The 5 Habits That Took Me From Being Broke and Fat to Rich and Ripped
2016 was a rough year for me. My 13 year professional career abruptly came to an end. My relationship was falling apart. And everything I thought I knew about some of the closest people around me was turning out to be completely wrong. I wasn’t even 40 years old and it felt like my life was over.
It’s common knowledge that stress is a leading cause of many ailments (inflammation IS the leading cause…more on this later). And at this point in my life, my stress levels were through the roof. And like most people, as my stress and anxiety grew, so did my waist line. This was a result of staying up late, eating bad food, drinking alcohol in excess, sleeping in and not being motivated to go to the gym. It was essentially the perfect storm for failure.
Add to this the stress of starting a new company (outside of my 9-5). That’s right, 221B Tactical was not even two years old when all this was happening. I was investing incredible amounts of time and money into the business and was seeing little to no return. Oh, and did I mention that I also had a real estate deal go south at almost exactly the same time?
To say this was a pivotal time in my life would be the understatement of the century. After a few months, I was sliding deeper and deeper into a place that was dark and unpleasant. I knew that if I didn’t do something extreme, I may never get out of it. I was in the worst shape of my life. I was in a horrific financial mess. There were days I simply couldn’t see a way out. And then it happened…
The Turning Point
It was late one evening (probably more like 1am) and I was in bed scrolling on social media. Why? Because I couldn’t sleep. Why couldn’t I fall asleep? Because I was staring at the bright screen of a device in my hand that gave me access to all the information in the world; that’s why. Duh. (More on this later). Anyhow, I came across a post by some guy who was talking about the habits of millionaires. Of course the post had photos of Lamborghinis and private jets, but it caught my eye and triggered me to stop scrolling.
In a nutshell, this guy was saying that millionaires do things differently than everyone else. And it’s precisely this that makes them millionaires. Ironically, I saw a similar post just a few weeks ago but “millionaire” was replaced with Billionaire. And the truth is, it wasn’t wrong. The fundamental practices of these highly successful people don’t change. They all have a curious similarity.
There was a lot of information in the post. Remember, this was 2016 when long posts on social media was the thing. Today it’s all about video. Anyhow, I took screen shots of the post and decided that starting the next day, I was going to begin instituting these “practices of millionaires/billionaires.” I told myself I was going to try it for 30 days. If it didn’t work, I’d know it was all bullshit.
Rather than walk you through the story of what happened in my life after I started to follow this plan, I’m just going to tell you what I did. Spoiler Alert: within six months I was literally in the best shape of my LIFE and I had more money in my checking account than I had ever thought possible. Today, I am a multi-millionaire, still have my six-pack abs, live in a multi-million dollar, eight bedroom mansion and have five of my dream cars sitting in my garage. No, I don’t own a Lamborghini. And no, I don’t own a private jet. But what I do own is time-freedom. And as you grow from following this plan (or any plan like it) you quickly realize that it’s not the “stuff” that matters. It’s the ability to do what you want, when you want to, that actually matters most.
To some people I coach, having all their credit cards paid off, no mortgage, a paid off F-150 in the driveway and a paid off car for their wife with $50,000 in the bank is their ultimate ambition. And I think that’s awesome. Others I work with want the Lambos, the boats, the private jets and all that other stuff. And I think that’s awesome too…that’s just not what I’m personally after.
Now, I have to say this or else my attorneys will kill me… I’m about to share the outline of what I personally did to get to where I am today. This worked for ME. Will it work for you? I think so. However, I cannot sit here and say it will 100% work for you. But here’s what they told me I CAN say. If you do what’s outlined below, you WILL be in a better place in some capacity. Whether it’s mentally, physically, financially… I don’t know. But I found that in sharing what I personally did with my students over the last three years, 100% of them have experienced some sort of fundamental improvement in their lives. This is a fact so I’m allowed to say it. So, in short, I can’t legally say you following what I personally did will work for you. But, truth is, it hasn’t not worked for anyone that has tried it. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s go.
HABIT #1: INSTITUTING THE 10-3-2-1
Nothing you are doing right now is more important that sleep. Let me say that again. No one thing you are doing in your life right now is more important than your sleep. I used to say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” and prided myself on being able to operate on four hours of sleep. However, this was literally and figuratively killing me. I’m not going to get into the 500 reasons why you need sleep and the importance of sleep. If you’re reading this, you probably kinda already know this. So here’s what I did to start getting the best sleep of my life which subsequently lead to creating my best life ever.
