A Letter To A Friend: How To Spend Your Time


I just googled that.

Literally, I just typed “how should I spend my time” in my chrome browser, putting full faith in Google’s algorithm to allocate the remaining hours of my life to specific activities and behaviors.

Halfway thru a the clickbait-y top result, I decided that I was in a better position than Jason Demers, the Inc writer, to answer my question.

So, I decided to do something weird.

I am going to pretend that I am my own best friend.

And I am going to write him a letter with my opinion.

Then, raw and unfiltered, I am going to post it on the internet.

Here we go.

Hey Mike – I’ve been struggling lately with how to use my time: I’m trying to balance work vs. fun, saving vs. spending, how many and of what quality relationships to maintain, and hedging against future unknowns vs. living in the present. Would love your thoughts. Thanks.




First, this is a champagne problem.

You live in a first world country and literally have never known suffering. You work a job you actually enjoy. You’re healthy, and so are your friends and family. You have it really really really really good.

Go live in Africa for a month.

Done. End of letter.

I’m kidding. Kind of. But seriously, try to be a bit more grateful.

Here are my thoughts…


On Ego & Business

Here is one problem I see: you place too much ego in outcomes and accomplishments.

You let your mood rise and fall in correlation with your alexa ranking or average views per video.

That’s a dangerous game. One that no one wins.

Because as you know, no matter how good you are… how ripped, rich, smart, or impressive your bench press, there is always someone better.

You know this, but sometimes it’s helpful to be reminded.

Instead, derive self-worth through effort, self-discipline, and probably most importantly: belief that you are worthy.

I know, it’s woo-woo.

But “fake it til you make it” is real. No one knows what the hell they are doing; some people just pretend better than others.


On Hedging Against An Unknown Future

Despite living in one of the greatest times in human history, you have a scarcity mindset when it comes to future resource availability.

While caution is good to an extent, you are hurting yourself by assuming x00k versus y00k in your bank account will make a difference if we face real danger in the future.

Marginal dollars earned won’t protect against doomsday scenarios.

So you have two options: you can go all in and live underground and bet the house on shit really hitting the fan, or you take a deep breath and take solace in the fact that if we get fucked we all get fucked together.

I’d recommend option B.

Stop worrying about the unknown. 99% of our fears and worries never come true.

Now, I am not saying you should stop saving money and throw your investment account into hookers and lines of preworkout, but you should be realistic about macro (not the food, meathead) economic conditions in the future.

Assume the world will be either slightly better or slightly worse than it is now, decide how much money you will need to live the life you want, and work towards having enough to comfortably satisfy those needs.

Not more. Not less.


On Intuition And Getting More Done Effortlessly

You want to know your biggest downfall?

Listen up, ’cause this is the most important point I’m going to make.

You currently cannot execute a decision without second-guessing that very decision as you make it.

Second-guessing is harmful because it 1) requires time 2) sucks mental energy and 3) often prevents you from even completing that action.

Which means you do each thing worse and you do fewer total things.

How can we change this?

Well, I truly believe your intuition is inherently good. I think that is the case for most people.

You need to believe this.

Because when you doubt your intuition, your action is muffled and modified as you let your perception of others’ reaction change the speed or authority of that action.

This sounds like mental gymnastics. And it probably is.

But here is the key takeaway: Your intuition is inherently good. It will produce net positive impact on the world if you just get out of its way and let it. Think less. Worry less. Do more. Then do the next thing.

It’s better to take 100,000 shots @ 97% accuracy than to only take 1,000 shot @ 100% accuracy.

Better to play 1m hands at 2bb than 100k hands at 2.5bb.

Got it?


On Relationships

You are selfish. Straight up my friend.

If you weren’t such a commitment-phobe, I would suggest a pet.

Maybe a fish is a good place to start.

For many relationships, primarily of the sexual variety, you never let a girl past a certain point. As soon as you feel the slightest hint of vulnerability, experience a connection of any reasonable depth, or believe there to be a chink in your armor, you bail.

