There are even a ton of “gurus” out there that will tell you that success is actually wide out in the open. All you have to do, they say, is watch.
After all, success leaves clues.
Or does it…?
Have you ever had a really good secret that you didn’t want to tell anyone because you were afraid that – once you did – everyone else would spread that secret and ruin it for you?
Maybe it was a secret place you went to get your Magic The Gathering cards – where they gave an extra discount, or had special boosters no one else did.
Maybe it was a restaurant you went to that was so good and so impossibly cheap that you resisted the urge to post about it on Facebook. If word got out, that would mean longer lines and a possible risk of overcrowding the place.
And even if that sounds like an unrealistic (and selfish) way of looking at it, a lot of people still think this way.
And when it gives you an edge, you’d naturally want to keep that information under lock and key.
But today, I’m feeling generous. You see, being cryptic isn’t my thing.
I’m not a fan of putting on an of air mystery or giving vague advice for you to interpret. I’d rather just straight up share my success tips and be clear about it as humanly possible.
Hunting for clues and stumbling for success in the dark? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Let me shine a little light on what REALLY works on a daily, practical level. Here are some of the best yet surprisingly simple tips that will help you get ahead:
Look, you might think that, given all the stores that offer their own card, credit cards are the best things to have. Especially when they bait you with 15% off this purchase – if you apply right now.
But the truth is that credit is the one thing that is currently sinking our economy down the drain. (And chances are, that last sentence could be said at any time and be just as valid.)
If you’re currently stockpiling credit cards – and debt – you have to break free. Excessive debt weighs you down, making you feel as if you’re always shouldering an immense burden.
And it doesn’t let up. It’s hanging over your head every day of your life, like some dark cloud that refuses to go away.
I know how tempting it is to just put everything on your card and worry about the bills later. You’ve been working so hard lately, so you deserve a little treat, right?
But it’s this “out of sight, out of mind” kind of thinking that’s putting countless people knee-deep in financial ruin every day.
Here’s a little dose of reality for ya…
There was a time when you didn’t buy something unless you had the money to pay for it. If you take a second and think about that, you’ll have a big epiphany.
But now that everyone gets credit, they’re getting their “success in advance.” They get all their riches before they’ve put in the effort and character to bring home the money to pay for it.
So everyone gets to pretend to be rich, while they secretly juggle tens of thousands of dollars of consumer debt. To buy stuff they don’t need.
Okay, this is a bit vulgar, but a very good philosophy. You need to store up six months of what I call “Screw you” money.
(You can use the F-word in there, I’m just trying to keep this thing mildly PG-13.)
If your job ever turns on you and starts making your life a living hell – and believe me, this can happen quicker than most people realize – you can just pack your bag and head home.
This kind of attitude will do wonders for your self-esteem, not to mention your ability to cling to your ethical and moral beliefs. The ability to leave when you WANT is a good option to have in the back of your head.
Don’t let money be a reason to keep yourself in a crappy situation or let anyone have that kind of power over you.
Remember when I said to deep-six those credit cards? Think of how those financial sinkholes in your life are chipping away at your “Screw You” Stash.
While you’re at it, trim the fat wherever you can. Ask yourself: do you REALLY need to buy that, or is there are cost-friendlier alternative.
If you want to be honest with yourself, be willing to admit that a great chunk of your expenses are entirely optional. Either you can do completely without those branded sneakers, or look in the bargain bin instead.
And if you can apply the same kind of mentality with other stuff like rent, entertainments, utilities, and transportation costs, you’ll be all the better for it.
Your vampires are all the things that pop up and wave their hands at you – ready to take you away from what you’re currently working on.
They promise you a quick hit of relief, and they’re so small and innocent that you almost forgive them for the life-destroying behavior they create.
– Youtube videos with no educational benefit whatsoever
– Distraction sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google Plus, etc.
– Online shopping sites such as eBay, Amazon, WalMart, Etsy, Ikea, Target
– Or basically any site that allows you scroll down endlessly, thereby offering that hit of relief on tap
– Texting and Skype-chatting your friends
– Other chat-based apps like WhatsApp, Viber, Snapchat
– Updating your status on one of these social networking sites WHILE you’re getting stuff done (e.g. studying, working, cleaning, etc.)
They might give you the ability to stay connected with everyone, but it doesn’t mean you’re actually engaged with the people in your life.
Sure, it’s important to keep in touch your social circles and be able to communicate with them when you REALLY need to. But allowing these things to get in the way of your productivity and overall well-being is another matter altogether.
You might think that I’m repeating myself here, but it’s not quite the same thing.
When I tell you to trash your distractions, I’m saying you need to start getting rid of all the things in your life that are weighing down your Subconscious Backpack.
You see, we’re all carrying around a huge backpack of subconscious crap that we just can’t seem to get rid of. It weighs us down and demotivates you every day.
Distractions also grab us because there’s a part of the brain that feels rewarded when you do something new, or experience something new. This feeling of novelty is extremely easy to get addicted to.
Social media is obviously a HUGE source of those shiny distractions, which we’ve already covered. But as an additional note, you also need to turn off the notifications on your phone.
Any form of addiction has a built-in mechanism to pull you back into the cycle. Not only do notifications serve that purpose, they also create that irrational Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) in your head.
While you’re at it, get rid of your cable TV subscription. Most of commercial TV is loaded with advertising that doesn’t just feed your brain with delicious morsels of distraction.
It’s also designed to reinforce the feeling of inadequacy. Trust me, you don’t want to waste your time and energy thinking that you need to have the newest phone, a flashy wardrobe or that luxury car.
