The Internet seems to be packed with plenty of advice on how to invest your hard-earned money, so you can make your life easier. But what about investing in you? Isn’t that a more direct way to make your life better?
The whole idea behind Third Millennium Man is to help you find ways in which you can make that happen, as well as looking after your money (and everything else). It’s our intention to bring you the stuff right away that might take you years to figure out on your own (if you figure it out at all). So that, in a nutshell, is what this article is about.
Here are twenty-four pieces of advice that can instantly make your life better, from your friends at Third Millennium Man.
1. Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, stop immediately.
Gone are the days when smoking made you look cool. Think about how you feel about guys who smoke pipes. How nerdy and goofy do they look? Well that’s how you look, smoking a cigarette.
Much as we like the idea / image of smoking a Cohiba Behike cigar in celebration of something or other, that’s over £500 a pop we could always find another use for. One cigar, or a luxury weekend break for two? Tough call.
Smoking is expensive. It stinks, and makes your clothes, hair, car, and house stink. It turns your fingers and your teeth yellow. Worst of all, smoking is 100% guaranteed to cause health problems.
Don’t look upon it as “giving up”. Those words have negative connotations. Do something a bit more positive, and STOP.
2. Always wear a moisturiser; preferably one with a SPF15 sunscreen.
Do you want wrinkles? What about paper-thin skin from sun damage, or bruises from just lightly brushing against furniture? Think your skin just peeling away is a good look? Carry on without a sunscreen then.
Your skin is the biggest single organ your body has. Skin cancer isn’t just a matter of cutting out the nasty pieces, it’s a potentially fatal condition that can lead to other cancers.
We all know those handsome celebrity-types that seem to have been around forever, yet seem to be aging well, hanging onto their looks? They use a moisturiser. It’s a first step towards keeping your great-looking skin great-looking for years to come.
New to skin care? Swallow your pride, dress up really nice and visit a High Street Chemist (there are some gorgeous women who work there!) and ask their advice. These ladies are trained to help you ferret out the right product for your skin type. Make sure your everyday moisturiser contains SPF15; various brands might also contain a coloured tint, pentapeptides, witch hazel, or might be oil-free.
Look after your skin; we’ll be looking at a skin care regime for men in a lot more detail, another time.
3. Start saving money regularly (even if it’s just a tiny bit).
Yeah, I know. Boring, right? Life’s too short, party hard, YOLO, and all those other ‘live-for-the-moment’ slogans. Spend it while you’ve got it.
The trouble is, life often has a way of messing that one up for you. You end up still living with Mum & Dad in your 30’s. Your circle of close drinking buddies grows ever smaller as they gradually pair off and grow families, until there’s only you left. What have you got to show for it?
The thing is, until the wife / family / mortgage comes along, you are very unlikely to ever have this much money to yourself ever again. That money – your disposable income – isn’t just for drinking and having a good time. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that isn’t all that your money’s for.
That said, there’s no need to live like a Monk. Life goes on. You are allowed out now and again. Just start a regular savings habit, with an amount you can easily afford (though the more the better), and set the ball rolling. Arrange for it to automatically leave of your bank by direct debit on the day you get paid, and you won’t even notice it’s gone.
One day further down life’s rich road, you might be glad of it. Make sure you shop around for good deals first – Money Saving Expert is a good place to get unbiased advice. Be sure to check out Friendly Society policies, ISAs, Trusts; and always factor tax payable, plus any fees, into your calculations so you know what return you can realistically expect.
4. Maintain (or repair) relationships with your close family.
By which, we mean Mum, Dad, brothers and sisters. Even if you’ve had very complicated relationships with them in the past, you still need to get on with them – for your sake, their sake, and your children’s sake.
It goes way beyond knowing there’s a spare kidney out there with your name on it. Family ties are extremely important. Soon or later as you become a Third Millennium Man, the revelation that your family is the most valuable thing you’ll ever have, will dawn on you. Those are some wonderful people out there – in fact, why not text or call them today…..
5. Take up a sport.
Get into an active lifestyle right now, and you’ll be a lot healthier by the time you’re 50. Don’t just “join a gym” – gyms are boring places. Gyms work best, in our experience, as a means to an end. Find a sport, and use the gym (if you have to) in order to get fit for that sport.
