How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

In my first post, I mentioned that one of my favorite books is How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams. I went on to write about how I was following Adams’s recommendation for using systems, rather than goals, in order to bring about a more productive and prosperous 2019. One of the systems I’ve implemented is a regular reading habit, which led me to recently revisit How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.

Failures

With a title like How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big, it’s not surprising that Adams spends some time recounting a number of times he’s failed over the years. It is easy to get overwhelmed with thoughts like, “I could never do something like that,” when looking at the long list of accomplishments of someone whose success you wish to emulate. (I recently had this thought when listening to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin on audiobook.) It’s always refreshing to realize that even hugely successful people are still human at the end of the day. Adams is no different; he details approximately twenty failed business ventures in a hilarious, self-deprecating style.

Adams then goes on to list his “absolute favorite spectacular failure.” During his senior year of college, he drove two hours from campus for a job interview in Syracuse, New York. It was a winter day, with “a typical upstate New York half blizzard with ass-freezing temperatures.” Adams decided he didn’t need a jacket because he would be spending the majority of his time in his car or inside buildings. He wore typical college student attire, rather than a suit and tie, because his resume said he was a college student, “so why not dress like a college student?” After being kicked out of the building without even getting an interview, Adams began the trip back to campus.

On the way home, his car broke down. It was dark, and the temperature was well below freezing. He decided that his best bet was to start running down the highway in hopes of finding a nearby home. “As I struggled to stay upright and keep moving, I made myself a promise: If I lived, I would trade my piece-of-shit car for a one-way plane ticket to California and never see another f@$#!#& snowflake for the rest of my life.” Moments later, a car appeared, and the driver took Adams back to campus. He moved to California a few months later, adding, “It was the smartest decision I ever made.”

Goals Versus Systems

Adams next dives into goals versus systems, the concept I detailed in my first post. He then goes on to describe his own system regarding his entrepreneurial plan.

The idea was to create something that had value and–this next part is the key–I wanted the produce to be something that was easy to reproduce in unlimited quantities. I didn’t want to sell my time, at least no directly, because that model has an upward limit. And I didn’t want to build my own automobile factory, for example, because cars are not easy to reproduce. I didn’t want to do any sort of custom work, such as building homes, because each one requires the same amount of work. I wanted to create, invent, write, or otherwise concoct something widely desired that would be easy to reproduce.

The idea of creating something that is infinitely replicable and easy to sell (e.g., digital information) as a path to wealth has recently been popularized by books like The Millionaire Fastlane, but the fact that Adams arrived at that idea–apparently independently–as a young twenty-something in the late 1970s, highlights his genius.

Corporate World

After moving to California, Adams got a job as a bank teller in San Francisco. By his own admission, Adams was unfit for the job. “I figured I had two ways to leave my job. I could get fired or–and here’s the optimist emerging–I could get promoted.” Adams wrote a letter to a senior vice president, making several suggestions to improve the bank, and ended up getting promoted to the management training program. This pattern continued, with Adams stating that “I got hired for almost every job I pursued in the bank, and each was a promotion and a raise. It was starting to seem as If I might be able to interview my way to some sort of senior executive position in which no one would notice I was totally skill free.” Unfortunately (or fortunately, in hindsight), Adams’s banking career was cut short when the bank decided to stop promoting white males.

From there, Adams went to work for Pacific Bell and picked up an MBA from Berkeley, but he again hit a ceiling when Pacific Bell decided it, too, had a diversity problem and stopped promoting white males. “On the plus side, I no longer felt the need to give my employer my best efforts, or even to occasionally work long hours for no extra pay. It was an unwanted freedom, but freedom nonetheless. I took some time to work on my tennis game and I started thinking seriously about a new direction, ideally one that didn’t require me to have a boss.”

Adams took a shot at cartooning, something he had been interested in since he was a kid. In addition to honing his skills every morning before work, he began writing the following affirmation fifteen times a day: “I, Scott Adams, will be a famous cartoonist.” (More on this later.)

