How to Win at Life in Your 3os

Full discloser: I turned 30 not that long ago. It was the first birthday that inspired existential angst. Where has all the time gone? What am I doing with my life? Will my life sputter out or blossom into greatness? Will I ever see the Tampa Bay Rays win the Series? So many unanswered questions.

Everyone talks about how important your 20s are, and with good reason. In our 20s, we’ll likely choose our universities, select our majors, start our careers, and at probably meet the person we wind up marrying. With so many key decisions coming in our 20s, it can be easy to assume that success or failure in life depends on our 20s.

Malarkey.

See, here the problem with our 20s. It’s all kinda set up for us. Go to school? Apply to some places and go to the best one that accepts you. Choose a major? Well, select the one you like, or your dad did, or your friends are in, or one that was in a table of top-earning majors. Future spouse? Date a few people and when you meet one that seems better than the rest, go ahead and marry them.

It doesn’t seem like it when you are in that decade, but your 20’s are very much mapped out by family and social expectations.

But how about your 30s? This is the decade, you will sink or swim. The decade that will launch you past your peers or see you stagnate. Why?

It comes down to those social expectations. All those expectations in our 20s propel us forward. Go to school. Graduate. Date. Marry. Intern. Work. Manage. But what pushes us forward in our 30s? Generally, we aren’t meeting and dating as many people as we were in our 20s. We aren’t bouncing from job to job. We aren’t learning tons of new things like when we were in classes.

We settle in.

When we settle in, we stagnate. Our growth slows dramatically. Our horizons shrink. We wind up with a stable set of skills, friends, interests, and activities.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can learn and growth and advance just as fast as we did in our 20s. We just have to push ourselves now.

No professor will tell you to read a book. You’ll have to hunt down great books and choose to read them.

Friends won’t be dragging you to the college bar to meet people. You’ll have to choose to get involved in community groups, local sports, or volunteer to meet new people frequently.

If you are in a long-term relationship, you’ll have to make the effort to find new ways to understand your partner and new ways to enjoy your relationship.

If you can choose to create this kind of forward momentum in your 30s, this decade will be your best yet. And you’ll be way, way ahead of your peers who settle in and stop growing.

Win this decade. Win at life. Choose progress over stagnation.

Until next time,

Jamie

Follow us on Facebook 🙂

 

The Two Things You Simply Must Have to Feel More Confident

Hello readers, it is great to be back! I took a two week break from writing here at Improve My Life This Year because I moved… across the world. I had been living in South Korea for almost 6 years, but now I am back in the United States of America.

Today I want to talk about confidence. Almost everyone wants to feel more confident. Well today I’ll simplify how to achieve self-confidence. There’s tons of info and contradictory ideas out there on the topic, so my goal today is to make it as clear and uncomplicated as possible. If you want to be more confident, you really only need two simple things. Let’s check them out.

Belief and Skills

That’s really it. You just need to believe in yourself and have skills at whatever you are doing. Nothing more is needed. Let’s look at these in detail.

Self-Belief

Because of how we were raised, many of us go through life with limiting self-beliefs. “I can’t, I’ll fail, I’m not good enough,” etc. Many of these are developed in childhood and unless we stop to think about it, they remain unnoticed, affecting our lives into the present. Stop and think about it, is your gut reaction to new challenges fear or excitement? If it is fear, you need to realize that you are are likely telling yourself negative stories in your mind. You can’t be confident without first deciding to become your own number one supporter, your own your strongest fan, your own believer.

Skills

The problem is, most self-improvement advice ends here. Belief in yourself is important, but, it is not enough for true confidence and success. Think about it. Imagine if you want to fly. You can think all the positive thoughts you want. You can believe in your power to fly. You can repeat a mantra – “I can fly, I can fly, I can fly.” But if you leap from the cliff, you’ll still fall and day. True confidence isn’t ignorant positivity. It is self-assured ability. If you want true confidence to fly, you need to take pilot lessons. You need to practice flying an airplane under careful supervision and direction for months. Then, after you complete your training, you truly can believe in yourself. You can fly!

True confidence, true success requires just two things. Self-belief and skills. So now it is time to get started. Today, right now, I want you to walk over to the mirror, look at yourself, and say, “I believe in you. You can accomplish your dreams. You can overcome your weaknesses. You can become the person you wish to be.” Then I want you to take a concrete step toward gaining the skills that will grant you true confidence. Check out our reading list for some great books that’ll teach some great skills. Or check out Kaplan. They’ve got tons of great online learning materials that will set you up for confidence and success.

