With Christmas 2015 now fading into the memory bank, today, as typically done around this time of year, I thought about the big things I want to accomplish in 2016 (Click here to read my New Year resolutions idea generator from last year). As in years past, several business-related goals instantly came to mind. How boring…
After giving my head a shake, I started thinking beyond just business. I wanted to go deeper. I have a strong desire to make 2016 a year of character building, which in turn will pay dividends both personally and professionally.
After giving a lot of thought to it, I’ve narrowed it down to what I think we all should be focusing on in 2016 to make it an amazing year of personal development. I’m convinced that if we focus on dramatically improving these four things I’m about to lay out, 2016 will be an epic year.
Without overstating it, I’m dubbing these the:
Four Pillars of an Amazing Life
Whether you have a PhD or just a GED, you don’t know much about 99% of what goes on in this world. We can always learn, and the more we do the better off we’ll be.
The three most successful entrepreneurs I know (all worth well over $100 million and live incredibly balanced and happy lives) are avid readers. One in particular has at least three books on the go at any given time. Conversations with these people are always stimulating. They’re well-read and have lived well.
Four years ago I made it a mission that every year I would read at least 25 books consisting of a diverse range that gave multiple perspectives and worldly context. This year I’ve read about a wide array of characters, including a former porn star, pope and politician. From authors such as Glenn Beck, Arianna Huffington, Marcus Aurelius, Tom Clancy to Steven Pressfield, they’ve all divulged great insight into various aspects of life. And each story provided actionable information for the business world too (yes, even the one about the former porn star).
Oscar Wilde once said, “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
Reading is far more than entertainment. It’s what differentiates your intellect.
The mainstream media never lets us forget about all the bad shit going on in this world. But there are thousands of positive things happening every day, you just have to want to find them.
The world is changing, for the better. And as entrepreneurs, our opportunities no longer lie within our region or country; global market reach is at our fingertips.
It’s easy to be pessimistic and give up on people. It’s easy to point out all the tragedies in this world. It’s easy to complain about taxes and political leaders. But that’s what average people do. And if you have friends or colleagues who constantly want to remind you of the shit in this world, divest yourself of them.
It takes effort to remain optimistic, but it’s well worth it. John Dobson, founder of Formula Growth, one of the most successful private funds in North American history, said “there are no rich pessimists.” I love that.
Be an eternal optimist. Your financial future may depend on it.
[Tweet “There are no rich pessimists”]
Sounds cliché, I know, but seriously… we all need more self-discipline, particularly in this day and age of Twitter, 24-hour news, Fantasy Football, Instagram, barhopping, kids’ busy sports schedules, etc. Variety is the spice of life, but moderation is the key to freedom.
Work time needs to be work time. While writing, turn off everything around you. No smartphones, emails or Facebook. Focus.
While researching, stay on topic, don’t click that link at the bottom of the article to see which 25 photos almost ‘broke the internet’ last year.
While working out, don’t take calls or respond to client messages. Value your time.
At a meeting, shut your damn phone off. Show people that they’re important by giving your undivided attention. Focus on what’s at hand. Your productivity will skyrocket and people will respect you for it. This is a characteristic of a winner.
Wake up early. The early bird gets the worm, simple as that.
Stop pandering to every craving. Don’t reward yourself by going to the local watering hole for happy hour on a Wednesday because you put in a long day. That’s weak. And it’s a brain drain the next day. Weekends are for free time. Weekdays are for getting shit done.
Eat right. Garbage in garbage out. This is a big one for me. I workout a fair amount and am in decent shape, but I’m not nearly as disciplined with what I eat as I need to be. It’s starting to catch up with me in my thirties, impacting my output at home and work.
If you eat right, your energy increases; thus, more stuff gets done.
Tip: A friend turned me on to figs. They taste great, are insanely good for you and provide a jolt of energy! Click here to learn about the benefits of eating this ugly, but tasty, fruit.
These are your people. Cherish them. Help them. Invest your time in every one of them. Far too often we take family for granted, knowing that they’ll always be there for us. But it is for that very reason that we should be spending as much time with them as possible.
I did something this holiday season that I’m going to start doing every Sunday (my one day off): Turn my phone off. Completely off. I have to say, the three days I had it off were awesome. Couple times I had the urge to check, but other than that it was a great release. Not having my phone helped me stay in the moment with my family throughout the day. Highly recommend!
2016 is going to present itself shortly. You determine if it will be the best year yet – not your friends, co-workers, employees, politicians or the economy. Just you. Let these four pillars be your guide to success throughout the New Year, and hopefully the rest of your life.