My palms were sweating. I was sick in my stomach. I could feel the tension building up in my body.
Then I did it.
I pressed the mouse button to make one of the scariest decisions I’ve made in a while.
I waited for a moment. Nothing.
The next moment, relief slowly started kicking in. The tension in my body slowly started to release. The stomach started to untangle. It felt like a huge rock was dropping off my shoulders. And slowly, a smile formed on my face.
I had just deleted my Facebook account.
When I announced the day before that I would be doing that, and encouraged my Facebook friends to reach out to me via email in the future, the reactions were mixed.
Some of them said “good for you!”. Some said “I wanted to do the same but never did it”. Some said “Are you sure you want to do this?” And some of them were just sad.
But everyone had one thing in common – they were shocked.
Over the past few years, I’ve built a decent following and reputation on Facebook, and whenever I posted something on my wall or in one of the communities I was a part of, I would always get a big response, which would help me spread the word about my work.
I also used Facebook to connect with and stay in touch with a lot of online entrepreneurs. Nowadays messaging with someone on Facebook is one of the easiest ways to start or continue building a relationship. All it takes is to open and app and shoot a message to someone you want to talk to. Being an entrepreneur I had to use the app to communicate with a lot of people.
And of course, if you’re not on Facebook nowadays, you’re “missing out”. You’re missing out on birthday party invites, interesting events you could attend, posts in Facebook groups that could be valuable for your business, potential publicity opportunities, and so on.
By quitting Facebook, I would throw all of those opportunities away and could potentially hurt my business and my relationships.
But even though all of those things are true, quitting Facebook wasn’t a shock or a radical decision for me. It was more like a logical next step and something that I saw coming.
To fully understand why I made this decision (and why it really isn’t that surprising), we need to go back in time for a few months.
Table of Contents
- 1 THE CONVERSATION THAT CHANGED MY LIFE
- 2 HOW I STARTED MY JOURNEY OF BECOMING A PROFESSIONAL ENTREPRENEUR
- 3 MY SERENDIPITOUS TRIP TO ISRAEL
- 4 PURSUING THE ROAD TO EXCELLENCE AND MASTERY
- 5 THE COST OF BEING ON FACEBOOK
- 6 WHY I QUIT FACEBOOK
- 7 “BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL THE BENEFITS OF FACEBOOK?”
- 8 WHAT MY LIFE IS LIKE AFTER FACEBOOK
- 9 SHOULD YOU QUIT FACEBOOK TOO?
- 10 WHAT TO DO NEXT
THE CONVERSATION THAT CHANGED MY LIFE
A few months ago I was having a conversation with a client and a friend, Allon.
Allon is a high-performance coach for online entrepreneurs and he has managed three #1 tennis players in the world, including Novak Djokovic.
Allon wanted to find a few online entrepreneurs to work with and help them become high performers and top authorities in the online business world.
As he mentioned that, I thought to myself: “Damn, I wish I could work with Allon!” And then it dawned on me. Why couldn’t I? I told Allon that I’d be happy to become his first mentee if he’s interested in working with me – and he said yes.
That single conversation a few months ago completely changed the trajectory of my life in the future months. It was the beginning of my journey to “stop messing around” and become a professional online entrepreneur.
I was sick and tired of running my business as a hobby and in a half-assed way. I knew I could perform on a really high level, but I struggled with doing it consistently. I had times when I would write tens of thousands or words a week and create a ton of incredible content, but I also had times when I just wasted my time on email, Facebook and other addictions without really creating any meaningful work.
I was hoping that Allon would help me break out of that and perform on a high level consistently by helping me build the right mindsets, habits and character. I was willing to do whatever it takes to get there.
HOW I STARTED MY JOURNEY OF BECOMING A PROFESSIONAL ENTREPRENEUR
The first thing that we did with Allon was start working on creating the so-called “power blocks”, which he talks about in his Ultimate Guide to High Performance. These were uninterrupted windows of highly focused work where I would go to a coffee shop for a few hours before and after my workout and just crank out some writing.
