[Click to play the video above]
This post is the first in a series of insights into my own personal formula for goal setting and achievement.
- Myself and another entrepreneur have set up difficult physical and business goals
- We have six months to make these goals a reality OR ELSE
- Below describes the proven system we will use to achieve them
“If we were having this discussion six months from today, and you were looking back over those six months, what has to have happened in your life, both personally and professionally, for you to feel happy with your progress?”
― Dan Sullivan, The Dan Sullivan Question
That’s how it all starts.
With one simple question that leads you on a quest for glory.
And instead of doing the usual “set a goal that makes you feel good today but is never achieved” type of thing…
I’m doing an experiment.
My mission is to REVERSE ENGINEER what successful people actually do to gain an unfair advantage.
And use those unfair advantages to hit my own goals in the shortest amount of time.
Not what they say for the papers or glossy magazines.
What the ultra rich ACTUALLY DO on a daily basis to ensure massive success.
This is NOT the stuff you’ll see in those books that tell you to have some elaborate morning ritual or take cold showers or any other nonsense.
I’m talking balls to the wall, gritty tactics that aren’t pretty…
but GET THE JOB DONE.
See over the last decade I’ve built my share of businesses.
And more recently created a community of people who do the same.
Because of this I’ve seen patterns.
There’s things people do on a daily basis that lead to failure and frustration.
And then there’s the other stuff.
The stuff they don’t talk about or don’t want you to know.
Little tricks that give you the edge against the next guy.
Combining this with a burning need to get a lot done in a short period of time this year…
And this is how the “Operation Macau Experiment” was born.
See at the start of this year I sat down in a quiet space with a coffee and a blank notebook.
I readied the pen, took a deep breath, and asked myself:
“Ok, what do you want?”
What you start to notice when you get better at this is that the world is like a giant menu you can order from.
“What do you want?”…
Bubbling up almost immediately from my subconscious in a joking but not joking kinda way:
“I wanna be ripped. And more rich.”
So it seems my subconscious mind is a superficial bastard.
My freedom business friend Bobbe and I have a joke that all men want to do is become Jack Rich (Jacked and Rich).
Mr Jack Rich aside, this is a good place to start because there’s arguably more important stuff I want to do as well.
Things like contributing back to the world (but not in the way you would think).
My personal philosophy goes something like this:
“As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone and it makes YOU HAPPY – go for it!”
[Mr Jack Rich (Bobbe) And Myself In Thailand]
So let’s take a look at the not so secret mission between myself and another Freedom Business friend.
What exactly is the Operation Macau Experiment?
Mission Objective: To experiment with using the “5 Unfair Advantages” to achieve large exciting goals in a very short amount of time.
Mission Timeline: 20 February 2017 – 18 August 2017
Ending in Hong Kong & Macau
Participants: Timothy Marc, Matt Skelcher (and you?)
TMARC GOALS to be completed by deadline:
- 15% Body Fat (visible abs) whilst gaining as much lean muscle as possible. Currently 24.4%
- Successfully launch new SECRET PROJECT (exact details to be revealed later)
SKELCHER GOALS to be completed by deadline:
- 15% Body Fat (visible abs) whilst gaining as much lean muscle as possible. Currently 24.9%
- Making $200 profit per day consistently in brand new Freedom Business
– Weekly Accountability Check In Skype Calls
– Fly to Hong Kong and Macau on 18th August To Celebrate Completion
These are BIG goals to achieve in just six short months.
So I dug deep into my research and findings over the years to put together a plan.
Finding Unfair Advantages In An Unfair World
One of my personal heroes is the self made billionaire tycoon Ray Dalio.
In his awesome personal work on how he became successful, called ‘Principles’ he states:
“I learned that failure is by and large due to not accepting and successfully dealing with the realities of life, and that achieving success is simply a matter of accepting and successfully dealing with all my realities.”
– Ray Dalio Principles
What Mr Dalio is saying, is that we need to deal with the world and it’s realities AS IT IS, not how we would like it to be.
For example I was SHOCKED to learn that I’m 24.4% body fat.
I mean, I work out pretty regularly.
I think I eat well.
And yet the reality of my physical situation is different to what I delude myself to think.
The truth is we have an INFINITE capacity to deceive ourselves.
So accepting and facing the realities is the first step.
