Self Improvement

You Want To Achieve More? Be In The Right Room

Let’s start with a little reflexion here:

  • Who shows up the most frequently at the gym? The people who take classes.

  • Who procrastinates the least for work? The people who have co-workers.

  • Who reads the most? People who are part of a book club.

See the pattern?

If you want to achieve more, you need to surround yourself with like-minded people.

But that’s only the first step!

One of my favourite writers here on Medium said it best yesterday:

If you are the most active person in the room, you are in the wrong room. — Zdravko Cvijetic

Working With Even Harder Working People

I used to think that I was one of the hardest working people out there.

Back in Toronto, everyone works hard, but it wasn’t common for someone to do 12 hour days.

When I left Toronto to work in Cambodia, I realized I wasn’t alone. In fact, there were people working even harder than I was.

And I’m sure some of you work harder than me too.

At the coworking/coliving space I was working from, Jeff, the owner of the place, and his partner Jan, were working at least 12 hours per day, 6 days a week. They enjoy what they do, but they also do it out of necessity, which makes them work even harder. The stakes are high.

Working with and alongside them changed me. I worked harder and more efficiently. They elevated my standards for hard work.

I achieved so much more simply because they were in the same room, literally.

Getting More Fit

In January, I had the crazy goal of gaining 5kg of mass while losing 3% body fat. For an ectomorph like myself, it’s near impossible. In fact, it was 8+% of my body weight. I was eating 4500 calories of healthy food every day. To put that into perspective, Dwayne Johnson eats 5000. The guy is 3 times my size.

I reached my mass gain goal in 26 days. I ended up losing 2% body fat. I was already very lean, so I’m more than satisfied.

During that period of time, I inspired other people at the current co-working space I work from in Málaga to get fit as well. I accidentally started a “fitness squad” and we grew from 2 members to 15 in less than a month.

I certainly didn’t see myself as a leader, but they followed me. They saw my results. They want to achieve more. Everyone, without exception, achieved way more than they thought they could.

We do 100 pushups every day. Most people who start think they can do about 10. Everyone does more than 20 on their first session. Most reach over 60 over the course of the day.

These people were in the right room, following others who were more fit than them.

Getting Even More Fit

The problem with the fitness squad for me is that I was in the wrong room. And I knew it. Even more so after reading Z’s story.

But this changed yesterday.

I started journaling yesterday. I thought it would be dumb. I thought I’d have nothing to write. But every “successful” person mention how great it is, so I decided it would be one of the 3 skills I pick up this month.

I won’t go into the details, but needless to say, I had SO MUCH to write about. I journaled for two and a half hours at the beach. For the last 30 minutes or so, there was a guy who came stretching close to me. We both noticed each other, simply because we were both doing unusual things.

After my journaling session, I went to talk to him. Turns out I actually played Pádel with him the previous weekend!

Gerrit is a fit guy. He’s always been into fitness. I learned more in my hour-long chat with him than I learned in my entire life I think. I had finally found a guy way more fit than me abroad.

That happy accident made it so I now know where the right room is for me to achieve more in fitness.

Conclusion

What is it you want to achieve?

Look around yourself.

Can you think of anyone who does what you want to achieve, but at a greater level?

If not, how can you turn that around?

The power of peers is unquestionable. We see it everywhere, in health, at work, in our recreational activities, etc.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. — Jim Rohn

When we see people do, we do. When people do it better, we do it better. When we do it better, we want to do it even better.

When we achieve our goals, we have bigger goals. When we achieve bigger goals, we become unstoppable!

Be in the right room. Do more. Be better. Achieve more!

Feel free to share your own experiences in the comments below!

You can do this!

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/you-want-achieve-more-be-in-the-right-room-e903424f0fda

Cheesy Alert: A Concrete Tip On How To Win At Everything You Do

Such a cheesy sentence: “You can succeed at everything you do.”

Feels like something our grandmas would tell us growing up.

We believed them, yet we failed. Constantly.

Were they wrong? Are we all doomed to fail? Was this all bs?

To this I say: they were right!

In fact, you are succeeding at most of the things you do, without knowing it. You’re succeeding, just not at a degree you think you were aiming for.

