Self Improvement

9 Timeless Life Lessons Learned from 9 Diverse Writers and Thinkers Across Generations

9 Timeless Life Lessons Learned from 9 Diverse Writers and Thinkers Across Generations

Make the most of your time in this world. Be accepting and self-aware. Believe in yourself. Be the best you can be to others. Follow your dreams. Never give up. Surround yourself with the right people. Live with intention. Have a greater purpose. Focus on the 24 hours you have in one day.

How Truly Understanding This Quote Turned Me Into a Successful Serial Entrepreneur

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on  Unsplash

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

Top Skill-Learning Lessons Learned from One Year of Experimentation

For the sake of this article, we’ll define the word “Skill” as such: “the ability to do something well”. “Well”, doesn’t necessarily mean professionally.

The moment I read and understood the following quote is the moment I knew I had to turn my life around and become a more skilled individual:

“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” ― Robert Greene, Mastery

Now imagine the scenario where you learn more than 35 skills in a year:

  • How much more “successful” do you think you could be?

  • How many ways can you combine those in creative ways?

A lot of times we can’t see how two or more skills may come together until we have acquired the knowledge.

And then one day you wake up and realize that by using a multitude of skills you’ve acquired over the years, you come up with a brilliant idea that could change your future forever.

Just 7 months ago, I didn’t really know how to write good stories. Writing was just one of the skills I wanted to learn over the course of the month of January.

During that month only, I:

  • got published by The Startup (after 5 days in fact!);

  • became a top writer in 7 categories on Medium.com;

  • learned to build mass and gained 5kg of pure muscles (and lost 2% body fat);

  • started a fitness group that grew from 2 people to 13 in just a few days;

  • became way more proficient at day-to-day Spanish conversations;

  • made a new partner for a side-business I was working on; and

  • built my personal brand website.

The next month, I learned how to do Social Media Marketing (with emphasis on Facebook), how to speak/write basic Tagalog and how to grow muscle mass in the legs for someone with chicken legs.

I also released my video game, launched my Viking store, read more books, attended toastmasters events, and grew my networks.

So how can I learn that many skills so quickly and accomplish more?

Simple. In theory at least:

I learn 3 new skills every month.

Let my story above inspire you to try this approach.

Keep reading to learn how I choose the skills, when and how to practice them, why this approach works so well and some of the criticism I’ve received concerning this approach.

How I Choose My Skills

First off, I choose 3 skills that use completely different sections of the brain. I’m certainly no brain expert, but here are a few categories of skills that I’m almost 100% sure use different parts of the brain:

  • Logic/Science (Programming, Math, Physics, etc.)

  • Creative (Art, Music, Writing, Design, Movies, etc.)

  • Languages

  • Health (Nutrition, Body-building, Sports)

  • Speech (public speaking, speed, tone, etc.)

The first month I tried Logic, Creative and Languages, more specifically: Categorization using Machine Learning, Drawing using Photoshop, and Past and Future tenses in Spanish.

Be Specific and Realistic

As you can see, these are very specific subsets of skills.

Always be realistic.

What if I chose Programming, Drawing and Spanish? This is way too broad! Where do I start? What is it really? How the heck can I learn all that in one month! How do you track progress on that?

Being realistic and specific will help you focus and stay motivated, and ultimately help you stay consistent in your practice.

When And How To Practice Them

Photo by  Brad Neathery  on  Unsplash

Practice each skill 30 minutes per day

Thirty minutes for each skill is achievable. If it’s unreasonable for you, just reduce to 1–2 skills instead.

Sometimes I do 2 skills in a month, sometimes I do 4, but I do 3 on average.

And is 30 minutes each day enough to learn a skill? I say yes.

Remember our definition at the top: “the ability to do something well”.

In 15 hours (30 minutes X 30 days), you can learn A LOT.

Have a schedule

Be extreme in telling your brain that you HAVE TO do it or something bad will happen.

This is made easier if you do it consistently at the same time every day. I practice on weekends also. I don’t want to break the momentum.

