Today marks my 25th Birthday. Here you’ll find 25 things I’ve discovered, techniques I’ve implemented and mindset shifts I’ve had since venturing into fitness, self improvement and online business from the age of 17 (in no particular order).
1 - The Secret Ingredient to Success is Failure
Failure builds resilience.
The man who has seen nothing but success after success is in a dangerous position.
Success becomes expected.
He becomes comfortable, he eases off on the gas and begins to coast.
He begins to expect the same success while putting in less effort.
Constant success breeds expectation, expectation.
Expectations are dangerous.
When people succeed they tend to party, when they fail they tend to ponder.
WD-40 actually stands for ‘Water Displacement – 40th Attempt’
WD-40 cleared over $300 million dollars in sales last year
Well worth the 39 failed attempts to create the product don’t you think?
2 - Want To Succeed In Martial Arts? Cardio Is #1
Outworking your opponent in the ring, performing round after round on the heavy bag and reciting long pad drills requires immense cardio conditioning.
Without cardio endurance you’ll be overly conservative with the fear of running out of energy lurking in the back of your mind.
Distance cardio, explosive HIIT, bag work, jump rope… pick your poison, it all helps.
3 - Work On Your Shoulder Mobility, Daily
I spend a lot of my time in the gym focusing on size and strength, in the past whenever I would get a slight pain or ache in my shoulder I’d disregard it and ‘push through the pain’ the problem here was I didn’t understand that there was a difference between the muscular fatigue (good) soreness and an actual injury in progress.
Needless to say I’ve had several shoulder issues (rotator cuff impingements) primarily in my earlier years of lifting.
After spending hundreds of dollars on physiotherapy and massages I would recover, only to encounter the same issue again a few months down the track… besides a couple of warm up sets of the exercise I was about to perform I didn’t do any dynamic stretching, foam rolling or mobility oriented drills.
Ever since then I have implemented some rotator cuff stretches as part of my warm-up/morning routine that has increased my shoulder flexibility and improved my overall posture (as I spend a large amount of time in my office working on my blog, books and other projects and find myself with a hunched back from time to time).
4 - Progress is NEVER Linear
Seth Godin calls it the dip, the extended period of time that you’re grinding away and seeing little if anything in terms of results.
Most people quit in the dip, when they fail to see a tangible result for the effort they’ve expended they’re discouraged and throw in the towel.
The dip is the test, if you want it bad enough and endure the dip you’ll be greatly rewarded on the other side.
5 - The Time Will Pass Anyway (So Use It To Chase Big Goals)
You could be standing on a podium with your hand raised victoriously five years from now with your Men’s Physique trophy in your hand.
You could be laying on an island in the Caribbean five years from now without a financial care in the world.
These are both possibilities, you’ve just got to get off your ass and put in the work first.
The time will pass anyway.
Father time waits for no man, he doesn’t care whether you decide to take action or not, all he does is continue on his journey in one direction.
Where you are in five years is up to you.
If you allow the thought of how long extraordinary achievement takes and choose to do nothing you’re going to remain in the exact same place you are in five years time.
Hell, in five years time you’ll look back and wish you decided to make a start.
6 - Build Upon Strength, Don't Waste Time Patching Weakness
As Peter Drucker says in 'Managing Oneself', we cannot build on weakness.
We can patch our weaknesses but we cannot efficiently turn these into our strengths – attempting to do so wastes our precious time and energy.
Everything has an opportunity cost and the time spent attempting to round out our weak points to marry up to our strengths could be used to turn our strengths into a world class level of performance in that field.
7 - There's No Such Thing As An 'Overpriced' Book
Don’t adopt the epicurean mentality of “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.”
You must think long term, you must delay the instant gratification we’re so used to experiencing in this life and invest for tomorrow (stoicism).
“Don’t invest in things that’ll rust, rot or depreciate, invest in things that’ll be worth more later or make you be worth more later”.
The information in books such as 'Poor Charlie's Almanack' is worth well over the $65 asking price, and if read and implemented, the information on investing and cognitive biases is worth its weight in gold.
But remember, It’s the application of knowledge that counts, not just the acquisition (read it and take action!)
8 - If You Want To Take Your Physique To The Next Level You Must Decrease Your Water Retention
Water weight (fluid retention) can make a huge difference in the way your physique presents, particularly as you start to delve into the single digit body fat range.