How I Won This Month

  • I gained 5kg of muscles;

  • I lost 2% body fat;

  • I got published by The Startup and became top writer in Entrepreneurship, Life Lessons and Self Improvement on Medium;

  • I established a partnership with another company to work on my game;

  • I released 3 new versions of my game;

  • I hired 3 new people for my video game startup;

  • I found a partner to work with me on a new startup idea I had;

  • I started a fitness group at the co-working space I work at. We grew from 2 members to 12 members in less than two weeks; and

  • I gave a very successful talk about productivity.

I’m certainly not saying that to brag.

Am I more skilled than you? Likely not. Some of these happened by accident. So then you think I’m luckier than you? Well, again, likely not.

Here’s what I do that makes me succeed at everything I do:

I measure everything: I quantify and qualify everything I want to win at.

That is a common pattern amongst “successful” people. In fact, that’s probably the 100th story you read about that tip.

But stick around, I’m sure you’ll find something worthwhile here!

How To Win At Weight Goals

Surprisingly, this is one of the easiest to win at, yet everyone “fails”.

In one of my latest stories: Quitting Is A Choice, You Just Chose Not To Take It, I opened up on how I didn’t quit my goal of gaining 5kg when I thought there was no way I would be able to succeed anymore. As you know from above, I did end up winning.

And here’s why I say it’s one of the easiest: You’ve got so many things you can measure when it comes to weight, whether for gains or for loss. There’s nothing subjective about weight control.

We all use a scale to weigh ourselves. When we see the same results every day, we think we fail. That’s wrong! Remember, measure everything!

Measure your body fat percentage, measure the width of each part of your body. Review weekly. Sometimes the scale will show you weigh the same, yet you did gain or lose somewhere else. I gained 1.5 inches of arm size. Same with legs and shoulders. Every day I’d measure everything. If my weight didn’t change, at least I’d see a change in one of these. I won. Everyday. 30 days in a row.

Want to lose weight? Do the same. Sometimes you’ll gain muscle mass, so the scale will show the same number, but the tape will tell you your waist is smaller, it’s just that your biceps grew stronger.

How To Win At Work

I touched a bit on that in: In Need Of Motivation? Try These Simple Tried And True Productivity Tips.

I tend to break every task down to 10–15 minutes efforts. When you work on something so big it takes a long time to accomplish, it’s easy to lose motivation and feel like we’re not accomplishing anything.

Yet every work day, I win about 32 times. All small tasks lead to a bigger goal. And by breaking it down and continually winning, I have all the motivation to accomplish the bigger goal.

That is how I managed to release 3 new versions of my game in less than a month.

How To Win At Getting People To Say Yes To You

  • The 3 new people I got for working on my game with me, I approached them. They all said yes. Two didn’t know me.

  • The company that’s partnering with my company to build the game didn’t hesitate to work with us.

  • The new partner I made to work on another startup I have proposed his help even before I could do it myself.

How does measuring everything help with that?

I didn’t approach random people to help me. I studied them. I researched what they do. What they like to do. Where they are currently in their career. How available they might be.

I measured how likely they might be interested in the work, my game, my team, myself. I measured how available they might be.

I approached people that ranked high in the measurements I did. This doesn’t guarantee a “yes”, but it makes it more likely than just blindly reaching out.

When you show them that you did your research, they trust you. Even if they don’t yet know you.

How To Win At Public Speaking

That was all new to me, yet the first time I did it, I nailed it. Or at least, I did very well for a first time.

How do I know? Here’s how I know. Sorry for the “boring” spreadsheet. I still encourage you to look at it. I measured my performance on 30 different points. Sometimes 5 means it’s excellent, sometimes I’m aiming for balance, so 3 is excellent.

I won on the majority of the points. But not all. There’s room for improvements. If I didn’t track all these points, I could have thought I failed or I was excellent. But now I know for sure how I did.

If you do a presentation that you think you failed, get feedback on many points, you’ll see you won on many of them. The more you practice, the more of the points you’ll win.

Conclusion

How often do you win at things you do?

How often do you fail at things you do?

Did you measure how you won or failed?

If you think hard enough, do you see some success in your failures?

If you measured everything, do you think you could win more?

I know you would.

Let my wins be your wins. Think differently. Quantify and qualify everything. Every small win is a win. Every win leads to bigger wins.

