3 years ago I sat on my parents red couch and needed a change. I was working 12+hr days personal training trading time directly for money. After a year of reading books on passive income I decided to attempt to write a book and become an information entrepreneur. That night both changed the course of my life and signaled the beginning of the end of my first career.
Since that night I’ve published two books, started 4 websites, presented internationally, reached the top of the Amazon charts, developed a killer network, and finally retired (somewhat grudgingly) from personal training. I’d love to sit here and tell you that this was my master plan. That I sat down and mapped it out and knew what I was doing all along. I would love to tell you that I had already discovered the secrets to an awesome life and being in charge of my own destiny.
But I didn’t.
I was a guy with a dream to be self-sufficient, independent, and both personally and financially wealthy. I was a guy that looked at the way conventional life was supposed to be lived and knew it wasn’t for me. Most of all, I was a guy who didn’t have a clue what it would take to create the life I wanted but was willing to take risks and follow my intuition for better or for worse.
Since I started thePTDC I noticed myself shifting more and more towards an entrepreneurial mindset. I stopped following blindly what I was told. I attempted to develop my own systems methods to innovate. For hours and hours a day I would sit with my notebook assessing anything that I came across looking for ways to improve.
For better or for worse I started writing down what I felt was the right way to deal with all aspects of my life. This includes but is not limited to education, relationships, fitness, business, and family.
Some of these rules are ones that I got and adapted from other sources. If I can remember where I got it from I gave them credit. Most are ones that I came to upon my own devices. Some of the rules I’ve since seen published or spoken about elsewhere. This is purely coincidental.
So this is it. My guide On Living Well: My Own Way and by My Own Rules.
Over time these rules will adapt and change but I thought it time to share them with you. These are my rules that I’ve developed over the past three years. I don’t pretend they are politically correct or advise you to follow all or even one of them. It’s totally up to you. I hope they serve you as well as they have served me…
On Being the Best Man You Can Be
Do it for the story. Fly across the country to be with a girl you hardly know (twice), start an Internet comic even though you cannot draw, write a book even though you haven’t written anything since University, publish your thoughts and allow them to be scrutinized anonymously by internet trolls, meet anybody, never turn down an opportunity, and always go with the flow. The flow is everything and you never know where it’s going to take you. Do it for the story because at the end of the day that’s all you’re going to have left and it better be epic.
Thank you is the only response to a compliment. When somebody gives you a compliment don’t get awkward and red in the face and NEVER try to justify the compliment. “Thank you” must be a knee-jerk reaction while you look them straight in the eye before moving on with the conversation.
If you don’t understand fashion, train hard so you look good in a white t-shirt and jeans. Heavy and out of shape people have to work hard to find clothing that downplays their lumps and bumps. Fit people can wear a 10-year-old Hartford Whalers t-shirt and look awesome.
On handshakes. A weak floppy handshake is akin to being that guy who leans awkwardly against the pole at the edge of the dance floor sipping a gin and tonic from a tiny straw. Get in and make your mark or don’t show up.
High fives are awesome. They will never go out of style. No suitable replacement will ever be found. – Click to Tweet
Perception becomes reality. Oasis lead singer Noel Gallagher used to say that they kept telling people they were one of the top bands in the world. Then one day they woke up and they were. Believe in yourself and talk as if you are already a success. Always be positive and if you want something act as if it’s already happened.
If you can’t dance, smile. Nobody knows when you’re screwing up if you have a huge smile on your face.
If you’re nervous to go to a new place don’t miss it for the world. The best experiences, craziest nights, and most awesome females always happen on those days where you “don’t feel like it”.
Always open an engagement with a compliment. Take an extra second when you see somebody and try to figure out a place to give him or her a great compliment. Their barriers will go down and you can have an open and honest interaction.
Don’t hold grudges.
Don’t leave the sticker on your hat. Seriously, why is this cool?
When walking stop at red lights even if there are no cars. A red light is the perfect excuse to take a moment for you. Take a minute to stop and take in the scenery.
On knocking over a piece of cutlery. You have two options. The first option is to completely ignore it. This must be fluid and takes some practice. The second is to admit fault and make a big deal out of it. Anything else will make you look stupid.
Read the headlines in the newspaper every morning. Chances are at some point that day you are going to need to make small talk. Mention the headline and give the other person a chance to talk about it. Schmoozing is a part of life and being up to date with the news is essential.
Chinese martial arts movies > Action movies > comedies > poorly dubbed old cartoons > mockumentaries > documentaries > foreign films > romantic comedies. But there’s a time and place for them all.
Always buy and read a book before seeing the movie. To extend this point, buy an older copy of the book before the movie came out so the book jacket doesn’t feature the characters. Imagining the scenes for yourself not only adds to the enjoyment but also allows your creative mind to take over. Being told exactly what things ought to look like ruins the story and the book.
Master all types of walking. Mosey, saunter, meander, and stroll. They all have their time and place.
Close your mouth if taking a pause in a public talk. A mentor observed me saying 37 “ums” in a 5-minute talk I gave and provided me with this piece of advice. There’s nothing wrong with thinking in the middle of a lecture, just close your mouth when you do. Silence will both align you and reinforce the power you have over your audience.