Back to our main man Dalio…
“I believe that pursuing self-interest in harmony with the laws of the universe and contributing to evolution is universally rewarded, and what I call “good.” Look at all species in action: they are constantly pursuing their own interests and helping evolution in a symbiotic way, with most of them not even knowing that their self-serving behaviors are contributing to evolution. Like the hyenas attacking the wildebeest, successful people might not even know if or how their pursuit of self-interest helps evolution, but it typically does.”
So here we learn that it’s ok to go after your goals in this self-interest way even if you may not know how they help and contribute to the world as yet.
For example, you may have a selfish goal of wanting a Ferrari (instead of World Peace).
Shame on you!
According to Dalio and from what I’ve observed in myself and others I’ve seen become successful…
Is it’s not the “carrot on the end of the stick” that is the important thing.
In this case the want of a Ferrari.
It’s that to come from absolutely nothing and to be able to have what you want…
You literally have to become a MORE VALUABLE PERSON.
You have to learn more skills and build something of value for the world.
In turn the world rewards you.
A great example is the first online businesses I built.
It was an iPhone application development business.
Knowing nothing about iPhone app development I relied on connecting with skilled outsourcers on freelance websites to do the actual grunt work.
Here’s how I did it…
- I created a simple landing page from scratch (which required me learning about what makes a good sales page).
- I setup some simple google adwords to target specific keywords like “iPhone app development”.
I sent the campaign live right before bed and in the morning I woke up to several people who filled out my web form enquiring about getting an iPhone app.
Eventually selling one of these guys on a simple app which I had my freelancer make.
Side note: The process to build a business I used here in 2009 hasn’t changed. I’ve walked hundreds of people all around the world who’ve all become free through it since.
Building this online business was me LEARNING SKILLS and BECOMING MORE VALUABLE.
I’d offered the world something it was willing to pay and reward me for.
So it’s all about:
a) What person you have to become and
b) What you need to create
In order to become “successful” and rewarded.
And this is where we land at the five unfair advantages.
The 5 “Unfair Advantages” Successful People Use To Guarantee Results, Riches And Whatever Else They Want In Their Life
These are five elements I’ve observed over a decade of chasing down business goals.
Whilst each one is valuable on its own, I feel like using the five of them in harmony leads to best results.
And that’s exactly what Skelcher and I are doing in the Operation Macau Experiment.
Unfair Advantage #1: Excitement
“Most people can stay excited for two or three months. A few people can stay excited for two or three years. But a winner will stay excited for twenty or thirty years…or as long as it takes to win.”
– Art Williams
What’s the ONE THING you would do if you just had the money?
How awesome would it be if you could just go do that thing now?
Feel a little excited just thinking about it?
That’s where we start.
Research shows that happiness (and excitement) increases productivity and makes you more successful.
“We become more successful when we are happier and more positive. For example, doctors put in a positive mood before making a diagnosis show almost three times more intelligence and creativity than doctors in a neutral state, and they make accurate diagnoses 19 percent faster. Optimistic salespeople outsell their pessimistic counterparts by 56 percent. Students primed to feel happy before taking math achievement tests far outperform their neutral peers. It turns out that our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive.”
– “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor
So how do you get excited, optimistic or even happy when you’re just not feeling it or just starting out?
Science says by doing two things:
- Monitoring your progress
- Celebrating small and large wins (milestones)
The key words here are MONITORING and CELEBRATING.
Whenever anyone in our business training programs make their first sale in their new business they are reminded to CELEBRATE and not just get back to the work.
This adds to the excitement and pursuit of more success.
When setting up the Operation Macau experiment Skelcher and I are checking in on Skype weekly to record and report our progress and to set tasks for the next week.
We are also there to celebrate our wins and punish our losses as you’re about to find out in one of the next unfair advantages).
Skelcher and I are celebrating the setup of this challenge by booking first class/business class flights to Hong Kong.
There’s no turning back now!
How to exploit this advantage:
- Start with where your excitement lies.
- Ask yourself: “If I could make one thing happen in the next six months, and that one thing truly excites the hell out of me… What would that one thing be?”
- Set the goal
Unfair Advantage #2: Reward
“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” – Mario Andretti
So in step number one above you set and get excited about the achievement of a particular goal.
It is now that we need to set a REWARD for it’s achievement.
These come in two forms, personal reward and contribution award.
