We have all heard it before… “go to school, go to university, get a degree, get yourself a nice husband or wife, work hard at your job and you will live happily ever after.” This sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
Unfortunately, a lot of people spend their entire lives ‘working hard’ but never seem to achieve success. What is the answer to succeeding in your career, passion and life as a whole if following the status quo isn’t it? That is the million-dollar question that they leave people to figure out on their own, and unfortunately very few do. The ones that do “make it” are the ones that seem to know the answer.
In order to find success, I believe it is more important to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. This loaded statement has proven to be true many times over in both my personal and professional life and is something I have seen work wonders for many other successful people I know and learn from.
Unfortunately, I only figured it out 7 years ago, but it helped me prevail through some of the most challenging times of my life, allowing me to come out stronger and wiser. I'm hoping this article can help change your life too.
In this mini-essay, I'm going to explain what it means to work harder on yourself than you do on your job by offering ten of the most valuable lessons I have learnt from applying this in my own life.
To start, I’d like to define what I mean by ‘job’. I don’t just mean your traditional 9-5 job. I’m talking about anything that you are passionate about, anything that is important to you and anything that you are hoping to achieve success in. This can be anything from working for someone else, running a business, building a clothing brand, developing a music career, being a professional athlete, teacher, pastor, mother, father, or whatever else it may be.
The statement that sparked the idea of this essay comes from Tony Robbins mentor; Jim Rohn and has stuck with me ever since, “If you work hard on your job you can make a living. But if you work hard on yourself you can make a fortune.” What he means is that success is an inside job (meaning your thoughts and your mindset). It’s a game of psychology more than just working hard and this is what 95% of people don't realise.
Successful people encounter the exact same amount of failures and set-backs as those deemed non-successful. In fact, they probably face more failures and set-backs because they get up and try again even after failing. The reason they get through it is that they expect set-backs to happen, and continue to push through when they encounter them.
Now that you know this, think of a person that's risen to the top position of your company, the successful business owner or the athlete that is always in the starting line-up. You will notice that these people are relentless. They keep trying and have a bunch of positive habits outside of the work environment that directly impacts what they do in a positive way.
Winning is impressive, but what impresses me more is somebody that has suffered loss, bounces back and comes back stronger. We all see the winners on TV, on the Instagram feed and YouTube, but we only see the good bits. We don't see the battles and demons they face internally behind closed doors, the rigorous habits they implement when they are driving in their cars or brushing their teeth, where the only person they must confront is their own mind. These people have learned to master their own thoughts and emotions and know how to calm their mind, replace the negative thoughts with the positive and not let a negative Instagram comment or slip-up in their performance ruin their day.
If you really want to propel forward in anything you do, I can't stress enough how important developing a growth mindset is, and this is something you develop OUTSIDE of your job.
A growth mindset teaches you about the peaks and valleys in life and about the expectation of the unforeseen circumstances. Very few people get to the top of the valley unscathed, without a few bumps and bruises along the way. Most have nearly got to the top, only to fall right back down, sometimes multiple times, only to know the only way to break this pattern is to get up again and keep climbing.
Extraordinary results are not just built on a series of things going well. They are built on failure, perseverance, embarrassment, confusion, blood, sweat and tears. Sure, you will get the highs, the boosts of confidence and the hits of serotonin from a decision going in your favour. But the reality is, it will be a cocktail of pleasant and unpleasant emotions.
The trick is to EXPECT these emotions to happen, KNOW they will happen and PUSH THROUGH them when they do happen. If I were you, I would write that last sentence out and put it on the home screen of your phone, the wall in your bedroom and your mirror in your bathroom to have a daily reminder.
Most bad decisions started off as an excellent idea, so don't beat yourself up if that good idea ends sour. It’s completely normal. There is always a seed of a good idea within a lousy idea. Your job is to extrapolate it and always look for the good.
So here are some handy tips that I suggest you implement in your personal life outside of your job, for getting results that will propel you above your peers. Don't be surprised when people begin telling you that you are lucky, just remember that the harder you work, the luckier you get.
- Invest in your mind. Those who work on themselves harder than they do on their job invest heavily in personal development. They commit to reading books about the mind, their craft, leadership, health & energy. The average CEO reads around 40 books per year and spends countless hours listening to audiobooks. They attend seminars, get themselves a coach and hang around other amazing people. The knowledge you have attained in your life has got you to the point you are today. Whether you are proud of that or not. You have to be an idiot if you think you can learn nothing more and expect the quality of your life to be improved. Remember, the difference between your life today and your life in 5 years is the books you read and people you hang out with.
- Practice Consistency. When you get good at something, people begin taking you for granted. When you're consistent, you stop getting compliments. So if people have stopped complimenting you that is the highest compliment because it means you're consistent. Practice consistency in all you do, whether it means getting up early and reading for ½ an hour. Eating high fat instead of eating sugar for energy. Moving your body every day. Writing for 5 minutes every day to crystalise your thoughts. Staying ½ an hour later than you're paid for or any other positive habit. This will build healthy habits that will shine through in your work and everything else you do in life. Give me a successful person, and I can guarantee they are a consistent person.
