IV. Quitting Revisited
V. The Pivot
VI. The Sunk Cost Fallacy
VII. Questions To Ask Yourself
"Momentum is probably the most costly asset to lose and to build”
One of your most valuable assets in business and in life is momentum.
Momentum is motion.
It's that feeling you get when you're crossing tasks off your To Do List.
It's positive, contagious energy where one thing leads straight into another, like sinking 3s from the free throw line.
It's when everything in your life is clicking and it'd be hard to stop - or change course.
Imagine an avalanche.
The snow is rolling down the hill, faster and faster and getting bigger and bigger.
Will it stop all of a sudden? Can you make it change direction and go up the mountain?
Momentum is a feeling, but it's also a real physical manifestation.
Your goal is to ride the wave of momentum when it's UP and minimize the downside when it slows DOWN.
You WANT momentum and you want to keep that momentum going.
But sometimes it feels like you're working really hard and you're not getting anywhere.
Or you just can't seem to get in a groove.
Two steps forward, one step back...
There are multiple reasons for this.
Based on my experience, you can divide the barriers to momentum into 3 categories:
- External Factors
First off, it's possible that you're working on the wrong things.
If you're putting your energy into low ROI activities, it won't matter how hard you work because you're going down the wrong path.
Secondly, you may be fighting the Resistance.
"Resistance is the thing you feel when you have a sudden burst of inspiration, but somehow can't seem to start.
Resistance is what keeps us from realizing our full potential, from starting something which could have ended up truly great."
Source: The War of Art
The foundation of achievement is intense desire. The world's highest achievers have the highest levels of dissatisfaction. Those with the lowest levels are the failures. The best way to build desire is to make resolute choices for the future.
Third, it's possible that you don't really WANT what you're working towards.
Oh - I know. You say you do, but is it true?
If a man has vision, energy and focus, the probability that he'll succeed is high.
Fourth, you may suffer from mental, emotional or physical burnout.
Burnout is what happens when you lack clarity in your life so your actions aren't lined up with your beliefs. This is why you feel like you're "spinning your wheels." You're getting drained and your expectations aren't syncing with reality.
Fifth, your head isn't in the game. If you're angry, scared or depressed, those feelings are going to hold you back.
Keep This In Mind: The hardest part of momentum is in the beginning when you're starting from zero.
Momentum doesn't spring out of thin air. You need to create it.
If you're out of shape, stressed or always tired, it's going to be difficult to build momentum.
If your hormones aren't where they should be, that can also impact your physical performance.
3. EXTERNAL FACTORS
These are all the things happening outside you that can slow you down or push you off course:
- Environment: Too much travel, cluttered office, weather, traffic, etc
- People: Toxic relationships; bad clients or customers
- The Market: The economy; your niche
You know you're experiencing momentum when your life is slightly chaotic.
You've got a bunch of calls on your calendar, emails to respond to, you're juggling several clients and it feels like if one more thing lands on your plate you're going to lose your mind.
So you need to learn to feed it, control it and leverage it.
Here are a list of things you can do to overcome those challenges and create (and build) momentum.
1) Quit things that don't move you forward
But society sees quitting as negative and nobody wants to be labeled "a quitter."
"Winners never quit."
Except that isn't true.
You need to understand that sometimes you can't force things.
Ever get into a flow state in sports, work or a relationship where things just seem to work effortlessly?
You want to focus on what's working. Do more of those things and stop wasting time on activities that aren't moving the needle.
It's ingrained in us to finish things (like the food on our plates), but you should always quit things that don't serve you.
"Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” -Atomic Habits
2) Build better habits
3) Listen to music that helps you get into flow state
I listen to everything from Chopin to Kiasmos while working. My only rule is that it's instrumental (no words).
4) Do daily check-ins
Whenever my momentum starts to slide it's because I haven't done my check-ins.
Every morning I write down:
- My 3 Most Important Tasks
- Any potential roadblocks that can prevent me from reaching them
At the end of my work day, I write down:
- My 3 Big Wins
- My #1 goal for the following day
5) Surround yourself with go-getters
I didn't know a lot of successful people or business owners when I was younger. The internet changed that.
Now I have a large, yet tight network of 6, 7 and even 8 figure entrepreneurs.
My recommendation is that you take your online connections offline. Meet them face-to-face whenever possible.
The accounts I follow on Twitter are an example of a positive, goal-oriented community.
6) Begin your day with motion
Sometimes, when I feel stagnant, it's because I literally haven't moved.
It's when I've spent hours sitting at the kitchen table, a desk or my couch.
Get up and MOVE.
This is one reason I start every day off with a walk (at least 20 minutes) and go to the gym 4-7 days a week.
7) Schedule breaks
I try to take a short break every 30 minutes.
