“The man who chases 2 rabbits, catches neither” – Confucius
I’ve quoted Confucius before when I spoke on why you need to give up on being the best. The catching 2 rabbits quote sounds like good advice, but like most things, it’s easy to let it ruin you.
“The man who catches one rabbit, but needed 2, still dies of hunger.” – Truth Cake
Sometimes, good luck leads people to bad situations, and usually it’s caused from only getting a PIECE of your goals in life. People may wish to have money, and maybe their wish is granted with some good luck, and then they realize they don’t have the relationships they want.
Sometimes, people want to live elsewhere, but get stuck in a job that pays them so much that they’ll never move to where they really want to be.
When you get only a piece of your goals, it can be worse than getting none of your goals. – Truth Cake
When you achieve none of your goals, you can do whatever it takes to start to attain them. It’s the old quote from Fight Club – “It’s only after you’ve lost everything, that you’re free to do anything.”
Getting that big promotion means quitting to go pursue your rapping career you always wanted to try is harder and harder to do, because you refuse to give up what “good luck” you’ve gotten so far.
Are you in a situation where overall it’s good, or do you secretly wish for “bad luck” to be able to try something else? Do you secretly hope to get fired? To get divorced? To lose all your money? These subconscious things may be milling around and should be found early to execute correctly and consciously as opposed to having your subconscious do things that manifest a disaster around you.
Here’s the easy way to know if you’re in the right spot – if you lost it all and had to start over, would you clamor to rebuild exactly what you have, or would certain pieces change, or would everything change?
“The Unexamined Life is not worth living.” – Socrates (and other random gurus).
The common thought is to sit down and think about what matters to you, how to make your life better, how to progress, and all that typical stuff. But introspection is a slippery slope to hell if you’re not careful.
When asking yourself a question about how you could have done something differently, or better, or what your true motivation was, there’s an easy chance it turns into things you regret, or can’t change, or can’t improve from.
While asking questions to yourself to make better decisions in the future, it’s important to remember if there’s even an opportunity to do things better in the future. If you ask yourself if it was a bad idea to never tell your sibling that you loved them and now all your siblings are dead, then maybe answering that question only leads to regret. If asking yourself when you’re 65 and broke, if you should have saved when you were younger, it’s a bit too late and the answer can only lead to regret.
Maybe regret can be used to save other people to help prevent them from making your mistakes. But we all know most of us will simply be overtaken with guilt and regret more than we’ll be overtaken with joy from spreading the message to others to not repeat your own mistakes.
Focusing in on questions where you have a chance to make things better and change your behavior moving forward is far superior to just asking yourself questions that can NOT give you clarity on how to behave differently moving forward.
Beware of sea of guilt that is always just a few introspective questions away. It’s far better to focus on the questions that you can see yourself benefitting from by having clarity for moving forward. It’s an art to look inward, find yourself, ask the right questions, and when you do stumble into the questions that lead you into the abyss that can’t be changed at all for the better moving forward, to simply release it and/or help other people not make those mistakes.
What’s an introspective question you asked yourself that helped you make a better decision moving forward in life? What’s an introspective question you asked yourself that really only resulted in your regret?
“Sit down and think about what you really want, write it down, and go after it!” – Typical guru.
Why is it that people that achieve their goals aren’t always satisfied? Did they not really think about what they love before pursuing it? No. The reason is sitting down and thinking about the things you love rarely works because your mind is lying to you a lot of the time.
We’re like Pavlov’s dogs.
The problem is that the things you ACTUALLY love are muddled and twisted with things you don’t love. A book lover thinks they love the smell of a book, the weight of the book in their hand, the sensation of turning the page. But they don’t. They love the ideas flowing into their brain – that’s what they love. If a book came with a different smell, and was weightless, and a tap of the foot turned the page, they’d think they loved all those things instead. They don’t. They love the ideas.
The problem is the brain anchors and associates things surrounding something you love to make them all feel loved equally.
You don’t really like the smell of a cigar, you like being reminded of grandpa reading to you while he smoked. You don’t really like the snow, you like not having to go to school that day. You don’t really like making a million bucks, you liked hearing your dad say he was proud of you.
Like a Pavlovian dog chasing the sound of a ringing bell that makes them salivate, they get all the bells in the world into their life and wonder what’s missing. They never loved the bell – they loved the food.
What you think you love, you probably don’t. Your mind has been lying for a very long time and associating meaningless things to something that you DO love.
What is it that you actually love at the core? What is something you thought you loved but is really just an association from something you truly love?