Get started today and soon you’ll be amazed at the confident man or woman you have become!

Check us out on Facebook or Twitter!

Until next time,

Jamie

The Best Dating Advice I Ever Received

Recently on Quora, I shared an answer to an interesting question: What is the best dating advice you have ever been given? My answer has already received almost 300,000 views, and has generated some great conversations (and some controversy), so I decided to share it with my readers here on Improve My Life This Year.

The Best Dating Advice I Ever Received

My best friend scribbled it on a napkin in my college bar 8 years ago.

S = L + (RV x MV)

That’s the best dating advice I ever received. The basic idea is your success in dating is one part luck and another part your perceived value.

Perceived value is a function of how much actual value you generate and how well you market that value.

So for the mathematically inclined,

Success = Luck + (real value x the marketing you do), or simply

S = L + (RV x MV)

That’s pretty much it. Punch in the numbers and that’s how your dating experiences will go.

Want more luck? Take more shots (not tequila shots, though who knows, that might work too). No, the shots we are talking about are attempts. If something has a 1 in a 100 chance of occurring, then statistically, you are about 50 shots away from getting it. Ask people out. Get rejected. Ask more out. Don’t hide your intentions. If you like someone, own it and show it. All other variables held constant, you chances of dating success go up, up, up as long you get out of your own head and just talk to the girl.

Want more real value? Then find ways to become more valuable as a person. Learn how to be witty. To make great conversation. Learn where the coolest restaurants are in town. Learn a musical instrument. Get physically fit. Groom well. Develop your own style. Be honest. These things and hundreds of others as well are avenues to build your value.

Want to market your value? Don’t hide your light under the proverbial bushel. If you have a funny joke, tell it! If you know a great restaurant, invite your friends. If you play guitar, play it outside the school cafeteria on a Tuesday afternoon just because you feel like it. If you are good at presentations, volunteer to make the big sales pitch at work. Whatever it is – don’t be afraid to show off the value that you’ve worked hard to build.

That’s about it. If you follow S = L + (RV x MV), you’ll achieve dating success! Everyone has a weakest variable – find yours and work on it!

Like our Facebook page to get our latest self-improvement advice in your newsfeed daily!

And for guys who are really serious about improving your dating skills, check out The Dating Playbook for Men by Andrew Ferebee. His 7-step system will simply and clearly help you become an attractive, valuable man. Enjoy!

41GdElaW9dL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Bulletproof: Real Deal or Snake Oil?

Many people in the self-improvement world are already familiar with Bulletproof. For those of you who aren’t, check the video above for a brief introduction.

The basic premise of Bulletproof is that through biohacking, we can have more energy, need less sleep, feel better, lose weight, etc through easier methods than just slogging out hours in the gym or nitpicking every detail of our diet.

I’m a cynic at heart, so when I hear claims that seem to be too good to be true, I generally expect them to be b.s.

So I’ve dug into the ideas behind Bulletproof, and I am pleasantly surprised, though perhaps not fully convinced yet. Let me explain.

About a year ago, I began to increase my consumption of protein and especially fat. I’m naturally thin, so I was trying to bulk up (I’m up 10 pounds in 6 months 🙂 )

But surprisingly, I feel mentally sharper and have more energy than I did before my dietary changes.

It turns out, I unwittingly had started following a rough approximation of the Bulletproof diet. Here’s the diet is explained in a bit more detail, from BulletproofExec.com.

How To Eat Bulletproof

The Bulletproof® Diet is the foundation for a Bulletproof Body and a Bulletproof Mind. It’s one of the most important things you can do to increase your performance across the board.

Target 50-60% of calories from healthy fats (this is easy and tastes good), 20% from protein, and the rest from vegetables.

Using the roadmap is simple: eat the stuff in the green zone and watch what happens. No calorie counting. No measuring. Just eat until you’re satisfied and enjoy the benefits of eating good food: feel your brain, body, and hormones re-awaken, effortlessly lose weight, and gain muscle with little or no exercise.

