Your success is too important to have it be influenced by desires, emotions, even energy levels or marketing. (Read This: Fight Your Desires)
To have our daily actions not defined by set-in-stone laws that govern how we work and act and the decisions we make daily is to let life’s current push us to and fro, whereas success demands that we consistently and persistently improve.
The problem is that we see words like laws, rules, or discipline, and we think restriction. That is wrong. Sure, laws of the government are often made to enact control on its citizenry, but laws that we define are designed to remove the barriers that prevent the majority from living as they could.
Most people are not following the path they’d ideally like to follow. Most people do not perform at their best every day. Most people are influenced by their own emotions and lack the discipline to react to said emotions in a manner that will help them improve.
Most people are led by immediate desires to the behest of the greater desire to win in life and business. More often than not, immediate desires pull us away from the overall desire of victory.
Rules get between the bad desires and our actions. Rules push us only toward the desire to win. Rules are not intentions. They are not suggestions. The rules for your life are set-in-stone. You do not follow them when you wish and ignore them when it’s convenient.
If you truly want to win at life, craft rules for your own life and your own vision of victory, and then live by them daily.
Benjamin Franklin’s Virtues
Benjamin Franklin saw his actions as his vehicle to success. Too many of us see our success based on chance or luck or how we act in a moment of opportunity. If you simply look through history you’ll see that great success is dependent on who you are every single day.
Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Benjamin Franklin didn’t win on the back of a lottery ticket or a moment of opportunity. Their habits, who they were every day, let them achieve incredible success and each from very humble beginnings.
It isn’t where you’re born, but who you are that will help you either win or lose in life.
Benjamin Franklin saw that, if he were to win, he’d have to clearly define how he was to act. He became what he wanted to become before he had what he wanted to have.
That’s the ‘secret’ to success; become the man worthy of the life you want, don’t wait for time or experience to forge this human, this persona, this being, instead, be him now.
To do that he knew he needed guidelines, a sort of road map to success, a guide that would keep him on the correct path and help him avoid the pitfalls that claim too many.
Here are the 13 virtues that Franklin lived:
- Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
- Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
- Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
- Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
- Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
- Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
- Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
- Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
- Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
- Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
- Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
- Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
- Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
In these virtues Franklin found an answer to every problem he confronted.
This is the benefit of having rules for your life. When our minds trick us into wanting or doing something that isn’t in our best interest long term (which is all that should matter), our rules can bring us back to the right path.
Rules for Men
Rules aren’t necessary if you’re simply after what everyone else is after. You don’t need rules for your life if you don’t care about being as productive as you can possibly be, as free as you can possibly be, as successful as you can be.
Rules define who you are no matter how things are going because no matter your energy levels, no matter how motivated you are, no matter how successful you are in this moment, you act as if you’re already the guy worthy of the life you want to live.
Rules are defined by that guy, the best guy you can be, not who you currently are.
Thus, each of these rules are modeled after the goal, the person we’re trying to become, not bound by the traps we fall currently fall into. They’re also performance-based. Each rule exists to help you and I produce more, more efficiently, and to become better at what we do with our time, be it work or play.
1. Rise early
Waking up early gives you more control over your day. You can get a lot of done in the wee hours before distractions wake up and start texting, calling, and emailing you. There’s also a slower pace to the day, which we’ll get into later.
This slower pace doesn’t mean less is accomplished, quite the contrary. More is produced in less time because you’re able to focus better than you are when the distractors are awake, and when you’re in a rush to complete what you’ve set out to do.
Waking up early – between 4 and 5am – has greatly reduced stress in my life, increased productivity, and given me more freedom. Winning the first couple of hours of the day inevitably means winning the rest of the day, and to win your days repeatedly is to win at life.
2. Have a plan for every day
Without a plan for the day I let the day make the plan for me. It doesn’t work well. I end up doing medial tasks in avoidance of the bigger jobs I should be focused on.
Plan every minute of the day, and end it at the same time every day. Having a firm end to the day gives you a deadline, and if you’re an entrepreneur you’ll know how work can spill over to your personal life and ruin it. Plan the day. End the day. (Read This: How to Create The Perfect Day)
3. Workout every day
Do something active every day. It’s not just about building a better, stronger, healthier body, but about the endorphins and chemicals that the body releases during exercise. Consistent exercise helps improve the quality of my work, and you see the same with many others.
Do something. Follow a strength training program 3-5 days a week, run the others, do a sport, something, anything that will get you out of the house or office and active.
We’ve never moved less as humans, and our testosterone levels, health, and athleticism is plummeting as a result. Be different. Train your body so both it and your mind will be elite.
4. Read 30 pages every day
When this is a habit, I have more to write about, I get more ideas for projects, I’m able to reflect on personal and societal problems if I’m looking at history. Reading is therapy, it’s learning, it’s travel without actually having to go anywhere. Thirty pages a day works out to about a normal sized book per week.
5. Be thankful daily
Practicing gratitude at the end and the beginning of the day puts your mind in a positive, open state. When we’re focused on all that’s going wrong in our lives it’s nearly impossible to recognize the opportunities that inevitably cross our paths.
Simple write down 3 good things that have happened within the last 24 hours.
6. Focus on one thing at a time
I have to actively do this by turning the internet off when I’m writing, and by putting my phone away when I’m with the lady or pals or family. (Check This Out: The ‘Put Your Phone Down’ Challenge)
Trying to do more than one thing at a time is useless. Something has to be degraded. You’re not going to do two things at the same time as well as or as fast as you would if you’d focus on a single thing at a time, that goes for work, hobbies, adventures, and family time.
7. Review goals daily
Do this every morning and again as you shut down for the day. Energy comes from being excited about what you’re doing and where you’re heading. I get a big surge in energy when something I’ve been working on for a while, works. I also need to do this to make sure I’m focusing on the right things, not just anything.
Make sure you’re on the right track and that you’re excited about what you’re pursuing by keeping it always at the front of your mind.
8. Move slowly
This is a new rule in my life, but one that removes stress and increases productivity and clarity, oddly enough. It’s a matter of being purposeful and not needlessly rushed or ‘busy’. Everyone likes to say they’re ‘busy’, even if they’re being busy at things that don’t improve their station in life.
Busy is working, or so we’re told. Being busy, however, is rarely being productive. Being productive is all that matters. By focusing on one thing at a time and by moving more slowly, you’re going to think more clearly, have less stress in your life, and you’re going to do more work that’s at a higher quality. (Listen to This: Why Being Busy Is Keeping You Broke)
When I get away from this the stress piles up, the tasks pile up, and the work suffers
9. Never envy. Never gossip.
You have to have your own shit going on, in a big way. If you’re not after something big, even if it’s creating a good life for your family, if you’re not you can’t help but look at others, what they have, what they’re doing, and it’s a complete and utter waste of time.
No ounce of envy nor time spent gossiping is good. Don’t do it, not even for a second.
Be Who You Aim to Become
Determine what you want to do in life and what you want to be and what you want to accomplish, then figure out who the guy is that will accomplish this stuff, whatever it is.
That guy should be found in your rules.
The essence of the rules above is to simple focus on what you should be focusing on, and leave what doesn’t warrant your time or attention. If that’s done, you’re going to win in life, it will only be a matter of time.
About The Author
Chad Howse: Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live.