9 / 365: The perils of over-optimization

A scarcity based thinking comes with many advantages. The biggest one is over-optimization. In other words, trying to get the best possible decision with limited resources. Why is this a bad thing?

Because in the end, the time or losses involved in reaching that decision overpasses the ROI from the increased benefit, at least in 99 out of 100 cases.

Let me give you an example. I don’t use Yelp and apps similar to it. I don’t even use Foursquare. But I know a lot of people who do.

And when it comes to taking launch or so, it goes like this.

“Pulls phone from pocket”.

“Reviews top 10 restaurants from the area”.

“Spends 30 minutes reading reviews”.

“Calls to make a reservation if required”.

“Consults with me or with another friend”.

And then we finally go to eat. I usually just go to the same places again and again or whatever is closest to me. Person A spent about one hour deciding what to do for one hour (lunch). Me, I’ll just decide in a few seconds or a minute tops and go eat. I’m hungry.

This is a common case of over-optimization. This is also very popular in electronics. Folks will spend hours or even days reading reviews and such. They’ll compare every possible model, with pros and cons. They’ll go to forums to ask questions. They’ll watch YouTube unboxing videos. Then after 10 – 15 – 20 hours invested, they’ll buy it.

But you know what? That’s stupid. A $300 phone is a $300 phone, across the board. Yes, some phones may cost $300 and be worth $270 and others may cost $300 and be worth $330. But the improvement is 10% tops. 10% on a $300 purchase is reasonable, but if you decide to spend 10 minutes on it, not hours each day.

Over optimization is sometimes viable with major life decisions. Yes, If I would decide to buy a house or invest in land or invest in stocks a large sum of money, I would look to get the best decision within reasonable effort. A 10% optimization on $500.000 is $50.000. Investing 100 hours to find the best call means that your time will be rewarded with $500 per hour.

But for small decisions, I don’t see the point anymore. When I rent, I used to look for everything possible, from A to Z, to compare and make huge lists of pro and cons. Now I usually just pick the first thing that fits me and I know that if I look 10 hours more, I may get a bigger TV or a slightly better location. But since that doesn’t matter to me, I just go with it. Fast, easy, convenient.

So yes, over-optimization can be dangerous at worst, a huge time waster at best. When I go shopping, I don’t have the patience to try 500 articles of clothing. Up to this point, there is a single article that I regret buying and this because I’ve took a bad recommendation and I should have known better. But otherwise, I’ll just go, ask for someone to help me put something together, try it and if I like it, I’ll buy it. If not, I won’t buy it. But I wont try 50 different shades of a blazer just to find the best possible one.

It is not that I don’t care about how I look. I care, highly. It is that there is no best decision and if clothes fit, are of a good quality and they match who you are, then I really don’t care if a pair of jeans is slightly more vintage than another one, at least not when I have many other things to do.

Best regards,
Razvan

8 / 365: On the perks of trying and failing.

I’m a master at failing. Yes, I’ve said it. I’ve tried many things. Few actually worked out. But this is not even a weakness, it is an advantage.

Why?

Because life is not a James Bond movie. In a Bond movie, everything is exactly at the right time and at the right place. For example, in the latest Bond movie, SPECTRE, there was a scene where Bond was running from a collapsing building.

In real life, a single slip, a single wall that crashed too soon or too fast, a single stray bullet, a single element could have made him lose at this. But in a movie, everything syncs together because it is not fun to see a movie where Bond tries ten times to succeed at the 11th.

My life nor yours is not like this. You can fail, for many reasons. You can be unprepared for whatever situation. Circumstances may work against you. Even the weather may help you fail.

Yes, there was this particular case where the weather made me fail. I was preparing to visit this beautiful girl at her house when it started raining. By the time I’ve got to a cab, I already contracted a cold. Needless to say, the plans for the evening changed rather fast.

It would be nice to always be the right person, at the right time, in the right place, doing the right thing. But stars don’t usually align as this. However, this is not a bad thing. It makes life a bit difficult but it is not even close to “game over”.

  1. Even if not everything is aligned, you don’t even need it to be this way. Sometimes good enough is good enough and the “score” required to get what you desire is far lower than in a perfect situation. It’s not that you get things that you don’t deserve, it’s just that the entry barrier is rather low.
  2. If you fail the first time, try again. Again, think in terms of a “minimum” score. If you fail the first time and you are aware of what you’ve done, you can simply change some things and try again. The second time you’re more likely do it better. And you may hit that “score”. Plus, in most areas of life, you can try as often as you want.
  3. Trying again and again develops a muscle of sorts. A muscle in which you become harder working and better and each every time. Struggle builds mental toughness and that’s always a good trait to have.

