Simple Life Hacks I Wish I Had Known Early in My Career
I am close to 70 now but still learning about life every day. Here are the simple life hacks I wish I had known about life better in my 20’s:
Focusing on value-add
In everything we do, we should focus on adding value. Gear efforts to results rather than work. Begin with the question, “What results are expected of me?” rather than with the work to be done, let alone with its techniques and tools.
Keep the focus here: 10 Positive Thinking Ideas from Peers and Mentors
Develop a vision
Vision. I am always fascinated by this skill. And it is a great skill to have in our view. Does it mean you see everything? Certainly not. It does mean you can see what many cannot. And then act on these. Vision doesn’t count without action. And not without managing the needed action required to implement.
That idea of staying the course for the long term has been the key to success. Vision requires the long term. Be stubborn on vision and have flexibility on details.
Simple life hacks … innovation
Learning from others is always important to me. For example, I have learned innovation from Amazon. They have one of the very best innovation cultures in an industry built on constant innovation and change.
Experiment and change
Remember, change and innovate, BEFORE you have to. Change is a big part of the reality in business. New ideas are the lifeblood of business. And the basis for creative change.
Your life will be in constant change mode, and that is a good thing if you lead change in the direction of your success goals. To do that most successfully, you should try lots of new things continually. For things you like, get very good at them by lots of practice. But keep trying new activities.
I love this quote from Jeff Bezos:
If you double the number of experiments you do per year, you’re going to double your inventiveness.
If you ask the best business leaders, they’ll tell you that experimentation is imperative for their business. It’s how innovations are born and how they stay competitive in the market. Experimentation is everywhere and is always happening.
Your career is not your life
This was probably the most difficult of my lessons, particularly early to mid-career. To be successful in this lesson, you should develop breath to your list of activities and always put family and friends first. To do both well, think about activities that maximize your friends and family, like coaching your children’s sports teams.
Dedicate yourself to continuous learning
I am a big believer in continuous learning. You should always seek to be flexible and keep several alternative paths in front of you. Always be on the lookout for ways to reinvent ways for self-improvement. My most favored quote on continuous learning comes from Charles Darwin:
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
All of these life lessons get better when you have a strong foundation in knowing how to be kind to others. I have never found a better way to stay happy. Kindness costs you nothing, and you’d be surprised how much it can do for your happiness.
Always look to find something to make you laugh
Another important factor in your happiness is enjoying a good laugh as often as you can. Making fun of yourself and your mistakes is a great place to start.
Simple is good
Life has so much clarity when you keep things simple. For example:
Want to understand better? Listen.
Miss a loved one? Call. (Or text, Facebook message, Snapchat)
Want to achieve? Hustle.
Want to laugh? Watch Youtube videos.
Love someone? Say it.
Simple life hacks … sacrificing your health to pursue super success
One of my best friends had cancer. Do you know how many times I heard him say, “Gosh, I wish I made more money or worked more hours?” Not once. Take care of your body. Fruits and vegetables are your best friend. Work out regularly. Cardio, lifting weights or workout classes should be a big part of your life. Invest in your body today so that you’ll have a brighter future tomorrow.
Work can be fun
You know that feeling you get when your alarm rings at 7 AM in the morning? That feeling of dread? Guess what? It doesn’t have to be that way for the next 50 years of your life. Find work that you’re passionate about. Find a mission that you want to get behind 100%. Find your calling. Do that, and you will wake up with a renewed sense of energy.
Happiness is a state of mind
Looking back on my life, the unhappiest moments of my life occurred when I always thought I had to achieve a certain goal to be happy. That’s not the way happiness works. You can be happy right now. Be happy that you’re alive. You’re breathing. You’re here in this incredible moment that we call life. That gives you all the reasons you need to be happy.
Awesomeness is contagious
I try to surround myself with positive, upbeat people that want to make a difference in the world. Every time I do that, I walk away feeling energized and passionate about life. Find three people that you deeply admire and spend time with them. Seriously, ask them to coffee, lunch or yogurt. (I’m a fan of Yogurtland personally, and no, they did not pay me to write that.) Notice how you feel after you meet with them? You should be saying “I feel awesome.” Combine that awesome feeling with a dose of yogurt – that’s borderline life changing. If you’re lactose intolerant, I’m sorry.
