I'm doing my new years post a few days early this year. I have a post coming out on the first and I want to give this one a few days at the top.
So first, let's get to last year's goals.
#1... Failed completely. I gained a lot of insight, though. A few things here...
I used to think "WHY am I not a millionaire? I'm so smart! I want it so badly!"
Now I realize I DIDN'T DESERVE IT. You get what you deserve, almost always. I wanted it and I'm smart, but guess what?
Smart people are not richer than than average intelligence people on average.
In other words, whatever intelligence I may have almost totally useless on my quest for millions.
I know a few millionaires and have noticed some striking patterns amongst them. Things EVERY single one has in common.
The biggest thing they all have in common? They work SUPER HARD. Their lives revolve around work and they LOVE it.
A friend of mine sells info products online. He has TWENTY new products READY TO GO for this year! TWENTY! He's already a millionaire, but do you think he's going to get richer? YEP.
How hard do I work? Up until recently I'd give myself a 3 out of 10. Pathetic. When I wrote conversion doubler I worked at an 8 out of 10. If I had ALWAYS worked at an 8/10 I would have been a millionaire by now EASILY.
It's not that I haven't had the opportunities, or even that I haven't taken them. It's that I've taken them and have put in a FRACTION of the work necessary to develop them.
So now I understand why I'm not a millionaire. It makes sense. I accept it completely. The one major trait that it takes to be a millionaire is a trait I DON'T HAVE (yet). I should have developed it this past year but I didn't. More on this when I get to my goals this year.
Number two... Operation Broccoli. I got closer than I ever have by a long shot, but didn't get it. The problem? It's not something I care about enough. If I had put in the effort (like #1... see a pattern here?) I could have done it this year. I won't talk about it since no one knows what it is anyway.
Number three... Sleep schedule. I did this one. I decided that WHEN I sleep is extremely unimportant. What's more important is that I am making good use of my waking hours. In other words... trying to perfect my sleep schedule is not a good use of my time. I accept my crazy hours and the benefits and disadvantages that go with them.
Number four... I didn't really do this one. I don't care enough about it. I got obsessed with the Playboy empire and read a bunch of books on it. I watched all the girls next door show to understand how Hef did it. The problem is that I love my social circle. I have no real drive to create a glamorized new one.
At the same time... I set a goal and didn't meet it. F-
Number five... figure out what I want to do. It's a bit of a loaded question, but I remember how I felt when I wrote it. Over this past year I've gotten a lot of clarity on who I am, who I want to be, and what I want to do. I'm taking huge steps towards these goals, so I give myself full credit for this one.
So what happened?
I have a tough time in situations like these. On one hand I want to say "Look at all the progress I've made on OTHER stuff and on things related to these goals!". On the other hand, I never want to let myself slide when I have failed. I don't feel bad about it, but I want to recognize problems and address them.
So I see THREE major problems with these goals and with my whole life. These issues surface over and over again.
First, I need to hold myself to a higher standard than anyone could ever imagine.
This is something that ALL champions do. Shaq has a quote I read many months ago which still sticks out in my mind. I can't find it, so I paraphrase:
"No one can imagine the high standards that I have for myself in my head."
Will Smith had a similar quote where he talked about how he set all of his goals astronomically high and then worked non stop to achieve them. That's the only way he felt that he could overcome ANY adversity that came his way.
Tyler from Real Social Dynamics has a great post where he says that when he decides to dedicate himself to something he assumes he'll have to work harder than everyone else. BUT... he assumes that he can be better than everyone else eventually if he puts in that effort.
My grandfather, who is also wealthy, has this quote taped to his desk at his office:
"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race." --Calvin Coolidge
This makes a lot of sense to me. It resonates with me. When I think of my goals I think in terms of OTHER PEOPLE'S success. What level are they at and how can I get close? This needs to change. I need to DISREGARD other people and think of the level of success that I WANT. Then I will decide what it will take to get there and accept nothing less of myself.
