1 Stop consuming caffeine
Although people think they perform better on caffeine, the truth is, they really don’t. Actually, we’ve become so dependent on caffeine that we use it to simply get back to our status quo.
When we’re off it, we under perform and become incapable.
Isn’t this absurd?
In his book, The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer argues that your energy should come from within — from your why — not from external stimulants. The scientific backing is substantial and unsurprising: intrinsic motivation destroys extrinsic motivation every day of the week.
Motivation aside — healthy eating, sleeping and intensive exercise produce higher quantities and quality of energy than caffeine ever could. A holistic approach to life is essential. Garbage in, garbage out.
Give up the caffeine and see what happens. To avoid withdrawal headaches — which are mostly placebo — replace your caffeine with something else (another placebo). After a few days without caffeine, you’ll develop confidence in your ability to function without it.
2 Pray or meditate morning, midday, and night
In a recent interview at the Genius Network mastermind event, Joe Polish asked Tony Robbins what he does to get focused. “Do you meditate? What do you do?” Joe asked.
“I don’t know that I meditate. I don’t know that I want to meditate and think about nothing,” Tony responded, “My goal is clarity.”
Instead of full-on meditation, Tony has a morning routine that includes several breathing exercises and visualization techniques that get him to a state of clarity and focus. For me, I use prayer and pondering (my version of meditation) as the same vehicle.
Whatever your approach, the goal should be clarity and focus. What do you want to be about today?
What few things matter most during the next 24 hours?
I’ve gotten the best results as:
n My morning prayer and meditation are motivational;
n My afternoon prayer and meditation are evaluative and strategic; and
n My evening prayer and meditation are evaluative and reflective.
3 Read one book per week
Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning. It is common for the world’s most successful people to read at least one book per week. They are constantly learning.
I can easily get through one audiobook per week by just listening during my commute to school and while walking on campus. Taking even 15– to 30 minutes every morning to read uplifting and instructive information changes you. It puts you in the zone to perform at your highest.
Over a long enough period of time, you will have read hundreds of books. You’ll be knowledgeable on several topics. You’ll think and see the world differently. You’ll be able to make more connections between different topics.
Reference No. 19 on this list if you feel you’re “too busy” to read one book per week. There are methods to make this task extremely easy.
4 Write in your journal 5 minutes per day
This habit will change your life. Your journal will:
- Clear your emotions serving as your personal therapist;
- Detail your personal history;
- Enhance your creativity;
- Ingrain and enhance your learning;
- Help you get clarity on the future you want to create;
- Accelerate your ability to manifest your goals;
- Increase your gratitude;
- Improve your writing skills; and
- Five minutes per day is more than enough. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, recommends writing far less than you want to — only a few sentences or paragraphs at most. This will help you avoid burnout.
5 Marry the person you love
“For all the productivity and success advice I’ve read, shaped and marketed for dozens of authors in the last decade, I’ve never really seen someone come out and say: Find yourself a spouse who complements and supports you and makes you better.” — Ryan Holiday
Research done by economists have found — even after controlling for age, education and other demographics — that married people make 10 percent to 50 percent more than single people.
Why would this be?
Being married gives you a higher purpose for being productive. You are no longer a lone ranger, but have another person who relies on you.
Marriage also smacks you in the face with what’s really important in life. Sure, hanging out and partying are fun. But too many people get stuck in this phase and miss the meaning that comes from building a life with someone.
You will never find a better personal-development seminar or book than marriage. It will highlight all of your flaws and weaknesses, challenging you to become a better person than you ever thought possible.
Thomas Monson said, “Choose your love; love your choice.” After you’ve chosen the person you love, love them. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. Frankl said in Man’s Search for Meaning, “For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”
6 Make a bucket list and actively knock items off
What are the things you absolutely must do before you die?
Then design your life around those things. Or as Stephen Covey explained in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin with the end clearly in mind.”
A simple mental exercise that may be helpful is imagining you only have 30 days to live. What would you do in those 30 days?
Now imagine you have five years to live. What would you do during those five years?
Get to work. The death-bed mentality is the only way to live. Stop pretending you’ll live forever. As Professor Harold Hill has said : “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”