Something I’m very passionate about, is learning new skills. And getting better at things I enjoy. At first it was rather simple. I had a job to attend. And games to play. That is pretty easy to handle. Just get up and work my hours until I come home to play computer games the rest of the day.
A few years later I realized how out of shape my body was. So I started going to the gym three to four times a week. To build myself a better body. And that worked great! Get up and work a couple of hours. Go to the gym right after I get off. And then get home to play computer games.
Awhile later I wanted to have a girlfriend. So that took some more time. Now my schedule was full and I was happy for some time. But I had that nagging feeling of not making any progress in my life. Our team in the game achieved great wins every day. I made gains in the gym. But my work and relationship had stalled. I wasn’t progressing.
I just thought a promotion would fall in my lap just by working. And that my relationship just suddenly would get better. I didn’t know how to progress it. It took me several years to figure out. I kept dreaming and dreaming of a new job doing something else. Perhaps as a personal trainer. Since I had a good time helping my friends in the gym. But it was just dreaming. Since I didn’t take much action towards my goals. Eventually my relationship ended because I neglected it.
I was stuck. Not making any progress at work. The last two years my girlfriend and I were living together as friends. Having sex once a month. Or less. I had no idea what was I was doing wrong. I was faithful at work and in my relationship. Doing whatever they wanted. Without thinking for myself. On my own needs. Spent money on her. Trying to save for myself. but spent most of it. Living paycheck to paycheck. Wishing to have a million dollars and be able to work less.
Why am I telling you this? Because I want to give you a background of what I neglected to take care of.
Since then I’ve learned quite a bit. What actions have worked to improve my performance at work. Changed jobs. Now work two jobs. How to have better relationships. Improved my physique. At first I was doing one thing at a time. Putting my full focus on this one thing I wanted to improve. And having that at the top of my mind. It worked great! Until I began to realize that I like several things.
To achieve it I’ve been developing a daily practice that have worked very well for me. In health finding a balance with exercise and other pursuits. I’ve begun my shift towards my dream job. I’ve gone from saving 0% of my take home pay. To 10%. To 20%. to 25%. to 30%. To 40%! I now have an abundance of great relationships and know how to grow more. Going on more adventures and trying new things.
This is what I try to do everyday to live my best. When I do a little bit of everything I have a more positive attitude towards life. And feel better. I have something to strive for. Goals to accomplish. A meaning to life. And they are attainable steps to take every day. Some days I might not complete all of them. But when I think of them in a calm reassuring way. They mostly get done. When I do these things I move forward in my life. And when I don’t take the time. I stand still. Feel stuck.
It’s taken me a good time figuring out what I want to do in life. But it’s quite simple:
- Do more of what you enjoy
- Do less of what you don’t enjoy
- And try something new every thirty days
Set big goals in life. Know why you want to achieve them. And then set little daily habits, you can practice every day. To take one step closer to your goal. I’ve always been setting huge goals. But didn’t think much of the steps towards the goal. I knew the steps well. But since I only had the goals written down. They were hard to achieve. With this mind shift of daily practice. I was more likely to continue my habit towards my goal. I reduced my stress. And became more calm and happier.
These daily practices are built upon things I want to achieve. You might want to change somethings. That’s great! Try to find something small you can do everyday to move you towards your big goals. It makes you have a direction in life few have. Something to get out of bed each morning to accomplish.
Sleep 8 hours
This is something I’ve begun recently in the last couple of months. I used to average four or five hours a night. to find time for everything I wanted to do. While working a full time job. It didn’t work. the time was never enough. And my creativity took a huge toll. Two months ago I was about to burn out. I felt it. And others close to me noticed it. I had lost the sparkle in the eye when I helped others.
I had stopped noticing the little things in life. Like listening to conversations and be able to make quick jokes. Sure I could do it. But not quite as good as I used to. So I did some thinking and stopped going to late martial arts practice. I loved it but had to try another approach to get unstuck. Instead I go a bit earlier in the evening. Or go to the gym where I can practice my lifting without relying on a scheduled time.
Since then I’ve had a lot more ideas. Now it’s easier to come up with new ideas then I used to. Before I was stuck and saw no end. But now I’m slowly getting unstuck. I’ve been more creative ever since I started to sleep eight hours most days. Some days I sleep less. But overall much more.
