The biggest mistake you can make is to ignore the basics in your profession. This is true no matter what you do, where you live, or who you are.
When you ignore the foundation of what makes you a good person, athlete, friend, entrepreneur, student, etc., you will never be consistent.
That’s the biggest lessons I’ve learned from studying athletes. People who play professional sports are under constant pressure to perform.
Take Daniel Cormier, the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, and former Olympic wrestler. The 38-year-old champion has an impressive career until now. He won multiple gold medals as a wrestler. And in MMA, he has won 20 of his 22 fights in total. He’s considered as one of the best.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from reading books, interviewing smart people, and having conversations with my mentors is that questions are more important than answers.
But that goes against everything you learn in school where you’re rewarded for the quality of your answers.
However, that’s not what you should judge a person on. Instead, look at the quality of a person’s questions, like Voltaire famously said:
“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”
And one of my friends who’s a consultant at one of the big three management consultancies, once told me that, “my job is to be ignorant.” He was referring to Peter Drucker, arguably one of the greatest management consultants of all time, who said:
One of my mentors is an art dealer. He specializes in art from the middle ages. Last time we met, he showed me a part of his personal collection. Impressed by the size of the collection, I asked how long it took to accumulate everything.
He said “45 years,” and then he laughed when I looked surprised. He continued:
“This is not something you can buy in one go. It’s not like going to the IKEA. Accumulating anything worthwhile in life takes time. First, because you don’t have the money to buy everything at once. Second, not everything is always available. You must wait for the right opportunity.”
And waiting is one of the hardest things in life. But if you take a close look around you, you see many examples of people who waited for the right opportunity.
Take all the investors who bought stocks and real estate during the financial crisis that started in 2008. That recession lasted several years. Recently, I spoke to someone who invested a big chunk of his assets in the stock market between 2009 and 2011.
Do you know that feeling of being in the zone? And that everything goes well?
- You wake up early every day to hit the gym.
- You write 500 words a day.
- You make daily prospecting calls.
- You journal profoundly, and never skip a day.
- You don’t eat junk food.
And consequently, everything is going great in your life. Every productive person has been there. When you do the things you know you should do, you feel in control of your life.
Like Woody Allen says, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” And you’re showing up.
You can easily measure a business by looking at the numbers. Turnover, profit, costs, employee churn, etc.
But how do you measure your life? There are no universal metrics to assess your life.
So it’s up to every person to create their own way to measure where they are in life.
Some do that by looking at how much they earn compared to their peers. Some look at how far they climbed the corporate ladder. Others measure themselves by how they look.
I have studied how the most successful thinkers of our time measure their lives. The answer is surprising. You rarely hear that successful people measure their life by the size of their bank account or any other conventional measure.
Whether you like them or not, New Year’s resolutions are great to create a positive change in your life.
Maybe you always wanted to start a business, read a book a week, get a sixpack, or meditate more. The start of every year is the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button and do things differently.
But I bet you’ve read all the articles and research that say New Year’s resolutions are useless and that they hardly work. Some say 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. Others say it’s even 92%.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean New Year’s resolutions are bad. It means that most of us don’t know how to successfully keep our resolutions.
Ever since I was little, I worried about many things. My favorite topics were money, health, and my future. What’s your favorite topic to worry about?
And don’t tell me you never worry or fear nothing. Because if you have zero fear, that means you’re a robot!
Everyone spends time thinking about things that will never happen. Because that’s what fear is. Michel de Montaigne, the 16th-century philosopher, said it best:
“My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.”
We all know that fear is meant to save us from trouble. But in the modern world, that’s simply not true anymore. These days, fear is only something that occupies your mind.
Our thoughts are so cluttered with fear, worry, and stress, that we can’t focus on our goals. In my personal experience, living a full life has nothing to do with the resources or opportunities you have.