As I wrap up my 2016, I can’t help but say “it was all worth it.” And as we come up on 2017, I hope by the end of next year, you will say the same.
I wasn’t around on To Be Alpha much in 2016. I was busy working on my own things.
- Pushed the pause button on To Be Alpha to build a new business from the ground up that is cash flow positive
- Gave up boxing to start training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (dislocated my shoulder, busted up both my ears, multiple minor injuries)
- Traveled to Asia for the first time in my life. Then a second time.
- Cut out some betas in my life so I could be surrounded by goal-oriented, ambitious, supportive people
- Invested in myself (by invest I mean $$invest$$)
In the end, it was completely worth it. But it wasn’t easy.
I know the list looks fairly easy. “Oh he made a new business…Oh he quite one martial art for another…Oh he booked a plane ticket…Oh he stopped talking to certain people.”
Let me tell you, it was NOT easy. Nothing is every easy. If it was…just imagine the life we would all be living.
There are always trade-offs to everything. Especially when you get older. There’s no one to tell us we have to do something. We have to want to do something. We have to force ourselves to do something. But we also don’t have to. The choice is yours. And for me I had to make some hard decisions.
Disappeared from To Be Alpha
Over the past few years, To Be Alpha has seen some extraordinary traffic. I never really converted the traffic but I had plans to. I wrote two ebooks that do fairly well but there was plenty more to come. I had so many articles to write, so many things I wanted to cover, and so many products to recommend or make. But I made the decision to focus on something else.
Because I saw even greater potential there. And as much as I love To Be Alpha, I knew that if I spent time growing another business, I would have more capital and time in a year or two, to come back to To Be Alpha and make this site everything I thought it could be. And I still think it’s possible. But at the end of the day, it was worth leaving To Be Alpha to focus on other things.
Learned A New Skill
Boxing and weightlifting became part of my routine. Not only did it keep me fit and healthy but it made me feel good. But I wanted to challenge myself and do something new. I wanted to learn Brazilian jiu-jitsu. But it wasn’t easy switching. I, like many of you, was actually scared of going to a new place and learning something new.
Being a beginner and not knowing anything is scary. Not knowing anyone is scary. Looking like an idiot sucks. But you have to go through this. Everyone does. And that’s what I told myself. Jiu-jitsu was something I wanted to learn. A skill I thought I could use in life. There’s the self defense aspect, the health aspect, and also…it’s just bad ass. You can’t even be competitive in mix martial arts if you don’t know how to grapple. So I knew I wanted to do this. So I did.
But I didn’t want to just go there once or twice a week. I wanted to really learn. So I turned my back on boxing. I changed my schedule so I could go to the gym in the morning and jiu-jitsu twice a day…six days a week. I went from zero to better. I’m far from being a black belt but I know I’ve progressed technically. Was it worth it? Totally. I have a bunch of minor injuries and got some cauliflower ear but f*ck it. You either grow or you die. And you’re going to eventually die anyway, so grow while you can.
I didn’t make it a goal of mine to travel more in 2016. The truth is, I like being at home. Or in my home city – NYC. It’s the greatest city in the world in my opinion. There’s no reason to leave. But I had the opportunity to go travel and I jumped on it. Why not?
Seeing a different part of the world and how people live definitely changes your perspective. It can humble you or make you grateful for what you have. Or make you envious of what you don’t have. It also gives you more experiences and teaches you how to adapt in a different culture or environment.
Do you know how hard it is to get around China when you don’t speak Mandarin? Pretty damn hard. But you figure it out.
I don’t think I’ll make traveling a yearly thing. But I’ll probably travel more. But learning how to survive in different cities and being able to travel for the experience itself, is completely worth it. I learned a lot this past year just by getting on a plane and waking up in another country. Worth it.
Eliminated The Betas
It’s great to have supportive people in your life. It’s great to have dreamers also. But betas…not so much. And by betas, I mean the people that talk and talk but never do anything. They complain about things and they want to make changes but they don’t. Stop wasting my time, betas! I can only have the same conversation with people so many times telling them to start taking control of their life.
I had to rid myself of people that were stressing me out and bringing me down because of their negativity. It’s never fun cutting people out of your life. But I’ve been around the block long enough to know that its worth it. Cut the cord. You’ll be a better person with some people out of your life. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Surround yourself with beautiful people – inside and out.
Your Time and Money Are Your Time and Money
My number 1 rule for 2017 is invest in yourself. I read some comments when I logged into To Be Alpha about how “this asshole James is telling people to be selfish!! What about my family??!” and all this other nonsense. It’s clear to me all they did was read the title of my blog post “Learn to Be Selfish.”
I’m all for helping other people. I’m all for helping your family. Heck, I want you to be able to provide to your family and your loved ones. I want you to “make it” so you can help other people have a better life. But I also know that it takes a lot of work to get to that point. And if you’re focusing on others when you haven’t made it where you want to be yet, it’s a struggle.
Treat yourself kindly. And by that, I mean don’t be so hard on yourself. I was really hard on myself a lot of 2016. From stressing out about my new business to hating myself for sucking ass at jiujitsu. Give yourself a break. And understand as long as you are trying, you’re doing the right thing. A lot better than those betas that talk about sh*t and never do anything, right?
Invest in yourself. This means your time and money. Do things that make you happy. Do things that you know will help you in the long run – maybe that’s signing up for a new class, or going back to school, or working, or creating, or gyming…whatever it is…you have to come first. Because if you’re happy and well off, then you can make other’s happy. The same goes with money. As much as I believe in saving and making sure your family is well off, I think you also need to invest in yourself when necessary. Maybe you need to update your wardrobe, get some healthier food in the fridge, buy a new car…whatever it is…try to invest in yourself. I know it’s not always easy to, especially if you’re financially constrained but sometimes, a small investment in you = a big return.
I invested in myself a lot this past year. Too much to talk about here. But in the end it was worth it. The time and the money. The time investment not only allowed me to do things I wanted but I was also able to make more money by focusing on things I wanted to focus on. And the money I invested in my self and my business = even more money. And with all that money, I was able to give back to the ones I love and have the freedom to do whatever I want. I never said money wasn’t important. And I never said money was the most important thing. But money alleviates a financial stress and also allows me to help people I want to help. So never forget, investing in yourself, is a good thing. And it’s okay to be selfish…at least for now.
2017 Here we Come
My 2016 wraps up today. As does yours.
For many, January 1, 2017 will be a fresh start.
For me, it’s a continuation of great things to come.
If you want it to be a reset button for you or another chance to do the things you wanted, then I’m all for it.
- Just try to remember to not be so hard on yourself.
- Test yourself.
- Do things that scare you.
- Grow from your failures and get back on your feet and try again but this time be a little smarter.
- Be selfish.
- Invest in yourself.
- And ultimately, get through the pain periods and hardships and come out on the other side a better person. If you do this, then by December 31, 2017, you’ll say “it was all worth it.”
What will you do in 2017? Not what do you want to do. But what WILL you do. Let me know.
Happy New Year. The best to you, your family and your friends. Let’s be amazing in 2017. Let’s aim to be a better version of you.
Be Bold. Be Alpha.