Since I started sleeping more:
- I have reduced my stress
- I’m calmer and more focused
- Get more work done in less time
My morning routine
Wake up. Drink half a liter of water. Brew a cup of coffee. Take a shower to wake up. End with at least one minute of cold shower. Enjoy my hot cup of coffee and begin to write on my current project.
Reading books and listening to podcasts
Finding mentors that guide me personally have been hard. At least for me. I’ve meet some really successful people. And they’ve mentored me for awhile. And I’m really grateful for that help. I’ve learned so much from them. But we all have limited time every day. I’ve found the next best thing. Where the mentors are always available for guidance. And answer to many of my questions. And giving new ideas. That is through reading. A book is always available.
By reading I’ve learned so much more then I ever could afford or be possible in private tutoring. On so many different subjects. Reading lets you discover new worlds. That someone else created. Books are a window to another time and place. From one book you can read about a war fought a thousand years ago. And in the next it will explore the present. Detailing what’s it like being insane. Or the wonders of seeing Africa’s green mountains. A third book can bring you to a near future of freedom of slavery. Before I open this book, I ask myself, what can I learn? How can this mentor help me, help others?
Don’t worry about learning everything from a book. Read to expand your mind. Have fun with it. Just sit down and read. Flick through the pages to get a feel for the book. Read some short parts of it while you flick through it. Read the table of contents page. See what chapters look interesting to you. To understand what the chapters are about.
Start at the first page. Or the 100th. Sometimes the book is not for you. But read through some of it. And ask yourself how this book can help you. Maybe it’s to heavy to read right now and you need to read it at a later time. Or you might need to read it just because it’s hard to understand. To stretch your brain. Read some now. And come back to it later. Some of what you read will stick. And plenty will roll of. That’s fine. Just pickup the next book.
By reading some every day. You change the way how you think. Find time. Make time! You will be greatly rewarded when you keep this habit. It has really helped me. Just pick up a book. And read a sentence. Read a paragraph. And now a chapter. After this put it down. Or continue reading if you feel like it.
One thing to generate new ideas is reading one chapter from a couple of books. Before I started writing this I read one chapter of “Bird by Bird” and one of “The Snowball”. Bird by Bird is a warm book to read about writing. You can feel the warm furnace in your cottage. With your family near by. Sitting in your favorite chair and reading quietly. While The Snowball details Warren Buffet’s history and is written in a completely different tone. At first it was a though transition. But I keep on reading. Halfway into the chapter.
I begin to understand why the tone is so different. Anne Lamott writes from her heart about her story. And makes it come alive. Because she has lived it. Alice Schroeder writes of Warren Buffet’s story. In another tone. More of a business story being told to her. Try it. Read a chapter of three different books. On three different topics. See what happens.
Why I read one chapter from three different books every day:
- Learn from great people how they achieved success
- Generate new ideas and apply it to my own life
- Every book I read compounds to a deeper knowledge of life
Podcasts are like overhearing a conversation at the subway. The difference is that you can choose what topics to listen to. Instead of the latest gossip at work. Or about that guy on Tinder that won’t text her back. You can learn new things. Explore topics you are passionate about more deeply. While taking walks. Working or just laying in your couch. They are much like a blogpost where the host talk about a subject and invite a guest to go deeper on the subject.
Come up with 10 ideas and write them
Write 10 businesses you can start from home. 10 ways to improve your current work. 10 ideas for new places to visit. 10 opening lines to begin a conversation with that cute girl. 10 ideas to help your friend. This is to train your idea muscle. Just like the gym it needs exercise. I’ve been doing it for awhile now and so far it’s worked great. I’ve made ideas for myself. To improve my exercise routine. Topics I could write about on my blog. Things I would like to do the next thirty days. Ideas for others. Sharing this exercise with others. Helping them try it.
Try to expand on how you can execute them. It’s easy to make a list of “I want to do this, this and this.” But without how to execute it. It isn’t worth much. Write it and research it if you don’t know how to execute it. At first it will be hard and plenty of bad ideas. But when you continue you will some day have an awesome idea. On the way there you will have small good ones.
