How To Develop A Strategic Plan For Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | Calculated Risks How To Develop A Strategic Plan For Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | Calculated Risks

Create Your Escape Plan

Focus, Create And Grow Your Way To Intelligent Achievement

How To Develop A Strategic Plan For Becoming The Best Version Of Yourself

“Life is not a dress rehearsal. Stop practicing what you’re going to do and just go do it. In one bold stroke you can transform today.”  

Marilyn Monroe (Actress, The Seven Year Itch)  

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”

Seth Godin (Founder, Yoyodyne Entertainment) 

“Insanity—doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” 

Albert Einstein (Scientist and Nobel Laureate) 


If I had one more moment of contentment I was going to explode.

I had my doctorate.

I had a decent job.

I had a pretty good life.

I had everything I needed.

But I could feel myself getting dumber.

I could feel myself becoming less ambitious.

Less hungry.  

Every morning, after I showered, I would look in the mirror and see the drive and resolve leaving my face.

I had become complacent.

I had become “normal.”

I was sitting on a big fat plateau.  

You know when you take a new job or set a new goal and you’re really excited about it?

At first, if you’re like me, you have a ton of energy and you’re extremely focused so you learn very quickly and make great gains.

Then, slowly, your enthusiasm fades and your growth curve flattens out.

You’ve hit a plateau.

It feels good.

It feels like a great place to rest. 

After all, you’ve worked hard and you deserve a rest.

You’re moderately successful and other mediocre people have recognized you.

They’ve labeled you as “successful.”

But are you really a success?

Have you really achieved anything great?

Or are you just a loser?

Are you just fooling yourself?

I was definitely fooling myself.

I had let my environment make me weak.

Instead of taking on new challenges, I stayed comfortable.

I patted myself on the back for making it as far as I did in life.

It wasn’t until several months later that I realized I was sinking.

I was becoming just another average joke.

I was becoming a cautionary tale.

Finally, one day, I quit my job, moved to the coast and started dozens of personal projects until one of them took off.

Things were never “normal” again.

Why You Have To Take Calculated Risks In Life

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in regulating pleasure.

Studies reported by the Neuron show that dopamine also regulates the motivation to act.

People who feel stuck in their own lives, those who feel unmotivated, depressed, and out of options, often have decreased levels of dopamine.

Ironically, other studies reported by the Journal of Neuroscience show that one of the best ways to increase your dopamine levels is by taking risks.

Most people just talk about escaping from the things they hate in life.

They just talk about becoming a better person.

They don’t actually want to escape. 

Few actually want to improve.

This is because escaping involves risk.

It involves some level of uncertainty.

Look—you can’t break free from anything without first breaking free from your comfort zone.

If you’re unwilling to step outside of your comfort zone, you’ll never escape from the things you hate in life.

The only way to escape is to take new action when you least feel like it. Here’s how…

getting through tough times | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | how to be the best version of yourself

5 Escape Plan Strategies For Leaving A Bad Situation 

People overestimate what they can do in a few days but underestimate what they can do in a few months. 

If you’re unhappy in your own life now, it’s easy to think that things will never change.

It’s easy to think that things always were and always will be the way they are now.

That’s how your brain works.

You create false memories and your current emotional state dramatically affects those memories.

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that everyone creates fake memories.

If you’re miserable now, your brain will try to convince you that you’ve always been miserable and you’ll always be miserable.

Don’t believe these lies.

Don’t let your story become a cautionary tale.

You can change your life any time you want.

You can create a new life at will.

All you have to do is decide to stop being miserable.

That’s the first step.

The second step is taking action.

You have to design a strategic plan for your life and start executing your plan immediately if you truly want to become the best version of yourself that you have the potential to be. Here’s how…

1. Raise the stakes on your rotten situation.

Moderate pain is your worst enemy.

When a situation is just painful enough to be distracting but not painful enough to make you change, you end up stuck.

Moderate pain will not motivate you to escape. 

It will merely encourage you to keep dealing with it.

Misery can be your friend.

Misery is a state of great distress and discomfort.

If you’re experiencing moderate pain in your life, don’t wait another year for it to grow into misery.

Hit the fast-forward button on your pain.

Make the stakes greater.

Get desperate.

Now you have to change something drastically or experience intense pain daily.

Pain is the world’s most powerful motivator.

You can either hide from it, or use it to your advantage.

You can either play the victim and wallow in your pain, or stand up for yourself and be the hero of your life.

2. Do the opposite of what you’re used to doing.

When you’re in the middle of a negative situation, it can be hard to see clearly.

It can be hard to see alternative strategies for improving your situation. 

You don’t know what you don’t know. 

In other words, you can’t apply a strategy you don’t know exists.

