Leadership

How to avoid mediocrity and go first class in everything you do

Author Tim Ferriss
Jemal Countess | Getty Images
Author Tim Ferriss

"Successful people make choices that support the expansion of their life." -Darren Hardy

If you want world-class success, you need to make world-class choices.

Most people do not make world-class choices. Hell, most of the time they don't even make good ones.

As a result, their lifestyle is not world-class. They're overweight, unhappy, and stuck. They're broke, dating people they don't really like, stuck at jobs they don't like.

The sad truth is: the majority of people live lives like this. Many will reach their grave without ever experiencing world-class success.

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The reason people stay stuck in this cycle-of-suck is entirely because of their choices.

Average choices create average results. And to quote Seth Godin: "Is there a difference between 'average' and 'mediocre?' Not so much."

Most people don't have first-class kind of lives. They make decisions most other people make, and so live the same unfulfilling lives.

They live common lives, devoid of passion and purpose.

The good news is, anyone living this type of life can change it, immediately.

Here's how to go first-class in everything you do.

World-class success is created by simple, predictable choices over time

"Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals." -Jim Rohn

Success isn't a secret. It's not complicated.

Achieving success is simply a matter of consistently making choices that support the expansion of your life.

World-class success depends on practicing world-class routines. Until you design an environment that sets you up for success, your ideal behavior will never happen.

If you want massive success, start doing what massively successful people do. Namely: Respect your health. Education, not entertainment. Disciplined routines, every day.

1. Health

"If we want to live every day with an abundance of energy so we can perform our best and live a long, healthy life, we must choose to eat more foods that are food for our health and give us sustained energy." -Hal Elrod

If you want to go first-class in everything you do, you need the energy to support that high-functioning lifestyle.

World-class successful people prioritize their health over most things. They know eating crappy foods and not exercising severely limits their odds of success. They always get enough sleep. They take care of their bodies.

They know their health is the difference between making tens of thousands of dollars a year and millions of dollars a year.

Most people don't eat well.

Most people consume too much caffeine, alcohol, and/or sugar.

Most people don't exercise regularly (or at all).

As a result, most people don't sleep well. They're overweight. Lazy. Tired all the time.

World-class success depends entirely on your ability to function at your highest level. Get your health right.

"Your body is a business you have to take care of, or the business goes away." -Tim Grover

2. Education, not entertainment

"Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning." -Benjamin Hardy

Most people choose entertainment instead of learning and creating.

Entertainment and distraction is the enemy of creation and learning. Overindulgence in entertainment will keep you in a mediocre life.

If you make common choices, you'll end up with a common life. If you want to be one of those rare, extraordinary people with world-class success, you need to make the extraordinary choice to learn instead of be entertained.

You have so much to learn, and so far to go. The only way to get there is to prioritize consistent, meaningful learning.

"Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become." -Hal Elrod

3. Morning and evening routines

"Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days." -Hal Elrod

The world's most successful people almost always have a diligent, consistent morning routine. Routines create environments where you can enter flow states to produce your best work.

If you behave the way world-class performers behave, you'll start to produce world-class results.

Think like they think. Do what they do.

If you want an extraordinary life, you need to give up a normal one

"Live like no one else now, so later you can live like no one else." -Dave Ramsey

Creating a first-class life means doing things many people are unwilling to do.

Most people choose comfort and security over freedom. If you want to go first-class in everything you do, you need to start making choices that no one else is.

Everything has a cost. If you say yes to an opportunity, that means you're saying "no" to many others.

Unfortunately, most people choose "good" opportunities, not great ones. They don't have the patience or poise to pass and wait for something better.

This is hard to do. Living an extraordinary life and going first-class in everything you do takes extreme discipline and focus. Most people are simply unwilling to do it.

In the words of Darren Hardy: "Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do."

There are many good things you'll have to give up in exchange for something greater.

If you want to go first-class in everything you do, you need to give up your addiction to security.

Blazing your own path isn't safe. The results are incredible, but only possible when you embrace the risk.

Stop letting others define success for you. Only you can define your true success.

It's not about money or status or things; it's about becoming who you truly are, and excelling.

Common things deliver common results

"To get different results, you're going to have to do things differently." -Darren Hardy

Those who harbor a second-class attitude always end up developing a second-class life.

Think big and you'll live big. Think small and you'll live a small life, with small relationships, small success, and a small income.

What is "common" today? What is everyone else doing?

  • Common is settling for less than you deserve.
  • Common is eating crappy foods that create crappy health.
  • Common is bingeing on TV, alcohol, and junk food.
  • Common means choosing entertainment and distraction instead of learning and creating.

What is "uncommon?"

Intense self-discipline is uncommon. Investing in your self-education is very uncommon. Refusing to tolerate mediocrity is extremely uncommon.

Common choices guarantee common results.

Extraordinary choices deliver extraordinary results.

Darren Hardy once said:

"It's no great achievement to go along with the crowd. Be the unusual guy, the extraordinary guy."

Look at your life right now. Have you been making extraordinary choices recently? Or have your choices been average at best?

You don't need to subsist solely on kale and coconut oil to be healthy. You don't need to wake up at 5 a.m. every single day. You don't need to work 20 hours a day to be productive.

You don't even need to become world-class after reading this article. It doesn't happen in a day, or even months. It takes a long time to cultivate a lifestyle of discipline and focus.

That's OK. Do what you can. Small things will become big things over time.

"Don't worry about the output when you're trying to build momentum. Instead, just get yourself to do whatever you feel you need to do." -Benjamin Hardy

First-class success means you study your craft

"The difference between becoming elite at what you do and just being a dreamer is that the elite study their craft." -Benjamin Hardy

Dreamers only talk about what life could be.

But the elite study their craft and actually improve.

Elite performers tweak and modify their performance over and over again until it aligns with world-class behavior. Every day, they change little things. Remember, those little things will grow into much bigger things.

Most people don't have an effective routine of any kind. They don't tweak their performance or consistently practice getting better.

Their morning routine consists of sleeping in as long as they before they have to rush out the door. Exercising and creating are sporadic and infrequent.

Many people claim they want enormous success, but their lives are undisciplined and scattered. Their choices aren't world-class, they're mediocre. In reality, they prefer their comfort over the cost of success.

If you want to become first-class in everything you do, you need to study your craft. You need to track your progress, measure your improvement, and have specific goals.

In his famous book, "Good to Great," Jim Collins wrote: "Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice."

How you allocate your time and energy decides what your life looks like. If you study your craft and consistently make efforts to improve, success becomes inevitable.

If you want a first-class life, you must choose to make it happen.

No amount of luck, good intentions, or raw talent will save you.

"It's very easy to confuse activity with productivity." -Tim Ferriss

In conclusion

"Thinking success conditions your mind to create plans that produce success." -Darren Hardy

Sadly, most people will continue to make choices that keep them in mediocrity.

First-class behavior is rare. It's difficult to cultivate, harder to sustain. Most people are satisfied with regular and average.

Mediocrity is a sickness that ruins your life over time. You can't tolerate mediocre activities or behaviors for long without them bringing you down.

Most people make average choices, and so have an average life.

If you want to go first class in everything you do, prioritize learning and self-education.

Anthony Moore is the founder of StuffGradsLike.com where he coaches 20 and 30 somethings to achieve success in career, finances, and passion.

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This article originally appeared on Medium.