I'll also take Sundays off and every 12th week as part of my quarterly deload.
8) Use performance-enhancing drugs
I personally prefer Gorilla Mind Rush, but I know a lot of people like Modafinil. Gorilla Mind Rush helps me get laser-focused without the stimulant effect (anxious, heart racing) I've gotten from Modafinil.
If you've never tried a nootropic product, I'd start with Gorilla Mind Rush (or Gorilla Mind Smooth).
If you've tried Gorilla Mind Rush, Gorilla Mind Smooth or Adrafinil and want to try something potentially more effective, try Modafinil.
** DISCLAIMER: This isn't medical advice. Make sure you speak with your doctor.
I take 3 capsules of Gorilla Mind Rush in the morning before a work session.
9) Eliminate before you tolerate
"I've found it very hard to focus.
I would always get distracted, and I thought it was all my fault... but no one can focus when there's all these distractions everywhere, so you have to get rid of them all.
So I try and get rid of every single thing that can be a distraction and then what happens naturally is I find myself focusing."
It's insane that people will try to be productive in high-distraction environments like coffee shops and co-working spaces.
Go to the library or work at home like I do in a clutter-free environment.
Get in the habit of removing the limits to growth, i.e. the obstacles, challenges, barriers and distractions that get in the way and slow you down.
Read this too: "Via Negativa: Adding To Your Life By Subtracting"
10) Work with a mentor or coach
Investing in coaches and mentors is one of the best decisions I've ever made. Simply put: They'll help you avoid mistakes and get results faster.
Also, limit the number of experts you follow.
Pro-tip: Only follow the advice they all agree on so you're not getting pulled in multiple directions.
11) Don't slow down to keep pace with average people
Most people are average because they're not obsessed, have no clarity, low energy and poor habits.
Disproportionate results require the creation of disproportionate value.
The biggest rewards in life come from being on the right side of the bell curve.
If you need to be obsessive to maintain momentum, go for it.
Whenever I think about the times in my life where I made significant progress, it's because I was obsessive:
- Tracking macros
- Going to the gym
- Working long days and weekends
- Playing music every day (in high school)
If people tell you you need to "relax" or "take a break," ask yourself if they're successful before taking their advice.
12) Produce more than you consume
“Producers are the minority as are the rich, while consumers are the majority as are the poor.”
-The Millionaire Fastlane
Don't be the guy who's always reading or watching YouTube videos.
I like to limit education, like reading, to 1 hour a day. The rest of the day is designed for action.
13) Schedule your day in 30-minute increments
“Ericsson notes that for a novice, somewhere around an hour a day of intense concentration seems to be a limit, while for experts this number can expand to as many as four hours—but rarely more.”
― Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
My most productive days are when I schedule my day in eight 30-minute blocks. That's 4 hours of deep, focused work.
14) Don't neglect the main areas of your life
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for insects."
-Robert A. Heinlein
You're naturally going to focus on certain areas during specific periods over other areas, but don't let your entire life go to shit.
Family, friends, finances, fitness - don't ignore them.
Successful men are Renaissance men.
They're not one-dimensional. They're multi-talented and display competence across many areas and skills.
Find out what works, and then do more of it. Focus first on doing the right things, and then on doing things right by mastering details. A few basic moves produce most results and income. -Dave Kekich
15) Double-down on what's working
If something's working, your gut instinct should be to do more of it. Don't lose momentum because you got bored or found something else that sounds more attractive.
16) Get your hormones checked
Sometimes what people perceive as laziness is really just a hormonal imbalance that can affect your mood and energy.
In case you didn't know, men's testosterone levels have been declining for decades (Source: Forbes).
17) Master the small things in your life
"It is easier to macrobullshit than to microbullshit." -Nassim Taleb
How often do you break the promises you make... to yourself?
No wonder more and more people claim they experience "imposter syndrome."
If you struggle to do basic things like get up at the time you say you're going to get up, breaking this promise is going to affect how you see yourself.
18) Have a consistent, but simple daily schedule
I follow the same schedule 6 days a week.
Morning routine... work until 2-3pm... hit the gym.
If your schedule is random or different all the time, you'll struggle to build consistency and momentum.
At the same time, I leave room for flexibility. Your life needs a combination of chaos and order.
Work and vacations.
Strict diets and cheat meals.
Going to the gym in the morning instead of the afternoon like you always do.
You're not a robot, so don't try to act like one.
19) Go all-in on the things you're most confident about
“Impatience with actions and patience with results” - Naval Ravikant
You need to think Big Picture like a general surveying the battlefield.
What are your strengths? Where are the biggest opportunities?
What should you avoid?
Once you've identified the highest ROI activities, jump in with both feet. Zero hesitation. Complete focus and commitment.
