How To Keep A Habit: Make it a Default Action

For an app, when you have settings on default, a segment of your audience will never touch it. The path of least resistance is to just let it be.

By default, Facebook is designed to take your information and only give you the posts that they think you’d like and agree with. You have to turn it off manually.

But most people won’t.

With YouTube, even if your intentions are to watch one video and that’s it, the “Related Videos” sidebar automatically shows up as a constant reminder to check out more videos — you can’t turn it off.

That’s how companies build highly effective products: they make the default choice the one that keeps you on their site longer.

You can borrow this lesson from these famous tech companies and incorporate it into your life.

  • How can you change your environment so that the choice you want to make is the default one?

  • How can you make the path of least resistance the one you want it to be?

Some ways to make your defaults easier:

  • To eat healthy: Stocking your kitchen only with healthy foods so that those potato chips are simply inaccessible

  • To start exercising in the morning: Setting up your gym clothes the night before by the door, so that all you have to do is put them on the next morning

  • To start meditating: have a yoga mat rolled out on the floor and put your alarm clock next to it so you have to move to it in the morning

… and so on.

There are numerous ways you can make your life easier when you just make it the easiest choice to take. You shouldn’t have to fight temptation everywhere you go. You’re going to lose if you want to quit smoking, but leave cigarettes everywhere in your house.

Transparency is king

Today’s customers are more demanding than ever.

It’s not enough to promise a sausage and deliver it — customers want to know how it was made, if the beef was locally sourced, or grass-fed, etc.

And that’s completely fair of them to want to know.

Some people are completely satisfied with eating that sausage and never knowing. But the growing trends show that surprise surprise: the more information you give people, the more they grow to trust you and build a relationship with you.

When you’re honest as a company to your customers, you develop a longer-lasting connection with people.

They’re no longer just customers to you.

They become like family.

And your family will always support your endeavors.

Why Companies Should Acquire the Right Customers, Not More

When it comes to business, here are two (oversimplified) options when it comes to customer acquisition that I’m noticing:

  1. Attract the masses with a product that promises everything. Compete on price and give massive discounts in order to convert more customers. Overbook and under-deliver and completely alienate a section of your customers. The customers who should have never been your customers have a horrible experience with you. They cause social and financial damage to your company.

  2. Take the time to identify the right customers. Create marketing that targets and attracts these specific ideal customers. Deliver on exactly the service that they expect from you. Focus on quality product above artificial growth.

With option 1, it’s simple to point to a chart and say “Look how many customers we’re getting! We’re selling so much product!”. But when you go a level deeper than that, you start to see the truth.

You may have sold more product, but how many of those customers returned your product and requested a refund?

How many customers were sold a different product and left a bad review because they imagined they were receiving one thing but got something completely different?

How much potential business are you losing from these bad reviews?

The Hidden Costs of Attracting the Wrong Customer

The ROI of effective marketing makes everything else easier. You are clear on what you offer, you let customers qualify themselves, and you give value to the customer before you sell them.

But of course no marketing is perfect; you’re going to acquire some bad apples. They are deceptive to the executive branch, because sure, they may look like a net benefit from the sales point of view, but they will only cause headaches for your company. They will absorb time, money, and reputation from your company.

These things are a lot harder to gain back than they are to lose.

How to Attract Your Ideal Customer

Initially, it’s hard to find the right customer.

But once you’re in the industry for a few years, you should have a good idea of which customers provide you the most lifetime value (LTV).

The ones with the highest LTV whether that is through profit or through referrals will be the customer base you want to tap into. This is a simplified profile of who you want, but generally you want people who will contribute the most to your business profit-wise. If they’re not bringing in more profit, they’re making you lose it.

You have to coordinate your different departments to acquire and maintain these ideal customers:

  1. Marketing must create content, ads, and conversations that are written in the language that speaks out most to your ideal customer.

  2. Sales must learn how to qualify the right people and understand how to disqualify the problem customers.

  3. Product, engineering, and operations must deliver on the product that marketing and sales claim to provide.

  4. Customer support must be the voice of the customer and provide growth suggestions for other teams to improve the product.

Once you have all of these teams working in cohesion, you will be serving the right customer and serving them well.

Choose to serve the masses and you end up serving half of them well and making their lives truly better, while the other half of them experience a money-entangled pool of failed expectations.

To get more, do less

I’m tired of people saying they’re busy all of the time.

Not because they’re not actually busy, but because they use it as an excuse not to change anything.

If your busyness is making your life unmanageable, it’s your job to reduce the amount of things you need to do however that needs to be done. You can go the route of elimination of delegation, but the things that don’t give you value in life need to be pushed somewhere else.

We admire all of our heroes for accomplishing great things.

But how did they get there?

It’s by being selective about what they did and minimizing the time they spent on activities and busywork that didn’t make their lives better.

