Last year has been tough as F.
We all had our fair share of failure, loss, defeat, and obstacles.
I’m no exception. Losing the relationship with my favorite person on this planet still fucking hurts, but I have to move on. Nobody will benefit from me going back to my cave and being miserable. Yet I know that it feels comforting to desperately hold on to the past, from time to time.
Dwelling in the past isn’t something I like doing and definitely something I advise others to do. It’s not something that helps us move forward.
I’m not going to say make 2021 your best year, because working toward your best life starts today. Not tomorrow, not next week, and definitely not next year.
The following 5 concepts helped me power through last year and laid the foundation for my compass moving into the future.
Know That Your Only Competition Is Who You Were Yesterday
It might sound cliche at this point, but that’s because it’s true. You’re only competing with the person you were yesterday.
We’re living in a world where everybody is desperately trying to find his or her place. A world where there’s space for 8 billion monopolies.
Why compete with others on things we have in common? Double down on the things they don’t have.
“You can escape competition through authenticity, when you realize that no one can compete with you on being you.
That would have been useless advice pre-internet. Post-internet, you can turn that into a career” — Naval Ravikant
Be 1% better every day. As James Clear famously stated in Atomic Habits — becoming 1% better every day for 1 year, leaves you 37 times in the end.
Let me introduce the concept of no zero days.
A zero day is a day in which you have done absolutely nothing to move closer towards your goal or dream. No matter how lazy or broken you are on a certain day — never let yourself have a zero day. The goal is to build a sequence of 1’s instead of 0’s.
Read one page, do one push up, write one sentence, and go from there. Reach out to 1 person, publish 1 comment, or write 1 line of code. It’s about getting started.
It may sound small, but little progress is better than no progress at all, no matter how insignificant it may look.
Anything to ensure you’re still making even the smallest progress towards your goal or dream. Find a way to have a consistent streak of non-zero days, and you will see your motivation skyrocket as you go.
The way to make real lasting change is to ensure you never have a zero day. There’s always something you can do that will pay dividends in the future.
Earn, Save, and Invest Before You Spend
In my 27 years of existence, I’ve never felt so much uncertainty and fear over the course of 1 year. Most of these fears are connected to money or better said — the lack of money.
With many people losing their jobs, forced to work remotely, or faced with rising expenses, 2020 has been a financial challenge above all.
By all means, I’m no financial expert but I do the research myself. I’ve managed to grow my wealth after I quit my secure job in August and without a steady stream of income.
My mindset shifted from ‘how I can I save 1$’ to ‘how can I make $1?”
Believe me, the latter is so much more exciting to pursue. I wrote about my lessons here.
Stop asking yourself the $5 questions.
We all know that eliminating your $5 a day coffee habit can turn you into a millionaire in retirement. Great advice, bad to execute.
If you like spending money on good coffee then why should you cut that out of your budget just to save $150 a month? And why would you do that every single year for the rest of your life? It doesn’t make sense. Find the $150 somewhere else.
Ask yourself, to which group do you belong?
- My wealth has increased this year.
- My wealth has decreased this year.
There’s no good or bad answer. An increase this year doesn’t mean you’re set up for success moving forward. Vice versa for the situation where your wealth has decreased. It’s about creating habits that secure your wealth moving into the future.
Books I recommend you to read if your financial position is important to you:
Understand how money can make money:
Understanding how global finance works:
If You Don’t Go After What You Want, You’ll Never Get It
Nobody is going to give you exactly what you want in life. Not even your Mom.
If you want to achieve something remarkable in your life, you simply have to do the work. Surround yourself with the people that do what you want to do — suck in all information.
If you’re reading this, the lack of information should never be an excuse for you not learning the things you want to learn. Read that book, buy that online course, study those resources. And reach out.
Online education is becoming the standard if you like it or not. Embrace it, don’t resist it — or you will be left behind. Collaborate with others that want to learn and you’ll be amazed by the amount of support and new opportunities. Online education doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
The world is now your classroom and the internet is your library.
Define your vision, create your strategy, and narrow down your goals.
Making plans is great, but practice a bias towards action. The world isn’t coming to you, you have to present yourself to the world.
See Failure as a Beginning, Not the End
In the moment of failure, all you can see is the misspent effort. You will feel weak, defeated, and stupid. It feels like the world is coming to an end.
Do you know what’s worse than failure?
Staying low and letting failure drag you down. Not getting up and moving forward is a sin. Some failures are harder to overcome than others, but that doesn’t mean you should let them win and keep you down forever.
Life’s about experimenting and experiencing. It’s about accumulating mistakes and treating them as lessons.
It’s about winning or learning. I’m going to say it:
Not learning from your mistakes is stupid.
Stop seeing failures as the end, and focus on the good things that come from the bad things.
A good friend of mine told me something beautiful yesterday:
Something can be painful and good at the same time.
There’s learning in everything, you only have to uncover it.
I can’t give you a blueprint in how you should deal with your failures in life. Everyone is different and what looks like a failure to me, is a win for you.
It’s okay to feel down after you fail, but don’t stay in that feeling. Use that negative energy as fuel to become better. This way, you’re able to prevent a similar mistake in the future.
Your Habits Decide Your Future
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
The same applies to literally every other goal you want to achieve in life. You break it down into smaller steps and to execute on those, you’ll have to form habits.
Most rich people weren’t born rich. They became rich by working relentlessly hard and by forming powerful habits.
The habit of showing up every day, even on the bad days. The habit of making that 150th call after 149 rejections. The habit of working out every day and following a healthy diet. Anyhow, you get me.
Achieving success in life isn’t based on luck. The fact you’re reading this probably means you’re not betting on the lottery to become rich.
Great habits are the foundation of success.
Focus on the skill of being successful, making money, or being healthy. Become radically self-reliant and eliminate the dependency of luck in your life.
Of course, one of the best resources to create strong habits is Atomic Habits.
Besides that classic, The Compound Effect is another great pick for positive behavioral change. Based on the principle that your decisions shape your destiny. Little, everyday decisions will either take you to the life you desire or to disaster by default.
Thank yourself for how far you’ve come. 2020 hasn’t been easy.
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