Now, I’m not going to speculate about fear of rejection, abandonment issues, blah blah blah.. that could get embarrassing if this letter is intercepted and posted to the internet.

But here is what I want you and everyone in the world to know:

you are worthy if you believe you are worthy and you are not if you believe you are not.

Being “good enough” is a choice.

It’s not something that can be won or achieved.

There is no amount of strength, no body fat percentage, no stack of cash, or accumulation of double taps to make you enough.

Rather, you have to tell yourself you are, because you are.

And eventually you start to believe it.


On Fun

You don’t appear to have a lot of fun haha.

Most of the places you commit time are productive tasks: business goals, fitness goals, personal goals.

This is all well and dandy, but what do you like to do?

You should probably do some of that. And schedule those fun things. 

Parkinson’s law states the work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

For example, if you scheduled a night in AC rather than leaving a “free half day” maybe you would have watched a few less Elliot Hulse videos (aka ‘writing breaks’) and gotten this shit posted to sooner.

Err, I mean,should have. One of us… should have.

Basically, don’t trade a night in AC for consuming youtube content.

Schedule fun shit. Every week, ideally.


On Social Media Overuse

Any time you are going to consume content, ask why you are doing that.

It is SO EASY to consume.

Articles, videos, shows, movies, podcasts. Content is everywhere.

And most of it sucks.

Heck, you’ve put out stuff that sucks.

You need to be relentless about cutting excess consumption.

Currently, you do fairly well here; you don’t consume much media.

I think this is wise.

People could learn from you. Even if that means they stop following you or stop reading your blog. That would be a good thing for certain people.

Content needs to meet a certain level of entertainment or education to be worthy of consumption.

Keep reading books.

Keep seeing good movies.

Keep a small rotation blogs, youtube channels, and shows.

But limit all consumption motivated by boredom.

There is no reason to be in the depths of your newsfeed reading idiotic arguments between people you don’t know about Donald Trump or whether the lives of an entire race matter.

Growth comes from creating, not from consuming.


On The Perfect Plan

It is better to diligently follow a decent plan than to stew over the creation of a perfect plan.

Here’s what I mean: Get your day on paper and then do it.

Don’t stop during your third task and spend 45 minutes debating whether or not that task would be a better fit for Thursday.

Spend a little time making a plan. Then spend a lot of time executing the plan.

Without 2nd guessing the plan. Without veering off of the plan.

Just fucking do the plan.


On Getting What You Want

No one knows exactly what they want.

Just start doing things, one at time.

Try things you might like. Give each an honest shot. Go deep. Then periodically step back and objectively evaluate whether it’s something you wish to continue.

Some parting words…

  1. Be friendly to strangers
  2. Smile to create your own happiness
  3. Get a fish
  4. Follow the plan
  5. Don’t make a new plan
  6. Relentlessly execute one task at a time
  7. Create constantly
  8. Consume wisely
  9. Trust your intuition 100%

Love you bro.

Alright, I’ll let you jump in here so you can do your gimmicky sign off 🙂

Subscribe” to your newsletter, or whatever.

Why do you even have an email list… you don’t even sell to them!



Michael John Vacanti Jr.

House Stark

Gryffindor, Beater

Macro Estimator Extraordinaire

Belieber Since ’08

“Big Time” on snapchat

Comments for This Entry

  • Jayne

    Great post! I really enjoyed reading this and you should probably write more like it! I did something similar this past week, didn't come out as post worthy as yours lol, but it really does help looking outside of yourself and giving advice as a "your own bff". My fav. part was "Growth comes from creating, not from consuming," because I'm so guilty of that. I'm probably turning it into an quote pic for my IG account. Keep up the great work.