This single habit already made a huge impact on my business, and I was able to write 102,522 words of remarkable content in 28 days of writing shortly after we started working together. I wrote the whole email sequence for the Ultimate Guide System plus a few long and detailed blog posts that you can find on my blog.
The next habit we started working on were the so-called “online blocks”. These were block of time during which I was supposed to take care of all my email, coaching done in my Ultimate Guide System community, browsing and checking Instagram and Facebook.
Out of all the habits that we worked on with Allon, this one was the hardest one to form (or rather break). I’ve tried staying off from social media and mindless browsing with limited success in the past, and this time was no different.
Sure, I was able to drastically decrease the time I spent on browsing, and that helped. But I still found myself regularly checking my phone to see “if there’s anything new”. I would check my email multiple times a day. I would do the same with Facebook notifications and Facebook messages. Then I would go on to check my Instagram account and the different news websites. And sometimes over the weekend, I would go on YouTube and start watching random YouTube videos.
I often spent hours and hours mindlessly browsing the internet when I wasn’t at my coffee shop writing. When I had a 15-minute break, I would always check my phone. I hate to admit it but I was addicted to it. I always had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I should “check what’s new”.
The worst part of it was that I was “one of those people” that constantly stared their phones. When I was hanging out with my girlfriend in the evening, we were often on our phones. When we were hanging out with our friends the same thing happened. And even when I was visiting my family for lunch I sometimes constantly checked the phone. The same thing happened when I was waiting in line at a grocery store, and (this is the worst of all) sometimes even while driving.
It was clear to me that being addicted to the internet was bad for me. Not only did it put me in danger while driving, it also wasn’t good for my business (I could be reading books during that time) and horrible for my relationships. My girlfriend often got mad at me for being on my phone all the time, and she was right.
This went on for a few weeks, until a few other things happened that helped me get rid of my internet addiction.
MY SERENDIPITOUS TRIP TO ISRAEL
Allon and I are both huge sports fans and we often chat about how our teams are doing. One Monday morning he sent me a random message saying “Hey, if you want to be super spontaneous you can visit me in Israel this weekend. Slovenia is playing Israel in a friendly basketball match, and we could go see it together!”
To most people it would seem crazy to go to Israel on a 2-day notice, and they’d never do it. Me? I love taking trips like these. I needed a vacation anyway, and I loved the idea of spending a few days with Allon and sinking in all of his wisdom. So I bought my flight tickets and made it to Israel the next Thursday.
During our trip we made it to the basketball match (where Slovenia unfortunately lost):
But while the basketball match was nice, it wasn’t the highlight of the trip. Hanging out with Allon for a few days was.
Allon is different than most people. As soon as you start talking to him, you notice that he’s clearly an expert at what he does. He seems like he has a great answer to every single question related to high performance. It didn’t matter whether I asked him about money management, deep focused work, overcoming self-doubt or anything else. He always knew how to give me incredibly valuable advice.
Over the few days that I stayed with him we had countless incredible conversations – more than I would usually have in a year. We were constantly talking about how to become better in different areas of our lives while chilling by the pool or taking a long walk on the beach.
Even though I learned an incredible amount over the few days I spent in Israel, the knowledge itself wasn’t the most powerful thing for me. The most valuable thing of all was seeing the lifestyle of a true high performer.
Allon lives a very different life from most people. He doesn’t spend almost any time on Facebook or email. He doesn’t constantly check his phone. Throughout my whole trip, I haven’t even seen him sit behind a computer once.
Instead, he’s actually focusing on living a life. He’s always present when he talks to you. He spends a lot of time reading, learning, meditating, having great conversations, playing with his son and his dog, or talking to his wife. And it seems like he’s genuinely happy while he does that. He’s not constantly worrying or stressing out about emails or rapidly checking social media.
As I watched Allon and his life, I realized that this is the lifestyle that I wanted to have. I want to live a rich, abundant lifestyle where I help a lot of people, but I don’t want to be checking emails for 5 hours a day.
Seeing Allon living this lifestyle AND being extremely successful made me realize that success doesn’t need to come with sacrificing your whole life. Instead, I had the feeling that this lifestyle that Allon created for himself actually fuels his success.
