13) Plan the next day - This is so huge.
Note that there is a small learning curve to this as you figure out a system that works for you. Maybe you like to manage your timetable through your phone, or maybe you just pencil out what you do on a list. Whatever the method it must satisfy two requirements: 1) The document must be easily accessible to you throughout the day, and 2) it must specify approximate times when you will complete each task.
It’s pretty simple. When you have some time to think with a clear mind you plan out what you want your next day to look like you do it. The time you know you have to yourself (mornings usually) you can set a more ridgid structure than the times where there are many variables as to what you may be doing.
The plan is your servant, not your master. Never get upset if things don’t go the way you thought – it’s just a guideline to keep you on track. Lost time, interferences, failing to execute out of laziness or apathy, unforeseen events, all of this will happen. Don’t be worried, the element of proactivity you introduce into your life by planning your days out already places you way ahead.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your primary goal is not to be efficient. It is to be effective. Don’t be so worried about having some intense schedule that will burn you out quickly. Allow a good amount of time for transitions and even more for other forms of time you will use organically. If you have in your head a picture of someone ruthlessly triaging priorities, feverishly executing tasks and running around from one item to the next then you should rethink your understanding. As you go through your day you will apply yourself to each activity wholly and with everything you’ve got. You will take things slow and execute with passion, care and effort not with haste or carelessness.
14 Sleep - Your either plugged into the matrix or you’re not. If your plugged in you’re a spectator – you watch tv, you kill time on facebook, you days slip by as you wander through in lower consciousness. If your unplugged you’re a player – You are taking consistent and massive action, you are constantly ingesting new information, you are pushing your boundaries and limitations, you are growing.
So naturally if you’re living your life fully engaged you need a good night’s sleep. The amount of stress you experience by pushing yourself, the information your internalizing, and the focus and stamina you need to keep going can all be facilitated by a good nine hours on the pillow.
Take this shit seriously – you will notice a difference.
If you’ve ever studied sleep you know that your body goes through approximate 90 minute cycles (from deep sleep to REM sleep), you know the amount of light you are receiving effects your bodies melatonin production, you know that what you eat before bed can affect your sleep, and you also know that sound can disrupt your sleep. You know that sleep plays an integral role in learning and memory. You are also aware that the human body associates certain surroundings or conditions with sleep (think when you walk into a bathroom you feel like you have to pee. The same thing when you are in your bed – you get sleepy. Therefore only use your bed for sleep and sex).
I sleep in total darkness, in a cool room, with a fan for white noise (drown out traffic and creaks in house that would otherwise wake me up). I have comfortable mattress and I wake up to an alarm clock that gets brighter instead of making noise (simulates the sun rising) I don’t set my alarm for the same time every morning, I set my alarm either 7.5 or 9 hours from when I fall asleep (so I don’t wake up in the depth of a sleep cycle – you may have to tinker with the times but you will learn your body). Try some of this and you will be amazed with the effects on your energy levels, retention of information, and how you enter your days in the morning.
15 Professional Development - You’re either working in the industry you want to be in or you’re not. Either way you should spend some of your day developing the skills necessary to succeed in the industry you want to be in.
If you’re stuck in a job you don’t like then this daily ritual is the key to breaking through. You will develop yourself in the area of your interest until you have the credentials, credibility, or opportunity to move permanently. Maybe you’re stuck working as a bank teller, but you want to get into internet marketing. You should begin to spend a part of your day learning the skills you are going to need to be an internet marketer.
Think of it this way, most people are reactive. Most people land a job through connections or convenience and after they have that job they then learn the skills necessary to succeed. You are not that person. You will do the reverse. You will gain the skills through your own force of will and then land ‘the job’. This is the formula to carve a life of your design and live your dreams.
If you’re already in the industry of your dreams then you should never stagnate. Constantly focus on learning new material, keeping up with trends, observing competitors, or expanding your professional reputation. Focusing on this will allow you to offer more value in whatever you do and will facilitate success.
16 Journal + Research - Keep a journal and update it every day.
What is a journal? A journal is a place where you write out your thoughts and then look back at them and ponder. You then write about what you thought of your thoughts and think about that. (meta-meta cognition) Do you see how this can be a valuable tool for personal insight and growth?
This isn’t a high school dairy. It’s a tool you use to track your thoughts, expand on insights, accelerate your growth, and look back on your progress. Shits happening? Write about it. The very act of consciously creating syntax to your thoughts can help you become more rational and can facilitate problem solving in your life.
There is a second part to your journal writing ritual that you need to engage in. Research. As you make discoveries and insights you should seek out truth and guidance. We have the internet and it is an amazing tool for feedback.
Our parents generation had to live with misinformation their whole lives. Our generation enjoys the luxury to – with incredible ease - access the forefront of human knowledge in the snap of a finger. Use this luxury to fuel your growth.
Falling Apart – Four types
No matter how hard you try, or how much effort you put in, you will – at times – fall apart. I would say theres four ways this happens: Getting sick, apathy, ‘short term mating strategy’ and consuming commitments.
