Principles #7&8 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business

7. Systems and Delegation.

Solopreneurs suck at this, big time. And why not?! They are doing all the tasks anyway, so why waste their precious time for something obviously unnecessary?

Well, I can tell you from my own experience that preparing a standard operating procedure and checklist can speed up execution of almost any task – especially, if you do it periodically, but not very often. Instead of recalling it every week, you just take out the checklist and breeze through the subtasks.

That’s one benefit, but there is a myriad of others: going consciously over your processes, you can pinpoint inefficiencies in them (and optimize them),
-you can organize your systems, so you will minimize confusion when switching from one task to another,
-you will have all the resources (credentials, links, etc.) in one place, so you will no longer waste precious minutes on looking for them in your chaotic notes or hard drive.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels.

However, the biggest advantage is that as soon as you document any task, you are able to delegate it out.
It’s especially crucial at the very early stages of business, when you are doing everything. Then, each task taken out of your plate creates a space for you to take care of yourself, spend some time with family, take a moment to strategize, move on to more valuable jobs, and so on.

8. Vision, Mission, Values.

It seems like an afterthought, something big corporations write down only to disguise their greedy nature in order to be perceived positively.

That may be the case for big corpo. In case of small business, those elements have two major functions:

a) To motivate; first to motivate you, a business owner. Entrepreneurship is a wild rollercoaster. It can put you down, discourage you, and make you cry. In the times like that, you need a compelling vision that will pull you forward, despite all the obstacles and struggles.

But it works in the same way for your people. Employees want to feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Slogging for the paycheck alone was never attractive. A compelling vision is much better than a hefty salary.

b) To simplify; if you didn’t ever write down the vision mission and values for your business, you have no clue how many headaches it will spare you.

A few months ago, my biggest customer sent me an email full of complaints. Frankly, I got mad at first. But I slept over it, and suddenly the right answer just popped in my mind: This guy doesn’t trust me. Or at least, I didn’t feel like he trusted me. But Trust is the main core value of Resurrecting Books.

Thus, I replied to him that I’m ready to finish our cooperation, if he cannot trust me. Since then, we continued to work much more smoothly.

My mentor, Scott Beebe, told once on his podcast a story of a construction company whose core value was No Debt. They declined a huge job because they couldn’t do it without getting into debt. The man who proposed that deal was so impressed that he made a different deal with them and continued to provide more contracts for them.

Drawing the line in the sand, defining who you are and what you stand for is great for your own sanity, but it is also great marketing. People will quickly get who you are, what you do, and they will bring referrals to you because they will be able to spell out your mission and values. That will not only get you new customers, but the right customers! At no cost, just by being who you are.

Nine Universal Business Principles
Principle #1 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principle #2 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principles #3&4 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principles #5&6 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principles #7&8 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business
Principle #9 Separating Successful Entrepreneurs from Those Who Went out of Business

Originally published in Medium.

Magically Fast Results: Three Incredible Stories on the Power of Coaching

Here come three stories of three radically different people. Sex, nationality, professional situation, family situation, and the problems they faced – there was barely anything they have in common. Yet, the same method generated amazing results for each of them – and it generated effects in a ridiculously short timeframe.

A Man Who Had No Time

You probably can relate. This guy was busy, busy, busy, burning the candle from both ends, and burning the midnight oil. He slept 5-6 hours a day to manage his busy life. A full-time executive position in a huge company – that alone can fill one’s time to the brim. But he also was a family man and made a point to spend at least an hour a day with his kids. And he was a writer. And he had a side business.
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8 Sure Signs You Need Coaching

8 Sure Signs You Need CoachingIt is extremely frustrating for me, as a coach, how utterly confused people are as to what coaching is. They mistake it for consulting, mentoring, therapy and a whole mix of the three above.

I got tired of explaining what it is because, even if I’ll get my point across, people tend to undervalue the power of coaching. And thus, they discount it and don’t even try to find a coach.

So, instead of explaining in vain, I will give you something else today: eight signs that you may hugely benefit from coaching. If any of the below points applies to you, I sincerely encourage you to get a coach as fast as humanly possible.

Here they are:
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Your Beliefs Create Your Reality: The simplest method to discover your subconscious beliefs

Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels

Your beliefs create your reality. There was a time in my life when I had sneered at such statements.

Pshaw! Beliefs! Anything else? Maybe a Santa Claus or a tooth fairy?

Oh, my old, ignorant, stupid self. A tooth fairy may share a lot of features with beliefs — nobody saw them in real life, they belong more to the imaginative realm than to the physical one — but there is a striking difference between those two entities: A tooth fairy is a fictional creature; my beliefs are very real mind protocols stored in my brain.

They are as real as habit loops, and their influence is as real and as pervasive too.


So, what are beliefs? According to the dictionary definition:

an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof

When it comes to the beliefs you hold, the “proof” part is totally irrelevant. When you cling to a specific belief, you can be showered with ironclad proofs and still hold to it. You will just interpret those proofs in a way that will keep your belief intact.
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Consistency Is Easy and Makes Your Life Easier

My friends nicknamed me Mr. Consistency. Clearly, they thought I possess this trait at an extraordinary level. However, there is nothing extraordinary about my consistency. It is mundane, even boring. It is not so difficult at all.

