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"The grass is always greener on the other side, until we get to the other side and realize that the other side requires watering and maintenance too" - Dr. Nido Qubein
Focus brings clarity to the mind.
Focus brings success.
Focus brings happiness.
Happiness in life is determined by what we focus on and choose to think about. If we are focused on our passions, obsess over them and think about them all day long, we live very happy and productive lives.
However, the enemy of focus is options.
Have you ever noticed that some of the least happy people are the ones with the most options?
The media is littered with rich and famous celebrities who have all of the options in the world: They can live where they want, spend their time how they want, eat what they want, drive what they want, have the house that they want, and have the means to completely design a perfect life and yet, many people who "have it all" are miserable and pursue hard drugs to escape reality at all costs.
These people have too many options and when the mind has too many options, focus erodes along with sanity and happiness.
In my own life, I have had periods where I had "too many options" and was on top of the world. Surprisingly, too many options also bred discontent, unhappiness and even mild depression and anxiety.
When we think we have too many options, we always ask "what if I had gone the other direction?", "what if had chosen differently", "what if I had dated that other girl"...
Eventually the mind tears itself apart, focus decays and we are left in a sea of "what if's" with no commitment or focus to any one thing.
On the flip side, there are people in the world who have the "luxury of no options".
We see people in marriages who have "no option" to get divorced and they work on their problems until they find happiness in the relationship.
We see people in businesses who have "no option" to quit and these people always reach success because failure is not an option.
We see people in life who have "no option" of an alternate path and they become the most wildly successful people in their fields because they have the "luxury of no options".
All of these people have the highest levels of focus and absolutely zero chance of defeat.
When Julius Caesar landed on the shores of Britain to wage war with the British Tribes, he ordered his men to "burn the boats". His troops would either be victorious in battle, or they would all die in battle - no one goes home through failure. Caesar gave his men "the luxury of no options" and he was victorious in his campaign.
The Spartan warriors of ancient Greece had a similar mentality. Death before dishonour was a mantra that accurately describes the Spartan war machine and they are known throughout history as the most battle hardened, persistent, fearsome, victorious, disciplined warriors of all time. The Spartans created a culture based around "the luxury of no options" and this culture created a brand of warrior that is still studied in modern military schools and will continue to be famous for ages to come.
When we look at the most successful business people, a common element for Entrepreneurs is that they find themselves in a "no options" situation early in life. Usually successful Entrepreneurs have parents who are either dead or incompetent and they have to take over the family business at a very young age. This was true for Fred Trump (Donald Trump's father), Robert Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad" and a modern examples would be Curtis Jackson (50 Cent).
Other entrepreneurs who find "the luxury of no options" choose a path in life at a young age and give themselves no way to retreat.
I was reviewing the "30 richest drummers in the world" list and two names that stuck out at me were Tre Cool of Greenday with a net worth of $45 million dollars and Dave Grohl of Nirvana/Foo Fighters with a net worth of $225 million.
Both Dave Grohl and Tre Cool dropped out of school at age 16 to play punk music. They had "the luxury of no options", burned the boats and had no way of reversing their choice.
The "luxury of no options" brings clarity and focus to the mind which is an extremely powerful tool because the mind will always find a way to achieve any vision that it is focused upon.
Where most high school drop-outs are perceived as derelict losers who wander through life, three of the greatest entrepreneurs of the information age were all drop outs: Steve Jobs (Co-Founder of Apple), Bill Gates (Founder of Microsoft) and Mark Zuckerburg (Facebook Founder).
These men all made a choice in university to burn the boats and choose the "luxury of no options".
In my own life, the happiest, most exciting, most relevant moments of my life have all been moments where I had put myself into a "no options" situation.
I was forced to leave the corporate world (something that many people struggle with) because if I didn't quit my job, then I would be bankrupt in 3 months. Even while earning a nice comfortable salary at my job, I would still be bankrupt if I stayed. With "the luxury of no options", I quit my job, woke up every day with the intentions of finishing my failing real estate development. I was 110% focused on finishing the development at all costs and did not leave the job site daily until it was too dark to work.
Life becomes very simple and fulfilling when there are no options. Every morning, the only thing I thought about was finishing the development. Every afternoon, the only thing I thought about was the development and every evening, the only thing i thought about was the development.
I had become immersed in my work, my focus became crystal clear, failure was not an option and I was happier than ever before. What is more interesting is that my chance of failure dramatically dropped to zero. There was literally no chance for the project to fail once I had found "the luxury of no options".
My contractor's truck was broken, so we couldn't haul materials. I loaded up my small 4 door sedan with doors, toilets and vanities (none of which fit in a small car) and drove around town to 6 different suppliers to get the necessary supplies to the job site. My general contractor, who had mentally given up on finishing the project, was amazed that I was hauling large building supplies in a small sedan and not a truck. I drove my small car with doors, lumber and vanities sticking out the passenger windows and the trunk. I had to take back roads so that the police wouldn't pull me over. My general contractor had given up, but I had "the luxury of no options."
We had no labour to paint the building, so I put on my painter clothes and painted every day myself while also hiring anyone I could find on Kijiji to paint. I also attracted friends and family help with the labour because I had found "the luxury of no options" and everyone could see the high stakes and the importance of my success.
Somehow, the project was completed and successful within 45 days of quitting my job (I had 90 days to complete it). With the experience, I had learned some of the most valuable lessons of my life so far:
- When a person has their back to the wall and has no options, the failure rate for that person dramatically drops (almost to zero) and the success rate dramatically increases (almost to 100%).
- When a person has no options their focus level sky-rockets. They become obsessed with succeeding. All distractions and procrastination are silenced.
- Every obstacle becomes a non-issue because the motivation level of a person with no options is inhumanly strong.
- A person with no options can achieve super-human feats that the average person with "options" will marvel at.
As a real estate investor, I frequently see part time corporate people who want to make a "smooth" transition into full-time real estate investing. For many people, quitting the corporate world and taking full control of one's time is major desire. However, this desire is often not strong enough to actually put together a concrete plan and stick to it.
For myself, my passion and desire was so strong that I put myself in a situation where I found "the luxury of no options" by accident and became successful by default. Failure was not an option for me because I literally had no options - it was live or die.
I feel the pain of the people who badly desire full control of their time and want to leave the corporate world in a "smooth" way. But after studying success, I'm not sure if there really is a possibility of a fast and smooth transition.
I'm fully convinced that there is a slow and smooth way, but I'm not sure if that method will satisfy the soul's hunger for freedom.
To paraphrase the words of Robert Kiyosaki; We can only choose one of two things in life; security or freedom. Those who choose security, end up with maximum security which is maximum security prison. Those of us who choose freedom, end up with maximum freedom, which is zero security.
For the men and women who find themselves with "the luxury of no options", they only have one choice and that is freedom at all costs. Any security they once had has been obliterated and there is only one chance for survival.
Freedom is the only choice for these people and they pursue it with a life or death vigour that is absolutely unstoppable.
What would you give up to have "the luxury of no options"?
Have you ever found yourself in a "No options" situation? What was the outcome?
Do you value security or freedom? Which are you currently pursuing?
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Please share this article if you found it insightful.