Macau Challenge Rewards:
Our rewards, to be claimed in Hong Kong on the 18th August are:
– Personal: Rolex Submariner Watch Purchase In Hong Kong
– Contribution: Donation and help to help anti-poaching efforts in South Africa
– Personal: Rolex Yacht Master Watch Purchase In Hong Kong
– Contribution: Donation and help to help anti-poaching efforts in South Africa
We will also be staying in a nice hotel, eating great food and just soaking up the travel vibe in Hong Kong and Macau.
And the reason for the watches is you can get good deals on luxury watches in Hong Kong.
They are also a good physical trophy and reminder of accomplishment.
On another note…
I feel it’s important to balance any direct personal reward like a watch or car or any other big purchase that only benefits you – with a contribution reward.
Recently and excitingly I got engaged to my partner out in South Africa where we went on an amazing safari in Kruger National park.
A totally different experience than seeing animals cooped up in some zoo.
After seeing Elephants and Rhinos in their natural habitat you can’t help but to feel bad about the daily poaching of these animals.
I believe that it’s important to choose your own cause or contribution that feels right for you.
I’ve also done contribution rewards to help out my family in the past as well.
The reward closely relates to the above: excitement.
Choose stuff that really get’s you excited.
Maybe it’s a car you’ve loved since childhood…
Here’s a 1975 Corvette Stingray I rewarded myself with five years ago.
Or maybe you want to fly around the world for six months.
Choose something that gets the fire burning!
Successful people always have reward milestones set up to fuel the execution.
And they don’t let other people choose their goals for them.
Whose goals are you REALLY chasing?
How to exploit this advantage:
- Define a clear and definite reward for yourself for the achievement of your goal
- E.g. If it’s a vacation or special trip then set a date when you need to book it by or even book it in advance
- Keep the imagery in your mind at all times by having pictures of the reward lying around or on your desktop and phone background
Unfair Advantage #3: Negative Motivation
“I’ll always use the negativity as more motivation to work even harder and become even stronger.”
– Tim Tebow
One of my good friends Brian Lee who’s also a successful Freedom Business builder featured here once told me something that stuck in my mind:
“You’re either motivated by chasing glory or running away from pain. I’m definitely more negatively motivated, so when getting out of bed to go hustle I think about all the people I know who are crushing it harder and doing better than me and use that to fuel my work day.”
Successful people use NEGATIVE MOTIVATION in a positive way.
They use the emotion to fuel late nights, pushing on when it gets hard and the never-quit attitude.
Big Think did a great research piece on this and they discovered that “we feel worse off losing $100 than we feel better off winning $100”.
So apart from visualisation and invoking strong negative emotion you can setup a “negative reward” to balance out the positive reward from unfair advantage 2.
This will allow you to set up a loss and psychologically leverage this negativity as an asset to force motivation.
Punishment for non-goal completion:
TMARC: I buy Skelcher his Rolex Yacht Master watch in Hong Kong
SKELCHER: Fly Tim In Helicopter to Macau, Pay for Hotel, And give him $5000 CASH for the roulette table.
So in this case we’ve both setup something painful if we don’t hit our own physical and business goals.
I have to walk in and purchase Skelcher his expensive watch and he has to buy me a ridiculous experience.
The key with setting this up is it has to BURN.
For example I could wake up one day and decide I don’t want to go to the gym or skip an important business deadline.
If I do this too often I’m not going to hit the operation goals and so I’ll be walking into Rolex like an idiot and buying a damn expensive watch for SOMEONE ELSE.
So how do you not cheat?
We’ve called upon our mutual Freedom Business resident hero Bobbe to be “referee” and determine whether our goals have been sufficiently hit to warrant reward and punishment.
How to exploit this advantage:
- Realise that negative motivation is as powerful as positive motivation
- Create a punishment for goals not being reached
- The punishment should create a significant BURN factor so that you don’t brush it aside
- To avoid cheating employ a “referee” friend who determines if you win or lose
Unfair Advantage #4: Systems
Scott Adams and James Clear have done an amazing job of talking about the importance of SYSTEMS vs having goals.
“What’s the difference between goals and systems?
If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day.
If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month.
If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.”
In order to make big goals show up in the fastest and easiest way possible it’s crucial to define and run well designed systems.
For example one of my goals on this challenge is to go from 24.4% body fat to 15%.
A clear, measureable and achievable goal within the time frame.
The macro systems needed are DIET and TRAINING.
As you know there’s a whole bunch of confusing options for selecting the right things in these systems.
Do I eat chicken and broccoli every day?
Do I run or do I lift weights? Or both?
