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The 3 Vital Steps Of The Apprenticeship Phase In Mastering Anything

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Robert Greene - Master Skills in Apprenticeship

This post is an excerpt from Mastery by Robert Greene (Viking). Mastery is the latest book from the bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, and The 50th Law.

In the stories of the greatest Masters, past and present, we can inevitably detect a phase in their lives in which all of their future powers were in development, like the chrysalis of a butterfly. This part of their lives—a largely self-directed apprenticeship that lasts some five to ten years—receives little attention because it does not contain stories of great achievement or discovery. Often in their Apprenticeship Phase, these types are not yet much different from anyone else. Under the surface, however, their minds are transforming in ways we cannot see but contain all of the seeds of their future success.

Much of how such Masters navigate this phase comes from an intuitive grasp of what is most important and essential for their development, but in studying what they did right we can learn some invaluable lessons for ourselves. In fact, a close examination of their lives reveals a pattern that transcends their various fields, indicating a kind of Ideal Apprenticeship for mastery. And to grasp this pattern, to follow it in our own ways, we must understand something about the very idea and necessity for passing through an apprenticeship.

In childhood we are inculcated in culture through a long period of dependency—far longer than any other animal. During this period we learn language, writing, math, and reasoning skills, along with a few others. Much of this happens under the watchful and loving guidance of parents and teachers. As we get older, greater emphasis is placed on book learning—absorbing as much information as possible about various subjects. Such knowledge of history, science, or literature is abstract, and the process of learning largely involves passive absorption. At the end of this process (usually somewhere between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five) we are then thrust into the cold, harsh work world to fend for ourselves.

When we emerge from the youthful state of dependency, we are not really ready to handle the transition to an entirely independent phase. We carry with us the habit of learning from books or teachers, which is largely unsuited for the practical, self-directed phase of life that comes next. We tend to be somewhat socially naïve and unprepared for the political games people play. Still uncertain as to our identity, we think that what matters in the work world is gaining attention and making friends. And these misconceptions and naïveté are brutally exposed in the light of the real world.

If we adjust over time, we might eventually find our way; but if we make too many mistakes, we create endless problems for ourselves. We spend too much time entangled in emotional issues, and we never quite have enough detachment to reflect and learn from our experiences. The apprenticeship, by its very nature, must be conducted by each individual in his or her own way. To follow precisely the lead of others or advice from a book is self-defeating. This is the phase in life in which we finally declare our independence and establish who we are. But for this second education in our lives, so critical to our future success, there are some powerful and essential lessons that we all can benefit from, that can guide us away from common mistakes and save us valuable time.

These lessons transcend all fields and historical periods because they are connected to something essential about human psychology and how the brain itself functions. They can be distilled into one overarching principle for the Apprenticeship Phase, and a process that loosely follows three steps.

The principle is simple and must be engraved deeply in your mind: the goal of an apprenticeship is not money, a good position, a title, or a diploma, but rather the transformation of your mind and character—the first transformation on the way to mastery. You enter a career as an outsider. You are naïve and full of misconceptions about this new world. Your head is full of dreams and fantasies about the future. Your knowledge of the world is subjective, based on emotions, insecurities, and limited experience. Slowly, you will ground yourself in reality, in the objective world represented by the knowledge and skills that make people successful in it. You will learn how to work with others and handle criticism. In the process you will transform yourself from someone who is impatient and scattered into someone who is disciplined and focused, with a mind that can handle complexity. In the end, you will master yourself and all of your weaknesses.

This has a simple consequence: you must choose places of work and positions that offer the greatest possibilities for learning. Practical knowledge is the ultimate commodity, and is what will pay you dividends for decades to come—far more than the paltry increase in pay you might receive at some seemingly lucrative position that offers fewer learning opportunities. This means that you move toward challenges that will toughen and improve you, where you will get the most objective feedback on your performance and progress. You do not choose apprenticeships that seem easy and comfortable.

In this sense you must see yourself as following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin. You are finally on your own, on a voyage in which you will craft your own future. It is the time of youth and adventure—of exploring the world with an open mind and spirit. In fact, whenever you must learn a new skill or alter your career path later in life, you reconnect with that youthful, adventurous part of yourself. Darwin could have played it safe, collecting what was necessary, and spending more time on board studying instead of actively exploring. In that case, he would not have become an illustrious scientist, but just another collector. He constantly looked for challenges, pushing himself past his comfort zone. He used danger and difficulties as a way to measure his progress. You must adopt such a spirit and see your apprenticeship as a kind of journey in which you will transform yourself, rather than as a drab indoctrination into the work world.

 

The Apprenticeship Phase — The Three Steps or Modes

With the principle outlined above guiding you in your choices, you must think of three essential steps in your apprenticeship, each one overlapping the other. These steps are: Deep Observation (The Passive Mode), Skills Acquisition (The Practice Mode), and Experimentation (The Active Mode). Keep in mind that an apprenticeship can come in many different forms. It can happen at one place over several years, or it can consist of several different positions in different places, a kind of compound apprenticeship involving many different skills. It can include a mix of graduate school and practical experience. In all of these cases, it will help you to think in terms of these steps, although you may need to give added weight to a particular one depending on the nature of your field.

 

Step One: Deep Observation—The Passive Mode

Becoming A Master - Robert GreeneWhen you enter a career or new environment, you move into a world with its own rules, procedures, and social dynamic. For decades or even centuries, people have compiled knowledge of how to get things done in a particular field, each generation improving on the past. In addition, every workplace has its own conventions, rules of behavior, and work standards. There are also all kinds of power relationships that exist between individuals. All of this represents a reality that transcends your individual needs and desires. And so your task upon entering this world is to observe and absorb its reality as deeply as possible.

The greatest mistake you can make in the initial months of your apprenticeship is to imagine that you have to get attention, impress people, and prove yourself. These thoughts will dominate your mind and close it off from the reality around you. Any positive attention you receive is deceptive; it is not based on your skills or anything real, and it will turn against you. Instead, you will want to acknowledge the reality and submit to it, muting your colors and keeping in the background as much as possible, remaining passive and giving yourself the space to observe. You will also want to drop any preconceptions you might have about this world you are entering. If you impress people in these first months, it should be because of the seriousness of your desire to learn, not because you are trying to rise to the top before you are ready.

You will be observing two essential realities in this new world. First, you will observe the rules and procedures that govern success in this environment—in other words, “this is how we do things here.” Some of these rules will be communicated to you directly—generally the ones that are superficial and largely a matter of common sense. You must pay attention to these and observe them, but what is of more interest are the rules that are unstated and are part of the underlying work culture. These concern style and values that are considered important. They are often a reflection of the character of the man or woman on top.

You can observe such rules by looking at those who are on their way up in the hierarchy, who have a golden touch. More tellingly, you can observe those who are more awkward, who have been chastised for particular mistakes or even been fired. Such examples serve as negative trip wires: do things this way and you will suffer.

The second reality you will observe is the power relationships that exist within the group: who has real control; through whom do all communications flow; who is on the rise and who is on the decline. These procedural and political rules may be dysfunctional or counterproductive, but your job is not to moralize about this or complain, but merely to understand them, to get a complete lay of the land. You are like an anthropologist studying an alien culture, attuned to all of its nuances and conventions. You are not there to change that culture; you will only end up being killed, or in the case of work, fired. Later, when you have attained power and mastery, you will be the one to rewrite or destroy these same rules.

Every task you are given, no matter how menial, offers opportunities to observe this world at work. No detail about the people within it is too trivial. Everything you see or hear is a sign for you to decode. Over time, you will begin to see and understand more of the reality that eluded you at first. For instance, a person whom you initially thought had great power ended up being someone with more bark than bite. Slowly, you begin to see behind the appearances. As you amass more information about the rules and power dynamics of your new environment, you can begin to analyze why they exist, and how they relate to larger trends in the field. You move from observation to analysis, honing your reasoning skills, but only after months of careful attention.