Dandelion root extract is a tried and tested natural diuretic that is safe and effective as I discussed in F.U. Fat.
9 - Drink Apple Cider Vinegar With Honey Before Bed
- If you’ve got sleep insomnia or any related bedtime issues you should be drinking this every night.
- If you simply want better sleep like myself, you should be drinking this every night.
Here’s What You’ll Need
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tablespoon of honey (I recommend raw honey)
Here’s How To Make It
Boil your kettle
Pour in 2 tablespoons of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix in 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
Drink 15~ minutes before bed
10 - Adopt A Stoic Mindset And You'll Decrease Your Anxiety & Increase Your Focus
Focus On What YOU Can Control
You cannot control the traffic, the weather of the mood your boss is in when he greets you tomorrow morning… so do not spend any time focusing on these things. Instead opt to focus on what you can control.
You can control your actions and your response to things outside of your control, that’s it.
Understand That Tomorrow Is Not Guaranteed
Stop putting off your goals, dreams and ideas for the future – we’re not guaranteed another 10 days on this earth let alone another 10 years.
Don’t just magically expect you’ll reach 90 years of age and that you’ve got a large surplus of time to pursue your interests… find urgency.
Material Possessions Are Pointless
Don’t attach yourself to physical possessions, they don’t matter.
Don’t Beg For An Easy Life
You must subject yourself to uncomfortable, testing situations both physically and mentally to find peace and happiness.
11 - Without Health There's No Wealth
Do not sacrifice your health for wealth, or anything else for that matter.
You cannot be productive 24/7, it’s just not possible. Spending 10 hours in the gym each day will not get you any further than training hard for an hour or two a day…
Hell, you’ll likely regress.
To perform at your best you must be sharp, to be sharp you must be well-rested.
Stop grinding yourself into the ground and have some down time and you’ll find overall you’ll both achieve and progress at a higher level (provided your down time does not involve self-sabotaging your progress!).
12 - Place Your Focus On Lifting Heavy, Not Performing A Multitude Of Exercises
The majority of guys in the gym that struggle to build muscle and shred fat are focusing on trivial isolation exercises that don’t matter.
Pay attention to the big principles and exercises that matter, there’s not many of them…
In order to maintain lean muscle mass (the goal while losing fat, as unless you’re a complete newbie to the gym you won’t be building muscle while simultaneously burning fat) an emphasis must be placed on heavy compound movements in the single digit rep range. Endless isolation exercises in the double digit rep range will not help you on your quest to getting shredded, more on that shortly.
13 - Small Variations In Grip Make Big Variations In Results
Small tweaks to an exercise can make a large impact on the focus area.
Let's take biceps for example...
The biceps are comprised of the inner (short) and outer (long) heads.
A shoulder-width grip targets both the inner & outer heads of the bicep.
Want to smash the inner head of your biceps? Utilize a wider than shoulder-width grip.
Want to smash the outer head of your biceps? Utilize a narrower than shoulder-width grip.
Want to build grip & forearm strength? Perform your curls with an overhead (palms facing away) grip.
14 - Integrate Bodyweight Exercises Into Your Routine, You'll Build Immense Core Strength & Mastery Of Your Body
You won’t always progress on the bench press, after years of training 99% of gym-goes will hit a plateau and get stuck there, be it due to their genetics, shoulder injuries, motivation or otherwise.
When it comes to bodyweight exercises there’s a lifetime of progression ahead of you.
Coach Paul Wade is not just talking about working up to the handstand push-up, there’s a large range of lifelong progressions for all exercises! From the neck bridge and grip hang variations to the back bridge and flag.
Progression breeds motivation, motivation fuels results.
The zen-like feeling of mastering the movement of your bodyweight while building strength is addictive, and as such these weak links must eventually be addressed in order to continue to progress.
15 - Liquid Nutrition Is The Easiest Way To Bulk Without Wasting Time/Money/Energy
Liquid nutrition makes bulking easy!
When you’re in a bulking phase your blender should become your best friend.
My go-to recipe:
- 2 scoops of whey protein powder
- 1 cup of oats
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup of blueberries
- 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
- 1 drizzle of honey…
You’ve just made yourself a 900~ calorie shake that not only tastes amazing, but there’s a few other big benefits too…
You save time
There’s no cooking time, no dishes to try and no waiting for your meal to be ready. Ingredients in and a few seconds of pulsing the blender and you’re bulking shake is ready!
