Work and play

A little boy playing in a pile of leaves

After a week-long vacation, I’m back in my home office itching to get back to work.

I’m grateful to love what I do.

People talk about work/life balance. I have no idea what the perfect formula for that is or if it even exists.

My typical process is this:

Spend a few weeks working → Crave a vacation → Take a vacation → Crave getting back to work → Get back to work → Repeat

It works for me (get it?).

What I love about this process is how much better I get at my work by taking intentional breaks. Like letting our muscles recover after a workout, we counterintuitively get better results the more we set aside time for fun and relaxation.

I can’t stand when people say they sleep less so they can get more done in a day. That’s ludicrous.

You get more done in a day when you’re well-rested and full of mental energy. If that weren’t the case, insomniacs would be the most successful people on earth.

Sleep. Rest. Fun. Play time.

These are essential to our productivity and our well-being.

Take that trip. Go on vacation.

Then get the fuck back to work.

Lessons from Denver

The Rocky Mountains

As always happens, the incredible vacation I’ve been enjoying this week is suddenly coming to a close.

Tomorrow in the early morning, I hop on a plane back to Maryland.

Here’s a short list of my favorite things I’ve done this week in Denver as well as the lessons from them:

1) Spending every day with some of my closest friends.

Friends are meant to spend quality time with. We’re social creatures and the relationships in our lives shape who we are and what we’re capable of.

Yesterday was my best buddy’s birthday. We all spent the day at the biggest park I’ve ever seen, drank spiked Kombucha, and played spike ball. (Wow, so much spike.)

Visit your friends. Invest time and money into the people you love. It pays dividends as the years go by. I’ll remember that day at the park forever.

2) Playing chess every day and going rock climbing.

There will always be a part of me that loves to party: staying up late, drinking, experimenting with drugs…

But at the ripe age of 27, I find I don’t have time anymore for relationships where that’s all we do.

It’s important to find friends you can do challenging things with, have beautiful conversations with, and inspire each other to learn and take action.

I brought my buddy into the world of chess. It excites me to see him beat his other friend with the lessons and practice we’ve shared. It also excites me to show him how much I improve at rock climbing since he and his partner brought me into that world.

3) Waking up to the view of Denver and the Rocky Mountains.

From my friends’ high rise apartment, I can look out right now and see the entire Denver skyline, Red Rocks amphitheater, and three enormous snowcapped mountains.

I’ve never seen so many dogs, Teslas, and open spaces for humans and dogs to roam around…in one place.

It’s important to go exploring. It’s always a lovely learning experience when you get out of your little bubble and meet other humans in their bubbles.

Getting out of my bubble for a week has been well worth any amount of time or money I put into this excursion.

In short: Visit your friends, find friends you can do challenging things with, and get a dog…or a Tesla.

Learning to climb

Someone rock climbing up a mountain

Yesterday, my friends took me to their local rock climbing gym here in Denver.

I’m deathly afraid of heights. As in: when I look down and see nothing between the ground and my feet, I lose physical control of my body.

It was nerve-wracking and exhilarating watching my friends climb up the 50-foot wall, seemingly with ease.

Naturally, I started small. Just some low-level bouldering.

It was challenging, exhausting, and exciting. I would slip and fall off close to the top of my little 12-foot wall and my competitive nature wanted to jump right back on it and try again.

It was a humbling reminder:

With anything you want to do in life, you have to start on day 1.

Most people are afraid of the discomfort of the early days of improvement.

You could embarrass yourself. Everyone else is an expert and you have no clue. You don’t belong here.

But that’s all nonsense.

Anyone who’s better than you at anything…they started on day 1. The only difference is that now they’re on like day 1149 and you haven’t started yet.

So if you want to improve, start. Then do it more. Do it a lot. Get really fucking good at it.

Eventually, someone will look at you and think, I could never do that.

Then you’ll gently remind them that you were there too once.

One day, I’ll climb that 50-foot wall and talk about how I used to be terrified of heights.

Wholeself

We can only provide a large amount of focus and attention on a few things at once.

My last few blog posts have been quite short because I’m visiting friends.

Rather than spending 45 minutes crafting and building on an idea, I prefer to sit and talk with my buddies and sip coffee.

You can’t do everything at once.

So choose what’s most important to you right now and give it your whole self.

Late night sacrifice

Last night, my best buddy (who really doesn’t drink) and I stayed up late drinking beers and playing chess.