20) Reward yourself
To reinforce good habits and accomplishments, there should be a reward mechanism in place.
Maybe it's a cheat meal, a vacation or watching a movie.
Whatever it is, reward yourself often (I see the gym and books as good rewards at the end of my workday) to stay motivated and build massive momentum.
21) Focus on Lead Indicators instead of Lag Indicators
Lead Indicators are things you can measure NOW, like number of cold emails sent or number of sales calls.
Lag Indicators are things that happen in the FUTURE, i.e. goals like "Make $10,000 a month."
Focus on the former instead of the latter because it's something you can control.
The other reason you want to focus on Lead Indicators is because they're objective.
Your feelings can mislead you, so we need to focus on hard numbers.
22) Track Key Performance Indicators
I have spreadsheets for daily activities, business and health.
Make sure you track all the things that are important in your life.
23) Hire as soon as possible
This was one of the best decisions I made in 2018.
I have a technical VA who helps me with everything from WordPress to email software.
I've also worked with several VAs who write articles for my niche sites.
You need to accept that you can't and shouldn't do everything yourself if you want your business to grow beyond a certain point.
One of the biggest reasons businesses fail to grow is because the owner because the bottleneck in the business.
Hire a Virtual Assistant/sub-contractors, a Personal Assistant, a private chef, personal trainer, full-time staff -- whatever helps you get better control of your business so you don't need to be involved in every decision and activity.
24) Don't get too comfortable
When you start to experience some success, you might be tempted to take it easy and coast.
Keep pushing and remember what you're working towards.
I have my goals on my iPhone wallpaper, my desktop wallpaper and in Google Docs and Trello.
My goals are all over the place so I never forget them.
25) Plan 90 days ahead
It's good to think about the future whether that's 1, 5 or even 25 years into the future, but I've found that 99% of your focus has to be on the next 30 days.
Next 30 days you can control. 90 days you can plan ahead. Beyond that? Not so much.
A lot can change beyond that point and it's important to stay focused on what's directly ahead of you.
26) Innovate constantly
"It’s the number of iterations that drives the learning curve. It’s not just about hours put in.” - Naval Ravikant
One big advantage small companies and solopreneurs have other large companies is the ability to innovate quickly.
Just because one way didn't work doesn't mean that another method or a slightly different approach will fail.
Imagine you're a scientist conducting experiments, always looking for a smarter, faster, more effective way to get things done.
Build. Measure. Learn.
27) Stop multi-tasking
The idea that you can work on multiple tasks simultaneously is idiotic and counterproductive. It'll also slow down your momentum.
You need to focus on ONE thing at a time and put all your energy into it.
28) Avoid perfection
If you're always trying to get things done 100% perfection, you're wasting valuable time, especially when it comes to online business.
Book missed a few things? Create an updated version.
Emails not converting? Send more and tweak them.
Very very few things online are set in stone.
29) Set firm deadlines
I always, always, always get my client work done ahead of time.
This is a good rule for life:
Get things done before they're due and never wait until the last minute.
30) Understand momentum goes in cycles
Momentum goes up and down.
During the periods where it goes up, you want to normalize that new high.
For example, let's say your income goes up from $2,000 a month to $10,000 a month and it's consistent.
Are you still driving your crappy car? Wearing crappy clothes? Living in a crappy apartment?
It's time to Level Up.
Don't misinterpret what I'm saying. I'm not saying to blow all your cash.
But I am recommending that your income match your lifestyle. Instead of buying material things for status, invest money in things that create congruence.
When the things you have match up with who you are and what you do, you'll be more likely to build and maintain momentum.
31) Say "No" a LOT more
You can't build or maintain momentum when you're saying "Yes" to everything.
You need to be ruthless and say "No" to things that won't move you forward. These are time-wasters.
"I have come to really, vehemently and violently resent having my time wasted"-Dan Kennedy
32) Set realistic goals that are just out of reach
"The Goldilocks Rule states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right."
If you're averaging $1,500 a month right now and your goal is to make $800,00 next month, you're a fool.
First, you're not going to reach it.
Second, you're not going to build any kind of momentum because there's a massive disconnect between your input and your output.
Your goals should inspire you and challenge you, but they shouldn't be so low that you always hit them.. nor so high that they're a fantasy.
33) Keep selling!!
If know anything about sales, you know it's a numbers game.
When you're in a rut, you might get one "No" after another.
Keep going. Doing whatever you need to do to get the sale and keep the momentum going.
34) Use mental models, principles and strategies for faster, more effective decision-making
“A mental model is an explanation of how something works. Mental models also guide your perception and behavior. They are the thinking tools that you use to understand life, make decisions, and solve problems.”
― James Clear, Mental Models
“Truth - more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality - is the essential foundation for producing good outcomes.”