10 - No caffeine 10 hours before bed. This is a MUST. This CANNOT be bent or broken. My goal when I started this plan was to be in bed (not necessarily asleep) by 10pm. I would read a book or magazine for a few before falling asleep. Or, I would put on an evening meditation and fall asleep to that. So, this meant that I had to cut off any and all caffeine by 12 noon. This was difficult at first because of my urge to grab a Red Bull at 2pm when I was feeling that afternoon drag. But I quickly realized, that once the 10-3-2-1 plan is in full effect, I hardly needed caffeine in the morning. So, NO CAFFEINE 10 HOURS BEFORE BED.
3 - No food or drink 3 hours before bed. I’m not gonna lie, this one was even tougher for me than the no caffeine after 12 noon. Having to be done with dinner by 7pm seemed nearly impossible to me. However, the pain of figuring out how to be done with dinner by 7pm paled in comparison to the pain of being out of shape and broke… so I made it happen. In my coaching program, I go into what I discovered that helped make this easier than ever. But, yes, it’s possible. And yes, it will lead to you getting the best sleep of your life. So, NO FOOD OR DRINKS 3 HOURS BEFORE BED.
2 - No work of any kind 2 hours before bed. Now, this doesn’t only mean work from your job. It means paying bills, answering emails or anything else that’s going to stress your mind. This one was honestly the easiest one for me. I always did my best to shut work down in the evening. But if you’re one that does work until you turn the light off on your night stand, this one might be tough for you. But if you’re serious about getting to where I am or beyond, this is a must. So, NO WORK OF ANY KIND 2 HOURS BEFORE BED.
1 - No screens 1 hour before bed. Ok, this one is 100% the hardest thing of all. However, once I got in the habit of doing it, it actually became a bit of a game and mildly addicting. When I say “no screens” I mean no phone, tablet or television screens. Nothing. Nada. Not even to “set your alarm” before bed. Do that while you’re eating dinner.
The blue light emitted from screens is killing more than your sleep. I dive deep into this with my students. However, I’m fairly confident this isn’t the first time you’ve heard about the dangers of blue light. So if you’re aiming for 10pm bed time like I was, EVERYTHING was shut off by 9pm. If you’re aiming for 11pm bed time, all screens off by 10pm. To cope with this, I had to find something to do for that final hour before bed. And after a while, I realized there is plenty to do in the hour before falling asleep that you can do “in bed” that passes the time. In fact, it kinda became a fun game (especially if you have a spouse) to plan what you’re going to do during that hour before going to sleep. It’s a great time to read, do a meditation, do your visualization (more on this later), play a game, spend time with your kids, clean your car, etc.
It was as if I had been given a free hour of time every night for planning something important. And it only took about a week or so before I had zero desire to do anything even related to my phone or TV during this time. I know it sounds kinda weird, but even my students reported the same exact thing. Many of them used this final hour to exercise for 30 minutes (even take a 30 minute walk). Some used it to take a hot bath. Get creative. The only thing you can’t do is look at a screen. And honestly, this might be the one thing that completely changes your life. So, NO SCREENS 1 HOUR BEFORE BED.
There are many things I’ve shared with my students over the years in my monthly coaching program. But this 10-3-2-1 Method is without a doubt the one thing that EVERY SINGLE STUDENT has reported that has changed their lives. It’s not easy. And if you half-ass it, it won’t work. It’s either all or nothing. But if you’re serious about changing your life, you will follow this to a T. And it WILL 100% change your life in that you will ultimately get the best, most restorative sleep EVER. The 10-3-2-1 Method is all about optimizing sleep. Try this for just three days/nights and notice the difference in how you feel. You’ll have more energy, be more alert and will be in a better mood than you ever thought possible.
Eight hours of sleep is optimal. Is it a reality for all of us? No. But if you’re serious about your health, wealth and well-being, you’ll commit to, at the minimum, doing what it takes to maximize the sleep you do get. Personally, I get 6.5-7 hours of sleep every night. Is it the optimal 8 hours? No. But the 6-7 hours of sleep I DO get is good, deep, restorative sleep which leaves me feeling incredible the next day. This kind of deep sleep is also critical to your metabolism. Many physicians agree that poor sleep is one of the leading causes of decreased metabolism which leads to obesity. So energy, mood and focus aside, if you’re simply looking to get in better shape, start with better sleep.
Now, I’ve had many students over the years say, “But Suresh, I get 8 hours of sleep every night.” But when I look at their daily/nightly routine, it’s a nightmare. They’re drinking caffeine in the afternoon. They’re eating and drinking almost right up until bed time. And they’re literally on their phone 5 seconds before turning off the lights to got to sleep. So yes, they’re getting “8 hours” of sleep. But it’s 100% NOT deep, restorative sleep. It’s shallow sleep which does not restore their mind and body.