Practice your idea muscle. Have persistence. And it will change your life. You will notice it in conversations with others. That you can on the spot generate several good ideas. While the others will be amazed of your quick thinking. If you feel stuck. Ask one person about a problem they have. Recently I didn’t know what to come up with next. So I asked my girl of her school work. She had a problem of coming up with ideas for disaster action plans. So I made a list of 10 ideas and shared it with her. It became really fun because I let myself explore crazy ideas. We both laughed at my ideas and she kept one of them. It helped her a lot.
Other times I’ve made lists for other people. And they’ve been so thankful of it and thought it was amazing. While others had left one paragraph of text. I left at least ten. And how they could execute it. This also helps me later if I would like to do something similar.
Help one person today
It could be about anything. Yesterday I stood in line to pay for my groceries and the woman behind me put up a lot of party stuff. Like beer cups and paper plates. I said “wow you are organizing a big party. You got everything?” Yeah she got everything and we talked a bit more about what they were having to drink. Corona and wine she answered. But she was unsure of there was any need for the beer cups because don’t you drink Corona out of the bottle? Yeah I said. She reasoned some more and came to the conclusion to drop the beer cups and just go with small glasses she also was buying.
She was truly grateful and was so happy that I helped her make a decision that she was unsure of. That she would think of me later in evening when she was serving the drinks out of the bottles and glasses. What did I do? Just listened and nudged here where she wanted to go. And was really grateful for it.
Truly listen to their problem. It might be big. Or small. Just by listening to another persons story. lets you get out of your own head and get a cool puzzle to solve. Most of the time you shouldn’t even solve it. Just listen. And get a new perspective.
Helping one person today leads to:
- More happiness in the world
- You will feel genuine happiness for yourself of your action
- It creates a butterfly effect for every person you help, will share that moment with others
How to be more social
I used to be very introverted. Didn’t speak to anyone I didn’t know. I never thought of asking for help. Or directions if I were going some place. If I went out to buy something I looked everything up before I headed out and knew exactly where to go. And while out I just went on with my day, head down and minding my own business. To scared to look up and meet others eye’s.
Later I realized that it’s really fun meeting new people. To make a new friend or get a date later in the week. And there are loads of people that want the same thing! They are just begging for some cool dude or gal to chat them up. It took me a while to figure out. But now I see a lot of possibilities. Of people that want to meet me and you. Being assertive and outgoing is like any other skill. The more you practice, the easier it get’s.
What really worked for me is making small talk with at least five people every day. Talk about anything. Ask for the time. Compliment someone’s hair. They have a cool bag with a sticker on it? Say that it looks cool and ask about it. Just this week on the subway I saw a dude with a fridge box with a picture of a famous bodybuilder.
I knew instantly I wanted to talk with him while we were on the train. He was out of town and had just finished his personal training license. That he got as a birthday present. Now he was going to continue his strength training and build himself a online presence while taking a job as a personal trainer and see where that will lead him. Funny how he also was a huge gamer. And now using his dedication he had for gaming. Into building his own body and using it to earn money.
At first it might feel awkward. But push through and just do it. Keep doing it every day. Until one day you have reinvented yourself and are now this confident person that talks with interesting people. If you see a interesting girl. Approach her and tell what’s interesting about her and why. Follow up with a deeper question of what she just said. If she is interested in you she will stay. Or be polite and continue walking.
Being more outgoing helps in every area of your life. To meeting new interesting people. With better social skills I can form my thoughts easier to others. Making business deals. People in power will want to learn more about you. It’s so rare to meet a confident guy or girl that strikes up conversations and have ideas to improve another’s one’s business. That you will stand out a lot against others.
It helps getting better with women. I’m an introvert. I like to have quite surroundings. But to meet girls I’ve had to practice my comfort and be more outgoing. Their needs, help me practice being social. Whenever I’m in a relationship I’m calmer. And have an easier sense of being. I work better. So I need to practice my social skills to have them in my life.
Something I’ve noticed is my social skills are like going to the gym. When I go to the gym I grow stronger. When I don’t, my muscles atrophy. So I continue making small talk with people every day if they look interesting. Or just need a kind word to be noticed in this crazy world. Now I’m able to strike a conversation with anyone and make them laugh in a sentence. Or not. But I can do it with continued practice.