You know, I’ve always had ambitious goals and I’ve always failed at most of them. But the few that I’ve accomplished put my life into the fast-track. I can assure you that every successful person is in the same situation. Don’t you think that Bill Gates had bigger goals? Don’t you think that Richard Branson wanted even more to do with his empire? Chances are that even billion dollar fortunes that you see today are just a percentage of the initial goal. Successful people know to aim to the main and land within the stars.

If you see someone with a $1.000.000 in his bank account, you can be sure that his goal was $5.000.000. And when he’ll reach $5.000.000, it will become $50.000.000.

So set high goals my friend. Fail at them. Learn from them. Try again. And don’t just be a eagle. Reach the damn stratosphere.

Best regards,
Razvan Rogoz

7 / 365: Believe in yourself!

A few days ago, I’ve took part in an interesting, in-promptu social experiment. It was about “how would you advertise yourself for dating purposes”. I must admit it, the fight was not really fair due to my knowledge but that’s not the point.

What surprised me was how boys presented themselves vs. girls. Girls actually “pimped” themselves very effectively. Funny, cute, a bit kinky, they’ve done the job admirably.

They really understood the target market (boys) and their niche (who they want to attract). Even if it was only an experiment, it was actually a cool approach.

Boys, not so much. They’ve took a more shotgun approach where they haven’t defined for whom and for whom not is their message. They’ve sold mostly what they considered to be appealing to the opposite sex and not what was appealing. In many cases, the image was that of a nice guy who would do and say anything to “sell” himself.

Btw, if you’re curious about my entry, here it is:

https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-perks-of-dating-you/answer/Razvan-Rogoz

It’s interesting and I’ve drawn some conclusions:

  1. When it comes to dating, girls are more comfortable doing it (btw, girls mean women, young or old, it’s just easier to ID it this way) with a far better comprehension of what are their qualities.
  2. Girls also tended to be very focused on what they offer, based on the perceived needs of the opposite sex.
  3. Girls tended to know their self-worth better, qualifying the market in the same time.

On the other hand, there were a few guys there that managed this better than a marketing campaign by Ogilvy.

Now, where’s the motivational part from all of this?

It is about EQ or emotional intelligence. Now I’m not saying that we as guys we don’t have any but to be honest, girls tend to do it a bit better. And our ability to love ourselves and sell our best qualities to the world is a critical factor in how we’re going to approach life.

Look … being smart is not enough in this world. I know enough smart people who became waitresses and waiters. And no, contrary to what is politically correct, I don’t think this is a place for folks who excelled academically.

You also need to have “soul”. To feel as a winner. To think yourself as a winner. To perceive you in a way that helps you. Why?

Because in this world, perception is reality. It is not the smartest person who gets at the top, it is the person that can best sell himself to the top. It is not the best looking guy who gets the model, it is the guy that can sell his qualities efficiently to that model. It is not the hardest working person who becomes a billionaire, it is the one that believed in himself enough to force through any obstacle in order to get there.

The battle is first won in our own minds, that’s my point. If you don’t feel worthy in your own mind, they you won’t feel worthy in real life. The battle is won way before it is thought.

The shy person doesn’t get ahead in life. The person that doesn’t believe in his skills will never present those skills to others. The person who doesn’t believe in self-worth will never require others to pay the price for his availability.

It is like going to an employer and saying “pay me whatever you want”. That says not that you are enthusiastic and opened to this opportunity but that you don’t believe in your own worth. And guess what? If you don’t believe it, chances are that the other person won’t believe it either.

Life is a meritocracy but on a more deep level than most people think. It’s not on a pure abstract, theoretical one where the best skills win. It is one in which a combination of EQ plus IQ plus street smarts plus opportunity plus many other factors work together. The people who win the game of life may not excel at anything in particular but they are adequate in the areas that matter.

Look … there is this girl which is simply brilliant. Very smart. Hard-working. Excelling from many points of view. Yet, she found a job with difficulty. Why? Because while her traits are obvious from the exterior, she doesn’t believe in them. She doesn’t want to stand out and to shine. And since very few people know about how she really is

There is no honor in not shining bright. You’re not doing other people a favor. Yes, some people may feel insecure because of this but this is their problem, not yours. No matter who you are, there will always be someone who will feel threatened by you. So … shine my friend :)

Best regards,
Razvan

6 / 365: “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings!”

