Hacks, hacks, hacks. Everywhere you go on the internet, all you can find are hacks. 20 body hacks that will make your life better. 12 life hacks to have the best summer ever. Buy my book to hack your entire career!
For the important things in life, there is no shortcut. There is no cheat code. There is no “easy way”. If there were, everyone would do it – and it wouldn’t be worth it anymore.
So instead of life hacks, I focus on the opposite. I focus on fundamentals that have worked for successful people for hundreds of years. I focus on things that most people overlook because they’re caught up in hacks.
Here are 10 “life hacks” that I use that aren’t really hacks at all.
Entrepreneur Anthony Iannarino once told me that on 8 hours of sleep he feels like the Dalai Llama and on 6 hours of sleep he feels like Adolf Hitler.
I think we can all relate to how our mood, energy, and motivation can feel drastically different depending on how we slept the night before.
I make it a priority to sleep 7–8 hours per night, though I feel my best when I get closer to 9.
My “hack”: I give myself a bedtime. If plans come up that get in the way, I usually say no and prioritize myself first.
I know people that are jacked that use a carnivore diet. I know ultramarathoners who are vegans. There’s an endless debate on which diet is best and I’m not educated enough to be a part of it (nor do I particularly want to be).
My “hack”: I eat whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, unrefined carbs. I do this on most days and it helps me to look and feel the way I want. I drink a lot of water and not a lot of alcohol.
Because of my normal consistency, when the opportunity strikes, I will 100% devour a pizza and a half bottle of wine. It’s the 80/20 rule in effect.
We already agree that we should limit what we put into your body. The same goes for what we’re putting into our heads.
I found the concept of “information dieting” from Tim Ferriss and the goal is to only intake information that will be useful for you.
I don’t watch or read the news. I don’t need to see 17 terrible disasters before I have my morning coffee. I limit my social media exposure (though this about 10X more addictive than the coffee I drink each morning). I put limits on what times I look at email.
My “hack”: I put my phone on airplane mode when I go to sleep and don’t check it until at least an hour after I wake up. It sounds crazy, but it’s an amazing feeling.
Start with 5 minutes. Then 10. Work your way up to the hour – or go longer if you can.
I foundationally believe that we are all here to create. Some create businesses. Some create art. Some create a family. Some create those socks that are colorful and perfectly fit and feel like a warm hug on your feet.
Whatever your thing is, spend time in “creation mode”, a time where your sole focus is on creating something that didn’t previously exist.
My “hack”: I do my morning pages. Three pages of longhand, freeform writing in the morning about whatever I want. It’s the ultimate “brain dump”.
Let’s not get too mushy here, but loving other people is an important part of life. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing, right?
This could be family, close friends, mentors, mentees, your community.
My “hack”: Prioritize your friends and family, the people that mean the most to you.
That means you have to do things that aren’t always convenient at the moment – forgoing a Saturday of drinking for your nephew’s birthday party, taking your friend’s call in the middle of the night when disaster strikes.
This isn’t something that you can’t “track the ROI” of but pays off in the long run.
Have you ever seen a basketball player that never runs back on defense? Never breaks a sweat because he just signed a massive guaranteed contract and his job is “done”?
That player will soon realize that this will be the last contract he ever receives. Because everything in life requires a price, and effort is a major part of that price.
“Work smart rather than work hard.” I get it and I’m all for using our time wisely. But you’ve never met someone who’s successful that didn’t also work their ass off.
My “hack”: Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
Our bodies are meant to be outside, moving, soaking up the sunshine. Not constantly indoors, sitting under translucent lights.
Fuck an app or video game. Just take a walk outside. A bike ride. Go hiking.
When’s the last time you cooked a hot dog on a campfire? It’s almost a religious experience it feels so good for your soul.
My “hack”: find yourself outside for a few hours each week.
The habit of reading has changed my life more than I could have ever imagined.
There are a lot of ways to skim a book, speed read, Cliffnotes, etc.
Don’t overthink it, don’t take a shortcut.
My “hack”: Just open up a book – any book that interests you – and read it.
When you’re done, think about what you learned, if anything. Did it affirm or change your opinion on anything?
Learn how to sell
I feel fortunate that my first “real” job was in sales because it is applicable to so many other areas of life. As the former Lead Hostage Negotiator for the FBI told me, “everything is a negotiation”.
If you have this skill, you’ll always have a way to make “enough” money, whatever that means for you.
Need a job? Sell yourself to the employer.
Want to write a screenplay? Sell your idea to the producer.
Want a date? Sell yourself to the man or woman of interest.
My “hack”: Learn the basics and gain the advantage.
I’m far from a registered expert in spiritual affairs. But I’m certainly confident that there is something out there more important, more powerful than me that is controlling some sort of puppet strings.
My “hack”: Find something bigger than yourself to believe in. It could be God. It could be Buddha. It could be the sun for all I care.
There’s a unique vantage you have when you acknowledge the world doesn’t revolve around you.
In life, it’s often the simple things, the fundamentals, that bring us the greatest results. Try to fight the urge to “hack” your life on your path to self-improvement.
What are your favorite life “hacks”?