It’s like your car’s engine. You park your car in the garage at night, turn it off and close the garage door. Right? But imagine if you pulled your car into the garage, got out without turning it off and closed the garage door. What would you come back to in the morning? A car that was out of gas and unable to start. But you pulled it into the garage, turned the lights off and shut the door… how could this happen? Well you know exactly how it happened. And guess what? Drinking caffeine within 10 hours of bed time, eating within 3 hours of bed time, working within 2 hours of bed time and looking at screens 1 hours before bed time ALL equate to leaving your engine running all night long. The engine (your body), despite going to bed and falling “asleep” (pulling in and closing the garage door), never truly turns off. And thus you wake up in the morning feeling “out of gas.” And what do you immediately turn to? Coffee (or caffeine). And the cycle continues.
It’s a vicious cycle that is slowly killing you. Millionaires and billionaires recognize this and intentionally avoid it. When you’re rich, life is great and you want to live forever. That’s why the rich are obsessed with longevity. That is precisely what I learned and the reason why the 10-3-2-1 Method is now a fundamental part of my life and success. If you’re serious about success, you’ll make it a part of your life as well. If you’re full of shit and just pretending you want to be successful, you’ll look at this and say, “I ain’t doing that” or “I can’t do that” and you’ll keep doing what you’re doing. Or, you’ll try some half-ass version of it (which won’t work) and when it doesn’t work, you’ll feel good about telling yourself, “see, I knew that wouldn’t work.” So, the choice is yours. Which person are you going to be?
HABIT #2: WAKE UP BEFORE 5AM
Yes, this might sound absolutely crazy to some of you. To others, it might not be too far off from when you’re currently waking up. However, there’s a caveat here that you must be very mindful of. If you do not institute the 10-3-2-1 method for sleep, waking up before 5am will be painful and counter-productive. In fact, I often tell the students in my coaching program to NOT wake up early if they haven’t done the necessary steps to get a good night of restorative sleep.
I’ve personally been waking up at 0430 for years. And I’ll be honest; at first it was brutal. Why? Because I was forcing myself to wake up at 0430 while doing pretty much everything counter to the 10-3-2-1 method. I was drinking caffeine at 3pm. I was eating dinner after 9pm (some times later). And I was on my phone, literally, up until the moment I shut my light off to go to sleep…at midnight. Needless to say, I was waking up at 0430 feeling like an absolute disaster. It was counterproductive for every reason I was wearing up in the first place.
However, once I began strictly adhering to the 10-3-2-1 method, waking up at 0430 was shockingly easy. In fact, after less than three weeks, I was waking up at 0430 without an alarm. If you know me, you’d realize just how insane that is. I ALWAYS needed an alarm to wake up. But when you follow the 10-3-2-1 method, you actually get restorative sleep which allows you to wake up feeling refreshed and recharged. After just one week, I was no longer hitting the snooze button. That alone is a win for most people. But it’s the effects you’ll start seeing in the rest of your life that will truly begin to shock you.
Waking up at 0430 is one thing. But what do you do after getting up? First thing you should do is a meditation. Right when you wake up is the best time to meditate and visualize the life you desire. Some mornings I’ll meditate for 10 minutes. Others I’ll do 15 minutes of meditation and 15 minutes of visualization. Other times, I’ll do an hour long meditation. I’ve meditated up to four hours. Sounds crazy, right? Yeah, not too long ago, I would have said the same thing. But being broke has a funny way of changing your view on certain things. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom before your mindset shifts to, “what the hell do I have to lose by trying this?”
Ask some of the most successful people in the world what they do every day and almost all of them will tell you they meditate. Harnessing the power of your mind is one of the most important things you can do as an individual on a daily basis. Failing to do so is failing to achieve your true potential. You could be like how I used to be and say that meditation was for weirdos and doesn’t work. But once I woke up to the realization that meditation leads to success, my desire to be successful outweighed my feelings that meditation was stupid and didn’t work. And within less than two weeks, I realized just how wrong I was about meditation. Now, I wish I had started when I was a child. It’s one of those things that you quickly realize that had you started as a child, you’d be unstoppable today. But it’s never too late. And the story of my success is proof of that.
Next, I’ll read for 20-30 minutes. Reading every day has completely changed my life. It’s no secret that the wealthiest, most successful people on the planet read every single day. See #4 below for more on this.
