How to get anything you want in life – pretty bold statement in that headline, right? Well, I think I can back it up.
Yesterday I turned 31.
I look at that number, and while it’s a little bit scary, I can’t help feel good about everything I’ve accomplished over the last seven years since leaving my job and setting out on my own.
As I was reflecting on the years and thinking about what to write for this post, I came to a pretty humbling realization.
Up to this point in my life, I’ve pretty much gotten everything I’ve wanted in life – or at least the things I’d hoped to have up to this point.
I have an incredible wife, amazing family, and friends, a fantastic house right outside downtown Portland, I travel all the time and have the freedom to do the things that make me happy on a daily basis.
Sure, I still have a long way to go, and I have plenty of other things I want to accomplish – but for the ripe old age of 31, I’m feeling pretty good about where I’m at.
And a lot of it comes down to my ability to think big and go for what I want.
How to Get Anything You Want in Life (With Just a Few Simple Changes)
In my 31 years, I’ve learned a lot about getting what you want in life – and the reality I’ve found is that it isn’t quite as complicated as it might seem.
Sure it takes hard work, but in the end, getting what you want in life is pretty straight forward, and in this post, I’m going to share with you the 31 things I’ve learned for how to make it happen.
This is one of my longer posts, so grab a cup of coffee or your favorite adult beverage, settle in, and let’s start making some magic happen.
Oh, and if you want to give me a birthday present? Just subscribe to my YouTube channel here. That’s all I want 🙂
Speaking of the vlog, here’s today’s video on the same topic:
1) Know What You Want. I Mean Really Know What You Want.
Do you know what the absolute number one, most important thing you must do to get anything you want in life?
It’s pretty simple.
You have to know what you want. Do you?
I mean, do you really know what you want? And not just in a, oh, I want a Ferrari, kind of way.
To truly be able to pursue the goal of having everything you want in life, you need to have an incredibly vivid and detailed vision for what you want in all aspects of your life, including:
- Work and business – What type of work would make you happy and keep you fulfilled for the rest of your life?
- Relationships – What are your goals for a romantic relationship? With your friends and peers? With your family? What does all of that look like?
- Happiness – What activities make you happy?
- Experiences – What experiences would you like to have on a daily, weekly, monthly, or annual basis that will provide fulfillment and happiness in your life?
- Physical items – Let’s be blunt about it, what kind of cool stuff do you want in your life? Maybe you’re a total minimalist, and you need a tiny house. Maybe you want that mansion in the hills? Know what it is, and more importantly, why you want it.
- Health and fitness – What does your body look like? Why do you want it to look that way? What will it help you to feel?
- Community – Where do you fit in? What kind of communities do you want to be a part of? Are they hobby based? Business focused? Spiritual?
Once you begin to have a clear vision for what you want in each of these categories, then you can truly start thinking about how to achieve everything you want in life.
In the words of cricket umpire Bill Copeland “The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”
2) Understand You Can Have Anything You Want, But Not Everything You Want. At Least Not Right Away.
Do you want a big house? A fast sports car? To take a 5 star luxury vacation?
All of that is attainable. In fact, with some hard work, every single person reading this can have any of those things.
The problem is, we can’t necessarily have all of those things at the same time.
For instance, right this second, if the only thing I cared about in life was owning a Ferrari, I could go out and buy one, and still not feel like I was making a completely irresponsible decision.
The problem is I still love golf, travel, having savings, etc. So, it isn’t the smart decision.
This guy is a great example. His biggest passion in life is cars, and he recently bought a Lamborghini. Is he incredibly wealthy? No, he just made that his priority.
So not only do you have to understand what it is you want, you need to prioritize what you want and understand where things fall in the hierarchy.
3) Be Willing to Stair Step into Your Biggest Goals
Sticking to what I understand is an extremely materialistic theme of fancy cars, one day I’d love to own an Aston Martin convertible. Even after seeing what this guy has gone through.
Right now, it’s not a top priority – but I’ve always been a car guy and would love to have a fun car to drive.
That Aston Martin is at the top of the stairs.
Right now, I drive a 2002 Pathfinder with more than it’s fair share of bumps and bruises from years of parking downtown.
