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10 Ways to Overcome an Unhealthy Pursuit of Praise to Be Your Own Inspiration

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Using praise as recognition isn’t a new concept. Look back to when you were in primary school and the number of gold star stickers for doing a good job on your homework. The childhood conditioning to expect positive reinforcement and for some, depended on it for success. Being constantly praised can be addictive. The danger in the love of being praised enables people to become conditioned to act a certain way to seek incentives. You become engrossed in seeking extrinsic motivation– the dangling carrot –  to deliver results.

You crave others “liking” your thoughts, photos and accomplishments. You experience an adrenaline rush to your brain, as you are fed praise you so desperately crave. It makes you feel a false sense of being more loved, connected than you are. People who attribute their results to environment or circumstances are viewed as having an external locus of control. You tend to believe you have little power or influence in your successes or failures.

People who view outcomes as being influenced by their own choices and action have an internal locus of control. You take responsibility for whatever happens and are more resilient in the face of ongoing change. You do anything for the simple satisfaction of accomplishment. You are driven by an internal desire to create value even when not asked of you.

Getting too much positive reinforcement can be crippling if constant praise is necessary to perform well. Let me share with you 10 ways to overcome an unhealthy pursuit of praise:

1. Be your own inspiration

Instead of waiting for another person to pat you on the back, keep your own file of accomplishments and kudos. Gather the evidence of how you met your specific goals through a time log as a way of tracking your accomplishments. When you need a boost, tap into your own line of credit and give yourself the gold star.

2. Give all the credit away

Celebrating someone else’s success or giving away praise to a group of peers, creates ripples within the workplace. Another way is to ask one of your team members for help. Without realizing it, you are offering praise by showing respect for someone’s knowledge and experience by acknowledging that you trust their judgement on a task.

3. Accountability is the magic

Invest time in conducting an accountability self-assessment. Rate yourself on each of the statements to determine whether you have an internal or external locus of control. “I am responsible for my learning to be successful, my manager should provide me all the information l need to do my job, my colleague’s behavior prevents me from performing exceptionally in my role and my commitment is the driver of my success”.

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” – Carol Burnett

4. Upgrade your standards

Eliminate the need for external praise by setting personal goals and standards. Your personal accomplishments build your self-worth and encourage you to take on more challenges. Company leaders take notice on your professional strengths and how you drive results. Spend time with mentors exploring how you can improve your work habits

5. Praise is like sugar

You gorge on the chocolate chip biscuits, the Nutella laden pizzas and fairy floss to satisfy your hardwired cravings. Social media is the same. With every “like” and retweet, every selfie, share or filter, you are overfeeding your mind as you walk around with a boundless source of praise, taking a bite every single day.

Today, the praise bar is so low that the feedback you get is meaningless, but you want it anyway. You crave praise that requires little energy to acquire. No deep thought or real effort. The more you get, the less you feel it and the more you seek to attain the satisfaction.

6. Escape the Willy Wonka land of praise

Praise isn’t always a bad thing. When you aren’t inundated with praise every day for every little thing, it means more when you finally do get it. You work harder for it and its quality rises exponentially. Praise earned is richer and more satisfying than praise thoughtlessly given away. Disconnect from social media for 2 days and see how you feel. Reassess how you use your time and what sort of praise you truly value.

7. Define what you what to achieve

Investing in what you want to accomplish detracts from your need to seek constant validation from others. Define what your end of year review would say about you, perhaps write your own eulogy highlighting your achievements and turn them into goals. Break down your big widely audacious goal into doable steps and focus on the progress.

8. Trade in the flattering sidekick

Praise addiction can drive you to form connections with people who feed your ego and withhold honest feedback. Seeking people who think you are fabulous has limited use. Actively asking quality questions such as “what can l do better? What might l work on next time to take me to the next level?”, allows you to delve deeper in how you can add more value in the future.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

9. Small doses

What’s good for you in small doses can be bad for you if you have too much of it. Everything requires appropriate dosage. Over-praising can imply something is exceptional then that makes it the exception to what is within the range of normal or acceptable. Constantly praising you for not disobeying all the health and safety rules implies that disobeying these rules would be more normal for you. You don’t want healthy behavior to be exceptional.