Think about what would be fun to do, and then discover it. Ever tried skiing? Marathon running? Bike racing? (hint: criteriums are the biggest adrenaline rush it’s socially acceptable to have while dressed in Lycra….) Climbing? Hiking? Salsa-dancing?
Discover a new hobby – competitive sport. Don’t put on weight, get regular exercise, get plenty of fresh air, and have some fun!
6. Collect memories rather than things.
There used to be a mobile phone Ad with the hook “You are every one-to-one you’ve ever had” (or something like that). You are the sum of your experiences.
Don’t wake up one day, sixty years old, in the realisation that you’ve wasted life gathering possessions. Yes things are nice, but they aren’t everything. Some of the most enjoyable things in life cannot be held in your hand.
Memories take up zero space. They don’t gather dust, don’t depreciate in value, and won’t ever get destroyed by a house fire.
7. Give something back.
Giving beats receiving. So give to others, with a happy heart, so you feel the goodness that service brings.
A Third Millennium Man will be known for his generosity. He’s certainly not an easy touch for wise-guys and rip-off artists, but he’ll be the first to sponsor schoolkids, to give to charity, or to donate to causes generously.
Always carry pound coins in your pocket, and never be afraid to cheerfully give one to each homeless guy you see sleeping in a doorway. It’s not enough to buy drugs or booze, but it will pay for something warm in his stomach (yes, you can argue that they “should go out and get jobs” – but first, he’s got to survive tonight. That’s where you come in). The point is that you are in a position to help. Life has given you so much (the means to read this, for example). Put something back. Whether you believe in karma or not.
Why not give that most precious commodity in life – your time? Some of my happiest memories are when I helped out at a Homeless Shelter (the stories those guys can tell…..and the filthy jokes!), serving Christmas dinner (soup & rolls) to a grateful crowd. I gave up my all-night volunteer work with the homeless when I got married and became a father; nowadays I’m a volunteer at my kid’s school instead.
8. Learn to be content with what you have.
Stop surfing the Internet, drooling over expensive consumer goods that are beyond your grasp for one minute. You won’t die if you don’t have the latest, massive TV or the newest console. You can manage without that mansion or that yacht. Do you know how much it costs to maintain a mansion anyway? Trust me, you’re better off avoiding them (and hiring your yacht instead…)
Being happy and content is what matters in life. Far more than the goods you own. Far more than worldly success.
If you are content with what you’ve got, then yes, you may be a bit less likely to end up a millionaire. You won’t have that hunger or ambition; but you won’t have that ulcer or stress-related early death either. Instead, you’ll have a happier life. And if you do become a wealthy person (it might happen) you’ll be a more happy, fulfilled and productive wealthy person. A Third Millennium Man indeed.
That does not mean to say you shouldn’t ever aim for anything in life. In fact…
9. Don’t delay pursuing your ambitions.
Want to buy your first property? Raise a family? Sail a yacht? Emigrate? Write your first book? Go back into education and get a degree? Change careers? Perform some stand-up comedy? Learn to play the piano? Learn to cook a great steak? Learn to dance properly? Run for election?
Then start today. Stop dreaming, start driving. Welcome to Third Millennium Man territory.
It’s the easiest thing in the world to put things off. “I’ll get around to it eventually.” But with every passing year, your ambitions get slightly farther out of reach. Time starts to accelerate, and keeps accelerating, and suddenly the chance to live your dreams will have gone. The time that you’ll get around to those dreams should be NOW.
You are writing your own life story. Here’s your chance to add a little action and excitement to the plot!
10. Start a business.
True enough, we’ve all heard the success stories of people who have started successful businesses later in life. But why leave it until then?
NOW is the time to put wheels in motion. Do it while you can give it your full attention. Do it before your new wife appears in your life story and suddenly you have kids to think about. Right now you can be selfish. You can give your business you all.
