Don’t strive to be entertained in life, strive to be engaged.
Being engaged and being entertained might sound like similar concepts but they are very different.
Being entertained is how very young children experience the world. They are constantly in a state of being pleased or dissatisfied with different stimulus. This produces a roller coaster of emotion filled with elated highs and temper tantrum lows. Being entertained doesn’t require any work or investment. You get to sit back and let something satisfy your desires. Once you’re bored you move onto the next stimulus and so and so forth.
Being engaged requires an investment of your time and attention. It requires you to have a mental curiosity and exert an effort to remain focused. It is a reciprocal relationship where you receive but only in relation to how much you give.
Strive to be engaged by life not entertained by it. If you measure your happiness or worth by how much life entertains you, you will forever be on the toddler roller coaster of emotion. A hedonistic hamster wheel where you go nowhere fast. You will be missing the real value of life; the journey.
Anything that is worth something requires us to give a piece of ourselves. Through investing ourselves in things that help us grow we find peace, contentment, and purpose. That’s why you should strive for an engaged life, not an entertained one.
Find people that push you to become better. Find programs that push you to become more than what you are.
Being entertained will not make you happy because growth, progress, and meaning are some of the key drivers that lead to a life of peaceful contentment. Entertainment is emptiness because once a desire is satisfied it’s gone, leaving a void until another takes its place without any change in your or your life. However, engaging in a process, a person, a purpose, etc. will give you a constant focus and mechanism through which you can build meaning in your life, which is crucial to being happy.
An important skill in life is knowing when to push yourself and went to rest. So the question is “How do you know when to do which one?” The key is to make sure you are pushing yourself to begin with.
Giving yourself a break can be an excuse to not improve or to just feel comfortable with not doing anything; maybe for fear of failure. It takes zero effort to say you NEED a break from (fill in the blank). But that one statement can superficially alleviate you from holding yourself accountable to do the work to improve. It’s the common fallacy of mischaracterizing a “want” as a “need” to justify other suboptimal behavior, like buying a nicer car than you can afford because you NEED a car to drive to work.
By committing yourself to (and following) a consistent program, you will create a baseline that will help you listen to your body and mind and actually make a reasoned determination about whether you want to stop because something is hard or because you have overexerted yourself.
In order to progress we have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Top performers don’t take breaks just because something is difficult or time consuming or frustrating. However, there is an optimal level of stress, beyond which more effort can cause diminishing returns. At this point a break can be just what you need to elevate to the next level. This is a classic “less is more” situation.
But you’ll never know when you reach that point if you haven’t established a baseline of consistent effort through a program to tell the difference. That’s why consistency is better than perfection and value is in the journey not obtaining the goal.
There is no place you will spend more time than your bed. That means your bed should be one of the first things you consider when designing your optimal life.
Not only is your bed the place you will spend 1/3 of your life, but, after food and water, it is also the vehicle for the next most important thing for your survival and performance; SLEEP. The quantity and quality of your sleep affects everything you do. From how much energy you have to how well your brain functions to how well your body repairs itself.
But we don’t spend nearly as much time or money as we should on beds if we rank our purchases in terms of how much we’ll use them and the effect they have on our lives. People generally view buying a mattress like buying a tire. They spend the minimum amount of time trying to buy the cheapest one that gets the job done.
Since sleep is a NECESSITY for the human body and even more important for top performance, this is NOT the way to view buying a mattress. When furnishing your life, your mattress should be the FIRST thing you buy after which all of the other stuff should be bought. You don’t NEED a big TV. You NEED sleep.
Yes, a $2,000 bed is a lot of money. But if you divide that by the number of times you are going to use it, it comes out to just $0.06 per hour (assuming you keep it for 10 years.) You cannot find anything that has a lower cost per use and more impact on your overall well being.
Block out at least two or three hours, go to a mattress store, and try every mattress until you find the perfect fit for you. You can spend two hours to choose something in which you will spend 29,200. Also, mattress prices ARE NEGOTIABLE. Mattress mark ups can be 50%+. Google articles on how to negotiate your mattress price. They will take you through the process step by step.
If you want to be extraordinary you have to think differently. Don’t treat a mattress like your other home furnishings. Invest in yourself and structure your budget around the single most important piece of furniture you will own. You will receive much more in happiness, mental well being, and productivity than you spend in dollars.
