How to Achieve Unachievable with Navy SEALs

 

I believe people don’t use their full potential. According to the urban myth, people use only 10% of their brainpower. Although it is not true, apparently, we tend to use our 100% very rarely, almost never.

Think of the time you go to bed. Do you think, if you used your powerfully, it would take you 30 minutes to fell asleep? This is exactly what Jocko Willink, who was a Navy SEAL commander, mentions in his podcast. He tries to squeeze the day as much as possible so that when he goes to bed, he can feel the day and the satisfaction he did his best.

How often do you feel that? How often do you go to bed knowing you completely run out of fuel?

If you have plenty of plates to spin on a stick, so to speak, how do you make sure all of them keep spinning. And what do you do if you think you are too tired and start dropping one of them?

For me, the question is the matter of mental toughness. Are you willing to go the extra mile to keep everything working?

Navy SEALs, which I admire for their toughness, have a rule called 40% rule.

It is very simple.

When you think you are done, you are just 40% done. 

Although I couldn’t find any scientific research to back the rule, I believe it is a strong motivator. And I can tell you, it works. After I have heard about the approach, I have tested it in my training and work. I have reached results I would have never expected.

So, next time you think you are done, just shut up and keep the plates spinning.

 

 

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How to Plan a Year – Ultimate Guide

Here we go again, another New Year’s Eve inevitably coming and you may be already tired of the “New Year,  New Me” bullshit circulating around the webs.

But, if you find yourself in the situation, and most of us do, where you are not satisfied with your life in some of the fields, either love, friendship, career, finance, fitness, health etc. maybe it is indeed time for you to change in 2017.

I know it is going to be the case for me.

Honestly, I haven’t achieved everything I was hoping for in 2016 thus I decided to reach for the help to the most successful people that found the way to go. Here is the most comprehensive online guide of how to plan the year that cumulates all the knowledge I gained recently about the matter.

1. Analyse the Passing Year

As mentioned earlier, I didn’t manage to achieve all of my goals in 2016 and in order to improve in 2017, I need to realise what stopped me from succeeding.

This is the step so many planning guides forget about, while it may be actually the most important one.

As Ray Dalio in his “Principles” writes, most people don’t achieve their goals because they are too afraid and get angry when their problems are being analysed.

While actually, this feedback is the first step on your way to greatness.

How are you supposed to improve without knowing what is the root cause of your 2016 failures?

Imagine you are riding a bike and you keep getting flat tyres. You have two main choices to make. You can either continue cycling and be stopping to pump your tyre every 5 minutes. At the same time, you can stop, analyse the wheel and change the inner tube. Which method do you think will get you faster and further to your destination?

So take your time now and with honesty to yourself analyse 2016. I will wait.

Seriously, I don’t allow you to read further before you do this.

 

2. Five Steps to Greatness
  1. Set Goals
  2. Find the Obstacles
  3. Analyse the Obstacles
  4. Plan
  5. Execute

Now let’s take it slowly.

  1. SET GOALS

I am sure you have at some point in your life come across SMART Goals:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Realistic

T – Timely

 

I would like to add to the list F – Fucking awesome

Because the thing is, as Derek Sievers, the founder of CD Baby, points out, whenever you have a choice to make, you have two options. It is either “Fuck Yes” or “No”. As someone else pointed out once, “99% commitment is no commitment”. That’s why your goals should be only of a great excitement to you. This is another way to avoid ‘the dip” (check out my post about the dip here)

That is why I would like to ask you to think of your goals this way. Don’t think of them as if what would your mum want you to achieve. You live for yourself, not for her. So if there is something that is truly important to you, that’s the way to go.

So, breaking SMARTF into parts

Specific

Bad example: Get rich

Good example: Earn £1 million

Measurable

Bad example: Improve my social life

Good example: Go to 30 Birthday Parties

 

Achievable (is it really?)

Here is the thing. One part of me agrees with this but at the same time, I think that a bit of craziness isn’t bad. As Richard Branson said, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes and then learn how to do it later”. That is why although you should think first about achievable goals, remember that the greatest things happen when we leave our comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to go a bit over the edge.

Realistic

See Achievable

Timely

Bad example: Write a book

Good example: By June 2017 write a book and send it to the publisher for the review

Fucking Awesome

Everyone gets excited about different stuff. For one graduation seems like an unnecessary career step while others will be crying all day with the tears of joy when the day comes. Thus I won’t point out any bad and good examples here. But for me, I can tell you it is to start an ethical fashion brand. How fucking awesome is that?!

 

Few more advice

What I would like to recommend you is to focus on 1-2 main big goals and then set few smaller ones, that could be potentially related to the big ones. Remember, we have limited time and attention span so it is all about priorities we set ourselves.

 

When you come up with a goal, ask yourself why it is that you want to achieve it?

Let’s say your goal is to buy a brand new Ferrari by August 2017.

But why? What if your reason behind it is to be more admired by women since you are still single? Maybe better way to achieve it is through going to the gym or starting a charity organisation?

Since all of your goals are clear now, please write them all down on few pieces of paper and distribute around your house, bags, cars, wallets. It’s just a psychological trick that will set you up for the success.

One more piece of advice, no matter what your motivations are, set yourself also a financial goal you want to achieve. Write to yourself a bank cheque for the required amount and put it in your wallet. You can’t imagine how many successful people have admitted that they had done it.

 

2. FIND THE OBSTACLES

At this point, I hope you took the first step (analysing 2016) seriously and now you know in which areas of your life you basically suck and need to improve.

