No obstacle can stop you from reaching your goals once you realize this

About a year ago, I could never guess that I would be learning about entrepreneurship today.

The concept of entrepreneurship was interesting to me but I never thought it would become something I love.

When I learned about location independence and lifestyle entrepreneurship, I was instantly fascinated by the idea of living a free life.

From then on, I made a decision to set up my own online brand or business so that I can live that lifestyle.

After few months of hustling and learning about the world of online business, I was overwhelmed.

My batteries were drained as I was doing all of this on the side while doing my post-graduate studies.

Since then, I have faced many obstacles and failures. I got frustrated when things didn’t go as I wanted them to go. But now, I’m okay with all that. I am not emotionally triggered by the ups and downs of the journey.

The biggest realization I had was that hard work was not enough. My dream was strong but hard work alone won’t get me there.

In order to turn my dream into reality, I had to learn to promote myself. I had to learn to express myself. I had to learn to connect with like-minded people. I had to learn to say no.

I’m still learning all of that but I never thought I will be doing that a year ago. But because I want to reach my vision so bad, I learned to love all the things that can help me reach my goals.

I never thought I would be learning about digital marketing. But today, I’m not only learning it because I have to, but I’ve started to like it because I know how it will help me live my dream.

So, no matter what your goal is, figure out the obstacles or skillsets that will help you achieve your goal. Start working on them and eventually you’ll start enjoying it if your desire to reach your goals is strong enough.

For example, if your desire to lose fat/build muscles/be fit is strong enough, you will learn to love working out. You will stop looking for excuses for not showing up for your workouts. In fact, you will start to sneak in exercise on your busy days because you know what it takes to reach your goals. You will stop craving foods that don’t support your goals.

In the same way, entrepreneurship is not easy. It requires multiple skills. You don’t have to become number one in all of them. But you have to invest your time to develop those skills just enough to reach your goals.

If you don’t commit, you’ll try to dodge those obstacles and ignore the skillsets required to reach your goals.

But once you commit, you will figure things out. You will crush all the obstacles and become a master of the required skillsets.

Have you made the commitment? Comment below what commitment you’ve made and what skillset(s) you still need to develop in order to reach your goals.

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Master your time with this simple exercise

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” –  Annie Dillard

Most of us spend our day without any conscious effort to analyze how we spend our days.

A few years ago, I was living my life the same way. I had no control over time so I was either waiting for the time to pass by or I was doing urgent work in survival mode.

If we don’t take control of our time, we either get addicted to a few activities while avoiding important activities in our lives. Or we spend our time on meaningless activities which are neither productive nor enjoyable for us. For example, scrolling through social media for too long.

Every minute counts. Time does not stop for anybody. The goal of being aware of our time is not to add additional stress in our life but to consciously spend our time in a way that will make our life better.

There’s no one size fits all approach to time management. Some of us may prefer to organize our calendar while some of us may create personalized systems for managing time.

Personally, I like to give myself some freedom as I’ve tried keeping a timetable in the past and I don’t find it realistic or enjoyable few days after following it. Moreover, I feel guilty if I miss something or if unplanned events occur in life.

I have a dedicated time for creating and learning which I usually do in morning and in the night. There is no specific time block dedicated to the tasks. I can spend the 3 hours of work from 8am – 11am, 9am – 12pm or 10am – 1pm.

Similarly, many people like to follow Pomodoro technique for doing tasks. But for me, I like to spend longer time on tasks without interruption. The duration of time block depends on the tasks but I usually get up and take breaks when I feel like it.

The goal is to find the approach that works for you. You don’t have to follow all the rules. Know the rules and then tweak or even break the rules according to what you find is the best for you.

Here’s an exercise for you…

Write down all the activities you do and the time you spend on those activities in an average day. Then answer the following questions:

  1. What tasks are the most important to me?
  2. Am I only doing urgent tasks or am I making sure to dedicate some time to important tasks that matter to me?
  3. What tasks require the most amount of time? Is it worth putting so many hours on it?
  4. What can I cut down, remove or delegate from my life?
  5. What is missing from my life that I can add which will make me or my life better?
  6. What experiments can I do with my regular schedule? What if I do the opposite?
  7. What tasks do I really enjoy doing?
  8. Am I using my time to invest in future?
  9. When do I feel most energetic to work? Am I using that time to work on important things?
  10. Am I making sure to spend time on my health, relationships, and recovery?