    February 14, 2016 at 12:55 am | Reply to this comment

  • Alam Burgos

    Hey Mike! This was yet another fantastic post. First off, it was an incredibly creative way of delivering great messages (you can't tell the future so just trust it'll all come together, trust your gut, and creation > consumption just to name a few). Next, the actual delivery was phenomenal. The "best friend" actually sounded like a someone who know you to your core and tells you the truth even if they know it'll hurt. And lastly, the transparency you brought with this post is beyond inspiring. It's not just me taking 40 minute breaks to watch a tony Robbins video, and knowing that is comforting yet motivating. You'll be improving and as will I. So thank you!! <3

    February 14, 2016 at 2:25 am | Reply to this comment

  • Dennis

    Hi Mike, I really like how you more and more start being yourself. On Snapchat, on the blog and everything. The number one reason why I am sure you will continue to get better and "successful" is that your true personality always shines through. People don't follow your content. They follow the person that creates the good content (Which of course is necessary, too). Just keep on doing it - Exactly the right way. Short note: I was doing/trying to lose body fat with Slow Carb Diet from T.Ferriss. Worked a little but now, Counting these macros, I have a lot more fun, a lot more results and can have some chocolate icecream on the way anyways. Thanks for inspiring, brother and greetings from Hamburg, Germany. Dennis

    February 14, 2016 at 4:04 am | Reply to this comment

  • Jason burch

    You constantly push out great content. Not sure if I'll ever meet you but you motivate me daily from these blogs to snapchat, thank you.

    February 14, 2016 at 10:23 am | Reply to this comment

  • Justin Osmer

    This was great Mike. There were really awesome parts that related to friends in my life so I forwarded the article to them. Especially the relationship section, basically described my buddy Chris. I got something out of this for sure. I struggle with some of the same issues so it's receiving knowing others have the same issues. Keep up everything you're doing because its awesome!

    February 14, 2016 at 11:25 am | Reply to this comment

  • Romeo

    Mike, decent article. False motivation is still motivation, if you are like me, you will always be your biggest obstacle because you dont settle for mediocrity. Stay motivated and remember hard times dont last, hard people do #HTDLHPD

    February 16, 2016 at 9:37 am | Reply to this comment

  • Radley Cardente

    Damn! There's so many good points in this article. I've got to re read it and start taking notes so I can apply these to my life. Loved the read, it was especially worth it right before bed. Got a lot of things to ponder tonight! Thanks again Mike.

    February 16, 2016 at 9:39 am | Reply to this comment

  • Mukwenda

    That was awesome how "your friend" was giving you advice. But really, that is a very vulnerable thing to do and it brought me a lot of value and answered a lot of questions I had on the inside. So thank you. And when you get the chance add me on snapchat. My username is: mukwenda Thanks man!

    February 16, 2016 at 9:43 am | Reply to this comment

  • Saad

    This one I thoroughly enjoyed, bro. Gonna try to implement some of the thought process you outline. Thank you!

    February 16, 2016 at 9:45 am | Reply to this comment

  • Ben Supik

    My favorite article yet, Mike. Parkinson's law is so true! And the overarching concept of so much of what our life entails is based on mindset and choice. Nicely done!

    February 16, 2016 at 10:20 am | Reply to this comment

  • Matt McLeod

    Beautiful. You're also apparently writing directly to me. Except for the relationship part, lol, spot on my friend. Loved it!

    February 16, 2016 at 10:25 am | Reply to this comment

  • Filipe

    I wish I was nearby you so I could shake your hand and say "well played sir, excellent points!" Things that I identify myself with: "Assume the world will be either slightly better or slightly worse than it is now, decide how much money you will need to live the life you want, and work towards having enough to comfortably satisfy those needs." People tend to worry to much about money and end up forgetting about life. "Content needs to meet a certain level of entertainment or education to be worthy of consumption." I try to remind me of this everyday, the amount of useless arguments and content grows exponentially by the second. "Relentlessly execute one task at a time" Also something to constantly remind myself of. No slacking, baby steps, use the momentum. You are one hell of a writer and content creator Mike Congrats man =D

