Starting over. Repeating the basics. Experiences that can be the epitome of frustration at times, but other times be therapeutic blessings. Frustration: it’s not like I had much health to do anything for most of my life, but when I was too sick to even walk or relearn how to talk, that felt demeaning at the time. Frustration: dedicating your life to building a business and having to close it. Therapeutic blessings: taking a walk, morning routines.
Its interesting what you discover about yourself when friends ask questions. They’re like a mirror, forcing you to reflect and really understand what you’ve gone through. What I discovered were truth ingredients about life: egos, humility (going hand in hand with egos) and abundance, my new favorite life philosophy.
Success in anything is all about the basics. The basics make up your core. The successful person’s “secret” is simply being very good at the basics. Think of a punch. Any kid can throw a punch. Master martial artists also throw punches, only difference is their punches are on a much higher level of strength and technique. So if the “secret” of success at something is being very good at the basics, then the “secret” of being very good at the basics is practice. Repetition.
Did you catch that? Practicing the basics, doing the “simple boring” stuff over and over. Especially when you have to start over. You get lots of practice at the basics when you start over. Success follows the iterative design process.
It’s hard to have an ego and experience success beyond a certain point. Your ego tells you because you’ve had some success, you’re too good to start over, to do the basics. Your ego is the evil one Steven Pressfield calls Resistance in “War of Art,” where Resistance is anything that tricks you into not succeeding. But this is what I love about trading. You have to stare down your ego demon everyday. We had an interview recently on MarketHeist with EminiWizard where he emphasizes the importance of filling out your market analysis spreadsheets everyday, something which he still does after decades of trading. This “basic” homework isn’t beneath him. It’s not embarrassing to still do this kind of work, because he knows this basic homework keeps him alert and prepared.
The ego comes from a place of scarcity, i.e. lack of abundance. The ego needs to prove something, which implies you don’t think you’re enough. The ego feeds off of feedback from the environment, where positive feedback (short term gratification of success, praise) boosts ego and negative feedback puts you into a depressed downward spiral. Just one reason the scriptures warn so much against pride, (ego).
The most successful people I know are the most humble ones too, so much so they shop at Costco and WalMart. It’s not “embarrassing” or “demeaning” to fly coach. There’s no work that’s too “easy” to do. Actually, it is important to understand: anything leads to opportunity. Who knows who you’ll meet flying coach, or what you’ll learn doing the easy stuff. In contrast, amateurs at success would feel embarrassed or demeaning out of fear. Amateurs at success think doing simple and basic things means they’ve failed, associating the basics with being a beginner.
To those people I say, all the experiences you’ve accumulated since being a beginner, all the practice you’ve had with the basics, gives you a stronger punch. You’re doing the important stuff, the basics, at a higher level. No one can take those experiences away from you, unless you yourself, because of fear, write off those experiences because you think a punch is a punch and aren’t wise enough to know there are different skill levels. Fear almost always keeps you from doing anything worthwhile. Fear paralyzes. Fear conjures up emotions and excuses, making you run back to obscurity. Fear makes you a slave to other people and your environment. Writing off certain activities only hinders your success because you’re denying yourself potential opportunities. How dumb is that?
The difference between the amateur of success and someone with real success is another basic concept: abundance. Abundance is a basic life outlook that acts as a foundation for all those who’ve had real success. And anyone who has the abundance mentality inevitably will do well in some, if not all aspects of their lives. Someone surviving on ego cannot succeed for long because it’s too dependent on the outside world, things out of its control, for emotions, motivation, and living life in general. There’s no solid foundation to weather the challenges, i.e. the certification tests of success.
The person with abundance knows even as a beginner, they’re enough as a beginner. They have what it takes to keep working hard, regardless of challenges and setbacks, to pass the beginner level. Takes the same mentality and passes the intermediate level, and so on. On May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. When he met his Cabinet on May 13 he told them that “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Everyone has those basic materials for success. That’s the abundance mentality. Thus, if you have everything you need to succeed, all that’s missing is the work. What’s to fear? That you have to put in 500 hrs of work instead of 5 hrs of work? Having to put in 5000 hrs instead of 500 hrs?
The many times I’ve had to make my peace with death, time becomes meaningless. Squabbling about 5hrs of work vs 5000 hrs? Who cares. Learning to walk and talk again became easy when I just did the work. To just practice these basics everyday. Started doing financial interviews for MarketHeist because I wanted to practice to talk. Scary interviewing financial experts and not being able to talk well? Didn’t matter at that point. Was just glad I had chances to practice talking and have human interaction. The ego was gone. Those moments during the interviews, I had all I wanted at the moment. Thus, abundant and fulfilled. Funny enough, without all the fear and emotions clouding my mind, I would speak better than I would’ve imagined, which leads to more confidence and faster improvements. It’s an upward spiral when such mindset is put into practice.
It comes down to a choice: to put in the work or don’t.