Out of his element, he was a silly and giggly dude. But this morning is looking rough for him.

He said, “I’m not a late night kind of guy.”

When I asked why he stayed up, he calmly said, “Because I wanted to hang out.”

In other words:

You make sacrifices for the people you care about.

CO

Yesterday I flew to Colorado to surprise my best friend for his birthday.

We Zoom and chat on the phone each week…but nothing beats sitting in the same room and laughing together.

50 years from now, I won’t remember the uncomfortable hours of sitting on a plane. I’ll just remember having a lovely time with my friends.

Visit yours.

87

Last night, I talked to one of my best friends on the phone for two hours.

I remember doing that when I was seven years old.

I hope I’ll continue to do it until I’m 87.

Picasso’s napkin

Beautiful mural of a colorful cat

There’s a popular anecdote in the personal development world that accounts one woman’s encounter with Pablo Picasso.

Much of it has been lost in translation but it goes something like:

A woman saw Picasso at a cafe. He was sketching something on a napkin. She went up to him and asked to buy his doodle.

He agreed and asked her for a million dollars.

Baffled, she said, “But that only took you five minutes!”

He calmly replied, “No madam. It took me my whole life.”

The moral of this story is to never undervalue what you do. But I didn’t truly understand it until recently.

After running my own business for several months now, I finally have something to relate that little anecdote to.

At some point in my life, I’ll charge someone $100,000 a year for my coaching. Is that because I’ll be spending 80+ hours a week with them?

No.

They won’t just be paying for sessions with me. They’ll be paying for everything it took to get me to that point.

• All the thousands of dollars I spent on coaching and programs for myself.

• The countless hours of being on the brink of tears from doubt, uncertainty, and fear.

• The hundreds and hundreds of conversations I’ve had with people—powerful and awkward alike.

• The journey of my life: From attempting suicide to getting my shit together (and wanting to help others get their “shit” together).

So…when I get to that point, when someone asks me why it costs $100,000 for one year of coaching, I’ll simply tell them that they’re not paying for one year.

They’re paying for my entire life.

Without your fears

One of my favorite powerful coaching questions is:

If you removed all your fears, doubts, and worries…what would be left?

I ask that to you, dear reader.

Let me know what comes to mind.

I love Imposter Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome:

• Doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud.
• Finding it difficult to accept your accomplishments.
• Questioning whether you’re deserving of accolades.

It comes in many forms.

Not taking on a certain project or job. Avoiding reaching out to a person who intimidates you. Feeling fear and anxiety about not being worthy.

If any of these things paralyze or debilitate you from taking action, that’s not good…obviously.

But one thing I’ve realized about myself in the past year is something rather counterintuitive:

I don’t ever want these doubtful feelings to go away.

Of course, I don’t ever want these doubtful feelings to keep me from doing the things I want to do. But I’m okay with their existence.

These thoughts:

Can I really do this?
• Do I deserve people’s money?
• Am I actually able to make a prosperous career for myself?

They don’t keep me under the covers. They fire me up to get out my ass out of bed each morning and say, “Fuck yeah. I can do all these things. Let me prove it.”

Courageous and fearless are not the same thing. Being courageous is taking action despite feeling afraid.

I’m afraid almost every day. And I like it.

It makes me work hard. It makes me take action to be less fearful. It helps me connect with other people who are scared too.

So long as this remains true, I welcome my Imposter Syndrome with open arms.

Being fearless is overrated. Be courageous instead.

Uncomfortable leadership

Soldiers saluting the American flag

The skill I’m currently working on improving is the skill of leadership.

It could go by other names, but in general what I mean is:

Setting standards and limitations and sticking to them—at the risk of making myself or others uncomfortable.

This includes:

• Calling someone out for being late to a call.
• Telling someone I’m disappointed in them for not following through with a commitment.
• Being offered money and saying ‘no’ to a prospective client I don’t see as the right fit.
• Voicing frustrations to close friends, colleagues, or even acquaintances.
• Telling a friend I can’t or don’t want to hang out, without giving a long-winded explanation.

Putting some of these into practice has made my heart pound and my face hot with nerves.

It’s scary to risk tension with another human being. But so long as it comes from a place of love and respect, and not superiority, it’s absolutely necessary.

But again, this is a skill.

It’s an art and a science.

I’ve heard people try to be a leader when they were really just being condescending and belittling. That’s not effective.

