When I was in school, I took a lot of classes that I knew I would never use. Calculus? Physics? English literature? For some, it was an important class, but for the majority of us, it was stuff we would never use again.
I wish they would have taught classes that would have been more useful to the majority of students. A class that we didn’t think we needed at the time, but ten years later, we’d think, “I’m so glad they taught that class.”
Maybe like a class titled “Life Lessons: The Honest Truth”.
I would love to be a guest lecturer for a day to high school and college kids and tell them about “real life”. Instead schools don’t teach us this stuff and that’s why there are 30 year olds who refuse to grow up and act like life owes them something.
I was one of those. When I turned 30, I was more lost and confused than when I was 20. My life was going backwards. I knew how much my life sucked, but I didn’t want to deal with the responsibility of putting my life in my own hands.
It’s a lot of power. What if I made the wrong choices? What if I can’t decide? I would have preferred someone else make the tough decisions for me. Despite being an adult, I didn’t act like one. What I was doing was waiting for someone else to come along and point me in the right direction.
Wasn’t gonna happen. I now realize there were plenty of people out there willing to help me, but they weren’t actively looking for me. They were just there.
I had to seek help myself.
I’m not going to blame the school system for not teaching me this. I’m not going to blame my parents. They were just focused on wanting me to make good grades and going to a good college like typical Asian parents.
It would be nice if schools now taught kids real valuable life lessons. Took me till I was 32 to understand the real truth.
Master Chief Information Systems Technician Dennis Wilbanks, head SEAL recruiter said, “You have to want the program. And mentally, never give yourself the option to quit.”
70% drop out within the first few weeks. That number is pretty high considering sailors know what they are signing up for.
They want them to be able to work flawlessly under intense mental and physical exhaustion. Why? As one instructor put it, “Mistakes made when working with explosives only happen once.”
He makes a good point.
Navy SEALs raided Bin Laden’s compound last year. I read an article in Esquire magazine about the man who actually shot Bin Laden. A fascinating firsthand account of what it was like inside.
One story in the Esquire article really stood out to me. It really put in perspective how badly some of these guys want to become Navy SEALs.
One test during Basic Underwater Demolition School/SEAL (BUD/S) he describes, but I bet words can’t begin to show how grueling it really is.
They break them down and see how physically and mentally tough they are. It sometimes reaches the point of death and resurrection.
“One of the tests is they make you dive to the bottom of a pool and tie five knots,” the Shooter says. “One guy got to the fifth knot and blacked out underwater. We pulled him up he was, like, dead. They made the class face the fence while they tried to resuscitate him. The first words as he spit out water were ‘Did I pass? Did I tie the fifth knot?’ The instructor told him, ‘We didn’t want to find out if you could tie the knots, you asshole, we wanted to know how hard you’d push yourself. You killed yourself. You passed.”
But that’s what it takes to become a Navy SEAL. Unrelenting drive and a willingness to not quit.
Isn’t that what separates the ordinary from the extraordinary amongst us as well? The ones who have success in life act like the guy who tried to tie that fifth knot.
They are the ones who act like tying one knot is enough to pass.
I spent a great week in Hong Kong and was so excited to go cause of the food.
One thing we couldn’t wait to eat was dim sum. If you don’t know what it is, it basically refers to a style of Chinese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates.
Basically it’s damn good.
My wife found one famous local place and told me it was going to be different than what I was used to.
For example, when you enter the restaurant there is no hostess to seat you. You don’t line up waiting for people to leave and then go sit down. You have to walk around looking for people leaving. It’s like trying to park your car at the mall during Christmas time. You’re circling and hoping to see a spot free up.
A strategy we used was to see if people were very close to leaving. Then stand by their table patiently waiting for them to leave. It could be five minutes or more. You just hover around people while they’re finishing up. It might feel like you’re bothering them, but you have to do it if you want to get a seat.
When you do find a table, you’re very likely going to be sharing a table with others. When we went, we shared a table with three other small groups.
Might seem awkward, but if you really want to eat, you can’t be picky about where you sit.
The way most people know dim sum is ladies will push around a steam cart with stacks of small wooden baskets filled with food. They come to your table and open each stack to show you what they have. If you like it, you tell them and they give it to you and make a note on your ticket. At the end of the meal, you take that ticket to the cashier, and they add it up.
It’s very organized and it’s exciting to see the carts come by to see what good food they have. It’s also great cause you can eat within seconds of sitting down.
The Hunger Games
This place definitely was different than the dim sum places I’m always used to going to. My wife said it’s cause it’s more traditional style.
Ladies come out of the kitchen pushing the steam carts, but instead of everyone waiting at their table for them to come by, people rush to the cart and quickly surround it. (see photo above and look for the short lady in light blue and the people surrounding her)
They’re all looking to see what it is. If they want it, they get the attention of the old lady by gently shoving their ticket into her face. Poor lady!
