1. “Don’t speak anything that you don’t wish to be true”.
American philosopher and psychologist William James said, “What is impressed in the subconscious is expressed”. What you think, say and feel has impact on reality. It’s within science. Your brain and entire body is made up of an electrical field of energy. What you put out in the universe is met with a corresponding frequency. Be impeccable with what you say, because you don’t know what it may attract or manifest.
2. “You always want to make your future bigger than your past”. — Dan Sullivan
The common belief is that past performance is indicator of future success. However growth doesn’t only happen through precedent, but through incremental improvement. Ensure goals and systems are focused on growing your capabilities. We stay stagnant is because we don’t set ourselves up for success and end up living the same year on repeat. Never stop seeking to challenge yourself. It’s often where the most fun lies.
3. “If something is not a “hell yes” it’s a “no”. Nothing in between. Make binary decisions.” — Kyle Maynard
Similar to the “F*ck Yes or F*ck No” principle by Mark Manson, most decisions in life are binary. Whether it’s a major life decision or small day-to-day choices, how you do anything is how you do everything. If something is not a hell yes, it’s a no. Making definitive decisions requires understanding options, ranking benefits and priorities and taking accountability either way. For me, when faced with tough decisions I ask, “Will this help me grow or improve my life in a positive way?”
4. “A warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does.” — Dan Millman
Going after a fulfilling and impactful life is not always glamorous. In fact there are many times when it’s not. The late nights, compromises, self doubt, getting rejected and learning from failure. True purpose breaks away from novelty. According to Peak Performance author Brad Stulberg, “Purpose is the number one performance enhancer“. If you want something enough and it means enough to you, you’ll do everything in your power to achieve it.
5. “The quality of life is attributed to the quality of one’s relationships.” — Tony Robbins
The people around you matter. No man lives on a deserted island, and evolution has caused us to live in communities for the best chance of survival. Here quality prevails; the quality of the connections in your life matters most. If you’re not contributing to someone’s life in a good way, or helping them grow and vice versa, it’s time to reassess. Improve relationships with empathy and communication, but if your efforts are riding a never ending treadmill, stop wasting time with toxic people or with those you don’t see a future with.
6. “How can you achieve your 10 year plan in the next 6 months?“ — Peter Thiel
Bill Gates famously stated that people underestimate what you can achieve in the long term but overestimate what we can achieve in the short term. So it seems we have a pretty bad gauge of our capabilities over time. Reframing your 10 year goals into 6 months prevents inaction and hones in on the most important things. It allows you to get creative and real on exactly what you need to get there. The seeds of the forrest 10 years from now are planted today.
7. “Make no judgements where you have no compassion.” — Anne McCaffrey
Motivational coach and author Gabby Bernstein says that judgement comes the moment of separation. It’s the moment where you feel different, inadequate or made to feel better or less than someone else. This isolation forms a deep wound which frames our belief systems. Judgement is a method in which we deal with this aloneness. Understanding that judgement is a mirror of our own hurt helps catch moments of self-deprecation or judgement of others. Everyone is on their own journey so enter this year with the aim to judge less if not at all.
8. “A person’s success in life can be usually measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he/she is willing to have.” — Tim Ferriss
Contrary to what people close to me think, I don’t like confrontation. I get nervous and scared of hurting people or sucky outcomes. My heart pounds. I brace myself. I actually had a panic attack once for 30 minutes and didn’t realise I was still shaking till after the fact. What I do embrace is progress, coming to a resolution and understanding another perspective. Whether it’s that job, pay rise, or difficult conversation with your spouse, as Wayne Gretzky simply put, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. The more you’re able to confront emotional blocks, the more powerful you become. You begin to believe in yourself, as each time you do enhances your core confidence.
9. “I quantify almost nothing in my life.” — Seth Godin
Since 2002, Seth Godin has written everyday and has over 6,500 blog posts. In a world of instant gratification and immediate validation, Godin choses to disregard the noise. Instead he focuses on what matters most; making change for the better. When I first started Reintention I was told “Write for yourself first”. What would I like to read? This doesn’t mean customer discovery or metrics aren’t important, but they shouldn’t be everything. Furthermore Godin takes failure with stride “I don’t consider it a good day unless I fail”. There are no real rules in life binding you, so make your own.
