The great Alan Watts shares some very important wisdom.
“All men plume themselves on the improvement of society, and no man improves.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
This weekend challenge is simple to learn, but difficult to master; like Chess. I want you to create and follow a written schedule with at least three goals for both Saturday and Sunday. Nothing on the list has to be insanely challenging, but it does have to be something that you want to integrate into your life.
By writing down what you want to achieve, you will have a much higher chance of obtaining it. When you put your goals on paper, you immediately develop a greater sense of responsibility for them. It’s actually hard to look at a note card with your ambitions scrawled on it, and realize that you chose to watch TV rather than pursue something meaningful. I hope you never have to experience that.
As for what your schedule should look like, that’s up to you. No one will judge what you put on it, or how lengthy it is; as you’re the only one who’s going to read it. My only suggestion is to either carry your list around with you, or to hang it somewhere that you’ll have to see it.
If you can’t come up with anything to write down, I’ll give you some inspiration:
- Wake up before 8 am
- Do 200 sit-ups
- Read three chapters of [insert book title]
- Go to the gym
- Write two pages of [poetry/prose]
- Don’t eat any desserts
- Play [musical instrument] for 30 minutes
If you accomplish all your weekend goals, and you should, try making a written plan for the upcoming work week. You’ll be surprised at how much a little planning can pay off.
This video is incredibly cheesy, but it makes a solid point.
“Formula for success: rise early, work hard, strike oil.”
– J. Paul Getty
Yesterday morning was my first day back at school.
At the beginning of one of my classes, the professor lectured us about a study claiming over 60 percent of students were unprepared for college. “Pardon my language,” the professor said: “But this is bullsh*t.” He then proceeded to tell us that almost every class the school offered, with maybe one or two exceptions, could be passed by simply doing four things. Walking to the white board, he wrote out each of the four keys to academic success, they read as follows:
- Attend every day
- Do the reading
- Take notes
- Ask questions
My professors analysis on what breeds success got me thinking. I soon realized that, for years, these same principles have been guiding me both in and outside of the classroom.
Attend every day: Almost everything I ever failed at was due to the fact that I gave up on it, or skipped out on doing the work. Likewise, all my victories have come from showing up regularly and putting in effort. In high school, I was the worst basketball player who made the team. This happened because the other “bad players,” who were way better than me, all quit in the preseason. I had zero natural aptitude for sports and spent three years on sitting on the bench. Despite this, I never skipped a practice, never had a bad attitude, and put in my best effort. By senior year, I even managed to score a couple points in-game. While hardly a traditional “success story,” the experience did teach me the importance of being persistent.
Do the reading: Attendance comprises 50 percent of success, research makes up the other half. A lot of successful people have come before you, study their actions. It will greatly advance you down the path of success. Even with activities that don’t seem like they’d require a lot of research (i.e. weightlifting) I’ve found that by studying the work of others, I can learn tons of useful information and see better results from my own actions.
Take notes: Journaling is one of the best insurances against failure. By writing down your actions, you can easily reference past events and how you dealt with them. I’ve recommend that everyone start two journals, one for work and the other for personal life.
Ask questions: While reading books is great, it’s also important to seek advice from actual people. While he may not be Warren Buffet, my uncle is a very successful entrepreneur who is happy to answer my business questions. And, unlike Warren Buffet (who in all likelihood wouldn’t be returning any of my calls), is more than willing to set aside time to help solve a problem.
I personally believe that these four actions truly are the keys to success. And, so that I’ll never forget, I’ve written them down and hung them up all over my room.
Here’s to a semester of all A’s.
“It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”
– Muhammad Ali
The first time I decided to leave the country, everyone told me that I would die. Even my mom didn’t want me to go, she thought I’d be kidnapped. While I pretended that I didn’t care about anyone’s opinion, I secretly knew that those same fears had been in the back of my mind since purchasing my plane ticket. The night before I left, I seriously considered calling my trip off. Luckily, I didn’t.
If I had cancelled my plans, there would have been no benefits from doing so. I would only have missed out on new experiences and growing as a person. By following through on my original vision, I was rewarded greatly.
The first few months of eating healthy were hell. My friends would make fun of me for skipping out on late night McDonald’s runs, and I’d make family events “awkward” by not eating potato salad and dessert. Never the less, I stuck to my path and achieved success. By summer I had six pack abs, and girls would compliment me on being “ripped.”
When I started this blog it wasn’t uncommon for me to go days without getting a single page hit. Despite this, I knew that I had to keep writing. Every night I’d tell myself, “things will get better and you will succeed.” No matter how tired I was, I’d sit down and write. I even stayed in on New Years Eve to come up with different challenge ideas. Each time I checked the site stats I felt like quitting. If there were any “visitors,” they were from me making sure that the site actually existed.
When I felt like quitting, I’d tell myself: “just give it another week. Then you can quit.” After saying that to myself for three weeks, things finally started to pick up and the rewards slowly started to trickle in.
If you ever find yourself wanting to give up on something, try answering this question: “will I achieve the same results from quitting?” If the answer is no, keep going. You will succeed, much sooner than you think.
“Today is our most precious possession. It is our only sure possession.”
– Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
Recently I stopped at a used bookstore in search of old Robert E. Howard paperbacks. While scanning the shelves, a different book caught my attention. That book was How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, by Dale Carnegie. Until then I had never had much interest in reading any of Carnegie’s work, I had always thought that his books would be too outdated and diluted. I was wrong.
Aside from the archaic wording and some benign racism (which wasn’t considered offensive at the time of publication), How to Stop Worrying and Start Living feels like something Tim Ferriss or Anthony Robbins could have written. I was shocked by this book’s relevance.
Carnegie divides the book into ten easy-to-read sections. Each of the first nine sections offers a different method to cope with or prevent stress, while the final segment is comprised entirely of personal examples showcasing various people overcoming worry.
One of things I liked most about this book, was the fact that it was concise. In each chapter (most of which are only ten or so pages long), Carnegie would lay a problem out and immediately offer a solution. While he does resolve the issue in a manner that keeps the reader interested, Carnegie never gets lost in his own showmanship. Far too many self-help books get so lost in the author’s overly dramatic and wandering proses, that their “advice” becomes vague at best. This never happens here. In fact, the end of each section contains a brief and to the point summery of its contents. And I mean brief and to the point, just take a look at the summary of part seven:
“Six ways to prevent fatigue and worry and keep your energy and spirits high:
Rule 1: Rest before you get tired.
Rule 2: Learn to relax at your work.
This advice might seem too simplistic and like common sense, but that’s the point. Carnegie wrote his book to be practical and simple to follow. The book is meant to be used both as a preventative of worry, and as a reference for when you’re stressed out and don’t know what to do. In my opinion, an overly complex book wouldn’t be nearly as effective in doing either task.
My copy only cost me a $1.75, I’m sure you can find a used paperback for about the same price. If not, you can always hit up Amazon or visit your local library. If none of those work out, I’m sure you could always borrow one from Reddit’s book exchange.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and plan on keeping it around me at all times, just in case I ever lose my cool while under pressure. And I recommend you do the same.