The Key Is To Do Less, Not More

So many times in my life, I’ve wanted to be super fit, learn Japanese, and start my own YouTube show, and also start my own business — often all at the same time.

There’s a reason I haven’t made much progress in any of these and no it’s not because Oreos are delicious.

It’s because I’m trying to do too many things at once.

My focus was too spread out.

Think of focus as a finite amount of energy. It has the shape of a ball. Now if you have many different interests and you spend that time in many different directions during the day, you’ll make some progress, but not much.

Now, when you choose to prioritize things, and spend 2 hours a day on something, you’ll go a lot farther in it than if you had been trying to hit many different goals at once.

 The less you do, the farther you’ll go.

The less you do, the farther you’ll go.

It’s simple math really.

You can spend a little bit of time getting better at something here and there if you do it once or twice per week. But if you put in the time to do it consistently and with focus, you’ll get a lot more done.

Take for example, writing.

You could either write one essay per month like in most college courses, or you could write 500 words per day. Who do you think the better writer is going to be?

The difference over 4 months is enormous.

If your average college paper is 500 words, then over 4 months, you’d have written and thought about 2,000 words. But if you wrote 500 words everyday, then after 4 months, you’d have written at least 60,000 words.

It’s all about committing to practicing the same thing consistently. When you do that, you’ll make monumental increases in your skills and output.

Think about what you’re spending your time on. Can you reduce the things you do, so you can put more energy into a select few things?

Launch your career before you find your passion

Going off of yesterday's thoughts, I think it's important that young people launch their careers before they worry about finding their passion.

What does this mean?

When I think of launching your career, I mean working a job that is at least is a 50% fit towards your natural inclinations. This has to be something that helps you grow towards becoming the person you want to be.

Most jobs can actually be this career-launching type of job. All it has to do is teach you the norms of the workplace and the culture of being in a culture that rewards performance and character. Once you learn how to navigate the workplace and start gaining experience there, then you can start to build towards finding or creating that career you feel more passionate about.

The game of finding your passion isn't about choosing the perfect job right off the bat.

It's about testing lots of jobs early on to see what you like doing professionally, and what you don't. It may not be a perfect fit, but you'll learn things about what you like and what you don't. You'll start to see what you value in a workplace (whether that's predictability, fun coworkers, or ample opportunity), rather than let others decide for you what is valuable.

Only through testing and just starting on your career instead of spending years "preparing" for your career, can you learn what the perfect fit is for you.

So go ahead and test.

When life gets busy, you need more activities that ground you

Hey guys.

Little life update: ever since I got my new job and had to move to a new apartment, I've really put writing and a lot of my other enjoyable habits on hold. I didn't really have the time to focus on them, but I've realized now that, when I'm not doing them, I feel worse.

I kept prioritizing things like vegging out after work, spending them with my girlfriend and my dog above other things. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but I need to return to my roots. I need to return to the fundamental activities that give me joy and value.

I miss writing.

I miss reading.

I miss working out.

Not doing any of these things for the past month has made me realize how much value these activities bring into my life. Whatever those activities are for you, make sure to do them. No matter how busy life gets, no matter how many responsibilities come your way, make the time for things that give you more peace of mind -- that make you actually enjoy the human experience.

This post is more a promise to myself than anything, but I hope you get something out of it. When life gets busy, don't worry about trying to accomplish a million things at once. Take care of what needs to be taking care of (like your health and financial stability).

But just remember that your financial stability can only be maintained or improved if you really focus on health and make that a priority. Health isn't just about medicine and food. It's about doing the things that you love that stimulate your mind, whether that's playing an instrument, writing, or reading.

It's about having the discipline to excel at your job, while also spending your hours off work to recharge with activities that fill you up.

I'm ready to start taking care of myself again.

For me, that means:

  1. Blogging daily and sharing what I'm learning as I experience life
  2. Focusing on one thing at a time
  3. Meditating daily to get my mind rested
  4. Learning new things
  5. Exercising at least 3-4 times per week
  6. Plan intentionally and visualize my goals

I find that when I do these activities, I move a lot further towards my goals.

Time to get back on that horse again.

It's about damn time.

Please comment below if you'd like to share what your core habits are? The ones that when you don't do them, you feel icky and weird. Looking forward to reading them!

Fulfillment Comes From Effort

Whatever you set your priorities as, make sure you put your full effort into them.

That's one piece of advice that will always lead to personal success. The way you define success should be about choosing the things you want to focus on for a certain period of time, and putting your full energy into them.

To some, this is doing really well in school.

To others, this is raising a baby and putting our all into it.

Whatever your priorities are, if you slack on them and just neglect them, you're going to feel really bad. Because it's something you want, and you're putting zero effort into it, you're going to put yourself into a spiral of non-actualization.

But if it's truly a priority to you mentally, it'll get done.

