Story of success

You have a story. I have a story. Everyone has a story. Some are willing to talk about their story while others are ashamed to let anyone know.

A good story is what makes a movie interesting. A common story is the hero’s journey. It’s starting from humble beginnings and by the end of the movie this hero has risen to greatness. It’s why Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter are such great characters. In a sense, we can relate to them. We want to be like them, minus getting our hand chopped off by Darth Vader, who we didn’t realize was our father.

We want a story that we’re proud about.

I’m not happy with feeling like I wasted much of my 20’s lost and feeling stuck in life. Those were important years that I can’t get back and do again. However, I didn’t want my struggles in my 20’s and even early 30’s to be my story. I didn’t want my story to be of a person who didn’t get busy living.

I have a story now that makes me proud. I overcame being stuck in a job I hated, had no direction in life, and now have created a better version of myself to along with a new career.

My story would be boring and less relatable if I grew up in a mansion, went to an Ivy League school, got a bunch of fancy degrees and found success in every single job I did. Making an app or sell t-shirts online wouldn’t be as interesting because you would see a guy who’s never failed. You would think I’m super smart, and never have to worry about how I’m going to pay the bills while starting an online business since I come from a rich family. You wouldn’t be able to relate at all. You would have stopped reading my blog a long time ago.

Because I was a regular guy, in a situation many of you can relate to, you get more inspiration out of it.

That’s what helped me realize that my dreams were not impossible. I found people online who were doing what I wanted. I could relate to them because they were just regular people with normal lives and because of various circumstances started all over again at the bottom when they began making money online.

Super successful people have also started from rock bottom. I love J.K. Rowling’s story because she wrote Harry Potter after a divorce and was raising a young child. She wrote on an old typewriter in a cafe. She did this after having a normal life and career, but after hitting rock bottom she figured she had nothing to lose so why not do what she really wanted to do. That’s the kind of story I love.

How many people would be in that situation and give up on life? Probably most, but she didn’t.

It’s hard for me to find inspiration from the people who have success because it was handed to them. I can’t relate to them. I’m sure you will agree.

This year I reflected and realized I’m glad I have a story. I didn’t like that life sucked for so long, but I’m proud to show off my scars. Fortunately, others have found my story to be interesting and have been invited on podcasts to talk about it.

But without the struggle early on, my story would be a lot less relatable to you. It’d be a story nobody would want to hear.

The biggest compliment I can get is when someone reads my story and then afterward thinks “If Benny can do it, so can I.” I want you to feel like you can do it.

You can change your life around. You can leave an unfulfilling job. You can find love and happiness.

Your story up to this point may not be what you imagined five years or even one year ago. You had hopes and dreams but things happened, and you are where you are now. Why not start today to create the future that you want? You just agreed you couldn’t have imagined life would be like this. So remove those doubt that you can achieve your goals. Five years from now you could be saying to yourself you would have never imagined life would be like this, but in a positive way.

Five years ago, I couldn’t believe that my life was how it was. I didn’t imagine that after ten years after college, I’d still have no idea what I wanted to do in life.

Five years ago if you told me I would have made six figures online selling t-shirts, I would have thought that would be like winning the lottery. It sounded cool, but doubtful it’d happen to me. Now I can say it has happened, and it feels much more amazing because I remember the years and years I struggled.

If your life isn’t the way you want it to be, you can’t go back in time and change anything. Instead, you can decide that you want to improve your story. Prove to yourself that you can and will achieve your goals and become the a person you’re proud of.

You can use the frustration that comes from being in your current situation as fuel. You can decide you want to prove wrong those who have always doubted you.

I want you to write a story that makes you smile. I want you to finally walk with your head held high.

It’s a story that you can be proud of because despite hitting rock bottom, you found a way to do it.

That’s a story that will be passed down from generation to generation.

me

I’m writing this 37,000 feet in the air en route from New York City to Hong Kong. I’m sitting in business class on Cathay Pacific with my wife next to me. I have so much room to type this. The bed lays down flat. I have a huge TV screen in front of me to keep me busy for the 15 hour flight. I’m so full from all the food. We’ll stay in Hong Kong for two nights then a couple days later we’re going to continue to Taipei, Taiwan and stay for four months.