You can succeed at everything you do.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading and sharing! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/cheesy-alert-a-concrete-tip-on-how-to-win-at-everything-you-do-78d3218f4087

Quitting Is A Choice, You Just Chose Not To Take It

As per usual, I was listening to The Tim Ferriss Show as I was walking this morning.

(If you don’t listen to podcasts, I strongly encourage you to do it! It’s one of my top productivity hacks.)

The guest speaker was Catherine Hoke, a very inspiring woman who helps ex-convicts pick their life up and start businesses or get employed. She runs Defy Ventures.

At one point in the podcast, she said something I found both profound and inspiring:

“Quitting is a choice, you just chose not to take it.” — Catherine Hoke.

I don’t know if she got it from somewhere else, but nonetheless, I found that very powerful.

How many times have you heard the sentence: “I’ve gone so far now, I can’t quit.”?

Pretty often right?

What if we shift that around?

It’s not true that you can’t. You’d probably rather not, but you can. You can always quit. But you choose not to.

Making a conscious choice and owning it is so much more powerful than pretending it wasn’t up to us.

When you are in the mindset that you own the decisions you take, you’re willing to work so much harder to respect the choice you made.

Not Quitting Working Out

This month I set myself the goal of gaining 5kg of muscles in 30 days. It’s extremely difficult for an ectomorph like myself to pull this off. It’s almost 10% of my body weight after all!

Up until Wednesday, I wasn’t on track to reach that goal. I had a choice to make: Do I keep going, even though I didn’t think it was possible anymore giving the number of days left, or do I quit and be happy with my current gains (3.2 kg at the time)?

I chose not to quit.

I didn’t quit, not because I had gone so far, but because I chose to pursue my goal. Even harder. Even smarter. It was very much conscious. I pushed harder. By making this choice, I gained even more momentum. I owned it.

I weighed myself this morning: I achieved my crazy goal!

I achieved it because I chose not to quit.

Not Quitting Writing

Another crazy goal I set myself this month was to write one story a day on Medium. All that in 45 minutes or less, including coming up with the headline, finding quotes and at least one image.

It’s insane. Especially given my lack of experience writing anything that’s not related to my game.

Well, after 5 days, I got published. And just this morning, I got an email from Medium saying I was now a top writer in Entrepreneurship, Life Lessons and Self Improvement.

How did I reach there?

I chose not to quit.

Any writer would tell you this is an insane goal.

I seriously don’t know how I managed to do it. There are days I would stare at my screen, just not coming with anything good to write. I would stare at the screen for 10–15 minutes. I’d try things and scrap them. I have lots of short drafts waiting to be written. But because I gave myself only 45 minutes maximum to write something, I only had so much time left to write something.

I never quit. I chose to continue even though odds were against me that I would write something meaningful.

Seven days ago I wrote: True Momentum Really Makes You Unstoppable. It took me 20 minutes to write. It’s my top 3 story so far. I had failed to write anything meaningful the first 20 minutes, but I pressed on and did write something good.

Conclusion

When’s the last time you faced a situation where you had to choose between quitting or pressing on?

What did you choose?

For what reason?

In hindsight, was it a choice you made, or you had to do it?

If you didn’t quit, I’m willing to bet you chose not to quit.

Feel free to share your answers (positive or negative) in the comments.

Next time you’re faced with such a decision, own your decision. If you choose not to quit, realize it’s your decision and do everything to honor it.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading and sharing! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/quitting-is-a-choice-you-just-chose-not-to-take-it-b6d18dafb304

True Momentum Really Makes You Unstoppable

It’s Sunday.

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.

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! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/true-momentum-really-makes-you-unstoppable-6a5fe8f27d5a

When You Think You Are An Impostor, You Are On The Right Track

Photo Credit: https://medium.com/swlh/when-you-think-you-are-an-impostor-you-are-on-the-right-track-e0781e641663

Photo Credit: https://medium.com/swlh/when-you-think-you-are-an-impostor-you-are-on-the-right-track-e0781e641663

Have you ever felt like you shouldn’t be doing something because you felt under-qualified, yet circumstances made it so you are doing it?

In the words of the great King Ragnar Lothbrok:

“I never asked for power. Power is only given to those who are prepared to lower themselves to pick it up” — Ragnar Lothbrok

Ragnar was a farmer who become an earl, who became a king, who become a legend. He never asked to be king.

In his mind, he was always a farmer.

