2020, Damn. I bet you can vividly remember the start of 2018, 2019 and with a blink of an eye, we are already at the end of the second month of 2020.
Did you achieve what you set out to?
Do you have any regrets?
Did you hit your goals?
I'm guessing you wish you had different answers to those questions. With some better understanding and awareness, I'm adamant, you can.
Those that follow the brand would have noticed that I Love Ugly hasn't put out a podcast or an article in a while, which you may be wondering about.
Why haven't we?
It’s because I didn't feel like it. The answer to this question may surprise you, but it’s the truth and is what prompted me to write this article.
Firstly, I apologise for not following through with what we set out to achieve, which is releasing a podcast episode per week and an article per month. Don't get me wrong, we have still been working extremely hard in the background on other projects within the business, but since these articles and the podcast don’t make any tangible or measurable financial return (despite the significant impact on people’s lives), it's the easiest thing to put to the side when we don't feel like it or when we get busy.
It’s made me realise that if you solely rely on your feelings to be the primary motivator to get things done, you are going to continually be disappointed, frustrated and will only achieve about 25% of what you could achieve.
To be honest, the stuff I preach about is FAR easier to write about and talk about than it is to do. I have found it is far easier to motivate, direct and advise people that have come to me with their own issues than it is to deal with my own.
You will probably notice a similar thing. For example when you are going through your own personal issues, whether it be your business or relationship, all of the sudden people with no business experience become experts on business, and people with either a failed or no relationship are all of a sudden relationship experts.
You will also notice when other people are going through specific issues, the answers to their problems are so clear to you, that it frustrates you when they don't act on your advice.
Why is this? It’s because it's easier to teach than it is to do and hard to practice what you preach. But the critical question is, why don't we act on our own advice or other peoples advice even if we know it's the right thing to do? It's because once the motivation wears off, we don't feel like doing the work anymore. We let our feelings dictate our actions.
It's easier to stay put than it is to stretch. It's easier to put our heads in the sand, make no mistakes, take no risks than it is to explore, experience and achieve.
It takes no courage to stay put. It takes no courage to hear good advice and continue doing what you're doing despite the pain it is causing you.
The problem is feelings. Fucking feelings. Feelings are there to guide us and serve us, but they can also do the exact opposite if you allow feelings to control you.
If you change your perspective, you can change your life. Tell yourself this repeatedly to the point you become convicted of its truth:
I know I'm not always going to feel like taking action, but I refuse to rely on how I feel. I’m going to do what's necessary to make the changes I need in my life. I know that it takes no courage to sit still. I'm a courageous person; therefore, I'm going to lean into this wholeheartedly despite the unknown and despite the fear of failure, because I know that it's going to propel me forward and get me a whole lot closer to where I need to be.
Life is an opportunity mixed with difficulty. I believe successful people are the ones that are tested with more adversity and significant life-changing events than non-successful people because they don't live in the comfort zone with their heads in the sand. They have convinced themselves of the above, whether consciously or unconsciously.
People that learn to think for themselves, act boldly and don’t let the feelings of "not wanting to do something" get in the way, are the ones that separate themselves from the herd and are the ones that increase their chances of success. It sounds hard, and it is. We are designed in a way that in order to grow we need to be stretched and be uncomfortable.
The rewards of life come after effort and discomfort. The great body comes with discipline and sacrifice. The great marriage comes with commitment and patience. The successful business is a result of constant improvement and the ability to adapt. Not every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows, not every day is going to be enjoyable and magical.
It’s not the pain that kills you and your dreams. It's the guilt of not taking action. Don't approach your life casually. Because casualness leads to casualties. One of the best contributions you can make to yourself and to other people is your own personal development and a better understanding of your mind. Learn about how it works and why it thinks how it does and why results usually come from the opposite of what you think the right thing is to do.
Changing your life isn't a matter of ability or positive feelings. It's a matter of desire and action. You have to put the emotions aside and know that bad feelings aren't actually serving you. Before you dream about the view from the top, you have to ask yourself if you're willing to keep focused on the path ahead and spend your life walking in the trenches because that's what it actually takes.
Your friends may get to the top in half the amount of time as you do. Don't compare, don't rush, don't be discouraged. It takes years of walking in the trenches to earn your position at the top. They may have been doing that without you knowing. Your time will come, but you never know exactly when. If you want to soar with the eagles, you need to overcome your fear of heights.
You’ve got to realise that if you experience success or achieve big goals too early, it's not a blessing, it's a curse. This is precisely what happened to me in 2016. I started a company from scratch. It grew abnormally quick, and success came prematurely. I had no time to catch up with what was going on. I wanted success so bad that I had no time to develop the wisdom and appreciation for what was going on around me. I nearly lost my life, my marriage, my sanity and my business as a result of it.
Anything premature, usually isn't right, generally not healthy and often results in failure. Think of a premature baby. A premature marriage. A premature drivers license. A premature athlete. A premature kid making a bunch of money with no life or money experience. You see the pattern, right?
Failure and depression come out of giving in to the bad feelings you are experiencing and not taking action. Depression comes out of allowing the circumstances to define who you are as a person. It takes no courage to let the bad feelings rule you or to allow your depression to define who you are. It takes courage to take action.
Don't be so hard on yourself, get on top of yourself. People want the success they haven't been groomed for. They don't realise that success in anything requires time, heartache, pain, patience, skills and a ton of lessons learnt along the way. It's not easy. It's not quick, it's not always fun, and it's not for everyone.