My natural inclination is to get to the level where people consider me to be "good". Not the BEST of the best... just amongst the best. That's where I got with gambling, pick up, rap, even writing this blog (the rap one might be a bit of a stretch, since I'm obviously not amongst the best).
So from now on... I will hold myself to the highest possible standard imaginable for my effort.
I've already started doing this, but haven't fully developed my plan. I've stopped accepting excuses from myself, which is step one.
It was Christmas Eve at midnight and I hadn't worked out yet. I was in Boston, far away from my Crossfit class, and class wasn't even meeting that day anyway.
"Eh. It's Christmas Eve. I don't have to work out," I thought.
What does ANY of that have to do with ME or my fitness goals? NOTHING AT ALL.
So what do I do? I go to the basement and do a hard core workout.
I used to visit digg and reddit a lot. Then I thought, "These sites are NOT moving me closer to my goals."
"But they're interesting..."
I have now blocked them from my computer and will not visit them anymore. You have to understand that I tend to go overboard on stupid computer things... I didn't just visit once a day, I would spend hours reading stupid articles. So for me it's best to just totally block the site and remove the temptation.
And you know what? It's not the SITE that I'm addicted to. It's the HABIT. We're NOTHING but a collection of habits, so it's important to systematically remove all bad habits. Luckily I'm very good at sticking to these sorts of things when I make rules.
I'm also not putting enough effort into things
I already went into this earlier, so I won't go nuts on it.
It is TOTALLY unacceptable in every way for me to not be working as hard as I can. I'm beginning to understand that in this area I cannot except anything less than 100%.
Think about it... I know for a fact that hard work is what it will take to become rich. I MUST become rich. How can I possibly think it's ok for me not to work hard?
"But it's hard to work all the time..."
WHO CARES? I have spent most of my life as a total slacker. I would say that I'm easily more prone to slacking than anyone who reads this site. That means that I have TONS to gain in this area.
Bottom line - if I am not willing to accept the importance of hard work and immediately implement it, then I am not worthy of being a millionaire and will not become one. Period.
I'm focusing on SYMPTOMS, not PROBLEMS
Since becoming rich is obviously my most important goal, I've written a lot about it here already.
But... I'm not a millionaire because I don't have the right habits to be one, NOT because I don't happen to have a million dollars.
In other words, I need to be setting goals for HABITS or for things I want to become. Not for end results.
"How I become a millionaire?"
Well.. there are a million different paths to get there. That's not a goal against which I can measure my results on a daily basis.
However, if I determine the HABITS and ACTIONS necessary to become a millionaire, and I make those my goals, I will have to succeed.
A couple more things
Tim Ferriss has a fantastic concept in his book. I read the whole book and have read most entries in his blog, and I think this is THE KEY thing he talks about.
"Focus on output."
Learning is great. Reading is great. But at the end of the day what MATTERS is what we output.
Did I build more of my program? Did I write sales copy? Did I get myself out into the field to meet new people? Did I make phone calls I had to make?
Input is easier to focus on. It's easy to read about something. It's easy to do a tutorial to learn a skill.
However, when you focus on output, you automatically seek out the input you need.
BUT... I knew what I wanted to accomplish, so I'd read little bits here and there as I went. If I needed to do some database queries, I'd look up the information on them and learn it on the fly.
Now I'm a pretty good programmer.
What would have happened if I learned all these things in school and then tried to make a program a year later? Chances are I'd STILL have to look a bunch of stuff up online, just like I had to do without learning it first.
Which is a more efficient use of time?
So from now on I'm going to think of each day in terms of "what was my output?".
My goals for 2008
1. Hold myself to a very high standard and accept NO excuses from myself. If I do accept an excuse I will write it down and post it publicly for others to judge.
2. Focus on output. Every day I will make a list of my daily output. I will also make this public.
3. Work harder than I've EVER worked. Every day I will grade myself on a scale from 0-3. I will publish this daily. My goal is a weekly average of 2.75 (I'm not trying to eliminate fun, just useless and unproductive activities). I will only count time that I SHOULD be working.
