39 Choices You Are Making That Prove You Are Already In Control Of Your Life.

It can seem like a lot of life is outside your control. Most of the time — no matter what you do — you can’t force other people to do what you want them to do.

You can’t instantaneously impact nature or economic trends. You can’t control the weather or the decisions that are made by other people in authority over you. You can’t force life to give you what you want.

And if you think about that for too long, you’ll find yourself perfectly convinced that you don’t control your life.

But that’s a lie. A dangerous lie

The longer you focus on things that are outside of your control, the more depressed and hopeless you’re going to feel.

It’s inevitable that you’re going to give up. Quit. Decide that life is too unfair for someone like you.

But the truth is that for everything in life you can’t fix, there’s another bigger part of life that you can fix.

Which makes you almost infinitely powerful, if you believe it.

Look around you. Those fixes to your problems everywhere:

  • You can’t control the weather, but you can control that you live in a place where you mostly enjoy the weather.
  • You can’t control the decisions that you’re boss makes, but you can control how long you work for that boss.
  • You can’t control how much you weigh right now, but you can control what you eat and how you exercise from this moment forward.

What you focus on most determines how successful you become.

Your thoughts and dreams and aspirations are a direct result of what you spend your time obsessing about. And the truth is that you are already in control.

Don’t waste the power you have.

You are already in control of your mind

  1. You get to choose how you talk to yourself
  2. You get to choose how you talk about yourself to others
  3. You get to choose if you give someone else the benefit of the doubt
  4. You get to choose whether you think positive or negative thoughts
  5. You get to choose how often you replay the bad things that have happened in your past.

You are already in control of your body

  1. You get to choose when you choose to compete
  2. You get to choose where you channel your emotions
  3. You get to choose how much you exercise
  4. You get to choose how much effort you put into the work you do
  5. You get to choose if you make getting sleep a priority or not

You are already in control of your career

  1. You get to choose what you say “YES” to
  2. You get to choose what you say “NO” to
  3. You get to choose how well you prepare
  4. You get to choose how much information you get before you make a decision
  5. You get to choose how you structure your day
  6. You get to choose who your friends are

You are already in control of your wealth

  1. You get to choose when you walk away from a goal.
  2. You get to choose the expectations you put on your life
  3. You get to choose how much you enjoy the good things you have in your life right now
  4. You get to choose if you allow negative things into your life
  5. You get to choose what you learn from your mistakes

You are already in control of your emotions

  1. You get to choose how you react to others
  2. You get to choose what you do with envy, anger, anxiety, and sadness
  3. You get to choose how kind you are to others
  4. You get to choose how much time you spend trying to convince people you’re right.
  5. You get to choose what you do with your regrets
  6. You get to choose if you put yourself in someone else’s position before reacting

You are already in control of your actions

  1. You get to choose where you live
  2. You get to choose how much attention you give to others
  3. You get to choose which commitments you keep and cancel
  4. You get to choose if you try something new
  5. You get to choose if you are honest or not
  6. You get to choose when or if you decide to quit

You are already in control of your growth

  1. You get to choose what books you read
  2. You get to choose when to ask for help
  3. You get to choose when you learn something new
  4. You get to choose how quickly you try again after you fall
  5. You get to choose when you choose to judge other people
  6. You get to choose if you say what is on your mind

And millions of other choices you get to make each day. Each minute. Each second.

No one can stop you if you don’t want to be stopped.

So don’t be stopped.

Change up things. Do something different. Choose better.

The truth is that you will still have the same annoying problems you had the day before, but you’ll have a valuable new perspective. New creativity.

The reality of life is that what you expect from it is up to you.

It’s natural to feel disappointed and discouraged at times by what’s going on around you.

If you have half a heart at all you’re going to be bothered when nice, kind people suffer.

Don’t let your experiences break your expectations.

Don’t let bitterness turn you into a skeptic. Don’t let depression immobilize your ability to change the world for the better. Don’t be naive, simplistic, or willfully ignorant.

Expect less of life to happen to you. Work on making life happen for you.

Remember that you are already in control.

What do you want to do about it?

The Magic Of Knowing That You’ll Make It Out Alive.

There is nothing more powerful than believing that you are going to make it. Not just believing. Knowing.

Knowing that no matter how bad you feel right now that you are tough enough to make it through to the other side. To survive. And thrive.

If you are struggling right now, you know the sense of dread that accompanies problems. You know the panic that creeps up the bottom of your throat. The hopelessness and fear.

You aren’t sure if this is the struggle that finally breaks you. You don’t know if you are going to be able to make it this time around.

What you need is to know that you will indeed make it out alive.

That you are strong enough to do what it takes to realize your dreams.

No matter how bad things look, you need to know. Like “Nando” did.

It was October 13th in 1972.  Flight 571 from the Uruguayan Air Force was flying over the Andes Mountains.  Onboard were 45 people, the entire Uruguayan rugby team and their friends and family.

It was a time of celebration and joy as they enjoyed each other’s company and the time they had together.

And then, that all changed in an instant.

A flash snowstorm high above the mountains caused the aircraft, a twin-turboprop Fairchild FH-227, to crash.  As the plane exploded against the side of the mountain more than a dozen of the passengers were killed instantly.  

The rest were left scrambling. In a wild panic.

Wondering how long they would make it.

At 11,000 feet in blizzard conditions, the 29 remaining survivors huddled around a makeshift shelter sharing a can of sardines, a few chocolate bars, and a couple of bottles of wine that they found in the wreckage of the plane.  

That was all they had.

They waited for rescuers to find them in temperatures that plunged to -30°F.  The first night 5 more survivors died.  Frozen solid in the unforgiving conditions.

A few days later, an avalanche fell from the top of the steep mountains peaks above them.  As the snow swept furiously around them, several of the group were snatched from their flimsy shelter and swept over the side of the mountain to their death.

Little did they know that the search-and-rescue effort for them had been called off days ago.  The best search teams in the world couldn’t make it to them.  

They were doomed to certain death.

Stuck impossibly high in one of the most inhospitable locations anywhere in the world.

For days they waited to be found by people who weren’t actually looking for them.  

No food.  Harsh conditions.  The odds against them.  

But then – things were about to get worse. Much worse.

To stay alive they resorted to the unthinkable.  The only thing left to eat were the frozen bodies of the family and friends who had died in the plane crash.  

They couldn’t build a fire in the swirling winds of the mountain top so they ate the frozen body organs raw.

Sickened by their state. Weak. And broken. They waited to die.

Hours turned into days.  Days turned into weeks.  Weeks turned into a month.  One month turned into two.  

That’s when hope began to die.  

They had survived an unimaginable tragedy.  They had stayed alive for 60 days by resorting to cannibalism.

And despite it all, they were still going to die.  Only 16 of them were left.

That’s when Nando knew he had to make a difference.  

A poor child from a poor section of Uruguay, Fernando Parrado, was a knock-out: a rugby player and captain of a popular team.  

His mother and sister had died in the crash.   He was all alone now.  If anyone was going to live, it was going to be because of him. He would go find help and bring them back to rescue the remaining survivors.

To begin their escape, he made snowshoes out of seat cushions and seat belt straps.  Using an old sleeping bag he put together a three-day ration of human flesh as food for their journey.  

Nando asked two other survivors, Roberto Canessa and Antonio Vizintín to go with him.  

They left the crash site and headed west.

To get out of the mountains, Nando led his small group up the mountain pass directly to their west.  The peak of the mountain was over 14,447 feet high.

From the top of the mountain they could see the faint outlines of a road and the Pacific Ocean far away.  They knew they had a longer trip than 3 days.  

They started walking.

For 10 days they walked up and over mountains until they finally saw signs of civilization — green grass, a farm, and a river.  

They had walked 40 miles and were now in Chile.

Too exhausted to go any further, they collapsed on the side of a riverbank. They had given all they had. They were finished.

A short while later, a Chilean rancher found them and brought back the military and a medical support team, who were shocked at the men they saw.

It had been 71 days since their plane hit the side of the mountain.

The next day, Nando led helicopter pilots to the crash site where 14 of the survivors waited to be rescued. They had lived through the most horrifically improbable tragedy in history.  

Weeks later as the dead were buried atop the mountain, the rescue workers marked the grave with an iron cross on top of a pile of stones.  

That still stands today as a monument to the tragedy and a memorial to the miracle of hope.

Hope led by one man.

A man who knew that he was going to make it.

Chances are your life isn’t exploding against the side of a South American mountain pass like Flight 571 did 47 years ago.

You won’t have to eat the dead bodies of your friends and family to survive.  You have food in the pantry, a roof over your head, and 300 channels on cable TV.

But your problems might seem just as horrific.  And they’ve still solved the same way: “You need hope.”

You need to believe that you can make it. To know that “you’ve got this.”

You need to know that no matter how tough things are right now that you can do what success requires.  You can make it out alive.

You are tough enough to do what it takes to realize your dreams.

Shuffle. Stumble. Crawl. Move. Do whatever it takes to make forward progress.

You go this.

1 Epic Victory And 10 Lessons Learned About The Power Of Words From The Greatest King Who Ever Lived.

It’s not good enough to be right. Or to do what you think is right. The hard truth about leadership is that to be effective you have to master the power of words. You have to master delivering those words in the right tone.  

A good example of this comes from perhaps the greatest ruler who ever lived. 

In early 335 B.C., Alexander the Great began his quest for world domination.  No other ruler had a passion for conquest like Alexander.  

Not even his father, Philip II of Macedon, who had expanded the Greek empire further than any king before him.

After ten years of fighting, Alexander arrived at the edge of India without having lost a single battle.  His army controlled most of the known world at that time — Greece, Egypt, and what had been the Persian empire.   But Alexander wanted more.

The problem was that his men were tired.  

They had followed him for ten years — fighting thousands of miles across lower Europe, into Africa, and to the edge of the Middle East.    Far away from families and wives, they languished in fatigue, without the rage to conquer another empire.

Alexander gathered his men together and delivered an impassioned speech: “I observe, gentlemen, that when I would lead you on a new venture you no longer follow me with your old spirit.

I have asked you to meet me that we may come to a decision together: are we, upon my advice, to go forward, or, upon yours, to turn back?

I will make those who go the envy of those who stay.”

Those words made a big difference.

You don’t have to be in too many shouting matches to figure that when things get heated it’s very easy to say things that are cruel. Things that are unfair or highly manipulative, hurtful, or mean.

These sort of words rise quickly to the top of an angry argument especially when you feel like you are losing the fight.

And then, instead of arguing about the original reason for your discussion, you find yourself simply trying to hurt the other person. Trying to win at all costs.

That’s because words are effective weapons.

What is especially interesting about those moments where you say hurtful things is that those cruel words didn’t just magically come out of your mouth. They were words shaped by thoughts that you had been doing a good job keeping bottled up inside you.

But once you say the words out loud, you can’t take them back. The words are out there. The emotions they create. The way they make people feel.  You can’t take that back.

So it’s important to act like words matter.

It’s important to know that your tone delivering those words matters.

You don’t need to act fearfully. Or without candor. You need to use words purposefully.

Here are a few lessons to learn about words and leading with tone:

  1. Ask smart questions and people will believe you’re a smart person. Challenge yourself to ask more questions than making statements.
  2. If you want people to take action, then be specific about the results that you expect and a timeline that is acceptable.
  3. Words spoken angrily are ineffective in the long run — even if they contain something truthful. Give yourself 3-seconds of quiet before you answer.
  4. Don’t be unclear. It makes you untrustworthy. Effective conversations require words that inspire trust, confidence, and intrigue.
  5. If everything you talk about is “I’s” and “Me’s” then don’t be confused when you don’t get a lot of help.
  6. Whining creates massive amounts of irritation, anger, and fear — not positive progress or constructive growth. Ruthlessly eliminate it.
  7. Choose words that make the mission personal for the other person. It’s not about what you want, it’s how they hear you.
  8. Passive-aggression is confusing (and annoying) for anyone listening and the least effective way to get what you want from others.
  9. There is nothing you can say to be interesting when you’ve talked for too long. Fewer words make for an effective conversation.
  10. Grateful and thankful words are the best way to motivate people to accomplish results over the long run.

