A couple of days ago, a Twitter follower sent me this DM.
“…I have been learning and bettering myself tremendously in the past 5 years of my 20’s. My only issue is that after looking back on this time period in my 30’s I will feel like I wasted what youth I had left.
Any advice or reassurance you could lend to someone attempting to use these years in his life…”
A lot of people in their twenties have this concern.
I used to have them myself. So I understand it perfectly.
This concern is based on fear.
We fear missing out on things. We fear the unknown. We fear failure.
As a result, there will be times when you’ll be fearful. And that’s OK because we experience fear in one way or another.
Most kinds of fear come from a place of lack, or more specific, scarcity.
Scarcity, or the perception of it, is the real killer here.
People get worried about not having enough, so they panic… and because of the panic, their fears usually become a reality.
I suppose you’ve seen what’s happening in the world right now.
People get on social media and watch the news, so they see the photos and videos of people rushing to buy toilet paper and hand sanitizer… so all of a sudden, they too feel the urge to buy these items.
The perception of mass scarcity is playing out on a global level – when there is none (at least not for toilet paper and hand sanitizer).
Why Is Scarcity So Powerful?
“Scarcity is the feeling that a product or service is in short supply and about to run out.” – Neil Patel, Internet Marketer
Our brains haven’t changed much since the hunter-gatherers times.
Our ancestors had to get into unfamiliar places and uncomfortable situations to get their food and water – it was a matter of life or death some of the time.
See, scarcity was commonplace back then. We didn’t know if the hole in the mountain was going to be safe to sleep in. We didn’t know if we were going to eat or have something to drink later in the day.
And because we come from those ancestors and our brains haven’t changed that much since Fred Flinstone was roaming around the world, we still get worried about things running out.
Now you’re probably wondering, where is Jose taking me with this.
What I’m doing is giving you the bigger picture.
It’s OK to have the perception of scarcity.
Truth be told! Three weeks ago, scarcity took a toll on me.
I bought more toilet paper and paper towels than I needed– and I’m glad I did, because things got real really fast in the Dominican Republic with all the fake voice notes and fake posts people uploaded to social media.
Fear invaded me. Scarcity kicked it. I fired two of my employees. One for incompetence, and the other out of fear of the unknown – I did rehire the good one, though – but that’s a story for a different email.
It took me a couple of days to kick myself out of it.
But, even though I was feeling nervous, I never stopped working.
I used the urgency and the scarcity to double down on my efforts.
All of us have these feelings from time to time. It’s natural and nothing to be ashamed of.
What’s important is how you react in the face of fear.
You can’t control your emotions, but you can control the actions you take
In many ways, you can’t control your natural response and how you feel about certain events. But, you will always have the choice to control the way you deal with them.
And that brings us to this particular point.
Some people fear that their actions will lead them to look back in time and feel like they’ve wasted their time.
This, my friend, is normal.
But what are you going to do about it?
Right now, many opportunities are waiting for you to knock on their door.
So you might be worried that if you open one of these doors, it’s going to close off all the other ones to you. And you’re right. But you have to understand that thinking about the worst-case scenarios can drive you crazy.
That all leads to this…
As you age, your sense of urgency and scarcity will be different.
Urgency and scarcity are two of the many ways fear manifests itself in our life.
Urgency is the feeling you have when you need to do something before the timer runs out.
Both urgency and scarcity, if used correctly, can benefit you in unimaginable ways. Not only in sales but also in achieving your goals. The thing is some people have no idea how to use them to their advantage.
Now that I’m in my 30s, I have a different kind of urgency and scarcity.
I have to juggle my time between family, friends, and work. So the time has truly become a scarce resource to me, even though I have the same 24hrs as everyone else. This has basically forced me into investing my time with more care – something I didn’t do in my 20s.
See, during my 20s, I had a lot of free time and very few responsibilities. But all of that changed once I turned 25. My inner thoughts went from, “I want the new Playstation and the new Xbox” to:
- “There’s not enough time.”
- “This is taking too long.”
- “All of this was for nothing.”
- “What’s gonna happen to me in the future?”
- “Is this really what I want?”
- “Am I on the right track?”
- “What if this doesn’t work out.”
Do any of these thoughts ring a bell?
It wouldn’t surprise me if they all did.