We can see how Charles Darwin followed this step quite clearly. By spending the first few months studying life on board the ship and perceiving the unwritten rules, he made his time for science much more productive. By enabling himself to fit in, he was able to avoid needless battles that would have later disrupted his scientific work, not to mention the emotional turmoil these would have presented to him. He later practiced the same technique with gauchos and other local communities he came in contact with. This allowed him to extend the regions he could explore and the specimens he could collect. On another level, he slowly transformed himself into perhaps the most astute observer of nature the world has ever known. Emptying himself of any preconceptions about life and its origins, Darwin trained himself to see things as they are. He did not theorize or generalize about what he was seeing until he had amassed enough information. Submitting to and absorbing the reality of all aspects of this voyage, he ended up piercing one of the most fundamental realities of all—the evolution of all living forms.

Understand: there are several critical reasons why you must follow this step. First, knowing your environment inside and out will help you in navigating it and avoiding costly mistakes. You are like a hunter: your knowledge of every detail of the forest and of the ecosystem as a whole will give you many more options for survival and success. Second, the ability to observe any unfamiliar environment will become a critical lifelong skill. You will develop the habit of stilling your ego and looking outward instead of inward. You will see in any encounter what most people miss because they are thinking of themselves. You will cultivate a keen eye for human psychology, and strengthen your ability to focus. Finally, you will become accustomed to observing first, basing your ideas and theories on what you have seen with your eyes, and then analyzing what you find. This will be a very important skill for the next, creative phase in life.

 

Step Two: Skills Acquisition—The Practice Mode

Robert Greene - The Art Of MasteryAt some point, as you progress through the initial months of observation required in an apprenticeship, you will enter a critical stage: practice toward the acquisition of skills. Every human activity, endeavor, or career path involves the mastering of skills. In some fields, it is direct and obvious, like operating a tool or machine or creating something physical. In others, it is more of a mix of the physical and mental, such as the observing and collecting of specimens for Charles Darwin. In still others, the skills are more nebulous, such as handling people or researching and organizing information. As much as possible, you want to reduce these skills to something simple and essential—the core of what you need to get good at, skills that can be practiced.

In acquiring any kind of skill, there exists a natural learning process that coincides with the functioning of our brains. This learning process leads to what we shall call tacit knowledge—a feeling for what you are doing that is hard to put into words but easy to demonstrate in action. And to understand how this learning process operates, it is useful to look at the greatest system ever invented for the training of skills and the achievement of tacit knowledge—the apprenticeship system of the Middle Ages. This system arose as a solution to a problem: As business expanded in the Middle Ages, Masters of various crafts could no longer depend on family members to work in the shop. They needed more hands. But it was not worth it for them to bring in people who would come and go—they needed stability and time to build up skills in their workers. And so they developed the apprenticeship system, in which young people from approximately the ages of twelve to seventeen would enter work in a shop, signing a contract that would commit them for the term of seven years. At the end of this term, apprentices would have to pass a master test, or produce a master work, to prove their level of skill. Once passed, they were now elevated to the rank of journeymen and could travel wherever there was work, practicing the craft.

Because few books or drawings existed at the time, apprentices would learn the trade by watching Masters and imitating them as closely as possible. They learned through endless repetition and hands-on work, with very little verbal instruction (the word “apprentice” itself comes from the Latin prehendere, meaning to grasp with the hand). Because resources such as textiles, wood, and metals were expensive and could not be wasted on practice runs, apprentices would spend most of their time working directly on materials that would be used for the final product. They had to learn how to focus deeply on their work and not make mistakes.

If one added up the time that apprentices ended up working directly on materials in those years, it would amount to more than 10,000 hours, enough to establish exceptional skill level at a craft. The power of this form of tacit knowledge is embodied in the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe—masterpieces of beauty, craftsmanship, and stability, all erected without blueprints or books. These cathedrals represented the accumulated skills of numerous craftsmen and engineers.

What this means is simple: language, oral and written, is a relatively recent invention. Well before that time, our ancestors had to learn various skills—toolmaking, hunting, and so forth. The natural model for learning, largely based on the power of mirror neurons, came from watching and imitating others, then repeating the action over and over. Our brains are suited for this form of learning. In an activity such as riding a bicycle, we all know that it is easier to watch someone and follow their lead than to listen to or read instructions. The more we do it, the easier it becomes. Even with skills that are primarily mental, such as computer programming or speaking a foreign language, it remains the case that we learn best through practice and repetition—the natural learning process. We learn a foreign language by actually speaking it as much as possible, not by reading books and absorbing theories. The more we speak and practice, the more fluent we become.

Once you take this far enough, you enter a cycle of accelerated returns in which the practice becomes easier and more interesting, leading to the ability to practice for longer hours, which increases your skill level, which in turn makes practice even more interesting. Reaching this cycle is the goal you must set for yourself, and to get there you must understand some basic principles about skills themselves.

First, it is essential that you begin with one skill that you can master, and that serves as a foundation for acquiring others. You must avoid at all cost the idea that you can manage learning several skills at a time. You need to develop your powers of concentration, and understand that trying to multi task will be the death of the process.

Second, the initial stages of learning a skill invariably involve tedium. Yet rather than avoiding this inevitable tedium, you must accept and embrace it. The pain and boredom we experience in the initial stage of learning a skill toughens our minds, much like physical exercise. Too many people believe that everything must be pleasurable in life, which makes them constantly search for distractions and short-circuits the learning process. The pain is a kind of challenge your mind presents—will you learn how to focus and move past the boredom, or like a child will you succumb to the need for immediate pleasure and distraction? Much as with physical exercise, you can even get a kind of perverse pleasure out of this pain, knowing the benefits it will bring you. In any event, you must meet any boredom head-on and not try to avoid or repress it. Throughout your life you will encounter tedious situations, and you must cultivate the ability to handle them with discipline.

In practicing a skill in the initial stages, something happens neurologically to the brain that is important for you to understand. When you start something new, a large number of neurons in the frontal cortex (the higher, more conscious command area of the brain) are recruited and become active, helping you in the learning process. The brain has to deal with a large amount of new information, and this would be stressful and overwhelming if only a limited part of the brain were used to handle it. The frontal cortex even expands in size in this initial phase, as we focus hard on the task. But once something is repeated often enough, it becomes hardwired and automatic, and the neural pathways for this skill are delegated to other parts of the brain, farther down the cortex. Those neurons in the frontal cortex that we needed in the initial stages are now freed up to help in learning something else, and the area goes back to its normal size.

In the end, an entire network of neurons is developed to remember this single task, which accounts for the fact that we can still ride a bicycle years after we first learned how to do so. If we were to take a look at the frontal cortex of those who have mastered something through repetition, it would be remarkably still and inactive as they performed the skill. All of their brain activity is occurring in areas that are lower down and require much less conscious control.

This process of hardwiring cannot occur if you are constantly distracted, moving from one task to another. In such a case, the neural pathways dedicated to this skill never get established; what you learn is too tenuous to remain rooted in the brain. It is better to dedicate two or three hours of intense focus to a skill than to spend eight hours of diffused concentration on it. You want to be as immediately present to what you are doing as possible.

Once an action becomes automatic, you now have the mental space to observe yourself as you practice. You must use this distance to take note of your weaknesses or flaws that need correction—to analyze yourself. It helps also to gain as much feedback as possible from others, to have standards against which you can measure your progress so that you are aware of how far you have to go. People who do not practice and learn new skills never gain a proper sense of proportion or self-criticism. They think they can achieve anything without effort and have little contact with reality. Trying something over and over again grounds you in reality, making you deeply aware of your inadequacies and of what you can accomplish with more work and effort.

