“Some people are born mediocre, some people achieve mediocrity, and some people have mediocrity thrust upon them.” Joseph Heller.
One day my younger brother came in to chill.
“I’m tired, my working hours consumed every ounce of energy in me”. He said, while checking out the girl at the frontdesk at the hotel I’ve been staying for the past 5 months. Cute.
“It will be a matter of time I skipped gym and become fat, like everyone else”.
He grinned, apologetically. He knew how I felt about throwing your God-given body to fatness.
Boy that was a universal question that I’m too familiar. I’ve had that sinking feeling because I’ve set-up camp in that mediocre zone too. Been there for two years.
It happened when I decided to take leave from writing (finding my actual motives & niches; code word for utter crap), and setting any audacious goals; just to experience if gratefulness overload, for once, can bring me more joy.
Prior to that, I remember describing the year as ‘swashbuckling’ in our yearly goal setting retreat. Double promotion, ending bad-debt, finalizing purchases of 2 houses, get into running and inadvertently founding a dynamic running club… Just to name a few.
I stepped off the gas and it didn’t take long that the other good habits I did crumble too;
- I started smoking, again.
- Definitely not a 5AM Early Riser club anymore.
- I didn’t fucking write.
- Meditate sporadically.
- Journal even lesser.
- Did not meet my target of 2016 books to read (less then 30!).
The only salvation is the fact that I don’t get into other bad debt (under my name), and my Project Freedom capital savings rate has gone up. But, that was only because I automate it.
And I still run, but only because the crews are awesome.
My Answer to My Early 20s Sibling on How to Thrive
“I’m in a slump myself, but, I’m doing these – perhaps it can help you”.
So, cutting through all the noises, essentially everyone’s are in one of these 3 phases.
Survival. Hustle. Thrive.
What follows are the learning I want to impart to myself, my brothers and sisters (there’s 6 of them). I hope they’ll find the resilience to play in this dangerous (albeit fun) game of life.
Phase 1: Survival (or Self Sustainability or Independence)
It’s hard to feel inspired if you’re worried about the basic needs (rent, food, bills, and car fuel). It’s even more damaging if you’re inflicted with two most dangerous disease for kids your age.
FOMO or Fear of Missing Out and Addiction to Material.
FOMO is dangerous because you’ll be distracted from your focus.
It’s the feeling of missing out when you’re exposed with what people around you are doing.
1. Now everyone can be a social media content creator, ‘entrepreneur’, Calisthenic athlete, artist, influencers, full-time trader, entrepreneur, and photographers. You should too!
2. Everyone’s off to a party, there’ll be something great happening but I need to do my monthly finance analysis. But first let me have the party!
With the overhype of success without the true perspective of behind-the-scene sickening hours, we bought into the belief that it’s so easy to be everything.
You can be anything you want to be, but you can’t be everything you want to be.
FOMO lead to inability to stick through what we’re supposed to be doing. Instead, we’re unconsciously following the masses of activities. These pull us into all direction and we end up not having anything to show after years goes by. Still working in that shitty job we hate that pays pennies, high body fat %, and uninspired.
Seeking Pleasure With Material; Materialisme; Consumerism
You’ll have hard time if you are also inflicted with Seeking Pleasure with Material, . Closely related to FOMO, addiction to materials lead you to buy things you don’t need to please Jones you don’t like. Or you buy things for the sheer pleasure of buying high. Which definitely will not last forever.
Okay, so what can I do?
Phase 1: Survive
In the survival phase, you need to learn to save. Because every millionaires are savers. Benjamin Franklin saved half of every dollar he earns, and that’s why he’s the beast. I have yet to save 50% of my income, but I hope to be there. You, can start with a very small value (I started with RM50 per month).
Survival Phase Objectives:
- Have enough to last you through the month without the need to ask external help (your parents). Why? They had other things to do with their hard-earned money. I’ll get very emotional on this topic. So, I’ll stop at that.
- Develop habit of saving consistently. This capital is to be used during Hustle phase.
Action Items in Survival Phase
- Be clear of your dreams by listing down everything you ever want to be. Rank that with someone’s you admire. Cut the listing to 3-4 items (or even 2 if possible). Read it every morning. For now we’ll call this the Life Endeavors. I’ll write on this later.
- At this stage, you want to ensure your salary can sustain your life with some portion saved, automatically. If it’s not enough, then you’re living beyond your means. Your FOMO level is too high. I’m nursing mine too. Cut back and use envelopes to budget.
Phase 2: Hustle: The Long Hours of Efforts Even When You’re Tired
While you’re getting into the grip with Surviving, you will need to employ the single characteristic that makes or breaks people. It’s HUSTLE. It’s so important that the entire Gary Vee (future owner of New York Jets and a 300mil media company) message can be summarized into just that: Hustle.
Hustle phase objectives:
- Spending the energy in terms of hours, mental capacity and efforts that will get you more proficient in your Life Endeavors. Eg; having the skill to get a return of 5% on your FOREX trades. That means, among others you should have workable trade plan, 1 year of back-testing data, and in-depth knowledge of the technique.
- Level-up in your Life Endeavor with your pre-defined milestonnes. Eg, Year 1: achieving 1% per month in your FOREX trades, increasing by 2%?
Action Items in Hustle Phase:
- Putting in the hours required to be the master of the trade for the Life Endeavors. Let’s say, you want to be a Full Time Trader (FTT), then it’s beyond question that you need to put in 3-4 years of solid hours of learning the craft. One of my brothers want to be an graphic illustrator, which is not something he learnt in University. So, he’ll need to learn that on the side. That’s hustling. Doing everything you can, using any available resource that you have, even when you’re tired of the day to day job.
- Find the criteria that defines your effectiveness in the scope. Quoting the FTT example, this will be an ability to generate X% per month. Start small, perhaps 2% increase of a 100USD cent account in Forex, and gradually increase from that. Seemed simple, hard to achieve.
- Incorporate habits of successful people. Old trivial stuffs you bleed your ears hearing them : Find mentors, Goal settings, Being Early Riser, Exercise etc.
- Cut back the time spent on leisure. If you still have leisure time, than you’re not hustling enough (goes without saying that I’m guilty in this too). Everything you aren’t able to achieve is then is entirely due to your unwillingness to hustle.
Hustle means being the boy who sit in front of his computer for 40 hours sifting through that Fiverr job, practicing the craft, and offering anything remotely related to graphic design to get that #madskills.
Phase 3 : Thrive (Leverage, Grow Yourself, Play at Different Level)
Thrive moments start when you didn’t have to think about survival anymore. Suddenly your bank balances aren’t zero before the payday. You suddenly has room for travels and growth. But it’s important to still be focused on your dreams. As non-survival state can often lead to mediocrity.
I have been there, for 2 years. And it’s painful as fuck.
Thrive Phase Objectives:
- Autopilot your Financial Core Muscle for Achieving Financial Freedom
- Actively improving your value capacity by investing a portion into Growth & Give.
Action items at Thrive Phase
- Change the way you allocate your money.
- Increase % of savings year-on-year.
- Escalate rapidly by doing higher value activities that will get you closer to FF. We’ll talk about networking, leveraging other people’s expertise,
- Be better at good habits.
- Have the circle that pushes you.
- Develop intense love of the work, it becomes play.
These will be a hard yet meaningful journey. You don’t want to be uninspired, lazy-ass kids who think, where have the years gone by? What’s my adventure? What the fuck am I doing?
I have gone through that. I hope this little post can help you think a little bit differently. Let me write again to you later!