Over the last few months I’ve been lucky enough to interview some of the worlds most accomplished people who still live at home and ask them about what they’ve done to achieve such remarkable levels of professional and personal success. Their answers had a lot in common which I have boiled down to these nine habits that you can incorporate into your own life.
1. They eliminate distractions
Highly successful people are disciplined and focused. They keep their workspaces free from clutter and highly organized so they can focus on doing work rather than searching for things. The traffic light is only red for so long so it’s vitally important that their CD wallet is always within arms reach and that their Discman-to-cassette adapter is plugged in and ready to go. When you’ve got to get there in 30 minutes or less you don’t want to waste any time getting that Megadeth CD blaring over the stereo of your ’98 Geo Metro.
2. They outsource mundane tasks
You’re probably unaware of it but a lot of time is wasted on menial tasks. Highly successful people are always aware of where their time is going which is why they outsource day-to-day tasks like cooking, cleaning and laundry to their mothers. After all, she’s doing a load so the net impact of the 3 – 4 baskets of laundry they’ve accumulated in their basement bedroom will be negligible. They’re making use of what experts call economy of scale. They know there is no benefit in learning skills that others have already mastered. They’ll probably just screw it up so it’s better to let her do it.
3. They make time for themselves
Whether it’s spending hours online looking for bad-ass swords to add to their collection or watching as they feed live mice to their pet snake “David Boa”, they know its important to have hobbies that allow you to unwind and de-stress.
4. They wake up early
Surveys show that most successful people get up before noon. If their work day starts at 4PM, they will have eaten a couple Pop-Tarts; smoked some pot; watched the Price Is Right and two re-runs of “Who’s the Boss” and rubbed one out all before they arrive half an hour late to their job.
5. They dress for success
Nothing says “tip the delivery guy” like a dragon print bowling shirt and a freshly un-crumpled set of cargo shorts. Highly successful people know you only get one chance at a first impression so it’s important to let people know how much they love Slayer when choosing their wardrobe. If you haven’t already, invest in a good pair of black Crocs that can go with any outfit. But what do successful people consider the most important style tip? Ponytails. Goatees and Ponytails.
6. They’re constantly networking
You can’t say “a buddy and me are thinking about maybe opening a vape shop” without a robust pool of acquaintances. Successful people dedicate a couple of hours each day to like and comment on the Facebook profiles of people they met in middle school. They know that a lot of those people may have continued to be socially active and may have continued to make new friends. That’s why successful people don’t shy away from self promotion and letting everyone know they still exist and are awesome for having never left their home town.
7. They travel
It’s important to open yourself up to new experiences and see the world from different perspectives. This is why the most successful people will sometimes go to the other McDonalds. Not the good one, but the one across town that’s managed by that cross eyed chick they went to high school with who gives them extra fries cause she probably wants to bang them. It can be eye opening to see a place that at first seems so familiar but in actuality has the drive-through on the other side of the building.
8. They aren’t afraid to say no
It’s easy to commit yourself to too much as we often feel guilty turning people down. But whether it’s paying back their student loans from that one semester of community college they flunked out of, or helping their mother with some chores because “it’s time you started pulling your weight around here”, if they’re not passionate about it they’re not afraid to say no. They dedicate their time and energy to projects they truly care about.
9. They know how to take criticism
Successful people know what they’re setting out to accomplish and don’t listen to naysayers. They know that comments like “You know your uncle Jarod is struggling with his kidney thing and needs a lot of help. I’m over there almost every day and really need you to step up” or “You’re late again! How many times do we have to have this conversation? This is coming out of your pay.” come from jealous people who resent them for having the courage to succeed. They ignore those people and focus on constructive criticism like “Dude, I bet we could get real good at MMA if we wanted!” or “Whatever, that cross eyed chick is probably a lesbian anyway.”
The Force Awakens shattered box office records this weekend, as millions flocked to the theater to see the latest installment of the sci-fi adventure set in a galaxy far far away. But if you needed any more proof that Star Wars isn’t just for nerds anymore take a look at this comprehensive list of audience member’s professions that show how Star Wars fans come from all walks of life:
- Massage Therapist
- Executive Assistant
- Assistant to the Executive Assistant
- Executive Assistant to the Executive Assistant
- Executive Being Assisted
- Super Villain
- Super Accountant
- Accountant (No Such thing as a Super Accountant)
- Swarthy Millionaire
- Swarthy Billionaire
- Chimpanzee Wrangler
- Chimpanzee (Wrangled)
- Chimpanzee (Un-wrangled)
- Doctor (Philosophy)
- Doctor (Sociology)
- Doctor (English Literature)
- Doctor (Real)
- Ed Gein Enthusiast
- Software Engineer
- Hunter (Deer)
- Hunter (Rabbit)
- Hunter (Most Dangerous Game)
- Seeker (Harry Potter)
- Seeker (Waldo)
- Mechanic (automobile)
- Mechanic (Aircraft)
- Mechanic (Horse)
- Customer Service Representative
- Technical Support Specialist
- Special Support Technician
- Dentist (Colgate)
- Dentist (Colgate)
- Dentist (Colgate)
- Dentist (Colgate)
- Dentist (Needlessly Contrarian)
- Doctor (butt stuff)
- Candlestick Maker
- Still Don’t know what I do around here
- Movie Theatre Projectionists (obviously)
- President of the United States of America
- Man Hired by JJ Abrams to Make Sure George Lucas Doesn’t get anywhere near Star Wars.