Most think consistency is hard, difficult, impossible, tough, unstable, untenable, and unsustainable.

Most people are wrong.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”

— Henry Ford

It’s enough to change your thinking about consistency to attain it.

How Do You Change Your Thinking about Consistency?

I have a few ideas.

1. Realize that Humans Are Wired for Consistency.

How often do you touch your mobile phone screen? Quite consistently, right?

How often do you scroll through social media? Again, consistently, right?

How often does a gamer play a video game, a smoker light a cigarette, a pill addict gulp a pill, and an alcoholic sip a drink?

The same answer applies.

Humans are creatures of habits. Pshaw! As far as we know, all vertebrate are creatures of habits. We share the part of the brain where habits are stored — basal ganglia — with the most primitive animals — snakes, pigeons, alligators.

I can hear the objection: “But wait! I meant consistency with good habits is difficult!”

You say so?

How many people have the same friends they had a week, a month or a decade ago? How many people have the same spouse for years? How many people have been going consistently to work? How many students have been going consistently to school?

The answers to the above questions are: billions, billions, billions, and billions.

So, are friendship, love, work or education evil? Nope.

Bad habits glue to us without much effort. Most good habits need some cultivation before they solidify. But both good and bad habits use the exact same biological mechanism.

2. Examine Your Life.

Unless you are sick and there is something seriously wrong with your brain, you already have plenty of habits. Pick a few you are satisfied with and grateful for. Maybe you take a minute to decompress in your car when returning from home?

Maybe you exercise regularly?

Maybe you read a lot? Maybe you clean your room/house?

If you cannot recall any other good habit, you probably brush your teeth, right?

OK, so you have some good habits. It already says a couple of things about you:

-you are capable of creating good habits; difficulty level aside, you were able to develop some.

-your good habits benefit you; that’s why they are called “good!”

Examine your life and your habits. Think of how your life could look, if you didn’t have them?


For example, I know very well how miserable my life would be without a habit of brushing my teeth twice a day. I developed it only as a teenager. And toothaches plagued my life prior to establishing the habit. My teeth rotted and ached like hell. It’s enough to dedicate two minutes in the morning and in the evening, to spare myself terrible torment.

However, you must perform this mental exercise on your own, taking examples from your own life. What benefits do your habits provide? What do they prevent and protect you from?


Also, recall the process of creating your habit if you can. Maybe it wasn’t difficult at all? If developing this specific habit was easy, maybe other habits you have were easy to build too?

The grandest habit I have is writing at least 600 words a day. When I built my writing habit nine years ago, I had been aiming at 400 words a day. It took me about 30 minutes ripped off from my insanely busy schedule. Yet, I don’t recall any difficulty at all. The difficulties I had, I label now as inconveniences and discomforts.

I wanted to write! I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to change my line of work. I didn’t deliberate with myself if I should write on a given day or not. Runners run and writers write. End of story.

I remember creating another habit — drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning. It was annoying; I wasn’t used to consuming anything at all for about 2–3 hours since waking up. And I almost never drank water. I didn’t like the taste of it. Yet, in a few short weeks I developed this habit. It stuck with me ever since.

3. Realize the Power of Time.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

You can do that only through reflection and rumination. Your subconscious mind doesn’t understand the concept of time. All it knows is “now.” As far as I know, you cannot teach your subconscious what time is, like you cannot teach a chimpanzee to fly like a bird. Those two entities are incompatible.

We all intellectually know the concept of the compound effect. But the theory is not enough. I had once in my mastermind a very successful guy, an owner of a multimillion dollar company. He struggled to save money. I remember other guys from the mastermind explaining to him how one dollar saved today can be turned into several dollars down the road, and I realized how dumb that was. Taylor already knew how the compound effect worked. He wasn’t stupid! He helped to build a very successful business. He simply didn’t feel the importance of it and its repercussions.

You need to internalize the knowledge and feel it at your gut level.

This was the purpose of recalling your good habits and counting their benefits. It’s one thing to intellectually understand good habits are good for you, and it’s a different story to actually experience they have been good for you.

Scientists claim that about 40% of our daily actions are automatic. You drive your car, put your shoes on, brush your teeth and you don’t think about those activities at all. You just do them.

But those automatic actions don’t determine only 40% of your life. They determine about 98% (where does this number come from? My personal hunch). You see, the actions you don’t perform regularly have very small overall impact on your life.

One day you eat a carrot, another day you eat a burger. Those actions nullify each other.

But those 40% of activities you repeat every day? They compound. Eat vegetables every day; or eat fast foods every day. The output of those actions will quickly cumulate in your life.

Time. This is the true power behind consistency. Time is the most powerful force in the universe. With time, a river could cut out a Great Canyon in the rock.

Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence.”

― Ovid

Consistency is a way to leverage the most powerful force in the universe in your life. Try to keep that in mind when the next impulse to eat junk, watch junk, or “kill time” will arrive.

