Stay Hungry

Lewis Howes and Tony Robbins talk about success, hunger, and drive:

Howes: With all the tools you’ve learned, the wealth of information over 39 years … the strategies to help people overcome their challenges … if you had to strip them all away and you could only use one strategy, what would that be?

Robbins: I wouldn’t. Part of why I’m effective is cause I don’t buy that. I’m always looking for more strategies, cause one strategy will work for one person, not with another.

But philosophically… I would say that the capacity to strengthen and increase your hunger is the one common demoninator amongst the most successful people. Richard Branson’s a good friend of mine. Peter Guber, Steve Wynn… all these guys, they never lost their hunger.

Most people are hungry to achieve a certain amount, make a certain amount of money, and then they get comfortable and relax. Or to get a certain level of fitness, and then they relax. But you know, Richard is as driven today as when he was 16 years old. He’s on fire! And he’s 65 years old. Warren Buffett is 85 years old. He’s as driven today as when he began the journey.

(…)

There’s a lot of intelligent people that can’t fight their way out of a paper bag. Hunger is the ultimate driver. If you’re hungry, you can get the strategy, get the answer… if you can’t model it, you can find it.

Modeling would be the next best skill. Knowing that success leaves clues, why re-invent the wheel? … Why would I go learn by trial-and-error, and maybe take 10 or 20 years, when I could learn from somebody in a few weeks or a few months or a few hours something that could save me a decade.

That’s what it is. That’s why I read 700 books in the first seven years. If somebody takes 10 years of their life, they pour it into a book, and I can read that in an hour or two or three or four, why wouldn’t I?

It’s Your Life

Lewis Howes and Lisa Nichols talk about life, decisions, and abundance:

Nichols: Abundant thinkers think a certain way. And they don’t go around trying to convert you. People like you and I go, let’s open it up to everyone…

Howes: Yeah.

Nichols: … but here’s what I know about the human spirit. It’s that the human spirit has the power of choice. And most people don’t want to choose this kind of thinking because it costs you something.

Howes: What’s the cost?

Nichols: The cost is you got to get up earlier. You get up earlier than the average guy. Your day… What you do in a day is what some people do in a week. What you do in the morning is what some people do in a 12-hour day.

You got to be willing.

What you’re willing to do on your book tour, to get on The New York Times — Some people say, “I got to do all that? I don’t want to do all that.”

Ok, great. Then have your life. You sign up for your life experience.

When I realized that I was the culmination of all my decisions… That’s like straight with no chaser. That’s like getting it with no cookies and milk.

You are a culmination of all your decisions.

Are you willing to pay the price?

Jon Morrow:

Everything you want comes at a price, and your ability to obtain it depends on two things:

  1. Your awareness of the sacrifices you’ll have to make
  2. Your willingness to make those sacrifices

An example to illustrate:

When I decided to become an entrepreneur, I bought the biographies of Michael Dell, Richard Branson, and dozens of others. As I read through their stories, I paid special attention to what they had to give up to get to where they are.

I didn’t care about the rewards. I didn’t care about the little tips and strategies they used. I cared about the sacrifices.

After reading the books, I made a gigantic list of them, and then I asked myself, “Are you willing to make the sacrifices to become a successful entrepreneur?” At first, I wasn’t sure. The price seemed awfully high, and let’s be honest: sometimes you pay the price, and you still don’t get the result. It was frightening, depressing, enough to make me reconsider.

Ultimately, though, I decided to go for it. I committed to a 10-20 year roller coaster ride, put all other commitments on the back burner, and started working 12 hours a day, seven days a week, dedicating myself to my company, heart, mind, and soul.

How about you?

What do you want in life? What sacrifices must you make to get those things? Are you really, truly willing to pay the price?

Attention

Steve Pavlina:

The attention-worthiness of any particular concern is relative to other items you could be choosing instead.

Will you watch TV or read a book? Will you go on a date or work on your Internet business? Will you get up early and exercise or sleep in late?

Whenever you give your attention to one concern, it means you’re withholding your attention from all other possible concerns. This entails a hidden cost of the potential value of the items you’ve declined to pursue.