PURSUING THE ROAD TO EXCELLENCE AND MASTERY
As I spent more and more time with Allon, it soon became clear that he reads and learns a TON. He has taken hundreds of online courses. He has read thousands of books. He has been consistently focused on learning and improving himself for the last 20 years.
It started to make sense to me WHY I was getting that feeling that he “knows everything” and seeing him as an incredibly wise expert. It was because over the last 20 years, he did two things consistently. He learned, and he put the advice into action.
Over the years, he has accumulated an enormous bank of knowledge and expertise that now makes it seem like he effortlessly knows a solution to every single problem you might be having.
I realized that that’s one of the things I haven’t been doing as well as I would have wanted to. I knew that I could learn, improve and grow my business very quickly when I learned a lot in the past, but I wasn’t regularly doing that lately. Allon told me that creating a routine where I for example improve my writing every single day would have a HUGE impact on my business in the long run, and I agreed with him.
When I came home from Israel, I made a commitment to myself to figure out how to truly become an expert and achieve mastery. My chosen area of expertise? Writing. My goal is to become one of the top 5 writers in the online business world – a goal that is absolutely achievable, and a goal that won’t just magically “happen”, but will need to be achieved through a lot of deliberate hard work.
In order to figure out HOW to get there, I began rapidly learning about mastery, excellence and expertise. I read books like So Good They Can’t Ignore You and Deep Work by Cal Newport, I read the Talent Myth from Matthew Wallace, I listened to a few episodes of the Finding Mastery podcast from Michael Gervais, I listened to a few interviews from people like Derek Halpern, T Harv Eker and so on – all in a matter of weeks.
The more books I read and the more interviews I listened to, the more clarity I had about how to become a true expert.
Here are a few crucial things that I learned:
#1 – There is no such thing as talent
Mozart wasn’t a musical prodigy when he was born. Tiger Woods didn’t become an incredible golfer because of his “talent”. Most of the olympic medal winners don’t become olympic medal winners because of their “gifts”.
All incredibly successful from different walks of life have one thing in common: They worked their asses off to become insanely good at what they did. In most cases, a lot of them had access to great teachers and opportunities to practice their when they were extremely young, getting thousands of hours of practice in when their competitors weren’t even thinking about golfing.
Because they put in so many hours of quality practice so early on in their careers, they were far superior to their competitors who started training at a later age, and seemed like prodigies, when in reality they really just had the unfair advantage of putting in more quality practice.
The emphasis here is on QUALITY practice. Anders Ericsson, one of the top sports psychologists out there called this “deliberate practice”. Cal Newport calls it “deep work”.
Regardless of what we call it, the reality is that if you want to get really freaking good at something, you need to put in the high quality, focused, and often uncomfortable work.
If I for example played tennis for 10 hours a week for 10 years with a friend, would I get better? Absolutely. But if I never actually practiced it and just played, I wouldn’t become a world class tennis player.
If on the other hand I hired an amazing coach for 1on1 lessons and spent 5 hours a week practicing with him, while spending the other 5 hours playing matches or attending tournaments, chances are I would become a world-class tennis player over the course of 10 years as I would put in thousands and thousands of hours of high quality practice.
This was an important realization for me because until I dug into it, I subconsciously believed that some people are just “more gifted or talented” than me, and made me feel helpless. Now I see that’s not true, which made me realize that I can become an expert at anything I want to, IF I’m willing to put in the hard work.
#2 – You can be an expert at anything in 10 years
One of the things that Allon constantly reminds me of is that you can achieve anything you want to in 10 years.
Originally I had trouble believing that, and imagining it for myself. Could I really become a Hollywood actor in 10 years? Could I really run a billion dollar business? Could I really become a professional footballer in that time frame?
As I explored “the talent myth” and realized that the practice is really what turns you into an expert, it all started to make sense.
You’ve probably heard of the “10,000 hour rule” to become an expert. Cal Newport talks about this rule in So Good They Can’t Ignore You, where he makes the point that just 10,000 hours isn’t enough – 5,000 of those 10,000 hours need to be deliberate practice.
