After going through Tim Ferris’ book - “Tools of Titans,” I stumbled upon an idea by billionaire investor, Peter Thiel who basically asked, “If you have a 10 year plan, why can’t it be achieved in 6 months?” The basic idea isn’t that you should aim to get things done in 6 months but to ask yourself the question. Are you planning 10 years because that’s how long it will take or are you just following the time old narrative of it having to take 10 years in order to be an overnight success?
It got me thinking about my plan and how it has taken me a decade to get here and asking myself if it could’ve been done sooner, and if so, using that as an inference, what is holding me back from achieving what I want to achieve in the next 10 years in a fraction of the time.
So I figured I’d use my own life to ask myself the questions and really see what I think held me back and what you can do.
1. Mindset/Belief system
Concept: The first thing really has to be being able to breach your idea of what is possible. You have an idea of what it is you think you are capable of now and from that very framework do you form thought patterns followed by symmetrical actions that solidify the belief. These actions will then guarantee the results you get.
What to do: You have put yourself on trial and really ask yourself if you could be doing better about where you are right now. The best thing would be to really raise the level of your goals immediately, as impossible as it may seem, because more often than not, we humans tend to rise to the occasion. If you have aimed to do 20 pushups, aim to do 25 and see where that goes, once the mind accepts a new idea, the body is then tasked to accomplish it.
Concept: Your skills, however, do require time for them to be cultivated into some valuable form. I didn’t become a great writer overnight, it took years of trial and error, 2 failed books, countless blog posts and facebook note writing to get me to this point but I could’ve gotten good at it sooner.
What to do: Be able to raise your level of practice of the skills you are trying to hone. The level of your skill is directly proportional to the amount of effort behind it. Practise practise practise.
Concept: Nature always takes time to accomplish things and this is unavoidable but you can fit more efforts behind what it is you already are doing. For instance in my final year I took on way more courses than what I was supposed to, some I even had to attend classes in the evenings for but because I wanted to finish that year, I took on the task and guess what, I PASSED ALL my courses that year for the first time in my university/college life. It made me wonder why they force us to do things over 3 or 4 years when you could do it sooner. Once again, it has to do with your mindset.
What to do: Increase your level of efforts. Decide to add something more to your time than what you ordinarily would’ve. Add an extra gym session a week than what you originally planned. Sure it’s a lil extra work but the time limitation can be bypassed by multiplying your efforts. People often waste time and they do so by filling it with useless things and that is why they lose to people who seem to come out of nowhere when all these people did was compound their efforts.
Concept: Let me be honest with you from the jump, MARKETING IS CRUCIAL! I spent a lot of time being focused on creating our first product that I didn’t even think to start thinking about the marketing. A Lot of the time people tend to create things only to wonder why the world doesn’t have the same exuberance as they have toward the product when it launches. This comes down to marketing. Not doing marketing is like trying to wink at an attractive woman in the dark, you know what you’re doing but she has no clue what you’re doing or if you exist.
People then quit what they’re doing because people refuse to buy into it. Remember: Sales benefits the seller but marketing benefits the buyer and so with everything that you do, always focus on how you can benefit the buyer.
What to do: Don’t underestimate marketing and don’t wait to be done with the product or offering before you talk about it and market it. Sure some things should be done in stealth for competition purposes but most things don’t need stealth, it is just our own bullshit story that holds you back. If I had focused more on marketing, I wouldn’t have had to learn the hard way that products don’t sell themselves no matter how great you think they are designed. You have to make it easier for consumers to buy your products and stop thinking that consumers are spending their time looking for something you have to offer them. Consumers are lazy, they are being thrown ads daily and need to be herded toward the very thing you want them to get from you.
Concept: We’ve all heard the phrase that says that your network determines your net worth. This is because we all operate in an ecosystem and so you’ll ever only be as effective as your network. You can’t do everything alone.
What to do: A Lot of the time people are told to go to events and network and I’ve always found that to be creepy and needy but that’s just me. Launching my strategy consulting company didn't make me out into the world looking for new networks but forced me to look at my existing network and offer them something new! From that alone I was able to find people I could help that were willing to pay me to help them!
LEVERAGE OFF OF YOUR EXISTING NETWORK BEFORE YOU GO OUT INTO THE WORLD LOOKING FOR NEW NETWORKS!
Concept: Experience can sometimes only be gained through time and effort but what I saw in my life was that I could access my network and find and work with people who knew what I didn’t.
What to do: You don’t have to know everything and you have to get over the notion that you ought to. What you do is tap once again into your exixting networks and find people who have a skill or experience you need and collaborate with them. A client asks you if your company does design work when you know it doesn’t, you don’t say no, you boldly say yes you do and then you go and find a designer out there, take his fee and add some markup for yourself on the back of his/her skill. Booom! Easy.
Concept: Money is always the thing that holds people back because they think they need a lot of capital to start something when in actuality what they need is a vision and plan of execution. The money hurdle is always bypassed by collaboration.
What to do: Start where you are with what you have and have a plan in mind for how you want to execute on that vision. Once you’ve got that down, approach people with your plan and see if people are not willing to get on board with what you are doing or can benefit in some way. Sometimes it could be investing, sometimes it could be a loan that is paid back in interest. Remember, most people don’t do things for free but people are always looking to improve their positions and if you have something that can help them improve their positions, money will flow to you.
Money follows solutions to problems. Money also isn’t found, it has to be made by offering something of value in exchange for money. Always remember this and know that you don’t have to struggle financially for a dream, you can do other things on the side that can help pay the bills while you pursue your main dream. Don’t pursue your dream with the pressure of it having to be monetised too soon because you’ll be doing yourself an injustice. Always think MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME (MINIMUM 5).
8. Comfort zone
Concept: Your comfort zone is the worst place for growth simply because you feel what you have is enough and so you stagnate.
What to do: If you feel demotivated and stagnated, it means you ought to be taking some progressive risks in your life. Do something new and create some new problems for yourself that you will be forced to find solutions to. If you want to know what is desperately trying to come into your life, just look at what you’re constantly struggling with and make it a point to find the solution to it. This also allows you to predict what is coming into your life next. Chaos always precedes order.
What I plan to do now
I’m going to make a point to follow my own advice now that I've been able to unpack what I think held me back. My 10 year plan can most probably not be achieved in 6 months but I’m going to put all the actions in place to try because then I know it definitely won’t take me 10 years to achieve. So I’m basically going to turn 2021 on its head and burn the place down. This is such a very important article that I’ve written and I hope it benefits you!
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