If you had used your time differently during the past 5 years, you could have an extra million dollars in the bank. Another path might have led you to travel through dozens of different countries. And still another path might have you looking at a very fit and sculpted body in the mirror right now.

Velleity

Edwin Bliss on goal setting:

I can’t think of a better investment of two or three hours than this process of getting all of your goals on paper. Everything that you can think of that you’d like to accomplish between now and when you’re ninety-five. Write it down.

Don’t stop and think, don’t meditate, just write it all down. The editing of your list is a separate process, that comes later. The first step is to get everything — fill as many sheets of paper as you can with a list of all the things you would like to accomplish in every phase of your life.

And regarding velleity:

Editing your list involves one other thing — in addition to making each of your goals more specific — and that is: you want to eliminate the velleity from your list. Velleity means wanting something, but not wanting it badly enough to pay the price for it. Every time you start making these lists of goals, a lot of velleity creeps in… things you’d love to do, but you’re never going to.

(…)

There’s a price to be paid. Are you willing to pay that price? Are you willing to invest that much time and effort and energy and money to achieve that particular goal? If the answer is “yes”, good. You’ve identified a goal.

If the answer’s “no”, that’s good, too. You’ve identified some velleity, so cross it off. Get it off your list. We don’t want a single thing on that list that you are not committed to. It’s been weighed, you’ve decided, you’re willing to pay the price, and you can go ahead and do it.

The entire recording is well worth listening to.

Heroes

Seth Godin on mentors and heroes:

I am in the minority here: I think mentors are way overrated. They don’t scale, it’s an unequal relationship, and it’s an easy way to let yourself off the hook: “I wish I had a mentor”.

Heroes are in enormously large supply. You can say: What would Bill Gates do? What would Elon Musk do? What would Jacqueline Novogratz do? And you can study their work enough, that even from afar, without them knowing you exist — because they’re your hero — you can start to model it.

And:

I find heroes everywhere I look. I find people who speak to me over my shoulder, virtual muses, who encourage me to solve a problem or deal with a situation the way they would. This is thrilling news, because there are so many heroes, so freely available, whenever we need them.

As You Wish

Steve Pavlina:

One way to help make your thoughts more positive is to imagine that whatever you think or say or write, the Universe replies “As you wish”.

Or as Paul Scheele likes to say, “If you say so.”

Think of every thought, everything you say, everything you write as an affirmation, as an intention… it’s actually a goal you’re asking for. So if you’re just observing reality, and you’re doing so in a negative way, like you’re complaining about how hard your day was — “As you wish” is the response from the Universe.

If you’ve had a bad experience, whatever it is… if you frame it in a negative light, catch yourself and realize “Oh, I’m putting out an intention to continue more of that”.

Replace the thought:

I’m not gaining weight… I’m losing weight.

I’m not getting more broke… I’m getting wealthier.

Reframe it, and then replay it past the “as you wish” filter.

Your Life Strategy

In almost any game, one thing that separates a beginner from a more advanced player is having a well-defined strategy. Even a game like Tetris will have specific strategies that the best players use to get ahead.

What about the game of life? Scott H. Young talks about seven facets of his life strategy:

When in doubt, build assets.

Often it’s not clear what needs to happen in order to succeed in some area of life.

(…)

In these cases, my default mode has always been to try to build generally useful assets. This is to switch out the question of “what should I do?” with “what would be useful, generally speaking?” The former question may not have a clear answer, but the latter usually has many things which could probably help. Sometimes success is simply answering this question enough times that the accumulation eventually breaks through.

For instance, if you’re luckless in love, you might decide to start working on your communication skills, start building a deeper social network, improve your fashion/appearance or learn improv to become funnier. It’s not clear any of these projects will bring success, but if you build enough assets in this direction, you’ll probably improve your chances.

Never Miss Twice

James Clear and Rich Roll discuss momentum, and what to do when you break a streak:

James Clear: All habit streaks end at some point. Everybody slips up at some point. The mantra that I like to keep in mind for that is: never miss twice.

If I work out at the gym Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and I miss on Friday — because of a business trip or whatever — then I need to put all my energy into making sure I get in there on Monday. I don’t want to miss twice in a row.

