Almost Each of Us Has Received 10 Tons of Free Advice. But an Iota of It Is Truly Valuable.
We get it. There are a million and one websites, blogs and YouTube channels, telling you a billion and one things about how to live your life. How to spend your money — how to earn more money — how to do your morning routine, communicate with your dog, and basically everything under the sun. Some of it can qualify as wise words from enlightened sages. But some if it is plain bullshit. And sometimes it’s hard to figure out which is which.
Of course, we realize that we’re one of those million and one YouTube channels we just mentioned. But as you Aluxers know, you can rely on us to cut out the BS and give you those pearls of wisdom that really are worth listening to. Today, we’re focusing on advice that sounds like BS, but we’ve found from experience, really brings results.
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Even if an article offers wisdom, if it’s a long read we tend to see it as BS. Rather than exhausting yourself, let our YouTube upload blow your mind:
With that cleared out, let’s reinvestigate some wise words based in reality that we’ve brushed off as useless pep talk.
Start Investing Young and You’ll See a Huge Difference
We know that in your 20s, investing for your 50s and beyond may not be top priority. Especially when your 20s feel like the last carefree decade before you have to get around to really adulting. Why worry about a time of your life that’s so far away?
The simple answer? The benefits down the line will be huge. You get one huge advantage — time. Time for the money you’ve put away to compound. That means when the interest you earn in your investments starts to earn interest itself. And it’s when your money really starts to grow.
Imagine you start investing $300 a month on the stock market when you’re 20. If you manage an average 8% growth per year, by the time you hit 60, that will have become over a million dollars. If you’d started ten years later at 30, that would be closer to half a million dollars. Yep, getting in there ten years earlier could double your returns. Convinced yet?
On the topic of money, just remember these wise words…
Money Won’t Solve All Your Problems
Don’t believe us? Just look at all the lottery winners you read about in the news who go totally off the rails. Or celebrities who go off on insane Tweetstorms about how their wife and family are ganging up on them, and they’re also going to try running for president. Yep, looks like money didn’t fix things for them.
And in business — just pumping money into a startup won’t make it succeed. You need to have the fundamentals right.
When we say the fundamentals, we mean the things you need in place to really make it work. If it’s a business, is the product or service of value to people? If not, no amount of investment’s going to make it happen. And in your personal life, have you figured out what really makes you happy, fulfilled and well-balanced. Nope? Well, splashing out on shopping sprees, or partying with people you don’t really like in expensive places you don’t really want to be, just aren’t going to fix things.
The First Step Is the Hardest One to Take
Have you ever planned on going to the gym — but just found it impossible to get off your couch? Yep, we’ve all been there. But the moment you just got up, suddenly it was so much easier. Once you were in motion, somehow it didn’t take so much effort to stay in motion.
It’s that first step that gets the momentum going. And it’s the hardest one to take. It also goes for starting a business. Or learning a new skill you’ve been delaying. Quitting the job you hate. Or doing that important task you’ve been procrastinating over.
Take that first step, and the rest will follow. To quote the Chinese wise words ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’. Or to put it in really plain terms — get off of that couch, and start living the life you want to.
The Time You Need to Do Everything Doesn’t Exist
Yep. When you’re a kid, you thought life would go on forever — that you’ve got enough hours in the day to do everything you want, and enough years to make all your dreams happen. Then you grow up — and as a time-starved adult, you realize how precious time is.
So stop trying to squeeze everything into your day. Prioritize. Stop replying to every social media comment –– or talking to people on the phone that you don’t really like – stop being a perfectionist and taking double the time you need to.
And realize you’re probably not going to be able to travel everywhere in the world — so when you do travel, prioritize places you really want to go to.
Don’t Check Your Emails First Thing in the Morning
This one might seem plain wrong. And sure — if replying to emails first thing in the morning is a key part of your job, this specific strategy won’t work. But it’s the basic idea you should think about.
And the basic idea is that we spend too much of our lives not getting on with the things that really matter. Because of the constant interruptions that get in the way. You need to keep those interruptions at the door. And checking your email first thing in the morning soon turns into replying to those seventeen non-urgent requests; reading every memo you don’t even need to know about; and inviting those interruptions to take over.
In “The 4-Hour Work Week”, Timothy Ferriss explains in his own wise words how you can get rid of distractions. As well as many other strategies that helped him run a successful business, putting in only four hours a week.
If you’re aiming to boost your productivity and free up more time, we totally recommend it. As we know some of you may not be able to find it in your local bookstore, we reached out to our friends at Audible. Just go to alux.com/freebook, and it’s your first time signing up, you can get the audiobook of ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ free.
Stop Trying to Think of a Great Business Idea. Just Try and Solve a Problem in Your Life
Are you always trying to dream up a clever business idea that will make your first million? But it just never materializes? Well, maybe you’ve got the wrong approach.
Instead, think about things that you find frustrating — and figure out how to solve them. If you can fix that constant source of frustration, there’ll be other people out there who find it frustrating too. And they’ll be willing to pay for it.
That’s how Airbnb’s founders came up with the idea that became Airbnb. As CEO Brian Chesky puts it, “If we’d tried to think of a good idea, we wouldn’t have been able to think of one. You just have to find the solution for a problem in your own life.’
The best business ideas don’t come out of brainstorming things that could make you rich. They come out of frustration — and figuring out a way of fixing it.
You’ll Learn Most When You Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
As Virgin founder, Richard Branson puts it:
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you aren’t sure you can do it, say yes — then learn how to do it later.”
True — It doesn’t apply to flying a plane. It just happens that Richard Branson does own an airline — and we’re pretty sure he wouldn’t offer you a job as a pilot if you weren’t qualified.