And when you put in the most amount of effort to get that result you really desire, whether that's a behavioral change, or a professional promotion, you'll feel satisfied that you put your all into the hunt. The meat will just be the icing on top.

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Evan's Goal Update - Day 21/56

  1. Fitness: Rest day. (10/26 sessions completed this cycle)
  2. YouTube: Still unfinished. Need to make time for this. (1/8 this cycle)
  3. Coding: Still in same spot as before w/ HTML and CSS.

Note: Man this has gotten out of hand. Ever just feel out of it? I set all of these audacious goals, but starting my first week of work really changed my priorities. I want to practice self-acceptance, though so I can forgive myself for missing these few weeks as I adapt myself to the new job.

Voluntary adversity

You can wait for as long a time as you want...

But there's never a right time for anything.

The conditions will never be perfect, your friends may not support it, and you will be scared to take action and just do it. That's why if you're making a big decision in your life (getting a dog, having a baby, or quitting a job to pursue something else, etc) the stars may never seem aligned.

To get what we want, we have to voluntarily invite adversity into our lives.

Because when we do invite those challenges, we invite those rewards as well.

Voluntary adversity will give you purpose and drive. Now may not be the right time (practically), but it might be the right time in the story you're crafting for yourself.

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Evan's Goal Update - Day 19/56

  1. Fitness: Rest day. (9/26 sessions completed this cycle)
  2. YouTube: Still unfinished. Need to make time for this. (1/8 this cycle)
  3. Coding: Still in same spot as before w/ HTML and CSS.

TO NICE GUYS: People Don't Want Nice, They Want Real

 Photo by  Olya Kuzovkina  on  Unsplash

Hey you, Nice Guy.

Stop pretending to be nice. It's not going to get you ahead in life. Neither will being a dick. You have to be real. Generally, people like others who are:

  1. Truly kind and compassionate for all people (ie not just selectively to attractive people)
  2. Has an overall positive outlook on life
  3. Unafraid to be vulnerable about sensitive topics every now and then
  4. Lives honestly and can communicate their feelings (without harming others)
  5. Can laugh at themselves and not be so self-hating
  6. Are happy with themselves

If you, Nice Guy, can learn these six things, you might have a chance at getting the things you think only "dicks" get. Yes, if you learn how to love yourself and you concern yourself with raising others up with you, then you will attract the people you want to attract in both relationships and friendships.

You see, the more you try to justify your failures because you're "too nice", the more you enshrine yourself in victim mentality. "Oh woe is me, the whole world doesn't support me because I'm too nice, guess you got to be a dick to get what you want out of life".

Except it isn't true. It's not because you're too nice. It's because you're too scared to grow. Your failures are because you're trying to be someone you're not. You're trying to be nice to people in order to get something back from them, not because you genuinely and sincerely want to see them succeed or benefit.

I think the greatest thing you can realize is that:

You don't have to change to make people like you.

But you do have to change your mindset.

You have to realize that it's not about "nice vs asshole". It's about real vs fake.

And let's face it: nice guys are fake guys.

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Evan's Goal Update - Day 15/56

  1. Writing: Writing for the 15th day in a row.
  2. Fitness: Rest day. (8/32 sessions completed this cycle)
  3. YouTube: Late on uploading but will finish by EOD!
  4. Coding: Trying to re-create the Google homepage in HTML and CSS. Not had much time recently... I had an ambitious goal to complete The Odin Project curriculum in 6 months, but I may put it lower on the priority list and make it 1 year.

The Cons Don't Matter

There are certain people in your life who when you present an exciting idea, will always come at you with a negative viewpoint.

What if you guys start dating and she cheats or breaks up with you?

What if you fail and make a fool of yourself?

What if you do that thing you want to do and end up hating it?

And sometimes, it’d be wise to heed these warnings of potentially negative scenarios.

But in 99% of other cases, listening to these warnings are a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME.

There’s no point in considering every potential negative scenario. That’s fine for war and life & death situations — but in normal decisions we make in our relatively safe society, these negative scenarios are not going to kill you.

And the potential benefits of the positive scenario are too great to let doubt stop you.

So invite these “negative alarmists” to the discussion at your own discretion — listen to them if you wish, but realize that the positives have the ability to change your life for the better. If you do nothing because you’re too scared at the risk of negative scenarios, your life won’t change at all.

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Evan's Goal Update - Day 10/56

  1. Job + apartment: I've officially signed on with a promising startup in Los Angeles. I'll be announcing shortly. Potentially found the right apartment today.
  2. Reading + writing: Writing for the 10th day in a row.
  3. Coding: Trying to re-create the Google homepage in HTML and CSS. It's still hard.
  4. Fitness: Finished a great upper body session. (6/32 sessions completed this cycle)
  5. YouTube: Working on the video to upload tonight! Will edit link in later.