The next thing waking up at 0430 allowed me to do was exercise daily. The number one excuse people make for not exercising daily is not having the time. Well, that problem was quickly solved for me by waking up at 0430. Immediately following my meditation and reading, I headed to the gym. I would do a 10 minute warm-up followed by 45 minutes of weight training with little to no rest between sets. And I did this seven days a week. I won’t go into my whole training routine that took me from weak and soft to strong and hard. But I will get deeper into it in the next installment. I share the full program with the men in my coaching program and their results speak for themself. However, I’ll share a good portion of it below. The exercise program, when combined with the diet I lay out for them, has had a 100% success rate for anyone that has followed it exactly as I lay it out. No, it’s not magic; it’s science. I’m no genius when it comes to burning fat and gaining muscle. I just follow what science has proven for decades. See #3 below for more on this.
Once your workout is done, you’re ready to jump into your day at full speed. You just move and feel different when you know that you woke up before most everyone else in the country and got more accomplished before 8am than most do all day. Most days, I’m already getting into my task list before 8am. By 9am I’m going at full speed. By noon, I’m confident that I’ve accomplished more than most will accomplish by 5pm. And that feels good. It’s motivating. It fuels my hunger to do more and get to that next level FAST.
When I wake up at 0430, I go through my day feeling like I’m winning because I KNOW that I was up before most anyone I interact with and I’ve accomplished more before 12 noon than they will all day. Let me be clear, I’m not looking down on anyone else. I’m simply congratulating myself throughout the day over and over again for doing the hard things that 99% of others are not willing to do. Nobody else is going to do this for me. Nobody else even knows. So it’s up to ME to pat myself on my back and be my own hype-man. Be my own cheerleader. You can’t go through life expecting anyone else to believe in you more than YOU believe in you. You can’t expect anyone in life to want it more than you want it. So if you say you want it, and are not full of shit just pretending you want it or saying you want it to look like a go-getter to others, prove it by DOING IT.
Your first win or accomplishment of the day is NOT making your bed as Admiral McRaven famously spoke. It’s not hitting the snooze button. That moment when your alarm goes off is when you realize how bad you want it. Hit that snooze button and fail to wake up early and you’ll have the REAL answer of how bad you want it. If you don’t even have the discipline to NOT hit the snooze button when your alarm goes off in the morning, how serious are you REALLY you about your goals. So, if your alarm goes off and you hit the snooze, I want you to declare OUT LOUD, “I’m not serious about my goals or my ultimate ambition and I’m ok staying right where I am in life while others get out of bed and out-work me, outwork me and archive their ambitions.”
HABIT #3: EXERCISE DAILY AND BEGIN USING FAT AS FUEL
Ok, so now that we know what we have to do to prepare to get an incredible night of restorative sleep so we can wake up at 4:30AM feeling amazing and not having to hit the snooze button, it’s time to discuss the most important thing in your life; your health.
Let’s face it, without your health you have nothing. And one of the secrets to a healthy mind and body is daily exercise and movement. However, the majority of people do not exercise every day. And for the small percentage of people that do exercise, most are not doing it every day as they should. Additionally, many who are exercising on a regular basis are not doing what they should be doing to optimize fat loss and increase longevity. Rather, they’re simply doing something easy that makes them feel good about doing something at all.
If you’re serious about your goals and ultimate ambition, you have to make your health a priority. The foundations of a healthy mind and body are proper sleep, clean diet and exercise (in that order). If you are unwilling to prioritize this in your life, nothing else matters. I can teach you how to make a million dollars next week. But it means nothing if you’re sick and in the hospital the following week.
Being strong and in shape is quite literally the only thing you can’t buy. Money can get you most anything in this life; but not your health. Ask any millionaire or billionaire that’s lying in a hospital bed right now. They will tell you that they would give it all up if they could have their health back. That alone should make you recognize the importance of taking care of your body.
Since we already covered sleep, let’s focus on diet and then exercise. Once again, this is what I personally do based on decades of trials, testing and speaking to some of the highest level performers in the world. And most importantly, what I do today is based on RESULTS. Results will vary by individual; they always do. No one diet or exercise plan is right for everyone. It’s simply not possible. However, over the last couple of decades, I’ve found the one that consistently provides superior results and performance for me and over 95% of the people I’ve worked with over the last decade. For the roughly 5% that this didn’t work for, could it be that they were cheating and didn’t actually follow the program? Yes, it could be. Or it could have been that, based on their body type, it simply didn’t work for them.
So rather than bore you with how I got to follow my plan and routine that I’m about to share with you, I’m just going to tell you what I do. Truth be told, if you’re like me, you really don’t care about the decades of data that lead to the “why I do this.” You see what I look like and you just wanna know what the hell I did to get to the point of looking how I do and what I do to maintain it. So here it is…
My Weight Training Schedule
Day 1: Chest
Day 2: Biceps
Day 3: Legs (quad/calves concentration)
Day 4: Shoulders
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Back
Day 7: Triceps
Day 8: Legs (hamstring/glutes concentration)
Day 9: Active Recovery
Day 9: Active Rest
Day 10: Rest
Each weight training day I do 4-5 exercises per body part, ensuring all parts of the muscle group are hit. For instance, chest, I make sure I hit upper, middle and lower chest. For shoulders, I make sure I hit front, mid and rear deltoids along with rotator cuff exercises. You get the point.
