A incessant daily barrage of information, news, requests, meetings, reports and other noise rains down on us like mortar shells, and keeping up, let alone getting ahead, can be impossible.
There are so many distractions and so much to do that taking time out to set goals and make plans for the future feels like a luxury that many people simply don’t think they can afford. Which is a real shame because academic studies have repeatedly shown that those people who set clearly defined goals achieve much more of what they want in life than those who don’t.
Put another way, a goal that isn’t written down is just a dream. And it’s unlikely to be achieved.
In light of this, is there a framework that can be set up and adhered to that allows you to take back ownership and control of your life? Can you set up rules that will help you create a rich and fulfilling life that benefits you and all those you come into contact with?
Here is my charter: a list of success tips or measures that I’d be happy for my son to adhere to as he develops into an adult or, more precisely, some things I wish I’d known 5 or 10 years ago.
1. Be Grateful
One of my closest friends lost his wife suddenly when she was in her mid-thirties.
Something as tragic as this puts pretty much everything else into perspective and serves as an hard-stop reminder not to sweat the small stuff and be grateful every day for what you have. If you reminded yourself of this every time you blow up over something trivial, you’d probably respond differently, and for the better.
Some people keep a gratitude diary where they write down things in their life they are grateful for each morning and / or night. This is a brilliant way to clearly anchor positive things and force yourself to dwell on them for a few minutes each day.
2. Volunteer – Give more, Contribute more
Life is so stressful these days that it creates the illusion that life is hard. And it can be damned hard. But, barring you being in an absolute bind due to a sudden, unexpected event, there will always be people for whom life is genuinely hard.
Imagine helping them in some way. Imagine giving your time to talk to someone who society ignores. Imagine spending time with a child who cares full time for their disabled parent. How cool would that be for them? And how would it make you feel inside.
If you don’t have children or commitments, this is a big one – everybody should be doing it.
3. Exercise 5 times per week
Play team sports, run a marathon, swim in the ocean, hit the gym, go to yoga. Just make sure you move and sweat. And then be grateful that you can move and sweat.
Too easy not to do.
Just Eat Real Food. Ditch the processed stuff. Eat organic meats and fresh fruit and vegetables. Don’t succumb to mid-afternoon lulls.
Practical ways to make this work: the green smoothie to start the day; a salad for lunch instead of Japanese noodles (or is that just me?); protein and vegetables for dinner; no fizzy drinks; a big veggie shop at the weekend.
This is easy to do. So why do so many people trip up?
Because it’s also easy not to do.
5. Coach a Kids Sports Team
In today’s society this works best if you have a child. Preferably one who is on the team you’re coaching. Otherwise people may get cynical. It’s sad, but seems to be the way things are these days.
Either way, you can facilitate young people getting into the habit of moving, like they were born to do. You can facilitate them interacting with each other to achieve a collective goal. Just try not to get into any fights on the sidelines.
6. Have Sex Three Times Per Week
Heck, let’s not get greedy now. And, for clarity, all three times should be with the same person. And this should be the person who is your wife / girlfriend / partner. Otherwise things are going to get really complicated really quickly for you.
I’ve always subscribed to the view that running one girlfriend is hard enough; trying two is downright impossible. But some guys do it. My advice is: Don’t. Even. Try.
7. Have A Mentor in Life, As Well As Work
A work mentor is good. But imagine having a life mentor. Someone who could impart their wisdom and experience to help you avoid some of the traps and pitfalls that await all of us. And some of it would doubtless extend to your work, too, so you’ve got that covered anyhow.
One common thread amongst very successful people is that a disproportionate number had a mentor as they made their start. Here is an interesting list of mentors and mentees.
8. Be A Mentor
Having acquired some wisdom yourself, wouldn’t it be neat to share that with someone and potentially be the person who awakens something lying dormant in them so that they can go on and fulfil their potential?
9. Be An Owner, Rather Than A Consumer
Would you rather own Apple gadgets or Apple stock? Well, probably both, I’d imagine. But one has the potential to make you rich and the other has the potential to keep you online and manage your photos and music (and so much more, I’m sure).
The point is this. If you can get into the habit from an early age of investing 10% or so of your net income into the stock market via a cheap index-linked fund, the power of compounding will generate a significant sum with ten, fifteen or twenty years.
After all, this is exactly where Warren Buffet said he’d put his money when asked where he’d invest for his wife in the event of him dying. And he seems to know what he’s doing in this area.
By creating a religious habit of consumer less each month (and once this is set up, you’ll barely notice it’s gone), you can set yourself up for a much rosier financial future.
10. Read An Actual Book
People don’t read anymore. The look at devices for a few seconds and then flit to something else that catches their eye.
Have you ever noticed that it’s only big, expensive houses that have libraries? Small houses very rarely have libraries. This isn’t a coincidence.
Reading to switch off from technology, to learn something new, to broaden your understanding, to move yourself forward towards your goal. It’s all better than the alternative, which is NOT reading.
If you can’t bear to sit down with a book, at least listen to a talking book or some development tapes in the car instead of the inane jibber-jabber on the radio. If you spend 30 minutes driving to work and 30 minutes driving home that 1 hour that you could spend growing and developing. You’re going to be in the car anyway so it won’t cost you a thing.
So there you have it. Ten things every man should be doing. And ten things I’ll definitely be teaching #superfitkid.
How many have you got covered? And, more importantly, what have I missed?
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