- Not George Lucas
- George Lucas Lookalike
- Professional Speed Dater
- Professional Speed Dealer
- Serial Killer
- Killer from “Serial”
- Vet (military)
- Vet (animal doctor)
- IT (Information Technology)
- IT (tag)
- Police Officer (June)
- Firefighter (September)
- Paramedic (February)
- Pet and Restaurant Licensing Clerk (November)
- Photographer for “Sexy Men of Lincoln County Civil Service” 2016 Calendar
- Mathemagician (butt stuff)
- Oracle of Delphi
- Cheeseman (maker)
- Cheeseman (made of)
- One of a thousand hot girls in your area waiting to chat if you sign up now.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” and who doesn’t want that? But imagine you were able to keep two doctors away? It would be twice as good! It may seem unrealistic but a recent discovery may actually make that possible.
Doctors, nutritionists and health researchers have long advocated increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. The benefits are clear. Not only are they low in fat, but they are nutritionally dense, providing a great natural source of many essential vitamins and minerals. The one drawback is that a single fruit, like an apple for example, contains only one fruits worth of nutrients, severely limiting their health effects. That is until now.
Researchers have found a way to nearly double the nutritional value of a regular grocery-store apple, by “mashing two apples together”. This process created what scientists have deemed a “double-apple” or a “super-apple”, the benefits of which are nearly unbelievable.
Careful analysis showed that while mashing two apples together increased the amount of sugar and total calories by a factor of two, the amount of cancer fighting antioxidants went up nearly 200%. If that weren’t good enough, the super-apple contained zero fat and cholesterol, while providing double the amount of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and dietary fiber. To give you a sense of what a drastic increase this is, “double” is 2/3 of the way to “triple”.
You may think you need complex lab equipment or specialized training to garner the health benefits but it’s shockingly easy to prepare the double-apple at home. Follow these simple steps:
- Buy two (2) of your favourite apple at the local your local grocery store or farmer’s market.
- Place the first apple in the palm of your of your right hand like so:
- Wrap each of your fingers around the apple and apply light pressure. This is called “holding” an apple.
- Repeat “holding” the second apple with your left hand. Try not to let go of the apple in your right hand while doing it, or you’ll have to start over.
- “Holding” both apples slowly bring them together so they are touching.
- Apply pressure to the apples by bringing your hands closer together. Gradually increase until you feel the apples “mush” together.
- Release the apples.
- Place your newly formed super-apple on a plate. Garnish with bacon and serve.
The initial research was conducted using apples but there is reason to expect it applies to other fruit as well. It may even extend to vegetables. In theory you could mash together two grapes, two pears, two oranges or even two of those strange spiky fruits you always see at the bottom of click-bait articles.
You’ve probably seen that Thing on Facebook by now. That Thing people are calling courageous, inspiring and important. You’d have to be living under a rock to have not seen it.
That last sentence was just a bit of humour designed to soften you for this bombshell: I’m against that Thing.
You’re probably thinking that the Thing is good and that I must be out of my mind to come out against it. It’s especially strange since I’m the very type of person you’d expect to support the stuff that the Thing is all about. Well I do support the stuff, in fact I consider myself to be a stuffist. So how is it that a self proclaimed stuffist would be against the Thing? This seemingly contradictory statement has you intrigued so you’ll read the next paragraph.
Here’s the problem: the Thing is not about stuff. Not real stuff anyway. Real stuff is defined using nouns, verbs and adjectives and has this specific goal. The Thing is all about different nouns, verbs and adjectives which when interpreted by me seem to support a goal very different than the specific goal of stuff. Here’s a thought experiment where I take the language of the Thing either very literally or very loosely- arbitrarily and without any consistency- while ignoring context or intent to arrive at my conclusion.
That conclusion is that the Thing is not stuff and therefore I am against the Thing. In fact in the interest of hyperbole I would have to say that the Thing is more harmful and dangerous to the stuff cause than the whole anti-stuff movement.
