How Living Legends Ensure Success: Doing This Daily Guarantees You’ll Do Work You Love
“You are 100% in control of what you learn and how good you become at something. No one can take that from you.”
Recently I had dinner with Tim Ferriss and a few other entrepreneurs in San Francisco. One of them was Michael Ellsberg, who just published a new book The Education of Millionaires. He also recently wrote a killer article article on Tim’s blog, 8 Steps to Getting What You Want… Without Formal Credentials, that’s very worth the read.
I absolutely love these nights. They get me shaking with ideas and possibility. At a table like that, nothing is impossible.
Spending time with these guys got me thinking.
There is one thing that, above all others, ensures that you are able to find and do work you love everyday. And it’s something quite easy and totally within your control (p.s. that combo is incredibly rare, so listen up).
Whether it’s Tim, Michael, Tony Robbins or any of the other Living Legends I’ve spent time with over the years, there is one thing they do every day without fail. One single thing guarantees their success and makes passionate work the only option.
They learn everything they freaking can.
Tony Robbins read over 700 books on psychology and Neurolinguistic Programming and tested everything out in real life and on real people. He never got a degree in psychology, but he has arguably become more effective than anyone in the space.
And Tim Ferriss is constantly learning something new. That’s the whole premise of The 4-Hour Work Week, his blog and Lifestyle Design in general. Every mini retirement of his involves two new skill acquisitions: one mental and one physical. Maybe it’s the sport of hurling and learning Gaelic in Ireland or studying Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and learning Portuguese in Rio. And when he’s at home in San Francisco, he’s constantly experimenting with things. When I worked out with him last year, he had just gotten his Level II Kettlebell certification. It’s endless.
For these guys, the learning never stops.
The interesting thing is that it doesn’t really matter what you learn. What matters is that you learn something. You can be constantly dedicated and even obsessed with improvement and understanding new things.
The possibilities are literally limitless – here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Watch a 10-18 minute TED Talk every morning
- Attend a local TED event (I get tickets to a TEDxSF event every year!)
- Read something, anything
- Always have a book under your arm (or saved on your phone or iPad)
- Grab a journal and record some recent lessons, epiphanies and ideas
- Take a personality test
- Attend a seminar
- Save articles throughout the day to a program like Read It Later and then spend an hour or two on a weekend absorbing the new ideas
- Take a mentor out to dinner
- Spend time with a business owner
- Talk ideas with a passionate person
- Complete an online course via Traindom or Skill Share
- Read guides and take courses from successful entrepreneurs. You can always start with Live Off Your Passion. 😉
These are just a start. I don’t care what you learn. Just do something.
As I’m sure you’ve gathered, I am obsessed with learning. I love it. I do it nonstop. I have ever since I spent a year in Sevilla around 2004.
But it wasn’t always like that. Prior to that trip, I didn’t read anything I didn’t have to, I didn’t spend much time around inspiring people and hadn’t attended a single seminar or workshop. I also was bored to death with my work and rarely woke up excited.
The difference is massive and nearly instant.
All it takes is making the decision to start with a few minutes each morning. Pick something from this list or invent your own. Let the momentum build.
Don’t wait for anyone
A few months back, a recent college grad whom I’ve been mentoring reached out to me via email. I hadn’t heard from him in a while and was eager to read the update.
The email was depressing.
He told me a story of how he’d recently lost his job and was now helping out part-time as an assistant to his old high school wrestling coach. While it was work he genuinely enjoyed (Hats off to that!), it wasn’t coming close to paying the bills and he had decided to move back in with his parents to get back on his feet.
I could feel his pain. I’d been there. In fact, when I launched my first business years ago, I moved in with my folks for a few months. It was humbling to say the least (especially given that I was planning to propose to my girlfriend soon…), but those months at home were also some of the best times I’ve ever spent with my mom and dad.
As I read his update, the most frightening part of his email was not his situation but his attitude. He talked of how nothing he was trying, none of the interviews he was doing, had been successful. He was losing hope and didn’t know what to do.
This is a very very dangerous place to be. As we all should know by now, with the right beliefs and conviction, just about anything is possible. But once you lose hope and excitement, things start to feel, and even become, anything but doable.