10. “The best way to predict the future is to invent it .”— Alan Kay
As you might find in a fortune cookie, “Many a false step was made by standing still.” While you can’t control everything that happens in life, you can influence it. Want to lose 20kgs? Start by reviewing your diet and exercise. Whether it’s the law of attraction, serendipity or positive manifestations, you only get out what you put in. If you want to achieve what you visualise in life, the best way is to go out and do it.
11. “Life is a continual process of arrival to who we are.”— Maria Popova
Cell regeneration is constant and within 7 years, every cell in your body has died off and replaced itself. Personal growth follows a similar process. Often when we seek improvement in our lives we put off decisions or actions based on the “perfect” time where “everything” falls into place. But life is a constant process of dealing with stuff, living some more and continuing to deal with more stuff (or old stuff that resurges). There’s no optimal or spot on moment. The key is to have awareness, and start taking steps to changing action.
12. “The world is changed by your example, not your opinion.“— Paulo Coelho
When differences in opinion arise, conflict results. Whether is sacred land, opposing political, religious or ethical views we aren’t all wired the same. It’s perfectly OK to have a different perspective, however what really matters is what you do. How you carry yourself, what you say, the actions that you take daily, the way you treat others. What counts is how you express yourself and what contributions are made in the world.
13. “A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be without wishing for what he has not.“— Seneca
Stoic philosopher Seneca was a trusted advisor of the Emperor Nero. Caught up in the Pisonian Conspiracy Nero had Seneca kill himself. Throughout his life, Seneca remained certain only about one thing; his reasoned choice. He stated, “True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have”. Even in death, Seneca sought gratitude and contentment in what he had. Bryan Callen further echoes this with, “Happiness is wanting what you already have.”
14. “If something offends you, look inward. That’s a sign that there’s something there “— Whitney Cummings
An old wound is generally triggered when you’re hurt or offended by something. The gap between stimuli and your response is the difference between reason and reaction. As Ryan Holiday stated in The Obstacle is the Way, “Control your perceptions. Direct your actions appropriately. Willingly accept what you can’t control.” Take a three deep breaths. Close your eyes for a brief moment. What are you actually upset about and how will you respond?
15. “A person in training must seek to rise above, as to stop seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.“— Musonius Rufus
The rest of this quote by Musonius Rufus talks about how people address situations according to wrong assumptions mostly by habit. When asked “Why do we do things this way?” more often that not the answer is “Because it’s the way things have always been done”. Are 12 sign offs and layer upon layer of legacy systems really necessary? Does what you’re doing really add value? Challenge the status quo of your life and career, but also your belief systems. You might be bad with money but there is something you can do about it. Any major shift starts with mindset.
16. “A podium and prison is each a place, one high and the other low, but in either place your freedom of choice can be maintained if you wish.“— Epictetus
When asked how he survived all those years in prison Nelson Mandela answered, “I didn’t survive, I prepared”. Circumstances around you may be outside your locus of control, but your inner freedom, thoughts and attitude is something you can. The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche described the term ‘amor fati‘ as a love of fate. “That one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backwards, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it….but love it.”
17. “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity. You’ll avoid making tough decisions and confronting people that need to be confronted.”— Collin Powell
Human survival has been based on the premise of social connection that provides both physical and emotional safety. One of these emotional connectors is the desire to please. Unfortunately, we can’t please everyone and there will be people in the world who don’t like us. Accepting you might not win a popularity contest means you’ll be able to make tough decisions that matter most. Realising that aiming to please others at the detriment of your own well being or desires means no one is really a winner in the long term.
18. “Good.”— Jocko Willink
A simple but profound quote. There’s no way I can break this down as well as Jocko can, so watch this 2 minute video. (Plus I love his Navy Seal Commander voice).
19. “I hate quotations, tell me what you know.“— Ralph Waldo Emerson
In a twist of irony, I conclude my quotes list with this quote. Why? Because influencers, authors, podcast hosts, celebrities, sports stars, Silicon valley titans, they’re all great teachers, but they’re also human. Surely they’ve succeeded and there’s tonne we can learn from them. But they’ve also failed. Many times, if not more than you’d know.
Through your journey of growth, exploration and new adventure, don’t forget to take a minute to express gratitude. Appreciate how far you’ve come and what you’ve learned. Impart some of that journey through teaching others. Other’s journey are there’s, but what you know and contribute is what is truly most valuable.