One of the best ways to find new strategies is to deliberately break your routines.

Don’t just break them, smash them against the wall.

Obliterate your limiting patterns. 

See what shakes loose.

Most often, this involves disengaging from your current line of action.

If you’re working really hard on a project and getting nowhere, stop working.

Pick it apart.

Destroy it.


If you’re doing everything in your power to get your way, stop.

Help someone else get there first.

If you’re stuck in a pile of irrational relationships, take a break.

Distance yourself.

Meet some new people. 

Doing the opposite of what you normally do is a great way to tear down routines that are likely limiting you. 

The next time you feel stuck, shake things up by flipping your script.

You’ll be surprised by what flipping things upside-down can show you.

3. Stop doing what the people around you are doing.

If it’s popular, it’s wrong.

If other people are doing it, it’s not going to help you.

Your life is unique.

Your situation is unique.

Your personality, thought process, goals, stressors, strengths, and ambitions are unique.

So why are you following other people?

Why are you so obsessed with copying what other people are doing?

Most of these people are clueless.

The ones who aren’t don’t know you.

They know what works for them and they have applied it successfully to their unique situation.

You need to do the same.

Start listening to yourself.

Stay focused on your goals.

The only way to become the best possible version of yourself is to reject other people’s opinions of your life.

You need to become a professional rejector.

When it comes to other people’s ideas of how you should live your life, reject it by default.

Stop engaging in groupthink.

Stop letting your herd mentality run wild.

Instead, use your own logical brain to decide what’s best for you.

4. Go on a relationship fast.

Your brain is greedy.

It hates to give up anything.

Changing your life is difficult because it goes against your biology.

Your mind fights to keep everything the same and gets very angry when it’s about to lose something.

Yet, the only way to escape from negative circumstances is to actively give up those circumstances.

You have to let go of what’s dragging you down. 

But this is harder than it sounds.

Studies reported in the Journal of Neurophysiology found that people react to losing significant things like jobs and relationships like drug users going through withdrawal.

Just thinking about the things we’ve lost (or could lose) activates several key areas of the brain, including the ventral tegmental area of the midbrain, which controls motivation and reward and is known to be involved in love.

Thinking about loss also activates the nucleus accumbens and the orbitofrontal, prefrontal cortex, which are parts of the dopamine reward system associated with craving and addiction.

In addition, loss activates the insular cortex and anterior cingulate, which are both associated with physical pain and distress.

This is what you’re up against.

The problem is that most people, once they make a decision to remove something from their lives, start giving it up slowly.

They peel it away gently, like a scab. 

By doing this, they keep the above parts of their brains active for a very long time, endlessly drawing out pain.

This is a bad idea.

Instead, aim to sever ties with the negative parts of your life quickly.

Drop negative friends cold turkey.

Walk away from meaningless drama forever.

Stop giving bad people and bad circumstances second chances to ruin your life even more.

5. Make something happen for yourself.

Great people start very small.

All empires were built with a single step, with an idea planted like a seed, and nurtured with action.

The idea that all successful people are an elite class of well-connected individuals who calmly carry out proven recipes for achievement is a misconception.

Likewise, the idea that all successful people are lone wolves who fire their bosses and swim upstream is foolish.

What makes people successful is seizing the initiative.

Successful people don’t wait for things to happen to them.

They make things happen for themselves.

Even the richest and most successful people in the world started out with only two things—a day job and a dream.

Most people become successful, not by getting rid of their day jobs or throwing away everything  in their current lifestyle, but by building new empires on top of their current lifestyles.

You don’t have to hit the lottery to start your own project.

You don’t have to quit your day job to start building a business.

You can make something happen for yourself right now.

All you have to do is take action.

Look—you’ll never be truly happy or truly successful in life when you’re fully dependent on other people for money and approval.

You need to start making yourself money.

You need to start giving yourself approval.

You don’t have to have it all figured out right now, but you do have to start trying things out.

Creation is the ultimate exit strategy.

Whenever you create, you create options.

Options lead to opportunities and opportunities lead to success.

The time to create your escape plan is now. Break off the stale relationships that have been holding you back and go out and start imagining new possibilities for yourself. Refuse to stay stuck in the past. Instead, look ahead to the new victories in front of you. By developing a strategic plan for what you want and who you want to become, and begin taking more calculated risks, you’ll create a stronger, more independent life for yourself. The time to take action is now. Stop waiting for a handout. Start making something happen and become the best version of yourself.

To learn more about staying true to yourself and your goals, and other emotional states to your advantage, and to get instant access to exclusive training videos, case studies, insider documents, and my private online network, get on the Escape Plan wait list.

be the best version of yourself | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | importance of strategic planning

You Comment, Isaiah Responds