If you take this far enough, you will naturally enter the cycle of accelerated returns: As you learn and gain skills you can begin to vary what you do, finding nuances that you can develop in the work, so that it becomes more interesting. As elements become more automatic your mind is not exhausted by the effort and you can practice harder, which in turn brings greater skill and more pleasure. You can look for challenges, new areas to conquer, keeping your interest at a high level. As the cycle accelerates, you can reach a point where your mind is totally absorbed in the practice, entering a kind of flow in which everything else is blocked out. You become one with the tool or instrument or thing you are studying. Your skill is not something that can be put into words; it is embedded in your body and nervous system—it becomes tacit knowledge. Learning any kind of skill deeply prepares you for mastery. The sensation of flow and of being a part of the instrument is a precursor to the great pleasures that mastery can bring.

In essence, when you practice and develop any skill you transform yourself in the process. You reveal to yourself new capabilities that were previously latent, that are exposed as you progress. You develop emotionally. Your sense of pleasure becomes redefined. What offers immediate pleasure comes to seem like a distraction, an empty entertainment to help pass the time. Real pleasure comes from overcoming challenges, feeling confidence in your abilities, gaining fluency in skills, and experiencing the power this brings. You develop patience. Boredom no longer signals the need for distraction, but rather the need for new challenges to conquer.

Although it might seem that the time necessary to master the requisite skills and attain a level of expertise would depend on the field and your own talent level, those who have researched the subject repeatedly come up with the number of 10,000 hours. This seems to be the amount of quality practice time that is needed for someone to reach a high level of skill and it applies to composers, chess players, writers, and athletes, among others. This number has an almost magical or mystical resonance to it. It means that so much practice time—no matter the person or the field—leads to a qualitative change in the human brain. The mind has learned to organize and structure large amounts of information. With all of this tacit knowledge, it can now become creative and playful with it. Although the number of hours might seem high, it generally adds up to seven to ten years of sustained, solid practice—roughly the period of a traditional apprenticeship. In other words, concentrated practice over time cannot fail but produce results.

 

Step Three: Experimentation—The Active Mode

Experimenting and mastering a new skillThis is the shortest part of the process, but a critical component nonetheless. As you gain in skill and confidence, you must make the move to a more active mode of experimentation. This could mean taking on more responsibility, initiating a project of some sort, doing work that exposes you to the criticisms of peers or even the public. The point of this is to gauge your progress and whether there are still gaps in your knowledge. You are observing yourself in action and seeing how you respond to the judgments of others. Can you take criticism and use it constructively?

With Charles Darwin, as the voyage progressed and he began to entertain the notions that would lead to his theory of evolution, he decided to expose his ideas to others. First, on the Beagle, he discussed them with the captain and patiently absorbed his vehement criticisms of the idea. This, Darwin told himself, would be more or less the reaction of the public, and he would have to prepare himself for that. He also began to write letters to various scientists and scientific societies back in England. The responses he received indicated he was on to something, but that he would need some more research. For Leonardo da Vinci, as he progressed in his studio work for Verrocchio, he began to experiment and to assert his own style. He found to his surprise that the Master was impressed with his inventiveness. For Leonardo, this indicated that he was near the end of his apprenticeship.

Most people wait too long to take this step, generally out of fear. It is always easier to learn the rules and stay within your comfort zone. Often you must force yourself to initiate such actions or experiments before you think you are ready. You are testing your character, moving past your fears, and developing a sense of detachment to your work—looking at it through the eyes of others. You are getting a taste for the next phase in which what you produce will be under constant scrutiny.

You will know when your apprenticeship is over by the feeling that you have nothing left to learn in this environment. It is time to declare your independence or move to another place to continue your apprenticeship and expand your skill base. Later in life, when you are confronted with a career change or the need to learn new skills, having gone through this process before, it will become second nature. You have learned how to learn.

 

Robert Greene is an American author and speaker known for his books on strategy, power and seduction. He has written four international bestsellers: The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, and The 50th Law.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Richard Anderson

    Jun 8, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Wow, that is one deep article and takes some reading! When I look back at my career and learning process (I’m 53) I never gave any of this a thought. For me personally, I was fired by my enthusiasm for my craft and the new opportunities that lay ahead. This is an interesting piece for sure and I believe Maxwell Maltz’s ‘The New Psycho-Cybernertics’ and Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers’ add a clearer view of this complex subject for me.

  2. Rachel Hunter (TraderRach)

    May 20, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    The 3 steps of the Apprenticeship Phase describes the process to learn forex trading. I agree that many people take too long to get into the Active Mode out of fear. A comprehensive article thanks.

  3. Bakinson Olalekan

    May 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

    The very simple and careful delivery of this piece quickly brings to bare two things- confidence and assurance of success, if only one strictly adheres to these principles.

  4. dejiu

    May 11, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    WOW!
    That’s the best word to describe this article! You just gave ma a road map to become a Tycoon in any industry whatsoever! Thank you for the wonderful work!!

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Success Advice

How I Racked Up Millions Of Views On LinkedIn

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In 2014 I started writing posts on LinkedIn. They all sucked. Most of them were re-shares of other people’s content.

My ideas about business back then were naive, stupid and mostly ego driven. That was the very issue with everything I was doing on LinkedIn.

It was all about me because that’s what everyone was preaching. I was listening to everyone else instead of listening to my gut feeling.

I changed all of that in 2016.

It resulted in me gaining millions of views on LinkedIn.

Here’s what I did, one step at a time:


Step 1: Try to help one person.

I too wanted to help millions of people on day one. It’s not going to happen. Quit reading the picture quotes that always tell you to “Have a huge impact” or “Think Big.” It’s total BS in the context of social media and getting started.

Instead, write that post with one person in mind. What’s one question you could answer and who would benefit the most from that answer.

That’s what I asked myself.

When I coached a graduate at work, I’d write solutions for them in the form of LinkedIn posts.

When I was asked for my opinions on digital marketing by the Head Of Social Media, I’d write the answer in the form of a LinkedIn post.

“I started out only ever wanting to help one person at a time”

What ended up happening was that those answers applied to more than just the person I’d written it to. That’s how you beat the mental block of doing your first post or trying to help one person.


Step 2: Shoot videos that are not your best.

Be raw, authentic and real.

That’s why I shoot videos with average lighting or dark circles around my eyes or in my pyjamas or without my hair combed. That’s who I am in my rawest form. All the perfect lighting, rehearsed scripts and lack of bloopers translate to one thing:

“You don’t look real to people.”

I’ve probably just pissed off every YouTube famous person in the world with that advice.

All the perfectly written posts, brilliantly shot videos and stunning photos are making us see something that doesn’t resemble reality. Eventually, we become numb to the perfection and switch off from what’s actually important which is:

How can you help all of us?

Okay, I said it again. Just want to make sure you didn’t forget my point.


Step 3: Share posts that have no benefit to you whatsoever.

Someone needs a job? Help them.
Someone needs to raise money for their business? Help them.

Share posts that help other people and that are ideas you believe in.Helping other people on LinkedIn is how you ultimately get closer to your own goals. Those same people you help will become your advocates.

When someone tries to bully you, these people you helped will step in without you asking them to.

If your account get’s hacked, these people you helped will tell you.

If you lose a loved one or go through a disaster in your career, these people will be the first ones to reach out.

Ultimately, you get stronger on LinkedIn by helping others to be stronger and doing things that have no benefit to you


Step 4: Commit career suicide.

You probably can’t believe I said that. Why the heck would anyone tell you to do this? It’s simple: career suicide in the modern business world is about being vulnerable and showing your emotions.

It’s about sharing the moment before you give a presentation when you’re scared out of your mind.

It’s about sharing how you got rejected for tons of jobs right in front of the very people who could hire you or even work at the company you’d love to work for.

It’s about completely rethinking everything you’ve ever done and doing something totally different.

It’s about not trying to replicate everybody else’s success thus making you like everybody else.


Step 5: Ignore what the LinkedIn algorithm is doing.

Don’t try and game the algorithm.

You’re not smarter than AI or the machine that is LinkedIn. Quit trying to do that. Forget the viral videos; forget the latest trend of short posts; forget trying to be funny with memes.

The only trick to the Linkedin feed is to be yourself and help a few people in the meantime.

