Image for post
Image for post
Nicolas Cole Instagram

Short post, but this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

The road to happiness is counterintuitive.

If you want to be happy in the long term, you almost always have to be “unhappy” in the short term.

Let’s say you want to be happy with your body in the long term.

Short-term happiness would be eating the bag of Skittles in your desk drawer.

  • The Skittles will give you an instant rush.
  • They’ll taste fantastic.
  • And then they’ll spike your insulin and tell your body, “Now is a great time to store fat.”

You’ve made yourself happy in the short term, but sacrificed long-term happiness.

The converse of this would be deciding to eat a healthy lunch, or have a green smoothie instead.

Is a healthy lunch so amazingly tasty that you feel a rush of happiness in the moment? …

Image for post
Image for post
Nicolas Cole Instagram

I wish I had known that everyone else was just as lost as I was.

I’m somewhat of a late bloomer. It took me a long time to learn some very basic fundamentals about life — like the fact that girls are human beings too and you can in fact talk to them without going into anaphylactic shock.

I had a lot of social anxiety growing up.

When I finally left for college, the world felt big and I felt small and everyone I met appeared to have it all figured out (“appeared”). People declared their majors with conviction. …

Image for post
Image for post
Nicolas Cole Instagram

When we talk about the traits that make people successful, the usual suspects are: confidence, persistence, patience, etc.

We tend to reduce “success” down to the simple formula of:

Belief in yourself + Running the marathon.

And for the most part, I’d agree that is its most common denominator.

But what about all the other little traits you have to pick up along the way?

What about the little things you have to learn to make the most out of that path?

Here are five unconventional traits that I have seen carry some very successful people forward:

1. Humor

The ability to laugh and lighten a room is contagious.

When you laugh, or you make someone else laugh, others can’t help but join in. …

Image for post
Image for post
Nicolas Cole Instagram

Let me tell you a story.

Eight years ago (has it been almost a decade already?) I graduated from college with a degree in creative writing — a degree most people in my life thought was a fast-track to a barista job at Starbucks.

Not me.

I loved to write. And I was determined to find a way to turn writing into a viable career.

My last class of senior year, my teacher (a published and “successful” author himself) said, “The publishing industry is dead.”

This had become our mantra all throughout college: nobody makes a living as a writer.

My peers hung their heads, defeated.

Not me.

I had grown up on the Internet.

At 17 years old, I was one of the highest ranked World of Warcraft players in North America. I had one of the first e-famous gaming blogs, with around 10,000 readers per day. I had always believed the Internet to be the gateway to turning dreams into realities. This ended up being the subject of my first book, Confessions of a Teenage Gamer.

Image for post
Image for post
Nicolas Cole Instagram

We tend to think of failure and achievement in separate terms.

Achievement means you were right.

You were correct.

You set an expectation, and then you met it.

Failure means you were wrong.

You missed the mark.

You set an expectation and you didn’t measure up.

But when we approach our work with this separate mindset, we inevitably set ourselves up for failure.

Here’s why.

The key to growth is to set goals outside of your comfort zone.

In order to continue growing as a person with your respective craft, you have to set unreasonable goals.

That’s the point.

You have to aim outside of your comfort zone and push yourself to stretch for things that you cannot yet do.

“If you know what you’re doing, you aren’t trying hard enough.”

However, in order to actually set goals far outside your comfort zone, you have to understand and be ok with the fact that you will “fail.” …

Image for post
Image for post
Nicolas Cole Instagram

Trust is the foundation of success.

  • If you are an athlete, you have to trust your teammates.
  • If you are a musician, you have to trust your counterparts.
  • If you are an entrepreneur, you have to trust the people you work with.

And if you’re running a company, you have to build the trust of your employees.

So many issues derive from a lack of trust.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we are emotional creatures — and we know when our “spidey-sense” tells us we are not being trusted, or we do not trust the other person.

A lack of trust can greatly impact our decision-making, and even affect the work we do. …

Image for post
Image for post
Nicolas Cole Instagram

I have been extremely fortunate to have attracted some phenomenal mentors in my life.

In fact, just about every success or skill set I have acquired has been the result of a mentor.

Whether it was classical piano, video games, bodybuilding, music, marketing and advertising, I learned at a very young age that learning from a mentor speeds up the learning process ten fold.

And not only does it speed it up, but it teaches you nuances about the craft in a way that is nearly impossible to learn in a more formal setting, like school.

Especially in business and entrepreneurship, it seems everyone is looking for “a mentor.”

To be honest, I don’t think most people even know what a mentor really is, let alone what to look for in a mentor — so let’s start there. …

Image for post
Image for post
Nicolas Cole Instagram

I have an issue with “company culture” discussions.

The popular definition of “company culture” is how many ping-pong tables you have, how many beer garden outings you take as a team, how comfortable the chairs are in the entryway, whether you get 10 days of paid vacation time or 15 days of paid vacation time, how good your 401k plan is, how many weird fun facts you know about your employees, etc.

A perfect example of this is the tech start-up world.

“Company culture,” as it is formally defined, is immediately followed up with descriptions of the office, how much time you get off for lunch, the fact that you can write on the walls in Crayola marker because it’s “more creative.” …

Image for post
Image for post
Nicolas Cole Instagram

How we approach our work is greatly dependent on our mindset.

If we’re in a good place, it’s effortless. If we’re stressed or unhappy, everything feels exhausting. As important as it is to be good at what you do, your craft, it is equally as important to practice your approach and master yourself.

Here are 5 ways to cultivate a positive mindset:

1. Make Time For Input

If you’re constantly in “output” mode, you will eventually run dry.

Output mode is whenever you are calling upon yourself to create, to work, to “do.”

Input mode is when you are replenishing yourself — your knowledge bank, your inspiration, your emotional state. …

Image for post
Image for post
Nicolas Cole Instagram

There are 3 laws I live by when it comes to being productive.

They are simple.

They are effective.

And they “move the needle” from where I currently am, to where it is I want to be.

1. Do What Is Important, Not What Is Urgent

There is a massive long-term difference between what is “urgent” and what is truly important.

“Urgent” tends to encompass a lot of little things: “I have to call this person back, I have to respond to this e-mail, I have to drop off this piece of paperwork.”

Yes, all those things have to and should get done — but not at the expense of what matters.


Nicolas Cole

3x Author | Viral Writer | Founder of Digital Press | 100M+ Views | NEW BOOK, The Art and Business of Online Writing, OUT NOW:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store