So what can you do to battle your fears of missing out, your fear of the unknown, and this scarcity that can drive people nuts – funnily enough, the advice I’m about to tell you will work at any age 🙂
Tip #1: Listen to people who are more experienced than you.
What you’re experiencing right now is NOT new. You’re not the first one to experience this, and you will not be the last one.
Stop wasting your mental bandwidth thinking about the worst-case-scenarios.
Spend time thinking about the things you could be doing, and take action upon these thoughts.
Do you want to do everything half-heartedly, or do you want to do one thing and do it well?
You may feel like you have unlimited opportunities, but really what you have is a small window—a small window to determine how the next couple of decades play out.
I know that sounds scary, but I’d prefer to tell you a scary truth over a pleasant lie.
While everyone is either panicking or binge-watching Netflix, it’s time to double down on your efforts!
It won’t feel nice. It will be uncomfortable. It will suck sometime. But your future is built on the actions you take RIGHT now.
Tip #2: Realize the past is gone, and there's nothing you can do about it.
What you did yesterday, a year ago, five years… there's nothing you can do about that.
You cannot change the past. Once the moment is gone, that’s it.
Sometimes you’ll feel regret, sometimes happiness, either way, it’s in the past.
Make your peace with that.
All you have is NOW, the present moment.
Even right now, as you read this, you’re using your time to take in what I have to say.
I understand how precious time can be, so thank you and I hope you take action from this.
Whether you’ve made bad choices or hit hard obstacles, isn’t important now. Your distant past is not important now. Your past frustrations aren’t important now.
The only important thing right now is, what are you going to do about it?
Tip #3: All you can do is take the right actions.
The right actions are the ones that lead you to your goals. Thing is that you’ll only know if they are the correct ones by taking them.
Taking the right actions is all you can do. And only you can take those steps.
No one else will be able to do the work for you.
To see if the actions you’re taking are the right ones, constantly ask yourself,
- How do I feel about what I’m doing right now?
- How do I believe I’m going to look back on this period in five, ten, twenty years from now?
- Does this action make me feel like I’m wasting my time?
Tip #4: Set rules for yourself by writing down a NOT-To-do List.
People rarely think about the things they need to stop doing.
This is where your not-to-do list chimes in.
Your Not-to-do list is composed of actions that you must actively reject to become a productive champion.
Your Not-to-do list leverages the power of the most powerful word in the world.
The word NO.
What Should You Add To Your Not-to-do List?
- Activities that continually break your focus into pieces
- Actions that reduce the quality of your work
- Decisions that make you feel unproductive and unworthy of your successes
- Ideas and thoughts that take up your precious mental bandwidth
- Activities you can delegate
- Ideas, choices, and rules you won’t compromise
- Stuff that doesn’t lead to your current goals
Tip #5: Use scarcity and urgency to win
A goal without a deadline is a pipe-dream.
A deadline will give you the sense of urgency you need.
I always say to myself that urgency is both the “God of Money” and “God of Getting Things Done”.
Why the “God of Money”? Urgency makes people buy (that’s why you see marketers using the “Price goes up soon” tactic)
Why the “God of Getting Things Done”? Urgency makes people take action – having no urgency means you’ll take your time to get things done, and “taking your time” is for losers.
If you don't have a deadline, you won't have the urgency to get it done.
That said, don’t give yourself an impossible deadline.
If you have a goal of making an extra $30,000 this year, make sure you don't say to yourself you're going to make the $30,000 by the end of the day.
You’re still bound by the laws of reality. Right?
So be realistic with yourself. Going from 0 to $30,000 in a day is not realistic unless you win the lottery or sell crack on the streets.
Now, what about scarcity? How can you use it to force yourself into action?
The Not-to-do list is one way to use scarcity in a positive way.
This list is meant to limit your choices, which could result in creating a sense of scarcity that could help take action.
Another way of using scarcity is by creating a budget for your personal and business spending.
Telling yourself that you can only spend, let’s say, $3000 this month is an easy way to use scarcity to better your life.
Hopefully, you’ll have found this helpful.
Again, stop focusing so much on the future because it hasn’t happened yet, and it’s always changing.
All you can do is influence your own with the actions you take today.
Whatever you’re up to have a great day.