The following will spare you a ton of time. What you are about to read could easily be dragged out and sprinkled with entertaining, but needless anecdotes, stories and examples to about 240 pages so it can be sold as a book. But we want you to get right down to the ‘meat’. If you crave success here is the essence of what you should focus on. So if the following gives you value then donate some. In book form this would cost about 20 bucks. Consider donating one fourth of that or half after reading. Thanks.
- Define what success means to YOU
Play your game. Not someone else’s. To many people success means becoming a millionaire or not having to work anymore or something like that. God, please be more creative than that. Define what success means to you. I think anyone who gets up in the morning and gets to do what he or she loves is a big success. And you don’t have to be a millionaire to get a life like that. Call it finding your ‘ikigai’ if that helps. Am not a millionaire, but I did find my ikigai. And no, that doesn’t fix all my problems either, but I feel quite a lot better than before I had found it.
- Focus on ONE clear thing
Look, if you try to catch two rabbits at the same time you will catch neither. You have to make choices. Not even the smartest and most hardworking people on earth can do and learn everything. We all only have 24 hours in a day. What do you want to do with those hours? Choose wisely.
This is not a contradiction of what I said under point 1. You do need money. It’s not a dirty word and it’s not the holy grail either. Money is just an instrument for the exchange of energy, value, time… It’s not even real. We make it real because we decide it’s real in all our interactions. If you were the last person on earth money would be completely useless. Anyway, you do need some of it, so whatever you do you need to get that money from somewhere. So decide what you can do so people will be willing to give you money. If you have something of value to offer ASK MONEY for it. Do not do it for free. Until we find a nicer and more evolved way to exist together we will have to make sure we get money. Do NOT be shy about asking money for what you are offering the world.
- Surround yourself with the right people
Unfortunately there are people who don’t want to see you succeed. Weed those out immediately. Also some well meaning people will simply not be able to help you. They will give you bad advice. Some people have failed at life. Of course you should not rely on them to help you. Surround yourself with people who are on the same wave length. It’s not because you love someone and they love you that they can help you. Seek the right help. Pay for it if needs be. Or work for free for the right people. Whatever you do make sure the right people teach you, help you, guide you. And do the same for others. When you show someone else the way you learn a lot too.
- Your evironment matters. Go where they need you
If you want to start to start a breakfast cafe your chances of success go up substantially if you are in a city where there are zero options to eat breakfast. Do I need to say much more about this? What you offer may work in one city and fail in an other. You may even have to move to a different country. I could not do what I do in Belgium. What I do works in Slovakia.
- Be aware of your desired outcome
You’re going to have to get specific about what you want. Very specific. Chasing ‘success’ without defining it is like leaving home hoping to end up some place nice. Yeah, that may work, but you are much more likely to reach your destination if you know what you are looking for.
- Take the pain. Pay the price.
No pain, no gain. It’s true. So decide if you want to endure the pain that is required to get there. If you want to become good at seducing women you will have to go through a lot of awkward moments trying and failing, being turned down, maybe you will get some nasty reactions here and there. How much do you want it? Can you take the pain? I can’t become an olympic swimmer. Not only are there genetic limitations I just don’t feel like enduring the pain of swimming hours and hours each day. Not that I don’t like swimming. It’s just that I don’t want to pay that price. Whatever success you want there is going to be a price to pay. DECIDE you want to pay that price or just quit before you start. Save yourself some time and some pain that will not pay off cause it will not be enough pain.
- Cut out distractions and MAXIMIZE your effort
You think you don’t let yourself be distracted? Of course you do. There are tons of shit that manage to capture your attention. Things that have absolutely nothing to do with what you are trying to accomplish. Examine everything you do during a day VERY thoroughly and do what it takes to cut out all distractions. Train yourself to ditch anything and everything that does not serve you and your goal. You’re obviously going to have a much better chance at becoming succesful at something if it’s something you can’t stop thinking about and don’t need to be pushed to do. If it’s something you simply cannot stop doing from morning till night then that’s the thing for you.
- Don’t react to every barking dog along the way
People attack you (under the guise of critcism)? Just ignore them. Do not react. Delete their email, their text, ignore their words, ditch them. There is such a thing as useful criticism, but it is rare. Because someone who gives you useful criticism knows that he or she is talking about AND wants to see you succeed. A rare combination indeed. Don’t get drawn into discussions and debates where often people just want to masturbate their ego. Stay away from that shit. Not everyone you meet has to like you or agree with you or be impressed by you. It all doesn’t matter. All that matters is your idea of success and your goal.
- Say NO
You can get offers, good and bad. Very good, a little good, sort of good, bad and very bad. Decide what to say yes to and have no qualms about saying no. There are things you do and there are things you don’t do. Simple. Define yourself and stick to it. There are things of value you offer and there are things you don’t offer. If you say yes to everything people ask of you, even if they pay you, you just end up going off in directions that are not for you and will distract you from your real goals.
