My thoughts on habit stacks, growth hacking, and lessons I learnt on the road.
There’s a reason so many entrepreneurs talk about self-development: it’s a crucial component of success.
A ship needs a captain, and you might think that you’re the captain. But you’d be wrong. You’re just the helmsman steering the ship.
And often, it’s your values that captain you.
Your values are the lamp you hold to light the dark roads of life. They keep you steady and on the right path even when it seems like the whole thing might just crumble away from beneath your feet.
Developing these values all comes down to discipline and an ability to ask yourself hard questions. What really matters to you? Where are you going, and where are you coming from? What traits do you want to nurture and grow within yourself? What weaknesses do you struggle with… Exploring these challenging topics will help you grow as a person and as an entrepreneur.
Self-development is not just about hammering out push-ups and meditating for four hours a day. These things might be exactly what you need, but it’s the intentions that drive the process that really define self-development.
Because self-development is a process. It’s a process of learning exactly WHAT your values are and WHO you want to be. And that means getting to know yourself.
Find the edges of your comfort zone and step beyond them: that is how we grow.
That’s why I always tell people to do the things that scare them. By doing this, you put yourself in the way of hardship rather than simply letting hardship find you (which it always does). Not only do you prepare yourself to face the challenges of life, but you grow accustomed to facing them head-on. In time, you even start to relish the challenges and hardship. Because the rewards for taking the harder road are always so much sweeter.
And it’s those challenges that lead to self-development. By facing hardship, finding a belief in your capabilities, and, ultimately, the values that drive you, you find yourself. Through scary, uncomfortable, sometimes risky experiences – you meet your true self and get to know your strengths and weaknesses – your passions and what matters most to you.
A lot of people are scared to truly learn about themself. It’s a scary road within, and sometimes, the things we find there are just plain terrifying. I know that I’ve been scared shitless before when exploring the truths of what makes me tick. But if you’re going to start steering the ship of your life and stop simply letting the currents take you where they please, you need a captain.
Everyone is going to take a different road, and everyone is going to have their own tools. Below, you’ll find a whole slew of wicked content on the tools I’ve employed over the years, starting from a shy teenager setting forth on his first solo trip to the online entrepreneur and veteran vagabond that I am today.
But there are still some things I believe EVERYONE should try, because the below steps are all incredibly powerful…
This is what truly changed me. Stepping out of your comfort zone, meeting people, dealing with what goes wrong, and spending lots of time with yourself. Those things are all an integral part of solo travel. And they’re all also integral to self-development.
Whether it’s solo travel, a long trek into nowhere, or even just heading out lone wolf for a night on the town, being alone and going it alone takes you right out of your comfort zone and into the growth. Because in truth, being alone is one of the scariest things of all. But spending time with yourself, talking to yourself, and most importantly, listening to yourself is the only way to begin understanding yourself.
A healthy body is the foundation of a healthy mind. But more than that, staying fit is an act of willpower – you learn to do it even when you don’t want to and keep pushing yourself even when you’re ready to give up. That’s the core of success right there.
Morning routines are where it’s at! If the first act of the day is jumping right out of bed at the first alarm and getting on with something that makes you feel good and helps you grow (eg. exercise and a journaling sesh), then you’re already having a good day. It doesn’t have to be mornings, but a solid routine – meaning you do it every day – cultivates a healthy mind and a productive flow. Cultivating the DISCIPLINE to stick to a routine is an incredibly important skill.
Too many people don’t journal and I really don’t understand why. Journaling has saved me over the years. In the process of getting to know yourself, you’re going to have a lot to say. But too much of that and you go a bit cuckoo. Get that shit outta your brain and onto paper!
Gratitude turns what we have into enough. On the days that the weather sucks and the world just seems greyer, look at your life and realistically assess what you have to be grateful for. I promise, it’s a lot.
We never stop growing as long as we’re learning, and we only stop learning when we get lazy. Consuming books, podcasts, docos, and the words of the wise men and women I look up to keeps me constantly on my toes. It’s a constant state of reassessment of what I thought to be true.
Just that. There’s room in every life to let your hair down and run amok from time to time. But the only way to cultivate the willpower to be the person you want to be is by saying no to the monkey… 98% of the time. ;)
I certainly ain’t no guru, but you don’t have to be to meditate. Just the act of showing up everyday, sitting and being present, and listening to what’s happening with you – even for 5 minutes – is enough. In time, you remember to take those breaths, even in the most stressful moments. Just turning UP and making the time for the practice is a huge step.
To bring it back full circle, be conscious of the journey of finding your values. Meditating on them, journaling about them, and even just hiking up a mountain while you reflect – give serious thoughts about what they are. And when the time comes to follow through on your values, you’ll be ready to step up to the plate, even in the darkest periods. Because you have a map that shows you in which direction you should go.
There you go: that’s your daily dose of Ditch Your Desk wisdom! But why stop there?
If you’d like to read more about my journey and how I interacted with these values (and a whole lot more), you can check out the extended story of my self-development and entrepreneurship.
Otherwise, there’s a whole lot of tasty content just below to dig into. Bon appetit!
Case study: Lessons learnt whilst selling my own products on Amazon.