12 years ago, a mentor of mine gave me a piece of advice that I never forgot.
He said, “Tim, you’ll be successful as soon as you learn how to get out of your own way.”
Becoming successful in business is simple. Anyone can do it. You are more than capable of creating a successful life for yourself.
In this week’s article, I will go over the most important habits and behaviors you will need to adopt if you want to generate wealth in your life.
#1 – A Routine
Society loves to celebrate the visionary. We worship leaders who had a dream and a vision, and then somehow manifested that dream into reality with charisma, charm, and genius.
We idolize people like Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Amelia Earhart.
While it’s true that these figures exist, they are few and far between. In addition, being a “visionary” is actually a very poor method for success.
Success is rarely grandiose. Success is habitual.
People who are successful in business are so because they continue to show up. They continue working on finding a solution to a specific problem, and then they work on solving this problem, day in and day out, for years or even decades.
The routine is the catalyst.
Routine removes decisions
Having a routine will increase your probability of success because it removes the variables. If your days look relatively the same, then there aren’t a lot of extra decisions you need to make. All of your time and energy can be focused on accomplishing your mission.
Mark Zuckerberg wears the same clothes every day. Warren Buffet lives in the same house that he bought in 1958. Sara Blakely dedicates each day of the week for particular tasks.
The less choices you need to make, the better.
Routine helps you operate at your highest frequency
When you live your life in a routine, you give yourself the opportunity to work on what is important.
People without a routine are wasting a lot of time, because they are moving too much. They waste energy with their movement and their economy of energy is poor.
With a routine, you can spend almost all of your time working in Stephen Covey’s “Important and not urgent” quadrant. I wrote more about this here. This means, you’re not wasting time putting out fires or solving urgent problems. Rather, you’re focusing your time on action that can generate the most results.
An example of wasted movement
When I was 16, I worked in an auto shop called Tires Plus. I would change oil and tires for people.
There are actually a lot of steps when changing tires on a car. You have to lift the car, take the wheels off, complete a 10 step process to take the tires off, and then put new ones back on.
When I first started working there, I was partnered with a man named Bernard. We all called him Bernie. In the beginning, I was very frantic. I wanted to do a good job and there were so many steps in the process. If I took too long, cars would stack up and we would get behind. To compensate, I was always working at redline.
Finally, Bernie grabbed me and said “Youngbull, try not to move around so much when you work.”
Then I watched Bernie do it. He moved slowly and methodically. He did the same exact thing, in the same exact way, every time he needed to change a set of tires.
His movement was slower, but he got the job done 5X faster than I did.
I never forgot that lesson.
Successful people don’t move around so much when they work.
The people I admire are successful in all areas of their lives. The reason is because they see success is an outcome oriented process. They apply this thinking to their marriages, their diets, their finances, their golf game and even the care of their homes.
They are quite literally, habitually successful.
#2 – Automate Spending and Investing
I’m not a financial expert or a financial planner.
However, my experience has shown me that I have a better relationship with money that 99% of the people I come across.
I don’t have any “top secret” investing strategies and I definitely don’t listen to Dave Ramsey. In fact, I would argue that the WORST thing you can do for your finances is to pay too much attention to “hacks and strategies.”
The best way to generate financial freedom for yourself is to automate your spending.
Ramit Sethi taught me everything I know
Earlier in my life, I had a terrible relationship with money. As such, I was always living in poverty mindset.
Your finances are probably in shambles because you are actively trying to make the right decisions. You’re paying too much attention to them.
In reality, investing should be boring and systematic. The formula for financial success has already been proven. To get rich, you simply create and execute on a process that will generate wealth for you.
What does this mean specifically?
1. Automate your savings – You should never “try” to save money. What you need to do is remove the option. Create a savings account and an investing account. Then, create an automated system that deposits money from your checking to your savings and investing account.
This doesn’t need to be complicated. It also doesn’t need to be a lot of money, at least not at first. What you need to do is develop the habit of automatically investing.
Every Friday, my bank deposits $350 from my checking account to my two savings accounts. $250 goes into my “oh shit” account and then $100 goes into my “Tesla” account.
2. Automate your investing
In addition, every Friday, $500 goes into my Vanguard account where it is automatically invested into the S&P 500 Index.
Once a month, I’ll go into my Vanguard account and deposit some of that money into ETFs to remain diversified. I like to diversify into long term bets, such as real estate ETFs, rare earth minerals, and other buy and hold stocks such as Disney, Starbucks, and United Healthcare.
I never pay attention to my stocks and I NEVER trick myself into thinking that I am smarter than the markets. Last time I did that, I cost myself $90,000.
Everything is automated. My future is secure, and I can live my life without fear or anxiety.
3. Automate investing in yourself
Why is it that you will spend $1000 on clothes and tens of thousands on a car, but you flinch at the idea of spending $400 for a course or $40 a month for a gym membership?
Everything I have is a result of investing in my education, my skillset, my health, and my brand.
Commit to investing in yourself.
I invest in my …
- skills as a writer (I’m always taking a new course or workshops)
- my marketing (I invest heavily in content for Stodzy and Copyblogger)
- my employees (I pay my employees well and give health insurance and pay for their continuing education)
- portfolio (I’m always putting my profits into new businesses and cash flowing assets)
I like Alex Hormozi’s philosophy on this.
This doesn’t mean that I won’t treat myself to a new tattoo or that my wife and I won’t splurge out on travel and food. The point is that my businesses and my personal development will continue to grow because I’m continuously reinvesting in myself. I live off 10% of my net profits, the rest gets reinvested.
#3 – Become a Great Communicator
Nothing matters unless you can communicate.
