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Things I’ve Learned and Loved in 2013

Yup, that's me. After a 16 hour+ work day, 7 days a week for pretty much ALL of 2013. But now I'm CRUSHING IT, going toward goals that I really LOVE. Here's what I learned in 2013.

Yup, that’s me. After a 16 hour+ work day, 7 days a week for pretty much ALL of 2013. But now I’m CRUSHING IT, going toward goals that I really LOVE. Here’s what I learned in 2013.

2013 was brutal. 2013 was also by far the best year of my life and the one where I made the most progress and had the most epiphanies, from the very first day of January to the very last of December. And I couldn’t possibly be prouder of my decision, hardship and the not-so-easy path I chose, for getting outside your comfort zone was the best thing that could happen.

In 2013, I went from overworked and unhappy in January to overworked and more happy in June, to overworked and REALLY happy in December. Haha. But the point is that in order to achieve an extraordinary lifestyle that most people refer to as “stupidly impossible and irrational”, you MUST work hard and smart. And it was the first time that I actually made real progress toward that lifestyle. In fact, in January, I was still trying to find out what the hell to do in my life and where to go from there. I was still programming, building websites and generally throwing myself in all directions and still undercharging for the crazy work that I did for my clients. And I was still over-delivering, that is doing stuff the client didn’t even ask for because I thought it’d be great. Thinking about that makes me shivers: how many hours of life given away for a client that didn’t really care just because I wanted something to look or feel a bit better? What sort of dreadful habit was that and where the hell did I get it? I was also still trying to cram as many hours at the end of each others as possible in order to finish projects faster and in the process I wasn’t working SMART, I was working HARD. Really dumb and HARD.  Thus making no progress.

Then came midway in April an epiphany: because of an offer I made (which put me in deep trouble and produced a lot of anxiety), I realized that not only was the 4-Hour Workweek still possible in 2013, but it was especially possible for me, since I had so MUCH all around web knowledge and knowhow (marketing, getting known, copywriting, SEO, programming, DB, and so on). So at that point, I found my life goal: live the 4-Hour Workweek lifestyle or… or nothing. Really. It was “win” and no “or”. The only option was to make it. Impossible, you say? Then I reject your reality and substitute it for my own. I became absolutely blunt to anybody who told me it was stupid, irrational, that I should have a balanced life, etc. I didn’t care because that’s what I wanted.

Also, in 2013, I failed. I failed a s**tload of time. And loved everyone of those failures, since it’s exactly because of them that I now am within touching distance of the dream life. It’s just a matter of a few weeks and execution, since I know everything I need to know, and tried every single components of the 4-Hour Workweek lifestyle independently for my own projects or clients projects. Put it together, try 10-20 muses, learn from these new failures and then, once I’ve finally run out of new fun ways to fail, SUCCEED.

So here are a few of my most important lessons learned, that I wrote down in a special document all year long as I learned and as these events occurred. These are the most important epiphanies that leverage everything else. Enjoy, and comment if you’ve experienced them or have questions.