The reward for overcoming your current challenge is your next challenge. People think rewards are wrapped up in a fancy gift box, like it's your birthday. People are chasing the feeling they get from the reward, and when it doesn't turn out how they expected, they crawl in a hole.
If you think about it, the way rewards are given to us is quite the opposite. Sometimes they are given in the form of a new challenge which is often hard to distinguish. Sometimes they are given to us with a complete failure of an idea only to discover a new and better way of doing something else. Sometimes they are given to us by hitting rock bottom, only to find out the only way out is up. Feelings dictate so much of these experiences and lessons, and if we allow the feelings to confuse us into thinking we are not progressing, we stop improving and stop trying. You can't expect to get something for nothing. You need to earn it and do the time.
New challenges are further steps towards growth and progression. It's not what you get that's the reward, it's the person you become to get what you want that's the reward. When you become equipped with these skills and experiences, your external world becomes less relevant and being reliant on the feeling of wanting to do something soon fades away.
Be effective. Be authoritative. Be assertive. Be a master of overcoming fear and bad feelings. Don't be so driven by success that you see obscurity, isolation, confusion and failure as punishment. It's what happened to me in 2017 when I nearly lost it all after a year of insane expansion. As hard and painful as it was (and it was very very painful) it was the necessary thing to happen to me to progress to the next level and become the man I am today. My reward was wrapped up in difficulty and turmoil, despite what I thought about the situation at the time. But I refused to allow how I was feeling to stop me from achieving my mission.
Ask any great athlete, businessman, artist, teacher, mother and father and they will tell you they pushed on through despite wanting to quit or give up many, many times and sometimes on a daily basis.
Do your thing. Do it when you're scared, when you're broke, when you're upset. Do it when you're unsure and when you're in pain. That's precisely when you should be doing it, and that’s when you experience the growth.
You don't want to end up at the end of your life wondering what would have happened if you only had more courage and if you only wish you had more "positive feelings" to get you through. You will never get more time or another chance. You don't want to look back when you're 80 and think "if I only".
Don't let your fear or feelings incarcerate you. If you do, they will slowly imprison you.
The hardest part of hard work is not the part you can see. It is not always a physical effort. It's the mornings when you get the fuck up when you feel like sleeping in. It's the weeks you put out the podcast episode even though you don't feel inspired. It’s the days when you feel like being mad, but you choose to be happy. It's the times when you call your grandmother even though the conversations are tedious and require a lot of effort. It will still make her day. If you only rely on how you feel, you are always going to be disappointed.
What I'm trying to do here is to plant a seed in your mind. This seed may not sprout for 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 years, 20 years. But it will if you allow it to.
You can't let the demands of 2019 debilitate you so you can't be preparing for 2020, 2021, 22, 23 and beyond. This is called life. Life is demanding, and it beats you down unexpectedly. You need to pick yourself back up and fight back despite how you feel.
The hard times fertilise you, they marinate you, they wisen you. You can't just try 1 thing and expect it to be perfect or expect it to work out and if it doesn't just quit. That's not very wise, is it?
Think about this... What you're experiencing today is from the decisions you made last year, last month or 10 years ago. If that's the case. Start doing as much as you can to change your situation this year, by planting the seeds, putting in the effort and thinking forwards, not backwards. You will reap in a month, a year, a decade from what you planted today.
Knowing and understanding this will give you a continual cycle of success despite the ideas that fall off or don't come to life. This mindset will help the way you deal with your disappointments. The way you deal with your disappointments is the way you deal with your destiny.
Flip the script and begin to think about it in a new way. Be a contrarian, and begin to think differently to how you have in the past. Because if you're not where you want to be today, your way of thinking obviously isn't serving you very well.
What if the thing that's causing you the most pain may be the thing that's going to give you the most pleasure?
The most powerful form of hard work is carving out time to think. It's spending time doing all the hard work in your mind. It's knowing you aren't going to feel like it all the time. It's the visualisation, the clarity, the action.
Sometimes achieving your goals may not look very progressive, but make no mistake: it is very hard work and requires a lot of overcoming of fear and mastering of emotions, and this work is what other people don't see. Don't always rely on what people can see to be the benchmark of how well you are progressing. Strategy and consistency often beat sweat. I know this is hard to apply, that's why being around people that can uplift you and give you the words of encouragement is paramount.
Most of the time, I don't feel like doing the work because it's hard, it's unfamiliar, it's uncomfortable, it takes longer than expected, it's not always guaranteed and it's a constant battle with the mind. But I do it anyway, and I feel fantastic afterwards.
I'm writing this article because this is precisely what I have experienced at the start of this year despite the incredible momentum built last year. I'm writing this article for you. To take these concepts, mould them and bend them to become your own.
Don't get me wrong, the feelings of resistance aren't going to disappear. They are there to guide us, but they are also there to screw up our lives if we allow it. With an understanding and an ability to overpower your feelings, you will be able to put the emotions aside so you can achieve what you set out to achieve.
Changing your life isn't a matter of ability. It's a matter of desire.
- The stuff that matters is hard to measure.
- People want the success and rewards that they aren’t ready for.
- With every blessing, there is always going to be a battle.
- It doesn't matter where you start; it's where you finish.
Here's some questions to think about and answer:
- Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing. What do you really wish you had the courage to do?
- What's something you know you should begin this week despite how you feel?
- What would a year look like of putting the feelings of not wanting to do it aside?
- Who else is something you can teach these concepts to?