How To Make 2018 Not Suck

If you don’t know me, my name is Mark Price, CEO of fast growing learn to code startup Devslopes, I have 8 employees, 5 kids, another one on the way, and an ultra energy Siberian Husky named Sudo. I live in fast-paced California on the beaches of the overly expensive city of Arroyo Grande.

Is life perfect for me? No. But it’s pretty dang good — and I accomplished a lot in 2017.

I want to talk about how I think you can be successful in 2018, and perhaps give some advice on things you shouldn’t do.

Sudo the Dog

Should I Make New Years Resolutions?

No. Don’t make New Years Resolutions. I have found that success comes from diligent action over an extended period of time. Choosing a date to be diligent or do some great thing is counter-intuitive to diligence and consistency.

Also, all the wannabes, sales people, and people you shouldn’t respect are making resolutions today — don’t be like them.

What Is Success Anyway?

I get a lot of flack on the subject of success — usually from people living mediocre lives. They say things like, “There is nothing wrong with having a steady job if it provides for your family” or “Being a lawyer is a respectable job. Yeah it’s not my dream job but its good”.

What is a mediocre life? It’s a life that is living below it’s potential. Almost every person on this planet has a dream of some kind — something that they want to do or a person they want to be.

I have friends who are lawyers, dentists, doctors, and other “worthy” professions. When I ask them, “Is doing this your dream job” they have all responded, “no”. After that is usually followed up with some lame response such as, “But life is good…”.

You are likely going to live to be 77–81 years old in this life. For me, the worst thing ever would be lying on my deathbed, thinking about not doing something that I wanted to do in this life. Yet, almost every person I or you know will be in that position.

So what is success? Success is working towards what you are most passionate about and loving every minute of the journey along the way. You can know that you are being successful when even your failures bring you joy.

Identifying Your Situation

I’m going to use my super biased personal-experienced based algorithm to help you identify if you are on the wrong path.

Ask yourself in any of the following apply to you:

  • I wake up dreading to go to work
  • When I see others accomplishments/successes on social media I get sad and/or frustrated
  • I’m always broke and I hate being broke
  • I’m super excited at 5 pm every Friday
  • I “Netflix and chill” way too much — and I know it
  • I go “out” and party each week
  • I have thoughts of depression or frustration when I think about the state of my life
  • I start working on my goals, but somewhere a long the way stop working on them

If you ever have any of these thoughts, I would say it’s time for some big change. I want to help you make that change.

The First Steps To Lasting Change

If you want to make some changes in your life, you are going to at least need a desire and direction. If there is nothing that makes you happy, or that you want to work towards — or if you simply don’t know what those things are yet, you are going to need to start experimenting. If you are in this boat, reach out to me personally mark@devslopes.com and I can give you some advice.

If you do have an idea of who you want to be or what you want to accomplish, read on.

Planning

This is where most people give up. One day they watch Gary V. or Tony Robbins and they are all of a sudden pumped and ready to change the world. So they start making a plan. They start mapping out every step along the path to success. They spend days on this. Weeks on this. The motivation fizzles out. Dreams and goals die.

Spend 1 hour on your plan. No more than this! Seriously — spend only 1 hour planning out the path to your goal. The plan must include action items for today, the rest of the week, and possibly up until the end of the month.

Though this can apply to any subject, let’s say your goal is to travel the world and make your living working remotely as an engineer, but you have no experience with code.

An example plan might look like this:

Goal: Work remotely as an engineer by August, 5th 2018
Steps: Pick a technology/language, learn to code, apply for jobs
Today: Research technologies that have most remote jobs. Pick a tech to learn
This week: Build my first simple app/program
This month: Publish my first app/program for others to use
Roadblocks: I work 8am-6pm. Need to work with wife to help me code from 7pm-11pm every day, and 8am-3pm on Saturdays.

If you have planned more than this, then you are setting yourself up for failure. When you get close to the end of this month, make a plan for the next month. This is how I personally build all of my plans.

If your plan includes action items for today, and you do those action items for today, you have literally started on the path to success. Planning action items for the day with a maximum of one month allows your tasks to be doable and you won’t get depressed looking at the “long” path ahead of you.

Accomplishing action items every day is critical to becoming successful. If you miss a day, you set yourself up for failure.

The Roadblocks

If you don’t have any roadblocks stopping you from accomplishing your goals/dream then you shouldn’t be reading this article because clearly life has given you all the answers and blessings that the rest of us can’t seem to find.

For us normal folk’, we have obstacles and need to overcome them.

