Pretty bold statement in that headline, right? Well I think I can back it up.
Yesterday I turned 31.
I look at that number and while it’s a little bit scary, I can’t help feel good about everything I’ve accomplished over the last 7 years since leaving my job and setting out on my own.
As I was reflecting back on the years and thinking about what to write for this post, I came to a pretty humbling realization.
Up to this point in my life, I’ve pretty much gotten everything I’ve wanted in life – or at least the things I’d hoped to have up to this point.
I have an incredible wife, amazing family and friends, a fantastic house right outside downtown Portland, I travel all the time, and have the freedom to do the things that make me happy on a daily basis.
Sure, I still have a long ways to go and I have plenty of other things I want to accomplish – but for the ripe old age of 31, I’m feeling pretty good about where I’m at.
In those 31 years I’ve learned a lot about getting what you want in life – and the reality, I’ve found, is that it isn’t quite as complicated as it might seem.
Sure it takes hard work, but in the end getting what you want in life is pretty straight forward, and in this post I’m going to share with you the 31 things I’ve learned for how to make it happen.
This is one of my longer posts, so grab a cup of coffee or your favorite adult beverage, settle in, and let’s start making some magic happen.
1) Know What You Want. I Mean Really Know What You Want.
Do you know what the absolute number one, most important thing you must do to get everything you want in life?
It’s pretty simple.
You have to know what you want. Do you?
I mean do you really know what you want? And not just in a, oh, I want a Ferrari, kind of way.
To truly be able to pursue the goal of having everything you want in life, you need to have an incredibly vivid and detailed vision for what you want in all aspects of your life, including:
Work and business –
What type of work would make you happy and keep you fulfilled for the rest of your life?
What are your goals for a romantic relationship? With your friends and peers? With your family? What does all of that look like?
What activities makes you happy?
What experiences would you like to have on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis that will provide fulfillment and happiness in your life?
Physical items –
Let’s be blunt about it, what kind of cool stuff do you want in your life? Maybe you’re a total minimalist and you just need a tiny house. Maybe you want that mansion in the hills? Know what it is, and more importantly, why you want it.
Health and fitness –
What does your body look like? Why do you want it to look that way? What will it help you to feel?
Where do you fit in? What kind of communities do you want to be a part of? Are they hobby based? Business focused? Spiritual?
Once you begin to have a clear vision for what you want in each of these categories, then you can truly start thinking about how to achieve everything you want in life.
In the words of cricket umpire Bill Copeland “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”
2) Understand You Can Have Anything You Want, But Not Everything You Want. At Least Not Right Away.
Do you want a big house? A fast sports car? To take a 5 star luxury vacation?
All of that is attainable. In fact, with some hard work, every single person reading this can have any of those things.
The problem is, we can’t necessarily have all of those things at the same time.
For instance, right this second if the only thing I cared about in life was owning a Ferrari, I could go out and buy one, and still not feel like I was making a completely irresponsible decision.
The problem is I still love golf, travel, having savings, etc. So, it isn’t the smart decision.
This guy is a great example. His biggest passion in life is cars, and he recently bought a Lamborghini. Is he incredibly wealthy? No, he just made that his priority.
So not only do you have to understand what it is you want, you need to prioritize what you want, and understand where things fall in the hierarchy.
3) Be Willing to Stair Step into Your Biggest Goals
Sticking on what I understand is an extremely materialistic theme of fancy cars, one day I’d love to own an Aston Martin convertible. Even after seeing what this guy has gone through.
Right now, it’s not a top priority – but I’ve always been a car guy and would love to have a fun car to drive.
That Aston Martin is at the top of the stairs.
Right now I drive a 2002 Pathfinder with more than it’s fair share of bumps and bruises from years of parking downtown.
The next step is a newer Lexus is350 F-Sport, which you can find used for around $35k. It’s far less expensive than the Aston, but for the next 5 years it would be an extremely fun (and more practical) car to own.
This also can be directly applied to business.
Everyone tends to want to be at the top step right away, with tons of passive income and a 4 Hour Work Week Lifestyle. The reality is, it’s next to impossible to leap up all of those stairs.
That’s why I’m such an advocate of the process of:
- Build the relevant skills
- Freelance those skills to build income and confidence
- Then begin working on the sexier businesses
4) Don’t Let Society Judge You
I feel like I should mention this before we go too much further. Society loves to judge. I guarantee right now, there are at least a few of you judging me for wanting to buy a fancy car.
Especially in this community of location independence, there’s a huge contingent of people whose main goals involve nothing more than a backpack or a tiny house. Stuff is bad! Consumerism is the devil!
While sure, I don’t think luxury items are necessarily making the world a better place – I also think that if you work hard, and they make you happy, then go for it.
This is about what you want, not what about what society wants you to have.
The opposite is true as well, if you fall into the minimalism camp – that’s great! Just understand everyone will have different goals and dreams – and one is certainly no better than the other.
5) Create Dozens of Small Milestones
One of the biggest reasons I see people give up on getting everything they want is because they’re focused on the end game. They’re focused on the top of the stairs like we talked about earlier.