Energy and Success

In the chapters that follow, Adams lists several useful concepts for anyone who wants to be successful. These include:

  • The importance of deciding versus wanting (“When you decide to be successful in a big way, it means you acknowledge the price and you’re willing to pay it.”)
  • How being “selfish” can actually be a good thing (“The most important form of selfishness involves spending time on your fitness, eating right, pursuing your career, and still spending quality time with your family and friends.” This reminds me a lot of the notion that, if your plane is going down, you put on your own oxygen mask first, before moving on to help others.)
  • Why you need to have something in your life that makes you excited to wake up. (“For years, the prospect of starting ‘my own thing’ and leaving my cubic behind gave me an enormous amount of energy.”
  • The importance of a tidy workspace (“Every second you look at a messy room and think about how fixing it is a distraction from your more important thoughts.”)
  • Managing your attitude (“You can control your attitude by manipulating your thoughts, your body, and your environment.” I found Adams’s discussion about manipulating one’s thoughts, and how to do so, very interesting. I was not surprised to learn that he has spent a lot of time meditating, and “found a lot of benefits in it.”)
  • The power of smiling (Adams says, “Smiling makes you feel better even if your smile is fake,” advises readers to hang out with friends who are naturally funny, and “avoid friends who are full-time downers.” The latter quote reminds me of one of Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power: Avoid the Unhappy and the Unlucky.)
  • Success Spillover (“A great strategy for success in life is to become good at something, anything, and let that feeling propel you to new and better victories.”)
  • The power of optimism (After being diagnosed with an “incurable” disease, Adams decided he would be the first person in the world to be cured of the disease, rather than sulking in defeat.)
  • Recognizing your talents and knowing when to quit (Adams encourages readers to “consider what you were obsessively doing before you were ten years old,” noting that “[t]hings that will someday work out well start out well.” However, don’t be discouraged if success takes a while: it took Dilbert some four years after its launch to finally take off.)

Talent Stacks

One of the most interesting parts of the book is Adams’s discussion of what he calls “talent stacks.” He sums up this idea as “Good + Good > Excellent.” Using himself as an example, he notes that he is only an OK artist, he is funny, but usually not the funniest person at social gatherings, and his writing skills “are good, not great.” He notes that his “combined medicore skills are worth far more than the sum of the parts,” and have allowed him to become a world-famous cartoonist.

Adams suggests that every skill you acquire “doubles” your odds of success. Obviously, there is no way to quantify it, but Adams writes, “When you accept without necessarily believing that each new skill doubles your odds of success, you effectively hack (trick) your brain to be more proactive in your pursuit of success.” The best way to increase one’s odds of success, writes Adams, “is to systematically become good, but not amazing, at the types of skills that work well together and are highly useful for just about any job.” Adams then goes into a lengthy explanation of some of the many skills he thinks fit in this category, and why.

Affirmations

Far and away my favorite part of the book is the one on affirmations. Adams describes affirmations as “simply the practice of repeating to yourself what you want to achieve while imagining the outcome you want.” An example he gives is, “I, Scott Adams, will become an astronaut.”

Adams takes great care to assure readers that he doesn’t believe in magic, but that using affirmations seemingly worked for him a number of times in his life, for reasons unknown. “You can make your own judgment about whether my story that follows is a case of coincidence, selective memory, simple luck, hard work, greater focus, tuning my mind, hidden talent, or whatever you like.”

First, he affirmed that he would be rich. This was followed by “two ridiculously lucky stock picks” that came to him out of nowhere, despite the fact that he had essentially no investing experience and did zero research. Next, he used affirmations to score a date with a girl he considered out of his league. Then, he used them to dramatically raise his GMAT score (and even got the exact score he had affirmed he would). His next affirmation was a bit loftier: “I, Scott Adams, will be a famous cartoonist.” Of course, we all know how that turned out.

Conclusion

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big covers a number of additional topics that are outside the scope of this review, but I’ve hit the high points. Adams lays out a practical and entertaining roadmap for success. He never promises that it will come easy (Adams himself spent sixteen years in the corporate world before working on Dilbert full-time). However, if you aren’t afraid to fail early and often, all in the pursuit of learning new skills and rising to new challenges, you too can still win big.

You can buy the book here.

Gorilla Mind Smooth

Gorilla Mind Review

Disclaimer: this article details my personal experiences using Gorilla Mind Smooth and Gorilla Mind Rush. Both products are dietary supplements and are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult with your physician before taking dietary supplements. Additionally, if you use the links below to buy either product, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was working on a writing assignment during the month of January. For those of you who don’t already know, I’m an attorney from 9-5. I work a minimum of 40 hours per week, and it’s often more like 60 by the time I factor in my commute, client meetings, and other obligations.

When I would get home at the end of the day, the last thing I wanted to do was spend my few hours of free time crafting an intricate legal document. Still, I pushed through, and managed to get my work done ahead of schedule. The final document was more than 60 pages and 15,000 words.

