mile 5

Jedi mind tricks I’ve used that have helped me do hard things in life.

The other day, my daughter was complaining about how hard it was for her to do things she doesn’t like. Homework. Chores. The usual. So, I told her about some of the tricks I’ve used to outwit my laziness, fear, procrastination, and all the other all too human predispositions messing with my character.

1. Better to have tried and failed than to have never tried. This one is my all-time favorite. I used this to start my very first business (that failed but led to all the others that followed).

2. Don’s judge yourself by the success or failure of any one project, but by the success of the best one. This is another way of saying that I am an entrepreneur, not an enterprise. My odds of success increase with more enterprises I start (sequentially).

3. Only experts have a right to judge (yourself). If you are not an expert, become one first, then pass judgment. I hated my writing when I started twenty years ago. So, I promised myself I’d write seven books first and earn my right to judge the quality of my work before I pass judgment and condemn.

4. Make sure that all possible outcomes of a venture are a success. When I started Tonic and invested all my life savings into the business, I figured, in the worst-case scenario, it would be like getting a very hands-on MBA. It was. I got the MBA and then some.

5. Remind yourself that you may die at any time. I’ve used that lens repeatedly to figure out what really matters and what I need to focus on. What if I only had one year left? Or one day?

6. Always run your own race. Whenever things got too competitive or I worried too much about keeping up with the Joneses, I reminded myself that I just need to be better today than the person I was yesterday. This is another way of saying, you are the only person who can make yourself feel bad about yourself.

7. If you want something done, hire a coach. Or partner up with a buddy. Physical therapy is not hard, but most of us left to our devices won’t do it unless we are paying someone to do it. Whenever I wanted to get something done that required lots of willpower, I always paired up with a buddy or paid for a coach.

8. Commit to practice, not to goals. When I wanted to acquire a new skill, I never commit to a goal. Instead, I commit to practicing at least 15 minutes per day. The trick here is the first 15 min are the hardest. More often than not, I’d end up practicing for an hour or however long I had.

9. Make a bet that you’ll succeed. I make bets with people where I will pay them (or a cause I hate) if I don’t accomplish the goals I’ve set.

10. Collecting Nos. – Whenever I focus on selling something where most of my interactions will be rejections, I focus on collecting as many Nos as possible. It’s a numbers game. The more Nos I’ve gathered, the more Yeses would have come along the way.

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