Using the above questions, you will become more aware of the time you spend in a day and hopefully, you’ll spend your time wisely. Keep re-doing the exercise after every few months to get back on track and see the bigger picture.

Life Design for Introverts

I don’t know about you but I love being an introvert.

If you’re an introvert and you’re interested in making the best out of your life then read on. This post is for you.

Before diving in, let’s make it clear who an introvert is. Introversion is a personality trait in which a person recharges by spending time alone. The level of introversion various among different people. It can also change as we age or change.

Being an introvert is not easy. It is especially hard around many extroverts who don’t understand your nature. They might feel uncomfortable if they think that you’re rejecting them. But in reality, introverts need their alone time to recharge. Introverts can’t stay social for a long time.

Being an introvert myself, here are my top tips on how you can design your life:

1. Schedule ‘me’ time

It is necessary that you schedule alone time with yourself. This is the time when you’ll be able to recharge your batteries and go through the day full of energy.

While extroverts spend their leisure time by socializing, you prefer alone time for leisure. So, don’t feel obliged to do what others are doing. Spend your leisure time your own way.

Alone time can come in different forms such as:

  • Taking a walk
  • Listening to music/podcast/audiobook
  • Working out
  • Meditating
  • Journaling
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Cooking
  • Eating
  • Learning skills
  • Doing a hobby
  • Taking a shower
  • Cleaning / Organizing / Planning
  • Browsing internet / Watching TV
  • Traveling

You can do many of these activities with other people as well like walking, cooking, eating, watching TV, traveling, etc. But according to your energy levels, you can choose to do the activities alone for recharging.

2. Socialize on purpose

As introverts crave out alone time, it can be easy for them to skip the social part altogether. It’s a good idea to take out some time to socialize so that you form relationships and develop your social skills.

Don’t be afraid to make small talks. Even though you don’t like small talks, you can use it to practice your emotional intelligence and people skills. Just smile, say hello, ask about the other person, be interested, listen and open up.

Social connection is necessary for improved quality of life. Good relationships and being part of a community are an important part of life design. Don’t skip it.

3. Know your energy

If you don’t want to burn yourself out, then you need to know your energy limits. Avoid committing to events that you don’t want to go to. Limit your time at social gatherings.

If you’re out of your energy reserves in a social setting, then it’s best to take a break by going to the washroom or any other quiet place to recharge for a few minutes. If you don’t do it, you will feel drained and people will feel the low energy around you.

4. Have friends who understand you

Let your friends know your nature. They will understand and respect your privacy without hard feelings. If you don’t communicate this, they might think that you’re being a jerk by ignoring them.

If you can, make friends with some introverted people so that you can understand each other. But it is also good to have friends who are extroverted. It will add variety to your social circle and add contrast to your personality.

5. Choose a career that suits you

You like to work in a distraction free, isolated environment. You don’t like to communicate too often while working. So, instead of choosing jobs that require constant interaction with a lot of people, choose jobs that charge you up.

If you let your coworkers know about your preferences, they will understand your style of working and they won’t make assumptions. Misunderstandings between coworkers can lead to bad results so make sure to be open about your personality and respect each other’s preference.

6. Escape the personality trap

Being an introvert is a personality trait. While it is true that the personality trait is part of who we are, it does not mean that we can’t take characteristics from other personality traits.

You can anytime choose to improve your social skills and be a selective introvert. Yes, it will take some time and practice but if you want, you can learn the skills that extroverts can easily do.

So stop labeling yourself and become a slave to your personality. Choose what you want to work on and start working on it. Your personality will adapt.

7. Embrace your nature

Congratulations! You’re an introvert. You can enjoy being alone, you can reflect on your thoughts well, you don’t need too much dopamine to feel good.

