“When you start to doubt yourself the real world will eat you alive.”
– Henry Rollins
“Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.”
– Kay, Men In Black
I recently stumbled on an old picture of myself at age 17, I looked like a whole different person back then. Aside from my dorky haircut, the physical attribute that surprised me the most was how naive I looked. Back then, my world consisted of playing video games, and it showed. There was something about my appearance that broadcast how clueless I was.
If the past and present versions of myself met I doubt they’d even recognize each other.
At 17 I knew nothing about fitness or eating healthy, I snacked on pizza and Dr. Pepper almost every day after school. I’d never considered starting a business. All my writings were stashed away in notebooks, least some stranger read my thoughts. I also knew that foreign countries were full of terrorists, and that nothing would ever be more important than whatever was going on within my tiny high school.
Looking back made me realize how much can change if you let it. Within three years all my preconceived notions had, more or less, been overturned as I learned more about my surroundings and abilities.
It’s beautiful to know that there are whole worlds out there we can’t even imagine yet. And that our “fundamental truths” may be proven wrong at some point in the future.
I can’t wait for what tomorrow brings.
“Rather be dead than cool.”
– Nirvana, Stay Away
In the self improvement community there is a common fantasy in which an individual betters themselves while the rest of their peers stagnate into oblivion. While I get the appeal of this concept, and used to even buy into it, I don’t think it’s necessarily true.
For every high school quarterback who grows up to work at Kinkos there are plenty of naturally cool guys who grow up and do well for themselves. Two of the coolest guys I know were college athletes who launched successful businesses after finishing school. To the butthurt outsider both men “had it easy,” yet anyone who actually talks to them will quickly realize that nothing came easy to them.
When I go on forums I’ll sometimes see threads bashing celebrities for “being beta with women.” Inevitably a poster will write about he’s superior to the famous person in question because he’s read The Game and the celebrity probably hasn’t.
Instead of hating on people for having a natural aptitude towards something, try and learn from them. Sitting around and bashing someone will get you nowhere, studying and emulating them will.
“And when I visualize success it looks like right now.”
– Nipsey Hu$$le
Most of the people that you idolize were probably considered losers at some point in their lives. Normal people don’t desert the army to lift up pieces of iron, drop out of school to make music magazines, or spend decades playing guitar in a glorified garage band.
Normal people bury their childhood dreams, go to a job they hate, squander their money, and count down the days until they die. And they scoff at anyone who does otherwise. They’re the folks who’s vision only extends to Friday night.
As corny and cliched as it sounds, visualization is a key component to being successful. If you can’t imagine the rewards in your future, you’ll never have the incentive to pursue them. Creating a mental image of your future victory is something that separates goals from wants.
Every guy wants to be rich, date a model, and have an awesome body. Of the few guys who might try and obtain these things, most will quit. They won’t see the bigger picture and will quickly lose interest.
When Natan Sharansky was locked up in solitary confinement, he’d play himself in mental Chess. During his imaginary games, Sharansky would tell himself, “I might as well use this opportunity to become world champion!” In 1996, after defeating world champion Chess player Garry Kasparov, Sharansky attributed part of his success to the use of visualization.
On a personal level, when I wanted to travel outside the country, I envisioned myself relaxing on a tropical beach and having the time of my life. Every time I felt like my goal was too hard, I just remembered that image. Doing so would get me back on track and I’d work harder to make my dream a reality.
The next time that you feel like quitting, I suggest visualizing everything that you’d miss out on from giving up. It’s a great motivator.
“The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain.”
– Colin Wilson
The other day I read an article about how the “average” American lives. While most of it was unsurprising, I was shocked by one statistic. The average American only saves 6.2% of their income.
That means that for every $100 earned, only $6.20 is saved. I don’t even think that’s enough to buy a movie ticket.
For frame of reference, a 6.2% tip at most restaurants would guarantee that you’d be getting some “special sauce” in your next meal.
Even with high costs of living you should be able to save more than 6.2% of your paycheck. If you put a little planning into your budget, you can get a lot more for your money. I juice, take boxing lessons, go out on weekends, and buy more books than I should; yet I still maintain a healthy savings account.
While I’m not rich, I don’t have any debt and have more money saved than most college kids my age. From personal experience, the following three items have all contributed the most to my financial responsibility.
1. Not drinking
Having fun at a bar while sober is actually pretty easy. As long as you’re able to socialize like a normal person, it’s not too hard to enjoy yourself without drinking. On the rare occasions that people ask me why I don’t drink, I like to reply “it messes with my birth control.” Aside from paying cover charges and tipping the staff, my nights out cost me nothing.
2. Having a hobby
Whenever I’m bored I spend money. I’ll make impulse buys on Amazon, go to movies, buy food, go shopping, or drive around looking for something to do. By staying busy I don’t have time to purchase things I don’t need. Having interests like reading or lifting also helps to build willpower, reducing your urges to be frivolous.
3. Starting a side hustle
Everyone should launch their own business. Even if the venture doesn’t make a ton of money, it will still cover some expenses. Spending a few hours of downtime making a website or marketing a product isn’t some massive investment. And, unlike owning a physical business, there’s very little start up cost.
If you’re looking for additional tips on saving money, I recommend checking out Mr. Money Mustache. It’s one of my all-time favorite blogs.