Many times I have celebrated without actually getting there. Then something happened in the last moment that crushed all my plans. Many times I’ve quit before eliminating all options. I was one step away from victory and I’ve just quit.

As a general rule of life: it is not over until it is over. Or as the old cliche goes, “it is not over until the fat lady sings”.

Don’t make plans on a best case scenario. Make plans on actual, existing resources. Don’t give up on a worst case scenario. Give up when it is not reasonable to think that it can be done anymore.

I know that it sounds like common sense but very few people do it. It is easy to get excited about the opportunity of something happening. Like going to a date and seeing yourself already in a loving relationship with that person. But you are not there. You are at point A. Focus on getting on point B. Once you’re there, focus on C. Move towards the next destination and be aware that any point, you may encounter obstacles.

That’s when someone promises something, I’m taking it with a grain of salt. Most of the time, that thing goes through. Sometimes, it doesn’t and I won’t prepare the party until I know with certainty that a celebration is in order.

The war is not won until it is won. If you win a battle, don’t rejoice and get comfortable. You have many more in front of you. And if you keep this in mind, you’ll understand a critical thing. That is – you must keep moving forward, making progress, until you’re there.

You know what I’ve noticed? Life progresses. If you put in the work, it eventually works out, from one side or another. You may put in a lot of hours towards project A. Project A turns out a bust. But thanks to the effort invested here, a new opportunity appears that rewards me in a similar way to project A, maybe without even the extra work.

It is like if you dig into the mine, you may not find gold, but you may find cooper in enough quality to be rich. The important thing is to dig, to put in the effort and to trust that life, through the infinite cycle of causality, finds a way. How? I don’t know. But everything eventually works out if you work for it.

Best regards,
Razvan

5 / 365: Are you living in a world of opportunities or limitations?

Let me ask you this question.

Are you living in a world of opportunities or a world of limitations?

The answer to this question may make all the difference on how you perceive your life.

This is because it is hard to see at first, but there are limitless opportunities to be happy in this world. It comes to you to pick them.

Let’s say that you’ve just broke up with your girlfriend. You can live in a world of limitations (I’ll die alone and never get laid again) or you can realize that there are like 40.000 girls in a 100 km area and one (or several) can become your new girlfriend(s).

You can say that “there is nobody like her”. Statistically, I tend to think this is rather fake. If you take a normal distribution algorithm on 10.000 girls, then 20% will be awful, 60% will be average or normal and 20% will be outliers or exception. Even if she was in the top 20%, then there are 1999 like her on the same distribution.

If you say that nobody likes you, again, there are like 40.000 girls in a big metropolitan city available at any given time and that’s the minimum. In a city like London, you can expect 200.000 or so. Even in a city like Bucharest where I live, there are at least 100.000 available girls at any time. 20% are not for me, 60% are OK and 20% are simply amazing.

So yes, no matter how you put it, there are opportunities.

Many people complain that they can’t exercise. They don’t have the money for a gym membership or for the right food. Yes, these tend to be expensive. Contrary to what many people say, going to the gym can cost a lot.

But there are always cost effective alternative. You may not afford a health club but you can afford a cheap one. If you can’t afraid a cheap one, you can exercise at home. You don’t need equipment to do many things. Or you can go in the park. I don’t know where you live, but here parks are equipped with fitness machines. I’ve seen multi-millionaires exercise in the park and I get why – fresh air, quality equipment, very convenient.

It is easy to bitch and moan that “there are no opportunities”. There are opportunities. Not the ones that you’d like but there are many out there.

The simple fact that you live in a civilized society gives you choices. Everything from food to work to social aspects. If you ever crash-land in Alaska and there is nothing for miles, then yes, I may say my friend that you are out of luck. You can go Liam Neeson on the situation, put some good music in the background and fight the wolves until you reach civilization, but that’s a situation where you are rather limited.

This reminded me of a book. It was a parody of a TV show, so it wasn’t to be taken seriously. However, on the “How to learn first aid” chapter, there was a single paragraph “Just call 911 idiot”. And even in a parody book, this is true. We live in a complex, inter-connected system where there are multiple ways to achieve something and at least a part of them will be available at any given time, to any given person.

I used to fall into the habit of “there’s nothing I can do”. Now when this happens I just step back, relax and think of different approaches. It is like if you want to reach New York and you’re in Australia.