The wrong words can make your life miserable

They can make it take longer accomplish your goals. And impossible.

Just because you need to say “what’s on your mind” doesn’t give you permission to be a jerk. You don’t get a chance to take things back, hurt people, or re-explain bad behavior.  

Words matters.  Act like it.

Actions might speak louder than words, but words are the best way to drive better actions.

That’s important to remember when you need to get things done. 

Say what’s important. Be purposeful. Ask questions. Take responsibility for the results of the words that you use. 

It didn’t make sense.

King Porus had hundreds of elephants. The Persians had none.

But that simple speech Alexander the Great delivered to his tired army had an incredible impact.

It inspired his men to dig a little bit deeper and push into India — adding another victory and more territory to the largest kingdom of all time.

It took actions. But behind it all was the artful delivery of words.

Speak to inspire.

Finding Your Greatness, Abandoning Glory, And The Grit You’ll Need To Do Both.

You can choose greatness or glory. You can’t have both at the same time. That’s the hard truth of doing something that matters.

Getting started, it feels like you need glory to propel you towards greatness.

If you just have enough attention. If more people just knew about what you are doing. If you had more time, money and notoriety, you would be so much more ahead in your conquest for getting to that next level.

Greatness comes without glory.

It has to because what you need to do to become great isn’t glorious. It’s gory. And gritty And flat out hard work.

Remember that moment in the valley of Thermopylae when 300 Spartans stood against the powerful army of Xerxes? That moment when 2 million soldiers decided that the few hundred soldiers fighting for King Leonidas were too much for them.?

That moment wasn’t the result of more social media attention. It didn’t come about because people all over the world were cheering for the Spartans.

It was simply because of the decades of training those soldiers had endured.

It was about the way of life their parents had instilled within them.

The Spartans of old spent years developing skills for combat that many of those warriors would never actually use in a real battle. They trained, prepared, ate right, and sacrificed entertainment in pursuit of their ideals. 

According to historians of the day, their focus and hard work seemed like overkill to the rest of the Grecian Empire who openly mocked them: “Why put in so much work when life is so good?”

  • While everyone else in the world was getting drunk, they were getting strong.
  • While everyone else was goofing around, they were getting smart.

It sounded cruel to rest of the world when they would send a 12-year-old boy out in the wild on his own. Some of them never came home.

But in that valley — on that day — those 300 men who had been battle-tested every day of their life thus far created a story so great we tell it thousands of years later.

Their greatness did not come from glory.

It came from intentional activity and a daily routine that was focused on building the strengths and courage it would take to win — despite the number of opponents against them.

But it wasn’t just the spirit of hard work and discipline that made the Spartans great. It was their mindset. It was how they viewed the world around them.

We see that illustrated clearly almost 130 years after the Battle of Thermopylae and those 3 days of epic conquest.

It was 346 B.C. and Philip II of Macedon, better known as the father of Alexander the Great, invaded Greece with a powerful army. Dozens of key city-states immediately submitted to his conquest without putting up a fight — knowing that the Macedonian army would destroy their lands, kill their sons and their women if they didn’t surrender before the fight began.

And that strategy worked perfectly.

They were promised life and peace if they submitted and sent yearly tribute to the empire. To spare their people destruction, the leaders wisely pledged their loyalty to the invading king.

All of them except Sparta. Sparta refused to submit.

There was no discussion. No persuading. No compromise. No nothing.

They simply refused to be ruled by anyone else. And it was about to turn into a potentially epic mistake.

The enraged invaders sent a warning to the Spartan leaders: “Surrender. If I conquer your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city.”

It was a clear message: “We are going to crush you like we have crushed everyone else.”

Except the Spartans didn’t read the message that way. They didn’t see the same threat that had stopped every other leader in Greece in their tracks.

The Spartans replied with a single word.

They didn’t overthink it. They didn’t stammer. They weren’t confused or frightened.

They said: “If’.

The “IF” in their reply was the result of the greatness in their mind and discipline of their lifestyle.

It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that Philip of Macedon with his much larger army would actually win. And so they asked back to him a serious question: “Are you sure that you can actually beat us?

  • Are you willing to lose everything to try to beat us?
  • How much are you willing to do to try to win?
  • What happens if you try and fail?
  • Who else will rebel against you?
  • What if you end up with nothing?

Their message was clear. And the outcome proved it.

Neither Philip II nor his son Alexander the Great ever attempted to capture the city. Sparta remained the only spot int he known world that was not crushed under the dynasty of Philip and his son.

They didn’t chase glory. They were mocked. They were scolded.

They looked foolish and overly obsessive.

But when trouble came — and it always does — they were the only ones left standing.

Maybe that sort of living is good enough for you too.

3 Rules High Performers Live By That Are Hard To Achieve But Surprisingly Simple.

Success is frustrating. The advice you get from people trying to help you is often conflicting and seemingly impossible.

Your own pathway is confusing. At times it’s hard to make sense of the feedback you’re getting from your actions.

Failure one day can often look like success the next. What used to work doesn’t work anymore — and the changes you’ll need to make to fully appreciate that are often the most frustrating part of your journey to success.

This raw, human element to navigating the twisting pathway of success is often the part that undoes you. It’s often the obstacle you can’t get around.

That’s because what’s missing from your struggle — and the entire conversation about success — is simplicity. You need less to do. Less to manage, monitor, and obsess about. Inside the giant cornucopia of rules that make up success, you need a few, simple ride-or-die beliefs that you can hold on to. Philosophies and rules and edicts that guide your daily existence.

Over time, those will change as your goals change and as your skills and your expectations change. It’s not for me to tell you what your rules for you should be.

I’ve focused on many different ones for the years. Tried some. Abandoned many. I’ve also read the rules that other successful people put in place for themselves, sometimes even speaking and interviewing them. Digging deep into what works. Building relationships with those I share the most in common.

Despite how you word them, here are the three simple rules that successful people live by.

1. Be Honest

This is a hard one. A really hard one at times. You will feel the impact intensely before, during, and after your exercise this behavior.

Most often when you hear someone talking about “being honest” the discussion involves the word “liar”, but honesty is a lot more complex than that.

It’s about candor and kindness and believing that you can help others level up when you encourage them with your clear, illuminating insight.

Before that happens with others, you have to experience the discomfort that creates by practicing honesty with yourself.

It’s impossible to practice radical candor with others when you haven’t first done the same for yourself.

  • What was the last time you took a few minutes to examine your motives and intentions?
  • When was the last time you had an honest conversation about your results, your effort, and your attitude?

It’s easy to look around and blame all of your problems on other people and their bad behavior. To blame bad luck. To pretend like none of the reasons why you are where you are right now have nothing to do with you.

But that’s not being honest. Not in the least bit.

Nothing in life is an accident. Your results, your predicament, your income, your obstacles — they are all there for one reason or another.

Be honest with you. It’s an emotional investment you won’t ever regret

As for being honest with others — you already know that it’s the right thing to do. But somehow — and when it matters most — you don’t do it. You hold back. You equivocate. Pause. And obfuscate.

You aren’t honest. And it’s not because you’re a stone-cold, manipulator. Or a con man. Or a liar.

It’s most likely because being honest is hard work. It’s a huge emotional investment.

By being honest with others you have to care about them. A lot.

It’s easy to tell others what you know they want to hear. It doesn’t hurt their feelings and you don’t have to invest in a tough conversation where you tell them that they can achieve more if they’re willing to put in the time and effort to improve.

Which is why being honest is such an important rule.

The fact that it’s hard to do already puts you in an elite category of performers. To do it consistently will make you a superstar.

By the way, being honest with others isn’t a license to be a jerk. Kindness always trumps candor. In fact, candor is kindness. You don’t have to be loud or obnoxious, or the least bit insulting, to give feedback that is honest and hopeful.

The reason you’re doing this in the first place is to help them. So, help them.

To get started you might need to premise your insight with a quick question or two: “Would you like my feedback?” or “Can I be honest with you?”

Once you have permission, you now have a duty to be honest. And remember, you want that same candor from others — especially when you are desperate to level up. Extend the same honesty to others.

2. Ask Questions

You see the world through your own perspective — which is great until you expect that others share that same outlook. Which they likely won’t.

You see what you see based on years of your own life experience and struggle. And that’s different for all of us.

The only way to get the perspective of others is to ask them for it. Asking questions. Probing. Digging into the reason behind the explanation.

Asking questions will help you increase the growth of your business. It’s a skill that will help you build better relationships and avoid unnecessary conflict — and solve just about any other sticky situation where other people are involved.

The simplest question is “why”. It’s somewhat crude and often misunderstood to be offensive if delivered with the wrong tone, but it is at the core of all questions.

Why does it matter? Why are you doing that? Why do you think what you think?

But beyond “why”, there are many other important questions that will get you the answers you need.

Questions to help you level up in business and in your relationships — but also to help you dig a bit deeper into your own psyche. To hope you get clear on the baggage in your mind that can often be debilitating.

Here are a few of those questions you’ll want to practice asking yourself:

  1. Would I be embarrassed if other people were to know that I was making this decision?
  2. What advice would I give someone else if they were in my position?
  3. Is this a legitimate step towards getting closer to where I want to be or am I chasing a shortcut?
  4. When I look back at this decision, how will I feel?
  5. What else haven’t I considered that might help me make a better decision?
  6. Am I making this decision based on fear?
  7. Can I deal with the consequences that will come from making this decision, this way?

Ask yourself the hard questions. Be clear about your intentions, even if it isn’t something you want to share with anyone else.

And then practice the art of asking questions.

Most conversations would be more productive if the first words said came in the form of a question.

Try it. You’ll find it uncomfortable at first. But like any important skill, if you deliberately stick with it, you will find yourself spending less time on hurt feelings and misunderstood intentions.

3. Do Things That Matter

It seems obvious that high performers do things that matter.

However, it’s not that simple. High performers don’t start doing things that matter actors after they are high performers, it’s what makes them high performers in the first place.

Doing what matters is the playbook. The road map.

The answer is actually quite simple. You only have so much time in a day.

You’re going to spend half the day working — or working to get to work. You’ll spend another 8 hours sleeping — or getting ready for or out of bed.

After you factor in eating, reading, working out, and personal entertainment, you probably only have a few hours (if any at all) that are all yours.

What you do with your time ultimately determines your destiny.

Doing things that matter is your shortcut to consistent and reliable progress.

The faster you focus on what matters, the more quickly you’ll move around obstacles and the less frustrated you’ll feel by failure.

But it’s not always easy to see what matters.

Priorities change. So does your environment. And the world around you is constantly changing. All of that comes straight at you — at a torrid pace that is confusing and overwhelming.

The only way out is to stop and live in quietness. Even if only temporarily.

That quietness is your compass, pointing you towards greatness. In the direction of what really matters.

But sometimes, even that doesn’t work. You can’t find quietness because of the chaos and noise inside your head.

And so you have to fall back on timeless activities that are proven to propel you towards progress, regardless of your goals or the obstacles in your way.

