So many things came at me today I don't even know where to start.

I jumped in the river this morning for about half a second (though I did go all the way under!) and it was great, despite the 15° F temp. I came up with every excuse under the sun not to get out there and do it, but I eventually got it over with, and I'm glad I did.

Also, I started and got about a third of the way through Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller, and was really inspired. Lots of great advice and mindset in there so far.

I was suggested to start reading the book by my cousin, who's also into real estate investing. Incidentally, I had a long phone call slash interrogation with him today about what he's doing for real estate investing now, since he seems to be doing pretty well for himself and is on the track I'd like to be on, though a little further ahead.

But what really hit different was episode 433 of the Bigger Pockets podcast. They had on a guy named Ed Mylett. I'd never heard of him before, but he was a awesome speaker with some fantastic points. He's also started a bunch of different businesses and done really well for himself as a business founder, a performance coach, and a real estate investor.

I wanted to note down a few things from the podcast that stood out and were really inspiring and relevant.

You don't rise to your goals, you fall to your standards.

It's easy to set goals. In fact, that's what I'm hoping to do this week. But his point, and it's a point I've heard elsewhere, is that you don't rise to the level of your goals: you fall to the level of your standards.

Or as the old quote goes...

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

One of the other things I'll work on this week is deciding on some new standards and habits to put into place. I don't want to just make goals and then wait for them to happen; I want to go get them.

Getting serious about getting what you want

Beyond setting and adhering to standards, the overarching lesson that Ed shared on the podcast is about identity – it's a big touchstone of his talks, and something that a lot of performance and life coaches talk about a lot.

Anyway, he shared a story about his son, who was losing golf tournament after golf tournament – badly. Not only was his son losing consistently, he was coming in last every time.

Eventually, his son becomes motivated to win by having his playing skills insulted. Ed and his son decide to win, and Ed helps him do this by applying his performance coaching (especially as it relates to identity) to his son – something he hadn't been doing up to that point with golfing.

After he and his son get serious about winning, not only do they go on to win that tournament... but the next sixteen. And then his son gets a full ride golf scholarship (I didn't even know those existed).

One of the key things they did was have his son put on a different shirt that he'd never worn before while golfing. They called it his "winning shirt," and he only put it on after he got serious.

That shirt and the accompanying mindset shift were enough to propel his son from last to first – literally. It represented a shift from just playing around to being serious about winning. Obviously, his son learned a lot from playing in a more relaxed way, but only started winning once he decided to really go fo rit.

I'm afraid I've butchered the story – but you can listen to it at the end of Bigger Pockets episode 433, and I'd highly suggest doing so.

The point is, his son underwent an identity shift the moment he decided to get serious about winning, and it had a powerful result.

I want to do the same thing.

I also have my own little anecdote that relates to this – playing pool with a friend of mine this past Saturday. While we played he was telling me about how it's important to make note of where you think the ball is going to go before it does, so that when you strike it you know how to improve in the future.

He smoked me that first game, but towards the end of it I started paying really close attention to where I thought the ball was going to go, and playing seriously – intentionally.

Playing seriously, and with intentionality, wasn't enough to carry that first game, but the next one around, I beat him for the first time ever. It was very satisfying, and I don't think I would have if not for playing intentionally, getting serious about winning, and trying very hard to.

This touches on something I've talked about in the past that Ed's story on the podcast today also touches on – intentionality. Being serious. Playing to win.

Accepting yourself

The thing about playing to win is that before you can get serious, you have to admit the possibility of losing, and losing because of your own fault.

One of the reasons I don't always play serious is that I'm afraid of losing. I'm not afraid of losing if I'm not trying, because that doesn't reflect on my abilities and aptitudes. If I don't care about something, it doesn't matter if I fail.

On the other hand, if I really care about something and I fail miserably at it while trying my best, then the loss is clearly on me.

It's my inadequacy, my failure, my not being good enough.

And that is really difficult to accept. That's why I often want to pretend that I'm not actually trying, which is what leads to me not actually trying.

Funny how that works, isn't it? You spend long enough pretending to do or be something, and eventually you become that thing – whether it's what you want or not.

I can only get serious about succeeding once I accept that I might lose, even when I give it my best shot. It's that fear of losing when I'm trying my best that keeps me motivated to learn and to try even harder.

There's something different that happens when you say "I tried really hard – I gave it my best shot – and I failed," compared to when you say "Eh, I wasn't really trying anyway."

You can only improve yourself once you accept that you're lacking, and to do that means accepting yourself, shortcomings and all.

After all, if you're "good enough" as it is, why would you try to get better?

I'm getting serious

This is one of my goals for 2021: to accept myself, including where I'm lacking, and genuinely get serious.

As of now, I'm getting serious about making a living from passive income. If I fail from here on out, it's because I wasn't good enough, or I did something stupid, or I was lazy, or I didn't know something. But I'm going to learn from my mistakes and become stronger from them.

I am trying my very hardest from now on.

P.S. Yes, that is scary to post publicly – and probably comes off a bit, well, try-hard... but what's so bad about that? Honestly, I'm more scared of never getting where I want to go.

P.P.S. It sure does seem like our society rewards people who don't try hard, so much that try-hard is actually an insult, rather than a compliment. I should probably be more careful about judging others for trying hard (though it's interesting to note that I rarely do so, despite my personal fear of judgement).