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Heroes & Villains

By: Michael Blankenship |

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Did you know that people work less hard toward their goals if they make a backup plan beforehand? Having a plan B might make us feel more safe… but it also seems to hamper how hard we work for the things we want. The solution? Figure out what to do if things don’t go as planned… after things don’t go as planned.

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– Mike & Alec

Heroes & Villains

According to Donald Miller — author of books like Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and Building a StoryBrand — heroes and villains are cut from the same cloth. 

In this clip, he explains, “Villains and heroes actually have the exact same backstory. The villain story and the backstory of the hero are pain. The hero is almost always an orphan in some way; they’re orphaned. The villain, if you watch the movie closely, screenwriters will put a scar on their face, a limp, some sort of speech impediment. What they’re indicating is that this person has a painful backstory.”

Why does that matter? 

Because “the difference between the villain and the hero is one thing: it’s how they responded. The villain says, ‘the world hurt me, I’m gonna hurt it back.’ The hero says, ‘the world hurt me, I’m not gonna let this happen to anyone else.’ It’s just literally how you decide to react to pain that causes you to be the hero or the victim.”

Pain is part of life.

But we get to choose how we respond. 

Your misfortune can either become the excuses that hold you back… or the reasons that you’re capable of succeeding.

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Simple Habits

Want to build new, healthier habits but overwhelmed by the prospect of doing so? 

Then start small. 

No… smaller

Even one tiny habit (like making your bed every day) done consistently can snowball in ways you never would expect. 

These micro habits can create life-changing momentum for building bigger, more impactful habits down the road. 

If you’re not sure where to start, then choose one of the micro habits below and commit to doing it every day (at least for the next 30 days)… 

  • Make your bed
  • Create a to-do list
  • Count your calories
  • Exercise for five minutes
  • Read for five minutes
  • Journal for five minutes
  • Meditate for five minutes

Do it for the next 30 days… and you’ll be surprised at just how much impact that tiny habit has on your attitude, your motivation, and your belief in yourself. 

Time Bucketing

I had a discussion with a friend recently about saving vs. spending. 

To him, saving was important so that he could build long-term wealth and have more freedom down the road.

At the same time, more immediate opportunities were available to him, foremost of which was building a business with his wife (which required investment to grow). 

It’s a difficult balance to strike. 

Do you save for the future? 

Or spend your money now on things you care about?

As with most things, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. It’s important to save for the future, but it’s just as important to do the things you love… right now

In his book, Die With Zero, Bill Perkins outlines a method he calls “time bucketing” that is helpful for striking a healthy balance. 

It all centers around the experiences you want to have (beause at the end of the day, money is just money). 

For the following age ranges, list out the experiences that you want to have… 

  • 25-35
  • 35-45
  • 45-55
  • 55-65
  • 75+

Why do it by age? 

Because age is the primary predictor of your health — and your health will determine (whether you like it or not) what experiences you’re able to have

So those ambitious, exciting, maybe-a-little-crazy experiences need to be sooner rather than later…

…while those chill, laid-back experiences can maybe wait a few decades.

The balance between spending and saving shouldn’t strictly be a numbers game (if it is, then you should take a hard look in the mirror) — it should be about the experiences you want to have and when you want to have them

Extra Stuff

Here is some other stuff we found interesting this last week!

This Week’s Image

“An aerial view shows the iconic Mont-Saint-Michel surrounded by sea at sunrise, during the highest tide of the year, off France’s Normandy coast, September 11, 2022” via The Atlantic

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

Mike and Pat are in a desert. They both have packs on. Pat is dead. Mike, who is alive, has his pack open. Pat has his pack closed. What is in the packs?

This Week’s Journaling Prompt

Take some time to think through the following journaling prompt. 

Is the pain in your life a crutch? Or is it an asset that gives you resilience and grit? Why? 

This Week’s Challenge

There’s no time like the present. Set aside some time to go through the “time bucketing” process outlined above. What experiences do you want to have in the next decade? What can wait until you’re older? Going through this process will help you live a more fulfilling life. 

Riddle Answer: Parachutes.

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