So, how did I do it?

Enter Gorilla Mind

I’ve been following Mike Cernovich for something like 7 or 8 years now. I first discovered him as an undergraduate student when I stumbled on his legal blog, Crime and Federalism. He later published Gorilla Mindset, an excellent book that shows readers how to use the power of mindset to radically improve their lives. It has sold over 100,000 copies. More recently, he has shifted his focus to journalism and filmmaking, and he just released Hoaxed, a film about fake news, last month.

Even though Mike has an ever-growing list of accomplishments, I was skeptical when he released his Gorilla Mind products. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on nootropics and other cognitive enhancement supplements over the years. For the most part, they promise the moon and rarely deliver.

Despite my skepticism, I was scrolling through Twitter one night in December when I discovered that the Gorilla Mind Bundle was on sale. Figuring I didn’t have anything to lose, I ordered the bundle, which contains a bottle of Gorilla Mind Rush and Gorilla Mind Smooth. Ordering was a breeze, and the products were at my house in a couple of days.

Gorilla Mind Smooth

As I mentioned above, I spent most of the little free time I had in January working on my legal research project. The last thing I felt like doing on my time off was researching and writing. Fortunately, Gorilla Mind Smooth was a LIFESAVER.

Before I’d sit down to work, I would take the recommended dose of 3 capsules. Then, I’d meditate for 15-20 minutes. By the time I finished meditating, I was ready to roll.

The effects were subtle, but spectacular. There was no crazy “head change.” No jitters. No anxiety. Just clean, sharp FOCUS.

I was able to sit for hours at a whack with superhuman levels of focus, reading legal filings, researching case law, and then synthesizing everything into cohesive legal arguments. The fact that Gorilla Mind Smooth was able to provide this kind of focus was impressive enough, but the fact that it could do so after I had already worked eight or ten hours at the office was HUGE.

When I started the assignment, it felt daunting. I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew, especially given my other obligations. But with the help of Gorilla Mind Smooth, I ended up completing the project ahead of schedule, and the people who have reviewed my work called it “amazing.”

Smooth is a great product and has my complete endorsement. You can buy it here.

Gorilla Mind Rush

I actually tried Gorilla Mind Rush prior to Smooth. After reading Mike’s review of Rush, and his warning about how it was too intense for him, I obviously had to give it a go. I took three capsules, the recommended dose, and waited. Within an hour, my mood soared. My senses were heightened. Things felt more “real.”

At the time, I was visiting family over Christmas break, and found myself easily able to make the multi-hour trek without dozing off, something I often struggle with on long drives, especially given the fact that I was running on too little sleep.

Unfortunately, since I was off work, I wasn’t actually doing much work that required a lot of brainpower, so most of the benefits I experienced at the outset were simply mood and energy related (it also mitigated the effects of hangovers).

I experimented with Rush for my writing project, but like Mike, I found it to be too intense. It gave my entire body, rather than just my brain, a huge boost of energy, and I struggled to direct that into my work. I think it’s probably better suited as a pre-workout for me personally, and I plan to experiment with using it for that purpose in the coming weeks, and will report back here with more information.

Everyone is a little different, and you might find that Rush works better for you than Smooth. Rush is far and away Gorilla Mind’s best seller, and other writers like Ed Latimore are using it with great success.

You can buy Gorilla Mind Rush here.

Gorilla Mind Bundle

If you’re on the fence about whether you should try Smooth or Rush, or if you’d like to try both, you’re in luck! Gorilla Mind sells a bundle pack that includes a bottle of both Smooth and Rush. I recommend getting the bundle and experimenting with both, to see which works best for you in particular situations. Some people even use them in conjunction.

Right now the Gorilla Mind Bundle is on sale for only $44.99. Click here to order now.

If you have any questions, or if you’ve tried these products yourself, please leave a comment below!

Week One in Review

In my first blog post, I wrote about the difference between goals and systems, and how I planned on implementing various systems to help me be successful in 2019. It’s now been a week since I posted that article, and I wanted to spend some time reflecting on how I’ve done so far.

Blogging / Writing

I wrote that I wanted to “develop a consistent writing practice in 2019.” While I haven’t written every single day, I have written quite a bit. In addition to my first post, I made two other blog posts: a review of Finally, Some Good News by Delicious Tacos (my most popular article so far), and a beginner’s guide to meditation. I also took on a paid writing project, which is keeping me very busy. I have already written about 4000 words for it, with plenty more to go.