10. Benchmark of excellence

Making a huge deal out of anything someone achieves or attempts, encourages praise addiction. Praising children for turning up to school, not being disruptive or completing their assignments is poor preparation for a life of real excellence as you turn ‘normal’ into excellent.

Genuine excellence thus loses its value. Focus on praising what is within the person’s control. For instance, praising someone on their commitment to hard work. It implies that success was something they could consciously influence. Highlighting how fabulous they are for completing something gives them no meaningful information about their contribution.

The right kind of praise at the right time with the right quantity can help you develop the habit of excellence. An uncontrolled diet of praise won’t do you or anyone else any favors.

What’s one thing strategy you can put in place to become your own inspiration?

Angela Kambouris used to work with high risk kids in the streets of Melbourne, now she has her own consultancy business and writes for large publications. As a leadership coach and business leader having spent over 20 years in the field of vulnerability and trauma, she has built a high-level career as an executive and transitioned into a business owner. She has spoken on stages and worked with thousands of people in self-development, leadership, mindset, human behavior and business. Love to travel, experience difference cultures and mastermind with leaders and expert authorities in personal development and business all over the world. Connect with her through her website http://angelakambouris.com/ or through her Facebook.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. meenakshi jha

    May 2, 2018 at 6:54 am

    i like your line praise is like a sugar. lol. but inspiratioal, i believe self-appreciation is the only solution to control the addiction of getting praised by others. i am too addicted but addiction is addiction afterall. its better to develop productive addiction which uplift us in overall way. i like this post very much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

The Guide to Coping With Stress, Anxiety and Failure

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how to cope with stress and anxiety
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Instead of complaining about the ebb and flow of tough times, we need to learn how to overcome them. We often let bad news cast a pall on our day, but taking it in and moving on with life is what we need to do and that’s a challenge.

Let’s look at 6 ways on how we can deal with the stresses and anxieties we face in our daily lives:

1. Deep breathing

If your schedule has you feeling compressed by unexplainable and intangible forces, stop everything and start taking in deep breaths.

Nobody takes this clichéd advice seriously, however, from a scientific perspective, deep breathing causes your metabolism to decrease, slows down heart-rate, relaxes the muscles and calms you down. So, stop everything for a minute and start breathing!

2. Write down what you’re stressed about

When there is too much going on in your head, you can never get work done. Doing a simple task can seem frustrating if your mind is just a labyrinthine tangle of negative thoughts and demotivating voices. The moment you are not 100% invested in your task, you would catch yourself being stuck for hours and it’s ultimately undue stress.

To avoid this, write down everything that bothers you, however big or small it is. Visualize and envision what you are going to do and remember that worrying about accomplishing a series of tasks will be futile. Don’t punish yourself by getting into a mess of unproductivity and negativity; write it down and clear it out.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

3. Yoga

Forcing yourself to contort your body into pretzel-like forms is not what yoga is about. Throughout the asanas, you need to breathe deeply and feel your muscles stretch. Listen to your body and feel every moment. The increased blood circulation to all parts of your body and the stabilization of hormones will calm you down.

4. Caffeine could increase stress levels

This is tragic news for the caffeine-lovers but you don’t need to panic about giving up on coffee. You need to bite the bullet and restrict coffee consumption to once-a-day. Caffeine can inhibit the absorption of adenosine (hormone) and cause a chaos in your biological clock if consumed excessively or late in the day.

Caffeine injects adrenaline into your system which may give you a temporary stimulation but later in the day you would feel agitated and fatigued. Take baby steps in controlling your addiction and when you have successfully reached the ‘one-cup-a-day’ stage, try to consume that cup of caffeine-loaded drink before 2pm.

5. Exercise and clean eating

Healthy meals and an active lifestyle go hand in hand in dissipating stress effectively. The psychological benefits of exercising have a neurochemical basis, which is the decrease in stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and the increase in the endorphin hormone which is the body’s natural painkiller and mood elevator.