For those of you who saw the Thing and wanted to support stuff I can only hope that this article has reaffirmed your apathy towards it. After all, the issue of stuff is is complex and infuriatingly pedantic and probably should be left to bloggers who can argue about it online and won’t accomplish anything in the real world.
One final sentence of humour so I don’t come across as a shrill, contradictory and self important intellectual.
And snarky one-liner.
You’ve probably heard about how Coke is absolutely awful for you and you should never drink it. How it’s acidic like ACID, that it can be used to de-grease engines and how it has this awful CHEMICAL reaction with milk because Coke is a CHEMICAL.
If you still need further convincing that you should NEVER drink Coke try this experiment at home. You’ll be completely disgusted.
Start with half a glass of Coke and add a couple of ice cubes. Now measure out 1 oz. of whiskey and pour it into the coke and wait.
Look! After about 5 minutes nearly HALF of the mixture is gone!
Waiting another 5 minutes and now all the liquid is gone! The only thing that remains are the ice cubes. Disgusting.
Repeating the experiment you’ll now find that the same amount of Coke now contains double the whiskey.
Once again not only does the mixture disappear again but the ice cubes have completely melted. That’s right, sitting in Coke has the same effect on ice as sitting in FIRE!
But wait, it gets worse. After about an hour not only does the Coke keep disappearing, its started to ruin friendships by being unnecessarily argumentative.
The Coke has is making the glass move around the counter and making you spill it all over the counter. Coke is making it really hard to do SCIENCE RIGHT NOW!
Wait a little longer and you’ll soon discover that the Coke has made your girlfriend lock herself in the bathroom crying.
The Coke and the glass have now transformed completely into only a bottle of whisky.
The Coke has now made you lose your shirt. You don’t know where it is, but fuck it, it’s more comfortable this way anyway.
Now the Coke is making cars honk at you. Fuck those cars! You’re a PEDESTRIAN. You’re allowed to be in the STREET! You don’t give a fuck that your girlfriend locked you out the apartment, why should you care if some ASSHOLE in an a FUCKING JETTA is honking at you.
The Coke has made the whiskey disappear. The bottle has been made completely empty by the Coke.
What the fuck Coke? What did you do with my whiskey, you fucking chemical, garbage shit. I don’t need convincing not to drink you. YOU need convincing to give me my fucking whiskey back asshole.
And finally the Coke makes the police show up
Disgusting! I don’t know what they’re putting in Coke to make it do all this but I sure as hell won’t be putting that GARBAGE in MY body.
You should do the same. Go to your fridge right now, dump out all your Coca Cola and do as I do. Drink your whiskey straight.
Your body will thank you.
Is it someones birthday?
Do you need to get them a card?
Do you want it dripping with Craig Fay’s particular brand of snark and irreverence?
Well good news! The card I wrote for Frank And Funny is now available on their website.
You should probably buy 365 of them so you’ll have one for every possible birthday.
I wrote a guest blog for Scientific American about the frustrations of being scientifically literate.
Follow the link to check it out:
By no means am I the funniest comedian or the best joke writer. But quite regularly, either through conversation or by being asked, I’ve found myself explaining my thoughts on comedy writing. This has happened frequently enough that I thought it might be useful to write my thoughts down for anyone who may be interested. For those who are interested my thoughts on the matter can pretty much be summarized as follows: If you’re a stand up comedian, and you aren’t sitting down to write jokes you are wasting your time.
I understand that some comedians will take offence to that. After all the ultimate goal of stand up comedy is to stand up in front of lots of people and speak in a way that makes them laugh. That’s very different from writing, where you sit silently, by yourself, putting words on a page without any immediate feedback. So why would any comedian spend the time writing when it is so different from their actual goal? Because It’s a numbers game. Plain and simple.
It takes a long time to get good at something, and comedy is no exception. The more time you spend working at it the faster you’ll get better. If you’re an open-mic comedian who only works at being funny while on stage, you can do that for maybe 15 minutes a night. And that’s only if you’re running from show to show, hustling producers for stage time. If you were somehow able to do that 7 nights in a row you’d be racking up less than 2 hours a week where you were working on being funny. Someone writing jokes for 4 hours on a Sunday morning just spent twice that time getting better. Of course nothing is funny until it is funny on stage and if you never perform you’re not a comedian, but from this example it should be clear that there are vast amounts of time available where you are not performing. The comedian who uses that off-stage time writing will get better sooner.
