If you did every life hack that successful people and personal development influencers recommend, your day may look something like…
- Wake up at 5am and take off blue light blocking sunglasses.
- Turn off your artificial light alarm clock and open shades.
- Do a yoga session.
- Take a cold shower.
- Eat avocados but with no toast because processed food is bad add Atlantic salmon for the omega-3’s and some fruit.
- Wim Hoff breathing session.
- Gratitude exercises. Visualization exercises. Law of attraction and affirmation exercises.
- Morning exercise session.
- Plan out your workday. Work and do the top three most important things that will make the biggest impact on your mid to long-term goals. Drink black or bulletproof coffee with creatine or green tea. Eat multivitamins and omega-3 supplements. Take breaks every 30 minutes to stick with the Pomodoro technique. Cook and Eat your own lunch that has plenty of protein, low-to-moderate fats and carbs, and low to no sugar. No processed foods. So boiled chicken and vegetables. And maybe some fruit and a bit of nuts and dark chocolate.
- Pause drinking caffeine after noon.
- Continue work. Work until it is late into the night.
- Read half a book.
- Jump into a sensory deprivation chamber
- Yoga session.
- Jump into cryotherapy (or an ice bath).
- Wim Hof breathing session.
- Put out tons of content on social media.
- Practice stoicism throughout.
- Block out all light in your room, read some fiction, and go to sleep with some psychedelic shrooms.
The whole thing is ridiculous, overwhelming, and convoluted. It’s not fun. I bet you would feel like it is more of a chore to wrangle and check off all these things and then actually enjoy doing them all and appreciating your life. Frankly, if you did all that stuff for the rest of your life, would you really be satisfied with it? Would really be as fun as the guy who is simply doing what he loves and making and living from it, whether that’s a travel blogger or a fashion consultant.
And I don’t know one successful people that does all these things or even most of them. Frankly, I think all that really matters is putting in the work. All these other things are just small things that slightly help optimize your work, but the deep work is most important.
Gary Vaynerchuk put in a massive amount of work from his 20s to his 30s and he never exercised and ate like crap. But he still got a lot done and made a lot of money. He’s focused more on health and fitness now, but he still got a lot done without meditation crap, good nutrition, gratitude journals, and so forth.
Richard Branson is a billionaire that doesn’t meditate. According to a LinkedIn interview, his “meditation” is parasailing and tennis. From my research, he’s never worn blue-light blocking glasses.
You know what Warren Buffett’s morning routine is? Wake up, eat McDonald’s, and read a newspaper. I’ve studied his life extensively. I’ve read many of his biographies and watched every video he’s been on. He’s never spoken the words “law of attraction” or mentioned any visualization exercises he does.
All these tactics are a great place to lean on for people who don’t want to do the hard stuff that will make the biggest impact and actually get you to succeed. It’s emotionally comforting to feel accomplishment doing a bunch of these things even if you aren’t seeing traction on your big goals because you felt like you’ve done something. Some people may even deep down understand this fact and do it anyways because they’re running away from doing the hard stuff. Others just don’t know any better and keep getting all these flashy, new fan tactics that they think will help them. And they due to an extent, but frankly, a lot of them are over-hyped.
It’s comforting to accomplish a bunch of small things. But if you’re not seeing traction on your big goals, it doesn’t matter even if you feel like you’ve done something.
Some people understand this fact deep down and do it anyways because they’re running away from something. Others don’t know any better and keep getting all these flashy, new fun tactics that they think will help them. And they do to an extent, but frankly, a lot of them are over-hyped.
Joe Polish, this rich, big-time marketer has even bought into the hype recently with yoga. His yoga teacher told him that “doing yoga once a week will change your body. Doing it everyday will change your life.” He’s been trying to get other people to do yoga more often, if every day, and I can’t help but think that yoga teachers are business people and marketers too. Of course, they’re going to try and convince you that what they’re selling is something that you should be paying and going to every day even if your time is limited enough.