4. Killing Time Is Suicide in Installments.

Inactivity has consequences.

Time will be your friend or your enemy; it will promote you or expose you.”

― Jeff Olson

Always. A decision to do nothing is not indifferent. It makes the time to work against you instead of for you.

Do nothing, and suddenly instead of riding the tide of time, you are crushed under it. When you put your life on hold to mindlessly watch another TV series, play a computer game or scroll through social media, you make time your enemy.

Make rest a necessity, not an objective.”

— Jim Rohn

It doesn’t mean you will not rest. In reality, we need loads of time to pause and charge our internal batteries. Eight hours of sleep. Half an hour of exercise. Time for socializing. Quiet time for your mind and soul.

Have you noticed? There is no single modern app or entertainment platform on the above list of necessary activities. When you let yourself be sucked into mental entertainments, you make time your enemy AND you don’t get any rest. You still need to cut time for charging your batteries and for all the work you have to do.

5. Consistency Is Here and Now.

The classic mistake we make when thinking of developing good habits is that we focus on the perceived difficulty of doing something for months and years.

But you never have to do something for months or years. Consistency is a chain built from many links. When it comes to actual action, it is only the single link that matters. When you read, write, exercise, write a thank-you note, eat a vegetable, or meditate, you do it here and now! Not in the upcoming decades!

The effort is scaled down to the next few minutes or hours. That’s it.

Anticipating years of struggle and toil in advance is as stupid as worrying about your kids’ college grades… while the kid in question is currently the baby crying because of a wet diaper. You should deal with the wet diaper, eruption of teeth, first steps now. The time for college grades will come.

6. Consistency Is Small.

The size of activity doesn’t matter. At least, when we regard consistency. Whether you write a paragraph a day or a chapter a day, consistency of the activity is actually the same. It’s the number of repetitions, not the scope of your activity that defines the consistency of your actions.

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

― Bruce Lee

Yes, you can condense the same effort into one day. You can do 100 consecutive pushups instead of doing five pushups for twenty days. In the short term, you will surely gain more than a guy doing five pushups a day. But when it comes to continuity and sustainability, your 100 pushups means exactly nada.

Unless, you can do them the next day too. And the day after that, and another…

Hmm, actually, consistency is not small. It is size-indifferent. However, starting small makes the whole process so much easier. First of all:

“Well started is half done.”

Image by meisjedevos from Pixabay


When you try to attempt something ambitious, like writing for an hour a day or going to the gym every day, you set yourself up for failure. The initial resistance is huge! In most cases, you don’t even start. You just fiddle with this thought and talk yourself out of it. In those few cases when you actually start such an activity, the resistance is big every time you try to repeat a habit. And you eventually talk yourself out of it.

When you start small, the mechanism is opposite. There is little to zero initial resistance, so you actually start instead of just thinking of it. The next day, it’s easy to continue, so you continue. You grow your streak with almost no effort. The best part? It’s ridiculously easy to scale up your habit once you built it.

Back in 2012, I created a habit of gulping a glass of water right after my morning workout. One glass. As I mentioned, I built it fast. Soon, I added another glass of water — I had an empty glass, so I filled it again and went to my desk to continue my morning ritual. While reading, journaling and the like I sipped that next glass.

Nowadays, I’m at the level of four glasses of water before I finish my morning ritual.

Consistency is easy. Change your thinking about regular activities. Doing them is not difficult.

We are biologically wired for consistency.

You already have good habits. You are capable of developing them.

Time will pass anyway. Your habits let you leverage it to your advantage.

Wasting your time is a big no-no. Time for a rest is necessary.

Consistency is built here and now, not in the distant future.

Starting small is smart. You can upgrade an existing habit almost effortlessly.

Wrap your head around the above concepts and become consistent. This is how you make your life easier and advance to the top 1%.


An Ultimate Secret to be in the Top 1%

Plus a rule of thumb to get there

An Ultimate Secret to be in the Top 1In January 2021, I checked the Huawei smart band app on my phone. I peeked into ‘Achievements,’ and I saw I was in the top 2% of people using the band. Well, in one category, but I imagine it’s a crucial one for the fit bands users: daily step count.

It’s quite a feat. I did a quick research. I found a number of 5.7 million Huawei smart bands sold. Which means I beat over 5.5 million people. And it took me a meager 10 months to do that. How come?

The “Secret” Behind Success

The answer is simple: consistency. It seems it’s not a secret at all. Successful people were pointing out that persistence is a key to success since the dawn of history. I would say, it’s a prerequisite of success. It doesn’t give any guarantees, but its opposite gives a guarantee of failure. If you give up, you won’t succeed.

So, why is this secret, kept in plain view, still a secret? Why was I in the top 2% of millions of walkers using the Huawei smart band? Why was it so frickin’ easy for me?

This answer is obvious too. Consistency is not flashy. It’s not sexy. You don’t see headlines with the words “perseverance, consistency, persistence, grit” very often.

In fact, for years I’ve been doing a Google experiment: I’m typing two words into the search bar: perseverance and success. And year after year, the results are the same. For every single result for “perseverance,” there are about 20 results for “success.”