It’s seldom that I think Napoleon Hill is not quite right, but he mentions failures make decisions slowly, and change the results of that decision quickly. Of course, this is a logical inaccuracy, since if you’re changing your mind quickly, that’s inherently a decision. So someone can’t logically make a decision quickly AND slowly. What he’s likely saying is that someone will decide on something, like a college major, and take a long time to make that decision, and then second guess themselves and change their major. But that just means all their decisions are made quickly except for the first decision they make, which is still a bit of nonsense. Hill contrasts this with successful people making decisions quickly, and changing their mind slowly. Both of these statements are onto the value of assessing your decision making abilities as well as your ability to commit to that decision. But I would restate it to be a bit less rigid and more logical:
Make decisions quickly regarding trying to progress, and if that decision seems like a bad decision, then change your mind quickly and not let your ego get in the way. – Truth Cake.
It’s kind of like being on a grassy field, and you can’t figure out whether you’ll like playing soccer or football more.
Playing one or the other would be more enjoyable than playing nothing while you try to decide.
I can’t think of hardly any situations where someone in business said, “We really screwed up because we made decisions too quickly and executed without really thinking about every single permutation first.”
While some decisions made in haste end up being the wrong decision with negative consequences, the negative aspect of those consequences is most pronounced from NOT altering the course when it’s clearly a bad decision. This is in contrast to most of the negative aspects of a decision being from the decision itself.
If you think of getting married too quickly to the wrong person, most of the problem is from staying in the relationship as opposed to the negative aspects of the decision. And the negative aspects of not making a decision at all usually outweigh the negative aspects of making a bad decision.
Making the wrong decision to try to move forward is better than making no decision at all, as long as you’re adaptable to realizing that a decision may be wrong and should be changed.
What decision are you thinking about doing that you haven’t because you haven’t weighed all the options out yet? Would you be opening to altering your course if you realize it’s a bad decision, or will your ego get in the way of admitting it was the wrong choice?
“Listen to me and take my advice.” – Random Guru.
Someone that says this to a wide audience has no concepts of the main tenants of advice, which is for you to:
A) Find the right person to listen to,
B) Ask the right questions,
C) Know yourself to know ‘where you are’ to adhere to those answers,
D) Know yourself even further to know if you’re listening to advice based on a “you” that doesn’t exist yet.
The last tenant of taking advice is rarely discussed. And these 4 aspects consider that you’ve got your goal correctly picked – which it rarely is (eg. “How do I make a million bucks?” sounds like the goal, but the real goal was to be respected by your spouse, and a million bucks won’t actually achieve that.)
Asking the right questions to the right person –
Are you asking a virtuoso something that anyone at much lower levels could answer? You wouldn’t ask Ed Sheeran what his advice would be to learn the C Major scale is – you can get that elsewhere very easily. Also, asking Ed Mylett for mindset advice also might be a very high level thing to ask, and probably not nearly as good considering he may be the most valuable at low level (detailed) business questions.
You wouldn’t ask Arnold Schwarzenegger if he thinks eating cake is a good idea, because you already know the answer. More importantly, you’re not at the level that could even ask Arnold a good question such as, “Should I take 25g or 40g of Anadrol steroids?”
This is why the people you idolize aren’t always the best mentors.
Therefore, you just need both someone at your ultimate goal and also someone a few steps ahead of you, because beyond that you’re not going to ask the right questions anyway in all likelihood to someone far beyond you.
So, you found the right person to ask, you asked them for the right piece of advice, and finally you need to consider,
Are you needing advice for who you are, or who you want to be?
If a 400 lbs dude asks you for advice on getting healthy fastest way possible, the correct answer is to work out 7 days a week and have a perfectly strict diet. But the best answer is to tell them just to stop eating an entire cake every day – if he’d just stop pigging out, that would help tremendously without even stepping in a gym.
They can handle the baby step advice and actually do it, whereas the other advice that’s better, that’s even directly tailored to them, is probably useless since they won’t listen. I addressed knowing who you are as the most important part of hearing advice here.
Someone called in and asked Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs advice juggling the 3 businesses he was trying to start up and his job. Mike told him to just pick one thing and focus on it. That’s good advice. But Gary Vee might tell him even “better” advice by telling him to manage his time better, work harder, and get all 3 things done. One piece of advice caters to an idealized self (Gary Vee) and the other to the actual self (Rowe).
Usually advice to an Idealized Self is worthless, even if it’s “better.”
