Ironically, the people making the most money are usually the ones thinking the least about money.
Their minds are too caught up in the work they’re doing.
They aren’t working to earn. They’re working to learn. And their learning and earning so they can do HARDER, more challenging, more interesting, and more important work.
How important is the work you’re doing?
How much are you learning?
How curious are you?
How much are you investing in your education?
Compared to the people at the top of your field, how much are you learning and failing?
Do you know who the “best” in your field is?
Do you see the holes in their thinking and in their businesses?
Do you know these people personally yet? Have you mastered their material? Have you become their ultimate case study? Have you become their most profound and powerful testimonial? Have you joined them in forwarding their cause? Are you learning deeply from the masters and quickly documenting, creating, teaching, and selling what you’re learning?
I put “manages” in quotes because that’s almost the opposite of what they do. Instead of having policies and procedures, Netflix has entirely done away with them. Yet, they maintain a culture of intense discipline.
They build SMALL teams of high achievers and then let them autonomously work on stuff that fascinates them. It turns out, people aren’t really that incentivized by incentives. They’re motivated by being a part of something bigger. About solving a grand challenge. About working with other high achievers who want to do something big and challenging.
How challenging is the work you’re doing?
Research in psychology shows that the higher the job complexity, difficulty, and challenge… the higher the intrinsic motivation.
Human beings are problem-solving machines.
The problem is, we’ve been domesticated in environments where we’ve been micromanaged and trained to follow rules, not trained to think creatively and solve problems in new ways.
The new and ever-changing world we live in REQUIRES and REWARDS those who are willing to solve pressing problems. And psychologically, this is the surest path the most enjoyable and stimulating experiences.
If you want a fascinating, mind-expanding, motivating, and COMPLETELY FEELING ALIVE! life… take on bigger challenges. Solve bigger problems.
You can do this fast.
You were made to solve problems.
You just need a challenge to rise up.
You need to learn faster.
You need to learn in environments where the stakes are increasingly higher.
You need to put yourself around those you’d love to learn from. There’s no cooler experience than becoming great friends and collaborators with the people who have influenced your thinking the most.
So HOW do you do it then?
Priceless Principles For Becoming A Super-Learner, Making Big Money As An “Amateur,” And Getting Mentored By The Best In The World
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.
And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.”― Ira Glass
Jim Rohn said it best — make a million dollars not for the money, but for what it will require you to BECOME in order to do it. Focus on the end, not the means and you’ll get there much faster.
If you want to become world-class at what you do — and do it in record speed — here is your cheat sheet:
How bad do you want it? You can train your desires. You can convince yourself that you want something. You can also convince yourself that you already have that thing. As Charles Haanel said, “Remember that no matter what the difficulty is, no matter where it is, no matter who is affected, you have no patient but yourself; you have nothing to do but convince yourself of the truth which you desire to see manifest.”
Wake up early — you won’t regret it. But you will regret hitting the snooze-button, every time you’ll regret that. When you wake up early and get right to work, you signal to yourself how much you care. That investment and decision separates you from 99% of the world.
Put first things first — every single day. Whatever that means to you. If it means connecting with God, do that. If it means going to the gym, do that. If it means writing in your journal, do that. If it means hugging and kissing your loved ones, do that. As Pablo Picasso said, “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
Become insanely curious about many different things, but also specific things. Become a super-learner. Become “harmoniously” passionate about something and learn it inside-and-out. Over-train yourself in something to the point of “automaticity,” where it becomes a subconscious part of your being.
Become really good at connecting things. The reason the Beatles were so innovative was because they never stopped learning about different types of music from different cultures. They then weaved what they learned into their own music and they broke the conventional ways of seeing “reality.” Einstein worked in the patent shop when he wrote his most innovative papers. He wasn’t in an academic setting. And Ryan Holiday has said, “If you read what everyone else is reading, you’ll think like everyone else is thinking.” You should definitely know your craft and field better than anyone else. But you also have to become a master of other worlds, and weave those worlds together so they can have “idea sex” and make “idea babies.” The better you get at connecting experiences, ideas, principles, concepts, people, etc. the deeper will be your learning and the more valuable and innovative your ideas.
Invest as soon and as much as you can into your own education. Invest in information products, seminars, books, coaching, all of it.
Choose a few people who you believe to be the best at what they do — whose work you believe to be very important. Learn everything you can from them. Buy everything they sell. Apply everything you learn. Get better results than anyone else. Become their ultimate case study. Become their most profound and powerful testimonial. Become their biggest referrer.
Develop rare and valuable skills by immediately implementing what you’re learning. Apply what you’re learning better than anyone else. The difference between wisdom and knowledge is that wisdom must be earned through experience. Wisdom implies understanding, which very few people have. Only those with concrete experience and a higher-level perspective understand. You can’t understand something if you don’t live it. Theoretical knowledge or a treasure trove of information won’t do you much good if you don’t know how to apply it. The only way to get good at applying something is to constantly learn, document, teach, create, tinker, play, fail, and sell.