What is effective is telling someone with your words or your actions:

I love and support you completely. Here’s what you can expect from me. And here’s what I am expecting of you.

Last month, I gave a client a challenge to create a step-by-step system for the business he wanted to start. Two sessions in a row, he didn’t do it.

As promised, I told him I was disappointed. Not because I am the big bad boss who gave him homework…but because he was neglecting actions to better his life and do what he really wanted. I said, “This is for you man, not for me. When this happens, it makes me feel like you’re not taking what we’re doing here seriously.”

That was that and we moved on. A week later, when we next saw each other, he looked over at me at some point and said, “Thank you for laying in to me and calling me out. It’s exactly what I needed to hear.”

I can’t promise every situation will be received so well. Again, this is an art and it will take practice setting your own standards and maintaining them.

People will get defensive. Some will fight back.

But so long as you are coming from a place that’s looking out for everyone’s best interests, trust that you’re not being an asshole.

You’re being a leader.

A person’s success in life can be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.

Tim Ferriss

A trick to getting what you want

A plate of pizza crusts

I love cliches.

There are TONS of them in the world of self-improvement. After diving deeper and deeper into that world for the past four years, I’ve realized that that’s because living a great life, while bitter work, is genuinely quite simple.

I could list out a bunch of my favorite, powerful cliches, like:

• Suffer now so you may thrive later.
• When you obsess over things you can’t control, you lose twice.
• Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

…But I’ll just focus on one for today.

If you dedicate yourself to helping others, you’ll get everything you want.

This is true in business, relationships, and your overall health and well-being.

Of course, you still have to look out for yourself. Not sleeping for five days straight because you’ve been helping every person you can is not ideal.

But in general, focusing on finding ways to serve others does several things to help get you where you want to be.

1) You make more money.

Numbers have never motivated me.

After starting my own business last year, I tried to come up with a financial business plan, but it never seemed to drive me to work better or harder.

Then, when I started coaching, I threw away all my “business plans.” The new plan was (and still is):

Have as many fun and powerful conversations with people as I possibly can.

Since this adjustment in my mindset, I’ve made more in a few months than what I thought would take me three years to attain.

If you’re helping people…if you’re bringing them value…they will want to reciprocate with their own money, time, or attention.

2) You grow your network effortlessly.

Networking doesn’t have to involve suits, cocktail parties, and business cards.

That stuff’s fine, but not necessary.

A major lesson for me in the past year:

You don’t need to search far and wide for a diverse and valuable network. You have everything you need right in front of you.

I didn’t know this until I started reaching out to friends, friends of friends, and acquaintances from my past. I’ve had fruitful conversations with folks of all kinds of passions, skills, and personalities.

Naturally, this has increased my chances of being referred to. People have mentioned me to others when discussing blogging or life coaching. I’ve even helped a few people wanting to start a YouTube channel. This wasn’t because I’m a pro filmmaker (I only have 110 subscribers); it was because I have a YouTube channel and people in my network know that.

To mirror the first point, if you provide value to others, they will stick around. Not so much in a transactional sense, but because you make their lives better or easier in some way. And for the vast majority of people, they’ll want to give back.

3) It makes you happier.

There was a study done to prove this.

They had people fill out a questionnaire to measure happiness levels. Then, half of them were asked by an actor to do them a favor.

Not only did this mean they were helping another person, but they also typically engaged in light conversation with the actor.

The subjects took similar happiness quizzes at the end of the experiment.

92% of people in the “favor group” reported much higher levels of positivity, gratitude, and overall happiness.

Conclusion

The next time you feel stuck, ask yourself, “How can I help?”

Or better yet…”Who can I help?”

Finding ways to be of service to others will in turn help you prosper in your personal and professional lives.

The person you should be like

A blooming flower in a field

Until I was about 25, I thought relentlessly, Who should I be like?

I looked to successful friends, role models, even characters in movies or plays.

When I was in high school, I would listen to the music my friends liked even though I didn’t really enjoy it.

Last year, in trying to make YouTube videos on self-improvement, I tried my best to copy my favorite filmmakers who made the same content.

After starting my own business, I read countless business and self-help books to figure out who I should emulate to become prosperous.

In my work, my relationships, and my creative endeavors…I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time asking that same throbbing question…

Who should I be like?

As we get older, one of the frustrating (and uplifting) things we realize is that cliches are cliches for a reason: They remain true.

