How to Escape the Rat Race and Unpredict the Future

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A few months ago business was great. But life was very busy. And it was definitely more work than play. And I realised that I wanted more. I craved an adventure.

As an entrepreneur, I knew it was up to me to make it happen. But I had no idea what to do. So I booted up google and started my ‘adventure’ search.

40 minutes later I found this website.
6 hours later I had a Skype interview.
48 hours later I was accepted and had booked my flights to Bali, along with 25 other location independent entrepreneurs, from all over the world. We were going to spend a month co-working together.

It was an amazing month & I was lucky to spend it with very inspiring people. Here’s what I learned:

Bali

Elaine Heney, “Making Apps” PG Talk October 2013.

1. Give yourself the credit you deserve for getting this far, and be proud of yourself. Everyone who decides they want more than a ‘normal’ life, and tries something different is a Rockstar in my eyes. Fire, hunger and passion are some of the most valuable assets we possess.

2. Startups are great, but remember you need a life as well – starting today.

3. Set monthly goals. This was a Project Getaway task and I found it INCREDIBLY useful. I will be doing this every month and it’s already made a big difference in how much I achieve each week, personally and professionally.

4. When you wake up every single morning be very grateful for everything you have – family, friends, health.. you only realise how important these are when you lose them.

5. Figure out what type of business community you want to join. Then find them – or if it doesn’t exist – start it yourself.

6. Life too important to generally a) spend it watching television b) spend it talking about what you watched on television. You’re missing out on stuff that’s a lot more exciting.

7. Live with undefined time. Remember when you were a kid and you had 2 months of summer holidays? It felt like a YEAR. Every day was gloriously never ending. There was no schedule, you had nowhere to be but to play and hang out with your friends until it got dark or you all got hungry. Every day was a life time. I want my time back, instead of wondering how the weeks are flying past so quickly. So I’m going back to my roots. I’m going to work until it’s done. Then all electronic devices will be shut down – my iPhone, iPad, the lot. Then work is forgotten. Then I’ll relax, or workout, ride the horse or catchup with friends – whatever – until that’s done. Then on to the next thing. Every task is given equal importance. It’s all I will focus on while I’m doing it. No more rushing to pack everything into one day.

Bali

8. I’ve put myself into some uncomfortable situations in the past year but they’ve always worked out. So I’m going to get a lot more uncomfortable – and I’ve started already. No guts no glory.

9. As I want to grow my business and work less, I plan outsourcing a lot more.

10. When you find something that works, do more of it. Implement the 80/20 rule (instead of just talking about it like I did). Implementing it means letting some things go and changing your plans, which can be hard.

11. Once you get past the crazy intense startup period in new businesses, implement the 20 hour work week. My plan is once I complete 20 hours each week, my laptop will be firmly closed until the following Monday morning.

12. I’m not a big meditater. Once in a Tai Chi class I found the situation slightly humorous, and I’ve been pretty much hopeless in those situations ever since. But when I’m in a quiet place I can let my thoughts take over. I can zone out and bring my brain down a level where I can connect a lot more with my subconscious and I get a lot of insights and ideas this way. It’s like when you are driving from A to B but when you arrive at B you don’t quite remember how you actually got there exactly. It allows you to mull things over, make sense of them, and come to useful decisions on the best way to proceed. When I take time out to think something over and make sense of it, I always feel a lot happier and more at peace afterwards.

13. I realise we all get stuck in our little emotional pathways, and this throws us off course a lot. It stops us doing stuff that could be really beneficial to us. In certain situations we can tend to default to our ‘usual’ (negative) way of thinking. You can really want to do something, but every time you think about it your brain automatically fires you down a path of total fear, which inhibits you – sometimes for years – from doing what you really want. NLP explains the logic of it really well.

Imagine you’re doing weights with your right arm. Every day you spend 15 minutes and now you’re on some pretty impressive weights and your right arm is seriously in Stallone territory. Now you decide you want to change something. So you pickup with the weight with your left arm. IMMEDIATE pain. It doesn’t feel right at all. Something is 100% wrong. Every brain cell you have is SCREAMING at you, for God’s sake, just put the weight back in your right hand! You mind is just telling you to do what you’ve always done. But this can work badly against you when you want to try something new in your life.

How you feel emotionally about situations can be the result of well used pathways in your brain. Once you think about a certain subject, your brain happily goes along the usual pathway that’s been honed and polished over the last months or years of your life. For me, when a negative thought comes into my head now, I now realise it’s just a physical thing. So I stop the thought (and the emotion that it triggers as it started to fire down that pathway) and then think about something totally different. My aim is to stop using those unhelpful paths and with time they’ll become overgrown and unused, and I’ll have trained my mind to follow new neural pathways that make me feel happier and energised.

14. I realised a while back there there’s no point in looking backwards, as I’m not going in that direction. More importantly, when you look ahead and open your eyes, there is so much mind-blowing stuff right ahead of all of us. Why wouldn’t you want to throw yourself into it?

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Elaine Heney is the CEO of Chocolate Lab Apps, #1 Bestselling Author of "The App Escape Plan". Elaine has over 200 apps published with over 3 million downloads, 5 online App Development Courses, and mentors international mobile startups.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  1. 1 Karen French November 11, 2013, 8:53 pm

    Lots of interesting food for thought here El!
    Thanks.

  2. 2 Slava November 12, 2013, 6:24 am

    I love #6 – Turn off your TV!
    ;-)

    I do not have a TV antenna in my house for more than 7 years now.
    Would have disconnected Internet if I could…

  3. 3 Jason November 14, 2013, 3:45 am

    Thanks for sharing that Elaine! You made some really good points. I know i often get caught up in multiple projects and forget to slow down and enjoy and be grateful for all the wonderful things in around me

  4. 4 hitendra pratap December 15, 2013, 2:18 am

    Awesome article! Just love every bit of it. It feels like you have put a lot of heart into writing this one, which makes it even better!

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