He proves that thesis by a study that was done on professional chess players. The chess players that spent 9,000 hours out of the 10,000 hours playing tournament games (and not studying how to get better at chess) became intermediate players. The players that spent 5,000 out of the 10,000 hours studying their game and the games of other people became grandmasters.
Coincidentally, you can only get about 1,000 hours of really highly focused practice in every year (as highly focused practice is tiring and straining), which means that you’ll likely need about 10 years to put in the 10,000 hours and become really great at what you do.
Hearing about this I started to BELIEVE that I could achieve anything I wanted to with 10 years of deliberate practice and constant improvement. It would be hard NOT to become great at what I do if I really put in the years of hard work and daily improvement.
#3 – Removing distractions is the key to consistently progressing towards mastery
As I listened to some of the Finding Mastery interviews with Michael Gervais (he’s the mental toughness coach for Seattle Seahawks and from Felix Baumgartner, the guy who took a balloon to the space and jumped from it), I could see the same pattern repeating over and over again.
The athletes that became the best in the world at what they did were focused on improving themselves every day through deliberate practice, and spending as much time as possible “in the zone” of presence, calm and focus. This focus is what enables them to get in the thousands of hours of high quality practice that helps them become the best in the world at what they do.
This made me realize that just “trying to learn something new every day” wasn’t enough. I needed to find big blocks of focused, uninterrupted time in my schedule where I could learn and improve my skills. If I managed to do that, then failing to improve really wouldn’t be an option any more.
This is where quitting Facebook and social media comes in.
THE COST OF BEING ON FACEBOOK
As I’ve mentioned in the beginning of this article, Facebook has a lot of benefits for an online entrepreneur. But few people really consider the cost and the downsides of being on Facebook.
For me, Facebook (and other social media like Instagram) was not only a considerable time suck. It was also something that my brain was constantly thinking about, and taking my focus away.
I constantly thought to myself “I need to see if there’s something new.” “I need to check if someone messaged me.” “I need to see how people liked my blog post that I just published.”
Even if I logged out of Facebook, set myself set hours to access it, or even blocked my access to it through apps like Freedom, it didn’t help.
I still felt like my brain was wired and addicted to it. It was always in the back of my mind. I need to check Facebook. I need to check Instagram. I need to check my email. I need to check news websites. I had that thought in the back of my mind over and over again, and it took away my focus from the tasks at hand.
On top of that, there was the obvious browsing Facebook (which isn’t really helpful), responding (or feeling guilty for not responding) to messages from random people who would message me, or replying to questions in the Facebook comments that would continue to suck out my time and energy.
Even if I managed not to check Facebook when I was writing, I still checked it every chance that I would get. On the toilet, in the elevator, sometimes even in the car. I often spent a lot of time on it in the evening, rather than spending quality time with my friends, family or my girlfriend, or reading to improve myself.
Being on social media was hurting my business and my lifestyle, and I knew I had to do something about it.
WHY I QUIT FACEBOOK
By the time I quit Facebook last Saturday, the decision was quite easy to make. It was a “gut feeling” decision. I knew it was the right thing to do.
As I’ve spent a lot of my time thinking about what my big vision of what I want to achieve in 10 years is and studying the HOW to get there, I realized that I was SAYING that I wanted to achieve these incredible feats, but what I was DOING wasn’t getting me there as fast as I could.
I realized that if I really wanted to become an expert at what I do, reach all of my goals and live this incredible life that’s similar to Allon’s life, I needed to live a lifestyle that would help me get there. I would have to spend a lot of time each day on deep, focused work to get better at my craft. I would need to spend a lot of time learning, reading, and listening to rapidly gain new knowledge. I would need to spend the rest of the time doing the things I loved and spending quality time with loved ones.
Being on social media didn’t fit into either of those things. It wasn’t deep work. It wasn’t deep learning. And it wasn’t spending quality time.
In that moment when I had that realization, I knew that Facebook needed to go. I was nervous when I made the decision to delete my account, but on the other hand I knew it was the right thing to do.
I pulled the trigger and pressed that DELETE button. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
“BUT WHAT ABOUT ALL THE BENEFITS OF FACEBOOK?”
