“I had achieved my goal, so I had to find a new mountain to climb.” ~Arnold Schwarzenegger
Years ago, I read a book called Seven Years to Seven Figures. The book was mostly fluff about copywriters and guys who had happened to purchase real estate during the boom and sold at the right time. However, there was one section that was extremely helpful to me in formulating my long-term goals.
In it, the author lays out exactly what your life would look like if you had $1 million, then $2.5 million, then $5 million, then $10+ million. It gave examples of how hard you would work, how much in taxes you would pay, how much you would travel or not travel, what kind of car you would drive, what your house would look like, how your eating out and vacations would look, and other aspects at each of those four lifestyle levels.
His point was to make you choose a specific lifestyle as a goal, stick with it, and don’t change your mind even after you hit it.
Most men who achieve a certain level of success in life suddenly feel like it isn’t enough, and keep working hard to achieve more, even if what they have makes them perfectly happy. Professional speakers in the business world know that if you ask a room full of millionaires if they’re rich, they will usually answer no. If you ask them how much money they need to be rich, they will usually give a number that is double whatever their current net worth is. The guy worth $2 million will say “rich” is $4 million. The guy worth $50 million will say “rich” is $100 million. Neither of these guys will feel successful.
So these guys keep pushing themselves to make more money… for no reason.
I’ve seen this in the dating/PUA world as well. A former beta, who is either a virgin or close to it, will work hard get good at dating women, and have sex with 20 or 30 women pretty fast. He will then start to think that he’s a pussy, because he’s “only” had sex with 30 women, when so-and-so on the PUA forum he reads has had sex with 130 (or whatever).
So this guy keeps pushing himself to bang more chicks and have more one night stands… for no reason.
I’ve been aware of this tendency with high-achieving men for quite a while, and I’ve tried very hard to make sure I don’t fall into this trap. I’m a motivated person, and I’m not always 100% successful, but I’m pretty good as compared to most.
With women, I never had any goal that specified a number of women I had to have sex with in order to be successful. Frankly, I think setting a goal to have sex with X number of women is silly. Instead, my goal was more specific to my own long-term happiness: to have sex easily, whenever I want, with attractive women, without having to spend money, without lying, and without having to promise monogamy to anyone. I hit this goal many years ago (around 2009) via a lifestyle of FB’s, MLTR’s, and the occasional pair-bonded OLTR, and I’ve simply stuck with maintaining it. It makes me happy, so there is no need to go have sex with more women. (If anything, my problem historically is that there were too many. Quality problems, I know.)
With money, since I knew I had to pick some baseline goals and not change them, I’ve had pretty much the same income and net worth goal for the past 17 years or so. I hit the income goal quite a while ago, and have no desire to change it, even though I now make more money than my original income goals ever called for. I still have a little ways to go on the net worth goal, and I’m going to try my best to not set another, higher net worth goal once I hit it (which I will soon).
Instead, I will set new goals in completely different areas of my life that have nothing to do with money when I hit that last financial goal… hopefully, that is. The siren song of “more” is ever loud in our years. It’s our job to ignore it once we achieve long-term happiness, and focus instead on new mountains to climb, instead of making our current mountain taller so we climb it forever.
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“Instead, I will set new goals in completely different areas of my life that have nothing to do with money when I hit that last financial goal…”
Mostly writing, but public speaking and traveling is in there too, just not for money, but for the experience and my personal enjoyment.
In your opinion is our drive to aim for more than what we would call “Success” a natural tendency or a result of cultural influences?
Both. Human beings tend to strive for better things (as a general statement; I know this is not always true). And America’s go-getter, consumer-based culture also contributes to this.
While goal-setting has helped me achieve some pretty incredible things, I am currently hitting a plateu:
I’m making more money than anyone I know and know how to spend.
I have a very important and rewarding job with low hours.
I get consistent results with women.
I just upgraded my living situation to the extreme without being financially neglectful.
I have all the material things I want.
I am not adonis but very physically fit.
I speak four languages.
I travel a lot – also for free with my job.
Where do I go from here? I’m only 26 and have a better lifestyle than 99 % of all people. I don’t have hobbies as I find sports / games / similar a complete waste of my time since it really accomplishes nothing.
I feel very empty as soon as I’m not being productive / being with women / being social.
Perhaps voluntary work? Evening courses in a 5th language? The sky is the limit, but it kind of feels like it never ends, and as soon as a goal is achieve I need to get on with the next, even if I’m already on the top.
You need something that turns you on besides fitness, money, and women. You need to look for something deeper. No, a 5th language is just getting “more” (unless your TRUE PASSION is learning new languages). Volunteer work is one option, but if you’re asking me about it (“Volunteer work?”) then that clearly isn’t something you feel passionate about. You need to look deeper.