Learning new skills requires energy, much more than doing things you know.

For that reason, I do them when I’ve got the highest amount of energy. For me, that’s 30 minutes each skill, starting at 5:00am every morning.

Passive Learning

Most skills can be practiced passively. That is, without you actually “spending” time practicing them.

During your day, you spend a lot of time doing passive things: Commuting to work, basic cooking, doing the dishing, health hygiene, etc. I bet for most people, that’s at least one hour of their day.

Use this time to learn passively. Most skills have good theoretical knowledge required. It’s not hard to find good articles online, podcasts and videos to teach you the theory required to learn a skill. Just put your headphones on and learn while doing those passive activities. Learn the jargon, the techniques, etc.

Of course, don’t spend all your time on theory! I spend at least 75% of my time on practice over the course of a month.

4 Reasons Why This Approach Works

Photo by  russn_fckr  on  Unsplash

Photo by russn_fckr on Unsplash

Learning 3 new skills every month completely changed my life for the better. I’m a much better person than I was a year ago. And trust me, it’s not as hard as you think it is. In fact, most of us do learn 3 new skills every month without knowing it. Being aware of it makes all the difference.

1. Because All Skills Are Useful

I will start by saying there are (almost) no useless skills.

Everything I aim to learn has a purpose. The first skills I chose were: classifying documents using Machine Learning, Drawing using Photoshop and Learning The Past and Future Tenses In Spanish.

In one of the current startups I’m working on right now requires my acquired ML skills.

When working on my game, I can now draw decent enough sketches/drafts for my artists to understand my vision.

I moved to Spain 2 months after learning the past and future tenses. I had no idea I would go to Spain at the time.

I use and improve these skills pretty much every day now. The progress has become organic.

2. Because I Build Stronger Connections

I work in co-working spaces. I work with people from all over the globe with different backgrounds. As such, it’s not always easy to have deep conversations if you have nothing in common.

By learning so many skills, there’s a much higher chance that I’m going to find something that unites me with another person.

I’ve connected with people I would never connect with normally, and these connections ended up being some of my strongest connections.

3. Because I Discover Hidden Talents Or Passions

I didn’t aim to write. I didn’t aim to take photos.

Yet I’m now getting paid to do both.

If I didn’t try them as new skills, I would never have known that 1. I’d be good enough at them, and 2. I’d really grow to like them.

4. Because The More You Know, The Faster You Learn

And for me, that is the best reason: learning constantly, at a faster pace.

There’s (almost) nothing I enjoy more in life than learning. It’s such a great feeling when you reach a level of mastery you never knew you could reach before.

“The person who can learn from everything will beat out the person who judges harshly who and what to learn from.” — James Altucher

2 Critics To This Approach

Photo by  Mark Daynes  on  Unsplash

Photo by Mark Daynes on Unsplash

1. I Don’t Have That Much Time!

Yes, you do.

In Analyze How You Spend Your Time, And You will Realize There Is Plenty Of Free Time, I talk about strategies to help you figure out where you can get more time.

One of the realizations I made for myself a few years ago is that I can’t do anything productive after work. I’m too drained mentally. Because of that, I had decided that I’d wake up earlier to work on side projects. It worked great.

Today, I wake up between 4am and 5am depending on the month and the schedule I make for it. I’m productive from 5am to 7pm.

Sounds difficult, right?

Here are key lessons I learned to make waking up early easier:

  1. Wake up at the end of a REM cycle. Experiment to see what it is for you, because it’s different for everyone. For me, it’s about 90 minutes. So I usually sleep between 10pm and 4am, which is 6 hours, or 4 full cycles.

  2. Take power naps (10–15 minutes rest) during the day. 6 hours is not enough. I take one power nap in the morning and one in the afternoon. Again, this takes practice. It’s hard to pull off initially. More tips in Pro Tips For Power Napping Like A King.

2. You Never Master Anything

This is not entirely true.

On the moment, it’s true that I just become good at the skill, without reaching for mastery.

But what’s the point in mastering something you don’t yet know is going to be useful for you?