Here are a few of them:

  1. Make time to improve your “mind game”. — Everything you ever do — or don’t do — is a direct result of how you think — and what you allow yourself to keep thinking about. Be aware of which thoughts make you act which way. By the way, meditation is a great exercise to figure this all out. Try using Calm or Headspace or Omvana if you want to master this skill.
  2. Take time to get physical. — Instead of eliminating regular exercise from your schedule, protect the time you work up a sweat. Run. Punch. Kick. Cycle. Just move fast. You’ll find yourself thinking of ideas you wouldn’t have considered. You’ll return to your work focused. And — you’ll eliminate a bunch of the frustration and pettiness you would otherwise direct at those around you.
  3. Stop wasting time on regrets or worries. — It’s easy to spin out of control when you think about what you could have done or should have done. Replace those negative thoughts with specific thoughts for moving towards where you want to be. Again, this about you being aware of what you are thinking. When you recognize negative thoughts you pause and switch them to thoughts that help you get closer to where you want to be.
  4. Reduce the time you spend on entertainment. — It’s amazing how distracting a binge-watch session on Netflix can be. Instead of working toward success, your brain goes to mush when you call up the latest episode instead of working on the things that matter most. Sometimes, you need to take a break and reboot. But that shouldn’t be a “most of the time” thing.
  5. Get more sleep. — Most human beings need 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night to operate at optimum performance. Your brain reboots. Your immune system recharges. Your body gets a bit more resilient. The more sleep you can get, the more likely you are to stay strong and healthy — and clear-minded. When you do more, you need more sleep. Don’t overdo the sleeping part and don’t think you can cheat time by sleeping less. It’s guaranteed to backfire on you.
  6. Pay attention to the details. — Getting things done isn’t the same as getting things done well. Don’t just check things off your list. Make sure you’ve done the best that you can do. Take the time to reflect on what you can do better the next time. Dig deep into the success you want for yourself. Hone in on what other people who have achieved the success you want for yourself are doing. Always be learning and growing.
  7. Avoid everyone and anything who takes you off your game. — It doesn’t really matter why or when or who — negativity and fear and worry and confusion will crush your ability to get to where you want to be. So avoid it. Don’t try to contain it. Or tolerate it. Get as far away from it, as you can. It might not be forever, but for now, you need to anything that is negative completely behind you.

More importantly, this is a mindset. A deliberate way of spending your time.

Make no mistake, three simple rules won’t fix everything. They aren’t the perfect formula for every obstacle standing in your way.

But they do give you a foundation to stand on. A platform to launch from.

And when life is hard and your dreams are big, sometimes it’s important to know that you have a few simple rules guiding your pathway to success.

The Hard Truth No One Told You About Doing Whatever It Takes.

I can’t help but look down at my running watch.

My heart feels like it is about to explode out of my chest. The pain in my lungs is now in my neck. Pounding through my cheekbones.

I am literally moments away from a heart attack.

It all started with a simple phone call from one of my long-time ultra running buddies: “Let’s go to Pisgah and attack some mountains. It will be fun”

I should have known from the drive that this run was about to be a lot different than any of us expected.

We decided to park at the top of the mountain, run to the bottom, and then run back up. Up and up and up and up we drove.

When we got to the top, we checked our gear to make sure we had enough water and food in case it took us longer than we expected.

Finding the nearest trailhead, we started our descent to the bottom. The trail obviously hadn’t been used much because there were rocks and roots and large overgrown spots along the path.

The path itself seemed to descend straight down. At times, the only way to stop was to run into a tree. Or you could try to grab the side of one as you ran by, flinging yourself around the tree in a circular motion to slow yourself down.

If that seems absolutely insane, it is.

The only thing more insane is getting to the bottom of the mountain and realizing that you have to run back up.

Instantly, your brain starts to make excuses.

  • Maybe there is a way to drive the car down here and pick us up?
  • Are you sure there isn’t an easier way to get back home?
  • Why did we decide to do this anyway?

We took a minute to collect ourselves. Checking the map to see exactly where we were in the trail system. And then, the inevitable became reality.

“Ready to go?”

Those three simple words were really an unspoken paragraph about the pain each of us knew we were about to endure. Little did we know what that would actually be.

So back we went. Up. And up. And up. And up.

At first, it didn’t seem like that hard of a climb. But I could tell it was starting to get in my head when I noticed how often I was checking my watch.

The miles accumulate quickly when you’re running downhill. Not so much when you’re running back up.

Slowly but surely, the path became more difficult and our breathing louder. My watch appeared to show that we were close to being at the summit. But the path seemed to go on endlessly.

And despite the water and food we had brought with us, neither of us felt as prepared as we should be.

I felt a slight buzz on my left wrist. It was a notification that we had run another mile.

When I looked down at my running watch I was horrified by what I saw.

My heart was beating at close to 200 beats per minute. And the time for my last mile was a grizzly 29:32. Almost 30 minutes.

Impossible — it seemed. For the amount of effort my body was expending I should have been running a lot faster. A whole lot faster.

But there I was, in the middle of the trail with my body exploding in pain, exhausted by the journey, and completely disillusioned by how much effort and pain it was going to take to get to where I wanted to be.

I wish I could say this was the only time I have been in this precarious position. But it isn’t. And it won’t be.

The hard truth I have come to realize about accomplishing dreams is that it always costs you more then you think it will.

It’s easy to tell other people that you’re willing to do what it takes. It’s a cool phrase to put on a t-shirt. And empowering to believe in. But living your life that way requires next-level focus and a radical commitment that most people consider to be overly obsessive and a bit wacky.

But if you’re not committed to doing what it takes you’ll find yourself giving up too early and only coming close to achieving your goals. You’ll never quite get there.

So what does it take? And why are you going to have to try so hard?

We all agree that you won’t get far in life doing the bare minimum.

To be candid, you won’t get much farther doing a little bit more.

It’s a dangerous trap to think that because you are doing more than those around you that you’re doing what it takes to accomplish your goals.

The truth is that you have to do a “lot a bit” more than everyone else around you to have a chance at accomplishing great things.

That’s nothing new. That’s always how it has been. You just haven’t noticed until now. maybe this goal is a little more important than the ones you’ve had in the past. Maybe the stakes are higher for you accomplishing breakthrough right now.

Maybe you just want it more.

The truth is that doing what it takes is what success requires. You have to lay it all on the line. No matter where you are trying to go or what you’re trying to do. You won’t make it happen by hedging your bets or holding back.

You have to be all in with every fiber of your emotions, every bit of your financial resources, every ounce of will in your body — and a bit more you don’t believe is possible right now.

What does that really mean?

  • You have to work tirelessly.
  • You have to focus on the details.
  • You can’t play it safe.
  • You can’t pretend like doing what’s easy is really going to work.
  • You have to be vulnerable enough to try and fail and try again. Until you get it right.

Even when you don’t feel like it.

Even when it feels like you don’t have enough strength and courage to get back to the starting line again.

You have to get back up and keep moving.

Because doing what it takes is always what it takes to achieve big dreams. And if that’s what you have, then that’s what you have to give. Anything. And everything. And sometimes both at the same time.

So when you find yourself panting for air and wondering why you set out to conquer the mountain in the first place, know that in this moment by taking the next step you are one of the very few who are actually doing whatever it takes.

From the time that I looked at my watch and realized how incredibly slow I was running up a very steep hill, I ended up only being about 45 minutes away from my car. And the top of the mountain. And a moment when I could sit down and breathe a bit more slowly.

I’ve not been back to that mountain since, but I’ve run other mountains — emotionally and literally.

There is always a crest. Always a finish line. It might feel like forever, but it never is.

It can’t be, especially if you refuse to stop moving forward.

It’s On You To Get What You Want From Life.

You are responsible for your actions. Completely responsible.

This is never a time when you are not responsible for what you do, what you think, and the results that you achieve.

It doesn’t matter what other people are doing to you. It doesn’t matter what other people are getting away with. Your life, your priorities, and your perspective are all completely your responsibility.

It is easy to be distracted by what is going on around you. It’s natural to think that because someone else is getting away with something wrong that consequences don’t apply to everyone. They do.

The truth is that no one gets away with anything.

What you do earns you the results that you get. It may take you years or decades to experience the consequences of your actions. But there’s never a time when you earn a different result than the actions you execute.

It’s really that simple. What you do matters. What you do leads to clear and distinct results.

You’re not responsible for the timing of those results. Usually, you can’t change when you get what’s coming to you. You are, however, completely responsible for you.

Think about the frustrations you face in your life right now.

You think you need more resources or you need more time. If it’s not one of those, it’s something else you think you need. You’re frustrated because you feel like you could be more successful if life gave you your chance. More resources. Less of the bad stuff.

That’s a dangerous way to think.

The truth is that it’s on you to get what you want from life.

If you want something that you don’t have, go and get it. Don’t wait for other people to realize your situation and ask to help you. Fight for yourself.

It might require personal sacrifice. It might mean that you have less free time — or less money to spend on fun. But that’s the cost of getting what you want. That’s the price of taking back ownership of your life. And destiny.

And just in case you think that life has it in for you, let’s be clear about something else.

Bad stuff happens to all of us — not just people we might label as “losers”.

It’s true that successful people get to write history. But if you look at the traits that those people share, you will see something remarkable

  1. They remain eternally optimistic
  2. They are “all in” on their own success
  3. They make fewer excuses and expect less fairness
  4. They know exactly what they want to achieve next
  5. They are willing to do whatever it takes to make progress
  6. They don’t care what anyone else thinks about them

Look around at the people you think of as successful. They share these same qualities, don’t they?

Now, before you get angry and disagree –or find fault with my choice of words, let’s dig into this a bit deeper.

You’re responsible for getting to where you want to be.

You alone. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what you been through, or where you are right now.

The life you’re living is of your doing. It’s the result of everything you’ve done or not done to get to this point right now.

Make no mistake, you’re going to need help from others to achieve breakthrough. That’s normal. And natural. We all need somebody. And in most cases, a lot of somebodies. But let’s be super clear about this. It’s you. All you.

Think about the last time you ran a race.

Whether it’s a 5K, half marathon, or something longer you’ll find people at the starting line, at the finish line, and throughout the race holding signs that encourage you to keep running.

Some of them will even have cowbells or plastic trumpets that they’re blowing. Cheering for you. Telling you to keep going. That you’re almost there. But it’s on you to move your legs.

No amount of cheering or support can force you to keep running when you have decided that you’re going to quit.

So what does this tell us about making forward progress?

What can we learn about getting all we want from life?

Most people are not as successful as they could be because they aren’t willing to go far enough.

Many people work hard. Few people work hard enough.

Many people are determined. Few people are truly willing to do what it takes .

Many people hope for success. Few people believe it will happen.

These are “almost-indistinguishably-different” positions too. The people who work hard but not hard enough look “scary similar” to the people who are willing to put in enough effort to achieve results. 

They usually use the same nouns and verbs. They often look they are doing the exact same thing. But with enough time, history makes the difference clear.

And this isn’t about money.

Getting what you want from life isn’t all about making more money. That’s a really small part of success.

In fact, there are many more stories of people achieving mindblowing feats of greatness outside of wealth — in math, sports, science, and politics. Where driven people with clear goals decide to be magnificently accountable for their own actions and outcomes.

We all start from different places in life. Most of us are in the middle of the crazy extremes we use as illustrations of success or failure. No one is probably going to be making a movie about the story of your life.

And that’s absolutely OK.

Regardless of each your starting point, forward progress is simply a matter of will. You have to truly believe that — or you won’t achieve your true potential. Whatever that is.

So own your day. Own your destiny. Own this moment. Take about control of your life.

Refuse to blame anyone else for where you’ve been and the frustrations you have faced along the way your journey.

Listen to the crowd cheering — and sometimes jeering — and just keep moving forward. One step at a time.

You’re already strong enough. Smart enough. Tough enough. You just need to believe that you’re responsible for you.

Be the boss of you.

Do Won Chang: 3 Jobs, 19 Hour Days, 1 Next Step, And A $5 Billion Empire

Do Won Chang sat in a crowded airport in Korea waiting on a plane to take him, his parents, and his new bride to America. 

Do Won had been dreaming about this move since he was a child. His parents were desperately poor and Do Won had been working since he was old enough to ride a bike.

He did whatever he could to make money for the family. 

His most recent endeavor had been delivering coffee to nearby villages. And Do Won was good at it. He was familiar with all the different types of coffee, the beans, and their flavors. 

He planned on using his obsession with coffee to find his American Dream. 

And there he was. At the airport. Waiting to take a journey of a lifetime. 

Nobody in his family had ever been on a plane. So the 6,000 mile journey across the world was fascinating and terrifying to them all.

