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How To Compete With People Who Are Better Than You

If we get on the treadmill together, there are two options: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die.

Will Smith

But who are you running against? For most of your life, the person on the other treadmill is yourself.

Right now, the field might be crowded. Many people are ahead of you, and you can’t see who leads the pack. But once you start running faster than everyone else, you’ll soon be the only one left in the race.

  • You’ll be the only one left in the study room at school at 7 AM.
  • You’ll be the only one left who sends emails at 10 PM.
  • You’ll be the only one left working, while your friends are out partying.

Very few people have an outstanding work ethic. That’s what makes them outstanding. But it also means it’ll get lonely.

You don’t want what your friends want. You want what you want. So you shouldn’t care about winning against them.

Your true competitor is also your greatest fan.

(Barack Obama on 20th of January, 2009, about to take the oath of office)

Look at Will Smith again. He could’ve long stopped running. There’s no one for him to beat any more. As of 2016, his movies have grossed $7.5 billion at the global box office.

Why does a guy like that turn around and go straight to making more films?

When people like Will Smith glance at the other treadmill, they see a different version of themselves. One that’s not as good, as generous, as humble, as disciplined, as honest or as dedicated as they are.

That’s who they’re running against. Running from. Before long, you’ll be running against yourself too. You’ll have to, in order to keep going.

When you get there, I hope you’ll do what Will Smith does: keep running anyway.

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Alan Turing: The Man Who Changed History Twice in a Single Moment

The first time I heard Alan Turing’s name was in a computer science class where we studied different kinds of basic machines and how they work. One of them was called a Turing machine. Alan invented it.

In modern academia, the focus lies on the theoretical model behind the machine, but this is what his implementation looked like:

It looks big and clunky and mysterious, but on the inside, you can imagine it a bit like this:

A Turing machine really only does a few things:

  • It moves a tape back and forward. The tape has symbols on it, each written down in a single cell.
  • The machine reads these symbols, one at a time.
  • Then, it decides what outputs to generate based on the inputs it receives.
  • Finally, it writes the output on the tape and moves on to the next cell.

Despite its seeming simplicity, the Turing machine changed the course of history unlike any other invention ever made. The moment Alan Turing got his theoretical model to work inside a real-world machine is one of the greatest moments in the history of mankind.

Here’s why.

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How To Come Up With Great Billboards

I want to share a series of billboards which I think are great because:

  1. It makes you think about and compare two brands, pick a side and stick to it.
  2. It’s reactive in that the advertisers responded to the feedback and kept the momentum going with new billboards — this is rare, most billboards are static and get old fast.
  3. It won across channels, went viral online and had built-in community participation.

I hope you love cars as much as I do. Let’s roll!

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How To Start A Passion Project One Day At A Time

When people sign up for my newsletter, they instantly receive an automated email that asks them: “What’s one thing you struggle with?” Some consider this a marketing trick, but for me, it’s a once in a lifetime chance to talk to readers, say hi and try to help them however I can.

Nevertheless, it does have a research benefit to it: I see which problems keep coming up and what bothers my audience the most. I’ve written so much by now, that most of the time, I can recommend a particular resource for any given issue.

No time to read? Take my free course. Issues with productivity? Gotcha. Can’t google stuff? Wrote a book for you.

Recently, one question kept coming up, which I found myself unable to send people a resource for. It’s a question about projects. A question about starting. Here are three reader responses, all from this week, aimed at it:

“I want to start a business, but hardly have the money or the idea for it!” –Vishal

“I started learning magic tricks long ago, but I never take the time to share my tricks online. There are a few on youtube and I really wanted to share more.” –Flavien

Being disorganized and lacking focus. I’m a certified NLP trainer and looking to start my own business as a Learning Coach for children. Yet I spend my days on chores, cooking and computer based admin stuff.” –Megan

Can you spot the question? Here’s the one I see: “How do I start a passion project?

Today, I’ll do my best to answer it. But first…why is it that question?

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Investing For Millennials: How To Really Go For Financial Freedom

Last week I accused my fellow millennials of not preparing for their financial future. But pointing fingers is easy. So this week, we’ll do something about it. In fact, I have been doing something about it for quite some time.

I started investing 25%+ of my monthly income in January 2015, and have since been growing my money at just under 7% compound annual growth rate.

But I never could’ve done it without the advice of several personal finance books, which are what I’ll draw on this week to present to you: my guide for investing for millennials. I think this is one of the most practical approaches to reach financial freedom.

Of course this isn’t just for millennials, but it does help if you have time on your side. When I look at how I’ve gotten to the point I’m at right now, it breaks down into seven steps:

Let’s walk through them.

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