So, it’s a widely known fact – persistence is a key to success. But clearly not many are following this common knowledge. It’s still a secret for most.

Back to the Being in the Top 2%

The most mind-blowing thing is that in those 10+ months with the smart band, I was never higher than 76% among all the users in any given month.

Never! Not once!

In fact, I was a few times below 50%. Well, I’m a number freak, so it hit me like a ton of bricks. If you are more of a human and less of a nerd, here is the visualization of my walking achievements:

An Ultimate Secret to be in the Top 1

Compare it to the cumulative achievement:
An Ultimate Secret to be in the Top 1%

Does it hit you now? Does it blow your mind? How come I was moderate to good and I ended up excellent?

Excellence is not an act but a habit.

I was better than 44% of users one month, 75% another month. But it seems those who were better than me were hares. (If you don’t know The Tortoise and the Hare fable, catch up.)

Plenty of people can beat my step count in a given month. Month over month, more than 1,400,000 people walked more than I. But most of the time, they were different people. And they lacked consistency.

They made 400,000 steps one month and quit walking. Or quit it at that level of intensity. So, I was better than them the next month. On the cumulative scale, I beat them very quickly.

So, What Is the Secret to Success?

I already told this on this blog and in my books. Show up.

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”
― Woody Allen

It’s enough to be consistently OK to become excellent. Why? Because the bar is set so low. Those hares have no chances against a steadfast tortoise. They are outclassed by an order of magnitude.

I didn’t track this step-count metric very closely, but I recall noticing after a few months, when my monthly result was around 50% (usually below that), that I’m at the top 20% of users. I beat over 80% of all users just by being consistently in the middle of the pack.

Show up. That’s the secret to success in anything in life.

Why Is It so Easy?

Simple: people don’t show up consistently over time. They may show up once or twice, or for a week, maybe even for a couple of months. Then, their dedication expires and they are gone. Anyone who shows up is better than them.

Our monkey brain is wired for anything new and negative. Some claim this is the evolutionary effect of looking out for dangers. Maybe. But it is a fact no matter what reason is behind this mechanism.

It is especially tempting nowadays to chase those shiny objects. Social media feeds are full of novelty. Media are full of negativity. Your inner monkey has all it needs to run in perpetual circles. And you stuff your life in between, from time to time.

However, if you can quiet down the monkey, and let the human take the driving wheel, biology is your ally.

We naturally excel in everything we regularly do. That’s how our brains are wired. The neural circuits which are frequently used grow and strengthen. Myelin is covering those circuits and it grows thicker too. All neural signals are transmitted faster and stronger thanks to this substance.

Practice makes master. Practice, and whatever you do will become easier the next time around. Practice consistently and this discipline will become seemingly effortless.

Leverage Time

Time is the ultimate club to beat down the competition. It’s a lever. Long enough leverage can move the whole Earth.

“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”

― Archimedes

Show up. Practice. Your lever will increase its length.

Others may be more talented, more intelligent, tougher, stronger, may have better connections. But it means nothing, if they don’t consistently show up. Their lever is not getting longer.

Yours? It gets longer every time you show up. Your victory is just a matter of time.

It Always Works

I shared this story in The Art of Persistence:

I’d been third to last on the list of students admitted in my first year at university. But by the fourth year, I was among the top 25% of students and I got a scholarship. I didn’t really know how I achieved that. I certainly wasn’t among the brightest. I didn’t study the hardest, as I had no time to do so, having two children.

But I showed up. I attended almost every lecture and took notes. This simple discipline allowed me to be better than 75% of my peers. Basic and effective. Nothing more.


It works in business. Tony Stubblebine tells a story on how his business survived despite juggernaut, venture-capital funded competition here:

It was enough to outlast the competition.

Supposedly, most of the books don’t sell even 500 copies in their lifetime. Each and every book of mine sold more than that.

My last few books sold over 500 copies in their first month since publication date.

How to Be in the Top 1%?

Just keep going. Since I started writing this post, in a few short days I advanced in the Huawei smart band app from 98.03% to 98.17%. I got into the top 1% slowly, but surely, in March 2021.

Don’t give up. Don’t stop. Don’t be inconsistent. Keep going at a decent level. Not the superhuman, top 1% level. It’s enough to be regularly in the top 70% to advance to the top 1%. Day in, day out. Week in, week out. Month in, month out. Year in, year out. This is how you climb to the top 1%.

The Success Rule of Thumb

Be consistently around the middle of the pack. It puts you in the top 20% in the long term.

Be regularly better than 66% of everyone else. It will easily land you among the top 2%.

Show up, add just a little extra (around 75% of the average performance). It makes you the top 1-percenter.

Four Self-Improvement Habits which Had the Biggest Impact on My Life

Small activities that provided great benefits

It’s hard to say which of my self-improvement habits has had the biggest impact on my life. I have too many of them and introduced them into my life in a very rapid fashion. So, it is really hard to measure and recognize which habits have been the most impactful.

Maybe gratitude journaling?