But they eventually landed safely in Los Angeles. 

And when they landed, Do Won didn’t waste any time looking for work.

He went straight to the nearest coffee shop and applied. He got an interview immediately and despite his broken English, he managed to get hired working early mornings at the shop. 

But Do Won quickly figured out that he wouldn’t be able to save for his dream of owning his own coffee shop with the $3 an hour he was getting paid.

He was taking care of his parents and he had a wife to take care of.

Affording the tiny, one-bedroom apartment they all lived in was already a stretch.

But Do Won was in America.

He believed that his dream was coming true. And he wasn’t going to complain. He understood the value of hard work — and he had passion running through his blood. He had been driven his whole life.

So he found a second job at a gas station pumping gas for the wealthy.

And when he was done for the day with his first two jobs, Do Won cleaned offices. A business he started on his own. 

His days soon went from 8 hours of work to 19 hours of work. But he had a plan.

He would start a business. And he would be successful. 

Every morning, Do Won would get to the coffee shop at 4am to start his day. He would prep food and do dishes. He rarely got a chance to sit.

He would leave there, go straight to the gas station where he would also be on his feet for the duration of his shift and pump gas. He would listen to the bell ring over and over — and look at all the cars pouring in to fill up.

The Mercedes and the BMW always caught his eye. He would shyly ask his customers “What do you do?” 

He started noticing a pattern. The men who drove the cars he liked the best weren’t selling coffee at all. They were in the garment industry. They were selling clothes. 

Do Won soon found himself leaving the gas station to get a job in retail.

Selling clothes. Just like the men he was starting to admire. And Do Won was smart. He was a hard worker. His boss loved him.

And that changed everything. His boss showed Do Won the ins and outs of running a store.

He didn’t just expect him to sell clothing like the rest of the employees. He taught him ordering and merchandising and marketing. 

Do Won listened. Absorbed. Learned. And then did. 

Within three years of getting to America, Do Won and his wife, Jin Sook, who was working as a hairdresser, had saved up $11,000.

An incredible feat considering how little they both made.

They found a clothing store for sale just a few blocks away from their little one bedroom apartment in Koreatown. And the owner was glad to sell it.

The business hadn’t been making more than $30,000 a year. And he was ready to get out.  

Do Won stepped in with his new found understanding and love of retail and turned the store around.

But it wasn’t easy. Not one bit. He and his wife worked day and night selling clothes to other Korean Americans.

Do Won started buying closeout lots of clothes at wholesale prices — and soon, people started making the five-mile drive from LA into Koreatown to buy from this new store called Fashion 21. 

Within a year they turned that little $30,000 per year business into a $700,000 powerhouse.

And that was just the start.

They changed the name of Fashion 21 to Forever 21 and within 5 years had opened up dozens of more stores. They perfected their niche, which was “fast fashion.”

Just as quick as it was coming off the runway, Do Won and his team would have a similar looking item for much less on the shelves.

It would normally take designers months to produce, but Do Won would have it created and shipping within a few days.

People started talking. And the clothes became a guilty pleasure.

You had to buy it when you found it or it wouldn’t be there when you came back for it.

It would have been replaced by something newer. Something more stylish.

That has been the core of their business. A business model they still use.

Today, Do Won and his family have over 400 stores in over 50 countries. He and Jin Sook have a net worth of over $5 billion. And they still own 100% of their business.

They built Forever 21 from the ground up as a family and decided to keep it all in the family. They also decided to keep the 900 square foot store where they grabbed the American Dream. 

If you walk in today, not much has changed since they opened it in 1984. Including the carpet and the smell of sweat.

It is treated more like a museum where faithful shoppers come to look at where it all began.

It’s a timepiece. A reminder that if you work hard, you can achieve great things.  

There have been no updates to the store and there are no plans for an update. There is a much larger, much brighter, much richer Forever 21 just a few miles away in the middle of Los Angeles. 

After years of 19-hour days, Do Won eventually upgraded from his one bedroom apartment to a $16 million home — where he raised two daughters and sent them to the Ivy League colleges he was never fortunate enough to attend.

They also help with the daily running of Forever 21. Do Won reminds them to treat success “like a marathon. Not a 100-meter dash.” 

And he is proof that the marathon is worth starting. 

Here is the truth — you can do something right now to get started on your path to greatness. 

​​You probably can’t do everything. But you can get started. You can take the next step. 

​​The most powerful realization you can make is to believe that the best action its simply taking one. 

But ​the tricky thing about making progress is that it’s natural to find yourself hesitating in the hopes that doing so allows you to think of an awesome solution and avoid failing. 

​​That’s a human thing. Completely subconscious. And often, dead wrong. 

​​It’s not that hesitation itself that kills your momentum. It’s all the time lost along your journey as you keep hesitating. 

​​You slow down today for one thing. And then do it again tomorrow and the next day for another thing. 

​​What you might have been done in quick order is now an impossible challenge you have stretched into something miserably long. Making it a lot harder than it should have been.

So, the next time you are tired from your 12-hour day. The next time you are complaining that life is unfair. The next time you turn around and find yourself tired and worn down from the daily grind.

Remember one simple thing — just take the next step.

Move forward.​​​​ ​There are no shortcuts. 

Just as much progress as you are willing to make. ​​

5 Unshakeable Truths About The Power Of Positive Thinking.

You only have to spend a little bit of time around negative people to know the devastating impact of thoughts.

What you think about most becomes the reality of your life.

If you are controlled by bitterness and regret, all you seem to see around you are things that make you angry and frustrated. The same as true in the opposite sense when you choose to find the bright spot in whatever situation you find yourself.

Regardless of your reality, you feel happy and fulfilled. You have high hopes for the future.

But beyond your own personal experiences with the thoughts you think, how does this work?

Do positive thoughts really lead to better outcomes? Does it really matter that you allow yourself to brood over negativity in your daily life?

A lot of research has been done and many books written on the topic of positive thinking. From The Secret to The Power Of Positive Thinking, Think And Grow Rich, and the writings of Neville Goddard to new age religious thinkers that include Joel Osteen and TD Jakes, many people have put their spin on the power of your thoughts — from religion to metaphysical to personal motivation.

Right off the bat many people label this entire category of discussion as “woo-woo”. They’ll tell you right away with a quick turn of their head “I don’t believe in any of that crap”.

These same people will tell you to be realistic and keep your feet on the ground — all the while complaining about how other people have negatively impacted their lives for them.

No amount of personal experience or reasoning will convince them of anything to the contrary — especially their own culpability.

If you fall into this category of being an automatic skeptic then you should know that I do not intend to make a believer out of you. However, if you have been as puzzled as I have been about the power of thoughts and how thinking leads to outcomes, both good and bad, then let’s debate the following points together.

1. Negativity is never helpful.

Whether it starts as actions or attitudes, negativity creates tension in your life that always leads to poor outcomes.

We don’t want to be around negativity in others. Since we all have problems and are busy dealing with our own crap, being forced to deal with your negativity as well is just another reason to avoid you.

It’s hard to find breakthrough in your life or catch a break from others when you put them in a position where they don’t feel like helping you.

That’s the dynamic created by negativity — in any shape or form. It is absurd then that negative thinking attracts goodness into your life.

2. Thinking without action doesn’t lead to success.

Just thinking about success doesn’t make you a success. You taking action is what leads to better outcomes. You have to do something if you want to get something.

It’s preposterous to believe that thoughts alone will lead you to a life of wealth and good health. You have to do things that lead to wealth and good health.

But that doesn’t mean that thinking about success isn’t important.

Continuous thinking creates obsession. Obsession is what gives you that extra advantage over everyone else. Instead of giving up when you face problems you confront them and find a way around them.

Thinking is what leads to better action. You still have to do something to be effective.

3. The breakthrough you are looking for already exists.

Thinking about breakthrough doesn’t create breakthrough any more than thinking about success without action create success. Here’s the thing about possibility– it is endless beyond measure.

What you want to achieve is already possible. No one is holding you back, slowing you down, or stopping you. It is your thoughts that create the perception of limitations.

Time and time again in sports or academic excellence a breakthrough by one person almost immediately spawns that same accomplishment by many others. There is something inside you that triggers when you believe that what your attempting to do is likely to happen.

Maybe you try harder. Maybe you give up less. Maybe you trust your instincts and go for it when otherwise you would have backed away and tried something else. The possibility for you to achieve success doesn’t just exist, it is inevitable. But you have to believe that before it matters for you.

4. If you think it’s true, it’s true for you.

The simple truth about beliefs is that you believe what you want to believe, how you want to believe it. Truth isn’t necessarily based on universal reality. It’s based on solely on your perspective — how what you see matches up to what you believe. This begins to explain the power of positive thoughts.

When you believe that blessings are in your future, that truth will live out in your daily existence. When you belief that success is your destiny and that good things happen to people who do good work, you literally create the future you believe exist.

And not because your thoughts are a magic wand that create that future. It’s a bit simpler than that.

What you think, you believe. What you believe, you see. You actively look for goodness, greatness, and glory. It feels like magnetism. Like success is brought to you. In truth, it’s been there the whole time, just waiting for you to find your truth.

5. None of this matters if you don’t care.

There is an ancient Buddhist philosophy that says “When the student is willing the teacher will appear”. There is an Arabian proverb that says something similar: “The taste of the bread depends upon how hungry you are”.

The same can be said about personal development. You don’t need to care about getting better. And if you don’t, it shows. The same applies to your thoughts.

If you don’t need to think better, this entire discussion feels like mumbo jumbo.

Here is the crazy irony — at some point you will care. Because you’ll be stuck and need to find your way out of the mess you’re in. But then, you’ll have all the odds tipped against you.

You have to figure out how to get back on your feet without having worked on the skill of powerful thinking.

So even if you don’t think you care, take a moment to think about how you’ll feel when you do care. Or when you have cared in the past.

From my earliest days in church and throughout seminary studying the Holy Bible, I was often reminded of a single proverb written by King Solomon: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”.

Perhaps that sums up the essence of this entire discussion.

You are what you choose to think about.

Negativity, fear, and doubt are choices that you allow ourself to make.

The same is true about hope and promise, wealth, love, and goodness.

Regardless of where you are on your personal journey towards success, know that what you think about most you become.


BTW, a book that has been especially helpful to me about mindset is written by Dr. Joseph Dispenza entitled “Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon”. You can find out more about that book right here.

You’re Listening To Bad Advice. Here’s What To Do About It.

I’ve stopped giving other people advice. Well, not exactly. I still have as many opinions as I have always had, I’ve just realized that giving good advice is really hard to do.

It’s almost automatic that I’ll give you bad advice. Not horrible, malicious advice — just insight and perspective that are completely unhelpful. And almost always horribly inadequate.

Today, everyone has an opinion.

Actually, that’s always been the case. And despite how wise they might have seemed at the time, even the smartest people can look foolish over time.

  • In 1876, senior executives at Western Union made the decision that “This telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. It is inherently of no value.” In early 2019 Apple announced that it has sold more than 1.5 billion iPhones.
  • In 1933, the head of engineering at Boeing bragged that “There will never be a bigger plane built” after the first flight of the 247, a twin-engine plane that held ten people. Boeing’s own 747-8 can hold 605 passengers, and it’s long-range competitor, the Airbus A-380, can hold 853 people.
  • In 1954, Dr. Wilhelm Carl Hueper, Director of the National Cancer Institute, argued that “If excessive smoking actually plays a role in the production of lung cancer, it seems to be a minor one.”  More than 20 million Americans have died because of smoking since 1964. That number continues to grow.
  • In 1968, Times Magazine made the observation that “online shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop.” In 2013, worldwide online shopping reached nearly $1 trillion. Goldman Sachs predicts year over year growth of almost 20%.

Everyone, everywhere, has always had an opinion. Some of them being epically wrong. The only difference between now and then is that right now everyone’s opinion is right up in your face.

Sometimes, obnoxiously so.