Quantity is the ultimate path to quality. Study any of the best artists or entrepreneurs in the world. They have a huge volume of work. Most of their stuff didn’t see the light of day. Most of their stuff wasn’t that good. Very little of what they did is what made them famous. But EVERYTHING they did was incredibly important. Without ALL of their work, they wouldn’t have been able to produce what they did. It’s better to be prolific than perfect.
If you’re not getting the results you want, THEN MAKE BETTER ART. Fail more — this keeps you humble. Memory is infused into your psyche through emotion. The more emotional the experience, the deeper embedded into your identity the memory — the faster and more crucial the learning.
Document and teach everything you’re learning. Become fascinated by everything you’re learning. According to the Protégé Effect, the faster you TEACH something you learn, the more embedded and deep that learning. When you teach something, you’re forced to contextualize it. You’re forced to EXPLAIN it simply. You’re forced to break-it-down and put it back together.
Sell something. According to Henry Ford, “Nothing happens until someone sells something.” Start creating stuff and selling it. When you sell something, you then become accountable to what you’ve created and accountable to the person who bought your creation. This forces you to think a lot harder about what you’re doing. It forces you to think about who you want to be. It forces you to think about who you want your customer to become. These are all really good things to think about. If you’re not selling something, you’re not really doing it. If you want this to be a profession, it also needs to be a business. Having people pay you for your work builds confidence. It gives you permission to continue what you’re doing at bigger and bigger levels. It’s all about learning and earning to do more difficult, interesting, and important work.
The more important your work becomes, the closer you’ll get to your mentors. Unlike most of the people in your field who “sell-out,” or stop innovating, or believe their own press, your job is to remain humble and genuine the whole way. Always maintain the student’s mind. Always be an amateur, never an “expert.” Always be humble and gracious. Always be a light in the room that ignites everyone else. A rising tide raises all ships. Raise the tide. The more you help others, the better will be your individual performance. If it’s all about you, you’re never going to be on a winning team. No one will want to work with you. And your arrogance will blind and bind you.
Give all the credit of your success to your mentors.
Continually invest more to get closer and to collaborate deeper with your role models.
Continue to be their biggest testimonial, referrer, and case study. Never stop learning from them. Never stop investing in them. Never stop helping them.
As you help others, you’ll be stunned by how many people help you. You’ll be shocked as your own work becomes increasingly influential.
You’ll be stunned as your own business exceeds that of your mentor.
You’ll take what you’re learning — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and you’ll apply it all. You’ll learn your own lessons through rapid experience. The best students are the best teachers. Those who learn and teach are the best learners. Those who invest are the most committed. Those who embed themselves into demanding environments rise up to the demands of those environments. Those who give, receive. Those who raise others rise the fastest themselves.
Helping your ideal mentor grow their business is the fastest way to grow your own. Learning everything you can in an experiential way. Always giving credit where it’s due. Never buying into your own press.
Decide who you want to be and differentiate yourself. What ideally would you love to create? What can you learn from your mentors in how they’ve created what they’ve created? How can you stand on the shoulders of giants and make something even better? How can you learn from their wins and losses? How can you create a culture where the people in your sphere are empowered to create as they wish? How can you take an idea and watch as the environment you’ve built around you quickly turns that idea into something different and better than what you initially imagined? Grant Achatz, the chef at the famed Alinea once had the idea to have inflatable food. He tried inflating cheese with air in hopes it would float. He then passed that idea off to his team and let them take ownership over it. One of the chefs in his kitchen toyed and played and eventually learned how to make floating sugar, which is served at Alinea.
Become a better mentor than your mentors were for you. Give more freedom of expression to those you mentor. Give all credit to others. Be more generous. Invest more in others. Be more open to feedback. Be more approachable. Create a culture of radical honesty, discipline, innovation, learning, results, and fun. The best learners are the best teachers. Never stop learning. Never stop teaching. Never stop giving and serving those who have helped you most. Create the best products and services available to the amazing people who buy your stuff.
Despite becoming the best in the world at what you do, never stop being an amateur. Never stop being a student. And do all of this in record speed. Ride the roller-coaster. Exercise faith in your vision. Put yourself in situations of necessity. Get the best in the world — your idealized role models — to get skin in YOUR GAME. Become increasingly interconnected. Become radically honest in your struggles and victories.
Get whiteboards and never stop writing your goals, dreams, and schemes in your journal. Never stop affirming and convincing yourself of where you’re going. All the while, never stop learning and having that path shattered and upgraded with new and better information.
Never let your past be bigger than your future.
Never let the work you’ve done stop you from the work you’re going to do.
Never stop innovating and re-inventing. You have no fixed personality. Your identity has infinite dimensions and sides. Don’t put yourself in a box. Adapt and be transformed.
What are you waiting for?
Ready to Upgrade?
I’ve created a cheat sheet for putting yourself into a PEAK-STATE, immediately. You follow this daily, your life will change very quickly.
Husband & foster father of 3. Pursuing PhD in Organizational Psychology. Author of 2 free eBooks (on productivity & blogging strategy)
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“People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.”
- MARCUS AURELIUS