Quite possible this habit won this small contest.

For years, I hadn’t even considered it very impactful. But in hindsight, it was powerful. And when I described this discovery in my Quora answer, it became my most popular answer ever (over 400k views and 3.5 upvotes):

Or maybe it was journaling?

Six days a week, I journal for 10–20 minutes. I’ve been doing it for eight years.

(my journals)

You see, when you write things down, you need to process them through the prefrontal cortex — the part of your brain responsible for the higher thinking functions (like abstract thinking, language, logical thinking, and the like). In effect, you process a bigger portion of your life through logic and a smaller portion through emotions.

Nine years ago, I was a total mess. Nobody ever taught me how to process my own emotions. Well, not purposefully. Like most of us, I learned how to deal with my emotions by observing and mimicking people around me. However, most of them were as clueless about emotion management, as was I in the first place.

Years of writing about my plans, dreams, aspirations, obstacles, hardships, heartaches, failures, relationships, faith, and everything else that makes a full life, allowed me to get SO much better. at emotion management.

I also get some “me time” every day, introduce silence into my life, have space to actually plan long term, analyze myself, and reflect on the big picture.

This is invaluable.

Maybe exercising?

I’ve been exercising every day since 2006. I missed maybe 50 days in 15 years, mainly when I was bedridden with a fever.

(me, doing pushups…)


Thanks to this discipline, I internalized the value of persistence. When I read The Slight Edge in August 2012, its message clicked in. I had relevant points of reference already instilled in my life. I was able to embrace the Slight Edge philosophy because of my own experience. And when I embraced it, my whole life, hmm, not just “changed” — it exploded.

However, physical exercises are hardly a self-improvement technique. In fact, it’s a universal human activity. Surely, I consider exercises as such. Everybody should move their body on regular basis.

The last candidate: smiling.

I had been extremely shy toward strangers at the age of 33.

As a part of my self-improvement quest, I tried to develop a habit of talking to strangers. I flatly fell on my face. I just couldn’t do it. It was beyond me. Cold sweat on my forehead, butterflies in my stomach, collywobbles, a lump in my throat. I could not open my mouth and utter a word.

So, I retreated and regrouped. What I could do? I could smile at people.


And I did.

I built up my self-confidence, and soon I was talking with strangers on an everyday basis.

The Hardest Bad Habit to Break

Plus 5 simple habits which will help you to beat it

If we talk about a single habit the worst habit to get rid of is negative self-talk. Why? Because most of us just accept it as a part of our identity. We don’t even notice it, so we don’t even attempt to get rid of it.

That’s the ‘impossible’ difficulty level. You cannot fight the opponent you don’t even see; you don’t even know he exists.

Negative self-talk is usually at the root of every other bad habit. Being rude, alcoholism, swearing, sleep deprivation, being careless with money, a sedentary lifestyle — all those habits are just symptoms of your faulty thinking processes and behind each of such thinking habits usually lurks the negative self-talk.

You have low self-esteem, so you try to numb it with compulsive shopping or drinking. And where does low self-esteem come from? This vicious little voice in your head whispering:

“I’m stupid. I’m fat. I’m worthless. My father beat me because he didn’t love me; no wonder- I’m downright unlovable. I’m a failure….”

And you don’t even notice those whispers. You act as they were words of the infallible oracle.

Mind Triggers

Do you remember Marty from “Back to the Future?” Whenever someone called him a coward, he felt compelled to prove he wasn’t a coward. Usually, he ended up in big trouble because of that.

It’s the same with our self-talk, only it’s much more subtle because it comes from inside. But the solution to this problem is the same as the solution that worked for Marty: you pause, turn on your conscious thinking processes, examine what’s going on and make a choice how to react. The choice not dictated by your emotions, but by your brain.

“In the space between stimulus (what happens) and how we respond, lies our freedom to choose.
Ultimately, this power to choose is what defines us as human beings. We may have limited choices but we can always choose.
We can choose our thoughts, emotions, moods, words, our actions; we can choose our values and live by principles.
It is the choice of acting or being acted upon.” ― Stephen R. Covey

To do that you need a very elusive skill (well, elusive for modern people) called self-awareness. You need to notice your thoughts sneaking on you to repel them. Self-awareness gives you such power.

Good News

Yes, your thoughts and internal dialog keep you a prisoner. And yes, we are hopeless at noticing and controlling our thought processes.

But you can modify those thoughts by attacking the symptoms. When you break the obvious break habits, the ones that are clearly visible in your life, you become a new person.
When you develop new good habits, it affects who you are. And this new persona has a slightly different thinking pattern, influenced by the change of your circumstances.

You cannot say to yourself “Your fat pig!” if you’ve just lost 10 pounds in the last month. Well, not if you are moderately sane.

However, I deem it an uphill battle. You can liberate yourself from many bad habits if you tackle their common root cause — what is going through your mind.
Instead of taking a detour route, you take the direct one, disarm your internal demons and then you can attack multiple bad habits and create multiple good habits at the same time.