Parenthetically, you will achieve a toned-looking body, your favourite clothes will fit you perfectly and you will be in the pink of health. All of this will collectively enable you to exude confidence and work efficiently. It’s simple, if you take care of your body, your body takes care of you.

Now that we have discussed handling daily-life stresses and anxieties, let’s talk about failures and how to overcome them:

1. Dissect the experience

Staying positive in the teeth of every difficulty sounds almost preposterous and unrealistic, and it is true that remaining happy all the time is impossible. What is essential though is to accept that you are a human, complain if you have to and feel free to be upset but don’t whine all day long and get over-emotional. Think about how that failure had played out.

Think about why you made the decision you made, recognize where exactly you went wrong and take ownership while not blaming others. There are many things in your control, and it’s up to you to make sure you conquer those factors and utilize them to your advantage. Be in tune with yourself and put things into perspective instead of dwelling on emotions.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

No two leaves are the same and hence it’s ridiculous to compare yourself to your peers. Your experiences, talents, desires, attitude and everything else is very different as compared to another person and hence there is no basis for you to compare and evaluate.

Always work on becoming the better version of yourself and surround yourself with people who support you, empathise with you, respect your decisions and believe in you.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

3. You are equipped

Chances are if you are reading this article, you have the access to a laptop or a computer. You have the privilege of owning a device which basically encompasses the entire world. You have the resources and support to rise from a setback so be grateful for what you have and concentrate on progressing.

In conclusion, be it daily life stresses or an occasional failure, take it with a pinch of salt emotionally. Like glow sticks, we don’t shine until we are broken. Remember the world doesn’t owe you anything so work hard, treat problems as learning experiences, and never underestimate yourself.

How do you deal with the stress, anxiety, and failure? Let us know your tips below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

5 Ways You Can Make the Most Out of Failure

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failure
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

It’s been said that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. I’d like to add another one to the list: rejection. No matter who you are and what life you live, there will be instances in your life when you experience rejection.

Nobody likes to be rejected. It sucks to be told you were good, just not good enough, for the project, job, partner or position. It’s confusing and frustrating, and it can make you want to scream. But more often than not, being rejected can be the start of something brilliant.

Here are five ways you can make sure you make the most out of your difficult experiences and come out at the other end stronger:

1. Take five

When you get bad news or hear negative feedback, most of us can’t help but fall into a sullen mood. Rather than fall into the trap of focusing on the negative and being overly self-critical, take five minutes to clear your head of all negativity. Even after five minutes of silent meditation, you’ll start to clear your head and realise that everything isn’t really all that bad.

“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” – Woody Allen

2. Put things into perspective

Unless you are a heart surgeon or have a job in which you are responsible for the wellbeing of others, nobody will die because of this disappointment or mistake. If you lose a job, you’ll find another one. If you don’t get that promotion, you can make more money in some other way. An opportunity lost is another chance for something new to come down the road. Remember that this is only a momentary pain and won’t last long in the grand scheme of things.

3. Assess what went right

You can nearly always find a positive lesson from even the most negative of circumstances. The hardest part is often escaping the negative mindset that everything must have gone wrong if things didn’t go exactly as planned. In reality, there are an infinite number of variables that could have caused an unsatisfactory outcome. If you manage to put the negative mindset out of your head you can focus on the many things that went right, rather than what went wrong. Always remember to look at things on the bright side.

4. Review what went wrong, and look for ways to improve

After you’ve had a chance to look at what exactly went right, you can then take a hard look at how to improve on what went wrong. Consider whether or not you need to get additional training in certain areas, to practice more often, or just to consider ways to improve what worked partially but not fully.

“Success is 99% failure.” – Soichiro Honda

5. Remember, what will be, will be

Try your best, then don’t worry be happy. You will always face difficulties through life, but the more you practice accepting these difficulties, the better positioned you’ll be to make use of your time effectively and improve your life. Look at life through the lens of a stoic philosopher and you will better understand how to live a life of streamlined success and happiness.

The best lessons you learn in life are very rarely the easiest. Remember to reflect on why some of the hardest decisions and saddest realisations you may have are vitally important for future growth and genuine happiness. These moments force you to break out of your normal state of consciousness and reassess what is most important to you.

They make you reflect on what has worked, and more importantly, what hasn’t. Only in these moments do you realise who you really are, and exactly what you are capable of.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

You Can Create Whatever Life You Want So Stop Talking Yourself Out of Your Destiny

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Image Credit: Unsplash

There’s never been a time like right now in human history for entrepreneurship. We have access to virtually limitless knowledge thanks to the advent of the internet, and you can reach anyone on this planet literally at the click of a button.

However, despite the massive amount of opportunity out there, there are still time-tested principles that every wanna-be entrepreneur needs to know in order to truly succeed. Knowing these principles can spell the difference between achieving your dreams and talking yourself out of your destiny.

There is Such a Thing as Preparing Too Much

While it’s certainly necessary to prepare in life, a just as devastating problem many people face in life is being too prepared. Way too often, people believe they’re actually working by spending hours “preparing” when all they’re doing is thinking about working while their actual work goes untouched.

As Gary Vaynerchuk put it bluntly in one of his livestream Q&A videos, “There are just so many ways to build your business, but lack of action is not one of them.” Basically, we are both blessed and cursed by our access to virtually limitless knowledge. We can turn on the faucet of knowledge and grab a quick swig when we need it, but if we leave it on for too long we’ll be drowning in information and be stuck trying to process everything.

If you spend too much time processing, you’ll be more likely to talk yourself out of taking the risks necessary to build a successful business. The solution is simple: stop processing and start taking action.

A phrase I find myself repeating a lot when I get into a bind is, “How did successful people do it before the age of internet?” The answer is they did it by not talking themselves off of the ledge of destiny and instead diving into their project headfirst.

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” – Simone de Beauvoir

Our Feelings Often Lie to Us

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like throwing in the towel when trying to build my web design business. I remember one day in particular I had a massive headache and was on the verge of quitting everything due to the frustration I felt while dealing with a problematic client.

I looked at my watch and realized I hadn’t eaten yet that morning, so I went and made myself breakfast. After eating a bowl of scrambled eggs and toast, my headache magically vanished along with my thoughts of wanting to quit. I quickly realized what needed to be done and fixed the client’s issue without much thought. The problem wasn’t with the client, the problem was with my stomach.

Can you imagine how ridiculous I would have looked had I fired my client all because I hadn’t eaten that day? This is why our feelings sometimes need to take a backseat when it comes to making wise, calculated decisions for our success.

Intuition is important, obviously, but it’s best utilized with years of reliable experience to back it up. So go with your gut when it’s wise to do so, but always make sure your gut is fed otherwise you may regret what it has to say.

Perfectionism Can Halt All Progress

You will never have everything figured out. Let that sink in. It’s become such a trope in our society that it’s surprising how easily we tend to forget it. There isn’t a single business out there that has all the answers on how to do things right, so why do we feel the need to stop moving forward if things aren’t perfect?

I remember a friend of mine spent years trying to compose music on his synthesizer but never released anything because it “wasn’t good enough” by his standards. I gave him the simple proposition to “put out crappy music”, since no matter what he would always think his music was crappy due to his perfectionist mindset. Within a day, he finally put something out on SoundCloud and his song “#Selfie” became a hit worldwide while his band The ChainSmokers continues to put out hits to this day.

OK, I’m kidding about that last part, but hopefully you get my point. My friend finally had a song out that he could have had out years ago but was too caught up on making everything “perfect” to do anything. He had, in effect, talked himself out of taking action. The same thing applies with business, even if you don’t have everything figured out it’s best to just start something and learn as you go.

“Imperfection is perfection.” – Flume

Whenever that annoying, perfectionist voice in your head tries to get you to quit because you’ll never have the “perfect” product or service to sell, tell it to shut up and put out your product or service anyway. As you gain experience in your field and receive valuable feedback from customers, you’ll be able to continually improve things with your business.

Had you not taken action to begin with, you would never have attained either of these two valuable assets. Never settle for mediocrity, but at the same time recognize your need to be in motion even if the thing that sets you in motion is initially subpar.

How do you push yourself and keep motivated? Let us know your thoughts below!

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Life

3 Mental Tricks to Help You Become a More Productive Person

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Whether you’re a career salesman, a student, or a software engineer, you can’t move an inch in your career if you produce less. Productivity is the key that will unlock your success. Unfortunately, not all of us are productive. And some of it is not our problem. Our Internet-empowered world is bloated with too many social media tools, too many emails and notifications, too many SMS and short messages, too many YouTube videos and Netflix movies. The distractions are at an all time high.

But what if there is a system that will help you keep all these distractions aside until you have accomplished your tasks? There is. And it only takes 3 simple steps. Read Below:

Step 1: See your everyday tasks as a gift

Showing up every day to work is anything but fun. You know your life depends on it, but some days are not your best days. No matter how you plan your projects, you can’t show up to do them. You’re tired and bored and uninterested. What’s the way forward? It’s not about planning. It’s not about waking up early. It’s not about lack of exercise or anything like that.

If you want to conquer your to-do list, day in and day out, you need a simple shift in your mindset. Stop thinking of your tasks as work. See those tasks as gifts…as natural endowments exclusively given to you. This simple shift in your mindset will awaken the sleeping giant within you. You’ll start feeling great about yourself, stop seeing your work as burdensome. The tasks will now make you feel proud.

No longer will your showing up early at your desk irritate you—because now you feel comfortable doing the work that matters. The mindset adjustment is not even difficult. Just figure out the value that your tasks will bring to your marketplace.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss

Step 2: Be conscious of the impeccable values of your tasks

That’s how to shift your thinking. You dissect the unique values that are embedded in your tasks (when you accomplish them, of course). If you’re a web designer, for example, think about the joy and life-changing events that your design job will bring to your client. That landing page that you’ll design, it would mean the world to your client.

It will even change their business and their lives along the way. But that will not happen if you don’t show up every day, roll up your sleeves and work on that landing page. Now if you can visualize that value, it will serve you well. You’ll be motivated. So, how do you become more conscious of the values of your work? Write them down. And read them every day to spark your productivity.

Step 3: Remind yourself of the limited time you have in life

We like to postpone today’s tasks for tomorrow. Often, we’ll schedule a time to work, but when the time is due, we come up with another excuse, “I’ve got to call that client instead; I’ll leave that work till tomorrow.” But we don’t own tomorrow. We don’t have control over it. We don’t even know what it holds. And we have a very limited time.

If you want to improve your productivity, you have got to remind yourself about the scarcity of your time. Here are a few questions to ask yourself (I recommend that you do these exercises every time before you begin to work):

  • If you only have 24 hours left today, how do you want to spend it?
  • If you have 5 projects to complete today, how do you manage your time?
  • Would you rather watch a movie on Netflix or accomplish today’s task and move closer to your vision?

“Do something instead of killing time because time is killing you.” – Paulo Coelho

It’s about making smart choices. I know It’s hard. It’s tough. It requires an impeccable amount of discipline. But with constant practice, these mental tricks will help you become a more productive person, move you closer to realizing your vision.

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Success is for the Self-Taught

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Truman Capote, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Jobs, Nikola Tesla. Those are four names you never thought you’d see in a sentence together. As it happens, these four individuals have more in common than their success, ingenuity, and fame. They were all autodidacts. In other words, they were self-taught learners. (more…)

Ellie Batchiyska is a writer for Every USB, helping business and entrepreneurs with their branding through the use of custom flash drives.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. meenakshi jha

    May 2, 2018 at 6:54 am

    i like your line praise is like a sugar. lol. but inspiratioal, i believe self-appreciation is the only solution to control the addiction of getting praised by others. i am too addicted but addiction is addiction afterall. its better to develop productive addiction which uplift us in overall way. i like this post very much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

The Guide to Coping With Stress, Anxiety and Failure

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on

how to cope with stress and anxiety
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Instead of complaining about the ebb and flow of tough times, we need to learn how to overcome them. We often let bad news cast a pall on our day, but taking it in and moving on with life is what we need to do and that’s a challenge.