Don’t put this one off! That dream lifestyle can be yours, if you put the legwork in now. In fact, your smashing friends at Third Millennium Man have even simplified the initial process for you, so you can create and test your next million-pound business idea in one single afternoon. Aww, you’re welcome…
Do the legwork now, while you’re still young (remember, you’re younger now than you will ever be at any time in the future) and you have the enthusiasm and the energy. You have the rest of your life to enjoy the spoils!
11. Get some sleep.
Stop burning the candle at both ends. Stop staying up half the night. You are not nocturnal, you are just in bad habits. Grow up a bit, and get into the habit of establishing a proper bedtime. To help you to do just that, I have a suggestion.
Sleep deprivation leads to some horrible symptoms, that you won’t even notice even though they will eat away at you. You have no energy. Your thinking is blurred. You feel, and look, terrible. Everything is too much effort. And you’re so irritable! Oh yes you are….
Sometimes we have every intention of going to bed at a proper time; “but I’ll just do this first.” Suddenly, you’re looking at yet another late night. How do you break the cycle?
First, I decide what time I want to wake up. Yes, most folks set an alarm to wake themselves up – but me, I set my alarm for bedtime, plus one hour. I set an alarm for nine hours before I want to wake up – when the alarm goes off, it’s my cue to get everything (all my “I’ll just do this” jobs) done and out of the way. One hour later, I’m in bed. I awaken refreshed, around the same time each morning, after eight good hours of sleep.
Spend some cash on better bed linen; look for 100% cotton, with as high a thread count as you can find. Buy more than one set, so you can keep them laundered and fresh. If your quilt & pillows are over two years old, treat yourself to some lovely new ones (look for hypoallergenic, machine-washable ones, to keep ’em nicer for longer). And while we’re on the subject, how old is your mattress? Think of what you’d find in a luxury hotel, and aim for that standard. We spend (apparently) one-third of our lives in bed, so don’t skimp. Make it a quality experience, and you’ll find you just can’t wait to go to bed!
Invest in some proper blackout blinds for those nights where it doesn’t get fully dark until 11pm and the sun starts to rise around three. They’re handy for blocking out streetlamps too.
Keep away from bright screens immediately before sleep (try reading instead). And make this into a habit; give your body a chance to get used to proper sleep cycles. You’ll soon start to feel tired at bedtime, and wake up naturally before your alarm goes off. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it – it’s a heck of a way to start the day!
12. Take care of your teeth.
Oh, I know. Your teeth feel fine, don’t they. So there’s no need to visit a dentist. Dentists make up half the problems anyway – if he says you need a filling, you just let him do it (without question or getting a second opinion) and pay the bill. And you never see a skint Dentist.
That is crazy talk. Teeth don’t heal up the way that other body parts do, and your Dentist is limited in what he can do once the problems arise. Dentists are not magicians, but they can do a lot to head off problems if they catch them in the early stages.
Go and get registered with a proper Dentist. Go visit once every six months. Dental problems just get worse, and crowns, bridges, implants and so on are expensive, bothersome and uncomfortable. You’ll also look terrible; those new clothes and haircut won’t do anything to make up for that hideous Ogre impression every time you smile.
I hate going to the Dentist. It’s inconvenient. And all he does is poke them a bit, tell me they’re fine but to brush them a bit better, and give me a bill. So what do I do to justify the inconvenience? I book a double appointment, and go see the Dental Hygienist immediately afterwards for a beautiful clean & polish that I can actually feel with my tongue. That, my friends, is well worth the money.
And if you fancy it, ask your Dentist about teeth whitening. You’d be amazed at how inexpensive yet effective it can be, done properly by a qualified and trained Dentist. It’ll do more for your appearance than anything else. That new suit or leather jacket (for about the same price) can wait.
13. Stop eating junk.
Okay, so you’re not a kid any more. It’s time to grow out of eating burgers and fries with your bare hands, and graduate to using cutlery. If your idea of fine dining is a stuffed-crust pizza and a two-litre bottle of Strongbow, then it’s time to re calibrate and redefine your standards.
Firstly, there’s your health. Come on, you know that fast food contains way too much salt, fat and horrible chemicals. You don’t put cheap nasty fuel in your posh new car, so why do the same thing with your own body? For the sake of your health, start making changes.