The next step is a newer Lexus is350 F-Sport, which you can find used for around $35k. It’s far less expensive than the Aston, but for the next five years it would be an enjoyable (and more practical) car to own.
This also can be directly applied to business.
Everyone tends to want to be at the top step right away, with tons of passive income and a 4 Hour Work Week Lifestyle. The reality is, it’s next to impossible to leap up all of those stairs.
That’s why I’m such an advocate of the process of:
- Build the relevant skills
- Freelance those skills to build income and confidence
- Then begin working on the sexier businesses
So think about your ultimate goal in each of those categories listed in #1 and then break them down into more manageable steps and work on the one that is directly in front of you.
A bit more on my thoughts about this process:
Read More: Here’s a more detailed outline of How to Accomplish Your Goals (with the Stair Step Method)
4) Don’t Let Society Judge You
I feel like I should mention this before we go too much further. Society loves to judge. I guarantee right now; there are at least a few of you judging me for wanting to buy a fancy car.
Especially in this community of location independence, there’s a huge contingent of people whose main goals involve nothing more than a backpack or a tiny house. Stuff is bad! Consumerism is the devil!
While sure, I don’t think luxury items are necessarily making the world a better place – I also think that if you work hard, and they make you happy, then go for it.
This is about what you want, not what about what society wants you to have.
The opposite is true as well if you fall into the minimalism camp – that’s great! Just understand everyone will have different goals and dreams – and one is certainly no better than the other.
5) Create Dozens of Small Milestones to Get Anything You Want
One of the biggest reasons I see people give up on getting everything they want is because they’re focused on the end game. They’re focused on the top of the stairs like we talked about earlier.
If your goal is to make $10k of passive income a month and quit your job in the next six months – then good luck!
It’s not realistic for most people who are just starting out.
And if that’s your only goal, there’s a good chance you’re going to get frustrated really quickly and give up – because even if you’re making progress, it will be tough for you to feel like you are because you don’t have enough milestones.
So instead of having a few big lofty goals for each area of your life, create dozens of little milestones so that three months from now instead of just seeing one big unchecked box, you see 20 checked ones, and another 20 still to go.
At least then, you can visually see you’re making progress, which will keep you going when things get tough.
Read More: This is one of the main things we cover in The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Lifestyle Entrepreneurship.
6) Learn How to be Happy With Less
So now that I’ve stepped down from my high horse talking about how you shouldn’t let society chastise you if you want more – I’m going to drop this on you.
You need to learn to be happy with less.
A few years ago, I had nothing more than a daypack full of clothes, a laptop, and a crappy $200/month apartment in Bangkok.
And you know what? I was just as happy then as I am now.
Having more can have the potential to enrich your life, but if you aren’t happy in the first place – new toys or extravagances won’t help you be happy over the long run.
7) Put a Photo of the Thing You Want Most Some Place Where You’ll See it Often
When I was at my day job, I had a photo of a beautiful bungalow in Thailand that I learned only cost $30 a night. I made it my desktop background and was forced to look at it every day.
Figure out what imagery will help you to take action daily and make it your desktop, put a photo of it in the bathroom, as the wallpaper on your phone – anywhere you’ll see it regularly.
It will serve as a consistent reminder to do the work.
8) Embrace Uncertainty
Most people are terrified of uncertainty. And the ones that remain terrified of uncertainty will probably live a perfectly ok life – but they won’t have everything they want.
It’s those that move past the fear and overcome the uncertainty that will truly start to thrive.
And a smaller percentage than that will actually embrace uncertainty, treat it as an asset, and truly do something special with their lives.
Think about it this way, when no one knows what’s going to happen in the future – you can make anything you want happen.
This mindset goes a long way.
9) Do Things That Make You Happy Every Day
And I knew that if I were going to be useful to anyone else in my life, whether it be with my own business or a new job, I would need to solve that problem.
These days I golf multiple times a week. I go out to eat and cook good meals. I spend quality time with my wife, friends, and family.
Continuing to do this regularly makes the journey to getting everything you want much more enjoyable. And once you’ve figured this part out, you’ve probably got most of what you want as it is.