Ways to practice your social skills:
- Make five compliments to people you don’t know yet
- Ask someone you see on the commute every day what they read
- ask one person in the gym or at work to meet up for coffee another day
When I exercise regularly I’m much calmer. If possible I’ll do it every day. A great exercise is walking in nature. It’s so simple that this is something I can do multiple times a day. When I’ve been at home on a day off for a couple of hours. Just getting my jacket on and taking a fifteen or thirty minute walk helps a lot. It makes me take a break from what I’m currently doing. And often it makes me focus on what I wanted to do today.
Walking to reduce stress. Example I want to begin a new blog post. I begin to write and write. A while later I need to check something. That turns in to multiple things. And here I am distracted because I have to research this before I can continue writing. This is a great time to take a short break and go for a walk. Because my head needs some rest to organize my work. After fifteen minutes of walking my minds begin to calm down and starts to find solutions to my current work. I get revitalized and gain new spirit to continue my work. A 30 minute walk helped me regain my focus today.
Another excellent exercise is lifting weights. It was challenging at first. But the more I went. The more I loved it. It makes your whole body feel great. Building my body has helped me in so many ways. Confidence in myself that I can do something hard and continue doing it. The more I went to the gym, the more confident I became. Others see that I take care of my body and that leads to respect. That this guy here, is dedicated enough to take care of his health. He is probably dedicated in others area’s of his life as well.
Later on I picked up Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It was really hard the first two months. I questioned myself every day. All I did was lose. But I went to practice. And a bit later it became really fun. I still struggle every day at the mat. But I have gained new confidence. Other things that seemed hard in life. Got easier. Struggling for your survival is something really important. It takes my focus off other problems I might have. It’s hard. But it builds persistence. Persistence I can use in other area’s of my life.
Riding my bike is a great way to improve my health and well being. Good for getting around quickly and just taking it easy after a day of work. It gives me freedom to travel further then just taking walks. What really helped my endurance is riding my bike. I don’t have to pedal that hard to have great benefits from it. And I don’t get involved in the stress of public commuting. While getting out in nature.
Try to do at least two of these every day:
- Take a walk before and after work
- Go to the gym and use weights or other resistance training
- Practice a sport at least once a week. If possible compete against others
A part of all you earn is yours to keep
Savings have been so important. When I save some money every month I help myself. My savings gives me the possibility to handle unexpected surprises. What ever comes up I can pay in cash. My bike breaks or get stolen? No problem. Unexpected sickness? I have cash to last several months. Somethings happen at the job? I can now say no and find another with my buffer of money. It will help you be more at ease. It has helped me.
I Know that I’m prepared if life gets difficult for awhile. I started with saving 10% of my income. It’s a good place to start. After you feel more comfortable, save more at a steady pace. With an calm assurance that you are preparing yourself to follow your passion. Or be able to say no to things you don’t want to do. With savings you are doing things you enjoy. Rather than have to. If you don’t feel it yet. Just give it time and trust process.
Depending on your situation. 60/40 split might be a good strategy. 60% goes to low cost index funds. 40% to bonds. You might even want to have more in bonds or cash. If you plan on taking extended leave for travel. Or quitting your job to work on your business full time.
Tips for better sleep and less anxiety:
- Save at least 10% of your take home pay
- Try to save 1% more every month
- Ask yourself every month: How much do I have left from last month? Last year? Write it down and see it grow
Writing is a great exercise to come up with new ideas. Find solutions for my problems. Get a perspective of my situation. To derail my obsessive thoughts. When I’m writing I begin with a single thought or idea. At first It might be a mundane thought. That I question myself why would anyone wanna read about this?! But I write it down. And add on to it. It starts to develop into a story. Now I begin to have new thoughts. Where to take this story further. Or remember old thoughts that I haven’t thought of in years. Writing is a great exercise to get away from obsessive thinking. It get’s your mind thinking. It makes you more alert.
Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as you headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
-E. L. Doctorow
Things to write about:
- What you did today
- Three things you are grateful of
- Short story of an awesome experience you had
- A short poem of the person in front of you on the train
Connect two people
Think of two people you know that would benefit getting to know each other. It could be work related or just two friends with the same interests. From different social circles. Tell them about each other and ask if they would like to meet. It’s a good exercise in networking. And they will be happy that you introduced them to each other. Try to think what the people you meet are good at every day. See if you know anyone that would complement their business or hobby.
