In the psychology of success, momentum is by far the most underrated mindset. I define momentum simply by having things going your way. That means a maximum amount of wins and a minimum amount of losses and headaches.
When you start a business, or any other major endeavor, you’re going to have many obstacles in your way. Think of it like pushing a boulder up a hill. The first leg is the hardest, because it’s all uphill. But when you reach the top of the hill it gets easier, because now you’re pushing the boulder on even ground.
But it’s not until you reach the other side of the hill that things kick in to high gear because now the boulder is rolling downhill and you don’t even have to push it anymore. Now all your hard work has given the boulder enough momentum that it can roll on it’s own, and you can just jog down the hill tap dancing behind that boulder.
Success in business or any other big project is all about momentum, but not just on the last leg of your journey. You want as much momentum behind you the whole way through, especially when you’re pushing the thing uphill. Because without that momentum on your uphill battle, that boulder will roll right over you.
In my experience the more positive momentum you have going for you the easier it is to get things done. And the more negative momentum you have against you, the harder it is to get things done. Not only that, it makes the journey to success that much more enjoyable.
Life is a lot more pleasant when you have the wind at your back. And if you’re a true student of the game of life, you know that enjoying the journey is as important as the end result, if not more so.
To get things done and to enjoy the journey it’s important to understand the 5 keys to mastering momentum:
How To Master Momentum
1) Value Momentum Over Money
To get momentum you have to value momentum over money. This might be tough to do if you’re short on cash, but it’s necessary. When you value money over momentum, not only do you end up wasting a lot of your time, but you also increase your stress, headaches and it becomes very easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted.
Have you ever been working on a major project and felt like the weight of the world was on your shoulders? You feel that way because you don’t have momentum, and there is a good chance it’s because you still value money over momentum.
For me, I used to spend days working on a technical issue for RLD and end up feeling frustrated, stressed and exhausted. And all that time I spent in an area that I’m weak on, took time away from my core business and the area that I’m strongest at, which is content and product creation. Not only that, but oftentimes I couldn’t even finish the project and would have to pay to get someone to clean up my mess.
Now, whenever I have a technical issue, I find the best guy on upwork and pay him whatever he wants, save a ton of time and stress, get it done way faster than I would have, and get to use all my time to doing what I love: getting more content out.
Not only does this apply to business but I apply momentum to my daily life. Everyday, because I stay organized and on top of things, I have at least 10 things to do in my Wunderlist, from grooming, to shopping, to emails to whatever else needs to get done. All of those daily tasks take time away from succeeding in my business, fitness, lifestyle and relationship goals.
Because those daily tasks take time away from my success in the four key areas of life I try to keep my daily, basic grunt tasks to an absolute minimum. So, if I decide to add 10 new t shirts to my minimalist wardrobe one day, and the next day I realize I don’t like 3 of them, I’ll just throw those shirts in the trash.
I couldn’t care less about the money, what’s more important to me is the momentum of getting sh*t done. Instead of wasting an entire afternoon getting a refund, I could spend that afternoon on getting an article out.
The same logic applies to more expensive things. I bought an $80 printer last week, I tried for two hours to link it from my chromebook to Google Print and it wasn’t happening. So I just threw it in the garbage and bought another better one, from a better store. There was no way I was going to spend and afternoon going back to the mom and pop shop I bought it from, where they barely speak English, and trying to negotiate a refund in Thai.
This mindset drives my oldest friend in same. It drives him crazy to see me throw out perfectly good things, or buy a new computer with only 10 minutes of research at Best Buy because his mindset is that of valuing the dollar over momentum.
He’ll waste days researching a $200 buying decision, causing stress and headaches, and taking his valuable time away from earning money.
I can afford to throw things out because I’m a hardcore minimalist, keep expenses low, and spend the bulk of my time focusing on getting richer.
2) Cultivate Momentum On A Daily Basis
To master momentum, you not only have to value it over money, you have to focus on cultivating it everyday. Your day is won or lost by 10 AM. If you spent all morning staying in bed jacking off and watching YouTube videos, that day is done.
By 10 Am I’ve knocked off at least 7 tasks and am already rolling on my work. Those tasks might be small but to me those are 7 wins before noon, and it makes a massive difference to your psychology to get those early wins behind you. Not just for that day, but for the next day.
One of my favorite feelings in the world is to see all my tasks completely for that day. You need to wake up with the mentality of getting momentum behind you early in the race and getting things done. Then at the end of the day, you can relax and feel good about what you’ve accomplished.