Chasing algorithms only leads to inaction, copying, not being yourself, boredom and all the crap you don’t want.


Step 6: Don’t re-share your posts on social media.

It distracts you. It makes you focus on too many platforms. You’re only one person and probably have enough on your plate with your career.

Pick one social media platform and post on there.

Re-sharing is overrated. Content posted on one platform often won’t make sense on another platform. You don’t need to be on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc, to please the social media gods. You just need one platform where you help people.


Step 7: Forget about a personal brand.

I’ve never seen anybody be inspired by someones ‘personal brand.’

Stop using that phrase. Just stop now for the love of god!

No one goes on LinkedIn (or any other platform) to hear about your personal brand and how you make yourself look good. It’s meaningless x 1000.

Give up creating a personal brand.
Leave your ego behind.
Don’t worry about vanity metrics.

Help people. Be good to people. Support causes you believe in. Help people, help people and then help some more people.

Find out the problems people are dealing with and then share your solutions to them in the form of stories”

Remove your ego from the equation.


Step 8: Ignore the analytics and data that impacts what you post.

These are a distraction. Who cares how many shares or views you got.
I’ll say it again: All that matters is did you help one person?

Do that. Repeat. Do it again. That’s the millions of views equation. Views are a reflection of how many people you’re helping.

Analytics can’t tell you how to help people — only you can do that using your brain and your intuition. There are so many random factors in analytics that will distract you from the truth.

Maybe you posted at the right time.
Maybe someone with a gazillion followers liked your post.
Maybe your post was re-shared by a publication.

It really doesn’t matter what the analytics say; it matters whether you helped someone other than yourself.


Step 9: Don’t post pictures of you hanging out with cool people.

It doesn’t matter where you went for dinner or what event you went to. How are you helping people? What can you teach me?

Selfies only tell the story of one’s self and the ego that goes with it. That’s not interesting to most people.


Step 10: Don’t have a mentor or coach.

Go on Linkedin and scratch your itch. Forget about having a strategy or listening to people who have done well on the platform.

You’ll figure out Linkedin when you figure out yourself.

1. Who are you?
2. Who are you becoming?
3. How do you help people?
4. What have you overcome?
5. What have you learned?
6. What do you know that nobody else knows?
7. What inspires you?

There the questions you need to answer and following others in the hope that you can chase somebody else’s success on LinkedIn is pointless.


Step 11: Give up chasing trends.

Trends don’t last.

Trends are a distraction away from how you can help people.

Trying to be like everybody else and chasing trends is how I got lost on the platform. I started trying to be somebody else because the trend said to do X.

The real me is quirky, a bit crazy, stupid at times, outspoken and a mixture of introvert and extrovert. Turns out that was more interesting to people than being a trendsetter and saying what I thought people wanted to hear. There are enough people doing that already.

Trends are ridiculous. Make something that lasts.


Step 12: Make your one sentence headline about how you can help.

Not “Growth Expert.”
Not “Strategic Advisor.”
Not “Award Winning.”

Describe in the one sentence LinkedIn gives you to write your headline, to talk about how you help people. Link that to something you’re freaking obsessed with. Mines inspiring the world through entrepreneurship and personal development.

That’s how I help people and that’s what I love like my puppy dog that died in 2005. What do you love and how can you help?

Always remember it’s not about you.

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Success Advice

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Day Job for Your Creative Ventures

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building a side business
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If you’ve spent anytime online you’ve no doubt come across people like this: “Hi there, I’m Timothy Moneybags and I made a million dollars from my best-selling novel after I quit my job and pursued my dream of becoming a writer!”

While many of these stories are true and can definitely be motivational, this idea that quitting your job is synonymous with finding creative success is just not true. Plenty of people have quit their jobs to become writers and ended up not making a dime, we just don’t hear their stories because they’re probably too embarrassed to share them.

Similarly, stories of people who keep their day jobs, pursue their dreams and find their own personal success don’t seem to be heard as often either for a different reason: It’s not as sexy as someone dropping everything to venture into the unknown.

While it might not sell as well in a Facebook Ad, there are plenty of practical reasons why you should keep your day job if you’re planning on pursuing a creative venture that could replace your income.

Here are 4 reasons why you shouldn’t quit your day job for your creative ventures:

1. Steady Income Means Less Stress

It can be insanely stressful knowing that your creative venture will be 100% responsible for feeding yourself and your family. In a lot of ways, this stress can drain the enjoyment you normally had with your project due to it having to make you money at all costs. Eventually, you’ll find your motivation to try something new becomes stagnant as your fear of disrupting the stability that you’ve built yourself pulls you back to what’s familiar.

If you keep your day job, then you won’t have to worry if your branching out causes your project to fall flat on its face because your bills are already covered. While it’s obviously possible to build something on the side that does sustain you, the idea that you have to quit your job right away, stress out to the point of losing sleep, and then hopefully find success is silly.

You can still work your day job and work on your creative projects at the same time, and keeping a steady source of income will help free you up to explore your passions even if they don’t make you any money.

“There is no downside to a side hustle. There are only benefits to building more than one source of income. A side hustle is the new job security.” – Forbes

2. You Have More Time Than You Think to Hustle

This notion that there isn’t enough time during the day to work on your side project is just not a great excuse. Just ask Gary Vaynerchuk, who systematically has his entire day planned down to the minute. If this man is able to fit an insane amount of time doing what he loves into his schedule every day, you can fit, at minimum, a few minutes in your day to work on your passion.

While, practically speaking, you would have a lot of time in your day if you did quit your job, just look at how you spend the free time that you currently have. Are you pursuing your passion or are you watching Netflix? If you’re like me, you’re probably spending too much time staring at a screen rather than hustling.

If you begin monitoring what you do during your free time, you’ll quickly realize that you do, in fact, have time throughout the week to work on your passion. Over time, you’ll see the time you put into your projects will stack up and you’ll be glad you spent those few hours out of the week working versus watching the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

3. You Have a Backup if Things Don’t Work Out

Let’s be frank: your creative venture could completely fail to make you a dime. The question is, will you still have a way to pay the bills if this happens? As mentioned already, having a steady source of income means less stress for you and a safety net in case your passion doesn’t “stick” in the marketplace of ideas.

Your day job, no matter how boring it may be, provides you with necessary stability that a creative venture might not have right away. So, don’t give in to the romantic notion of quitting your job to “pursue your dreams” if you don’t have that stability quite yet unless you’re willing to take this unnecessary risk.

Be practical, and ensure that your bills have a way to be paid and your family has a person at the helm of their future that is both prepared and stable.

“Quitting a job doesn’t jump-start a dream because dreams take planning, purpose and progress to succeed. That stuff has to happen before you quit your day job.”

4. You’re Free to Experiment Without Worrying About Monetization

As Hugh MacLeod puts it in his book “Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity”, passion projects should be looked at as a separate thing from your 9-to-5 job. The reason being is there isn’t pressure to perform a certain way in order to make money. Instead, the creative person is free to explore different avenues without fear of their project not putting food on the table.

One could argue that this is also why a lot of musical artists come out with songs that sound almost identical to the last song they made. Since the last song sold very well, and they want to continue making a profit off of their art, they’ll take a sort of “conveyor belt” approach to their music and not deviate from the formula that works for them.

While there are definitely fantastic songs produced this way, there’s a kind of commercialism that stains the once hungry and experimental artist before they began profiting off their art, and one could argue that their art suffers because of it.

If one keeps their income generator separate from the creative venture they enjoy, they’ll find the venture to be more satisfying to the soul rather than their bank account.

The best approach, in my mind, is to take a “come what may” approach with your creative ventures when it comes to making money. If you earn anything from it, that’s great! However, don’t let money be the main focus or your artistic expression could be compromised.

