I’m 10,000 days old… I’ve been officially on this planet for 10,000 days. That’s pretty crazy when I sit back and think about it. As I think back over the last 10,000 days – I have many nights that are blurry and many evenings that are memorable. I have many mornings that were productive and many afternoons that were a waste.
It’s not often that we think about our life in the span of days but it’s an exercise that I’ve been doing for the past five years. It was just 1000 days ago when I wrote about the lessons I learned from my first 9000 days on earth and here we are again. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago but in reality, I wrote that post back in 2012..
1,000 days ago, I had 1 one grandparent left and I’m lucky to be able to say she’s still around to make me Apple Pie and making me laugh every other day. My parents, siblings and partner are still by my side and while the business I started back then has slowly drifted into the past, I’m excited about two new projects coming within the next week or two…
For me, it’s crazy to think about how much has changed in the last 1000 days. But what’s exciting for me, is the future and what the next 1000 and 10,000 days will bring. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the last 10,000 days and a few examples of how my perspective has changed only within the span of 1000 days.
You Are The Company You Keep
You might look at that picture and think…
Wow. That’s horrible.
How could people be so narrow minded? That’s so sad.
But at the time, these young men had a mindset very similar to the common man in living in Birmingham, Alabama. That was years ago you might say… We’re much more progressive than that these days. Well, what if I told you that this picture was taken just 21,000 days ago?
Sure, a decent amount of time has gone by but we as society are still subjected and fall victim to many of the same biases we held back then. I’m not here to play judge or jury. I’m just here to say that I’ve learned that the company you keep will help shape your future and legacy.
Whether you like it or not, people will judge you by the people you spend time with. And whether you realize it in the moment or not, the actions of those who surround you reflect on your character just as much as it reflects on theirs.
Not Making A Choice, Is A Choice
“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.” – William James
Every single day we make many choices.
It all starts by deciding whether or not you’re going to press snooze. Imagine for a second the impact that this simple action can have on your day. By simply pressing snooze, you’re making an impact by not sitting next to someone on the bus because someone else is now going to get on before you. You’re making an impact because you’re not going to have time to grab a phone charger and will miss an important call later in the day because your phone is dead. In fact, you’re also going to rush through brushing your teeth and that’s ultimately going to be a turn off when you breathe on your crush who runs into you on your way to the office.
Life is a constant stream of choices. Whether we decide to make a clear decision or not, we’re making a choice to take action or stand still. Do we tell someone how we feel or do we wait? Do we talk to that person on the bus or do we sit at the back alone? These are all choices..
Deciding or not deciding is also a choice.
You Can’t Do Everything Alone
I’m a lone wolf. I’ve always enjoyed independence and it’s not because I am obsessed with that Will Smith movie about Aliens invading earth. It’s because I’ve always struggled with the idea of trusting people with my career, my work and my own success. I could point fingers at others but the only person that I can truly point at is myself… Why?
Because I was wrong.
In the last 10,000 days, I’ve worked with some awesome people. I’ve grown to love and adore some of the people I’ve worked in the past or work with today. In doing so, I’ve learned to rely on my team. Whether for my own consulting business or when working with clients or partners. I’ve come to the conclusion that I no longer need to review every detail and can instead, rely on those around me to step up and deliver. Or at least, it’s these people who I love working with the most..
I love working with people who are passionate about their job, excited about what the future holds, who embrace the idea of the hustle and have an attitude that is more focused around solutions than problems… Which takes me to my next point…
Always Have A Solution Mindset
I was chatting with a colleague this evening and she brought up an amazing point. There are two types of people in the world; those who focus on the problem and those who focus on the solution.
I’ve always been someone who likes to focus on the solution because at the end of the day, if there’s a problem – sitting around thinking about how challenging it is will solve nothing. Strapping on your boots, looking at the problem as an obstacle that needs to be overcome and going at it head first is always the best option.
You Don’t Need Permission
Alexis Ohanion , the Founder of reddit and author of Without Their Permission, was asked in an interview; What is the biggest threat to aspiring internet entrepreneurs? His response…
Themselves. So much potential awesome never happens because people don’t get started, when they do, they don’t focus on what matters, and when they do that, they don’t actually launch.
This is one of those things I’ve learned the hard way.
Instead of just getting something done and diving in head first, I’ve wasted time looking for validation from others. I’ve wasted time looking for others to validate that an idea was good and I’ve wasted time wondering whether or not something I’m chasing is worth it.
In all of this, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s better to jump and fail than to never jump at all. A lot of people wonder if it’s worth jumping into something that still fails and does nothing for your career. I’m of the belief that even in failure, you can learn something that can help you grow into becoming the person you want to be. And that on its own, makes it worth the risk..
Jealousy Is A Wasted Emotion
During the early days of your life, it’s really easy to get caught up in the comparison game. It’s easy to think about the kid who has the coolest backpack or be envious of the the friends who are invited to every birthday. It’s this constant comparison game that haunts and holds people back even as they grow into their careers, personal lives and individual growth.
