200+ Podcasts, 100+ Articles, 20+ Books… In 11 Bullet Points

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For the past 8 months, I have spent my time doing what I’ve wanted to do for years: listening to podcasts, reading books, and reading articles.

In total, I listened to 207 podcasts, read 22 books, and read 113 articles. All on the topics of business, marketing, and self-help.

I wish I could say this was some sort of “divine pilgrimage” I set out on. Truth is, I recently graduated college and am now starting my career. I wanted to learn as much as possible about business in order to equip myself for the workplace and beyond. So I did — and still do.

I’m not bragging about it. That’s not what this article is about.

During the journey, I began to notice a number of common themes frequently rising up. Those trends were, for the most part, habits that had made successful people successful, along with lessons they decided to pass down to lucky people like us.

Gary Vaynerchuk, Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Lewis Howes, Mike Dillard, Arianna Huffington, Mark Cuban, John C. Maxwell, Napoleon Hill, Nir Eyal, Neil Patel, Anthony Frisella, and others.

These people have become my Aristotle; my Shakespeare. Unfortunately, and fortunately, no SparkNotes exist for this literature.

I cannot take credit for any of the knowledge that I’m about to share with you. If it means anything, I suppose I can take credit for the effort. Maybe even the love.

Here they are:

1.) You will struggle.

All of the successful people I’ve studied have said this in one form or another. It is practically inevitable.

In the past 8 months, I’ve heard countless stories of sleeping on friend’s couches, not being able to afford rent, living in a crowded apartment, having $60 in a bank account, and more.

The fact is, in order to make something you must give something up.

Occasionally, a life of fulfillment may come at the expense of a life of comfort.

How bad do you truly want to achieve your goals? If you had to, how much comfort would you willing to give up to achieve those goals?

2.) You will fail.

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Failure is practically inevitable, no matter who you are or what you do. The key is to start viewing failure as educational as opposed to purely detrimental.

Mark Cuban has a terrific way of looking at failure:

“No one counts your failures. Only your victories. The cool thing is that you only need one victory.” -Mark Cuban

There you have it. Don’t be frightened of failure. Welcome it — of course don’t encourage it, but you know what I mean — and learn from it. Maturation is pivotal on the journey to achieve your “best self”.

3.) Networking is everything.

“Your network is your net worth.” -Porter Gale

If you don’t know about Lewis Howes, please take a moment to read about him. You can follow this link to do so: http://lewishowes.com/blog/

If you don’t feel like doing that, I can summarize it here: constantly network — or try to — with people “higher up the totem pole” in the industry you are pursuing.

Go to as many networking events as possible (I suggest using Meetup.com for this), reach out to one or two industry leaders per week by email or LinkedIn, and hang out at bars/cafes where these people might go to.

Above all, you must be relentless and you must be shameless. Period. Don’t be afraid to talk to anybody.

4.) No one else cares.

Humans are selfish. In order for people give a shit, you have to give them a reason to give two shits. And even after they give two shits, they will continue to talk shit.

Join the crowd, and live for yourself. What brings you happiness? What brings you the most excitement? After you’ve found that, then find a way to monetize it.

5.) Have a morning ritual.

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Listen to a podcast — whether it’s Tim Ferriss, Lewis Howes, Mike Dillard, or another — you will observe a common question emerging in the interviews: “What is your morning ritual?”

Not “Do you have a morning ritual?”

Not “if you had a morning ritual, what would it be?

I see a pattern arising…

Every successful person I have studied has a morning ritual. This could be a meditation, writing in a journal, working out, or anything else.

The purpose behind a morning ritual is to provide yourself with “Me Time”. During normal hours of the day, it can be difficult to control where your time and energy is expended. You may get pulled into a meeting that isn’t worth your time. You might need to attend that networking event an hour’s drive away. You may get chewed out by your boss. The list is endless.

Your mornings are something you can control.

No one can tell you what to do. No one can take away your valuable time. No one steer you away from your goals.

Why, you ask?

