You’ve heard it before: If you aren’t moving forward, then you’re moving backward.
I like the way Bruce Lee puts it: Flowing water never grows stale.
The idea is that you should always be working on improving at least one area in your life. That is the minimum. If you are willing to put in more effort, then you can work on several areas simultaneously.
But if you are intent on improving rapidly, then you should only focus on two areas, MAYBE three if you have the discipline and willpower. Concentration on three of more areas may be difficult to pull off.
I’d recommend you pick one or two areas that are most important to you and focus on those. This tends to yield the best results.
Let’s call these focus areas, concentrations.
This doesn’t mean that you completely neglect the other areas of your life. While you are focusing hard on making major strides in your chosen concentrations, the other areas of your life go into maintenance.
In maintenance, you put in enough work to not lose ground on a certain skill or attribute. You can also put enough effort on the maintenance areas to still make some progress without making them your priority. The priority is to gain ground steadily in your concentrations.
This does depend a lot on your life situation.
If you are married and have kids, then you might only be able to have one concentration and the rest goes into maintenance. You might choose writing as your concentration. Since your responsibility to your family already takes up a lot of your time, in order to achieve massive gains, you need to make a concerted effort to devote all your extra time and mental real estate to a single concentration. Adding another concentration might not result in significant progress, or worse, you may end up exhausted and abandoning it altogether.
Now, if you are single and only have to work 20 hours a week to manage your finances, then you can handle two, maybe even three, concentrations. Start with two and see how it goes for a few weeks. If you can handle the two concentrations and still have extra energy, then consider adding a 3rd concentration.
Here are examples of concentrations you may want to develop for yourself:
Health. You can even break this down into specific goals and focus, such as lifting heavy weights to gain mass and strength.
Wealth. For improving your finances, you can either start putting in long hours at a job that pays you very well or focusing on building or improving a business of your own to increase the income. You can also opt to focus on finding a high-paying job and then putting in the time and effort to put away a lot of money.
Note: Most jobs don’t pay much money and won’t allow you to stack away a lot of cash quickly even if you dedicate yourself to it. I am talking about the kind of job where you can work 80+ hours a week at $30+ an hour. The more hours you put in, the more money you get. Unfortunately, this is not the case for most industries. I’m talking about oil field, big industry, maybe even the crab fisherman jobs you see on TV. Look for jobs where you can make $2,000-$3,000 a week or more.
You certainly aren’t going to get ahead by working at a retail store or restaurant. If you decide you want to focus on wealth accumulation by means of a job, then you need to find one that pays a lot and dedicate a lot of your life to working there in the short term; maybe six months or a year or two max. Save and invest enough money so you open options for yourself.
Other concentrations could be improving certain skills. Maybe playing an instrument is your concentration of choice. If so, then you need to practice several hours daily, at least 6 days a week.
Maybe you want to create a YouTube gaming channel. Then you better work at it at least six days a week for several hours a day. Working seven days a week is better, but make sure you have an occasional day off so you don’t get burned out and begin to hate it.
Whatever you choose as a concentration, you better work hard and long at it. If you aren’t dedicating a substantial amount of your life to it, then you are not pushing yourself hard enough and you might find yourself on the fast lane to stagnation.
Make a decision and commit. You are either getting better every day or you are getting worse. Keep moving forward and you will never grow stale. Like Bruce Lee said, “Be [like] water, my friend.”