From living a nightmare to living the dream

October 21st, 2009

The title of this post is simply, from living a nightmare to living the dream, you see I now live the lifestyle that I dreamed of for many years.  At the start of this year I was pondering what’s next? What’s next that is so crazy I can’t comprehend?

It was in answering this question, I wrote down everything I wish I could have told myself at 14, starting on this journey.

These universal lessons provide greater insight that you first realise, have a read, print out, reread.  They are just as applicable in business as your personal life.

So what makes these so powerful? These are the learnings that took me from a very rough childhood, whereby I sought to escape and break the cycle I saw around me, to the person I am today.  Those that can appreciate it will realise what a change (and transformation) it is to make that jump.  That’s why I want to share it, so others may learn.

Straight from my mind to yours (unedited) notes & errings on how to live the dream.

  1. Define the dream, where do you want to go? what do you want to do?
  2. Extend the dream, what is so radical you CANT comprehend it? you cannot even comprehend that happening.  This is you BHAG, big hairy audacious goal.  Do not settle for something that is achievable.  If you miss it, you’ll be average.  And that’s boring.
  3. Your #1 criteria has to be fun.  If you are always doing something fun (and thats relative) you will push through the dips to succeed.
  4. Read The Dip by Seth Godin.  A swift kick when you need it.  Reread every 3 months.
  5. Tip from Tom Peters, meet crazy people, stop wasting time people who nod at everything you say, meet randoms who challenge you.  You will learn much more that way.
  6. Throw yourself in the deep end, what is the absolute worst that could happen? Once for me that was I would be homeless.  More often than not it can’t be that bad for you.  Jump in, you’ll learn to swim.
  7. Work yourself dead tired, then push through that barrier, it’s when your tired, you gain clarity and push aside your normal barriers.
  8. Apply #7 in exercise, pick an exercise, running, swimming, skipping, and push yourself everytime.  Kill that voice that says to quit.  You will have huge breakthroughs by doing this.
  9. Exercise, excercise, exercise.  You gain clarity, de-stress, keep fit.  Helps you focus on what’s important.
  10. Sleep on the big things.  Forget the pressure for ‘instant’ decision making.  Chill out.  Sometimes you need to remove yourself to find your gut feeling.
  11. Trust your gut.  Your gut sums up the best that you know at this point in time.  It is actually linked to your subconscious.  Trust it, listen, you will get more adept at this.
  12. Set yearly, quarterly and monthly goals.  Always be looking forwards, am on I track? what needs to get done, do these distractions help with that.
  13. Chill out.  Spend time with those that you love, your family, your friends.  Remind yourself of who is most important to you, are you giving them the attention they (and you) deserve?
  14. Review & Reflect.  Take some time out each week where the sole purpose is to review & reflect on the week and plan the next one.
  15. Reward yourself for the small wins.  Take some time out as well to reward yourself for the small wins, they are just as important as the big ones.  Hint: a number of small wins equates to a big one.
  16. Fail lots.  If your not failing, your not risking, and if your not risking your not moving ahead.  If you already know all the answers today why aren’t you at your dream? Chances are you still have some learning to do.
  17. Stand on the shoulders of giants, get some advisors, mentors, research, read.  Someone else has already had your problems before, seek the answers out.
  18. Spend YOU time.  Too often we get lost in txting, phone, facebook, work.  Have some you time no cell phone, nothing, enjoy a good book, indulge in a treat, take a walk.  Time alone is vitally important.
  19. If you are not comfortable with yourself as a person, fix it, enough said, you cannot be successful till you are comfortable with yourself and what you do.  Hint: this journey will help with this.
  20. Passion.  What are you passionate about? What really drives you? What gets you excited and out of the bed in the morning? Follow your passions.  You will likely fall into your dreams.
  21. Be You.  Stop trying to be someone else, that is NO FUN! and it’s boring.  Warning: you may lose some friends! But the friends you garner who respect you for you are much more valuable.
  22. Hang out with successful people.  Success rubs off.
  23. Challenge yourself, keep learning, keep yourself grounded.  Honestly you never want to get up yourself, once your at that place it’s hard to come back.
  24. Give stuff away! Learn to appreciate what you do by just giving it away free every now and again.
  25. Give something back, help out by volunteering, help that struggling company your friend started, ring up an fellow entrepreneur remind them how well they are doing.
  26. START A BLOG! Your objective is to help people in <insert industry passion here>, the art of writing something intelligent each and every day will make you smarter.
  27. Expose yourself.  Be bold about your goals.  For as much flak as you will get, people will admire and respect you for that.
  28. Take things slowly.  Stop rushing.  Enjoy the coffee in the morning, the paper, time with the kids.  You only live once so stop rushing about.
  29. Inspire yourself, indulge in the arts, learn a new hobby.
  30. Read biographies! Learn how others have succeeded.  You will find yourself finding infinite learnings in reading others.
  31. You are always wrong! always.  But you may be less wrong than your competitor.
  32. Write your autobiography, how would you like it to read? write your obituary.  This will remind you of the journey you are walking.
  33. Take the baby steps.  Big goals don’t happen overnight, they are the culmination of taking little steps each and every day.
  34. Scare yourself! Is what you doing making you nervous, butterflies in the stomach? If not, seek out the butterflies.
  35. Share your success! When you achieve a goal, let your friends know, celebrate with them.  Others love to hear of your successes.
  36. Commit yourself.  Tell everyone all your goals and how you want to achieve them, how they can help (maybe?), or what you expect them to do.
