June 2016: Avoiding the Safe Path
June was my last month in Colombia, and it was one I’ll never forget. It was the month that I finally was able to live the lifestyle I daydreamed about for two years. As you’ll read below, it was also a bit hectic towards the end of the month.
At the beginning of June, my roommate from Brooklyn came down to visit. We spent a week traveling to Cartagena (on the coast) and then the most incredible island paradise I’ve ever been, Providencia Island.
This trip was the type of trip I dreamed about for two years and I finally lived it… Working from a laptop, toes in the sand and crystal blue ocean only a few steps away.
This trip was unreal. I mean, just look at this video…
I truly hope you have the chance to experience this same type of feeling in your own life that comes from 1) setting a vision for yourself 2) working your ass off to get there 3) making it a reality.
First off, let me tell you, you absolutely can. My goal with this website is to help you actualize your potential and to provide you with the tools and insights needed to make that happen.
I created a vlog in which I discuss at a high-level the two steps that you can apply to make your success inevitable:
Step 1: Figure out your long-term vision
Step 2: Seek out the individuals who are living your dream and the resources needed to help you get there.
After this trip I had about two weeks in Medellin before leaving Colombia. I packed up my apartment in Medellin and flew to Bogota on the 25th. I was meant to fly to Costa Rica the next day, but because I had been in Colombia for an extended period of time, this meant that I was at-risk for yellow fever.
Of course, I didn’t know this and wasn’t vaccinated, which meant I couldn’t enter Costa Rica. Because of this, I was essentially stuck in Bogota for the next few days while I struggled to find reasonable airfare home. Thanks to the help of some fellow nomads I was able to find airfare Spirit airlines for less than $400. I ended up having to crash three extra nights in Bogota at my AirBnB. My host was wonderful and it was only $15 a night, so it wasn’t a big deal.
As for my productivity and output for the month:
I fell well short of my goals and only achieved 1/4. I think I was a bit overambitious in my goal-setting for this month, but it’s all good. Changing locations multiple times and running into trouble at the airport didn’t help my productivity, but failing to achieve my goals this month is just another learning experience showing me what I need to improve.
Before we dive in, I want to again highlight a few of the reasons why I post these monthly reviews (and why you should too):
- to focus yourself
- to evaluate your progress
- to learn from failure
- to repeat successes
- to improve and grow
Further, studies have shown that consistently documenting your progress leads to improved levels of satisfaction, well-being and happiness.
Here’s what went down in June:
- Goals for this Month
- Work I got done
- Projects I’ve moved forward
- Personal learning I’ve been working on
- Big life events I want to remember
- Things I’ve learned and want to remember
- Goals for the next month
Goals for this Month
1. Read one new book
I finished reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. This book discusses Dweck’s groundbreaking discoveries as a world-renowned psychology researcher. Over her decades of experience, Dweck found that the difference between top performers and high achievers was there mindset.
The “growth mindset” which is a term that Dweck has pioneered, is the mindset in which you believe all skills and succcesses can be learned; that growth can be achieved thorugh effort, not God-given ability. The fixed mindset is the mindset in which you believe all skills are fixed, and all successes are a result of innate ability.
The growth mindset cultivates a passion for learning and motivates one to improve. Dweck does a great job of providing real world examples of success from growth-minded students, professional athletes, high-power CEOs and more, while providing the reader with the strategies needed to implement a growth mindset of their own.
Believing talents can be developed allows people to fulfill their potential.
2. Stick to my morning routine 5 days/week
Yeah, about that…
I didn’t do a good job of this.
I need to improve my routine overall and this has been a prime focus of mine for July. I am going to start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier, in order to become much more productive.
3. Double YouTube video output
Yeah, I fell way short of this goal too. In May I published 24 new videos, and my goal for June was 50, but I only published four. Again, I was a bit overamibitious with this goal, but this definitely shows me that I need to establish a better process for more frequent video creation.
4. Reach 100,000 twenty somethings with my round up post
Also fell way short of this goal. The post still did very well and received nearly 4,000 views. Although we didn’t hit my goal of 100K this month, I am very confident that in the future we will hit this number.
Work I got done
1. Launched round up post
I finally launched my massive round up post featuring 75+ top performers. The amazing insights I shared with you from numerous millionaires, CEOs, Olympians, bestselling authors and more were based on many years of invaluable knowledge and experience. This entire project easily took 100+ hours, but it was certainly the most exciting project I have ever worked on. I knew this post would impact many lives, and it has been an absolute pleasure hearing the incredible feedback from those who have read it.
Want a free eBook?Get your eBook and find out exactly what 75+ millionaires, Olympians, CEOs & more would tell their twenty something self.
