When I got my business degree in 2011, I was ready to start my career.
I wanted to start a business, earn money, and also invest. Those were my main priorities for the past seven years.
I did all those things. You know what I found?
Every decision you make in life is either an investment or a waste.
Here’s what I mean:
- Browsing social media for hours is a waste of your time
- Eating junk food is a waste of your health
- Having a job that makes you miserable is a waste of your energy
- Working out is an investment in your health
- Spending time with people you care about is an investment in relationships and personal wellbeing
- Reading, taking courses, watching informational videos, are investments in your education
Those last three things are all good. And investing in your education has the highest return on investment. Why?
Procrastination has been around since the start of modern civilization.
Historical figures like Herodotus, Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Benjamin Franklin, Eleanor Roosevelt, and hundreds of others have talked about how procrastination is the enemy of results.
One of my favorite quotes about procrastination is from Abraham Lincoln:
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
The funny thing about procrastination is that we all know that it’s harmful. Who actually likes to procrastinate? No one enjoys doing that. Me neither.
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.
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.
Picture this. You have a job that pays okay. But you don’t really like it. Well, let me put it this way: You like the money, but you wouldn’t do that job if there was no money involved.
“Screw it, I need money to have a life!” You might think.
We all have bills to pay, people to take care of, and important tasks to complete. We do these things because if we don’t, we might get fired and lose our income.
And without income, we can’t pay for our house, clothes, vacations, etc.
I’m describing a “normal” life. I call this normal because this is how 99% of all people that I know live.