Improving Success With Escapism

Why you need to escape work to be successful at it.

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Recently, I was reading a book (which is usually how these articles get started). It was called The Anatomy of Success by Nicolas Darvas.
 Darvas was an interesting guy. Back in the days of JP Morgan and Cornelius Vanderbilt, Darvas started as one of the world’s greatest dancers, then got into business. He made $2 million trading on the stock market.
 One thing he strongly advocated for in his book was escapism.
 Every truly successful person I’ve ever meet or read about has a hobby that provides him or her with escapism. The opportunity to escape somewhere at some time in our daily lives to free our mind and improve personal happiness is so important to obtaining and sustaining success.

 Types of Escapism
 Marketing expert Gary Vaynerchuk talks about how the NY Jets are his form of escapism. He talks about hustling all the time, claiming that if you’re not happy with your financial standing you should work harder. But then he balances out that advice with the idea that even he, the King of Hustle, still has four hours every Sunday where he completely disconnects.
 I work out every day I possibly can, unless I’m driving or traveling. I usually do this with my son.
 Secondly, I travel often. I get out of South Dakota twice a month, whether it’s just to Minneapolis or someplace in Southern California or Florida etc.
 Back when I first started Cash Cow Farmer, my 25-hour drives to Southern California were extremely useful. I’d go through the mountains in the car and crush books on tape. Books are another form of escapism for me, but simply driving the car is time where you mentally meditate.
 James Carbary, my co-host on the Cash Cow Farmer podcast, escapes by watching movies. He loves spending time with his wife and friends, and combines that with watching movies. That allows him to disconnect, not focus on the daily grind of business, and not worry about whether an invoice is going to get paid or if a deal is going to go through.
 Travel resonates with him, too: when he’s flying or driving, those times are effective. He listens to books on tape, tends to consume business content, and thinks proactively. Then as he stops for breaks to eat or whatever, he can download those ideas.
 But he usually doesn’t pay for Wi-Fi on planes, so there are long chunks of time where he’s either meditating or casting vision for his business, goal-setting, reflecting, celebrating, and taking notes.
 Any time you change your vibration of thinking to a higher level, I’d say that’s healthy. Goal-setting for example may not technically be escapism in the same way that watching a movie is, but it’s still really good for you.
 When I’m reading books, the business challenges I’m facing tend to come to me, even if the book is totally unrelated to the challenge. I get ideas in the gym, too. A lot of people get ideas in the shower.
 Hobbies are forms of escapism, too. My dad restores antique cars. A lot of farmers do that, or northern farmers like to go to Arizona, California, or Mexico, and that’s a great way to escape.
 Buffett and Munger read like crazy. That’s their escape.
 I would just say make sure your escapism is healthy, though. Some people drink and party and escape by going to bars constantly, but that’s not healthy. Take a step outside yourself and ask what areas of healthy escapism you can improve upon. If it’s partying, maybe it’s cutting out drinking, or maybe it’s absorbing yourself in sports, like Vaynerchuk.

 Do something proactively that breaks the normal pattern for you. Try to figure out when you had your last a-ha moment, the last breakthrough in your business. How can you reverse-engineer that happening again?
 Put it on the calendar. Bake it into your pattern.

 What can you do to improve your personal happiness? Because without personal happiness, success is very difficult to achieve.
  Happy personal live = happy professional life.

If you want to connect with me, email me at
 This post was based on an episode of the Cash Cow Farmer Podcast. To hear more content like this in audio form, subscribe to the show here.


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Scott Anderson

Cash Cow Farmer Founder/CEO, Scott Anderson, grew up on the family farm in Andover, South Dakota. He is a second generation farmer with a passion for farming, marketing, analytics, and software development.