Communication is the foundational skill. It is more important than everything else because everything else requires communication.
If you’re a great doctor, but you can’t communicate, then you have a huge disadvantage in the competitive markets. The same is true for every other skillset. Nothing matters unless you can communicate.
Okay sounds great, but how do you improve your communication skills?
The easiest way to be a great communicator is to write every day
Great writing is critical. You can’t separate writing from thinking. As such, great writers are also great thinkers. It’s extremally challenging to formulate your thoughts into words on a page.
As your writing improves, so will your thinking and your ability to accurately articulate your message.
Have you ever had the experience where you knew what it is you wanted to say but you couldn’t seem to get the words out right? Writing solves this dilemma. As you write, you will be forced to contemplate your material and systematically improve your words and sentences until you feel satisfied that your message is articulated clearly.
One of my favorite examples of the power of writing is Jeff Bezos.
In executive meetings at Amazon, Bezos implemented a policy that demanded people give presentations via a written memo. He did not allow PowerPoint presentations, because he knew that PowerPoint gives wiggle room to meander around the burden of arguing your point.
Writing 6 page memos would force his team to think and communicate clearly.
The presenter had to write the memo regardless of their writing skills. It wasn’t about being a “talented writer.” The Amazon memo is a demonstration that logistical challenges and haphazard ideas are harder to hide when they are presented in a written format. So the act of writing forced the presenter to think through his or her message.
Also, you should master the art of speaking in public
I have never been a great speaker.
I am self conscious about my cadence, my northern accent, and the fact that no matter how hard I try, I can not stop myself from saying fuck or shit every other sentence.
This means that I need to work even harder to become a good speaker, because being a great orator is a huge advantage.
Improving my speaking skills is the exact reason why I started my podcast. A podcast is an honest interaction between people. Your speaking flaws are amplified through a podcast, because each person is effectively put on the spot.
If you don’t know what you’re talking about, your poor speaking skills will expose you. The “ums” and the “likes” and the pregnant pauses will only highlight you’re incompetence.
This is why I suggest everyone start a podcast.
Successful people are great communicators. They understand that communication is paramount.
Can you convey a clear message to someone concisely and quickly?
You can explain your ideas and your argument in 200 words or less?
Are you able to argue someone else’s viewpoint for them?
If not, then I highly recommend you improve your communication skills. It could be the difference between a life of abundance and a life of struggle and frustration.
#4 – Focus
Focus is critical.
Warren Buffet tells a story of when he and Bill Gates first met each other. There was an exercise in which everyone was asked to write down the main reason for their success.
Both of them simply wrote the word “focus.”
To be successful, you must be focused.
The reason for this is because being successful is hard. No matter what you do, there will be other people trying to beat you. The world is an efficient and competitive place, so in order to get ahead in life, you need to be an expert.
In order to become an expert, you will need to dedicate years, if not decades, improving your craft.
Let me tell you a story …
Over the last two years, I have been growing my personal brand. My newsletter has generated 8000 subscribers and my Twitter has almost 15,000 subscribers. I’m not saying that to brag, but simply to highlight the fact that it’s only been until very recently that people have been paying attention to me.
For the last 10 years, all I have been doing is improving my skills as an SEO, as a writer, and as the CEO of my company.
My entire life is dedicated to this craft. I’ve developed a system and a production line of content generation. If it weren’t for the 10 years of preparation, I never would have been able to grow my brand as effectively as I am now.
Anything worth while in life takes time and focus. The amazing thing about time is that it is completely egalitarian. Everyone has the same amount of time in the day. There is no one in the history of the world who has had more than 24 hours available to them each day.
However, time alone is irrelevant, because you can waste time as easily as you can earn it. To make use of time requires focus.
Most of you don’t know how to focus. You’re too inpatient and you’re seeking instant gratification. Your lives are flooded with easy dopamine, so there is no incentive for you to focus and sacrifice your time.
Focus is the world’s last superpower. The world is trying very hard to keep you angry and on edge. If you can manage your focus and take utility over your attention, you will have a HUGE advantage over the rest of the world.
Everyone else is distracted. Everyone else is chasing the next trend or trying to ride the next wave.
#5 – Conscientiousness
Evidence has shown, time and time again, that conscientiousness is the greatest predictor of success.
“The only major personality trait that consistently leads to success is conscientiousness. People who test high in conscientiousness get better grades, commit fewer crimes and stay married longer. They earn higher salaries, have greater job satisfaction and live longer.”– PAUL TOUGH
Loosely defined, conscientiousness is the personality trait that enables you to behave with an organized and structured approach towards life. It’s a trait that includes high levels of thoughtfulness, good impulse control, and goal-directed behaviors.
Conscientiousness can be broken down into 5 “sub traits.”
- Organization – naturally neat, punctual and detailed
- Diligence – steady, earnest and energetic effort
- Prudence – the ability to make the right decision
- Industriousness – a strong work ethic
- Perfectionism – has a personality that strives for flawlessness
It’s very rare for someone to become successful by accident. When someone does become wealthy or financially successful by a stroke of good fortune, it’s almost always the case that these people lose their money, because their personality isn’t in line with long term wealth.
To understand conscientiousness. you need to understand that successful people become successful on purpose. They are intending to become successful. The willingness and ability to achieve your goals is often times baked into your personality.
How You Do One Thing is How You Do Everything
This article can be easily summarized with one sentence.
“Success is habitual.”
Your behavior, day in and day out, is what will determine how much money you make, the quality of your relationships, and the overall quality of your life.
Like I said, being successful is simple. But, I never said it was easy.