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Despite what many blogs online will tell you about my age (most say I’m 22, 23, or above), today is actually my 21st birthday. Since I was about 12 I would always tell my Mom that I was going to be a millionaire by 21. I guess that means I have twelve months to reach my goal and I like to think I’m on track.
Although this post is not directly related to internet marketing and you might think I have nothing to share because of my youth, I’ve been through a lot in the process of going from a college dropout to now making a living for myself online. I hope that there’s something you can take away from this post and apply to your own journey.
Although I would love to say this post idea was entirely mine, I do have to give credit to Baker who wrote a great post after turning 26 along the same theme.
Whether you like it or not, there’s no end goal to achieve in life. Society likes to teach us our role is to go through college, get a degree, find a job, attract a partner, have kids and then let our kids start that cycle again. At every step on this path we’re always looking to achieve something as if it was necessary.
I like to use an analogy with having a boyfriend or girlfriend to explain this example. Let’s say you’re lying in bed with a partner you love, gazing into their eyes and enjoying their presence. That’s it. There is nowhere to go from that situation. You can get engaged, married, have kids or any other “goal” we attach on to having a relationship, but you’re just going to end up lying next to each other and enjoying each others company.
Learn to appreciate the moment (the now) rather than hoping for some further end result.
I mostly came to this realisation by getting caught in the make money online trap. You know the one that promises you “$10k in a fortnight” or “How to secretly crush Google” so you end up buying eBook after eBook. I soon realised that the books which were supposed to be making me money we’re really just making me have less.
After a lot of failed attempts at making money online I eventually decided to just focus on one project and not stop until it made some money. It took a lot of work and a lot more patience, but sure enough, it did eventually start bringing in a decent income for me.
The lesson from this is that there is only so much other people can do for you in helping you get what you want out of life. There is no magic bullet to be found. You are the magic bullet. It’s you that needs to put what you learn into action, stay consistent with the process, and carve out the results you deserve.
In other words: make life happen. Don’t wait for it to happen to you.
Death is not pretty and losing loved ones is one of the hardest things to go through. I lost a number of people close to me in 2009, so I know what it’s like. Whether you hate me, love me, or couldn’t care less, we both have something in common: We’re going to die.
Not one human in the history of the world has been able to bypass death. There’s no avoiding it. We all know this, but we rarely use it to propel our lives in the direction we want to take it. Anytime I’m fearful, anxious or nervous, I just realise that one day I’m going to die and I have to make the most of life right now.
I even have a sign on my wardrobe cupboard that I see every day when I wake up. It has the letters LEDLIYLAODYBR on it which stands for: “Live everyday like it’s your last and one day you’ll be right.”
The two great things that come from as a by-product of death realisation are going for what you want in life and living in the moment (because there’s no end destination, remember).
Numerous studies have shown that people are not only highly influenced by their social circle but you can also estimate how much money someone is making based on how much their friends are making. In most cases, each friend is making no little more than their friends and rarely over 20% extra.
Most of the people I spend my time with either own large companies or work for themselves from home. It’s not a coincidence that my life is going the way I want it to compared to when I was getting nowhere spending time with people happy to work in a supermarket for the rest of their lives.
I’m not suggesting that you go out and ditch your friends, but do look to add more positive influences in your life and see how that affects you. I think you’ll be surprised with the results.
Some people really don’t like me. I’m totally fine with that, but it’s not something I’ll deny. The people I know who really don’t like me are the people that used to be some of my best friends. As soon as I started to grow and make more money, they didn’t like to see the dynamics of our social groups changing so they resented me instead.
Similarly, there will be some people online who hate me, simply because I’m building a successful blog. The logistical aspect of me making barely any money on this site and putting in hours of my time for each article doesn’t matter to them. Jealousy and change resistance are the two main reasons people begin to find haters when they start becoming successful.
Just remember that having these haters is perfectly normal when you start to improve your life and have success in different areas. Having them simply means you’re doing something right.
There’s a lot of drama in my life at times and I like to think most of it isn’t created by me. I have friends changing because I’m growing (point 5), people I can’t see because I’m busy so they get annoyed and people who try to change business deals I’ve been working on for weeks at the last minute.
No matter what is going on though, I’m rarely fazed, and that’s because I have my set focus in life. My focus right now is a financial one geared towards my family. So, whenever any drama does come up in my life, I simply ask: “How does this affect [my focus]?”
It usually doesn’t and I just continue with my day as normal. This question helps to keep me on track and not get sucked into the never-ending drama that surrounds my life and I’m sure it will help you too.
This is a quote from T Harv Ecker in the great book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind and rings true for me and from my experience. He uses an example where he asks readers to think about their income levels over the last few years and notice that there will be highs and lows, but you’ve probably returned to a similar wealth level time and time again.
The reason is that we unconsciously have a limit in our minds of how much we think we’re worth so if we make more money, we’ll spend more to get back to that level. He covers a number of case studies in the book and I can definitely relate to this on a personal level.
Once you realise you may have an income or wealth barrier in your head that is holding you back, you can learn to let it go and open your mind up to the riches that are available to all of us.
You can read tips on procrastination till there’s nothing left to read and still find yourself playing games online rather than finishing an essay or writing your next blog post. Procrastination is simply your choice between whether you want to do something or whether you don’t, and the choice to take action on whichever.
My best tip for inspiring you to take action is to only work on something when you feel like working on it. That may sound counter-productive; but it does work. You may get so close to a deadline and worry about the consequences of not finishing something that it spurs you into action that way. Or, you may just stop pressuring yourself and find that you really wanted to do the thing you’ve been putting off.
I have a number of influences in my life. In terms of blogging, I have massive respect for people like Brian Clark and Darren Rowse. In the public eye I love people like Russell Simmons and Aubrey Graham (Drake). My favourite authors are Seth Godin and Eckhart Tolle.
The common factor between the people that inspire and influence me is that they’ve all worked hard to get to where they are and then focused on sharing their message. That resonates with me a lot. Despite having these influences, I realise that ultimately I have to take the information coming at me from all angles and process it to see how it best helps me on my own journey.
There’s no one path to follow or one persons advice that is the best. I simply recognise that I am the Guru in my own life (as you should be in yours) and take the value which makes sense to me then discard the rest.
While I don’t like how the message of the secret was promoted and shared to the world, the main point of the movie – the law of attraction – has a lot of merits. Whatever you focus your mind on, you attract into your life. Through my research into NLP I found that our mind does not know the difference between negative and positive when it comes to thoughts.
So, if you continually think “I don’t want to think about X” you’re always going to think about X because that’s the only input you’re giving your mind to work with. If you’re thinking about things you don’t want, flip them on the angle of what you do want, and start focusing on that instead.
At times, it feels good to pass things on to other people. When I’m struggling with a database move, I’ll ask my assistant to help me and then I can stop worrying about it. If my appendix were to burst, I wouldn’t try to deal with it myself. Instead I would go to a doctor I can trust to help me get through the situation safely.
Though there are things here and there that require us relying on other people, we ultimately have to take the direction and result of our lives into our own hands. Most people I went to school with are in dead-end jobs (if they’re lucky enough to find one in this recession) and don’t really have any plans to get out of living paycheck to paycheck.
I wasn’t lucky. I simply took right action for a long time and carved out the life I wanted for myself. This life is your responsibility.
Just like I have people bringing drama into my life, there’s also a lot of people who – intentionally or not – attempt to deter me from my path. For example, the more that I grow ViperChill and build my presence online, the more emails I get on a daily basis with people wanting my help.
If I didn’t make emailing me quite difficult via my contact form, there would be a lot more mail to deal with. I don’t give people too much permission to dictate the direction I take my life, how I spend my time, or determine what my priorities should be. As I’m my own guru, I like to set my own guidelines.
Feel free to ignore this point, but you may find yourself advancing a lot slower than you could be.
Every time I publish a blog post, I’m either going to write something that you find useful or you don’t. One post may be a masterpiece and “perfectly timed” for one person yet for another be skipped over and ignored. We simply can’t control how people react to whatever we put out in the world.
We can however control what it is that we put out there. I spend a lot of time on each article because I want them to be packed with value. I try to be a positive influence in the life of my friends because I feel that will help them grow the most.
I don’t know if I really am helping people grow or providing valuable content, but I’ll spend my time caring about that, rather than the feedback I get.
My English teacher told me that writing would never be for me. Seth Godin, one of my favourite authors, said my blog was too commercial for his time. College would not let me continue on with my second year. Yet, here I am, living wherever I want in the world and making a living online while helping thousands of people in the process.
If I had listened to my teacher, or Seth, or let college make me think I was a failure, I certainly wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today. You’re going to face a lot of hurdles on any journey that you take, so let them knock you down if they do. Just don’t let them stop you.