On Working in and Around the Interwebz
Automate everything you possibly can. Take time to build up systems that run without you. Let them run while you focus on the next big project. Keep building systems that feed into each other. Find a good custom coder to write computer scripts and learn how to develop email autoresponse sequences.
Don’t fight to explain yourself. The second you attempt to innovate and stand out people will come out of every corner of your life to tell you what they know. Often they will attempt to dissuade you telling you to take the easy path. You do not have to explain yourself. It’s your life, your business, your sacrifices, and your journey. Smile, say thank you, listen to what they have to say and move on. There’s no point in arguing.
When somebody asks a question that starts with “what if” be prepared to refer them to a book. These individual questions are rarely worth your time and cannot ever be answered appropriately. Have a library of documents and books that span as many subjects as possible to refer people to.
Always follow the Babe Ruth rule. Because screwing up is a part of life and nobody remembers your strikeouts. Swing for the fences and expect to miss most of the time. But when you hit that dinger it’s gonna fly. Working online presents the opportunity to try a ton of stuff in exchange for a bit of money and tons of sweat equity. It’s worth it.
Resist anything that you must commit to for a long time. Unless you are where you want to be in life maintain as much freedom as you can. When an opportunity presents itself you must be free to grab hold and make the most of it. (Yes for me this includes women. I have ended some amazing relationships for no other reason than I wasn’t ready to lose some of my freedom. Maybe it’s immature and maybe somebody will come along that will change my thinking. Only time will tell…)
If you want to produce epic shit, you must take yourself to an epic place.
Don’t become a slave to self-help. Books can be your greatest resource or biggest waste of time. Self-help books will only do you good if you take action on them. Don’t line your bookshelves. Instead find a great book and look for ways to apply the theory to make you or your business better. Only then should you move on to the next.
Don’t hate on the formal school system to somebody who has completed a masters of PhD. Nothing you can say will make this person agree that formal schooling is a waste of time. They have invested too much time and effort into it. Ask them intelligent questions into their area of study and let them celebrate their achievements. You can save your hating on the formal school system with others who agree with your point of view.
Train your upper back. A strong upper back shows power and authority. A good posture also makes your chest look bigger so you don’t have to spend as much time bench-pressing brah.
Foot health is and should always be a priority. Stop buying your socks in the Target discount box at 5 for $5. Spend the extra couple bucks and treat yourself. Have a leisure sock, a sport sock, and a rainy day sock that is so comfortable it puts a smile on your face. Wash your feet every time you’re in the shower and keep a golf ball at your desk to roll over it during the day.
Frozen vodka bottles make great foam rollers. It’s the only way you can have an ice pack, a foam roller, and a party all in one.
Biceps curls before a night out are a must. Confidence is everything. Jacked arms don’t impress most girls. Getting swole before a night out gives confidence. Being able to exude confidence attracts girls.
Train your forearms because even in the winter you can roll up your sleeves. – Click to Tweet
Peanut butter tastes best on a spoon. I’ve tried to eat peanut butter in almost every way: With jam, on bread, on celery as ants on a log (a close second I might add) and even in shakes. The best and now the only way that I eat peanut butter is on a spoon and in intervals of twos.
On nutrition. Focus on the 80% and ignore the 20. It’s not rocket science. The pillars are lots of protein, healthy fats, and nutrient dense carbs surrounding your workouts. Supplements are creatine, fish oil, a multi-vitamin, and protein powder. That’s it. Some sources are more pure than others and the program isn’t perfect but this is an easy plan that everybody can follow and live a healthy and vital life. Oh, that and tons of veggies. If you decide to obsess over minute details please ensure you have made all of the above a habit.
Use your lats. If you want to succeed in the gym the lats are a major player. Put your hand under your arm pit right now and try to contract that muscle.
If you don’t know how something you should or feel you have no chance of learning it. Creating a mental picture and visualizing success will make sure you succeed.
Find a great massage therapist. Bonus points if she bakes amazing muffins and takes one out for you to snack on when you leave.
Avoid getting taken in by the next best thing because it’s probably no better than the last best thing. If it works keep doing it and if it stops working change it up. Don’t waste your time worrying what others are doing. Guru’s are perceived experts and rarely actual experts.
Work with bird noises. Birds are the first to recognize when predators are present and fly away. When they sing your brain knows that the area is safe and can relax. It allows you to allot more brainpower to your work. (From Julian Treasure)
Learn the difference between there, their, and they’re and also affect/effect, too/to, chose/choose, then/than, its/it’s, to/too, of/off. Don’t bother with semicolons; they’re evil.
Write with both a dictionary and thesaurus. Understand that many words are powerful on their own. Let them work and avoid using descriptors that are not needed. Later on you can worry about style.
Don’t write like a pompous asshole. Nobody is impressed that you used a big word in an article you wrote on your blog on the Internet. Make your point as clear and as powerfully as you can make it.
