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12 Commandments of the Revolution

by ALEXANDER HEYNE 4 COMMENTS

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. -Oscar Wilde Milk the Pigeon is a very small part of a larger movement. Its part of the quit doing shit you hate movement. Its part of the if your job sucks, quit it movement. And its part of the if this is my only life, why the hell would I spend it doing things I hate? movement. Thats why, as best I can, I try to write some posts that serve as a code to live by for people in this new movement. Ive talked about living a life thats conversation worthy. And Ive talked about stopping doing stuff you hate, and doing what you enjoy with your life, in my ebook Killing Your Old Life and Living the Dream. This post is yet another code of honor to live by, written by one fish in a large pond who is tired of seeing time fly by but so many people remaining miserable.

The following 12 principles, I hope, will provide some food for thought regarding how to make every day like your last.

#1 Thou shalt not live someone elses dream


I am not in this world to live up to other peoples expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine. -Fritz Perls The first rule of getting a life that doesnt suck is this: live life how you want to, not how someone (or everyone) else wants you to. That goes for: College graduates who are now doing what their parents (or society) expect them to People who have gifts that everyone tells them they should capitalize on People in general who are tired of what they are doing, and are doing the correct, expected thing but arent realizing any fruit or happiness from it I see so many of my friends in life paths that they dont want to be in. Its just expected of them, so they assume its right.

Multiple friends work financial jobs, multiple friends are becoming doctors, multiple friends are becoming lawyers. How many of them actually want what theyre doing? I think 1. The rest are just thinking this: Ehhh its alright, itll get the job done.

Dont do that.

#2 Thou shalt not live vicariously through others


You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough. -Mae West It amazes me time and time again that people casually say they live vicariously through someone. Its like watching a James Bond movie and wishing you could be him and actually being him. There is no comparison. Its like watching someone doing what they enjoy and wishing you could quit your shitty, meaningless job and actually doing something meaningful to you. There is no comparison. Stop living vicariously through others, and start doing exactly what you want with your time here. After a year has passed, what are you going to have to show for it? If exactly what I have right now, and Im still unhappy is what youre going to answer, you might want to set aside time and ponder your life.

# 3 Thou shalt not live a life that sucks without making a change
Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them. -Henry David Thoreau It sounds pretty obvious to not live a life you dont enjoy, but most people do just that.

We do jobs we dislike. We go home, and instead of doing something worthwhile we watch TV. On the weekend we drink beer with friends and watch more tv. Years pass, and nothing except our waistlines has changed. There is no reason why you cant enjoy 100% of what you do every day. Wake up when you want, work when you want, work on what you want, find challenges in everything you do, make life an adventure day after day after day. If something in your life makes you miserable day after day, or even if you just arent sure about something stop it. And then figure out what you are sure about. I personally put I hate and Im not sure in the same category. They are the everything except what I know I want category. The only difference is this: Quit shit you hate. Explore things you arent sure about. That goes for work, friends, where you live, how you spend your time, whether or not you enjoy what youre doing.. if any facet of your life isnt enjoyable, change it for chrissakes and quit putting yourself through unnecessary hell.

# 4 Thou shalt not be afraid of the unknown


Every man, through fear, mugs his aspirations a dozen times a day.

-Brendan Francis Monotony is a soul crusher for some people. For me, its not necessarily monotony that makes life boring but the predictability associate with monotony. When I lived in China for a year life was amplified by 1000. The fear, the fun, the rate of learning, the freshness, the excitement. It was like 10 years packed into one year, both memory-wise as well as learningwise. And its boldness that is the gift of freedom in escaping monotony. Any time you have a choice between routine and <anything else>, take the anything else. I really mean that. If you have the choice between doing what you do every day (even if you enjoy it) and doing something fresh, take the something new Ill actually remember at the end of the week. If someone asks to go out to dinner, or to an art exhibit, or to rock climbing.. never refuse. Deliberately choosing to do anything to go beyond routine will be the single greatest way to make your life interesting to yourself again. And boldness the gift of trying new things despite the fear and uncertainty is what drives that. Be bold. Change your world.

# 5 Thou shalt not deliberately be boring


Boring is already taken. You have no choice but to be awesome. -??? Seth Godin loves talking about creative marketing and standing out. And one thing I liked about his book Purple Cow was when he talked about what makes certain things unique. First things first, obvious good service is the bare minimum these days. Its expected. Its expected that your airplane is going to take off and land in one piece. Its unexpected, aka extra-ordinary, that youll get a massage and free champagne with your plane ticket, and thatll wow somebody. Along the lines of standing out, he talked about how everything plain and boring vanilla ice cream, for example has already been invented. If you want to invent ice cream flavors these days, youve got to be more creative to be extra-ordinary. And what about people? Boring is already taken. You have no choice but to be awesome. The main reason I recommend deliberately not being boring is not so that you can impress or woo others, but so that you can be interesting to yourself. Being interesting to yourself is a sign of accomplishment, knowing that you are at least somewhat invested in your own life and not living vicariously through another.

#6 Thou Shalt not wait until retirement to have all your fun
In the Deferred Life Plan there will always be another prize to covet, another distraction, a new hunger to sate. You will forever come up short. -Randy Komisar More and more people are realizing that waiting until later to enjoy life not only is ashitty plan but also doesnt make sense. Lets wait until Im 65 to have fun, when I cant run, my knees ache, and my prostate is like a watermelon. Pass. Even young people, whose deferred life plan consists of working up the ranks of the corporate ladder so they can have their high powered corporate job by 33, have this illusion that theyll be able to live life once they < get / attain / receive > something. Well, good luck to you. But this new movement is about current, right-now enjoyment. Its about process, not product. Its about people who see waiting to enjoy life as pointless as it really is. There are a million and one ways and a million and one reasons why you should be doing what you enjoy today and not at all waiting for some day over the rainbow. That means (if you decide its worth it), passing on the corporate job (or quitting it) in favor or doing something else for a year. Spend a year off and invest yourself in skills and memories rather than stuff. I promise, all the stuff

(including the corporate job) will be there waiting for you when you get back.

# 7 Thou shalt not believe that The Greats are unique


Those people that are crazy enough to think that they can change the world theyre the ones that actually do. -Steve Jobs Mediocre minds tends to associate with mediocre minds. The same is true for dreamers and highachievers. And there is a reason for that; its not merely coincidence. 99% of people have themselves fooled into believing they are boring, unattractive, mediocre, and uninspiring so they are. Its just like the super hot girl at the bar. 99% of guys have themselves fooled into thinking, Man I wonder what kind of guy gets that girl? And shes often the loneliest girl in the bar. People see hugely successful people and think well, that person has something special about her, or she is one in a million, or she has resources that I dont have. Quit comparing yourself and believing that the famous, well-respected, or high-achieving are one in a million. Greatness is made, not born.

# 8 Thou shalt not blame others, for anything

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny. -Albert Ellis

If your life is not where you want it to be you accept responsibility for it. Its not a matter of who is right or wrong, and its not a matter of playing the blame game or not. Its a matter of perceived control. If you think that others are the source of your issues, you are powerless. If you blame yourself and only yourself, you are in control, and everything in your life is your decision as to whether or not you want to change it. But the reality of blame is that its cowardly and shies from responsibility if you want change because you hate something in your life, grow some stones and change it. It wont magically happen otherwise.

# 9 Thou shalt not lose motivation over failure


Success is the best revenge. -Frank Sinatra

Im not going to be all fine and dandy when I say failure is great for experience, which someone can never take away! Because its not totally true.

Failure sucks, no doubt about it. I can guarantee that most people who have failed a lot before they succeeded would rather have succeeded the first time if it were possible. But there are two methods of thinking about failure. The first? You get experience from failure. The second? Failure is a motivator because you decided on day 1 you are going to do whatever it takes to succeed. And failure makes you want to prove yourself even more.

# 10 Thou shalt not work for the what in your life, but the why
People dont buy what you do, they buy why you do it. -Simon Sinek We always remember folk heroes for some reason. And that some reason is not that they were the most fearless fighter in history, the biggest badass, or the person who conquered the most villages we remember them because they stood for something. William Wallace, Robin Hood, Guy Fawkes. Do any of us really remember the details of what they did, or do we remember why they were doing what they did? Principles, ideas, and purposes go beyond people the people become secondary to the story. Like in one of the last scenes of V for Vendetta, when asked why he wont die (after being repeatedly shot), he answers:

Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof. The paradox of ideas is that ideas dont necessarily need people, but people are infinitely more powerful with an idea behind them. If you have a why behind you in life, a code of honor, a reason behind your life, you are powerful beyond your wildest imagination.

# 11 Thou shalt not hope, desire or wish without accompanying action


The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live. -Leo Buscaglia Statements about dreams usually are only 50% of the equation, and they go like this: Dream big. But dreaming big by itself does nothing. Just like I dont believe that most million dollar companies come from million dollar ideas, dreams alone are important, but the other 50% of the equation that is neglected is taking action. Yeah, its insulting and logical, but so many people think that the dream will fuel you to see everything through. Itll probably fuel you for a day or two, and then youll start to putt and stutter. And then one day youll find inspiration again for a day or two. And then it wanders off

This sort of oscillation is natural for inspiration, which is why you cant just rely on dreaming big. You need to rely on having a solid game plan to see you through the end. Dont ever wish something was different. Change it.

# 12 Thou shalt not work towards nothing and hope that your career will save you or things will work out
Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man. -Friedrich Nietzsche The driven / focused / not lost people my age have a cute excuse they like to use. When I ask what they are currently doing with their life, they say, Im focusing on my career. Hehe. Focusing on your career, eh? Sounds like an excuse for just working and not putting any thought into what youre doing, or any thought into how you want to be spending your very short time on earth. Dont make the same mistake. Its like going to graduate school because you think youre buying yourself time (very very expensive time). Youre not, youre wasting it, collecting credentials (+ debt) and are still spinning your wheels while trying to deceive everyone around you that youve got your shit together. And dont assume that things will work out as they should. This silly lazy motto is adopted by people who,

again, are terrified of serious introspection and dont have the willingness to look themselves in the mirror and ask what they want from life. As a creed I hope will unconsciously be adopted by people all over the world, remember this: dont spend time doing nothing, just for the sake of doing something. Spend time doing something that matters to you. Because thats how you make a dent in the world, thats how you change the course of human civilization, and thats how you die knowing your time has mattered here. This is Milk the Pigeons motto: Live Life Boldly. Dont ever forget it
Young and Lost? You Are Not Alone.
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 7 CO MMENTS

We are the lost generation.

I was struck by a business insider article the other day, called This is what millions of young people in China and India REALLY think. A photographer, Adrian Fisk, traveled all over China and India interviewing youth wondering what they thought about life.

His project, iSpeak, started in China in 2008 and eventually moved into India as it gained momentum. He simply asked each person he randomly chose to write what they thought about life, about their future, and about their purpose. The responses are more than interesting, and are an incredible reminder that you probably arent alone in your thinking, no matter the age. First, check out some of the images Adrian took: Materialism

Im worrying something. Girls in China is becoming materialistic. Without house, my girlfriend would not marry me Destiny And Control

Lack of Control

Translation: After I watch TV I have a lot of thoughts and ideas, but have no way of achieving them. Live Your Life

Rat Race

Happiness.

Illiterate. What she said: Like you, we need the same things in life.

Pressure, expectations, and criticism.

Theres obviously a trend here, yeah? Interview a bunch of young Americans and youre very, very likely to get similar responses. So what are the trends here? What assumptions can we make about our own youth? 1. Theres a lot of pressure for expected life routes, and for tangible, material achievement

2. Lots of us feel powerless and in the grip of the hands of fate, rather than empowered 3. Feelings of hopelessness the general perception regarding dreams is that they are impossible to achieve. Impossible to escape the rat race. But that, to me, raises a curious point. If one assumes that we each are one of the images above, then we are probably feeling one of the following: Powerlessness. I cant control my future so Im not going to plan for my future Dispirited. I have a lots of thoughts, dreams, and ideas, but know I can never achieve them. Boldness. Live your life, you may die tomorrow. Jaded. Even if you win the rat race youre still a rat. Pressure, expectations, and criticism. Im supposed to live a certain life path, and if I dont, I am opening myself up to massive criticism But something is missing here. I dont see a single dreamer in that list. I dont see someone saying, life is tough as hell right now, but Im working on bigthings. Ive got this vision for the future, and Im working towards it. The closest one I found was the girl saying Live your life, you may die tomorrow. Boldness is crucial to success, no doubt about it. But if the above youth are reflections, even tiny indicators, of the thought processes of todays youth, we are in for a scary future. My unfortunate take on this all is still this: the generation of dreamers is dead. Todays youth have become lifeless, lost, and purposeless to a certain extent.

We no longer strive to live a conversation-worthy life.

We no longer want to work hard for things we love. And we no longer believe we can realize the thoughts and visions in our head. But this has to change, because the world was never changed without big dreams and bold action. So if you are dis-spirited & broken, If you are feeling hopeless, lost, and without a purpose, remember this: You are not alone.
This Is What Millions Of Young People In China And India REALLY Think
Meredith Galante | Oct. 13, 2011, 6:04 PM | 1,022,531 | 43

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Adrian Fisk Photographer Adrian Fisk traveled 2,700 kilometers across China and India to discover that most young people are, in essence, exactly the same. While living in India, Fisk realized he knew nothing about young people in the nearby country of China, and neither did anyone else in India. Fisk dug deeper into the subject and came across the staggering fact that there are 1.2 billion people under the age of 30 years old in China and India. "I wanted to find out what these young people thought," said Fisk, 41, who is currently in London. "If I found out what was in these people's minds, I figured I would get an idea of where our world is headed at this pivotal time." Fisk wanted his project to be a voice for these young people that the rest of the world knew little about.

Click here to see the photos >


He started his photo project "iSpeak" in China in 2008. The project consists of portraits of Chinese men and women between the ages of 16 and 30 in their natural environments. Each would hold up a white sign on which they would write a message expressing their worldviews or desires. In 2010, Fisk expanded the iSpeak project to India. In the meantime, the project went viral back in China as blogs and major media outlets started discussing its significance.

The United Nations Population Fund is now supporting the project, which will be called iSpeak Global. Fisk hopes to expand to 25 countries, starting in Africa next. The 25 countries are all relevant to the 21st century in political, economical and social ways and when the project is completed, the exhibition will go on tour. There are also plans to publish a book with all of the portraits. Currently, Fisk is in London seeking additional fundraising from companies for the continuation of the project. He has been kind enough to share some images with us, but be sure to check out the full collection at AdrianFisk.com. THE PROCESS As Fisk traveled across China during a 30-day period with a translator in tow, he randomly selected people he saw on the streets, on farms, or seated next to him at a cafe, and asked them to be part of his project. At first, he said, most of the Chinese would respond, "what would you like me to write?" "The Chinese struggle with freedom of expression," Fisk said. "I then said, 'No, this is about you.'" The answer was typically: "China's a great country and I want to be rich." This was an unacceptable answer to Fisk, because all 1.2 billion people would respond that way. He then probed his subjects asking, "What were you thinking about two hours ago?" "What will you be doing tomorrow?" "What is your relationship with your parents like?" Sometimes these conversations would last two hours, and once the subject's mind was buzzing, they'd have a truly original thought to write down. One of the more powerful messages to Fisk was from a 22-year-old software engineering student named Rainbow Su. Su wrote on his card, "I am worrying something. Girls in China is becoming materialistic, without house my girlfriend would not marry me. My parents cannot help me either. So I need to get good job with high payment, that's what I totally want." "It just goes to show how increasingly materialistic and consumer driven China is," Fisk said. During his journey, Fisk came across illiterate people who couldn't write for themselves, but still had something to share. He dealt with this challenge by asking those people to hold up blank posters, which made for an "even more powerful political message," Fisk said. Then, Fisk wrote down what they wanted to say for his captions and included them in the project that way. "Everyone has something to say," Fisk said. "Just because you don't know how to write, doesn't mean you can't take part in the project. ... It's even more important these people, who don't have a voice on any level, participate." As Fisk finished his project, he reflected on the trust he built with his subjects. He referred to himself as a "strange white bloke" who came up to them, tapped them on their shoulder and asked about their inner most thoughts. "Whether you're in rural China or New York City, you begin to realize over time looking through these photographs that the essence of humanity remains the same," Fisk said. "We all want a good life, to get ahead, we want love. That's a part of the essence of the project. It is understanding who we are and that we're not so different."

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/united-nations-supports-ispeak-china-india-adrianfisk-2011-10?op=1#ixzz2QTDJFif6

Amazon's Letter To Shareholders Should Inspire Every Company In America


Henry Blodget | Apr. 14, 2013, 10:06 AM | 9,227 | 18

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Late last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos published his latest letter to shareholders. This year's letter, like most of Bezos's letters, should inspire most companies to change the way they do business. Specifically, it should inspire companies to do business the way Amazon does business sacrificing this year's profits to invest in long-term customer loyalty and product opportunities that will create bigger profits next year and for years thereafter. The way most companies do business is to focus primarily on today's bottom line: The prevailing ethos in corporate America, after all, is that companies exist to make money for their

owners and the more and the sooner the better so every decision should be made in the context of that. The result of this is that many (most?) companies scrimp on things like long-term investments, customer service, product quality, and employee compensation, in the interest of delivering a few more pennies to this quarter's bottom line.

FRED/Business Insider American profit margins just hit an all-time high. This obsession with short-term profits has helped produce the unhealthy and destabilizing situation that now afflicts the U.S. economy: The profit margins of America's corporations are now higher than they ever have been in history, while the employee wages paid by America's corporations are the lowest they have ever been in history. Meanwhile, a smaller percentage of America's adults are working than at any time since the late 1970s. Since the wages that America's corporations pay Americans become revenue for other American companies (most consumers spend pretty much every penny they earn), this fireyour-way-to-prosperity mentality is myopic short-term thinking at its worst.

Business Insider, St. Louis Fed American wages just hit an all-time low. So it's inspiring to see a striking example of success from a company that has never put shortterm profits ahead of long-term investment and value creation. Over the course of its spectacular 17-year history, Amazon has always put customers, and investing for the long-term, first. Time and time again, for example, Amazon has voluntarily and proactively cut prices to increase its value to its customers. It has invested in technology and customer service practices that startle and delight customers and create long-term loyalty. It has made big, bold bets that had relatively low odds of paying off. In so doing, Amazon has frequently and brazenly disappointed the short-term investors who tend to dominate Wall Street, investors who forever grumble that Amazon should be "making more money." And, in so doing, Amazon has built one of the most dominant, enduring, and valuable enterprises that the Internet boom has yet produced. Meanwhile many other promising companies that rode the Internet wave have stumbled, in part because they put too much emphasis on short-term profitability and failed to invest enough in long-term value creation. (Think AOL, Yahoo, eBay, Microsoft, and, most recently, Apple.) America's obsession with short-term profitability has become so pervasive in our culture that even outside observers journalists, for example often snicker about Amazon's relatively low profit margins. They should not be snickering. They should be applauding. And they should be encouraging other American corporations to follow Amazon's inspiring lead to invest more of today's profits in tomorrow's opportunities, product development, customer loyalty, and dedicated employees. Yes, if more corporations choose to do this, their stocks might temporarily drop. But over the long haul, their stocks should do better than they would have done if the main mission of their enterprise remained to pile up more cash on the balance sheet. (See Apple's stock if you don't believe this.) Bezos explains it this way: Our heavy investments in Prime, AWS, Kindle, digital media, and customer experience in general strike some as too generous, shareholder indifferent, or even at odds with being a forprofit company. Amazon, as far as I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers, writes one outside observer. But I dont think so. To me, trying to dole out improvements in a just-in-time fashion would be too clever by half. It would be risky in a world as fast-moving as the one we all live in. More fundamentally, I think long-term thinking squares the circle. Proactively delighting customers earns trust, which earns more business from those customers, even in new business arenas. Take a long-term view, and the interests of customers and shareholders align.

"Take a long-term view, and the interests of customers and shareholders align." That's the money quote. That's the philosophy that has made Amazon so successful. That's the philosophy that more American corporations need to embrace and understand. Bezos's full letter is below. (Note: An early reader of this letter, Peter Kafka of All Things D, pointed out that, much to my surprise, Bezos actually quotes an article I wrote that praised a small Amazon customer-service investment that benefitted me personally. I have linked the quote to the original article below. Jeff Bezos also recently invested in Business Insider, which was very exciting for us. Given this, if you want to dismiss this article as just mutual back-scratching, I understand. But I have made the same argument for years. And it is true regardless.)

To our shareowners: As regular readers of this letter will know, our energy at Amazon comes from the desire to impress customers rather than the zeal to best competitors. We dont take a view on which of these approaches is more likely to maximize business success. There are pros and cons to both and many examples of highly successful competitor-focused companies. We do work to pay attention to competitors and be inspired by them, but it is a fact that the customer-centric way is at this point a defining element of our culture. One advantage perhaps a somewhat subtle one of a customer-driven focus is that it aids a certain type of proactivity. When were at our best, we dont wait for external pressures. We are internally driven to improve our services, adding benefits and features, before we have to. We lower prices and increase value for customers before we have to. We invent before we have to. These investments are motivated by customer focus rather than by reaction to competition. We think this approach earns more trust with customers and drives rapid improvements in customer experience importantly even in those areas where we are already the leader. Thank you. Every time I see that white paper on the front page of Amazon, I know that Im about to get more for my money than I thought I would. I signed up for Prime for the shipping, yet now I get movies, and TV and books. You keep adding more, but not charging more. So thanks again for the additions. We now have more than 15 million items in Prime, up 15x since we launched in 2005. Prime Instant Video selection tripled in just over a year to more than 38,000 movies and TV episodes. The Kindle Owners Lending Library has also more than tripled to over 300,000 books, including an investment of millions of dollars to make the entire Harry Potter series available as part of that selection. We didnt have to make these improvements in Prime. We did so proactively. A related investment a major, multi-year one is Fulfillment by Amazon. FBA

gives third-party sellers the option of warehousing their inventory alongside ours in our fulfillment center network. It has been a game changer for our seller customers because their items become eligible for Prime benefits, which drives their sales, while at the same time benefitting consumers with additional Prime selection. We build automated systems that look for occasions when weve provided a customer experience that isnt up to our standards, and those systems then proactively refund customers. One industry observer recently received an automated email from us that said, We noticed that you experienced poor video playback while watching the following rental on Amazon Video On Demand: Casablanca. Were sorry for the inconvenience and have issued you a refund for the following amount: $2.99. We hope to see you again soon. Surprised by the proactive refund, he ended up writing about the experience: Amazon noticed that I experienced poor video playback And they decided to give me a refund because of that? WowTalk about putting customers first. [Here's the original article.] When you pre-order something from Amazon, we guarantee you the lowest price offered by us between your order time and the end of the day of the release date. I just received notice of a $5 refund to my credit card for preorder price protection. . . What a great way to do business! Thank you very much for your fair and honest dealings. Most customers are too busy themselves to monitor the price of an item after they pre-order it, and our policy could be to require the customer to contact us and ask for the refund. Doing it proactively is more expensive for us, but it also surprises, delights, and earns trust. We also have authors as customers. Amazon Publishing has just announced it will start paying authors their royalties monthly, sixty days in arrears. The industry standard is twice a year, and that has been the standard for a long time. Yet when we interview authors as customers, infrequent payment is a major dissatisfier. Imagine how youd like it if you were paid twice a year. There isnt competitive pressure to pay authors more than once every six months, but were proactively doing so. By the way though the research was taxing, I struggled through and am happy to report that I recently saw many Kindles in use at a Florida beach. There are five generations of Kindle, and I believe I saw every generation in use except for the first. Our business approach is to sell premium hardware at roughly breakeven prices. We want to make money when people use our devices not when people buy our devices. We think this aligns us better with customers. For example, we dont need our customers to be on the upgrade treadmill. We can be very happy to see people still using four-yearold Kindles! I can keep going Kindle Fires FreeTime, our customer service Andon Cord, Amazon MP3s AutoRip but will finish up with a very clear example of internally driven motivation: Amazon Web Services. In 2012, AWS announced 159 new features and services. Weve reduced AWS prices 27 times since launching 7 years ago, added enterprise service support enhancements, and created innovative tools to help customers be more efficient. AWS Trusted Advisor monitors customer configurations, compares them to known best

practices, and then notifies customers where opportunities exist to improve performance, enhance security, or save money. Yes, we are actively telling customers theyre paying us more than they need to. In the last 90 days, customers have saved millions of dollars through Trusted Advisor, and the service is only getting started. All of this progress comes in the context of AWS being the widely recognized leader in its area a situation where you might worry that external motivation could fail. On the other hand, internal motivation the drive to get the customer to say Wow keeps the pace of innovation fast.

Our heavy investments in Prime, AWS, Kindle, digital media, and customer experience in general strike some as too generous, shareholder indifferent, or even at odds with being a for-profit company. Amazon, as far as I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers, writes one outside observer. But I dont think so. To me, trying to dole out improvements in a just-in-time fashion would be too clever by half. It would be risky in a world as fast-moving as the one we all live in. More fundamentally, I think long-term thinking squares the circle. Proactively delighting customers earns trust, which earns more business from those customers, even in new business arenas. Take a long-term view, and the interests of customers and shareholders align. As I write this, our recent stock performance has been positive, but we constantly remind ourselves of an important point as I frequently quote famed investor Benjamin Graham in our employee all-hands meetings In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine. We dont celebrate a 10% increase in the stock price like we celebrate excellent customer experience. We arent 10% smarter when that happens and conversely arent 10% dumber when the stock goes the other way. We want to be weighed, and were always working to build a heavier company. As proud as I am of our progress and our inventions, I know that we will make mistakes along the way some will be self-inflicted, some will be served up by smart and hard-working competitors. Our passion for pioneering will drive us to explore narrow passages, and, unavoidably, many will turn out to be blind alleys. But with a bit of good fortune there will also be a few that open up into broad avenues. I am incredibly lucky to be a part of this large team of outstanding missionaries who value our customers as much as I do and who demonstrate that every day with their hard work. As always, I attach a copy of our original 1997 letter. Our approach remains the same, and its still Day 1.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/amazons-letter-to-shareholders-20134#ixzz2QTDegmr9

Successful People Have Bigger Balls Than You And That May be All That Matters
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 12 COMMENTS

Nut up or Shut up -Zombieland Most people have such an innate fear of vulnerability the fear of failure, the fear of trying new things, the fear of quitting a job they dislike just because its uncomfortable and the unknown is scary, the fear of doing something new for the first time when you dont know anyone else who has done it. But the truth is that vulnerability is the single most important characteristic in learning -- intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically. The most successful people in the world constantly, consciously expose themselves to criticism, failure, and rejection. They make themselves vulnerable as much as possible, which is the primary reason why they learn so quickly. So here are 5 food-for-thought ways to maximize how quickly you learn, how quickly you fail, and how quickly you ultimately succeed: all by being vulnerable.

5 ways to learn insanely quickly and achieve success in 1/10th the time
The following 5 principles are very closely related but Ive attempted to split some hairs to highlight the most important factors in learning quickly and (almost by default) succeeding in any pursuit in a fraction of the time. *** Recommended watching before, during, after: The Power of Vulnerability on TED *** #1 DO more of the things that scare the shit out of you This is the single best way to learn quickly. I cant even describe how biologically averse most of us are to doing things we are afraid of I mean, discomfort is by definition, um, un-comfortable. So we tend to avoid it.

But the paradox of comfort is that its not conducive to growth and learning. So the longer you stay comfortable the harder it is to actually be comfortable over time because youre going to encounter too many novel situations (that youve avoided previously, because theyre uncomfortable) This is one of the key principles of Dr. Cs research on flow: stay in-between boredom (too easy, predictable) and anxiety (too hard, unpredictable) and youll be in the optimal spot for accelerated learning. Refer to the 3 part series on How to Learn Any Skill 2x as Fast in Half the Time. Fear is your best friend when it comes to learning. If you havent felt fear in a while, youre life is proof that you arent trying enough new things. Comfort is seductive Dont give in. Itll screw you in the end. #2 ASK out more attractive women (Seriously consciously make more vulnerable decisions on a daily basis) Do something with no guarantees, just because of how itll train you to deal with risk and discomfort.

For guys its easy start asking out random women and getting their numbers. This is scarier than death for most dudes (and most guys avoid it like the plague) and at the start, most of the conversations will probably be a little awkward and will result in rejections. It sucks. Both uncertainty & rejection. But if youve ever met an incredibly bold and fearless person and youve seen the kind of life they live and love and then you compare it to a timid friend of yours, youll know its worth it. Its way worth it. You cant even compare the two. But remember that youre doing this just to be vulnerable, not because you actually want the phone number. Dont mistake the results an event for the process, which is where you learn everything. What makes you really feel exposed? #3 REMEMBER that no risk = no gain I have never met anyone who really likes losing money. And in all my years, I have never met a rich person who has never lost money. But I have met a lot of poor people who have never lost a dime. -Robert Kiyosaki The above quote is so quintessentially true about wealth and life literally and figuratively that Im surprised I forget it so much. When you first learn something, it sucks. Its slow, its painful, you fail a lot, you fall a lot, and you want to quit every other day.

Thinking back to when I was learning Chinese in the classroom, we were forced to speak in Chinese from day 1 and the classes were only in Chinese. So everyday I pretty much walked into class with this WTF feeling, and left with a sweat-soaked tshirt from how anxietyridden I was during those classes. But thats how learning works, you scrape your knees a bunch of time riding your bike and eventually you can get both wheels balanced and you can ride a bike. Eventually, you will stop improving if you dont try harder maneuvers on your bike. If, however, you start trying to pop wheelies, or do tricks, or go off jumps, youll still improve. Thats the learning curve. And the only way to optimize that learning curve (aka waste the least amount of your time and learn the most, the quickest), is by doing the stuff that scares the shit out of you, and doing it anyway. Do the stuff thats a little bit too difficult, a little bit out of reach, a little bit confusing and do it often. Once that gets comfortable, find the next challenge. If you arent doing something with the potential to scrape your knees, you arent pushing yourself enough and are not learning as quickly as you could be. #4 LEARN to live uncomfortably One of the most interesting parts of watching Brens talk on TED was when she mentioned this: Numbing the negative aspects of life makes you numb to the positive aspects too. So when we go home after work and self medicate by using alcohol, drugs, sex, or other means to dull the parts of life we hate, we are by default also blocking out the good ones:

And I think theres evidence and its not the only reason this evidence exists, but I think its a huge cause we are the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history. The problem is and I learned this from the research that you cannot selectively numb emotion. You cant say, heres the bad stuff. Heres vulnerability, heres grief, heres shame, heres fear, heres disappointment. I dont want to feel these. Im going to have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin. I dont want to feel these. You cant numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions. You cannot selectively numb. So when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness. And then we are miserable, and we are looking for purpose and meaning, and then we feel vulnerable, so then we have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin. And it becomes this dangerous cycle. Most of us live too comfortably or dont quite hate our lives enough to make a big decision. Thats the reason why most of us never sit down and say My life needs huge changes. I need to quit my job, move across the world, and go on an adventure. Most of us never say that. And I realize there are certain constraints depending on your age like your family & employment but theres a reason why most of us never make the big decision to change our lives for the better. Were not quite miserable enough yet. Were at the point where things could be a lot better, but they dont suck enough that we sit down and find time to make a drastic change. Its easier to just watch tv or go out with friends and pretend it didnt happen. But successful people are obsessed with the unknown. And theyre possessed by curiosity.

