Most advice isn’t worth the oxygen used to say it.
But some advice stands out. I’ve seen some great tips over the years from many quiet, humble mentors who took me under their wing.
Here are the most impactful pieces of advice you’ll find useful. Some came directly from people I know. Others were given to me in the form of quotes.
“Most people you think are friends are just lukewarm acquaintances”
When I experienced a big financial loss earlier in my career I felt broken.
My work colleague said this to me when I remarked just how little people cared about what happened. Only a handful of friends made an effort to call me or even swing by for a coffee.
The rest did nothing. They felt nothing. Even though I felt like I’d lost everything and my life was about to end.
Collect friends and delete acquaintances. That way you can go deeper with the people who matter.
“You can collect all the dots in the world but they don’t do you very much good if you don’t give yourself the space to allow them to connect.”
(Michael Thompson, friend)
Boredom is a lost art.
Now we fill quiet time or breaks in the day with TikTok. All that screen time distracts our minds so we can’t truly think.
Maybe you consume a lot. Maybe you watch plenty of educational videos and read those sexy novels all the greats recommend. It all means nothing if you don’t take your consumption, let it sit, and allow the dots to connect.
Once the dots start to connect the best thing you can do is cement them by writing online.
“The world pulls at you in an attempt to make you normal”
(Billionaire rocket man, Jeff Bezos)
Being normal is a disease.
Sheeple people are scary. They die at 25 but get buried at 75. Everyone wants you to be normal so they feel good about themselves. Us Aussies call it tall poppy syndrome. If you grow too tall others will chop you back down.
I’ve had this happen plenty of times. If anything too good happens in writing, then random alcoholics online see it as their role to chop me down.
The only solution is the subtle art of not giving a f*ck about any of it. You’re doing the best you can. Life is over in cosmic fart. May as well give fewer f*cks.
“The purpose of life is to experience things for which you will later experience nostalgia”
(@fed_speak, finance bro)
This is one of the best pieces of advice on the internet.
I get nostalgia regularly. It’s always attached to a memory I cherish with people I care about. My daughter is about to be born. I’m already nostalgic. And I want to have as many daddy-daughter moments as I can.
Nothing else matters.
Chase experiences you believe will make you nostalgic.
“Time and effort reduce the role luck plays in your life.”
(Ayodeji Awosika [friend])
Ayo and I are cut from the same cloth. We don’t hope for success or try to find $0 mentors or pray for an amazing idea to find us.
We simply sit down each day and grind away at what we’re obsessed with. If you do that for 5+ years, it’s hard not to be successful.
“It’s only after you‘ve lost everything that you‘re free to do anything”
(Chuck Palahniuk, badass author)
Losing everything in 2011 woke me the hell up.
I didn’t think I could continue to live. I thought I’d never recover from it. The same happened when I broke up with someone I loved in 2017. Oxygen didn’t taste good no more.
Now I look back and realize those two days were the best days of my life. Losing everything makes you free again. You’ve got nothing more to lose, and everything to gain.
You should hope to lose everything.
So you can be reborn.
“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
Many people avoid risk and it’s why they’re desperately unhappy and secretly don’t know it.
When you take risks, regardless of the result, you rewire your brain. Suddenly what’s possible has expanded. Repeated exposure to risk transforms you into an unrecognizable human being.
What you fear is where the opportunity lies.
“What risk actually looks like is not doing something, that you will spend the rest of your life regretting.”
Sometimes crazy opportunities get presented to us, but it’s bad timing or we’re not ready or we wish we could get a second chance later in life.
When you know an opportunity will produce regret you’re best off going for it.
It’s what I did with writing. Last year I quit my job. I knew if I didn’t quit and try to write full-time I’d regret it for the rest of my life. It was scary and it still may not work out. But I’m freaking glad I tried.
Regrets are nasty. They weigh you down.
“If you have a ten year plan, what’s stopping you from doing it in two?”
(Simon Sarris, regular computer programmer)
People have life goals.
They often sound like “someday.” Makes my blood boil. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. And most goals don’t take 10 years to achieve.
If you start now and are obsessed enough with the goal, you can make massive progress sooner. That progress produces dopamine which fuels motivation.
Take big goals. Chunk them down. Simplify them. Try to achieve them sooner.
“The fastest way to transform your life is to get f*cking pissed about where you are now.”
(Dan Koe, friend)
Life goes off track for all of us at one point or another.
No problemo. Change only happens, though, if you get royally pissed off. When I suffered severe mental illness, one day, I finally said…
“I’ve had enough of this sh*t. No more.”
I got help the next day. I had nothing to lose. Anger drove me to action and took me away from the decades of inaction.
Get pissed off if you’re not where you want to be in life.
“In order to get lucky, you have to remove the ‘black holes’ from your existence.”
(Sahil Bloom, wannabe friend I hope to have one day)
The best advice is often wrapped in an analogy you can picture.
Black holes can be people, actions, or behaviors you know are bad. Things Sahil says, like toxic people, complaining too much, being fearful of embarrassment, an end-of-America mindset, and a resistance to talking to strangers. These black holes all produce anti-luck.
They work against you. No matter how hard you push forward, black holes appear in your path and take you backward.
Find the black holes and delete them. Self-awareness helps identify them.
“The older you get, the more you realize it’s less about what you want and more about what you’re willing to give up.”
(Mark Manson, guy I once spoke to online)
Whatever it is you want in life, you’ve got to give up something to get it. It’s often either time or energy. No sacrifice, no wins.
“You’ll read 1000–2000 more books and see your parents 20 more times before you die.”
(A close mentor)
This advice is borrowed from a few people and mashed together by my mentor. Measuring our lives in things other than years changes our perspective and helps realign our brains.
When you count the rest of your days on earth in the number of books you can read, it’s quite short. I’m a slow reader so I’ve probably got a few hundred left in me.
The one that makes me emotional is measuring my life in how many more times I will see my parents. I get to see them a few times a year. They’re elderly. So I probably have about 20 more trips to see them before they leave this world.
Thinking about that thought kills all my fears and gives me a level of gratitude for all they’ve done for me that’s hard to describe.
Measure the rest of your life in books or trips to see loved ones. Time will slow down.