Mongol Rally Lessons: Breaking the Routine
The past 6 weeks were insane.
I went to 17 countries in that time because my friends and I decided to drive from London to Mongolia in a shitty Fiat Panda – that’s around 15,000 miles (24,000 km).
Long story short, I only got 50% along the way (pulling out in Turkmenistan) as I had to pull out due to a catostrophic emergency. My teammates are still going though.
Over those past 6 weeks, I learned a shit ton about myself, which I would never have learned If I stayed in my bubble.
I’m the type of person that loves routine. I believe a routine is necessary if you want to grow – your skills, your business, whatever. You need to put in the time on developing your craft if you ever want to succeed.
However, too much of a routine can be a bad thing.
When you’re in a routine, you get narrow-sighted, you lose sight on the big picture because you’re too bogged down in the little details.
I lost focus on what I wanted – a well-balanced life full of achievements and experiences.
I got very obsessed with business and personal growth.
I wanted every minute of my day (more like seconds) was dedicated to either working on the business or developing myself – taking an online course, going gym, reading, etc.
I tracked my time throughout the day, 24/7.
I did not want to waste a single second on doing anything useless or pointless.
I would aim to work 10-12 hours every day, 6 days a week, sometimes 7 days…
When I was hanging out with friends, I was always thinking about work.
My head was just not present when it came to downtime.
I also sacrificed sleep so that I could wake up earlier and slip in an extra hour or two of work.
Yep… I was that obsessed with personal growth…
Though I was obsessed, I still don’t think I did anything wrong. To really develop on your craft, I believe that you NEED to be obsessed; however, I ‘could’ve done it in a better (and healthier) way.
So here are some thoughts and lessons I learned on my crazy road trip:
1.Don’t skip sleep
Sleep is super important, always aim for at least 7 hours. Don’t sacrifice it, EVER.
2. Chill the fuck out bro
Driving from London to Mongolia can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 8 weeks, depending on the route we take and how long we want to spend each day driving. To me, 8 weeks was far too long, I got better shit to do – making more money.
I was trying to rush my team to hurry up and get to the next city as soon as possible. This led us skipping certain places and just not taking a moment to enjoy the beautiful places we visited – Prague, Budapest, Istanbul, etc.
I should’ve chilled the fuck out and enjoy the moment longer, even if it meant spending an extra hour at a place. Most likely I would never visit those places ever again…
Chill out and enjoy the present moment bro
3. Impractical theory is not always useless.
I always thought theory that could not be applied to real-life situations was useless knowledge. I probably got this hate from university where I only used 5% of what I learned in the real world. This meant that the 4 years I was at university, 95% of it was crap.
However, I take it back. Impractical theory does not mean it’s useless.
You’re able to view the world from a new lens. To be able to view it from another perspective allows you to be a better thinker.
For example, say you studied all the different religions in the world. Though you cannot use the theory here in a practical sense, you can see things from other people’s perspective and understand the reasoning for their actions, even if it’s stupid. You can also make a better informed conclusion about whether God is real or not because you’re viewing from 100+ different lenses.
4. Don’t just work and forgo your hobbies
Life is all about balance.
I see a lot of entrepreneurs just working and I’m guilty of this myself. They have no hobbies at all – and no, partying does not count.
It’s time to start putting more time in my hobbies.
5. Be smarter with your time.
It’s very rare to be super productive for 10-12 hours straight. But after the first 4-5 hours, I noticed my focus would start to drop from then on onwards.
I was in denial. I thought I could muscle my way to 12 hour days, 6 days a week. I was in HUSTLE MODE. I don’t have time to rest. It’s what people like Gary V says. HUSTLE.
However, this is stupid. I was not being productive with my time.
It’s basically Parkinson’s Law. Give a guy 7 days to finish an essay; they’ll finish it in 7 days. Give him 2 days to finish it; he’ll finish it in 2 days.
Here’s my new work routine going forward:
4 hours of work first thing in the morning. Afterward, I’ll hit the gym and grab lunch. I’ll then do another 4 hours of work. Done. That’s my day.
Within those 4 hours, I’m going to be doing pomodoros where I’ll do 50 minutes of deep work straight followed by a 10-minute break. I’ll rotate this cycle 4 times to hit a total of 4 hours.
These are just a few of the many things I learned from breaking my routine and traveling. There were probably about 20+ lessons I learned.
So here’s my advice to you:
Every 3 months, break your routine.
The best way to break your routine would be to travel as you’re changing your environment completely and inviting a bit of chaos into your life.