The key here is that as the months go by, I practice complementary skills and eventually become great at it. Skills are a series of sub-skills. I learn sub-skills every month that add to a whole.

For example, I learn different aspects of a language over the course of a few months, and eventually I “master” it.

So even though the next month’s skills may be completely unrelated to the previous month, it doesn’t mean it will never be connected to a skill I’ve previously learned.

Eventually, the skills that matter will reach mastery.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully, you’ve learned something and it will inspire you to become more skilled. It had an incredible impact on my life and I hope it will do the same for you too.

36 skills in a year is definitely attainable. Of course, it requires dedication, good planning, and execution.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, sharing and following! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/how-truly-understanding-this-quote-turned-me-into-a-successful-serial-entrepreneur-3b6b7e649e73

From Couch Potato To Reaching Your Highest Peak

Nothing Is Impossible with Momentum

I told myself I wouldn’t do anything today.

I didn’t put an alarm the night before. I “wanted” to sleep in. Take it easy. Relax.

I woke up slightly after my alarm would usually go off. I was in my bed, thinking about what I could do for the day.

Before I knew it, I was already out of bed.

And I thought to myself: “Hey man! Yeah you! I thought you said you would take it easy and sleep in?”.

I couldn’t.

Strange isn’t it?

Ever since I built this momentum I have, it’s very hard to stop.

Most people struggle to get out of bed to do things they set out to do. Yet here I am out of bed on a Sunday morning way before anyone else is up.

What’s hard for me now is to NOT do things that work towards my goals.

That momentum I built over the last few weeks really made me unstoppable.

  • There’s NO way I’m skipping the gym;

  • There’s NO way I’m skipping writing;

  • There’s NO way I’m skipping progress on my game;

  • There’s NO way I’m skipping mediation;

  • etc.

Want motivation? Want to achieve your crazy goals?

Build that momentum up!

Be consistent in working towards your goals.

Don’t skip. Do. Even when you don’t want to.

It doesn’t take that long to build momentum. Do consistently for two weeks straight. Checkmark your calendar every time you do. Track everything. Quantify everything. Qualify everything. Be obsessed.

Want to know the best way to do it?

Read 23 Key Principles For Building True Momentum And Becoming Unstoppable.

 

Conclusion

Every small gain builds your momentum.

When you quantify or qualify everything, you WILL find gains or progress. ALWAYS. Series of small wins become big wins. Big wins build momentum. Momentum makes you unstoppable!

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, clapping and sharing! :)

First published here: https://theascent.pub/from-couch-potato-to-reaching-your-highest-peak-4fea43f9329f

Negativity Is Poison For Your Brain, Clear It ASAP

I used to not really get it when people were so negative about things.

Being the positive person than I am, it was always hard for me to relate, always trying to see the positive in everything.

Yet I found myself having really negative thoughts for the past two days. I started dumbing everything I am doing.

Going Down

It started with doubting myself about my photography assignment. I have been shooting for two full days straight with minimal direction. I’m shooting for a half day today.

The reason for doubting myself is that I haven’t really taken any “real” photos for almost two years. I’m very rusty. My equipment is also all new. But most of all, I haven’t taken the time to prepare properly and understand the requirements of the assignment.

That doubt manifested itself in my first shooting session. Almost all of the 500 photos I took had to be scrapped.

My positivity took a hit.

The second session went better, but not enough to really cheer me up.

The third session, yesterday morning, went very poorly. I went in with the mindset that I wasn’t up for it. That I didn’t have what it takes to do it.

I couldn’t have been more out of my comfort zone.

I was shooting at a children school, trying to get candid shots of the children with bars of Sundara soap. I’m very bad with children. I freeze every time. I have no idea how to be silly and build their trust.

I seriously did my best, but overall, I don’t even know if I managed to get a single usable shot.

And that’s when I lost all my positivity. I was down.

Going Down Deeper

Every thought I had yesterday morning until the evening was negative.

I couldn’t help it.