In the grand scheme of things, quitting Facebook was an easy decision for me. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t worry about “missing out” on all the benefits of it. I definitely had a bitter taste in my mouth as I pressed that button.
There were 3 major concerns I had towards quitting Facebook, and this is how I worked through them:
#1 – “I won’t be able to promote my content through Facebook anymore”
When I share something remarkable on my Facebook account, many of my Facebook friends read, comment or share it. It’s one of the easiest ways to spread my work in a matter of minutes, and can bring hundreds or even thousands of new visitors to my website with the small viral effect that happens.
Not posting my content on Facebook any more will take away from my website traffic, email subscriber growth and sales for sure. And yet, that’s the sacrifice I’m willing to make.
As I’ve built a bigger and bigger following and a reputation on Facebook, it became comfortable to just create content and spread the word about it there. A lot of people in my audience would read whatever I wrote anyway, and a lot of them would share my content with others if they saw that I wrote something new.
I was also a part of a few online communities where I had a lot of authority, and where I could continue to spread the word about this content.
The problem with all of this was that it became too comfortable for me. Yes, sharing my content on Facebook would attract thousands of visitors to my website every month, BUT that number wouldn’t drastically go up. It would consistently stay the same.
I realized that by focusing so much on promoting my content, I was taking away the focus from what REALLY matters – creating high quality content that people will read and feel compelled to share with others because of how good it is.
That would allow me to actually GROW my audience in the long run, and not only keep my existing audience engaged. I took it a step further and decided to create content that’s so good that people who know me (and people who don’t know me) will share it on Facebook and in different online communities even if I never share it there.
This new focus on really creating stellar content that people won’t be able to resist talking about is more in line with my goals and my future, and will be better for me in the long run than spending time promoting content on Facebook.
One concern down, two to go.
#2 – “I will miss out on all the relationships I could build through Facebook”
Facebook makes it easier than ever to connect with new people, or “stay in touch” with old friends and people that you meet through conferences and online.
I’ve been able to connect with quite a few people through Facebook and even chat with a few major online influencers regularly to stay in touch.
For a long time, I thought I would be “missing out” on these relationships if I get off Facebook. And the reality is that that might be true to some extent. Some people are more responsive through Facebook than they are through email. I might fall out of touch with some people that I used to talk to regularly.
On the other hand, it’s important to realize that Facebook is just a medium of communication. The way I see it, if you really want to connect with someone and they want to connect with you, you can usually reach them in another way. You can email them or jump on a Skype call with them.
One of the downsides of Facebook is that while it’s easy to “stay in touch”, I don’t think the relationships that you build through Facebook messages in MOST (but not all) cases are pretty surface level, and not the deep, lasting relationships.
I would argue that spending the same amount of time on Skype as I would spend messaging people on Facebook would actually be a lot better for creating a new relationship or staying in touch as that would add a lot more depth and focus to our conversations.
Looking at it from that angle, not being on Facebook might not be that bad. I’d rather do a few Skype calls with the people I want to stay in touch with every month than to spend the same amount (or even longer) messaging back and forth with them. It’s a bigger bang for your buck for everyone.
I believe staying off Facebook will actually be better for my relationships in the long run, as I won’t build the relationships the lazy way, and rather create deep, lasting relationships by focusing on actually spending quality time with people I care about.
#3 – “I’ll meet out on all the events that are happening around me!”
Facebook Events tool is pretty damn powerful. You can use it to organize meet ups and birthday parties within minutes and invite the cool people from your network to them in just a few clicks.
I acknowledge that by not being on Facebook, I’ll likely miss out on some of these events, as I might have no idea they were even happening.
Still, if I look at it from a similar lens as on building relationships, that’s not necessarily so bad. I know that the people who I’ll have strong relationships with will invite me to those events that they’re hosting anyway (another reason to focus on building strong relationships the old fashioned way).
I also know that if I regularly spend the time staying in touch with people that I care about, they’ll let me know if some cool events are happening out there, even if I don’t find them on Facebook myself. I know that I might still miss out on some of the events, but I’m sure I’ll still make it to the important ones.
