Here is my quick guide on how to make it big in 2017 – without all the little vagueness I love so much. A no-bullshit approach to become successful if you will.
1. Spread your focus.
Some people argue that you have to find your niche first and then super-focus on it, dropping everything else. They make you believe that you have to find the ONE THING you are meant to be doing with your life. The one thing that finally gives you meaning, or any form of purpose or reason to wake up in the morning. But that’s not how it works. It’s just a bunch of marketing bullshit to sell you on their “how to find your passion” online courses.
In reality “meaning” lies in the crossroads of MANY of your interests. It’s when you let your interests hump each other and make beautiful interest babies, that’s when you begin to get on to something. It’s on the cross-section of many of your interests where your purpose lies.
I’ll never be the best writer out there… But I might become the best writer (interest: writing) who focuses on reflecting and resolving dramas (interest: raising self-awareness) and points out his thoughts and learnings in a provocative way to raise curiosity within other people to eventually make them rethink some of their own decisions and habits, be more self-aware and empathic and as a result be much kinder towards each other (interest: removing ego).
- By combining multiple interests and focusing on the cross-section of all these things instead of picking just one of them you’ll cut the 10000 hour rule in half. You’ll reach your goal faster and you don’t need to be as good in order to make an impact and do some real damage.
- You’ll niche down automatically without sacrificing much of your work-life balance. It’s not like you have to choose your favorite child and dump the other one. We can all be a happy family together.
- By combining many interests and find your niche this way, you’ll always offer a more colorful picture. Your customers, clients, readers, whatever will see more “facades” of you. And therefore they’ll “get you” and your services faster.
- And it’s also more honest and real. Because nobody is “only marketing” or “only cars”. Real people are like “I love reading science fiction books and get completely lost in them, especially after a long day in the office at my day job as accountant and hitting the gym right after getting pumped while listening to My City, My Secret – A.I.” And in today’s world, people prefer real people over fake and shallow ones.
2. Only fix broken stuff
The self-help industry is a big scam. They first have to make you believe that your life sucks so they can offer you solutions for your newly created problems.
Sometimes we become so skeptical about our current life situations that we forget to be grateful for what we do have going on in our life.
As we get flooded by perfectly curated Instagram pictures and inspirational quotes of “successful” people sitting in their hammock on a sunny beach preaching the lifestyle entrepreneur way of doing things, we also easily begin to question our own strengths and accomplishments.
We forget about what we have going on in our own life. We forget to be OK with what we have. What would happen if we don’t look at it and we never figured out that there is more?
But we did. So we look for the solutions for a problem that doesn’t exist. In reality though there are few problems, besides extreme health issues. But even these are inevitable anyways, so at some point we all have to face them and make the best out of it.
Besides that, here are a couple of things we love to create “big problems” out of:
- “I have not enough money.” If you don’t have enough money, work more. It’s pretty simple. You’ll always be paid for what you deliver. “But I am already working two jobs and I barely get by.” Well, be happy you get by and educate yourself on the side in order to get a better job in a better paying field in one year from now. Ask your boss for what qualifies you for getting paid more and then cultivate these qualities.
- “I have no leisure time.” In reality work-life balance is easy: you have too little money, you work more… you have too little leisure time, you take more time off. “But I can’t take some time off now, I have to finish this one project first, or my boss will kill me…” Well, actually you can very easily. You just walk up and quit. And immediately you are free to leave off into the sunset in about 4 weeks from now. You can book your trip today. “But I need this job to get by, I won’t survive without it…” Yeah that sucks, we all know how it feels. The only solutions is to eat shit for a couple of years, save up, build something on the side, put in the extra time and reap the rewards later. “But I can’t do this…” Whatever. Fuck your excuses.
- “I am alone.” Get out and meet people. Go to clubs, go nuts. Get drunk. Do what everyone else is doing to “not be alone”. “But I am too old for that shit…” Yeah maybe, then do something where old people go and meet other old people there. Go to the weekly Bingo meet-up. There is this cool invention that let’s you connect to millions of other people, it’s called the Internet. Use it.
- “I have no purpose or meaning”. Then create one. Create a purpose from nothing. Like it usually happens. It’s not that Mark Zuckerberg happened to wake up one morning and was struck by his “one purpose” to create Facebook. He was curious about tech, then connecting people, then world domination. PURPOSE = INTEREST + PERSISTENCE + CONSISTENCY. And a little spice of calculated risk.