People have said that the advice they read changed their lives. It really is so rewarding for me to hear that feedback. Here is some of my favorite feedback from my readers:
It impacted me in that a lot of their advice was simple, and stuff we “know”. I’m sure people (and you) would agree with me in that none of the stuff was massively surprising. So for me, the post made me think, “when am I actually going to USE this advice? Because it worked for these people, and look where they are? Is this advice not good enough for me?” It impacted me in that I finally started using and acting on it. Which is what advice is for, after all. It was an amazing post, and I almost can’t believe how much effort and energy Matt put into it. — Matt Hearnden, self awareness blogger and writer
My favourite piece of advice from those role models was this: “The sooner you embrace your differences and the the things that make you unique, the happier and more successful you will be. We often times try to be something we aren’t which covers up who we really are. We all have a light to shine, don’t hide it, embrace it and share it with the world.” It’s sort of a summary of some of the things I now realise are most important to me and these priniciples are helping me change my life massively. — Humzah M., reader from London
There’s no shortcut as to how to ‘find yourself’, but Matt’s project has been the fastest way for me to truly focus on my self-development and take that first big step in the right direction. I think what I enjoyed most about this post is that it showed me that these 75+ world-changers have all been down the same path as us readers. I think the power behind this project isn’t the inspiring quotes gathered by all these amazing individuals. That’s the icing of the cake. The best part of this for me is diving deeper into the actual content and practical advice each one of them provided. You don’t get chances like these often, so when Matt provided me with this incredible resource I made sure to take advantage of it to the best of my ability. — May N., reader from Orlando, Florida
I really liked what Nick Loper said so simply. “Be kind, be helpful; it’s a small world”. On each of our personal journeys it is easy to get so focused on our dream that we forget to help others along the way. However, if I’ve learned anything it’s that every success I have had in my life stemmed from helping others. That is no exaggeration. All of the advice pointed to being generous in all that you do! This is one of the reasons why I’ve recently started a campaign for Pencils of Promise to raise money for children who don’t have access to an education. Additionally, I will be donating 10% of the profits from my part-time business to my campaign, as well. — Kristina Brown, University of Virginia Class of 2016 & Incoming Management Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton (Want to donate to Kristina?)
Not only has the feedback been great from my readers, but this post has allowed me to impact many, many more people with my website. In other words, Different Hunger has been growing like crazy.
At the beginning of June, my email list was fewer than 250. Today? We now have nearly 800 members from 156 countries, and these numbers are growing daily. I anticipate we’ll pass the 1,000 mark before the end of July.
That might not seem like much to you, but let me explain why this is incredibly exciting for me…
When I first started this website, I blogged consistently, twice a week, for eight months. I loved it, but after that point, I had barely over 100 subscribers. Pathetic. Website growth was minimal and I wasn’t able to reach as many people as I wanted to. I won’t get into the reasons for why that was (bad website design, unclear messaging, etc.) but it shows you just how far we have come. I am truly thankful for your support.
Now, I would continue sharing content regardless of whether I’m writing for 10 people or 1,000 people. Because at the end of the day I love doing it. But the fact that more and more people are reading the content I’m sharing, enjoying it, and using that content to improve their lives in some way, shape or form, is a dream come true.
It’s like that babe you’ve been crushing on hard for years now, who has been ignoring you for years, is finally starting to pay attention… Lame analogy, I know, I know. But I hope you get my point.
I just want to say thank you again for your support and helping this community grow.
2. New vlogs
In June I was nowhere near my video production goal of 50 videos. Maybe I was a bit overambitious with that number. While I only published four new videos, I have many more videos already edited and planned to launch this month (July).
I will be sharing a bunch of awesome stuff from my talk with my friend Erin Willett (who recently lost 85+ pounds on The Biggest Loser) as well as several more videos from my travels.
Here are the videos I shared in June:
2 Simple Steps to Make Your Success Inevitable
This was a powerful one for me. Two years ago, living the lifestyle I’m living right now was just a dream. But I was committed to making it happen and I did everything I could to make my success inevitable. It took me some time, but I finally did it.
In this video I share the two steps that helped me do this:
Step 1: Figure out your vision and a goal that you can work towards
Step 2: Seek out the individuals who are living your dream and the resources needed to help you get there.
Thank you for your support of my twenty something project
I shot this video at the beautiful Caribbean paradise, Providencia Island. I simply wanted to offer up a huge thank you to all those who supported me by sharing my roundup post, and helped me “break the internet” (kinda).
Mixergy founder, Andrew Warner: What I would tell my twenty something self
Andrew Warner is a serial entrepreneur who has grown his podcast, Mixergy, to the #1 startup podcast and a 30+ million dollar a year business. The advice he shared was inspiring, and suggested that we stop hiding behind our age, but instead celebrate it:
Quit feeling that you’re too young for anything.