This is a huge stereotype but it is definitely true of most males and females. Women talk and react about how they feel in the moment (which is why some people say women love drama) whereas men tend to think about things more and need to “retract into their cave” to overcome issues.
One of the best books that talks about this is “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” by John Grady. What Men can learn from this is that they must be the emotional rock for their partner so that their woman does not feel bad for expressing her emotions.
What women can learn is that sometimes it can be hard for men to connect and listen intently when they have other things going on in their mind or other tasks they may have prioritised. A common thing for men to do when a woman is sharing her problems is to constantly offer solutions and then get frustrated when their partner is still talking about the problem after offering these “fixes”.
What women want men to do at times like this is simply to listen. Though some people may not agree with the book, this one understanding can benefit any male-female relationship drastically.
When I was younger I was really desperate to have a girlfriend. I thought, “if I just get this one girl, life will be perfect.” Little did I know that even if I had gotten the girl, I wouldn’t have kept her because she would have been the only positive thing in my life.
I’ve spent the last two years seeing lots of girls and partying 4-5 nights per week without caring for girlfriends in the slightest. I could have had many, but I just didn’t want it. As soon as I focused on my business, hobbies and most importantly on finding happiness in myself, it became a lot easier to attract what I had wanted externally.
Right now I’m in a great relationship and I think it works well because we both have other things going on in our lives and we’re not looking to each other for validation or happiness. As soon as I focused on me and stopped looking for things externally, it’s funny how everything external was available.
If you look at any project that is going to take you more than a few hours then you may get that sinking feeling in your stomach when you think about the effort ahead. When starting a blog, for example, you could view it as a project that is going to see you writing 4 posts per week, utilising services like Twitter and StumbleUpon regularly, and tweaking your design until you’re happy with it.
Writing 4 posts per week sounds like a lot. Building a house sounds like a lot. Yet, if you just focus on what you have to do today – writing one post or laying some bricks – then the whole task seems 100x easier. For any big project I undertake I simply focus on what I have to do today and let the rest siphon out of my mind.
Your Ego loves validation. When you win an award, someone thinks you’re attractive, or you get a flash new car, it feels good. It’s human nature. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s when you start looking for validation from others that life becomes more stressful and difficult.
If you only feel good about your appearance when someone says you’re good looking, it will affect you negatively when someone says you’re unattractive. If you feel like a million dollars due to how people treat you after buying a new car, you’re going to feel like half the person you were if you have financial troubles and have to trade it.
Internally validate yourself. You are enough. Nothing external will ever make you more of who you already are.
Once you start to have success in any area of life or start heading in a new, positive direction, you may be surprised to find people “changing” around you and you just can’t work out why. For me, my friends started acting very differently towards me even though I hadn’t changed at all in the way I was communicating with them.
Similarly, my family who were always supportive tried to downplay my new focus as a dream and something I shouldn’t get carried away with. There are two reasons this happens. The first is the people who purposefully try to hold you back and they do so because they don’t like the dynamics of their own reality changing.
The second is the unconscious holding back from family members and other people who genuinely care for you because they just don’t want to see you build your hopes up and get hurt if things don’t go your way. Learn to recognise this early and you can also learn to ignore it when it happens.
Though my own journey saw me failing college, spending two years working in a clothes store and moving to a country where I didn’t know one single person, I’m glad things didn’t go any other way. The challenges and hard times that I faced really allow me to appreciate the situation I’m in now and, most importantly, I know that I can help other people do the same because I’ve been there.
If the journey was easy for me then I would probably give up anytime I face a challenge in my projects or see the amount of work that something is going to take. I’m used to it now, so I’m happy to push through the difficult times. On that note, it’s also the process that I love the most (and you should too) rather than anything I achieve.
This week I closed my biggest business deal, turned 21, and was interviewed by a blogger with over 110,000 feed subscribers. That’s huge for me, but it’s the journey of getting to this point that I have enjoyed the most. Not the point in itself.
There are only so many lessons that someone like me can teach you or you can take from any book or speaker. You’re going to learn a lot of lessons on your own journey so use them to benefit your life and help take you where you want to go. The best lessons are the ones that you discover for yourself, and they’re definitely the most powerful.
As a shameless plug for my birthday present from you (hey, it’s my birthday, you can’t be mad) I would appreciate you sharing this post on Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon or anywhere else you have a presence online. I hope to help as many people as possible with this post so it would be appreciated.