And theyre addicted to success so no matter how much they fail, it doesnt matter, because theyre winners and when winners encounter a momentary failure, they sayjust watch me do it. Theyre obsessed with the struggle that comes as part of the process. Theyre obsessed with the discomfort they get during training and testing in the unknown. But out somewhere in that unknown they know the holy grail is waiting. #5 MAKE uncertainty your best friend and your bitch I have never met someone who was successful and a real renaissance person that was afraid of making decisions. But thats exactly what most of us do. Were terrified of deciding. We thrive in being comfortable. Wed rather miss out on life and be comfortable, then embrace the uncertain and learn a shit ton and attain massive success. Why that is, I have no idea. Maybe we see the long (uncertain) road ahead and think: Well, theres no guarantees, why am I bothering even taking that road? What if I work 5 years and getnothing out of it? What if I spend that much of my life and dont succeed? Id rather just watch Family Guy and enjoy my time and know what Im going to get out of it. If most of your days are spent doing predictable activities with predictable outcomes, chances are that youre not growing or learning anything. The scary thing is that 6 months of focused intent on learning and structuring your life around uncertainty and discomfort is worth more than 10 years of comfortable learning. Literally.

In 5 years you can literally learn more than most people learn in their entire lifetime. What if one of the secrets to success was simple? Be braver and take more risks. Do something that has the potential for failure. Try something uncomfortable, for just a little bit longer than you usually would. Because maybe thats all it takes. Vulnerability.

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{ 12 comments read them below or add one }


Josh Hogg April 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Recently, Ive started doing something you stated in this article: doing something that feels inherently wrong, or that I cant necessarily justify (knowing what I know), just to see what happens. Often you learn that the assumptions you made around why it is wrong or wont work, were in fact wrong themselves. This leads to a paradigm shift, and you learn something new. Love the read up.
REPLY

afheyne April 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm


Josh , Yeah it can lead to a huge shift in thinking. Sometimes just making an extremely bold move is the fastest way to get yourself to learn. Just deliberately making oneself uncomfortable by doing something that stretches oneself is pretty much the hallmark quality in quick learners.
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Tiela April 6, 2012 at 5:27 am


Alex, This article is sheer GENIUS! (I also like it because its the way I live my life, so its validating.) Currently, Im way high up in a huge tree and Ive climbed out really far on this skinny, little branch. Its scary as hell, but, truthfully, I LOVE IT UP HERE! The view is great, for one thing, and I feel invigorated, empowered and proud of myself for exercising my courage. I will soon be returning to the ground (ie, Lakeville) where I will rest for a while and be comfortable, but Im thinking of hang-gliding on the way down

I posted this article on my wall, by the way. Love you, Tiela


REPLY

afheyne April 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm


Thanks Tiela, It was definitely inspired by Brens talk on TED which my boss told me to check out. Vulnerability definitely is one of the hallmark traits of all people I admire, being able to take a risk, take on a new project, commit to something new all while not knowing how things will turn out. That means LEGITIMATELY not knowing what will come, going in afraid, and like you said exercising your courage. See you soon ! Are you still in Paris?
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Shanna Mann April 6, 2012 at 8:47 am


Amazing article, Alexander. I really think people fail to understand just how dangerous comfortable is. It kills your desire to be anything but comfortable. I dropped out of academia because I was good at it too good at it. I knew that I would always be comfortable in the ivory tower but what about the real world? I had no idea whether I could cope there or not.

My dad offered to help me get my truckers license, and for 3 years I was a blue collar worker in the oil & gas industry, learning way more stuff about the ways of the world than I ever did in academia. My secret weapon is that I thrive off a steep learning curve, though, so that makes it easy for me to keep pushing into new territory.
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afheyne April 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm


Thanks Shanna, I agree with you, we dont really realize how insidious comfortable can be. It sneaks up on us insidious is the perfect word I think. I have two good friends like you school was too easy for them, so they just quit. In my opinion thats how a lot of brilliant people fall by the wayside they just dont need to exercise their brains and the predictability of life gets boring so they quit. Haha I also like to just learn new stuff in general literally, something new every 30/60/100 days. I dont know if I get bored, if I just like the steep learning curve (like you said), or if its something else. But in any case I think its one of my best strengths, having a huge range of experience of so many random fields makes it pretty easy for me to relate to people somethings I wouldnt trade for anything. What are you doing these days? You have a coaching biz, yeah?

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Jeffrey April 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm


I love the idea of learning to live uncomfortably. To me, being comfortable leads to complacency and boringness. Thats easy, but its not the most exciting or rewarding path to take by any means.
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afheyne April 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm


Yeah that to me is the big reason to never get too comfortable. Complacency and boredom. Complacency just leads to unproductive work habits, and boredom? Well, a life the doesnt feel exciting or worthwhile.. In any case its not easy! It takes real stones to live uncomfortably and deliberately forego comfort. But in my experience its totally worth it, and I wouldnt trade it for anything.
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Pinoy Leonardo April 11, 2012 at 8:18 pm


This hit me bulls eye! I met up with a former boss with other colleagues and started getting into some news or gossips. It made me realize some people go around our industry messing one place to another and still survive! These people just have the connection and the shameless charm. Im not saying Im joining the bandwagon of a**holes. Im just saying I can keep my integrity and all and add a bit of power. This post in blood-riggingstruck me

Oh by the way I like #2. Hmm got to think about it in a different way since Im married. lol.
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afheyne April 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm


Hey Pinoy, Hahah you can find a creative way to go about #2. I also think bigger balls may not necessarily mean shameless charm, but at the basic level this: the willingly to put yourself in a risky position. That may mean a leadership position if youre naturally a quiet introvert. That may mean offering to help someone else with their project and affecting your reputation if you do a bad job. That mean mean investing in a new startup and potentially losing a lot of money and ruining your reputation. These kinds of willing periods of vulnerability definitely seem to follow successful people. And obviously, its because they create those circumstances.
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Annie Andre April 12, 2012 at 7:27 am


All good point but the one that strikes me the most is learn to be uncomfortable. how many people in this world are complacent and because of that complacency they settle for a life that is less than amazing and down right uninspiring. Its safe, its without risk and ordinary.. ps Im sure youve heard this quote.

I love the Eleanor Roosevelt quote about doing something scary everyday.
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afheyne April 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm


Totally agree! I stole the uncomfortable one from you you set my brain on fire when you mentioned that a couple weeks ago. Choosing to be safe will definitely result in a comfortable life, but maybe not the adventurous sexy life that were dreaming of! And I love that Roosevelt quote, im gonna have to steal it for another post soon haha.
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My Favorite Books on Life, Philosophy, and Business


by ALEXANDER HEYNE 5 CO MMENTS

Books that are important to share: General:


1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. (I love this book so much I buy copies to give away)

2. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

3. The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence by Gavin Debecker

4. Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

5.1,000 Places to See Before You Dieby Patricia Schultz

Philosophy:
6. The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

7. Tao Te Ching(Gia fu feng and Jane English Translation)

8. Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits by Bill Porter

9. Walden; Or, Life in the Woods (Dover Thrift Editions) By Henry David Thoreau

10. This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

Classic Business Related:


11. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

12. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!by Al Ries

13. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

14. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Dont Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber

15. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Dont by Jim Collins

Books that will (literally) save your life:


16. Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain by Pete Egoscue

17. The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet by Robb Wolf

18. Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About Itby Gary Taubes

19. Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage)by Gary Taubes

20. Fiber Menace: The Truth About the Leading Role of Fiber in Diet Failure, Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohns Disease, and Colon Cancerby Konstantin Monastyrsky

Other Awesomeness:

21. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

22. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan

23. The Memory Book: The Classic Guide to Improving Your Memory at Work, at School, and at Play by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas

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Struggling to Make
What Would You do if you Knew You Could not Fail?
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 0 COMMENTS

Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know. -Lao tze

Who woulda thunk that Lao Tze, that old bearded Taoist, could have known anything about the modern world. Turns out, he was a pretty smart dude. There is a reason why this post title (a quote by Robert Schuller) is also so important here. The adage provided above, I believe, is not meant to be taken literally. But it illustrates an exceedingly important concept in life, travel and work. Being bold, first of all, is about DOING something Dont say, just do. This is one of the hardest things for me personally, and I would imagine, for humanity collectively. How many people do you know dishing out diet advice? Honestly, every family gathering for me goes like this:

(Family conversation) Relative 1: All you gotta do to lose weight is eat less Relative 2: All you have to do to lose weight is start exercising Relative 3: All you have to do to lose weight is stop eating carbs

Yet everyone is just as big as the last time I saw them.


I saw an interview in a recent edition of Entrepreneur magazine that I really liked, regarding getting things done. It featured the guy who owns Dell, Michael Dell, talking with several other young entrepreneurs. They are discussing the qualities of an entrepreneur: Michael Dell: One of the funniest questions that I get is, How do I be an entrepreneur? ( Some selected responses I like ) Craig Dwyer: Whats your answer? Michael Dell: The friendly version? Its go experiment and do something. If youre waiting for somebody else to tell you to be an entrepreneur, youre not one. Zach Hamilton: Skills can be learned. Its the drive and ambition to go out there and do something thats special. Any of us could be doctors. Any of us could be lawyers. But its the ambition to apply yourselfeven when its hard that sets us apart. Nikhil Sethi: Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. What does that mean? Craig Dwyer: Two words: action people. Ernestine Fu: What do you think an entrepreneur is?

Zach Hamilton: A doer. Corinne Prevot: And its a passion, because you have to be willing to learn from it and it becomes so much a part of your life.

Being bold, second of all, is about doing something youve never done before
Yeah, that means if you arent getting butterflies in your stomach on a regular basis, you arent being bold enough in your life. Yeah its hard. And its scary. But the potential rewards? Unlimited. Everything youve ever dreamed of. Being bold is the reason why you envy the guy with the pretty girl. He had the balls to talk to her and you didnt. Being bold is the difference between living a life that is just okay and a life that fucking rocks. Being bold is the difference between settling and saying well, it happens sometimes to being assertive and saying Zeus, you son of a bitch, you get down here and Im gonna take your ass out back. And then making your life how you want it. Theres a difference between knowing the path and walking the path -Morpheus

So what does living life boldly mean?


It means putting yourself as the center of your sphere of influence rather than on the periphery. You are the lamp in the darkness. You are the Moses that parts the seas. You are the guide for the lost travelers. You are the centrifuge that everything spins around. In life, it means choosing opportunities that mean you are living life as an exclamation, not as an explanation. In work, it means constantly trying to change your circumstances striving for change, growth, or fresh plans. In travel, it means going somewhere off the beaten path. Go for a real adventure rather than tourist destinations. Hit up Papua New Guinea, or go drink Kava in Fiji with a tribal chief. Conquer a fear, like shark diving. Find a path of self-expansion and growth via traveling, rather than travel for travels sake.

The essence of the sphere


Would you rather be the person writing the story, or reading the story? The doer earns infinitely more respect by those around him, regardless of the amount of perceived, or actual, failures and successes. One last (overly clich) quote to think about here: It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the

man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. -Teddy Roosevelt Doing Everything Right Doesnt Guarantee Success
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 1 CO MMENT

Working hard and working smart sometimes can be two different things. -Byron Dorgan

Failure: One of Those Things Mommy Never Told You About


Nothing guarantees success. Working hard doesnt guarantee success. Working a lot doesnt guarantee success. Having everyone behind you doesnt guarantee success. Having innate talent or being gifted doesnt guarantee success. Having all the resources in the world doesnt guarantee success. These words shouldnt shock you, or make you think Im a downer or that Im here to burst your bubble and get you to drop everything. These words are here to inspire you to realize that the only way to reach success (however you define that) is to constantly change and flow based on the circumstances. There are a million and one reasons why there is no formula to success. The important thing (for now) is not creating a flow chart for how to succeed, but rather realize that being an adult means being bold, making your own choices, and sometimes rolling with the punches.

Societys False Promises


When I graduated from college I felt like it was the beginning of a new era. Tons of opportunities to do whatever I want. Tons of places to get a job that was way better than I would have had otherwise. Tons of resources behind me. Tons of people behind me. And then reality struck. I joined an increasingly large group of people who feel like they deserve a lot. We feel like we deserve the whole damn earth, and anyone who tells us otherwise is spouting lies and can go suck it.

The problem is that they are totally right. I dont deserve anything. You dont deserve anything. We dont deserve anything. But weve been promised a lot, so what the hell is going on here?

Dont Freak Out


This realization that none of us deserve anything should be one of the most liberating moments in your life. It is a reminder that you are only given what you ask for, and you only achieve what you try to seize by the balls. It means living an active life, with the unstated assumption (new conventional wisdom) being: I have to put myself out there. Specific changes that will occur: 1. Youll see how powerful ask and you shall receive is. 2. You wont be a victim or act like a little bitch if life is cruel to you. You wont blame the gods. You wont blame others. You wont complain. 3. Youll experience previously unseen of personal levels of success.

Ask and You Shall Receive


Pretty much everyone knows this Biblical quote. I love it so much because it encourages the bold attitude. However, very few people know that literally doing that asking for something results in way more opportunities than youd receive otherwise. A few personal examples:

I got bored waiting in the airport on a flight to Europe so I jokingly asked a lady at the counter if she could upgrade me. Easy way to a first class ticket

One time lost in Prague at an awkward hour in a bad place I was surprised no one noticed my plight and nervousness. I asked a random man for a phone, and not only did he let me use his Blackberry for an hour (until I got through) he gave me $20 to get to the place I was staying On more than one occasion Ive jokingly asked bartenders to buy me a drink in a bar and on more than one occasion Ive had free drinks

Planning the Right Way


Later well talk about specifics on planning to succeed. But for right now its important to have the backup plan straight when you think youve done everything right, but life is still sucking. Or, if you think youre a little Princess everything will come naturally to, remind you with a big fat palm smack to the head that youre a mortal:

Again, realize that your status or privileges (or lack thereof) may influence but never guarantee your future. College doesnt guarantee finding a great job. Money doesnt guarantee youll get further than someone else without it. Talent doesnt mean life will come easy. Realize that you and only you are fully responsible for your life. After all, this phase of life is about growing a pair (or a metaphorical pair, if youre a female) and manning up (sorry, that phrase would suck if I made it politically correct).

Most Importantly
Remember that talent and inherent gifts are absolutely no match for a smart, well-planned, driven individual.

There is absolutely no competition and no doubt in my mind. Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare The truth thou hast, that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare. -Voltaire
Not Enough Time in the Day? Ive Got Plenty to Share
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 2 CO MMENTS

For disappearing acts, its hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work. -Doug Larson

Trying to get time to slow down when you want it to is the trick

Why There Isnt Enough Time in the Day Is Not a Legitimate Excuse

When I first got to college, I suffered from the not enough time in a day blues. I would go to class, eat and go home, mess around a little, go to the library and work, eat dinner, hit the gym, mess around a little more, and then it was time to go to bed. My free time just evaporated into thin air. I suspect you are much like myself and many of my friends at the end of many days we wonder how the day passed so quickly or where all the time went. And most of us deceive ourselves into thinking we didnt waste any time.

Wake up
If you use the internet on a daily basis you are probably wasting a good portion of your time that way. There are a couple other major things that I know that for a fact are the main time wasters.

Miscellaneous internet browsing. Forums, favorite websites, reddit, textfromlastnight, Facebook. Get rid of all of it or have a very specific task (<5 minutes to accomplish) and then immediately log off. Read your Facebook notifications and then get off.

Email checking. As many other business books have taught limit your email checking to once or at maximum twice daily. Nothing in between, and turn off all instant notifications. Put a post-it on your computer that reminds you the only two times you are allowed to check your email.

Watching TV. Its ridiculously easy to just turn on the tv real quick after youve made yourself some food, and then zone out for an hour or two. An hour or two of your free time! There probably are a lot of other things youd rather do in that time

The Promise
I can guarantee that once you consciously research and take note of how you use your time, you can re-gain at least one hour of free-to-yourself time. For most college students you can regain 2-3 hours easily. Most people think that there isnt enough time, but the reality is that people tend not to be mindful of how they use their time.

Kick Time-Wasting in the Ass


Personal suggestions that have helped me immensely: 1. Spend 1 week recording all time usage. 1. Record everything to the minute. Sleep time, work time, on computer time, TV time, homework or class time. Calculate ratios and daily/weekly totals. 2. You may realize that you spend 1 hour on facebook and 1 hour watching TV daily. Cut the senseless TV program out and Facebook down to 15 minutes and youve re-gained 12.25 HOURS a week. 1. Set an alarm for tasks 1. For homework assignments, work tasks, or generic errands set a timer (I use Macs 3-21 timer on the dashboard) and then get your work done in the allotted time. It reduces the chance for distraction, the urge to take long

breaks, and encourages getting focused. This is was a HUGE revelation for me in terms of boosting efficiency (time spent per task) Always, Always, Always have a specific goal to accomplish for all tasks. 1. Hopping on the internet with no goal or task to accomplish is asking for it. Youll wake up 3 hours later and realize that you just commit internet seppuku. With specifics tasks to accomplish, youll boost your productivity like youve never seen before.

The Finisher
Here is what I noticed is the sneakiest bastard of them all: The biggest time wasters are usually found in inbetween periods. For Example: You go to the gym. You come back exhausted and sit down on the couch in front of the TV for just a sec. Yeah, a lot of seconds. About an hour probably. For Example: You get back from class. You make yourself a sandwich from lunch and sit down on Facebook. An hour passes. For Example: You get back from work. You stop for a quick second to

Get the point?

And at the end of the day we dont realize that we have had 3 or 4 separate periods of time wasting because they were independent of each other.

Watch the In-Between Periods They are insidious and the time loss will creep up on you

Other Important Notes


Speaking of time loss, are you using your leisure time wisely? And by wisely I mean consciously investing time into developing skills that require you to function at higher and more complex levels, skills that are worth your while? A great place to start is reading about Flow in my previous post as an introduction. Until then, here is something to chew on:

Until a person takes charge of them, both work and free time are likely to be disappointing. Most jobs and many leisure activities especially those involving the passive consumption of mass mediaare not designed to make us happy and strong. Their purpose is to make money for someone else. If we allow them to, they can suck out the marrow of our lives, leaving only feeble husks People who learn to enjoy their work, who do not waste their free time, end up feeling that their lives as a whole have become much more worthwhile. -Flow, p. 163
How to (Not) Make Every Day Feel the Same
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 3 CO MMENTS

When each day is the same as the next, its because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises. -The Alchemist

Take a new route from time to time

A Society in Dire Need of Variety


Routines really suck sometimes. When I got my first desk job, my routine looked like this: 6:30 wake up 8:00 Leave for work 3:30 Leave work 4:00 Get home 5:00 Gym 6:00 Free time (read, internet, misc time wasters) 7:00 Dinner and cleanup 8:30 Prepare for next day 10:00 Read and sleep The days and weeks went by pretty quickly, often fusing into each other. The days werent bad necessarily, but that feeling of time evaporating terrified me. I suspect your schedule is pretty predictable and repeatable like my own.

Theres Nothing Inherently Wrong With the Same Routine


Im a huge lover of routine. In fact, without routine and tasks put into nice little bite-size boxes, I tend to freak out. Im a little type A. The big problem is that whole time-evaporation thing. Its great when you want the weekend to hurry up, but it sure does suck when you realize 3 years have evaporated and you arent quite sure if youve done anything in that time. In The Alchemist the boy talks about not paying attention to the little miracles that happen every day regarding the origins of the feeling of time flying by. I agree, but Ill give you more concrete ideas based upon what Ive noticed.

The Origins of Time Evaporation Syndrome


Over the years, Ive thought through a couple theories as to why time evaporates. Here are the two main conclusions that Ive come to: 1. You do the exact same thing every day, and thus tend to zone out and run on autopilot. Nothing is fresh and nothing is new that the brain finds worth paying attention to. Check back on my earlier post regarding kids loving life and finding everything fascinating, while later on we become less curious by life since there are fewer new experiences. 2. You are in the same few locations every day (Work ==> Home). This is the main factor relating to the perceived speed of time.

The Remedy

The remedy to the first theory is obvious vary your schedule. Change little (or big things) every day. For example: 1. Add a morning routine. Have a tea or coffee and just look out the window. At least 20 minutes. Do some morning stretching or yoga. Walk the dogs in the cool morning air. Work in the garden. 2. Take a new route to work or class. Take a new route home. Take a new route through town. Put on some driving music and just explore areas you hadnt seen before. Youll be surprised at some of the places your intuition can take you. 3. Change the places where you regularly eat. Find a new restaurant. Or, if you usually eat out, start cooking at home.

Changing locations can be fun

The Time-Location Relationship


Heres a little thing that staying out late at night can teach you: if you change multiple locations in one day, or one night, it can cause the illusion of having spent a largeamount of time. Changing location 4-5 times in one outing can give the feeling that it has been a long productive day and that your time has been used wisely. Think about it. You go to visit some family friends at their house, then you guys go to a museum, then you bring the kids to the zoo, and then go out to a nice restaurant at night. And then you drive home. Long day, right? Thats the idea. And, ideally, if you have been in 4-5 different locations you have used your time wisely. The other time-related concept is simply activity. Activities that are flow-producing will make time fly by but again, if you engage yourself in multiple activities throughout the day it will give a stronger impression of more time used efficiently.

Your Sphere of Influence is Always Contagious


Another really fun way to break out of routine is to involve other people. Here is the fun part: try cultivating a relationship (however momentary) with a stranger.

High Five Challenge


For example: When you go into your local coffee shop one day, high five the person serving you once you get your drink. Seriously, dont be a chicken. It will guaranteed make them smile (physical contact has a way of doing that), and it will change the routine both for you and for them. Honestly, it will probably be the thing they remember most that day. This was a staple of my routine in China with waitresses and waiters in any cafe I went to. Eventually, they became close friends Id talk to about random things, and they took a liking to me (and that included preferential treatment!). If you have a cleaning lady or any sort of service person you run into on a semi-daily basis, deliberately start a conversation with them about something of value. Awkward elevator moments? Try starting an honest conversation with one of the people inside, without talking about the weather. Begin with the intent of varying routine, and youll be surprised that some very unique friendships may evolve.

Share Your Secret

Whats your trick for breaking out of routine? Do you interact regularly with the service people around you, who have that blank tv-screen look on their faces? Do you consciously try to introduce variety into your own life and those around you? Do share
A Guaranteed Reason Life and Work Are Not Fulfilling: The Consume-Purchase Cycle
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 7 CO MMENTS

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after. -Henry David Thoreau

Today's Motto: Buy more. Bigger, better, faster. You need more.

One Good Reason Your Work and Life May Be Unrewarding


I noticed that my personality and thought patterns tend to change when I hang out with friends. The

conversations at some point get into whos getting a new car, who got a raise or a new job with sweet benefits, who went traveling somewhere exotic, or who has got the latest eye-candy device. Let me say right now: I dont think theres anything inherently wrong with discussing the latest toys or who bought a BMW 5 series. However, the problem is that as soon as Im on the way home, I find myself suddenly overcome with the urge for more. My friends have instilled an artificial sense of lack in my own life. It makes me want to trade my 2 year old LG Versa for an iPhone 4. It makes me want to sell my 2003 Nissan Xterra and buy a new Camaro. It makes me want to dump my old Dell and get a new MacBook.

So? Who Cares?


Externally, theres no problem buying any and all new toys if you can afford it. Externally, things look fine. Internally, an insidious cycle is reinforcing itself over and over, every single time that you are knowingly or unknowingly exposed to it.

Think about it.


With your friends or family, people always talk with excitement about getting the newest gadgets On TV, ads and celebrity tv always instill the idea that you need more: more beauty, more new toys, more technology, more money Almost all forms of marketing and advertising we are exposed to on a daily basis want to instill a sense of lack in order to sell something

What that means is that whether or not you realize it, you are being conditioned every single day to artificially feel a sense of lack in your own life. Enter the Consumer Cycle
The typical life situation for my friends is like this: they graduate college, get a job, pretty soon after get their own apartment, a new car, new phone and new clothes. Five years later? The exact same thing a job that has changed a little, another newer car, newer phone, newer clothes. Five years after that? The same thing.. only the external circumstances slightly keep changing form. The reason why this gets really boring, really quickly, is that it provides no internal content for life to thrive on. It provides no real purpose. Think about that for a second. The cycle is self-sustaining. It has no purpose other than to just exist for itself and work as a form of capitalism. It is like work for works sake completely unfulfilling and merely an ends to itself.

Why the Consumer Cycle Does Nothing For You, And Absolutely Nothing For Your Happiness
This vicious cycle sucks (by definition) because it provides nothing inherently valuable to you in the intrinsic sense. It keeps you within the cycle by design. Thats why its extremely important to have a sense of purpose and clear goals no matter what line of work youre in.

This isnt a mass conspiracy to have you spend all your money or be a slave to the Man, but rather its an inherent weakness we have. We freak out after 1, 5, 10, 15, or 25 years of repeating the same exact cycle over and over because, at the end of the day, we have nothing to show for the time. Theres just an evolution of possessions. Instead of investing time into flow-producing activities, activities with inherent, intangible value, or investing time into learning skills, I see a lot of us stuck in an illusory cycle of only transitory happiness with little to show at the end of a lifetime.

That really scares me. The Light at the End of the Tunnel
The resolution here is relatively simple: 1. Understand that the sense of lack that media and friends may make you feel iscompletely artificial 2. Find better investments for your time and money

Specific Suggestions For a New Life

I want you to think long and hard, putting yourself 10 years down the road. If someone asks what youve gained or learned, what do you personally have to show? If your spare time has been spent only on upgrading to the newest phone, a newer car, a different girlfriend.without anything that actually improves the content of your life, its time to start thinking. Next time you get your paycheck, ask yourself: how can I use this money so that Ill remember it in 10 years? I doubt youll be thinking of the latest toy.

If you have a life that has money but is unfulfilling, these are my three suggestions to you:

1. Invest your money and time into a hobby, activity, group, or passion. Learn a language. Join a rock climbing club. Start an organization. Learn a skill or do something youve always wanted. Go learn salsa. Take a course on video game design. Go skydiving and bungee jumping. 1. Travel, or better yet, move to another country for a period of time. All of these provide intangible, inherently rewarding, sticky experiences that will exist far longer than your money will. These experiences are also cumulative, so they provide a form of self-evolution.

I dont think it gets more rewarding than that.


If Your Work Sucks, Learn About Flow: Flow, Part 1.
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 4 COMMENTS

Collectively we are wasting each year the equivalent of millions of years of human consciousness. The energy that could be used to focus on complex goals, to provide for enjoyable growth, is squandered on patterns of stimulation that only mimic reality. Mass leisure, mass culture, and even high culture when only attended to passively, and for extrinsic reasons are parasites of the mind. -Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

How Did Work Get Equated with Sucks and Miserable and Torturous?
Evidence suggests that back in the day (as well as in modern times), hunter gatherers lived relatively carefree lives. Estimates regarding the amount of work done in a day range from two to five hours daily and the rest of the time was spent in leisure, socializing, or resting. Over time, work became increasingly disconnected from subsistence, and things got hairy from there. An interesting caveat here is that hunter gatherers and large populations of people pre-industrial times didnt separate work and leisure there simply was no difference and enjoyment was present at all times. (This, however, was not the case with all cultures pre-modern times.)

Cultural Taglines

Work in modern times is so often associated with pain and misery that we automatically assume in our minds that this is the way it is. For example, Ive heard this dialogue a hundred times at least: Bill: Hey John, how was work? John: Ehh, work is work. Unstated assumption: Smacking a bear on the ass and running away as it devoured my viscera would have been more fun. I bet youve heard the same dialogue a thousand times, or maybe youve participated in it. I think we all have at some point. The Point? We have deep-seated cultural assumptions about what work is and how it should be.

Enter Dr. Csikszentmihalyi (Dr. C)


Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness. -Thomas Carlyle If we take some rough estimates of how the average westerner spends his time we could very roughly say that she/he sleeps 8 hours, works 8 hours, and has a misc period of 8 hours which includes commutes, eating and leisure. Thus, work will take up at least one third of your life. Dont you think you should consciously invest time and energy into figuring out how to improve your work situation?

The Flow Intro

Dr. C spent decades studying human enjoyment, happiness and fulfillment. His research all comes together in a principle called Flow which is universal and is described literally word-forword by cultures all over the world. It is the state of optimal experience. He describes flow as that state when:

instead of being buffeted by anonymous forces, we do feel in control of our actions, masters of our own fate. On the rare occasions that it happens, we feel a sense of exhilaration, a deep sense of enjoyment that is long cherished and that becomes a landmark in memory for what life should be like. This is what we mean by optimal experience. It is what the sailor holding a tight course feels when the wind whips through her hair, when the boat lunges through the waves like a colt sails, hull, wind, and sea humming a harmony that vibrates in the sailors veins. It is what a painter feels when the colors on the canvas begin to set up a magnetic tension with each other, and a new thing, a living form, takes shape in front of the astonished creator. Or it is the feeling of a father has when his child for the first time responds to his smile. -Flow, p.3

Accessing Flow at Work


In later posts well go into more detail as to how to apply Flow in daily life. But I think that most people have a hard time finding enjoyment at work, so thatll be the focus of this particular post. Dr. C begins with talking about two aspects of flow at work:

Autotelic Workers

Autotelic workers have an inherent (read: can be learned) ability to find enjoyment and focus not only in work but in leisurely pursuits as well. They tend to: 1. Rarely differentiate work from free time 2. Find enjoyment in everything they do 3. Possess the ability to create flow experiences even in surprisingly inhumane environments Autotelic Jobs Some jobs naturally possess the qualities inherent and conducive to the flow state. 1. Surgery 2. Hunting Surgeons have reported extremely high levels of satisfaction and involvement with their jobs. There are exceptions of course (the example he gives is when a surgeon specializes in 1 or 2 surgeries and does them over and over). However, the criteria for flow inherently exist in surgery: clear goals, clear immediate feedback, a task that is slightly above the skill level and is challenging, and clear indicators of when the task is done. Additionally, hunting has been found so enjoyable that people have continued to hunt despite the fact that the need has entirely disappeared. Hunting has been

putting people in the zone since the dawn of time you have a clear goal (kill the animal and eat it), clear feedback (have I killed it yet, or did I miss my shot?) and the task is always that a task. It is never easy, and it inherently stretches you beyond your skill level. These are all critical to enter the flow state.

So How do I do it?
From Dr. C himself: To improve the quality of life through work, two complementary strategies are necessary. On the one hand jobs should be redesigned so that they resemble as closely as possible flow activities as do hunting, cottage weaving, and surgery. But it will also be necessary to help people develop autotelic personalities by training them to recognize opportunities for action, to hone their skills, to set reachable goals. Neither one of these strategies is likely to make work much more enjoyable by itself; in combination, they should contribute enormously to optimal experience. Flow, p. 157

Suggestions for Making Work FlowConducive


Based on Dr. Cs recommendations for how to make anything closer to a flowexperience, here are some suggested alterations and questions to consider: Does any and every job you do have clear goals that make use of and push your skills? Are all activities sufficiently challenging that you become involved in the activity and seem like you are running on automatic?

Is there feedback for each and every task you do? Sports are notoriously enter to easy flow because there is immediate and accurate feedback: you missed the goal, you made the goal, that player took the ball away from you, you need to get the ball back. If you engage in a work task, what information provides you with the answer to the question: How do I know I am doing this correctly? Are there any guidelines for this task? If not, you are simply floating in space and will have a very difficult time efficiently using your time and finding enjoyment in it. Does the task obtain total control over your attention? Do you feel like youve lost all perception of yourself, totally engrossed in the task? 1. Do you feel totally in control of whats going on? These are all criteria that can help produce autotelic experiences which Dr. C describes through his research as inherently enjoyable in itself.

The Next Step


My suggestion is this: try some of the proposed alterations at work and see how it goes. Remember to spend time consciously thinking about how to improve your work situation based on specifics and remember that work does NOT necessarily = tedium, pain and suffering. We have been culturally inoculated to believe that work = painful and thus leisure = freedom and enjoyment. Its time to change the status quo. Flow goes on to state that the prime complaints in the workplace are (first and foremost) a lack of variety and challenge.