You can’t spend more than a few minutes on social media, your favorite news channel on television, or even in conversation with a close circle of friends without hearing advice that is spoken with audacious boldness — so much boldness that you are convinced the person delivering the opinion has some special information you are not privy too.

And sometimes they do. But most often, they don’t.

What they say out loud to you is based on what other people have told them or how they perceive their own life experience. They tell you how they see life, not as life fully is.

I’ve realized this lesson in the advice that I give others. What used to work for me in achieving success is no longer what I believe in. Those ideas are no longer the strategies and tactics that I use. It worked when it worked, but isn’t something that works now.

So when you ask me — or anyone else for that matter — for an opinion about how to be successful, you’re asking a hard question.

An almost impossible one.

You’re really asking what you need to do differently in order to achieve better results. And that is a slightly more complicated question to answer.

It requires a lot more information. A lot more honesty with yourself.

In truth, I’m the product of many years of hustle and hard work. A combination of who my parents raised me to be, the religious and spiritual beliefs that were ingrained in me at an early age, and all of the new beliefs and mindsets I’ve been developing proactively over the last decade.

My opinion today is certainly different from the advice I would have given you many years ago. It’s certain that I’ll have a new perspective in the years to come.

And while some life questions appear to be easy to answer, every bit of advice you receive needs to be filtered through the following six questions.

  1. Is the advice misleading or flat out wrong? — Just because someone has an advanced college degree or appears to know that they are talking about doesn’t mean that everything they say is accurate. It doesn’t even mean that well-intentioned advice is right. Sometimes common sense is dead wrong. By the way, statistics can tell a few different stories. A lot of the times, what looks to be a pattern is just a mirage. Do your own research before buying in.
  2. Is the advice outdated and not specific to what you are going through right now? — Times change. Strategies change. Tactics change. You’ll often hear a wise old man tell you how you should do it the way they did it. And while some strategies are never outdated, like hard work and honesty, most everything else evolves so much over the years that it hardly looks like what it used to be. You need to be aware of where you are right now.
  3. Is the advice incomplete? — Half of the picture isn’t all that helpful. Getting part of the solution might seem like a good idea at first — until you are unable to finish what you started. All too often, good ideas die because no one thought through the entire process. Sadly, you usually only learn this after you’ve failed a few times. It’s OK to grab bits and pieces of advice from different people. Just don’t blindly accept that part of the solution is the entire thing.
  4. Is the advice overly emotional and not able to be implemented practically? — Just because you have a rallying cry doesn’t mean that you have the weapons to go to war and win. Being loud and obnoxious isn’t all that useful — even if you have a job in broadcast journalism. Things that sound like good ideas are often just anecdotes meant for effect, not for getting things done. Progress needs to be practical or you’ll just find yourself angry and stuck.
  5. Is the advice based on your flawed explanation of your particular situation? — A remedy is only as good as the symptoms that you describe. Sometimes the advice you are given is helpful if you are describing the right problem.  But you’re not. And so you begin executing based on a flawed premise. Regardless of how you got there, you’re in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing. This means you have to be brutally honest with yourself and those you are looking to for help.
  6. Is the advice“forgettable and naïve”? — Sometimes successful people forget how hard it was to get there the first place. They can tell you five or six things that seemed to work, but often forget to mention how much effort it required to make those things work. What you hear is “this works” when you should be hearing  “this works if you do it long enough and hard enough”. Dive a bit deeper into the advice that you get. Find the answer behind the answer.

Don’t worry. My opinions aren’t going anywhere. I’m still quick to drop my perspective in almost any conversation that I’m a part of — even the conversations where no one really cares what I think.

But when it comes to improving, the only thing worse than not knowing what to do is following advice that doesn’t work.

You might feel better in the moment blindly accepting the perspectives of those who seem to have it all figured out, just be careful that you don’t waste time buying into other people’s nonsense just because it’s easier than developing the emotional fortitude to take risks and fail as you develop your own insights and perspective along your pathway to greatness.

Be teachable. Be willing to listen and learn. Be wise enough to separate good advice from bad.

The Secret To Lasting Longer And Helping More People In A World Where You Keep Falling Apart.

Have you ever watched a tugboat in action? It’s truly a remarkable vessel.

The purpose of the tugboat is to help larger sea vehicles maneuver out of port or safely connect back to a pier when trying to dock.

You’ll see a huge cruise ship or cargo ship coming into port with a tugboat attached to both corners — connected at both ends with an iron chain as thick as a car tire.

As the ship gets closer and closer to shore the tugboats pull on either end to make sure that the larger vessel is perfectly aligned with the pier and doesn’t smash wildly into shore.

The tugboat is also used to pull damaged boats back to safety or haul trash in large oversized barges out to the middle of the ocean where it will be dumped.

The tugboat is small and powerful, with an engine built to maximize torque over raw speed.

But the dirty little secret of the tugboat is that it breaks down more than any other vehicle doing business on the water.

Every few months, the tugboat makes its way into the dry docks where its engine will be ripped apart and put back together by talented mechanics who know exactly what to do to make it all work again.

The tug boat might be the strongest of all the boats — especially given its ridiculously important job — but it also breaks down the most.

It gets beaten up the most. And it needs the most attention to its inner workings.

That’s because the tugboat is always doing something for someone else.

It’s not racing fast or exploring elegantly. It’s never shined up or painted beautifully. It’s always saving someone else. Always.

And that job requires a lot of upkeep.

Unless the engine gets rebuilt, it can no longer do its job.

But the tugboat isn’t the only monument on the ocean saving lives and doing hard work.

Along the shore of the world’s most dangerous locations stand tall statues of hope. These locations have a single purpose — to shine brightness on a situation that would otherwise hurt sailors and destroy their boats.

We call these monuments by a different name. You’ve seen one before. It’s called a lighthouse.

And if you’ve seen one recently or remember the last one you visited, you will note that it looked quite old.

It wasn’t built yesterday or last year or most probably in your lifetime. It’s likely that the lighthouse you’re thinking of right now is more than 100 years old. Still standing in the same spot.

Still doing the same thing it was built to do.

Not rebuilt. Not reworked. Still standing strong.

The lighthouse and the tugboat do the same thing. They save lives. But the tugboat needs to be repaired. And the lighthouse just stands strong.

And that singular comparison is a powerful bit of wisdom for all of us.

If you insist on dropping everything and jumping into your tugboat every time someone you love or care about needs help, you’re going to wear out quickly.

You’re going to need to be rebuilt.

And sometimes that’s necessary. Sometimes you do need to do something extraordinary to help others.

But you should be aware that your effort will come at an extraordinary cost to you. You can’t pretend to do it every day. Or build a plan expecting it to work out for you.

Like the tug boat you will break down. You will break into pieces. You will need to be put back together.

The lighthouse has but one job — to shine bright.

To illuminate the shore. To provide a warning to all that sail close by that danger is near.

The lighthouse doesn’t move.

It’s not even responsible for the people who crash onto the shore. The lighthouse did its job. It’s there to shine. To boldly show the way.

That’s your job as well. To shine bright. To stand tall. To be the ones others look to for help getting to where they want to be.

Spend less time pulling others to where they should be and more time shining a light on where they could be.

You’ll need less repair. And those you help will be all the more empowered to shine a light of their own.

15 Rules Champions Live By To Get Things Done Each Day.

You can’t control if you get lucky.  You can’t even control if you get a fair chance. Despite the best education, smart planning, and friends in high places, you can be blindsided by the worst of unfair conditions.

Your good ideas can be spoiled by petty people. Your honorable intentions can be undone by passive-aggressive peers. Your intelligence and insight can be copied and stolen and spoiled.

But no one can take from you your effort. No one can force you to not get things done.

It’s the biggest difference between champions and everyone else.

Champions put in more time. They work hard. Every day. And not just working hard for the sake of putting in the effort.

Champions put in effort for the sake of getting things done

They know the value of consistent progress towards success — no matter what that goal is.

The crazy thing about this entire discussion is that most people don’t really know how to get things done.

Don’t get me wrong, the internet is full of experts and gurus who talk eloquently about “working smarter” and the “need to get enough sleep”. They cite case studies about “needing to pace yourself” — all the while never really sharing with you the rulebook that champions use to get things done each day.

So, let me do that for you right now.

If you’ve been wondering how to be more successful — how to make more progress — here are a few rules to help you do just that:

  1. Go out of your way each day to improve your “mind game”. Everything you ever do — or don’t do — is a direct result of how you think — and what you allow yourself to keep thinking about. Be aware of which thoughts make you act which way. By the way, meditation is a great exercise to figure this all out.
  2. Take the time to build a list of everything that you need to do. Keep that list updated as new thoughts, ideas, and goals hit you. Make sure you have easy access to that list at all times so that you can quickly add to it. Pull tasks from your brain immediately to your task list.
  3. Make sure you know what matters now and what can wait until later. Build priorities. Label contingencies. Describe the outcomes you want to see.  You can delete stuff later.  Just get it all listed out in order of importance. Have tasks to “look at this” or “check out” or “explore” things that are fun and build new skills.
  4. Use smart technology to remind you of key events. Tools like repeating Google Tasks and Google Goals inside Google Calendar (all available for FREE) make it easy to set up alarms, reminders, and repeating events. You’re guaranteed to get more thing done when you are reminded of the most important things that you need to be doing.
  5. Build a “Minimum To-Do List”. Tag the items on your daily list that make up the bare minimum that you need to achieve each day. You’ll be surprised at how few items stay on the list, and you’ll be motivated to keep building momentum. A quick trick here is to create daily repeating tasks (or reminders) to do this minimum list of thins.
  6. Invest in the extra help you need. Instead of trying to do everything yourself, find key tasks – or parts of tasks – that you can hire someone else to help you with. Use online platforms like Fiverr and Upwork to find the help you need to be amazing. Invest in training these people so that you can truly get long term value for the relationship.
  7. Take time to get physical. Instead of eliminating regular exercise from your schedule, protect the time you work up a sweat. Run. Punch. Kick. Cycle. Just move fast. You’ll find yourself thinking of ideas you wouldn’t have considered. You’ll return to your work focused. And — you’ll eliminate a bunch of the frustration and pettiness you would otherwise direct at those around you.
  8. Refuse to waste a second on regrets or worries. It’s easy to spin out of control when you think about what you could have done or should have done. Replace those negative thoughts with specific thoughts for moving towards where you want to be. Again, this about you being aware of what you are thinking. When you recognize negative thoughts you pause and switch them to thoughts that help you get closer to where you want to be.
  9. Reduce (or eliminate) the time you spend on entertainment. It’s amazing how distracting a binge-watch session on Netflix can be. Instead of working toward success, your brain goes to mush when you call up the latest episode instead of working on the things that matter most. Sometimes, you need to take a break and reboot. But that shouldn’t be a “most of the time” thing.
  10. Be clear about what matters and why you want to achieve it. That state of “not knowing exactly what you want but feeling dissatisfied with what you have and where you are right now” is just a waste of your time. Hire a coach or a therapist. Join a Master Mind group. Find a new set of friends. Push yourself into doing things that are extreme and challenging. In that moment of weakness, what matters will become overwhelmingly clear to you.
  11. Get more sleep. Most human beings need 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night to operate at optimum performance. Your brain reboots. Your immune system recharges. Your body gets a bit more resilient. The more sleep you can get, the more likely you are to stay strong and healthy — and clear minded. When you do more, you need more sleep. Don’t overdo the sleeping part and don’t think you can cheat time by sleeping less. It’s guaranteed to backfire on you.
  12. Give time and attention to others. When you invest in others, your brain tells itself that you have more than you need. That sends a signal to the rest of your body to calm down. That everything will be ok. You’ll actually do better work. And., there is something inspiring about seeing others around you achieve progress.
  13. Pay attention to the details. Getting things done isn’t the same as getting things done well. Don’t just check things off your list. Make sure you’ve done the best that you can do. Take the time to reflect on what you can do better the next time. Dig deep into the success you want for yourself. Hone in on what other people who have achieved the success you want for yourself are doing. Always be learning and growing.
  14. Apologize when things don’t go the way you want them to go. When things are busy and you’re focused on you, it’s easy to make mistakes or hurt other people’s feelings. Instead of letting that negativity linger, make the smart decision to apologize early. And mean it. Then move on.
  15. Avoid everyone and anything who takes you off your game. It doesn’t really matter why or when or who — negativity and fear and worry and confusion will crush your ability to get to where you want to be. So avoid it. Don’t try to contain it. Or tolerate it. Get as far away from it, as you can.