The words you say have an effect on YOU. You not only choose the words you say but you hear them as well. When you hear what you say it reinforces that thought, whether it is positive or negative. Try thinking something and then saying it out loud. You’ll notice the thought becomes more concrete when it is voiced. Try repeating nice things about yourself. You’ll notice you feel better. Now try repeating negative things about yourself. It doesn’t feel good because you have thought it AND heard it.
One way to change the world from something that drives you to something you control is by how you describe your realty. There are two ways you can describe your reality; as something you “have” to do or something you “choose” to do. Saying “I have to go to the store,” “I have to work out,” or “I have to go to work” is a victim mentality. You are implying you are not in control of your life, which in turn conceptually absolves you of any responsibility because you are not the designer of you reality, but rather its victim. By changing a sentence from “I have to do this” to “I am going to do this” or “I choose to do this” you are changing your mindset to acknowledge that there are choices in life and that you are responsible for your path. You do have choices and even though it might not be easy, there is always another way to live your day, week, month, or year. The first step in realizing this is owning your choices. By describing your reality in terms of things that you choose to do, you are accepting responsibility for yourself and reinforcing that you are the master of your reality and not its victim. So be mindful of what you say because your words not only have an effect on other people but they have an effect on you. You hear everything word you say. Describe your life in terms choice and your mind will open up a whole different set of possibilities that you wouldn’t see if you describe your life in terms of obligations.
Having great health will help you amass great wealth by improving you discipline, focus, and energy.
To achieve great physical health you need discipline. It takes discipline to eat the right amount of food and exercise 5-6 days a week. This discipline is no different than the discipline needed to amass great wealth. It takes discipline to save money, create and stick to a budget, pay down debt, and invest for your future. Discipline is a transferable skill that can be practiced and improved. So becoming a healthier person will help you become a wealthier person.
Another way being healthy will also help you become wealthy is focus. Wealth isn’t just about saving money. It’s also about focus. When asked what was the single most important factor in their success, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates both answered “Focus.” When you exercise diligently you are required to focus. Whether it’s counting repetitions, putting maximum effort into a lift, or pushing yourself over a certain number of miles, becoming a healthy person requires focus. Focus, like discipline, is a transferable skill. The more you develop it in one area the more you will be able to use it in another. People with focus are more effective. People that are more effective get results. People who get results get promoted, get raises, etc. By becoming a healthier person you will build your focus which, in turn, will help you become a wealthier person by advancing your professional life.
Last but not least, becoming a healthier person will increase your wealth because it will give you energy. We are all given the same number of minutes in a day. What we do with that time dictates our success. The energy you put into your health will give you more energy as you become more fit. The more energy you have, the more you will get done. The more you get done the more successful you will be. if you combine this energy with focus and discipline, you will not only be a busy person, but you will become effective, and effective people are true masters of their destinies. So invest in yourself and put your time and money to work for you.
We all find it difficult to motivate sometimes. It’s not easy to wake up in the morning, go to the gym when you’re sleepy, and force yourself to do a difficult workout. (Hopefully) we all understand that we do this for our health and happiness. When we are fit, we have more quality time on this earth and feel better about ourselves. But sometimes that logical cost benefit analysis just doesn’t provide the inspiration we need. This is where gratitude can comes in.
As a general rule in life, a good way to fix any negative thought or feeling is by replacing it with gratitude. It is impossible (or at least extremely difficult) to experience two emotions at one time. Go ahead and try being happy and angry at the same time. The same is true of gratitude and other emotions. A positive emotion can replace a negative emotion just like a positive thought can replace a negative thought. When you feel the annoyance of having to wake up early to work out, fit a workout in your day, having sore muscles, or the desire to be doing anything other than working out, a simple shift in your thinking can turn all of that around. By thinking that you GET to work out you can change that negative thought pattern into motivation. Instead of thinking “I HAVE to get up and work out” or “I don’t feel like going to the gym” replace that self-talk with “I GET to get up and workout” or “I GET to go to the gym.”
The fact that you have a body capable of exercising is not something everyone has. There are people with diseases or lost limbs that would give anything for the ability to have a functioning body to improve. And if you’re lucky enough to live in a place that has a gym and you can afford a membership, get excited about the fact that you have access to a place whose sole purpose is to make it easy and fun for you to stay in shape. Our thoughts affect our emotions and our emotions affect how we see the world. Gratitude is a powerful emotion. Use it to help take your physical health to another level and link your physical and mental well-being.