If you spend your mornings jacking off or surfing the internet, it’s over
3) Avoid The Sunk Cost Fallacy
The sunk cost fallacy is a financial term that loosely translates into spending good money on a bad investment. It’s part of our psychology to value avoiding losses over potential gains. This translates to a lot of people holding on to bad investments or bad trades because they don’t want to admit they made a mistake, and don’t want to admit that they’ve lost money and wasted their time.
This is why the average guy make such a terrible trader (and I don’t recommend trading to anyone as a career). I spent my early 20’s as a pro trader and the one thing they drilled into our heads every day was to cut your losses. If you can’t learn to cut your losses early, you’re going to lose a lot of money in the markets.
The same applies to succeeding in all areas of life. Holding on to a bad decision in business because you invested a lot of time and money into it not only crushes your momentum, but it ends up costing even more time and money in the future.
The sooner you take your losses the better. The amount of time and money you put into something in the past means nothing in the present. Instead of agonizing over the loss and how much you invested in it, think how good you’ll feel when you have the problem solved and get your momentum back.
Think how many recurring problems you have right now, from a bad relationship, to a bad investment, to a bad business decision, that you could solve by simply charging it to the game, cutting your losses and learning from the experience. And think how much better you’d feel after getting your momentum back by having cleared a major obstacle out of your way..
4) Start Living Like A Shark
A shark needs to keep moving or it dies. And a shark is always on the hunt for its next meal. If you’re serious about success, you need to start living like a shark by always moving forward and always looking for you next win.
Because success means always executing, if you don’t stay hungry and keep moving forward in business, your competitors are going to come and take what’s yours. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, or even next year, but eventually, they’re going to come in and take money off your table.
The truth is, in life there is no such things as neutral, you’re either going forwards, or you’re going backwards. Life only appears to be neutral for brief periods of time. It’s just so subtle that you won’t be able to see that you were moving backwards, when you thought you were in neutral, until six months later.
It might sound uncomfortable or extreme at first to picture living life as shark, but when you embrace the mentality, you learn to love it. And you can’t picture living any other way.
When I was a teenager, my dream was to spend all day playing video games and getting girls without my mom nagging me to do my chores or my homework. But I’m not a useless teenager anymore, and I wouldn’t want to be.
I’m a grown man and I’m hungry to get sh*t done every damn day. I’m a shark and I have to keep moving forward to feel good.
To succeed, you need to get to the point where you wake up itching to get sh*t done. It doesn’t matter how many losses you took yesterday or last year, you need to wake u to be looking to find that win today.
Momentum and constant forward motion is the lifeblood of success. When you embrace that shark mentality, you can’t go back to living like a normal person. Because you learn to live to get things done. To feel that rush of getting closer to your goals, to have all that momentum behind you. Because momentum is addictive. I never feel more alive than when I have momentum behind me and I’m working towards hitting a big goal.
Now, just because you learn to live like a shark doesn’t mean you don’t get to relax and have fun. But the time to do that is at the end of the day, once you’ve handled your business. Then you get to relax and enjoy the feeling of unwinding after a hard day’s work.
5) Respect Burnout
The final thing you need to understand about momentum is to accept and respect your limitations. And that means respecting when you’ve burnt yourself out.
This might sound contradictory to point number 4 of having a shark mentality, but it’s not. The shark mentality, is just a useful frame. It’s empowering, but in reality it’s a mental map for being able to consistently reinforce positive behavior every day.
But the map is not the territory. Being able to use mental maps is useful to achieving your goals, but at the end of the day, you’re still a human. And when you push too hard for too long, you’ll burnout, and burnout is not fun. You’ll know you’re burnt out when you’ve been struggling to get out of bed for the past two months.
Burnout is definitely something you want to avoid when it comes to mastering momentum. Ideally you want to recognize burnout before it happens and either take your foot of the gas pedal or take a vacation. When you get used to living like a shark that can be hard, but it’s very important. I had to force myself to take a vacation this year because I was exhausted. And now after coming back I feel completely re-energized and reinvigorated.
With that said, it’s important to differentiate between burnout and laziness. Burnout is what happens after you’ve been pushing for years. Laziness is when you’ve been at a new business for two weeks and you’re dragging your feet about all the things you have to do.
Momentum is the lifeblood of success, and mastering it is often the difference between winning and losing. If you put the 5 momentum keys to work for you I guarantee you’ll learn to enjoy the journey to success and you’ll get a lot more done.