If you don’t have a lot of self discipline then the most common way you will fall apart is apathy. You need to understand that apathy is death. Apathy IS death. It will kill your growth and suck you into laziness. It happens as you slip into lower consciousness. Correlatory displays in your behaviour emerge: depression, apathy, negative and low self esteem thought patterns, etc. There are so many things that can throw you off track and sink you into apathy: Loss of progress, negative feedback, feeling ‘blue’, video games, addictions, poor diet, lack of sleep, fear, financial/family/social stressors. This is where taking responsibility is key. This knowledge helped me fight myself when my brain would come up with rationalizations and excuses for why I coped out on my duties. The rationalizations were pretty good sometimes (I didn’t have enough time, I wasn’t physically able, I was sick, it would be counter productive etc (your brain is very clever)) but the facts were in. I couldn’t gloss over the correlation between my daily choices and how they affected my productivity. Eat shitty food, get poor sleep, and you will be less productive.
When you fall into the gutters of apathy the only way out is to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. If you have ever taken the time to write out your values then they can be a key extremely helpful in this situation. Read them over, ponder them and commit yourself to them. The quicker you can recommit yourself to your values and get back on track, the better. You will go through this process many, many, many times
The second way you completely fall of track is when you get sick. The average adult catches two to four colds a year. That’s two to four weeks of setbacks, suffering, and disruption. Not much you can do about it other than prevention (and as it turns out prevention is pretty effective! You don’t ever have to get sick… [drink water, avoid binge drinking, get all your vitamins and minerals, sleep, oral hygiene, washing your hands, and regular relaxation. Only anecdotal evidence but I found that when I got sick poor sleeps for many consecutive days was always a factor])
The third type of falling apart is what tyler would call your ‘short term mating strategy’. To be honest with you, I don’t think this is that bad. I look back at my excel chart of times where I was in this mode, nothing would be getting done. I would be drinking and smoking and doing drugs. Say a five day bender where I pull two or three times in that period. Retrospectivly I wouldn’t change a thing though because in those moments I was having SO MUCH FUN. I met so many people and developed so many relationships. When your in this mode you are just ‘on’. Its so amazing to me that your brain has these two levels it can operate on.
From my experience, the more resources you have (money, leisure time, lack of responsibility) the more intense the effects of the ‘short term mating strategy’ mode can be. Think, if you have a job or no more money etc. external forces like that can FORCE you to get your shit together. But when you’re in the mode you’re sure fucking good at rationalizing away your money, time, and responsibilities – but holy fuck does it help you pull girls. So I think the key is to take an element of proactively into this. Acknowledge that this is going to happen to you and that it’s OK. You know you’ll get your shit together eventually. Just be smart about your life and don’t cope out on any major responsibilities.
The fourth way I would consistently fall off track with my habits is when I had a consuming commitment to honor. Maybe this was a family obligation or a travel day, or a big exam I had to prep for. Whatever it is you just do what you need to do and get back on track as soon as you can. When these kinds of things come up though I notice it’s a lot easier to bounce back as opposed to sinking into some apathetic hurr durr state – that’s the worst.
Rebounding – Two Phenomena
In my explorations I noticed two phenomena. The first is that you can’t just focus on one area of your life. If you start seriously working on one discipline everything follows. You start fixing yourself in ALL areas of your life.
The second phenomenon that I noticed when falling off the path is that you will come back stronger than ever before. I am not sure if this is because you have lessons learned from falling off or because your definition of what being on the path has now been expanded. Either way the process of growth is obvious, you fall and you get back up stronger that before.
Keep in mind that falling off the path is an inevitability and will happen (a lot). Its how quickly you notice (awareness and higher consciousness) and recommit (take right action) that will determine your growth rate.
Looking back over my performance I noticed that my habits would streak. Theres an element of general momentum (Excercising in a day may give you momentum to complete other tasks) and then there is an element of discipline specific momentum (If you meditated yesterday it is more likely that you will today)
On the flip side there’s negative momentum. If you don’t do something today then it will be harder tomorrow and even harder the next day.
The result is that disciplines streak. You have runs where you’ll stick with it every day, but then you will have runs, sometimes for weeks, where it just never seems to fit in your schedule. For this reason extra effort has to be made to revitalize individual habits that are falling apart.
The Anxiety Response
The anxiety response is so key to your growth. I left this section last for a reason… this is such a POWERFUL concept. Your body comes equipped with the tools for your growth and that anxious feeling you get IS THE TOOL.
When you realize you don’t know what you need to know there is an uncomfortable anxiety. Your poor ego is exposed and your feel good belief systems are shaken. Do not run from this feeling of anxiety. It is SO human nature to suppress the feelings and rationalize them away. You look at your bank balance and you realize you barely have enough money for next months rent, an uncomfortable anxiety comes over you. Maybe you got caught lying and an uncomfortable anxiety comes over you. Maybe you see an approach you know you should do and an uncomfortable anxiety comes over you. Your emotions are your feedback system.
Do not let your ego get the best of you. Your ego will rationalize your life away, giving you all the reasons to be O.K. with your mediocrity and failure.
When you feel that uncomfortable anxiety you need to ruthlessly seek out the cause and address it. Take full responsibility for what has happened to you. Maybe you realized you have been financially irresponsible. The ego response would be to justify your situation, “I needed to get that stuff, I had to make those purchases” This is unacceptable thinking if you want to grow. Consciously ponder the anxiety and take responsibility for your situation, “Wow I was managing my money extremely poorly this last month. I need to figure my shit out, etc etc"
By diving into that anxious response, figuring out what’s going on and taking FULL responsibility for whatever is happening, you will facilitate your ability to CHANGE and GROW in the future. Do not sabotage your growth and buy into your ego. The key to your growth is your emotional system, and you would do well to get in touch with it (hint- meditation)