Good Habits in Service of Self-awareness

Develop some self-awareness habits and you will get a fighting chance. You will notice your self-talk, so you will be able to step between the stimulus and reaction.

Here are several good habits very handy for developing self-awareness:

1. Meditation.

It’s a great activity which can bring you benefits practiced even in small doses. Just take three deep breaths and focus your mind on that. That’s the simplest meditation.

Of course, meditation works better in huge doses, but its power lies in the full-out effectiveness of any dose.

2. Journaling.

This activity is also very effective because writing forces you to process your thoughts through the prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain responsible for abstract thinking. Writing translates emotions and images into words — the language of your conscious mind.

3. Walks.

I don’t believe walks are magical in themselves. They just create space for something modern people desperately need — reflection, free-thinking, lack of digital distractions; and some physical activity, which pumps blood through your brain. Put all of those together and you have a chance to notice your internal voice.

4. Asking for feedback.

It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s about as efficient as journaling. If you are a people person, it may be even more effective because you pay the utmost importance to social cues like tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language.

You can “ask” for feedback even yourself, I do it all the time with my journaling sessions. Make sure though you ask the right questions, focused on solutions (not: “Why I’m so hopeless?!?”).

Asking for feedback works like journaling – to communicate with another human being you need to put together a coherent message and process your emotions and internal images via the prefrontal cortex.

5. Tracking.

Any kind of tracking will do, especially if it involves writing. Your mind is a master liar, it says terrible false things about you, which you believe in.

Tracking is a way to confront your internal voice with reality. How can you be “a fat pig” if you lose 10 pounds and you have daily check-ins from the last month confirming your progress?

Tracking also instills filters in your brain. Track something, anything, and you have much better chances of success than by just trying to wing it.

The single most difficult habit to get rid of is negative self-talk. It’s an invisible enemy most of us don’t even know that exists.

The most efficient way to deal with it, or rather start dealing with it, is increasing your self-awareness.

Are You More Successful Once You Stopped Following the Herd?

Are you more successful once you stopped following the herd?I found this question on Quora.

The first moment after you’ve stopped following the herd (i.e., “once”), you are in a very bad spot. You are in a wasteland. The herd has just gone through the area, and everything is trampled and eaten. You are behind the herd, and predators are lurking, waiting for lonely and weak individuals at the herd’s outskirts. It’s scary and dangerous.

But after that first moment, when you begin to follow your own path—no longer behind the herd, but in front of it or in an entirely new direction—life becomes so much better. The whole pasture is just for you. You seldom meet predators, because they’re mostly busy watching the herd.

You’ve taken a risk, and it’s more than paid off.

My Experience

I followed the traditional path. I finished a university degree and got a day job in a big company (500+ employees). I changed jobs a few times. I was earning twice the average salary in my IT job.

Despite this, money was tight: we had three kids, were starting from scratch, and couldn’t count on help from our poor parents. We were living from paycheck to paycheck.

Despite this, it was a moderately good life. . .

. . . Except that I felt miserable. I was just getting by, not thriving. I had nothing to look forward to; our future looked bleak. No chances for promotion, no chances for improving our lifestyle, constant uncertainty. Once, in 2009, I was even laid off. It wasn’t a nice experience.

In 2012, I decided to stop following the herd. I kept my day job, but I started something new and totally crazy. For the first couple of months, I didn’t even know what I was doing; I was only sure I don’t want to stay behind the herd.

Then my path crystalized: I would be a writer.

The first 15 months was a wild ride. I rebuilt my daily routine. I quit watching TV, playing computer games, and reading fiction, and I instead dedicated time to my personal development and writing. I worked 10–16 hours a day, 6 days a week. It was exhausting, but I enjoyed the process.

Sixteen months after realizing I wanted to be a writer, I published my fifth book, and it became a bestseller. I earned half of my yearly salary in one month from book royalties.

Since then, I’ve become more successful than ever: my income has doubled. I’ve made more friends. I’ve overcome my shyness. I’ve lost weight and beat hundreds of personal fitness records. I’ve published 16 books and sold over 53,000 copies. I’ve liberated my wife from her day job and downsized my day job to 10 hours a week.

And I feel more alive than ever.

“Can you be successful by following the herd?”

This question horrifies me. The ambiguous answers people give to it horrify me even more. Take a look at a few definitions to understand my terror:

Herd: a large group of animals that are kept together as livestock, such as for food.
Livestock: farm animals regarded as an asset.
Success: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.

So, sure, you can be successful in the herd . . . if your definition of “success” is “getting slaughtered.”
Are you more successful once you stopped following the herd?
But if getting slaughtered is not your life’s purpose, GET OUT A.S.A.P.!
No matter the risk.
Yes, it’s a metaphor. Nobody is going to literally slaughter you if you stick to society’s norms. Not literally—but definitely metaphorically. Because following the herd slaughters your soul.

Want proof? Have a look at the herd’s well-being. Here are some numbers from the USA, one of the most successful (if not THE most successful) countries in the world:

The average American household carries $137,063 in debt, while having a median income of $59,039.

Over 66% of Americans are overweight or obese.

United States adults watch an average of 4–5 hours of television per day.

