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High-ROI Habits That Can Help You Reach Your Zone of Genius

by | Dec 13, 2021 | Life Hacks

A tragedy recently woke me up from my instagram fantasies.

Knocked out. On the floor. Dumb-founded.

How does a person deal with a huge loss? It took me a while to recover. In my Roam Research notepad app I have a timeline of my life.

Main events from every year of my life are recorded. I add more events as my memory recalls them.

For this year I have the tragedy recorded with a detailed description.

As I reflect on it I find myself saying, what good can come from this? My mind doesn’t give any response. Then I say to myself if you had a gun to your head and had to find the good, what would you say?

A waterfall of insights poured out of me.

So did a waterfall of tears.

Accidentally, I found myself adding one bullet point per day to the event in Roam. Each point focused on the upside. One bullet point is my business will grow next year because I’ll be more driven than ever. Another is I’m kinder now that this has happened.

A high ROI-Habit is to add a bullet point every day to a tragedy you’ve been through. The meaning of your life will change.

Here are more high-ROI habits.

Your bank balance is telling you evil lies

Money is a store of energy.

A friend of mine works his face off to earn money in his tech sales job. At the end of each day he’s burned out. He has no energy for side hustles or after hours projects. He simply wants to pass out on the couch in front of Netflix and drink a cold beer.

We spoke about it. “What if you had 3X the energy levels?” I said.

Mate: “Well, I’d start a startup, go to the gym again, and spend time with my partner cooking.”

The connection between the money he earns and his energy levels isn’t obvious to him. You can’t make more money, or earn passive income, or start a business, or get a side hustle if your energy levels are bankrupt.

Most people have low energy. It’s not their fault.

What causes high energy is a combination of:

  • Good sleep
  • Vigorous daily exercise
  • Healthy food
  • Meaningful work

One of the easiest ways to destroy your energy is with junk food.

I did it for years. Food either gives you energy or takes it away. My friend ate a diet of mostly takeaway, excessive amounts of meat, no fruit, and hardly any vegetables. No wonder he felt tired and had carb hangovers in the morning.

If you have 3X the energy then you can theoretically make 3X the amount of money. So the trick to make more money is to work on your energy levels.

More energy from more money equals more time you don’t need to spend working. The formula produces compounding results over time.

I’ve never seen the high-ROI habit of energy described like that.

Read higher quality content

A lot of stuff we read online takes us away from our zone of genius. It’s designed for clicks and men trying to be dicks.

Audit your content diet. The mute and block button can help remove a lot of the online noise that clogs up our brains.

For example, how much of what you read is full of self-interest? Some hidden agenda. Some blog post that’s really an ad full of affiliate links. Some Youtube video that’s really a humblebrag.

The same happens with emails. How many do you get that are full of self-interest? I get daily messages from people who’d happily walk over my dead body in the middle of the road to get a Gucci bag on discount, rather than help lift me off the highway.

The less content inputs you have, the higher the vibration to the insights.

Plus, when you have less content to consume you can go back and read the best stories again.

Read a story three times to find the author’s hidden genius inside.

Take smart notes

Note-taking is an art.

Many of us write bad notes, or we take little care. The reason is that most notes, we believe, will become irrelevant in a few weeks. That’s true if you look at life as a series of one-off events or transactions.

I look at life as an interconnected web of beautiful things.

I like to make connections between thoughts and ideas, sometimes five years later. It’s a high-ROI habit for me. There’s a lot less wastage. I find that the same life experiences happen over and over. Yet I often don’t consciously realize, unless I look at my detailed notes.

Smart notes is a note-taking system.

Instead of random highlights and copying down sentences you see or hear exactly — you rewrite notes in your own words. You curate ideas on the fly. When you write out anything in your own words it resonates differently in your own mind. It makes more sense.

Most of life is about trying to execute on wisdom.

The wisdom is in your notes app.

Empty your brain before bed

Your brain is a cup. During the day you fill it up with emails, Zoom calls, books, learning, and social activities.

Going to bed with a full brain makes it hard to sleep.

Instead of spending the time before bed in front of blue light that ruins sleep, you can empty your brain. How?

  1. Journal
  2. Plan for tomorrow
  3. Practice mindfulness

When your brain is empty it can rest. Then tomorrow you can wake up with an empty cup and focus on high-ROI creation again.

Stop being Pinocchio in a pair of red short shorts

The President of the United States should outlaw it. Don’t be Pinocchio and tell lies to yourself.

You get a high ROI on life when you ditch short-term results and focus on consistency.

I cop sh*t all the time for being a writer. People tell me I got lucky or learned some algorithm trick.

They’re wrong.

I’m an average writer. I’m not that smart. The only trick I’ve figured out is to be consistent. I learned it from Olympians.

They train for four years to attend an event that lasts a few minutes. All of that training helps them build trust with themselves that they can do it. The same applies to writing, except there’s one other factor: readers.

Readers trust writers who are consistent. You can’t show up once and collect high-ROI rewards.

Try Polina Marinova’s formula:

Consistency + Time = Trust

See the world slightly better than it is

The mind’s daily habit is to look for danger. It keeps you safe from grizzly bears you might encounter on a picnic in the forest that will eat you.


The downfall of humanity is easy to predict. Climate change is a problem. The lack of free land and the harm humans are doing to each other is real. It takes everything you’ve got though, to see the good in a screwed situation.

You don’t do it to be cool and sing kumbaya.

You do it because unless you see the world slightly better than it is, you and your brain will never offer up any solutions. You’ll sit in the corner hurling fireballs at the wall and passers-by.

High-ROI comes from your untapped potential. Your potential is either lost or found by how high your levels of optimism are.

Find the upside to every situation. That’s how you become a genius that solves problems and takes home massive rewards.

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