  37. Setup red flags.  Ask someone who you respect (and know will) to tell you straight when you fuck up.  We all do it.
  38. Listen.  Listen to the red flags, your peers, your enemies, they are all relevant.
  39. Expose yourself to polar opposite industries, are you a dentist? check out road workers? You will find you learn more about your industry than staying with the same old.
  40. Destroy something.  Know something is holding you back, destroy it, dominate it.
  41. Talk.  Talk at events, to your peers, talk online.  Talk in venues where your held accountable.  (Hint: you will not find the benefit till you do so).
  42. Keep a diary, a notepad, log your days, you will get so busy you forget what happened 3 weeks ago, date it, take it everywhere with you.
  43. Stop watching tv.  Tv is an indulgence, you can waste 3 hours in front of it, you could be 3 hours closer to your goal, or spent that time taking your wife out for an evening walk.
  44. Network.  Network.  Network.  Meet people in your industry who share the same passion, there is nothing more rewarding that being reminded you are on the right path.  Plus a great way to get free coffees!
  45. Never ask for a meeting, ask to buy someone lunch or coffee, more engaging and much more relaxed.
  46. Remind yourself of the dream constantly, what is the end goal? how far are you? do you keep a poster of that sports car on your bathroom door (or somewhere you will see it a number of times throughout the day).
  47. Inspire yourself with quotes, I have the ‘inspiration’ wall in my bedroom, on the closet are post it notes with quotes that inspire me, so i read them or at least realise their existence everyday.  Post its are great as they fall down every few months, so i need to replace them with new quotes.
  48. Keep healthy, the most important part of success is you, so look after yourself.  Garbage in, garbage out, give yourself the right inputs.
  49. De clutter, like destroy something, are physical items cluttering your life? get rid of them, gives you mental clarity.
  50. Be a kid! Go play with your kids, go play on the beach, bounce on the trampoline… it’s just fun.
  51. Turn negativity around to motivate you, if your out there enough for someone to criticise you must be on the right track.
  52. Be patient, impatience is killing success, be patient, take small steps every day you will get there, my biggest goals take years to come about, but they do come about, versus others who have given up on five other goals.
  53. Persevere. “perseverance is genius”.  who do you remember that gave up when things got tough? no one.  enough said.
  54. Be made of rubber.  When things go bad (and they will) remind yourself that your made of rubber no matter how hard you get dropped you bounce back and bounce back fast.
  55. Be loved.  Chase a girl, a guy, cherish those you love.
  56. Learn to value your time, stop wasting it on senseless or time wasting activities, each and every day is a day closer to living the dream, only if you want it to be.
  57. Remember it all starts with you.  It always has.  No matter your belief, if you do not take action it will not happen.
  58. TAKE ACTION!!!!! You always regret what you didn’t do vs what you did do.
  59. Listen to music, especially whilst in deep focus, (unless your dyslexic) music helps occupy half your brain so the other can focus on what needs to be done.
  60. Use whiteboards! Write up grand strategic plans, wipe them out, start again.  When you have the freedom to reinvent you will.
  61. Do less, it is easy to keep yourself busy, it is much harder to spend less time and achieve more.
  62. Focus.  Focus on what is important, what adds value, what leverages your time.
  63. Write! Write down what you want to do, how your doing it, your learnings, your thoughts, detail them, the act of doing this (like blogging) is going to accelerate your learning and progress than you ever thought possible.
  64. Be lucky! Luck comes to those that turn up.  If you don’t turn up and keep turning up how can you get lucky?
  65. Learn to be objective, on everything, religion, political views, relationships, when you can fundamentally understand and relate to both sides of the argument you are immediately more astute than both parties.
  66. Question all assumptions.  Always.
  67. Any doubts you have on yourself, get rid of them, more often than not others only see these doubts because you realise and accept they exist.  You are awesome.  You will dominate.
  68. Change your language, become more enthusiastic, use words like awesome, dominate, success, perseverance, wow
  69. Smile.  The act of smiling makes you happier.  Smile at strangers.  You’ll be surprised who might say hi back.
  70. At a conference? Talk to the person who is standing alone, they will appreciate the effort and you never know who you are going to talk to.  If they are boring, escape by saying you’d better catch up with your friends.
  71. Maximise value of your time, if you can help for 3 hours with a conference and then attend vs 20 hours work to pay for the conference, do the former.  Remember value isn’t always about direct dollars.  I helped with registrations once to get into a $800 conference.  Best investment of my time.
  72. Be honest.  Do I really need to explain this one?
  73. Respect the young guys, you never know who your brushing off, it may just be the next Steve Jobs, believe me he will remember you but not in a good way.
  74. Be a mentor.  Mentor someone else who is where you were 3 years ago, this process helps you identify what you are good at, what you did, and is surprisingly helpful.
  75. Stay up all night till the morning, do crazy stuff you used to do but somehow stopped.  This will inspire you.
  76. Stay on track, if your not working towards your goals, jump tracks.
  77. Adjust your context, move to a nicer part of town (rent if necessary), have lunch where successful people eat, attend the same events, being in the right places gives you leverage you can never have expected.
  78. Ask for help when you need it.  Stop being arrogant, you can not do it all yourself, ask for help, chances are there are many people more than happy to help.
  79. Break any addiction you have! Cigarettes, booze, they’re not helping anyone, especially you.
  80. Share the love, when you get recognised for your success, share the love amongst those that helped you get there.
  81. It’s the journey just as much as the destination which will shape you.  Remember this above all.