You have different options.

a) You can try with a car. Cars don’t do for good submersibles so it is not a good idea.

b) You can take the plane. If you don’t have money for the plane …

c) You can take a boat. If you don’t have money for the boat …

d) You can find an organization that volunteers in that area and is looking for volunteers. If you can’t find any …

e) You can borrow the money. If you can’t borrow the money …

f) You can take it step by step. First reach the Philippines. Then China. Then Russia …

… and so on. There is eventually a zero point where there isn’t anything that you can possibly do (swimming is not an option) but until that point, there are a wealth of options. It all comes down to how much you want it and how much you’re willing to fight until you can reach a solution.

Best regards,
Razvan

4 / 365: Set goals and work towards them!

Howdy,

Sometimes, instead of working, I surf Quora. I’ve came across a very interesting topic in the area of “How does it feel to achieve something big in your life”. There were a few great stories there, two at least which left me breathless.

And this made me think. It made me think about those relatively rare moments in life when you can say “I’ve done it!”. Moments towards you’ve worked months, years to get there and how awesome is that feeling.

I think it is the best thing ever. To sit back in your chair, pick up a cigarette and realize that you’ve done it. You’ve achieved it. A goal that you’ve fought for and which never seemed achievable.

I am happy to say that I’ve had enough of these moments in my life and I’m looking forward to a lot more. They are hard to describe. It is not even pride, it is surprise. When you’ve struggled so much to achieve something, finally getting there feels so unnatural that it is doesn’t even looks true.

They say live in the moment. I agree that it is a good idea. But even if you live in the moment, you need to have a destination that elevates your life. You know, every single day, I’m marking my progress. My daily progress at the end of the day. With each hour invested, with each task invested, I’ve made some progress. Then my yearly progress. I go into a huge list of goals and I’ve made 0.5% more progress or maybe 1.0%. In the grand scheme of things my progress is small. But when you do it every single day, slowly but surely, it fills up.

Goals 2016

Each time I finish a goal from my list, I can only rejoice. It is a progress in my life. I haven’t started yet but I think I’m going to start writing them on the wall (the completed goals) with a erasable marker.

Every time I have made another step, when I can go to my main goal list and complete a part of a goal, I feel satisfaction. I’ve done well. I feel like a general who fought hard and captured another village. The war is far from over, but I’ve gained ground.

Some people may say that I’m not living in the moment, that life is what happens when you make plans. I do live in the moment. I’m not in cryogenic sleep between goals. I’m working on them and each takes a different approach and a different type of effort. If living in the moment means going and getting drunk, then yes, I’m not living in the moment. But I feel like I’m living in the moment more than most people because I understand the value of each and every hour, a tool that I use to progress on a list of very ambitious goals.

I think I’ve made a habit of watching what other people achieved.

I read stories about people running ten marathons and living in seven countries. Another person lived in 25 countries. Another one worked for NASA. Another guy built one of the first 1000 websites in the world.

It is simply inspiring.

I also like a website called Impossible HQ (www.impossiblehq.com). On this site there is a so called “impossible list” containing many different goals. Joel Runyon achieved things that most of us just dream about, that are within the realm of even possibility for many folks. Everything from 100 consecutive push-ups to visiting 20 countries to speak at a Fortune 50 company. It may not seem a big deal for you (yeah, right, that’s what I want from my life, to do 100 push-ups) but for me, they are really inspiring.

They push the limit of what you can do, what you are. Even going without Internet for a month is something hard to do. Many people will say that it is a breeze but it takes a lot of willpower and lifestyle design to do it.

Then there is NerdFitness (http://www.nerdfitness.com/). This guy lived through more experiences in a few years than entire groups in their lifetime.

And who can forget Leo Babauta? While it is not impressive for most people, the simplicity of his goal made me admire him. These are not the type of goals for which you can write a script and create a movie but they are small and meaningful ones (http://zenhabits.net/).

Among them are (http://zenhabits.net/my-story/):

  • He quit smoking.
  • He ran several marathons.
  • He developed the habit of waking up early.
  • He wrote a novel.
  • He completely eliminated his debt.

Again, not impressive but very healthy things for you to do and I must admit it, I’ll “steal” a few of his goal to work towards – especially since a large part of that list is made out of keystone habits which I need to develop anyway.

The point here is that goal setting works. You set goals, you work towards them, you accomplish them and you move towards the next level. That’s why I urge you to set meaningful goals for you in 2016 and stick to them.

Best regards,
Razvan

3 / 365: Life is a game of inches.

You see … many people think that progress is done in a dramatic manner. That progress is when you decide to take some dramatic, huge action in your life and overnight, you become handsome, rich and popular. People think that life changes when you get that gold medal or that six pack abs or that important project.

This is false. Life is a game of inches. Life is a progress. What I’ve wrote above are events and events happen only as a consequence of processes. The event is like the blowing on the candles of the birthday cake but the process is actually baking and preparing that cake.

Life in a way is like in war. You are winning ground or you are losing ground. You are moving forward with your troops and gaining distance on the enemy or you are not. It is a game of attrition, where every single day, you do what you need to do and you make small progress. When that small progress happens, it is a consequence of many days of small and consistent progress. The event is always the result of the process.

A good life is like a WW2 frontline. On one side you have inertia and you have outside circumstances that generally, tend to keep you down. On the other side, it is your will to build a better self and a better life. You are on the left side, that major event is on the right side. And then each day, you fight for every inch of the ground. You don’t jump over the field. You fight over every trench, every tree, every rock, every bridge, every house, everything in your path. You push forward and then you set up a defensive position knowing that life will push back.

And one day, you’ll reach your event. You’ll reach your goal. But by that moment, you are a different person. The goal is just like a bonus. The real wealth is the person that you’ve became in order to get there, one of the most ironic facts in life.

This happened to me rather often. I set to embark on a grand goal. And I work towards it. I fight, I struggle, I suffer towards accomplishing it. I find flaws with myself and I fix them in order to progress. I learn new things. I become better at what I do. And one day, I reach my goal. But I’m not the same person as the one that started. I’m different. Stronger. Better. Wiser. So the goal doesn’t matter that much to me anymore. The fact that I’ve struggled to get there made me grow and this matters a lot more than any reward may be there. But we always understand this in hindsight. We always understand that the real wealth is the person we become and not the reward, even if we are motivated 99.9% of the way by the reward itself.

That email that you can send counts. That phone call counts. Cleaning the dishes counts. Shaving in the morning counts. Drinking a glass of water now counts. Everything counts. Everything makes you progress. Some things will progress you inches. Others will have a stronger impact, like deciding to run in the morning, working on an important project or going to a workshop. But life is a battlefield and the actions you take today determine if you are gaining ground or if you are losing it!

There are many good analogies for life. You can use whatever you want. It can be boxing, where you give and take hits. It can be running where life is a marathon and you need to pace yourself to make steady progress over a long time, instead of sprinting and burning out. It can be warfare that leads to the above analogy. It can be whatever you want it to be as long as you understand the concept – what you do today MATTERS. Everything you do productive moves you towards your goal and everything you do not either keeps you in place or even moves you back!

But here’s another secret that few people know about. It is not only about the end destination. Let’s say that you want to develop a six packs abs and you start working out. You have your own reasons like getting laid more often and looking yourself with pride in the mirror.

Will you get these things when you reach the end destination?

No. In the meantime you’ll get improved self-esteem. You’ll get more energy. You’ll get motivation and discipline. You’ll meet new people and tens of other advantages. A goal carries far more rewards than the obvious ones and some are available when you start, some almost at the end, but generally, when you pursuit something, you are rewarded consistently, not only at the end.

So focus on what needs to be done today. Forget that movie. C’mon, do you think watching that movie is really going to improve your life? You could be doing something that brings you far better advantages. It’s like watching porn vs going out and having real sex. Why watch porn when you can meet a great girl tonight and have the time of your life? Take the hard way because the hard way is always more rewarding.

Or maybe you can’t do that. But exercise instead. Read a book. Visit a forum and find out how to do it. Your goal today is to progress, to gain ground in this battlefield called life. Your destination may be 100 miles away or 100 meters away. I don’t know. But I know that I don’t know anyone to regret pursuing their dreams. I don’t know anyone to regret for having a better life and doing something great. I don’t know anyone to regret for putting in the hard work.

But I know enough people who regret for not taking action when they should have had. And each and every time I want to procrastinate, I ask myself this …

“At the end of the day, what will have progressed my life more, this or that?”. I pick a side and I stick with it. If going to the cinema and watching a movie helps me more, I do that. If not, I do whatever must be done.

Best regards,
Razvan

2 / 365: Make progress today!

Howdy,

Look, success of any kind is an uphill battle. It is not easy. It is painful. It is frustrating. It is a hassle. If you are progressing easily through your goals, then your goals are not big enough. This doesn’t mean that it needs to be a torture but progress of any kind tends to bring some form of friction.

But it is worth it. The life that is on the other side, after accomplishing your goals is worth it. Accomplishing your next task is worth it. Accomplishing what you’ve decided for today is worth it. Accomplishing your goals for this week is WORTH IT. Having a great month is again, worth it.

A good life is made out of good years. A good year is made out of good months. A good month is made out of good weeks. A good week is made out of good days. A good day is made out of good hours. A good hour is made out of WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING NOW.

