Teachers of the Secret

Best of the Monday Messages

This Monday Message appeared October 10 2020

Follow These Rules and You Will Never Look Back in Life with Regrets

By Thomas Oppong

You can become smarter, faster, more intelligent, and more kind.

You are responsible for your life, for your feelings, for your actions, and for every result you get. You are in control of your thoughts. You have the ability to stop thinking about something and to start thinking about something else.

Once you take personal responsibility for your life and actions, you will begin to improve your ability to respond to external factors you may not have control over.

You can improve your results and become smarter, faster, more intelligent, more kind, more able to contribute to your own success and happiness.

You Will Never be Ready. Do it Anyway!

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.” — Paulo Coelho

The bulletproof way to miss out on a career that means the world to you is to wait for the perfect moment. Your brain will always convince you into believing that you are never ready.

Never ready to take a step. Never ready to start a healthy habit. Never ready to start a passion project. Never ready to love again. Never ready to launch that project on your mind.

When it’s time to make the most out of your time, there are only two states: doing nothing and doing something.

Because doing something might be extremely uncomfortable for us we create a third state of mind, a slight nuance between the two predefined ones. We call it “almost ready”.

Don’t feed your insecurities. Perpetual cycle of helplessness can kill everything and anything you’ve ever dreamed of doing!

If you focus 100% on output without zero input you might just be fooling yourself into thinking that you are moving forward while in fact, you are spinning in circles.

The difference between those who start before they’re ready and those who wait is that the former knows you won’t know what you can do until you do it.

Do not miss the train. Opportunities are often late, but they always go away fast.

Pursue Your Ultimate Potential

“I have no regrets. I don’t believe in looking back. What I am proudest of? Working really hard… and achieving as much as I could.” — Elena Kagan

Every human brain has a built-in capacity to become, over time, what we demand of it. No ability is fixed. Don’t put an intellectual limitation on yourself. Whatever you want in life, you can become if you want it bad enough. Once you have a WHY, you will find a HOW!

Words of inspiration from Mozart to help you pursue your life’s work even if you think you are not talented enough:

“People make a great mistake who think that my art has come easily to me,” Mozart himself once wrote to his father, as if to make this precise point. “Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I.”

Every life is special. You matter. Your dreams matter. But it’s ultimately up to you to take action in the direction of your dreams, and when you do, you’ll be met halfway — I promise. You won’t be alone. Thousands, if not millions of people have been on that same journey before. There is so much you can learn from everyone else who either succeeded or failed.

Life’s work or meaningful project is different for everyone. For some it’s passive income. For others it’s intrapreneurship. For some it’s working 1:1 with clients. And for some, it’s being able to work from anywhere. In the end, it is what freedom feels and looks like to each one of us.

Your Input Predicts Your Output

“When you do something with a lot of honesty, appetite and commitment, the input reflects in the output.” — A. R. Rahman

The overwhelming reality about life and living it is this: we live in a world where most things are worthless, and a very few things are exceptionally valuable and improve or make you better. As John Maxwell once said, “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.

Whatever you seek to change in your life, be it a bad habit to break, a good habit to form, a new approach to something, a new commitment or starting a passion project, your success depends on the quality of your inputs.

The quality of your inputs determines and predicts your output — habits, character, attitudes, beliefs, and results. Commit to working different. Commit to changing something… to change itself. Commit to the process of ever-improving results.

Everything you allow into your life through all your senses — input — is processed as output that creates your results. If you expect a different output, start analyzing your inputs.

If you are not satisfied with your current output and your results, including your beliefs and your mindset, pay close attention to everything you spend time doing. Most information is time-consuming, negative, and irrelevant to your goals and dreams. Don’t do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

Deliberate lifestyle design is based on massive consistent action — output. Increased output necessitates decreased worthless input.

You are probably due for input adjustment!

80% of Your Outcomes in Most Things You Do Come From 20% of Your Inputs

As Pareto demonstrated with his research, this “rule” holds true, in a very rough sense, to an 80/20 ratio.

At a micro level just by looking at your daily habits you can find plenty of examples where the 80/20 Rule applies. 20% of the people who are close to you influence 80% of your attitude and perception and either propel you forward or limit your ability to deliver and make the progress you deserve. In business, 80% of profits come from 20% of customers and 20% of products.

The important thing to understand is that in your life there are certain activities you do (your 20 percent) that account for the majority (your 80 percent) of your happiness and outputs. Some of your time spent working inefficiently provide very little benefit.

