Photo by Twenty20.
1) Be ready to shred your old self completely.
Becoming the best version of yourself means that you’re going to move away from where you are, so you must be willing to shred your old self. When you’re raising your own bar, you’re essentially creating a gap between you and people around you. Your old self is going to resist that — don’t let the resistance get its way.
Let go of certainty and embrace uncertainty instead. Nothing is certain, after all. The earlier you realize this, the more you can improve.
2) Acknowledge your fear. Then, tame it like a master.
Most people are unable to even take action because of fear. Don’t let it limit you. Admit that you’re fearful, but proceed anyway. Anyone who say he has no fear is not telling you the full story. The full story is, he has tamed his fear.
The things you’re looking forward to could be just right at the edge of your comfort zone. Be courageous. It’s okay to make mistakes — as long as you don’t make the foolhardy ones.
3) Vigorous self-education. Read. Get Mentors. Observe. Experiment.
The best people never stop learning. If you want to be the best version of yourself, do what they do.
Formal education will make you a living, but self-education will make you a fortune. — Jim Rohn.
Never let school interfere with your education. Actively educate yourself about topics which can bring you to your greatest height and put all your heart into it.
4) Prioritize output over input. Don’t get trapped in eternal study!
You can never consume all information, strategies and tactics available. Gathering input is necessary, but it means nothing without output. On the other hand, scarcity creates value. What are scarce? Massive action. Shipping. Delivery. Impact.
In short, outputs are scarce. Be conscious about your input/output ratio.
5) Think long term — like 10 years down the road.
It’s always easier to enjoy watching TV compared to hitting the gym. Most people cling to instant gratification, because it feels good in the short run. However, the opportunity cost is huge. When you spend an hour on mindless TV watching, you could have read a book which will potentially increase your income by 50%. In other words, you sacrifice that amount of income increment to watch pointless cat videos.
Learn to postpone immediate pleasures for long-term values. The ROI will be phenomenal. Put opportunity cost into your perspective. Things won’t go exactly as planned, but having a big-picture vision helps you move towards the direction you want.
6) Be 1% better everyday. After a year, you’ll be 3700% better.
Do the math. It’s 3778.34%, to be more accurate. People aim for unrealistic growth over the short term, especially when they’re super motivated. The problem is, that’s not sustainable.
Since you’re looking for long term improvement, consider making compounding effect your best friend.
7) Amplify your strengths. You can be anything, but you can’t be everything.
If you have strengths, amplify them. For example, I have decent English writing and communication skills, and I use these strengths to teach English classes. The classes turn out to be quite successful.
If you have certain weaknesses, build a team with complementary skills to cover your weakness. Don’t waste too much time correcting your weakness when someone else can handle the part for you. Amplify your strengths.
8) Form your success cabinet and shoot for the stars.
You’re the average of five people you spend the most time with, because that’s who you subconsciously set benchmark against. To reach maximum height, you’ll need a group of high performance, trustworthy people around you. They will set your benchmarks at least 10x higher. I call them the success cabinet.
Form your own success cabinet and find ways to bring value to the table. Lift each other up. Cultivate genuine relationships. By doing so, you’ll improve immensely.
9) Give what you have. What are you rich at? Figure that out.
You may think that you have nothing to give, but, in fact, you do. Everyone is rich in some way. Things you can give include money, smiles, inspiration, confidence, skills, arts, musics, jokes, free rides, services, expertise, past experience, wisdom and many, many more. So yeah, you must be rich at something.
Giving what you have forces you to tap into your potential — What do you have in abundance that people are looking for? The more you give, the more you get. But don’t focus on what you’ll get. Just give, give, give. I was reluctant to give, but now I realize that giving is one of the most fulfilling things I can do.
10) Solve real problems and adjust along the way.
Solving imaginary problems can be helpful, but it’s often fear and procrastination in disguise. I made this mistake and wasted months. If you’re doing the same, get out of your head and solve real problems. If you fail, good. You’ve identified a way which doesn’t work. You’ve learnt something. Now, go out and do it again. Reiterate until success.
Along the way, you’ll also learn how to make adjustments. Every master was once a disaster. Keep doing this and you’ll find ways to offer value and be a linchpin. It’s not easy, but achievable.
11) Keep a journal. Help your brain to keep up with its thoughts.
A human has 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. Let’s assume 99% of the thoughts are crappy, we still have 500 to 700 (1%) valuable thoughts per day. We can’t keep up with all our thoughts. Hence I always journal my thoughts so I can work on them later.
Get your notebooks handy. Or simply make notes in your mobile phones or laptops. Evernote and Trello are there to help you.
12) Build momentum smartly. Think big, start small.
People tend to overestimate what they can do in a day, but underestimate what they can do it a year. Becoming the best version yourself is a marathon, not a sprint. If you sprint, you’ll be gasping for breath pretty soon.
Think big, start small. Stop thinking about starting. Just. Start.
13) Last but not least, be macro-patient, micro-aggressive.
Live your everyday to the fullest by doing what’s necessary. Learn to differentiate what’s within and beyond your circle of control. Once you’ve done your best, what happens, happens. Be patient and keep grinding.
As long as you’re working in the right direction, things will work out. The most important of all, enjoy the journey — even if it sucks sometimes.
Dylan Woon writes more here.