Be thankful for your personality and embrace who you are. Enjoy what you truly like doing without the fear of missing out.

Be awesome. Be you.

The cost of following your passion

Start that business. Start that YouTube channel. Start that blog.

We hear it all the time. Some people emphasize on the benefits of making money by doing what you love while others may warn you about the challenges you will face on your journey.

I’m here to tell you the truth. Unless you’re highly talented or you have knowledge of something rare that can solve people’s problem, it will be hard to make money by doing what you love.

Let me tell you how and what you will feel if you have not started your journey yet.

  • You will feel like a failure.
  • You will doubt yourself.
  • You will find reasons to quit and go back to normal life.
  • You will be hated and criticized.
  • You will burn out and feel exhausted.
  • You will be confused and overwhelmed.
  • You will do things you hate.
  • You will make sacrifices.
  • You will waste your time and money.
  • Your life will be uncertain.

Surprised? no? Maybe you’ve heard all of that. But is it that bad as it sounds?

It is worse than it sounds like. When we experience these things in reality, it’s much worse than reading or knowing about it.

So why are we doing all this? Is it worth the effort? Let’s see the opposite side of the spectrum.

  • You will be on an adventure.
  • You will learn a lot of new things.
  • You will learn a lot about yourself.
  • You will do something you’re passionate about.
  • You will fight for your freedom.
  • You will meet new people on a similar journey as you.
  • You will learn to embrace failures.
  • You will learn to handle stress and depression.
  • You will learn to celebrate small wins.
  • You will grow as a person.

You will experience all of the good and the ugly side of following your passion.

The journey of following your passion is a package of good and bad things. The only question that remains is – Are you willing to take the full package?

If you’re only expecting good things, then forget about it and go back to your normal lifestyle. The package is only reserved for people willing to take it fully.

If you choose to live a normal lifestyle, then there is nothing wrong about it. If you enjoy your life the way it is, then you don’t need to take the journey. But if you want to take the risk and write your own story, then I salute you.

You are a badass. Few people have the courage to do so and stick with it even after experiencing the ugly parts of the journey.

Yes, it will be hard and messy. But it’s up to you to make the journey worthwhile.

I accept the full package. What about you?

 

Turn your life into a game

Life is an adventure.

Sadly, many of us don’t treat it that way.

Think of your life as a game. Games are designed to be an adventure.

Your life can be an adventure too if you treat it that way. Does it mean that you’ll always have a good time? No. There are times of struggle and setbacks but we keep on playing those games because that’s what we like about games.

Games have taught me many lessons on how to live a life.

1. Addiction

Games are addictive.

Addiction does not have to be bad all the time. In fact, each one of us is addicted to one thing or another. Writers are addicted to writing. Singers are addicted to singing and so on.

Addiction in itself is not a bad thing. If you’re obsessed with something and you don’t let it destroy you or control you then I would call it a healthy addiction.

On the other hand, if we let out job or business destroy other parts of our life like health, relationships, etc. or we let it control us, it can turn into an unhealthy addiction.

 

2. Objective

Every game has a mission or at least a hidden objective behind it. Without it, there will be no purpose of the game.

In the same way, we all need to have missions in our life. The missions may change or develop as life passes by.

Weak objectives will result into boring or unfulfilled life whereas strong objectives will make our life purpose driven.

There are side quests in life too but it’s up to us if we want to pursue them or not. These side quests are a representation of all the things we want to do in life. The important part is to remember that whether we complete our side quests or not, it should not affect our main objective(s) in life.

 

3. Challenge

Most games are designed to be challenging. If a game is too easy, it won’t be too long before the player quits the game.

If there are no obstacles or enemies, there is nothing to master in the game. Gamers keep on playing a game because they fall in love with the grind.

We need challenges in life. Growth only happens when there are obstacles to overcome. Life will become too boring if we get everything we wanted without any effort. Embrace the challenges.

4. Failure

Our education system has conditioned us into believing that failure is bad. Thanks to games that teach us that failure is okay. All you have to do is retry.

Life is like a game. Sure, there are opportunities in life that can be missed but there is no dead end. No matter how much we fail, there is always a way to move forward in life.

