I love to learn, and I am constantly either reading a self-help book, or listening to an audiobook, or watching to a motivational video on YouTube. We are so lucky to be living in an age where there is so much free material available for us to consume. If you have an internet connection and a phone, you have access to hundreds of thousands of hours of free material online. Of course, this can lead to a bit of overwhelm, and perhaps distraction, where we spend our time watching cat videos instead of doing the work that is necessary to get us ahead.
But that is where the 1% rule for success comes in. It says, that you just need to be 1% better than the rest of the crowd in order to be more successful. It also says that you only have to improve by 1% every single day in order to be a successful person, more so than others.
Let me break it down for you.
Kaizen – Continuous Improvement Changes Lives
You’ve probably heard of this term called ‘Kaizen’ which is a Japanese term meaning improvement, one-time or continuous, large or small.
How does this apply to success and optimal living? Kaizen advocates that as long as we are improving ourselves every single day by a little bit (whatever that amount might be), we will be a 100 times better off than the crowd.
The problem with most people is that they aren’t improving themselves. They are actually back-sliding. In this world, where everything moves so fast, if you aren’t improving and learning and growing, you are actually moving backwards. That is where a lot of people are at. They aren’t improving themselves at all, by learning or growing. They might even be killing off precious brain cells by watching crappy TV for 7 hours a day (the national American average), and drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and doing drugs (prescription or not).
If we want to beat the crowd, all we need to do is beat that average. So we need to keep on improving ourselves every single day in some measurable amount. So perhaps we watch one 10-minute motivational video every single day. Or we read 10 pages of a really great book and learn from it… Go for a five minute run every single day… Do a 10 minute meditation session. Or…
You get the idea.
Kaizen is absolutely awesome, and it is the way we are going to have our edge over the rest of the world.
But that’s not where it ends.
1% Better Than The World
The sad truth is that most people are just coasting. They don’t really want to put in the work that is necessary in order to be successful. Tired, bitter, and cynical, they haven’t taken care of their health, so they are spending way too much in pain and misery. Not even thinking about success, they are just trying to get by day-to-day.
Thus, in order to be ahead of the crowd, we don’t have to be hundreds of times better at all. We can just be 1% better. Seriously!
That’s all it takes.
That’s the brilliant thing about being successful in this world filled with people who aren’t interested in improving themselves. We just have to be a little bit better than the crowd, and we will make it.
Let’s take advantage of this world we live in, and the people we are surrounded by. Kaizen will help us do that.
Why Does Success Matter?
Usually, after I speak about the 1% success rule, most people ask me why success matters. It doesn’t really truly matter if you think about how vast the universe is, and how minuscule we truly are. We are just a speck, inconsequential speck.
But if we are going to be alive on this planet anyways for our 70-odd years, we have to choose how we are going to spend those thousands of hours.
The important thing I have learned is that mediocrity is equidistant from the top and the bottom.
I’m going to highlight this again because it is such an important learning – MEDIOCRITY IS EQUIDISTANT FROM THE TOP AND THE BOTTOM.
This means, that the amount of effort it takes to climb to the top of something is the same as it would take to slide to the bottom. Both of these require effort – we have to choose which way we are going to place our effort.
I hope this makes sense.
If we are going to be on this planet anyways, scratching our way to the bottom will take as much effort as bounding our way to the top. Why shouldn’t we spend our effort on bounding to the top then?
Everyone Is In A Different Race
The thing we have to realize is that success means different things to different people, and we are ALL in a different race. An absolutely different race. We are not competing against other people, even though the 1% rule compares us to the others. We are still fighting our own battles and competing really truly against ourselves.
If you are a little bit better than where you were yesterday, then you are a winner.
We are all in a different race, and we are all working against time. It’s when we start comparing ourselves to other people that we lose track of where we are going and what we should be spending our time on.
So figure out what race you are in, and what success means to you.
What does success mean to you? Is it a million dollars in the bank? Freedom to choose how to spend your time? Travelling full-time for 2-3 years? Buying an island in Belize?
Everyone’s definition of success will be absolutely different.
That’s the point.
