I begin my new book with a quote from the Dalai Lama. In it, he says his biggest surprise about humanity is that we sacrifice our health to make money, and then spend our money to take care of our health. He goes on to say that as a result, “Man does not live in the present or the future. He lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” It is powerful stuff, and it really opened my eyes to the cruel reality that many successful people face. We work so hard to build an empire that we sacrifice our lives and health to get there.
Just look at Steve Jobs. Probably the most admired entrepreneur of the past century, anyone who’s read Walter Isaacson’s brilliant biography of him knows that he was notoriously obsessive and devoted to his work. The man often worked from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and would go without sleep altogether when he was locked into a groundbreaking project like the iPhone. He would demand things of his team that were deemed impossible, but somehow under his leadership, they found a way. As a result of his tireless efforts, he made Apple what it is today and left us with some of the most substantial innovations of our time…but he also wore himself down and died at the age of 56.
Now as you may know, in April, I learned I had stage II thyroid cancer. Luckily after having surgery to remove the nodule on my neck, I am fine. But the incident put things into perspective for me. As anyone does when faced with their own mortality, I began to reflect. It took this giant wake-up call for me to realize that the reason I was put on this earth was to make life better for the people around me — not just the people I love and keep close, but the people all around me.
So how do you change the world like Steve Jobs and still have time for your family or your health? Because if you think about it, time is the only thing we can’t get back in this world. Once we spend it, it’s gone, so you’ve got to make sure you’re investing it wisely. And whether we have a hundred dollars in the bank or a hundred million, we all get the same twenty-four hours a day. The key is learning how to put those hours to work for you so that you can make an impact while being as productive as possible.
Every day I get up — before the sun, some mornings — and start grinding at my goals, hard. I go to sleep—stupid-late, most nights — still grinding. Because when I hear people say there isn’t time enough in the day to do everything they need to do, it gets me upset. Yeah, I get that it sometimes feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but the feeling only hits me when I’m not using those hours wisely. When I’m not efficient, organized, on it. But if I’m on top of my game, in tireless pursuit, there’s always time. And if it starts looking like the clock is about to run out on me, I’ll work even harder.
“One common trait I notice in all the people I meet who are thriving and striving: every single one of them has got a killer work ethic.”
Now I’ve seen some things, met all kinds of interesting, ridiculously successful people. I’ve hung around with world leaders and game-changers. I’m always learning from these people, and one of the things I’ve learned is that there is no secret formula for success. However, there are specific essential ingredients that are always in the mix. One common trait I notice in all the people I meet who are thriving and striving: every single one of them has got a killer work ethic. Seriously, they are up and at it each and every day, and they are at it hard. You could call it drive. You could call it determination. You could call it oomph, grit, or hustle.
I call it rising and grinding. And in my new book, Rise and Grind, l share a bunch of my day-to-day habits and routines to show how I make the best use of my 24/7. I also break down the rituals of some of the world’s most successful people, from all walks of life — people who inspire me, who amaze me, who push me to be the very best I can be. I asked them what they do as soon as they get up in the morning, where they turn for inspiration, how they organize their days. I asked them some tougher questions, too — questions I’m asked almost every day by aspiring entrepreneurs who want to make something of themselves, and by corporate leaders who bring me in to motivate their employees and get them to start thinking outside the box.
As a successful person yourself, I am sure you have your own set of rules and routines for maximizing productivity every day. I am sure you have your own specific guidelines for grinding. But my advice is never to forget that we grind to get and keep ahead, but that we also grind to make our world a better place for the people we love. For some of us, that might mean our world close to home. For others, we might keep a bigger picture in mind. At the very least, we always need to make time for our loved ones (and because we care about them, take the best possible care of our health) and be mindful of the impact we are leaving on the world. So keep grinding my friends…just make sure you’re doing it efficiently and never losing sight of what’s important.
Daymond John’s new book Rise and Grind: How to Out-Perform, Out-Work and Out-Hustle the Competition is available online and in bookstores everywhere on January 23rd.