You’re loaded with nutrients
Bulking shakes or smoothies can be extremely nutrient dense. Spinach, blueberries, honey, peanut butter, bananas… your body will love you for it.
You feel more energetic
Liquid nutrition will leave you feeling light and agile – if you’re an entrepreneur or value your productivity at all for that matter you’ll likely find that you’re not getting much done at all when your in a lethargic state as your body attempts to digest meal after meal.
If you’re in college or on a budget then you’re going to reap the savings right here. Oats, whey protein and whatever other greens or berries you’d like to add to your bulking shake are inexpensive in comparison to cuts of steak and free range chicken breast.
16 - You'll Find Solutions To Your Problems While You're Hiking
“Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Gregory A. Miller, PhD, president of the American Hiking Society. “Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that.”
Getting outside and going for a hike is the solution, I do this at least once per month.
After 3 – 4 hours outdoors getting some vitamin D, burning a plethora of calories and taking in some great views I’m able to come back to the problems with a clear mind, more motivation and potential solutions.
Over time I’ve unconsciously created this trigger – when I’m getting beat down by the above I use this as a trigger to arrange a road trip hiking.
Go by yourself and listen to an audiobook on the drive, or take positive company with you. No complainers and no negative nancys.
A few hours out spent trekking along dirt paths, climbing rocks and admiring views will do wonders for your mental health as well as your physique – the uneven surfaces, objects to climb and varying inclines and declines you’re often faced with when hiking are a great lower body and core workout too – something traditional cardio (e.g. the treadmill or elliptical) are unable to do… several of the many benefits of hiking.
17 - Nothing Recedes Like Success. Don't Let It Happen To You.
When we get that first taste of success we often ease off on the gas pedal. We become content... we stop doing what got us to that point.
You must not settle. Do not break the momentum you've built.
It take years to reach the top, be it a business goal or a championship belt around your waist in the UFC...
Most men don't hold onto their gold belt for long... once they've attained champion status they lose the hunger and the drive.
Shortly thereafter they lose their title.
You must stay hungry.
Don't get lazy and enter the downward spiral.
18 - Learn From What They Do, Not What They Say
As Waldo Ralph Emerson said:
Talk is cheap, we’re always trying to impress others, wearing masks and bluffing our way through things.
As such you will not get a proper understanding of a man merely by what he says.
Look at their work. Actions speak louder than words.
There's a lot of hate on internet marketers and gurus such as Tai Lopez and Grant Cardone - personally I've learnt a lot from both of these men... however this is not by buying their information products.
It's by watching what they do, how they conduct themselves and the techniques they themselves use. Not what they tell others to do.
You must become an observer to learn.
19 - Invert Your Thinking To Find The Answer
As Sherlock Holmes said “remove all that can’t be true and you’ll find what is true“
For example, if you want to be successful in business look at how NOT to be successful in business & do the opposite.
Think about it…
How could you get unhealthy fast?
- Eating junk food
- Eating too much
- Minimal exercise
How could you lose money and be poor fast?
- Spend more than you save
- Make poor investments
- Not value money
How could you find yourself in a terrible relationship?
- Ignoring the obvious signs
- Not looking at how compatible you are
- Rushing into a relationship for the sake of it
- Not listening to the advice of others
20 - Start Each Day With A Cold Shower, You Won't Regret It
Cold showers are the ultimate mental toughness building habit.
Spending 3 – 5 minutes in the shower with the facet tilted as far to the cold side as possible can literally change your life.
It’s mental conditioning, no one is making you stand under that freezing cold water except yourself – this builds mental toughness.
As you step under the freezing cold water your breathing becomes short and sharp, you jump and feel as if you can’t handle the temperature of the water… but it’s all in the mind.
Cold showers are fantastic for your health, from decreased symptoms of depression to boosting testosterone, improving the conditoning of your skin and hair as well as providing you with a surge of energy.
Start each day with a cold shower and any other task or event you encounter that day will be easy by comparison.
21 - Ditch Your "I Don't Have Time" Excuses By Waking Up At 5am
5am, the vast majority of society is sleeping.
It’s still, silent and dark aside.
Unless you’re catching a plane or lining up to buy the new iPhone chances are you’re tucked in your bed.
A small group of individuals wake up at 5am every single day of the week, they don’t have a plane to catch or a new product to go and buy.