10) Don’t Convince Yourself Making a Big Change is Riskier Than it Really Is
Leaving my job and moving to Thailand was terrifying for me – for a lot of reasons. But the hardest part was thinking my life would be over if it didn’t work out. The absolute worst case scenario is that the business didn’t work out, I had to get a job at McDonald’s, and I had a hell of an adventure in the process.
Honestly, think about the worst case scenario if you want to make a major change in your life that will get you closer to something you really want.
I bet it isn’t as bad as you think.
11) Work Smarter, Not Harder
As much as I wish I were, throughout the entirety of my life, I’ve never been the hardest worker. Call it ADD, a short attention span, laziness – whatever you want, I’ve never worked as hard at anything as I know I could have.
But despite that, I’ve still been successful.
Because I work smart.
I prioritize the things that are absolutely the most valuable to the business at the time – even if I feel like that’s spending half the day answering reader emails. You don’t need to put in more hours; you just need to be deliberate with the ones you are putting in.
12) Get Anything You Want by Cultivating Discipline
Playing off that last one, discipline, has been 100% my absolute biggest struggle in life. Sports, studying, business – you name it, I’ve lacked the discipline to truly excel.
I’ve dubbed 2016 the year of discipline, and I’ve been struggling to cultivate it in every aspect of my life. Yet when I see moments of success, I see how much is genuinely possible simply by being disciplined.
This will make up for just about every other inefficiency in your quest to get anything you want in life.
Make it a priority.
13) Create a Morning Routine
One of the best ways to get started with this is to create your morning routine. What are the non-negotiable things you must do every morning to get your day started on the right path? Nailing these will allow you to work smarter, cultivate discipline and foster happiness.
Here are some ideas for things you can inject into your morning routine to improve it, and if you want to read a whole book on the topic, I’d suggest The Miracle Morning.
14) Write More
These next few are all based around a common theme…
I’ve learned that my success is almost completely correlated to how much writing I’m doing.
Think about it, the vast majority of what we consume online is written content – or it at least has a written element.
Blog posts, sales pages, premium info products, emails, video scripts, etc.
When I stop creating and stop writing is when I find myself stagnating.
The more I write, the more success I have. Even if you’re in a business or job where writing isn’t necessarily one of your primary tasks – do it anyway. Developing these skills is crucial.
Here are more resources to help you write more:
- How to Become a Writer – Don’t think of yourself as a writer? No problem, this will help.
- 25 Best Writing Tools for Writing More – Often all it takes is one tool or service to help you breakthrough
15) Study Copywriting
Copywriting is the art of being persuasive with your writing. If you can accurately convey your thoughts, ideas, and reasoning with your words, you’ll be able to get all you want out of life.
Studying copywriting is the best way I know how to achieve these skills. If you’re to become a good copywriter, you’ll have to learn how to think, logically, and persuasively – and that will translate to personal interactions as well.
- Copyhour – The best copywriting course on the planet as far as I’m concerned, and one of the primary tools I used to increase my skills. And the dude behind it is pretty cool too.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – While Cialdini’s book isn’t a copywriting book per say, it will help you to understand the psychology behind it all, and help you to not only become better at persuading people to see your point of view, but more importantly it will help you to understand both when and how you’re being persuaded.
16) Start a Blog
Aside from marrying my wife, starting a blog is the best decision I’ve ever made. The door it has opened up, and the path it has led me down is truly something I could never have imagined just a few years back.
A few years after creating this site, I created Breaking Eighty to see if building a blog around my love of golf might have the same effect.
I’ve now traveled all over the country and the world playing golf courses that I never in a million years would have had access to had I not started the site. It’s bringing in a nice income, allowing me to meet tons of likeminded people every month, and has built my authority within the industry.
- 56 Reasons to Start a Blog – I wrote this years ago, but pretty much everything still holds true…and then some.
- Improve Your Life in Just One Simple Step – The accompanying blog post to the above video.
17) Experiment Often
If I were to go back and give my younger self one piece of advice from what I’ve learned starting this business, it would be to experiment as much as possible.
For most of my business life, I haven’t been very good at this.
I’ve just stayed the path, slowly grown the site, and let things happen.
However, during the few times where I’ve really embraced testing and experimentation, some incredible things have happened.
- I experimented with a webinar and made $10,000 from a single 90 minute call.
- Installing a “welcome mat” on this page and doubling my email signups overnight.
- I did a guest post with a new strategy that led to nearly 2k new email signups in 48 hours.
Experiment with marketing, with businesses, with routines, with everything.
The faster you figure out what works and what doesn’t, the sooner you’ll be able to reach your goal of having anything you want in life.
18) Play the Money Game
On day one, you get $100. You aren’t allowed to invest the money, save the money, or give it to charity. You have to spend it.
What would you buy with it? Write everything down.
The next day you get $1,000. You can’t buy anything you’ve bought previously. What things would you buy? Write them down.
The next day you get $10,000. Then $100,000. Then $1,000,000.
What you’ll find is sooner than you think, you’ll have a tough time spending all the money. And this helps to keep things in perspective about what you really need and what you really want in life.
19) Get Anything You Want By Finding an Accountability Partner
After we got back from our life changing trip to Brazil for Carnival, my friend Ryan and I each took different paths.
He quit his job three weeks later and moved to Hawaii. I stayed in my day job and struggled to find a way out.
Every day I talked to him on my lunch break, and every day he was stoked with life, and I was miserable.
It was those conversations that kept me accountable for making decisions that would lead to the life I really wanted.
Find someone who has similar goals to you. It can be a close friend, family member, or even someone you meet online (I know of a great community, wink wink).
Having that person to help you stay accountable for what you really want is so beneficial, and I see few people succeed without some version of this.
20) Surround Yourself with People Who Want the Same Things as You
To that same point, make sure the people you spend the most time with have similar goals and mindsets as you.
Most of my friends in real life (Ryan being the exception) didn’t have huge desires to travel or start their own business.
So that’s one of the reasons I created Location 180 – to connect with people who did have similar goals as me. That’s why I hosted meet-ups in Portland and traveled to meet people once I left my job.
It’s why I used to commute 90 minutes to a co-working space in Bangkok. I wanted to be around that desire, energy, and drive to make things happen.
Honestly, look at where you’re at and who you spend most of your time with and ask yourself if those people are helping you get closer to what you want – or driving you away from it.
21) Don’t Try and Do Everything All at Once
So often I’ll get an email from a reader who is really gung ho about getting going, and they’ll tell me something like:
“I’m starting ten niche sites, a personal blog, a YouTube channel, a freelance business, aaaaaand a membership site.”
Now, all of those things are great, but it’s much better to make 100% progress on one thing than 10% progress on ten different things.
You can continue to work on different goals or things you want in time, but as you’re getting going, focus on the one most pressing thing or will add the most value to your life.
Otherwise, it’s way too easy to spread your attention and focus, get distracted, not see the results you want, and give up altogether.
22) Help Other People Get What They Want
The only, and I mean only reason I’m able to live the lifestyle I have is because it’s centered around helping other people get what they want in life.
This blog, Location Rebel Academy – the whole reason they still exist is because they’re helping others. Sure it started as a personal thing, and I’ll still talk about some of my personal experiences – but the reason after nearly seven years they are still growing is because they have helped thousands of people get what they want.
23) Don’t Neglect Your Body
The more success you have in life, and the more money you make, the harder it becomes to take care of yourself.
Let’s be blunt: I like the finer things in life: good food, good drink, and good times with friends.
Six years ago, I was buying “sale meat” at the grocery store and looking up recipes on some site called “5 dollar dinners.”
Now I pretty much go out whenever I want.
But when you do that, and you don’t also up your time in the gym and healthy eating during meals where you aren’t going out – your body will start to hate you for it…and it will show.
I told my fitness coach Mike awhile back that the reason I want to get in better shape and create more healthy habits is because I know with 100% certainty, that mastering that part of my life is the very best thing I can do to grow my business.
That discipline and well being will directly translate into business success, and getting the things I want in life.
Not much more to it than that. It’s been said that you are the sum of all of the books you’ve read, and I believe there’s a lot of truth in that.
However, I think it’s more than just books. These days the world is changing quickly, and a book takes a long time to write and publish.
While it’s great for things like personal development or general education, it’s often blogs or information products that can have the most timely and directly relevant information to your goals.
So think about what you need to learn and seek out that information in whatever medium it comes in.