But it works for so many other things. Somebody asks you to start a blog for them, or manage their social media — you’ve never done it before, but you think you can give it your all, and learn from it. Jump in and do it. Somebody asks you to make a presentation to an audience of 200 people, but you’ve never spoken to more than 10 at the same time? Just give it a try.
Post these wise words to yourself “What’s the worst that could happen?” And do ask yourself this — that’s why you won’t end up flying that plane when you have no idea how to. But if the stakes aren’t high, jump at the opportunity and learn along the way.
Sometimes It’s Better to Ask Forgiveness Later Than Permission Now
Again, it does depend on the situation — and on the consequences. But sometimes you have to take risks. And take the initiative. Always seeking approval means delays, dealing with objections, and maybe never getting around to doing anything.
It doesn’t mean doing things that are illegal, or that are going to put other people in danger — it means taking the initiative.
And keep in mind, people die regretting things they didn’t do rather than the things they did do. That’s why sometimes, you’ve just got to go ahead and do it.
A Cheap Chair and Mattress May End up Costing You Many Times the Money You Saved in Doctors’ Bills
Sure, saving money is good. But don’t cut costs when it comes to the essentials. Trying to keep your expenses down by living off a diet of instant ramen? It’s going to cost you your health in the long run.
And the same goes for a cheap chair and mattress. You’re going to spend a serious chunk of your life in them. If you get something cheap and low quality, you won’t be doing your back — or your sleep patterns — any favors. Or your wallet for that matter. By some estimates, you could end up spending ten to twenty times the amount you saved on furniture, on medical bills fixing your back. Take all the wise words seriously when they are about your health, sure it’s a way marketers sell furniture, but there’s truth to it too.
A Tidy Desk Will Set You up for a Productive Day
All those random scraps of paper littering your desk will do more than just distract you. They’ll fill you with a nagging sense that things aren’t right. And there’s scientific evidence to prove it. Research shows that clutter triggers stress and anxiety, which hold us back from being productive.
Tidy it up, and that empty space in front of you will actually give you a sense of calm. As well as helping you concentrate longer on tasks, and lead to the ‘flow state’ where you’re at your most productive. Just like you were probably told when you were a kid — tidy desk equals tidy mind.
And the same goes for your living space. Get that tidy too for greater peace of mind and focus. For some tips, check out our video on ’15 Ways to Declutter Your Life’.
Sometimes Working Less and Sleeping More Gets Better Results
Just in case you’re one of those people who think, “Wouldn’t it be great if I didn’t have to sleep — just think how much I could get done!” Well, we’ve got news — these wise words don’t qualify because humans need a certain amount of sleep. And there’s no way around it. Scientists ideally recommend eight hours a night. Seven just about works — but try not to go below that.
And when you’re well-rested, thanks to the greater focus you have, you can get more done in less time. A well-rested person working 55 hours a week is often more productive than somebody who’s sleep-deprived and working 80 hours. Their focus will be better, and so will their results.
Saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ Really Does Make the World a Better Place
Yep — something else you were told when you were a kid, that you really should listen to.
Research shows that when people are told thank you, it increases happiness levels and reduces the stress and the effects of daily irritations. Workers who are shown gratitude for their work are more motivated and work harder. And people who remember to say thank you have more positive emotions, better health, are better equipped to deal with adversity, and have better relationships.
So do remember to say please and thank you. And you know the one you’ve seen memes about smiles being contagious? That one’s true as well, so smile too.
These gentle little gestures can sometimes become the huge gap there is between a millionaire and an average Joe. Check out “15 RULES for being a GENTLEMAN“.
Giving Will Contribute to Your Own Success
Whether it’s helping an elderly person across the road, getting involved in your local community, or just helping out someone who needs it. It just makes life seem that bit more worth living for everyone involved.
That’s totally aside from the things it can bring you. You’ll meet new people. Learn new things. Motivate others and yourself. Create goodwill, which could come back on you. Karma doesn’t have to be a bitch — it can work the other way too. And people who tend to be successful, tend to point of giving.
And when you give something back, you’ll feel good about it — these aren’t a bunch of positive wise words but there’s a scientific explanation. It increases your levels of oxytocin. And you’ll realize that giving and helping each other does make the world a better place.
If You Don’t Have a Few Enemies, You’re Probably Doing Something Wrong
Yep, just when you thought we were getting all flower-power on you, we hit you with this one.
We’re not saying you should go looking for enemies. Making enemies through treating people badly is bad. That’s not what we’re talking about.
What we are talking about is something Winston Churchill may have put best. He said, ‘You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something in your life.’ And he’s got a point.
It’s important to stand up for the things you believe in. And for those who are close to you, and for yourself. Doing that, at some point, is going to piss somebody off. Accept it.
Don’t be a jerk. Be fair. But if you’ve never made an enemy, you might just be a bit too easy-going. So if that’s you, stand up that bit more for what you believe in.
The Problem With Common Sense Is That It Isn’t So Common
You might have heard these wise words before. Maybe you thought it means that most people are dumb. But there’s a lot more to it than that, and it’s actually a lot more subtle.
The word ‘common’ is being used in its meaning of something that’s shared by everybody. And as we all perceive the world in a slightly different way, we don’t always have common ways of seeing things. An opinion that one person takes as blindingly obvious as common sense — others might not see it the same way. It doesn’t have to mean they’re stupid. Just that they have a different set of experiences and attitudes that color the way they see things.
We’re not saying don’t stick to your beliefs and accept any opinion. But do take a little more time to stand back from your own viewpoint and look at it through other people’s eyes too. You’re bound to learn something.
And some of the time, you’ll realize that what you thought is common sense isn’t as common — or as obvious — as you used to think.
What other wise words sound like BS, but are true, do you think we could have added to the list?