This Is The One Success Hack That I Actually Use (And It Works)

image - Flickr / Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho
image – Flickr / Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho

Every once in a while you come across an idea that changes everything. A little idea that reverberates through your entire life.

This idea has allowed me to get back in the best shape I’ve been in in years. I’ve cut my anxiety down drastically. And I’ve made a bunch of money.

Usually the idea isn’t new, you’ve heard it a million times before and not given it a second thought. Then one day somebody frames it in a way that hits home. Or you find yourself in a situation where there’s only one possibility left – the one that you’ve known all along. For some reason or another, you get it.

Here it is:

Take action.

Hear me out.

Yes, it’s “duh”. We all know this. But we can’t do it. We’re not Nike, dammit. For me, I was missing one rule.

Introducing this heuristic into my life changed everything:

Before you do any research you must take action.

It’s stupid-simple and stupid-effective.


– Fitness. I joined a “commitment group” on Facebook, asked my personal-trainer friend for advice, and set specific goals. Then I spent the next week drinking beer, eating ice cream, and sitting. I went to the gym once. The next week I introduced my rule: I must go to the gym before I learn anymore about fitness. I’ve gone to the gym consistently for a month now. I didn’t even make up a diet plan but going to the gym made me want to eat better so I’m on the best diet I’ve ever been on – and I’ve read zero about diets ever.

– Productivity. I wrote a book but I hate editing. I started reading about how to edit a book. Nothing made sense to me. So I applied the rule: I must edit the book before I read about editing it. I finished the draft that week and the book is significantly better for it. It’s only after taking action that the stuff I read before made sense.

– Money. Will (my partner at StartupBros) and I have been sitting on a goldmine for a year. To start making money we know we needed to deliver an advanced course. We started doing research and, a year later, were still trying to understand how to create the best product. We applied the rule: We’ve got to start building the course before we research anymore about how to do it. After we started the process, we knew exactly what to research and when. We became more effective. And made more money in a month than we made the year before.

This rule applies to everything.

It feels safe to read another blog post or book. It even feels productive. It’s not, though, not until we’ve actually started the thing.

Knowledge is no longer scarce, putting knowledge to work is.

Do the hard work that others aren’t willing to.

Start. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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