Each day is an opportunity do things that matter.

Don’t waste your chance at being a champion because you don’t know how to get things done.

Move. And improve.

Plan. Work. Strategize.

And when you feel like you aren’t making enough progress, stop and return to this rulebook.

Which of these rules have you let slip?

Frederic Tudor: How To Turn Your Ice-Cold, Crazy Ideas Into Epic Success.

It was at a dinner shortly after the wedding that the idea came up. One of Frederic’s younger sister had just married the most eligible bachelor in town. Chilled drinks were flowing. And so were the ideas.

As Frederic’s rich older brother William joked with friends, out tumbled one of those ideas: ice for everyone.

Why not harvest the plentiful New England ice, currently only affordable to the rich and famous and sell it to the masses in the steamy Caribbean? It was clearly a joke. The ice would obviously melt along the way.

But that joke of an idea became a burning question for Frederic.

Why not bring ice to the masses?

The more he thought about it, the more convinced he was that he could pull it off. Using what he had learned from his apprenticeships and calling on his contacts in the Caribbean, this idea could make him seriously rich.

So it was on August 1, 1805, he inscribed in his journal — a journal bought specifically for this grand new business venture — his determined outlook:

He who gives back at the first repulse and without striking the second blow despairs of success has never been, is not, and never will be a hero in war, love, or business.

And quickly those blows of despair landed.

He couldn’t pay enough to get a boat captain to take him seriously. The first captain he tried to hire brushed him off. He wasn’t interested in being part of that failure. And neither was the second. Or the third.

Frederic decided to take matters into his own hands, spending $4,750 (more than $90,000 in today’s money) to buy his own boat, called the Favorite.

With 130 tons of ice on board, he left the dock on February 10, 1806,  to the ridicule of the press. The Boston Gazette reported, “No joke, ship full of ice sets sail for Martinique. Let’s hope this doesn’t prove to be a slippery speculation!”

His friends laughed at this insane notion. His own dad called his new venture “wild and ruinous”.

Turns out they were all absolutely right.

Twenty days later he arrived in Martinique, located in the Caribbean. Most of the ice on his boat had already melted. The business partners he sent ahead of his arrival had failed to drum up much interest. They weren’t able to sell the wild idea of having a chilled drink on a hot day.

In a little over 3 weeks, he had lost just over $50,000 in today’s money.

But that was just the beginning.

His own brother, and business partner, bailed out on the business. Quit. Left. He wanted no part of his insanity.

If that weren’t bad enough, the warehouses used to store ice could not stop the ice from melting.

And then life happened.

A few months after the launch of his grand idea, the Embargo Act of 1807 made it illegal to trade in foreign ports, cutting him off from his Caribbean market. That was followed by the War of 1812, which tanked the business.

Frederic was broke. And he went on the run from his creditors.

When he couldn’t outrun his creditors, he was thrown into debtor’s prison. And when he got out, he was thrown back in. A second time. And then a third time.

Humiliated. Broken. Beaten. Destroyed by his own crazy joke of an idea.

And every day, while his world crashed down around him and he logged one failure after another, he saw these words written so many years earlier in his journal:

He who gives back at the first repulse and without striking the second blow despairs of success has never been, is not, and never will be a hero in war, love, or business.

It took a decade of despairing blows before he finally started to get it right.

And then that bit of success seemed like a stroke of luck.

He started hauling a cooler of ice into the eating area at the boarding house and convincing his roommates to try their first iced beverage. At first, they laughed him off, but then they started clamoring for more.

And that was the spark that changed everything.

It became an all-out hustle. Over the next few months, he would travel the country convincing bars to experiment with chilled beverages to see which would sell better.

They even went so far as to offer some bars free ice for a year.

He taught restaurants how to use his ice to make ice cream.

He pioneered the practice of chilling meat, fruits, and vegetables to ship them long distances. He convinced doctors and hospitals to use ice to cool down feverish patients.

He developed an insulated ice house that kept his product cold by trapping a layer of air between two stone walls. He put those houses in Savannah, Charleston, New Orleans, Havana, Rio de Janeiro, Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta — literally, all over the world.

He continued to perfect his process, harvesting ice in ways that produced more uniform ice bricks, allowing them to be stacked tighter and higher.

Some as high as 80 feet tall.

With that hustle came the success he envisioned so many years earlier.

People began to want cold drinks. Queen Elizabeth herself refused to drink any other kind of ice but Frederic’s.

By 1856, Frederic was at the center of an industry that was shipping 140,000 tons of ice to China, Brazil, Japan, India, Australia, and 38 other countries.

He became known around the world as the “Ice King”.

He had fought his way from debtor’s prison to a fortune worth over $200 million dollars in today’s money.

And all because of a single sentence penciled into his journal:

He who gives back at the first repulse and without striking the second blow despairs of success has never been, is not, and never will be a hero in war, love, or business.

Years later, Henry David Thoreau penned the famous words: “The sweltering inhabitants of Charleston and New Orleans, of Madras and Bombay and Calcutta, drink at my well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.”

He was watching Frederic’s men harvest the ice on the famous Walden pond.

Frederic’s ice melted, but not his impact. The same could be said for you. But only if you don’t give up on your crazy ideas.

Even when people say your idea is stupid.

Even when people tell you to back off. To be reasonable. That it’s okay to “move on”. That “it wasn’t meant to be”.

Even when people tell you “no”. Even when they tell you “no” a second time. And a third time. And a hundred times after that.

If you’re going to be successful, you’re going to have to follow the same playbook that made Frederic a winner. 

  1. Refuse to give up. Don’t do it. You’re going to get hurt. And feel pain. And maybe cry. Just keep going. Regardless.
  2. Want it. There is always a very good, very smart reason to stop trying so hard. That doesn’t mean it’s the right decision to make.
  3. Stay focused on what they want. Your goals look a lot scarier a few months after you make them. But that’s not an excuse to shrug them off.
  4. Be tough. The difference between winning and losing usually just comes down to who has the most guts — not brains. Toughen up. 
  5. Make time to think beyond the stress they are facing right now. Meditate. Think. Pause. Take a breath. What you think about the most you eventually do.
  6. Put your head down and get work done. If you keep moving towards where you want to be, you’ll eventually end up there. 
  7. Be willing to be wrong. Just because you don’t know the exact next step to take doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a next step.
  8. Believe. If you don’t believe in yourself, no else’s opinion or support will be enough to motivate you to keep moving.
  9. Master the details. Success comes down to the little things. Examine the seemingly insignificant stuff. That’s where you’ll find breakthrough.
  10. Be obsessed. Keep trying new things. Keep looking for answers. Keep poking around the edges.  Keep being ridiculous.
  11. Learn from your mistakes. Just because what you did before didn’t work doesn’t mean that you should sulk, stew, and stop trying. 

As he so boldly wrote so many years earlier: “He who gives back at the first repulse and without striking the second blow despairs of success has never been, is not, and never will be a hero in war, love, or business.”

So be a hero. Do the next thing. Find within yourself the ice-cold determination to do that crazy thing you’ve almost given up on.

Whatever you do, don’t give up.

You Shouldn’t Have To Pee Blood Before You Ask for Help.

Looking back, it was the stupidest move I could have made that day. Especially since I was about to run the longest race of my life.

Stepping foot into the Landsford Canal 24-Hour Race I had big plans for what I wanted to accomplish. For the last few weeks, I had been raising money for To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit that helps teenagers who are having thoughts about suicide.

I had been training, preparing and even investing in powders and shakes to help me run faster on the day of the event.

I remember calling the sales rep from Hammer Nutrition:

“I need to buy some stuff from you that will help me run faster.”

“Okay?”

“So what should I buy?”

“Well, what are you running?”

“I’m running 120 miles.”

“Awesome. Have you ever done that before?”

“No. But it doesn’t seem like it would be that hard….”

“What’s the longest you’ve run in the past?”

“A half marathon.”

“……..[epic pause]………… and you’re now going to run 120 miles?”

“Yep. And I have friends who tell me that you have some powders, shakes, and pills That will help me on the day of the event.”

If that seems crazy to you, can you imagine what the sales rep on the other end of the phone must have been thinking? He was, however, smart enough to shut up and take my money.

He sent me some powder you mix with water that has calories in it that you can sip while you’re running. It’s easier to consume than hard food, but still thick and gooey –and horrible tasting.

I also got two bottles of salt tablets. By consuming salt when you are in the middle of heavy exercise, you increase your ability to stay below your own personal red line.

With my powders, shakes, and pills in hand, I was all set for the Lansford Canal 24-Hour Race.

And yet, I absolutely wasn’t ready at all.

My crew set about mixing the powders with water and handing me a fresh bottle every time I made the four-mile loop through the woods. At first, drinking the goo was manageable. It tasted like drywall putty but seemed like a necessary consequence of attempting an event like this.

My first loop I did in a little over 30 minutes. My second one was close behind that. Loops three and four were a little bit slower — but still faster than anyone else there.

In the first 5 hours, I ran about 40 miles. If you watch the documentary that my team shot, you can see me flopping on the ground feeling horrible and getting stretched out by friends who suddenly saw a crack in my impenetrable confidence.

As the day grew warmer and the taste of my Hammer Nutrition shakes began to taste even more horrible, I decided to engage what seemed like a genius move at the time.

Forget about drinking those shakes. I was just going to keep running anyways.

“I got this… I got this.” I told my team. “Just let me run.”

And that’s what they did.

40 miles turn into 45. And then 50. Running turned into jogging. And then walking. I was determined to get to 120 miles. Nothing could stop me.

I was more than 10 hours into running when I began to experience a horrible pain at the bottom of my stomach. It felt like lightning bolts were jumping in and out of my kidneys. I stopped on the side of a trail to pee, thinking maybe that would solve the problem.

I was horrified when what came out was the consistency of maple syrup and the color of blood. I was in pain watching it. In pain doing it.

All the alarm bells in my head went off. I was in trouble. I knew it in that instant.

Something was wrong. This was bad.

When I made it back to where my crew was, I shared with him when had just happened and the pain that I was experiencing. They told me to take a moment and lie down.

With my feet raised on the edge of a cooler, my crew went off to speak with the medical team who was there at the event. When they came back one of the veteran runners came with them with a thermos in his hand.


“Drink this,” he said.

Inside it was a warm liquid. It tasted like soup, but it was just liquid. No noodles or vegetables. I would learn later that it was bone broth. I drank it and then got back up and ran another loop. And then another one. And then another one.

And then, at the 14-hour mark, I was completely unable to continue. My muscles were in spasms. My lips were so dehydrated that I could barely close my mouth. I was in horrible pain. The headache growing behind my eyes felt like a jackhammer crushing against my skull.

On the video, you’ll hear me signing off. 14 hours. 71 miles.

A bit less then 50 fewer miles I needed to accomplish my big goal of running 120 miles that day.

My body was broken. My spirits were crushed. I felt like a loser. I wasn’t able to achieve what I set out to accomplish.

Here’s the crazy thing — I had everything I could ever need to accomplish my goal within the grasp of my fingers — but I was so focused on only consuming my powders, shakes, and pills that I ignored all the food available to me.

There were gummy bears by the handfuls, potato chips of almost every type, hamburgers and hot dogs, pizza, brownies, skittles, grilled cheese sandwiches, pickles, pretzels, and dozens of other bits of food I could have consumed to give me the strength to achieve my goal.

