“Work at your job and make a living. Work on yourself and make a fortune” — Jim Rohn
Self-improvement is the cheat code to life. Once you understand it at a deep level, the entire universe opens up to you.
No, reading self-help books won’t magically turn you into a millionaire, but it’s not a coincidence that many successful people are into self-improvement.
When implemented and applied to your life, self-improvement gives you one important skill most people don’t have.
You understand that many of the limits to upward mobility are psychological.
The more you improve yourself, the easier it is to:
- Find work you enjoy
- Develop quality relationships
- Have interesting experiences
- Lower stress
- Build confidence
- Live a more flexible life
And a list of other benefits too long to fit in a blog post.
I remember the first time I heard that Jim Rohn quote. It sounded cute. But I didn’t get it.
Now, I do.
And I’ll explain it to you.
Self-Improvement Shifts This Crucial Aspect of Your Life
When you truly start to work on yourself, you jump into the top five percent of the population, instantly.
Most people do not actively work on trying to improve their life, mindset, and strategies to navigate. At all. Not a judgment. Just a fact.
If you don’t work on yourself, you’ll never see anything outside of the tracks and paths laid out for you by society.
I don’t think people are lazy or mediocre. They have perceptual blindspots and have no idea that they have them. Simply being aware that you have blindspots is an advantage — one that comes with self-improvement.
Most people have made it up in their mind that they will always work at a job, never make a lot of money, and have to do this for the next few decades until they retire. There’s nothing wrong with that, by the way. It is what it is.
There will never be an uprising of the self-actualized. Society will never collectively become awake and aware all at once. But you can. When you take self-improvement seriously, you can’t go back to looking at the world the way you used to.
You’ll make this important shift in your mindset. You’ll understand that to live a better life, you simply need more knowledge and skills. You will learn how to do things people find useful.
Self-improvement is the gateway drug to freedom.
When I wanted to change my life, I didn’t know what to do. I just started learning because I figured getting smarter, in general, would lead to specific opportunities. That’s exactly what happened.
What am I talking about? Let me explain.
Self-Improvement Teaches You The Most Valuable Skill Ever
The more you improve yourself, the more you realize opportunities are everywhere.
If you pick the right ones and seize them, you can change your life. I’ve told the story a million times before. I started working on myself and posting content about what I learned on social media. My friend asked me to write for his website — opportunity seized.
Then, I noticed another acquaintance published her work on a popular website. Because my brain was primed to see opportunities, I applied to write for the same website. Had I noticed this prior to learning self-improvement…I wouldn’t have noticed it at all.
When you begin to focus on the philosophy of stepping outside the normal bounds of society, you see reality itself differently. You understand there can be multiple next steps that can arise from a seemingly small opportunity.
Many franchise owners began as employees of said franchises. Grant Cardone tells a story in his book about a co-worker at McDonald’s who worked there because he knew he’d own them one day. Grant himself admits he took the job just to make some extra change.
See, when you focus on leveling up, you can take the same content as someone else and put it into a different context. I used to be a project manager at a digital marketing company. Project managers previous to me just did their job. I took the job because I needed money. But I also knew I was getting a digital marketing crash course for free. I’d take the skills I learned at my job and use them for my writing career.
Most people don’t see that opportunities can be drawn from almost any situation. Think of the company you work for as a company you could own. Think of a volunteering gig or an internship as a path to an entirely new industry. Understand that spending $10 on a book could be worth millions.
In general, when you focus on improving your life, you’ll always look twice at every situation and ask yourself. Can this help me? Is there something I can do with this? And you’ll make little bets that help you greatly over time.
Self-Improvement Changes This Important Link In Your Mind
Self-improvement kept me optimistic when I was dead broke. I knew that as long as I was alive, I had another move to play.
On the one hand, self-improvement can lead to a never-ending sense of inadequacy. You always know you could be doing better, so it makes you unhappy in certain ways. That’s a better problem to have than no hope, though.
It creates an important link in your brain — more effort and skill-building can lead to a better life.
Many don’t think the level of effort they exert can change their situation. Often, it can’t. Why work extra hard if you’re going to, at best, get a cost of living raise annually? Why go the extra mile if you are working in retail or fast food?