It is fully within your power to change any and all aspects of your work environment

Why One Year Abroad Taught Me More Than Four Years at College
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 16 C OMMENTS

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrowmindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all ones lifetime. -Mark Twain

In August 2010 I Moved to China.


Why not, right? I worked for a year after I graduated university, wanted a change of scenery, and then decided to move to China for an indefinite amount of time. (Side note: that indefinite time lasted 1 year before I ran out of money, and didnt want to teach English to stay there).

No Biggie. Heres Why You Should Too:

1. You are forced to learn way more than you ever ordinarily would in a year 2. The potential use of an added foreign language is enormous 3. Its a guaranteed way to escape the everyday-is-thesame blues

Accelerated Learning

The degree to which you are able to learn a lot of material quickly usually depends on the urgency or how often you use it. In a new place youll be learning subway & bus routes, the general lay out of the city in which you live, your new house or apartment, new people, a new culture, and potentially a new language. Learning the language is potentially one of the most telling signs of whether someone knows the culture or not. Ill talk about that a little later. Yeah moving to a new place is nerve-wrecking, and troublesome, and at times overwhelming. But thats the point. Only once you get beyond the boundary (the I already have this skill down pat boundary) do you begin to evolve. Stay tuned for my post on FLOW, which will go way deeper into this idea of seriously accelerating learning of skills, improving quality of life, and providing you with daily reasons to be happy. Its ridiculously important.
(Translation: I like Eating Dog Meat)

Honestly, Its not bad tasting. A little stringy and fatty, but who knows what kind of dog it was I ate. I hope it was cute, like that little doggie there => Regarding the myriad potential uses of another language: From fun to practical: 1. It makes you seem wordly (and you become worldly in the process) 2. Awesome benefits while traveling (useful, fun, meet new friends) 3. It makes you feel accomplished. Youve just learned a skill. 4. More job opportunities (Contingent upon what language, and what location) 5. Huge insight into the culture in which it originated

Escape the 9-5 Zombie Blues

Remember when you were little and everything was exciting, life was fresh and every time you woke up there was an adventure to be had? What does it feel like today? Id bet you feel like. most of the rest of humanity. Monotony. Boredom.

Routines. A little spice here and there. But mostly its that content everything is fine feeling. And that fine feeling is insidious, because you think its okay. If someone were to ask if you were happy, I bet youd respond Hmmm.. yeah, I think so. Really convincing. A while back I read an article discussing theories as to why life becomes less fresh and captivating over time. A theory that stuck out to me was this: As we get older, new experiences become more and more scarce. Seen that flower. Seen that dog. Played that game. Learned to ride a bike. Seen this scenery 500 times. I know how to get around town. Living abroad is an opportunity to be brand spankin new. Although there will be routine, there will guaranteed be fresh experiences every day, there will be serious connections that you make, there will be guaranteed learning, and you will most certainly escape the worker bee feeling.

Cheese Cake, Chocolate Mousse, Tiramisu Too Many Options

The last reason Id suggest moving abroad? Exposure. Exposure to a greater variety of things gives you the potential to find something you really latch onto and are passionate about. And this is the single greatest reason to live abroad for any period of time. Greater exposure to ideas, people, and opportunities will without a doubt leave your mind awake at night with possibilities. Who knows, maybe youll stick around longer than you thought.

The potential for aha moments (regarding ideas) and connections (regarding people) is huge. Remember, more experience means more connections for your brain to make.

Why Languages Are The Sum Total of Culture


There are a couple reasons why a language gives you huge insight into the culture. Ill briefly jump in and give you a few personal examples:

1. Sayings and idioms in a language often have historical and cultural roots. E.g. Chinese has , which are idioms usually based upon historical talesFor example, (The Old Man Lost His Horse) comes from an old Taoist story, and essentially means something along the lines of a blessing in disguise. 2. Languages have idiosyncrasies that often tell much about a particular cultures way of thinking: e.g. words that are untranslatable. Guanxi is a good example in chinese, because it means much more than simply connections. Guanxi also forms a massive part of Chinese culture, even in modern China. 3. Languages are obviously how the cultures people interact, and thus are necessary if you want to get the inside scoop

What Do You Think?


Have you lived abroad? Do you plan to live abroad? Is it worthwhile? Are there reasons not to? Any horror stories? Feel free to share.

Why Luck Doesnt Exist


by ALEXANDER HEYNE 5 CO MMENTS

Im a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it. -Thomas Jefferson

Why Luck is Deceptive


I used luck as a cowardly excuse for both my failures and successes for a long time. I had no idea that I was using luck as a scapegoat, until a couple years ago. And honestly, my life changed going from thinking that certain opportunitiespresented themselves due to luck, chance, or fate, to knowing that it was because of my own personal decisions (or lack thereof).

A Brief Story
For the majority of my life, until a couple years ago, I tended to see good opportunities as blessings. I would view an awesome, unique opportunity to travel as destiny. An amazing girl comes into my life? Fate. The best or worst job Ive ever had? Deliberate, planned and designed. They were all viewed as luck because they were far and few in-between. The things that came into my life that were perfect were so far in between that, of course, I viewed them as heaven-sent and deserved. I now believe that 90% of the situations we experience or fail to experience are due to exposure and being bold, while 10% are actually due to luck or other opportune circumstances. I think that quite a few of us believe that opportunities regarding the opposite sex, jobs, or unique out-of-theblue opportunities are at least sometimes meant to be. Let me tell you why I think this couldnt be further from the truth.

The Actual Situation


Most of us use luck as an excuse whether or not we know it. People who tend to say oh my god I met this guy and I dont want to lose him tend to be the people who either A. Dont get to date much or B. Dont encounter their type much or C. People who dont get out much. All of those can be remedied by putting yourself out there more. None necessarily have to do with luck, fate, or opportunities of a lifetime. And guess what? More than one person Ive talked to who has put themselves out there has started to believe less and less in destined meetings, and more and more in luck as what happens when preparation meets opportunity as Seneca famously said. Good things just happen when you do it right.

The Criteria
Right now you need to honestly assess yourself. When an awesome out of the blue opportunity shows up, do you regard it as destiny or simply as a nice opportunity to take hold of? How often do out-of-the-blue opportunities show up for you? Once a week? Once a month? Once a year? Once every few years? When an incredible romantic situation presents itself, do you view it as finally, a chance, and quickly become afraid of losing that opportunity?

When after a year of unemployment you finally find a job, do you attribute it to chance, or opportunity? It was the right time.. I used to tell myself a lot.

The Personality Scoop


As a brief recap, Ive established an artificial dichotomy here: Waiters People who view unique opportunities as serendipitous, due to fate, luck, destiny. Feel in control that 10% of the time when an opportunity presents itself. (It presents itself they rarely find opportunities on their own) Go-getters People who regularly put themselves out there and believe in opportunity (and get opportunities). Opportunities have a less powerful hold on them because they see them more often. They influence their reality and totally (90% of the time) control it This dichotomy has been well-established before, but I think it becomes more meaningful with personal examples. One day I realized I was waiting for things to be given to me, and then I changed my situation.

The Reality
I dont know about you, but If I knew that doing, having stones, and putting myself out there, were the solutions to an almost lifelong problem, my life would be way different. The most important things that I have concluded about luck are the following: The most important reason for being a go-getter is the feeling of being in control. The feeling of waiting for something totally sucks. There is

nothing that makes people more afraid than feeling powerless. It doesnt feel good. Go-getters experience way more opportunities romantically, in work, and in travel. Mathematically there is just a statistically better chance of experiencing more by exposing yourself to more. Makes sense, right? I used luck as an excuse for laziness, for being a coward, and for being unwilling to change.

Becoming a Revolutionary
Sure I think luck is a big part of life. And by big I mean 10%. That other 90% is totally under your control, and is entirely optional as to whether or not you use it. You can sit back and wait and 10% of the time get what you want. Or, 90% of the time you can get what you want and with luck on your side, all the time. Im so surprised people havent mentioned this before, because all the time I hear friends talk about how lucky they are Expose yourself to more, and you will experience more. Swallow your pride, grow some stones, and take opportunities that normally scare the shit out of you. That is the only way to experience more and grow. The choice is always yours, you can choose to be powerful, in control of your destiny, and live a fruitful life. Or you can wait for opportunities to happen, and when they (rarely) do, you can thank the heavens and your lucky stars. I decided to man up, and take the latter. But the choice is up to you.

How to Learn Any Skill 2x as Fast in Half the Time Making Greatness, Pt. 1
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 2 CO MMENTS

How you invest your time into something is much more important than how much time you invest. -Unknown

There is Skill Involved in Learning Skills


I want to lay something down here first of all: the majority of us suck at learning skills. Believe it or not, there is a skill.. to learning skills. Just like there are better ways to learn, there are ways and methods that can seriously improve the rate at which you learn anything skill related- whether thats a sport, instrument or new language. Rote repetition or memorization usually falls at the bottom of the list regarding efficient methods for learning. Sure it works if you invest a ton of time, but

its boring as hell and extremely unrewarding compared to other methods.

Why Practice Deliberately?


The majority of this post is going to come from two main sources: my own experience trying a huge variety of learning techniques (e.g. sources unknown) OR literary sources, particularly Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience and Talent Is Overrated. The why part of the question is easy: you can learn pretty much anything (especially sports and tangible skills) way faster than you could or would otherwise. There is loads of research backing up what Im going to share here, so keep posted! This is accelerated learning at its best.

What is Deliberate Practice?


Here are some givens I want you to have faith in for the moment: The amount of hours practiced is only weakly correlated with skill (remember that) The greatest of the great usually do not have innate skills or super high IQs You can keep getting better at a skill, indefinitely Hard work itself does NOT lead to greatness How you use your time practicing is way more important than how much time you use** What deliberate practice actually is:

Focused, regimented training with target goals and feedback Finding specific parts of your skill to train

Keeping yourself within the learning curve at all times Highly demanding intellectually Avoiding automation in training

How to Apply the Principles Here


Throughout this explanation, Im going to use learning tennis as an example. There are three phases in learning a skill in regard to Deliberate Practice: the before, during and after phases.

Before 1. Have a clear goal. E.g. hit the tennis ball over the net. Without a goal, it is very difficult to measure progress, and especially easy to hit plateaus once you get into the middle-high level phases of a skill. 2. Have a specific task for each training session. E.g. today, work on serving the ball and making it over the net. During 1. Self observation with clear feedback. E.g. if you have hit 15 balls, and not one has gone over the net, why is that? Change your grip and try again. Change your foot position. Change your follow through. Change your power. Try each of these as an experiment and make sure whatever you test has clear feedback. 2. Clear feedback means this: if I hit the ball softly, it wont go over the net. If I hit it hard, it will. Feedback is an immediate, clear indicator of the results from testing a new variable. I know that hitting the ball softly in this case wont work, so I hit it a little harder. Clear feedback.

After 1. Comparison to some other standard. Comparison is often the only way to determine your skill level. You have two options here: A. Compare yourself to a previous record you had or B. Compare yourself to someone elses record. 2. The only way to improve your skill is to consistently improve since the last time. Write down and beat your previous record. The only way to improve is stretch your limits. 1. Faster serve? Record your last one, and train until you beat it. 2. More accurate backhand? Set up targets on various parts of the court and hit the increasingly difficult ones. 3. Better overhand? Practice getting the ball tighter and tighter over the net. You need specifics to train and improve or else youre just spinning your wheels.

A Brief Recap
I want you to print this out and put it on your wall. Next time you are learning something new, refer to it every single training session:

A. Have a goal to reach, and a specific part of your skill to train. The goal needs to be a little harder than the previous ones, and extremely specific. B. Have feedback while training. Are you reaching the goal or not? Test strategies and try it again. C. Review your training and set a new goal to reach next training session.

Learning Any Skill 2x as Fast in Half the Time: Making Greatness, Pt. 2
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 7 CO MMENTS

<Note: This is part 2 of a three part series. The first part can be found here.>
Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities. -Oscar Wilde

The Down and Dirty: Part 2.

In the first part of this post, the discussion was exclusively on the principles ofDeliberate Practice as found in the book Talent is Overrated and other sources. This time, were going to talk about the following two aspects of skill learning: A. The Learning Curve (Staying in Flow) B. Avoiding Automation in Training Via Intention The Flow of the Learning Curve In my opinion, one of the most valuable contributions the book Flow gives us is the diagram on page 74. Csikszentmihalyi describes the life cycle inherent to

maintaining flow. If you forgot, his research concluded that [time spent in] flow is one of the greatest predictors of how quickly you advance at a skill, and how much you enjoy it. So, take a look at the diagram to the right for a moment. Phase A1 represents the starting phases of a new skill (again well use tennis as the example).

In phase A1 you are in Flow. Hitting the ball over the net is not very difficult, so its likely to be enjoyable for a period of time. But you cannot stay at that level for long. After awhile, as your skills naturally improve youll get bored just hitting the ball over the net, and enter A2. Or, you meet a much more skilled opponent or task which makes you enter A3, a state of anxiety. Neither boredom nor anxiety are enjoyable states to be in, so youll try to get back to the flow state. How do you enter flow this time? By increasing your skills. A1 and A4, however, are not the same state even though both are in the flow state. As Dr. C specifically states: The diagram shows that both A1 and A4 represent situations in which [a person] is in flow. Although both are equally enjoyable, the two states are quite different in that A4 is a more complex experience than A1. It is

more complex because it involves greater challenges, and demands greater skills from the player (P. 75)

Furthermore

A4 is also not a stable state. You may think that once youve entered flow you can just stay there, that its static. Unfortunately thats not the case. As you keep playing tennis youll either get bored by the current challenges, or frustrated by your lower level of ability versus someone else. And then what? The motivation to enjoy yourself again will push you once more to get back into flow, and this time it will be at a state even beyond A4. It is this dynamic feature that explains why flow activities lead to growth and discovery. One cannot enjoy doing the same thing at the same level for long. We grow either bored or frustrated; and then the desire to enjoy ourself again pushes us to stretch our skills, or to discover new opportunities for using them. You cannot grow stale. The only way to reach higher states of complexity, enjoyment, and skill is to constantly push oneself to new levels. Maintaining a balance between a task that is too difficult and too easy is one of the keys to constant, continual improvement when learning a skill. That is equally true for sports as well as things like weight lifting, improving flexibility, playing the piano etc.

If there were one phrase to help you remember the principles here, in learning a new skill, it would be the following set of words: Be mindful. Use Intention. Avoid Automaticity.

Avoiding Automation

There is one major reason why being mindful when you use a new skill is so important: A. You will be aware of whether or not you have fallen into the A2 A3 boredom anxiety states, and B. You will know how to tweak your performance to improve it. For example: Youre practicing serving, but cant get the ball over the net. On Automatic (not mindful): You keep trying. You hit harder, you get more focused, you get more angry, you get frustrated. You dont know what is wrong. Not on Automatic (mindful): You hit the ball 5 times. It doesnt go over. You tweak your grip on the racket 45*, and try again. 3/5 Make it over. You focus your intent on hitting the ball at its highest point on your serve, when your body is most stretched out. 5/5 Get over. You are feeling inside your body while serving. Your intention is inside your serve. Your head is in the game. Geoffrey Colvin in his book Talent is Overrated talks about the paradox of automaticity: Frequently, when we see great performers doing what they do, it strikes us that theyve practiced for so long, and done it so many times, they can just do it automatically. But in fact, what they have achieved is the ability to avoid doing it automatically. Great performers never allow themselves to reach the automatic, arrested development stage in their chosen field. That is the effect of continuous deliberate practice avoiding automaticity.(Emphasis mine) This, I think, is one of the most rewarding, and remarkable statements I have ever stumbled upon.

Put yourself into the skill you are learning. Be aware of the work you do. Are you shooting baskets mindlessly, or are you feeling what part of your body moves as you shoot? Keep the principles of Flow and Deliberate Practice in the front of your mind, and you are sure to succeed.
How to Learn Any Skill Twice as Fast in Half the time, Pt. 3: Intent
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 4 COMMENTS

<Note: This is part 3 of a three part series. The first part can be found here. The second part can be found here.>

guys eyes. Bet you wouldnt want to mess with him, huh?

Check out the look in that

Well let me tell you a little secret here: one of the greatest, most powerful tools that is relatively unknown is the power of intent. And Im not talking law of attraction stuff here. Im talking friday night in a club, the look that girl gives you that makes your knees weak.

The half squinted, knows what she wants, in control, ready to attack you and take everything look. Sexy. To the average joe, its like the look of a prizefighter ready to smash your face in. Intimidating.

Warriors of China
On the other side of the globe, practitioners of (the internal martial arts) knew this power for a long time. Taiji, Bagua, and Xingyi are the most famous martial arts that place an emphasis on intent training. Entire combat systems are based upon the concept of intent! Yiquan) literally means intention boxing Xingyiquan means form/intent boxing. Entire schools of kung fu make students train years holding single poses just to train their intent. So whats the deal here? And what the hell does kungfu have to do with business, travel, or life in general? Remember back in the second post about avoiding automation? Let me refresh your memory with one of the seriously important quotes: Frequently, when we see great performers doing what they do, it strikes us that theyve practiced for so long, and done it so many times, they can just do it automatically. But in fact, what they have achieved is the ability to avoid doing it automatically. Great performers never allow themselves to reach the automatic, arrested development stage in their chosen field. That is the effect of continuous deliberate practice avoiding automaticity. (Emphasis mine)

Everyone knows theres a difference between an unproductive 3 hours of work, and a productive 45 minutes. They are probably worth the same in terms of work accomplished. And I bet you remember learning to play sports as a kid, baseball for example. Keep your eye on the ball See yourself hitting it out the park Put all your attention on the pitcher These are about intention. Intention is one of the key foundations of learning a skill rapidly, not wasting your time, and improving personal productivity. Even just putting all your attention into the moment and saying, I have to get this shitdone is using the power of intent. The same is true for any nightly rituals (to aid sleep), pre-surgery rituals (to ensure the surgeons mind is in the game), or morning rituals (exercise, meditation, stretching). You are doing an exercise in intention.

The cold blooded killers secret


Weve all had that creepy feeling that someone is watching. Even more often, weve had that feeling that someone is watching us and looked right in the direction of the person to their surprise. A skilled con artist can make you believe anything. They can make you feel anything. They can make you trust them, and be willing to go along with anything they say.

How? They are masters of intent. They know exactly how to emit a certain vibe of being calm, cool, and normal. I talked a lot about the danger signs, intuition, and danger avoidance in another series of posts.

The surgeons swordsmanship


Dr. Mihaly Csikczentmihalyi in his Book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience mentions surgery as being a profession that has the principles of flow inherently built in. Surgeons #1 go through a ritual to prepare- most of them have their own thing. Playing basketball. Listening to classical music. Going for a drive in the car. These are all rituals to get their heads in the game (read: get their intent straight). According to many surgeons, based on Dr. Cs analysis, time is described as being rather enjoyable in surgery. It passes quickly, the goals are clear and distinct, and there is an obvious entry and exit point at which the surgeon can tune on/off. That moment when the surgeon expertly excises a diseased organ, when a basketball player makes a crucial shot and makes it, or when a person narrowly escapes death in a freak accident is often due to intent. That intense focus on the current task. It is much more psychologically demanding than regular attention or focus. And much more rewarding. It is deliberate practice. When you hit the zone, you have gotten your intent straight.

What intent can teach us


As a brief recap so far, we have established that:

A woman can seduce you with just the intent in her eyes China has a long history of martial arts based on training intent/intention In the book Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, maintaining a strong presence of intention and avoiding automaticity, are cited as key points in accelerated skill learning Criminals can fake intent to lead you in a certain way You can pick up on the intent of others Rituals are a way of establishing intent for a certain goal or task Surgeons are well-acquainted with the flow producing qualities of their job where they are placed in the zone and have crystal clear intent The Zone in sports is a state of harmony between your intent and your actions

The power of intention is worth paying attention to.


The Paradox of Education
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 1 CO MMENT

The ultimate test of how quickly youll learn a new skill is how well you master intent.

Plants are shaped by cultivation and men by education We are born weak, we need strength; we are born totally unprovided, we need aid; we are born stupid, we need judgment. Everything we do not have at our birth and which we need when we are grown is given us by education. -Jean Jacques Rousseau

The Irony of Formal Schooling


When I was younger, I suspect the educational system was a lot similar to how it has been the past 5,000 years. Lots of rote memorizing of rules, words, lists. Lots of repetition in class and lots of writing. Lots of stuff that meant nothing to me and had no connection to my brain, interests, or any of my aspirations. The biggest kick in the pants was that they told me to memorize all this stuff and never taught me how to do it. School never provided me with the tools to learn, but instead told me to learn.

I Was A Little Dumbstruck


I mean come on, people have been formally attending schools for 5,000 years? And people have formally been passing on knowledge via teaching since the dawn of time? Perhaps thats where everything has

changed the shift from the oral tradition to the time when writing was widely available. But during all of this time, nobody figured out a way to learn more, faster? Highly unlikely. So thats where I set about researching some of the roots of learning techniques. As it turns out, the oldest that I could find come from the oral tradition.

Every Good Boy Does Fine All Cows Eat Grass


A common story that books on memory techniques like to begin with is that of Simonides of Ceos:

That proud tradition began, at least according to legend, in the fifth century B.C. with the poet Simonides of Ceos standing in the rubble of the great banquet hall collapse in Thessaly. As the poet closed his eyes and reconstructed the crumbled building in his imagination, he had an extraordinary realization: He remembered where each of the guests at the ill-fated dinner had been sitting. Even though he had made no conscious effort to memorize the layout of the room, it had nevertheless left a durable impression upon his memory. From that simple observation, Simonides reputedly invented a technique that would form the basis of what came to be known as the art of memory. -Moonwalking with Einstein, p. 93 So Simonides essentially remembered a huge number of guests at this banquet hall that collapsed. Sounds like a pretty sweet party trick. Sound like an even better trick to use for university, work, or simply learning a new skill (including languages).

The Tools I Was Never Given


Right now Im going to jump into the meat of it, and give you guys an intro on the two mnemonic techniques I use the most frequently, in order of frequency. Many of them can be found in The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas. This was my first resource in re-learning these old skills. The Link Method The link method is a way of memorizing all sorts of information by converting them into pictures, and then associating the pictures to each other. The human brain is particularly good at spatial memory, not temporal,

and thus is visually based. Think about it: if I told you to close your eyes and then I said tiger, would you see a tiger or the letters T I G E R? Youd see a tiger obviously. Useful for: Memorizing lists, long words and any sort of information or processes The Method: Say for example you want to remember a shopping list. We have ten items: carrots, Aunt Jemima Syrup, frosted flakes, frozen waffles, milk, chicken, gatorade, chips, peanut butter and raisins. Start with the first and begin to associate it with the second: Carrots and Aunt Jemima Syrup. Heres how I (for example) would turn them into tangible images that you can associate with each other. Imagine

a carrot acting like a mime pouring syrup over his body. Got it? You have a carrot miming and pouring syrup on his body. Carrot. Aunt Jemima. Associated with each other. Next we have frosted flakes and frozen waffles. Imagine that suddenly a snowstorm of huge frosted flakes erupts, and they stick all over the carrot covered in syrup. Enormous waffles wearing winter clothes come over to start shoveling the snow up. Got those together? A snowstorm of frosted flakes erupts, and people-sized waffles come out to shovel it. Important Things to Remember: 1. Make the images ridiculous and totally extra-ordinary (you wont remember them otherwise) 2. Run the whole line through your head once you are done to make sure the links you made were good enough The Link + Key Thought Method A great suggestion from The Memory Book. Useful for: reading materials, any sort of notebook or class notes and speeches. The Method: You are already familiar with the link method, except now you are trying to remember a large body of research or material. First you would go through your class notes or your speech materials, and pick out the keywords. For example: Photosynthesis, Krebs Cycle, Glucose, Carbon Monoxide, Mammalia, etc. Apply the link method above to associate these together. A Speech: Pick key parts of the speech. E.g. you are giving a eulogy and you want people to remember 3 reasons why John Smith was a great man:

1. His incredible heart as a firefighter 2. His unusual methods of teaching as a high school teacher 3. His inability to give up on his children Youd then associate firefighter to teacher to children. Then you can remember the pieces in between easier. Two Extremely Practical Uses of Memory Techniques

1. Remembering faces 2. Learning a foreign language Remembering a Face 1. Pick a distinguishing facial feature on the persons face. Usually a large nose, receding hairline, scar or birth make, or other obvious thing that comes in your mind will do. 2. Associate it with their name, using the link method. E.g. You meet a John with a big nose. I would imagine the guy using his huge nose to plumb the toilet (a john). Immediately once you see his nose again, there is no way you will forget that image. John will immediately come to mind. Accelerated Learning of a Foreign Language People seem to think learning a foreign language is difficult. Im not sure where that originated, just like Im not sure where the children learn a foreign language faster than adults myth originated.

In any case, these are some techniques you can definitely use to improve the rate at which you learn another language. I know they work because I used them to help me learn Chinese. Learning Another Language Some great suggestions from Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas again: Examples in French: 1. To remember pre (Father): the word sounds like Pear in English, so you could picture a huge pear being your father 2. To remember pont (bridge): See yourself punting a bridge instead of a football 3. To remember pamplemousse (grapefruit): picture huge pimples on a moose, except each pimple is a grapefruit

Time Consuming? Not Really.


At first they may seem time-consuming, and that may be true at the beginning (as any skill is at the beginning). However, the time you can and will save is amazing, and I cant forsee any time in the near future when I will go back to rote memorization of anything. Making wiser use of your time frees more time for the things you love. Perfect practice makes perfect.
Why Success Doesnt Require Discipline (And What it Does Entail)
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 11 C OMMENTS

There is a problem with most of us in the west. Whenever we want to reach a certain goal, achieve or start something, were always told to invest effort and be disciplined. I really need to go on a diet! Work hard at it and discipline yourself! I want to build a successful business. Work hard at it and discipline yourself! I want to be a better husband. Work hard at it and discipline yourself! I want to run a marathon. Work hard at it and discipline yourself! In the west we are obssessed with this idea of struggling towards success.

Were obsessed with using work more, work harder as a panacae. Were obsessed with effort and struggle. Were obsessed with things like finding your second wind and giving it your all and putting in extraordinary work for extraordinary success. But I want to briefly ask you one thing: is this assumption of what works even true? Ask anyone who forced themselves to go to the gym every day. A year later are they still going? Id be willing to be my life savings they arent. And thats because discipline and willpower are shortlived. They take so much mental energy to maintain. The more forced mental energy things take, the less likely were to stick with them long-term. Thats why Im here to say that success isnt about struggle or discipline, but about creating habits.

The tale of the struggling dieter and businessman


I am totally against the idea that life has to be a struggle. I realize we must all struggle at times, and in certain areas of our lives, but in my experience I have realized that a person can truly be successful in a world-class way while investing much less effort than most people. Take John the average joe dieter (AJD). John hits 40 or 50 and starts needing Cialis because he is too unhealthy to have a normal sex drive. (You can tell this is gonna be juicy, right?)

January rolls around and John decides that his new year resolution should be to get fit again. Im strong as an ox, I could kick a 20 somethings ass! he tells himself. So John decides he wants to get back in the gym again, even though he hates working out. Lifting weights is boring to him, he gets ADD, and he spends most of his time criticizing the other meatheads in the room or checking out cougars. John keeps telling himself Ok, work out = I can look good, and get my sex drive back. Smaller belly, bigger productivity at work. Healthier = more money made. He doesnt want to wake up early before work because that would entail some 5 am days, so he kind of just gives himself that alright, time to go to the gym pep talk after work, and when it works, he goes to the gym right away. It works at the start hes pumped, hes motivated, he starts seeing a little bit of results. A bigger bicep, a slimmer belly, better sleep, more alertness at work. Its working. So he sticks with it. Now, where is John, this AJD (Average joe dieter) 6 months from now? 99.999999% of these AJDs end up skipping out on the gym once, because one day at 5 pm they end up getting drinks at happy hour with their buddies instead of sticking to the routine. The next week they only works out once. And the following week they stop going. Six months in they no longer work out at all.

People ask me how I dont have a sweet tooth. Diet (or in your business, those small daily tasks that add up to success/failure) is often the hard part for people looking to get healthy. Any dieter knows that working out is the easy part. Its only a couple hours a week. But diet? Does anyone crave less tasty food? Not really. But how many times do you eat or drink a day, which require conscious choices? Dozens. Diet is the part that often takes effort in the mind of the average dieter. I want you to briefly compare the struggle of the AJD (Average joe dieter) to my struggle to eat healthy. I walk into the grocery store and I go into the real food section. You know, the plants and shit. I then walk into the meat section. You know, animals and shit. I dont even go into the aisles with boxes. Then I go home and cook that up. No sweets in site. No crap in a box in site. No artificial garbage in site. Guess what? A few years after starting the above habit, it doesnt take me any effort to not eat sweets. In fact, I often describe myself as not possessing a sweet tooth now.

Put oreos and milanos and candy corns and stuff in front of me. It takes no effort not to eat them. I dont feel anything toward them. And this is because Ive cultivated a life habit. It does not take effort for me to avoid sweets or not watch tv. I do both automatically. Im programmed to not use those things in my daily life. This is all effortless for me. But when people talk about me or describe me they think I have a ton of self control or say Im lucky that I dont have a sweet tooth. It requires zero effort on my part.

Why success does not necessarilly require massive effort, struggle or discipline.

Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. I write only when inspiration strikes, he replied. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine oclock sharp. - Steven Pressfield You know that thing called showing up every day? In the really successful, it comesby way of habits and not by discipline or this massive struggle. Im not saying everything in life will become effortless or no work, but Im saying things will become massively easier. Let me give another example. I was the classic high school scrawny 100 lbs wet kid. Graduating college I was around 6 2 and weighed around 135. Yeah. Thats like anorexically skinny, except I was actually eating food.

Despite the fact that I was lifting weights 4+ times a week, I had plateaued somewhere around 140, 145 1-2 years out of college. I thought I was eating a lot; I thought I was doing everything right. I was still horrendously, unattractively skinny. Around the time that I moved to China, I decided this was a perfect opportunity to get bigger since food was cheap and I could afford to eat out every single meal of every day. So heres what I did: instead of force feeding myself, I got into the habit of waking up extra early for class, and then programming reminders on my iPod to eat at certain hour intervals. This went off 5+ times a day, 7 days a week, for a year. I just followed the checklist of instructions. I ingrained the habit every single time, every day. 5+ small habits. 7:30 am, 10:30 am, 1:30 pm, 4:30 pm, etc. At the end of that year I weighed closed to 170 lbs and gained very little fat (remember that part about eating plants and meat and shit?). Gaining 20-30 pounds of relatively healthy weight is an absurd accomplishment, especially if anyone reading this is a skinny kid who has tried gaining weight. Thats a legendary achievement. And it was all pretty pain-free due to ingraining certain habits. It was an effortlessly epic achievement. Lots of baby steps taken daily result in massive changes over time.

Stop thinking of how to invest more effort. Think of how to invest less effort.

Theres a massive shift that takes place in your life when you decide to view everything from the perspective of how can I do this smarter/differently/ more frictionless rather than how can I invest more and work harder. We always say more effort, more struggle, more work. Extraordinary success requires extraordinary work. Uhhh, how about extraordinarily different or smart thinking? How about extraordinary success through extraordinary laziness? Whether its for a diet, or for a relationship, or for your business, whats with this EFFORT thing? Why would I want to compete on an even playing field with others where my only option is more work ? The big problem is that if you buy into this effort thing that we love hearing about in the west (Uber hard work = success!) you automatically assume thats the best way to get what you want. So dieting takes EFFORT. Success takes EFFORT. Marriage takes EFFORT. Raising kids takes EFFORT. You dont even realize there is another way. But what if people told you that losing weight or getting fit was effortless, done right? What if people told you success was about making 5 or 10 little habits and routines you go through daily? What if people told you marriage is much easier when you have a few key little

routines or things you do routinely for and with your spouse? You and only you make your life much harder than it has to be. Hard work and effort becomes the hammer you look for nails with. This hard work struggle is a very myopic view of life and I feel like it should be your worst case scenario . Worst comes to worst, you can invest 2 or 3 x the hours into something and youll get better than everyone else. But why would you want to settle for a worst-case scenario?