About 77% of Americans won’t have adequate savings to retire at age 67.

Four out of five Americans have less than a year’s income saved for retirement.


This is the state of the herd. This is your destiny if you follow it. If being obese, wasting 25% of your waking hours in front of a TV set, and leeching off the government when you retire is your definition of success, follow the herd.

Otherwise, you’d better find your own path.

As for me, having scouted both paths…  I can promise you that NOT following the herd is 1,000 times better.

The Amazing Results of Writing Down Your Goals

Make friends with pen and paper, it’s worth it

I get a feeling that writing is a universal key to our subconscious mind. My experience with journaling and goal setting suggests that despite the huge number of volumes about the power of the subconscious mind, we still hopelessly undervalue it.

And you can throw the rock at me first. I was very quick to read or listen to anything about the power of the subconscious and judge it as bollocks.

Well, it’s easy to dismiss stories that happened to others. It’s pretty hard to ignore things that happened in my own life.

The Power of Writing

I won’t talk much about the subconscious mind, I’ll let you read between the lines. Let’s focus on writing.

A joint research study done by scientists from Princeton University and UCLA concluded that writing by hand has an advantage over typing and it allows you to remember study material better.

Ponder it. There should be no difference. Writing information down should increase retention, no matter how we do it. Yet, there is a difference. You commit a lot more of your motor power into handwriting. A lot more muscles activate when you write with a pen. More of your senses are alerted.

Our memory is not a hard drive like we like to imagine. It’s a network of associations. Handwriting provides more associations, more input signals, and more data points than typing.

I’m an amateur on the subconscious, but you know what? I bet it is more association-like in its nature than a neatly organized data set with reference points.


Writing Down Your Goals The author of “Writing Your Soul Down”, Janet Conner, described in her book how she activated her subconscious mind with daily journaling. Her breakthroughs and transformation were nothing short of amazing.

Among others, she tells a story about when she desperately needed $10,000 and wrote about this asking God for help. Sure enough, she got the money two days later.

Once she asked in her journal for two thousand dollars. “And I need it now,” she added. An hour later her sole remaining client called and said the strangest thing: “I don’t know why, but I just feel you should send us an invoice for two thousand dollars.”

Writing and My Goals

I’m writing this post at the end of December, and I’m fresh after the review of my 2018 goals. I’ pretty lame when it comes to achieving my yearly goals and in 2018, in particular, I made a colossal mistake: I wrote them down and never visited them again.

I typed my goals, so I didn’t have the additional associations provided by handwriting. A few things alerted me during the review of my goals.

For example, I totally forgot I intended to get on more podcasts as a guest. Yet, whenever an opportunity appeared, I gladly took it. Podcast hosts contacted me out of the blue a couple of times, another time my customer introduced me to a host thinking that we would be a good fit. Every time I followed the opportunity, which is not my default mode.

Often, when cold email offers arrive, I simply delete them. Guest posting, writing opportunities, joint-ventures — 80% of the time they land in a trash folder.

Other Goals

Writing Down Your GoalsI also forgot about my other goal which was getting more power over my schedule by going to bed at 10 pm and waking up at 5 am. I didn’t follow it up. I complied with this goal in less than 10% of days and it was never caused by the intention of the goal, but out of necessity or circumstances.

Yet, I had this nagging feeling, a yearning to stick to those hours. I felt great when I was in bed on time- without remembering the goal!

Despite the fact that I didn’t keep the assumed times, a huge improvement in my sleep patterns happened in 2018. I slept a full 7 hours a night more often than not. I hadn’t had such a good year since I started tracking my sleep in 2013. And that was the intent underlying that goal.

At the beginning of 2018, I wanted to publish a couple of books. I made some progress with one of them, but it is still a couple of months away from publishing.

However, I wrote and published a book that was not on my radar in January.

I tell you those stories because there are clues that there is more to writing down your goals than we think. It’s not about creating a conscious effort to achieve what we want. It’s also about activating our subconscious mind.

And I found writing was a very effective tool in this regard.

It Simply Works

There was research done about Harvard students. Supposedly, fellows who wrote down their goals were miles ahead of their peers who didn’t. I say ‘supposedly’ because despite the fact that it was all over the Internet, it was an urban myth.

Such research was never done. However, it articulates the feeling of all people who ever wrote down their goals: that it’s instrumental in reaching those goals. Business coaches, management experts, personal development gurus, really, people from all walks of life were preaching writing goals down since humanity mastered the art of writing.

Because it works. “Oh, but the research was fake,” you say. So what? I tell you, writing down your goals works. Will research that proves it makes writing goals down somehow more effective?

There was a time in our history not so long ago when we had no idea about germs. Do you think that washing hands by doctors wouldn’t decreased the number of infections in hospitals because there was no research for that? Of course, it would be effective!

Research is only the confirmation of reality, and we get such confirmations by observing reality.

So, the reality is that writing goals down works. Yes, many times it doesn’t work in the way we imagine it will work, but it works. Many people don’t reach their goals despite writing them down. But the act of writing them down ignites the powers we don’t yet comprehend.