NOTE: they are in no particular order

  1. successful people never complain, they ACT
    1. only weak people complain off their fate. When you complain, it’s because you’re helpless and need validation, confirmation and a tap on the shoulder. You need someone else to help you, to push you to the finish line. You don’t want to make decisions, you want others to make them for you. Therefore you’ll never achieve success.
    2. So if you want success, NEVER allow yourself to complain on ANYTHING. If it’s cold, put more clothes on, if you’re working too hard, find ways to delegate, if you don’t like a place, find something to like or change location. Just never complain: it’s useless, it bring your morale and motivation down and gets you nowhere fast
    3. be the one that MAKE things happens instead of waiting for it to happen
  2. never put back tasks that you hate for later
    1. do what annoys you the most right now. There is nothing worse than having a task you hate on your todo list stay there forever. First because even if you think you’re not thinking about it, you are. Second because it will slowly eat you from the inside and keep you from enjoying the moment and will bring your morale down.
    2. also, what I noticed is that I kept cancelling projects because this one task needed to be done: “I can’t come tonight, I have work to do”. And in the end, you end up doing something else and not working on that task, because you hate it. Which brings me to the next point:
  3. NEVER do things you HATE
    1. doing things I hate is the best way to take forever doing something that could take 2 hours otherwise while dreading every instant of it, to procrastinate the hell out of it and keep you from doing things that you love.
    2. doing things you hate is the best way to undervalue your time and set yourself for failure (the bad type)
    3. DELEGATE ANYTHING you don’t absolutely love. It’s the single best investment of money in your life, after any kind of learning.
  4. MASTER a few gurus
    1. LEARN from only a HANDFUL of GURUS but MASTER EVERYTHING they say and PRACTICE EVERYTHING they preach until you reach a mastery level.
    2. if you think that a book is brilliant and would LOVE to do what they do and live the way they live, then TAKE A BREAK FROM READING OTHER BOOKS MINDLESSLY and MASTER ALL elements in that book that are in relation with what you want.
    3. try everything they tried, DO everything they tell you to do, and RE-READ that book at LEAST 10 times. Yes, 10 times.
    4. and PRACTICE, practice, practice. Set aside a few hours EVERY week to practice one notion and do it at least 10 times or until you feel like you’ve mastered it. Then move on to the next principle.
    5. I used to read a book, think “wow, this is brilliant” and then move on to the next book like nothing happened, thinking “it’s OK, I’ve learned about that”. The other books won’t run away, and the ONLY way to get good at something is NOT READING, but rather EXECUTING, EXPERIMENTING, FAILING. So get on it.
  5. Only Align yourself with people that think like you
    1. if at any point you realize that you’re always fighting for your ideas and everybody thinks you’re nut, then it’s time to raise the anchor and leave, otherwise you’ll be fighting an uphill battle with a ball and chain attached to your ankles
    2. to better understand this, imagine the exact opposite situation: what would happen if you’d be surrounded by people better off than you and already living the life you want, of people that think it’s possible or encourage you to do it? It’s such a boost in motivation, mindset and positive energy. And you’ll get where you want faster and happier.
    3. You have nothing to prove to people who don’t agree or don’t care about your ideas. Do you think Elon Musk cares about how impossible people think it is to send someone on Mars or build an all electric car company in the USA? Be surrounded by overachievers not downplayers.
  6. Down days
    1. When you have a day where you’re depressed, down, tired, think it’s not going to happen or feel you’re losing your time, KEEP HUSTLING. It’s a GREAT sign, it means you’re getting out of your comfort zone and need to break one last wall for the next step.
    2. In fact, when you’ll face other days like that, you’ll actually love them, since they’re the sign something good is about to happen.
    3. The sad thing is that most people GIVE UP in those days, with the nose 2 inches from the finish line
  7. having CRAZY GREAT goals with CRAZY TIMELINE
    1. give yourself IMPOSSIBLE timeframes to accomplish CRAZY GREAT goals. It’s the single best thing that can happen to you.
    2. remember that scene in Fight Club where Tyler Durden goes to the convenience store and tell the clerk that if he doesn’t do what he was meant to do, he’ll be dead in a few weeks? Well, when you have no choice but to go toward a crazy goal, amazing things happen: YOU FIND A WAY. Please refer to the first item above: if you really want something, you’ll find a way. Otherwise you’ll find a reason.
    3. although I was not able to achieve the 4-Hour Workweek on September 25th, i never made so much progress toward it in so little time (80 days) and it allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and to think outside the box.
    4. and keep in mind: any project will expand with the time you allowed to complete it… without producing better results
  8. BREAK ASSUMPTIONS
    1. no matter how CONVINCED you are of something, TEST things out.
    2. I was not delegating at the beginning of 2013 at all. Then in June I challenged myself to delegate 10 tasks to experiment and lower my workload. After a few failures and corrections, I realized how easy it was to delegate complex tasks the right way for just a few dollars instead of losing hours and hours doing it myself. But I needed to break assumptions first
  9. feeling bad for other people is making assumptions of things that aren’t real
    1. I use to give tasks for other people and feel bad that I didn’t give them 1000$ for it. Can you imagine? I was overpaying people to help me while undercharging for my services! A recipe for disaster. While at the same time I would accept crazy jobs for next to nothing and overwork myself to death. It made no sense. So I realized this:
    2. if you offer people to do something for X $ and THEY ACCEPT, then it means they ARE OK ABOUT IT, and for that price.
    3. You are not forcing them to do that job, they applied for it, they’ll do it and they’ll get paid for it. It means that the price is either CORRECT or that they know they are getting some other form of VALUE out of it, like learning, building a portfolio, getting experience, and so on. So never feel bad about it and stop worrying about all sorts of crazy stuff.
    4. I guess that was one of the reasons why I didn’t delegate ever and felt so bad for asking other people for work and kept doing everything else myself and overworking.
    5. Learn to live and let go. Don’t put the weight of the world on your shoulders.
  10. Uberize your strengths, leave your weaknesses alone
    1. think about it: by minimizing your weakness, HOW MUCH VALUE DO YOU CREATE? Unless that weakness is something like gambling or really counterproductive, odds are that you’ll lose your time trying to fix it. If you suck at accounting, like I do, then give that to someone else that loves it.
    2. BUT, on the other end, if you improve your STRENGTHS, then suddenly you’re working on SOMETHING YOU LOVE, and everything is easier, and the impact of the changes give you a crazy HUGE leverage (happiness, money, etc)
    3. so stop wasting time improving weaknesses, unless it’s really something that’s important to you AND would love to improve on (for example, being uber social)
    4. for me my strengths and what i LOVE doing are THINKING, SOLVING PROBLEMS, STRATEGIZING. I still have a ton of work to do on that, but once I master this, the progress will be enormous and fast. And I’m REALLY bad at executing, since I get bored REALLY fast. So focus on thinking, and delegate everything else.
  11. about creating a brand
    1. this is 2013. You must learn everyday, build a blog (no matter what you do in life), create your brand, be unique and LEARN LEARN LEARN. Never stop learning, blog about it, talk about it, define who you are and stand for and build that brand.
    2. once you build a brand, then many great things can happen. Remember that even if there are millions of blogs online, very few are really good. If you develop a good brand and people are interested in it, than it could give you a better job, higher leverage in some situations or even allow you to have a second source of income. As long as you do it because you love it and not for the money.
  12. stop offering your life time-units for free 
    1. i used to give away my time left and right for no reason to people that didn’t really care about it. “Oh you need help with your printer?” and then I’d lose a complete afternoon fixing a god damn printer and god I hated that. All that for a tap in the back and a small thank you. 5 minute later, the person you helped didn’t even remember it.
    2. “oh your laptop is broken? Let me take care of it, go get it at your office”, then try to find out why it doesn’t work, then bring it at Future Shop and wait and so on and lose hours doing something that doesn’t make me learn, give me any momentum, etc. Why did I even propose myself in the first place??
    3. I did that a lot for computer related stuff (“the computer guy can fix it”), helping for website stuff (everyone wants a website), for research, etc. Somebody said “i’m looking for something” and then i’d go on and say “let me help you” and proceeded to give way the free time I didn’t have. God I’m glad I’ve fixed that.
    4. Don’t do things you hate, EVEN LESS for someone else.
    5. if YOU don’t value your time, nobody will value it for you.
  13. READ about the PAST
    1. HISTORY REPEATS. Read biographies from 100 years ago, read about history since the beginning of mankind. History always repeat, and come back in waves, just like fashion. As a whole, we (us society, humans) keep making the same mistakes, just in a different era and slightly differently.
    2. And knowing what has happened give you a huge leverage for your own future in business and in life.
  14. Do faster projects, and do more of them
    1. doing FAST IN and OUT projects is a great way to EVOLVE QUICKLY instead of long, hard, and few big projects like i used to do.
    2. the more you experiment with a lot of little projects, the faster you’ll learn and the faster you’ll adapt and improve.