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Success Advice

10 Confronting Reasons Why People Don’t Reach Their Goals

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failing to reach your goals
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What is the incentive for attaining your full potential and realizing your goals? Why do some people seem to achieve more than others despite having the same time and resources availed to them? The devil is in the details, and this is especially true when it comes to accomplishing your goals or not.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re stuck in the same spot for weeks, months or years now and are not accomplishing much; it might be time for you to assess yourself with the following ten truths.

1. You Lack Self-Confidence

One of the biggest reasons why people fail is because they don’t believe in themselves. Belief is actually a trained function, therefore the deeper you condemn yourself to the rut of self-doubt, the harder it is to come out of it. Our past has a lot to do with how we view our own abilities.

Maybe you just landed a new job or transferred to a new school and are now meeting new people who seem much smarter or more accomplished than yourself. It is often said that battles are won long before they are ever fought, and a lack of self-confidence will cause a reverse effect in accomplishing your goals. Don’t doubt yourself and miss a crucial opportunity in the process.

2. You Always Make the Same Mistakes

This is simply about accountability. If, say you were fired from your dream job because of always showing up late and happened to land another job where soon after you began you made the same mistake, you just dig your own grave. The thorough self-assessment is a crucial part of achieving your goals. You won’t get to the gym and achieve success if you are always oversleeping, or overeating. The same applies to any other dream that you may possess, so work hard and do anything that is possible.

3. You’re Averse to Taking Risks

Risk taking isn’t just limited to those who are looking to go into business or for savvy entrepreneurs. It directly applies to every aspect of our daily lives. How many of us keep that 9 to 5 job that we hate only because we are afraid of taking a plunge and following our passions?

There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t take that risk, after all, bills have to be paid, and there’s a 401k to contribute to, right? But there’s one greater reason why you should take that risk: your dreams lie in wait. Start that business, go on that trip or try out that relationship. You never know what tomorrow might bring, so do not hesitate and take risks.

“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” – Les Brown

4. Unwilling to Let Go of Productivity Killers

One of the ridiculous reasons (but true) why people can’t have what they want is the fact that they can’t let go of habits that take up valuable time. Facebook posts, Insta selfies and a whole lot of Netflix-&-Chill might make the whole day down the drain. A global study conducted by B2X also reports that Millennials are spending more than 25% of their day on smartphones, thoroughly diminishing their productivity and bearing a hindrance on them achieving their goals. So, put aside all of the unneeded and pointless activities – it takes too much time!

5. It’s Just Not as Easy as You Thought

Starting is the most important part, but constantly grinding and working on it is even more important to become successful. We often see the glitz on media with stories of overnight successes and folks who hit the jackpot with their ideas. What we don’t see is the pain, sweat, tears and rejection that took up the biggest chunk of the grind.

If it were that easy, it would be worthless. Along the way, you are bound to feel tired, uninspired, depressed, on the verge of giving up even. However, try to find ways of keeping motivated by learning a new skill, meditating, reading etc. Failure is a critical part of succeeding, and you have to embrace it and learn from it.

6. You’re Not Surrounded with Ambitious People

The people around us have a huge impact on how we utilize our time, how we think and the kind of goals we set for ourselves. Tom Mendoza, a brand contributor on Forbes, tackles this subject well by talking about the key qualities of the company he keeps and how it helps him grow. That old musing about being the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with couldn’t be truer.

7. Folks Who Don’t Reach Their Goals Because They Failed Before

This is probably the biggest reason why people don’t accomplish their goals. According to Fundera, about 20% of businesses fail in the first year. Does this mean the other 80% don’t face the same obstacles or they have a magic formula for victory? No, it just means that they managed to get themselves together and try again. The reason people can’t have everything they want is because they want everything `here and now`, but they don’t realize that failure is imminent and is the only sure road to the victory.

8. You Lack Vision and Never Take Action

Biagio Sciacca tackles the subject of a visionary mindset quite well in his blog article on how the boundaries of manifestation are limited by our own perception. He emphasizes with a personal story how everything that we see and interact with starts with a single idea in mind. A vision is not just a vague wish or some random fairy-tale hope, it is the fuel that drives your passion and every meticulous piece of work that you put in. Goal setting provides the big picture perspective on what and why you are doing something.

“Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but because of lack of commitment.” – Vince Lombardi

9. Thinking They Lack Enough Time to Achieve Their Goals

A good number of folks don’t believe they can accomplish their dreams with the time they have left. If you’ve watched “The First Grader” you’ll get all the motivation you need. The story of an 84-year-old who goes back to school to attain a life-long desire to be learned is enough to make you think twice about giving up on your own ambitions. So it is never too late to do something you like, give yourself a try.

10. You Will Succeed Only If You Do It This Way

Living by others’ limitations and the boundaries they set for you is one sure way to box yourself in from your goals. You’ll only get more tired, frustrated and demotivated in the long run. People impose their limitations on you because they don’t want you to succeed or because they have fears about their own abilities and personal failures to deal with. Achieving your goals means silencing those critical voices and having faith in your own way of doing it. Your biggest motivation should be to do it for the people who want to see you fail.

In most of the cases, people shield themselves from success. So, don’t let anything hold you back from any goal you’ve ever set for yourself and always try your best.

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Success Advice

Stop Replying To Everyone.

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Many of you are running around like mad trying to manage your time. You’re reading productivity hacks, taking cold showers and waking up at 5 am.

You’re doing all of this because you want more time to do what you love.

Let me hit you in the face with one technique that has allowed me to win back time, so I can do what I love.

Stop replying to everyone…

You get emails asking you to do stuff.
You get asked to do an intro.
You get asked to speak at an event for free about your area of expertise.

Here’s the problem:
YOU KEEP RESPONDING TO EVERY REQUEST OF YOUR TIME.


What’s the answer?

The answer is really simple like everything I write. Are you ready?
Stop replying to everyone.

I learned this technique the hard way. When I was looking to interview entrepreneurs in 2014 about their story and share it in the form of a blog post, I didn’t get many replies.

I’d email very successful people who have achieved the impossible and get nothing.

Radio silence.
Donuts.


Why don’t your idols respond to requests for their time?

There’s many reasons.

  1. They have too many requests and could never humanly answer every single one.
  2. They have limited time and can’t fit everybody into their schedule.

The second reason is the most important. Your idols don’t respond because that’s their way of saying no.


No response is the best response.

By responding to every request of your time, you go down the rabbit hole of endless back and forth conversations.

Let me illustrate this point with a short story.

A US startup approached me on LinkedIn and asked me to advise them on their social media strategy. They offered me equity in return for my expertise.

The product was not something that aligned with who I am, and I was heading off to Europe on holidays and had no time to draft a proper reply.

I sent no response to their request.
They messaged me a second time.
I sent no response to their request.

Then, I got sucked into responding. I felt my moral compass telling me to reply and tell them no. On top of that, the startup had a very well known person in the social media industry join them. FOMO kicked in.

I replied and that’s where everything went wrong.

Once I replied to the request I got daily reminders and emails with pitch decks trying to convince me why they were the one startup who could beat Instagram. The claims of how much traction they had got more and more ridiculous.

“Eventually, a simple request of my time turned into a daily debate”

They wouldn’t leave me alone. I began to regret my stupidity for responding in the first place.

If a request of your time doesn’t resonate with you, and you don’t feel like saying “Fuck Yes” when presented with an opportunity, say NO.

Don’t be tempted by a request of your time. 
Say no.


Not replying is what works.

People generally give up after one email or direct message asking for your time. I’ve tested this theory a lot and it has almost always turned out to be true.

As soon as you reply, you become like a lawyer in the High Court trying to defend someone who is accused of murder. Your time is yours. You only get one life.

“You don’t need to justify yourself, your time, or your goals to anybody”

YOU HEAR ME? NOBODY!

The way you win back time and make room for what’s important to you is to fight the temptation to reply to every request that comes your way.

Quit giving away your time like free balloons at a car expo.


You end up making up lies.

The problem with replying to every request of your time is you can end up making up lies to get out of doing something. Or you may end up exaggerating or putting forward excuses that aren’t entirely true.

