The 7 Habits of People Who Are More Highly Effective Than You


Congratulations on buying yet another self-help book. Surely this will be the one that fixes all your problems.

It’s a good time to be a self-help writer. On a daily basis, people’s mental health is pounded like a speed bag in a boxing gym. Nobody thinks they’re good enough. And they’re right! In our high-speed, interconnected world, you’re constantly exposed to an endless stream of people who are richer, more talented, better looking, more stylish, more well-read, know cooler spots to hang out, are better at cooking food, have a more desirable partner, travel more, hang out with more interesting people, have a nicer apartment, and generally have life a lot more figured out than you do. 

There’s good reason for this. It’s because you’re not a highly effective person. And if you think you’re highly effective, you’re not highly effective enough. You wake up at 6AM to work out? Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 4AM to work out—after he clears his entire email inbox.

You meditate for 30 minutes every morning to make sure your head is clear? So does Mark Cuban, except he meditates on business, not sitting around doing nothing. 

You’re 30 years old and clear $300k per year? Sam Friedman-Blank is 29 and worth $26.5B. If he woke up tomorrow with your money, he’d probably kill himself. 

You live your life the same as 99% of other people who die unsatisfied. You’re not the richest, the most fun, the one with the most friends, the most well-traveled, the most creative, or the most charitable. And if you don’t believe me, consult your social media feed. 

But here’s the good news—you can be! Just learn my 7 steps for people who are more effective than you, and find a way to integrate them into your life and never forget to do them (easy peasy). Here’s what you’re not doing that’s preventing you from living like the top 1% of humans on this planet…

Your habits suck

Highly effective people have an ironclad routine they execute like clockwork. This removes friction to accomplishing important tasks and operating at a high level. You? You waste precious seconds of the day because you’ve created no foundation for performing at a high level. You’re like one of those car dealership inflatables that blow back and forth and side-to-side—no aim, no purpose, and no momentum.

Have you considered…

  • Laying out your workout clothes next to your bed before you go to sleep at night so that it’ll be easier to motivate yourself to go to the gym in the morning? 
  • Turning off your wifi when you’re writing so that you won’t be easily distracted?
  • Using your parents as the background on your phone so you’ll remember to call them?

Not that hard, is it? But you won’t do it because…

Your mindset sucks

Look around. There’s so much to be grateful for! You have a job—even though you make less than your friends. You have your health—even though you’re not nearly as strong as you wish you could be. You’re alive—even though the threat of ecological collapse is making your existence on this planet increasingly tenuous. 

Focus on these happy things! But at the same time, focus on what other people have that you don’t so you know what you need to work towards. But the problem is, you won’t work towards them because…

You’re not proactive

If you don’t make life happen for yourself, life will happen to you instead. Mark Zuckerberg built Facebook while he was in college. Serena Williams picked up a tennis racket when she was 4. That’s proactive!

If you want to be proactive, start by asking yourself at any given moment of every day this simple question: “what’s the most effective thing I could be doing right now?” If you’re not doing that thing, it’s probably because…

You don’t set goals

You don’t have anything you’re working towards. Sure, you have things you want, but you have no strategy on how to get them. The most effective people set goals for themselves years in the future. They then proactively create habits to reach those goals that they execute daily because they have a good mindset. You don’t have goals because your mindset sucks. And without goals, there are no habits to be proactive about. In order to set goals and be productive, it helps to have a strong support network of positive influences who can help guide you personally and professionally, but you can’t get that because…

You associate with losers

You are the people you talk to the most.

Effective people surround themselves with others who are constantly pushing them to improve. In turn, they have a better mindset and are proactive about achieving their goals. You? You’d prefer to hang with lowlifes and drink cheap beer while you reminisce on the careers of retired athletes. Imagine if Steve Jobs had spent more time with his wife and kids instead of building Apple? That’s a horrifying thought. 

To upgrade your social network, stop treating people as a means to an end. But you can’t do that until you address another issue…

You don’t think before you talk

Most people don’t listen. They just wait until it’s their turn to talk. But effective people know the more time they spend listening, the better the opportunity to be exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking. Further, it allows them to articulate more thoughtful responses, which in turn helps build stronger bonds.

By shooting from the hip all the time, not only do you sound ignorant, but you alienate others who may not enjoy your cavalier pseudo-intellectualism. 

Meanwhile, others are developing winning habits, being proactive, and accomplishing their dreams. The world is surpassing you because…

You’re not always leveling up

The upshot is humans are organisms that are born relatively useless and only through the relentless intake of data and stimuli can they ever hope to achieve a modicum of relevancy in this world. The most highly effective people know this, which is why they look at the world like a game that can be beaten.

And how do you beat it? By leveling up (intellectually, physically, emotionally, financially, etc.) This is what everyone in your social media feed “living their best life” knows. 

You? You’re still on Level 1, like most people. But throughout the next 20 chapters, I’m going to teach you how to get to Level 100, and then maybe your fragile little ego won’t be so shaken the next time you see someone who has “more” than you. 

And if that doesn’t work, even better. Because I’ll just publish another one of these books next year—and you’ll buy that one too!

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