That’s it! If you could share by emailing on, retweeting, stumbling or digging that would be insanely awesome and I’d appreciate it.

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11 Responses to “From living a nightmare to living the dream”

  1. Sheldon (Marketing Consultant, Tauranga) Says:

    How can someone so young know so much? Inspiring stuff Ben.

  2. Carl Says:

    Thanks Ben, just what I needed today!
    @sheldon, he may be young, but he has passion, no one can stop a man of passion!

  3. Miguel Says:

    Awesome list Ben!

    First time reader but not last time.

    I suspect this blog was a great find.

    Keep it up!

  4. Jason Says:

    Awesome! Very cool Ben

  5. Keith Says:

    Inspiring – nice job.

  6. Ben Young Says:

    Thanks for the comments 🙂 Pleasure to share with you all.

  7. The reality gap between an idea and implementation | bwagy Says:

    […] writing my previous post, From living a nightmare to living the dream, when you look at the steps.  They read quite easily, simple basic steps to implement.  And they […]

  8. Robyn Pearce Says:

    Great wisdom Ben. You deserve every success

  9. Nadaimporta » Blog Archive » El manifiesto de las buenas intenciones. O algo así Says:

    […] asientes con la cabeza y piensas “coño, es verdad” tras leer a Bruce Mau, Seth Godin, Ben Young, el Manifiesto Cluetrain y toda esa basura engalanada de “crecimiento personal” con […]

  10. Mick Gibson Says:

    Hey Ben – missed this post until now.

    Awesome, honest and amazing “download” of pure insight.

    Thanks for sharing.

  11. Joel Says:

    should stick this on my wall 🙂

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