― Ray Dalio, Principles
Grand strategy is the art of looking beyond the present battle and calculating ahead. Focus on your ultimate goal and plot to reach it.”
― Robert Greene, The 33 Strategies of War
35) Stop trying to solve problems that don't exist yet
"We get 100 points a day in [mental] bandwidth and most people are spending 90+ of those points solving irrelevant problems that don't matter at all.
What if you used 100 points towards actually making money?
Those problems would kind of take care of themselves... and that's the reality."
35) Focus on the long-term
People who constantly change course never get anywhere.
This month you want to dropship, next month you want to start a podcast and 4 months from now you want to create a course.
Do you really think you're going to succeed with this scattershot approach?
Focus on something you can see yourself doing (and getting better at) for years. Massive momentum comes from singular focus in ONE direction.
IV. Quitting - Revisited
Quit when you’ll be mediocre, when the returns aren’t worth the investment, when you no longer think you’ll enjoy the ends.
Stick when the dip is the obstacle that creates scarcity, when you’re simply bridging the gap between beginner’s luck and mastery.
- Seth Godin, The Dip
As mentioned earlier, quitting is an important and underutilized tactic.
Way too many people waste time, money and energy on unproductive endeavors.
In the gym...
If you've been doing the same workout for the past 6 months and your strength hasn't gone up, it's time to quit.
If you've been following the same "fat loss" diet for months and haven't gotten leaner, it's time to quit.
If alcohol, dairy or a dozen other foods disagree with your body and make you feel like crap, it's time to quit.
If you don't share the same political beliefs and values, it's time to quit.
If you don't want the same future, it's time to quit.
If she's not supportive of your Vision, it's time to quit.
If you haven't been able to find a client for 6 months, maybe it's time to quit.
If you can't sell your product, it's time to quit.
If posting on Instagram isn't driving sales, it's time to quit.(and try a different platform).
Quitting might be the wrong word.
A better word might be "pivot."
V. The Pivot
Quitting implies you stop AND DON'T DO ANYTHING ELSE BEYOND THAT POINT.
And that's not what I'm suggesting.
When you pivot, you shift your attention to something else with the intention that it'll serve you better.
- A better diet
- A better relationship
- A better offer
The Famous Instagram Pivot
When the founders started the company, it's wasn't a phone app.
It did a bunch of different things.
But they ended cutting all that extra stuff out and focusing on photos and photo filters.
When they decided to go all-in on their photo feature, their business exploded.
"What Kevin Systrom intended Instagram to originally be, back in late 2009, was an app that combined features of Foursquare and Mafia Wars.
He called his idea Burbn, and the app's primary functions were to let users check-in to locations, make future plans with acquaintances, earn points for hanging out with friends, and post pictures.
However, when the future co-founder of Instagram, Mike Krieger, joined Systrom, they reviewed the product, and decided that it was too cluttered with features. They took a big risk, and stripped it down to something completely intuitive and simple.
They cut everything from Burbun, except for photosharing, liking, and commenting features, and decided to call it Instagram – an acronym of instant and telegram. They also cut down from 30 filters to just eleven."
VI. The Sunk Cost Fallacy
The Misconception: You make rational decisions based on the future value of objects, investments and experiences.
The Truth: Your decisions are tainted by the emotional investments you accumulate, and the more you invest in something the harder it becomes to abandon it.
Source: You Are Not So Smart
We're constantly evaluating between losses and gains.
And the fear of a potential loss is a greater motivator than a potential gain.
This means we don't treat them equally - we're biased to place greater emphasis on minimizing or eliminating losses as a way to avoid pain.
Pain is the great driver here. It causes people to continue to do things that hurt them because they'd rather endure pain that's spread out over time than sharp, concentrated discomfort that must be experienced in a short timeframe.
Winners choose short-term pain for long-term comfort.
Losers choose long-term pain for short-term comfort.
If your business isn't moving ahead, there's a good chance you're over-emphasizing things that feel good in the moment instead of things that feel uncomfortable.
Your unwillingness to ensure short-term discomfort is holding you back from greater gains in the future.
VII. Questions To Ask Yourself
- Is there something in your gut that's telling you it's time to move on?
- What are you wasting time on every day? Can you eliminate it or delegate it to someone else?
- What are you working on right now that WON'T help you get where you want to be in 5 years?
- Are you the kind of person who tends to avoid discomfort and difficult situations? Are you willing to expose yourself to discomfort more often so it's not a big deal to you?
Protect your momentum at all costs!
Momentum is like a fire - use the suggestions in this post to keep it burning.
Enjoyed this post?
Then you'll love my email list.
It's jam-packed with actionable content you can use to grow your online business and win at the game of life.