If your goal is to make $10k of passive income a month and quit your job in the next 6 months – then good luck!
It’s not realistic for most people who are just starting out.
And if that’s your only goal, there’s a good chance you’re going to get frustrated really quickly and give up – because even if you’re making progress, it will be tough for you to feel like you are because you don’t have enough milestones.
So instead of having a few big lofty goals for each area of your life, create dozens of little milestones so that 3 months from now instead of just seeing one big unchecked box, you’re seeing 20 checked ones, and another 20 still to go.
At least then you can visually see you’re making progress, which will keep you going when things get tough.
6) Learn How to be Happy With Less
o now that I’ve stepped down from my high horse talking about how you shouldn’t let society chastise you if you want more – I’m going to drop this on you.
You need to learn to be happy with less.
A few years ago I had nothing more than a daypack full of clothes, a laptop, and a crappy $200/month apartment in Bangkok.
And you know what? I was just as happy then as I am now.
Having more can have the potential to enrich your life, but if you aren’t happy in the first place – new toys or extravagances won’t help you be happy over the long run.
7) Put a Photo of the Thing You Want Most Some Place Where You’ll See it Often
When I was at my day job I had a photo of a beautiful bungalow in Thailand that I learned only cost $30 a night. I made it my desktop background, and was forced to look at it everyday.
Figure out what imagery will help you to take action on a daily basis and make it your desktop, put a photo of it in the bathroom, as the wallpaper on your phone – anywhere you’ll see it regularly.
It will serve as a consistent reminder to do the work.
8) Embrace Uncertainty
Most people are terrified of uncertainty. And the ones that remain terrified of uncertainty will probably live a perfectly ok life – but they won’t have everything they want.
It’s those that move past the fear and overcome the uncertainty that will truly start to thrive.
And a smaller percentage than that will actually embrace uncertainty, treat it as an asset, and truly do something special with their lives.
Think about it this way, when no one knows what’s going to happen in the future – you can make anything you want happen.
9) Do Things That Make You Happy Every Day
When I left my job to move to Thailand, I wasn’t in a very happy place.
And I knew that if I were going to be useful to anyone else in my life, whether it be with my own business or a new job, I would need to solve that problem.
These days I golf multiple times a week. I go out to eat and cook good meals. I spend quality time with my wife, friends, and family.
Continuing to do this on a regular basis makes the journey to getting everything you want much more enjoyable. And once you’ve figured this part out, you’ve probably got most of what you want as it is.
10) Don’t Convince Yourself Making a Big Change is More Risky Than it Really Is
Leaving my job and moving to Thailand was terrifying for me – for a lot of reasons. But the hardest part was thinking my life would be over if it didn’t work out. The absolute worst case scenario is that the business didn’t work out, I had to get a job at McDonalds, and I had a hell of an adventure in the process.
Truly think about the worst case scenario if you want to make a major change in your life that will get you closer to something you really want.
I bet it isn’t as bad as you think.
11) Work Smarter, Not Harder
As much as I wish I were, throughout the entirety of my life, I’ve never been the hardest worker. Call it ADD, a short attention span, laziness – whatever you want, I’ve never worked as hard at anything as I know I could have.
But despite that, I’ve still been successful.
Because I work smart.
I prioritize the things that are absolutely the most valuable to the business at the time – even if I feel like that’s spending half the day answering reader emails. You don’t need to put in more hours, you just need to be deliberate with the ones you are putting in.
12) Cultivate Discipline
Playing off that last one, discipline has been 100% my absolute biggest struggle in life. Sports, studying, business – you name it, I’ve lacked the discipline to truly excel.
I’ve dubbed 2016 the year of discipline and I’ve been struggling to cultivate it in every aspect of my life. Yet when I see moments of success, I see how much is truly possible simply by being disciplined.
This will make up for just about every other inefficiency in your quest to get everything you want in life.
Make it a priority.
13) Create a Morning Routine
One of the best ways to get started with this is to create your morning routine. What are the non-negotiable things you must do every morning to get your day started on the right path? Nailing these will allow you to work smarter, cultivate discipline and foster happiness.
14) Write More
These next few are all based around a common theme…
I’ve learned that my success is almost completely correlated to how much writing I’m doing.
Think about it, the vast majority of what we consume online is written content – or it at least has a written element.
Blog posts, sales pages, premium info products, emails, video scripts, etc.
When I stop creating and stop writing is when I find myself stagnating.
The more I write the more success I have. Even if you’re in a business or job where writing isn’t necessarily one of your primary tasks – do it anyway. Developing that skills is crucial.
15) Study Copywriting
Copywriting is the art of being persuasive with your writing. If you can accurately convey your thoughts, ideas, and reasoning with your words you’ll be able to get all you want out of life.
Studying copywriting is the best way I know how to achieve these skills. If you’re to become a good copywriter, you’ll have to learn how to think clearly, logically, and persuasively – and that will translate to personal interactions as well.