Even though we are more successful than others, due to the 1% rule of success, we are still only competing against ourselves. If we forget this fact, that is when the shit hits the fan, and we lose our minds or burnout or worse, get a terminal illness due to stress.
Can You Look Yourself In The Eye?
This is an important question to ask yourself. Can you legitimately look yourself in the eye without despising yourself? For the longest time, my answer to that question was ‘No’.
I couldn’t look myself in the eye without a lot of shame. So much so that I avoided mirrors, and had no idea what my face or hair looked like for weeks on end. It was a bleak period in my life. I had so much shame because I knew I was better than what my life currently looked like. I knew I was capable of much much more, but I was scratching around with the chickens, rather than flying with the eagles.
It was sick how much time I wasted doing absolutely nothing.
Once, I realized how sick I was of my own bullshit, I said enough is enough, and moved onward. I built a morning routine, and built my life into what it looks like right now – my ideal life through and through. It is absolutely astounding to me how quickly that change took place, once I decided what I wanted, and started working slowly but surely towards it.
Now I can look myself in the eye no problem. In fact, I can look everyone else in the eye as well, without shame. I don’t look away, because I know who I am, and I am proud of who I have become. I am no longer filled with shame and doubt and fear.
That is where I want you guys to be at, especially if right now you have a hard time looking people in the eye or even yourself in the eye.
Everything Happens Faster Once We Put In The Work
I am not saying it is going to be easy. In fact, Kaizen was one of the hardest things I ever undertook in my life. It was because I was coming from rock-bottom. I was so low that I had to work extremely hard to get rid of all of that nonsense that my head and heart were filled with, and move towards being that person that I wanted to be.
I spent hundreds of hours doing the work that was necessary to get me to where I am right now.
Even now, I spend 14-18 hours a day working on myself, and on my business. I work hard on Kaizen. And if you want change in your life, you will need to work hard as well.
It is a given.
But once we start putting in the work as hard as we can give it, we will be surprised at how fast our life changes.
Within a couple of years, my life has been completely transformed, and this is just the beginning. I have so much more I am going to do and so many more changes still to make.
But two years ago, I was in a shit-hole of a life. Right now, I am living a bright, shiny, and ideal life.
Things have changed so rapidly, I can’t even believe it sometimes. It is absolutely awesome. But it wasn’t luck.
I worked hard for these changes to occur, and you can do the same. Anyone can, really.
But We Have All The Time In The World
When I first started improving myself, I didn’t care how long it took. I just knew that I would keep on working at it, until I got to my ideal life. Even if it took me 40 years to get there, I would work for 40 years to get there. That was my mentality.
Why did I think this way? Because I was already living a miserable life with no success or joy. Living in a state of constant improvement gave me a lot of joy. I loved focusing on the journey rather than the end-result. I knew as soon as I hit one of my goals, I would replace it with another.
If I didn’t focus on the journey, I would be forever miserable. As soon as I started on this Kaizen journey, I had already improved my perspective on life. Kaizen made me realize that I can improve and get better. And I was improving and getting better slowly but surely.
Time doesn’t matter.
We will all get to our death bed, either slowly or fast. We have to decide how we get there, and for me, I was going to do it one improvement at a time.
Final Words On The Rule of Kaizen
Some days you won’t feel like working on improving yourself. You won’t want to do your morning routine or do the work necessary. On those days, try to do a mini-version of your routine and complete at least your most important task for the day.
For example, recently I was travelling in Myanmar, and the internet there was spotty at best. So I couldn’t do a lot of the work I need to do for my business. That’s alright.
My most important thing every day is meditating and writing my words. Even if I got nothing else done for the day, if I get those two done, I’m a happy camper. If I can add a yoga routine to that and read a great book, I’m golden.
That’s how I set up my days while travelling in Myanmar. Depending on how much time I had in the day, I would do these four things, the first two for sure, the second two depended on time.
Decide what those non-negotiable items are for you and for your business. Then, do those every single day no matter what. Do a shortened version of them. Don’t do a 30 minute meditation, do a 5 minute instead. Or instead of writing for 4 hours, write for 30 minutes. Figure out what the mini-versions would be for you, and keep on going.
Don’t lose the momentum that you’ve built up over time. Momentum is our friend.