Grade: A-

Meditating

My next intention was to “incorporate a meditation practice into my morning routine.” I haven’t 100% succeeded, but I have done three or four morning meditation sessions. The difference between days when I meditate and days when I don’t is night and day, which I explain more here. Even on the days where I didn’t do a proper session, I still tried to slow down and take a few mindful breaths. Still, I want to make meditation part of my morning routine, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

Grade: B-

Reading

This is my weakest area so far. I haven’t actually sat down with a book since my initial post. Fortunately, the writing project I mentioned above requires a lot of research, which involves reading. Still, it’s not the kind of reading I want to do. I plan to correct this by beginning Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential in the next week. It has been on my reading list for years, and I’ve heard great reviews.

Grade: C

Exercising

Finally, I wrote that I planned “on doing some kind of physical activity every day.” Here, too, I have fallen short. On the bright side, I did make it to the gym four or five times in the last week. The most difficult part is always forcing myself to go. Once I’m there, I enjoy it, and I feel great afterwards.

Grade: B+

Conclusion

I don’t know if I’ll do one of these posts every week, but I do plan on doing them from time-to-time in order to monitor my progress. I could have done better for the first week, but I think I did well given the fact that I’ve had the added challenges of getting back into the swing of work (after having been off for almost two weeks) and taking on a new project that’s eating up a good bit of time. I hope that, moving forward, I can be more consistent with these practices and reap the benefits of compound interest.

Have you implemented any new systems for 2019? If so, how are you doing? Let me know in the comments below!

Meditation for Beginners

Introduction

I recently wrote that engaging in a routine meditation was one of the most important systems I’ve ever implemented. Over the years, I’ve preached to family and friends about the various benefits of meditation. I tend to get the same standard responses.

How do you do it?

What’s the point?

I’ve tried it, but I just can’t get into it.

Despite the rising popularity of meditation in the past few years, a lot of people still view it as some esoteric practice reserved for bald Tibetan men on mountains and crystal-wearing weirdos.

There’s also a lot of confusion about meditation. With all the variations, how can anyone ever know if they’re “doing it right?” How long should you do it? Do you have to do it every day?

How to Meditate

Although there are numerous types of meditation, the basic idea is simple.

Just focus.

I prefer to focus on my breath, and will be using breathing meditation across the examples in this article. Others prefer to focus on mantras or even things like candlelight. What you focus on doesn’t really matter.

With a breathing meditation, as you inhale, think, inhale. As you exhale, think, exhale. You can do this over an over again. Inhale, exhale, iInhale, exhale.

Try it.

You’re already meditating. Wasn’t that simple?

If you prefer, you can mix it up a bit. You can count your breaths instead. One, Two, Three, Four, and so on, until you get to ten. Then, repeat.

You’re probably thinking, “Do you count inhales and exhales as a single breath, or the inhale as one and the exhale as two?”

Or, “What if my mind wanders and I lose my place? Do I start over or try to remember where I left off?”

Maybe even, “Am I supposed to breathe intentionally, or just let my breathing take place naturally?”

The truth is: it doesn’t matter. Why? Because the point of meditation isn’t about adhering to “the rules.”

What’s the Point of Meditation?

The point of meditation is to train the mind to be present.

As you focus, your mind will inevitably wander.

What should I have for dinner tonight?

I need to finish that project for work.

Did I remember to pay my electric bill?

A lot of beginners beat themselves up about this. “I can’t even count to ten before my mind starts wandering! This is pointless!”

Actually, that’s the whole point. Your mind naturally wanders. Even expert meditators’ minds wander.

You practice meditating when you catch your mind wandering, and bring your attention back to the breath.

I’ve logged several hundred hours’ worth of meditation over the years. I did a 20-minute session earlier today, and my mind constantly wandered.

I’m hungry.

It’s kind of chilly in here.

Ugh, this chair is so uncomfortable.

These kind of thoughts are natural–necessary–for meditation. Don’t fight them. Simply work to catch yourself in the process of thinking them, then shift your attention back to your breath.

It’s so nice out.

Maybe I should go for a walk.

I’m getting hungry.

What do I want for dinner?

I’m going to have to go to the grocery store to buy something to cook.

Wait, wasn’t I doing something?

Oh, yeah, meditating!

Inhale, exhale.

At first, you will probably spend the vast majority of your meditation session with a wandering mind, only to catch yourself right before your alarm tells you that you’re finished. As you practice, you will become more efficient at catching yourself. And as you get better at catching your wandering mind and returning your focus to the breath, you will begin to notice the various benefits of meditation.