I didn’t have to think twice about doing this. I didn’t have to ask a boss for permission for time off. I didn’t even pay more than $300 for these business class ticket.

I don’t share this to brag. I’m sharing to show you what is possible when you take 100% responsibility for your life.

All this didn’t happen by accident. I wasn’t handed this on a silver platter. I’m not an overnight success either. What I did was take control of my life and planned it to be this way. Was it easy? Not all the time. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

What was important was a change in how I perceived this dream. Instead of being jealous of other people’s lives, I thought “if they can do it, why not me?” Before I would think it wasn’t fair. Why were they happy and I wasn’t? Complaining to no one in particular never helped. It only dug me deeper into a hole of self pity.

So I changed how I looked at them. I understood that there were other people doing what I wanted to do. That’s why I knew it was possible. There were just regular people too. They weren’t rich. They didn’t have connections or knew exactly what they were going to do in life right out of college. These people early on were people like Pat Flynn and Chris Guillebeau for me. These were ordinary guys who I could relate to and were living their lives doing what they wanted and with much more freedom.

I always knew that I had more to me than what I had done. I know many of you feel the same way because you email me and tell me that.

What was missing was being so determined to make it a reality. I was waiting for a miracle. I was hoping someone would tell me exactly what to do and how to do it. I had this unrealistic imagination that I’d wake up one day with sudden clarity for my future.

After wasting most of my adult life feeling stuck, I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way in late 2010. Not even the pain of being a beginner, self doubt, failures, and impatience.

Over four years since I wrote a letter to myself to wake up and get busy living and I feel proud because I took 100% responsibility for my life and am enjoying the results from it.

Your dreams might be different, and that’s completely fine. What you and I have in common is a desire to enjoy life more. We want to do work that’s fulfilling. We want more excitement. We want more freedom.

I want you to be able to create that.

Continue Reading…

We all want to be more productive. Take a look at the bookstore or Google productivity tips and you’ll find so much advice that you feel like your head will explode. We’re doing things in our daily lives that appear to be helping us, but actually causes more stress in the short and long term. Not only that but these time thieves sneak up on us. We often don’t realize we’re even doing them.

In today’s episode I talk about three time wasters that you’re probably doing every day. Once these are identified then you can begin to find solutions to prevent them.

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“This is it. This is my manifesto. This is when I start to make changes to the life I want. It starts now. Stop wasting time. It’s been more than five years since you’ve wanted to find a new career. You need to start doing it now. Today. Tomorrow and every day until you reach your desired lifestyle. Life is too short to be unhappy when not working. You deserve the best. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to have all the money in the world to go along with happiness. Start working hard every day to find your passion and reach your goals. Focus. Focus. Focus. Open your mind and allow it to attract great ideas and answers to your questions.”

121 words that came from the heart. I wrote that in October 2010. It’s still taped on my wall right above my stand up desk.

It came from being tired about how my life was at that point. I came home after a long day at a job I so badly wanted to leave for so long. It was busy that night, and I was mentally and physical tired. I drove home staring at the road. It was 11pm, so there were not many cars on the road. The music was off. I was just alone with my thoughts. The drive home and those feelings were ones I had experienced thousands of times, but something about that night was different. I don’t know why. Was this my breaking point finally? It must have been because I came home and did something I hadn’t done before.

I typed a message to myself. I called it my manifesto because I was making a declaration.

I just typed whatever was on my mind and finished. I didn’t go back to change anything. I wasn’t angry at myself though I could have easily laced that letter with expletives. At that time, I was too exhausted from a long night at work and just at life in general. The manifesto was there to lift me up and not put me down. So I think that’s why it didn’t feel as angry.

I still have this taped on my wall as a reminder of how far I have come. When I typed it, I didn’t know what was going to be the outcome, but I just knew it would be better than what I had up to that point. I was so determined to make it so.

In today’s blog post, I wanted to analyze what I wrote and why I wrote those particular words at that time.