We can turn to one of the top five cliches to answer this uncomfortable question:

Be like you.

In a world of seven billion humans, there is only one person on the planet who has the exact same combination of interests, strengths, and perceptions as you have. And it’s…me.

Just kidding. It’s you.

Of course, it’s necessary to be influenced by others. Soak in ideas and motivation from the people you respect. There’s always something to learn from everyone.

But only you can take what you learn and make it totally your own.

I’ve written about 1000 blog posts on this site you’re reading. There’s not a single word I haven’t taken from something else.

My mom and teachers taught me how to read and write.

All my ideas have come from experiencing the outside world—conversations with friends, stories, and lessons I’ve learned and pondered over.

But they’ve made it onto this screen because they’ve traveled through the filter that is my brain and then out of my fingertips and onto the keyboard.

Thus making them mine.

The same is true for everything you do and say.

What do you value and cherish? What excites you? What do you love?

Do that. Do it all the time. Get really fucking good at whatever you hold dear to your heart.

Because that’s you.

When you do that, you don’t have to be like anyone else. You can be the coolest person on earth.

You.

All different, all the same

As a life coach, I have conversations with two to seven different people each day.

We discuss their goals, obstacles, mindsets, and ideas.

While there are certainly patterns and similar areas of Resistance, each session is wildly different than the last.

Why? Simple.

Each human being is wildly different than the last.

Two of my clients are wealthy and successful businessmen. One might think my time with them would be about performance and optimization.

But with one, we exclusively focus on his health and morning routine habits. We don’t even discuss his work.

With the other, we brainstorm ways he can add more creativity into his daily routine. Again, we never discuss any of his major business decisions.

We’re all the exact same in that: We are all constantly trying to make sure we’re spending our time well.

But that looks completely different for each of us.

This is progress

This morning will be the first organized public event I attend since everything shut down in March of 2020.

I’m pumped.

My sister cheers for her local high school. Their football team is playing the high school I went to.

Not only am I grateful to get to see her compete and do something she’s interested in…but going to an event makes me smile.

Progress is insuing.

People are getting vaccinated.

Things are opening up.

There’s much work to be done and people have certainly suffered unnecessarily, but we are taking steps to get back to “normal.”

At some point, you’ll be able to walk into a crowded concert hall and no one will be wearing masks and it’ll be totally natural.

That’s called progress (or Florida). And it should be celebrated.

Nothing’s wrong

Yesterday, I was being coached by my partner in my coaching program.

He and I were diving into the stress and anxiety I feel over money and growing my business.

I thought we were heading in the direction of:

“I’m doing great. I don’t need to feel this anxious.”

But then things took a turn and I had a simple but unexpected insight:

You’re very new at this whole ‘running a business’ thing. It’s perfectly natural to be stressed out.

Wow…yeah.

I’ve been coaching for nine months. Did I think I would be making six figures at this point?

I have 12 regular paying clients. I’m serving others. I’m helping people take action toward the things that matter most to them.

I’ve been thinking that something’s wrong because I’m not totally financially set yet.

But nothing’s wrong.

Everything is as it should be, including the stress.

Realizing that anxiety is perfectly normal makes me less anxious.

The only option for me is to continue doing the work and stay on this trajectory.

A year from now, I’m excited to look back and smile at this blog post.

How to win no matter what

I like to set up systems where no matter what, I win.

In my coaching system, for example, my goal is to have as many fun and fruitful conversations as possible. It has nothing to do with closing a certain amount of clients or making a specific amount of money. Ironically, that stuff often happens naturally when I just focus on bringing a ton of value to the conversations I’m having.

I reach out to a ton of people, and most don’t reply, which is totally normal and okay. But when someone does reply, even if they’re not interested in any sort of coaching experience, I get to catch up with someone from my past or meet someone new.

Even if they don’t turn into a paying client, I still win. I win when I have a conversation and enjoy it.

How can you turn a loss into a win? By changing the definition of winning.

I love chess and Brazilian Jiujitsu. In both, the only way to improve is to play (and lose) a lot. Having a competitive nature is healthy, but if you get pissed every time you get checkmated or tapped out, you’ll never become a grandmaster or a black belt.

The subtext here is that every time you make a mistake or suffer a loss, it opens the door for you to find lessons and make improvements.