No one cares how hard you worked (theres nothing glorious about martyrs)

I loved working hard to get where I am, and to get the things that I want. It makes me stronger, it makes me feel like I earned the things I have. Cool. You know what else is cool? No one cares how much you struggled. Thats a bitter pill to swallow, but your boss only cares about the results you give him whether that takes 1 hour or 10. Some people just love being martyrs, they LOVE saying they suffered for where they got. It gives them some sort of identity or something. I dont mean to be an asshole (No, wait, I do), but people genuinely dont care. They may empathize, they may feel for you but now that youre where you are, they truthfully dont care how you got there.

Results, not time invested, is one of those key qualities separating entrepreneurs and the successful from everyone else. Stop thinking about how you can make things better by working harder and working more. Once you get into the habit of viewing life as requiring massive effort, struggle, and work, it will become that way! But if you view life, work and success as things that should become more effortless as you understand them better, theyll become that way too. This more effortless way is called habits. Any of you who have been in love know that it feels infinitely more effortless and natural than a relationship that doesnt work. It just makes sense. You put in massive effort and it feels like fun. This is how life becomes for people who understand and utilize the power of ingraining many small, daily habits. Challenge the assumption that success has to require massive struggle and effort, and you may be surprised to learn that it becomes a little more effortless.
The Single Most Overlooked Factor in Success
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 0 COMMENTS

Shopping around for options, second opinions, and more methods and tools for success appears to be human nature. Just look at the diet fads every 3-6 months. Regardless of whether or not they work we LOVE the idea that somewhere around the corner is another tip, another secret that will magically revolutionize how we achieve xxxx goal. Books on business and success are a huge industry it seems like every famous person these days writes a book. Every kid that becomes a millionaire writes a book. Every person that achieves some level of financial success starts a class. Why? Is there really that much new stuff in the world? Are there that many new principles for success? Does the internet behave that differently from real life?

Even in relationships, people have a notoriously hard time committing these days and is constantly weighing options what is going on here? The pursuit of success is no different; people are always looking for something new, just another magical tip to complete their 456 part formula to wealth. But it doesnt work.

The more you read the more you suck


We love having tons of tools at our disposal. We love having options. We love second guessing and shopping around. Right? In the fitness industry its very much like the business/success industry. Oh theres a nutrient that your diet is missing, omega 3s omega 6s, B vitamins, fish oil yadda yadda yadda. We love the prospect that right around the corner is something revolutionary and new, that will change our diet success or business success. But it never freaking happens! Thats because there are basic principles that underly almost everything in the world, and no matter how many times you split the subject into a million subsections, nothing will change without committing to some basic principles. And thats the essence people today do not pick one principle or technique and commit. Todays people are notoriously short on commitment.

More books, more tools, more more more = you probably wont use it
Open up your closet and just look at how much shit is in there. My god, Im only 25, not at all a horder, and I have close to 1,000 books I havent read since I was 15. Literally. My desk is stuffed with shit that I havent used once since childhood. My drawers are loaded with clothes that 99% of the time I dont wear. I just have too much stuff. I suspect your life is much the same extremely cluttered with stuff that is, to be honest, shit you dont need. Okay, thats not my point though. My point is that the more stuff you have (including tools, books, diet advice, biz advice) the less likely you are to effectively use it. Remember the jam study? In group A, consumers had a choice between 24 jams. In group B, there were 6. More people stopped by to browse the counter with the 24 selection, only 3% of those visitors actually purchased something., In the group with only 6 james, 30% of people purchased one. This is the classic analysis paralysis study so many options leaves many of us totally overwhelmed thinking

Shit, uhhhh, uhhhh, uhhhh, yeah.. okay I need to pick something. It makes thinking foggy.

What would happen if you picked just one thing and committed to it?
What would happen instead of buying that 35th business book, you went back to square 1. What would happen if you picked one book, and set each moth, or 6 months or year to apply one single principle. Ive got hundreds of pages of highlights that I typed up, saved, and printed from just about every business book Ive read. I have a three page single-spaced word document with over a hundred tips Ive collected from the internet on growing your blog. My mom has shelves upon shelves of business books, her to-read list is 40+ books long. Obviously theres no way she can possibly apply the books she has in that short of a time. Theres just no way. Shelves upon shelves of business books, we deceive ourselves into thinking we somehow become smarter or better at business but shoving in such vast quantities of stuff. One day I casually spoke to my mom about the possibility of stopping reading for an entire year to apply the stuff she (and I) have learned in business books. I cited an example, Alright, you claim you like this book on business automation and simplification, so why havent you applied anything from the book to your

business? With all the stuff around here theres no way in hell you did an 80/20 analysis of whats important. How many other extremely useful tips from other books have you been missing? Its too much. It seems like most of us just read and read and read and dont apply, until weve read so much that we read the same damn thing over and over and over and go ahhhh, I think theres a reason why everyone repeated this.

The SINGLE most overlooked factor in success


. Is picking one principle and committing to it. There are tons of principles for success that really work. But they arent as simple as making sure your diet has more fish oil. Instead of reading articles about 456 little tweaks and tips to help be more successful, find the principles that underly those tips and tweaks maybe successful people just have bigger balls than you. Can it be as simple as staying uncomfortable and avoiding stagnation by learning? Instead of buying another diet book, why not start reading the same science that doctors read. Get the fruit right from the vine educate yourself. Go buy a damn book on physiology and stop passing on ignorant comments based on bullshit science you hear in the gym. If youre trying to get bigger, stop reading about every goddamn supplement on bodybuilding.com and every nutrient and vitamin your diet needs. Chances are,

theyre bullshit. Chances are, broader, more obvious changes will produce much better changes. If youre trying to build a blog or a successful online business, dont break everything into itty bitty pieces, put the pieces together and find out what threads underly everything. Is twitter really about timing, headlines, and a cool icon, or is it about having something people actually want to read about? If youre trying to be wildly successful at what you do, you shouldnt be writing down a thousand notes after each book. You should be saying Ooooh I remember reading this principle in another place! You should be looking for similarities not differences.

So what principle guides your success?


Ive subtlety mentioned this before I have one principle that guides my entire life. It guides everything how I treat my girlfriend, how I go about my daily life, how I have conversations with pretty girls, how I make decisions, how I solve personal problems, how I go about work and business. You canread more about what it is here. That is my one principle that guides my life. And it works unreasonably well. It doesnt matter what domain I apply it in. Diet and fitness, business, personal development, anything. Pick one thing, and commit.

There are no new magical pieces to the formula, nothing is waiting out there for you
If theres one thing the world needs now its people who can say NO. More knowledge is NOT better. Reading a book a week is a stupid idea that could be fatal to your success. We ned people who can cut through ll the shit, all the adrenaline that comes from opening up a book that potentially carries the next great secret. We need people who can say Im going to apply just this one thing, this one rule, for an entire year. Im gonna really chew on this book. Theres this incessant drive forward forward forward as if people think that if you arent growing at 1000000 miles an hour you arent growing. Theres this feeling that if you dont collect the latest, most up-to-date twitter tips article youre going to be left in the dust by some new magical secret. Chill. Those magical secrets dont exist. You wont be left in the dust. In fact, while your friends are analyzing the newest diet or success book, youll be surpassing them in light years by utilizing the single most overlooked factor in success: Sticking with one principle and committing to it.

9 Ways to Suck at Life and Never Accomplish Anything


by ALEXANDER HEYNE 2 CO MMENTS

Really Ridiculously Predictable Ways to Fail


The following is going to be kept short and sweet. There is going to be a list of 9 basic ways to guaranteed fail at learning a skill, accomplishing your work goals, or realizing dreams. This one may mess with your head a little, so pay attention!

9 Ways to Really Suck at Life


1. Dont ever have dreams. You know, because no one famous or who has succeeded in life has ever had dreams either. Most of them just blindly worked a blistering amount of hours, barefoot uphill both ways, right? 2. Dont have any goals.

Goals are totally pointless and are only long-term. Whats the point of writing down my five and ten year plan if Im only going to forget it? Besides, who actually writes down their goals? Besides, its easy to track my own progress in my head. 3. Dont learn new skills according to the principles of deliberate practice. Everyone knows that the greatest of the great in all fields got that way just by sheer hours put in. 10,000 hours, or something like that. There cant be a faster, smarter way to learn skills.. 4. Dont ever consider that there is more than one way to do something. Innovators are stupid hippy dreamers who dont have their feet on the ground. Besides, why would I make up a new way to do something if someone has already done it for me? Wall-street guarantees my 6 figure income and heart attack. Thats all I want from life! 5. Dont live your life according to Dr. Csikczentmihalyis principles on Flow. Like I said, life enjoyment comes from cars, women, shallow relationships, and pretty much getting what you want. Who needs anything else? There cant be a formula for success, for happiness, for the ability to sleep well at night. No one has studied it and anyways, theres no way that one principle underlies human happiness. 6. Dont ever think to yourself If I have a burning desire for something, I can get it. Self-help is for tools, anyway. 7. Have dreams but dont have the balls to do the work for them. Ehhhh the remote is.. so far..away. You mean I have to work for some money? I have to work double the hours the week I get back If I want to skip out to Thailand for two weeks? Ughhhhh too much effort.

8. Definitely dont have the unshakable conviction that what you want, you deserve and can get. Whelp, that was difficult. Good thing I can flee to China and become an English teacher! 9. Always let other people influence your drive. Daddy says Im a little whiner. Mommy says Im a quitter. My friends say I have stupid dreams and dont have the ambition. My girlfriend thinks that Im a junkie drop out. Well THAT was the easiest decision of my life! Back to World of Warcraft.

Ponder these and let me know what you think. If youre life isnt based on principles, what is it based on?

Is Your Dream Worth $1,000,000?


by ALEXANDER HEYNE 1 CO MMENT

Money isnt everything. But it sure makes life a hell of a lot more fun -Unknown

The Tale of the Lad Who Had no Money


Im in a tough spot right now. Like many of my friends, I moved back in with my parents, I have little free money to spend, and very few personal and professional options to choose from. One day, out of boredom, curiosity, and an extreme need to get the hell out of the house, I sat down in a cafe and wrote down everything I want to do, ever. Ill talk about the list later, but one thing that surprised me was. It doesnt even come near to $1,000,000 dollars to fulfill every single one of my short term dreams. I mean, for now, I left out things like owning a 35 million dollar yacht to party on, partying in the

international space station with a pair of Russian midgets, having a private plane, etc. But I really wrote down EVERYTHING, including an $80,000+ car, a place to stay, unlimited travel, being fluent in 4 languages, the whole she-bang. Its so ridiculously plausible that I simply had to write about it.

#1 Why the million-dollar dream is pointless


As a society, we collectively joke about winning a million dollars or winning the lotto. Im not even going to really go in detail, but theres probably a positive correlation between people who dont dream about $1,000,000 yet have a million dollars. If you ask the average person what theyd do with a million bucks 90% say something along the lines of: Ummmm, dunno, go on a cruise in the Bahamas? Buy a sports car Go to Paris 8% say something along the lines of: Give my parents money to help them Help my friends and 1-2% know exactly what theyd do. The majority of these responses are as close to worthless as you can get. They are extremely poorly thought out pipe dreams with no use. The majority of lottery winners end up broke again within a decade.

#2 Puzzling responses
So if you won a million dollars, the best, most worthwhile, memorable thing youd do is buy another car? Go drink beer somewhere else? I doubt it. I bet youd want to find ways to milk that money until the end. If I asked you: Okay, in spending this $1,000,000 dollars, in what ways could you spend it so as to best remember it? - Youd still reply the same way? Either people arent really thinking this through, or were all pretty big morons. Im inclined to believe its the former.

#3 Smoke a cigarette and think this thing through


Think back for a moment. Seriously. Get a cup of tea, coffee, a cigarette, a joint, your crack pipe, whatever. In recent memory, what were the most enjoyable experiences of your life? I happen to keep track of them on my iPod in a file called Simple Pleasures. Some are similar, some vary wildly, for example: Sitting on the porch in the evening with a glass of red wine, classical music playing (right now Im loving Ludovico Einaudi), thinking about life or philosophizing Real, genuine, talks about life with other people Driving in perfect weather with the windows down listening to new music

People watching in an airport, and feeling the anticipation of my next journey Learning a new skill: a language, brewing the perfect cup of tea, salsa, etc. Simple travel, like my trip through the Sahara Desert Now, I may be totally unique in my list of simple pleasures. Thats fine. Maybe your simple pleasures actually involve looking at your Ferrari while drinking the red wine, for example.

However, Question #1
What would you actually do with that money? If you could do anything in the world, where would you go and what would you do? How long would you stay? Ask yourself if youd look back on it in a year with fond memories. Are you investing in

stuff or skills, experiences, and intangible high-value memories? Are they things to talk about or things to brag about? For some more ideas, check out my pseudo-bucket list.

1. Im sure youll quickly realize that you dont actually need $1,000,000 dollars for your dreams. 2. Next time you or your friend jokes about it, think about how youd actually spend it. 3. If you dont know what youd do with it, your 1 million and your dreams are worthless. 4. Money is fine, sports cars are fine, trophy wives are fine, fancy clothes are fine. Just dont let them be your singular goal. Think of them as positive repercussions of an inherently enjoyable life 5. Write down and invest in concrete dreams, they are closer than you think.

Rocket science, right?

People who dont know what they want rarely get what they want.

The Generation of Dreamers is Dead


by ALEXANDER HEYNE 4 COMMENTS

The boy didnt know what a persons destiny was. Its what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is

clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their destiny. The Alchemist

The Boy in Search of Wonders


I think it is more than just coincidence that The Alchemist is one of the best-selling books of our time. It addresses a very fundamental question in life: that nagging wondering of whether or not we have a purpose or specific mission. Think about it: little kids always ask parents why? why? why? because they need answers that make sense to the world, and they need purpose for doing things just like adults. We all need a reason. Eventually we get so fed up of trying to think through answers, we resort to the Because I said so! Now eat your goddamn frosted flakes! For those of you who havent read the book, its essentially about a boy who finds this dream, follows it through a bizarre set of circumstances and coincidences, is tested and suffers, but eventually is rewarded through his journey. It describes the boys dream as our individual fundamental purpose in life, without which very little is worthwhile. The reason this book falls into my all-time favorite list is because it is directly in contrast to how I see most of the people I know living their lives: as drones buzzing from task to task. This is the new lost generation.

A Generation of Lifeless Souls


We all fall into the category of lifeless soul from time to time. It happens. But the scary thing that Ive noticed is that a huge percentage of the people of meet I would place in this category on any given day. These kinds of people are content with the consume, purchase, consume, purchase lifestyle which never seeks to go beyond basic needs.

In Maslows hierarchy, qualities relating to selfactualization dont even begin to cross their mind. Beyond that, these people tend to be notorious cynics, downers, are captivated by material things and potentially have addictive personalities, and dreams are nothing but fantasies. And in their defense they are being rational. Unsurprisingly, Maslow describes the percentage of the population with self-actualizing tendencies to be that top 1%.

But this is how everybody else lives life, so its okay, right?

Leaving aside the diseases of civilization for a moment, we can call this the psycho-spiritual disease of modern man. Discontent. Later well talk about the roots of discontent (they are myriad), but for now well talk about the tangible qualities of those who have clear ambition, focus and dreams. Their personalities are different, their walk, talk and smile is different, and the way they influence the sphere around them is much different.

The Carrier of Dreams


A brief intro to the character of someone who has obvious dreams and ambition: They tend to be more self-directed, internally motivated, tend to fall into the entrepreneurial (think: dreamer) mindset, inspire those around them, and above all have a clear sense of direction.

Regardless of whether or not they are actually currently on a straight road to their dreams, they always have a goal in sight. Always working towards something tends to be a consistent trait of highly successful people.

Because it comes natural people who know what they want become leaders and they immediately become that 1% talked about in the About Me section. The rest are totally satisfied letting someone else do the hard work that requires vision, and simply want to be told what to do.

The Coffee Shop walk


The next time you walk somewhere with ordinary people around, think about which category these people would fall into, based on what you observe. Ask yourself if those people seem like they have that aura about them, the look in their eye, the emotion behind the smile, or see if they seem like they are going through the motions, without any life shining from their eyes at all. Tell me what you observe, and think about which category you want to be a part of.

Some Last Food For Thought


I think the following quote is going to be ever more important as time goes on. For my fellow lost 20 somethings, and those who have visions of greatness in their future, we need to make this our motto: Youve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you havent found it yet, keep looking. Dont settle. As with all matters of the heart, youll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it

just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Dont settle. -Steve Jobs Dont Know What to do With Your Life? 25 Suggestions.
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 6 CO MMENTS

Graduating from college or beginning a new phase of life is a great opportunity to do whatever you want.

Which is why it puzzles me that so many people say: What should I do with my life? The answer: Are you serious? Anything and everything. If nothing comes to mind, here are 25 suggestions thatll hopefully get the gears going:

1. Go Sky Diving
I have no idea why sky diving is one of those things thats on everyones bucket list, but its pretty fun. You should do it.

2. Start a Company

Being your own boss is the shit. You get to make the calls, the hours and the plans. Yeah theres a lot more hard work involved, and yeah the potential for failure is

higher than a cubicle job but. you can do whatever you want. Nuff said.

3. Move to Another Country 4. Teach English

I wrote plenty on the benefits of moving abroad. If you honestly are just bored, want a change of scenery, $25/hour with no credentials other than being a native English speaker (+ bonus points if youre white and fit the stereotype), good locations to travel to neighboring countries, and major conversation starters when you reenter the homeland, then teaching English may be a sweet gig for you.

5. Start a blog or website

If youre really savvy you can make some pretty sweet pocket change off your site. If you arent, you can just write a generic blog where you bitch about life or gossip about your sexual escapades.

6. Nothing

If youre one of those high-strung wall street types, doing nothing for a short period of time [key words: short period of time] may be your greatest ally for just toning down life and keeping it simple.

7. Get a new hobby (Girlfriend, Motorcycle, Pet)

Change the scenery a little. Dress up like a medieval

nerd and battle others to the death (SCA), get a motorcycle (if you get ====> that one on the side call me), or get a new pet. Pets / Girlfriends include, but are not limited to: Cockapoos (for the most ridiculous dog name ever), hissing cockroaches, and pangolins. The last one being a badass modern dinosaur that would look awesome on a leash.

8. Dump your boyfriend or girlfriend


Come on people, were trying to change the scenery here.

9. Become a creepy regular at a cafe and philosophize about life


We all become creepsters at some point or another. Sit in the corner of a Starbucks or local indie cafe, bring a bunch of different drawing utensils and constantly draw charts, diagrams, and write in cryptic elven languages to make others in the vicinity wonder what youre up to.

10. Start a Revolution

There are plenty of ways to do this. But the best way is to pick a dream that would be badass if it came real, and then do it. And then spread the word. Need help? Ask.

11. Slow. Down. Now.

Ive already linked to their website before, but Ill do so again. Its really important in this modern world of super over-achievers, ultra-competitiveness and greener lawn competitions to take it easy.

12. Get a job

Oh no. I didnt just say that. But for some people who just moved back home, have no money, and no dreams, there arent exactly many other options except for whoring yourself out on the street corner (paid my way through college), or selling organs (on my to-do list).

13. Quit your job and start doing something conversation worthy

Went out to a party and told people youre an actuary? Hate to break it to you, but 96% of people tuned you out right after you finished that sentence. Theres nothing wrong with doing a job you like that pays well, even if others perceive it as boring. However, if you make your own life interesting to yourself, itll probably also be interesting to others.

14. Get a totally ridiculous job just for shits and giggles
Earthworm breeder? Elephant suppository administrator? Exotic dancer? Dude, at least they stimulate conversation.

15. Volunteer somewhere exotic 16. Read Thoreau

Ill link you over to my buddies at idealist.org. Lots of great opportunities to do random stuff (paid and unpaid) all over the place.

This one belongs on my simple pleasure list. Thoreau is definitely one of the masters of simple living. Read Walden, and you may just reconsider how you should be living your life.

17. Get rid of 80% of the things you own

Yeah that means clothes you wear once a month, or pass over, or put at the bottom of your fresh clothes pile every time. Shoes youve worn twice. Books you havent read in three years but promised yourself youll read again. Anything and everything in your closet, basement, or under your bed that you think youll use later. If you havent used it in a year, its just taking up space and making your life complicated.

18. Put on good music and aimlessly go driving for hours. 19. Travel. Somewhere cool. Not France or Spain. [ Nothing Personal ]

One of my favorite pleasures modern man gets to enjoy. Find a nice country road, put on the music, and just go. Explore.

Just burn some of your life savings on a sweet trip to cannibalistic Papua New Guinea, drug lord infested Mexico, or kidnap-central Brazil. Have something to show for your travels (like a missing ear sent back to your mom) instead of just pictures. Avoid France and Spain so you can avoid 99% of the study abroad students.

20. Read the Alchemist

Its my favorite book, youll know why. Its by Paulo Coelho.

21. Write a list of all the stuff you want to do before you die
Youve got the time for a bucket list, so why not?

22. Write a list of all the shittiest jobs youve had, as well as the best jobs youve had

Do your best to avoid the first half. Thats a real soul eater.

23. Promise yourself youll do your best to fulfill #22 24. Go on an adventure

Seriously. Most of us spend so much time working that if its a terrible job it puts a damper on the entire day.

Every month Milk the Pigeon posts some adventure suggestions.

25. Read the Holstee Manifesto

I love it. You should too, otherwise we cant be friends. You can find it here. Realistically you have all the options in the world, but most people only come up with excuses for not doing awesome conversation-worthy stuff.

Bonus: Tired of Living a Shitty Mediocre Life? Read this: Getting UnLost and Re-writing History Living the Epic Story You Were Born to Live

Travel often; Getting lost will help you find yourself. -The Holstee Manifesto Lets face it, most of us are lost. The percentage of people that appear to be lost in life decreases as you go up in age. But the reality is that most of us are lost its just the 20 somethings that arent afraid to admit it. The thing about being lost is most of us assume its something negative: we associate it with the college grad who cant find a job, returns home, and ends up playing video games all day, watching How I Met Your Mother, and ordering Dominos every night.

But the reality is that being lost just means you cant find the path at the present moment. From the manifesto, Killing Your Old Life and Living the Dream,: However, heres the catch and something I want you to remember: that floating in space, kinda lost feeling is an incredible gift. It is the gift of opportunity Dont mistake it for anything else. What do you want to do with your life? does not mean, what corporate job do you want to do for your entire life? What do you want to do with your life? means, What do you want to do with your life? -

The Illusion of Being Unlost


One of your most valuable assets as a temporarily lost person is lying. Yes, lying. Lie to others, and lie to yourself. Because its not that we respect people who arent lost we respect people who dont appear lost.

Become Un-Lost
There is one principle that underlies all efforts at becoming un-lost. Change. There are a million and one reasons why a person finds themselves lost, or feels lost, and a million and one solutions. But let me propose one theory:

Youre lost because youve been doing something the same way, which used to work, but it no longer makes you feel the way it used to. The reason why you feel lost even though you have a job and a place to live is the same reason why married couples were once in love, and a few years in, wonder if marriage is all its chalked up to be. Lack of change (specifically, progress) is the underlying, superficial reason behind why we get lost. The deeper reason is because we feel like things become pointless, meaningless, and we have no story. Thus there are two required components of becoming un-lost. Curing the superficial: introducing change. Curing the profound: finding your story. -

Curing the Superficial Become an Irresponsible Adventurer


Well-behaved women seldom make history. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich I was walking my dog on a cold winter night in December a couple years back. It was about 15 degrees F, the night was perfect, the stars were shining bright. Winter always has the best stars, and the best and brightest stars always put me in a pensive mood.

I thought about what made some stories and lives boring, while others were interesting. I thought about the best years of my life and the worst years of my life, and I realized a trend. Boring years were predictable and easily repeatable. Awesome years were unpredictable and were not easily replicated. Not rocket science right? Back in college we used to go on little adventures for the weekend exploring here or there, finding cool camping spots and then making ghetto treasure maps so our friends could find the same places. A few years later I made more random irresponsible decisions that turned out to be the best decisions in my life quitting numerous jobs, moving across the world , and other ridiculous micro adventures. And I realized something. We all need to be a little be more irresponsible in the eyes of society, and more adventurous. Become an irresponsible adventurer by going on Microadventures: An adventure that is close to home, cheap, simple, short, and yet very effective. You do not need to fly to the other side of the planet to do an expedition. You do not need to be an elite athlete, expertly trained, or rich to have an adventure. Adventure is only a state of mind.

Adventure is stretching yourself; mentally, physically or culturally. It is about doing what you do not normally do, pushing yourself hard and doing it to the best of your ability. And if that is true then adventure is all around us, at all times. Even during hard financial times such as these. Times, I believe, when getting out into the wild are more enjoyable, invigorating and important than ever. Alastair Humphreys talks a lot about Microadventures an idea he had for breaking up routine and really sucking the marrow from life. We always talk about the nine-to-five life, the office life. What about your five-to-nine? Thats 16 hours a day. I decided to do something in those hours. Adventures are all about change and fortunately, not the destination. That means you dont need to climb Mt. Everest or go bouncing on the moon to have an adventure you just need to do something out of your ordinary. Cure the superficial, encourage change, and become an irresponsible adventurer.

Curing the Profound Find Your Story


The second reason why we get lost is a biggie, and is a longer process to solve than simply being an irresponsible adventurer. Youre lost because you dont have a story. Theres a book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years about an author who is being interviewed to make a movie about his life.

And he realizes his life is boring. There is almost nothing worth talking about the exact opposite of living a conversation-worthy life. So Miller decides to figure out what makes a good story. He compares writing a good story, or watching a good movie, to living a life that is worth living. You cant go on without a story any longer than you can read a book about nothing If you arent telling a good story, nobody thinks you died too soon; they just think you died. The problem with not having a story is that even if you experience a lot travel, learn, try new things you arent providing a context for all the experiences to occur in. The experiences just become noise, they are random, chaotic, and although enjoyable, they dont come together and provide any coherent feeling of purpose.

Creating an Epic Story A Character Who Wants Something


A story is a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. A character who wants something The first part of an epic story? A character has to want something. This want is the context for all further experiences instead of traveling, its visiting every country in the world to raise awareness for international peace keeping efforts. Instead of going to the gym, its to lose those 50 pounds and not end up like both your parents that died young from heart disease. Rather than making a million dollars a year in revenue, its about creating your own legacy building something that is beautiful, will exist long after you are gone, and

will be remembered far longer than your name will be and then making a million dollars. A story provides a context for all experiences. Almost all great characters and great stories are illuminated by one clear thing: clear ambition. The boy in the Alchemist is looking to fulfill and live his personal legend. Beowulf is looking to kill Grendel. All great stories have a character with a clear purpose. - What is the point of your story? -

The Possibility of Failure


I knew if we were going to tell a good story, it would have to involve risk the same elements that make a movie meaningful are the ones that make a life meaningful. I knew a character had to face his greatest fears. The whole idea of the story is that it cannot be easily accomplished. If it is easily accomplished, it is by default not worth striving for, not special, not worth reading about. If its easy, its predictably attainable. That is not how an epic story goes. Nor is it how your story is going to go. No, its going to be goddamn difficult. Youre going to have to talk yourself off that ledge every week, sometimes every day, but youre going to keep going. Because what makes the story great is the struggle the question as to whether or not the person will succeed. It wasnt necessary to win for the story to be great; it was only necessary to sacrifice everything

The story is about the character transformation. Your story is about how your character is forged through difficulty. Picking easy, predictable tasks you can succeed at easily, or can predict the outcome, is not the making of a story others will want to read. Just imagine if the story went like this: He got a job, then stayed at his job, and stayed at his job some more, got a promotion after 5 years, and then stayed at his job, and continued working There is no risk. It is completely predictable. Thats not how you write your story. In the Alchemist, the boy is constantly getting sidetracked he gets stuck in north Africa, he runs out of money, and is forced to work at a Crystal merchants store for years. He thinks he has failed, and temporarily, he has. His journey has numerous such setbacks, but how come he doesnt give up? Because his failures are all in the context of a larger story. He still has a story to write. - Whatever you are shooting for whatever story you are writing cannot, by default, be easy. It must require difficulty, it must require pain, and it must require struggle. Ask yourself if what youre doing now has a guaranteed outcome, or if it makes you nervous with the possibility of failure. You want the latter.

An Epic Story Sucks While It is Being Acted Out


It would be easier not to try, not to get out of bed. I wish I could tell you I woke every morning and jumped into the thrill a character might feel inside a pageturner, but I dont; I wake every day and plod through the next page of my story, both in words and in actions. The reward you get from a story is always less than you thought it would be, and the work is harder than you imagined. The point of a story is never about the ending, remember. Its about your character getting molded in the hard work. The truth about living an epic story is clear: it always looks more fun from the outside in. Its thrilling to watch snowboarders jump hundreds of feet into the air doing backflips, or watch fight scenes in the Bourne movies, or watch UFC and get pumped up. But anyone who has done anything epic realizes that when youre in the moment its terrifying. It makes you queazy, weak at the knees, it takes focus, and there is the possibility of failure, injury or death. And its goddamn difficult. But great gain takes great risk - Remember the truth living an epic story is infinitely harder than writing an epic story. It will be harder, take longer, and the fruits you reap wont be as great as you had anticipated. But it will be worth it. Make your story epic -

Living Life Intentionally


People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain. A story can happen on its own, or a person can choose to live life deliberately. If your family is kidnapped and you are the only survivor, and you spend your life looking to recover your family you have a story. And you didnt choose it. If, however, your story is currently on the same page, year after year after year, its time to start living life intentionally. That means deliberately choosing to create and live your story. The great stories go to those who dont give in to fear But fear isnt only a guide to keep us safe; its also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life The easiest way to live life intentionally? Set huge goals. I mean really unrealistically large goals- raise a million dollars for a charity, climb the 10 largest mountains on earth even though youre blind, have your kids write a bunch of world leaders asking if they want to come over for dinner and then do them. Shoot way bigger than you think is possible. Pick a goal say, run a 5k even though youre 100 lbs overweight and thenmultiply it in difficulty x 10. Choose to run an ultra marathon in the future. That is creating an epic life story.

And creating your story is as much about what you do as well as who you do it with: If your friends are living boring stories, you probably will too. Its time to wake up and tell yourself youre going to write your own story. Whats it going to be like? Doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic: Its lonely at the top. Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for realistic goals, paradoxically making them the most time and energy consuming. Its easier to raise $1,000,000 than it is $100,000. It is easier to pick up the one perfect 10 in the bar than the five 8s. If you are insecure, guess what the rest of the world is too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think. -Tim Ferriss

Becoming un-lost means curing the superficial: introducing adventure into life, and curing the profound: finding your story. Your life is a story is it worth reading?
What To Do When Your Life Feels Meaningless
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 4 0 COMMENTS

I was a really annoying kid to talk to when I was younger. I was always asking God questions, almost always revolving around the word why. Why am I here.. what am I supposed to do.. where should I go next.. why do I have to do this.. And it pissed people off, I mean, for chrissakes sometimes you just do stuff and dont question it, right? Just go to work and eat bitter and suck it up. Just use 2 cups flour and 3 eggs in the cake and stop thinking about it why they are in the proportions that they are in. Just learn this material and stop asking why youll need to know all of this to be a doctor.