If your goal is to get to Florida to live next to Tony Robbins, the steps then are:
a) Knowing that Tony Robbin’s lives in Florida is important. Getting advice from Tony on how to get to Florida is a bad use of his expertise. Therefore finding someone that has lived in Florida is someone best to listen to.
b) Asking the right question since “what roads to take” to get to Florida is a better question than “what shoes won’t wear out” on a cross country hike.
c) Know where you are mentally / physically. If someone says, “Take these roads to get there,” that might be bad advice if they knew you lived in Hawaii.
d) Know who you are. The best advice of “hiring a charter jet” is the fastest way to achieve your goal, but it doesn’t matter if you know you won’t actually take that advice. And knowing that you’re too broke to actually even spend gas money to even drive won’t help either. You realize the only advice you’ll take is one that involves hitchhiking for free.
This is why it’s so hard to get help.
People needing help are asking the wrong question, for the wrong goal, to the wrong person, for the wrong personal situation, and they have the guise of being someone they’re not.
Consider 2 audience questions: 1) How do I get to $1M in sales? vs 2) I’m making $900k currently, but am lazy and need to know how to get to $1M?
The answers there are going to be very different, despite the same person answering them and despite the same goal.
What good advice have you gotten from someone was worthless because of something being wrong with the 4 Tenants of Advice?
“Success isn’t luck. It’s a skill!” – Random guru.
When you start something new, everything will feel like luck. Everything new and where you’re not sure if it will work or not is luck. Playing poker and winning a hand may feel like luck to a new player, but really these things are skill disguised as luck.
For a newbie, they can’t tell the difference in results from luck vs skill.
It’s important to throw things out there that can at least give us the opportunity to be lucky. Meaning that you need to have the POTEINTIAL for someone to someone to come to your website and buy your product. The POTENTIAL for a poker hand to be a winning one, or a stock to be the one that skyrockets, or the potential for a call back for a dream job you applied for.
It’s simple – you lose when you have no potential surprises or strokes of luck that around the corner. You win when you do.
Put the video out there to get “lucky” when it goes viral. Put the product out there to get “lucky” when someone buys it. Put the resume in for the job you want to get “lucky” when they call you back. Put the order in to buy the stock to get “lucky” when it goes up.
People think they’re “lucky” and other’s aren’t. But lucky people simply put opportunities out into the world such that they can be lucky, and other “unlucky” people don’t.
“Write down 20 goals you have. Now mark your top 5. Scrap the remaining 15 goals because you’re going to just focus on the top 5!” – Random Guru
If life was a genie, it’d give you 1 wish, not 3. Because people negate their first wish with their 2nd or 3rd wish.
This advice might be good, it might be garbage, and the reason why is that people’s goals aren’t consistent with what’s real or possible. People will have a goal like, “I want to build a 7 figure business.” and “I want to spend more time with my family.” Well, you’re probably not spending more time with the family while trying to build a new multi-million dollar business. If these wishes were directly at a genie, the 2nd wish would destroy the 1st wish out of existence.
People’s goals don’t co-exist with one another and therefore cancel themselves out and nothing is achieved.
People will have 2 goals like saying they want to “Relax on a hammock sipping margaritas in the tropics and work from my laptop.” and also, “Become a body builder.” Bad news…you’re not drinking margaritas and lounging around while also becoming a bodybuilder.
People need to have one singular specific goal, and that’s it. Everything beyond 1 goal is inviting the chance that it’s not possible for your goals to coexist. This is also why it’s valuable that you find someone that is living a lifestyle similar to what you may like to experience, because you know it’s possible if they’re doing it. However, it’s a tricky situation, since Naval mentions the trick to eliminating envy is simply, “Imagine swapping lives entirely with the person you are jealous of.” You may be envious of that person’s bank account, but not nearly so much when you consider their awful relationships or whatever.
There’s a trap with modeling someone else: time.
It may be a situation where you need to achieve one goal and THEN the next for them to coexist. Meaning you CAN have a 7 figure business and spend a lot more time with your family, but perhaps striving for both of those goals at the same time is foolish. Also, the order matters – it’s easier to get the business going on autopilot and THEN spend more time with the family, rather than spending more time with the family and THEN trying to grow a business from scratch.
You can make life easy – focus on the most important goal. Sometimes, you have to balance things out between multiple goals, but sometimes you’re not going to get the goal you set out for either.
What goals do you have that may not be able to co-exist with one another?
What singular goal should you focus on?
What goals CAN co-exist, but need to be done in a certain order?
What order must be they be done in?
What is this site?
Self improvement for smart people.
I follow business leaders, gurus, and philosophers and note things others missed that I’ve found valuable.
This site is my precious treasure chest of ideas on business, philosophy and life. And hopefully during your pillaging here, you get your mind blown.
My life’s goals are to help summarize the human knowledge base, dispel self improvement myths, and achieve a resultant and unrelenting state of 24/7 euphoria. I’m kidding, but we’ll still try!
Follow along on my journey!