There are a few times in my life when I felt like I was acting something I was not. Intentionally or not.

I always saw myself as an introvert. In high school, I was far from a popular kid. I wasn’t an unpopular kid either. I was one of the forgotten ones. I bet not half the people remember me there. It was a very small school. 80 people finished the last grade that year.

In my mind, I am still that kid.

But I don’t act like it. People would never believe me. I’ve somehow became way more social in the past 6 months. I did many things an introvert would probably never do:

  • I’ve been leading outings to dinner and other activities;

  • I’ve been giving talks and telling stories;

  • I’ve been motivating people to go beyond their perceived capacities;

  • I talk to strangers on planes, buses, etc.;

  • I started a fitness squad at the co-working space;

  • I grew my company to 8 people in a year;

  • I even celebrated Christmas last year with a total stranger I met while waiting for a bus ride.

And with every of these little things, I reflect back on who I am, in my mind, and I don’t get it.

That’s not me. I’m an impostor. I’m just a regular, long-forgotten, introvert kid. Why are people listening to me? Why are people asking me for advice?

Like Ragnar, I never asked for it. I never aimed to do these things.

Circumstances made it so people saw a different perspective of me. The more people saw me that way, the more I acted that way, until I became it. Without realizing it.

In her TED talk, Amy Cuddy touches on the subject. She said:

“Fake it ‘till you become it” — Amy Cuddy

This couldn’t speak to me more. I don’t like the word “fake” because it feels like a lie to me, so I prefer: “Act it ‘till you become it”.

Leonardo Di Caprio said:

“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.” — Leonardo DiCaprio

Actors do it all the time. They become who they play. For better or worse.

How To Apply This

Picture who you want to be.

It doesn’t have to be a real person. It can be a set of skills and qualities you want to acquire. Or things you want to remove from your life, like a bad habit.

Then act like that person. That vision. Act consistently.

Deconstruct the behaviours, starting from the end.

How did that person get there? No one gets somewhere from luck only. Trace the steps. Be precise.

Act it out. Every step of the way.

Without you realizing it, you will become it.

People will realize before you. Read the signs.

Conclusion

When you act it out, consciously or not, you train your brain to be what you act. You will feel like you’re cheating, lying to people you are acting to.

When you feel that way, that’s when you’re on the right track. Before you know it, you’ll become it.

Think like an actor. Play a role. Become that role.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading! :)

Photo Credit: https://medium.com/swlh/when-you-think-you-are-an-impostor-you-are-on-the-right-track-e0781e641663

Fuel On Crazy Goals

Yesterday, a co-worker asked me how I was able to consistently wake up at 5:45am every day. It’s then that I realized that it had actually become easy for me because I “Fuel on Crazy Goals”.

Last month, when I prepared my list of goals for this month, I went a little over board. I’ve starting working towards them on January 1st, and the results have been phenomenal already.

“The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea” — Peter Diamandis

Here’s my list of goals for this month:

It’s been 12 days and here are the results:

  • I wake up at 5:45am with ease;

  • I gained 2kg;

  • I got most of my daily articles published and 50% of my Quora answersbecame Top answers;

  • I speak Spanish 80% of the time (I’m in Spain right now);

  • I found a partner to help me with a Text-to-Speech app I had started doing 3 months ago;

  • I have a final call this Saturday with a potential partner on Soul Reaper;

  • I meditate every day; and

  • I started investing a minimal amount of money in crypto-currency.

But more important than the achievements is the level of energy I have.

I’m so driven. Throughout the day, I’m almost constantly in the state of flow.

There’s no “Should I keeping doing it?” when I wake up in the morning. I’m pumped to start my day. There are so many things I “have to” accomplish towards these insane goals that not getting up early is not an option.

How You Can Implement This

It’s simple really.

Think about a really difficult goal that you really want to reach.

Can you break it down into smaller tasks?

With really hard work, can you do it in a short timeframe? Let’s say one month for example.

If you answered yes to those questions, you’ve got your first crazy goal for the month!

Now pile on with more insanity. Let your imagination run wild. Put most of them on your list for the month.

Do this for every month. Where you do your personal re-cap of the year in December, you won’t believe how much you grew in so little time!

Conclusion

When we have a clear picture of everything we have to do and how to do it, our minds can achieve so much more than we really think we can.