I’m not gonna go into crazy detail about what I do for each individual workout. I get more in depth into that in my individualized coaching program. Not gonna bore you with it here. But the name of the game is weight training. If you’re not weight training, you’re setting yourself up for decline; both physically and mentally. There are about a zillion articles out there to support this so I’m not even gonna go into why it’s important or why it works. In the year 2023, if you still think cardio is the way to get in shape or stay in shape, you are being intentionally ignorant of science and reality.
In addition to weight training, I typically start each day with a 30 minute walk or 30 minutes on my spin bike. The only day I don’t do this is my full rest day. I do this for two reasons. First, it’s a great way to kill two birds with one stone. After waking up and doing my meditation and reading, I often have to review emails and messages that came in overnight from overseas. I like to get this done before going to the gym or jiu jitsu. Since it usually only takes me 20-30 minutes, I do it while walking on my TruForm treadmill or riding my Echelon bike. It’s a great warmup for before the gym or training as well. I wouldn’t say this is part of my “workout” routine. I just found it to be more productive and beneficial to my mind and body than sitting at my desk for 30 minutes.
Another thing I found is that when I’m doing my morning emails on my treadmill or spin bike, I have a timer set. Ironically, I almost always get through all my messages and responses within that 30 minute window. However, if I sit at my desk and do the same exact work, I often find myself sitting there for an hour or more. There’s something about moving while working that allows me to get things done faster. I think it’s partially the movement and partially the timer. Either way, I’m way more efficient while on the bike or treadmill than when I’m at my desk.
Fat As Fuel
This is another thing that I’m not going to get too deep into because anyone with a pulse in 2023 knows that using fat as fuel is far superior to using sugar and carbohydrates as your primary fuel source. Even the U.S. Special Forces have determined that a high fat, low carb diet is optimal for the performance of their tier one operators. Long story short, if it is proven to help guys on SEAL Team 6 operate on high level missions at super human levels, I’m pretty sure it can help you in your daily work and running errands.
Since I’m 6’2 and roughly 220 lbs. I aim to intake 200 grams of protein per day. In addition, I try to limit my carbohydrate intake to 100 grams per day. Most days I don’t even hit 100 grams; more often than not it ends up being around 60-70 grams. And of course I do everything in my power to keep sugar intake to as close as zero as possible. Now, are there days where I deviate from this? Of course there are. But it happens maybe once a month…not once a week.
Fun fact: If you never ate carbohydrates ever again, you’d be 100% fine and continue to live a long, healthy life. If you never ate fat again, you’d be dead within days. This fact alone should tell you all you need to know about fat and carbs. Now I’m not saying I never eat carbs. Like I said, I intake about 100 grams a day…but I do it strategically. I intentionally exploit carbs for my personal benefit. You just need to know how they work and, more importantly, how to work them.
When I started on my journey of optimized fat metabolism, at first it wasn’t easy. But now after maintaining this lifestyle (yes, it’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle) for just over five years, I can’t even begin to tell you the physical and mental benefits I have personally seen and felt with my body. I literally grew up thinking fat was bad and fat was the enemy. When I was trying to lose weight, everything was “low fat” or “fat free.” I truly thought that if I wanted to lose body fat, I just had to avoid eating fats. Well, now that science and about a million doctors have proven that to be dead wrong, more and more people are waking up to the lie they’ve been told for so many years.
Fat is the human body’s primary and preferred fuel source. Anyone who knows anything about human physiology and performance will tell you this. Sadly, I learned this only in my 30s. But today, I am looking, feeling and performing better than I did in my 20s. I have bigger muscles, am stronger, have a six-pack and my wind during jiu jitsu is better than guys half my age. And I credit this in large part to switching to an optimized fat metabolism lifestyle. I break down my daily meals (and cheat meals) in my program. I won’t get into it here because I could go on forever. It’s truly a passion of mine. But for those of you with questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. I love talking about this stuff.
One of the best things you can do for your body and mind every single day is get sunlight first thing in the morning. The list of benefits to doing this is way too long to get into here. I go deeper into it elsewhere. However, on most mornings, I take at least 5 minutes to stand outside and get direct sunlight. I don’t wear sunglasses. I just stand barefoot on my lawn (grounding) and let the sun hit me. I use this five minutes to give thanks for the amazing day I know I’m about to have and for all the blessings already in my life. This simple act of sunlight and grounding has had massive impacts on my life. Yes, when I first heard about this I thought it was total woo woo bullshit. But 2 years in, I now realize how stupid and immature I was being. I wish I started this in my teens. But it’s never too late.