Of course that whole number game only works if writing is actually producing something valuable, and that’s where some comedians have an issue with writing. Some people will say that they can’t write, or that when they tried to it wasn’t funny or sounded too formal and written. Some will say that when they sit down they can’t think of anything that is funny. To which I say: Of course. Of course you didn’t write wonderfully polished, perfectly formed jokes. Of course you weren’t struck with pure comedic inspiration the moment you sat down. Luckily that’s not the point. At least not at first. The goal is to learn how to mimic your stage voice on paper. By doing this you’re creating yourself a test environment, a place where you can try out a joke without an audience or a microphone. Learning to write in your stage voice is like the Karate Kid learning “wax-on and wax-off”, it’s the basic skill you’re going to need to effectively test new jokes later on.
The first skill you’ll need to build your test environment may seem completely unrelated to writing, or performing, but is vitally important. You need to learn to listen. Being a comedian you should be able to watch other comedians critically. You should be able to sit in the audience, actively listen to the jokes and say “that set-up is too long”; “they should have used a different word there” or even “I don’t know why but that doesn’t sound right.” If you’re not doing that, you should. Why? Because you need to learn to look for the same flaws in your own set.
We’ve all met a comedian who will get off stage and excitedly claim that they “killed” when they definitely did not. Everyone in the audience saw them babble aimlessly for 5 minutes and then get one small laugh right at the end. That happens because it’s incredibly difficult to be self-aware when you are on stage. There are dozens of things that you are trying to keep your mind on when performing: what joke is coming next, the wording of that new tag, whether you’re in the light, how you’re holding the microphone, how much time you’ve done, and so on. There is just no way you can juggle all that and critically analyse your performance in real time. That’s why you should record your sets so you can sit down later and listen to yourself as if you were an audience member. You’ll be surprised how long you go between laughter, how wordy things are or how poorly a joke went that you thought went well.
Thinking you don’t need to listen to other comedians, or review your own set because you are some sort of comedic genius who knows they “kill” is arrogant, delusional and counter-productive. Listen critically to others and listen critically to yourself.
Now that you’re recording your sets and learning to listen critically to other comics you’re ready to start learning to write in your own stage voice. Doing that is an iterative process and one that never really ends. You write something down how you think it should be said, then you perform it. When you sit down to write again listen to the recording and compare it to what you wrote. At certain times you will say things exactly how you wrote them and it will sound awkward, forced and wordy. At other times you will say things differently than how you wrote them and it will sound fluid, natural and funny. In both these cases rewrite the joke to try and get closer to your natural stage voice. Then try it all over again. Keep what’s funny, get rid of what’s not.
Do this enough times and you’ll start having a good sense of how things you write translate to how they will sound on stage. The writing will become a performance for the critical audience you’ve developed in your brain.
Once you’re good at mimicking your stage voice you can spend those 4 hours on a Sunday morning telling the same joke to yourself over and over again. Each time you can evaluate how it sounds to that artificial critical audience in your head. You can switch up the order, you can change words, try different references. You’ll get a sense of what seems funny and what doesn’t and choose the things that are mostly likely to succeed. Inevitably you’ll come across choices that a real audience will have to decide, like whether it’s funnier to reference a pig or a dog in a joke. That’s an added benefit. You now know how to best use those precious minutes of stage time. You’ll know to try it once referencing a pig, once referencing a dog and see which one works better. What you won’t have to do is hum and haw trying to think of the name of that one movie, or get to the end of the joke and realize you don’t have an ending. All that finicky stuff can be sorted out when you have time to think about it, and you won’t have to waste stage time fumbling through it.
There will also be times you will get it 100% wrong. You will have written something you thought was funny and it will crash and burn when you take it on stage. Record it, listen to it, and learn from it. Writing doesn’t guarantee anything, it just increases your odds.
A note on what I mean by “writing”
In the above article I used the term “writing” fairly literally to mean sitting down and putting a pen to paper. This is what I do but by no means is it the only way to “write.” It’s a creative process and every artist is going to approach it differently. I would also consider standing in front of your bathroom mirror trying out bits a form of writing as long as you’re making some record of what you’re doing (notes in a book or computer about what you’ve tried and what you’re going to change, or even an audio or visual recording). The most important thing about any writing process is that its something that you do formally.
Many times I’ve tricked myself into believing that if I’m walking down the street thinking of a new joke I want to try out that I’ve been writing. Then when it comes time to perform that joke it becomes clear I haven’t thought it out at all. I have no idea how to get from one idea to another, there is no ending, I didn’t think about how I was going to phrase something and the one part I had thought about suffers. I didn’t write the joke. Having a formal process where you go through and catch all the loose ends is what makes it “writing.” Making notes is how you guarantee that your brain isn’t skipping over something important like a punchline.
CBC Radio’s Laugh Out Loud recorded my performance on the No Foul Language Comedy Tour at the Showplace Theater in Peterborough.
If you missed it when it originally aired you can listen here
Also on this episode is the very funny Denis Grignon, the man who organized the show!