Let’s look at 6 ways on how we can deal with the stresses and anxieties we face in our daily lives:

1. Deep breathing

If your schedule has you feeling compressed by unexplainable and intangible forces, stop everything and start taking in deep breaths.

Nobody takes this clichéd advice seriously, however, from a scientific perspective, deep breathing causes your metabolism to decrease, slows down heart-rate, relaxes the muscles and calms you down. So, stop everything for a minute and start breathing!

2. Write down what you’re stressed about

When there is too much going on in your head, you can never get work done. Doing a simple task can seem frustrating if your mind is just a labyrinthine tangle of negative thoughts and demotivating voices. The moment you are not 100% invested in your task, you would catch yourself being stuck for hours and it’s ultimately undue stress.

To avoid this, write down everything that bothers you, however big or small it is. Visualize and envision what you are going to do and remember that worrying about accomplishing a series of tasks will be futile. Don’t punish yourself by getting into a mess of unproductivity and negativity; write it down and clear it out.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

3. Yoga

Forcing yourself to contort your body into pretzel-like forms is not what yoga is about. Throughout the asanas, you need to breathe deeply and feel your muscles stretch. Listen to your body and feel every moment. The increased blood circulation to all parts of your body and the stabilization of hormones will calm you down.

4. Caffeine could increase stress levels

This is tragic news for the caffeine-lovers but you don’t need to panic about giving up on coffee. You need to bite the bullet and restrict coffee consumption to once-a-day. Caffeine can inhibit the absorption of adenosine (hormone) and cause a chaos in your biological clock if consumed excessively or late in the day.

Caffeine injects adrenaline into your system which may give you a temporary stimulation but later in the day you would feel agitated and fatigued. Take baby steps in controlling your addiction and when you have successfully reached the ‘one-cup-a-day’ stage, try to consume that cup of caffeine-loaded drink before 2pm.

5. Exercise and clean eating

Healthy meals and an active lifestyle go hand in hand in dissipating stress effectively. The psychological benefits of exercising have a neurochemical basis, which is the decrease in stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and the increase in the endorphin hormone which is the body’s natural painkiller and mood elevator.

Parenthetically, you will achieve a toned-looking body, your favourite clothes will fit you perfectly and you will be in the pink of health. All of this will collectively enable you to exude confidence and work efficiently. It’s simple, if you take care of your body, your body takes care of you.

Now that we have discussed handling daily-life stresses and anxieties, let’s talk about failures and how to overcome them:

1. Dissect the experience

Staying positive in the teeth of every difficulty sounds almost preposterous and unrealistic, and it is true that remaining happy all the time is impossible. What is essential though is to accept that you are a human, complain if you have to and feel free to be upset but don’t whine all day long and get over-emotional. Think about how that failure had played out.

Think about why you made the decision you made, recognize where exactly you went wrong and take ownership while not blaming others. There are many things in your control, and it’s up to you to make sure you conquer those factors and utilize them to your advantage. Be in tune with yourself and put things into perspective instead of dwelling on emotions.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

No two leaves are the same and hence it’s ridiculous to compare yourself to your peers. Your experiences, talents, desires, attitude and everything else is very different as compared to another person and hence there is no basis for you to compare and evaluate.

Always work on becoming the better version of yourself and surround yourself with people who support you, empathise with you, respect your decisions and believe in you.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

3. You are equipped

Chances are if you are reading this article, you have the access to a laptop or a computer. You have the privilege of owning a device which basically encompasses the entire world. You have the resources and support to rise from a setback so be grateful for what you have and concentrate on progressing.

