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5 Hard Knock Lessons

Updated: Apr 26, 2019

This post is an excerpt from my mini e-book, 25 Lessons from The School of Hard Knocks.

I have lived the fun way, some would say the hard way, by trying and experimenting without fear. My fearless nature has taught me some very powerful, and sometimes painful, lessons. One day I wrote down my top 25 lessons for a little giveaway. Today, I am sharing my top 5 with you.

1. Be ready.

Being ready means you can act on opportunity and instinct. If you live in a state of stress, in a messy house, are an out of shape recluse and broke (yep, I’ve been there!), there is very little you’ll be able to take advantage of in life.

I pretend all the time that I’m about to jump on a flight to the islands with the person of my dreams or that I’m about to be offered an amazing new opportunity. Why? To do so, I’d want to be in shape at home, financially, emotionally, physically, and pursuing my passions – because that’s who I would be proud to be.

In that state, I’m ready to handle anything, I can give my best to any situation. The goal here is not perfection or that I’m only okay if I am all of the things I wish to be in life, this is more about getting pumped about something cool and being ready for it when it comes! Are you ready to give your best to your dreams? If not, you can start today (hint: see #2).

2. Decide.

Ever puzzled over a choice to the point where you couldn’t decide what to do? You could see side A, but then you also clearly saw side B?

Here’s a tip: you already know what to do. It may be scary, and there’s always risk, but when you think things into stagnation, you’ve lost. Trust your instincts and stop talking your self out of things. You really can work around anything if you’re willing to try, be patient and soldier on.

You may not always get exactly what you hoped, and sometimes the answer is no, but you won’t know if you don’t decide to try. I talked myself out of pursuing my passion for 35 years before I finally stopped being in my own way. Now I am truly happier on the inside, where it counts, than I have ever been.

Often times, we must decide not just once, but every single day. Just take a look at the famous actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Troll his Instagram. He talks all the time about working hard every single day, being the first to the gym, grinding it out because success doesn’t come any other way. It’s a daily decision to be who you are, to live by the standards you set for your life. You’re in the driver’s seat – so decide. Where will you go today?

3. Stay in control of you.

It’s the only thing you can control. You can control what goes into your mouth, what comes out of it, how much you sleep, when or if you work out, who is in your life, and how you view the world. What you put into you is what comes out.

Stop thinking negatively unless you want to live negatively. Stop using negative language and complaining if you don’t want to feel negatively. Stay in control of your mind, your body, and your habits. I limit watching things that bring me down, I don’t spend time with constant complainers or people who are determined to bring me and everyone else down. I limit how much sad music I listen to and I limit news media.

Yes, this takes a lot of discipline. So what? Discipline yourself. Aren’t you worth it? I think you are.

4. Let good pressure push you.

A lot of people do their 9-5 thing and then stop. But people who achieve fulfillment in life are constantly growing.

This applies to personal situations as well as professional ones. Good spouses are never content to let a relationship fall into a lull, they know it takes continued effort and that healthy people and relationships are in a constant state of renewal. Successful professionals know and live by the same strategy. They can’t ignore their career or business and become stagnant.

You can’t ignore your body, finances and life and expect to feel good. But it begins with YOU. Challenge yourself to grow. Educate yourself.

Strive for excellence, demand it, and watch how much that kind of good pressure can shape and change your life. Where can you let some good pressure encourage you and inform what you do today?

5. Fail thoughtfully.

Don’t fear failure, but don’t bathe in it either.

Failure can be a great teacher if you shift your mind toward what you’ve learned instead of focusing on the feeling that you did not succeed. When you are experiencing hardship you are in a position of prime opportunity for growth. Stop denying yourself this opportunity; choose to learn from what you are experiencing.

Now don’t get me wrong; I am not championing failure, but failure does happen—it’s supposed to—and if you have the right mindset about it, you can fail thoughtfully. Think of it this way:

Everything is information that can be used to inform who you are, what you become, and what you do today. Determine to fail thoughtfully and you will.

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