This may sound silly to you, but I got to know myself last year at age 35. I always considered myself a very mature, responsible adult, but it turns out I was subconsciously sleepwalking through life. You know, comfortable in everything. We think being comfortable is cool, but it’s actually terrible. Horrible. It limits growth. It limits ambition. It limits passion. I had to wake up, so I did, and I have. And I pay very close attention every single day to getting better and living life to the absolute fullest (excuse the cliché). That’s my truth. What’s yours? And to show my appreciation for following along and being interested in what I have to say, here are some thoughts to chew on.
1. You have to get to know yourself. Your 30 year old self may not be the same as your 20 year old self. Your 35 year old self may not be the same as your 30 year old self. What are your passions? Why were you put on this earth? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Why do you react to situations in certain ways? Take time to understand. Work on it. Every single day. Be honest with yourself. It’s hard. It takes work. But you are the answer to almost every single “problem” you have.
2. How and with whom do you like to spend your time? 100% your spouse? 100% your kids? 100% your guys or gals? 100% alone? Strangers? Parents? Mix it up. People need space, and people need variety. Believe it or not, I am a huge natural introvert. I have had to work and work and work to get out of that comfort zone to meet and spend time with new, incredible people. Is every weekend exactly the same spent with the same people? Is every holiday exactly the same? Is every vacation exactly the same? Mix it up.
3. Quiet society’s noise. Quiet other people’s opinions of you. It does not matter. This may be the single hardest issue out there limiting everyone from reaching their full potential. Limit your negativity and gossip consumption. It screws with your head. I intake very little outside information unless I specifically choose to. I don’t browse. I don’t care if there is a 30 foot shark that came ashore and ate a beach umbrella in the Indian Ocean. Why would I waste time and energy and consume that? I would rather be alone than surrounded by negativity. I would rather be uninformed than misinformed.
4. Find ways to make extra money to fund your passions. I have a job, bonuses for hard work, credit card cash rewards, I sell clothes, I do hat art, and real estate investment. There are a zillion ways to make money. In middle and high school, I sold my bag lunch my mom made me for about a 300% markup every day. You are in control.
5. Maximize your vacation days. I get 23 vacation days. 2 floating days. 10 holidays. 104 weekend days. That is 139 “play days”, not to mention Monday through Friday. There is always something to do. Fun to be had. Go to the office at 5am. Work through lunch. Work on a Sunday. Options abound. I work on Black Friday. Just because everyone else eats 17 servings of turkey and gets up at 4am to buy stuff they don’t need doesn’t mean you have to. Out of those 139 days, I have 4 earmarked for Christmas. Otherwise, I have 135 “play days” available. Pair them up. Use them wisely. Day trips are great. Weekend trips are great. 3 day weekend trips are better. I’ve got that down to a science. How are you using your days?
6. Compete with yourself. No one else. What anyone else is doing has absolutely nothing to do with you. This is a major change for me. I still like to win, but I am more focused internally on being a better father, beating my best golf score, etc. than caring what anyone else is doing. A part of the anything but khakis mindset is encouraging nothing but the absolute best for everyone, but intensely focusing on yourself. I encourage you to try it.
7. Take baths. Take naps. Relax.
Have a great week.-Benj
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