The following is adapted from The Standout Experience.
To build a toy house out of LEGOs, you need more than a single block. You need many different LEGOs, of different sizes and colors. Then, only by combining them, with a lot of hard work, do you produce a house.
In the same way, to achieve a successful life, there is no one thing to do. No single decision, experience, or person can create the life you want. Your best life is something you must constantly build and reinforce, one brick at a time.
As Will Smith once said, “You don’t set out to build a wall. You lay each brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every day and soon you have a wall.”
By prioritizing the following seven essential building blocks, laying each one as perfectly as you can every day, you can build the foundation for a successful life, setting yourself up for personal and professional growth, while reducing the risk of something going wrong.
#1: A Budget
A key building block to your best life is to create a budget.
You must learn how to save and spend wisely. Those who make more deposits than withdrawals create the greatest value and a safety net in case something goes wrong. The more you save and invest, the more flexibility you’ll have to do what you want, when you want, and with who you want in the future.
With a budget and a long-term financial strategy, you can create financial freedom for yourself, which will open up many opportunities, both professional and personal.
#2: A Health and Fitness Plan
Next, develop a health and fitness plan. A healthy, successful life requires a healthy body.
See a doctor regularly and set fitness goals for one year, three years, five years, and ten years later. That way, you’ll know what success in this area will look like later in life.
If you have a healthy body, it’s much easier to have a healthy mind, heart, and soul. This leads to a healthier quality of life. Also, the more energy you have, the better you’ll perform in many other areas of life.
#3: A Lifelong Learning Plan
Without growth, we feel stagnant and unhappy. To ensure you continue growing, create a lifelong learning plan.
Make a list of the books you want to read and the podcasts to which you want to listen. Identify conferences or workshops you’d like to attend. Schedule a proper amount of time for learning every day.
Extend the idea of continuous learning to create a long-term holistic plan for success. Go to “school” every day, and test and adjust the path accordingly. Also, get help along the way.
The more you know, the more you grow. The most successful people never stop learning.
#4: Your Ideal Environment
Everyone is different. To live your version of a successful life, you must set up your ideal environment.
Think about who you want to be around and how you want to spend your time. From there, decide on where you should live, the companies at which you’ll seek employment, and any additional variables that will allow you to achieve your goals and objectives.
We are a product of our environment. The better your environment, the better you will be.
#5: Your Team
Humans are social creatures by nature. The “team” of people who surround you is an essential building block of your life.
Identify the coaches, mentors, professionals, experts, and peers you can go to for guidance, help, and answers. Have a short-term mastermind group that helps you get through a particular class, problem, or project. Also have a personal board of directors that you check in with for long-term goals and report on your progress while seeking strategic guidance on how to move forward.
Your success is directly related to the people you spend the most time with, so take care in building this team.
#6: A Daily Routine
The brightest moments of our lives—weddings, births, vacations, and so on—actually make up a small sliver of our time. The majority of our time is spent on our daily routines, the tasks we do again and again each day, like commuting to work, washing dishes, and eating meals.
To live your best life, design a daily routine that leads to your happiness, health, and success. Have a preset schedule for fitness, learning, planning, reflection, downtime, fun, working on key projects, etc.
Your success will be determined by your daily routine, so take an active role in determining what that routine will be.
#7: Risks and Safety Net
To achieve the most success in life, you need a good balance of risks and safety nets.
Much of the success of your life will be determined by the risks you take, the experiments you attempt, and the failures from which you learn. These actions clarify your mission and end goals by helping you to determine what you enjoy most and how you can help the world.
But if a risk goes badly, it could set you back in your goals and derail your life. So you must establish safety nets for worst-case scenarios. For instance, set a minimum amount of money you need in the bank and plan exit strategies when possible.
Don’t be afraid to try something new, but always have a safety net and backup plan.
Brick by Brick
What’s so great about LEGOs is that you can make anything you want out of them. You can build a house, then dismantle it and use the same pieces to build a spaceship or a dragon or anything you can imagine.
The building blocks for a successful life work the same way. Life is not static. It is dynamic and ever-changing. These seven building blocks are the foundation, but you can put them together and rearrange them however you desire, prioritizing different blocks at different points in your life.
No matter how you put the blocks together, though, commit to laying each one as perfectly as it can be laid, putting in the work day after day. That is how you begin living the best version of your life.
For more advice on living a successful life, you can find The Standout Experience on Amazon.
John Walsh is an inspirational and successful executive, entrepreneur, author, husband and dad with a passion for impacting the lives of others. John faced many challenges, uncertainty and failures early in his life but he created a purposeful and happy life with a lot of hard work and help from others. Over time, he created a playbook that allowed him to make the journey from homeless in high school to a senior executive with Disney and Madison Square Garden. He is also the founder and CEO of a company whose mission is to inspire and help millions of young adults stand out in their own lives and careers.