Success means different things to different people. What I strive for may be completely different than what you strive for.
My definition of success means having meaningful relationships, good health, great finances and acceptance in my every day life.
Over the years, I have built a rule book for my own life. These are my 5 rules for success.
1 – Be Obsessive
Obsession is tricky.
It is a dance with the devil. When you obsess over something, you are constantly teetering on the edge of being driven and being completely consumed.
I don’t believe that anyone can truly succeed without being slightly delusional and obsessive. The winners win because they are willing to do what others aren’t.
Life is tough and there is tough competition out there. Whatever your goal is, there is someone out there right now, working towards the same goal. You won’t win by going through the motions. You need more.
Success requires obsession.
I’ve looked for ways around this. I’ve read all the “life hacks” and the “optimization techniques” I could find. Ultimately, success still comes down to a few key points. The most important of which is “who wants it more?”
I understand this is dangerous advice to give. I myself have struggled with addiction and anxiety for most of my life. It always feels like there is something else to do. It’s tough to relax. I can’t ever stop thinking about the work I want to do next.
But the truth is, I wouldn’t change it for anything. It’s this obsessive personality of mine to sharpens the blade and keeps the fire lit for myself and for everyone around me.
If I want something bad enough, I’ll do anything to get it.
2 – Don’t Drink
The biggest thing holding most people back from success is alcohol. There’s no doubt in my mind that if most people stopped drinking, their finances, their health, their self esteem and their productivity would sky rocket.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with drinking. In fact, I think alcohol is a wonderful thing. I’ve had some really great times in my life while getting hammered.
But the day I decided to stop drinking was the day that I instantly started to see success in my life.
Think of all the money people spend at bars on the weekends. It’s crazy. The average bar tab is around $90. Multiply that by 30 weekends or so a year and you’re basically breaking even every week.
How can you grow when you spend all your extra money at the bar each weekend?
I’m not telling you to quit drinking, I’m not telling you that there is anything wrong with partying or having a great time. What I will say, with 100% certainty, is that it is really difficult to succeed in life when you drink too much. Most people drink too much.
Take it for what it’s worth.
3 – Learn How to Talk to People / Learn How to Sell
Basically, stop posting shit on Instagram in hopes that it will lead you to success.
If you want to have a successful business, the first thing you need to do is stop watching Gary Vaynerchuk videos and go have an actual conversation with someone.
People do business with people that they like and trust. You build trust and relationships by interacting with people.
Somehow, over the course of the last 10 years, we’ve been sold on the idea that if we can “build a brand” for ourselves, then we could have people flock to us and give us money and praise and attention.
Is it a good idea to build an online brand? Of course it is. What you’re reading right now is part of my brand.
But don’t ever, for a single second, think that your website or your Facebook page is more important than your ability to engage people and interact with them on a personal level. It’s not. Everyone in the world can post a picture on Instagram, but how many people can make other people feel good about themselves while having a conversation?
A good business is built on reputation, one on one interaction, and building personal relationships with your customers.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to people then you need to take a public speaking class or join a book club or even start with a gym membership. Force yourself to go up to strangers and say hi. You may be awkward and it may be real painful to try and fail, but keep trying.
It will be the greatest skill you will ever learn.
4 – Save Your Money and Invest Your Money
One of the biggest mistakes people make with their finances is failing to save.
I know it’s tough to save, especially for people on a budget. I get it. I have been there. But it is possible. If you build a system with your finances you can set aside money every week. You just do it, no matter what it takes.
But there is one thing more harmful than not saving, and that is not investing.
It is very tough to find real success when you are constantly “stuffing money under the mattress.”
It’s better to think of money as a tool, rather than something you need to keep working for. I have trained myself to start thinking of money as a way to make more money. Try to always think of ways to put your money to work.
I’m am by no means an investment expert. I’ve made some bad investments in my life and I have paid the price for it. But if you do the math, I am still way ahead of where I would be if I let the money I’ve made by “working” sit in the bank. That money will lose value. I try to make my money work for me.
I make investments in other companies, in some stocks, mostly index funds and websites that I build that hopefully bring me passive income.
I would recommend reading I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi. That book taught me how to manage money and automate my savings so I could spend guilt free and also invest in long term growth and some short term “gambles.”
5 – Maintain Good Health
Healthy people are successful because health requires discipline and builds self respect.
In my own ideals, I could not be unhealthy and successful at the same time.
I always tread around this topic lightly because it’s tough to talk about obesity and diets and exercise without hurting people’s feelings. But every year, the obesity rate raises and more and more people spend more and more money on preventable health care expenses.
Good health is the most important criteria to a successful life. Without your health, what do you have?
You can’t climb beautiful mountains, you can’t play sports with your friends, you can’t snowboard, you can’t have good sex. It’s a shame to me that more people don’t take their health more seriously.
I don’t have it all figured out. As they say, I am a work in progress.
But I have learned enough to know what works for me and what doesn’t work for me. I know that if I follow these 5 rules, if I stay true to myself and I continue to work hard, I will always see progress in my life.
The key to happiness is progress. We’re either growing or dying. I have a lot of life left in me, I want to keep growing.