Another Definition of Success

In “The Strangest Secret”, Earl Nightingale gives his definition of success:

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.

You don’t need piles of money.

Lots of achievements.

A degree. Or a house. Or a car.

You just need to set a worthy goal, and steadily work toward making it a reality.

Do that, and you’re a success.

Self-improvement is an act of love

Hugging the World

As you work on yourself, some people will criticize you. They’ll say things like, “self improvement is selfish.”

These people are crabs. Don’t listen to them.

You were given talents for a reason.

Self improvement will make your life better.

Once you’ve improved yourself, you’ll be in a better position to improve the world around you.

There’s a YouTuber called Mr. Beast. My boys love him. A lot of his videos are dumb, but they’re popular and make him a lot of money. Does a lot of that money go to dumb things? Sure. But he’s also very generous.

In one video he bought a bunch of cars and opened a car dealership. He sold the cars to people in need for ridiculously low prices. In one case he gave someone money and a car. He also started #TeamTrees with YouTuber Mark Rober and raised money to plant 20,000,000 trees.

I still think a lot of his videos are dumb. So what? He’s a great example of what good people can do when they have money.

Money’s not the only way to help people, though.

Improve your spirituality, and lift the people around you that way.

Become a personal trainer or a dietician and help people be healthier.

Become a therapist and help people with emotional issues.

Join a club like Toastmasters and work on your public speaking skills.

Start a blog.

Start a YouTube channel.

Make cool things and sell them online. Or share them for free, if you want.

There are so many ways to improve yourself. The first step is to look for something that interests you and work at getting better at it.

The world will be better off.

And so will you.

Your Top Five

Top Five

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Jim Rohn

Who do you spend most of your time with?

Who are your biggest influences?

Do you want to be like them?

How are they doing…

Spiritually

  • Do they pray morning and night?
  • Do they go to church regularly?
  • Do they read the Book of Mormon daily?
  • Do they pay their tithing?
  • Are they temple recommend holders?
  • Do they attend the temple frequently?
  • Do they “Seek first the Kingdom of God”?
  • Are they humble?
  • Are they really trying to be their best selves?

Mentally

  • Do they push themselves?
  • Are they lifelong learners?
  • Do they spend a good amount of time reading?
  • What kinds of books do they read?
  • Do they find other ways to learn?

Emotionally

  • Do you feel good when you’re around them?
  • Are they positive?
  • Are they caring?
  • Are they generous?
  • Do they complain a lot, or are they full of gratitude?

Physically

  • Are they healthy?
  • Do they have any addictions?
  • Do they eat to live, or do they live to eat?
  • Do they exercise regularly?

Financially

  • Do they have a lot of consumer debt?
  • Do they have more money coming in than going out?
  • Are they entrepreneurs?
  • Are they savvy investors?

Maybe not all these areas are important to you. Maybe other areas are more important to you.

Not everyone you spend time with has to be a 10/10 in every area. They should be doing their best and trying to improve, though. If not, you may find your life going downhill.

Who influences you the most? Make a list.

Does that list need to change?

What is success?

Success implies greatness. Or at least above-averageness.

That doesn’t have to mean financial success.

It could mean you’ve raised great kids.

Or you have a great marriage.

Or that you’ve inspired others to be great.

Maybe you’ve quietly made a lot of little contributions to other people’s lives.

Ultimately, I think success means living your dream life, and helping others live theirs.

Be Weird

Weird Guy“Easy for you to say, Phil. You’re already weird.”

So are you. Being a Latter-day Saint is weird. We are a peculiar people.

Accept it.

Embrace it.

What do you care what other people think?

Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, 1965

Too many of us do what everyone else does, without thinking about whether that’s the best option for us.

Here in the Western world, a typical person’s life goes like this:

  • Preschool
  • School
  • College
  • Work at a boring/stressful job
  • Retire for a little bit
  • Death

For Latter-day Saint men there’s usually a mission or two in there somewhere, but the rest is the same.