Meditation is another one of those clear examples of slight optimizations that really don’t matter as much is Tim Ferriss help set up to be. Sure, I’ve looked at the research, and meditation can improve your focus and emotional control and so forth. But what are the slight improvements gonna matter if you’re just sitting at home playing video games all day? I guess that will result in maybe 5 to 10% better aim at call of duty or fortnight and 10 to 20% better self-control when some kid flames you online and you have to restrain yourself from yelling back at them. The most people, those results aren’t that great. Most people would like to earn more money, be happier, have better relationships and live aHealthier, more fun life. So you have to build the base of the fire with foundational wood. Your wood is work to move you toward your goal. The twigs and sprinkles of oil on the fire that stock the flame and make it go a little higher or your meditation and gratitude and stuff like that.
I’m curious if you have ever seen massive improvements from the small tactics like cold showers or whim half breathing? As I’ve mentioned, I just don’t think breathing better or having a little bit more brain focus or waking yourself up and reminding yourself of pain with a cold shower is really doing that much for your happiness or performance in life. The people who should be focus on the small, incremental gains are the people who are already world-class. A gold medal sprinter can benefit dramatically from shaving another half second off his 50 m sprint time. But if you’re an average Person running his first ever sprint, you’d be a fool to be focused on optimizing these tiny small things that the world-class sprinter is optimizing before you even get the basics of sprint technique down.
The fundamentals are going to shave off the atrociously long time it will take you to finish that sprint more so than those small optimizations. I believe that many young people are led to miss believe in these optimizations because of all the Clickbait the people who over-hyped how ex thing change their life. And it’s not true. Work is your building block. It doesn’t matter if you wake up at four or 5 AM. The guy who wakes up at 9 AM who works just as long as you by going to sleep later really doesn’t fall behind much if at all. I believe that many young people are led to miss believe in these optimizations because of all the clickbait the people who over-hyped how ex thing change their life. And it’s not true. Work is your building block. It doesn’t matter if you wake up at four or 5 AM. The guy who wakes up at 9 AM who works just as long as you by going to sleep later really doesn’t fall behind much if at all.
Perhaps, the most optimized, efficient, effective approach is to do what most successful people actually do, which may only be a couple of the tactics mentioned, and others not mentioned, like work harder.
Conor McGregor, for example, has always used the law of attraction. But I don’t think he has done any of the other stuff, like stoicism, staying humble, a Gratitude journal, the Pomodoro technique, journalling, reading, and so on.
Take cryotherapy as an example. People are coming out of the woodwork to say they’ve tried this out or some similar cold bath process. Why? Because it improves recovery mostly. And they say a few other things, like decreases stress and improves health, but I don’t believe them. And the people who first used it and popularized it have serious reasons to use it. Wim Hof wants to break world records in withstanding the cold. Tony Robbins claims he walks 20+ miles a day during his seminars. These people need this treatment for their extreme goals and lifestyles.
The people who jump on this trend often live normal lives and aren’t working out enough to need that intense amount of recovery. They’re jumping on the bandwagon because, to some extent, they believe this new trend, like all the others, may change their lives. They’re looking for a new, magic pill for success.
In the last few years, I’ve encountered various situations where I’ve noticed people failing to do the small things that I’ve picked up over the years of studying success. I’ve seen people my age who are waiting for their chance to talk rather than actively listening. I know people who rarely exercise. And there are plenty of people who don’t use empathy to get what they want. Frankly, I don’t think that their results are that much worse than mine. Maybe in a couple decades, the gap between us will widen as these things start to snowball.
Frankly, I wonder how many of these small things make much of a difference compared to the simple, few big things, like improving your exercise, sleep, focus, discipline, and hard work.
I know one dude who knows my name, but for the last three years I’ve known him, he has only called me “buddy” instead of my first name. I wonder how much remembering and saying someone’s first name really matters to your success. I wonder if it’s as important as Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, claims it to be.
Sure, maybe people will feel a little better about you when you say their name. I know I do. And sure, Bill Clinton is a known for remembering everyone’s first name. But are those small actions really going to explode your success? And is it worth the added cost of juggling dozens or hundreds of small hacks?
I will still do some stuff I know has an empirical, proven record of improving my results in life, no matter how small when I can remember. But I will put less of an emphasis on them. There’s that age-old analogy. Put the sand into a jar, then the small rocks, and the big rocks won’t fit. Put the big rocks (largest impact tasks) first, then the small rocks, and then the sand — and everything fits.
Let me know your experience in the comments below.
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