After I got out of the juvenile phase of life (where every why you ask gets a because I said so in return), I entered a new phase of life. More people asking why. Why am I here.. what do I need to do for the rest of my life.. And I thought: hmm thats funny. First as a kid, now as an adult. Everyone is still asking why. And most people are still giving themselves because I said so answers. So once again I started asking myself WTF should I do with my life? What can I do with my life? What am I supposed to do with my life? And, most importantly, WTF do I want to do during my life? What makes it feel worthwhile?

Finding a Reason to Live


Survivors of all types of accidents or horrendous living conditions often share eerily similar stories. Despite the harshness of the current reality, against all odds, they maintain some special sort of reason for going on (See the Stockdale Paradox) They maintain a why beyond just staying alive that keeps them going. They found some greater purpose. Viktor Frankl was one such person. He was a victim of the Nazi regime and spent several years in the Auschwitz concentration camp while his entire family and both parents passed away. As his body was slowly whittling away and as thousands of people died around him he was deeply pondering the state of his life. His mmoire, Mans Search for Meaning, is interesting to me for one main reason: because one can watch his

mind deliberate as it searches for a meaning in all the death, suffering, and apparent meaninglessness that was going on around him. Frankls conclusion? Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her own life. The words hit an eerie nerve in me, after all I know plenty of people my age making a lot of money, who outwardly appear happy, but inwardly they feel like what they are doing is pretty pointless. So they just go ahead and do what other people are doing, to have some semblance of a sane, ordinary, normal and supposedly *happy* existence. I ended up thinking about this more: the deepest human value, one that you can selectively pursue and cultivate to enrich your life, is it really happiness? Or is happiness a consequence of doing things right? For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of ones dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of ones surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.

Searching for the wrong thing


I think theres one particular reason why many of us feel completely lost. Its because were searching for the wrong thing. Many early philosophers believed that our primary motivation in life was personal pleasure or happiness thats just what we strive for and thats just what our purpose is. I mean, it makes sense: Whats the most important thing according to your body, your ego? You, of course. Who do you look at first in a picture? Yourself. We naturally shy from, say, putting our hand on a campfire (it hurts) and enjoy doing things like eating cookies and having sex. They make us feel good. We help people: it either makes them feel good (which makes us feel good) or it directly makes us feel good. Theres a good argument for straight up pleasure / happiness / joy being the sole purpose of life.

But what if pleasure / enjoyment/ happiness were just unintended byproducts. What if they were just positive consequences of doing the right thing and instead there was something you could deliberately cultivate? Theres a better explanation for why were lost and why all of us constantly strive to find happiness at some point or another.

Happiness and Success as UnIntended Side Effects


Ready for this?

The cure for being lost and feeling like your life is meaningless is not to re-find happiness. The way to become unlost, happy, and successful is found all in one thing: purpose. Through purpose you find passion, you find happiness, you find drive, you find meaning in an apparently meaningless existence. These all blossom as perfect byproducts. And by purpose I dont necessarily mean your one ultimate purpose. Purpose, like happiness, isnt static. Its not just Oh Ive always wanted to be an Astronaut since I was young! For some parents, raising their kids and being a good parent is their only purpose but once their kids move out and grow up they suddenly find their lives feeling more meaningless. College kids that graduate university are accustomed to having a purpose: pass this class, semester after semester after semester, and finally: graduate. Once they graduate? Many lose their sense of purpose. Normal every day people sometimes find purpose in others a loved one for example and once that person leaves their life they are crushed and fall into an existence that feels meaningless again. Purpose, therefore, can be fleeting too. But purpose no matter how temporary is so important because it makes you feel like what you are doing in your life actually matters.

And purpose is the ultimate fix for no longer feeling lost, no longer feeling like youre in a dream or an observer of your own life. It makes you feel in control.

Purpose in the Modern World


that feeling of which so many [people] complain today, namely, the feeling of the total and ultimate meaninglessness of their lives. They lack the awareness of a meaning worth living for. They are haunted by the experienced of their inner emptiness, a void within themselves; In addition to this, however, man has suffered another lossNo instinct tells him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he ought to do; sometimes he does not even know what he wishes to do. Instead, he either wishes to do what other people do (conformism) or he does what other people wish him to do (totalitarianism). The feeling of meaningless is one of those scary nagging feelings we all get at some points in our lives. We wonder if there is some grand scheme out there for our suffering, or why after working for a couple years in a job thats alright it doesnt feel like it has a point anymore. Its because both happiness and success are closely tied to purpose. Its the reason why when you talk to so many 20 somethings that are in their first, or second, or fifth professional job, these days theyre like Its alright, Its a job.

Oh, really? They have to convince themselves that what they are doing has meaning. A pretty sad thought if you ask me.

Going Big or Going Home


Alright, so your life feels pointless. Either youre totally lost, or you have everything but it doesnt seem to make a difference. Youre getting paid, you have a good apartment, you have a car. Now what? There are 4 ways to get a life that doesnt suck and destroy the feeling of meaninglessness. 1. Figure out your story 2. Figure out what the hell you want and make a plan 3. Determine your why 4. Engage in flow producing activities

#1 Whats Your Story?

You cant go on without a story any longer than you can read a book about nothing A while back I wrote one of the single most important posts for lost people who feel their lives are meaningless. Its called Getting Un-Lost and Re-Writing History and the big question it asks you is this: What kind of story are you living? What kind of story do you want to be living? The problem with not having a story is that even if you experience a lot travel, learn, try new things you arent providing a context for all the experiences to occur in.

The experiences just become noise, they are random, chaotic, and although enjoyable, they dont come together and provide any coherent feeling of purpose. They arent part of a larger storyline. If you dont currently have a story there are 4 qualities inherent in any epic tale: 1. A character who wants something, 2. Has the potential for failure failure, 3. Struggles, 4. But does whatever it takes to realize the story and see it through Without a fundamental underlying story, experiences, no matter how enjoyable or epic become noise. The story is the lifeline, the backbone, the thread that connects all experience and makes them worthwhile.

Read: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

#2 What the hell are you aiming for?


I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change. -Jim Rohn People seem to be goal averse. Maybe its because setting goals sets you up for disappointment (Oh, I didnt lose 30 pounds like I said I would in my New Years resolution). Or maybe its because people are lazy.

Or maybe its because people dont know what they want or havent thought about what they want. But there is one big reason why you should set goals even arbitrary goals like running a marathon and thats because they give life structure. At the basic, most fundamental level, the easiest way to turn a meaningless life into a meaningful one is to set a random goal and go for it. The more facets your goal has, the better. E.g. Building a business you care about is superior to learning a language (from a purpose standpoint) because it will take longer and has so many facets you can improve upon. Really dunno what to do? Learn Spanish (Better? Move to Spain and learn Spanish.) Set arbitrary fitness goals: gain 20 pounds of muscle, lose 20 pounds of fat. Make a bucket list of awesome things you want to do. Do one every week/month/6 months/year. Remember these goals are random, superficial, and provide a temporary sense of purpose. They are, however, better than nothing and are an easy step into feeling like life is worthwhile. Read: The manifesto and check out the section Why You Can Never Get What You Want Unless.. On page 28.

#3 Whats your why?


Those who have a why to live for can bear almost any how. -Nietzche We already talked about the importance of having a story a context for all the experiences that your life is made up of. But theres one other quality inherent in a meaningful life: why are you doing what youre doing? Why are you doing the work you do? For money? Or for some reason that provides real internal sustenance? Why are you going to the gym? Is it to look good for your girlfriend/boyfriend/ or is it because you deep down want to do it for yourself? Some people are more easily influenced by the why than others. For example, some people can really defer their happiness and job satisfaction just working for money. Others get severely depressed after a short time. Similarly, some people can legitimately go to the gym and transform their bodies for another person a guy who loses 50 pounds because his girlfriend is threatening to break up with him, for example. Other people quit soon after because they realize what they are doing is not for themselves. So when I ask what is your why?: why learn a new skill, why start a business, why run a marathon just

because is a fine answer in the short term, but to power you long-term the why will need to be something that deeply connects with a core value in your life. Honestly think about the following two options and tell me which one you resonate with more: 1. Starting a business so you can make much more money than you currently are. 2. Starting a business because youre tired of meaningless work, working for someone you dislike, working with people who dislike what they do, having your hours and schedule pre-arranged, etc. What is the real, emotional, deep seated reason for doing what youre doing?

Read: Start with Why by Simon Sinek

#4 Engage in flow producing activities


Yes yes, by now you should know Doc. C is one of the main influencers of everything I do in my life. This fourth way to avoid a meaningless life is a paradoxical one its less easily sought out than the other 3. In a nutshell, you are looking for an experience - flow, to be specific. Being in flow is that magical moment when you do an unbelievably perfect shot during a soccer game time freezes, the stars align, and you describe it as feeling perfect. Being in flow is the artists muse the concept of time evaporates, goals and structure dont exist, only enjoyment and pure engagement in the current activity exists.

Flow is the state where most of us are happiest, where we feel in our element, where we feel challenged and as if our tasks and time are worthwhile. I really could spend all day talking about flow as one of the singular most important concepts to learn about, but instead ill redirect to you several of the posts Ive written on the topic. 1. Making Greatness Part 2 (Discusses Flow in Depth) 2. If Your Work Sucks, Learn About Flow So in a nutshell, why seek out flow producing activities? They are inherently enjoyable, inherently feel meaningful, and are self-described as some of the most powerful transcendent moments of life. Read: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Finding meaning in the 21st century


Distractions & diversions thats pretty much how Id sum up the era we live in. Literal, physical distractions like TV and the Internet, as well as psychological distractions like the preoccupation with money or success. Killing distractions is but one small part of living a meaningful life there are so many facets like meaningful work, quality relationships, and higher purpose. But for starters, as things you can start today, the above 4 points: Your story, your goals, your why, and flow producing activities can easily take a meaningless life and turn it into a worthwhile existence, arguably the most important thing of all. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a persons

life at a given moment. To put the question in general terms would be comparable to the question posed to a chess champion: Tell me, Master, what is the best move in the world? There simply is no such thing as the best or even a good move apart from a particular situation in a game and the particular personality of ones opponent. The same holds for human existence. One should not search for an abstract meaning of life. Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. -Viktor Frankl, Mans Search for Meaning

Is this all there is? What to do when your life feels meaningless Part 2
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 0 COMMENTS

**** This is a continuation of What to do when your life feels meaningless Go here to read part 1 *****

All of us, at some point in our lives, ask ourselves Is this all there is? My grand plan, my grand purpose, my work and my time everything that Ive worked for culminates in.. this? The life Im currently living? Shortly after we proceed to feel like weve be really shafted by someone or something, that were victims of fate and that we cant believe we bought into some great cosmic lie. And then we self-medicate. Most of us dull the pain of our shitty, seemingly meaningless existence by doing one of three things according to the Flow master, Dr. C: #1 As this realization slowly sets in, different people react to it differently. Some try to ignore it, and renew their efforts to acquire more of the things that were supposed to make life good bigger cars and homes, more power on the job, a more glamourous life-style. They renew their efforts, determined still to achieve the satisfaction that up until then has eluded them. Sometimes this solution works, simply because one is so drawn into the competitive struggle that there is no time to realize that the goal has not come any nearer. But if a person does not take the time out to reflect, the disillusionment returns: after each success it becomes clearer that money, power, status and possessions do not, by themselves, necessarily add one iota to the quality of life. #2 Others decide to attack directly the threatening symptoms. If it is a body going to seed that rings the first alarm, they will go on diets, join health clubs, do aerobics, buy a Nautilus, or undergo plastic surgery. If the problem seems to be that nobody pays

much attention, they buy books about how to get power and how to make friends, or they enroll in assertiveness training courses and have power lunches. After a while, however, it becomes obvious that these piecemeal solutions dont work either. #3 Daunted by the futility of trying to keep up with all the demands they cannot possibly meet, some will just surrender and retire gracefully into relative oblivion. Following Candides advice, they will give up on the world and cultivate their little gardens. They might dabble in genteel forms of escape such as developing a harmless hobby or accumulating a collection of abstract paintings or porcelain figurines. Or they might lose themselves in alcohol or the dreamworld of drugs. While exotic pleasures and expensive recreations temporarily take the mind off the basic question is this all there is? few claim to ever have found an answer that way.

Three superficial coping strategies


So some of us #1 go deeper into the purchase-consume cycle. We try to chase more flashy cars and pretty girls. We chase money. We buy stuff. We work our way up the ladder to earn more. We keep our mind occupied that way. Some of us #2 attack symptoms to keep busy. If its our health that first gets our attention, we become fitness fanatics. If its our work thats miserable or we dont have enough money, we become workaholics. If its dissatisfaction in our dating lives we bounce around from person to person. #3 is retreat. Some of us get tired of the struggle and dont see any clear way out. We retreat. Know a friend who plays world of warcraft / madden all day or who

smokes weed all day? Retreat. Theyve given up on changing their circumstances. Its an easy temporary fix, a pill for the symptoms. But like all pills they only work for so long unless the underlying conditions are addressed.

Which story are you living?


Some of us truck ahead, attack symptoms, or give up. For me it was a blend of #1 and #3 which I think are the most common. Tell me how familiar this story sounds: So you get your first job out of college. Get your place. Maybe get your new car. Then what? Assuming you dont go back to school or get married, you probably get into WTF mode. WTF do I do now? For me, I ended up just doing what everyone else did: I started partying more (Since, gee, I had to use the money I earned, right!) , buy tons of shit I didnt need, and focused on increasing my earning potential. Friends reached the same point and started doing drugs again. Other friends again reached the existential crisis point and started playing video game after video game. Life for them went like this: Video game ==> work ==> video game ==> sleep or this: drugs ==> work ==>

drugs ==> sleep ==> drugs ==> work etc. Theyre both pretty much the same. The problem is that most of us never get out of the cycle. Most of us exist in this sort of existing phase where we are merely coping and reacting to everything happening around us. Rarely do we escape the cycle and find the opportunity to truly thrive.

Planning your prison escape route


Happiness, in fact, is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated, and defended privately by each person. People who to learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to being happy. - Flow Sack up and do something about it. (Balls, metaphorical or otherwise,may be all that matters. Remember?). Heres how not to suck like your friends around you. Heres how not to buy into the lie and illusion society has crafted for us. And heres how to begin crafting your escape. #1 Realize that youre coping with existence (existing) and not actually improving it (thriving) You have to consciously sit down and realize you dont have to do mind-numbingly boring, soul-crushingly shitty work. You have to consciously sit down and realize that wasting your leisure time is shooting yourself in the foot. That your leisure time is the time

when you can (and should) be digging your escape route. You have to consciously sit down and realize that after the getting smashed on Friday night, you wake up exactly where you started the day before. Thats fine. Unless of course you dont want to be where you were the day before. You have to consciously sit down and ask yourself what the hell you actually want from life, and if what youre doing now is getting you any closer to what you want. That goes for your job, for your work, for your romantic partners, for your friends, and anything else. #2 Decide to go balls to the wall digging your escape route Complacency will screw you. Comfort will screw you. Your friends will screw you. Sit down and figure out what about your current lifestyle makes you feel so discontent. Is it monotony and routine? Maybe you just got back from traveling and are having an impossible time settling down back into ordinary life. Maybe youre like a lot of 20 somethings bouncing around in jobs because youre chronically stuck in shitty ones. Maybe your friend group sucks (or doesnt exist because you moved after college).

Whatever it is, whatever is making you drink yourself retarded on Friday, or retreat into video games and drugs, or continue to chase the flashy cars and pretty girls but stay depressed the next day, figure out what the hell it is that is getting to you. Read the manifesto and figure out what you dont want, what you want, what the why is that you live for, and what youve really wanted to do with your short time.

Anything is better than not knowing youre stuck

It may seem overly simplistic and too vague. The advice to think about what you actually want given to people who are stuck in the rat race (or life) in some way or another. But the truth is that the vast majority of us live in a dreamworld carefully sculpted by others with no intention of us to ever realize were dreaming. The true is that most of us will pass year after year just as deep into the cycle in which we were born, and never realize it. And the truth is that only by becoming *aware* that you are stuck can you become unstuck.

Most of us have given up and dont even realize it


Right? Look around you. How many of your friends are just sitting and occupying their piece of land. Paying 300, 500, 1000, or 10,000 a month to rent a place just so they can exist. And they work jobs they suffer through

just to pay for that rent, which is just to exist on a piece of land. Years literally pass and nothing has changed. They havent learned anything new, they havent traveled much or added any value to their life, they havent changed anything about their circumstances or life experiences. Maybe they got a promotion or two. And maybe they got their first vacation and finally saw Europe. Whelp, time to wait another couple years to do that. The hell? Does nobody see how utterly insane and mindless this lifestyle is? Does nobody realize the insanity of paying just to exist on a plot of earth, or working a job just to pay to exist a plot on the earth just for the sake of existing? I realize the circumstances change for people who are married or with kids. This is not for you. For the rest of you (us) if working your job just so you can have an apartment is so that you can be declared a financially independent adult so be it. For those of you who couldnt give two shits about having an apartment and working 50 hours a week to pay for it with your 2 week trip to Thailand every 2 years, wake up and start doing what youve always wanted to do. Just in travel expenses alone, ditching a $500 or $1000 a month apartment gives you enough to buy a ticket basically anywhere in the world.

Traveling the world is not as unrealistic as it seems. If what youre current living is not what you signed up for, grow a pair and starting doing what youve wanted to do the whole time. Most of us cope and try and drink away the symptoms of the is this all there is? feeling. But when you think about it, do you really have a choice? Its either now, or forever asking yourself is this all there is? is this really the culmination of my whole life. This?
Do What You Love and Youll [Still] Work A [Lot of] Day[s] in Your Life.
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 10 C OMMENTS

Do What You Love and Youll [Still] Work A [Lot of] day[s] in Your

Life.
Society is a funny thing. Its a conglomeration of people who are considered a society because we share similar thoughts, preferences, and prejudices. And society has two stereotypes that are interesting to me:

#1. Working for money means youre a miserable, greedy, capitalist pig. #2 If you do what you love youll never work a day in your life. For now, Im more interested in #2, because I find it a little strange. Im doing what I enjoy but I work a lot. In fact, I put in more hours than I did at the jobs I used to hate. And there are a lot of things I am not enjoying about the process. Oh god, am I doing something wrong? Does my work once again have no point to it? I realized that by jumping on the Working-on-shit-youactually-enjoy ship I had actually figured out something that some people havent realized yet working for passion still entails work. A lot of it. Probably a lot more than your normal job. What? No! It cannot be! Youre probably thinking. I thought it was blue skies and smooth sailing from here on out! Well, maybe youll sleep better at night. And sure youll love what you do. And yes, maybe youll finally view your time as worthwhile and youll love the process of work. But there is no such thing as something for nothing, and there is no such thing as a building with a third floor but without the first floor.

People who want to work for enjoyment seem to jump in all excited with visions (delusions) of grandeur thinking that somehow it negates all the work, all the research, all the networking, all the successes and all the failures. It doesnt.

But that shouldnt deter you.


Dont let me discourage you, or doubt yourself, or keep you stuck in a job you really dislike. It just means you need to confront the cold hard facts.

The Stockdale Paradox


In Good to Great, a book by Jim Collins, a guy named Admiral James Stockdale is mentioned. He was a prisoner of war for 7 years in Vietnam who was tortured and brutalized for years (and survived). When he shared his secret to surviving he said the following: You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end which you can never afford to lose with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be. People will tell you what working for passion entails. Experience will tell a different story. You and I may be telling ourselves a third story. But at this point its time for a reality check for myself, and for others who are looking to cut the chord on having a boss and make the leap to self-employment. Dont make the jump if you arent willing to work long hours (longer than in your previous job).

Dont make the jump if you arent willing to do things you dont like but need to do. Dont make the jump if you arent willing to self-micro manage or have the willpower stay in and do work instead of going out.

What are you getting at?


Working on what you enjoy is not a panacea. People see success or highly skilled people and assume that it was a cakewalk because they enjoyed what they were doing. Rarely does anyone enjoy every facet of their work, even work they create themselves. Even extremely high achievers describe their solo practice as the most disliked part of their training, even though the strongest link between high achievement and practice is hours spent alone in solo practice. Passion only solves a small, but important, part of the equation: making the process insanely enjoyable and worthwhile. Do what you love, sow your seeds, create your legacy, and change the world. But never forget the cold hard facts: Do What You Love and Youll [Still] Work A [Lot of] day[s] in Your Life.
Getting Un-Lost & Rewriting History
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 2 CO MMENTS

Travel often; Getting lost will help you find yourself. -The Holstee Manifesto Lets face it, most of us are lost. The percentage of people that appear to be lost in life decreases as you go up in age. But the reality is that most of us are lost its just the 20 somethings that arent afraid to admit it. The thing about being lost is most of us assume its something negative: we associate it with the college grad who cant find a job, returns home, and ends up playing video games all day, watching How I Met Your Mother, and ordering Dominos every night. But the reality is that being lost just means you cant find the path at the present moment. From the manifesto, Killing Your Old Life and Living the Dream,: However, heres the catch and something I want you to remember: that floating in space, kinda lost feeling is an incredible gift. It is the gift of opportunity Dont mistake it for anything else.

What do you want to do with your life? does not mean, what corporate job do you want to do for your entire life? What do you want to do with your life? means, What do you want to do with your life? -

The Illusion of Being Unlost


One of your most valuable assets as a temporarily lost person is lying. Yes, lying. Lie to others, and lie to yourself. Because its not that we respect people who arent lost we respect people who dont appear lost.

Become Un-Lost
There is one principle that underlies all efforts at becoming un-lost. Change. There are a million and one reasons why a person finds themselves lost, or feels lost, and a million and one solutions. But let me propose one theory: Youre lost because youve been doing something the same way, which used to work, but it no longer makes you feel the way it used to. The reason why you feel lost even though you have a job and a place to live is the same reason why married couples were once in love, and a few years in, wonder if marriage is all its chalked up to be.

Lack of change (specifically, progress) is the underlying, superficial reason behind why we get lost. The deeper reason is because we feel like things become pointless, meaningless, and we have no story. Thus there are two required components of becoming un-lost. Curing the superficial: introducing change. Curing the profound: finding your story. -

Curing the Superficial Become an Irresponsible Adventurer


Well-behaved women seldom make history. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich I was walking my dog on a cold winter night in December a couple years back. It was about 15 degrees F, the night was perfect, the stars were shining bright. Winter always has the best stars, and the best and brightest stars always put me in a pensive mood. I thought about what made some stories and lives boring, while others were interesting. I thought about the best years of my life and the worst years of my life, and I realized a trend. Boring years were predictable and easily repeatable. Awesome years were unpredictable and were not easily replicated.

Not rocket science right? Back in college we used to go on little adventures for the weekend exploring here or there, finding cool camping spots and then making ghetto treasure maps so our friends could find the same places. A few years later I made more random irresponsible decisions that turned out to be the best decisions in my life quitting numerous jobs, moving across the world , and other ridiculous micro adventures. And I realized something. We all need to be a little be more irresponsible in the eyes of society, and more adventurous. Become an irresponsible adventurer by going on Microadventures: An adventure that is close to home, cheap, simple, short, and yet very effective. You do not need to fly to the other side of the planet to do an expedition. You do not need to be an elite athlete, expertly trained, or rich to have an adventure. Adventure is only a state of mind. Adventure is stretching yourself; mentally, physically or culturally. It is about doing what you do not normally do, pushing yourself hard and doing it to the best of your ability. And if that is true then adventure is all around us, at all times. Even during hard financial times such as these. Times, I believe, when getting out into the wild are more enjoyable, invigorating and important than ever. Alastair Humphreys talks a lot about Microadventures an idea he had for breaking up routine and really sucking the marrow from life.

We always talk about the nine-to-five life, the office life. What about your five-to-nine? Thats 16 hours a day. I decided to do something in those hours. Adventures are all about change and fortunately, not the destination. That means you dont need to climb Mt. Everest or go bouncing on the moon to have an adventure you just need to do something out of your ordinary. Cure the superficial, encourage change, and become an irresponsible adventurer.

Curing the Profound Find Your Story


The second reason why we get lost is a biggie, and is a longer process to solve than simply being an irresponsible adventurer. Youre lost because you dont have a story. Theres a book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years about an author who is being interviewed to make a movie about his life. And he realizes his life is boring. There is almost nothing worth talking about the exact opposite of living a conversation-worthy life. So Miller decides to figure out what makes a good story. He compares writing a good story, or watching a good movie, to living a life that is worth living. You cant go on without a story any longer than you can read a book about nothing If you arent telling a good story, nobody thinks you died too soon; they just think you died. The problem with not having a story is that even if you experience a lot travel, learn, try new things you

arent providing a context for all the experiences to occur in. The experiences just become noise, they are random, chaotic, and although enjoyable, they dont come together and provide any coherent feeling of purpose.

Creating an Epic Story A Character Who Wants Something


A story is a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. A character who wants something The first part of an epic story? A character has to want something. This want is the context for all further experiences instead of traveling, its visiting every country in the world to raise awareness for international peace keeping efforts. Instead of going to the gym, its to lose those 50 pounds and not end up like both your parents that died young from heart disease. Rather than making a million dollars a year in revenue, its about creating your own legacy building something that is beautiful, will exist long after you are gone, and will be remembered far longer than your name will be and then making a million dollars. A story provides a context for all experiences. Almost all great characters and great stories are illuminated by one clear thing: clear ambition. The boy in the Alchemist is looking to fulfill and live his personal legend. Beowulf is looking to kill Grendel. All great stories have a character with a clear purpose. - What is the point of your story? -

The Possibility of Failure


I knew if we were going to tell a good story, it would have to involve risk the same elements that make a movie meaningful are the ones that make a life meaningful. I knew a character had to face his greatest fears. The whole idea of the story is that it cannot be easily accomplished. If it is easily accomplished, it is by default not worth striving for, not special, not worth reading about. If its easy, its predictably attainable. That is not how an epic story goes. Nor is it how your story is going to go. No, its going to be goddamn difficult. Youre going to have to talk yourself off that ledge every week, sometimes every day, but youre going to keep going. Because what makes the story great is the struggle the question as to whether or not the person will succeed. It wasnt necessary to win for the story to be great; it was only necessary to sacrifice everything The story is about the character transformation. Your story is about how your character is forged through difficulty. Picking easy, predictable tasks you can succeed at easily, or can predict the outcome, is not the making of a story others will want to read. Just imagine if the story went like this: He got a job, then stayed at his job, and stayed at his job some more, got a promotion after 5 years, and then stayed at his job, and continued working

There is no risk. It is completely predictable. Thats not how you write your story. In the Alchemist, the boy is constantly getting sidetracked he gets stuck in north Africa, he runs out of money, and is forced to work at a Crystal merchants store for years. He thinks he has failed, and temporarily, he has. His journey has numerous such setbacks, but how come he doesnt give up? Because his failures are all in the context of a larger story. He still has a story to write. - Whatever you are shooting for whatever story you are writing cannot, by default, be easy. It must require difficulty, it must require pain, and it must require struggle. Ask yourself if what youre doing now has a guaranteed outcome, or if it makes you nervous with the possibility of failure. You want the latter.

An Epic Story Sucks While It is Being Acted Out


It would be easier not to try, not to get out of bed. I wish I could tell you I woke every morning and jumped into the thrill a character might feel inside a pageturner, but I dont; I wake every day and plod through the next page of my story, both in words and in actions. The reward you get from a story is always less than you thought it would be, and the work is harder than you imagined. The point of a story is never about the ending, remember. Its about your character getting molded in the hard work.

The truth about living an epic story is clear: it always looks more fun from the outside in. Its thrilling to watch snowboarders jump hundreds of feet into the air doing backflips, or watch fight scenes in the Bourne movies, or watch UFC and get pumped up. But anyone who has done anything epic realizes that when youre in the moment its terrifying. It makes you queazy, weak at the knees, it takes focus, and there is the possibility of failure, injury or death. And its goddamn difficult. But great gain takes great risk - Remember the truth living an epic story is infinitely harder than writing an epic story. It will be harder, take longer, and the fruits you reap wont be as great as you had anticipated. But it will be worth it. Make your story epic -

Living Life Intentionally


People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain. A story can happen on its own, or a person can choose to live life deliberately. If your family is kidnapped and you are the only survivor, and you spend your life looking to recover your family you have a story. And you didnt choose it. If, however, your story is currently on the same page, year after year after year, its time to start living life intentionally.

That means deliberately choosing to create and live your story. The great stories go to those who dont give in to fear But fear isnt only a guide to keep us safe; its also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life The easiest way to live life intentionally? Set huge goals. I mean really unrealistically large goals- raise a million dollars for a charity, climb the 10 largest mountains on earth even though youre blind, have your kids write a bunch of world leaders asking if they want to come over for dinner and then do them. Shoot way bigger than you think is possible. Pick a goal say, run a 5k even though youre 100 lbs overweight and thenmultiply it in difficulty x 10. Choose to run an ultra marathon in the future. That is creating an epic life story. And creating your story is as much about what you do as well as who you do it with: If your friends are living boring stories, you probably will too. Its time to wake up and tell yourself youre going to write your own story. Whats it going to be like? Doing the unrealistic is easier than doing the realistic: Its lonely at the top. Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for realistic goals, paradoxically making them the most time and energy consuming.

Its easier to raise $1,000,000 than it is $100,000. It is easier to pick up the one perfect 10 in the bar than the five 8s. If you are insecure, guess what the rest of the world is too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think. -Tim Ferriss

Becoming un-lost means curing the superficial: introducing adventure into life, and curing the profound: finding your story. Your life is a story is it worth reading?
Why a Balanced Lifestyle is the Last Thing You Want if You Want to be Successful
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 6 CO MMENTS

About a year ago I decided to say I quit to a balanced life. It wasnt getting me where I wanted, and I realized, balance probably isnt getting you anywhere either. Because balance never got anyone anywhere.

We have a culture that claims that balance is the way to a long life, to success, and to a harmonious home life. But is balance really the right word? And does it carry the right connotation? That USDA pyramid to the right is supposedly a balanced diet. Yet anyone who has read the research knows that youll be deader than my great grandma in no time eating a diet like that. I once asked a nutritionist how much soda is it okay for people to drink, thinking shed obviously say get it out of your life and youll be better off. Instead, she said everything in moderation. But the truth is that some things are better than others. And some things are worth getting rid of entirely, like the idea of balance. Now, I realized the nutritionist was probably giving me an ass-covering answer, and thats fine, but this idea of balance is so perversive in modern society that it needs to be addressed. And I firmly believe that the ridiculous concept of balance is holding you back from getting what you deserve in life.

Balance is overrated
The reason I say that balance is overrated and that you should oust it from your life is that I was a victim of the balance craze my entire life. I read a lot of Buddhist and Taoist works since I was a child, meditated for 10 years, and fell prey to the balance is da bomb assumption.

I thought that I shouldnt work more than a 9-5, so I had my free time. I thought that I shouldnt do cross fit because it was too stressful on the body. I thought that I should eat a balanced diet based on the USDA food pyramid. And what happened? In my work I got nowhere, I was only working for other people. In the gym, I lifted weights for 5 years and still looked the same year after year like most others in the gym. I started having digestive problems and then when I saw the nutritionist she said I dont know, youre eating a perfectly balanced diet, this is really puzzling. And so I told balance politely, but firmly, to piss off and never return.

