While having the title of "5th grade spelling bee champ" or "President of the [insert high school or college club name here]" seems impressive in the moment, time slowly erases their significance.
It's just fact. Certain accomplishments fade over time.
But there are certain accomplishments that never fade -- accomplishments that stand the test of time and become an ingrained part of our identities.
Pursuing something of this scale is perhaps the most effective use of our time.
While it may require significant willpower and take 10x the effort, we will often reap 100x the results.
The next time you have to make a big decision, ask yourself if it will contribute to your goal of becoming evergreen.
The people who made the world into what it is today are experts at noticing patterns.
The average person complains when things don't seem right, while the game changers take note for later use.
The average person gets frustrated at the way others behave, while the game changers stop and ask why to get a glimpse at human behavior.
If we want to make a difference, we need to notice.
But we will never notice anything if we aren't looking, and chances are we aren't looking because we don't have a system.
How do you notice?
Last week, I went to my brothers play with my girlfriend. As we were leaving, I saw an elderly man (late 80s or early 90s) gingerly walking down some steps with the help of an assistant.
On the back of his jacket were the words:
"Every Day is a Bonus"
* * *
The story we tell ourselves has a great impact on how we experience reality.
We all have our own faults, bad experiences, and doubts. But it is the voice in our heads that determines what is actually happening.
A story that empowers and strengthens us will push us beyond anything we have ever done. But a story that poisons and taints our perspective will limit us and keep us from achieving our goals.
What stories are you telling yourself?
Nobody has any issue understanding that our lives can easily take a sudden turn for the worst.
The house can catch on fire, we can lose our jobs, or the car can stop working.
But the opposite... the fact that in one single moment, our entire lives can turn around for the better is harder to wrap our brains around.
Why is that?
Perhaps it is because when we see the bad thing happen, all we think about is the end result. We forget that bad stuff rarely happens out of nowhere.
The car didn't decide to just stop working. Chances are that the car began to have problems awhile ago, and it accumulated into a single moment where it stopped working.
Small mistakes, made consistently over time = bad shit happens.
But the same thing is true with the opposite.
Small wins, made consistently over time = good shit happens.
So if we want more good to happen, we need to believe in the opposite and understand that nothing "bad" or "good" happens without consistency.
The issue used to be getting good information.
Now, the issue is focusing on the right information.
If you find yourself seeking out information from many different sources, ask yourself:
Once you can figure out what to leave out, you have much more room to focus on what is truly important.
It's significantly more exciting to chase new, shiny tactics than it is to study the basics.
But mastering the basics is a long term play that wins every time.
While someone who chases the shiny tactics may appear to be ahead initially, it is nothing but an illusion.
Fortunately, you understand that you are in this for the long term and are willing to sacrifice being ridiculed temporarily for winning permanently.
The basics are the basics for a reason. Ignore them at your own peril.
Life will never be the same as it is now.
Even when you become "successful" you think about what it was like to not be.
Yet here we are now, dreaming about what life will be like in the future, or what life was like in the past.
Today, we think about tomorrow. Tomorrow, we think about yesterday.
But now is your chance to be here.
Because this moment will never happen again.
* * *
"I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
If you don't have any understanding or knowledge of anything at all, what possibly could you dream of?
We are often encouraged to "dream big" or to "follow your dreams".
But before we can do that, we first need to put in the work.
Just like a baby, it's quite possible that right now we aren't even capable of dreaming our biggest dreams.
We need to begin by first making the investment in ourselves by continuously exposing ourselves to new people, circumstances, and information that allow us to unlock that next level of thought.
Then maybe, just maybe, we can begin to accomplish our biggest dreams.
Skill alone is not enough.
You can be good, but if nobody knows or cares about who you are, your growth will be limited.
Personality alone is not enough.
Everyone can love you, but personality by itself will never replace the fact that you have to sit down and do the work.
To support yourself financially, help some people, and live an ordinary life, you could do just fine with skill or personality alone.
But to be world class, you need both.