This is my most important lesson. Pay attention. Read until the end.
We all have 24 hours a day.
When I was a kid, my aunt bought me two board games.
- Snake and ladders.
Chess is difficult for me.
It is complicated.
I always lost.
The other reason is the rest of my family are good chess players so as a seven year old, I stood no chance.
I tried but I always lost.
I won against my classmates but I always lost against my family.
So my preferred game was snakes and ladders.
If you’ve never played snakes and ladders before, it is a board game that can be played by two or more people.
The board is divided into one hundred tiles with ten tiles across and ten levels up.
You start at zero and your goal is to reach tile number one hundred before any other player.
You move up to the next tile by rolling a dice.
If you roll a four, you move four tiles forward.
The player who reaches tile 100 first wins the game.
Why is it called snakes and ladders?
On specific areas on the board, there are drawings of snakes and ladders.
When the player lands on a ladder, the player moves forward to the tile at the end of the ladder, skipping several tiles in the process.
For example when you land on tile number nine, you automatically advance to tile number thirty one.
Pretty sweet huh?
The longest ladder is at tile number twenty eight and you advance to tile number eighty four.
Here’s the thing.
There are also snakes on the board.
What does the snake do?
The snake acts as the opposite of the ladder.
When a player land on a snake’s head, the player goes all the way to the tail end of the snake.
The first snake head you will see is at tile number seventeen, and when you land on that snake head, you go back to tile number seven.
The longest snake has the head at tile number eighty seven and the tail at tile number twenty four.
Thats a pretty big jump backwards.
So as a kid, you begin to use your the curse words that you learned from adults or your friends when you land at tile eighty seven.
Even adults say shit when they land on that snake.
Another interesting detail on the snakes and ladders board is that on the final level, from tile ninety one to tile one hundred, there are three snakes.
If you land on tile number ninety three, ninety five and ninety nine, you go back three levels down.
Now, why is Kevin talking about snakes and ladders in detail?
Snakes and ladders is a game that reflects the basics of real life.
In the older version, the game I played, on the tiles that have ladders, on the bottom of the ladder, there’s a small drawing of a child doing a good deed, and at the top of the ladder, theres a drawing of the same child receiving a reward.
On the tiles with snake heads, there are drawings of a child doing something incredibly stupid and at the tail, there’s the same child suffering from a consequence either getting punished or getting into trouble for the dumb deed he or she just did.
If you’re reading my blog, you’re probably an adult and as adults, we don’t have as many other adults watching over us and guiding us in our life decisions.
As new adults, we are often less likely to listen to wise words and when a statement doesn’t match our beliefs, we are more likely to resist or dismiss the wisdom as something negative.
Here’s the thing.
Real life has real snakes and ladders.
For example, people who finish college are often more qualified for higher paying jobs.
People who do overtime in the right company, gets paid more.
People who read books and take extra lessons after college advance way further in their career. They get higher paying jobs at bigger companies and even advance to manager or higher faster.
It even goes further.
For example, people who graduated from top schools, despite their already unfair advantage over people who didn’t finish college still study MBA also known as Masters Degree and they get promoted into even higher paying jobs. Usually department heads, vice presidents, general managers, treasurers and CEO’s.
And when they begin their own business and start investments, it grows even bigger.
The fun fact about this is that some families have parents are repeating the process and teaching their kids to start the process at an earlier age. They send their kids to a really expensive pre-school, then they enroll their kids in advance, often extremely expensive, learning programs like Kumon Math or MSA tutorials and the process speeds up.
The rich getting richer.
Now consider the opposite.
The snake is the opposite of the ladder.
Imagine this situation.
The student back in elementary has the parent doing all the activities, homework and projects.
When the student reaches high school he or she is just doing bare minimum to pass.
The student doesn’t study outside of official class activities.
The student only making the bare minimum and graduates from high school.
The student goes to a secondary or third priority or low choice college.
The student isn’t really interested in his or her future makes shifting courses an option.
If the student comes from a wealthy family, this is of little consequence.
If the student comes from a family with average finances, this shifting courses move will fuck the student’s parents financially.
Since the student only makes the minimum effort, the student isn’t qualified for any scholarships.
Because the student shifted courses, the family gets delayed by obligation to pay tuition fees by a year or two, sometimes more and begins to experience financial hardships.