Balance and your success


The hairy thing about balance is that we assume its supposed to be a principle that underlies everything we do in life. Dont ever work overtime. Dont workout too hard at the gym. Eat a little bit of everything to be healthy. We assume its a prerequisite for success. Its not. But has anyone ever told you the How come? part of the equation? If you work overtime what happens? You have less free time. Does that mean youre not balanced? Not if you are enjoying your work. Right now I work 8:30-6:30 most days and then come home, eat dinner, and work on other start-up projects

until I sleep around midnight. Then wake up at 7 to do it again, 7 days a week. But am I unbalanced? Nope, because by and large Im enjoying the work Im doing, despite the fact Im working 14 hours a day. Balance is entirely in your head. In the gym if you push yourself hard what happens? Done correctly, muscular growth. Done incorrectly, injury. But doing a balanced workout never produced someone with an incredible physique. And the balanced diet. People love using the balanced diet as a cop-out for really answering the question of what to eat and what not to eat, because there actually are things you will live longer by living without. Alas, beyond the aforementioned examples of balance, there is one huge reason why you should avoid it. Balance never produced anything or anyone special, unique, or exceptional.

True vehicles of high achievement


Balance never produced Mozart, Tiger Woods, or Donald Trump. Balance is boring, unexceptional, and mundane. And expected. The 99% live balanced, predictable, ordinary lives. One thing is for sure: there is going to be an everincreasing number of people on earth, and the only guarantee for you and I is that its going to be a hell of a lot harder to stand out.

Quit balance. Find the extremes, and stand out. In addition to balance never producing greatness, there are a couple other ways it hinders your achievement: Balance prevents you from doing what it takes (*no matter what*) to get what you want Balance is a psychological barrier that tells you to quit even when you are ahead, in the interests of being balanced Balance is a subjective concept, whose standards change from person to person Balance is not conducive to change, learning, or growth, because youre, well, already balanced There is, however, one underlying reason why I want you to never live a balanced life again. If you choose to skim this whole post, dont miss the last section.

Imbalance is the natural, required, and desired impetus for growth, change, and greatness.

Bros before hoes & the growth kicker


If I could sum all of this stuff up in one sentence, it would be this: balance is not conducive to change or growth. If you begin feeling comfortable in life you should be terrified. You have to fall down and scrape your knees while learning to bike before you attain balance and can ride smoothly. And you have to stumble around like a drunkard with vertigo while learning to walk as a child.

But what happens once you do attain balance as a child who learns to walk? You stop improving. So what do you do next? You either stay the same or you begin learning once again by running. Balance is the single most insidious idea that has found its way into our new-age information prone brains. Only through imbalance can you improve. Imbalance is the stimulus for growth. The avoidance of being balanced, comfortable, and settled are the key attributes of getting truly exceptional at anything. And only through being imbalanced can you learn to do big things with your time on earth. Greatness was never achieved through balance so stamp that shit on your wall as a reminder.
The Single Most Important Principle in the Lives of Successful People
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 0 COMMENTS

All ultra successful people have that one principle behind their success. Whether thats Robert Kiyosaki: Invest in assets not liabilities. Or whether thats Richard Branson: Work out. Or Napoleon Hill: Have a burning desire for something and stake your entire existence on achieving it. I [although not ultra successful or even successful] have a mantra that goes way to the core of my character, and Im here to tell you why you need one too. I say it hundreds of times every day: every time I go to a new place, every time I show up for work, every time I read a book, every time I go to a coffee shop, every time I chat up a pretty girl, every time I go to the gym.

It goes like this: When confronted with a decision (even very basic decisions), I ask myself this: How do 99% of people go about doing this? Now, how am I going to go about doing this? And most of the time, I choose the anything-but-what99%-of-people-are-doing answer. Why? Because it almost always works better than the 99% answer. And it requires way less work. It really goes back to the idea of success involving developing effective systems that you run yourself through. A mantra or principle is a system too, whether or not you know it. There are 2 reasons why all successful people have their principle that they live by, and why you need one too. 1. Its something to fall back on for motivation. When work is kicking your ass or things arent going well, you go right back to your #1 man. 2. Its a system, and by default enhances efficiency. My system works because its on autopilot I start something, and when it doesnt go well I run through the system. Almost all of the time I get the results I want after using it.

My #1 Man in a nutshell
My principle is more about the following: what people do most of the time usually involves the least amount of thought. The approach works, but it isnt efficient or even optimal. Examples:

In the gym: Most people in the gym look the same year after year, right? I write down what theyre doing, and limit my strategy to anything but that. I look insanely different from year to year (last year being a prime example, I put on 15 lbs of muscle and maintained a six pack). In a relationship: Most boyfriends get their girlfriends some flowers and go to a nice dinner for valentines day or for their anniversary. Its fine, it works. But its not special or unique, no matter how in denial you are (thats for you , guys). Think about that next time you want to do something actually extraordinary. In business: Most businesses do exactly the same thing and wonder why they arent standing out. Even just today at work I was talking with the CEO of our startup about corporate culture + values. He goes, What a bunch of dumbasses, have you ever seen a list of corporate values that were actually unique? We value innovation, team work. blah blah blah. Same old shit. The bottom line: This principle is literally the single most effective thing I have put in my brain, ever. End of story. Its ultra effective when youre trying to stand out, its ultra effective when youre building a business or thinking up ideas that havent been done before, and its ultra effective in making your life exciting as hell. This rule of mine is more or less my sales pitch in life. Do what you love is a generic sales pitch, its not yours. Everyone wants to do work thats meaningful. What you need to ask yourself is what your individual sales pitch is. What do you constantly harp on people about? What principle is so painfully obvious to you that you constantly notice it?

Game Changing Ball Busters


A while back I wrote about the power of having a story. The people we remember and admire most are those who have a story, some grand plan that moves us and motivates us to do bigger things with our own life. Its kinda like your sales pitch, your underlying 2 cents. And its the single most important thing that many people lack from their lives. When the going gets tough, people with a story, with a sales pitch, with a mantra can say: Okay, whats my story, whats my why behind this, whats my principle I fall back on? If you dont have any of those when the going gets tough you get lost, you get frustrated, you quit. So today I ask this: whats your story, whats your sales pitch every day, and what is that one phrase that thing that sums up the meaning behind everything that you do? Whats that thing you call on for your second wind, when all the things have gone wrong or you dont think you can go on? When something you have built for years has fallen and collapsed, when you get back up and start building it again (you WILL get back up), what line of inspiration is running through your brain?

Success is simple in a world of chaos.


You can read all day about how people became successful. You can read about stories, about principles, how-to get rich books, inspirational novels, whatever.

But you can quadruple the time to success if you do this one simple thing: find your wing man, your mantra, your principle to success, that one spark of motivation that lights your brain on fire every time you hear it. And engrave it in every ounce of every action that you do. Success is simpler than you think, and beyond every how-to book, every success story, or every billionaire, there is often that one, tiny, simple principle at work.

Why Being a Badass is the Key to Success


by ALEXANDER HEYNE 14 C OMMENTS

*** Disclaimer: This post contains unnecessarily necessary excessive vulgarity. *** Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.

From The Rock The guy walks in the bar. He stops.

Everything slows, people turn, no words are spoken. His presence speaks for itself. Nuff said. Bitch. This is a quick guide to bandits, outlaws, bastards, assholes, and bad guys. Why they rule. And why you should be one too and what all this has to do with success.

#1. Badasses dont give a fuck


Aww mommy doesnt like my girlfriend, my job, where I live, and how I grew my hair out. My friends think im ridiculous for passing up on a job so I can go teach English in Thailand. People all around me ask when Im gonna settle down, have some kids, get a real life. The proper response? Fuck all of you. Next. Badasses have their own paths, dreams, desires. They couldnt give a shit what your opinion is. And thats what makes them successful. A fun little quote that is (unfortunately) short on vulgarity and long on wisdom: Those people that are crazy enough to think that they can change the world theyre the ones who actually do. -Steve Jobs

The badass response? Im moving to China. Fuck off. This single minded dont-give-a-rats-ass attitude, as douchebaggish as it sounds, is actually a key trait of successful people. Have single minded devoted to that single purpose, path, and just do it. End of fucking story.

#2. You aint shit to a badass


You ever realize that the guys who get the most pretty girls are the ones who dont give a shit about them? The same goes for women the women with the most power over men are the ones that treat men like their little brother. They dont give a shit. Not only does a badass not give a shit what you think, he doesnt give a shit about one missed opportunity, travel, job or person. Except his mom. He may have lost the battle, but he sure as fuck is not losing the war. Its burning the boats and charging forward, Cortes style. Single opportunities in every sense of the word dont mean shit to a badass. And that makes him powerful and desired by others. He is the ultimate ascetic, because he needs nothing and demands nothing from the world. He fucking takes it.

#3. A badass denies himself in the interest of his greater good


Not the greater good. His greater good. If you havent seen a single movie with Clint Eastwood, get the fuck off the internet and go watch one.

If you have seen a movie with him, you know his character. Permanent scowl, hard, doesnt give two shits about hurting himself, denies himself pleasure and gets the job done. Badasses just get the mission done. Not just for the sake of being badass, but because they are blunt and to the point.

#4. Being blunt and to the point is the name of the game
Real old fashioned assholes arent going to waste your time by sugar coating what they say. They just say it. And then then move the fuck on with their life. And thats how they get shit done. The get-shit-done type of person doesnt have time to explain. Or romanticize. Or embellish. Or declare what theyll do. Because while they outwardly dont give a shit about what people think, inwardly they are intensely focused on what they are doing. They waste no time with the pretty-ness of it all.

#5. Real good ol-fashioned pricks feel like they deserve the world. And they get it.
This sense of entitlement the feeling that the world owes you a fuckload, is actually a key trait in really ridiculously powerful people.

If you feel like you dont deserve shit in life, are you going to work for things in life? Probably not. Its like plotting the achievement curves of two kids: Kid A who is told he is a worthless piece of shit his whole life, and Kid B who is told he can get anything he works for. They are worlds away. And the implications of those psychologically-sown seeds are incredible.

#6. To a royal douche, his word is his mothafuckin bond

Seriously, how badass and oldschool is someone if their word actually means something? That is one of those dead traits of seriously awesome people. When a badass says something, he means it. And thats why people respect & fear him (choose which ever one is more valuable to you). Because when you say what you mean, and you act upon it, believe it or not youre unusual. Our society is filled with promises I promise Ill be there to see you today! I promise Ill have it done by the morning. I promise Ill be there in five! But the problem is that when someone says be there in five we automatically assume they are fifteen minutes away and are giving a socially acceptable response. Be a douche, say what you mean, and youll earn respect (or fear).

#7. Badasses always have something new going on

Boredom is boring as fuck. That was even fucking repetitive saying that sentence. A badass is always in search of the newest challenge (woman), proving ground (whos the bigger douche), or fresh adrenaline-injecting circumstance (motorcycles/bungee jumping/cocaine). Growth and drive for continual improvement is also one of those inherent traits of people who excel. Its like comparing the natural sports kid, versus the one who is training hard to make the high school team. Talent aint got shit on smart, hard work. The incessant desire to be the alpha male or king douche in search of a new challenge is the killer mindset you want to harness and cultivate. Growth + time & application = success.

#8. A badass always has a master plan but never reveals it


Tell the world what you intend to do but first show it -Napoleon Hill, in Think and Grow Rich The outlaw in movies is always a little bit vague. Not only because hes a bad guy who is usually engaged in illegal activities, but mostly because thats part of his character. The bad guy always gets the things done he has to even if it results in his death.

And he never talks his stuff up on the way. People ask, and he gives a vague response. Derek Silvers gave a talk on TED called Keep Your Goals to Yourself. He cited studies showing that when people share their goals with others, it psychologically elicits feelings of satisfaction and makes us less likely to follow through. Talk is cheap. Shut your mouth, be a badass, and be deliberately vague when talking about your goals. Once youve reached that point people will suddenly freak out: What?! Since when were you working on this? How??? Instant respect.

#9. Badasses have killer confidence


I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. -Alexander the Great When you stare at that guy you dont want to fuck with, his eyes automatically say: the fuck do you want? So you look away. What do you want? Confidence is the prime attribute of the cool, calm & collected killer. But there are so many other attributes that overshadow the confidence (the whole art of badassery) that you dont notice.

Beneath it all, the badass is just one solid motherfucker more confident than a lion. He talks slower, looks slower, and reacts slower because, after all, theres no rush. Whos going to mess with him anyway? He owns the whole damn world. Confidence can single handedly undermine all your efforts towards success if you lack it. And ultimately, the badass is not the guy who can beat up the bullies or defend his girlfriend, but the one so unrationally calm that people are afraid of him. He stops fights before they start and not because hes a wise man or pacifist. Its because no one fucks with the lead of the pack. And he knows that too. Confidence turns you into the Lion. So go be one.
Audi R8 by 29 or Bust: Success for 20 Somethings
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 7 CO MMENTS

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.

Dale Carnegie My friend and I have a running game every time we see each other and talk about the projects were working on, we say the goal is owning an Audi R8 by 29. Of course, an Audi R8 is just a material measure of success, not sanity, and unless youre multi-millionaire or have another car, its pretty impractical. But joking about having our Audi R8s made me think: what the hell do I actually want? What would I consider to be a successful life for me? I mean, our concepts of success vary. A lot. It varies based on how good you think you are, what you think you deserve, what youve been given, what you think youve been given, and a ton of other factors. The irony of lost 20 somethings is that despite having way more time than most people we rarely spend time thinking about what we want out of life or whatwe would define as being successful. We let others do the thinking: Go get a high paying, safe job Travel the world while youre young, because its work from here on out Now that you got your pay raise you can one-up the Joneses by having a newer BMW Dunno about you. But thats a pretty surefire way for me to be fucking miserable every day.

Why would you play by someone elses rules? Playing by someone elses rules means you have zero flexibility.

Playing by someone elses rules means they define failure, and they define success. When you accept societys rules you accept its game: failure means you dont have a lot to show for your time, success means you have a lot to show. Its all downhill from there. Today I challenge you to actually sit down, forget the expectations and definitions given by your parents / family / friends / society, and decide what you think is a successful life.

Youll Never be Successful Until You Define Success Or Let it Go


Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be -George Sheehan So have you actually thought about what would define success to you? Like most others, I bet you dont really know what you want from life. Youve never thought about it. And like others, you joke about a million dollars, an Audi R8, and living in Barcelona drinking wine because they are convenient responses, funny, and a way to relieve the stress of actually thinking about what you want. They are socially acceptable responses, and just like most other conventional wisdom, lack depth or real consideration. But what do you actually want? Do you want to be really rich? Does money not matter so much? Do you want to own a company? Do you want to work for yourself? Do you want to live in the city? In the

country? In a foreign country? Speak 1 language? Speak 5? Marry someone from your own country? Marry a foreigner? Become a doctor? A pro athlete? You need a vision of where youd like to be, with an idea of what you want to do. Specifics are unimportant; just get an idea of what would be a cool position to be in in the near future. From Killing Your Old Life and Living the Dream So many people never realize that they arent happy or successful because they dont know what they want. They just assume its because their boss is a dick. Or because they dont have enough money. Or because life is a cruel bitch that screws them over every chance she gets. They never sit down and think: What is my definition of success? There are a couple steps you should take that will immensely help define your ideal successful life.

#1 Defining Anti-Success The Not to Do List


In the manifesto I wrote a couple ways of figuring your definition of success. The easiest way? Figure out exactly what you dont want.

Lets face it, your definition of success probably revolves around not doing shit you hate as much as doing stuff you love. Theres no worse feeling than your day to day life revolving around shit you hate hating every facet of your day. Going to work, work, coming home from work, the time wasting after work, the pointless-ness of the

same stuff over and over again on the weekends. The chronic time delaying and wasting. The Not-To-Do-List: But as a society we are pretty focused on the addition of things: finding happiness, adding value, and acquiring benefits. In reality, the very act of subtraction is much, much more valuable. Why? #1 Subtraction leaves fewer options (analysis paralysis anyone?), and thus facilitates decision making #2 Sometimes you dont actually want more, you just want an alteration of the current situation. Bad job ==> Good job. Meaningless life ==> Meaningful life. Determine for yourself the things you never want to do again and it will be much easier to determine which stuff you do want to do again. If you know what you want from life, youre already further down the path to success, greatness, and fulfillment than most people. What things do you never want to see again in your ideal life? Working 60 hours a week on projects you dont care about? Vacations only when the boss says so? Reliance on living in one, fixed location on earth?

#2 Defining Utopia Audi R8s & Unlimited Chocolate Chip Cookies


So what about the other side of the spectrum? What stuff sounds awesome to you: and be unrealistic here.

Its boring if you say well, Id like to go to some parties, maybe an exclusive one occasionally, and Ill have a safe car thats reliable, and Ill hike my work hours down from 60 to 40, and Ill have a cute little apartment, and ill go to Thailand once every couple years. Dream bigger, dream much more unrealistically. Not only are easily attainable goals worthless because they dont push you, theyre boring. And I assume you want to create a fucking epic life. So what does your ideal life entail? What is success for you? Society is filled with people that have myriad definitions of success: An Audi R8 A million dollars A big house A trophy wife Waking up excited & day to day enjoyment Vacation time Time spent with friends and family Low stress General free time And many others But the unfortunate thing is that not all of these definitions of success contain the same underlying principles. Some are based on intangibles like time and happiness. Others are based on tangibles like money or possessions. Some are based on things you can acquire more of like items; some are based on things you can never get back like time.

How do you define your success? Is success for you more of something? (Time/Vacation/Money) Or less or something? (Stress/Annoying Coworkers/Time working) That is something youre going to have to answer for yourself, and again, it goes back to the importance of knowing exactly what you want and having measures for achievement. If Im making $60,000 a year but with no goal other than having a job because Im supposed to, where do I invest that money? Probably into time & money wasting, because it has no direction. Youll be like most people: buy a new car, new TV, drop a load of money at bars and clubs, buy more stuff, make your main goal at work earning more money, or working up the ranks and then repeat the rat race cycle. And you are getting no closer to any goal or any form of enjoyment. Its just mindless misdirected work.

#3 The Art of the Micro Adventure (Doing something)


Theres one other reason why doing the unrealistic really isnt unrealistic at all. Its only realistic for 99% of people, but youre not the 99%. Youre the 1%, because you realize that if you say youre going to build a company that will fund your dream ofunlimited chocolate chip cookies, youre going to have the stones to sit down and work on it, every fucking day. Dreams are unrealistic to most people because they casually say they want a million dollars and go right back to watching tv. No stones.

Our culture is obsessed with passive watching and playing not creating and doing. There is a third suggestion to have a hell of a good time and still be successful if you have no idea what sounds ideal to you: Go on a journey / adventure / mini retirement (a la Tim Ferriss) If you really have no friggin idea what to do, no goals you want to achieve, and have no idea what the next step is (but want to take a step), do something like the following: Travel for some reason other than traveling (E.g. I moved to china to study martial arts, learn chinese and travel) Spend 30 days learning something new (Check out this TED talk) Go on an impromptu mini-retirement, aka book a flight somewhere last minute. A while back I wrote about how its way cheaper to travel than even pay your apartment rent & gas. You can read more about a money-saving mini-retirement over at JD Roths Get rich slowly, where he had an interview with Tim Ferris. But there is one important decision that you have to make:

The decision to make a decision. Just do something. Your ambition needs to match your focus. Dont dream about Audi R8s or unlimited chocolate chip cookies if you arent ready to bust your ass to make it a reality.

Option #2, Let it Go: Freestyling Your Destiny


It is your work that is the ultimate seduction. -Picasso Not everyone functions better under the model of goal setting, artists for example describe how much more painful and labored their art is when there are goals, restrictions, and deadlines when they are doing a commissioned work of art. There is a third option, if you can thrive under chaos, get shit done, and you already know what your work is: Freestyle your destiny. This is for the artsy-type, extremely focused anti-goal setter. The person who seems to work worse under pressure with goals, deadlines, and restrictions, and instead wants to play things by ear. The person who sees chaos and time as opportunities to get obsessed with the work they are doing, jump in and disappear in their work for days on end in a state of flow You just need to ask yourself honestly if you can thrive without direction, goals, and in chaos and if you already have found your obsession. -

Being Lost in the 21 Century


When I got my first job out of college, I thought like most other young people get your job, get a place, work your way up the ranks, make more money, take your 2 weeks vacation leave and so on.

In other words, I had no goals. Working was pointless, because I was only working because I should be working. There was nothing I wanted to spend my money on because I was just spinning my wheels. The moment I realized that there was a lot of shit I wanted to do in my lifewas the best moment of my life. Suddenly, after work I invested my time and money into projects that gave me purpose and helped me feel unlost. After a year at that job I decided to move to China and clarify more specifically what the hell I actually wanted. Ive come to the conclusion that this singular question is one of the most important questions for 20 somethings (or anyone) to ask themselves: What the hell do you define as successful?
With These Personality Flaws Its Hard to Succeed Doing Anything
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 0 COMMENTS

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. -Oscar Wilde Life always giving you a hard

time?

People always picking on you? Dealing with dumb people all the time? Pissed off about something, anything? Frustrated so much you want to rip out your hair? Then this post is especially for you.

Hold Up Me? Personality Flaws? Couldnt be


Yeah, hate to break it you. This post is going to be extremely important for several reasons, because I believe: That you can only be a good business leader if you are a well-cultivated individual That you can only live a maximally efficient, enjoyable and stress-free life if you are self-aware That the clearest way to enjoy traveling and people is to have a strong sense of self, and thus not get offended or overwhelmed easily when experiencing adversity People turn to all sorts of things: religion, spirituality, alcohol, drugs, social groups, the internet, counseling trying to solve their problems, when, in fact, they dont know the cause. Im going to give you some insight into the main personality flaws Ive discovered we share as humanity. They are the root cause of our unhappiness and the same ridiculous dramas we experience over and over.

The cause is the same sad sob story you tell yourself, day in, day out
Do any of these sound familiar? (Think about your 5 closest friends)

1. The Chronic Complainer

It doesnt matter what the circumstances are, the place or time. This person is always complaining about something. The coffee is too hot, the traffic too bad, the guy who looked at you wrong, life being unfair. Prone to being anxious and frustrated.

2. The World is Against Me

Everyone is picking on me. All the teachers hate me. My friends always think im the source of the problems. Prone to beer tears and low self-esteem.

3. The Tough Guy/Girl

Trying to fight everyone (in their head) all the time. Prone to verbal/physical aggression. Some guy spills your coffee: I shouldve taken his ass out back and pummeled him. Someone looks at you a little too long from their car window: What the **** is that guys problem? Goddamn people these days, no manners! Someone talks a little too much about something private of yours: That bitch said what? Oh shes gonna get it.. Note: Often found in males below 5 8, also known as Napoleon Syndrome.

4. The Upstream Swimmer

Always trying to be different from the crowd, just for the sake of being different. Life is always a struggle because no matter what someone says (with however much truth to it) they are always arguing, or will never agree. Prone to frustration and stubbornness.

5. The Proselytizer (Aka Know-it-all)

It doesnt matter how new or esoteric the knowledge youll be sharing with a proselytizer. They always already know it somehow. Also, as soon as they know it they want to share it, usually in this form: Know it all: Have you heard about the new < insert useless bragging comment >? Friend: No Know it all: OMG Are you serious? Friend: I just told you no, I havent heard it, can you tell me already? Know it all: (Getting off from realizing the friend hasnt heard of this new bit) Well theres this.. Prone to wondering why everyone hates them, cattiness, knowing everything, and being a bitch in general.

6. Little Miss Critical

Were all probably the 6th personally here. Its that person who is always pointing out the flaws in others. He always is blaming others for his problems She always shows up late and makes up dumb excuses He is always bitching about something.. Prone to knowing very little about him/herself. Also prone to utter disbelief when you criticize him about something.

The problem is within, dont look without.


So how do I find out if Im in possession of one of these bad boys? The best way, and the answer you wont want to hear, is this: ask your friends to be brutally honest.

I can guarantee your friends will know, because whether or not you like it, friends complain about you behind your back. Always.

And in all likelihood you are the cause of your own problems
I dont truthfully know where these personality patterns come from, but Im inclined to believe they are developed throughout childhood, and if you arent made aware of them, they continue to put you in similar life circumstances throughout life. Thats the reason why your friend always gets into a relationship with the same kind of guys that treat them like shit. Thats the reason why when you go to a family gathering, its always the same arguments. Thats the reason why youre always < pissed off / sad / anxious / frustrated / etc. >

This will be the greatest gift of your life self awareness


We all contain multitudes, and certain aspects of those personality flaws within us. Its just a matter of slowly learning to perceive them. Next time you:

Get defensive about something ask yourself if there may be a grain of truth in those words.

More often than not, youll be shocked to realize there is -

And your mind will be blown.


Why the Ambitious Are the Least Likely to be Successful
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 3 CO MMENTS

Ambition is a mental illness. It will not make you any more successful than anyone else. And it definitely will not make you any happier. For many years, I was that typical ambitious type. You know, I started stuff. I got good grades. I didnt waste my time. I wanted to change the world. I hustled my way through high school and college, got pretty good grades, and then entered the real world to realize that ambition is poison. And the sad truth is that being ambitious makes you no more likely to be successful than anyone else. After college I started working on more and more projects on my own. I was going for the whole self employment thing, I was busting my ass, I was sacrificing friends and playtime like ambitious people were supposed to do right?

Except that after a year I was totally miserable, and unfortunately for my ambitious self, didnt really achieve too much. And thats when I stumbled upon a couple important revelations.

The more you focus on success the harder it is to be successful


A major focus of this blog, Milk the Pigeon, is success and how to get there. Thats inevitable. Its an obsession of mine and not really a choice I couldnt remove this quality from myself if I wanted. The problem Ive realized, after reading just about every success book out there, is that success is just like happiness you cant read books on success and expect to get closer. Yes.. re-read that.. focusing on success will not get you ANY closer. And in fact, itll probably make you miserable because youre focusing on the wrong thing. Do the athletes that make it to the olympics focus on winning their olympic matches every time they train? Do they focus on winning? You want me to be honest? I doubt it. Pro athletes focus on improving themselves over and over and over, on getting better and better. They focus on breaking personal goals over and over again they focus on pushing and improving day after day. They focus on turning that 4:30 mile into a 4:27 mile. Side effect? They get better. Side effect? Beating the opponent in a race. Side effect? Winning the olympics.

Success is a side effect. Its a side effect of many things invested in, over time.

The deceptive 4 qualities that will get you further than most, while making you more successful and much happier:
#1 If you like stripping, drop out of school and become a stripper (intrinsic interests) I dont know how western society got this one wrong. But most of us have this idea that success or high achievement takes more work, it takes effort, it takes struggle, it takes discomfort. But a lot of the people I talk to that are really good at their craft dont talk about struggle, or pain, or agony. Work, yes. But not struggle. Theres not really much of an internal feeling that they want to avoid the work. Its not easy, and it can get frustrating and tedious, but again theres no intuitive pulling away feeling. When I was young, I used to take Judo with a lot of my friends. One of my buddies really really loved the class. I loved it too, but part of my love was the love of getting good at stuff. I would train every day because I wanted to get good and I liked seeing improvement; I also liked the attention I got from the instructor who noticed how quickly I improved. After less than a year I was better than 95% of the students in the entire gym. I thought it was pretty pathetic that guys who had been training for 6 years werent as good as I was, since I had been there for maybe 8 or 9 months. I kind of frowned down on them, thinking that they were lazy or not committed since they werent interested in training every day.

As it turns out, at about the year, year and six month mark, I ended up losing interest. It was boring and I was onto better things. I wasnt enjoying the process anymore and I wasnt enjoying the daily training on my own. And as for my buddy despite many on/off periods, 10 years later he is still training and is a pretty damn good fighter. His fire was never quite as strong as mine because his emphasis wasnt on getting good. He just did it because he enjoyed it. If he didnt want to train for a week, he wouldnt. As it turns out, I later learned that people that have fun and enjoy the process of what theyre doing outperform externally motivated people in the long-run, by far. Intrinsically motivated people usually achieve more than their reward-seeking counterparts. Alas, thats not always true in the short term. An intense focus on extrinsic rewards can indeed deliver fast results. The trouble is, this approach is difficult to sustain. And it doesnt assist in mastery which is the source of achievement over the long haul. The most successful people, the evidence shows,often arent directly pursuing conventional notions of success. Theyre working hard and persisting through difficulties because their internal desire to control their lives, learn about their world, and accomplish something that endures. -Daniel Pink in Drive #2 Play on playa playa (the emphasis on play and flow) One of the next biggest problems with focusing on ambition and success is that most of us forget to play.

When the deadline gets closer, we lock ourselves in the dungeon and work harder. When the stress increases we isolate ourselves further. Because the solution is alwayswork more or work harder. The problem is that both of those are total bullshit. Theyre lies weve been fed because we think theres some insane kind of direct correlation like this: more work + harder worker = more success. Except its not true. There are a couple key qualities about play that will make you way more successful (not to mention happier) than those who over-emphasize work (especially when its forced): A. Play means youre probably doing something you enjoy, and chances are youll stick with it if you enjoy it. If you are enjoying it, chances are youll outlast people who do not enjoy it, no matter how much fame, money, or recognition is at the end of the rainbow. = Longevity B. Play takes care of your mental health. I cant even tell you how many things I have gotten into and have gotten extremely good at in a short time (comparatively speaking), but have felt anxious and stressed 24/7. Most of the hobbies or activities I take up that I get good at I quit because the overwhelming pressure I put on myself to get good outweighs the enjoyment. When you play you ensure that sanity comes first. Youd be surprised, sanity is pretty important. It always surprises and disappoints me when I see what a high percentage of successful people are divorced, unhappy, and overweight. They obviously arent doing it right theyve just decided to work more. Play = Long-term sanity and health

C. Play gets you into flow easier. Tell me how many things you have truly not enjoyed that youve stuck with 1,3,5 years down the line. Tell me, are you mind-blowingly good at the job you cant stand? Are you insanely motivated to show up every day to work and get better? What about your hobbies and the stuff you do in your free time? For those of you who love training in some sport, going to the gym, blogging, reading, etc. Does anyone have to twist your arm to get you to go? No, right? And thats the essence behind play - its easy to do forever as long as it feels like play. The exact opposite is true when you are overly focused on getting stuff done. There is no reason to believe any longer that only irrelevant play can be enjoyed, while the serious business of life must be borne as a burdensome cross. Once we realize that the boundaries between work and play are artificial, we can take matters in hand and begin the difficult task of making life more livable. - Csikszentmihalyi #3 Intuition (it aint just for women) The ambitious are also much less likely to follow their gut and go with their intuition. I think that is for a number of reasons: were told to force things and work hard, were too focused on getting shit done than on being patient , receptive, and observant, and that were way too concerned with efficiency and maximal use of time. Were too myopic in our view of reality and much too focused on success now, as soon as possible, and less likely to quiet down and see what our gut says.

The problem with this insane emphasis on efficiency and productivity is that it just doesnt benefit you. Really, read 53 books in a year? If they really are extremely useful books with a lot to digest, how the hell can you honestly apply even a small percentage of that book, let alone in a week? If youre a business person the answer should be obvious: theres no way in hell! Really? Put your iPod on 2x speed so you can listen to twice as many podcasts? Really? Skip the gym so you can get more work done? Wake up people.. none of this shit benefits you in the long-term. And it doesnt even make you any more successful! Your gut will tell you which people to trust, which ones to work with, which businesses to pursue and commit to, what you enjoy, what you hate, where to live, and what work not to commit to. But when you invest all your time into stuffing in massive amounts of information in your head and trying to maximize your use of every 36 seconds, you dont have a moment to sit down and say: Hold up, which one of these projects deep down do I want to pursue? Many ambitious people are inherently distrusting of themselves and often other people, thinking They can do it all themselves and that by sheer work and willpower it all can be achieved. Wake up kids.. thats not at all how it works.

Your gut will get you further than your intellect but you have to stop the over emphasis on more books, more work, more stuff, more experience. When youre tired, sleep, when youre frustrated, stop and play, when youre inspired, write longer than the 40 minute period you have allotted for yourself as maximally efficient.