Go on adventures
Something that I enjoy a lot is go on adventure. It could just be to explore my own city if I feel like taking a walk. Or doing a new thing. It could be a poster I see in town and go to that event. Or join a new activity like toastmaster. Try a new sport. Go take a dance class. Take a vacation and travel somewhere you’ve never been. It doesn’t have to be much to be a great experience. Sometimes it’s just taking a walk through town when you normally would be off to practice.
Call a friend and ask if they are free later. What would he/she like to try?
Go to a museum or sport event and chat up a new person. Ask what next event they are going to and ask if they want company.
Find a map of your town. Mark every place you haven’t been. Visit one new place every weekend.
Journal of what I did today
Something I had a lot of problem with before. Was days blending together. I couldn’t tell what I did yesterday if my life depended on it. Or a week ago. By journaling of what I did today. It helped me remember it better. Also it jolts my memory and it often makes me think of a little thing today. That made me smile. That smile is worth a lot. And you get a better sense of progress in life. If your standing still or moving towards your dreams. I set aside some time before I go to bed and write of my day.
- What did you do today?
Is exercising the brain being calmer. I mostly practice mindfulness. It’s the simple practice of focus on my breath as I inhale. And as I exhale. Just feeling the air go in through my nose, down towards my lungs, filling my body with life. And exhaling the air, leaving my lungs, through my nose and letting my worry softly touch the ground. It’s simple. But surprisingly difficult. When I feel stressed. It’s because I forgot to take deep, easy breaths. Sometimes I catch myself several times forgetting to breathe in a single minute!
Listening to guided meditation is also calming. I attain a more peaceful mind when I do it. There are plenty of apps or websites of this subject. I personally use Zen mindfulness on my windows phone and like to listen to Stephan Pende Wormland from mindfuldreaming.org
- Practice an easy, single deep inhale
- Practice an easy, single deep exhale
Three things I’ve stopped doing
I love to do these things. At several times I’ve had a full time job, and still played more then I worked. I used porn to dull my boring life for instant gratification. I wanted relationships with others. But didn’t know how to achieve them. I was afraid to try new things and did what was comfortable and safe. But it led to a boring and dull life. These habits drained me of my time, and energy to work on more important matters.
Quit watching porn
What porn does to me. Is draining me of my sexual energy. I cheat myself every time I’ve watched it. It gives me instant gratification. It’s fine if you want to continue watching it. But cutting porn, has for me, helped me immensely to achieve my goals. It’s like fridge full of fast food. I felt happy and content for a long time. But give it a few weeks, months, or years. That fast food isn’t so tasty anymore. If you want read more about the science behind porn go to Your Brain on Porn.
Quit playing video games
I’ve learned a lot from my time spent on computer games. Like dedication. Commitment. Trading your time for an item. Or trading for it. I loved mining, fishing, grinding. And still do. But what really would have helped me was learning how to trade. I was scared of it. Scared of rejection. Didn’t know the rules. I didn’t do it. But I just realized this now. I know how it would have benefitted me ten years ago. five years ago. And still ignored it because I was scared. In the end. I used video and computer games as an escape to face my fears. By quitting them I forced myself to deal with my problems. And I’m really happy I made that choice.
Sold my TV
Watching tv is like fast food for my brain. It comes packaged in a simple format right out of the box. In between episodes there is plenty of commercials playing. Wanting me to buy things to keep up with the joneses. Something I’ve begun to enjoy much more since I sold my tv. Is creating things for others to enjoy. It has made me more creative. I watch a movie or tv show every now and then. But mostly because it was spoken of or something caught my attention about that particular show. Something I’ve experienced after I sold it. Is how much commercial there is pushed out every day in our lives.
This is something I’m working on every day. It’s challenging. But freeing myself of time for other things. Will have huge value for me and you. When you have an urge to watch porn or play video games. Immediately say no and do something else. The sexual energy is what makes you want to conquer the world. Conquer your mission in life. Use it to your advantage. So many waste it away. Save it, and you will have such a lead on others that it’s almost like cheating.
1/3 will love you
1/3 are neutral
1/3 are not interested
Make new impressions every day. And focus on the people that love you and want to know more about you. With this simple mindshift it’s easier at least for me to handle rejection. Because there is an abundance of people that like me. I just need to meet enough people. And with time, I’m bound to find people that I like. And they like me.