My friend had fallen into the waiting trap. He was sitting around waiting to hear back from an ad he’d seen, for a new posting to hit Craigslist, from an email response to a resume he’d sent or an interview he’d had.
He was waiting.
The problem is that when you decide to spend your time waiting for someone else to act, you give up control. With that you give up possibility.
My response to him was simple…
Whatever you do, whatever you hear or don’t hear from those around you, you absolutely have to stay committed to one thing. You must never stop learning. It’s something you control 100%, and very few things do we have that much control over. Do it every single day.
There should never be a moment where you have nothing to do or when you are sitting around waiting. Especially if you’re not happy with life. Open that book. Take that online course. Have lunch with that mentor or business owner. Go to that seminar. Put your ideas up on a blog.
Most the stuff is free and available in a instant to those motivated to consume it.
Do something. Anything.
Learn about yourself in every way possible. Test what you’re capable of physically. Think you can’t do a marathon? Then sign up for one. Do the impossible. Test how you process information. Do a strengths finder test. Do the the What Color Is Your Parachute Workbook. Myers Briggs. Johnson O’Connor Aptitude. Do it all!
Then actually make something with what you learn.
The process is ridiculously simple:
Step 1: Learn
Step 2: Experiment
Step 3: Repeat
Step 4: Do what you love
Step 5: When restless, Repeat
When I tell people I write and coach on how to find work you love, so many of them scream back, “I need your help!”
I calmly respond with a question: “Well, have you read any of the 100+ books out there on purpose and passion?”
I proceed to hear pins drop.
It’s not that complicated…
In the past 8 years, I’ve tested just about everything under sun when it comes to finding my passion and doing work I actually give a sh*t about. I now spend close to 100% of my working hours doing things I love. I am grateful, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
Getting here wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fast. There have been plenty of late nights (and there still are), but it’s been a ton of fun.
And one thing’s for sure. The fact that I’m doing what lights me on fire right now, does not by any means mean it will be the same thing ten years from now. That’s the best part! I almost guarantee it won’t. At least not exactly the same.
As long as you are currently spending your time doing what you believe you are best at and you are meant to do, that’s a life well lived.
Every better yet, that’s excitement!
Literally, I think I’ve tried everything. Some include:
- Starting businesses
- Traveling the world
- Getting to know people in all walks of life
- Hiring a coach
- Being a coach
- Taking negotiation seminars
- Attending Tony Robbins events
- Reading books – a lot of books. Mainly personal development.
- Doing workbooks
- Taking personality tests
- Taking personal strengths test
- Attempting at first seemingly impossible fitness challenges
- Meeting entrepreneurs
- Working for companies with 10,000+ employees
- Working for companies with 12 employees
- Working for companies with 1 employee
- Writing blog articles, stories, ideas, journals
- Taking university courses
No one can keep you from becoming insanely good at things. No one.
You can become an expert at nearly anything if you want it badly enough. And when you’re an expert, people will want to pay you for your help. Suddenly you don’t just start to have relevant and marketable skills and experience, but you start to have real cash in your pocket as a result. That’s unbelievably empowering.
Two years ago, I knew next to nothing about online business. Today, people are eager to pay me upwards of $150-200/hour to help them on the subject. I worked my ass off to become an expert and it’s paying off in ways I can’t describe. That’s the only thing that has put me where I am right now.
All of it comes back to learning. To loving to learn and doing it routinely.
You are in more control than you think.
If you are not where you want to be professionally or personally, you should be doing something daily to get you closer to a world that makes you come alive.
Big or small, it doesn’t matter.
So, what are you going to learn today?
Want to learn some very useful things about yourself?
After all, that’s where the most importantly learning happens, right?
If I could sum up the value of our Live Off Your Passion course in one phrase, it would be self-discovery. I created the tool to help you learn all you can about yourself, your experiences, your strengths and interests, so you can actually identify a passion and begin to build a career around it. I ended up writing over 240 pages on that very topic (to go with the workbooks videos and coursework). If you’re wondering where to start learning, I’d at least check out Live Off Your Passion. You can always try it risk-free too.
Here’s to learning what matters!
I’m here to help how I can.