Learn to cook quality dishes yourself. Eat at least one ‘raw’ meal a day (meaning fruit or salads). Watch your salt intake, and drink plenty of water with a drop or two of lemon juice if you don’t care for the taste.
(The best diet advice for a Third Millennium Man? Avoid any food that is (or could be) WHITE. That cuts out sugar, salt, flour, dairy, rice, pasta, potatoes and solid fats like lard. Try it for a month and watch the weight drop off!)
Secondly, there is this whole thing about junk food that’s at odds with being a Third Millennium Man. You only have the one life, and it’s down to you to make the most of your time here that you possibly can. Which to most of us means fewer trips to the chippy and more sophisticated fine dining. You never see James Bond tucking into a deep-fried Mars Bar, do you? And your date will react differently to a flame-grilled burger than she would to a sophisticated restaurant with a resident pianist and a wine waiter (and not only because of what she’ll be wearing).
Obviously we’re not recommending that you dine out all the time – it’s bad for your wallet as well as your waistline – but this post is all about living a better life. Try some magnificence on a plate (and a glass) once in a while and taste just how wonderful life can be.
14. Go on an adventure.
Get off your computer, leave your house and plan an adventure right now.
Make it as big as you dare. Take lots of pictures, take a little risk, take a step into the unknown, and take a companion. Some guys take a train up to Scotland with just a loaded rucksack; some guys rent a car and drive around Europe; some ride Route 66 on a Harley. Some go on train-rides across Asia or earn passage across oceans on board cargo ships. Think big, and make it happen.
For the record, adventures are measured in days, not hours. Think BIG and enjoy every moment. You’ll be entertaining your grandchildren with stories about it one day.
15. Read a book a month.
This comes with the caveat, not the same book every month. It has to be something that holds your interest and challenges you. We’re giving you a head start by recommending ten absolutely fantastic books that we believe EVERY man ought to read; these have the potential to change your life forever.
Novels are fine, but a Third Millennium Man needs to read a lot of self-improvement material too. As well as our shortlist, we recommend looking at Speedreading, Memory Improvement; Meditation, Mindfulness; Salesmanship, Communication Skills; Business, Investment, Money Management; History, Travel or Philosophy as interesting topics to take a look at.
If you can, build it up to one book a week. Allowing for Christmas, holidays, things like that, we believe that puts you on for over 40 books a year.
That, gentlemen, is more than you’d read for a PhD. Just think; a PhD in improving YOU.
Start getting into the regular reading habit today. Our advice would be to invest in physical books rather than eBooks if you can; books can be referred back to and passed on. eBook readers are beneficial only from a portability point of view.
Your brain never stops growing, so exercise it, train it, and squeeze the most you possibly can out of it.
16. Learn to meditate.
The benefits that come from meditation are incredible. Just taking some time out of your day – ten minutes or so – to centre yourself is all it takes. The benefits to your health, your state of mind, and so much else makes it so worthwhile.
Don’t just take our word for it. There’s plenty of scientific study that backs our assertion up.
Nobody’s talking about wearing Kaftans or burning Josticks. You haven’t accidentally drifted onto the Third Millennium Hippy website. It’s just a simple way to centre yourself, and bring body, mind and spirit together. Stop running around like a headless chicken and try this…..
Just find a quiet place where you can sit quietly, undisturbed and free from distractions; set your alarm for 10-15 minutes; close your eyes and consciously relax every muscle, mentally counting down as you relax and sink deeper into a relaxed but alert state; keep your mind empty and clear, without stressing over things that pop into your head; when your alarm goes, bring yourself back to the surface, happy and refreshed. It can be as simple as that.
There’s a wealth of resources out there to help you too; we strongly recommend the excellent website Calm as a free starting point.
17. Travel. As much as possible, whenever you can.
Didn’t we do all this in number 14 (Go on an adventure)? Well no, not really. Here, we are talking about just travel. Which can mean something as simple as varying your commute a bit, to going on holiday, to having the odd weekend citybreak.
Why not get off the bus home a stop or two early, and walk the rest of the way? Vary the travel routine a bit, and you’ll see all the joys that you’d ordinarily miss. Think of a European city – fancy going there this weekend? You’d be amazed how cheap last-minute deals like that can be – and the difference they make to your health and state of mind.