This causes even more problems for you because if the requester knows people within your network, they may find out you’re not being honest.

Why construct a grand plan that takes more of your time to respond to a request?

It’s easier to say nothing at all.


Silence says it all.

Smart people who ask you for stuff will know that after a week, if you haven’t responded, you’re probably not interested.

Silence is the best response. After all, if someone really wants you to do something they’ll chase you, they’ll follow you up and they may get a mutual connection to intro them to you.

Many pitches and requests are poorly written or incredibly selfish.

Fight back with silence. Don’t reply. Stop replying.


You’re not missing anything.

The temptation to respond can also be caused by the fear that you’re missing out.

Maybe someone is contacting you to fund your idea.
Maybe something you wrote is going to be published in the New York Times.
Maybe the request will lead you to direct a Hollywood Movie.

All of these false ideas are what’s causing you to respond to everybody.You’re worried you could miss the jackpot or your lucky break.

The harsh truth is that these opportunities are earned through hard work.Genuine opportunities that will excite you are clearly articulated and your gut feeling will guide you better than you think.

You’re not going to miss out on winning an Oscar for a movie you made because you didn’t reply to an email”


Not replying isn’t rude.

We feel we must reply to every request of our time. We have a fear that we will be accused of being rude.

This belief is false also. There’s nothing rude about not replying. We all get lots of emails and messages online and we can’t answer them all. People will understand when you don’t reply. If they don’t understand then that’s a problem with them, not you.

Don’t feel you have to reply out of politeness.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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41 Enlightening Bob Marley Quotes

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Bob Marley is an internationally respected musician, activist, and philanthropist. Hailing from Jamaica, his music has influenced both minds and revolutions around the world. Much of his wisdom can be found in the lyrics of his songs. Timeless, these words will resonate within young people for generations to come. (more…)

Joe Kleckner has a passion for all things motivation & self-development.  From blogs such as Addicted2Success, to the videos of Eric Thomas and Elliott Hulse, to the lectures of legends such as Tony Robbins.  This passion has landed him an internship with Addicted2Success. Follow him on Twitter & Snapchat as he journeys towards greatness, one day at a time.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Richard Anderson

    Jun 8, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Wow, that is one deep article and takes some reading! When I look back at my career and learning process (I’m 53) I never gave any of this a thought. For me personally, I was fired by my enthusiasm for my craft and the new opportunities that lay ahead. This is an interesting piece for sure and I believe Maxwell Maltz’s ‘The New Psycho-Cybernertics’ and Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Outliers’ add a clearer view of this complex subject for me.

  2. Rachel Hunter (TraderRach)

    May 20, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    The 3 steps of the Apprenticeship Phase describes the process to learn forex trading. I agree that many people take too long to get into the Active Mode out of fear. A comprehensive article thanks.

  3. Bakinson Olalekan

    May 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

    The very simple and careful delivery of this piece quickly brings to bare two things- confidence and assurance of success, if only one strictly adheres to these principles.

  4. dejiu

    May 11, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    WOW!
    That’s the best word to describe this article! You just gave ma a road map to become a Tycoon in any industry whatsoever! Thank you for the wonderful work!!

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Success Advice

How I Racked Up Millions Of Views On LinkedIn

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In 2014 I started writing posts on LinkedIn. They all sucked. Most of them were re-shares of other people’s content.

My ideas about business back then were naive, stupid and mostly ego driven. That was the very issue with everything I was doing on LinkedIn.

It was all about me because that’s what everyone was preaching. I was listening to everyone else instead of listening to my gut feeling.

I changed all of that in 2016.

It resulted in me gaining millions of views on LinkedIn.

Here’s what I did, one step at a time:


Step 1: Try to help one person.

I too wanted to help millions of people on day one. It’s not going to happen. Quit reading the picture quotes that always tell you to “Have a huge impact” or “Think Big.” It’s total BS in the context of social media and getting started.

Instead, write that post with one person in mind. What’s one question you could answer and who would benefit the most from that answer.

That’s what I asked myself.

When I coached a graduate at work, I’d write solutions for them in the form of LinkedIn posts.

When I was asked for my opinions on digital marketing by the Head Of Social Media, I’d write the answer in the form of a LinkedIn post.

“I started out only ever wanting to help one person at a time”

What ended up happening was that those answers applied to more than just the person I’d written it to. That’s how you beat the mental block of doing your first post or trying to help one person.


Step 2: Shoot videos that are not your best.

Be raw, authentic and real.

That’s why I shoot videos with average lighting or dark circles around my eyes or in my pyjamas or without my hair combed. That’s who I am in my rawest form. All the perfect lighting, rehearsed scripts and lack of bloopers translate to one thing:

“You don’t look real to people.”

I’ve probably just pissed off every YouTube famous person in the world with that advice.

All the perfectly written posts, brilliantly shot videos and stunning photos are making us see something that doesn’t resemble reality. Eventually, we become numb to the perfection and switch off from what’s actually important which is:

How can you help all of us?

Okay, I said it again. Just want to make sure you didn’t forget my point.


Step 3: Share posts that have no benefit to you whatsoever.

Someone needs a job? Help them.
Someone needs to raise money for their business? Help them.

Share posts that help other people and that are ideas you believe in.Helping other people on LinkedIn is how you ultimately get closer to your own goals. Those same people you help will become your advocates.

When someone tries to bully you, these people you helped will step in without you asking them to.

If your account get’s hacked, these people you helped will tell you.

If you lose a loved one or go through a disaster in your career, these people will be the first ones to reach out.

Ultimately, you get stronger on LinkedIn by helping others to be stronger and doing things that have no benefit to you


Step 4: Commit career suicide.

You probably can’t believe I said that. Why the heck would anyone tell you to do this? It’s simple: career suicide in the modern business world is about being vulnerable and showing your emotions.

It’s about sharing the moment before you give a presentation when you’re scared out of your mind.

It’s about sharing how you got rejected for tons of jobs right in front of the very people who could hire you or even work at the company you’d love to work for.

It’s about completely rethinking everything you’ve ever done and doing something totally different.

It’s about not trying to replicate everybody else’s success thus making you like everybody else.


Step 5: Ignore what the LinkedIn algorithm is doing.

Don’t try and game the algorithm.

You’re not smarter than AI or the machine that is LinkedIn. Quit trying to do that. Forget the viral videos; forget the latest trend of short posts; forget trying to be funny with memes.

The only trick to the Linkedin feed is to be yourself and help a few people in the meantime.

Chasing algorithms only leads to inaction, copying, not being yourself, boredom and all the crap you don’t want.


Step 6: Don’t re-share your posts on social media.

It distracts you. It makes you focus on too many platforms. You’re only one person and probably have enough on your plate with your career.

Pick one social media platform and post on there.

Re-sharing is overrated. Content posted on one platform often won’t make sense on another platform. You don’t need to be on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc, to please the social media gods. You just need one platform where you help people.


Step 7: Forget about a personal brand.

I’ve never seen anybody be inspired by someones ‘personal brand.’

Stop using that phrase. Just stop now for the love of god!

No one goes on LinkedIn (or any other platform) to hear about your personal brand and how you make yourself look good. It’s meaningless x 1000.

Give up creating a personal brand.
Leave your ego behind.
Don’t worry about vanity metrics.

Help people. Be good to people. Support causes you believe in. Help people, help people and then help some more people.

Find out the problems people are dealing with and then share your solutions to them in the form of stories”

Remove your ego from the equation.


Step 8: Ignore the analytics and data that impacts what you post.

These are a distraction. Who cares how many shares or views you got.
I’ll say it again: All that matters is did you help one person?

Do that. Repeat. Do it again. That’s the millions of views equation. Views are a reflection of how many people you’re helping.

Analytics can’t tell you how to help people — only you can do that using your brain and your intuition. There are so many random factors in analytics that will distract you from the truth.

Maybe you posted at the right time.
Maybe someone with a gazillion followers liked your post.
Maybe your post was re-shared by a publication.

