5 Things I Didn’t Know Last Year (And Why You Need to Know Them)
A lot can happen in a year.
When I look back at what has happened in just 12 months, I’m blown away by what life was like last year compared to what it is now – and where it’s going.
I was reminded of this earlier today when I thought about an email I wrote a year ago.
It was to a good friend telling them about how my life was changing for the better.
Since then, life (which includes fatherhood) has been a a whirlwind. I’m thankful for every moment I’ve been able to share with you as well a few that I haven’t…
But before I get all misty eyed and go on some diary-blog-style polemic about how like totally amazing my life is, what have I learned that is so great? And why do you need to know them in 2016?
Here are the top five things I didn’t know last year.
5 Things You Need to Know
Before I get started I should say that these aren’t the only things I’ve learned (or that you should learn), just the ones that really stand out.
My advice is to make your life about learning. But I’ll come on to that later.
This article has been inspired in part by this post. It made me come up with my own list of things I need to know. Here’s a snapshot of where I’ve got to:
1. How to Start and Run a Website
Before this time last year I had no idea how you start a blog. I’d written online before and had used Blogger in the past but when it came to WordPress or even doing basic HTML, I was clueless.
I knew nothing about site design, layout or how to optimise a post for search engines. I didn’t know how to install a WordPress theme or how to insert affiliate links.
How did I learn all this stuff?
By having a go and learning as I went. I’m constantly picking new things and techniques. It makes my site (and skills) much more adaptable as a result.
Right now you have access to more information, tutorials and ‘how-to’ guides than any generation before you. Let Google and YouTube be your guides. If you want to start a website or a blog, it’s never been easier.
I even wrote a post about how to blog (get it here) or check out my friend Gabe Johansson’s website where he’ll talk you through it.
2. How to Be A Freelancer (And Get Paid for It!)
Guess what? If you say you’re a ‘freelancer’ but no one pays you money, you have a hobby, not a job.
I know this from the last time I tried (and failed) as a freelance writer.
This time has been different. Armed with the Gorilla Mindset of abundant resources and reading excellent blog posts like this, I plunged back into writing for real money.
I now do steady ghost, copywriting and a bit of PR work as and when I need the money/have the time.
It’s allowed me to do things like invest in this website and pay up-front for hosting for a little niche content site I started back in May.
Sites like Upwork and Fiverr allow you to peddle your skills whatever they might be – it doesn’t have to be writing!
Even if you are distinctly average at what you do, you’ll stand out from the crowd if you deliver on time and are easy to work with.
3. Basic Personal Finances
When it came to money, I thought I was pretty clued up. And I probably was in relation to the rest of the country.
But after doing a bit of reading and research it turns out I was still clueless. Here is a list of things I knew nothing about until recently:
The power of compounding interest
Why most mutual funds are a complete scam
Why cost averaging is the smart way to invest
The difference between a financial asset and a liability
After reading a couple of books including Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins (Amazon) and the classic Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki (Amazon), I’ve had a real epiphany when it comes to money.
So I took action.
In the last few months, I’ve completely overhauled my finances, got control of my investments and am looking at some big moves financially.
Together these books cost me around £15 ($20). How much value have they brought to my life? It’s already hard to measure.
The lesson is this: It’s never to late to spring clean your finances, learn about the stock market and put your money to good use.
I’d recommend both of the books I mentioned above as well as Donald Trump’s books on business if you’re looking to take control of your money and build a better future for you and your kids.
4. How to Harness Energy or ‘Make Fear Your Bitch’
This is something I’m still learning and thinking more about. There is a common theme through much of my writing – that of harnessing energy and directing it into productive activities.
Look at my post on pornography. The energy that I used to use viewing porn has been transferred into writing this site and becoming a better person.
I’ve even written about harnessing the male energy (some would call it masculinity) of boys for the power of good and that’s something I plan to develop in follow up posts.
But it’s also made me think about the energy we waste doing mindless things that don’t benefit us like:
Watching sports that we care little about
Taking part in hobbies that drain our bodies and wallets
Reading books and media that are mental floss at best and click-bait at worst
Imagine if you could take that energy and use it to build something bigger and better:
The body you’ve always wanted.
A strong family life and relationship with your wife.
I’ve even taken the power of fear and used it to motivate and inspire towards some pretty awesome achievements. If you can harness the power of fear, you can do the same with any emotion.
Don’t be limited by mindless, time sucking activities and hobbies. Treat energy as a scarce commodity and spend it frugally.
5. The Power Of Marginal Gains
Do any of these slogans sound familiar?
Get Rich Quick!
Build a Beach Body in 4 Weeks!
10 Days to a Better You (or Your Money Back)!!!
Why are we in such a hurry? Is it social conditioning, good advertising, impatience or a combination of all three?
I used to have this mindset: I need it NOW or it’s not worth having.
Which is a false dichotomy. No one became an ‘overnight success’. Those unlucky enough to be branded with that title were working away for years, playing the margins and looking for small wins before they ‘made it’.
Don’t believe me? Look at success stories of businesses and people. Most successes come from a consistent work ethic and getting the basics right.
A good example of this is Arnold Schwarzenegger. He arrived in the USA with a dream, a work ethic and a few dollars.
He made a living fixing up houses before moving into ‘flipping’. His first million dollars came from property, not acting or bodybuilding. But he was a success at both of those too!
Once you have the concept of marginal gains you can apply it to anything you want in life – your job, raising your kids, your fitness or even learning new skills.
Get rich quick schemes are for the gullible and weak. There is no ‘rich quick’, just hard work, consistency and making your own good luck.
Make this Coming Year Your Best Ever
What if you could make every year better than the last?
What if next year was your ‘best ever’.
And the next.
And the next.
And so on…
Where would you be in a few years?
I know where I want to be. I have a vision which is so strong and clear sometimes I can touch it. How I’ll get there is the fun part.
Right now I’m focusing on those marginal gains of looking after myself, my body and being the best husband and father I can be.
Who knows where we’ll be in another 12 months…
Be curious, learn whatever and whenever you can. Look after yourself and choose to see abundance, not scarcity – those are my lessons from the past year. Can they also be yours?
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