8 little things to start doing now if you want to be ahead of everyone else in 10 years

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There’s a significant difference between dreaming about the future and actively shaping it.

The difference lies in action. Dreaming is great, but without concrete steps, it remains just that – a dream.

Taking small steps towards a goal, however, is the secret sauce to getting ahead of the pack. And trust me, as a mindfulness practitioner and Buddhism enthusiast, I’ve learned that every small step counts.

This is why I’ve put together a list of 8 minor things you can start doing right now to be ahead of everyone else in 10 years.

If you’re ready to take control of your future, let’s dive in. After all, the journey to a successful future begins with a single step taken today.

1) Create a mindful morning routine

We often underestimate the power of our mornings. How we start our day can significantly impact the direction it takes.

In my years of studying mindfulness and Buddhism, I’ve found that a peaceful, intentional morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Imagine waking up and rushing to get ready, gulping down your breakfast and hurrying out the door. That frantic energy is likely to follow you throughout your day.

But what if you started your day differently? Imagine having a calm morning, where you take some time for yourself. Maybe you meditate, read a few pages of an inspiring book, or practice yoga.

This isn’t about having a lavish breakfast or an hour-long workout. It’s about doing something small that nourishes your body and mind.

When you start your day with intention, you’re choosing to set the pace for the rest of your day. You’re making a deliberate choice to be in control rather than letting external circumstances dictate your mood and actions.

And over time, these small morning rituals add up. They help shape your mindset and attitude towards life. They enable you to be proactive rather than reactive – a key trait of those who are ahead in life.

It doesn’t have to be grand or time-consuming. It just needs to be mindful.

2) Practice daily gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful practice that most of us tend to overlook. But, as a mindfulness practitioner, I can’t stress enough the transformative power it holds.

Every day, in the midst of our busy lives, we often forget to appreciate the small things. We’re so focused on what we don’t have or what we want next that we forget to be thankful for what we’ve already got.

So, let’s change that. Make it a habit to jot down three things you’re grateful for at the end of each day. It could be something as simple as a good meal or a beautiful sunset.

As Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh wisely said, “The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.”

This small act of acknowledging and appreciating the simple things in life can shift your mindset from one of scarcity to one of abundance. And from my experience, an abundance mindset is what sets successful people apart. They see opportunities where others see problems, and they are grateful instead of complaining.

Give it a try and watch how this small act changes your perspective over time.

3) Embrace impermanence

This might sound a bit harsh, but it’s a fundamental truth: nothing lasts forever. This is a core tenet in Buddhism, known as the concept of impermanence.

We often hold onto things, ideas, or people as if they’re going to be here forever. We resist change and cling to stability. But the truth is, everything changes: relationships, careers, health, and yes, even we ourselves are constantly evolving.

Understanding and accepting this can be a hard pill to swallow. But once you do, it frees you from the fear of loss or change. It allows you to live in the moment and appreciate what you have right now instead of worrying about what you may lose in the future.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan or aspire for a better future. On the contrary, acknowledging impermanence can spur you to take action towards your goals because you understand that opportunities won’t always be available.

Remember, the only constant in life is change. The sooner we accept this truth, the sooner we can lead a more fulfilling and successful life.

This might seem like a harsh reality now, but trust me – it’s an empowering realization that puts you ahead of others who are still clinging to illusions of permanence.

4) Cultivate mindful listening

Listening is a skill that is often underrated in our fast-paced, talkative world. We’re so eager to get our point across that we forget to truly listen to what others have to say. But let me be honest here, not truly listening is a missed opportunity.

Mindful listening is about being present during conversations, not just waiting for your turn to speak. It’s about giving your full attention to the speaker, observing their body language, and understanding their perspective rather than formulating your response.

This practice of mindfulness in communication can make a world of difference in both your personal and professional relationships. It shows respect, fosters understanding and builds stronger connections.

Moreover, mindful listening also opens up new avenues for learning. You’d be surprised at what you can learn when you start actively listening to people around you – their experiences, their knowledge, their wisdom.