The road to financial freedom is through low-cost, passive, automatic investing. Warren Buffett, a billionaire who made his money investing, has always said the vast majority of people would be better off just owning the S&P 500 (which is a passive index fund that invests in the 500 biggest US companies in the stock market) than paying advisors to manage their money. To put his money where his mouth is, in 2007 Warren got a hedge fund (which is the crem de la crem of advisors who charge a lot of money to “beat the market”) to bet him half a million dollars he was wrong. Warren and the hedge fund each contributed $500,000. Warren Buffett put his $500,000 in the S&P 500 for 10 years. The hedge fund invested its $500,000 with its managers and other hedge funds for 10 years. After 10 years the S&P 500 earned THREE TIMES MORE than the hedge fund. 80% of what you need to retire comes from the earnings on your investments, not what you save, so you need to put your cash to work for you and invest in order to achieve financial freedom. However, you also need to manage the costs that eat away your returns. That’s why The Highest Level Wealth Plan uses Wealthfront, a low-cost, automated “robo-advisor” that uses indexes to put your investments on autopilot. Start investing today. The retirement you save will be your own.
One of the many benefits of meditation is that it can create time.
We all know that even though time is linear we experience it in relative terms. A busy day can fly by in what seems like minutes while a painful experience like skinning a knee or having the wind knocked out of you can seem like it lasts for hours.
Meditation can use the relativity of time to slow down your experience and create time. The five minutes you take to calm yourself and meditate during a busy day can seem like it lasts just as long as the day itself, essentially doubling the relative time of your experience for that day.
You can use this same technique to maximize a great experience by taking a few minutes to slow down and focus on that experience so it is more memorable.
We only have one life. Use meditation to make the most of your time.
Two curves that apply to a lot in life are the Diminishing Returns curve and the Exponential Returns curve. Knowing where these curves occur in your life will have a great effect on your progress and the results you get.
At some point in a relationship, our finances, or health, etc. we feel like we are putting in more work than the results we are getting. The question then becomes “Do I keep trying or spend my time doing something else?”
One way to answer this question is by figuring out which of these two curves you are on.
If you are the Demising Returns curve, you are going to get less result for each bit of effort you spend. So, to use your time wisely, you should redirect that attention to something in your life that has the Exponential Curve because once you are on this curve, you will get more results than the effort you give.
It is just as important to know if you are on the Exponential Curve because you don’t want to quit right before your hard work starts to pay off. What can seem like slow progress in the early part of the curve is actually the work that will pay you dividends later on. This is how saving and investing works. The real progress doesn’t happen until you’ve given your money enough time to grow. Watch your results because they should start to come more easily and in much larger quantities.
If you are on an Exponential Curve, stay on it and maybe give it some energy from a different part of your life where you are experiencing diminishing returns.
If you want to get a part of your life that is stagnating on the Exponential Curve change things up! Plan a spontaneous night out with your significant other. Change up your workouts. Do something that jump starts your progress to a new level and keep at it until it’s time to try something new.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein
One way to use your money wisely and avoid clutter in life is to minimize the cost per use of your things.
Your goal should not only be to surround yourself with things that have a very low cost per use, but to drive down the average cost per use of all of your stuff (this doesn’t apply to assets like investments or real estate which typically gain value overtime).
Cost per use is the cost of something divided by the number of times you use it. For example, if you see a jacket you want to buy that costs $100 and you think you will wear it five times, your cost per use would be $20 ($100 / 5 = $20). The more you use it, the lower your cost per use will be. If for some reason you only end up wearing it once, your cost per use will $100 ($100 / 1 = $100). If you keep that item of clothing it will increase the average cost per use of the rest of your things if your average cost per use is $30. (Your average cost per use is the cost per use of each personal item you own averaged together into one number.)
Lowering your average cost per use will save you money and eliminate clutter in your life because there are two ways to do it. The first is use the stuff you have more often. If you do this you won’t need more stuff. The second is to get rid of things you don’t use (like the jacket you bought for $100 but only wore once). A good way to see if you should get rid of an item or buy it is by checking to see how much it costs to rent it. (You can rent almost anything today, including clothes.) You might save yourself some money and you will save yourself the trouble of getting rid of that item later when your life becomes cluttered.
Things cost time; the time we spend to make the money to buy them, the time we spend maintaining them, and the time we spend getting rid of them. And time is the only thing we can’t get back once it’s gone. So maximize your time and money by simplifying your life. “I’m glad I spent my life accumulating, maintaining, and getting rid of stuff,” said no one ever.