TL;DR: Work on improving yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally everyday so that you can achieve greatness.
Every day I strive to be the best version of myself. How do I do that you might ask? I work on three aspect of my life that I can control. I look to these aspects and try to improve on them daily, even if it’s only by a few basis points. Thanks to the power of compound interest, these actions will compound and show a huge improvement by the end of the year. What are the three aspects of my life that I improve on daily? My mental, physical, and emotional state.
Improving my mental state
I work on improving my mental state in a few ways, but mostly in an intellectual fashion. I [try to] set aside 30 minutes a day to read an actual book. Books are a powerful medium because they are immensely focused on a specific topic and provide a wide depth of knowledge that blogs just can’t cover. Most people don’t do this because they “read blogs” or Twitter or consume all of their information through Wikipedia. This is such terrible practice because there is no depth to these blog posts, articles, and tweets. There is no real creativity, and most of the time it’s such bullshit, feel-good, ADD blogs like BuzzFeed. While reading a blog, you can easily feed your ADD and hit up twitter after a few seconds… the average attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds according to Static Brain. On that note, people mostly just read headlines and think they’re experts… but I digress.
Besides reading, I challenge myself with new tasks that push me out of my mental comfort zone. In the past few years, it has been to dive into the deep end of web development. This was a topic I never had any formal background in (I was in finance for 6+ years), and it was indeed a challenge. But guess what? I learned how to program, and I can now build any web app I can think of. Fuck outsourcing to India and fuck asking someone to build out your ideas.
Writing a book was also a challenging task, but I ended up writing two before the age of 26! Did I mention that I got kicked out of my first high school for bad grades? I did not let that deter me and set off to prove myself wrong. I originally was able to complete such a feat by writing 500 words per day. When it was time for the second book to be written, I had enough confidence to complete it that I pushed myself to write 1,000 words a day. Guess what? I did it! At the end of the day, as long as you mentally believe you can do something, you will be able to accomplish it if you apply discipline. Doing something uncomfortable builds mental toughness, and everything is mental.
This one is straightforward—lift weights and eat steaks. Working out and eating clean isn’t just for being healthy or looking your best (well most of it is ;)). Working out and improving yourself also helps build your confidence. This confidence translates into other parts of your life—business & personal. It’ll give you the confidence to complete tasks that you previously didn’t think you were able to do because, just like working out, they are gradual improvements. Anyways, eating clean and working out will give you more energy throughout the day, and it also helps you think clearly. Working out isn’t just for physical endurance, but to mentally challenge your body to push yourself. It is also a good place to clear your head.
Improving emotionally…. Or learning to control your emotions
Not everyone can remain stoic through tough situations, but it is a good practice to start applying such principles. Responding with emotion always puts you in a position of weakness and can easily deter you from achieving your desires. If you take a step back, think through your emotional judgment, and try to think of a logical RESPONSE, then you will be put in a position of strength. Remaining stoic through a situation where emotions are high will always put you in a position of power. This will translate into inner peace, since you will have achieved the outcome that you wanted. Start each day by reading a few quotes on Stoicism and apply the quote/principle. I have listed a few quotes I start my day with at the bottom of this post. Feel free to use them.
Along with controlling your emotions, comes controlling your expectations. The sad reality is that people typically disappoint. People are inherently selfish, and there is nothing that we can do change that. All we can do is change how we respond to people in general. Remember, at the end of the day, the only things you can really control in life are the thoughts you think, the things you visualize, and the actions you take (h/t Marcus Aurelius). Take action by managing your expectations when it comes to people. As long as you keep a positive outlook on things you can control, then everything will be OK.
In conclusion, strive to continue improving daily. Imagine improving yourself just 1% a week… that translates into a 67.7% compounded improvement over the next year! Do you know what type of return that is given compound interest over your lifetime? With that type of discipline and growth, you will be able to accomplish anything and everything you have ever dreamed of. You will accomplish every goal you set to hit. It works for me, and it will work for you. So remember, if you believe in yourself and strive to make small improvements daily, you WILL achieve greatness.
Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs.
How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life.
Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them
So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their character and actions are not mine. What is done to me is ordained by nature and what I do by my own.
Today I escaped from anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions—not outside.
When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me.