Every time we fail in defeating a level, boss or enemy – we learn new tactics that we can use next time.

Gamers who succeed are the ones who persevere during the hard times. Life is exactly the same. You fail. You learn. You experiment. You repeat until success.

5. Rewards

Every time we overcome an obstacle, games reward us in some way. These rewards give us a morale boost or resources to continue our journey.

Life is no different. If you’re getting paid for your job, then you’re getting resources to live your life.

However, we need to claim some rewards. Gratitude and celebration are the rewards that we need to give ourselves for our efforts or results. These rewards feed our soul.

Progress is one of the core motivation of life. If we don’t track or see our progress, our soul will get drained of energy. Reward yourself and feed your soul.

6. Avatar

Many games allow us to customize our character. We can change their attributes, upgrade their skills, provide accessories or dress them however we want to.

We can treat ourselves as an avatar too. Imagine a greater representation of yourself which is your avatar. What skills does it have? What values does it hold?

The best part is that we can even customize our goals. Games have their own objective while your objective in your life is up to you.

Define your avatar and work towards upgrading your avatar every single day.

7. Hacks

A lot of gamers fall into the trap of using hacks and cheat codes to complete their objectives in the game.

Hacks are like shining objects that you think will make your life better but in reality, they make you worse.

In life, seeking a shortcut to success is a hack. They might get you the end result but you won’t get the skills needed to achieve those results.

When you work on your skills and take the full journey, it’s not just the success that you get in the end. You transform yourself. Your character changes. Confidence becomes part of who you are.

When success becomes a habit, you’re able to repeat the process and thrive in every journey of your life.

Are you hustling or becoming a workaholic?

 

I have always been a hustler.

As a kid, I used to hustle in video games and now I hustle as a lifestyle entrepreneur.

If you’re reading this post most likely you’re kind of a person who is driven to hustle. If you have any kind of project, activity, blog or business that you dedicate a portion of your life to, then you may have the badge of a hustler.

While most people look for easy methods to chill for time pass, we, on the other hand, learn, create or work on our passion project. The downside of being a hustler is that it’s easy to burn out and become a workaholic. Here are few ways you can avoid the trap.

1. Break your work activities into different categories

Entrepreneurs have a lot to learn, manage and do. We may have to take up different roles like content creation, designing, programming, copywriting, marketing, selling, networking and many other small tasks that depend on the type of business and size of the team.

Find out the activities that you truly enjoy. Some activities must recharge you while others may drain your energy. It’s going to be different for everyone. For example, in my business, I love the part of planning, researching, learning, and writing. These activities charge me up. On the other hand, recording, editing, copy-writing, marketing, selling are some of the tasks that I have to learn and do but they suck the energy out of me.

Find what activities charge you and what activities drain you. Once you’ve identified these activities, you can either delegate them to someone else or you can keep learning and practice to become better at it. You’ll find out that once you get better at something, you’ll start enjoying it more and those activities will start to take up lesser energy from you.

The reason behind this phenomenon is related to Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s flow model. If you’re not familiarized with the concept, let me explain in short. Flow is the state of mind when a person is fully immersed in an activity that he/she forgets the notion of time and space.

When you do something that you forget to eat, rest or sleep then you can experience flow. Heck, I’m experiencing flow as I’m writing this post.

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Find out which activities bring flow, control, relaxation, boredom, apathy, worry, anxiety, and arousal for you. Become aware of how these activities are affecting your energy. The low skill, high challenge activities will drain your energy the most. If you increase your skills, however, you’ll spend lesser energy on such tasks.

2. Let go of extra commitments

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years. – Bill Gates

We all take up extra commitments that are not important to us. These activities might be important for other people but you need to learn to say no to extra commitments that are imposed on us by others.

If you have a job that you need to do to pay off your bills then sure, do the work. But sometimes, we give extra commitments to ourselves. We take up more projects that we can handle with a sane mind. We want to be superheroes and do so many things in life.

