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The Minimalists
The Minimalists are Emmy-nominated Netflix stars and New York Times–bestselling authors Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. Alongside their podcast cohost, T.K. Coleman, this simple-living trio helps millions of people eliminate clutter and live meaningfully with less. Learn More.

More Wins Than Losses

Throughout my twenties, I was an on-again, off-again alcoholic. An on-again, off-again womanizer. An on-again, off-again drug addict. I was a lot of things I’m not proud of, and I still battle with some of my demons.

I’m not perfect. I still lose sometimes. But there’s a key difference between Ryan Past and Ryan Present: I win a lot more today.

The person you are today is directly related to the five people you spend the most time with and your role models (TOP FIVE ASSOCIATES + ROLE MODELS = YOU). If someone spends the majority of their time with friends at the bar and aspires to live like Snooki from Jersey Shore, then they’ve made an obvious lifestyle choice.

Sometimes it’s not this obvious.

Examine your friends and role models. If they’re not in line with who you want to be, then something needs to change.

Then take massive action. Once you see what needs to change, change it. Don’t sit around and should all over yourself. Can’t take immediate action? Fine—pick a date when you’re able to implement change and stick to it no matter what. Make change a must. If you don’t take action, your life won’t be any different.

Change means avoiding negative relationships. Change means asking friends and family to embrace change with you. Change means breaking out of your comfort zone. Change means finding new, empowering relationships and role models. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding.

What’s the difference between action and massive action? My mentoring clients ask me this all the time. The difference is that massive action creates a physiological shift. Sitting down and writing out how you need to change is taking action; joining a new group of people to make new friends is taking massive action. If your actions don’t move you (literally move you) in the direction you want to be, then it’s not massive action.

Lastly, realize there is no endgame: once you reach greatness, keep being great. Often, when I would reach success (what I used to call success), I would use my bad habits as a way to reward myself. I did this with health and exercise. As soon as I saw good (not great) results, I would reward myself by slacking off and eating unhealthily. This attitude will destroy your momentum. You don’t have to fall back to your old habits; you get to move forward toward better ones.

Keep your head up. I have failed many times, and I still do. The key is to fail less as time goes on.

Read this essay and 150 others in our new book, Essential.