Being highly successful sounds stressful, so I’m sharing these closely guarded secrets to allow you to muddle along just fine
Right now, across the internet, approximately 12m articles purport to share the secrets of highly successful people: 2016 is a new year, and if you simply restructure your entire existence, you too can become deliriously successful.
Spoiler alert: here are the secrets. Get up at 5am; commit to an exercise regime; practice mindfulness and time management; nourish your body with wholesome foodstuffs; dress professionally; set personal goals; schedule quality time with loved ones; declutter; breathe.
I always click on these articles, even though I know what they’re going to say. I read them and am briefly inspired: “Yes, I should start going to bed at 9pm, like an eight-year-old. Then I’d be able to produce more stuff in the three hours before everyone else gets up in the morning.” But the enthusiasm is fleeting. And, come morning time, I am, predictably, sleeping.
I hope it will not seem conceited if I say that I am a moderately successful person. I have a job I like. I wrote a book that is doing quite well. I have managed to trick a human I love into believing that it is a good idea to live with me. I’m reasonably happy most of the time, and think anyone who says they never feel like crap is lying.
Things are going grand and, truth be told, being highly successful sounds stressful. So I’m taking it upon myself to share the closely guarded secrets of moderately successful people. Practise these and you too can muddle along just fine.
Get up at a normal time
Only highly successful masochists get up before 7am by choice. I will accept 6.30am as an absolute limit for what constitutes a normal alarm setting. Similarly, try not to still be in bed at noon on Tuesdays.
Start every to-do list with “make a to-do list”
That way you can tick one thing off straightaway, which feels successful. I also find it helpful to lose the to-do list shortly after you make it, thus permitting yourself the illusion that you are getting things done, even if you are not. You can make a new list tomorrow.
Let yourself go a bit
I’m not talking caked vomit in your hair and jelly sandals. Just a healthy dollop of chill in the grooming department.
Eat normal things
Many of the moderately successful adhere to the following innovative diet plan: breakfast foods for breakfast, lunch foods for lunch, and dinner foods for dinner.
Like mindfulness, except instead of acknowledging and accepting all your thoughts and emotions, you just ignore them and go about your day until something actually goes wrong.
Go places using your legs
After you get up at a normal time and eat your normal breakfast, perhaps you might consider going somewhere using your legs. It takes me 40 minutes to walk to work, and 25 minutes to get there on public transport. That’s an hour and 20 minutes of walking, but only 30 minutes out of my day. How’s that for time management, highly successful gym rats?
Be confused about what quality time means
If you cannot imagine a life in which you have to write your partner into your planner in case you forget to hang out with them, then you are well on the road to being moderately successful.
Accept your clutter
Some folks are messy. There’s worse things you could be. A serial killer for example, or one of those people who make their visitors use coasters.
This is the most important principle of any moderately successful person. Sometimes, when vicious deadlines are thundering towards you, your inbox is screaming, your phone is beeping like a rabid R2-D2, and it feels like the sky is about to come crashing down, you have to say: “Ah, fuck it.” Then, go for a bottle of wine with another moderately successful person, who is also saying “Ah, fuck it”, and talk about fun stuff like books and feminism and films and sex. Apply the “Ah, fuck it” rule and you can’t go too far wrong.
I wish you all a mostly happy, occasionally cranky and moderately successful New Year.