I want you to be honest with yourself. I know it can be painful but deceiving yourself and being disillusioned won’t take you far. Just look at your goals, look at your performance from the past and without analysing deeply or thinking about potential solutions please see what the heck is wrong with you.

Example:

Last year I was planning to spend more time learning languages. But with my busy lifestyle, I couldn’t find often enough time to achieve the goal. At the same time, every day I would go after work to Instagram thinking I deserved a bit of chill. The problem was, “a bit of chill” would often turn to be a time I could spend on Duolingo doing few lessons. I am happy to say I managed through building healthy habits to replace Instagram with Duolingo and now Je parle francais un peu.

So look at your goals and knowing yourself think what could potentially stand in the way between you and your destination.

 

3. ANALYSE THE OBSTACLES

Now it is the time I will ask you to go deeper and analyse what is the cause of the obstacle. Remember the example of a flat tyre at the beginning?

When you find it, go ahead and find the way to improve on it. Each thing can be different that I will just avoid giving you any vague advice here. It’s up to you how you are going to tackle it. What I would recommend though is researching more the power of habits since they are the way to turn bad behaviours into successful ones.

 

4. PLAN 

Now that we know what we are going for and what are the obstacles we have to face, we have to set ourselves weekly and monthly milestones.

Also, divide each goal into smaller pieces and set deadlines for each of them.

For example, my goal for 2017 is to read 52 books. I have prepared a list of dates (last days of each week) and a free spot next to it where I am to write a title of a book I read over the week.  That way, you know how you are getting on, if you are on track and if not, why and what you should change.

5. EXECUTE 

Ok, enough of the theory. Go and conquer.

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Is it still raining?

How much time does it take you to realize that it stopped rainig?

Being based in London I often get to walk down the street accompanied by a drizzle.

Only recently have I noticed that even if it stops rainig, some people are still protecting themselves with umbrellas.

And it made me think…

They do that because they are already so used to rain that they forget to check if the conditions outside their “dry zone” have changed.

Now, I believe we can use that annalogy to a daily life.

How often do you start doing something because you had to (or you thought you have to do it) and then you don’t notice that the conditions have changed and you should adjust your actions?

To give an example, over the last year I used to go to bed very late thinking that I am being more productive and that it allows me to do the work. Then, I started a new job thus every evening is a very tiring time for me and all I think about is going to bed.

After few weeks of pushing myself to go to bed late I decided to try and go to bed very early to wake up very early.

The effect was amazing.

Although I sleep the same amount of time, I get to do far more things since I wake up fresh and get to have very productive mornings.

I guess what I am trying to say is to recommend you to open your eyes and analyze everything you do to see if status quo is the best thing for you.

And remember that often it takes only as little as taking your hand outside the umbrella to check if it is still raining.

So why not to try?

 

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What will take you further

Imagine you are cycling and keep getting a flat tyre.

You have two main choices to make.

  1. To continue cycling knowing that every few minutes you have to stop, pump and slowly move on.
  2. To take your time to find the problem, its causes and fix it (usually not as hard as people think it is).

It’s pretty clear which one will take you further and faster.

So why do you keep choosing option 1?

Perhaps that’s why you still haven’t achieved your destination while others are already celebrating…

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Do you want to be a puppy or a wolf?

The dogs naturally don’t bark.

Surprise.

It turns out that wolves bark and make sound only when they are puppies. Then they grow out of this.

Only the domesticated dogs don’t.

There are different theories trying to explain this mystery. One of them that I am inclined to believe in is that when dogs are puppies, it is comfortable state of the game for them. Being feed etc. That’s why they keep barking, because it provides them with a comfortable life.

Well, humans are also animals…

So it makes me wonder, in the society today, what are the activities we do that are actually opposite our nature…

 

 

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Clichés Are True

Shay Carl in the Tim Ferris Show said recently that there is really hidden truth about life in clichés.

So why do we ignore them so much?

It got me thinking.

The thing about clichés is that they are true as much as you are open for them.

Let’s look at the example also mentioned in the podcast: “Thinking happy thoughts will make you happy”

Is there anything else that sounds more cheesy? For some people, it sounds so bad that they will just burst in laugh and for sure their attitude will not allow to acknowledge the truth.

But have you tried thinking happy thoughts? Did you feel better afterwards? Then what’s the problem?

To prove you that clichés are worth listening, here are 5 of those that we get to use so often that we started ignoring them. (I even have a feeling that whenever cliché is being said, something in our brain switches our attention off – neuroscientists please research that)

1. When life gives you lemons, make the lemonade

As Ryan Holiday says, obstacle is the way. The path to greatness isn’t easy. When it’s hard and you can embrace it, the great things will happen to you.

As the another clichés say, the plane takes off against the wind.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

 

2. Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

We are so good at excuses. One of the most popular one? I am not ready yet.

But here is the thing.

You will never be ready!

So you can wait for ever or face the storm and move forward.

 

3. Action speaks louder than words

Nowadays, thanks to the social media, people comment and declare so many actions.

But how many of those really go and deliver?

 

4. Never judge a book by its cover

Letter 8 of Seneca:

“[…]understand that a man is sheltered just as well by a thatch as by a roof of gold. Despise everything that useless toil creates as an ornament and an object of beauty. And reflect that nothing except the soul is worthy of wonder; for to the soul, if it be great, naught is great.”

 

5. YOLO

5 words: You are going to die.

So why haven’t you done what you have always wanted to?

 

 

Next time you hear a cliche, open yourself to it, even if people are laughing. It’s their loss and your gain.

Think about it.

If they were just some meaningless words, they wouldn’t become cliché.

So go and listen.

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