Reaching My Past Goals

2018 wasn’t the first year when I set some goals and forgot about them for the rest of the year. Yet, when I go over my past goals I either achieved them or am on my way to achieving them, despite the fact that I wrote them down once, summarized the progress at the beginning of next year and shrug them off.

My first goal was to quit my day job. I almost achieved that. I work only 10 hours a week and it’s for benefits’ sake and to stay in touch with reality. I want to be around “normal” people regularly. I don’t want to get disconnected from the common folks’ reality because I can afford a “laptop lifestyle.”

In 2015 I set a goal of growing my list to 1,000 people. I didn’t. In 2016 I changed this goal into “figuring out how to grow my email list at a rapid pace.’ A few months into 2016 I had already forgotten this goal, but I reached it anyway. In July 2016 I opened an InstaFreebie account and I grew my list by several hundred people in a few short months.

Writing Down Your Goals

My Kindle royalties till November 2018

What is more, I achieved the goal of quitting my job mostly by selling my books, exactly as I stated back in 2014. I wrote then that I need to sell 130,000 copies a year.

Well, I based that calculation on 99-cent books. With Amazon royalties thresholds you need to sell six of those to earn as much as by selling one $2.99 Kindle copy. Nowadays I net about $2.5 per copy on average, I need only about 17,500 copies to earn the same income. I sold over 12,000 copies in 2018.

Back in 2014 I also wrote: “My only idea for the new source of income is selling my books on Amazon.”

I created new sources of income. Book advertising alone generated for me over $15,000 in 2018. I also coach and have a trickle of affiliate income. I exceeded my goals.

“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action” ― Ian Fleming

Surely, there is someone’s action, even if it’s only the action of the laws of nature.

In the same fashion, I achieved or exceeded most of the goals I missed in previous years. Coincident? This is a poor explanation.

For 16 years before 2013, I had never written down any goals. And I accomplished very little. I got new jobs, salary raises, bought a flat for our family, graduated from the university or received my driving license at the age of 24. Sometimes I set some intentions or my wife set them for me. But I never wrote down anything. And all of those goals were pretty normal. It is a deal to graduate, but not such a big deal, isn’t it?

There was some progress, but it pale compared to the amazing growth of the last six years.

Hence, going over those numbers and goals, I have the weird feeling that despite the volumes written about the power of the subconscious mind we still don’t comprehend it even 1%. And we don’t comprehend how writing holds the key to the gates of the subconscious mind. Here comes a couple of examples that shook my narrow thinking in this regard.

A Newborn

My wife didn’t want another baby after we had two boys. She was satisfied with our “inventory.” I wanted more kids. I have five sisters, a big family is a normal environment for me.

My daughter

I couldn’t persuade my wife, so I prayed for another kid. But preparing for this post, I recalled one disturbing fact: I put my prayer in the form of a poem. I wrote down a plea to have “a hope for a gasp of life,” which really sounds better in Polish and makes a play of words.

Needless to say, we have three kids now.

A Home

Somewhere at the beginning of 2013, inspired by a story in “The Science of Getting Rich,” I wrote down a list of items I would like to possess for me and my family. They were simple things like bicycles for all of us or a portable USB hard drive for me. Those things I could comprehend that eventually we somehow could’ve afforded them despite the fact that we struggled to save a meager $100 a month.

I wrote down those items to get rid of them from my mind, not to look at the list or visualize having them one day.
The creepy thing is that my wife took my notepad and added jokingly ‘a home’ to the list. I discovered it several weeks later and had a good laugh from it. She had been dreaming about our own house for a few years already. We simply couldn’t afford a home. Period.

In the first months of 2015, I found that notepad with the list. We possessed every single item on the list, including a home.

Writing Down Your Goals

Our home

My mind was blown away. Well, I was shocked. I never derided writing goals down since then.


writing down your goalsI hope this post shocked you enough to write some goals down. Even if you have no idea how to achieve them. Even if they seem preposterous. Even if they are simply impossible for you.

When I started my transformation I was determined to quit my day job and provide for my family from my own entrepreneurship. I had no idea how to do that, I was a lifelong employee.

The goal of selling 130,000 copies of my books a year seemed ridiculous. Well, I already sold over 50,000 copies of them in the last 5.5 years. My books were translated into German, Spanish and Chinese. Another will be traditionally published in Korean.

None of this was possible 6 years ago when I had had no books published.

Writing Down Your Goals Is Not Magical

I also don’t want to leave an impression that it’s enough to write something down, trigger your subconscious and the magic will happen. I didn’t just write some lists or some goals. For the past few years, I have been wrestling with my subconscious every single day during my journaling sessions.

I also bombarded my mind with my mission, day in and day out since I created my personal mission statement in November 2012. I selected the content I consumed and people I interacted with. It all synergized and compounded.

Still, those amazing stories from my life opened my eyes to all which I don’t comprehend.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”  — Jim Rohn

Writing down your goals will not magically provide the results you want. However, it may do just that. Not writing them down surely will do not much for you.

Move your butt. Take action. Write down your goals.