The Bulletproof Diet looks related to paleo, primal, or caveman diets based on what our ancestors probably ate. There are certainly similarities, but the Bulletproof Diet’s approach to nutrition is slightly different from that of a paleo-style diet. The Bulletproof Diet arose from research into biochemistry and human performance. For example, it doesn’t shun supplementation just because cavemen didn’t supplement, and it doesn’t promote all the foods our paleolithic ancestors likely ate. For that reason, the Bulletproof Diet overcomes some of the problems that can arise from long-term paleo dieting.

Now the fun part of this is how Dave Asprey recommends getting some of those extra fats into your diet – Bulletproof Coffee. Bulletproof Coffee is low-toxin coffee mixed with grass-fed, unsalted butter and brain octane oil.

For people trying to lose weight, the coffee can be drunk in place of a meal at breakfast. For people like me who are trying to bulk up, you can drink it along with a high protein breakfast like ham and eggs.

I’ve tried it, I love it, and about 200,000 people have tried it out as well, including a lot of people in demanding roles like performers, executives, and entrepreneurs.

All that said, there is one part of Dave Asprey’s overall approach I do not agree with. He diminishes the importance of exercise, but there is simply too much research that supports the vital role exercise plays in many areas of our life – heart health, mood, sleep quality, stress reduction, etc.

So while I think the Bulletproof Diet and Bulletproof Coffee can have a positive impact and in your life and I encourage you to give it a try, I do not believe it should be used as an excuse to reduce exercise.

Bottom Line: Add Bulletproof to your life, but don’t do it instead of the other healthy habits you already have (or are working to develop).

All the best,

Jamie

The Rediculous Power of 1 Dollar

dollar-1362243_960_720.jpgHi folks! It’s Jamie here again today to talk about another way to Improve Your Life This Year. Today’s topic – your personal finances.

I randomly remembered a conversation that I had several years ago with a friend. It was back before the era of smart phones, so we debated it over beers and then left it unresolved by the end of the night.

The idea was simple: If you set aside a dollar a day, invested those dollars in an index fund, how much would you have at retirement?

The thing is the math is a bit tough to do, so we roughly tried to approximate the math and then argued whether it was very much or not.

So today I played around with the numbers and I want to share both the results as well as my interpretations.

Really, this problem is pretty simple math. You only need to know how much you invested, how long it was invested, and what rate of return you received.

If you start at 30 and retire at 65 and earn 5% per year, a dollar a day will give you about $35,000.

If you start at 30 and retire at 65 and earn 8% per year, a dollar a day will give you about $63,000.

If you start at 20 and retire at 65 and earn 5% per year, a dollar a day will give you about $61,000.

If you start at 20 and retire at 65 and earn 8% per year, a dollar a day will give you about $152,000.

Lessons Learned

  1. Start Early. There is a huge difference in the final outcome if we can start earlier rather than later. No matter how old you are now, start saving. If money is tight, find a way to save just a dollar a day.
  2. Interest Rates Matter. Small changes in interest rates have a huge impact. That means low-cost or no-cost index funds are best because lower costs mean higher real rates of return for you.
  3. Every Little Bit Helps. Even a dollar a day leads to a huge sum in the end. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t skip savings just because you feel you can’t save a lot. Even a dollar a day matters greatly.

The Art of the Deal vs. Hard Choices

tdy_mitchell_clinton_160519__588455.nbcnews-ux-1080-600Being a bit of a political junkie, I watched both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention this year. Of course, I have my own personal preferences going into this election, but here at Improve My Life This Year, we’ll remain impartial.

Regardless what you think of either candidate, neither would have reached the level of fame, power, and wealth that they have without having some skills and abilities that we might be able to put to work in our own life.

And that got me to thinking. With so many undecided voters out there this election year, why not read the most popular book written by each candidate to get a better feel for what they believe, how they think, and to identify skills and abilities from them worth emulating.

So for Mr. Donald J Trump, I have selected The Art of the Deal – it is by far his most famous book. For Secretary Hillary Clinton, I have selected the Hard Choices.

To makes things exciting, from now until November 8th, I’ll be tabulating which book my readers choose more and once a month I’ll be updating you with the stats! Happy reading and may the best man (or woman!) win!


The Art of the Deal: Donald J. Trump
512P3KPfMjL._SY346_

Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump lays out his professional and personal worldview in this classic work—a firsthand account of the rise of America’s foremost deal-maker.
 