I remember paying a design firm over $1 mil to furnish my office back when I was in my 20s. My one request for them: “make the office look so impressive that people don’t know that a 20-something guy runs this place.
What a mistake. Instead of feeling like my age is something to hide I should have either used it as an asset or ignored it completely.
Key takeaway: Use your age as an asset. Don’t hide behind it. People are very receptive to young and ambitious individuals because they aren’t expecting much from us. Use that to your advantage.
This place is the definition of paradise. Not only that, but it’s seemingly hidden from the rest of the world. I met two white people the whole time I was there… TWO!
No commercialization, big hotels or chain restaurants… I’m hoping it stays that way.
Working from a laptop and drinking coconut water from this gorgeous island was an experience I’ll never forget.
Every person we met on this island was incredibly friendly and welcoming. Our AirBnB hosts, Ferma and Norman, treated us like family and told us about their lives on the island. We went scuba diving, freediving and snorkeling and were served fresh juice and fish for every meal. It was incredible.
Coco Locos & Cartagena
This is a video I made showcasing my trip to Cartagena. It was a beautiful city on the coast of Colombia that I can’t wait to visit again. I capture the highlights in this video. You’ll also get a “behind the scenes” look at how Coco Loco’s are made.
Spoiler: crack open a coconut and pour a lot of alcohol inside
3. Guest post: 4 Secrets to Success from 75 Top Performers
It’s a fact that highly successful individuals share similar habits, mindsets and behaviors. By studying these, you’re able to apply the same to your own life to lead you on your own path to success. This is what I shared in my latest post on my good friend Case Kenny’s inspiring website, Prsuit.
I have posted on Prsuit before, and I will continue to. Like me, they are committed to not only sharing positive and uplifting content, but practical advice that you can apply to improve your life.
In this post I share four secrets to success which I learned from speaking with 75+ top performers:
1. Take Action
“There’s never a perfect time to do anything, so go ahead and do that thing you’ve been wanting to do.” — Brett McKay, founder of The Art of Manliness
2. Embrace Failure
“Don’t fear failure. Embrace it and use it as a guide. You’ll waste so much time trying to determine the perfect situation, instead of “learning by doing.” Failures feel like a step back, but if you learn from them, they actually can accelerate the process, narrow your focus, and help you determine what you will do best to have the most impact and success.” — Adam Bornstein, award-winning fitness author and edit; founder of Born Fitness and Pen Name
3. Take big, but calculated risks
“Bottom line, your twenties are the time to take a chance on what you want to do. Your older self will thank you.” — Sean Ogle, entrepreneur, speaker and founder of Location180
4. Invest in experiences, not things
“Understand that money can be used to buy things or experiences. Those who spend on experiences live the richer of the two lives. Travel as much as possible outside your comfort zone and always challenge your assumptions.” — Adam Braun, founder of Pencils of Promise and bestselling author
4. Setup landing page for twenty something project
Compiling, editing and formatting my massive round up post took several weeks. While I was doing so, I was still writing about the insights I received and doing my best to share them with as many people as possible. Obviously the post wasn’t yet live, so I wanted to be sure I had somewhere to direct readers to learn more about this project and receive some of the insights I had received so far…
5. Clean up old blog posts
You may have noticed a few more posts popping up on the blog. That’s because I’ve been going through my older content, cleaning up the posts and resharing them. You will be seeing a lot more of these posts very soon.
Here are a few of the latest posts you may have seen which I’ve brought back from the dead:
I wrote this post as a senior in college. I share my thoughts on graduating and entering the real world, and deconstruct some of the most common pieces of advice and warnings you receive as a soon-to-be graduate.
This post is very closely related to the work and advice of happiness researcher and bestselling author, Shawn Achor. This research-driven articles discusses how the absence of mental illness is not mental health, and how languishing (poorly functioning mentally and socially) leads to dramatically higher depression rates. This articles makes the case for how changing our perception and focusing on positivity in the present can dramatically improve our mental health.
I wrote this article two years ago after attending Bonnaroo. Not only was the music great (Elton John, John Butler Trio, Jack White, Yeezy, etc.), but I was struck by the incredibly open and welcoming environment that made up Bonnaroo. I make the suggestion that we should all adopt this same inclusive mentality in our every day lives, regardless of background, age, sex, etc. When I originally published this article in July of 2014 it did very well, and Bonnaroo actually reshared the post multiple times!
Projects I’ve moved forward
Different Hunger community growth
I won’t spend too much time on this because I discussed it a bit above, but again, it’s a great experience to finally start generating traction and be able to impact more readers. Now, I started this blog in May 2014, and things are finally just starting to pick up. It was a long time in the making, and I made a lot of mistakes regarding growth, but as with anything, it’s a constant learning process. Success and progress does not happen overnight.