So the lowest denominator is what you do now, your actions now, your progress now. It is not something in the future but the steps you take right now towards your destination. It is the step you are taking now towards the 1000 mile destination.

Because if you think about it, your goals are 1000 miles away. And you can take only one step at a time. You can’t take the car. You can’t take the train. You can’t take the plane. You need to walk towards that destination. There are no shortcuts. And sometimes you’ll have to walk through rain. Other times through thunderstorms. In rare moments, you’ll walk through a pleasent spring breeze. But you need to take those steps, one more step, one more step towards your destination.

Successful people know that they are the creators of their life. They suffer from circumstances as everyone else. They know that bad things happen and that not everyone and everything goes according to plan. Actually, most things don’t. But they know that they can control a few things.

They can control their actions. They can control their mindset. They can control what they eat. They can control how much they exercise. They can control how they treat the problems in their lives.

And that’s enough. Even if you can’t control most people … even if you can’t control some aspects of reality … you have control over your own vehicle. You are in the driver’s seat and that is enough.

Think about it this way. Your goal is on the top of a mountain. A huge mountain that is intimidating just to look at. Most people won’t even try because they don’t consider themselves good enough to achieve it. Others start but eventually fail.

You must be different. You must put on your boots and climbing gear and get to work. One step. Two steps. Three steps. One thousands steps. Ten thousands steps until you are at the end, at the peak. Until you can look at what’s around you and say “I’ve arrived bitches”. You can’t control the fact that there is snow. You can’t control the fact that there will be strong winds. You can’t control the fact that you’ll feel like freezing sometimes. But you can take one more step, one more step, one more step and eventually, you’ll reach it.

In life, it is hard to change the rules of the game. You must learn the rules, you must submit to them and you must learn how to win the game. You can change the rules only after you’ve won the game enough times to have a strong enough influence.

This morning I woke up frustrated. I’m not in the mood to do anything. I don’t want to do my fitness training in the morning. I don’t even want to shower. But I’ve made a decision to do them. Why? Because fuck failure, that’s why. Because I know I can make tomorrow better thanks to today. Because I know that in a few weeks or months I’ll look back at this day and I’ll thank myself for following through with my goals.

I have a huge list of goals that is doable but challenging, to say at least. What I’m going to do today will not complete that list. It may or it may not even make a dent in my list. But I’m taking the steps required to progress on it. There aren’t any dramatic actions that I’m aware of to finish 25% of my list overnight. So today, maybe I’ll accomplish 0.1% from my general progress from this year. But that 0.1% will make my life better tomorrow than today. In other days, I may progress 2% or 4% or 5%, because every single day, I’m building up towards reaching my destination. And one day, I’ll look at that list and what will I see?

Progress = 100%.

I’ll be done. That’s when I’ll kick back on the chair, get myself a cuban cigar, a glass of good brandy, I’ll turn up the music to the maximum and I’ll know that I’m done for this year. I’ll know that I’ve done my best and this year is highly superior thanks to everything I’ve done. I don’t know when that day will be. Maybe it will be in June. Maybe it will be in December. Maybe it will be 30 minutes before the New Year’s Eve. But I’ll reach it.

Life is what you make out of it and everything you do towards your goal will help you. The fact that I’ve decided to write these blog posts will help me. I still have around 350 to go but each and every single one will help me and if you read them, they’ll help you. The fact that I’ve exercised daily helped me. The fact that I can do 20 push-ups in the correct manner helped me. The fact that I’ve purchased a Goalscape Connect subscription helped me.

Each and every thing that I’ve told myself that I must do and I’ve done helped me. I don’t have a single regret. I can’t find a way to say “Geez, I wish I would have wasted my time instead of pursuing my goal, what a waste of time”. I am PROUD of pursuing my goals. Instead, I am ashamed of wasting so much time playing video games or watching movies or surfing the web.

  • I can live without interesting facts on Wikipedia.
  • I can live without reading general blogs.
  • I can live without discovering what’s new on EnGadget.
  • I can live without visiting forums to see the same type of info again and again.
  • I can live without smoking.
  • I can live without staying up late.
  • I can LIVE WITHOUT WEAKNESS, not for an ideal but because I want a better life.

What else can I say? You need to make the effort. You need to put in the wood in order to have the fire. If you want a huge blazing fire to warm up your life, you can’t put just a few pieces of wood. You need to put in tons of it. These tons are the discipline to do what you need to do. To wake up early. To exercise. To work hard. To become smarter. To fix your obstacles. To take care of your needs. To invest money where you need to invest.