- Execution trumps preparation
There is no such a thing as a perfectionist. There is fear of failure. There is masking preparation as being productive and so on. You are not a perfectionist, you are just scared shitless. DOING beats planning and preparing and studying and asking for advice. DO and you will learn. Take steps forward. It didn’t work? Fine, you are now a lot closer to getting it right and you have gained knowledge and skills you could not have gained any other way.
- Advertize. SELL
People need to know what you are offering. You can be the world’s best piano player, but if nobody knows this then forget about concerts, forget about playing in a band, forget about making money. Make sure people know what you are offering. Learn how to let people know what you do and what you offer. Learn how to SELL. When you want to be succesful at something you will need other people to see that you are good at something. That you have value. Value they like and need and are more than willing to pay you for. Here is a thought to start with: people do not buy products or services, ultimately they buy emotions. So you better succeed at connecting a cool emotion to whatever you are selling. Sometimes the emotional connection is so powerful that the shittiest product ever becomes a world wide success (Coca Cola).
- Have an effective routine and stick to it religiously
You have only 100 concentration points every day. Every decision you make spends some concentration points. The more little decisions you automate the more concentration points you have left for more important decisions and for your creativity. Plus, you can train your body, your system to expect something. If you run every Monday at 20.00 for two years your body wil already be outside running while your mind is still inside groaning: really, running, now? Yes, now goes your system and you run. The first few times you do something new it takes will power. If you don’t have a great routine you will be wasting a lot of willpower points and will easily fall victim to postponing stuff and to procrastination. Plus, if you want to be succesful at something you will have to do it a lot, with great intensity and very regularly.
- Be excited. Find your Dharma. Your ikigai. Your what you may call it. LOVE WHAT YOU DO.
Love what you do. Be passionate about it. Do you think there would be a new post every day on this website if I wasn’t passionate about writing??? Forming words on paper is still akin to a religious experience to me. So of course am going to write! Do you think Bob Dylan could NOT play songs? Do you think young Bill Gates could NOT programme? Do you think Michelangelo could opt NOT to paint? Of course not. They were obsessed and they loved it. Find the thing you can’t stop doing. Many people tell me they love writing as well. When I ask them what they write they tell me they never get around to do it. I’m sorry, these people do not love writing. They love the idea of themselves as people who love writing, but they don’t love writing, because otherwise nothing could ever stop them from writing.
- Offer exceptional value
There are billions of people on this earth. Your dream may be rare, but chances are it’s from rare. Somebody is offering your service or your product too. So you better be damn good at what you are offering. You better put the client central to your business and you better make sure the client is satisfied and raving about your service or product.
- Ask a high enough price
Customers who value your services will be willing to pay a fair price. They will not give you trouble, they will not beg for discounts or demand more. Work with customers who have made up their mind and are willing to pay. In my experience the WORST clients are those that get a discount. EVERY SINGLE TIME. I do not give anymore discounts, as I do not want to have unreliable and disloyal clients. The surest sign that you have a client with whom you can build a mutually beneficial relationship is this: YOU understand that your service costs money and THEY understand that your service needs to be paid for.
- Persevere. Be in it for the long haul
It may take months. It may take years. If it takes longer than five years of very consistent and a lot of work and trying new approaches and you are still not getting anywhere you THEN you consider quitting. But before that: WORK YOUR ASS OFF. Consistently.
- Help who helps you
Along the way you will need help. When people give you that help be grateful and RECIPROCATE.
- Dress for success
Am not saying you should become a dandy or a fashion icon, but your appearance does matter. If you don’t feel motivated to take care of yourself why would anyone believe you can take care of anything else?? Depending on the business you are in clothes may matter a little more or a little less, but personal hygiene and clothes that are at the very least CLEAN do matter.
- The first impression is the last impression
There is almost no comeback from a bad first impression. I don’t want to make you super nervous about starting to work with new people, but yes, the first impression is so crucial. You can’t control this process 100 percent and sometimes people just don’t like you, often for reasons that have nothing to do with you. There are things you can control though:
You can be genuinely interested in the other person.
You can smile.
You express concern for the needs of the other person.
You can ask questions that show you are trying to understand who they are, what they stand for and what they need.
You can impress by trying not to impress. I mean, don’t list all your qualifications, talk too much, or overemphasize why working with you will be so great. Let all that show through your actions, not your words.
Remember their name and use it, but don’t overdo that either.
Give compliments, but be a little critical as well. Like offer a point of constructive criticism per about 5 compliments. Too many compliments and people experience you as a suck-up they shouldn’t take seriously and too much criticism will just make them defensive.
Be excited to meet them. Just don’t overdo. Everything in moderation.
Be true to yourself. If you are not the kind of person that cracks jokes or is loud or is extravert, by all means don’t start pretending you are like that just because you think that’s what people like. People like authentic people.
- Only marry into a family that supports you. And try not to get married otherwise.
A bad divorce can ruin everything. A bad marriage can undercut all your efforts and sap all your energies. It’s almost certainly impossible to keep your business and your marital life separated. You can find this most regrettable, but in the end couples become economic units. You better find a long term partner where your goals are compatible. If you are mainly seeking passionate sex from a partner you’d better stay single and on the prowl.
- Be demanding. Two strikes, maaaaybe three, and they should be out.
A friend or a business partner can drop the ball once. They can slip up. They can unintentionally hurt you, but if it keeps happening that person has to be cut loose. Don’t be too tolerant in this. You can’t have partners that are simply not as committed as you are. If you want historical examples of people who were too loyal to incompetent subordinates and partners let me know. I’ll send you some good ones of world history altering proportions.
- Build leverage. You can do a lot, but you can do so much more with the right help
Self-evident. I am a one man blog and I choose to operate that way, but yes, of course, if there were five writers behind this blog their could be five new articles a day, not just one. Probably the quality of the pictures, the editing, the lay-out, the design, everything would improve. But so far I haven’t found the right people to work with. That’s also true: it’s better to work alone than to work with incompent co-workers…
Some businesses and artistic pursuits cannot be done alone. You will be forced to find capable co-workers.
Need a website? Ok, sure, one way to go about that is to go and learn coding and to write a website completely from scratch. But why would you do that? Unless that is going to be your core business (building websites) this is a super counterproductive and time wasting step. Just hire an expert to build the website for you. This is just one easy example, but there are of course millions of examples possible. You do not need to do everything yourself. Pay for help. And don’t always go for the cheapest option. Pay a fair price and get it right the first time.
- Use productivity hacks
When people feel inspired to do something, why people feel like working one day and not the next day, why people can focus now and not yesterday, why you are killing it one moment and can’t get anything done even with a gun pointed to your head in the next moment is still a bit of a mystery. However, there are things we know about productivity.
- Your endurance limits are an illusion
You can do more. You can do A LOT more. Whenever you think you really can’t anymore you haven’t even burned 50 percent of your energy.
If you wish to be succesful at something WORK HARDER. A lot harder.
- Never use excuses. Take FULL responsibility for your life
Coming up with reasons why you aren’t succesful or can’t be succesful is just a way to DELUDE YOURSELF.
In the end it becomes a most toxic self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you are walking around with a dream you have all that it takes to make that dream real.
The biggest obstacle standing between you and success is you.
- Ask the right questions
Instead of falling into despair always ask the right question. Your brain is a problem solving machine. If I ask you right now which bakery in your city has the best location you will instantly start figuring it out. Your brain will run all kinds of calculations, make all sorts of comparisons and drew up all kinds of criteria. Want to get somewhere? Just run the right question past your brain. How can I make 3,000 euro in Vietnam? How can I set up a pizzeria that drastically reduces the delivery times compared to the competition? How can I set up a shop with Spanish food products in Stockholm? How can I go dates with 100 different women this year? How can I become the owner of five apartments in Dublin? ASK and keep asking. Your brain will figure it out.
- Treat whatever happens as a gift
Turn negatives into positives. Turn setbacks into opportunities. Can’t enter through the door? Enter through a window.
It’s not humanly positive to treat EVERYTHING as a gift, but let’s say 90 percent of unpleasant stuff that happens to you has a hidden message to help you turn things around for the better in your life. It just radically changes your perspective and makes you much more resourceful.
- Know what you stand for and keep it simple. Know your one word.
EvanCarmichael came up with this idea and I LOVE it.Most success books and motivational literature is a waste of time, but I do warmly recommend the book ‘your one word’. There are magical effects to discovering what you stand for in just one word. Let’s say when you have your one word you can now start offering whatever it is you want to offer with the right sauce.
It has a way of simplifying your mission. One word can hit you more than a long text of course. Once you have your one word it becomes a lot easier to remind yourself of WHY you are doing something.
Yup, if you have a why you can deal with any how. It’s true.
- There is nice to have and there is need to have. Learn the difference.
You basically need air, food, water, some clothes and a warm and dry place to live. You don’t need as much as you think. Desiring too much stuff can prevent you from reaching your goal. You can save a lot of money by buying only what you need. You can then use the money to invest in reaching your goal.
- Expenses rise to meet income. Be very aware of this all too human principle.
Once you become a success and have more money you may soon discover that no matter how much money you make you never have enough and are always running out of money. This is because psychologically something happens that is called: expenses rise to meet income. Don’t fall into this trap. Don’t become one of those people who, yes, they made a million dollars or even more and less than 5 years later they are completely broke and in debt.
- No matter the kind of success you strive for there is one thing you will always need: your health.
It may certainly sound romantic to become a super success and then to die of an overdosis at 27 or to be horribly overweight and die of a heart attack at 45. What’s the point of that kind of success? If you don’t value your health, if you don’t make sure you feel good in your body, you will not enjoy whatever success you are able to create…
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