How to Give Yourself an Edge in Making 2013 Your Best Year Ever

I first met Robert D. Smith in 1996. He was managing Andy Andrews, a comedian who would eventually become the author of several New York Times bestselling books.

I was immediately taken by Robert’s enthusiasm and zest for life. It was contagious! I can honestly say I have never met anyone like him before or since.

Over the years Robert has become one of my closest friends. We have been involved in numerous business deals—most successful, a few not-so-successful. Regardless, my respect and love for him continues to grow.

What I have never revealed until now is that he is also one of my most important mentors. His words and life have inspired me to think bigger, push harder, and strive for excellence in everything I do.

Here are just ten of lessons I have learned from him.

  1. You can never be too generous. Give to others—and then give some more!
  2. The only difference between you and the people who accomplish great things is the way you think.
  3. Always be asking yourself, “What is important now? What is next?”
  4. Make today count. Live it like it is your last. Every minute matters.
  5. Eat dessert first. Learn to celebrate life and then live out of that celebration.
  6. Assume YOU are the problem. When you do, you quit becoming the victim and begin shaping the outcome.
  7. Embrace rejection. Every no puts you one step closer to a yes.
  8. You never really cross the finish line. Performing at a big show, publishing a book, or even getting a record deal isn’t the finish line. It’s the new starting line.
  9. Life is not about finding yourself; it is about creating yourself.
  10. Play full-out. Hold nothing in reserve.

The really cool thing is that Thomas Nelson has just published Robert’s first book. It is called, 20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now. It is a distillation of everything he lives and teaches.

It’s a really short book—about a hundred pages. You can read it in less than an hour. But don’t be fooled by its size. It is packed with wisdom and inspiration. (As of this writing, the average review on Amazon is 4.8 stars—out of 57 customer reviews.)

Honestly, I can’t think of a better book to read during the first week of a new year. Do yourself a favor and buy it NOW. It will give you the edge you need to make 2013 your best year ever.

Here’s just one of the many quotes I highlighted:

Decisions you make right now can change your life forever. Literally forever. You do not choose to be born. You do not choose your parents. You do not choose the time period in which you live. You do not choose the country of your birth. You do not choose the circumstances of your upbringing. In most cases, you do not choose to die. You do not choose the time or conditions of your death.

Despite all the realms of this choicelessness, we do choose how we will live. May you have a glorious ending by beginning today.

Question: What one action can you take today to make 2013 a banner year? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Jim Martin

    I really like this list!  A keeper!  What a great way to begin 2013.  Glad you posted this, Michael.

  • Susan Meador

    today i decided that i will no longer “create” myself – this has led to me creating a self that i think others want to see – this year will begin to “reveal” my true and authentic self – to me and to others!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Nice distinction. Thanks!

  • Michael sheppard

    By understanding that my job is to plow the ground and plant good seeds and then rely on the LORD to grant the harvest or not. Then keep repeating.
    Michael Sheppard, CEO
    The Sheppard Group, Franklin, Tn.

  • Matt Gray

    Great post Michael. I’ve known Robert for 33 years and you’re right there is no one else like him when it comes to enthusiasm and zest for life. He’s been a great friend and mentor to me. Being an avid Alabama football fan,  point #8 reminds me of the mind set of Nick Saban. Point #8 and Point #3 are very closely related. I recommend this book to anyone and don’t just read it. Inhale it and live it.

  • Pingback: Middle Sisters Recommended Reading, 10th Edition — Middle Places

  • Apostro

    Number 6 is amazing. It gives you control to change the course of life when you know you are the problem. It shall be my new guiding principle in life. I just hope that I don’t blame everything on myself. It’s actually tougher than you think..hmmm

  • Pingback: New Year, same lofty goals. 365 days to live. « Eine Feisty Berg

  • http://www.unManage.com/ Karl Rohde

     Like Jon Stolpe, I love point 9 about creating yourself. This is the secret I think. Creativity is well worth the effort. All great people are marked by their creative expression . To help keep momentum going through the year I wrote a blog post: Simple Tips to Keep Your New Years Resolutions Alive. I hope it helps. 
    http://worklikeanartist.com/blog/keep-your-new-years-resolutions-alive

    Thanks to Michael for another great post.

  • Jenny H

    I was already considering shifting my wake up time when I read your morning person post a few weeks ago. Today I got up earlier to have breakfast with my husband before he left for work and stayed up to shower and get some work done before my boys got up. Tomorrow I will do the same. This is going to benefit my marriage, my family, and my job. Thanks for the proverbial kick in the pants. :)

  • http://www.judiholler.com/ Judi

    I love this … I believe a mentor is so important in buidling a successful happy life that is intentionally focused.   My favorite is #10.  As an improviser, we preach that in our work …. to play full out … to go for it … to not leave anything on the table … to take risks.  It’s a powerful think to know how to do and to not be afriad to DO IT!

  • http://urbangallivant.wordpress.com/ Rohit Gupta

    Your recommendations have always been helpful.
    Its funny how generosity always comes back, like some boomerang.

  • Pingback: “How to Give Yourself an Edge in Making 2013 Your Best Year Ever” | Michael Hyatt (read this now) | Wizwow's World

  • Richard Quinonez

    Just press forward and do one thing that moves you in some way toward your goal or project. If you have a day where you don’t get anything done give it to the Lord and let Him know that it was His in the first place and that you are committing all things to His care. What will happen is that you’ll experience a peace and a joy that gives you strength to persevere and focus on tomorrow. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” Phil 4:13 

  • Pingback: How to Give Yourself an Edge in Making 2013 Your Best Year Ever

  • http://lifeadvicethecoachingway.blogspot.com/ Angela Goodeve

    Hi Michael, I am getting caught up on reading some of the Fellow Top 50 Bloggers, and having some great reads today!  My favorite lesson from the list:  Life is not about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself…and like you said, making the right choices in line with your intuition along the way!  Congratulations on second place, and you deserve it, what a wealth of information here, I am humbled to be on the same list as you! :)

  • Pingback: The Plate Spinning Artist

  • Pingback: 20,000 Days and Counting {A Review}

  • Pingback: Book Review: 20,000 Days and Counting | Youth Leaders Academy