people tell you everything they know. Ask them to repeat it once. Write it down. Then talk to yourself about it on the way home.
Here’s why your co-workers are better than the latest NYT Bestseller:
- They have specialized information
- (That directly applies to your job)
- They aren’t trying to make money off the information they have
- They are around for follow up questions
- They will be grateful for the opportunity to share what they know
I dare you to learn as much from everyone around you as you possibly canfirst. Then feel free to read more books.
E) DON’T BULLY YOURSELF
The other day my friend called himself a name. A dirty name. The kind of name that, had anyone else called him, we would have both been ready to fight.
Yet, there he was, the curse casually cascading from his lips.
I guarantee you, nobody talks as much trash about you as you do.
Please stop. You’re way too valuable to hear that kind of language.
(See also: 4 Things to Say Less of)
F) GET REALLY GOOD AT SOMETHING
It doesn’t matter what it is. All that matters is that you get past the canyon.
I am the worst at climbing out of the canyon. I take that dotted line up there a lot of times. Hopefully you are better.
Find something you can do for the sake of doing. Find joy in the work itself.
When you find joy in the work, the result won’t matter.
When you find joy in the work, you realize fulfillment is better than applause.
When you find joy in the work, you know yourself better.
When you find joy in the work, creation beats affirmation.
When you find joy in the work, you win.
G) MAKE FRIENDS WHO FILL YOU UP
My friends have made me more successful than any book.
And we don’t know anything.
Well, we know a little. One of us has done around a half-million in sales for a popular blogger. The other of us already published a book on every platform and used it to start a coaching business. The third one is a numbers genius who manages money for online businesses.
Want to know the big secret?
None of us had done any of the things we’re doing now until we became close friends.
We talk to each other once a week. Sometimes advice is exchanged.Sometimes we just say “man, you are awesome.”
But every week, we walk arm in arm toward The Great Indifference, hoping to make a chink in the universe.
And that has made all the difference.