Because they’re asleep!

In addition, your morning ritual should be absolutely non-negotiable. Even to your loved ones, including significant others. Morning sex can wait until night time.

6.) Consistency is everything.

Gary Vaynerchuk had a YouTube series called Wine Library TV back in 2007. Gary made daily videos for Wine Library TV.

For a year and a half straight, the videos would receive anywhere from 300 to 500 views.

That’s a long long long time to do daily videos. He weathered through the slow times of the channel by being consistent. Eventually, the web series landed him a spot on the Conan O’Brien show, the Ellen show, and the Today Show.

The next time you find yourself ready to give up on your blog or your business or another venture, think of Gary. Think of consistency.

7.) Exercise.

For the most part, people who care about their body care about themselves. Exercise seems to be a trend among entrepreneurs now more than ever.

Regular exercise can make you live longer, make you feel “better” about yourself, and exponentially increase your productivity. Try it for yourself, if you don’t already.

It’s important to note that exercise doesn’t have to mean daily gym sessions. Find any physical activity that you actually enjoy doing, then do it often.

8.) Never stop learning.

Do what I did. Start reading as many books as you can. If you don’t have time or the resources to do this, then listen to free podcasts on your commute to work or school.

“But Dakota, I can’t listen to podcasts because I have an Android phone.”

Well, there’s a wonderful resource called Stitcher for that, which is the app that I use. So don’t bring those weak ass excuses over here or I’ll Dikembe Mutombo that BS…

Gif Credit to: gifsoup.com

Mike Dillard makes $600k+ per online course he creates. He is one of the top online marketers in the business. Even after all of his success, he still spends $100,000 per year on his education: conferences, online courses, networking events, books, and more.

Learn, learn, learn.

9.) Find a mentor.

Gif Credit to: giphy.com

This one can be tough. With the proper drive, perseverance, and mindset, however, it can be done.

Finding a mentor can tie into the point on networking. By reaching out to 1 or 2 leaders in your industry per week, you are increasing your chances of getting a mentor. Use LinkedIn to message them. Dig up their email. Send them insightful questions that shows you have done your homework.

Your personal experience with a mentor might not be the Obi-Wan/Anakin relationship that you’ve always dreamed of. It might take the form of listening to someone’s podcast, reading their blog, tweeting them questions, etc. And that’s completely okay. Not everyone can be as lucky as Anakin.

In addition, you can refer to resources such as Everwise.com to find a mentor. Think of Everwise as the “OKCupid” of mentor-mentee relationships.

10.) Before all else, provide value to others.

This point struck me as the most helpful and least intuitive. When I first heard it though, it made complete sense.

Your value is equal to the amount of value you provide to others.

You are what others think you are. Your product or service is, and the price tag along with it, directly correlated with how valuable others think that product or service is.

To achieve greater financial success, provide greater value to others. The money will come along with it.

Such a simple principle, yet so powerful.

11.) If you chase money, money won’t come.

The fastest road to money is passion, and genuine love for what you do. Doing something simply for the money will, more than likely, not give you enough fuel to weather through the many challenges you’ll face along the way.

Becoming successful is tough. You’ll have terrific days and you’ll have terrible days. Will the thirst for money be enough to push you to persevere even on the worst days?

Follow your passion. Become superb at it. Provide value to others along the way, and then the money will follow closely behind.


We are fortunate enough to live in an era of accessibility. Knowledge formerly confined to those wealthy enough to afford it is now available to anyone with an internet connection.

If you take anything away from this article, let it be this: learn, learn, learn.

Meticulously study the leaders in the industry you choose to pursue. Study them like a young Kobe would study Magic Johnson; like a young Lebron would study Kobe Bryant. Learn from them as if they were your own mentor.

By studying the leaders in your industry, not only are you equipping yourself with invaluable knowledge, you’re also letting them make mistakes so you don’t have to.

Do you really want to spend 10 years learning a lesson you could’ve figured out from watching a 5-minute YouTube video?


Call to Action

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