A simple definition of happiness is?
The removal of what makes you unhappy.
This is true for success as well.
A successful man removes from his life the aspects that hold him back from growth.
In general, we are a “give me more” society.
We are “winning” when we add material possessions, degrees, friends, likes on a facebook and Instagram.
But success is often subtractive.
The goal is to focus on the removal of the 99 things that don’t matter to zoom in on the 1 thing that does.
Want to be a better man?
Start by removing the things that are holding you back and hindering your chance of success and growth.
Here’s the list of 10 things I have removed from my life to set me on a positive trajectory.
#1 Distraction To Success – Television
I don’t own one.
In 2001, when I deployed with the Marine corps, I donated everything I owned. I didn't have a choice, but it turned out to be one of the greatest things I could've done.
Here's what I have learned: Televisions are notorious for being a brain drain. Regular TV viewing has been associated with decreased attention spans. Mindlessly flicking through channels trains your brain to switch between tasks without focus.
Furthermore, sitting in front of one eats into the time you spend with family and friends. It prevents productivity and adds no real value to your life. They are a huge distraction for me.
Consider getting rid of them and you’ll notice that you are able to focus better on the things that really matter.
#2 Distraction To Success – Toxic Friends
Some friends are constantly negative. They criticize under the guise of constructive feedback.
When you share your big plans with them, they are quick to cut you down to size.
Everything you see them, they pull your spirits down.
Stop believing you owe such friends any more of your time and attention.
Who are the friends and family you spend the most time with?
Removing toxic friends from your circle is simpler than putting boundaries on your interactions with toxic family members. Insulate yourself with people who have your best interest at heart and help you to succeed.
My inner circle includes my wife and kids and great friends like Aaron Marino and Ryan Masters. They support and encourage me. They have a very positive impact on my life.
Have the tough conversations with toxic people in your life and cut them off.
#3 Distraction To Success – A Need To Say Yes
Having good boundaries is the marker of a healthy individual.
Don’t be a “yes man”. Learn to say no.
It will help you focus on what you need to do, rather than what others want you to do.
My default answer these days to most requests is “no.” I have many opportunities coming my way and a number of requests for help. From experience, I know saying yes a lot leads to being stretched thin and not keeping one's word.
Out of necessity and to achieve my goals, I had to stop saying yes to everything.
I can say no to good opportunities now because it allows me to say yes to amazing opportunities later.
#4 Distraction To Success – Striving For Perfection
I strive for excellence but not necessarily for perfection.
You never achieve perfection. It is a moving target.
There is never a right time to start a business. Successful entrepreneurs start businesses and projects that are far from perfect. They shape them into success stories along the way. Through trial and error. If it’s at 90%, it’s ready to ship out.
There are two advantages to this attitude:
- Test Versions: Test out a product in small increments. Instead of waiting for a perfect product, roll out versions of it. Giant technology companies never take the chance in shipping software without testing beta version. It's the best way to get real-time feedback from clients and you know instantly if your product design is viable.
- Ship Incomplete: Give yourself a deadline. That essay that you've been slaving over? Set a date and submit it. Steve Jobs gave his engineers a week to ship out the first version of the iPhone. They pushed back, asking for more time. He declined. They worked all week long and managed to stick to the shipping deadline. Jobs understood the power of not waiting to perfect something that would be improved over time anyway.
Don’t get locked in analysis paralysis which usually leads to lack of action.
#5 Distraction To Success – Microwave
You wouldn't be surprised by this inclusion if you understood the importance of a healthy diet to your well-being.
Microwaves are convenient. Why would you want to give them up?
Despite studies showing the negative effects of using a microwave, people continue using one for the sake of convenience.
Everything I feed my kids is made from scratch and prepared fresh at home. There are other alternatives to heating your food – using a toaster, an oven, steaming, and simmering on a stovetop. When we cook at home, we use raw ingredients. A majority of our meals are prepared and consumed at home.
We don’t take shortcuts with food. This is the main reason why even when I don’t exercise, I don’t gain weight.
It leads to much better health.
#6 Distraction To Success – Home Office
When I am home – I want to be fully present for my family and not be distracted by work.
It's easy to slip into the bad habit of checking official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts at home. There has to be a clear separation of home and office.
Avoid receiving notifications of work emails at home. Set up systems so you’re not jumping for every phone call.
Working from home? You tend to lose track of time with home offices. If you have the option, choose a coffee shop or a co-working space as a dedicated office space.
#7 Distraction To Success – Social Apps On My Phone
Think about a common morning routine. You wake up, and what's the first thing you grab? Your phone. What's the first thing you check? Some sort of social media. This is a common cycle among us.
Distractions like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all eat into my productivity. These can be beneficial for business when used right, but abuse leads to regression.
A smartphone is an advantage if you use it right, but I prefer not to install apps on the phone that eat into my productivity.
Highly effective people set up systems where they check social media accounts at set times in a day. It stops you from mindlessly meandering through the noise that is posted online.
#8 Distraction To Success – New Car
Get a job, buy a new car, purchase a house…
This mantra has almost become a rite of passage in modern society. I would advise against buying a new car. I have an old car and a minivan that is over 10 years old.
What are the advantages of not buying a new car?
No huge payment.
No stress of payments.
As a depreciating asset, it's a terrible investment.
Registration, tax, and maintenance costs are higher for new cars.
Used cars present infinitely better value. Don’t fall into the trap of keeping up with the Jones’. Observe where your money is slipping out of your hands.
#9 Distraction To Success – Clothes That don’t Fit
Men settle for poorly-fitted clothes because they are not aware of the difference well-fitted clothes make to your appearance.
There are two reasons your clothes should never look sloppy:
- A bad fit is uncomfortable and hides the shape of your body. Contrary to what some men believe, a loose-fitting shirt will not hide the fact that you are overweight. It will make you look strangely out of proportion.
- Well-fitted clothes build your confidence by creating a balanced, proportional shape. Your outfit should highlight your best attributes while minimizing any negatives.
The first step you need to take is finding a tailor who can adjust your existing wardrobe. Record your measurements and store them someplace where you can access them the next time you are out shopping. Fit is a more important consideration than the quality of fabric and tailoring.
A cheap but well-fitted suit looks sharper than an expensive suit with a bad fit.
#10 Distraction To Success – Hidden Agenda In Social Interactions
Some people have a hidden agenda in their social interactions. They want something from you and disguise their true motives with a fake interest in your life.
We live in a selfish society where everyone is out to get what they want, even if it means using other people to attain their own personal goals. This is the reason you meet people who seem nice at the beginning until you realize that they want something from you.
I believe in the law of reciprocity.
If I give my attention to others without wanting something in return, they are most likely to reciprocate.
Start showing a genuine interest in the lives of the people you interact with. Drop all agendas and focus on getting to know people on a much deeper level. Have open and direct conversations. If you need someone's help – ask them straight away instead of first showing a fake interest in who they are.
Make relationship the focus, not goals, in your social interactions.
Observe where you spend most of your time? What is your list of items you do not own that make you a better man?
Place boundaries and start to eliminate them from your life.