12 life-changing ideas from smart people I have never met

Wisdom jam-packed into 1-2 sentences can change your life.

An idea is a seed. You can plant a seed inside your mind and watch it grow into a bamboo forest of abundant thinking.

Each of these smart people you are about to hear from are people I have never met. I have spoken to a few of them via text message, but that is it. These are experts I look up to, who help me understand the world and how I fit into it. I believe they can do the same for you, too.

These ideas are heavily curated and enormous social proof is behind each one — that’s right, hundreds of thousands of people have shared these same ideas from unknown, unfamous people. I bet you have never heard of most of them.

“You’re Not Lazy, Bored, or Unmotivated.”

Niklas Göke believes the answer is we’re afraid. The cure is to just do your work. When you’re doing there isn’t time to get stuck in the hundreds of fearful thoughts stabbing your brain each day.

When you’re afraid, just do. No matter the results or quality of the outcome.

“The key to success is not working hard. It’s working smart.”

Cammi Pham teaches us to manage our energy, not how hard we work.

She is a big believer in naps and discovered lots of powerful leaders from the past used this secret productivity hack to change the course of history. Before presidents start wars they prefer to nap first to ensure it’s the right decision.

Give the best you have.

“When you give the best you have to someone in need, it translates into something much deeper to the receiver. It means that they are worthy.”

Kristine Levine tells the story of a woman named Anita. One night her mother knocked on Anita’s door. She asked them if they could give food to her daughter, without caring about herself. Anita gave both of them the best food her family had without thinking twice or uttering a word. Shortly after, she got Kristine’s mother a job at a local restaurant and became her caretaker at night. The giving lesson is powerful.

People in poverty feel so much shame about their financial position. Giving your best food away isn’t about the food. It’s the powerful shift in thinking that the receiver gets.

This gift of giving can last a lifetime, as it did for Kristine when she paid this lesson forward to her daughter.

“On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.”

The original source of this wisdom is unknown. I first read it when Zdravko Cvijetic made it the opening point of one of the most shared blog posts ever to be published on the internet. Imagine if you made the person you will meet on your final day of life proud.

Imagine if you didn’t disappoint your final-day-self.

You’re not on this planet for long. It’s time to make your mark and leave something behind for future generations and your family.

Think of your life as extremely short — not long — to master the psychology needed to achieve your biggest goals.

“The more you focus on yourself, your mission, your habits, your outcomes, etc, you don’t even have to try to stop being ineffective.”

Ayodeji Awosika teaches this lesson:

If you stop looking at all the external bullshit and focus on what you can control and the stuff you’re responsible for, then your ineffectiveness will disappear.

Ineffective people focus on everything outside of themselves.

“Just focus on you, stay true to what you believe in, and all the doubters will eventually come asking for help.”

Nicolas Cole snatched the dummy out of my mouth with this wisdom. Doubters turn into your fans when you respectfully prove them wrong. People doubt you until they want to learn from you.

Build your skills to a level where people want to know how you did it, rather than tear you down for trying to achieve your dream.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

Eleanor Roosevelt said this and John P. Weiss reminded me of it. Walk into a toxic workplace and you’ll meet a bunch of people critiquing their colleagues. The organisation will be focused on judging people instead of spending time on the ideas which generate money.

People are going to screw up a lot. The discussion of these screw ups doesn’t matter because you’re going to fuck up too.

“You can eat anything you want as long as you can explain how it used to be alive.”

Matthew Boutte made knowing what to eat simple with this thought. It helped him lose a tonne of weight and become a sugar daddy women chase down the street.

This year I switched to a whole foods plant-based diet. Before I did, I was just messing around with diet and pretending to be healthy while eating fried chips every day and calling myself “vegetarian.”

The point of eating healthy isn’t to be healthy.

You want to be healthy so you can get your energy back again. The energy you have on a plant-based diet will make you unstoppable. You’ll feel like a 7 year old with a water pistol, ready to play.

“3 Hours of Creative ‘Flow’ Every Day Is All You Need to Change Your Life”

Benjamin Hardy, PhD reminded me of the power of flow.

Whatever work you want to do in your life, flow can help you do it faster, better, cheaper, and make it effortless. People ask me how I publish 50 blog posts a month, and lots of posts across many different social media platforms every single day. The answer: flow.

I practice flow all day Thursday and Saturday. The hours spent in flow make people think I’m superman. I’m actually a lazy aussie with a thirst for chai lattes — but don’t tell the missus.

Our job isn’t to always make other people feel better — sometimes it’s simply not to make them feel worse.

Michael Thompson is an American Philosopher living in the hills of Spain. Okay, I made the philosopher part up because that’s how he makes us normies feel. He teaches us to think about how our actions mess people up.

You can do more damage by talking than you think. Sometimes all a hurt person needs is for you to be quiet and not make their day any worse.

Quiet people are hidden geniuses.

Not every situation requires your awesome commentary.

“The top employees of this century will be entrepreneurial gig type workers who have a portfolio, contract with many companies, and use media to boost their profiles.”

Ayodeji Awosika is back again to explain the future of work.

Content is a huge part of your new resume. In the future of work we are all business owners who get paid by multiple companies that are our customers. The crack cocaine of one income source is gradually going to disappear.

Performance trumps hours warming an office chair.

Think like an entrepreneur even if you don’t want to be an entrepreneur. I think the phrase entrepreneurship is bullshit anyway. We’re all just charging money for our skills. Whether you get paid to a company bank account or a personal account is nothing more than semantics.

Treat the companies you work with like customers.

Demonstrate your skills by teaching people through content — video, audio, words, photographs, drawings.

“The ultimate test of your knowledge is your capacity to transfer it to another.”

Thomas Oppong teaches a unique way for you to pay it forward. In the last six years I have made a lot of money as a writer. I don’t say that to brag or create content creation envy. I tell you because what Mr Thomas says is spot on.

Transferring your knowledge to others is a powerful concept. In the last 12 months I created an online course. The most unusual moment of the whole process was opening up the writer’s community to let students in. Within a few days there were tonnes of students in a group, with me as their teacher.

It was a weird feeling. My knowledge had more than a monetary value. These kind people really wanted to learn from me. It was my job on their low days to help them get back up again. It was my job to set homework and watch their progress silently from the sidelines without them knowing.

I can’t even remember what I did with the money from the course. (I think it all went into bitcoin…don’t hate me.) I thought I knew a lot about the skill of writing. It turns out, until you have to pass the skill on, you don’t know much.

Teaching others requires you to make concepts simple. You have to get used to explaining ideas in multiple different ways until a person gets it.

Most importantly, passing on your knowledge creates a bizarre shift in your life: it’s no longer about you anymore. Perhaps that’s how parenting feels.

I want to finish on an unusual idea I wrote that readers said was helpful: It’s context and storytelling that gives immense power to ideas — not your ego and sense of specialness for sharing the idea.

This article first appeared on Medium.