Something else I do almost every day is cold water immersion. I typically do this AFTER jiu jitsu. On days I don’t train jiu jitsu, I’ll try to do it early in the morning either after reading or after my sunlight/grounding time. I keep the water in my immersion tank at 40° F and go in for three to four minutes. Not going to even begin to explain the endless benefits for mind and body of cold water immersion. If you don’t know by now, you’re likely living under a rock without internet or social media and are not even reading this.
Habit #4: Read Every Single Day
Personally, I’m always reading something to better myself or learn something new (which betters myself). You won’t understand what reading has to do with wealth and success until you start doing it. At first I wandered how the hell reading every day was going to affect my bank account. What I didn’t realize was it wasn’t so much what I was reading but more so the act of reading itself which helps lead to success. (Note: The books I was reading surely didn’t hurt. I share the full list of books that took me from broke to a multi-millionaire with all of my students. And the results speak for themself.)
Reading, like many things, takes discipline. It also allows you time to block out distractions and the rest of the world for a period. This alone can and will help you grow as an individual. When you read things that invigorate your brain and trigger new ideas, this leads to endless possibilities. Shortly after beginning my morning reading ritual, I noticed that I began seeing things in my everyday world differently. I was noticing things that I had never seen before. I was listening to people in a way that I had never done before. All of this lead to various situations and opportunities which ultimately helped me grow as a person and as an entrepreneur.
I had always said “I want to read more.” However, due to my sleep and waking schedule, I simply never had the time. Once I began waking up at 0430, I finally had the time to read. If you wake up early to do nothing more than meditate and read, your life will 100% change. I don’t care who you are or what your current situation in life is. Anyone I know that has done this religiously every day for 30 days has reported incredible results. It never surprises me.
When I was first told to do this, I was told that I’d eventually be reading a book a week. Now, for the record prior to this, I’d be lucky to get through a book a year. So the thought of being able to read a book a week seemed like the furthest thing from reality for me. And, in fact, the first book I read actually took me over 2 weeks to get through. But then something happened. I actually started reading faster and faster. I wasn’t quite skimming. I was definitely reading for comprehension. As with anything, the more I did it every single day, the faster I was able to read and comprehend.
Before long I was finishing books before the end of the week. Anyone who knew me would NEVER believe this. Even I didn’t even believe it. But as the days and weeks went on, reading a book a week just kept getting easier and easier…and more and more fun.
There aren’t many things I can say this about as I write this today. But reading books every day is the one thing I can truly say, with 100% certainty, that has had the greatest impact on my financial situation. It has opened my mind, eyes and ears to things I was before completely blind to before…and I didn’t even know it. As I stated earlier, it’s hard to describe what happens to you. It’s like going on a roller coaster. You can try your hardest to try to explain it someone. But in the end, it’s something you just have to experience to truly understand.
I started out reading primarily books on business, finance and wealth building. But I eventually started to fold in biographies and autobiographies of interesting, successful people. Reading their stories was not only inspiring, it taught me a lot about perseverance, suffering and overcoming adversity.
I tell people in my program to start out reading a book that will hold their attention. This is key. After reading a book or two like this, start venturing into other categories. Reading is like skiing. If you haven’t done it for a while, you have to ease back into it. Start on the green bunny slopes. Then slowly make your way to the blues. And after re-mastering the blues, take a black diamond. After getting fully comfortable with that, move to double black. Even if there are moguls, you’ll have regained the skill and capacity to navigate them…ultimately making yourself a better skier.
Habit #5: Meditation and Visualization
If you’ve made it this far, I commend you. You’re among less than 10% who will read this far into something like this. That alone puts you in an elite category. Stop and commend yourself for this achievement. Now, let’s talk about the one thing that I thought for sure was 1000% bullshit when I was first told about it: Meditation and visualization.
For most of my life I thought meditation was sitting in a quiet place by myself with eyes closed thinking positive thoughts. And, for what it’s worth, I wasn’t that far off. The problem was, I was so sure it wouldn’t do anything for me (or anyone else for that matter) that I resorted to making fun of people who did it. I would tell people that I “meditate while I sleep.” It was all a big joke to me. And the bigger joke was people telling me that meditation helped change their financial situation. I would often say, “yeah, money is just dropping out of the sky after meditation, right?”
