We don’t operate on a level playing field.
I’ve learned this from working for myself as an entrepreneur, writer, and creative for over fifteen years.
How can this be?
We strategically create an edge.
Here are the 17 life secrets that give you an unfair edge over 98% of other people:
1. Your greatest obstacle isn’t work or other people.
It is the story you buy into that says you’re not cut out for it. You must be ruthlessly intolerant of thoughts like these.
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2. Managing your mind well is your most significant edge.
The more you create a state of flow that connects you to an underlying Universal wisdom, the more opportunity you create for yourself.
3. One of the most overlooked skills isn’t developing your main craft.
It’s developing a razor-sharp tolerance to consistently doing the things that push your brand and product forward. The skill is in the consistency.
4. You must be continually curious, not for things that merely interest you, but for things that solve pressing problems people are known to have.
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5. Your bad habits sabotage you.
Bad habits might seem inconsequential, but they eat away at your most precious asset in the game of creating remarkable things: your energy.
6. Your thinking that the past should in any way dictate your present personality and talents is holding you back.
It forces you to sink back into the faceless masses, wondering why you spend each day stewing in quiet resignation. You’re not one of them. You are a malleable being, able to shapeshift to the ‘personality’ that the task at hand requires of you.
7. Reading articles like these is a form of mental stimulation to soothe you out of the true realization that you are wasting valuable time not taking action.
You know more than you know. And that is often enough to continue.
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8. One of the toughest things to deal with if you plan to move up through the ranks of creative achievement is other people who feel attacked by your progress.
They will — often in subtle, passive ways — encourage you to return to the lower rungs. You must be willing to detach emotionally and logistically from these accidental party-poopers.
9. Always move in the direction of doing what most people are unwilling to do.
Rather than following the herd, which is often a death knell, you must ask yourself, ‘What do most people do in my field, and how can I do it differently?’
10. You must become comfortable with not feeling okay.
Anyone who created anything of significance had to push through the discomfort of exposing themselves to criticism from other humans, notably the one staring back at them in the mirror. If you are always comfortable, you probably aren’t pushing far enough.
11. No genius of our time was motivated in the long term by cute, positive Instagram sayings.
They put in the work when they felt like it the least. Then they rode the energy wave that came out of having done the last thing.
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12. Most people fall prey to the continual draw of new, novel projects and ideas.
Those who go far drill down into the practices and ideas that have already proven to work.
13. Stop focusing on the mediocre.
You must continually realign your work and your values to produce things of outstanding quality.
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” — John D. Rockefeller
14. You must bring everything you can to every task that isn’t worth delegating.
This applies twice as much to seemingly mundane or ‘lesser’ jobs. This isn’t about short-changing yourself. This is about training your mind and body for excellence, regardless of the category in which your task sits.
15. Use fear as your guide.
Nerves show you are moving away from safety towards a zone that sits beyond socially acceptable. Nothing worth doing was considered ‘normal’ at first. You must be bold.
16. Be willing to polarize.
Not everything you do needs to irritate people. But you mustn’t shy away from this effect either. Chances are if what you do has some people hating you and others loving you, you’re creating something the world needs. Plus, you’ll have more die-hard fans.
17. You make things ten times harder for yourself when you resist mistakes and setbacks.
If you daren’t fail, you limit creative expression. If you take a long time to recover after a perceived setback, you squander time that could have been spent firing yourself up about getting back in the game.
I’ll see you on the field.
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Alex Mathers is a writer and coach who helps you build a money-making personal brand with your knowledge and skills while staying mentally resilient.
This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.