It’s always easy to see someone who is making money and doing well and think they must be lucky or that it came so easy. I’m very thankful that all the years of trying and failing have finally paid off. I’m living my dreams.
It hasn’t been easy to get to this point though. In fact, I think I have taken longer than most people who are making money online. It does seem some do well on their first attempt.
It’s very possible, but I think that’s not the norm. I wish it were that easy for me. My first attempt didn’t go that well. Nor did the next or the following attempts. In fact it took many years and many embarrassing ways that I tried to make money online.
The reason I want to talk about it in today’s episode is because I know many of you have this fear of trying. I’m telling you to start now. Because your first attempt may not be successful. It’ll probably be embarrassing when you look back on it, but with each try you move slightly closer and closer.
I know that’s what helped me. At the time it felt like I was going backwards or making no progress but it all led me to where I am today.
I don’t know you. We may have never talked, but there’s something I know about you.
You are where you are right now in your life from the choices you’ve made up to this point. It’s not cause of luck or bad luck as you may think. Your life is the result of the series of choices you’ve made up to this point in your life.
Before you read this, you made choices. Some were made automatically like brushing your teeth. Other choices you had to think about like what you were going to do when you got on the computer or what you ate.
It took me 32 years to realize my choices shaped my life. I thought my life was just full of bad luck. I wasn’t getting the results I wanted and I didn’t know why.
How could I turn my luck around? Well, it wasn’t by making the same choices. I needed to make better ones.
It’s not just one choice
It’s not going to take one major choice. When you put together a series of choices, they create momentum and results, that will determine the results you get.
Every time you make a choice, you’re either getting closer to your goal or further away. The immediate effect might be so tiny; you won’t notice a difference.
For example, if you have that piece of cake, it’s steering you closer to gaining weight. It’s not much, but you’ve taken a tiny step in that direction. On the other hand, if you pass on the piece of cake, you’re taking a step in the other direction.
The choice to eat cake won’t have a big immediate impact in the short run, but now multiply each choice by 365 days and after a year you will have gained weight or lost weight.
That’s why I never understood why people would sue McDonald’s for making them fat. Yes, their food is unhealthy, and if you eat it for 30 days straight, it can nearly kill you. However, they didn’t make them eat it! It was their choice. They decided to order the food, pay for it, and eat it. No one else chose that meal for them. Even if they have no choice but to eat there, they have healthier options available. They don’t have to get fries and a big Coke. No one put a gun to their head.
They stupidly want to blame McDonald’s.
My wife and I watch a show called My 600 Pound Journey. It takes place over 2-3 years and follows individuals as they try and go from 600+ pounds to around 200 pounds.
I couldn’t believe someone could get to 600 pounds. How did they get there? By the choices, they made for many years. What I liked about a recent episode is that two of the people took responsibility for it. They didn’t blame genetics. They didn’t say the rest of their family is big, so that’s why they’re big. They knew they made horrible choices. I just don’t know how they could get to 600+ pounds before deciding they needed help.
The same power of choices helped them lose enough weight to be able to get the stomach stapling surgery. Even after that it required healthy eating and being active to continue to lose weight. These were choices they had to make. Did they want to die at a young age or make the right choices to have a normal life again?
Even after two years they still had to make sure they continued to the make the right choices. Making the wrong ones for too long would soon have the momentum carry them back towards gaining weight.
I’m sure they could indulge like a cookie after lunch or pizza for dinner one night. Making that choice doesn’t mean they’ll lose everything they worked hard for, but choosing pizza more often than choosing a side of steamed vegetables and a 4oz baked chickens mean in the long run, the weight will come back.
That’s why one small choice won’t make or break you. Some choices like, drinking and driving, can have massive consequences. What I’m talking about deciding to be lazy tonight and watch TV or eating a large pizza in one sitting. Doing it 20% of the time isn’t
What choices will you make?
Every second, you make choices. You made a choice to read this right now. You’re choosing to continue reading. After you finish this, you will choose what you want to do next.
Tonight at home after a long day at work, you have the choice to decide what you will do. Will you sit on the couch and watch TV until it is bedtime? Will you spend an hour working on your business, spend thirty minutes going for a walk or run, or do whatever it is that you know you need to be doing?
It’s up to you. I can only make you aware of the power that little tiny choices have in the long run. You have to decide on a consistent basis what you will do. I promise if you make the right choices consistently, then you’re going to start seeing some amazing results.
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.
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.
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.
“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.