My brain was just bouncing from one subject to the next, thinking of other areas it perceived as a failure.

I was sitting outside after that third session looking at the incredible scenery of the rural India village I was staying at. I was gazing upon the landscape and just wanted to cry.

But I didn’t, out of pride.

We left shortly after to go to another town two hours away. I really wanted to recharge my batteries and clear my mind. I normally fall asleep right away in transportation.

But not this time.

I couldn’t stop thinking about how I wasn’t fit to do my assignment. I wasn’t fit to write. I wasn’t fit to lead a team to build a game. I wasn’t fit for anything.

I f***ing hated having these thoughts. But turning them around seemed impossible.

I really needed a win.

Getting A Win

That my friends, was key for me.

I’m not sure I actually even got myself the true win I’m aiming for, but just realizing that I needed to focus my attention on that win cleared my mind from the negative.

Or channeled it differently at least.

I started turning to the “why” and the “how”. Why were the photos not up to the standards I needed them to be, and how can I fix that.

My brain switched to revisiting these poisonous thoughts I had, but with an analytical point of view.

I analyzed what went wrong. I brainstormed solutions. I visualized the process.

It is then that I decided to take it as a challenge. No matter how bad my next session would be, it “didn’t matter as much”. It is a learning process. I’m no expert and never pretended to be. But I had forgotten that and was way over my head.

But now I was prepared. Mentally at least. The doubt was gone. I knew I could do better.

And I think I did in my fourth session. I haven’t had time to go through all the photos, but I have a better feeling. I certainly applied the things I had learned in the last two days.

Conclusion

My confidence is not yet fully recovered, but I’m on the right track I think.

This may sound over-dramatic to some of you since this happened very recently and for a short period of time, but negativity is all new to me.

And in some ways, I’m happy I had this experience. I can finally relate and understand when people around me feel that way.

Feeling down sucks.

The more negative thoughts you have, the more you seem to have. It’s a rabbit hole that needs to be dug back up as fast as you can once you realize you’re in it.

It’s easy to say, but very hard to do. I channeled all my energy on getting myself a significant win. This changed my mindset.

Wins are very important for building up your positivity. Every small win contributes to it. It’s an effective way of digging yourself out.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading and sharing ! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/negativity-is-poison-for-your-brain-chase-it-asap-4b6705cc12ca

15 Things You Should Think About If You Want To Be Successful

Me at the summit of San Anton, Spain

Me at the summit of San Anton, Spain

As I was writing yesterday’s story, my wife sent me a link for inspiration for a future story.

It was an image that summarizes a lot of what myself and a lot of other writers here say about “success”.

When we think about high-profile successful people, we only see their current success, but not their struggle to get to where they are today.

EVERY successful person had to go through a lot of hardships to get to where they are today. And success is only a state, it changes. Successful people continually have to work hard to keep their “status”.

You may have seen a variation of that image before:

2.jpeg

I personally love this image. I’m not the most successful person out there, but I like to remind myself sometimes that when things are rough, maybe I’m just one step closer to “success”.

Let’s analyze each point in that image:

Disappointment

By going outside the norm, you’ll disappoint people you live a normal life. You will also disappoint yourself a lot along the way.

This month has been very disappointing for me. Because I was on the move almost on a daily basis, I didn’t manage to stick to my routine and completely lost my momentum.

What are you disappointed about?

Persistence

This is where most people fail. Persistence is about executing consistently and never giving up.

I am personally not very persistent, which is surprising to say for someone who has worked on the same game for 4 years. But outside Soul Reaper, I almost “give up” everything I do. I like to try new things all the time.

What are you persistent in and what are you not persistent in?

Hard Work

Conor McGregor said it best:

“There’s no talent here. This is hard work. This is obsession. Talent does not exist.” Conor McGregor

When I could follow my routine, I was working at least 50 hours per week on Soul Reaper. I was: writing one story a day (I still am), learning Norwegian, doing 100 pushups, squats and dips (I still am), journaling, meditating, recording podcasts, working on a text-to-speech startup, and more.

How do you work hard?