Publish a fraction of what you right. Your blog or website is your resume. Every part of it must be great. (Note. I just recently adopted this rule and have been publishing less but writing more. If I don’t love something I write I keep it to myself. I’ve also gone back and re-edited many of thePTDC articles.)
Bookstores are the best places to meet women because intelligence increases a girl’s hot factor by at least a multiple of 3.
1st date is always coffee. Try to find a good coffee shop where they know who you are. Ideally it’s close to a park for those of us who can’t sit still and like to go for walks.
The girl always buys the first drink. Just because it’s fun to see their faces when you ask. After that treat her better than she’s ever been treated before in her life.
Don’t play games and for Gods sake don’t wait a requisite 3 days. Life is too short. If you like a girl ask them over to watch a crappy movie you’ve both seen 20 times. (I don’t remember where I heard the line about watching a crappy movie but I love it and have stolen it. If you were the one who said it to me I’m sorry but I hope it’s done as well for you as it’s done for me.)
A girl should look just as good in the morning as she did all made up the night before. No exceptions.
Never go to a party with the sole purpose of getting laid. Go out to have a good time, hang with your friends, and meet good people. If there’s a bombshell there that you connect with: great. Bars and clubs are a lot more fun with good friends. Pressure of having to pick up to impress your bros is stupid.
Gorgeous women are not bitches. They get approached a lot so put up a barrier. You’re different so show it. Don’t be like the other idiots and use a cheesy line or valiantly attempt to impress her. Make her want to impress you. Look her in the eyes and smile a huge smile. Ask her what she is passionate about and proud of. Take a genuine interest in her and allow her to celebrate her achievements. Wait for her to ask what you do after she has spoken about herself.
Flakiness is the worst quality a woman can possess. The minute a girl tells you that she’ll text you to see if she can make it on Saturday ignore her. Unless she can provide a concrete reason why she can’t make time to hang out she has no excuse to be flaky. It’s a sure sign of worse things to come.
Give amazing hugs. Hold on for an extra second and dig your fingers into that space in between the shoulder blades.
Always leave them wanting more…
Nothing trumps the power of an idea. People will try to take advantage of you, cheat you, and manipulate you. If you have a powerful idea it will always live on.
Surround yourself with the best fucken team you can find. Your network is your net worth. (I got this line from John Romaniello who I believe got it from Tim Ferris.) Spend as much money and time as you can and build the best possible team around you. On a similar note, if something starts to smell rotten cut ties immediately.
Don’t ever be afraid to ask. People can always say no.
Inflict personality in everything you do. Joke around and have fun. Even if you’re writing a technical article put in a couple joke metaphors relating back to stuff from your childhood. It’s rare that your product or service is unique. People are going to want to do business with you if they feel a connection. Mentioning stuff like how much you hate the boomerang green bird in Angry Birds is relateable. Everybody hates that asshole bird.
Shoot first and ask questions later. Having somebody get angry after the fact is a lot better than them telling you not to do it in the first place.
Fear drives action. People hate losing out on something they perceive as important. It doesn’t actually have to be important, they just need to think it is.
Don’t engage people in arguments. Even if you are right they come off feeling like shit and you come off feeling like an asshole. Respect cognitive dissonance.
If you are going to be negative make sure to have a solution or keep it to yourself.
Management sucks. In every organization people will eventually be promoted to a level of incompetence. Usually this is management. Being good at a job has nothing to do with how good of a manager you are. (This is called the Peter Principle and was coined by Dr. Laurence J. Peter. I agree wholeheartedly with the principle after having lived it myself.)
Try to always view things from the other person’s perspective. By putting yourself in the other person’s shoes you can figure out what they really want. Often it’s not money. There are social and economic norms. In a negotiation you should try to figure out what you can offer the person. Money comes and goes and you probably can’t afford to pay somebody fairly for his or her time anyway.
Your time is your most valuable asset. Value it with your life. Find somebody else and pay him or her to handle time-consuming tasks like cleaning your apartment. Just make sure you make the most of your saved time. If you’re going to spend the extra time watching Seinfeld re-runs on TV you may as well clean.
Make things as simple as possible and not any simpler. (I’m pretty sure this was an Einstein quote.)
Build a picture of where you want to be and work back. The brain only works when it imagines something to be real. So convince yourself that you have already accomplished your goals. Build a picture of yourself or your business in the future and make it a reality in your mind. Tell no less than 3 people describing the scene vividly. Once you cannot tell the different between imagination and reality it’s time to set your plan of action. Work backwards and pay attention to the action steps that got you to your imaginary goal (that’s now a reality). Write these down and focus ONLY ON THEM. They are what will get you the results you want. (From Dan Seligman via Dustin Maher)
Fuck it. People will come after you. They will hate on you publicly and try to bring you down. Deal with it professionally and have a strong legal counsel. Don’t dwell on the negative people that refuse to leave your life or business. Focus on what you do best and live everyday with hustle, passion, and integrity.
Always carry a notebook to write down rules and other stuff.
And finally the most important rule that guides me every day:
Find what you love doing and do it. Make this your path because life is too short to be taken up by shit you hate or feel unfulfilled doing. Always strive to do it better than anybody else and never let anything stand in your way.