Life is a fair mistress. She’ll treat you right. You should know this.

You’ll get rewarded for what you do that works towards your goal. You’ll get punished for what doesn’t. I’m not talking about karma. I’m talking about cause and effect. Life is not moral, life is causal.

From time to time, I’m looking back at my life.

I have only one major regret – that I haven’t tried. That I haven’t put in the action. That I haven’t paid the price towards what I wanted. I’ve tried some things that failed but at least, I’ve tried. At least I’m not wondering “what if”. But there are many areas in which I could have started earlier and do more.

I’m not trying to compare myself to amazing people who achieved amazing things at an early age. Laura Dekker sailed the world alone at age 16. Some dudes made billions of dollars in the tech niche. Some actor made tens of millions by age 18. I’m not comparing myself with them because it is not helping me. They are outliers and they are rare cases. Statistically, they are 0.000001% of the population, maybe even less.

But I’m comparing with myself, my past self to be more exact. I’m proud when I can do things a bit better, a bit more compared to a day ago or a year ago. I’m proud when I’m elevating my life even if it is by 1%. I’m proud when I’ve accomplished another goal on my list because Razvan one second before completing that goal lived an inferior life.

And I’m ashamed when I get sometimes home and instead of doing something productive, I fire up Netflix because I’m too much of a coward to face my problems heads-on and do something about them. I’m ashamed when I see a beautiful girl on the street which I’d like to meet but I don’t have the guts to approach her directly.

My goal is that one day, I won’t have any regrets like this. I won’t settle for the second or third or the 100th prize. My actions, my life, my behavior, my environment will be a reflection of what I consider that I deserve. But in order to get there, I must fight for it, every single day. One step at a time. 0.1% at a time. I have a goal to write 365 blog posts, 366 with the intro. This one will be the third I’ve wrote. 3 from 366. Before doing this, I was at 0.54%. After writing this, I’ll be at 0.81%. I’ve made a 0.3% progress but it is progress. My life is better as a consequence!

Best regards,
Razvan

1 / 365 – At least try!

STOP acting like a zombie.

Most people act like zombies. They do the same things again and again. They are stuck in their own behavioral and mental patterns. They listen to the same music, they watch the same movies, they talk to the same people, they eat the same foods.

LOOK … nothing happens until you EXIT your comfort zone.

I mean, do you really expect to have different results by doing things as you’ve always did them? Really? How do you expect that to work? Doing the same things again and again and expecting different results is called INSANITY.

If you like the results you are getting in an area of your life … THEN KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING! But if you don’t like them … change your actions so you can achieve different results.

Life is like alchemy. If you combine two elements, you’ll get a predictable result. You can combine them 10000 times, you’ll get EXACTLY the same results. If you want different outcomes, you need different ingredients.

Let me say this again. If you want to get different results than you get right now, you must do things in a different manner.

I have so many good ideas but I rarely act on them. And when I finally act on them, I’m always like “WOW, this is amazing. I should have done this sooner”. Yes, of course dummy. It is cause and effect. If you change your behavior, you’ll change the outcomes you’ll get. You can wish for things to happen in a different manner for as long as you want … but they won’t. Life doesn’t change until YOU CHANGE.

Instead of watching the same old sitcom, listen to some motivational materials. It may not make you rich and handsome (or pretty) overnight but it may lead to that. Instead of taking the bus, try to walk to work. See what happens. Instead of listening to music, listen to an audiobook. Instead of seeing people every single day and saying to yourself “she / he looks as a cool person, I wish I could strike a conversation with that person” then START a conversation. MIRACLES do not happen in life. MIRACLES are when you take actions that bring you the desired results, nothing more and nothing less.

I mean … you know what you should be doing. You should eat better … you should stop smoking or whatever addiction you have … you should exercise … you should feed your mind and motivate yourself. The keys to whatever must be done are EASY. But you MUST DO THEM.

So do them. You don’t need the entire picture. You need to take the first step. You may not know how everything connects in the grander scheme of things but if you do good things for yourself, they’ll connect eventually.

I was rewarded for every good thing I’ve done for myself, each and every time. Maybe not in that particular day but in a week, month or year. Damn, some effects of my actions were seen after a DAMN DECADE.

But sooner or later … the results shown themselves. What results do I have to show though for investing hundreds of hours or even thousands in video games? When I was 14, I spent almost an entire summer, yes, ONE ENTIRE SUMMER, playing World of Warcraft.