What we need to realize is that we don’t need to pursue all the projects and commitments today. We can keep some projects that we can do later in life. (As Derek Sivers points out in this article)

You might have some urgent commitments that you can’t let go of. In that case, be okay with the slow progress towards your dreams. Enjoy the journey because the journey is the reward in itself.

Having all that said, be aware of not making the excuse of over-commitment to procrastinate something. If you’re not overly committed, you can definitely sneak in some time to pursue your passion project.

3. Schedule downtime and stick to it

If you have a dedicated time or day when you schedule to wind down and relax, then it will be easier for you to push hard during the work time. You’ll know that the downtime is waiting for you as a reward. Also, you’ll not feel guilty for your downtime.

Another reason why it works is that when you’ll experience deep relaxation and forget about work, you’ll crave to go back to work with full energy and enthusiasm.

Go. Put the downtime on your calendar. Don’t skip it. Don’t feel like you’re wasting your time. See it as recovery time which will only increase the quality of your work once you get back to it.

4. Spend time on your health, fitness, and relationships

Your emotional and mental well-being is the source of your energy. If you want optimal performance at work, you need to keep your mind and body in shape.

There’s a ton of evidence pointing out the benefit of proper nutrition and physical movement on cognitive function, memory, critical thinking, etc. You can easily boost your intelligence with nutrition and exercise.

Similarly, relationships in your life play a huge role on your emotional state. If you have toxic people around you, their negative energy will poison you. On the other hand, if you have people in your life who inspire, motivate and bring energy to you, then it will translate into your work.

If you can’t avoid some toxic people then try to minimize interaction with them or give them less power to influence you by their words or actions.

5. Diversify your inspiration source

Words and music have immense power to influence our mood and motivation. When you need the inspiration to hustle hard, then you can tune into to some of Gary Vaynerchuk videos, read productivity articles, listen to motivational music and so on.

When you switch to your downtime, close all hustle and bustle. Take inspiration from anyone in your life who can relax with no worries of past or future.

Relaxation is an art. Find activities that you absolutely love doing and do them often. Keep in mind that some work related activities can be relaxing too. But make sure to have some activities that are not related to work or money. It will make your life more diverse.

If you can’t enjoy life without work, then what’s the point of working to gain freedom in your life?

Even when you’re at work, you should enjoy most part of your hustle.

Lifestyle design is now. It’s not on the other side of ‘success’.

Happy hustling.

 

Forget about your dream lifestyle

In any given book, website or course about life design, the first exercise is about imagining your perfect day.

“How would your perfect day look like from the morning until night?”

Perfect day, dream lifestyle

The truth is that I don’t know how my perfect day looks like. For me, there is no such thing as ‘the perfect day’. I might not want something tomorrow that I want today. Or maybe I don’t really want what I think I want. Who knows.

A year ago, I wanted to be a game designer. I was full on passionate about designing awesome games because I loved playing games in my childhood. I studied 3 years of game design in my college and I still love it. Designing games is a very intellectual activity which requires problem-solving, creativity, decision making and a lot of other skills that I love.

Now I’m soon going to graduate from my college and I don’t want to design traditional games anymore. Is it because I hate designing games? No. I still love it and I might even do it to earn a living for a few months or years of my life. But one thing I’m sure of is that I’m not going to do it forever in my life.

I can’t stick to one career or a way of living. I like experimentation, reinvention, and diversification. I have no clue what I would want in ten years from now. So, I’ll leave that decision to my future self.

It is often recommended to think about what you want to do with your freedom first before starting your lifestyle design journey. I say forget your dream lifestyle. Don’t get lost in the dreams of what you want to do with your freedom once you have it. Just start working towards getting freedom and you’ll figure out what you want to do once you get bored with the freedom you have.

Getting bored is the easiest way to find out what you want to do today. I try to get myself bored after every few weeks to find out what I want to do. To my surprise, there are no one or two things that I want to do with my free time. Over time the things I want to do keep changing as I keep changing.

With that said, it’s definitely a good practice to think about what you want to do today because it will define your present level of happiness and satisfaction in life. All I want you to take away is that try not to get fixated on what you’d like to do in future. Follow your gut instincts on what you want to do in present life and leave your future self alone.