When you start to analyze and breakdown your life into elements it’s very easy to see 80/20 ratios all over the place.

The message is simple — focus on activities that produce the best outcomes for you.

The key to making the 80/20 Principle work for you is focus. In every area of your life you can work out the few things that are really important to you and the few methods that give you what you want.

There are lots of simple, painless ways to start this “stripping back” process so that you can begin applying the 80/20 Principle and reaping the practical benefits in your everyday life.

Experiment Boldly

“Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.” — Cadet maxim

In our search for perfection, many of us end up finding comfort, stagnancy, and mediocrity. Every time you speak up or have a public “aha” moment purely for validation purposes, your creative expression takes a hit!

“As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that. You have to know who you are — what others say is irrelevant.” ― Nic Sheff

Study the greats. Read their biographies or autobiographies. Learn the good and know the bad. How did they work? What were their successful routines? Try and err. Most people don’t express themselves enough to get good at what they do, and so have low volume of work to know what works and what doesn’t.

Picasso was exceptionally prolific throughout his long lifetime. The total number of artworks he produced has been estimated at 50,000, comprising 1,885 paintings; 1,228 sculptures; 2,880 ceramics, roughly 12,000 drawings, many thousands of prints, and numerous tapestries and rugs.

And there are about 870 paintings by Vincent van Gogh existing today. His earliest date from 1881 and the latest from July 1890.

Aim at total self-expression. Create a lot, launch your ideas, write posts, take many shots, practice more than your strongest competitor. Most of what you do may suck, but you need the bullshit if you want to find your authentic self.

Embrace Ambition Without Hesitation

“Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.” — John F. Kennedy

In following your inclinations and moving toward your ultimate potential, you make a great contribution to society by sharing with the rest of us. You enrich the world with your discoveries and insights. You become a contributor instead of a consumer. You inspire others to also take action.

If you have chosen to read, watch, consume, travel, explore and learn — then share as you grow so others may benefit from your skill.

Bless the world with meaningful and unique solutions that solve problems, limitations and frustrations. You are capable of satisfying wants, needs, hopes, dreams and desires.

You have every chance of fulfilling someone’s dream if you can be bold enough to show up and share yourself. Start chasing something bigger than yourself. What really matters is that you create something you are proud of that becomes a powerful addition to your body of work.

Dare Greatly, Fall Down and Get Back Up

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.” — May Sarton

Most of us go through life doing what we’re supposed to do, what society or family expects of us instead of what we want, subjugating our own dreams and desires to our perceived social obligations.

When you have to make a decision, don’t start by asking yourself what you’re supposed to do. Instead, first ask yourself what you want to do. What makes you come alive.

Then, ask yourself if there’s any compelling reason why you shouldn’t do that. If there aren’t, go ahead and do what you want. If there is, and it’s within your control, do something about it.

Civilization has too many rules for you, so do your best to rewrite them! Deciding to live life on your own terms. As Steve Jobs once said:

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

The Obstacle is Always the Way

The only use of an obstacle is to be overcome. All that an obstacle does with brave men is, not to frighten them, but to challenge them. — Woodrow Wilson

When you bet on yourself and choose to pursue your life’s work, don’t take failure personally. Most people abandon their efforts too early in the face of challenges.

There is so much focus on quick and easy life hacks that we forget that true, deep, authentic, meaningful, and lasting work comes from deliberate consistent practice. Purposeful practice over time gets you closer each day to the success you crave. If you are not making progress as you expect, try changing up your pattern. There is not single path to meaningful work. It matters that you don’t stop.

Anyone going through a significant discovery stage in life will face enormous setbacks. But remember, a setback is a set up for a comeback.

Instead of giving up, find a new way to approach a scary task. Break it into tiny little bits. Work from a totally different location. Ask someone to talk you through an idea so you gain a new perspective and get out of your own head. Go for a walk.

Draw a picture of the solution, instead of trying to write about it. Change how you work. Sometimes you get so engrossed in your own passion project that you lose sight of the solution you seek which may be hidden in plain sight.

If you don’t feel joy in the goals you have set for yourself, try changing your goals, but whatever happens keep moving in the direction of your dreams!

Sometimes, the path towards originality isn’t pursued because its origins are so humble. Take any start or foothold you can get. Embrace humble beginnings and do the work that others don’t want to do.

To truly excel, you must first create for the most important audience of all: yourself.