It really doesn’t matter what the analytics say; it matters whether you helped someone other than yourself.


Step 9: Don’t post pictures of you hanging out with cool people.

It doesn’t matter where you went for dinner or what event you went to. How are you helping people? What can you teach me?

Selfies only tell the story of one’s self and the ego that goes with it. That’s not interesting to most people.


Step 10: Don’t have a mentor or coach.

Go on Linkedin and scratch your itch. Forget about having a strategy or listening to people who have done well on the platform.

You’ll figure out Linkedin when you figure out yourself.

1. Who are you?
2. Who are you becoming?
3. How do you help people?
4. What have you overcome?
5. What have you learned?
6. What do you know that nobody else knows?
7. What inspires you?

There the questions you need to answer and following others in the hope that you can chase somebody else’s success on LinkedIn is pointless.


Step 11: Give up chasing trends.

Trends don’t last.

Trends are a distraction away from how you can help people.

Trying to be like everybody else and chasing trends is how I got lost on the platform. I started trying to be somebody else because the trend said to do X.

The real me is quirky, a bit crazy, stupid at times, outspoken and a mixture of introvert and extrovert. Turns out that was more interesting to people than being a trendsetter and saying what I thought people wanted to hear. There are enough people doing that already.

Trends are ridiculous. Make something that lasts.


Step 12: Make your one sentence headline about how you can help.

Not “Growth Expert.”
Not “Strategic Advisor.”
Not “Award Winning.”

Describe in the one sentence LinkedIn gives you to write your headline, to talk about how you help people. Link that to something you’re freaking obsessed with. Mines inspiring the world through entrepreneurship and personal development.

That’s how I help people and that’s what I love like my puppy dog that died in 2005. What do you love and how can you help?

Always remember it’s not about you.

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Success Advice

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Day Job for Your Creative Ventures

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building a side business
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If you’ve spent anytime online you’ve no doubt come across people like this: “Hi there, I’m Timothy Moneybags and I made a million dollars from my best-selling novel after I quit my job and pursued my dream of becoming a writer!”

While many of these stories are true and can definitely be motivational, this idea that quitting your job is synonymous with finding creative success is just not true. Plenty of people have quit their jobs to become writers and ended up not making a dime, we just don’t hear their stories because they’re probably too embarrassed to share them.

Similarly, stories of people who keep their day jobs, pursue their dreams and find their own personal success don’t seem to be heard as often either for a different reason: It’s not as sexy as someone dropping everything to venture into the unknown.

While it might not sell as well in a Facebook Ad, there are plenty of practical reasons why you should keep your day job if you’re planning on pursuing a creative venture that could replace your income.

Here are 4 reasons why you shouldn’t quit your day job for your creative ventures:

1. Steady Income Means Less Stress

It can be insanely stressful knowing that your creative venture will be 100% responsible for feeding yourself and your family. In a lot of ways, this stress can drain the enjoyment you normally had with your project due to it having to make you money at all costs. Eventually, you’ll find your motivation to try something new becomes stagnant as your fear of disrupting the stability that you’ve built yourself pulls you back to what’s familiar.

If you keep your day job, then you won’t have to worry if your branching out causes your project to fall flat on its face because your bills are already covered. While it’s obviously possible to build something on the side that does sustain you, the idea that you have to quit your job right away, stress out to the point of losing sleep, and then hopefully find success is silly.

You can still work your day job and work on your creative projects at the same time, and keeping a steady source of income will help free you up to explore your passions even if they don’t make you any money.

“There is no downside to a side hustle. There are only benefits to building more than one source of income. A side hustle is the new job security.” – Forbes

2. You Have More Time Than You Think to Hustle

This notion that there isn’t enough time during the day to work on your side project is just not a great excuse. Just ask Gary Vaynerchuk, who systematically has his entire day planned down to the minute. If this man is able to fit an insane amount of time doing what he loves into his schedule every day, you can fit, at minimum, a few minutes in your day to work on your passion.

While, practically speaking, you would have a lot of time in your day if you did quit your job, just look at how you spend the free time that you currently have. Are you pursuing your passion or are you watching Netflix? If you’re like me, you’re probably spending too much time staring at a screen rather than hustling.

If you begin monitoring what you do during your free time, you’ll quickly realize that you do, in fact, have time throughout the week to work on your passion. Over time, you’ll see the time you put into your projects will stack up and you’ll be glad you spent those few hours out of the week working versus watching the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

3. You Have a Backup if Things Don’t Work Out

Let’s be frank: your creative venture could completely fail to make you a dime. The question is, will you still have a way to pay the bills if this happens? As mentioned already, having a steady source of income means less stress for you and a safety net in case your passion doesn’t “stick” in the marketplace of ideas.

Your day job, no matter how boring it may be, provides you with necessary stability that a creative venture might not have right away. So, don’t give in to the romantic notion of quitting your job to “pursue your dreams” if you don’t have that stability quite yet unless you’re willing to take this unnecessary risk.

Be practical, and ensure that your bills have a way to be paid and your family has a person at the helm of their future that is both prepared and stable.

“Quitting a job doesn’t jump-start a dream because dreams take planning, purpose and progress to succeed. That stuff has to happen before you quit your day job.”

4. You’re Free to Experiment Without Worrying About Monetization

As Hugh MacLeod puts it in his book “Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity”, passion projects should be looked at as a separate thing from your 9-to-5 job. The reason being is there isn’t pressure to perform a certain way in order to make money. Instead, the creative person is free to explore different avenues without fear of their project not putting food on the table.

One could argue that this is also why a lot of musical artists come out with songs that sound almost identical to the last song they made. Since the last song sold very well, and they want to continue making a profit off of their art, they’ll take a sort of “conveyor belt” approach to their music and not deviate from the formula that works for them.

While there are definitely fantastic songs produced this way, there’s a kind of commercialism that stains the once hungry and experimental artist before they began profiting off their art, and one could argue that their art suffers because of it.

If one keeps their income generator separate from the creative venture they enjoy, they’ll find the venture to be more satisfying to the soul rather than their bank account.

The best approach, in my mind, is to take a “come what may” approach with your creative ventures when it comes to making money. If you earn anything from it, that’s great! However, don’t let money be the main focus or your artistic expression could be compromised.

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Success Advice

10 Confronting Reasons Why People Don’t Reach Their Goals

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failing to reach your goals
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What is the incentive for attaining your full potential and realizing your goals? Why do some people seem to achieve more than others despite having the same time and resources availed to them? The devil is in the details, and this is especially true when it comes to accomplishing your goals or not.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re stuck in the same spot for weeks, months or years now and are not accomplishing much; it might be time for you to assess yourself with the following ten truths.

1. You Lack Self-Confidence

One of the biggest reasons why people fail is because they don’t believe in themselves. Belief is actually a trained function, therefore the deeper you condemn yourself to the rut of self-doubt, the harder it is to come out of it. Our past has a lot to do with how we view our own abilities.

Maybe you just landed a new job or transferred to a new school and are now meeting new people who seem much smarter or more accomplished than yourself. It is often said that battles are won long before they are ever fought, and a lack of self-confidence will cause a reverse effect in accomplishing your goals. Don’t doubt yourself and miss a crucial opportunity in the process.

2. You Always Make the Same Mistakes

This is simply about accountability. If, say you were fired from your dream job because of always showing up late and happened to land another job where soon after you began you made the same mistake, you just dig your own grave. The thorough self-assessment is a crucial part of achieving your goals. You won’t get to the gym and achieve success if you are always oversleeping, or overeating. The same applies to any other dream that you may possess, so work hard and do anything that is possible.

3. You’re Averse to Taking Risks

Risk taking isn’t just limited to those who are looking to go into business or for savvy entrepreneurs. It directly applies to every aspect of our daily lives. How many of us keep that 9 to 5 job that we hate only because we are afraid of taking a plunge and following our passions?