- Learn to accept there are some things you can't control. It's not things that upset us. It's our opinion and perspective about things. You can lose weight, but you cant get taller. You can move house, but you can't control where you were born. You can change yourself, but you can't change other people. Somethings are the way they are. Accept them. Sometimes this is going to irritate you, and you are not going to like it. But don't let it, that's a non-growth mindset mentality. Accept it, and change your view on the situation or change your environment, as that's 100% in your control.
- Expect problems. When we encounter a problem, we quit because we didn't expect it to happen. The reason you call it a problem is because it wasn't part of the plan. So why not plan to have problems? This point right here can change the trajectory of your life.
- Be patient. We live in an era where everybody wants it instantly or in less than 6 months. You don't often hear about patience, expecting problems or feeling stuck when chasing your goals. When you get stuck, you get stupid because you're sick of being stuck. BE PATIENT. Trust the process, read autobiographies or even reread this essay to know that patience is a virtue. An excellent choice may go unrewarded for a long time. That's the tricky thing. You need to wait it out and have faith that your decision will bear fruit. The most significant rewards are often delayed, and great ideas don't usually bloom until years later. Be patient. Keep working.
- Be entrepreneurial. Now I don't mean to go off and start your own business because owning a business isn't for everyone. I mean THINK and BEHAVE like an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are important because they think different. They can also become very wealthy as a result of thinking different and being problem solvers. Being a problem-solver means you can make a lot of money or a lot of money in your job. From this, you can use that money to help solve the problem of making the world a better place or teaching other people to think as you do. People love people that think and solve problems.
- Visualise the person you want to become. Sometimes you can make so much progress without even realising it. You have grown so much that you begin looking at your life or your living situation and are no longer satisfied with where you are living or how much money you are earning, and it wasn't so long ago where you would have been content. This right here means that you are growing. It means your external world is no longer congruent with your inner world. It also demonstrates the power of thought and visualisation. Do this with everything in your life. Your weight, your relationships, your business, your salary, your creativity. Everybody that makes it to the top WANTED to get to the top and saw it in their mind first before it became a reality. Combine that with a relentless work ethic, and you will become it, so long as you don't quit. I can bet you $1,000,000 nobody got there accidentally.
- Ask people to tell you the truth. You can tell the character of someone by how much truth they can tolerate. The irony is, the more truth you can tolerate, the better person you become, even though it hurts. We all have blind spots, even the best do. Tiger Woods has multiple coaches as he understands the importance of blindspots and to never stop learning. Begin asking people that are more successful than you are for the truth around certain areas of your life. They will come from a place of love and tell you a bunch of things that you had no idea about. What gets measured gets improved.
- Don't shy away from challenges or live in complacency even though it's enjoyable. Too much sunshine makes a desert. You need to go through shit as this is where the muscle is built. A big mistake I made in 2016 was resting on my laurels. When I made a $1,000,000 before tax profit one year, I stopped trying. I grew complacent and began indulging in certain things, stopped my great habits and was shying away from new challenges. I mistakenly thought that once you ticked off your goals, you could relax and go with the flow. How wrong was I. Things unravelled 10 times faster than they took to build. This is all because I was enjoying too much sunshine. I like the phrase by Grant Cardone, which is to "stay broke". Meaning even if you have money, invest it into assets so you don't spend it on things that make you look impressive, and so it keeps you hungry because you got no cash again. Very smart, and something I apply to my life today. Don't get complacent once you get that job you want. You are doing yourself a disservice if you don't continue to grow and strive for more. If you're not growing you are going backwards. It's your moral obligation to become the best version of yourself. To both yourself and those around you. Therefore you must continue to grow. It's hard to get up in the morning when you sleep in silk sheets.
- Practice gratitude daily. It's so easy to get caught up in the rush, in the chase and in the grind. It's so easy to discredit and ignore all the good in your life and only focus on what isn't working. It's so easy to get annoyed at your kids or colleagues or clients. Truth is, there is always going to be something going wrong and not working. Therefore it's so important to practise gratitude daily. It makes you realise that no matter the economic landscape of your life, you still have a lot of blessings around you if you decide to look for them. If you are reading this chances are you live in the Western world. Therefore, you live in the most blessed and richest social-economic landscapes in the world and are wealthier than 70% of the planet. Every morning, I focus on three things I'm grateful for. These are as simple as my health, having 2 legs, having my staff, having both parents alive, having a wife and healthy kids. Despite what's going on in my life, it fills me up and helps me charge through the day and my work because I have already won. Live every day like it's your last. Plan every day like you will live for eternity and continuously look for the good in any situation.
There you have it. When you develop your greatest asset, which is you, you can create unlimited income, success, health and prosperity. A wage or income is simply the fee you receive set by your employer or business, based on the exchange of services rendered, the problems solved or value added to the market. Every day you will have choices on how you look at the situation. Every hour you will have the decision whether to look a the cup ½ fill or ½ empty. Those choices will determine whether or not you will have a great day or a bad day.
An upgrade in your mindset will undoubtedly give you an upgrade in your paycheque, your job and your quality of life. The funny thing is, is all of this takes place outside of the office and is what will have the biggest impact on your job.
Good luck, and please do me a favour and share this with anybody who needs to read it. Any organisation, school, sports team, business, or aspiring anything. It fuels me to keep writing down my thoughts, knowing people are reading it and getting value from it.