These were the major reasons that prevented me from leaving Facebook. There are others of course (like not being able to do research in online Facebook groups etc.), and for every one of them I simply asked myself “how would I do this if Facebook didn’t exist?”. I was always able to find an answer within minutes, and in many cases it ended up leading to a higher quality activity than spending time on Facebook.
WHAT MY LIFE IS LIKE AFTER FACEBOOK
I quit Facebook last Saturday, and today it’s Friday. This means that I’ve been off from Facebook for almost a whole week now. You might be wondering what my life is like without Facebook. Is it really that different?
And for me, I’d have to say YES. It feels like so much has changed to the positive over the past week that it’s crazy.
First of all, I no longer have this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I “should check what’s new”. It’s gone. It’s like not having the feeling that I really need a beer right now. Not having this feeling is incredibly freeing and allows me to focus a lot better on what I’m doing – whether I’m writing or spending time with my girlfriend.
I notice that I now check my phone WAY less than I used to. I only really use my phone to send messages, make phone calls, read books or listen to audiobooks, and record videos in the gym. I don’t have Instagram and Facebook accounts any more, I can’t access email from my phone, and all of the websites I used to mindlessly browse are now blocked (Freedom app is awesome). The same thing is true for my laptop.
I can only really check email on my iMac that I have at home, and it’s incredibly freeing to not even have the option to check it otherwise.
Because of this, I find myself reading and learning a lot more, which feels awesome. I also feel like I’m really getting the most out of life by spending 95% of my days on high quality activities, whether that’s working, learning or spending quality time with people I care about.
Do I miss Facebook? Honestly, I don’t. I like feeling more free and less wired and addicted. I feel so much happier now that I’m not obsessing about all the things that are happening around me or things I’m missing out on, and just focusing on living a happy life where I’m steadily refining my craft and building a business that will impact millions of people all over the world.
Am I on Allon’s level yet? No, but I’m getting there. There are definitely things I still could be doing better like being even more present and concentrating better, letting my mind wander less etc., but that’s not something you change in a week. It’s something that changes through years of deliberate practice.
Quitting Facebook definitely feels like the right decision for me, and I have zero regrets about it. Now the question is… Should you do the same?
SHOULD YOU QUIT FACEBOOK TOO?
My opinion on whether you should quit Facebook / social media is two part:
– I don’t think EVERYONE should quit social media
– I do think that a lot of people would benefit from quitting social media
As mentioned in the beginning of this post, Facebook CAN be a great tool for building an online business. A lot of the business relationships I’ve built in the early days were through Facebook. I got a lot of help through different Facebook based online communities of online business courses when I was starting on with my online business. Being on Facebook definitely helped me jump start my online business and make a name out of myself online.
If you’re just starting out with your online business, Facebook can be a great tool that you can leverage for building an audience and the right relationships, if you actually use it very wisely and strategically to build the right relationships, do customer research and spread the word about what you do.
Having said that, there are two questions remaining:
#1 – Is Facebook the BEST way to achieve those goals? Or are there other alternatives that could be better / more powerful for what you want to accomplish?
#2 – Are you REALLY using Facebook in the best way possible (or are you wasting a ton of time on it)?
If you tend to spend way too much time on Facebook, limiting your time on it daily to a one hour block might be a good idea – or removing it completely (if you notice it distracts you from your important work way too much).
If you really want to dig into this, Cal Newport talks about quitting social media in his book Deep Work, which I highly recommend. He shares a framework that will help you decide for yourself what’s best for you.
What I can say is that quitting worked way better for me than limiting it to an hour a day because I tend to think about it a lot if I do have daily access to it. I’m the type of person that likes to either go “all out” on something or to not do something at all.
For me, this is definitely the right choice.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
What about you? Have you ever quit Facebook? Considered quitting it? Are you considering quitting it right now? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
Also – if you’re reading this and you’re running an online business, you’ll love my free e-book where I talk about the #1 strategy that I used to attract 278,958+ website visitors, 6,150+ email subscribers and made $300k+ in revenue with my online business. You can grab your free copy of it below!
P.S. Have a friend who’s addicted to Facebook and would benefit from reading this article, or a friend that’s successfully quit Facebook themselves? Send this article over to them!
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