Huge Risks

Getting out of our comfort zone is a habit not many people dare to try. We are not programmed to make decisions that can break us. Successful people make huge bets that ultimately paid off.

Last June, I quit my job to become a nomad and work full-time on my game, which still hasn’t made a single dollar. I employ 8 people, all of which I pay. I have yet to make money for that business. I’m not aiming to get all the money I spent back, but I’m hoping some people will at least enjoy the work we’ve done on Soul Reaper.

What huge risks are you taking?

Late Nights

I’ll rephrase that one: working long hours.

Successful people don’t count the time. When they look at their clock, it’s not because they’re eager to stop working — they’re afraid that they won’t have time to finish what they started.

When you combine all the productive activities I do, I work around 100 hours per week. For reference, there are 168 hours in one week. I gladly do more as needed for important deadlines.

How many hours a week do you put towards your productive activities?

Struggles

Nobody is perfect. Everybody struggles to do things they’re not familiar with. It’s how you overcome your struggles that makes or breaks a champion. Arnold Schwarzenegger struggled to build mass in his calves. He analyzed competitors, worked long hard hours and overcame it.

I currently struggle to write one story per day. If I look at my Medium stats, I’ve written 141 stories. That includes the responses I write, but some of them are genuine answers. I’m a game developer, by trade. Writing is not something I can do that easily.

What do you struggle with?

Competition

We’re all competing against other people who have the same goals. Sometimes it’s an active act, but a lot of times it’s passive.

At heart, I’m far from a competitive guy. Indirectly, I’m competing for attention here on Medium. There are so many good writers out there, so when a reader chooses to read me, they chose to read me over other people. For Soul Reaper, I’m competing against other games of the same genre.

But I personally don’t think about that. I think about producing great content:

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” — Steve Martin

What do you compete in and where do you stand in that competition?

Discipline

I see discipline as an obsession. Do you obsess over your goals? Do you quantify and qualify everything?

When I had the goal of gaining 5kg of mass in one month (it’s extremely hard for an ectomorph), I needed discipline. I needed to eat a lot of good, healthy food, workout all body parts consistently and quantify gains in all aspects of my body. I ultimately succeeded thanks to the obsession.

Do you quantify and qualify your goals?

Courage

Courage is the ability to do something that frightens one. It’s about having strength in the face of pain or grief.

“What defines us is how we rise after falling.” — Conor McGregor

Going back to the 5kg of mass example, after 21 days, I was behind on my gains. I had gained half of what I wanted to gain, but there were only 5 days left of my workout. I was very close to losing hope that I could do it. It was already insanely hard, but I had the courage to step it up even more. On the last day, I had reached my goal, and lost 2% body fat along the way.

Do you strength in the face of pain?

Doubt

Everyone has doubts about themselves, about the things they’re doing. Doubt, when “used” properly, can lead to making better, more informed decisions.

I constantly doubt the success of Soul Reaper. The thing about video games is that the main criteria for a good game is the fun factor. Yet “fun” is very subjective. There’s no way to quantify it scientifically. But by doubting it, I constantly try to figure out new ways to make the game more fun.

Do you doubt yourself?

Do you doubt the things you’re doing?

Criticism

Not everyone will agree with what you are doing. There will come a point where people will criticize your work, your beliefs, etc.

I’ve been fortunate enough in my writing that as I’m writing this, I’ve only had 3 bad comments. But every time I get one, I’m happy. Criticism is a sign of success. When people take the time to write their opinion, good or bad, you’ve made an impact on them.

Do you get criticism for things you do?

Personal Failures

Outside of our productive activities, we’re all people. We have “a life”. As we reach a higher level of “success”, more personal failures will occur; broken relationships, staying healthy, staying motivated, etc.

I try so many things that I ultimately “fail” at 90% of what I do. Personally, I’ve lost friends along the way. I don’t live a conventional life and because of that, I tend to disconnect from people who live one.

Where have you failed in your personal life?

