The reason is actually quite simple. If you become successful in life, you’re a person who enjoys becoming better every single day. You don’t enjoy sitting around drinking a bunch of beers and eating French fries for 10 hours straight in front of a TV screen. You enjoy getting better at *something* every single year. It could be your physical fitness, your online business or your ability to read social situations. No matter what, you find an area in which your skills are lower than you want them to be and look to improve that area of life.
Small Differences: As you get better and better at what you do the number of people you compete against gets smaller and smaller. The level of competition needed to get into the top 10% or so is incredibly weak. We have only been writing for a short period of time (in the grand scheme of things) and we have an inbox full of people who made it through various routes: real estate, investment banking, online business etc. They are now hitting a point where each jump is harder because your competition is actually legitimate. You slip up once and you’ll be passed immediately. Below is an email we received that highlights the change in pace (redacted his personal information).
“About three years ago I decided I would give the information from your book Efficiency a try for a full year. I was working at accounting firm (redacted) and followed the plans to try and get into investment banking while improving my fitness since I was slacking after college. People don’t tell you how much harder life is after college since you are trapped in an office for a large period of time. Fast forward a year and I got into investment banking and made just over $110,000 while I lost over 10 pounds of fat. Sure it wasn’t a major change like some of your other readers but now I’m on track to make $200,000 this year with a small business on the side. What I noticed is that it’s getting harder to move up since the people I have to compete against are actually trying just as hard as I am! Do you have any advice for staying on the course when you visibly see the difference?”
We do have an answer here. The answer is this “what else is there to do?” This is another rigged game in life. Once you get into the top 10-20%, you know what it feels like to succeed and there is nothing that comes close to that feeling. Not even close. So instead of asking us how to stay the course ask yourself “What else can I be doing that I won’t regret in 5-years?” You’re going to come up with nothing. Your other options are boring things like drinking with your “buddies” who are low value and have time to waste on just “hanging out” and giving up to live a life you left behind already (clearing $70-90K just getting by). Both options should make you feel sick.
The real issue this person is struggling with is the *small differences* issue. This is why we gave away our PED routine (already regret that one). If you get to the top 10% or so, it’s going to be a large number of small choices that will make you jump into the top 5% and beyond. Small differences include: 1) do you check your website design every month or every quarter?, 2) are you able to go to the gym 5 days a week instead of 6 days while seeing the same performance improvements due to intelligent training?, 3) are you pushing off those email responses to “tomorrow” or are you doing them all before you go to sleep at midnight? and 4) are you still holding onto some people that you know won’t make it as they have given up or slowed down for good?
These are things that don’t show up for months/years at a time. As you know (if you’re improving), all results take long periods of time to show up. If you are a millionaire at 30, it’s because of the decisions you made in your 20s. Now that you’re competing against other millionaires… You’re all making long-term bets and battling it out to see where you land at age 40… Not age 33. So. You have to stay the course and make tons of small difficult decisions even if your energy levels are lower and you’re feeling tired. These will add up and you’ll continue moving in the right direction. Besides, what else are you going to do? Just drink and hang out for 40 years? No thanks.
“I have ‘Like Minds’… Do we have time to socialize and to hangout aimlessly? No. Do we want to do that? No. We want to work. I enjoy working” – Kobe Bryant
The Self Fulfilling Prophecy: One of the best things about your first major win (like the email we highlighted above) is that you *should* get addicted to that feeling. The “should” part is important as it’s a quality of a future winner anyway. If you remember that high (how you felt at that point in time), it should be impossible to replicate. This assumes you really did something that you didn’t think was possible within your time frame.
If the above is true then all you have to do is remember how it felt and ask yourself if it’s better to give that up for good. Your answer is always going to be no. Sure. You may not get the exact *same* high every time, but it sure beats any other high you will get in the future. This is also why we acknowledge that practically every single one of you will go through a bender phase after you get rich.
In rank order in terms of dopamine rush: 1) financial independence, 2) 50% change in your annual income, 3) first real profitable sale in an online business while you’re sleeping, 4) one time windfall of 3-5% of your net worth or more. The last one is critical, if you’ve trained your mind correctly you won’t be excited by one time windfalls (lottery or a great stock option call) and you’ll be more excited by the recurring revenue (items 1-3).
As you can see we do have one big concern we bring up consistently on this blog. The recognition that it’s difficult to maintain motivation past the financial independence level since the dollars don’t have as much meaning behind them anymore. The good news? After your first bender (or five), you’ll have nothing else to do. And. You’ll focus on the second option again which is increasing your income or net-worth by another 50% which shouldn’t be easy at all.
As another note, you get to a point where “hanging out” just doesn’t sound appealing anymore. Sitting around watching something on a television with 5 other people doing nothing every single week gets incredibly boring. It’s actually more enjoyable to sit down and read something that will improve your life. A few hours (maximum) per week hanging out is beyond enough. Why anyone would enjoy hanging out with their friend every day after work for 5+ hours is incomprehensible (everyone in the room is quite literally getting worse).
Even At Old Age: Whilewe’lldo everything in our power to slow down the ticking hands of time, even at old age, there are things you can do to improve. Maybe you’ll be less interested in your own net worth and you’ll change your focus to charity, your kids and some sort of elaborate bucket list. The end result is still consistent interest in improving your life. By this stage in your life, you’ve tattooed a habit of self-improvement onto your bones and there is no going back. How anyone can live life hanging out and “chilling” doesn’t make much sense since it’s incredibly boring to you anyway.
As a note, if you look at the ultra-wealthy, many of them do things such as consulting/advisory services. They sit on boards and work less hours while focusing more on high-level strategic changes. They don’t bother with any more work that would be considered “grinding”. You become more of a speaker/influencer at that time.
“This Sounds Terrible”: We do get some emails that effectively say that “this isn’t worth it”. This is great as we can instantly ignore them and never speak with them again. They gave us a great gift! They let us know up front that they will never make it in life. A deleted contact is gained time in many cases. You can work with winners instead.
When we read this post we’re actually excited. There is nothing fun about sitting around. Going to the gym hitting a new “personal best” or having a personal best revenue day is *really really really* exciting. That is something that normal people cannot relate to since they haven’t felt it before or don’t think it’s worth it. If it were possible to generate sales 16 hours a day and go to the gym for 16 hours a day we would do it. Unfortunately that isn’t the case.
So with that we’re only focused on the winners in life. If you ever feel like quitting instead of watching some crazy motivational video talk to yourself rationally: “What else can I do that I won’t regret in five years”. You’ll be back on your computer sending those emails within seconds.
Newer Readers: For those that are unfamiliar with our blog we have three high quality products in order: 1) Efficiency, 2) Triangle Investing and 3) Spending for Maximum Return. In order, you learn how to make a good amount of money (a million liquid within 10 years or so), how to correctly invest it and finally how we’d avoid blowing it all with intelligent spending.