The curse of the ambitious


I call this the chronically ambitious and chronically unhappy syndrome. Weve been told before to enjoy the process, or to go with our gut, or to find something we enjoy. I know you have heard this before. But if theres just one personal that listens to me, one ambitious person who is making themselves fucking miserable trying to be successful, listen to these last few words: Work more needs to be replaced with do something that doesnt bore you. Interest gets you infinitely farther than any forced work. Work harder should be go with your gut. Shortcuts exist. Struggle, hustle, and persevere need to be exchanged with play more at work. Ambition is a mental illness that saps excitement and happiness from life, and leaves a person wondering where the time went.

Ambition is poison that shifts your mind from thinking about having fun right now to having fun some day over the rainbow once I get shit done. Well guess what? Once you put yourself in the hamster wheel of Ill relax once I get shit done youre like a crackfiend who is gonna quit once they take one more hit. Kill ambition. Youll live longer, be happier, and will ultimately be successful. And one day, someone will ask, So whats the secret to your success? And youll respond, I didnt know there was one.
The Scourge of the 20 Something: Complacent friends.
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 5 CO MMENTS

Do your friends suck? And by sucking, I mean that give you no fuel to better yourself and improve your situation?

The majority of 20 somethings I see are unfortunately suffering from the same set of similar circumstances: bouncing around from jobs they mostly hate (6 month to 3 year intervals, depending on money and tolerance), drinking themselves retarded on friday to de-stress (Crucial), and not really planning many changes in the future to better their situation. And the problem is that the ones who are trying to better their situation are being constantly dragged down by their friends who usually arent. So, I wanna be my own boss thoughts usually get uhh.. you know how hard that is? responses. Im gonna quit my job to travel around the world usually meets the what about your job? response. And I wanna run a sweet company of my own usually meets the blank stare response. A while back we were talking about the pain of people close to you doubting you instead of supporting you in your quest for world-changing. But I noticed a particular trend the other day I noticed that firing your friends may be the single best thing you can do in your quest to live a meaningful life. Just think for a second about the psychic energy it takes to constantly fight 3, 4 or 5 of your closest friends that dont understand what youre doing (at best), or disagree with what youre doing (at worst). Think about how much time it takes to fight that and try to convince them otherwise, versus just happily do your thing with people supporting you.

Seriously, ponder that. Incase you arent sure whether or not your friends are keeping you stuck, check out the following 7 criteria below:

7 signs your friends suck and are keeping you stuck in the rat race
Ive noticed this trend that your friends determine how high you can go. Friends are sometimes what puts the ceiling above you, not your circumstances. #1 The past 3 years of their life they have been on the same page Successful or not, doesnt matter. If nothing has changed in their life, theyre stuck. They wont be helping you get unstuck. This is also known as complacency aka not going anywhere different soon. They got the stable job. They got their apartment. Sweet. Existing comfortably. Video games or drinking after work. * 3 years later * Stable job. Apartment. Existing Comfortably. Sweet. Video games or drinking after work. For real, if your friends at age 28 have been doing the same exact thing since age 22 when they graduate college, theyre probably not going anywhere soon. The next most exciting thing thats going to happen is when they get married. And then its back to more ordinary existing. I cant imagine that people find that very exciting, but hey, to each their own. In any case, friends that are stuck

deep, deep in the rat race will not inspire or motivate you to break free. Fact. #2 Theyre without-a-doubt average joes Closely linked with #1: complacency. If your friends make no effort to change, no effort to do new, exciting things, no effort to make their relationships work, no effort to change, no effort to improve their situation that probably wont change anytime soon. Im tempted to say avoid deadbeats but the problem is that there are successful deadbeats in my opinion. The lifestyle that so many people in NYC live to me is a deadbeat life. Working insane hours, just to pay for a posh apartment, with very little month-to-month variety in what they do, where they party, and what they eat. If you are really set on not being a slave to money for the rest of your existence, no matter how successful your friends are, fire your friends that arent into change, variety, and growth. Decide for yourself to totally shit on the ordinary existence you once had. #3 They choose careers over love This is an interesting one. When youre in college, people dont usually say that at some point you may have to choose between a solid relationship and going somewhere because of your dream job. I could write out a whole list of stereotypes about people who choose careers over love. And again, I could reference upper west side people in New York city..

But in a nutshell it comes to this: successful career people are successful hamsters. They work damn hard, no doubt, but theyre focused on getting higher up in the system, higher up in the rat race, and deeper into the carrot / stick game. My assumption is that like a lot of entrepreneurs, youre trying to quit being a hamster. Even if you win the rat race, youre still a rat, right? Rat race = having a job, just to pay the bills, just to exist in a place, to buy stuff, and then earning money to buy that stuff, and so on. If your friends are focused on working up the corporate ladder theyve bought big time into an illusion that is keeping them stuck. Its like the ultimate mind game you trick people into thinking theyre working for what they want, but they cant see that theyre still playing someone elses game. What im saying here about people choosing careers over love is that so many of the career people are heavily invested in the system. They love the system, they thrive at the competitiveness of working their way up. And they also rarely think about if thats what they really want. You dont want them on your team if you dream does not involve the rat race. #4 They settle You know people who constantly settle for less than what they should?

Like when you go into a convenience store and the cashier accidentally gets your change wrong, shortchanging you by $5. People that settle just shrug ehh whatever and then let the cashier keep the change. Why? what the hell is going on? Having formerly been a settle-er and now being an asshole (also known as non-settle-er), I can tell you that most of it is due to fear, lack of fight, and laziness. None of those are desirable qualities. If your friends settle and have no fight in them, fire them. If one of your buddies decides to stay with one girl even though shes not his type, because eh, shes good enough, even though he knows of another girl but he is too afraid to approach her ditch.. his.. ass. Or help him get the girl. #5 They love stuff (rather than using the money to learn something new, travel, or invest into building relationships) For some reason, people with money can find themselves as stuck as people without money. For example, your friend who is a bum and moved in with his parents to play video games. Stuck, no desire to change. Theres also your friend who makes 50 or 60k a year, has a pretty cool apartment, and comes home to watch tv or play video games. The irony is that theyre both stuck in almost the exact same situation, except one is just paying the bills. One is lazy or has issues. The other one is simply stuck in the consume-purchase cycle. They get the post-college job. They get the new place. They get the new car. Then they start getting the new

stuff. And on and on it goes until they get married. Rinse, and repeat. They are totally stuck and a slave to their possessions. Whatever it is youre trying to do, assume its not college==>job==>marriage==>babies==>death, if your friends are obviously deep (making $31k and leasing a new 30k mustang over 36 months deep) in the consume-purchase cycle, they wont be helping you transcend this anytime soon. #6 Theyre Too busy To do the stuff they love. Were all busy. For the 20 something its busting your ass to pay the bills. Its making only $10 or $15 an hour and then getting stuck paying for your apartment (which is essentially paying just to exist on one piece of earth), with little left over for yourself. When most people say theyre too busy in reality what theyre giving into is learned helplessness. Read this. At some point, many people realize its easier just to lower their expectations and exist, rather than find new creative ways to drive themselves toward who they want to be. So instead of coming home at 6:30 from work, cooking a healthy dinner for oneself, hitting the gym, and then doing something they really enjoy, many of us come home from work, go out to eat, and promptly flop onto the couch. 3 years later, not much has changed. Were they really busy? from 7 11 busy time was generic time wasting. Theres nothing wrong with tv or video games or time wasting overall, but the point Im trying to get at is that

if your friends have a lot they want to change about their lives, and they arent putting those outside-work hours to good use, when the hell are they planning on changing their circumstances? #7 Theyve made it I recently had a conversation with a family friend (a friend of my parents), and we were talking about her daughter a few years younger than me. Shes in her second year out of college and working at job that she mostly detests but pays good money. Shes doing it, shes made it. Her mom told me, subtly poking at the fact that I moved back in with my parents. To me, that was one of the scariest statements Ive ever heard. To her, making it was getting a job that paid you well (no matter the other factors), living in your own place (financial independence), and then getting married and having kids. Wait. So this whole grand build up in life, everything Ive worked for my entire life, just is to exist on some plot of earth and raise more kids to just exist on a plot of earth? Youve gotta be fucking kidding me.. I was polite though. I said Yeah, hmm, shes doing a great job and then proceeded to thoroughly ponder this. Do most people really think thats making it? For real?

The power of friends sometimes scares the shit out of me

You know, the power they have over our success and quality of life, whether or not you want to admit it. This isnt really a good ol fashioned avoid deadbeats conversation that your mom probably gave you when she first caught you smoking weed. Its a real, honest wake up call to some of us who may or may not realize that our friends are totally preventing us from getting to where we want to be. Im not even talking 6 figure salaries.. Im just talking living a quality of life that could be termed meaningful and Worthwhile. And Im not talking about friends that disagree with what you do. Im simply saying that if all your friends are living one kind of life, its easier to forget that theres another way. And sometimes what all your friends have is not what you want. Incase you have no bloody clue what you want.. its time to get pondering. So read this: Success for 20 somethings. And then fire your friends keeping you stuck.

The End of Ordinary and the Birth of the Extraordinary


by ALEXANDER HEYNE 2 CO MMENTS

Ordinary just doesnt cut it anymore. Well, it never did really. You dont have to take my word for it though look anywhere around you. Theres a lot of people on the planet, all of which youre cooperating or competing with for something. For a job, for a mate, for success just clocking in and clocking out arent worth much anymore. Just showing up doesnt get you much these days. Doing whats expected is worth less than nothing. And people will tell you a lot of things like go back to school and get more educationor work your way up the ranks or diversify yourself.

But in reality you dont need to be told anything, you only need to ask yourself one question: Is my life the things I do remarkable? If resumes were to just disappear one day, never to exist again, and we merely told people our accomplishments in order to get a job what would you have to say? What have I done with my time? And most importantly: Is what I have done with my time extraordinary? ####

Milk it, chew on it, roll it around. Being extraordinary isnt about ego or comparison, its not one global pissing contest to see who can build the next successful Zappos. Using your time extraordinarily entails persistence, consistency, focus, purpose, passion and results towards some collective purpose or mission its everything in one package. If you arent currently building something that will one day become extraordinary, you should be. Start now. Seriously. Immediately.

With every minute of every day you choose to be ordinary or extraordinary.


OP-ED COLUMNIST

Average Is Over
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Published: January 24, 2012 508 Comments

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In an essay, entitled Making It in America, in the latest issue of The Atlantic, the author Adam Davidson relates a joke from cotton country about just how much a modern textile mill has been automated: The average mill has only two employees today, a man and a dog. The man is there to feed the dog, and the dog is there to keep the man away from the machines.

Josh Haner/The New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman

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Davidsons article is one of a number of pieces that have recently appeared making the point that the reason we have such stubbornly high unemployment and sagging middle-class incomes today is largely because of the big drop in demand because of the Great Recession, but it is also because of the quantum advances in both globalization and the information technology revolution, which are more rapidly than ever replacing labor with machines or foreign workers. In the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle. But, today, average is officially over. Being average just wont earn you what it used to. It cant when so many more employers have so much more access to so much more above average cheap foreign labor, cheap robotics, cheap software, cheap automation and cheap genius. Therefore, everyone needs to find their extra their unique value contribution that makes them stand out in whatever is their field of employment. Average is over. Yes, new technology has been eating jobs forever, and always will. As they say, if horses could have voted, there never would have been cars. But theres been an acceleration. As Davidson notes, In the 10 years ending in 2009, [U.S.] factories shed workers so fast that they erased almost all the gains of the previous 70 years; roughly one out of every three manufacturing jobs about 6 million in total disappeared. And you aint seen nothin yet. Last April, Annie Lowrey of Slate wrote about a start-up called E la Carte that is out to shrink the need for waiters and waitresses: The company has produced a kind of souped-up iPad that lets you order and pay right at your table. The brainchild of a bunch of M.I.T. engineers, the nifty invention, known as the Presto, might be found at a restaurant near you soon. ... You select what you want to eat and add items to a cart. Depending on the restaurants preferences, the console could show you nutritional information, ingredients lists and photographs. You can make special requests, like dressing on

the side or quintuple bacon. When youre done, the order zings over to the kitchen, and the Presto tells you how long it will take for your items to come out. ... Bored with your companions? Play games on the machine. When youre through with your meal, you pay on the console, splitting the bill item by item if you wish and paying however you want. And you can have your receipt e-mailed to you. ... Each console goes for $100 per month. If a restaurant serves meals eight hours a day, seven days a week, it works out to 42 cents per hour per table making the Presto cheaper than even the very cheapest waiter. What the iPad wont do in an above average way a Chinese worker will. Consider this paragraph from Sundays terrific article in The Times by Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher about why Apple does so much of its manufacturing in China: Apple had redesigned the iPhones screen at the last minute, forcing an assemblyline overhaul. New screens began arriving at the [Chinese] plant near midnight. A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the companys dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day. The speed and flexibility is breathtaking, the executive said. Theres no American plant that can match that. And automation is not just coming to manufacturing, explains Curtis Carlson, the chief executive of SRI International, a Silicon Valley idea lab that invented the Apple iPhone program known as Siri, the digital personal assistant. Siri is the beginning of a huge transformation in how we interact with banks, insurance companies, retail stores, health care providers, information retrieval services and product services. There will always be change new jobs, new products, new services. But the one thing we know for sure is that with each advance in globalization and the I.T. revolution, the best jobs will require workers to have more and better education to make themselves above average. Here are the latest unemployment rates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for Americans over 25 years old: those with less than a high school degree, 13.8 percent; those with a high school degree and no college, 8.7 percent; those with some college or associate degree, 7.7 percent; and those with bachelors degree or higher, 4.1 percent. In a world where average is officially over, there are many things we need to do to buttress employment, but nothing would be more important than passing some kind of G.I. Bill for the 21st century that ensures that every American has access to post-high school education.

Are You a First-Time Entrepreneur That Sucks at Starting Something?


by ALEXANDER HEYNE 3 CO MMENTS

Tell me how familiar this situation is. Yeeeeee I cant wait to start my own business, quit my 9 to 5, and tell the man to suck it! Im gonna be driving my R8, taking vacations 5x a year, and living wherever I want. And then despite the fact that you actively were working hard and trying to figure out what your business would be , over a year later you are no closer. Right? Ive been there. In fact, I daresay Im on the tail end of my being there. And its shitty. You think youre doing work, but youre not. You think youre getting closer to having your own business, but you arent. Six months pass and you think What the fuck have I been doing. I know Ive been doing work but it cant be! I was inspired by a Friend Frank Hajdus post over at Post masculine: The First-Time Entrepreneur. His experience closely mirrors my own. Guy gets idea to be self employed. Guy starts researching self employment. Guy reads success books.

Guy reads a lot more. Guy listens to podcasts all day. Guy listens to podcasts on 2x speed thinking he can acquire as much vital knowledge in 1/2 the time. Guy realizes over a year has passed and he has nothing physical to show for the past year. Guy has a mental breakdown. Guy realizes its time to start over, not because what he was doing didnt work, but because what he was doing wasnt actually work.

Symptoms of sucking at launching things


You know youve acquired too much intellectual information without actually doing anything when: People ask what your business is, because you seem so knowledgable (but you dont have a business) You start reading the same information over and over You become an armchair expert you start critiquing businesses, saying Pfft that was so obvious, why didnt they see that? If, at any point, you start seeing these symptoms coming up, but you still dont have your own business going, diminishing returns have set in and hopefully youre seeing the signs that youre avoiding the real work that needs to be done.

The right pill to swallow


There are three main realizations I had while in the thick of this shitty, inactive phase. Despite putting in 3+ hours a day during this phase, there were a couple main revelations I had that I think revolutionized how I view life. Failure to launch is not

just an issue for entrepreneurs its a massive inertia change that plagues anyone starting anything new, ranging from dieters to businessmen. #1 The Lifeline rule Produce Every Time You Want to Consume A lot of talk has been made in recent years about low information diets, and for a good reason. There is information available for free on any subject that has ever existed in history. Using two fingers can teach you more about the world than even kings of past could dream of. But its also a curse. Show up to work at 8:30 and realize that its 10:30 and you havent actually done anything? Yep. Want to start a business, and set aside 3 hours a day to work on it. A year later, have nothing accomplished even though you spent those 3 hours doing something ? Totally possible. Plan on starting a diet regime, so you start by gathering information on the most effective workout routines, dos and donts of eating, and other diet information but a month later you havent actually set foot in a gym? Happens every day to thousands of new dieters. You lie to yourself. You deceive yourself. You think work is getting done. But as september passes, and October, you realize Christmas is here and you have nothing physical to show. No proof that you have done ANY WORK. Your business is no closer to making you money. Your waistline is not getting thinner. Do not do this!

I suspect this problem was less of an issue for our ancestors. Now, one could easily sit in front of a computer and learn the secrets of all the world without moving. And never actually do anything. So the first thing thats key is to consume as little information as possible. Close that damn website, turn off that podcast, and stop reading that 53rd business book. But heres the huge revelation: Every time you feel like consuming, use that as your trigger to produce. Shifting from a consumer mindset to a producer mindset totally revolutionized the way I see the world. This advice was originally given in M.J. Demarcos Book The Millionaire Fastlane. Whenever I feel like reading a blog or googling something, I instead open up mine and write for a little while. Whenever I feel like reading someones free report, I get to work writing another free report of my own. Whenever I want to read another business tips article, I sit my ass down and instead start producing results. The easiest way to have little to no information consumption ( and shift yourself from reading to taking action) is every time you want to read or consume in any way, focus on producing something. After you do this for a few weeks youll have successfully implanted a new trigger on your brain the desire for consumption (reading another business book) will be replaced with sitting down and producing something real and tangible.

Do not underestimate how powerful this is. This means that youre produce walk 90% of the time instead of just listening to more talk. #2 Resistance The second thing that happens to many of us is even when we know what we need to do (and we want to do it), were exhausted by the idea and we procrastinate. Even if deep down you know you want to start a business or need to start a diet, you know its the best/only right thing for you, and you love the idea of starting one, youll still probably encounter resistance to do anything on a daily basis. To paraphrase Steven Pressfield, in his book The War of Art, anytime we see a long, hard road ahead of us (even if its on a path doing something we love) we encounter massive resistance. Its easier to forgo long-term happiness and settle for happiness today. But easier is not what were after. This same exact resistance happens on a broadscale to people in a couple categories: Dieters, people about to make a massive life change (end a relationship, move across the world, or quit their job and start a business), and any else who knows they must do something for their own happiness/life enjoyment, but know it will be a long hard road. Guess what. Even if you know you were born to be an entrepreneur, youre still gonna find yourself wasting time and struggling to start. Even if your intuition knows you are on the right path that your heart wants, you will still need to struggle and fight! This was a tough thing for me to realize for a long time. I figured if I was on the right path, working would be natural and relatively easy.

Nope. Not at all. This single realization blew my mind. Even doing what you want, overall in the large sense of the phrase, entails doing a lot of little things that you dont want and feel resistance to. The restaurant owner may love owning a store, but may hate (read: feel resistance towards) actually doing the business aspects of owning a store. Getting the word out, doing the books, hiring and firing, learning about management, etc. You will have to fight. Even (and especially) when you do what you like. Fight resistance. Dont fight your gut. And thats one last big distinction that Ive learned. Not liking something and feeling resistance towards it are two totally different things. Not liking something means youll always feel resistance. Liking something and feeling resistance means you know you must do something, but you need to push through the short term pain to get to the next step. Resistance is something that is tough but you know it brings you closer to where you want to be. Hiking that damn mountain for the view up to. You want to. But its not easy. Not liking something means youre not going in the right direction and theres resistance. You didnt trust your gut. You arent getting closer to anything.

#3 Finding business ideas more useful than a poo-flavored lollipop The last, extremely common problem that I face(d) like a lot of other first timers is having no clue what kind of business to start. This one is tough and I hear about it time and time again. I made a big case against starting with your passion awhile back mostly because from a financial perspective its not a safe way to start a business, and from a time perspective it takes so long to figure out what you really like that it will be just another thing to paralyze your start.

So heres how to find an idea of what kind of business to start:


I have mentioned other ways to find business ideas in some of my other business posts,like this one here. #1 Previous life problems that you have solved for yourself A couple examples: My family friend was hospitalized with allergies to various foods, dyes, and allergens that she had no idea

about. After spending thousands of dollars on hospital bills (And another thousand hours educating herself), she became pretty well acquainted with food allergies and the nature of a hyopallergenic diet. Result? She opened her own allergy-sensitive food line that she plans to sell to a major food company. Another example: I have a long list of random health issues that have showed up. Despite the fact that I eat no sweets, and have a six pack from an insanely pure diet, I still manage to have all kinds of sport-related knee/back pain, digestive problems, asthma since childhood, and sleep issues. One of those problems I had my entire life was knee pain. As I got into working out more, my body was obviously not aligned properly and not used to that level of physical activity, and I started getting knee pain almost every day. Being the science nerd I am, I sat down and made up a document that included all my research into my knee pain. Less than 6 months after those tests, I was pain free, and have been knee pain free ever since . I dont even have one day with knee pain. Youll discover that problems that you have are, in fact, quite universal. Knee pain stems from inactive glutes from prolonged sitting, tight muscles around the pelvis, and inflexible ankle and hip joints. A very common problem these days. A perfect example for a business for me would be some kind of knee pain product or school, or one of those home delivery infomercials, a nicely packaged DVD package where you can home train yourself, or personal training just for people with knee issues. So health problems are one example.

Another is lifestyle problems e.g. working out, picking up girls, dating advice. These are all super high paying industries. Solving your own problem can be a powerful way to segway into a business that solves the problems of millions of others too. #2 If you still dont know, hang out in an industry you like and solve someone elses problem Solving problems is pretty much the most sure-fire way to make a winning business that pays you. Having said that, Im still a huge believer in doing something you enjoy. In the past year I started 2-3 things that I knew would pay me (they were profitable and in-demand niches) but after about two months of busting ass I realized I didnt give a shit. You dont want to do that. I cant imagine how unhappy I would have been at the one year mark. So if you dont have any problems youve personally solved, hang out in industries that you like. If youre into health and wellness hang out with (or become) a personal trainer, yoga instructor, massage therapist, etc. If youre into business and entrepreneurial stuff, join a meetup or start an entrepreneur group on meetup.com. Join Toastmasters, BNI, or just hang out with young people into getting shit done. You will quickly see problems in society that need solving. If youre into tech stuff, be a person that checks out new devices and rates them, go to conferences where people discuss and try out up and coming devices. Read negative reviews on amazon.

If youre into fashion, hang out with people into that kind of stuff! Go to fashion meetups, talk to people that own small local fashion places. Create your own stuff and wear it as free marketing. This is some advice that was not given to me, and I wish it was. For over a year I struggled to figure out what to start next. I ran through a bunch of great ideas and businesses that I didnt give a shit about, because they were industries I didnt give a shit about (like internet marketing). No one told me that if I didnt know what my passion was, I should just spend a lot of time in industries I do like. Problems are everywhere. Youll see one. And if youre already in a community you care about (health & wellness for me) youll probably be into solving the problem. Another personal example is that I was always a skinny kid. Over the course of years of personal testing, deliberate over-eating, and tons of weight lifting, Ive gotten close to finding out a somewhat consistent formula for helping skinny kids gain weight. Ive seen it all. Ive failed a hundred times. It has taken me years and years of doing things to try to get this right. Right now, im 30+ pounds heavier than my natural body weight. This is an example of a personal struggle and a hobby that solved my own problem and probably will solve the problem of millions of other guys that want to gain weight.

If you look on big blogs like Tim Ferriss & Mark Sisson, how to gain weight/muscle is one of the top 5 most viewed posts. Its a hugely popular niche. And I have a lot of experience solving this problem. Lots of our own business starts can be taken from personal struggles put in perspective. And theyre often infinitely more fun (even when its not fun) than solving a problem totally unrelated that you dont care about.

How I sucked at starting my own thing, and how not to suck


I call this rookie starter syndrome. Because it doesnt matter if youre a first time entrepreneur or a first time dieter. Its just more of a first-time thing because you dont realize it and it sneaks up on you. I spent over a year trying to find my passion and start a business I loved; I spent over a year getting millimeters from starting something that could have changed my life, but flaking out last minute; I spent over a year going bipolar on ideas thinking one was finally good enough and then two days later eh, not into it. This painful phase of bipolar excitement about starting things made me realize those two really important truths you read above: #1 Producing every time you want to consume will totally change your life. This is one of the most important truths about life I have learned for people in this information-rich era (Again, major gratitude to MJ Demarco).

#2 Even when you do things you love, sometimes you will still feel massive resistance to doing much of the work! Sometimes you like the overarching goal or theme (starting a business that provides me with freedom from 9 to 5, unlimited income potential, vacation when I want) but you dont like the many small daily battles (getting the word out, getting a site up, networking, meeting new clients, producing tons of content or testing) that you have to go through. Society has stacked the odds against us when we want to start something. Whether youre a dieter or an entrepreneur without a business, because of the nature of our modern world, starting is harder than ever. There is too much easily accessed information. There are too many success stories. There is too much to consume. Really, as one of the biggest revelations in my life, I want to say to you the first time entrepreneur, starting your own gig may mean suiting up for war every day. But the pain of the daily fight is much less than the pain of time passing and you realizing that you were too paralyzed to begin. Begin.
The Price of Being an Entrepreneur and World Changer
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 6 CO MMENTS

Lets face it. Youre tired of the existence youre living and you decided that its time to partake in the revolution. You decided that what youre living now is a lie, that its so exhausting and draining that youre formulating your strategic plan to evacuate. Except no ones got your back. Your parents dont say yeah, its time to stop living a life that sucks and embrace the unknown doing what you want. Instead of your friends saying Hell yeah that sounds like an epic journey, they give you that cockeyed look and go Really? Good luck with that Your closest friends and family, rather than choose to support you, view you as the misfit (and a misfit you are) of the family that is sort of figuring things out or being a wild child. You still hear the find the best paying, safest job talk from one parent. And you still hear the go back to

school and embrace higher education talk from another. And its right about that time at dinner that you roll your eyes, excuse yourself, and wonder if stabbing yourself in the face with your utensils might be more productive than the 400th broken record discussion with your parents.

Why your parents, friends and family dont understand you


Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Id hazard a guess and say the following: most people who changed the course of human history probably were misunderstood. And the follow up isnt rocket science either.. drumroll please.. those people changed the world because they did things differently, right? And doing things differently inherently makes people suspicious, or at least curious, of whats going on. Chances are, youre doing something wildly different than your other siblings. Than what your parents did. Than what most people your age are doing.

If your parents always had jobs, maybe youre going for self employment. If your friends have lived in the same spot their entire lives, maybe youre moving across the world. If you come from a family of doctors, maybe one day you realized you hate medicine and are in fact an artist and would rather starve for as long as it takes to make it while doing something you view as worthwhile. In any case, the cause is the same: your people either dont understand you and think youre dumb and naive, or theyre envious of what youre doing and the potential you have to realize dreams they never pursued. So your family and friends think you: A) either arent cut out for it (you cant do it) or B) theyre envious because you have the balls to finally create a dream life something they were too afraid to do. So where do you go from here? You know what you want to do, you know you dont want to go back to what you were doing, but you also know that no ones got your back.

The fix
The fix ultimately is pretty simple. Grow some stones and do it. (Thats the motto of all successful people, anyway). Thats obviously a simplistic, myopic answer. But at its essence, doing what others just talk about

doing is the way to get support from your friends and family. If you wait for the support of others youll never start. There is no best time. If you wait, youll never find a good time go. Youll find a million excuses to stay and keep loathing your daily existence. So its time to show that its worth it. And that there isnt really a choice in your mind. Going back would suck, and youd rather burn all forms of retreat and hop into the vast unknown. Its your chance to prove how badly you really want it. Its your chance to finally entertain the possibilities of what might happen if you couldnt fail. And its your chance to finally destroy the potential of living a mediocre, boring life, comparing your lawn with that of the Jones, envying your corporate friends who are trading their life for money, all the while saying I wish I could do that. Nope. That wont be you. And when you do reach the other side, you can show others that yes, it really is possible. And no, its not as scary as it looks from the other side. You can tell them that you dont want to die feeling like there was still so much stuff you wanted to try. (The #1 regret of the dying) You can tell them that youre tired of comparing yourself to your corporate friends that work 70 hour weeks and spend the rest of their free time drinking.

And you can tell them that what youre doing is perhaps the most worthwhile thing in existence the deliberate crafting of a meaningful life that is fucking awesome.

Mediocre living and thinking are comfort food for most people. Its easy, its predictable, it doesnt require much to keep it going. They dont want to invest the effort to create an extraordinary one. And now that youve consciously chosen to make a decision that you want to create a life that looks like it belongs in a movie, it should come as no surprise that 99% of people wont understand you. Some will hate and doubt you. Some will envy you. Some will just shrug and say Uhh, go for it. Some just plain wont understand you. Some will say prove it. Regardless of what they think or what they say, you gotta tell them Gotta go, work to do, history to make. Because ultimately youre doing the stuff most people just talk about doing. Your doing the stuff of legend. The stuff people will talk about. Youre the one people want to live vicariously through.

Truth is? The world needs more people like you.


The Worst Entrepreneurial Advice in the World
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 8 COMMENTS

The following is an except from a new manifesto coming soon: Entrepreneurial advice that doesnt suck. When I wanted to start a business, so many people told me do what you love and the rest will follow. People tell me Start with something youre good at! Pick a skill youve got. And time and time again people continue taking this advice and start businesses that soon after fail. It just blows my mind how much bullshit there is in the world that we take as common sense or colloquial wisdom.

Apparently every person I run into is a diet and fitness expert, despite the fact that almost 100% of them carry 30+ extra pounds of fat around their gut. Apparently every person I run into is an expert businessperson who can tell me the next million dollar idea. And apparently everyone around me knows how to live an exceptional life despite the fact that they are living mediocre ones. The hell is going on here? Ive got a theory here common knowledge that is, things we pass on just because they sound plausible, is almost always passed on by people with no experience in the field. Thats why your fat aunt gives you diet advice. Thats why your broke ass uncle gives you advice on how to be rich. And thats why daddy is giving you pearls of wisdom on living a happy life despite being miserable, sneaking painkillers at night, and drinking himself to sleep. The problem is that the most ignorant of people pass on the most harmful of information - false information. Back to the story. So there I was, hellbent on starting my own business and really seeing how this entrepreneurial thing would pan out. So I did what apparently everyone told me, because, well, I assumed it must be true if that many people said it!

I decided to do something I was good at. Now heres the thing. What do life coaches, karate teachers, artists, and personal trainers have in common? Come on, guess ! #1 They all started their business based on the fact that they were good at something. #2 Most of them are broke. Sure maybe youve got a personal trainer friend whos making 50 or 60k, now ask them how many hours they work for their business. Ask them how often they disconnect. Its totally dysfunctional. Really, most of them. How many life coaches have I met that are gainfully self employed? Not one. How many life coaches have I met? Probably over 50. Not one is making enough to quit their day job. Karate teachers.. well, theres not much to say. Basically every town in the USA has a new karate studio coming in and out every few years. Artists? Yeah Personal trainers? Just because you love working out doesnt mean you should be a personal trainer. And for christss sake please dont become another generic personal trainer. So why are they all broke? They started based on the shitty common sense principle of do what you love, do what youre good at. Wrong wrong wrong. If I hear this shitty piece of advice from nonentrepreneurs again I think ill projectile vomit. Not only has this set me back by a good few years, I feel like most

of the entrepreneurial 90% failures come from this group.