Adversity

We all face events that are outside of our control. Some people say they’ve got bad luck, or even go so far as to say they’re cursed. Successful people recognize that some things are out of their control, but still prepare for the eventuality that said misfortune could happen.

I’m such a positive person that it’s hard for me to find a personal example of adversity in my life. I find lessons in all “bad” experiences.

What adversity do you face?

Rejections

No. No. No! To become successful, you’ll get rejected many many times. Tim Ferriss reached out to over 18 publishers for The Four-Hour Workweek. They all said no. The 19th said yes. You will get many “no” until you get the “yes” you’re seeking. Be persistent.

I’ve been rejected for jobs I felt highly qualified for. But I take responsibility for it. I was just not prepared enough. In my outreach efforts for Soul Reaper, many have just ignored my requests, the others said no. That doesn’t stop me from trying.

How many times were your ideas rejected?

What’s your biggest rejection?

Sacrifices

Every successful person makes sacrifices — Money, relationships, time, etc. It is those who dare sacrifice what they cherish most that will reap the fruit of their labour.

I sacrificed the comfort of a stable home in order to save money. Life in Toronto is so much more expensive than life in Cambodia, Spain or India. With that money I’m saving by having lower standards, I can invest in my other ventures.

What sacrifices are you making?

Conclusion

On your road to success, you will face the above 15 things. It’s how you tackle them that will make you successful.

Ask yourself the questions above.

Are you doing what successful people do?

Are you struggling to answer the questions above?

Fight disappointment, be persistent, work hard, take huge risks, put in long hours, combat struggle, win over competition, be disciplined, have courage, remove doubts, accept criticism and personal failures, understand adversity, fuel off rejection and make sacrifices.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading and sharing ! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/15-things-you-should-think-about-if-you-want-to-be-successful-20239f6b6c41

Embrace The Word “Impossible”

One of my favourite word in this world is the word Impossible.

I don’t know if anyone else is like me on that, but every time someone tells me it would be impossible for me to do something, I light up inside. Now there’s nothing more I want to do than prove them wrong.

As Barney Stinson would say: “Challenge accepted!”.

Anyone else is like me on this?

How do you react when someone tells you it’s impossible to accomplish something?

I understand that sometimes you have to listen to good advice, but there are also times when you have to trust in yourself, give it your real best shot and accomplish things that, deep inside, you know you can do.

“Danny, You Will Never Accomplish Anything In Life”

That’s what my brother told me about 16 years ago as I was playing video games on my Gameboy Advance on the couch, just like every other day.

Without knowing it, he changed my life forever.

This is such a harsh thing to say to someone. I could have been devastated. But somehow I knew he was wrong, even though all signs pointed that he was right.

I was far from being a popular kid in high school. Living far from the town center, I would never play with friends. And being so immersed in games, I didn’t really connect much with people.

I was a classic introverted kid.

But shortly after his remark, I had renewed resolve. I had to prove my brother wrong.

About 16 years later, I’ve accomplished way more than I imagine was possible. Especially in hindsight. Sometimes, in the day to day living, you don’t realize how much you accomplish during a year.

I started journaling and thinking about that recently. I’m baffled by the results. I didn’t put it in my brother’s face, but man was he wrong about me never accomplishing anything in life!

“Danny, Your Goals Are Insane And Impossible To Reach”

Said two co-workers in the past two months. To be fair, probably everyone at the co-working space thought I was insane, with reason.

My goals are getting more and more insane. But the things is, with obsession, both in planning and in execution, you can achieve so much more than even you think you can.

“There’s no talent here. This is hard work. This is obsession. Talent does not exist.” — Conor McGregor

Gaining Extreme Mass In A Short Timeframe

The first goal that was deemed impossible was my goal of gaining 5kg of mass, while losing 3% body fat, all that in one month. For an ectomorph like myself, it’s insane. To maintain my 56kg weight, I had to eat about 2,800 calories. The norm for 56kg is 2,036 calories. A lot of girls are jealous of my problem. I hate it.

When my co-worker said it was impossible, I had to prove her wrong.

