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The 6 Things You Need To Do To Change Your Life In 2016

This is a brief snapshot of my last three years:

This isnt a humble-brag kind of a post. Theres no straight line of success here. Rather, its a series of starts and stops, a zig-zag line of coming more and more into myself, all of it predicated by a hunger to constantly re-invent. Re-invent. Build things, then tear them down, then build a new thing again, because stasis is not an option. If you arent moving forward, you are falling back. So if youre ready to embrace a little turbulence, and a lot of fear(that weird heady feeling of excitement in your gut), then this is your guide on how to re-invent yourself in 2016. Note, I wont tell you to exercise or meditate. You should do those everyday of course but they are enablers to the goal, not the goal itself. Dont put all your mental energy into running a 10K race. If your goal isnt so insurmountable that it slashes your insides, then its not a goal. So heres how to change your life:

1. Create (or at least to create).

If a mans life is measured by the extent of its impact on others, then dont push paper around. Create stuff thats going to enhance peoples lives. A product. An idea. Art. A book. A philosophy. A company. An agency. A new way of doing things in your job, whatever. The world will disproportionately reward the creator. Its simple supply-demand economics. 2% of people are creating art, 98% are consuming art (2001 census). 13% of people are entrepreneurs. 87% of people work for them. 10% of executives in a company create new systems, 90% follow them (Gallup). Be in the Top 2%, 10%, 13%, and get results ahead of the majority. And the results arent just financial. You lose your sense of self, experience an instant of divinity, become truly alive when you create. Stuck for ideas? Maybe its time for that long overdue sabbatical? Try it. Youll never regret it.

2. Kickstart yourside hustle.

Ive been in marketing roles with P&G, BCG etc. since 2002 so I can tell you with some confidence that the last 3-5 years are a watershed in business history. With Facebook advertising, Instagram advertising, and continued improvement in Search/Ad Words etc., you can reach the exact target audience for your passion product in incredibly cost efficient ways. Seven years ago when I launched my first novel, Keep off the Grass, my only option to reach my readers was to hire an expensive PR agency that begged media outlets for coverage. This year, when I launched The Seeker in India, I reached everyone who had read similar books at a fraction of the cost. Old models are changing. Barriers to entry are crashing. The balance of power is shifting to the Davids. If you have a passion for anything, photography, writing, playing the guitar, whatever, you have no excuses anymore. Start on the side today (2016), become excellent (2017), and youll start making good money off it in 2018 to quit your main gig in 2019. Work your guts out to become excellentthats the only requirement the world is placing on you today.

3. Read like a maniac.

Work in the morning, play with your kids in the evening, do your side hustle in the night, then from 10p.m.-midnight, read until your eyes burn. Dont read everything you can lay your hands on. Plant a seed in your mind and nurture that seed by ravishing it with the best ideas in the world. In 2015, I planted a seed in my head about creating my own independent income stream. So just like Id done in 2013 with meditation and 2014 with writing, I read 50+ books to nurture the idea. Here are 3 examples (until this year youd never have found non-fiction/self-help on my book shelf):

a. The Millionaire Fastlane (Horrible title, great book)
b. The Art of Non Conformity
c. Think and Grow Rich

I also readTim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work WeekandJames Altucher’s blogevery day,and I followGary Vaynerchuck on Youtube.

I don’tknow the exact impact of my reading. Perhaps I change 0.5% for every book I read. But thats the magic of compounding. If youre changing 0.5% each day, its going to add up at the end of the yearand your world will transform.

4. Avoid thebusy-ness trap.

Do you feel you are rushing too much? Or your schedule is so packed already that theres no time for a side hustle? Then, carefully scrutinize your day and ruthlessly eliminate the 80% of relationships that are adding <20% of emotional value to your life. If your stomach knots with dread but you feel you need to do something only because of social norm, then dont do it. Youre not helping anyonenot yourself, not the person youre supposedly doing things for. Remember, growth=number of difficult conversations youre having everyday. Have the tough conversations and eliminate the dross. Busy-ness is a choice. This year, I chose not to be busy by skipping happy hours and obligatory family events that leave me depressed. I still failed a few times and attended too many dinners I didnt want to go to. Im going to be even stricter with my time in 2016.

5. Become a venture-capitalist Monk.

Your side hustle is your passion. Your day job sucks. No big deal. Dont quit, dont complain. Become a venture capitalist, a Robin Hood for your own ideas. Make money in your day job and pour it into your side projects. Take the best writing course in the world if youre an aspiring writer. Advertise your wedding photography business. Take a week off and learn filmmaking in New York. Rent store space for your cupcake shop. Dont buy houses and cars and expensive dinners at Nobu or whatever else people burn their money on. Live like a monk. Strip your life of the non-essentials and seek salvation only in nurturing your soul. Everything else is dust as the Buddha would say. Invest in your own growth because you are the one asset thats going to appreciate year-after-year no matter the economic environment.

6. Finally, train yourself to think only exceptional thoughts.

Nietzsche and Victor Frankl said it best. To live is to suffer and your suffering is like air in a balloonit will fill your whole heart. You can either fill your heart with mediocre thoughts like and and . Or you can pause and torment yourself with bigger thoughts, such as:Why was the world created? Does God exist? How do I live my purpose? Can I step up my side hustle? Exceptional thoughts lead to exceptional actionsand nothing less shouldbe your goal next year!

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