I watched a YouTube video about how to defend an ankle lock in jiujitsu. Then, last year, a guy got me in an ankle lock, didn’t really know what he was doing, and yanked on my foot. I popped several tendons and was out for a month.

While that video was great, the experience will stay with me forever. I haven’t been caught in an ankle lock since. I’ve prioritized the defense so I never have to go through that again.

You can read the best book or watch the best video on what you want to improve…and you should!

But learning on the job is the only real way for you to track where you are on your journey.

Dive in. Make mistakes. Learn. Repeat.

Sometimes you don’t

Sometimes you don’t have to do anything profound or special.

Not every workout, idea, conversation, (or blog post) has to be the best one ever.

Usually, what’s most important is just sitting down and consistently doing the work.

The Four Tendencies

I’m currently reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (And Other People’s Live’s Better, Too).

The tendencies help you understand how you respond to expectations—both internal and external.

Here they are (in no particular order):

Upholder

Meets outer expectations.
Meets inner expectation.

“I do what others expect of me—and what I expect from myself.”

Questioner

Resists outer expectations.
Meets inner expectations.

“I do what I think is best, according to my judgment. If it doesn’t make sense, I won’t do it.”

Obliger

Meets outer expectations.
Resists inner expectations.

“I do what I have to do. I don’t want to let others down, but I may let myself down.”

Rebel

Resists outer expectations.
Resists inner expectations.

“I do what I want, in my own way. If you try to make me do something—even if I try to make myself do something—I’m less likely to do it.”


No tendency is better than another. And they each contain a wide variety of personalities, strengths, and weaknesses.

I’m an upholder/questioner.

What about you?

Take the 60-second quiz here to find out and learn more about your tendency!

Monthly trips

I take one vacation every month.

I recommend everyone do this, regardless of their occupation.

It doesn’t have to be a long weekend trip states away. It can simply be a day-trip to a national park 30 minutes away.

Time away from your routine and working life is vital. Not only does it give your brain a refreshing reset, but it also lets you better enjoy your routine and work when you return.

When you don’t think about work at all for a day or a weekend, you come back to it with new energy, new excitement, and new perspective.

When I get back to work on Monday, I sit down at my computer with a smile on my face. I’m both eager to be productive and eager for my next vacation.

Take some time for yourself.

Your slide show

My Grandpa turned 80 this weekend.

One day, hopefully, I’ll be 80. And so will you.

We surprised him with a slide show of memories from the past 60 years.

What will your slide show look like? Who will present it to you?

The one thing every happy person does

I’ve been trying to get my shit together for the past four years.

After reading tons of self-improvement books, logging 130+ coaching hours, and reflecting with myself and others on how to live a great life…I’ve discovered that there’s not just one single formula or idea to make it happen.

But there does seem to be a mindset that every person who is happy or fulfilled seems to possess:

Focusing on what they can control and not what they cannot.

The old adage goes:

If there’s something you can do about it, do it. If there’s nothing you can do about it, then obsessing over it just means you suffer twice.

You’re never too old for a sleepover

Last night, I got dinner and drinks with a good friend.

It got late. We played chess. I was buzzed. I live 45 minutes away.

So we blew up the air mattress and I slept in his guest bedroom.

Not only was it the safer, easier option…but waking up, making breakfast, and laughing at the table made me feel like a teenager again.

You’re never too old…you get it.

What are you willing to invest in?

Yesterday, I signed up for my first coaching certification program.

It entails joining a community of coaches for weekly calls and trainings, intense practice, and accountability.

If the goal is to be able to pay for my life, why would I add this hefty monthly fee to my budget?

Simple: It’s an investment.

Life is not about saving money. It’s about putting that money toward things that will bring you massive returns.

The goal here is to become an extraordinary coach and business owner, making it easy to pay this program off.

On a smaller scale, I pay for a haircut once each month (and I’m thinking about bumping that up to once every two weeks). I could limit the amount of haircuts I get or even teach myself how to cut my own hair. But I love the way I look after I meet with my haircutter. We always have a lovely conversation, laugh our asses off, and I look fresh as hell leaving that place.

The fun experience and level of confidence I feel are well worth the cost to me, so I invest it happily.

What are you willing to invest in? What are you willing to pay money for that other people would scoff at?

Super simple sleep hacks

A cat getting some sleep

I preach on and on about the importance of sleep. And it’s still the thing that most gets me in trouble.

Good or bad quality sleep is the difference between all other habits or tasks being much easier or much harder.

