First Rule of Hustling: Develop Yourself

History’s greatest characters spent a great deal of time on self-development. They were seen as being extra special — individuals who were the outliers of normal human existence.

What these characters understood was that having goals in life is important, but in order to realize those goals you must invest ample time in developing your self.

What is Self Development?

Self development is simply taking steps to better yourself. You are not bettering yourself for someone else, nor are you bettering yourself for society. There are 2 reasons to invest in self development: 1) to better cope with the hardships of life, and 2) to develop skills to help you achieve your goals.

The following is a snapshot of the skills and habits you would need to develop in order for success in fitness and in life:

  • Motivation — to be stirred emotionally to achieve your goals
  • Time management — to be able to manage your day so that you are able to get your workout in at the same time each week
  • Consistency — the ability to stick to your workout plan regularly each week
  • Determination — to be able to push yourself as hard as possible while you are working out
  • Emotional management — the ability to properly deal with fear, anxiety, anger, frustration and other emotions that may hold you back from being your best
  • Defining vision — the ability to visually see your goals realized in your mind before you achieve them
  • Self-talk — the ability to combat negative messages and ideas in your head which prevent you from pursuing your goals
  • Mental strength — the ability to push through and overcome adversity
  • Failure management — the ability to learn from and bounce back from adversity
  • Focus — the ability to block out all distractions and focus on your #1 task

These are not traits that you are born with. They are learned through practice. Life has a way of teaching you some of these lessons. Personally I believe it is better to develop these skills within yourself first before life decides to throw a curveball.

Time Blocking

If there is actually a “secret” to success, it’s time blocking. Time blocking is exactly what it sounds like: blocking a period of time devoted to one task and one task only.

Think about those things you do on a daily basis — dropping your children to school, grabbing coffee before heading off to work, meeting a coworker for lunch. You perform these tasks without even really thinking about it. You don’t need to set a reminder — they just happen because there is a deep desire to do them.

Each event has a clear emotional connection and a purpose attached to it.

  • Dropping your children to school — you love them, you want to be a good parent, they need to be in school for a bright future
  • Grabbing coffee before work — you need your morning coffee, the coffee at your workplace is terrible, you also pick up your breakfast with the coffee
  • Meeting a coworker for lunch — you have a great relationship with the coworker, you don’t like eating alone

Time blocking is normally used for big projects — projects where you recognize the necessity of the task, but the emotional connection to it isn’t necessarily positive.

Think back to your college days. There was a clear reason to write that paper, so you scheduled a time for it. It wasn’t pleasant. You didn’t sit around to be “motivated” to write the paper. You just did it. You forced yourself.

Those that don’t enjoy doing chores (like myself) need to schedule a time and build a system to get them done.

Therefore you must schedule a time to devote to developing your self.

How to Develop Yourself

We learn by listening, watching, and reading. The best ways to develop yourself and train your mind is to expose yourself to podcasts, shows and books that will help you develop the skills mentioned earlier.

The following are some of the resources I consume on a regular basis:


Motivational Music on Spotify

Books (top 5 recommended)

YouTube Channels (top 5 recommended)

Top 5 Favorite Speakers

How Benjamin Franklin used Time Blocking to Better Himself

To snub the nose on the idea that great people become great through “magic,” examine the daily schedule of Benjamin Franklin:

Notice two important time blocks: 5–8 am, and 7–9 pm. During these two moments, Mr. Franklin asked himself two questions:

  • What good shall I do today?
  • What good have I done today?

He also blocks out a time between 12 to 2 pm to read. This was how Benjamin Franklin approached self-development. Notice that he also worked 8 hours per day. Notice also that these things were done even if Mr. Franklin didn’t “feel” like it. If you force yourself to stick to a particular schedule for a few days, your body will get you used it to a point where you won’t be thinking about whether or not you “feel” like doing something. You just do it.

Success Carries Over

You can use Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule as a template to structure your own days. Through structure and freedom you find freedom.

For so many of us, our days are chaotic. If we’re unable to control the entire day, then at least we can control the morning, or the evening — some aspect of our life which allows us to train ourselves to better handle the rigors of life.

Conquer one aspect of your day, and you’ll be able to conquer another aspect. Succeed with one aspect of your life, and you can use the lessons that you learned to succeed in another aspect of your life.

Originally published at on August 23, 2016.