by Jake Thompson

How to Compete for Your Best Life

Or what I’ve finally learned saying good-bye to my 20’s. I’ve sat a...

Or what I’ve finally learned saying good-bye to my 20’s.

I’ve sat and chewed on this post for a few weeks now. Honestly, I knew exactly what I wanted to say but had no idea where to start. It’s been an incredibly hard, yet rewarding season this past year. Heading into my 30th birthday, the last few months have been full of reflection and refocusing on the direction I’m headed and most of all, what’s important in life. But ultimately, what does a life – the best life full of only important things – look like? My 20’s were a fun decade, but like many, I waited until the latter end of it to start growing up.

A friend shared a great video about how “30 is not the new 20” – and how so many miss out on developing the importance habits in their 20’s that we take into our 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. The decade is spent aimlessly floating with the mindset that we’ll magically “grow up” one day. I didn’t feel magically different today. It’s another day, another step down the road of life.

Habits spent years being ingrained our system don’t disappear overnight. What we do today, plays into the person we shall be tomorrow. My 20’s were far from perfect. I hurt people. I let others down. And I failed to reach goals I’d set. On the flip side, I’ve made life-changing friendships. I’ve set newer, bigger goals. And I’m more motivated than ever to compete for my life. I can tell you that the last two years of my 20’s taught me as much as the previous eight combined. My 30’s will be of one focus: compete for the best in life.

Who doesn’t want their best life? Not a good life – our best life. The most kickass, awesome version of yourself that others look at with envy and wish they had just an ounce of the awesomeness oozing out of you. That life – that best life – is what inspires those to join in and compete for their life. They see you. They see the badass oozing out of your system and they want that for their own life. That’s the life we should compete for. Your age – 18, 30, or 62 – doesn’t matter. But living up to this list every single day? That’s hard. Really hard. But like all difficult things, it is absolutely worth it. Here’s what you need to know if you genuinely want to compete for your best life.

1. Quit worrying what your critics say

There will always be doubters, haters, and critics. People will always hate to see other people succeed. So what? Rise above it. The sooner you ignore the critics negative comments, the faster you’ll rise. The time you spend restlessly worrying about what others are saying, the less time you have to be great. Let them talk, you’ve got better things to do.

2. Keep the Faith

The going will get tough no matter what road you take. Setbacks occur. Losses happen. You must hold tight to the reason you started down this road in the beginning. The line “Never forget why you started” should be your constant reminder to keep the faith in your mission – in business, in workouts, in dream chasing, in life. The journey toward your dream is always harder than you imagine when setting out – but trust me when I say it is worth it. Find a way – anyway at all – to power through the hard days and one day you’ll look up and will have arrived.

3. Never make your job or goal your god

I’m one of the guiltiest in this. It’s a daily battle. I fought for the last few years in growing Compete Every Day. I felt the more I poured in, the faster things will take off. It didn’t quite work that way. In fact, I began to pour more and more of my life into it – leaving less and less of me to pour into friends, family, and relationships. You can’t neglect relationships and people without negative consequences. I stressed, obsessed, and became consumed by my work trying to force things. It became my idol. And while I pursued this business, this goal for “tomorrow,” I saw pieces of my world around me crumble piece by piece. My treasure was in this instead of where it needed to be. My job (insert goal, dream, person “A” here) will never fulfill me – I’ll always crave a little more. If your goal becomes your god, you’ll spend your entire life pursuing something that can never, will never, satisfy you. Make your goal just that – your goal. But never your god.

4. Money is great – it helps a lot – but it sure as hell ain’t everything.

I’d be lying if I said money wasn’t great. It eases our stress will bills, allows for trips and fun, and at times, can make life easier. But life is about a helluva lot more than making money. I don’t believe many – if any – people lie on their death bed wishing they’d made more money. They’d sacrifice all their money for more time – time with people they  love, time doing things they love, and time just being alive.

5. Soak up every single moment

“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them,” Andy Bernard, The Office.

Too many times we look back and realize that some of the best moments were the ones we were too busy “getting through” to enjoy. I spend a lot of time focusing on “tomorrow” – and it bites me in the ass by causing me to miss today. Soak up every single moment. For all the ups and downs it can bring, every single day has good in it. Find it. Hold to it. Soak it in. And whatever you do, make every day count – because you’ll never get it back.

6.  Never underestimate the power of a positive, encouraging word to someone.

Words are the most powerful things in the world. An uplifting word can change someone’s world. A negative one can lead to destruction. There’s enough negativity in the world around us, no need to bring in more. Compete for the best in life and encourage others to do so too. A text, quick word, or simple note can mean all the difference in someone’s day – in someone’s life.

7. Rusted iron will dull you quickly

Choose your allies carefully. You are the equivalent of your five closest friends. They will either bring you up or tear you down. Surround yourself with positive people, motivated to do great things and you’ll be amazed how much you all grow together. Surround yourself with negative attitudes wandering aimlessly and you’ll quickly find yourself in the same bad habits. Iron sharpens iron, but it can just as quickly be dulled by the wrong environment.

8. Make a bucket list – and accept one challenge every month

Have a list that seems impossible to accomplish and then start crossing one off every single month. It’s amazing what having fun goals will do for you. Dream big. Live bigger.

9. Make every single person you meet feel important

Every single person is important. They may forget it from time to time so it’s our job to remind them. Lisbeth Darsh once shared a quote about imagining every person you meet wearing a sign that says “Make Me Feel Important.” Today is the best day to start. You never know, your words could be the things that changes, even saves, their life.

10. It’s never too late to start.

Seriously. Quit waiting. Starting today is better than tomorrow. We’ve all wasted enough time making excuses about why we’re “too old,” “too late,” and “missed our chance” instead of acting and starting now regardless. Change the bad habit of saying “I can’t” into finding a way to make it “I can.”

11. Use every setback as a setup for a great comeback

Fall down. Rise. Fall down. Rise again. Every time we get knocked down should be used as an opportunity for an even greater comeback. Look at the countless sports stories of the unknown athlete who rises from the ashes to reach glory. Every door slammed in your face. Every missed train. Every “no” said to you. Channel all of that into fire for your soul. Compete. And no matter how long it takes or how many times you have to dust yourself off, keep going back. Greatness is waiting if you can keep fighting for it.

12. Life was meant to be lived together, but never be afraid to fly solo

Friendships and relationships are what we’re made for. I can’t say enough amazing things about the people my life has been blessed with both yesterday and today. But never be afraid to fly solo if you have to. Be comfortable in your own skin. Take a vacation alone. Stand tall against the crowd for what you believe. Don’t be afraid to do something by yourself. There will come a time when you may be the one person who has to make a stand for what it’s right. Don’t be afraid of that coming moment, wait excitedly for it. It will be your moment.

13. Life is too short to simply sit around and talk about it.

Life must be lived. There is no such thing as the “perfect time.” Quit making the habit of just talking about things instead of living them. There is no “next time” and “tomorrow” may never come. The time is now. Don’t just talk about life – live it.

14. Always remember – no matter what you’re facing in life and no matter how large the odds against you – your life is ALWAYS worth competing for. Don’t ever ever ever give up on it.

Compete for your best life. Ooze awesomeness. And inspire others to do the same. Today is the day to start. I challenge you to join me.

“Let us live so that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry.” – Mark Twain

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