“Travel broadens the mind” is one of those well-worn cliches that just happens to be completely true. Travel changes you like precious little else can. It will position you in places and situations that will encourage you to consider issues that are far bigger than you. It’s about experiencing true risk and adventure so you don’t have to live in fear for the rest of your life. Welcome to life beyond the comfort zone!
18. Stop comparing yourself with anyone else.
This court finds Facebook guilty of aiding and abetting this crime. When your peers constantly post “Flying First Class, lol” selfies, and holiday snaps in places you’d love to go to one day, and pictures of their new car / motorcycle / jetski / partner / second home, then it’s hard to not get caught up in it all.
Yes I know, it’s human nature. The truth is, you can NEVER be these people. And it’s a waste of your own life to even try.
What about being YOU? Nobody does the things you do. For all you know, these ‘friends’ of yours buy all this junk to compensate themselves for not being you! I’ve been successfully telling myself that one for years now….
There comes a point in life where you no longer care what people do. A Third Millennium Man does care in a way – I wouldn’t want any harm to befall anyone I know – but so what if they’ve got a new car?
If you want a new car, then just go out and buy one! But buy the one YOU want, not the one you think will impress those people on Facebook.
Find your own path. Live life on your own terms. Be strong.
19. Keep a diary.
If you’ve read The Business Idea Factory: A World-Class System for Creating Successful Business Ideas then the chances are that you’re already keeping a journal and writing down all those wonderful, brilliant ideas that just seem to flow into your consciousness. Excellent stuff.
If not, then do. You will definitely forget far more of your amazing ideas and precious memories than you’ll remember. Your written records will entertain you in your future, and help you keep track of how your life story has unfolded.
Your phone / tablet / computer ought to make such archiving a doddle to implement and retain/recall. Put text files into appropriately-named folders on a dedicated external hard drive, along with photos, scanned documents, Google Earth locations, and so on.
Your kids, or perhaps your surviving spouse, may someday love you even more for it.
20. Cherish your friends.
Family? They are already close. You’re joined by blood.
But as well as these people, make it your life’s work to bond with individuals who make you feel like you already are your best self. Folks who challenge you by their example, and whose company you truly, genuinely enjoy.
Nurture these relationships. Laugh with them. Go places with them. Spend quality time with them. Be yourself with them. And be silly too.
Contribute to their lives (this isn’t a one-way arrangement – it wouldn’t be as fulfilling if it was) and to their enjoyment of life.
Take the time every week to be in touch. It’s what pubs were made for.
21. Buy your own house.
A Third Millennium Man is a man of means. Not only in terms of cash-flow, but by way of investments. And the single biggest and most worthwhile investment a man can make is in a property of his own.
There was a time in my life when I was against the idea of awning property. The idea of being tens of thousands of pounds in debt at a young age didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t like the lack of mobility that came with property ownership; if the job-of-a-lifetime came up in the opposite corner of the UK, I’d be out of the running. And it seemed to me that as soon as you own your own property, you’re surrounded by people trying to take it off you again; ex-wives, relatives, the local authority who want to put you in a Nursing Home, or maybe the police who have you confused with a drug dealer. You never know – it might happen.
But look at the facts. Property has, over any five-year period since World War II, appreciated in value. It has left any bank account interest in its wake. I once sold a house I’d lived in for five years, and looked at what I’d bought it for against the selling price. Over 60 months, the house had earned more money each month that I did.
Anybody, anywhere, that has ever made a lot of money, has held investment property as a cornerstone of their money management strategy, regardless of the original business they’re in. Why? Money in the bank earns interest, but the capital remains the same; money invested in income property earns interest (in the form of rent paid) AND the capital increases, as the value of the properties they own goes up.
Owning a property means that you’re a better credit risk than if you didn’t own one. Lenders will fall over themselves to offer you money, which you can then invest in your new business, income property, or whatever you fancy (note: try to avoid spending borrowed money on depreciating assets such as holidays or vehicles).