    February 16, 2016 at 11:01 am | Reply to this comment

  • Mimi Routh

    Hoo-boy! Mike, it sounds like you've been communing with Stuart Wilde. I've read Infinite Self, but the audio version gave me some real break-throughs -- on which I can base great new decisions. [Cultivate gratitude, stop criticizing, control anger, be more grateful, walk in nature, etc.] I LOVE your limit all consumption motivated by boredom and I LOVE Growth comes from creating, not from consuming. And creating doesn't mean what they're marketing to the ladies -- stupid pricey needlework kits where all the thinking has already been done! How creative is that! Yesterday I mended the sole of a Birkie with chopped-up cork and special glue. I also mended a glitch on my new nightgown with a flower stitched over the boo-boo. For you, I'd add: meditate every day. Also if your family isn't toxic, be there for them, mentor younger siblings. Then reach out to learn and also to teach skills. Get survival skills! If you know anyone who has a back yard, garden with them, don't just sit on their patio with a beer complaining about things. Learn camp/balcony cooking for if the power goes out. Think about hanging onto small attractive items for barter; don't be too minimalist unless you're closing your apartment and "doing airport." Since we met, I've quit FaceBook and lost 10 pounds. Life is good. Be well, you! Keep on keeping-on -- Cecil Williams, Glide Memorial Church, San Francisco.

    February 16, 2016 at 11:29 am | Reply to this comment

  • Darryl

    Great perspective. Kinda crazy so many of us don't know how to spend our time wisely. Keep it simple and enjoy the process I always believe. Thanks for the time put into this.

    February 16, 2016 at 11:41 am | Reply to this comment

  • Michele

    Nice to know that many of us have the same issues. The part regarding consuming too much content was right on point. Great post.

    February 16, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Robert Gillespie

    Another great post. Your thoughts on Intuition and Getting Stuff Done is bang on. Couldn't agree more with your analogy. And the poker reference so reminds me of my biggest downfall when I played a lot online back in the height of the Full Tilt days! I was way to tight a player, always thinking the worst!

    February 16, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Ashley Criso

    After almost blog post I think I tell you, "Best one yet!", but this one seriously wins. Best takeaway: Being “good enough” is a choice. Love it, live it, done. Best thing you wrote this year was that one line. You really continue to impress me with your self awareness and relateability Best, Ashley

    February 16, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Aimee

    Not much to say other than I like this post soooo much. It really spoke to me. Thank you for writing it :-)

    February 16, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Megan

    Very positive uplifting post!!! Great advice on maximizing time and being mindful of what media we consume. Also for sure get a fish!! So zen/relaxing :)

    February 16, 2016 at 8:49 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Joy

    Thank you for being you :) https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en

    February 16, 2016 at 9:30 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Paula

    I needed this more than you will ever know. :-) Thank you Mike for doing what you do.

    February 16, 2016 at 9:57 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Brittany Masters

    Great read! I definitely needed this post. As a full-time working mom, I tend to try for perfection instead of enjoying life more. Thank you!

    February 17, 2016 at 3:35 am | Reply to this comment

  • Deb H

    Thank you for your thoughts and insights.... I think I need to sit down and do a similar type letter to myself. Your words are really food for thought!

    February 17, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Wil Jacoby

    Great job! I definitely need to follow this advice. I have fallen into consuming and not creating. Thanks bro! (Just became a belieber)

    February 17, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Shannon

    Dear Shannon, You'll come across a particular letter. It's not addressed to you, but the words are incredibly applicable just the same. You'll read it, and it will resonate with you. Bookmark it. You'll want to reread again. The words, though simple and direct, provide profound advice. You'll even impart some of that insight on an inquiring friend the very next day. So go out and execute your work. Reach your goals by remaining present. Invest your time performing actions, rather than just thinking about it. Just do it. Your biggest fan, Shannon Barr P.S. Be sure to thank the writer ;)

    February 18, 2016 at 1:31 am | Reply to this comment

  • Carley

    Mike - thank you for this letter. I now have a post-it note on my computer at work that reads "Just fucking do the plan."