For example, if I go bungee jumping in New Zealand I won't count that against me because it's a good experience. However, if I waste time or decide to do something marginal (like watch TV), that will be counted against me.
I should also mention that MY scale for 0-3 will be extremely harsh. Remember #1.
I'm excited about these goals... I can't imagine ANY POSSIBLE WAY that I wouldn't consider these the most important goals for the entire year. I don't want to have another year where I say "Yeah... but I don't care about that anymore." Even if it's the truth, it's still a weakness.
What did I do RIGHT this year
Lots. Just as I think it's important to be very critical when examining failure, I think it's also important to be proud of accomplishments.
I am now in the best shape I've ever been in. I eat an immaculately clean diet with only rare planned cheating (like 1/4 of a cannoli on Christmas).
I work out three times a week doing very intensive workouts through Crossfit. The training is balances throughout cardio, strength, agility, endurance, etc.
I have a LONG way to go before I'll be 100% satisfied with where I am, but I am definitely 100% satisfied with my progress. I don't see my diet or my training schedule as a compromise or a sacrifice. I see both as a huge privilege.
Seriously... what POSSIBLE excuse is there for me to not keep my body in the 100% best condition it can be in? I can't think of ANY.
I learned Japanese. I'm not fluent, but I stuck with the tapes doing one every day for 90 days straight and I plan on becoming as fluent as possible while in Japan.
I wrote Conversion Doubler. This took a TON of work and effort form me. I was working 12+ hours a day for a while. I accepted no excuses when creating it and constantly looked for ways to improve it. As a result I now have a world class product to sell.
I stopped lying and misleading. I NEVER lied about anything serious, but I would tell tiny lies of convenience.
If I was supposed to make a web site for my mom she might ask about it. Previously I'd say "I've been working on it. It will be done tomorrow." Then I'd spend five hours getting it done.
Now I'd say, "No, I haven't started, but I'll do it tonight."
It's hard to think of examples, because they're all very minor things. Maybe I'd say that I read something in a magazine instead of on the internet because I'd think the person would consider that more credible.
Still, I realized that small lies like these are MANIPULATIVE. I'm saying them to make myself look slightly better or to be more convincing.
But you know what? I'm awesome, even with the faults that I have. I don't need to manipulate people into thinking I'm even better. Instead I'll BECOME better.
And what do I care what people think? If the internet isn't reliable enough then maybe they SHOULDN'T believe what I believe. (On a similar note, I've given up trying to convince people to do anything like I do. I know what's best for me... if others can be inspired, then great... if not then they probably know what's best for them)
I guess that this is a big deal to me because it signals a shift in my perspective, even if the practical difference is almost non existent.
Todd and I planned a world trip! I've been talking about doing this forever, and now it's time to put my money where my mouth is. As most of you know, I'm out of here in only 10 days.
I got rid of EVERYTHING. I'm still working on it, but in ten days I'll own ONLY what fits in a small 28L backpack and some sentimental things I'll keep in boxes at my parents place (cards, letters, photos, drawings, etc).
This is a huge departure from my previous M.O. where I had five of EVERYTHING.
What I'm most proud of, however, is that I'm changing for the better. I think that I am a better person today than I was a year before. I've learned a lot, created a lot, and made new friends.
What are your goals for this year?
dude, no offense but you kinda suck at goal setting and achievement bro
if you need any help let me know
AWESOME post. Very inspiring. In fact, you've inspired me (along with your posts on the accountability forum) to adopt a similar model of focus on output, to work hard as much as possible, and to keep myself publicly accountable for my results.
Hey Dr Pepsi,
I usually have two meals and a smoothie.
For a smoothie I have something made with juice, peanut butter, fruits, and protein powder.
For meal 1 I go to casa de luz. You can see their menu here: www.casadeluz.org/menu
For dinner I go to Mother's Cafe usually. I eat a salad, and burrito with brown rice, beans, green salsa, guacamole.