There’s so much to buying property – and even more to making some SERIOUS money in property – that we won’t be able to cover here. Instead, we’ll make a full-length post all about it at some point in the future. Stay tuned.
But forget about the financial benefits for a second. It’s also about having a place that you can call home. A place you can welcome friends, family, and beautiful dates back to. A place that’s yours. A place you can relax in, keep your stuff in, decorate and furnish the way you like, and make an extension of you.
Make a start on this as early as you can. Done the right way, you’ll be out of your mortgage while you’re still reasonably young and fit, with extra money to enjoy (that you used to pay in mortgage payments), as well as owning one heck of an asset that your descendants will remember you for.
22. Stop worrying about things in life you have no control over.
It’s pointless. Utterly, utterly pointless.
Why put so much effort into upsetting yourself when there’s only so much you can do about things? Why make yourself ill with so much stress, so much anger.
There will always be inequality in life. There will always be something, somewhere that’s unfair. By all means, do your part to bring about change, but recognise that you can only do so much. And you certainly can’t do anything at all if you’ve been driven to suicide, or if you have high blood pressure or an ulcer.
Chill out. Relax. And look at number 23 as an antidote to all that stress.
23. Spend some time in nature.
Get yourself out of that concrete jungle. Arrange to spend some time out of the office. Do something.
You don’t have to go far. We’re all pretty much within range of some green space or another. Even the Parks in Central London will do, if you only have your lunch hour.
Ever fancied taking up gardening? Here’s a good reason to do so. And if that isn’t your bag, get the holiday brochures in for a weekend away. If you’re reading this in a city, you are surrounded by beautiful countryside. Go take a look at it.
Go to the beach. Go for a walk in the park. The mountains. Get a dog. Find a way that enables you to forget the daily grind of our manufactured, unnatural existence, and surround yourself with the majesty of the natural world.
Why arrange to meet that cute girl you know for a coffee, when you can invite her to join you for a walk? It’s romantic, it’s original, it’s informal, you’ll be on neutral territory, it will lower her guard (as she will have no idea how to react or behave), you’ll find plenty to talk about, you’ll both get air and exercise – and it’s free. You could even pull an ace and bring along a picnic. Just make sure you check the weather forecast first!
If you are the Boss, why not arrange for a little nature for your team? It doesn’t have to be much – a weekend’s team-building exercise, or even Paintballing, is all it takes to recharge your key personnel’s batteries. And they will be talking about how wonderful it was – and how effective you are, as a leader, as a Boss – for ages.
Make a regular habit of it, and receive the benefits over and over again.
24. Go on a Social Media diet.
We’re big fans of correct etiquette here at Third Millennium Man. Have you ever been to one of those dinner parties, where folks seem more interested in their phones than the other guests? I’m not the only one that thinks that’s unspeakably rude, am I? They aren’t likely to be invited again….
You do not need to be on Social Media the entire time. You do not need to have your phone glued to your hand. Look up once in a while, and you’ll see there’s a whole world out here waiting for you to interface with it.
Social media addiction is a problem. Yes it’s good in small doses. It’s informative (it might even have brought you HERE to our smashing website) but like any other drug, it can take over your life.
Looking at pictures of cats doing stuff can be funny. Looking at pretty girls is also, erm, quite agreeable to us all. But if you are constantly checking your Facebook feed while you’re supposed to be sleeping / eating / driving / working / spending quality time with those closest to you, then it’s time to come off there for a few hours. Nobody’s going to die because you didn’t ‘like’ their photos.
Does most of your social interaction occur through your games console? Listen, it’s not healthy to spend 14 hours or so playing a game. Now and then, OK. Anything that takes over your life like that, is robbing you of your life’s essence. Recognise that as fact, and deal with it. You, sir, are missing out.
And while we’re on the subject, how often do you check your emails? Make a habit of only checking your emails twice during the working day, and you’ll find your time is a lot more productive. Why not set up an Autoresponse to internal email, along the lines of “Thank you for your email. I check my emails twice daily at 11am and 4pm, and will respond (if required) after that time. If you require a response faster than that, please feel free to call me on…..” giving your telephone extension number.
Put your phone down. It will instantly make your life much better, when you see all the real stuff you’ve been missing!
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