This is it

The first words I summed it. I was tired of wanting a better life. I was tired of not doing work that made me happy. I was tired of so many things. I had tried and stopped countless times. No more excuses. No more waiting until next year to start again. It was time to change. No more half assed attempts.

Stop wasting time

All I did when I had free time was waste time. I was doing things that weren’t getting me any closer to where I wanted to be. Instead, I was doing things that distracted me from real life. I had lots of free time. Working in the restaurant business meant I didn’t have to wake up early. I did have days off and even a break in the middle of the day. I had so much free time but used it instead to watch TV and get on the computer for no reason at all.

Not only did I need to stop wasting time doing stupid stuff, but I needed to stop wasting time hoping and waiting for change to happen. I needed to do something about it.

Continue Reading…

When I look back, if there’s one thing that has helped achieve so much it’s been that I’ve prioritized what’s important to me and don’t worry about the rest.

I began this new chapter in October 2010. I hit my rock bottom and needed change badly. My first priority was to get healthy. At that time I was out of shape and fat for my standards. I knew if I wanted to change anything about me the first thing I could do and get the quickest results was exercise and lose weight. So I focused on training for a half marathon and I cleaned up my diet for the next three months.

After I finished the half marathon I had lost 15 pounds, and had confidence through the roof. My next focus was starting this blog and development of Photo 365, which both began in January 2011. That year I didn’t juggle too many projects. My priorities were growing this blog and the app. That’s it. By the end of the year Photo 365 was a success and this blog had grown.

In 2012, my priorities were to make enough money to finally quit my job. The plan was to create a course for this blog and develop more apps. That I accomplished both, but financially my goals weren’t. It wasn’t because I lacked getting my priorities straight.

In 2013, I decided to finally quit my job. Just couldn’t take it anymore and couldn’t keep waiting for the right moment to quit when my online income matched what I was making at the restaurant. It was scary to do that but I needed to. So my #1 priority was make money. I had the same priority in 2012 but what I tried didn’t work. So I had to try something different and I did. I began reskinning iPhone games and by the end of the year, thanks to being solely focused on that and pushing everything else aside, I was able to breath a sigh of reflief by the end of the year.

Then last year I discovered Teespring and the business model of selling shirts online. I soon become obsessed with this and made this my #1 business priority. I even stopped reskinning apps even though it was profitable for me. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to do both. Again this paid off very well for me and I had my very first $100k year online.

So what are your priorities for the year? You can have more than one but it’s best to choose one main priority in different areas in your life. You can choose a priority for family, business, spiritual, financial and lifestyle. Last year my wife and I made it a priority to travel since 2013 we didn’t in order to save every penny we could since I quit my job and no income was coming in. So in 2014 we made up for that by nearly traveling once a month. Because we made it a priority, we achieved it.

I hope you enjoy today’s episode and become clear what your priorities are for this year.

 

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Living in the past is never a good thing. I’m a believe that we have to let go of the past in order to move forward. However I am a believer at taking the time to reflect on the past 12 months. It’s like going to the dentist or the doctor’s for a regular check up, but less painful.

By reflecting on the past 12 months, it lets us take time to assess what we have done. What did we do well? What did we do poorly? What do we need to do more of? What do we need to do less of? These questions and more can help us make sure that we’re on the right track for the next 12 months.

We don’t want to be a dog chasing our tail and end up in the same situation, as the same person, and wasted a whole year.

That’s why before we get too far along in 2015, it’s best to take time to do a year in review.

Here are links mentioned in this episode:

  • Art of Nonconformity
  • Macjournal – the software I use for journaling
  • Headspace – What I use for mediation. Get a free 10 day trial. Available on iOS and Android.
  • Blinkist – Read the best non-fiction books in less than 15 mins. My new favorite app. Sign up for a free 3 day trial (no credit card needed. Just your email.) If you love it as much as I do, sign up for an annual plan with the promo code “getbusyliving” and get 20% off.
  • Morning routine – In episode 10, I did an interview with Hal Elrod who talks about how a morning routine can change your life.
  • A worksheet for your own year in review

 

Click here to subscribe via RSS (non-iTunes feed)

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If you enjoyed, I would really appreciate a review in iTunes!