It’s pretty much never the first mistake that ruins you. It’s the spiral of repeated mistakes that follows. So if you can get back on track quickly… I think I had a line in the book: “Missing once is a mistake, missing twice is the start of a new habit.”

Rich Roll: Yeah, cause then it creates its own negative momentum.

James Clear: Exactly.

Idea Machine

In a post about the 4 areas of his daily routine (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual), James Altucher touches upon the concept of writing down 10 ideas every day:

Every day I write down ideas.

I write down so many ideas that it hurts my head to come up with one more. Then I try to write down five more.

So how do you become an idea machine?

Take a waiter’s pad. Go to a local cafe. Maybe read an inspirational book for ten to twenty minutes. Then start writing down ideas. What ideas? Hold on a second. The key here is, write ten ideas.

And:

Every situation you are in, you will have a ton of ideas. Any question you are asked, you will know the response. Every meeting you are at, you will take the meeting so far out of the box you’ll be on another planet, if you are stuck on a desert highway – you will figure the way out, if you need to make money you’ll come up with 50 ideas to make money, and so on.

After I started exercising the idea muscle, it was like a magic power had unleashed inside of me.

And:

Ideas are the currency of life. Not money. Money gets depleted until you go broke. But good ideas buy you good experiences, buy you better ideas, buy you better experiences, buy you more time, save your life. Financial wealth is a side effect of the “runner’s high” of your idea muscle.

Just Start

Pete Michaud:

You will never figure “everything” out. You will never be able to make everything perfect before you start. Just make a decision and run with it. Figure it out as you go along.

(…)

You will never live the life you want by wandering aimlessly through hypothetical scenarios. I’ve tried it, it doesn’t work. I’ve also tried just doing something. That worked.

I implore you: find a quiet place in your mind, identify your desires free of caveats, and make a plan to move toward those desires. Don’t try to plan for all eventualities. That will just prevent action.

Identity

James Clear on the effect that habits have on your self-image:

Your habits are the way that you embody a particular identity. So, every morning that you make your bed, you embody the identity of an organized person. Every time you go to the gym, you embody the identity of someone who’s fit. Every time you sit down to write, you embody the identity of someone who’s a writer.

Every action you take is kind of like a vote for the type of person that you believe that you are. As you take these actions, you build up evidence of a particular identity, and pretty soon your beliefs have something to root themselves in. It’s like, “Man, I showed up at the gym for 4 days a week for the last three months; I guess I’m the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts” — and that I think is the true reason why habits are so important.

Once I realized how beliefs and behaviors are connected, that it’s this two-way street… then I started to think that this is really something. Not only does it deliver those external results — the clean room, or the bigger bank account — but also the internal results of shaping your sense of self-image and what you believe.

Be Obsessed

James Altucher on asking the right questions:

Someone told me a story about Amy Schumer, one of my favorite comedians. She videotapes all her performances. Then she goes back to her room and studies the performance second by second. “I should have paused another quarter-second here,” she might say. She wants to be the best at comedy. She studies her every performance.

(…)

If you aren’t obsessed with your mistakes then you don’t love the field enough to get better. You ask lousy questions: “Why am I no good?” Instead of good questions: “What did I do wrong and how can I improve?” When you consistently ask good questions about your own work, you become better than the people who freeze themselves with lousy questions.

Lucky People

Scott Adams talking about luck and the luck factor:

A researcher named Dr. Richard Wiseman studied luck and lucky people – he was trying to find out if there was any such thing as luck. Of course there isn’t, but he did discover one interesting thing: he found that people who considered themselves lucky, people who feel like luck is going to find them, had a wider field of perception. Not vision, but what they perceived. They would literally notice opportunities that other people wouldn’t notice, cause [other people] weren’t expecting any opportunities to be there.

And here’s the cool thing: he found that you could take someone who thought they were unlucky and just make them do positive thinking exercises – didn’t matter if it was affirmations or prayers – the technique didn’t matter so much. If they got into a mindset that luck was out there if they would just look for it, they would actually notice more things.