“I like thinking big. I always have. To me it’s very simple: If you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big.”—Donald J. Trump
 
Here is Trump in action—how he runs his organization and how he runs his life—as he meets the people he needs to meet, chats with family and friends, clashes with enemies, and challenges conventional thinking. But even a maverick plays by rules, and Trump has formulated time-tested guidelines for success. He isolates the common elements in his greatest accomplishments; he shatters myths; he names names, spells out the zeros, and fully reveals the deal-maker’s art. And throughout, Trump talks—really talks—about how he does it. Trump: The Art of the Deal is an unguarded look at the mind of a brilliant entrepreneur—the ultimate read for anyone interested in the man behind the spotlight.
 
“Trump makes one believe for a moment in the American dream again.”—The New York Times

“Donald Trump is a deal maker. He is a deal maker the way lions are carnivores and water is wet.”—Chicago Tribune
 
“Fascinating . . . wholly absorbing . . . conveys Trump’s larger-than-life demeanor so vibrantly that the reader’s attention is instantly and fully claimed.”—Boston Herald
 
“A chatty, generous, chutzpa-filled autobiography.”—New York Post


Hard Choices: Hillary Rodham Clinton515otzAA0oL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s inside look at the choices and challenges she has faced is “a subtle, finely calibrated work…with succinct and often shrewd appraisals of the complex web of political, economic, and historical forces in play around the world” (The New York Times).

In the aftermath of her 2008 presidential run, Hillary Rodham Clinton expected to return to the United States Senate. To her surprise, newly elected President Barack Obama asked her to serve in his administration as Secretary of State. “Hard Choices is a richly detailed and compelling chronicle of Clinton’s role in the foreign initiatives and crises that defined the first term of the Obama administration…it teems with small, entertaining details about her interactions with foreign leaders (Los Angeles Times).

Secretary Clinton and President Obama had to decide how to repair fractured alliances, wind down two wars, and address a global financial crisis. Along the way, they grappled with tough dilemmas, especially the decision to send Americans into harm’s way, from Afghanistan to Libya to the hunt for Osama bin Laden. By the end of her tenure, Secretary Clinton had gained a truly global perspective on the major trends reshaping today’s landscape.

In Hard Choices, “a rich and lively narrative” (Entertainment Weekly), Hillary Clinton offers her views on what it will take for the United States to compete and thrive. This “memoir is serious, sober, and substantive” (The New York Times Book Review).

Enjoy your reading!

Jamie

The 3 Shortcuts to Wisdom

books-768426_960_720Recently I answered a question on Quora on the topic of shortcuts to wisdom. I’ve expanded my ideas and want to share them with my readers here at Improve My Life This Year.

Year by year, I’m sure you notice that you become wiser. What if we could accelerate that process? What if we could become wiser, faster? We can. Let’s see how. Let’s see the 3 shortcuts to wisdom.

Shortcut #1 to Wisdom – Mistakes

You learn most when you are in-over-your-head, taking on challenges you never faced before. And in that kind of environment, you will screw up a lot and make many mistakes. The pain and frustration of those setbacks will spark awareness and new understanding. And you’ll be on the fast-track to wisdom. That is of course if you engage in self-reflection at each moment and use your mistakes as learning opportunities.

Shortcut #2 to Wisdom – Mentors

The cool thing about mentors is, they have already screwed up a lot. So, of course, you can spend a lot of time making your own mistakes, but another great way to become wise is to learn from the mistakes and experiences of others. On the plus side, learning through mentors saves you a lot of struggle and pain. On the down side, that lack of direct experience makes it harder for you to truly understand as well as you can from your own mistakes.

Shortcut #3 to Wisdom – Reading

The final shortcut is reading. Think of this, if you read a book by Elon Musk, you are almost having a conversation with him. If you read my post, you are, for a brief moment, peering into my little bit of wisdom. Reading is not so dissimilar to finding a mentor. The conversation is just one-way from them to you, but you are not limited by time and space. You can select from millions of potential mentors from the past and present with a quick trip to the library. Or better yet, you can get a Kindle and read on-the-go, throughout the day. Wherever and however you prefer, just find  a way to read.

Good luck, and may you find wisdom on your life journey!

Jamie

61Ho1QPL1aL._SL1000_.jpg