Hell Yes vs NO

I feel like this post is the most important post I’ve written this year!

Every day, we’re bombarded to make decisions on varying levels of commitment.  Every day, we purchase goods and services. What I learned is every day we waste tremendous amounts of energy and money on the trivial many vs selecting the vital few.

I’m going to paint the concept of HELL YES vs. NO to you in a few different ways.

  1. Time Commitments
  2. Consumption Habits
  3. Talent Investment

Let us start with a simple introduction on what I’m getting at before we jump into the aforementioned scenarios.  The choice of HELL YES vs. NO should feel exactly how it reads.  Say, “HELL YES” out loud.  Do it.  Right now. As if you were excited about something so much you jumped off the couch. Feels good doesn’t it?!?

Alternatively, say the word “NO” with a strong conviction.  Like asking me if I like the Iowa State Cyclones.  No! Not now, not ever.

Here’s the rub. Until a couple years ago, i.e. before I read Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, very few of my answers or decisions lived in either of these two polar opposite responses.  I was wasting away in the middle. Over committed with mediocre energy on too many things.

If the feeling of saying YES, isn’t 95% or higher. It’s a NO.

If you really want to put to use the ideas I share on this blog, you’re going to have to get very comfortable saying no. No, no, no.  It’s time to get unreasonable with your time and your commitments.  Unreasonable? Why? The reason why is an answer you already know.

If you only have 100% to give, would you rather give it to 3-4 things, or spread it out over 10?  Why then, do so many commit to doing 10 things (extremely mediocre mind you) when they should be saying NO.  In today’s society, if we’re not “busy” we must be lazy.  Wrong answer. It’s window dressing for a false sense of over-involvement equalling progress.  Unfocused action only leads to one thing FAST.  Burnout.

Busy = I lack the ability to prioritize and select the vital few…so I do it all.

Conversely, feel the alternative.  Say, “HELL YES” again out loud. Think about how much more you’ll deliver in a scenario with this amount of passion, focus and creativity. You’ll absolutely crush it, and I’m willing to bet you’ll be happier as a result. Happy because you’re 100% invested.  Happy because you’re not overwhelmed worrying about 10 other things.  Happy because you’ll make huge progress because you have nothing else in your peripheral begging for your focus.

Secondly, let us explore the world of “HELL YES vs. NO” in our consumption habits.  This one is really interesting to me.  A couple years ago i started following Ramit Sethi after reading his book I Will Teach You To Be Rich over a couple flights.  I then started following his blog: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.  He wrote something that really caught my attention about spending.

He makes the wonderful argument about spending lavishly on a vital few things we really want and bring us tremendous joy.

It could be an expensive pair of jeans, or premium shoes for someone.  For another person, it is great meals at posh restaurants because that brings them the most joy. For another, it was all about great travel experiences.  Point is, in each scenario, dialing back on many mediocre purchases, lead to tremendous happiness when big purchases were HELL YES purchases.

My HELL YES, looks very different than yours.  That’s ok!  That’s the point.  Find out what is most important to you and spend there.  But, don’t forget to dial back on all the other pieces that don’t bring you joy.  Save on the trivial, to splurge on the tremendous.

Lastly, let us take a look at talent investment in terms of skill set and time investment. I’ve written about this before and I want to reinforce it with the context provided in this post.

Find the two or three WORLD CLASS talents you have, and go all-in (HELL YES) on them.

Everything else must take a back seat. Remember, 95% commitment or more is a HELL YES.  Everything else is a NO.  When you get to a point where you’re spending most of your day on world class talents, you win.  You’re happy  You’re 10x more likely to gain new opportunities, establish great relationships, and I promise you…you’ll feel better.  You will smile bigger and hug longer.

ACTION ITEM: When met with an opportunity for a decision. Make sure you’re answer passes the HELL YES vs. NO test. No hurt feelings, just a cold hard reality check and understand the consequences if you don’t.  Your success and happiness awaits!!!

Go Get It!

Are You Afraid of Money?


There is so much to learn.

Money can be a taboo topic for many.  I get it.  It’s highly personal and no one can really evaluate the choices of others because we don’t have a great understanding of their: upbringing, family, debts, income, etc.

But none of these factors should stop you from getting educated on the topic of money.  After all, it’s the #1 cause of stress in households in 2015 (by a landslide) says CNBC.

So what can we do about it? Make a choice. Get educated!

To begin, I’ll confirm to all of my readers that I’ve read each of these books.  Each more than one time.  Secondly, I’m recommending these books specifically because they offer contradictory recommendations (what did you think I’d just tell you what to do?).

I want you to be able to use your brain and figure out your own financial path.  It was already expressed that we’re all in different situations financially, so why offer one cookie cutter answer?  Get intelligent, and use this intelligence the rest of your life to evaluate opportunities.  When you complete these five books, you will understand there are guiding principles to create your unique financial foundation.

Five Books About Money

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Dave offers a very no nonsense approach to money through his book and nationally syndicated radio show.  The foundation revolves around elimination of debt (all debt).  I encourage you to learn Dave’s Seven Baby Steps.   A person has to understand they can’t get ahead by battling a mountain of debt.  Dave also outlines simple strategies to live by a budget and save for retirement.  To put this in my own words, “Stop buying shit you can’t afford!”  I don’t care what the neighbors are driving or wearing.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Ramit is a Stanford grad educated in personal behavior and his book is great for those starting out.  There is a ton of actionable info in this book.  His six-week action plan will lay a solid strategy for anyone getting started in the money game.  He talks debt reduction, credit cards, 401K/Roth IRAs, asset allocation, and living a truly “rich life”.  Here’s a hint – rich isn’t just a number, it’s a lifestyle choice.  You can also follow Ramit’s blog at I Will Teach You To Be Rich.com.  I get emails from Ramit daily.

Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing: What the Rich Invest in, That the Poor and the Middle Class Do Not!

This book will help you think about money in a very non-traditional “go to work and get paid” linear way.  Earlier, I told you I’d provide contradicting advice in this post to get that noodle of yours working.  Check out what Ramit thought of Rich Dad Poor Dad here on his blog   No book is perfect, but I do love the angles Rich Dad Poor Dad presented to me when I first read it.  It made me think about money differently.  It makes you take a step back and ask yourself, “What am I really doing to improve my financial picture?”

MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom

This book was just released in the latter part of 2014.  I got it for Christmas and it took a while to devour its 600+ pages of material.  You may be thinking, “Tony Robbins? Isn’t he the life-coach/self-help author?”  Yup!  He tapped some of the most unreal relationships anyone could ever imagine to strip down the topic of money.  He takes some of the strategies of the ultra-rich and makes them available to you and I.  If you’re putting this in order, I think this is more of a master’s level book.  Not only is it 600+ pages, it offers many contradicting investment strategies from the world’s most accomplished investors and investment strategists (once again there isn’t only one right answer here folks).  If you’re into audio, I love listening to Tony’s interview with Tim Ferriss on his Four Hour Workweek podcast regarding the release of the book.

Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller – Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

This book was written nearly 80 years ago.  How could it possibly be relevant today?  Hill’s book helps to answer the question, “What makes a winner?”  The reason I’d like you to read this book is because it creates a spark.  There are hundreds of stories of people retiring rich who didn’t have large incomes to begin with.  I think that’s wonderful.  I also think a little bit of motivation and focus goes a long way to achieving one’s goals and this will help you get started.  I’ve probably picked this book up 20+ times and read it cover to cover three times.

Okay, so I left out a few books.  If you’re hungry for more, there are a few you can dive into:
The Richest Man in Babylon

The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy

Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth

ACTION ITEM: The worst choice you can make is to do nothing.  And yes, it is a choice.  Don’t try to eat the whole elephant either.  Choose to pick up one book and start learning.  Pick up another and challenge what you’ve just learned.  Tell me where you are a year from now.

~Here’s to a rich life

What you should know about Essentialism


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

More?  Or Less?

More is a thing we’re all in pursuit of, even if we don’t know what “thing” it is.  Just have more of it.  More, more, more! It’s exhausting to pursue more.  It never ends.

Ask someone close to you what they’d like to have more of? You won’t get a short answer.  Think about all the more you could have in your life right now if you could just achieve it.  More:

  • house or houses
  • clothes
  • shoes
  • money, lots more money
  • car(s)
  • furniture
  • jewelry

If immediately you believe you will be reading about giving away your life savings, living like a hermit, and wearing terrycloth clothing you’re wrong. Essentialism is a framework for choice.

Instead what about considering less? Doesn’t sound very sexy does it?

Okay, I agree and I like things that sound sexy and simple.  So, let me rephrase it the way Greg McKeown did in his book: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.  Less, but better!

Less, but better!

Welcome to the essentialism lifestyle. The pursuit of “less, but better” in our lives. More focus, on fewer activities, for a return magnitudes higher than the simple pursuit of more for more.  It’s not about living in a 400 square foot apartment and giving away all we’ve ever owned.  Its about discipline in following and achieving our dreams by using the power of choice (elimination) and focus (dreams).

If I could recommend five books to anyone, this book is for sure on the list. I devoured it the first time I read it, so I’m going back for a second course to make sure I didn’t leave too much meat on the bone.

I associate the essentialist set of beliefs with another leader I follow a great deal online Gary Vaynerchuk.   Gary is obsessed in focusing his efforts on the two or three things he’s really great at.  These two or three “world-class” talents can provide him the greatest return (in magnitudes of order) compared to investing his time in the 95% of shit (his words) he sucks at.

Here’s another very strong correlation i found from author and successful blogger Ramit Sethi’s, I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog. The title of his recent post 2015 The Year of More.  After you’re done reading this piece, circle back and digest what Ramit is saying.

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 12.44.05 PM

Here are seven of my favorite points I distilled from the book:

  1. Essentialists ask this question every day, multiple times per day.  “Is this the very most important thing I could be doing with my time or resources RIGHT NOW?
  2. “Only once you give yourself permission to STOP trying to do it all, can you make your highest contribution toward what really matters
  3. Evaluate the “trivial many” vs. the “vital few” – in all aspect of our life and finances
  4. From Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter), “There are a thousand things we could be doing, buy only one or two are important”
  5. Nonessentialists = Yes to all.  Pleasers of anything and everything.
  6. Decision fatigue.  More choices = lower quality of choices.  I found this really interesting as I just read a Fast Company piece titled, “Always Wear The Same Suit”  about decision making and wardrobe choices for President Barack Obama.  He subscribes to this productivity hack.
  7. The invisible art form.  EDIT.   We should always be editing down our schedules, focuses, goals, and lifestyle.  Like a great producer taking a film from five hours to three.  Or a publisher taking a great book and simplifying it from 600 pages to a well distilled 250.  Edit, edit, edit!

I don’t want to ruin it for those who would like to consume all the book has to offer, but I do really suggest you think about how the power of choice and elimination could better impact your life.

ACTION ITEM:  I really want you to read this book.  If you don’t choose to read this book, slow down and read my seven favorite points.  They will substantially impact your life and the way you look at how your invest your time.