When they have their items, they have to walk through a crowd of people who barely move cause they don’t want to lose their positioning.
Eleanor went up many times. She had some success but also walked away empty handed many times too. I tried a few times and had to squeeze my way in if I wanted to get something. Didn’t matter if it was old lady or old guy. I had to stand my ground. Sometimes I had success and other times they ran out of that particular item quickly.
We called it hunger games because it was a battle to get the food. If you didn’t go get food, you would go hungry.
Okay you wouldn’t literally go hungry, but you would miss out on most of the good food.
Sometimes the carts would have leftovers. That happened when the items weren’t as appealing or they made too much of a certain item. This is when the ladies would push the cart around to different tables. Then at the comfort of your table, you can take a look at what’s left and and they’d give it to you.
But that didn’t happen as often.
You could sit on your butt and wait for the leftovers to come around and get full, but if you wanted the really good stuff, you had to take action. Most likely if it was something you really wanted to eat, so did everyone else in the restaurant.
From the time we walked in till we left almost 1.5 hours later, every time a cart came out, the same thing would happen.
This is exactly like life
While sitting there laughing at how chaotic it was and taking pictures, I realized this is like life.
When you want something, you’ve got to get off your butt and go get it. Sometimes you get it, and sometimes you come up empty handed, but at least you tried.
If you sit and wait for it, you’ll never ever get what you truly want.
The life you want isn’t going to be handed to you. No matter how much you wish that would happen, it won’t.
Someone isn’t going to walk around with a cart full of dreams and ask “Would you like to earn more money? Here you go.” or “Would you like to lose weight? Coming right up. Enjoy.”
The point is that you can’t wait for someone to give you the life you want.
Yet that’s what happens all around the world. People want everything to be spoon fed to them. They’re too lazy to take action. They want someone to tell them what to do. They want someone to do the work for them. They want instant results with little work.
Then they wonder why they’re not happy in life. They’re the ones who whine and complain. They try to bring others down in life because they can’t live their dreams.
“If you want to have more, you have to become more. Success is not something your pursue. What you pursue will elude you; it will elude you; it can be like trying to chase butterflies. Success is something you attract by the person you become. For things to improve, you have to improve. For things to get better, you have to get better. For things to change, you have to change. When you change, everything changes for you.”
- Jim Rohn
(This is post is an excerpt from my upcoming 30 day course coming out next week.)
When most people set a new goal they think, “Ok what do I need to do to get it?” They find the steps and just follow them. It’s natural to think that and it’s not a bad question. But it’s not the first question we should ask.
The question we should ask ourselves is “Who do I need to become?”
If you’ve never realized this, then this post will change how you achieve success.
When I learned this, I figured I would try it this way. I needed to stop doing it the way I had done it before, which was just finding out what I needed to do. My past efforts at change in all areas of my life all failed since college. On the outside, life may have seemed great, but on the inside I felt hollow.
I did what most people do, which was try and change my external world. If I did that, I figured I would change as a person on the inside.
Well…that strategy never worked out for me. This time I needed to take a different approach.
It turned out Jim Rohn’s words were the important to my current personal development success.
Before my goal was to make money to become financially independent. If I could do that, life would be great. I thought all my self-confidence, unhappiness, and motivation problems would go away.
I didn’t find success though for a long time. The reason I didn’t was because of ME. I didn’t become the type of person that would achieve the goal I wanted. I just tried to do step 1, step 2, step 3, etc.
I thought knowing how to do it was enough, but it wasn’t.
If you’ve been failing at changing your life and achieving your biggest goals in life, you need a new approach.
It’s all about us
No matter what it is we want to change, we’ll never achieve lasting change until WE change. Once WE improve, everything else around us will improve. When it comes to achieving our goals, remember it is not our goals that need to be worked on; it is US.
It is important to understand that we don’t get in life what we want; we get in life what we are. We will only achieve the level of success in our life that equals our level of self-worth.
Re-read these last two sentences so you really understand it.
But it’s natural tendency to look at the results and figure out why we didn’t get what we wanted, while giving little attention to the cause.
This time when I finally decided I was tired of how my life was, I looked to change myself from the inside out first. It wasn’t about writing down a list of goals (again), putting my head down, and focus on achieving it. I had to change first. I didn’t like the type of person I had become. I was pessimistic, didn’t take responsibility for my life, hated life, jealous, and frustrated cause I felt stuck.
My level of self-worth sucked. Yes I wanted to reach these big goals I had. Yes I wanted to change my life. But I didn’t truly believe I could achieve it. I still felt success was hopeless.
I needed to change myself FIRST, so I could have success. Not the other way around.
