Most of the advice leading to great results in life is boring. Also, it’s free and has forever been so.
In my twenties, I believed that successful people hold secret knowledge leading to their success. I obsessed over “self-help porn”: books, videos, and blogs promising to reveal little secrets that would make me successful one day, too.
But when I started observing and talking to people I consider successful, I noticed they don’t do anything extraordinary. In fact, they do quite the opposite. They follow “boring” advice I already heard a million times in proverbs, religious and old philosophy stories, and even from my grandma.
And it makes sense!. It has already been figured out for thousands of years! There is nothing new a Brian can write in his next New York Times bestseller while sipping a $9 latte that I didn’t hear before. All I ever had to do is to act on that well-known advice.
You know it in one form or another, too! Here are a couple of examples:
We are what we do, not what we think we are. Taking an imperfect action now is more important than thinking about it forever.
Most of the good things come from building a habit or a process and trusting it.
Doing the wrong thing consistently leads nowhere. From time to time, it’s important to stop, reflect, readjust and continue in the right direction.
Compounding doesn’t only work in finance, but also in life. Even the tiniest of steps compound over time.
When practicing to get better at something, it’s important to do so deliberately: pushing a little bit further every time, with short feedback loops, and focus.
Focusing on one thing at a time. Having one, clear goal. Eliminating distractions and impulses.
Divide and conquer
Most hard things become manageable when split into small, actionable steps.
Positivity and gratitude
Genuine positivity and optimism work wonders. Positive people are attractive. Practicing gratitude brings peace of mind.
Following boring advice might not be easy. But it’s liberating to focus on a couple of proven, simple ideas and leaving the rest behind. The beauty of it is that it’s free and will forever be so.