That's typical... sometimes I get Ethiopian food for dinner.
I know you are vegetarian, and curious about what you eat. Can you share with us a day of your normal diet?
A young (25) guy from NYC has started a company trying to help people accomplish their goals by doing some of the exact things you're talking about (posting your outcomes online every day) he even has quick conference calls where a handful of people will say what they are going to get done and then have to call back in to the group and say if they did them or not and why. It's a pretty awesome tool and he's a stand up guy...oh yeah, and he was a Businessweek Top 25 Under 25 Entrepreneur in '06.
As an entrepreneur myself, I can really relate to a lot in this post. I love the hardwork/output goals you are setting for 2008. It's ambitious, but I am doing something like it, where I assess my output for each day through a reflection journal.
Some people say it's an easy life when you're free from the rat race, but in many ways, corporate america does not have to deal with the burden of their freedom like us. Entrepreneurs like ourselves are completely accountable and responsible for every minute. We never have the luxury to rest on the walls of the "system." Hence the necessity for aggressive goal-setting like yours.
But I'd never give up the freedom. Life is good. Tear shit up this year Tynan.
Thanks for all of the comments. I'll be sure to post more posts like this one.
Patrick - I'm really flattered to be included in your list of goals. No need to worry about posts, there will be WAY more posts once I leave. I bought a pro camera and Todd (my travel compatriot) bought an awesome HD camera, so we'll have pictures, videos, and posts galore.
BTW.. I'm already getting TONS done with my new system. If you look in the accountability section of the forums, you'll see my daily logs.
First, there's a broken link where 'Tim Ferris' is highlighted.
More importantly though, one of the big things I took away from The 4-Hour Work Week is that I don't want to be a millionaire. I just want to do many of the things society tells me only millionaires do. Even if you don't make a million a year, you have more interesting stories to tell than anyone I can think of. And at the very least, you've earned enough for an amazing trip around the world. My personal goal is "to make enough money to live like Tynan." :) So feel good about that. My only worry is that I won't get to read as many awesome posts while you're gallivanting around on the other side of the planet.
These are really nice thoughts. I think I'll reread this stuff and use it for my own development of thoughts.
anyway, i wanted to ask you about your world trip, you're talking about. I would love to hear something about your plans, such as where you're going and how you wnat to get there.
read you soon
Fundamentally, I think life is about taking action. It's about drawing information from your surroundings, formulating that into a decision, and then finally acting on that decision. People who are successful and happy tend to be those who take a lot of action.
My beef with video games, TV, movies, and other sorts of passive entertainment isn't that there's NO value in them, or that they're fundamentally evil things. It's that they promote NOT taking action. When I see someone whose life is made up mostly of going to a mindless job and then coming home and indulging in passive entertainment, I think of their life as being on pause. Days spent that way just don't count.
A lot of what I think about is what makes people take action and what makes people abstain from taking action. I think about times that I've taken action, and times that I haven't, I think about others around me and their relationship with taking action, and I think about how we can all take action more frequently.
Edit: I gave up on financial goals in late 2011 after some huge financial and artistic wins... money shouldn't be taken too seriously. For the record, they were all basically on track, some were being massively exceeded, others were a bit behind schedule, but were all happening.
I set my next 10 years of financial goals on June 28th. That was exactly a month ago.
1 year - Critical Thinking [my first book] out. Blog income trickling. Some info products. Some freelancing. Something else, some X-Factor thing bringing in cash. Net monthly income positive. Health insurance. $50,000 in the bank. Expenses = income per month minimum.
3 years - 3 to 5 books out, many products out, blog income robust, some working on big exciting deals. $10,000 per month total, $5000 passive at least. First property owned. $300,000 in the bank.
5 years - 7-10 books out, many many products out, many passive income internet properties, working on big exciting things, $50,000 per month total, $40,000 passive at least. $1,000,000 in the bank.