Let me give you an example of how I used to approach my goals. I’ve tried to make money online for so long. I’ve always loved how I could do work from anywhere. I spent a lot of time online so it interested me. I’ve joined courses that taught me how to do it. For example, I tried to set up niche websites and make money from Google ads. I followed the steps, worked hard to set it up, tweaked it, and waited to see what kind of results I would get. I didn’t get much. I quit that and move to the next get rich quick opportunity.
I had the steps I need to take to make money. The reason I never found success was because I didn’t change. I didn’t have the attributes that a successful online entrepreneur would possess.
With my mindset, I also believe I didn’t attract the type of opportunities that were right for me either. My mindset was get rich quick with as little work as possible. Guess what? That’s what I attracted because that’s what I was looking for.
I was the same old Benny trying to make money online with every new opportunity I came across.
You want to reach your potential in life. I know because you’re reading this blog. You wouldn’t be if you didn’t want to.
So we’re both alike in that we want to be more and do more in life.
That outcome doesn’t appear from thin air. Just hoping you’ll achieve it one day isn’t going to work. It’s an ongoing process of taking deliberate action and being aware of what you need to do and do it.
I was reading my monthly issue of Success magazine, which is one of my favorites, and there was a story about John C. Maxwell. You may or may not know him, but if you don’t, he’s a author, speaker, entrepreneur and leadership consultant. He’s sold 19 million copies of his books.
So the man know something about his area of expertise.
He mentioned these eight growth gaps that prevent people from reaching their potential. I related to all of them because I faced each one at one point in my life. I knew many of you could benefit from being aware of them.
If you’re not living up to your potential, see how many of these are holding you back.
If you’re feeling stuck and lost in life, it might be because of these reasons.
The Assumption Gap – “I assume that I will automatically grow.”
I nodded my head when I read that one because that’s what I used to believe.
I figured I could just keep on living my life the way I was, which was doing nothing, watching television, playing video games, eating anything I wanted, wasting hours on the internet, and wishing my life would change.
I thought growth would come automatically. Older and wiser right? With each year, I’d be closer to being the type of person I wanted to be. I just needed to be patient.
I’m sure that’s why it took till I was 32 to finally start to grow! I wish someone would have knocked some sense into me at an earlier age.
My wife tells me I’m such a different person than when I met her four years ago. (I’m not just talking about a little big heavier either.)
After we started dating, she got to really know me and understood a lot of the frustrations I had in life.
My wife has noticed I’ve grown up a lot and in a good way.
That growth finally came from being deliberate about wanting to make changes. I looked at the areas in my life I wanted to change and made the decision to take action.
Growth didn’t happen overnight. It’s been small changes consistently over time.
Have I slipped up along the way? Of course, I’m not perfect. Some bad habits went away, but now have come back. Overall, I’m still much better off than I was just two years ago.
So don’t assume change will automatically happen. You don’t grow by simply living. No one improves by accident.
If your life isn’t the way you want it to be, don’t believe for a second that by thinking the same thoughts and doing the same things will bring change in the future.
You must be 100% responsible for everything in your life. All your thoughts, choices, behaviors and actions. No pointing fingers or placing blame.
When you have that attitude, growth is in your control. You are not living life on auto-pilot like some people people do.
A quarter of the year is already done. The bad news is you can’t get that time back. The good news is that you have eight months left to make this your best year ever.
It’s a great time take a moment and think if you’re heading in the right direction with your goals.
How much progress have you made this year?
Are you putting in just a little effort?
Did you stop and haven’t started back up?
Do you need some tough love to make these last eight months ten times better than the first four?
Today’s post is going to get you pumped up. It’s a time to reboot.
We all have different goals we want to achieve. Some will succeed. Most will fail. If you’re in the slow lane, I want to help you to start moving with some more urgency.
Here comes the tough love.
It is not hard
Don’t you dare say it’s hard. Beating cancer is hard. Chemotherapy is hard.
Disarming land mines is hard. Running into a burning building is hard.
I bet whatever you are doing isn’t that hard.
No one is going to sympathize with you when you say, “Losing weight (or insert whatever you’re working on) is so hard.”
Come on! That. Is. Not. Hard.
Sitting in front of your computer, with the AC on and a cup of coffee next to you is not hard.
What you may think is hard is finding the time or just getting the work done. You’re not going to get any sympathy for not having enough time, when your one hundred Pinterest boards look perfectly neat.
It’s not hard to cut out the distractions if you’re really serious about it. If you still have too many, it’s cause you don’t want it bad enough. You just don’t care enough to make changes.
No one is going to sympathize with you if you complain it’s hard to lose weight if McDonald’s knows what you want when you walk into the door.
Is it too hard to start your business cause you don’t have money? Read the $100 Startup for inspiration (aff link).
You have NO excuse for not doing what you need to be doing.
We only have one shot at this life. How important is it to you to get it right?