 

And, FINALLY, the MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL:

  1. if you don’t have CLEAR, SMART, MEASURABLE GOALS, then you’re going nowhere
    1. have daily, weekly, monthly, each 3, 6, 9 and 12 months goals.
    2. EVERYDAY you should be doing ONE CRUCIAL thing that bring you closer to your life goal. Otherwise what are you doing? I’ll tell you: you’re wasting time on stuff that doesn’t matter while you wait for something to happen to you.
    3. The only person that will get you somewhere is YOURSELF. If YOU don’t work every day toward a clear goal, NO ONE will get you there. And time will go by. And one day you’ll wake up old and realize that you’ve actually never done anything that you really loved.
    4. EVERY NIGHT, have a checklist sheet where you analyze your day:
      1. how would you live your PERFECT day?
      2. Now how do you rate on 10 THIS day compared to that perfect one?
      3. did you work on things that THRILLS you?
      4. did you work on stuff you HATE? Or WORSE: that you’re indifferent about?
      5. could you achieve your life goal in one tenth of the time? NO? Then you have some serious assumption breaking to do.
      6. What ONE THING can you do TOMORROW that will get you to your PERFECT CRAZY FUN LIFE faster?
  2. MOTIVATION
    1. if you don’t find it, it will never come by itself. Motivation is within you. It’s something you need to chose to develop since it will never packaged as a surprise in your cereal box.
    2. If you need somebody to encourage you and push you to the finish line, you’ll NEVER have success in life. Your parents aren’t there anymore to give you daily motivation and tap on the back. This is life and YOUR SUCCESS DEPENDS ONLY ON ONE THING: YOU.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR OF 2014 and KEEP HUSTLING! I wish you all to learn a ton in 2014, fail a lot (it’ll mean you’re trying something hard), and succeed a lot.

,
Joel Alain is on a quest to the 4 Hour Workweek Lifestyle, Accelerated Growth & Meta Learning. He rejects status quo and the so called "common sense" and creates his own vision of reality. The goal being to live the life you've imagined, no matter how crazy that is. Hop in.
Did this article help you? I love some love ;), or leave a comment, question or add anything you think I missed.

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