They’ve got things to get done and goals to chase.
As their neighbour is getting out of bed wondering what the day holds in store for them you’re walking up your driveway after a high intensity interval training session.
You’ve already built positive momentum, you’ve already won.
Waking up early in the morning, just like any new habit takes a couple of weeks to become the new ‘normal’ for you.
A few years ago I couldn’t understand how someone could get out of bed at 5am in winter and head to the gym before work… now I’m at the gym at 5am every day – and couldn’t imagine how lethargic and lazy I’d feel if I slept in till 7 or 8am.
The first few days of waking up at 5am will have you wondering how anyone does it, but grit your teeth and tough out the first few days.
Consistency teamed with a short, efficient morning routine will have you unstoppably conquering your goals – cold showers, green juices, power posing there’s a number of quick ‘n’ easy habits I recommend using to get the energy and nutrients you need upon rising at 5am.
Waking up at 5am will have you achieving goals, making progress and getting shit done faster than ever before. There’s a real ‘zen’ I find in the early hours of the morning as I read, write and train – no distractions, no phone calls, nothing else fighting for your attention.
Just you, your work and your mental intensity. What you do with it is up to you.
22 - You Must Control Your Mental & Visual Diet
When we talk about dieting, we're not just talking about the food you put in your mouth.
What you see, what you hear and what you think make up your mental and visual diet.
If you're thoughts are junk i.e. you're constantly doubting yourself and going through limiting beliefs and negative self talk in your head success is a talk ask.
A poor mental diet will on the road to success is the equivalent to trying to get shredded while you're in a caloric surplus. It's not happening.
Control your visual diet, take inspiration and watch those around you that've succeeded. Do not get caught up with losers.
23 - Stop Chasing The Pump, Real Gains Are In The 4 - 6 Rep Range
First of all, what is the “pump?” The pump is the tight feeling caused by blood rushing to the targeted muscle in the body part you are training after performing multiple sets. The pump alone does not indicate that you are making progress or that your muscles are growing – a high repetition set of push-ups can be used to obtain a pump, meanwhile dumbbell bench pressing 130lb dumbbells for 5 reps may not give you a pump even though this lift and weight is far more beneficial towards growth.
As discussed earlier, applying progressive overload with heavy compound movements in the 6~ rep range will build mass and strength, if you’re constantly chasing the pump with lighter weights your big arms will only last for the duration of your workout.
When you’re curling a 135lb barbell for 6 strict reps you won’t need to worry about the pump or the size of your arms, they’ll take care of themselves.
24 - When You've Lost Momentum You Must Focus On Tiny Goals To Forge That Momentum Once More
We often blow out an unpleasant task into something we convince ourselves is unmanageable, which is rarely the case.
You don’t need to tell yourself you’re going to conquer the whole thing in one sitting or one day…
Start small, you’ll build momentum with lots of little ‘wins’ enabling you to get through it by tricking yourself, doing bite size pieces at a time.
Identify the first step, regardless of what your endeavour is…
“Can I just perform 1 set of 315lb flat bench press?”
“Can I just call one more potential client?”
“Can I just endure 1 more day of Army Ranger training?”
The answer in all cases will be ‘Yes!’, but you won’t stop there. You’ll soon see the first step wasn’t as unpleasant, difficult or life threatening as you first though, your mind blew it out to be worse than it was. The longer your fear remains unconscious the more it paralyzes you.
You use the momentum from the first step to keep going…
“Can I just do one MORE Set of 315lbs bench press?”
Next thing you know you’ve smashed through your plateau, you knew it would be difficult but you embraced the suck and broke it down into small, manageable pieces.
25 - Eventually You Must Pull The Trigger, Delay No Longer
"Think about what you want and you'll get it". Yep, it doesn't work quite like that!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dismissing the law of attraction as rubbish – I’m stressing that ‘The Secret’ portrays it the wrong way.
Visualization and positive self talk and ‘acting as if’ have been used by business titans and professional athletes for years, long before ‘The Secret’ was published.
However, unless you’re tracking that diet, unless you’re building that business… all the positive thought in the world won’t be able to attract you what you want.
If you want to be a money magnet, envision what you want WHILE you grind away at building your empire.
If you want to lose weight imagine yourself in fantastic shape as you hit your cardio workouts and prep your low calorie meals.
Lining up the cross hair isn’t enough, you must pull the trigger and take action toward your goal.