    February 18, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Rebecca

    BELIEBERS unite. I like you 654x more now... thought you should no. #loveyourself

    February 18, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Didi

    Love you Mike! Good job with that post. I´m from Slovakia (so I hope you will greet Slovakia in your video ;P ) By the way, you are Belieber?? Really? (y) I can´t believe it...I´m too. :) Hope to see you one day in person. :) With love Didi <3

    February 22, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Troy

    And the binge consumption of mike vicanti content caps off with THIS! Well, for now, at least. I know you're regularly pumping them out like reps in a workout. A little about myself, I FINALLY made the decision to start my own fitness/lifestyle/dating content. I'm at ground zero, no competition here, brotha'. I just wanted to first immerse myself in what I considered was the best guys that are already in the world I'm trying to dive in. It was Roman... then you... It's time to get started. Thanks for the inspiration, and the honest bro talk. 90% of that felt like you were talking to me too.

    February 24, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Tarah G

    I love this post so much. I really appreciate your more vulnerable posts that get peppered in with the fitness pieces. Great work! <3

    February 26, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Mark Vaykhanskiy

    This is awesome! I had a few interesting insights right there, thanks!

    February 27, 2016 at 2:52 am | Reply to this comment

  • headlettucedeb

    GREAT post! My very favorite part: Growth comes from creating, not from consuming. Such a great reminder to not get sucked in, and to consume wisely. And I agree with you that we are indeed worthy and enough. Thanks again!

    March 16, 2016 at 3:47 am | Reply to this comment

  • Julie

    You had me at Gryffendor! Kidding- but it helped. I love your tone and authenticity. Several people shared your video with me and it hit the right note at just the right time and spurred me to your site. After crawling all over it and signing up, I am inspired. I live with a host of chronic issues and have allowed them to hold me back and complicate things further. As I sit here looking at a photo of myself....about 15 years and more pounds ago than I care to evaluate what I have realized in reading your blog today is that though there are days that I can barely even get out of bed- even those days I can do something. More importantly, even if I start small to work my way back, the most important thing is to start. It may not be the exact message you were going for, but it's an important one for me- so thank you.

    March 16, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Diana

    Absolutely mind changing! Growth comes from creating not from consuming was my favorite! Thanks for creating this!

    March 19, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Magentheren Susitheren

    Seriously need to get a fish Mike. If you need help or advice on it, I'm willing to help you out ;) Great post. One of the content that belongs to the "Don't suck" part of the content world. Love your hustle.

    March 27, 2016 at 5:09 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Casey

    Thanks Mike! A new follower, but in love with your work. So inspiring. I have the same exact interests as you my friend. Love fitness, I love writing and I love helping others! This has lot a bit of a fire under my ass to get back to writing. I've started a blog a long while back and I'm so random on blogging that there's not a lot on there. biggest reason was mentioned in this article. I have to have my next post better than the last. Now understanding that... I am enticed to start blogging again. Thanks again Mike! Hope all is well my friend!

    April 14, 2016 at 1:50 am | Reply to this comment

  • Lee

    I too waste too much of my day without even thinking about it. Is it really necessary wasting half an hour flicking through the comments of a LAD bible post because a handful of people are throwing yo' mumma jokes at each other?! No, however I've recently found your blog and have been spending more and more time reading stuff beneficial to myself (first blog read ever that isn't car related may I add). Really like your writing, it comes across as human! We can't all track macros 100% of the time, turning down invites to see an old friend for a beer all the time and you get this...just help us understand how to deal with it better! I've just started tracking macros and you're really helping, although I'm struggling putting meals together that consistently meet the goals...ill get there!

    May 1, 2016 at 5:00 am | Reply to this comment

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