We’ve been conditioned to believe this is how life goes. We figure we’ll enjoy life later. When we retire.

Most people die not long after retiring.

I spent twenty years doing things just to make money. After that I decided to try to find a better way.

I’m finally figuring out how to support myself and my kids doing things I love.

And it doesn’t involve getting a J.O.B. Just Over Broke. Building someone else’s dream. Working forty hours a week. Having someone else dictate my schedule. Barely having any time and energy left to do what I want.

Getting a job is one of many things our society tells us is “normal.”

Our society is sick, and getting sicker.

Don’t listen to them.

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Heavenly Father didn’t give you a unique set of talents and abilities so you could be like everyone else. Stop suppressing the things that make you unique.

Try stuff out. Try as many different things as you can (as long as it’s not something immoral). See what you like. Pursue that.

Improve. Learn more, even though you’ve left school. Keep pushing. Don’t over stress yourself, but keep growing.

Be what James Altucher calls “The Criminal of Their Rules.”

Be willing to be ridiculed.

Be willing to be thought a fool.

Be a non-conformist.

Be willing to live by inspiration and revelation.

Be weird.

Job security is an illusion

Boss dropping employee down a hidden trap doorI’ve had a lot of jobs. Most of which I’ve hated.

I know I’m not alone there.

Most of us will stay in jobs we hate because we think they’re secure. As long as we keep showing up the money will keep flowing.

Most employment is at-will. That means you can quit any time you like. For any reason. Or no reason. I’ve done that plenty of times.

It also means you can lose your job at any time. Maybe you showed up late one too many times. Sick one too many days. Your car broke down too many times.

Maybe the company just can’t afford to pay all of it’s employees anymore. Or they just don’t want to.

Maybe you’re being replaced by someone from China. Or India. Or a robot.

As long as you work for someone else, you’re placing your future in their hands.

Is that secure?

The Pursuit of Money

Chasing a winged dollar

In high school I had to take a “Careers” class. I only remember two things from that class:

  • We watched a video on sexual harassment one day. The video warned about giving “meaningful looks.” What the heck are “meaningful looks?” I was a teenage boy. And now I was terrified of being sued for looking at the girls around me.
  • Another day we took an aptitude test. My results said I should be an artist. No way. I couldn’t make money as an artist. I enjoyed writing and drawing, but I didn’t think I could support a family doing those things.

I went to college to be an engineer. That didn’t last long. Before long I was just taking the classes that sounded fun. I only went when I felt like it. My grades suffered.

I got a letter from the college. They told me to take a term off to think about my life. Then I could ask to come back.

I wasn’t going to beg to come back. Forget that!

I got a call center job. I hated it, but the money was okay. I spent the next few years bouncing from one call center job to another.

Five years later I went back to school to learn Japanese. I decided to take some other fun classes while I was at it. After a year I started getting more serious. It didn’t take long to burn out after that.

Years later I was out of work. By then I’d gotten married. I had a son. I applied at the call centers I’d worked at before. They never got back to me. I didn’t have any other experience.

My wife said I should go back to school. I’d been wanting to for a while. I majored in Computer Science. I was excited at first, but my heart wasn’t in it for long.

My grades went downhill. My adviser told me I’d have to change majors.

I left school instead. I applied to an online university. They wanted me to get a computer certification before enrolling.

I started studying for the certification tests. I couldn’t focus. I was so bored.

I went to college for six-and-a-half years. I have zero degrees. There were some fun and interesting parts, but mostly it was a waste of my time. And not just because I didn’t get that parchment.

I worked in call centers for a few more years. My last job laid me off. A few months later I was separated and living in my mom’s basement.

I’ve spent twenty years pursuing things I thought would make me money, and making myself miserable. I’d say it was a waste, but at least I’ve learned something from it:

DON’T WORK JUST FOR MONEY.