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A giant ship’s engine failed. The ship’s owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure out how to fix the engine. Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was young. He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom.

Two of the ship’s owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do. After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life. He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed.

A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for $10,000. “What?” the owners exclaimed, “He hardly did anything!” So, they wrote the old man a note saying: “Please send us an itemized bill”.

The man sent a bill that read:

Tapping with a hammer $ 2.00

Knowing where to tap $ 9,998.00

This story highlights the difference between efficiency and experience. When it comes to optimising your health and relationships, and living a life of purpose and passion, it’s like manipulating the tumblers on a safe. Just a few tweaks in the right direction can unlock the door to enormous riches in terms of fulfilment, happiness, joy, beauty, and abundance.

To use another analogy, most people aren’t putting any thought or planning into these areas of their lives, which makes it more like pulling the lever on a poker machine and hoping they all align. And with that strategy, you have about as much chance of hitting the jackpot as you do in a casino.

I love the saying, “Success leaves clues”. In order to achieve something, it’s useful to look at people who have achieved what you want to do and find out what they did. I know a lot of people who live life inShape, inLove, inSpired. Here are common themes:

  • They exercise just about every day.
  • If they fall off the wagon with exercise or nutrition, they get back on track quickly.
  • They eat light.
  • They don’t obsess about their body.
  • They don’t achieve their goal weight and then relax—or see it as an endpoint. But they also don’t obsess.
  • They have mental resilience.
  • They live in a state of gratitude and appreciation.
  • They are surrounded by positive relationships and people who they support, and who support them in return.
  • They cut loose anyone who is not a positive influence on their life.
  • They understand their core personal values and live their life in line with them.
  • They have goals and a purpose that is bigger than just themselves.
  • They never complain.
  • They seek accountability.
  • They live above the line (see the diagram below)


We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We just need to identify people who have succeeded at what we want to achieve and do what they did. If you find someone like that, ask them if you can catch up with them and ask for some advice. I guarantee they will say yes because contribution is one of the highest basic human needs, and it is highly prevalent in successful people.