Doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results is the definition of insanity. If an individual is doing the same thing that everyone else is doing yet expecting different/better results, are they not insane?
The beautiful thing about life is that you get to create your own world and experiences. You get out of it what you put into it. It was out of your control over how you entered this world, but it’s in your power to control your experience while you are here.
If you put in the work early on and bet on yourself, you’ll be rewarded handsomely in the long run. If you skate by and do the bare minimum, you’ll live an average life which these days is a soul crushing journey to the finish line. You’ll live until 85 physically but mentally and spiritually, you would have died a long time ago. How do you trap yourself into living an average life? By doing the status quo, following what everyone else is doing, and not thinking for yourself.
If you exert the same amount of force in opposite directions on a stationary object, the object will remain stationary. What makes you think your life is any different? A popular misconception is that life is always about balance. Perhaps this is a practical approach later in life, but the truth of the matter, there is no balance in progression. Right now, you’re in the stage of progression. Great personal growth is not something you can approach leisurely and hope to obtain. You must launch a full-fledged assault on your incompetent behavior in order to truly move on, climb up, and get ahead in life. (If you only desire to aspire to mediocrity, save yourself the time and stop reading right now)
Balance should be nonexistent to you while you are trying to level up. Balance is for keeping the ship steady. Have you heard or know of any successful people talk about work life balance while they were grinding and on the come up…? Short answer, no. Are you at a point in your life right now where you would like to remain? Of course not. You are trying to better your life. It will be difficult to get ahead if you are splitting your time, energy, and resources equally into every aspect of your life. Most of your effort at this stage should be going towards your craft and reinvesting into yourself. Yes, you will miss out on some things now, mainly “fun” and shenanigans, but if you are committed to leveling up, it’s a small price to pay. Go all in now, bet on yourself now while you are young and have the energy to do so. Focus on balance and spending more time on leisure after you’ve made significant leaps and bounds in this game of life. (That being said, you should keep in mind that you should never compromise your health. It’s okay to sacrifice many things in the short term, but your health should never be an option. Stay hitting the gym)
168 hours in a week, however not every hour is created equal. The hours you spend at work Monday-Friday are essential to paying the bills in the present, however they are not what’s going to shift your life up a level or two. It’s your “free” time that holds the capacity to cause a seismic quake and jolt your life on a new upward trajectory. (Factor in opportunity cost and time is never free) So how do most people spend their “free” time throughout the week and on the weekends? Engaging in long term self-destructive behavior. You know you should head to the gym after work but instead you make your way over to Thirsty’s for happy hour. By the time you get home, you’re too tired and hungry to do anything productive so you order a pizza, turn on some Netflix and call it a day only to wake up and do it all again the next day.
A better approach to spending your free time would be to allocate some time towards your personal growth and development. Most people believe their education ends after graduation but the wise understand that they must constantly be learning and adapting. The world is constantly moving and changing so does it not make sense for you to also be doing the same? You should constantly strive to be the best version of yourself. It’s cliché but it’s true. Imagine someone who graduated from school in 2010 and has not learned a practical thing since… How much has the world changed in the last 10 years? When you purposely choose to remain ignorant, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Personal development is not just relegated to reading books. Not everyone likes to sit and read physical books and some people learn better in different ways. There are other ways to learn throughout your day. Instead of listening to Future Hendrix on your commute to work, perhaps substitute it with a podcast about a topic you’re interested in and could potentially make money from. Everyone is curious about something… acting on that curiosity might spark ideas in your head and lead you to discover new lanes you may want to get involved in. Even if you can only commit 30 minutes to an hour a day to your self-improvement, that is still better than remaining stagnant or regressing.
Everyone Else Does It
Almost any action is justifiable if it is framed in a particular way. At first glance, certain things make sense, so you never look deeper than the surface. And to make matters worse, you see most people engaging in such activities which makes you think they are not only okay, but also what you should be doing as well. The gag is the majority of people have it wrong. A good rule of thumb is, every time you see the masses all doing something, your antennas should be up. Proceed with caution and skepticism. Under no circumstances should you be emulating the masses. Only follow and take advice from people who are where you are trying to be in life. (Unless they are telling/showing you what NOT to do) If you wouldn’t trade lives with them, do not heed their advice.
Never Have Fun?
I do not share these thoughts as if to say you should not have any fun in your life. Of course, you should have some fun, live life, and enjoy yourself… but should you be enjoying yourself more than you’re leveling up? No. And if you are, your future self is going to hate you for it. This is where the 3 to 1, work to play ratio factors in. You should be engaging in “level up” activities 3x more than “fun” activities. Go to Thirsty’s for happy hour after work, enjoy some chips and dip, have some margaritas… just don’t go every day. Make it a reward, treat yourself once a week and the other four days, make it a point to go to the gym after work, come home and do something constructive. Literally anything will be better than just getting drunk… again… for the fifth time that week. By all means, link up with your friends, go out and have a good time on the weekend… but don’t do it every weekend. Once a month is appropriate. The other three weekends you have “free” in the month, you can spend diving into something you’re interested in. Perhaps you join a book club, attend a local conference, learn how to use that new software for work, or work on your next source of income. Something that does not involve you blacking out… again… for the fourth time this month.
One thing you should keep in mind is that at the end of the day, life is a competition. There are no participation trophies. To truly get ahead in this matrix, you’ve got to be willing to do what others are not. Look around, you know most people pay little to no attention to their personal development. Most people don’t have real goals, and if they do, they rarely take any actionable steps to get there. The ratio for the masses is a 3 to 1, play to work ratio. Lots of partying, laziness, self-indulgence, followed by procrastination, and finally very little work accomplished. If you just put in a fraction of extra work, there is no doubt in my mind you will get ahead. The most ironic part of it all is that taking these actionable steps are not hard… the hardest part is being able to make the initial switch from the mainstream laissez-faire mindset to an I’ve gotta go get it because no one will hand it to me mindset. You want to get ahead? Start acting like it and make the necessary change. Your future self is relying on you.