Yeah, so if there ever was a skeptic when it came to meditation, it was me. But then came visualization. I remember the first time someone told me about visualization. I looked at them like they were absolutely insane. I was like, “so let me get this straight… if I think about something I want hard and long enough, It will just appear in my world?” I truly thought this was the epitome of mental illness. I always held the mindset that nothing comes easy. And the only way you get things in life is by working hard and earning it. And although this is partially true, I wasn’t completely right.
I started meditating a few years ago when I was at the lowest point in my life. I was a year removed from being fired from the career I loved and thought I was going to do until I retired. The people that I thought were my close friends disappeared. I found myself unable to fall asleep at night. And in the morning, I was barely able to wake up and get out of bed. I had lost my muscle mass. Gained a gut. And I literally had no drive or desire to do much of anything. To say I had hit rock bottom would be an understatement.
One night as I was lying in bed unable to sleep, I stumbled upon a video by a man named Dr. Joe Dispenza. I feel like I had heard about him before but really didn’t know who he was or what kind of doctor he was. Turns out he was a chiropractor that had suffered a traumatic injury while cycling and had been paralyzed. Doctors told him that he would never walk again. But Dr. Dispenza, although accepting the diagnosis, did not accept the prognosis.
Long story short, by utilizing meditation and visualization, Dr. Dispenza defied the odds and the expectations of every doctor in the hospital, and was able to walk just three months later. Some may call this a “miracle.” Others call it refusing to accept the reality others define for you. No matter what you call it, the results don’t lie. A man who was told he would be permanently disabled for the rest of his life following a horrific accident used the power of his mind to heal himself and walk just a few short months later.
Considering I wasn’t disabled and I was 100% able to get out of bed, I figured my uphill battle was nothing compared to his. So I decided to jump in with both feet and give this whole “harnessing the power of my mind” thing a try. I was at that point that I literally had nowhere to go and nothing to lose. I truly felt things couldn’t possible get any worse (of course they always can).
I began with some of his shorter meditations and slowly graduated to longer ones. In the beginning, I could barely go 2 minutes without my mind wandering to some random thought. But as time went on, just as with the reading, I got better and better. Eventually I was able to make it through an entire 10 minute meditation without losing focus a single time. Then 20 minutes. Then 30 minutes. Within 6 months I was doing hour long meditations completely engaged and in the zone. And the best part was I never felt better in my life.
A few months in, I attended a conference that Dr. Joe (as most who follow him refer to him as) was holding. At the conference I was introduced further to the practice of visualization. At first it was a bit odd; almost as if you were playing make-believe. When people ask me about it, I often tell them it’s almost like “faking it until you make it.” You visualize yourself living in the situation you desire as if it has already happened and you’re currently living it. And the hardest part was, you had to feel the emotions in your heart, mind and soul that you would feel if you were actually living your desires. Yeah, a bit weird, I know. But let me give you an example.
If one of the things you desire is $100,000 in your bank account, step one is envisioning opening your banking app on your phone and seeing $100,000 in your account balance. (NOTE: This is kinda what I was visualizing but it wasn’t $100,000.) But even more important than this is to FEEL the way it would feel if you had that money in your account. How would you feel, deep down? How good would it feel? That’s the emotion you need to deeply feel every single day, several times a day, every time you visualize that bank account balance. How would you walk down the street? How would you talk to others? How would you talk with your mom or dad? How would you talk with your friends?
This was REALLY hard for me at first because I felt like I was living in a fantasy world, pretending I was something or had something that you knew, deep down, you didn’t. It took me months to get to the point where I could do this without feeling like a fraud who was lying to himself. Now, I never actually told anyone during this time that I had the money in my bank account. I just walked around every day acting as if I did. They say that if you tell a lie long and often enough, you’ll eventually start to believe it. That’s precisely what happened to me. In fact, a few months in, I was having a conversation with someone about purchasing a rental property. And during that conversation they said, “all we would need to put down is X dollars.” And without even thinking, I immediately thought “well I have that in the bank so that won’t be a problem.” I didn’t say it out loud (thankfully) but it was my automatic first thought. And THAT is when it happened. That was very first moment that my mind truly believed I had the money in the bank and my automatic response was NOT “well I don’t have that kind of money so I can’t do it.”
Two weeks later I got a call from an old business partner. He told me he sold one of the properties we had gone in on years earlier and needed my bank routing number to wire me my share of the deal. The next day he sent a text saying, “wire complete.” I opened my banking app on my iPhone and looked at my account balance. It was HIGHER than the balance I had been visualizing for the past few months. I remember literally saying out loud, “NO FUCKING WAY.”