See if any of these apply to you:

  • I want to, but I have a family to provide for and just can’t
  • I’m worried about losing my job and not being able to pay my rent
  • I’m scared (Scared of the unknown, or what bad things could happen)
  • What if I’m not cut out for this
  • Only some people get to do what they want, that is not me

I have one piece of advice for you: Burn the Ships

BURN THE SHIPS

It is told that in 1519 Hernán Cortés landed in the America’s and had the formidable task of conquering the mighty Aztec Empire. Sensing great fear among his men, Cortés gave a riveting speech and then commanded the men to “burn the ships”. Now, so I don’t get a thousand comments about historical inaccuracy — did he really burn the ships? No one knows. We do know that he made it impossible for his men to return home. Here is the lesson:

Retreat is easy, when the option is available to you.

Why would you ever take the risk of following your dreams when you have a steady job and cushy life? None of the great success stories ever happened from casually “trying something out”.

So if you really want to succeed, but your cushy life and income generating job are getting in your way, my advice to you is this:

Quit your job — today.

Seriously. Be that person you were meant to be, or be like everyone else, living mediocre lives.

What is the worst that could happen if you quit your job? Seriously think about it. The absolute worst. Would you die? Would your kids die? Yeah you might lose your BMW. Might be forced to buy a $500 junker car — which you should have bought in the first place so you could work towards your dreams.

And if you live in the USA, you can’t even starve being broke:

Non scientific image courtesy of the Internet and @SagTownMayor

Seriously though, quit your job. If you care about your future and don’t want to be on your death bed regretting your life, quit your crappy job, make your plan and execute.

For those who just can’t live with risk, I have an option B for you.

What you can do, is free up your schedule in the evenings and early mornings and work your brains out. When you are not at your day job, you are working on your goals and nothing else matters except for those goals. This means very little sleep for you, and lots of work.

When I first started learning how to code I had a full time job. I woke up at 4 AM every day for 2 years straight so I could have time to learn to code. I wanted to be available to my wife and toddlers in the evening, so I sacrificed sleep to make this happen. After I got some confidence, I quit my full time job so I could focus on obtaining my goals. The time between when I started waking up at 4 AM to when I quit my job was about 30 days.

Consistency Is Key

The big difference between those who fail and those who succeed at anything in life is diligence and consistency.

When things get tough, you push through. When you have doubts you push through. When your family and your friends and even your own spouse thinks you are crazy and that you should stop — you do not stop. I remember the names of the very many people who told me to stop wasting my life and get a normal job like “the rest of us”. You must push past this.

You accomplish action items every day. If you don’t take the action items each day you will lose confidence and motivation.

Record your milestones. If you get one step closer to your dream or goal, write it down, so you can remember that you are making progress.

My goal back in 2007 was to have the money and ability to do whatever I want without anyone telling me what I needed to do or how to live my life. And the most important thing of all was that I did not want to worry about money. The path to that goal was technology, apps, and programming.

I taught myself how to code. Within 30 days I got my first programming job. I knew the path to my goals was getting some on-the-job experience. After 6 months I quit that job. Took a better job that would teach me more skills. After 8 months I quit that job. I felt skilled enough to open my own consulting company — building apps and websites for companies.

After teaching myself Google Adwords, in less than 30 days from opening that business I received a check for $350,000 for my first project. I ran that company for a year and grew it fast. Though it was my own company, I learned that consulting for other people was taking away from my dream of not working for other people. Anyone who works with clients knows what I mean — the client is always the boss.

I created a new company, trying to build my own apps and products. Each failed. Thousands of dollars wasted. Turned back to consulting gigs for cash. Built more apps along the way. They all failed. Closed down the company. I got sued by a former client. They sued my business and me personally.

Went near broke. I might also add, there is nothing more disgusting or miserable than having a court appointed courier deliver documents to your house, with all of your kids present, saying, “Are you Mark Price?” “Yes”. “Here you go. You are being sued. Have a nice day”.

What does all this have to do with consistency? Through all the ups and downs I never lost vision of what I wanted to accomplish. Every day I studied, I learned, and I worked. Always found a way to provide the necessities of my life for my wife and 5 kids. Also, I love those failures and trials. It fueled the fire.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without consistency. Every day you must consistently work towards your goals.

Also consistency is really all about numbers and statistics. Here is the algorithm:

while (stillAlive && distanceToGoal > 0) {
distanceToGoal -= todaysWork();
print("success");
}
startNextGoal();

Success In Bullet Points

Everyone likes lists. Here is your list to having a successful 2018:

  • You have a plan to accomplish your dream (and spent 1 hour to make it)
  • Burn your ships — Quit your job. Go part time. Publicize your goal to everyone — you are now accountable
  • Complete at least one action item EVERY day
  • Remember success is actually working towards your dream, every day. If you haven’t started yet I would say you are failing in life
  • Think of your deathbed every day — are you ready for that moment?

My goal here today is to give you a few tools/actionable items that can help you get out of the rut you might be in. Make a permanent change for good by consistently working towards your goals and dreams.