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Robert D. Smith Teaches You How to Master the Rest of Your Life [interview]


How do you plan to spend the rest of your life? According to author Robert D. Smith, most people sleepwalk through life, being passive about the daily goings-on and letting time slip away. In his book, “20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now,” Smith provides readers with strategies on how to take back control of their own time and be present in every moment. His teachings include figuring out what is most important, celebrating life and holding nothing back. I recently interviewed Smith about passion and mindset.

1. You note that most people sleepwalk through life. How can people cultivate passion for their work and downtime?

The best way to cultivate passion for your work and downtime is to put in the hours upon hours of introspection, writing, and trying different things to determine what your actual purpose in life is. When you discover a purpose you are passionate about, you’ll never have to worry about sleepwalking through anything.

2. What single mentality would you insert, delete or alter in the minds of the masses?

Do You Know What You're Worth?

The fear of failure. Nothing holds people back more in life than that one fear.

3. How can people battle back from rejection and failure?

Ha! Had no idea this would be the next question — I guess that shows what a challenge failure is for so many people.

Early on in my career with Andy Andrews, the author and speaker I’ve managed for over 30 years, I was trying to get colleges to book him as a comedian. I had so many people tell me “no” that, eventually, I decided to flip my goal upside down — instead of trying to find one college every day that would say “yes,” I made it my goal to find 30 that would tell me “no.”

Guess what happened? I never once met my goal of 30 nos in one day! Inevitably, someone would end up saying yes.

By focusing on seeking out nos, I actually got really comfortable with failure. I’ve recommended finding 30 nos a day as a way to overcome fear of failure ever since.

4. What is the No. 1 thing people need to start doing today to live with purpose?

A very easy thing you can do in the next 30 seconds is determine how many days you have been alive. It’s a small action that can have an enormous impact on your perception of time and the way you spend each passing minute. It was so impactful for me I wrote a book about it! For a quick and easy way to calculate your days, simply enter your birth date on the day calendar here.

5. How would you recommend that people find their direction in life?

Believe it or not, 20 minutes from now, you can actually have tremendous certainty as to exactly what you should be doing with your life. Before you roll your eyes, here’s the No. 1 rule — be open to this. Expect it to work and it will. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Get out a blank sheet of paper or open up a blank document on your computer. Title it “My Purpose in Life.”
  2. Start writing and do not stop. Write whatever crosses your mind. Get it all on the page. When you think you’re done, keep going.
  3. Keep writing until you can look at the page and see something that either makes you cry or jump for joy. Take the whole document and piece together one sentence that encompasses your purpose. Keep that sentence at the forefront of your thinking every day.

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(Photo credit: c kantver –

Marissa Brassfield
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