I just wanted to highlight some of the growth numbers for June:
- 6,893 page views in June (just 2,178 pageviews in May!)
- 319 new Twitter followers, now 1,300 in total
- 25 new YouTube subscribers, from 57 to 82
- .01% more happy people in the world (guesstimate)
Personal learning I’ve been working on
1. Preventing the future from robbing the present
I read the above excerpt while in college and it’s really stuck with me ever since. In a world that expects you to know your career path by the time you graduate high school, this is incredibly relevant for our incredibly future-focused culture.
If you’re a freelancer hustling your way from going broke (me) or worrying about that upcoming certification exam, you know how easy it is to let the future consume you.
What if I go broke?
What if I flunk that exam?
What if I don’t land that client?
Most often, the things we are worried about are the things we cannot control. What we can control is what we do right now, here in the present. When we worry about things outside of our control, we put unnecessary stress on ourselves that stifles our productivity, creativity and of course, our happiness.
What can we do to develop this better relationship with the Present Moment? Treat it with respect, and give it the attention it deserves. After all, just like with our relationship with anyone else (from ‘Our Relationship with the Present Moment’ on Zen Habits)
Stop worrying, stay present. Namaste. (Don’t worry, I don’t actually talk like that.)
2. Deconstructing stress to create urgency and action (not inaction)
So I quit my job and moved to Colombia without any guaranteed income aside from a $500 web design client, that was very stressful. The first month or so in Colombia was incredibly stressful. Moving back to New York City (~$3,500/month to live) from Colombia ($1,000/mo) is even more stressful…
I’m not going to lie and act like my life as an entrepreneur is rainbows and butterflies and mojitos. This shit ain’t easy, and anybody who makes you think it is, is lying. (Most likely because they want your money.)
But instead of allowing the stress to control me, I’m using it to my advantage by allowing it to guide me to ACTION, not inaction.
Instead of fighting stress, or fighting like mad to eliminate stress, (which causes stress in the process) why not embrace it? Embrace it and allow it to motivate us to do what we can right now, in the present moment, to eliminate that stress.
If I’m stressed about hitting a deadline, stop stressing and determine a plan of action. The thought process should be this: I’m worried about this deadline, so right now what I can do is map out what I need to do to make sure I hit my deadline.
Next, break down what steps are needed to meet my deadline, and set a timeline for each of those sub-goals. Then from those sub-goals, plan out your week and your day.
Let me drop some science on you to hammer this point home.
When we view stress as a threat, our performance decreases. When we view stress as a challenge, our performance increases dramatically, as confirmed by science (PubMed).
This is the mindset shift we must practice when we encounter stress.
Other big life events
Making my dream a reality
As I discussed in my recent blog post, reflecting on my time in Colombia has been the proudest moment of my life. For two years I daydreamed about living the lifestyle that I am now. I finally made it happen. And it feels damn good.
The main reason for this is because I refused to settle for the “safe path”. I recognized that I was heading down this path and it scared me. So I quit my job and made sure that I didn’t fall into this trap that plagues so many.
I am now living a life on my own terms and it feels damn good to say it.
You can achieve the same and all of the content on this website is geared to help you do so.
If there is anything that you are currently working towards and you’d like me to create content around it, such as a how-to guide or another resource, please let me know!
Things I’ve learned and want to remember
Truly believing in yourself comes from putting yourself in a situation in which believing in yourself is the only option
In my blog post, The Proudest Moment of My Life, I discuss this point in greater detail.
A lot of people are anxious and nervous about taking action because they fear the uncertainty of that decision.
I think the real underlying reason for why they are afraid to take action is because they don’t believe in themselves. This is because many of us simply have never had to believe in ourselves.
We live very comfortable lives for the most part and can very easily go through life never deviating too far from the path that others have paved for us.
This is fine if you are fine with living an average life. But if you aspire to be great, you need to expose yourself to situations that force your growth. That is what I did by quitting my job and that is what many of the 75+ top performers I spoke with advised.
My decision to quit my job has allowed me to truly believe in myself and this feeling is incredibly powerful and motivating.
When you truly believe in yourself and your vision, there is no limit to what you can achieve.
Goals for the next month
- Go to bed and wake up one hour earlier
- Improve organization, planning and scheduling of content
- Create 25 new YouTube videos
- Hustle my face off / generate additional cashflow for move to NYC
- Become a contributor at a large publication
Thanks for reading. If you read all the way down here, then you deserve a reward.
I hope this post inspired you to have a mega-productive month yourself. To help you do just that, here is some added motivation from the eloquently spoken BEAST MODE extraordinaire, Marshawn Lynch: