These are the 4 pillars that guarantee your success in life if you follow them.
Since I had my first job, I knew I didn’t want to work for anybody but myself.
Executing orders without any possibility to express my freedom made me feel trapped in a cage, and I couldn’t breathe. So I promised I would do anything to become independent and work only for myself.
Until then, I always tried to get better, personally and professionally. And I convinced myself that to reach the success I ever wanted, I needed to summarize all the self-improvement theories I trusted into one concept: the equation of life.
What is the equation of life?
The equation of life is a core of ideas that I consider necessary to reach the success I ever wanted. So if you wish to be successful in life, you can take some of my beliefs and create your own to live by.
My equation of life splits into four main parts:
- Productivity, or how to get things done.
- Habits, or how to automatize life.
- Compound Effect, or how to reduce the effect of luck.
- Financial Security, or how to limit unnecessary worries.
To achieve those four goals, I use many popular systems. But if you want, you can define your pillars based on your values and beliefs and apply different techniques to reach your goals.
Productivity — the art of getting things done.
The first pillar of my equation of life is productivity. To feel accomplished, I need to advance at least one little step every day. There is no other way.
I don’t know about you, but when I measure the value of my days, I think about what I did. And if I accomplished nothing, I feel like I lost the day.
Sometimes, this reasoning is painful to accept because you constantly throw yourself into doing things without relaxing anymore. However, this mindset can make you strive for a better life instead of crying over your failures. Because every time you fail, you may be disappointed or frustrated, but you will continue to perform. Not necessarily because you believe in the project, but because you don’t have any other options to feel good about yourself.
My productivity pillar splits into 2 concepts: deep work and flow.
Deep Work and Flow
Contrary to the creator of the deep-work concept, Cal Newport, I believe these two concepts to be the two sides of the same coin.
Deep work is the ability to focus on a single task and eliminate any other external thoughts. So when you gain the ability to work deeply, you become more concentrated, focused, and engaged with a specific activity, ignoring anything else.
On the other hand, maintaining flow has more to do with context switching between different activities. So when you exploit flow, you use the good feelings generated by finishing a task and transfer them to other tasks. And in this way, you can lower the entry-level energy required to start an activity.
Here is an article you can read to further learn how to exploit deep work and flow to increase productivity.
Habits — the art of automating life.
The second pillar of my equation to reach the success I ever wanted is habits or the art of automating life.
Everyone talks about habits and what impact they have on our life. And I have to say that, without these patterns, I wouldn’t have been able to maintain the level of consistency I am on right now.
But habits are not that easy to develop. And for this reason, I based my habit-building technique on one of my all-time favorite books about self-improvement: The Slight Edge (referral link). In this masterpiece, Jeff Olson focuses on two concepts: small choices and consistency.
1 — Small choices
The primary thesis of The Slight Edge is as simple to understand as complicated to maintain: make smaller choices. And if you think about it, little choices are the only way of improvement.
Unlike a shock-like approach, small choices make you change gradually, allowing your body to adapt to new situations with more ease. And this gradual process is not only healthy but also easier to adapt to. So it reduces the possibility of giving up.
2 — Consistency
Consistency is the other big part of improvement and habit building. Making small choices is the first step, but if you don’t remain consistent with them, you won’t see any improvement in the long run.
If you wish to run 5km in a day and start with 2km, you made a clever choice. But if you run two times per week and seldom also skip workouts, the absence of consistency will never allow you to reach your goal.
Compound Effect — the art of defeating luck.
Luck is a complicated enemy to defeat. And when people fail, they often blame it.
I couldn’t do it because they were luckier than me. I just needed a little more fortune.
How many times have we lied to ourselves like that? When in reality, nobody should have hope or even consider luck in their processes. On the contrary, fate is an insult to hard work.
Being lucky says nothing about your competence and ability to start a project, work on it, and finish it successfully. So most of the time, luck becomes a trap if you are not well-trained for success, and it can backfire.
Consistent work, on the other hand, has never deluded or disappointed anyone. And thanks to the compound effect, you can reach the success you ever wanted by working consistently.
If you build stable projects that can bring you little profits over time, for example, those interests can add up in the future, and one day they might result in a full-time salary. This is a frequent pattern for content creation strategies, but it also works for other projects.
If you exercise daily, for example, the effect of many single efforts results in a considerable loss of weight, and so on. So instead of focusing on luck, my equation concentrates on the compound effect because it allows me to work for a greater, delayed gratification.
Financial Security — the art of limiting worries.
Financial security has always been one of our main problems. And lately, since many bloggers disclosed how financial rules work, security has become one of the most desired but complicated things to achieve without the correct mindset.
If you want to reach the success you ever wanted, financial security has to be one of the things you put into your equation. Because even when you will hit the first threshold of what you consider success, it will become necessary to maintain that status without dropping after a couple of months.
So in my equation of life, I split the pillar of financial security into two concepts: monthly savings and cumulative growth.
1 — Monthly Savings
The best way to feel financially secure is to build a savings account as soon as possible and put at least a couple of thousands of dollars into it. A saving account can help you in many situations and emergencies, and having one can lighten your life more than you ever thought possible.
Many people put their money in a closed account and leave them there forever, but that is not always the best choice because it will lose value over time to inflation. So it is way better to put them on a low-risk investing plan, on an account from which you can withdraw them whenever you need.
Here are two articles explaining how to build your first $5K emergency fund and how I saved $10k in one year with a regular job.
2 — Cumulative Growth
The other way you can build financial security is by investing your money. Instead of keeping them still, you need to make them work for you and multiply them. So a well-organized investing plan to micro-manage your money becomes fundamental to getting the most out of them.
One way I do that is by using the 50–30–20 rule. So I use 50% of my income for necessary things I save or invest 30%, and use 20% for everything I want to buy. So while 30% work for me, I can use the remaining to live my life.
If you want to reach the success you ever wanted, you need to live by some values and remind yourself what your purpose is. For example, you can split your main goal into parameters — a collection of beliefs you can put in your equation that will make you reach your goal.
In my case, I used productivity, habits, financial security, and the compound effect as the pillars of my equation. These are the values I respect the most and try to live by them every day of my life. When I am unsure about the future, I know they will push me to do better, limiting my doubts and my tendency to procrastinate. But for you, these parameters may not work, and you may value some other things.
So if you want to build a plan to reach the success you ever wanted, you should find your pillars first and then live by them.
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Cover photo by João Ferreira on Unsplash.