Here are some actionable tips.

Falling asleep:

• As it gets closer to bed time, make your environment darker. Turn the big lights off. Light some candles. This activates melatonin, the chemical in your brain which tells you it’s time for bed, making you more sleepy.

• For the love of God, set boundaries on screen time. Blue light is damaging to your eyes and it diminishes sleep quality. Turn the TV off before bed. Put the phone away. Read or listen to an audiobook or a podcast. My rule: No matter what, my phone goes on airplane mode at 10pm. I listen to an audiobook until I’m bored to death and then fall asleep.

• Get an eye mask. I didn’t like having something on my face at first; it felt claustrophobic. But I quickly got used to it. Like the first bullet, this keeps everything dark which helps you sleep through the night without waking as the sun rises and lights up the room.

Waking up:

• Before you do anything, drink cold water. A glass or two is ideal. Coffee is lovely, but the first thing your body needs is hydration. It just went seven to ten hours without water and is totally dehydrated. I’m stunned every time I feel like death in the morning and then feel instantly better after chugging half my water bottle.

• An inverse of the “Falling asleep” tip—Make your environment bright. This lets the brain know that it’s time to be awake and alert. Keeping things dark confuses the mind and makes it think we should still be asleep.

• If you have time (and most people do), do something you enjoy right when you wake up. Listen to upbeat music. Go for a walk. Do some stretches. Having a productive morning is necessary for setting the stage for the day, but you can make things easier on yourself by throwing in some fun, too.

• Avoid passive activities like scrolling on your phone or watching TV until after you’ve pursued some active activities. Things like: Reading, cooking, walking, stretching, exercise of some kind, writing, etc. Wake your brain up first and take charge. You’ll also find you probably won’t feel like doing something passive after being more active.

Conclusion

Of course, getting consistently high-quality sleep takes a bit of time and intention. Going to bed and waking up at the same times every day is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

It takes discipline, which makes it difficult.

Things come up. We want to have fun. Some nights we simply can’t fall asleep.

There will be ups and downs and that’s okay. So long as you keep being mindful of the importance sleep has on the things you care about in life, you’ll be able to keep making adjustments.

Hope this was helpful in some way.

Get some sleep.

You disagree with me??

This weekend, a friend texted me and said he disagreed with an idea I wrote about.

In the past, whenever something I wrote didn’t resonate with someone, I would go into a mild panic. Insecurities would bubble to the surface and I would assume I was wrong about everything.

Luckily, by exposing myself to respectful arguments and by putting my work out on a daily basis…I’ve been able to completely shift my mindset.

When I read that he wanted to push back on one of my philosophies, I didn’t shrivel; I got excited.

Having debates can be uncomfortable, but only if you feel married to your ideas and that what you believe is tied to your identity. This can feel like passion, but it often leads to unnecessary suffering. When someone disagrees with a deeply-held belief of ours, it feels like they’re disagreeing with who we are.

If instead we recognize they are simply disagreeing with an idea or concept, it makes it much easier to verbally spar.

It’s possible to become excited for a fruitful exchange. The worst case scenario? You have your mind changed—which isn’t a defeat, but instead a great victory on your journey of growth.

One skill to rule them all

A keystone skill is a skill which can be used to enhance multiple areas of your life.

One of the most important keystone skills is that of conversation.

If you are really good at listening to another person, displaying curiosity and helpfulness, and communicating effectively…you will be a force to be reckoned with.

Since these are all skills, that means they can be practiced and improved. Doing so is well worth your time.

Why diets don’t work

Because they typically require that you overload yourself with a bunch of new rules and habits.

Now, if you’ve read any of my stuff in the past, you know I love rules and habits. They are the path toward a healthy, fulfilling, and ultimately free life.

But they need to be learned and adapted slowly, progressively.

If the 95% of failed New Years resolutions teaches us anything, it’s that going balls to the wall with good decisions isn’t enough. Those decisions have to be engrained in your day to day…set in stone.

When something is a habit, it’s easier to simply do that thing than it is to think about doing it. It feels like it does itself.

Making extreme and immediate changes to your routines may bring you success in the short term, but there’s a reason every single winner of The Biggest Loser has gained all (usually more) of that weight back within two years.

Overloading strong habits will inevitably lead to burnout and a sense of failure. Surprisingly, this doesn’t lead to lasting change.

I’ve had many clients feel pumped up after a coaching session and do this. At the end, when we come up with their Next Actions, they get antsy.

• “I’m gonna go to bed before 11am each night.”
• “I’m gonna exercise every morning.”
• “I’m gonna read at least 20 pages every day.”
• “I’m gonna meditate every morning for 30 minutes.”

Every single one of these actions is beautiful and would certainly be powerful if applied to one’s life. But going from zero to all of these is impossible to maintain.

Naturally, they come back and tell me in the following session that they fell off with their Next Actions, usually with a tone of failure.

But that’s not a failure in execution; it’s a failure in planning.

It sounds boring as hell, but the only true way to build strong habits is to ever so slowly integrate them into your life.

I have strong exercise habits; it took me three years.

I have strong productivity habits; it took me nine years.

I have strong relationship habits; it took me 27 years.

The things that will sustainably change your life will take time. That sucks to hear, but it’s the only way.

Be careful when a friend says this

As we get older, it gets harder and harder to stay in consistent contact with all the people you’d like to keep in touch with.

But if you’ve ever tried to set up a call or a hangout with a buddy, you might have heard this little nugget:

“Sorry, I’ve been really busy lately.”

What this really means, however, is:

Sorry, you just haven’t been a priority lately.

On face value, this response is nonsense. ‘Too busy’ implies that in the past week, they simply haven’t had five minutes to send you a text or call you up.

The subtext behind this explanation is that they haven’t devoted any brain space to communicating with you because they’ve had other things on their mind.

And guess what…

That’s okay.

People are generally busy. We have careers to focus on, families to see and take care of, and our own bodies and minds to tend to.

It can be frustrating and hurtful to feel like your friends are ‘too busy’ for you, but:

1) Would you want to force it by spending time with someone who doesn’t truly want to engage?

2) You can use that time to take care of other essentials for yourself—hobbies, career, or other relationships.

Conclusion

To those who receive the ‘I’ve been busy’ text:

Don’t let it insult you at your core. Take the opportunity to put effort into other areas. But if it’s a serious situation, bring it up with the other person and tell them how you feel.

To those who send the ‘I’ve been busy’ text:

Don’t.

Be straight up with the person. If you haven’t truly cared about catching up or spending time together, say so. It can sound harsh, but ripping off the band-aid means feeling the immediate pain and discomfort now…and avoiding this worse, throbbing and lingering pain that can last months or even years.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “We should catch up man…” then immediately think…Do you really mean that?

No, probably not.

But again….

That’s okay!

The secret to getting noticed online

A guy on his tablet smiling

Lol I have no idea.

Or rather, I have no idea how to guarantee success in your creative or business endeavors.

On top of this blog, I’ve launched a weekly newsletter, a podcast, a YouTube channel, and a life coaching business. And while I don’t have thousands of fans tuning in…I can speak as someone who has gone from 0 people interested to hundreds who consistently return to hear what I have to say.

I’m eternally grateful for even one subscriber.

Any success I’ve had has been the result of a single two-step process:

1) Create high quality work that brings people value (i.e. makes them ponder, laugh, or otherwise captivates their attention).

2) Don’t stop.

That’s it.

There’s no secret marketing strategy or underground series of tricks.

It doesn’t matter how beautiful the packaging is on the bag of dog food. If it doesn’t taste good, your dog won’t eat it.

People don’t read my shit to make me feel good. Maybe they’ll do that once or twice and throw a Facebook like or comment my way.

But over time, the herd thins out and what’s left are the people who simply enjoy what you’re putting out there.

The goal is to thank them by continuing to give them value. And hopefully, they’ll enjoy it for long enough that they’ll tell other people. And so on.

Conclusion

If you want to build something and get people interested, you must first be aware of these truths:

• Only .01% of creators ‘make it big’ quickly. It takes a long fucking time to build your skills, find your voice, and gain a trusting audience.

• If your goal is financial, you will certainly quit. Again, even by following the two-step formula mentioned above, there’s no guarantee that you’ll pop off any time soon. You have to love the process. Ask yourself, “Would I still be making this if I only had 10 fans two years from now?” If the answer is no, then readjust.

• When starting out, you must focus on quantity; not quality. The quality will naturally come after you create a TON of shit. I never planned on becoming a writer. I accidentally got good at it by writing this blog every day for two years.

Haters gonna hate. Creators gonna create.

Casey Neistat