I used to wake up at 09:00, eat and boot up the game, playing a few hours a day. In that summer, I’ve spent at least 300 – 400 hours playing this fucking game. What did that brought me? Relaxation? A boosted self-esteem? Maybe but there were many other things that could have brought me that. You can get a payoff from every possible activity, even watching old episodes of Seinfield but there are better methods. Methods that get you 2x, 5x or even 10x the reward – and that’s where you should focus on.

You know, I’ve once read an article on Pascal vs. Locke on religion and those 20 minutes invested brought me a lot of goodwill from some people, because I knew this obscure reference and I’ve applied it at the right time. One day I’ve decided to use BlaBla car (ride sharing service) and this brought me some very interesting friendships and the opportunity to fly in a light airplane, something that very few people get the chance to do.

It was one single damn decision. Take BlaBla car because it seemed interesting instead of taking the train. It was doing something I knew I should be doing. A few years ago, I’ve decided to connect with a random stranger on a self-development board and have a beer with this person. We’ve became great friends and we’ve been great friends ever since.

I could have decided to watch a movie then. I could have decided to stay at home. But I’ve decided to meet some new people and I was REWARDED for this. This is how life functions. Everything you desire is out there, adventure, money, health, experiences, etc but you need to take the actions that brings you there. And these aren’t usually what you do every single day, unless you are building rituals and habits that get you there which we will discuss at a later point.

All my girlfriends came in my life almost by mistake. It was always the decision to get outside of the house and do something instead of staying in. In some cases, it happened after a few hours, in other cases after a few weeks and in another, after three months. But it happened sooner or later. I could have sit my sorry ass and watch Suits but I’ve decided to do something and that something lead to something I hadn’t expected at all.

Everything you want is OUT THERE and the price to get it is usually something you don’t want to do. That thing may scare you or it may require effort. I don’t want to exercise daily. It is sometimes boring and it is sometimes too hard. But I do it. Why? Because if I WANT the benefits that come with a nice physique, then I have to pay the price. I won’t be a hypocrite and ask people to like me the way I am, I’m willing to pay the price to raise to their standards, just as I expect them to do to mine!

You need to have faith that what you’ll do will eventually connect with your goals. And it will, eventually! Trust the system. If you believe that it doesn’t work, then you will never do it. But it does work. Sometimes there’s a 1% chance for it to work and you get lucky for it to work. But chances are far higher than 1%, even if you can’t see the underlying system of how it works.

Look my friend … I’ve made many mistakes in my life but the biggest mistake that I regret is not doing what needed to be done. Taking the easy way. Not waking up early. Not leaving my comfort zone. Not asking that girl out. Not going on that trip that I wanted. Not pursuing that project. Not trying, at least trying.

You know how often people try before they give up? Less than one. YES, LESS THAN ONCE. I mean most people don’t even try to do something. In order to succeed, you need to try, fail and try again but most, don’t even try. It is like they have a 40 km marathon in front of them but they don’t even take the first steps. That’s sad. Don’t let that be you please.

Best regards,
Razvan Rogoz

My pledge to you …

Howdy,

Two days ago, I’ve renewed my subscription to Deezer. Deezer is a music service, similar to Apple Music that I’ve used for almost a year.

I’ve rebuilt my new playlist and I’ve activated flow, which acts like Genius on iTunes, it builds a temporary playlist for you, based on my past preferences. And then it started with an audio from Jaret Grossman, a guy that I’ve listened for again and again, morning by morning, for weeks in a end. I guess he was my constant dose of motivation when I had a rather boring and sad period in my life.

You can find him at: http://www.jaretgrossman.com/. However, what few people know is that about two years ago, Jaret took a pledge. He pledged to create a motivational video each and every day for 365 days and he did that. I’ll be honest and say that his videos are more valuable than the most expensive Tony Robbins seminar. Now they are not on YouTube anymore but you can find them on his website for free.

I can assume that there were two reasons why he did this. The first reason was in order to motivate himself. It is hard not to stay focused when every day you are teaching people to succeed, or at least inspire people to succeed. The second was to get a following.

This lead me to my own project. I will write one motivational blog post per day, for the next 365 days, designed to inspire you to live a better life. I will aim to create a fire under your ass to get you out there, outside of your comfort zone and push yourself towards accomplishing your goal. I want you to be inspired, I want you to have a better day and I want you to discover what you are capable off.

And in the same time, I want to push myself.

So return here every single day and you’ll find a motivational pill. Sometimes I may delay it but I promise dear reader, that at the end of these 365 consecutive days, you’ll have 365 consecutive sparks of motivation.

Best regards,
Razvan Rogoz