- “I am a loser.” Self-doubt and beating yourself up with negative self-talk and toxic thought loops is by far the #1 reason a lot of people are living far below of what they are capable of. Time to get over yourself and put the focus on others.
- “I don’t know how I am going to _____” Then educate yourself. Again, there is this Internet thingy, which basically turns you into a cyborg superhuman. You can access all of humanity’s wisdom and knowledge with the little metal thing basically attached to your hand. Use your smartphone and become smart yourself. There are few problems you can possibly have that haven’t already been solved by a million other people out there.
3. OK, there is a problem. What now?
“Problem” is a stupid word. But it’s the common way to describe a situation that sucks and we want to get rid off or improve on. Anyways. So if a “problem” remains after the last bullet point, you have a couple of choices:
- Deal with it by resolving it.
- Deal with it by ignoring it.
- Deal with it by accepting it.
I’ll quickly describe the pros and cons, you can then decide on your own what to do about it.
A) Deal with it by resolving it.
This includes, gaining new knowledge, mentorship and advices from others. Reaching out to smarter people to help you get rid of your problem. Then put in a lot of work and time to eventually resolve it in the near future.
This approach requires a shit load of your time and efforts. It’s a huge pain in the ass. But you’ll get the reward of getting ridding yourself from the problem.
And that’s cool right?
B) Deal with it by ignoring it.
This is the easiest option. But the most painful one as well. Because although you skip the pain of putting in the time and work to resolve the problem, you’ll invite the pain and suffering that comes with living with this problem till the end of your given time. And depending on your problem this can suck more or less.
C) Deal with it by accepting it.
The last option is to accept it. To go full zen-mode and just accept your bad circumstance as a situation that is here for you to learn and grow on. If that’s how you handle your shit, well, who am I to judge. But I feel that although it’s a powerful thing to “accept your life situation as it is” you’ll end up at option B) nonetheless if you don’t follow up your acceptance with option A).
Because there is a slight difference between “Oh look there is a tumor on my forehead, well that’s just part of my life now, let’s just accept it.” and then die, and “Oh fuck there is a tumor on my forehead, how did that happen? How can I get rid of it again, what are my options, what can I do?” and then do something about it to the best of your capabilities, and yet accepting the results you are getting from your efforts (or not).
But that’s just my two cents.
4. Create a MASTERPLAN.
- Build an ideal future vision (your “someday goal”).
- Break down your vision into achievable daily goals. Ask yourself: “Based on my someday goal, what is a 5-year goal I can work on to get closer to my someday goal? Then… Based on my 5-year goal, what is a one-year goal I can work on to get closer to my 5-year goal? Then… Based on my one-year goal, what is a monthly goal I can work on to get closer to my someday goal? Then…”
- Repeat until you have a RIGHT NOW goal (credit for this idea).
- Do something to achieve that right now goal, well, right now.
The trick is to cultivate patience. Because patience is what kills most of “trying to become successful” people. So many people would achieved more if they would have just kept going.
And I don’t even mean this in a motivational type of way. It’s just logical. It takes TIME to build something of great impact. Maybe you are just trying to figure out how to get rid of your bad mood, and you are solving this puzzle. And even that can take a while and you might uncover hidden childhood traumas, or whatever. Or you are trying to figure out how to accelerate the development of human space travel. Whatever you are trying to accomplish, it definitely takes time. Most of times way more than we want it to.
Because there is one thing that happens when you put in the work on a daily basis: you’ll learn and you’ll get better at it. Whatever you are doing. You’ll understand the fundamentals a little bit better than you did the day before. And then you uncover new problems you didn’t see before. You see a little bit more of the bigger picture. And you keep resolving the problems as they arise.
We don’t see the whole problem right when we start out. They just gradually appear and require our attention. And that’s why solving an issue might take way more time than initially expected.
And then you need SELF-AWARENESS.
Because occasionally you have to put the attention inward. You have to ask yourself if you are still in alignment with your desired lifestyle.
- Is your work-life balance still like you wish it to be?
- Do you need to make adjustments?
- Can you improve certain areas of your life further?
- Can you get rid of stuff you regret doing?
- Can you add more things you enjoy?
- Can I reach out to someone who could help me here?
- Am I effective here?
- Am I efficient?
- (What’s the difference between these two words?)
All very important questions.
There is nothing else to it.
5. Work your plan.
6. Keep working.
7. More work.
8. And a bit more work.
9. That’s it. You are now successful. Congrats…
Now reward yourself, take some time off, and appreciate the success you worked for. Look back at how far you have come and think about all the challenges you overcame. Be proud of yourself. Appreciate yourself.