A lot of people look at their colleagues career paths and instead of being happy for them, they get jealous. A lot of people look at their successful friends and instead of cheering for them, they try to degrade them. All of this tends to be rooted in jealousy. And for me, I’ve learned that being jealous of others is really one of the most wasted emotions you can have.
Entrepreneurship Is @*!#&#@& and Awesome
Whatta wild journey so far… Entrepreneurship is hard.
It’s really, really hard. I know, I’m one of the biggest advocates of hustle and entrepreneurship on the web but I’m also a realist. I recognize that this isn’t something that everyone can do and I recognize that it’s not something that most people would even have interest in. It’s a constant hustle and a constant grind. And while it’s very much like bowling in the sense that you’re either throwing gutters or strikes – I honestly wouldn’t change it for the world.
I love surrounding myself with great people.
I love working with people who get me.
I love the exhilaration of coming out of a grind successfully.
I love the rewards of travel, giving back and little luxuries.
I love the flexibility of my schedule.
I love the satisfaction of providing true value to others.
I love helping and inspiring others to be their best selves.
I love creating, designing and writing my own path.
Giving Back Is Good For The Soul
It’s a quote that has been thrown around for many years and one I’ve reiterated time and time again when people ask me how I define success. Most frequently, my response is filled with two different sides of the coin. First and foremost, for me – It’s about waking up in the morning, going to bed at night and doing whatever I want in between. That’s the selfish approach.. Beneath that is the idea of leaving this world better than it would have been had I not been a part of it.
Every single day, I think about that.
I think about what I can do to make a difference and think about whether or not I’ve given back in some way. Whether it’s through volunteer work, donations, inspiring people with my work or simply being open to helping others achieve their dreams; that’s why I wake up every morning excited.
And honestly… Just writing these words is allowing me to remember why I do what I do.
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of going out and speaking at two junior high schools, a college and a group of youth from my hometown. In these moments, I’m at my highest point. In these moments, I aim to inspire and help young people see the potential and chase it. It’s in these moments that I feel the best. And it’s this reason, why I’m launching a product next week that will make this passion for giving a constant in my life. Get in touch for info
It’s Okay To Ask For Help
As a consultant, I’ve been charging people for my advice for years. Sure, I’ve written a handful of blog posts, ebooks, Slideshares and hosted many webinars for free but the idea of asking for help without any transaction has always been a challenge. A few weeks ago, I tweeted about it:
@TheCoolestCool in fact advice karma is a crucial fuel for startup world. I get asked daily for advice and give it, bc I know I get it back
— thomas (@rankinthomas) December 13, 2014
This response from my friend Thomas of Dash Hudson allowed for a pretty quick realization. As humans, we constantly continue to advance as a society because of our ability to collaborate and exchange ideas. It’s not limited or restricted to the startup community. As an entire species, our ability to grow and move forward is through ongoing and constant information exchange. As Matt Ridley asked in the Rational Optimist;
Imagine if the man who invented the railway and the man who invented the locomotive could never meet or speak to each other, even through third parties. Paper and the printing press, the internet and the mobile phone, coal and turbines, copper and tin, the wheel and steel, software and hardware.
Imagine a world where the ability to share and exchange ideas didn’t exist. Without this exchange of knowledge and information, you wouldn’t have the ability to read the letters in these words.
Chase Love, Be With Love, Share Your Love
This can be applied to everything from family and partners, to colleagues and co-workers. As I stated earlier, I’m lucky to be surrounded by some people who constantly cheer me on (even though I can be hard to deal with) and consistently lend support when needed.
While every relationship, professional or personal will have struggles – it’s how you react to those struggles and challenges that determine the true strength of that connection. I’ve walked away from business deals solely because I wasn’t feeling it. I’ve seen people quit jobs solely because they didn’t feel appreciated. I’ve seen people walk out of relationships for the exact same reasons.
Love is a game of give and take. So is business. So is a relationship. So is life.
Double Check For Your Passport & ID….and Wallet
These are all of the places in the last 10,000 days that I’ve lost my ID or Passport. How does this happen? Well, I haven’t quite figured that out yet but I’m committed to never making that mistake again. Or at least, I’m going to aim to not make that mistake within the next 5,000 days.
So that’s it… I’ve written this post without giving it a lot editing or punctuation love. If you see a typo or grammar mistake – Don’t worry, I expect it.. I’ve written this in one clean sweep because I wanted to get it out before I hit 10,001. Oh, and since my Mom and Pops are probably reading this – I’d like to also give them a shout out for being there since Day 1. Literally.
[…] know there are hundreds of lessons in life and business that my colleagues and other professionals could share, many of which I have yet to learn myself. […]
[…] If you are worried about something you need to be working on it! (Tweet This!) Focus on the solution rather than the problem. This is one of the key pieces of advice I learned in my first 10,000 days on earth. […]
Thanks Ross!! Great reflection!! What an inspiring read before I start my day!! -Katie
Glad you enjoyed it Katie – Thanks for the post. Hope your day was awesome.
What a cool way to think about time! This definitely adds perspective to the 365 we get each year…
Thanks Sarah! Glad it resonated 🙂
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