Regardless of whether or not you do what YOU love, you HAVE to do what THEY love
Make something people want. Not what you think they want, what you know they want. Want me to sum it up? Heres some no-bullshit advice from the Millionaire Fastlane: How will it help them? Whats in it for them? Will it solve their problem? Make their life easier? Provide them with shelter? Save them money? Educate them? Make them feel something? Tell me, why on Gods green Earth should I give your business money? What value are you adding to my life? Reflect back to our producer/consumer dichotomy. Consumers are selfish. They demand to know is whats in it for me! To succeed as a producer, surrender your own selfishness and address the selfishness of others. Never start a business just to make money. Stop chasing money and start chasing needs. Let me repeat that, because its the most important thing in this book: Stop thinking about business in terms of your selfish desires, whether its money, dreams or do what you love. Instead, chase needs, problems, pain points, service deficiencies, and emotions. Entrepreneurs fail because they create businesses based on selfish premises, and selfish premises dont yield profitable businesses; they lead directly into the 90% failure wastebasket. I need a new income stream. Im an expert in [blank] so Ill do that. I read a get rich book and it says to start a business. Wrong. Wrong. And wrong. Again, selfish, narcissistic

premises are VIP invitations to violate the Commandment of Need. In retrospect, many of us say oh damn that was a dumb mistake. But for some reason its not painfully obvious to new business people. Its not painfully obvious to the guy opening up another karate studio 6 months after the previous one went out of business. Its not painfully obvious to the millions of us new people trying to be self employed and making the same couple mistakes over and over. Why, I have no idea. The first delusion that comes into the mind of most newly self employed is that youll be doing what you love.

Changing how you view self employment


Alright, go with this for a second: When I first wanted to be self employed, I took the logical step of seeing what I was good at and seeing what I liked to do. Wrong. Dont do that. I started another project because I thought It would be soooo cool, this will change the world, this is awesome why wouldnt people want this? Dumbest, most classic rookie saying ever. Let me repeat, you know a person is a novice when they say two things: #1 I have a million dollar idea, or #2 This is so sick, this could change the world, why wouldnt people want this?

When you want to be (making enough money to feed yourself) self employed, start with where you see a need. Start seeing potential in an industry first, and then see where your skills can help. This pretty much will alleviate the biggest part of your anxiety, which is putting time and money into something that nobody will want. Believe me, finding out that one is a bitch. Ive invested thousands of dollars, and worse, thousands of hours of my life into something that produced no return except for experience. That doesnt have to happen.

Theres obviously a disconnect here


For some reason, lay people in any field are very disconnected from the fundamental principles that science has given us to cut through the bullshit. Look at some of the most notorious industries with a large science-lay person gap: diet and fitness, sports, business, psychology. People who read the research know whats going on and dont make stupid mistakes like buying their 45th diet book thinking itll provide some different groundbreaking research to help you not be a fat. And now that ive made the mistake more than once I notice this everywhere. Every time I hang out with inexperienced entrepreneurs like myself I notice that very, very few can answer this one foundational question: does anyone truly need or want what you do? what problem do you solve and how are you different?

On an almost daily basis I see young 20 somethings, parents, friends and family almost always get into the same couple of businesses and make the same couple mistakes: Yoga anything (teacher/studio/sexual healer/etc.) Martial arts teacher/studio Life coach Any kind of artist Personal trainer And theyre all for the wrong reasons. They start those businesses because they want to. They start with their own skills and passions and interests because, well, it sounds logical. Its just what you do when you want to start a business, right? And because they start with what they want, they neglect the iron law of the market . Neglecting this basic pre-requisite for a thriving business causes most of these people to fail to ever create sustainable businesses that pay them enough. Period.

For new entrepreneurs


My one piece of advice (from experience, or rather, failure) would be this: dont start with your passion. Dont compile lists of your strengths and your skills. Dont compile your previous work experience. Dont compile books of things you would love to do.

Those need to come second to figuring out what other people want.. and they definitely dont want another karate studio. Please god, not another karate studio or life coach..
Why You Should Stop Calling Yourself an Entrepreneur
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 5 CO MMENTS

Just do it. -Nike

Calling yourself an entrepreneur is the mysterious, badass, and respectable thing to do these days. You

meet someone at a cafe and they So, what do you do? You respond, Im an entrepreneur.

ask,

Suddenly in their head they go Whoaaaaaaaaaa, which is just the effect you were aiming for. But unless you are chatting up 17 year old girls, the person you are talking to will probably be thinking this, So basically you live with your mom?

Stop being an entrepreneur


I was in a bar last weekend and I introduced a guy I didnt know very well to a group of friends.

One person asked, So what do you do? (That notorious, cornering bitch of a question). He said, Im an entrepreneur, of sorts. I just havent made it big yet. Regardless of what she thought, I almost laughed out loud. And then I realized that calling yourself an entrepreneur sometimes is a clear indicator that you live with your mom and spend more time dreaming than working. Almost all real entrepreneurs Ive ever met will say what business they own or will answer something that actually is descriptive of what they do. And something in their words embodies the actual description of an entrepreneur, which in case you forgot, is the following:

entrepreneur
a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business,

usually with considerable initiative and risk. Unless you are running something and unless there is serious financial risk, you are not an entrepreneur. Saying youre an entrepreneur does not make people instantly admire you (except for the aforementioned teenagers). Saying youre an entrepreneur does not make people believe you own a business. Saying youre an entrepreneur does not mean youre some world traveling, multiple passport owning, swiss bank account using Jason Bourne.

Saying youre an entrepreneur does not make people assume you are going to make it big one day via a silicon valley deal. If you ask real entrepreneurs what they do, theyll tell you what they do. Not what they intend to do. And that is the single biggest difference. Next time you meet a wannabe entrepreneur (probably a 20 something living in his parents house) that gives his job description as entrepreneur, begin violently giggling like a schoolgirl and excuse yourself. Youll live longer for it. And itll be your reminder to get back to work on makin history. So stop calling yourself an entrepreneur and just be on. The rest is unimportant.
Young Millionaires and The Flawed Logic of a Million Dollar Idea
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 2 CO MMENTS

This must be the era of the Entrepreneur with a capital

E.

It seems like every day the news is filled with stories of people under 25 selling companies for 1 million + dollars. Whats the deal here? Most of these companies or projects I have never even heard of it. Theres obviously a ton of money out there, but I wondered what traits these kids shared other than the obvious ones. We usually associate the success of these entrepreneurial ideas to the ideas themselves. Oh man I just got the sickest idea.. The Million dollar idea that comes to you in the shower.. Or the entire show called Whats the Big Idea. But honestly I dont think its the ideas that make the million. In fact this is a post inviting you to think about the real attributes of success, and to move your thinking away from the million dollar idea kind of thinking. Because the idea is not what makes you a million dollars. Decent ideas with a million times the work, testing, and tweaking make you a million dollars.

myYearbook

Just this morning there was a news report on two siblings that created (another) social network called myYearbook. In the interview, Catherine Cook said that she and her brother were at a new school and realized that they didnt have very many friends, so they wanted to establish a network for friends at their new school. Long story short, they ended up expanding to their friends and eventually schools selling the company for $100 million. New idea? Not really, but it caught on.

Modcloth

Modcloth was started by a girl named Susan Gregg at age 17 who had a stuffed closet of vintage clothes and was taking off to college, so she opened an online boutique to sell them. In august 2010 when the article was posted on Entrepreneur.com Modcloth was predicting $50 million in annual sales. Not bad, right?

Bear Naked

Bear Naked was actually started by two young inbetweeners right in the area where I live. The story goes that Kelly Flatley and Brendan Synnott were making healthy granola in their kitchen because they were tired of all the chemically-infested ones already in existence. So they came up with a plan, began small selling at fairs, and eventually got into larger stores like Stew Leonards. 2007s projected sales were $25 million.

On Million-Dollar Ideas
The above three companies are just examples of littleknown money makers that didnt take on extremely new ideas. myYearbook? Facebook, Myspace. Modcloth? Zappos Bear Naked? Clif bars ($150 million annually) One thing worth noting is that my comparison companies above do not occupy the same niche.

They occupy similar niches, but are positioned importantly. Nonetheless, these three companies above are making a ton of money. Not revolutionary ideas. Not entirely new. But definitely million + dollar ideas.

Cease the Incessant Dependence on Ideas; Do Something.


You may hate me or disagree here: but ideas arent the key feature of million-dollar projects. Not even close. Sometimes theres a new invention that comes on tv that made someone a near-instant millionaire. But those are the exceptions we only assume they are common because we are a get rich quick obsessed society that fawns over that kind of information and circulates it widely. Stop assuming that it just takes your million-dollar idea and start something small and get to work. Immediately. An awesome guide I can recommend regarding getting a project started immediately is via a recent post on Tim Ferris Site: how to create a million dollar business. But the truth is that there is a shit ton of money out there and you dont need a million-dollar idea to make a million dollars. Very few people I know that started successful businesses started off with genius ideas their product, service, or offering morphed and developed over time.

Like Instagram, the beginning was much different from the end, and the entire million dollar story was in the story the execution itself
Stand Out Like a Champ: Being a Weirdo 101
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 0 COMMENTS

The other day I went to one of my favorite people

watching spots: Starbucks. Now, Starbucks is different from other coffee shops because it doesnt just attract weirdos like your normal indie coffee shop. Starbucks also attracts trophy wives, middle school girls, work-at-home dads, and the aforementioned weirdos. This one guy walks up to the counter, Ill have a tall black coffee please, he says. Respectable enough. Normal. Expected. And then another guy walked up. The Starbucks employee goes: Welcome to Starbucks, what can I get you? Weirdo: Ohhhhhhh my god do you guys have that new cool little coffee thingy machine? Employee: Uhhhh Weirdo: Cool!! Ill have a coffee can I used my gift card?

Employee: This is a circuit city gift card, sir. Weirdo: What? Why wouldnt you take this? Employee: What do you mean? -.- Weirdo: Ok Ill have one of those cute little cakes too. And some mints. And OHHHH this little thing. And the conversation went painfully on for way too long. After I laughed to myself for a while, I casually thought about what makes some people stand out and become memorable while others are invisible. Here are some revelations from my short Starbucks session, on standing out:

1. Be a weirdo
Being weird is a funny thing, because weird can be both good and bad. You can be weird in a creeper stalker way, or weird in that idiosyncratic kinda dorky genuine way. But either way, weirdos always have some undertone of lower self confidence to them. Standing out for a weirdo just means doing something so off the wall that people will definitely give you attention, but its not guaranteed to be attention you necessarily want. For example, an employee at Whole Foods asks how you are when you are checking out (they are required to), and you reply 2 ways: 1. Fine, thanks.

2. OMG SOOOO FANTASTIC I just had this yoga session.. blah blah You definitely are a weirdo answering like number 2. Its just not expected. Youll be memorable but its up to the person interpreting it whether or not youre memorable in a good or bad way. Business tool? Do something totally off the wall. Make something like a Furby, Tickle-me-elmo, ass-less chaps, or chicken diapers.

2. Use an Accent
Sometimes when friends and I get bored we play the accent game. Along the lines of ordering coffee, I was once in a Starbucks in New York and had an accent when I ordered. This old guy interrupted me while I was paying and said: Wow thats an incredible accent you have there, where are you from, Norway? Norway? Are you fucking mad? [ It was Australian ]: Uhh no sir, Im American. Old guy now hitting on me: Wow, thats fascinating. Youre an interesting young lad! Business tool? Take a slight spin on something already there. A dust pan with prongs so you can scrape the broom, a power outlet that can be molded and shaped, a utensil holder from a washing machine put in womens purses (All have been multi-million dollar ideas).

3. Be Ridiculous
One time my boss asked if I could pick up a coffee for her. I hope she reads this so she knows how insane I mustve looked ordering it, being a straight guy: Double mocha, caffa-lappa-frappa soy milk 4 sugars half decaf half regular whipped cream organic non-fat 195 degrees. (The 195 degrees was just for confirmation, mind you) Naturally, the people at Starbucks found it entirely normal (Stepford wives was filmed in my area, that should tell you something), but I was mortified and probably lost any respect I had after writing how to be a badass for business men. Business tool? Be so niche-specific that anyone who isnt familiar with your niche would laugh. Like dressing up as a smurf and dancing to Numa Numa? Perfect. Make a fan club. Enjoy combing your Trolls hair? Excellent. (Need a reminder?) Blog it. Have a fascination with the mating habits of Monarch butterflies? No one cares. But seriously, its specific enough that you can get a highly targeted, pre-qualified audience that is ready to buy something from you (or at least be interested). Respect comes more quickly in a niche, as does establishing pseudo-authority.

Strange World
We live in an exceedingly strange world, full of people who ended up where they are due to extremely unusual circumstances.

Maybe some people act weird just to stand out and be memorable, while others do it because they are well.. just weird. But at some point you have to see it like this: at the end of the day, the Starbucks employee is not going to remember very many of the 500 faces she served coffee to today. Is your face going to be one of them?
Weird Circumstances
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 2 CO MMENTS

Weve got a cleaning lady from Poland who has been coming to our house every Tuesday for pretty much a decade.

Weird Circumstances

The funny thing is, I dont remember her English having gotten any better in the past 10 years. From day 1 until now, day 3,650, her English doesnt seem to have improved. Now how is that possible? She lives in an English speaking country, she interacts with the people she works for on a daily basis

(depending on the hour), and she has children going to school, so she must have some sort of teacher / parent / playdate interaction. What gives? Does she possess the adult flaw and, almost by default, suck at learning languages? Or does she just have a brain not properly equipped to pick up languages? Or are the circumstances working against her?

Inquiry
In my life Ive met both children and adults (surprise!) that pick up languages pretty quickly. And I dont think they are anything special, or have a gift, or are rapid learners or whatever other bullshit you want to inoculate your mind with. Half of their learning equation is that they are special learners. The other half is that they have unique circumstances, not abilities. The answer to the first part is that they are (should I reveal this secret for free or write an ebook?) mindful learners. Ive written a whole assload about this before in a three part series, about accelerated learning and picking up any skill 2x as fast in half in the time. The first part is about deliberate practice, the second part is about avoiding automation and the third part about being a badass via mastering intent. Learning, in fact, is not what were gonna talk about here. This is about the weird circumstances that

contribute to our success or failure, and the sometimes unpredictable ways in which we reach those circumstances and they influence our life.

Seeds N Stuff
Okay, so youve got an acorn. It becomes an oak tree, right? Guaranteed. There is no other possibility, because that is the genetic makeup of the seed. And the fact that its an oak will determine how big it grows, the leaf shape, the water preferences, and the hardiness of the tree. And now you. What if certain facets of your life are planting seeds without your knowing? What if something time-sensitive like puberty changes your entire life course? What if the natural tendency for you to do something, or not do something, ultimately paves the way for your future? And what if you have no idea that this is all occurring in the background of your life? I think youll see, soon enough, that the strangest things influence our life path and we are totally unaware of them.

Who woulda thunk?


Some fun examples:

Jimmy the ADD Kid

Jimmy has a little bit more energy than other kids. So his mommy takes him to get tested at the doctor. Yep, he has ADD. Your kid is going to need some more work and attention and a longer time to take tests. And maybe drugs to help treat it. So his mommy relays a censored version of this to her son. Jimmy learns that hes special, and thus starts acting special. He dumbs himself down because the expectation of himself has been lowered. Plus his mommy doesnt expect much from him, so she enrolls him in classes that reinforce his self-image as slow and needing extra help.

Nora the Cleaning Lady


Nora the cleaning lady comes from Russia and works 6 days a week cleaning houses. Half of her work day is in empty houses while the clients are at work, so she got into the habit of singing in her head and talking to herself, to help the time pass. Sometimes when the clients are home she still is zoned off in her own little world. People wonder why her English hasnt improved in 10 years, so they subtlety sneak into another room while she works to avoid awkward conversation.

Johnny, the Nerd


Johnny was always smaller than the other kids. He was shorter, scrawnier, and underweight for his age.

As a result, he shied away from sports because he was afraid of constantly getting hurt all the time by the much bigger kids. He started getting into video games because he found solace in the fact that they were a safe place where he could have some fun and could develop skills that didnt rely on his small size. He eventually ended up spending so much time on the computer that he got pretty good at what he did, and ended up studying computer science in college.

What now?
These three stories seem like pretty nebulous, unrelated ad-libs that a nine year old could come up with.

The Butterfly Effect

But going back to the cleaning lady (the real one, that visits my house weekly), people have the strangest life paths determined by factors that are impossible to see proactively. They can only be determined through hindsight as a possible contributor to where the person is now.

Its like Steve Jobs said in his commencement speech you cant see how the pieces connect looking forward, only by looking back and saying Aha! Theres a butterfly effect going on a minuscule change in the initial circumstances produces this unreasonably large and varied result. This is my largest argument against people who say to never do things just for the sake of doing them. Dont go travel just for the sake of travel. Dont move across the world to study with Shamans in Peru. Or drink tea in Japan. Or study kung fu in China. People tell you they arent useful. But the truth is not that they arent useful. The truth is that the pieces connect in other ways you cant see yet, and that experiencing things just for shits and giggles is one of the best things you can do for your future possibilities.

What about your cleaning lady?


So what does all this have to do with a cleaning lady? There are a multitude of circumstances that have programmed her to be the way she is. We are, whether or not you like it, programmed by life. We are machines in one sense. But the same reason why she seemingly hasnt improved her English is the same reason why one kid may become a track star, and another will become a computer nerd.

The circumstances, ultimately, are myriad, varied, and unusual. The seeds are so many that its impossible to hone in on the atypical ones and cull them. So the next time you try to figure out why someone can or cant do something, or why someone is successful or another is just plain strange.. just say to yourself: Weird Circumstances. And dont try to understand them. Because they are just programs, like you and me.

Creating a Conversation Worthy Life


by ALEXANDER HEYNE 2 CO MMENTS

Maybe it was yesterday, or today, or will be tomorrow.

But at some point youll get tired of living a mediocre life, about a whole lot of nothing, filled withtons of work with no inherent purpose. Regardless of when that time hits (it always does), here are some suggestions for how to make your life conversation-worthy.

I will try to avoid the obvious suggestions, but some points are so painstakingly obvious that they are overlooked unless repeated. This list is a quest for each person to ask themselves: Will anyone give a shit if I die? What will they remember about me?

1. Be a story teller
No storyteller has ever been able to dream up anything as fantastically unlikely as what really does happen in this mad Universe. -Lazarus Long Everyone has experienced being in the presence of a master storyteller: Time freezes for those 5, 10, or 15 minutes. It was like you were transported into the action, your heart rate elevates, your palms sweat a little, and if someone interrupts the story you go all spider monkey on their ass. Storytelling is one of the oldest traditions of humanity. It is an incredibly powerful way to captivate people and want to have them hear more from you. Jot down a couple of your best memories or stories and pass them on at social gatherings.

2. Do something you enjoy


They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. -Carl Buechner A conversation-worthy life is born from something worth talking about. If there is nothing special in your life your job, your girlfriend, your

aspirations, your day to day schedule, your hobbies then you obviously have nothing to talk about. That makes it pretty hard to to stimulate conversation. Plus, people can see it in your eyes when you talk about something youre passionate about. Its contagious.

3. Learn to speak to the inner child


The most sophisticated people I know inside they are all children. -Jim Henson Ever wonder why pursue your dreams has become one of those severely overused sayings? I think its because it connects with an ancient, original part of our character the child who is unrestricted in his thinking, dreaming, and daily activities. Do you ever tell a child not to start a lemonade stand because shell never make big bucks off it? Hell no! Youre a real bastard if you do! Ive found a surprising truth out about people (no matter the age): if you ask them about their original dreams, their singular purpose and passion in life, youll begin to see a spark in their eye you may never have seen before.

4. Do something incredible, stand for something incredible, or challenge something incredible


As long as youre going to be thinking anyway, think big. -Donald Trump

There are clear other ways to stand out too. Do something incredible invent the next iPhone of our time. Stand for something incredible be the Ghandi of our time. Or challenge our notions of something we already think is incredible or a given be the Copernicus of our time.

5. Be really, really useful to others


The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. -Mahatma Gandhi A sad fact of the world is that people who often get to that wealthy, successful, famous stage forget to come back down and help others. In Buddhism, a Bodhisattva is a being who has reached enlightenment but doesnt fly out and say what up to god instead, it stays and helps others. Now thats cool. I sometimes feel like success is found in concentric circles people around the same level of achievement find each other and bind together, but rarely interact with the lower echelons. Think about ripples in a pond. There is a ripple that grows equally on all sides, but is disconnected from the future smaller circles. Instead, the people in the new, smaller circle eventually find each other until they once again can grow into a larger ripple in a pond. Youd be one hell of a decent person if you broke that cycle and helped others get to where you are. Mind-blowing content alone definitely does not guarantee people will find you. A sad truth.

So one of the key ways to be remarkably unique is, in the midst of fame, never to forget about the small guy.

6. If you arent inherently memorable, hang out with memorable people


People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves. -Tyron Edwards Some people think they arent very interesting or dont have anything interesting to talk about. That may or may not be true. However, hanging around people often lets you bring out stories you may never knew you had, goals people never knew about, or re-kindle old hobbies. Everyone has gems you never knew about before.

7. Read as much as you can, about everything


To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries. -A.C. Grayling There is something really qualitatively different about talking to someone who reads a lot. Im not necessarily talking about news, although that counts, but information. Someone who is varied in their interests: a reader of philosophy, fiction, business, kung fu, tea. It is one of my greatest pleasures in life to sit down to a glass of [ tea, coffee, wine ] and talk with someone who has a lot of varied interests. I dont know why

conversations are so inherently fun. Maybe because you question a lot of previous assumptions? Or maybe its because life is fresh for a moment as you consider something new. Anyway, youll definitely remember the guy who tells you: Hey did you know that barnacles have the largest penis of any animal, relative to their size? Yup, hes a keeper!

8. Do first, share later, and never reveal all your secrets


If you dont like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time. -Marian Wright Edelman This ones killer. A lot of people I tend to look up to are those who have accomplished things and never mentioned them. Whaaaaaat, I never knew you ran a marathon?! No way, you had 15 gerbils as a kid? You once saved a unicorn from a freak gasoline fight accident? Amazing! Its not news to anyone that people who walk their talk command way more respect than most other people. And the walk does the talking for you. So what about your secrets? It works the same way as intrigue in dating. Never let everyone get all your goods at the start, keep them guessing and youll have a clinger. Be mysterious or deliberately vague. Frustrate people but be playful.

9. Be diversified and a connector


Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller Im guilty here, the first time I read about being diversified rather than a specialist, I thought: Bullshit! I want to be famous for just one thing and one thing only. Keep my life simple, straightforward, uncomplicated. Well guess what, thats boring as hell. In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell talks about connectors (ya know, those socialites that know everyone). One of their key characteristics? Varied hobbies, pursuits, and locales they frequent. Be varied. Its better for you, your ability to be conversation-worthy, and for your ability to break free from boredom.

10. Be Playful
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. -Tom Robbins This consistently ranks pretty high on the qualities loved in a significant other list. Why? Playful people are more fun, more adventurous, more spontaneous, more varied, more open to change, more willing to laugh, more likely to try new things. Why wouldnt you want that?

11. Have a sales pitch in life < your story >

Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story. -John barth Its always kind of cool when you meet someone with a real underlying theme to their life. Ever since I witnessed how awful my parents were, Ive dedicated my life to saving kids from child abuse. I was born into a wealthy family where I didnt have to worry about much and had the free time to pursue what I loved. I hope I can pass that on and do the same for others be a benefactor to humanity. My parents were divorced four or five times, and I was moving to new countries every few months throughout my childhood. All I want is to find one guy I really love and be the best mother I can to a couple amazing kids. People like stories. But even more, we like the justification behind things, especially if its a story because it makes us seem human.

12. Have a code of honor


Get beyond love and grief: exist for the good of Man. -Miyamoto Musashi Theres a book called Dokkodo written by Miyamoto Musashi (the greatest swordsman that ever lived). His book literally translates to the way of walking alone or the path of aloneness. It is his own personal code of honor that he wrote just before his death. Why have a code of honor? It reinforces to others that you have principles your life is based upon. It shows that you have your head together. And it makes you seem like a badass. You are respectable.

Some of Musashis personal statements are as follows: #4. Think lightly of yourself, and deeply of the world. #11. In all things have no preferences. #17. Do not fear death. #19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help. #20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honor. #21. Never stray from the Way.

13. Get your shit straight (Be a simple [wo]man)


The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going. -Ralph Waldo Emerson Thats not a question. Thats a statement. Always try to be a better person: more cultivated, stronger, wiser, more business-smart, more generous, more passionate, more willing to help others. Also try to be less: simplify your life in the truest sense possible. Narrow your life purpose to just three things. A hobby, your passion/work, and your family. Be large in your thinking but small in your desire. Know what you want every day of your life. If one day you wake up and things feel off, change it. Ever met someone who always knows exactly what they want from life?

The whole universe makes way for that person.


Creating a Conversation Worthy Life
by ALEXANDER HEYNE 2 CO MMENTS

Maybe it was yesterday, or today, or will be tomorrow.

But at some point youll get tired of living a mediocre life, about a whole lot of nothing, filled withtons of work with no inherent purpose. Regardless of when that time hits (it always does), here are some suggestions for how to make your life conversation-worthy. I will try to avoid the obvious suggestions, but some points are so painstakingly obvious that they are overlooked unless repeated. This list is a quest for each person to ask themselves: Will anyone give a shit if I die? What will they remember about me?

1. Be a story teller
No storyteller has ever been able to dream up anything as fantastically unlikely as what really does happen in this mad Universe. -Lazarus Long

Everyone has experienced being in the presence of a master storyteller: Time freezes for those 5, 10, or 15 minutes. It was like you were transported into the action, your heart rate elevates, your palms sweat a little, and if someone interrupts the story you go all spider monkey on their ass. Storytelling is one of the oldest traditions of humanity. It is an incredibly powerful way to captivate people and want to have them hear more from you. Jot down a couple of your best memories or stories and pass them on at social gatherings.

2. Do something you enjoy


They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. -Carl Buechner A conversation-worthy life is born from something worth talking about. If there is nothing special in your life your job, your girlfriend, your aspirations, your day to day schedule, your hobbies then you obviously have nothing to talk about. That makes it pretty hard to to stimulate conversation. Plus, people can see it in your eyes when you talk about something youre passionate about. Its contagious.

3. Learn to speak to the inner child


The most sophisticated people I know inside they are all children. -Jim Henson Ever wonder why pursue your dreams has become one of those severely overused sayings?

I think its because it connects with an ancient, original part of our character the child who is unrestricted in his thinking, dreaming, and daily activities. Do you ever tell a child not to start a lemonade stand because shell never make big bucks off it? Hell no! Youre a real bastard if you do! Ive found a surprising truth out about people (no matter the age): if you ask them about their original dreams, their singular purpose and passion in life, youll begin to see a spark in their eye you may never have seen before.

4. Do something incredible, stand for something incredible, or challenge something incredible


As long as youre going to be thinking anyway, think big. -Donald Trump There are clear other ways to stand out too. Do something incredible invent the next iPhone of our time. Stand for something incredible be the Ghandi of our time. Or challenge our notions of something we already think is incredible or a given be the Copernicus of our time.

5. Be really, really useful to others


The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. -Mahatma Gandhi A sad fact of the world is that people who often get to that wealthy, successful, famous stage forget to come back down and help others.

In Buddhism, a Bodhisattva is a being who has reached enlightenment but doesnt fly out and say what up to god instead, it stays and helps others. Now thats cool. I sometimes feel like success is found in concentric circles people around the same level of achievement find each other and bind together, but rarely interact with the lower echelons. Think about ripples in a pond. There is a ripple that grows equally on all sides, but is disconnected from the future smaller circles. Instead, the people in the new, smaller circle eventually find each other until they once again can grow into a larger ripple in a pond. Youd be one hell of a decent person if you broke that cycle and helped others get to where you are. Mind-blowing content alone definitely does not guarantee people will find you. A sad truth. So one of the key ways to be remarkably unique is, in the midst of fame, never to forget about the small guy.

6. If you arent inherently memorable, hang out with memorable people


People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves. -Tyron Edwards Some people think they arent very interesting or dont have anything interesting to talk about. That may or may not be true. However, hanging around people often lets you bring out stories you may never knew you had, goals people

never knew about, or re-kindle old hobbies. Everyone has gems you never knew about before.

7. Read as much as you can, about everything


To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries. -A.C. Grayling There is something really qualitatively different about talking to someone who reads a lot. Im not necessarily talking about news, although that counts, but information. Someone who is varied in their interests: a reader of philosophy, fiction, business, kung fu, tea. It is one of my greatest pleasures in life to sit down to a glass of [ tea, coffee, wine ] and talk with someone who has a lot of varied interests. I dont know why conversations are so inherently fun. Maybe because you question a lot of previous assumptions? Or maybe its because life is fresh for a moment as you consider something new. Anyway, youll definitely remember the guy who tells you: Hey did you know that barnacles have the largest penis of any animal, relative to their size? Yup, hes a keeper!

8. Do first, share later, and never reveal all your secrets


If you dont like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time. -Marian Wright Edelman

This ones killer. A lot of people I tend to look up to are those who have accomplished things and never mentioned them. Whaaaaaat, I never knew you ran a marathon?! No way, you had 15 gerbils as a kid? You once saved a unicorn from a freak gasoline fight accident? Amazing! Its not news to anyone that people who walk their talk command way more respect than most other people. And the walk does the talking for you. So what about your secrets? It works the same way as intrigue in dating. Never let everyone get all your goods at the start, keep them guessing and youll have a clinger. Be mysterious or deliberately vague. Frustrate people but be playful.

9. Be diversified and a connector


Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller Im guilty here, the first time I read about being diversified rather than a specialist, I thought: Bullshit! I want to be famous for just one thing and one thing only. Keep my life simple, straightforward, uncomplicated. Well guess what, thats boring as hell. In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell talks about connectors (ya know, those socialites that know everyone). One of their key characteristics? Varied hobbies, pursuits, and locales they frequent. Be varied. Its better for you, your ability to be conversation-worthy, and for your ability to break free from boredom.

10. Be Playful
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature. -Tom Robbins This consistently ranks pretty high on the qualities loved in a significant other list. Why? Playful people are more fun, more adventurous, more spontaneous, more varied, more open to change, more willing to laugh, more likely to try new things. Why wouldnt you want that?

11. Have a sales pitch in life < your story >


Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story. -John barth Its always kind of cool when you meet someone with a real underlying theme to their life. Ever since I witnessed how awful my parents were, Ive dedicated my life to saving kids from child abuse. I was born into a wealthy family where I didnt have to worry about much and had the free time to pursue what I loved. I hope I can pass that on and do the same for others be a benefactor to humanity. My parents were divorced four or five times, and I was moving to new countries every few months throughout my childhood. All I want is to find one guy I really love and be the best mother I can to a couple amazing kids.

People like stories. But even more, we like the justification behind things, especially if its a story because it makes us seem human.

12. Have a code of honor


Get beyond love and grief: exist for the good of Man. -Miyamoto Musashi Theres a book called Dokkodo written by Miyamoto Musashi (the greatest swordsman that ever lived). His book literally translates to the way of walking alone or the path of aloneness. It is his own personal code of honor that he wrote just before his death. Why have a code of honor? It reinforces to others that you have principles your life is based upon. It shows that you have your head together. And it makes you seem like a badass. You are respectable. Some of Musashis personal statements are as follows: #4. Think lightly of yourself, and deeply of the world. #11. In all things have no preferences. #17. Do not fear death. #19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help. #20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honor. #21. Never stray from the Way.

13. Get your shit straight (Be a simple [wo]man)


The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going. -Ralph Waldo Emerson Thats not a question. Thats a statement. Always try to be a better person: more cultivated, stronger, wiser, more business-smart, more generous, more passionate, more willing to help others. Also try to be less: simplify your life in the truest sense possible. Narrow your life purpose to just three things. A hobby, your passion/work, and your family. Be large in your thinking but small in your desire. Know what you want every day of your life. If one day you wake up and things feel off, change it. Ever met someone who always knows exactly what they want from life? The whole universe makes way for that person.