Instead, I decided that I knew better.

I closed my mind to the option that there was a possibility for success beyond something I could think of. I was so determined to do it my way that I stopped paying attention to the resources and help that were all around me.

There were seasoned ultramarathon runners that I could have stopped and asked for help. There was Gatorade in 5-gallon containers that I could have consumed by the couple. There was water another nutritious, and cold, beverages to drink.

I turned it all down, thinking that I knew better — which was a recipe for my eventual disaster. As you can expect, I was suffering from a pretty extreme case of dehydration.

As you might expect — 48 hours later, I was fine. My legs were still a little bit rubbery and my ego had a bit of a dent in it, but I was fully recovered and ready for combat.

You might think that I would learn a lesson like that pretty quickly.

But I didn’t, and I don’t always now.

Here’s the hard truth that you may not want to hear — the help you need is already all around you. The insights, ideas, and help you need to achieve success are within your arms reach. Right now.

But you’ll never find them if you weren’t willing to challenge your preconceived notions about what you know.

Instead, you’ll burn out and blow up before you finish your race. And not because you don’t have a strong heart or fast legs. But because you aren’t willing to let go of what you think you know to receive the help of those who do know — are willing to help you.

So let’s dig into that for a minute:

  1. What books are you reading right now?
  2. What’s your circle of mentors and advisors look like?
  3. When was the last time you spent money to level up your head game?

If you’re too busy to do any of these things or claim that you’re too broke to invest in them, you can be absolutely sure that you’re on a path to burnout and self-destruction.

All I had to do was reach out and grab a few potato chips every few miles. That, and throw back a cup of Gatorade or two.

What’s that chip for you? What’s that cup of Gatorade?

Take a minute, and get serious about your success. You don’t have to do it all on your own. And it’s always easier when you get some help.

So take a minute after reading this to pause. Shut your eyes and count to ten.

And then, talk to yourself about where you are and where you want to be.

What thoughts and feelings are you allowing to blind you to the help that is already within your fingertips?


Wanna see all of this in “real life”? Here you go…

Why You Don’t Get Better Even Though You Really Want To.

Nothing changes until you change. Until you get started.

It’s easy to get caught up in the passion of dreaming. And certainly, there’s power in visualizing a better future. But dreams without action quickly become delusion.

And the irony of being in that predicament is that the difference between success and failure is merely you taking the first step.

I know. Because I’ve screwed it up for years.

I’ve been dreaming dreams my entire life.

  • I have dreamed about making more money.
  • I have dreamed about running more competitively.
  • I have dreamed about creating a legacy of kindness that changes other people’s lives.

Like you, I’ve not just dreamed these things. I have longed for them with a passion that is deeply rooted in intense emotions. It’s real for me. I want it.

Every fiber of my being is screaming out, demanding the universe to bring me that which I desire.

And I’ve noticed something over the years. It’s not the dreaming that brings you the results you want. Changing is what brings you what you want.

It’s only when you do something different that you begin to notice different results.

It’s only when you deliberately put yourself in uncomfortable situations and defy the baggage from your past that is holding you back that you begin to see progress.

What you have done in the past has brought you to this moment. And if you keep doing what you’ve always done in the past, you will stay in this moment. You’ll stay stuck. Unmovable. Unchangeable.

And not because you don’t have the capacity to be better — but because you aren’t taking action. You are automatically defaulting to what you’ve always done. You’re relying on the programs already wired into your subconscious.

You know what I mean.

You have programs that automatically trigger a response from you when someone speaks to you in a certain tone of voice.

You have programs for how you respond to food and exercise, your weekly paycheck, where you go on vacation, the friends you hang out with, the books you read, the entertainment you frequent, and thousands of other choices you make each day — from God to work and family.

So if you were going to change, where would you get started? What would you do?

You’re certainly can’t do what you’ve always done. Because that’s not part of your future. It’s just your past. And, you might not have the skills yet to operate in the future you dream about.

So you should probably start by taking the first step in the straightest direction towards where you want to be.

Skip over the steps where you do one thing to achieve another thing that might lead you to the thing you really want.

Just go for your goal. Plot a straight line.

  • If you want to be on stage speaking as a professional speaker, then pursue that directly. Hire a coach. Speak for free. Build your keynote. Get some practice in. Create a website where you sell your services. Go for it.
  • If you want to create a startup, plunge in. Build up your product. Find your first customer. Surround yourself with awesome mentors and potential team members. Get out there and start hustling.
  • If you want to be a better dad, make that happen. Going forward, stop yourself when you behave badly. Practice new patterns of engaging. Get some help with your head. Take steps each day to exhibitive the behavior of the new person you imagine yourself to be on the inside.

One of my mentors used to say to me all the time that: “Transformation is in the transaction.”

The moment you decide to get started — that is when your transformation happens. You’re not going to see all the results you want right then.

You certainly aren’t going to be in a position where other people see your success.

But that moment, when you surrender everything to the awkwardness of taking the first step, the pathway begins to clear and you find your way towards success.

There’s nothing wrong with aspiration. You should want to be better. You should crave it in your soul. But just wanting to be better isn’t enough. Just desiring more for yourself isn’t enough.

You have to take that next uncomfortable step of doing something different in order to achieve that aspiration. What’s that for you?

What’s that step that you need to take right now that you have been avoiding for so long because it scares you?

That’s the thing you need to do right now.

Don’t you get it? That transaction is your transformation.

Take that first step.

Just Because You Don’t Feel Like It Doesn’t Mean You Shouldn’t.

Success demands courage. If you are going to get to where you want to be, you are going to have to be courageous when you least feel prepared to find it inside yourself.

The chaos of the battle faded briefly from his mind. Replaced with raw panic and fear.

William D. Hawkins bowed his head to pray from the edge of the boat he was standing on.

Heading to the island of Betio, in the Tarawa atoll, William and his men were at Betio to get the island back from the Japanese after they stole it from missionaries.

The warship fired round upon round of ammo into the water in the hopes to deter Japanese submarines from attacking their fleet. William and his platoon waited for the signal before jumping into the boats resting in the shallow water.

They were called amphibious tanks, the first of their kind to ever be used in battle. Then they headed to the shore.

As they approached the shore, aerial bombs were dropped by the U.S. on the Betio beachhead by the thousands.

Smoke was everywhere. Fire exploded on the sandy shore.

The soldiers jumped out of the boats and swam the last few meters to the shore as the Japanese peppered the water with gunfire.

In the crossfire, William took a direct rocket hit to the shoulder — but he kept going.

He wasn’t willing to back down now. Even with 4,000 Japanese soldiers firing machine guns directly at him.

The island was full of dangerous machine gun bunkers — dug some 20 feet into the ground. On every hilltop, the Japanese were in trenches raining down gunfire on the oncoming U.S. Marines.

It was death every few steps as William and his men destroyed pillboxes with a flamethrower. He was in the middle of the bloodiest battle of World War II.

Over and over again, Japanese soldiers were taken out and the Marines pushed their way further into the island.

The trees looked like they were in the middle of a tropical storm, blown sideways from the devastation of the gunfire.

The smoke of the gunfire settled on the island like a dense fog. The only two smells that existed were of gunpowder and death.

William was the first to set foot on the island.

It took enormous courage. Most of his comrades would die.

Those who did survive would suffer the scars that come with mangled bodies — having experienced the torture of under depravity.

It’s easy to recognize courage on the battlefield.

It’s that first step. It’s that willingness to move forward in spite of overwhelming harm.

But courage comes alive in different ways.

Perhaps it takes even more courage to survive in today’s world, where combat most often takes place in your mind rather than in smoke-filled trenches.

  • It takes courage to try.
  • It takes courage to believe.
  • It takes courage to step outside the shadows of your past failure.

And all of that happens between your ears.

It’s a struggle that is as dangerous as any physical war.

Your battle is to control the thoughts that take up ownership in your mind.

If you don’t have the courage to fight back against the negativity and fear that seek to overwhelm you, your chances at success are done. It’s over. You’ll never get to where you want to be.

It doesn’t matter how smart you may be, how much money you have, or what you have accomplished in your past — to be successful you have to find the courage to battle bad thoughts and to be uncomfortable when getting what you want doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

You’ve been there before. Maybe recently.

Where you’ve tried so many times already that it seems insane to do it one more time. When it just feels like you should pack it in and go back to a life of normal expectations.

That you should just be reasonable and stop trying to change what seems impossible.

You lie awake at night wondering when it’s going to be your chance to win. Wondering why you always seem to end up in these situations.

That’s your battlefield. That moment where it seems like all is lost again — that’s your foxhole. That’s when you know it’s time to fight.

And even though you don’t feel like success is possible, just know that your courage to try, to believe, to invest, to get back up — that courage is what makes the difference between winning and losing.

At the beginning of the second day on Betio William took a bullet to the shoulder. But he refused to leave the fight. As long as he could shoot, he would. And the fight raged on.

Over the next day, William single-handedly took out more than six Japanese machine gun nests, killing hundreds of Japanese warriors who sought to stop him.

But it came at a high cost. A few hours after his second wound, William was shot a final time. In his other shoulder.

He died with his back to a tree, pistol in hand, encircled by enemy soldiers he had taken with him.

Over 1,000 Marines lost their lives in that short battle. Among them was William Hawkins.

In recognition of his heroic behavior, the airstrip on Betio Island was named Hawkins Field. The bar at The Basic School, where Marine Corp officers are trained, is called The Hawkins Room.

Along with his men, William was awarded multiple Presidential Unit Citations.

Here’s the truth about being courageous — no one really wants to be.

  • No one feels like doing more when they’re already exhausted.
  • No one feels like trying when they’ve already failed.
  • No one wants to die just to set an example.

You’re no different. It going to take courage.

Months later at the White House, President Franklin Roosevelt presented William’s mom with the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest commendation awarded to the military, telling those gathered that: “To say that his conduct was worthy of the highest traditions of the Marine Corps is like saying the Empire State Building is moderately high.”

Like Williams, you’re a warrior. Act like it.

1 Lie. 2 Secret Skills. And The Path To Getting Everything You Want From Life.

Everything you’ve ever wanted to achieve could be within your grasp.

It might not be at your fingertips right now — but it could be soon. As long as you’re willing to keep growing. And going.

Here’s the truth about being successful — it hurts like hell along the way.

I’m not sure when we started romanticizing “the struggle”, but let’s be honest. The struggle sucks.

You already know that. But you might have bought into the crazy notion that you should enjoy what you’re doing.

You are not going to love what you are doing all the time. Or even most of the time. It’s hard work. It’s uncomfortable. It’s frustrating.

Yet, you’ve read books that quote famous people like Steve Jobs telling you that “if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life.”

If you love what you do, you’ll work every minute of your life.

It probably won’t be a job or someone else paying you an hourly wage. It might not even be a company that you own. But you will be working. And it will suck sometimes.

Which is why most people quit. They’ve bought into the notion that success should be fun and automatic. Something that you wake up delighted to do. 

Something so all-consuming that you don’t want to sleep because you’re so driven to keep going.

Again — that’s just crazy talk. So let’s talk about what success is really all about.

  • It’s about you making the choice to spend 15 minutes meditating even though you’re already 3 hours behind on your list of chores to accomplish today.
  • It’s about you saying “NO” to something that seems like fun because you need to spend that time getting things done.
  • It’s about making time to read books that round out your rough edges, even when it’s easier to watch your favorite show on Hulu or Netflix and just forget about the world around you.
  • It’s about getting up and going to work a few hours after you stopped working, when you’re still so tired you’re not even sure anything you do will be productive.

If you want more money, you can get that. If you want more fame, you can achieve that. If you want more love in your life, you can have that.

But to pull that off you’re going to have to protect every little part of your existence.

You’re going to have to be the champion of your daily schedule and massively deliberate about what you allow yourself to think about.

It’s up to you.

Sure — other people have opinions. And some of those people even care about you. But they aren’t you.