There are a million reasons why you shouldn’t take that risk, after all, bills have to be paid, and there’s a 401k to contribute to, right? But there’s one greater reason why you should take that risk: your dreams lie in wait. Start that business, go on that trip or try out that relationship. You never know what tomorrow might bring, so do not hesitate and take risks.

“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” – Les Brown

4. Unwilling to Let Go of Productivity Killers

One of the ridiculous reasons (but true) why people can’t have what they want is the fact that they can’t let go of habits that take up valuable time. Facebook posts, Insta selfies and a whole lot of Netflix-&-Chill might make the whole day down the drain. A global study conducted by B2X also reports that Millennials are spending more than 25% of their day on smartphones, thoroughly diminishing their productivity and bearing a hindrance on them achieving their goals. So, put aside all of the unneeded and pointless activities – it takes too much time!

5. It’s Just Not as Easy as You Thought

Starting is the most important part, but constantly grinding and working on it is even more important to become successful. We often see the glitz on media with stories of overnight successes and folks who hit the jackpot with their ideas. What we don’t see is the pain, sweat, tears and rejection that took up the biggest chunk of the grind.

If it were that easy, it would be worthless. Along the way, you are bound to feel tired, uninspired, depressed, on the verge of giving up even. However, try to find ways of keeping motivated by learning a new skill, meditating, reading etc. Failure is a critical part of succeeding, and you have to embrace it and learn from it.

6. You’re Not Surrounded with Ambitious People

The people around us have a huge impact on how we utilize our time, how we think and the kind of goals we set for ourselves. Tom Mendoza, a brand contributor on Forbes, tackles this subject well by talking about the key qualities of the company he keeps and how it helps him grow. That old musing about being the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with couldn’t be truer.

7. Folks Who Don’t Reach Their Goals Because They Failed Before

This is probably the biggest reason why people don’t accomplish their goals. According to Fundera, about 20% of businesses fail in the first year. Does this mean the other 80% don’t face the same obstacles or they have a magic formula for victory? No, it just means that they managed to get themselves together and try again. The reason people can’t have everything they want is because they want everything `here and now`, but they don’t realize that failure is imminent and is the only sure road to the victory.

8. You Lack Vision and Never Take Action

Biagio Sciacca tackles the subject of a visionary mindset quite well in his blog article on how the boundaries of manifestation are limited by our own perception. He emphasizes with a personal story how everything that we see and interact with starts with a single idea in mind. A vision is not just a vague wish or some random fairy-tale hope, it is the fuel that drives your passion and every meticulous piece of work that you put in. Goal setting provides the big picture perspective on what and why you are doing something.

“Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but because of lack of commitment.” – Vince Lombardi

9. Thinking They Lack Enough Time to Achieve Their Goals

A good number of folks don’t believe they can accomplish their dreams with the time they have left. If you’ve watched “The First Grader” you’ll get all the motivation you need. The story of an 84-year-old who goes back to school to attain a life-long desire to be learned is enough to make you think twice about giving up on your own ambitions. So it is never too late to do something you like, give yourself a try.

10. You Will Succeed Only If You Do It This Way

Living by others’ limitations and the boundaries they set for you is one sure way to box yourself in from your goals. You’ll only get more tired, frustrated and demotivated in the long run. People impose their limitations on you because they don’t want you to succeed or because they have fears about their own abilities and personal failures to deal with. Achieving your goals means silencing those critical voices and having faith in your own way of doing it. Your biggest motivation should be to do it for the people who want to see you fail.

In most of the cases, people shield themselves from success. So, don’t let anything hold you back from any goal you’ve ever set for yourself and always try your best.

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Success Advice

Stop Replying To Everyone.

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Many of you are running around like mad trying to manage your time. You’re reading productivity hacks, taking cold showers and waking up at 5 am.

You’re doing all of this because you want more time to do what you love.

Let me hit you in the face with one technique that has allowed me to win back time, so I can do what I love.

Stop replying to everyone…

You get emails asking you to do stuff.
You get asked to do an intro.
You get asked to speak at an event for free about your area of expertise.

Here’s the problem:
YOU KEEP RESPONDING TO EVERY REQUEST OF YOUR TIME.


What’s the answer?

The answer is really simple like everything I write. Are you ready?
Stop replying to everyone.

I learned this technique the hard way. When I was looking to interview entrepreneurs in 2014 about their story and share it in the form of a blog post, I didn’t get many replies.

I’d email very successful people who have achieved the impossible and get nothing.

Radio silence.
Donuts.


Why don’t your idols respond to requests for their time?

There’s many reasons.

  1. They have too many requests and could never humanly answer every single one.
  2. They have limited time and can’t fit everybody into their schedule.

The second reason is the most important. Your idols don’t respond because that’s their way of saying no.


No response is the best response.

By responding to every request of your time, you go down the rabbit hole of endless back and forth conversations.

Let me illustrate this point with a short story.

A US startup approached me on LinkedIn and asked me to advise them on their social media strategy. They offered me equity in return for my expertise.

The product was not something that aligned with who I am, and I was heading off to Europe on holidays and had no time to draft a proper reply.

I sent no response to their request.
They messaged me a second time.
I sent no response to their request.

Then, I got sucked into responding. I felt my moral compass telling me to reply and tell them no. On top of that, the startup had a very well known person in the social media industry join them. FOMO kicked in.

I replied and that’s where everything went wrong.

Once I replied to the request I got daily reminders and emails with pitch decks trying to convince me why they were the one startup who could beat Instagram. The claims of how much traction they had got more and more ridiculous.

“Eventually, a simple request of my time turned into a daily debate”

They wouldn’t leave me alone. I began to regret my stupidity for responding in the first place.

If a request of your time doesn’t resonate with you, and you don’t feel like saying “Fuck Yes” when presented with an opportunity, say NO.

Don’t be tempted by a request of your time. 
Say no.


Not replying is what works.

People generally give up after one email or direct message asking for your time. I’ve tested this theory a lot and it has almost always turned out to be true.

As soon as you reply, you become like a lawyer in the High Court trying to defend someone who is accused of murder. Your time is yours. You only get one life.

“You don’t need to justify yourself, your time, or your goals to anybody”

YOU HEAR ME? NOBODY!

The way you win back time and make room for what’s important to you is to fight the temptation to reply to every request that comes your way.

Quit giving away your time like free balloons at a car expo.


You end up making up lies.

The problem with replying to every request of your time is you can end up making up lies to get out of doing something. Or you may end up exaggerating or putting forward excuses that aren’t entirely true.

This causes even more problems for you because if the requester knows people within your network, they may find out you’re not being honest.

Why construct a grand plan that takes more of your time to respond to a request?

It’s easier to say nothing at all.


Silence says it all.

Smart people who ask you for stuff will know that after a week, if you haven’t responded, you’re probably not interested.

Silence is the best response. After all, if someone really wants you to do something they’ll chase you, they’ll follow you up and they may get a mutual connection to intro them to you.

Many pitches and requests are poorly written or incredibly selfish.

Fight back with silence. Don’t reply. Stop replying.


You’re not missing anything.

The temptation to respond can also be caused by the fear that you’re missing out.

Maybe someone is contacting you to fund your idea.
Maybe something you wrote is going to be published in the New York Times.
Maybe the request will lead you to direct a Hollywood Movie.

All of these false ideas are what’s causing you to respond to everybody.You’re worried you could miss the jackpot or your lucky break.

The harsh truth is that these opportunities are earned through hard work.Genuine opportunities that will excite you are clearly articulated and your gut feeling will guide you better than you think.

You’re not going to miss out on winning an Oscar for a movie you made because you didn’t reply to an email”


Not replying isn’t rude.

We feel we must reply to every request of our time. We have a fear that we will be accused of being rude.

This belief is false also. There’s nothing rude about not replying. We all get lots of emails and messages online and we can’t answer them all. People will understand when you don’t reply. If they don’t understand then that’s a problem with them, not you.

Don’t feel you have to reply out of politeness.

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If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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