When you’re in a conversation, try this: take a deep breath, clear your mind and truly listen. It’s a small act that can lead to big changes in how you interact with the world.

5) Learn to live with minimum ego

Now, this one is close to my heart. In fact, I’ve written an entire book on it – Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego.

Ego can be a tricky thing. It’s important to have self-esteem and confidence, but when the ego takes over, it can lead to pride, arrogance or even isolation.

The concept of ‘minimum ego’ is all about maintaining a healthy balance. It’s about having the humility to acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers and the openness to learn from others. It’s about being assertive without being aggressive, confident without being cocky.

Living with minimum ego doesn’t mean letting go of your individuality or your self-worth. On the contrary, it means embracing your true self without the need for external validation.

Incorporating this principle in your daily life might seem challenging, but trust me, it’s a game-changer. It not only improves your relationships but also makes you more approachable and likeable – traits that can significantly contribute to your success in the long run.

And if you’re wondering how to go about it, my book could be a good starting point. It delves deeper into these concepts and offers practical tips to integrate them into your everyday life.

6) Practice non-attachment

This one is a bit of a paradox, especially in our achievement-focused, materialistic world. But hear me out.

Non-attachment is a key principle in Buddhism. It’s not about giving up your worldly possessions or refraining from forming relationships. Rather, it’s about not letting these things control your happiness or sense of self-worth.

Let’s be honest, we often attach our happiness to external factors – a promotion, a new car, approval from others. We think, “I’ll be happy when I get that job,” or “I’ll feel successful when I buy that house.” But what happens when we don’t achieve these things? Or once the initial euphoria fades away?

The practice of non-attachment encourages us to find happiness within ourselves rather than seeking it externally. It’s about enjoying and appreciating what we have while not being consumed by the desire for more.

It’s a tough practice, no doubt. But once you start embracing non-attachment, you’ll find a sense of peace and contentment that isn’t swayed by external circumstances.

7) Embrace the power of now

We often find ourselves lost in thoughts of the past or the future. Dwelling on regrets, worrying about upcoming tasks – sound familiar? But let me be brutally honest here, this overthinking seldom leads to anything productive.

Instead, it robs us of the present moment – the only moment we truly have.

As world-renowned mindfulness expert Eckhart Tolle puts it, “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reflect on your past or plan for your future. But obsessing over them to the extent that you forget to live in the present is a recipe for stress and dissatisfaction.

Make it a habit to regularly check in with yourself throughout the day. Are you fully present, or are you lost in past regrets or future worries? Bring your attention back to the present moment.

It’s here where life happens. It’s here where you can truly experience joy, peace, and fulfillment. And ultimately, it’s here where you can make the most meaningful progress towards your goals.

8) Allow yourself to do nothing

This might sound counterintuitive, especially in a world that glorifies hustle and productivity. But sometimes, doing nothing can be the most productive thing you can do.

In our quest to stay ahead, we often fill our days with tasks, meetings, and chores. We’re constantly on the move, always doing something. But have you ever stopped and asked yourself – are we running towards our goals or simply running away from stillness?

Mindfulness teaches us the value of stillness. It’s in these moments of ‘doing nothing’ that we give our minds a much-needed break. It’s here that we allow ourselves to simply be. To observe our thoughts without judgment, to reconnect with ourselves, and to recharge our mental batteries.

Make it a point to schedule some ‘do nothing’ time into your daily routine. It could be as simple as sitting quietly for 5 minutes or taking a leisurely walk without any purpose.

Productivity is not about constantly doing but about doing what matters. And sometimes, doing nothing can lead you exactly where you need to be.

Conclusion

The key lies in consistency. It’s not about making massive changes overnight, but about incorporating these small habits into your daily life.

And if you’re interested in diving deeper into some of these concepts, I invite you to check out my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego. It’s a comprehensive guide that distills the profound wisdom of Buddhism into practical steps for modern-day living.

It’s the little things that make a big difference. Start today, and in 10 years, you’ll look back with pride at how far you’ve come.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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