Software Simulation

Interesting tidbit from the Joe Rogan podcast with Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert:

Joe Rogan: Human memory is really flawed…

Scott Adams: Well, if you wanna go real deep real fast, you just gave me a good opening… I am a proponent of the “we are all a software simulation” view of reality. That would also explain why memories are so screwed up. The explanation would be that the past doesn’t exist – until you need it. In other words, the past writes itself on demand… because if we’re software, you wouldn’t have everything in the universe pre-programmed just in case you needed it – it would take up too much resources.

Just work on your act.

Ryan Holiday recently wrote a great piece on the importance of working on your craft, and how “your work is the only thing that matters”:

There is a story about an exchange between Jerry Seinfeld and a young comedian. The comedian approaches Seinfeld in a club one night and asks him for advice about marketing and getting exposure.

Exposure? Marketing? Seinfeld asks. Just work on your act.

And:

No one pursuing an artistic career wants to hear what sits at the core of Seinfeld’s advice: Your work isn’t good enough. Keep your head down. You still have a long way to go.

And:

An artist’s job is to create masterpieces. Period.

Everything else is secondary.

Success Takes Time

Author and blogger Steve Pavlina on 5-year commitments:

People commonly overestimate how far they can get in a year, but grossly underestimate how far they can get in 5 years.

If you actually want results, make a 5-year commitment to a particular path, like building an online business, developing your social skills, becoming a world traveler, etc. A lesser commitment is largely pointless.

And on time horizons:

Think about what you can achieve between now and [2024] if you commit to it. You can lose any amount of weight and develop any kind of physique you want. You can start your own business and make it profitable. You can meet the mate of your dreams and start a family. You can relocate to anywhere in the world.

(…)

You have an enormous degree of control and power when you think with a time horizon of 5 years. Don’t let that potential go to waste. Set a course now and get moving.

Jeff Atwood has similar thoughts on success and time:

…success takes years. And when I say years, I really mean it! Not as some cliched regurgitation of “work smarter, not harder.” I’m talking actual calendar years. You know, of the 12 months, 365 days variety. You will literally have to spend multiple years of your life grinding away at this stuff, waking up every day and doing it over and over, practicing and gathering feedback each day to continually get better. It might be unpleasant at times and even downright un-fun occasionally, but it’s necessary.

(…)

Obviously we want to succeed. But on some level, success is irrelevant, because the process is inherently satisfying. Waking up every day and doing something you love — even better, surrounded by a community who loves it too — is its own reward. Despite being a metric ton of work.

Always Be Shipping

Longtime blogger and developer Jeff Atwood on the idea of always be shipping, whether it’s writing, software, or art:

Always Be Jabbing. Always Be Shipping. Always Be Firing. It’s the same advice, stated in different ways for different audiences.

(…)

… pick a schedule you can live with, and stick to it. Until you do that, none of the other advice I could give you will matter. I don’t care if you suck at writing. I don’t care if nobody reads your blog. I don’t care if you have nothing interesting to say. If you can demonstrate a willingness to write, and a desire to keep continually improving your writing, you will eventually be successful.

M.G. Siegler talks about a similar phenomenon in his post, Just Keep At It:

The good news is that even if the audience doesn’t show up at first, the work pays off in other ways. Namely, you’ll get better at what you’re doing.

I look back at some of my early blog posts and cringe. They were awful. I was foolish. But I kept going and the posts got less awful and less foolish (this statement is subject to review in another decade). I honestly think the worst thing that could have happened was getting a large audience from day one. I wouldn’t have been ready for it (even if I thought I was).

And so again, the advice is simply to keep at it. Even if the next post gets zero readers too. And the next one. Eventually, zero turns to one and then one to two and then you’re off to the races.

They Just Start Doing It

Great email shared by Arnold Rauers:

There are two kinds of people, those who aspire to do something creative, art, music, games, and go around places to ask how to get into the field and those who just do it.

The secret to all successful creative people is that they never ask how to do anything, they just start doing it. They pour their heart and soul into their craft and maybe one day they get into it. There is not one specific way, just a big open road with multiple pathways and opportunities left and right.

If you really feel any creative drive you should be listening to that inner voice and start creating stuff right now.

(…)

So my advice is to stop worrying about how others did it and start creating now.