Some students get to finish college.
A lot of students don’t.
Some students run out of money because they can only pay for a four year course (tuition, allowance and living expenses) and the students shifting courses in these families will give the family extra years of expenses.
Some students get pregnant or get their girlfriend pregnant so the family money then shifts from building a future to keeping a child alive.
People who graduate from second and third choice colleges often only qualify for low paying jobs.
People who didn’t finish college get even lower paying jobs and less opportunity for promotion.
Your highest dream is a low paying job.
Your English is so bad, you can’t even qualify for call center work.
There’s a joke among Asian Americans that there are only three jobs Asian parents are proud of. Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers and the rest are disappointments to the family.
The cycle repeats itself as some parents are incapable of sending their kids to school.
The poor are getting poorer.
Excellence is a habit.
Poor performance is a habit.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
If you’ve been on the path of the snake for a long time you probably feel that I’m giving you a lot of shit in this post.
I want you to be aware, that if you’re on the path of the snake, you have the option to step off.
You have to be aware that the snake paths exist in real life.
If you’re reading this blog, you have probably ridden several snakes.
You have to be aware that ladders exist in real life as well.
You have the opportunity to choose if you’ll climb the ladder going up, or slide with the snake going down.
If you already screwed up your life, up to this point and had been a loser, you can choose your next action and change your situation.
In real life, you will encounter snakes and you will encounter ladders.
Unlike the game, in real life, you decide whether you’re riding the snake or climbing the ladder.
My first recommendation is on a piece of paper, make a list of all your activities on how you spend your time.
Start with Monday.
What did you do last Monday?
From the time you woke up, what activities did you do?
How about Tuesday?
What did you do the whole day?
Now write down everything from Wednesday?
Repeat the process for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Sometimes, I ask my coaching clients to go back, another week and up to a whole month.
Most people do pretty much the same activities every week, other than a few small changes.
Many people do the same thing for years.
Facebook, TV, games, socializing. All snake activities.
Next to each activity, ask yourself, is this activity a snake or a ladder?
Be honest with yourself.
Snakes are fun activities that lead to long term consequences either by getting you into trouble or indirectly by distracting you from climbing ladders.
Ladders are activities that require a little difficulty or sacrifice, but will move you forward to success.
Some activities don’t really move you forward or move you backward so it’s just a blank tile.
After you identify the snakes and the ladders in your life, do the obvious.
Spend more time on the ladders and spend less time on the snakes.
In fact avoid the snakes with all your power.
I do this exercise regularly because it is important to be aware of what you are doing.
When you are having fun, it is easy to forget that you are riding a snake and not climbing a ladder.
Here are examples of snakes in my life.
- Too much Facebook, Instagram, Social Networks, Pleasure reading.
- Spending too much time watching YouTube for Entertainment.
- Drinking too much alcohol, more than once a month. It ruins my progress for several days.
- Not planning my day on paper. Not praying about my plans.
- Watching TV.
- Spending a lot of time playing mobile and PC games.
- Spending too much time with friends with no success.
- Shopping and spending all my money.
- Eating too much junk food, carbs and sugar.
- Carrying too much
These are the snakes in my life. Everyone has several snakes they are struggling against so it’s not just you. It’s people like me and my idols too.
Here are the ladders in my life.
- Writing my goals and plans on paper, praying about it and meditating everyday.
- Spending six hours a day working on moving my most important goal forward.
- Exercise every day.
- Studying a topic I’m learning, finishing a book or an online course that teaches me a skill that improves my life (sales, business, cooking, fitness, organizing, management, writing, personal development, job related skills, etc.)
- Spending time with people who are successful and learning from them.
- Saving my money and investing in tools and learning skills that improves my life.
- Eating healthy. Protein, Fats and no sugar or refined carbohydrates.
- Cleaning my workstation and surroundings.
- Regular breathing exercises.
- Journalling documenting failures and success formulas
These are my snakes and ladders.
If you are sincere about changing your life, you will do this activity and climb your ladders.
If not, enjoy sliding down with the snakes.
If you need additional help, you can buy my training program (limited slots only) and I’ll guide you away from the snakes and help you climb your ladders.
Thank you for reading this far and I’m praying for your success.
Thank you for reading.
If you have a question or would like to say anything tweet or send me an email.