25) Don’t Take Anything Personally
This is much easier said than done. But if you can train yourself not to take anything personally, you’ll be way ahead of the game.
Develop a thick skin and understand that whatever someone may say about you or do to you is out of your control. You have no idea what’s going on in their life, and if you want to get everything you want in your life, you don’t have the time or energy to waste on things like that.
26) Get to Know as Many People as Possible
People are who make things happen in your life.
Sure to get everything you want, you have to put in the work, but really there’s only so much you, yourself can do.
The more people you know, the more doors open up for you – especially people in whatever industry you work.
So if you blog? Go to conferences and meet other bloggers.
If you’re a writer? Go to writing workshops and meet-ups.
If you’re in tech? Go to events like CES.
If you’re in golf? Go to the PGA show.
And on a much more fundamental level, find the people you want to meet in your city and reach out to them.
While you’re the one who has to walk through them, generally, it’s other people who are the ones opening doors for you.
27) Live Like Your Future Self
No, I don’t mean go blow a bunch of money on the assumption your future self will be a baller.
But if in 10 years you see yourself owning a million dollar business, going to the gym at 6 am every morning, and traveling a lot – start doing that now.
So much of success is believing in yourself and having confidence. If you start doing the things now that you think you can only do in the future, you’ll trick your brain into thinking you already are that more successful future version of yourself.
28) Be Flexible
This goes for everything in life. If someone has to reschedule a meeting that screws up your schedule – just roll with it.
If in 2 years you realize all of the goals you’ve set for yourself today don’t really apply anymore, re-evaluate.
Being flexible in the short term will make you a better person to be around.
Being flexible over the long term is essential because you have no idea what your future self will be like – so you have to be willing to adapt and change as you adapt and change.
29) Once a Month, Treat Yourself
One of the absolute best ways I’ve pushed myself forward in life is by constantly giving myself little hits of the things I want over the long term – once you have a taste, you want more and more.
Quite literally, I might go out and get a really nice scotch, savor every second of it, and recognize that if I want that regularly – I better get to work.
We took a trip to the Maldives, which was absolutely incredible. While I was there, I shot a video (that I never intended to make public) to remind myself that this is what I wanted in the future. Fast forward to around 5:45 to see it.
So splurge every so often and give yourself a taste of those things you want, as they will motivate you to work that much harder to get them.
30) Stay One Step Ahead, Rather Than One Step Behind
Most people spend their lives trying to emulate things someone else is always doing.
Then there are a handful of people who are innovating, changing, educating themselves, and doing things before the masses.
You want to be the latter.
You want to be an innovator, and be on the forefront of trends and ideas. The ones who usually end up getting everything they want, are the ones who push themselves and their abilities a little bit farther than the average person.
31) Look for the Win/Win
Something I’ve done a lot of over the last few years has been looking for the win/win. Say there’s something I want to do. Ok, how can I do that, yet help a bunch of other people in the process?
Do I want to stay in a cool hotel? Ok, first off, how can I benefit my readers by staying there? What are the things that entertain and inform them? If I asked the hotel for a comped stay or reduced rate, how could they benefit? What is their goal in this whole proposition?
By putting the needs of others first and structuring opportunities that way, you’ll not only make more friends, but you’ll be building and establishing your brand and reputation in the process.
Questions to ask before proposing a win/win scenario:
- Does the other party benefit at least as much, if not more than you?
- What the real purpose behind the proposal?
- How can you do something different than what other people have done in the past?
- What have people done in the past that’s worked particularly well?
32) Become an Authority
Let’s face it; the better your reputation, the more people are willing to help you.
I’m a firm believer that everyone is an expert at something. You also have to keep in mind that you don’t need “total expertise,” rather more often than not, you simply need to be a relative expert. Essentially you just need to know more than the people you’re working with or educating.
By establishing yourself as an authority in one niche, you can leverage that authority across industries as you expand your business and lifestyle goals.
For instance, I’ve built myself up to be an authority on lifestyle businesses. Now that I have that, it’s easier for me to start my photography or golf sites, because I’ve already got an audience of people who trust me.
When it comes to getting what you want, people are more receptive to your emails, social media pleas, or other forms of reaching out if they trust you and know you to be knowledgable.