Did it happen overnight? No. Was it hard to truly fall into the mindset of belief? Yes, very hard. Did I feel like a complete fool and fraud for a period of time? Yes, very much so. But once I got out of my own way and put my ego and negative thoughts aside, I said, screw it; let’s see what happens. What’s the worst that can happen? I walk around pretending in my mind that I have all this money in the bank when I really don’t? Ok, and? So nothing happens, I feel a little silly and I carry on. At least I felt good along the way. But by the time I got that text that said “wire complete” I 100% believed that I already had that money in the bank. I was just living and acting “as if.” And every ounce of me believed it. THAT is the power of visualization.
Some people call what happened to me “manifestation.” Truth is, I don’t care what you call it. All I know is that I went from “that shit is bullshit hokus pokus that doesn’t work” to “what the fuck…this is crazy” pretty fast. Most don’t believe in things until they see proof. With visualization, you have to believe from day one, as if you’ve already been shown the proof, in order for it to truly work in your life. And that, for human beings, is the hardest part.
Needless to say, I now meditate and visualize my future every single day. I will sit with my eyes closed and a smile on my face enjoying things as if they’ve already happened and I’m living it. It’s already my reality. It’s fun. It feels good. And I get up from my chair feeling good. And month after month, year after year, the universe just keeps giving me all the things I was feeling good about already having….before I ever even have them.
Ok. If you’re still here reading this, you are literally in the 1% of all readers. That tells me you are serious about making a change in your life. You’re likely at the point I was at just a few short years ago that I was so fed up of my situation that it actually made me angry. Yep, I know how you feel. I felt the same way. Then I starting to speaking to highly successful people and learning what they did and do. I was so angry and fed up that I literally said, “Fuck it. If they can do it, I can do it.” I had nothing to lose. So no matter how hard or uncomfortable or crazy I thought something they told me was, I just did it. And well, I’m living, breathing proof that it worked.
Will what I did work for everyone? No. All I can do is share with you what I did and continue to do that has taken me from the lowest point in my life (broke, weak and in worst shape ever) to best I’ve ever looked and felt physically and mentally. And the most successful I’ve ever been financially.
As I’ve stated NUMEROUS times in this writing, this is literally the Reader’s Digest version of what I’ve done and presently do to live the life I do today. I wanted to keep this somewhat short and not bore you to death with something so overwhelming you wouldn’t even read it (although only 1% of you even read this far).
But you see that’s just it. You’re among the 1% whom the top performers in the world talk about. By reading this far you’ve done what 99% of others are not willing to do. They WANT to have it all. But they don’t want to even take the time to read what someone just like them did to ACTUALLY have it all. They can’t be bothered. They want to figure it out themselves. Or they’ll dismiss this as some sort of scheme to sell them something. Well, hat to break it to you… I got nothing to sell. This is it. Take it or leave it.
I will leave you with this…
I WAS one of the 99% that would see something like this and not read it through to the end. I WAS the guy that, if I did read something like this, immediately wrote it off as complete bullshit and went back to doing whatever it was that I was doing. I WAS one of the 99% who thought I would figure it out on my own. However, I WAS broke, unhappy and pathetically out of shape…and blamed everyone for it except myself. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I became the 1% who swallowed their egos and decided to listen to others and follow their advice. And today, I’m excited to welcome you to the 1%.
P.S. If you’re looking for “the catch” there is none. I know. Even after I decided to actually start reading things like this, I was STILL looking for the catch. There’s always catch. Right? Well, not this time. I’m sharing this with you for one reason and one reason only; to hopefully help at least one person get out of the shit situation they’re in (like I was) and turn their life around. If reading this helps just ONE of you, I’ll consider that a win. So do me a favor… if what you’ve read here leads you to a better place in any capacity, please shoot me an email or send me a DM on social media and let me know about it. That’s all the thanks I would ever need.
Suresh Madhavan is the Founder and CEO of 221B Tactical. He served 13 years as a full time Police Officer. During that time, he started and sold multiple small businesses he started out of his garage. He began investing in small rental properties in his early 20s after saving money by working overtime at the police department and selling life insurance at night. Ten years into his police career Suresh invented a product called The Maxx-Dri Vest for body armor ventilation and started 221B Tactical, once again, from his garage.
Suresh and his business partner have grown 221B Tactical into a brand known globally for their gear and apparel, currently sold in over 250 retail locations world-wide and growing.
Suresh’s commercial real estate investment group owns property in several states across the country. He also acts as an angel investor for various start-ups domestically and abroad.
When he’s not working, Suresh can be found at the gym, training at his Brazilian jiu jitsu dojo, mountain biking, snowboarding or working with his Belgian Malinois. He is a 4 stripe blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, slated to receive his purple belt later in 2023.
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