Sit down and brainstorm… What is a goal or project you can get excited about that has nothing to do with money, women, or fitness? There is a big, wide world out there. Something will call to you, but you have to give it some real thought.
I’m deep into my mission, which is work-related, but perhaps a strong side-goal is in order..
I will try and look beyond and find something that I am truly passionate about.
Thanks for the advice.
I was just listening to a podcast where a guy was saying that unless you’re “constantly expanding every area of your life, you’re regressing because the universe itself is not static, therefore you cannot stay in one spot.” I think I’ve heard a few self help gurus say the same thing,
Then I read this, and I get your point that if you’re constantly striving for something it becomes unattainable. Therefore you receive no personal satisfaction from achieving it. Thanks for confusing me! lol
If you were deep into your Mission, you wouldn’t be asking me the above questions. It’s more accurate to say that you’re deep into your business goals, which is very different than a Mission.
It’s horseshit. You can’t expand “every” area of your life “forever,” nor should you, nor would that make you happy. (Some of these fucking self help gurus need a smack upside the head, I swear.)
Instead you should always be working on 1-2 big goals or projects that excite you.
What is a reasonable income and net worth goal? I find myself constantly looking for earning more, and increasing my net worth, my biggest worry or reason to work more and more. btw, I’m working in a regular corporate job, changing it every 2-3 years to earn more. I’m probably at top %10, but I don’t think I will ever be able to put a cab on either income or net worth since life is ever changing and I feel like at least I should have a big financial cushion for possible future disasters.
@Mark: if I remember CJ’s previous statements correctly, a man past 50 should have at least $1M in net worth – preferably in liquidity – , and $3-5M would be better. But revenue is more important than net worth because if you have big money that’s badly invested (very low returns or very risky; high capital that can collapse anyday, etc), it doesn’t translate to the long term financial freedom it’s supposed to.
How much time would you set aside weekly to pursue volunteer work or arbitrary passion that does not generate any income?
Hi CJ.. from your perspective, what would be the highest ROI activities which you can do in age of 20’s-30’s?
(For example you have 2 hours per-day left, or at least 50 hours per-month) and let’s assume it’s besides fitness, money, and women.
“You can’t expand “every” area of your life ‘forever,’ nor should you, nor would that make you happy. (Some of these fucking self help gurus need a smack upside the head, I swear.)
Instead you should always be working on 1-2 big goals or projects that excite you.”
Where’s the difference? I feel like that kind of notion would make someone rationalize settling for less than they are worth and then start regressing, which has been my problem for a while.
Its like in sports or anything involving performance, if you go in not wanting to be the best, then you’re wasting your time.
That’s a personal decision that will be different for every man.
Gil Galad is correct though; it is my opinion that every man who grows up in the Western world, particularly the US, should have a net worth of at least $1 million by the time he turns 50. That means you have 30 friggin’ years as an adult to save up $1 million; that’s more than enough time.
Many will disagree with this opinion however.
Yep, that’s the problem! You need pick a income goal and a net worth goal and STICK WITH IT ONCE YOU HIT THEM.
The only reason I even bother increasing my income right now is because I’m behind on my net worth goal. If I wasn’t, I’d be “done” concerning myself with money.
That depends on whether or not you’ve hit your income/net worth goals. If you have, set aside as much as you like. If you haven’t yet, don’t set aside very much (unless it’s a key part of your Mission).
A 100% FOCUS ON SALES AND MARKETING, preferably in your own business. A 100% or near 100% sales commission job is a 2nd best option.
I don’t understand the question. They are two completely different things.
I disagree utterly. I never play to be the best; that would be comparing myself to others; I don’t care. I play to hit my own personal goals. Fuck the rest of the world.
Have you read The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone?? This article looks like the oposite of his philosophy, which basically tells you to never be satisfy and push yourself to achieve new things via permanent-constant-non stop massive action in all areas of you life.
Interesting article Caleb, Ive been adopting the 10X rule lately and got me thinking.
Yeah, I responded to that already above. I see I’m going to have to write a follow-up post to this one, since there seems to be confusion about this.
Always striving/improving = good
Always striving/improving in ALL areas of your life = stupid
I’ll clarify more in a future post.
“I never play to be the best; that would be comparing myself to others; I don’t care. I play to hit my own personal goals. Fuck the rest of the world.”
Fair enough. I suppose I’m just more competitive. There’s a way to play to be the best and compare yourself to others without being emotionally invested or stressed out about it however. Hitting your own personal bests is a way to do this, but I think being the best should at least exist somewhere in your mind.
This is actually one of your best posts ever.
Particularly this part:
“I’m going to try my best to not set another, higher net worth goal once I hit it (which I will soon).
Instead, I will set new goals in completely different areas of my life that have nothing to do with money when I hit that last financial goal”