Some things to think about in regards to building authority:
- What types of things do you spend your free time thinking a lot about (Think in specifics – hobbies? Sports? Specific locations?)
- What do your friends always ask you for advice on?
- If I held a gun to your head and said tell me three things you better than most people at, what would you say?
- Do you have a blog or website yet? If no, start.
33) Put Yourself in a Position for Opportunities
I talk to a lot of readers about this concept. It’s often not until people know you’re in a position to accept an opportunity that they will offer it to you.
For instance, the only reason Dan asked me to join him and the Tropical MBA team back in 2009 was because I wrote the post about my last day at work.
Had I not been in a position to accept, the opportunity would never have shown up.
The point of this? Sometimes to get what you want, you have to take a risk that puts you in the position to be open for the opportunity to find you.
Not sure if you’re “in a position for opportunity”?
- Are you publicly visible? Meaning, do you have active social media profiles, blog, etc.?.
- If you were the person hiring for your dream job or internship, would you approach you, based on your position?
- Are you actively reaching out to people who have lives you’re aspiring toward?
Also, extremely simple. These days access is no longer an issue. There’s someone out there who can probably make any one of your dreams, goals, or aspirations come true. You can also probably get their contact information in less than 2 minutes of Google searching.
Most people never simply ask. Either because they’re too shy, too afraid of getting rejected, or simply don’t believe anyone will say yes.
I’ve found the vast majority of the time I ask for something, especially if I know what I want, think about the win/win, and leverage authority – the answer is usually yes.
You can do everything else perfectly, but often getting what you want in life, simply comes down to asking for it.
My buddy Tyler wrote a great post about how life changing a simple email can be.
Try it today. Go ask for something you want; you may be surprised by what happens. Or you may not, but at least you’ll know you tried.
35) Declare Your Intentions Publicly
In 2009 I wanted to start crossing things off my bucket list and make some major lifestyle changes. So what’d I do, I started a blog and told the world about it. This does two very important things:
- It holds you accountable
- It’s an offer for help.
If you say something once, or worse, simply think about doing it without telling anyone, what are the odds it’s going to happen? Probably not very high. By putting pretty major goals and changes out to the world, in many ways, the thought of not doing it was scarier than the idea of actually following through.
The more people you tell, the easier it gets.
One of my favorite examples of this was when my wife and I were engaged. We kept telling people, halfway joking, that instead of renting crappy tuxes for my groomsman for the wedding, we were going to fly to Vietnam to get custom suits made for a fraction of the price.
If you say you’re going to do something enough times, eventually, it actually happens.
And secondly, it’s an offer for help.
A reader and now good friend, Gene Jennings, sent me an email a couple of years back saying. “I can’t get you on the course, but how’d you like to come be my guest at the Masters this year?”
By putting it out there publicly, anyone who is in a position to help often does so.
36) Learn How to Sell (But Not in a Sleazy Way)
This falls back to the conversation about luck. Many people believe the people who get everything they want in life are simply lucky. In some cases, they probably are. But some people have learned how to create their own luck, and you can as well.
We all sell. Every single day we are selling our ideas, our products, and more. Whether it’s trying to sell someone on buying your latest ebook or simply selling them on what movie to watch with you, persuasion is part of life.
The better you are at it, the easier it is to get what you want.
So how do you start honing your persuasion muscle?
Here are three books I’d recommend checking out:
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – One of the most useful books I’ve ever read. Once you understand the different ways people are trying to persuade you, it becomes much easier to recognize and apply the techniques in your own life.
- Breakthrough Advertising – Pretty much all of my best marketing friends have told me to read this book. Written by one of the greatest marketers in history, Eugene Schwartz, it’s become my go to book for copywriting. It’s a beast, not an easy read, and incredibly expensive if you can find a copy of it, but well worth it. This link is to a difficult to read (but free) PDF and is a great starting point.
- Ca$hvertising – Another copywriting book, but once you’re a good copywriter, you’ll be amazed at how that translates to other aspects of your life.
37) Start Getting Anything You Want TODAY
So, want to learn how to get everything you want in life? You start working for it.
So get after it.
I’ve devoted my entire life to helping people start businesses that allow them to quit their job, work from anywhere, and spend more time doing the stuff they love to do. Want my help? Let’s do this.