When I look at my surroundings I often feel a sense of solitude — not necessarily in a bad way, but not in a good way either.
I’ve always been the type of person who goes after what I believe in, despite the possibility of failure. To me, the worst outcome of not taking a risk is knowing you could have achieved something, but didn’t because you never tried.
I meet a lot of people who have hopes and dreams of doing great things. But very few accomplish what they initially set out to do.
Allergic to Average
There is a fundamental problem with our generation and those that came before us: All too often we are told to abide by the norm.
We are influenced to think we are happy when, in reality, we might want more. We are conditioned to be content with average outcomes. Here are five ways to break away from this conditioning:
Think Like A Champ
We all have heroes. So, think about what your heroes would do if they were in your position. Would they keep working a $40K-a-year job that shows no upsides for the future? Would they keep slaving away until 3 a.m. for a boss who takes credit for all of their work?
What do you want from life? Is your goal to wake up and do the same mundane thing every single day? If you want to achieve something great, the first step is to forget everything that is holding you back. It’s scary at first, but it will set you free.
Money should never be your main prerogative. Many of my friends are bankers or consultants pulling in $150,000+ by age 25, but they literally hate their lives. They burn their entire youth on these jobs. By the time they realize it, they are heading to business school and picking up another dull corporate stunt. They get married and have kids, and then it’s too late to find out what they truly love to do. Focus on finding your passion. If you love what you do, the money will come eventually — on your terms!
Push Past Fear
Many of us are scared to fail. We don’t believe we have what it takes to make things happen. Well, here is a mantra to live by: “Failure is just another opportunity to try again.” Some of the brightest minds in the world were massive failures before hitting it big, like Howard Shultz and Walt Disney. Embrace failure and you will find success soon after.
Ditch Toxic Relationships
This is a big one, which breaks down into two categories. First, examine your peers. Think of the five people with whom you spend the most time. Do you like what you see? Are they awesome people doing amazing things? Or are you hanging with a bunch of unmotivated degenerates? Typically, we are a product of these five people. If your circle isn’t a reflection of who you want to be, it may be time to find new friends.
Next is relationships. So … you’ve been in a 1+ year relationship with someone. You aren’t quite sure this person is your lifelong partner, but you’re used to having them around. If you’re already having significant problems this early in the relationship, then odds are you aren’t meant to be. My advice is to end it. Channel your newfound freedom into your passion. This will bring you happiness and fulfillment in ways that an inadequate partner cannot.
We are creatures of comfort. It’s understandable to get comfortable with your surroundings, a monthly paycheck, vacations, etc. The problem comes when we stop pushing ourselves to be the best we can possibly be. It sounds cliché, but when you’re comfortable, you stop achieving. You hit a plateau and you stagnate. When complacency prevails, enlightenment dissipates.
Say “Yes” More
Saying yes will get you out of your bubble. You will meet new people and have new experiences. You never know where a new adventure will take you. Experience everything life has to offer.
Some say life is short; others live it as if they will be here forever. My theory is that life isn’t short per se, but it is definite. Of the seven billion or so people on earth, very few will be here in 100 years. Rich or poor, the one thing we all have in common is an expiration date. I have made the conscious decision to live my life to its fullest potential. It’s up to you what you want to do with yours.
This article has been edited and condensed.
At the age of 25, Dan Novaes brings a decade of entrepreneurial experience to his role as founder & CEO of MobileX Labs, the app solutions company behind Nativ, a free mobile app builder. He started his first company at the age of 15 with $1,000 and built it up to over $2M/year in revenue by age 20. A graduate of Indiana’s Kelley School of Business, Dan is a self-taught entrepreneur, lifehacker, and used his skills to establish his brand across international e-commerce, consumer products, apparel, and web media industries. Dan’s companies have generated over $16M in revenue to date. Connect with @brovaes on Twitter.
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