The Benefits of Meditation

Even if you understand how meditation works, you may be thinking, “Why would I spend ten or twenty minutes (or longer) doing this every day? My life is already busy enough.”

Meditation Improves Your Focus

There’s an interesting quote, purportedly said by Gandhi, that goes something to the effect of, “I have so much to accomplish today that I need to meditate for two hours instead of just one.”

Wait, what? If he’s so busy, how can he afford to spend an extra hour meditating?

Think about the whole point of meditation: training the mind to be present. Every time you catch your mind wandering and return your attention to your breath, you are increasing your ability to FOCUS.

Let’s be honest: at least at face value, paying your breath is pretty boring. If you can train your mind to focus on it for long periods of time, just imagine how that spills over into your day-to-day life.

Increased focus makes it much easier to do any task for extended periods of time, whether that means reading, writing, studying, painting, cooking, working, whatever. Rather than hopelessly multitasking and daydreaming about one thing or another, you can direct your full attention to the task at hand.

Meditation Enhances Emotional Control

Researchers have determined that humans have 80,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 90% are repetitive and 80% of them are negative.

No wonder so many people are stressed out, anxious, and depressed.

Well, what if you could change that?

With a regular meditation practice, you can.

If the whole practice of meditation teaches you to be present and catch your thoughts as they wander, you’re in a much better decision to be conscious of negative, repetitive thoughts as they arise.

Just like during meditation, when you catch your mind wandering and shift your attention, you can do the same in your waking life as well.

I don’t know why X happened. 

It’s so horrible that Y did that. 

I can’t believe he said Z.

Normally, people spend the entire day thinking these kinds of thoughts over and over again. Worst of all, many people aren’t even aware that they’re thinking them! They’re just “in a bad mood” or “feeling anxious,” but they can’t figure out why.

After a bit of meditation practice, you can catch yourself, and think, Is this thought helping me? I’m going to shift my attention to something useful instead.

And that, friends, is when the real magic begins to happen.

Conclusion

Meditation is simple. Anyone can do it. Even if you can’t find an extra ten or twenty minutes to spare, you can always pause just for a second and inhale, exhale.

As you practice, your ability to focus grows. This spills over into your day-to-day life, allowing you to accomplish tasks with ease. Furthermore, it does wonders for your mood. Rather than getting mired down in repetitive negative thoughts, you can catch yourself thinking those thoughts, stop, and direct your attention to something more productive. You can literally think anything you want to think.

Although this article focused on two of the (in my opinion) primary benefits of meditation, there are tons of others.

Give it a try today. There are tons of apps out there (my favorite is Headspace), but you can simply set a timer for a few minutes, close your eyes, and inhale, exhale.

Have you ever tried meditating? Are you an expert meditator? Share your experiences in the comments.

Finally, Some Good News by Delicious Tacos

Introduction

Finally, Some Good News is the debut novel of the ever-irreverent blogger Delicious Tacos. The bulk of the action takes place in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. And the only thing worse than post-apocalyptic Los Angeles is pre-apocalyptic Los Angeles, with its soulless make-work jobs, mindless consumerism, and hellscape of a dating scene–if you could even call it that. Pick up a copy and strap yourselves in, because the vivid imagery created by the text puts the reader smack dab in the middle of the action. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

What I Liked About the Book

If you’re familiar with Delicious Tacos’s work, you know that calling him “controversial” is an understatement. His posts are raw, punchy, and full of sentence fragments. Finally, Some Good News is no different. The writing style certainly isn’t for everyone. Serious literary critics would lament its questionable formatting and complete lack of question marks, but I find it refreshing. Then again, I spend the bulk of my days reading over legal documents and crafting grammatically perfect emails, so a little chaos every now is a nice change of pace.

As I mentioned in the Introduction, Tacos’s writing style puts the reader in the action. It’s easy to imagine oneself as the protagonist–or at least watch him in the mind’s eye–making his way through the monotony of the day-to-day grind and, eventually, the nuclear wastelands of LA. Not only does this make the book enjoyable, but it also makes it a quick read. I didn’t finish it in a single sitting, but I did finish it in two days, which is rare for me.

The nonlinear story line is also a neat twist. Although it took a little getting used to, and confused me at points, it’s a net win. It kept things interesting and forced me to pay attention, which is good in a world where our Twitter-addicted brains can barely focus on anything for more than a second or two. As I wrote in a previous post, one of my plans to make 2019 great is to develop a consistent reading habit. If the books I read this year are anywhere near as engaging as Finally, Some Good News, reading consistently won’t be a problem.