You’re likely not going to achieve all the stepping stones towards your insane goal, but the progress you’ll have made is still a major win!

“Defeat is the secret ingredient to success.” — Conor McGregor

The amount of energy you get for really wanting to reach your goals is incredible. Always bite off more than you can chew. You’ll surprise yourself. Frequently.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/swlh/fuel-on-crazy-goals-b79f2205a5a4

2018 is the year I will fail the most

…and so should you!

In 2017, I set out to do lots of things. It was a year of doing, whatever the result was: “success”, “failure”, it didn’t matter. I wanted to stretch what my brain considered limits.

I’m afraid of heights, so I started rock-climbing. I may have failed to become as good as I had hoped, but just the fact that I had the guts to even combat this fear is a win.

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I’m afraid of downing, so I started “surfing”. Nothing as glorious as what you see in videos online, but I body surfed in Thailand. I failed to do “proper” surfing, but I had the guts to go on a board and “risk” drowning.

I did many little things like that to mess my brain up. To tell it: “You know what, you can do this.”. Try, “fail”, try harder, “win”.  So now I know. Failure is just an experiment. You learn from it. It’s not a negative experience.  It’s all about the growth. Any progress is progress. The higher you aim, the higher the growth and the more epic the failure will seem. Yet in reality, higher growth is the underlying goal.   As Nicolas Cole puts it :  “However, “failing” to meet the expectations you set for yourself when aiming outside your comfort zone actually moves you much closer towards your goals than if you were to “achieve” something easily within reach.” —  Nicolas Cole   And this is my mentality going into 2018. Here are my goals for January 2018 alone (unedited from my notes):

I did many little things like that to mess my brain up. To tell it: “You know what, you can do this.”. Try, “fail”, try harder, “win”.

So now I know. Failure is just an experiment. You learn from it. It’s not a negative experience.

It’s all about the growth. Any progress is progress. The higher you aim, the higher the growth and the more epic the failure will seem. Yet in reality, higher growth is the underlying goal.

As Nicolas Cole puts it:

“However, “failing” to meet the expectations you set for yourself when aiming outside your comfort zone actually moves you much closer towards your goals than if you were to “achieve” something easily within reach.” — Nicolas Cole

And this is my mentality going into 2018. Here are my goals for January 2018 alone (unedited from my notes):

Gaining 4.5kg of muscle while losing about 3% body fat for an ectomorph in one month is INSANE!  Yet I set myself up for “success”. I researched workouts catered to my body type. I researched supplements. I researched nutrition. I know exactly what I’ll be eating for the month. And I mean that to the nutrition facts level. How many grams of proteins, carbs and fat for each ingredient of a dish. I know the proportions I need for growth.  In the end, I’ll be eating 4500 (good) calories every day. To put that into perspective:  Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson eats 5000 calories a day ! How insane is it to think I’ll eat almost the same and weigh 61kg only!

Gaining 4.5kg of muscle while losing about 3% body fat for an ectomorph in one month is INSANE!

Yet I set myself up for “success”. I researched workouts catered to my body type. I researched supplements. I researched nutrition. I know exactly what I’ll be eating for the month. And I mean that to the nutrition facts level. How many grams of proteins, carbs and fat for each ingredient of a dish. I know the proportions I need for growth.

In the end, I’ll be eating 4500 (good) calories every day. To put that into perspective: Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson eats 5000 calories a day! How insane is it to think I’ll eat almost the same and weigh 61kg only!

I will likely fail.

In that same list, I’m mentioning multiple business ventures: Become a writer, Sell a video game, become an investor, revive an eCom site I turned off and revive a web app I had stopped doing.

Pretty likely that I will fail.

Writing one article on Medium a day? While going to the gym and working 9.5 hours a day? And while doing other side-businesses?

What are the chances of me succeeding?

Now that’s one month in the year. I plan for all my months to be that insane. Maybe I’ll need one or two months of rest though haha!

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” — Robert F.Kennedy

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

I will fail all year, yet all the growth I’ll accumulate will be unparalleled. I will learn more in that year then I’ve ever learned in my entire life.

Now that’s what I call success!

Who’s ready to you fail alongside me?

Thanks for reading! :)

First published here: https://medium.com/@danny_forest/2018-is-the-year-i-will-fail-the-most-be128fb3280d