You’re the one who has to call the shots. You’re the one who has to do the hard things.

So start by being wildly accountable. Be accountable to yourself. Own the fact that it’s your destiny. And 100% your choice.

Everything you don’t do or do is your decision to make.

If that’s not something you strongly believe right now, you’re not on the path to being successful. You’re not even close.

Once you have decided to be accountable for all of you, be deliberate about growing.

  • Grow your finance game.
  • Grow your business game.
  • Grow your emotions games
  • Grow your relationships game.

And the best way to do that is by developing two valuable habits — always be reading and level up your relationships.

You’ve heard it said before that leaders are readers. Let’s make it a little more clear — winners read. High performers read great books.

They read research that makes them better. They read criticism, critiques, strategy, and a little bit of anything and everything that allows them to play their game at a higher level.

Think about it. The power of reading is that someone spent years taking everything you could ever want to know about a specific topic and put it into a few hundred pages that you can consume in a half-day of reading.

How magical is that? You don’t have to spend years researching or figuring out the facts. You get to consume it.

And yet, there’s always a good excuse why that isn’t happening. Always a good reason why instead of growing you choose to be entertained.

Is it any wonder then that you aren’t where you want to be. Probably not, right?

But success isn’t just about reading. It’s about relationships.

  • Mediocre people spend time with people who are just like them.
  • Good people spend time with good people.
  • Great people spend time with greater people.

In other words, they surround themselves with people who have a higher perspective of where they want to be.

After all, they’ve already been there. They’ve done it. Just being around them will make you stronger and faster and better — in countless ways.

And today, it is easier to do than ever. Your idol is probably on Facebook. Maybe in a networking group. They are probably speaking at a conference that you can buy a ticket to.

Maybe they have their own community that you can join. They might even offer you some exclusive mentoring.

Whatever you do, don’t get sucked into the trap of hanging around people who are only as good as you are.

The only thing that will do is make you feel better about yourself. And, unless that’s what you call success, you’re going to be sorely disappointed when you keep failing.

It’s about getting a higher perspective than your own.

That’s where your growth begins to accelerate. That’s when you notice that all of your hard work begins to pay off. When your outcomes show that you are getting closer to where you want to be.

Reading. And relationships. It’s what works.

Just don’t forget that being uncomfortable is part of the journey.

Without the struggle, there is no butterfly — just damp wings and a spoiled cocoon.

Take the time to embrace the power of your decisions. Don’t avoid the hard things — claim them as your superpower.

30 Qualities That All Successful Leaders Share.

There are a lot of things that make certain leaders great — excellent timing, a mind for numbers, ruthless efficiency, awesome sales skills, and much more.

Great leaders become great because they are intentional about doing things that feel uncomfortable and seem silly and insignificant at the time but lead to greatness.

Here’s the cool thing — despite all the individual strengths that make these leaders bring to the game, all great leaders share a few of the same qualities.

And here are 30 of them.

  1. They get started.
  2. They question everything.
  3. They are incredibly resilient.
  4. They crave feedback.
  5. They refuse to hang out with negative people.
  6. They don’t rationalize or trivialize failure.
  7. They don’t confuse their job with their identity.
  8. They focus their effort on things that matter.
  9. They start what they finish.
  10. They practice what they preach.
  11. They are comfortable with change.
  12. They work hard to stay in shape personally.
  13. They hang around like-minded people.
  14. They build great teams.
  15. They are ambitious and driven.
  16. They play to their specific strengths .
  17. They have clarity about what they want.
  18. They innovate rather than imitate.
  19. They are life-long readers
  20. They are optimistic by choice.
  21. They find opportunity.
  22. They don’t tolerate excuses.
  23. They focus on what is in their control.
  24. They are aware of their emotions.
  25. They take pleasure in helping others achieve success.
  26. They are humble and quick to admit mistakes.
  27. They don’t need constant approval.
  28. They set high standards for themselves.
  29. They take risks.
  30. They don’t quit quickly.

Where do you stack up?

What do you need to start working on? Where do you need to improve?

You aren’t going to be the best at everything, but you should be improving each of these qualities all the time.

It’s Going To Take You Longer Than You Think It Will. And What To Do About It.

Achieving success is going to take you longer than you think it is.

Despite what you’ve heard from experts that want you to believe that if you follow a series of proven steps success is an easy outcome — nothing could be further from the truth.

And that’s absolutely not because you’re not dedicated or driven. It’s not because you’re lacking something or don’t care about achieving success.

Even if you are doing your best, the time it takes to do big things has little to do with you. It has everything to do with life. And reality.

And the hard truth about achieving legendary success is that it takes time. More time than you can ever imagine or want to know right now.

  • It takes time to learn.
  • It takes time to improve.
  • It takes time for you to figure out exactly what you want.
  • It takes time to do what it takes to get there.

Which is why you need to be prepared for that time.

You have to be ready to go to the extra distance.

I first realized that I wanted to try ultra-running in 2012. I had done some moderate distances like half marathons and I wanted to see if I could push of that.

Soon, I signed up for my first 50k, and then a 55K right behind it; I was surprised at my ability to get across the finish line at the front of the pack.

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t running against elite athletes. I was testing myself against people who were running because they loved it.

I thought I special because I wasn’t at the back of the pack. For most everyone else there, being outside was enough. That was the real contest — enjoying the experience.

So I pushed a bit further.

My 100-miler was in Arkansas. It took me more than 19 hours of running to finish that race. I didn’t know how to “run”. I just knew that I probably shouldn’t stop moving. And so I did that — all the way to a 4th place finish.

But then, just when I was thought I was getting good at this “ultra-running thing”, I noticed something pretty alarming. In the more competitive races, I wasn’t coming out on top. I was finishing 4th or 3rd, sometimes 2nd place, and a bunch of top 10s. But winning — that wasn’t happening.

So, I hired a coach. Then a second one. Then a third.

I read books about running. I changed my diet. I lost weight and changed up my schedule. I started running hills and laps around a high school race track.

And none of it seemed to be really working. Day-to-day, I was still the same runner that started shuffling about in 2012.

Looking back I can see that something began to happen over the months of my focused training. That consistent effort turned into something meaningful — something that you could spot as improvement year over a year.

My body began to get stronger. I begin to realize the impact of different foods on my performance. I began to realize the warning signs of dehydration and lack of calories. The things that used to stop me cold didn’t stop me anymore.

And, it only took me 17,000 miles and more than 2,500 days of trying to figure it out.

I thought it might take me 25 days at first. Maybe 250. But 10 times that amount? I would have called you a liar had you told me that up front. I would have told you that I’m special. That I work harder than most people. That for me, it’s going to be a faster process.

But it wasn’t. And it won’t be for you.

Because greatness takes time. Progress of any sort takes time. So be ready to learn. Be prepared to be resilient. Develop your “get back up” muscles. Build your “rainy years” fund.

You’re going to make it. Let’s just be realistic about how long it’s going to take you.

So what can you do? What should you do? Here are a few suggestions for navigating the long journey to the finish line:

  1. Save way more money than you think is necessary. The number one reason why people give up on their dreams is that they run out of money and can’t afford to keep going.
  2. Develop friendships with people who’ve been there before. Don’t copy them. But it is smart to get their advice from time to time.
  3. Cultivate endless curiousness. Make reading books and learning new things your top priority. You’ll move faster if you know what you didn’t know.
  4. Don’t lie to yourself about failure. It makes no sense to cover up a mistake. Shorten the gap between when you learn and when you start to adapt.
  5. Be clear about what you really want. Surround yourself with pictures of your goal. Share your vision with as many people as possible. Put yourself in a position where you can only go forward.
  6. Get some sleep. There’s always another task to do. That fire that you’re putting out is going to restart itself again earlier than you expect. It makes no sense to burn out physically.
  7. Get hooked on exercise. Whether it’s squats, a boot camp, cycling, swimming, or just kicking a heavy bag — working up a sweat helps you handle stress and focus is your mind on what really matters.
  8. Make time on your schedule to do nothing. Your biggest breakthroughs will always come after a moment of quietness. That’s what your brain needs to work. So feed it what it wants.

You have probably heard the saying many times that: “Success is a marathon, not a sprint. “

That’s true, but here’s another truth you might not have considered — you don’t know what mile you’re on. Your journey doesn’t come with mile markers.

The most frustrating part about success is that you can’t predict exactly when you’re going to experience breakthrough.

You might be on mile 25 right now. Or mile 3.5. Either way, your mission is still the same, to keep moving forward.

Just don’t expect it to be easy. Don’t expect it to be fast. Don’t set your heart on unrealistic expectations for success.

  • Be tough enough to realize that you’ll make it.
  • Be smart enough to know that you’ll figure it out.
  • Be determined enough to fight through every obstacle that stands in front of you.

I have every expectation that you’re going to get to exactly where you want to be. I believe in you.

Now you believe in you. No matter how bumpy the path ahead might be.

If You Can Tough It Out You Will Figure It Out.

You’re tougher than you think you are. You can work longer than you think you can work.

You can keep trying a few more times before you’re all out of ideas.

You can think harder than you’re thinking right now.

You can figure out a way to fix your financial problems no matter how troubling they are.

You can lose weight this time even though you have struggled to do it all those other times in the past.

You can learn more about what you’re already an expert in. Don’t let the battle beat you down.

Stop talking yourself out of doing what needs to be done before you even get to the point where you’re out of options.

That is just fear and panic taking over. And it usually isn’t for your benefit.

Talking yourself out of a stressful situation before you even get started is a recipe for never getting started at all.

When challenges arise and problems seem insurmountable, your challenge is not to have all the solutions all the time, it’s just to remind yourself that no matter the obstacle in your way, you are tough enough to figure it out.

You’re strong enough to keep trying. You’re tenacious and determined enough to do whatever it takes.

That won’t change the size or scariness the obstacle in your way, but it will remind you about the most important part of being successful.

If you can tough it out you’ll figure it out.

I know first-hand the power of that.

I’m not a gifted intellectual — or a business savant. But by putting in the work, I have figured out what works.

It is a process that keeps on giving value — to everyone with which I engage.

Here are a few of those lessons that I have learned. Maybe they will help you figure it out, while you’re toughing it out.

  1. The people in your life always end up mattering more than the amount of money you have in your bank account. But more effort into the people you claim to love the most.
  2. The critics in your life aren’t there to give you a logical and helpful path towards success. They want to destroy you — or at least hold you back until your dream is destroyed. 
  3. There is a difference between having an idea and doing whatever it takes to turn that idea into success. Be an effort person — not an idea person. If you can be both, do it.
  4. You won’t be able to listen to other people’s negative opinions about you for long and still remain motivated. Avoid negativity like the plague that it is. Anything that brings you down is the enemy of awesome.
  5. Usually, the biggest difference between success and failure is that small detail you didn’t think really mattered. Pay attention to the tiny details that you can use as leverage to level up
  6. You won’t even know how to begin to work smart until you’ve exhausted all your options for working hard. Stop trying to make the perfect decision and just take the first step.
  7. Time has a perfect track record of righting all wrongs and rewarding those who deserve it most. Don’t let yourself get stressed out by a lack of fairness. They will get what is coming to them. So will you.
  8. You can spend your time fighting for other people to think you’re awesome or you can just do the work to be awesome. The short term solution feels good for a short while. The long term play is legendary.
  9. Being passive aggressive is a guaranteed shortcut to living a life that is as unsuccessful as it is uninspired. If you feel something, say something. Be candid. Be kind. You can do both at the same time.
  10. The best way to make massive amounts of money is to deliver massive amounts of value to those who need it most. Think first about what other people get out of their interactions with you.
  11. There isn’t much in your life that isn’t completely within your control to change right now if you want to. You are, in truth, the master of your destiny — for good or bad or crazy. Blaming others is a waste of time.

Life comes at you fast. Failure seems scary. The path forward can be cloudy and gray. 

Just remember that with enough time you will figure it out. So tough it out until then.