My favorite part is the ending. It sneaks up on you, and then BAM. It’s truly a 10/10 ending. I won’t spoil it, but the book ends in perfect Delicious Tacos style: fast-paced, hilarious, and morally questionable.

Criticisms

My only real criticism of Finally, Some Good News is that I wish it were longer. The paperback version clocks in at 152 pages. Given the formatting, strong readers can expect to finish it in a couple of hours. Then again, if a book is interesting and good enough to make you want to keep reading, is that really such a bad thing?

Conclusion

If you’re familiar with Delicious Tacos’s work and enjoy his style, you’re almost guaranteed to enjoy the book. If you’re not familiar with his work, you can read the first seven chapters for free on his website. Although the book has 27 chapters, the first seven will give you a good sense of whether or not you’ll like it. If you’re in the market for something that’s a little different than the stuff you’ll find while wandering through Barnes and Noble, this one’s for you.

Have you read Finally, Some Good News? Share your thoughts below.

2019: Goals vs. Systems

It’s a new year, and many people are thinking about what they can do to make it better than the last. I was thinking about how to improve my situation for the year ahead, and I remembered a key point from one of my favorite books, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams. In it, he explains the critical difference between goals vs. systems, and why systems give you a much better chance at success.

A simple example, given by Adams himself, is weight loss. “I will lose 25 pounds” is a goal. Eating right is a system. If you have a goal of losing 25 pounds, you might spend your time floundering in the gym, bouncing from one fad diet to another, and constantly weighing yourself in frustration. (And even if you were to succeed at losing the weight, maintaining it is another story.) In contrast, by learning to eat right and doing so consistently, the target is easily accomplished.

Here are the following systems I plan to implement in 2019:

Blogging/Writing

I bought this domain about a decade ago with the intention of starting a blog, but always made an excuse to push it off until later. No more. Scott Adams once described blogging as a system he used to kick up dozens of business opportunities. Blogging also led him to write articles for the Wall Street Journal and ultimately a book deal. I want to develop a consistent writing practice in 2019. As with any system, the important thing is consistency. I’d rather write a few words every day instead of a ten thousand words one month and nothing for the next three. My hope is that a consistent writing practice will translate into a lot of high quality articles for this site, among other things.

Meditating

I also want to establish a daily meditation practice. I’ve been meditating off-and-on since 2013. It’s no coincidence that some of the happiest and most productive periods of my life occurred when I meditated for 20 minutes every morning. However, “I will meditate for 20 minutes every morning” is a goal, not a system. Therefore, my intention is to simply incorporate a meditation practice into my morning routine. Again, consistency is king. One mindful breath each morning is better than an hour-long session once every couple of weeks.

Reading

As a teenager, I read a news article about a contest between President Bush and Karl Rove to see who could read the most books in a year. Politics aside, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of a friendly reading competition. I’ve read several hundred books since then, but consistency is something I’ve struggled with. I might read two or three books in a single week and then go months before reading another. Recently, this podcast reminded me of the importance of reading regularly. “I will read 50 books this year” is a goal, not a system. Instead, I plan to build a consistent reading practice, by reading at least a little every day. Ideally, this will translate into me reading a large number of books for the year. Still, the idea is to read consistently rather than hitting magic number of books.

Exercising

As with meditating, many of the happiest and most productive periods of my life happened when I was exercising regularly. In law school, I’d wake up at 5:30 AM and hit the gym Monday through Friday. Then I’d return to my apartment to shower and meditate before class. It was the ideal start to the day, leaving me refreshed and grounded for the tasks ahead. Unfortunately, my current schedule won’t allow me to get to the gym every morning before work. Then again, “I will go to the gym 5x a week” is a goal, not a system. Instead, I plan on doing some kind of physical activity every day, whether that means walking in nature, going to the gym, or simply doing a few push ups.

Conclusion

The best part about these systems is that they will be self-reinforcing. Exercising, eating right, and meditating will have me looking and feeling great, allowing me to read regularly. (Plus, meditating will help me better remember what I’ve read and synthesize that information with what I already know.) In turn, reading will flood my brain with new ideas to write about, giving me plenty of ammo to blog/write. And, who knows, maybe a consistent blogging practice will kick up a few business opportunities for me, too.

What systems would you like to implement for 2019? Leave a comment and let me know!