You are responsible
You’re responsible for your own life. Simple as that. Now go out there and build the life you’ve always dreamed of.
You might not like who you are, but if you don’t know it, you’ll live your life in denial and can never really win, because you’ll keep spinning your wheels.
For example, you can keep saying you’ll write a novel someday, but if you’re a people person, total extrovert and can’t sit still for 15 minutes, you might be a lot better off just organizing public readings for other writers, because that’s where you’ll shine.
If you don’t know, round up your closest family members, friends, and loved ones, and let them tell you who you are.
Don’t wait until tomorrow. Don’t make resolutions for January 1st. Make resolutions for TODAY. You can make a change any day of the year. When I started Four Minute Books, I began writing daily content three weeks before launching it.
Tomorrow becomes “soon,” which is just another word for “never,” faster than you think.
Didn’t I just say impatience? Yes. The key here is to hold two opposing ideas in your head at the same time. Gary does it all the time. Both of these are equally important. Why?
Because once you flip the switch to not waiting and starting to DO things today, you can leave the gear in hustle, but now have to wait for your results to kick in – and that might take forever.
So be impatient short-term, but super patient long-term, and you’ll get what you want soon enough.
You’ve been given an incredible gift just by being alive and breathing right this second. The odds of becoming a human, as opposed to an animal, a plant, or a pair of sneakers, are 1:400 TRILLION. Act like it.
Knowledge is worthless. Unless you do something with it
Acting on impulse without any understanding of what you want to accomplish is like jumping out of a plane without wearing a parachute. You still want to be around afterward to talk about it. The problem, however, is that when we grow up, we keep the illusion alive by never allowing ourselves to explore on our own. This is how consumerism thrives. It feeds on our insecurities that we are always missing something that’s right in front of us. We look around and think that everyone else knows something we don’t, and if we could just spot it, then we would be ready. We feel like outsiders.
We consume information for the joy of consumption. And with the internet at the tip of our hands, it has never been easier. We brag about reading three books a week to appear more knowledgeable. We brag about the newest fitness program we bought as if that will make us instantly ripped tomorrow. We retweet Elon Musk quotes to feel 2% more entrepreneurial.
There is a universal law of order called the exchange rule. If you want value, you must give value in return. We go on information binge and get constipated with too much “knowledge” that we amassed over the years in our quest to feel entitled to start. Many times, this results in the opposite. We feel more helpless than when we began.Analysis paralysis sets in.
Take action then adjust accordingly
To avoid spinning in the perpetual cycle of helplessness for all eternity, you must learn to remove the excess clutter. That paralyzing feeling you get in your gut is your cue to start. There is the possibility of greatness beyond the veil of illusion. Always planning protects you from doing the things that scare you. You never push your limits. You never grow. Instead, replace fear with excitement. Go ahead and do it. Say yes to opportunities and then figure it out as you go. It’s more efficient than psyching yourself out with imaginary scenarios.
Manage your input and output ratio. If you focus 100% on input and take zero action, you’ve just embarked on a mental rollercoaster. You get tired, nauseous and might feel like puking from the invisible forces pulling you around. If you focus 100% on output without zero input, you might just be fooling yourself into thinking that you are moving forward while in fact, you are spinning in circles. Find the optimum ratio that allows you to constantly learn while also putting that knowledge to action on a consistent basis.
What to know: Related post: Lessons Learned in Life … Class Continues Daily
Detach from your ego
At first, it’s hard to sit at a restaurant by yourself. You’re constantly worrying, thinking that people probably think you’re a loser because you’re sitting by yourself. But the reality is, you will never be happy if you care about what people think you!
Before starting meditation, I’d get upset over just about anything.
Now, nothing bothers me.
Recently, I was at the airport, and there was a several hour delays on my flight. I just used that time to do meditation. Ten years ago, I would have become extremely upset. An airplane delay would have ruined my day.
When you let go of your ego needs, it’s easier to accept and even benefit from whatever comes at you.
The bottom line
These are things that we already know, of course. They are not rocket science and shouldn’t be.
Yet this list of little things simply reminds us of what we have forgotten. Then it is up to us to put these lessons (or reminders) into daily use through persistence and practice.
Remember … your experience and learning trumps all!
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he writes about topics to help improve the performance of small business. Find him on G+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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