I wanted my 5kg of mass even more. It was the most insane month of my life. The workout was hard, but the hardest part was eating about 700 calories of high-value healthy food almost every 2 hours. It was hard to eat it all, but it was also expensive and took time to prepare every day.

A little after halfway, I was behind on my gains. I really wasn’t sure I could make it anymore. I was about 1kg behind schedule. And then my co-worker told me she knew it was impossible.

BOOM! Instant energy boost!

I had more energy at the gym. I doubled my daily push-up count. Started doing even more squats. Doubled the weights at the gym.

A few days later, I had reached the 5kg goal. I didn’t end up reaching the 3% body fat loss, but I was already very lean, so it was as important to me. I lost 2% body fat still.

Attending The Genius Network Event

Now this one is very new.

I was following Benjamin Hardy’s course on Journaling and at one point he mentioned speaking at the Genius Network Event. I looked it up.

People attending this event ARE geniuses. WAY beyond my current level.

But the event is in November. I have about 8 months to become a better version of myself. I want to attend not for the status, but for the level of self-improvement I’ll have reached to get there.

“Become a millionaire not for the million dollars, but for what it will make of you to achieve it.” — Jim Rohn

Of course, this is shooting way too high. People attending earned it through years of hard work. Now here’s a kid who thinks he can achieve that in 8 months? That’s impossible!

And a co-worker confirmed the insanity of this goal recently. He’s not wrong. But that gives me the necessary fuel to reach for it.

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.” — Zig Ziglar

Conclusion

Because one person, a group of people or even yourself have doubts about your success, it doesn’t mean they are right. Prove them wrong! If you have doubts yourself, prove yourself wrong!

Never let the word “impossible” defeat you. Defy it. Plan your path.

Rid of the fog, and you’ll see that the path to the possible in fact exists, and you can achieve it.

Let these stories inspire you to achieve your most insane goals.

Aim high. Plan. Execute. Achieve.

Aim higher. Plan better. Execute harder. Achieve more.

Aim for the peak. Plan best. Execute perfectly. Achieve all.

You can do this!

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/embrace-the-word-impossible-808d7bd6e0a6

Improve Everything In Your Life by Learning 3 New Skills Every Month

As I frequently write about, I learn 3 new skills every month. It’s a “calculated” approach that helps improve different areas of the brain or body. I strongly encourage you to read it first, or bookmark it if you don’t have time to read it now.

Learning 3 new skills every month completely changed my life for the better. I’m a much better person than I was 5 months ago. And trust me, it’s not as hard as you think it is. In fact, most of us do learn 3 new skills every month without knowing it. Being aware of it makes all the difference.

However, the 3 skills a month approach is not without criticism. I’ve had the same questions multiple times, so I thought it might be interesting to write about. I narrowed it down to one question, which I hope answers all.

Why Are You Learning 3 New Skills Every Month?

Because They Are Useful

I will start by saying there are (almost) no useless skills.

Everything I aim to learn has a purpose. The first skills I chose were: classifying documents using Machine Learning, Drawing using Photoshop and Learning The Past and Future Tenses In Spanish.

In one of the current startups I’m working on right now requires my acquired ML skills.

When working on my game, I can now draw decent enough sketches/drafts for my artists to understand my vision.

I moved to Spain 2 months after learning the past and future tenses. I had no idea I would go to Spain at the time.

I use and improve these skills pretty much every day now. The progress has become organic.

I picked up storytelling, public speaking, conversational Spanish, bodybuilding for an ectomorph, dropshipping for eCommerce, investing smartly, photography, non-fiction writing, meditation, and more.

I’m currently working on Podcasting, Social Media Marketing, Learning Norwegian and Journaling.

In total, 20 new skills in 5 months.

Because I Build Stronger Connections

I work in co-working spaces. I work with people from all over the globe with different backgrounds. As such, it’s not always easy to have deep conversations if you have nothing in common.

By learning so many skills, there’s a much higher chance that I’m going to find something that unites me with another person.

I’ve connected with people I would never connect with normally, and these connections ended up being some of my strongest connections.