Sometimes, you just need to practice a little self-awareness when you’re feeling that familiar itch. Develop the habit of seeing these distractions for what they really are so you can TUNE THEM OUT.
It’s been my experience over the last 15-20 years of my life that we are rapidly becoming a world that has lost touch with the things that really matter.
Just for existing.
We think we deserve the goodies and the prizes in life UP FRONT – with no effort, and no character.
As comedian Louis CK points out, we’ve become so jaded and entitlement driven that we get irritated when the stewardess on our plane flight tells us that the Internet is going to be down for this trip.
You’re sitting in a chair – IN THE SKY. The most amazing thing that we couldn’t have imagined existing for most of human history is now possible.
And you’re angered because you can’t surf Facebook at 30,000 feet.
We have to get back to what I often refer to as “Zero Sum Gratitude.”
This is where you realize that right now, you’re just lucky to be alive. Breathing, and functioning.
You’re a miracle as you are RIGHT NOW.
Call this ZERO level if you will.
And then walk around your house and fall in love with the fact of all the cool “stuff” you own, and how you don’t have to sleep in a damp alley.
Get back to gratitude and see just how amazing our world is. And forget all the multitudes of imaginary conveniences that are really just numbing your mind.
Most of that stuff just doesn’t matter.
If you see other people getting the goodies in life without effort or character, you should be VERY wary and afraid.
This malady can often be linked to the addiction to instant gratification, which will also stop you dead in your tracks on the search for success.
Like what we’ve talked about so far, the temporary pleasure you get has a heavy price tag attached to it. And most of the time we’re not aware that we’ll have to pay up one way or another.
It may be in the form of lost time, wasted energy or even unrealized dreams.
Did you notice that most of my tips involve ditching the unnecessary stuff from your daily routine?
That’s no coincidence. In a lot of cases, getting on the fast track to success simply means getting rid of the things that are slowing you down.
Don’t be afraid to streamline your life. You’ll go through a period of chaos and adjustment when you make these changes, but the long-term benefits are worth it.
Which is shocking because it’s been around for tens of thousands of years. It’s responsible for killing more dreams than anything.
It’s called the Fear Of Missing Out.
We all get it from time to time, right?
I used to get it all the time. Every time someone would call me up and say “Hey let’s go out and … blah blah…” I’d think: “Great! But what if someone else calls me with a better offer…?”
And then I’d wait before committing, and wind up missing out because I was always on the lookout for better.
I had a lot of “friends” that would do this to me, too.
They’d make a so-so kind of commitment to do something with me. And then the day of the event, they’d back out. Or a day before, but I knew what was happening.
I remember going on a bike ride with a friend – and I brought my cell phone with me. I had to check to see if another friend had made arrangements that night for us to go out to San Francisco that night.
My biking friend looked at me like I was crazy and said – understandably – “Really? You couldn’t just wait ’til you got home?”
This is why people have so many apps on their phones, and they check Facebook multiple times per day.
Another related disease is the FOMSI Plague.
For this one, all you need is DOUBT. Just a tiny 1% of doubt will completely hijack your mind.
If I convince you that I’m a channel for important info, messages, friendships, or potential sexual opportunities — it will be very difficult for you to turn me off, unsubscribe, or delete your account — because you might miss Something Important.
Whatever that is…
It used to be that the only way someone could reach you if you were on the phone is to have the operator interrupt your call.
This is back in the early 1980s, and I only remember this ever happening to me ONCE. And it was just because someone got sick of this teenager talking to his girlfriend for 2 hours.
– Makes you stay subscribed to newsletters that you don’t read – just in case they might send you something important in the future!
– Keeps you friends with people on Facebook, even though you never REALLY liked them all that much, and you’ve never actually conversed. Hey, you might miss something important!
– Keeps you swiping on dating apps to find The One… after all, the hottest catch might be the NEXT ONE!
You have to drill down into it to realize that you are ALREADY missing out on things right this second. In fact, just because you’re reading THIS!
But don’t go! You might miss something important here.
(Actually, yes, I am getting to something more important.)
Unplug for a day.
Or – gasp – even two!
I remember going on camping trips where I couldn’t even leave my laptop behind because I still had to chase emails and other notifications. I couldn’t stay completely unplugged for even 24 hours.
Remember, you can’t miss what you don’t see.
And at the very least, budget your time to engage on social media. set aside an hour in the morning or afternoon, and leave it at that. Do you really need to Like your friend’s picture of their new puppy?
Are you really going to be cast into the fiery pit of heck for not answering someone’s message within 5 seconds of them sending it?
Let me point out one thing before I finish up my short rant…
Let me give you one example:
When you change your profile picture on Facebook, you’re demonstrating that you’re probably vulnerable to social approval – “What will everyone think of the new picture?”
So FB can actually rank that higher in the news feed, so that it sticks around longer. AND so that more friends will like or comment on it. Every time they do that, you know what happens…?
That’s right – you get sucked right back into Facebook.
So learn to recognize those twinges of emotion that steer you to activities beyond your control. Or seemingly.
You feel them, don’t you? Those unconscious compulsive actions that you can’t quite trace back to a reason?
And it’s all done on the level of making you believe that your self esteem and good feelings about yourself aren’t hurt if you just come back and like something else.
That you’re going to miss out on SOMETHING if you’re not always clicking, watching, and compulsively unlocking your phone…
Take the control back into your own hands. Remember that no one can control how you feel about you except YOU.