These types of questions get answered in your SYSTEMS DESIGN.
[From Principles By Ray Dalio]
And this is where you need to bring in expert help.
A coach, mentor or trainer who has ACTUALLY DONE what you’re trying to achieve.
And proven that they have successfully shown others how to do the same.
This is a HUGE shortcut.
For myself and this challenge I’ve signed up to Mario Tomics program that includes both the diet, the training and the tracking.
As an extra bonus system I have a personal trainer come to my custom built gym at my studio 3x per week.
I built my own gym as part of the “system design” as well.
The trainer is there to force me to wake up early and keep my form correct.
BONUS SYSTEM: Accountability
Have you ever felt like you’ve wasted days and not made any progress at all?
Here’s the thing…
When you’re sitting at home with your laptop.
You’re trying to get your Freedom Business off the ground.
And it’s all too easy to goof off and let weeks go by before anything really gets done.
Six years ago I reached a certain level of freedom business success that I didn’t have to work hard anymore.
And could slack off a bit.
This slacking caused me to put off launching big projects and pushing deadlines back indefinitely.
I was talking to another Freedom Business buddy about this lazy-ass-Tim problem and it turns out he had the same thing going on.
We came up with a great idea to counter this.
“How about we do a daily task list and check in each day. And if you don’t do your tasks for that day then you have to flush $100 down the toilet.”
Every day we would both email what we needed to get done and by the end of the day we sent proof of completion photos and screenshots.
If not satisfactory then we’d have to chop up $100 into tiny pieces and flush it live on Skype.
I admit, when my friend Dustin called me and had to do his “money flush” I enjoyed it.
He HATED it.
So why flush as opposed to give to a charity or something?
Because flushing is PAINFUL.
If we just gave it to a charity then at least we would feel good and therefore it may subconsciously reinforce that behaviour.
Remember: We’re training for success here.
It’s unfair. But it’s an advantage.
How to exploit this advantage:
- Set up an accountability check in with someone you trust who is on a similar path
- Create tasks each day or week that must be completed
- Agree on a penalty per non-completed task
Not something that’s going to ruin you, but something that stings enough that when the time comes to push through and get the job done you’ll do it to avoid the penalty.
Unfair Advantage #5: Backpack over the fence
When you’ve got the Daytona 500 out there at stake and everything riding on the line, guys go for it, and the guys that go for it are the ones that are either going to win or they’re going to wreck.
– Jeff Gordon
This is more of an analogy stemming from childhood.
When I was a little kid we used to take shortcuts to places by jumping fences.
Walking home from school with a backpack and you had a fence to climb, you had to throw your backpack over first.
There was no going home without the backpack as your mother would kill you.
So no matter how scary or hard the fence was.
Or if snarling rottweilers came out snapping.
You had to jump over the fence.
Same thing goes for attacking big goals or projects.
You throw the backpack over the fence by announcing your goal quest publicly.
Arnold Schwarzenegger did it by leaving Austria to make it big in America.
And that’s what I’m doing here in this post series.
I’m throwing this out to my thousands of readers as a behind the scenes real world view of what it’s like to make things happen.
We created “Operation Macau” as a public challenge that people can follow.
Now I have to climb over the fence and make it happen.
Or you’ll see us fail.
And that will hurt!
How to exploit this advantage:
- Make your goals and plan public
- Create your own operation/mission with your accountability partner
Here’s What’s Next (And How You Can Join):
Skelcher and I are officially underway for Operation Macau.
And we will be using these five “unfair advantages” the best we can.
You should create a similar stack of advantages that skew the odds of achievement in your favour.
- Start with excitement and define the goal
- Set up a positive reward for hitting the goal
- Create a negative punishment for non achievement
- Outline and implement the systems that will make the goal achievement automatic
- Get a partner and throw the backpack over the fence with your own special “operation”
I’ll be checking in weekly to update you on our challenge here on the blog.
Do you want to join us?
What goals are you working towards?
How can you use one or all of these unfair advantages yourself?
Please leave comments, questions here!
And start the party 🙂
1. Ray Dalio, “Principles”
2. Sam McNerney, 2016. “The Science Of Incentives, Motivation And Choking.” Big Think.
3. James Clear. “Forget About Goal Setting. Focus On This Instead.”
4. Mario Tomic
5. The Telegraph. “Arnold Schwarzenegger: from Austrian immigrant to superstar to politician”