Because I Discover Hidden Talents Or Passions

I didn’t aim to write. I didn’t aim to take photos.

Yet I’m now getting paid to do both.

If I didn’t try them as new skills, I would never have known that 1. I’d be good enough at them, and 2. I’d really grow to like them.

As I mention in the other story, we pigeonhole ourselves into specific things that we are/do. I’m a software engineer. Most of the skills I learn are counter-intuitive to that.

Because The More You Know The Faster You Learn

I touch a bit on this subject in: this story.

And for me that is the best reason. Learning constantly, at a faster pace. There’s (almost) nothing I enjoy nothing I enjoy more in life than learning. It’s such a great feeling when you reach a level of mastery you never knew you could reach before.

Here are a few powerful quotes on learning:

“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” ― Robert Greene, Mastery

“Approach everything with an open mind, with a learning mind. You will never stop learning as long as you keep the mindset that everything works, because everything does work. There’s a time and a place for every single move. If you work on it enough, it will work.” — Conor McGregor

“The person who can learn from everything will beat out the person who judges harshly who and what to learn from.” — James Altucher

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Conclusion

I’ve been doing for 5 months now.

  • I am more skilled;

  • I have stronger connections;

  • I have new passions; and

  • I learn much faster.

You want more skills, stronger connections, discover new talents and learn faster?

I strongly suggest you try the 3 new skills approach.

You’ll see, all aspects of your life will improve. Maybe not the first month, but you’ll build momentum and get there.

You can do this!

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/improve-everything-in-your-life-by-learning-3-new-skills-every-month-3e021db83c36

You Are, Or Will Become What You Do

How do you spend your time during your limited 24 hour day?

Do you plan for it?

Do you know in advance what you will be doing for the next day?

What do you do the most frequently?

Here are my own personal answers:

This is how I spend my days this month:

Pasted from my Google Keep notes

Pasted from my Google Keep notes

As you can see, it’s quite detailed. Below is an example of how I plan for the next day:

Pasted from my Google Keep notes. Sorry for the Spanish, but I’m learning it, so I’m writing it!

Pasted from my Google Keep notes. Sorry for the Spanish, but I’m learning it, so I’m writing it!

What I do the most: Work on Soul Reaper.

How To Do More

“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

If you analyze my daily schedule and my day planning, you should have a good idea of what kind of person I am, or will become.

If you know my story, you know I learn 3 new skills every month. For this month, I’m learning:

  • Podcasting (see 6:30am: Read Story)

  • Social Media Marketing (see 8:00am)

  • Norwegian Language (see 7:30am Duolingo)

  • Bonus: Journaling (see 7:00am)

Last month, one of my skills was writing. I wanted to become a better writer. I had no real experience prior to January 1st.

Well, by writing every day, I actually did become a writer. I write for The Startup and The Ascent, and became a top writer on Medium in: Inspiration, Life, Life Lessons, Self Improvement, Entrepreneurship and Startup. I love writing now and some people know me as a writer.

Another one of the skills I practiced a few months back was photography. I started from zero. I studied all the terms, how to take good photos, etc. I analyzed professionals. Shortly after I was asked to take photos for Sundarafund.org in Uganda, and now I’m doing it semi-professionally.

Not all skills turn into gold, but if I didn’t do them, I would not have become a writer or a photographer. I never thought I’d ever be good at them. Photography and Writing are creative things. I’m a software engineer by trade.

You can always do more than you think. You’ve got the time. Plan for it. Do a detailed schedule and stick to it. You’ll waste less time and be more productive doing things that bring you closer to what you want to be.

Conclusion

Most of us want to be more than what we currently are. Yet we do nothing to make it happen.

Try the 3 skills approach. Dare try things out of your comfort zone. You’ll notice you’re better than you think you are.

Plan your days, at least one day in advance. Be precise with time. Execute consistently.

Before you know it, you’ll have become the things you have been doing.

You can do this!

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/you-are-or-will-become-what-you-do-e56878c6ab5d