The incentives to work hard within the context of a normal path doesn’t make sense because you don’t get rewarded for it.
But when you start to look at everything in your life as a means to help you build a little evil empire, working hard becomes easier.
You’re not just working at that white-collar job to get a raise, you’re learning the blueprint of business so you can build your own. You’re learning customer service skills because you will one day have your own customers.
When you adopt this attitude, you have a different air about you and people notice it. They react to you differently. You’ve been around an employee who’s like this. Their presence startles you a little bit because you’re not used to seeing someone who looks like they’re on the come up.
Once you become a person on the come up, you build momentum. The more momentum you build, the easier it is to keep working, until one day everything changes forever.
How to Get the Cheat Codes and Master Life Itself in 3 Simple Steps
Human potential is severely underrated. When you get more from your own potential, you’ll start to realize you have no real idea of what’s possible. You’ll achieve things you used to look at as life-changing goals. You’ll get used to them almost instantly.
After that, you’ll settle into this groove. You don’t lack motivation, but you’re no longer operating with this chip on your shoulder trying super hard to become successful. You’ll take the attitude of “let’s see where this can really go.”
You won’t feel the need to convert resistant people into self-improvement either.
Why? Because you understand how difficult it is to break through perceptual barriers. You understand the world around you is sleepwalking, but you’ll also realize that the only thing you can do is be a good example and connect with the people who are receptive to you.
You’ll put on a smile and nod at the people stuck in the matrix. You’ll engage in small talk and parrot back limiting statements to the people you talk to who just don’t get it.
You will spend the rest of your life doing whatever you want. You won’t want to live in an endless vacation. You’ll work on one project, master it, start another one, master that, and repeat the process until you’re dead — along with having many adventures and fun times in between.
You don’t need a bunch of money to do this either. You need skills, the ability to be opportunistic, and enough money to give you freedom.
Here’s how you do it.
Read a Bunch of Books
I hate even giving this recommendation.
I can’t tell you exactly why it works.
It just does.
Read all the self-improvement classics until the lessons sink into the recesses of your brain. Read biographies, marketing books, the psychology of persuasion books, books on evolution, books on human nature, the classics.
Books just provide this map and blueprint to all of these cheat codes that have been known for forever. Success and upward mobility is an open secret bound in books.
You just understand shit better when you read a lot. So do it.
Start a Side Hustle
Once you learn how to make money online, even $1, you’ll see money everywhere.
I don’t think everybody has to become an entrepreneur, but you do need to understand how to earn money in a non-wage way. You could stay an employee at a job you love your whole life and get financial freedom too — buy rental properties, invest, own a little side gig — without ever quitting.
You need the mental models that starting something of your own teaches you:
You need to know that if shit went to the fan and you got canned, you could find a way to make money in a pinch. Most people don’t have that skill and it’s why they live in constant fear.
A self-aware and productive person with profitable skills is unstoppable. You can knock them off course, but you can’t kill them.
Do Things That Aren’t Working, Watching T.V., Eating Out, or Drinking
Just as most people don’t spend time working on themselves outside of what they learn in their job, most people don’t do much other than normal activities.
Again, the point here isn’t to chastise others. It’s to help you.
Self-improvement combined with having some hobbies makes you…interesting. You want people to always wonder what you’re up to. You want to cultivate an air of someone who has shit going on, both for yourself and other people.
You’re always looking for ways to un-condition yourself. The problem with escaping a normal life is the method with which you got caught in the first place.
You’re lulled into complacency. Your life becomes a continuous feedback loop. Humans use patterns, cycles, and repetition to make sense of the world. How can you change your sense of the world if you never change your patterns?
Just like there’s a higher level to work, there’s a higher level of fun! Do interesting things. Travel outside of the two weeks of pre-planned vacation. Attend local clubs, go do the things you see on coffee shop bulletin boards, play an instrument.
How many people do you know who:
Almost nobody is like this.
Which is why combining these simple activities is the cheat code to life
Ayodeji is the author of You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You. Want a free copy of my first book? Get it here.
Originally published at http://ayotheauthor.com on November 7, 2019.