In conclusion, be it daily life stresses or an occasional failure, take it with a pinch of salt emotionally. Like glow sticks, we don’t shine until we are broken. Remember the world doesn’t owe you anything so work hard, treat problems as learning experiences, and never underestimate yourself.

How do you deal with the stress, anxiety, and failure? Let us know your tips below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Continue Reading

Life

5 Ways You Can Make the Most Out of Failure

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on

failure
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

It’s been said that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. I’d like to add another one to the list: rejection. No matter who you are and what life you live, there will be instances in your life when you experience rejection.

Nobody likes to be rejected. It sucks to be told you were good, just not good enough, for the project, job, partner or position. It’s confusing and frustrating, and it can make you want to scream. But more often than not, being rejected can be the start of something brilliant.

Here are five ways you can make sure you make the most out of your difficult experiences and come out at the other end stronger:

1. Take five

When you get bad news or hear negative feedback, most of us can’t help but fall into a sullen mood. Rather than fall into the trap of focusing on the negative and being overly self-critical, take five minutes to clear your head of all negativity. Even after five minutes of silent meditation, you’ll start to clear your head and realise that everything isn’t really all that bad.

“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” – Woody Allen

2. Put things into perspective

Unless you are a heart surgeon or have a job in which you are responsible for the wellbeing of others, nobody will die because of this disappointment or mistake. If you lose a job, you’ll find another one. If you don’t get that promotion, you can make more money in some other way. An opportunity lost is another chance for something new to come down the road. Remember that this is only a momentary pain and won’t last long in the grand scheme of things.

3. Assess what went right

You can nearly always find a positive lesson from even the most negative of circumstances. The hardest part is often escaping the negative mindset that everything must have gone wrong if things didn’t go exactly as planned. In reality, there are an infinite number of variables that could have caused an unsatisfactory outcome. If you manage to put the negative mindset out of your head you can focus on the many things that went right, rather than what went wrong. Always remember to look at things on the bright side.

4. Review what went wrong, and look for ways to improve

After you’ve had a chance to look at what exactly went right, you can then take a hard look at how to improve on what went wrong. Consider whether or not you need to get additional training in certain areas, to practice more often, or just to consider ways to improve what worked partially but not fully.

“Success is 99% failure.” – Soichiro Honda

5. Remember, what will be, will be

Try your best, then don’t worry be happy. You will always face difficulties through life, but the more you practice accepting these difficulties, the better positioned you’ll be to make use of your time effectively and improve your life. Look at life through the lens of a stoic philosopher and you will better understand how to live a life of streamlined success and happiness.

The best lessons you learn in life are very rarely the easiest. Remember to reflect on why some of the hardest decisions and saddest realisations you may have are vitally important for future growth and genuine happiness. These moments force you to break out of your normal state of consciousness and reassess what is most important to you.

They make you reflect on what has worked, and more importantly, what hasn’t. Only in these moments do you realise who you really are, and exactly what you are capable of.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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You Can Create Whatever Life You Want So Stop Talking Yourself Out of Your Destiny

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There’s never been a time like right now in human history for entrepreneurship. We have access to virtually limitless knowledge thanks to the advent of the internet, and you can reach anyone on this planet literally at the click of a button.

However, despite the massive amount of opportunity out there, there are still time-tested principles that every wanna-be entrepreneur needs to know in order to truly succeed. Knowing these principles can spell the difference between achieving your dreams and talking yourself out of your destiny.

There is Such a Thing as Preparing Too Much

While it’s certainly necessary to prepare in life, a just as devastating problem many people face in life is being too prepared. Way too often, people believe they’re actually working by spending hours “preparing” when all they’re doing is thinking about working while their actual work goes untouched.

As Gary Vaynerchuk put it bluntly in one of his livestream Q&A videos, “There are just so many ways to build your business, but lack of action is not one of them.” Basically, we are both blessed and cursed by our access to virtually limitless knowledge. We can turn on the faucet of knowledge and grab a quick swig when we need it, but if we leave it on for too long we’ll be drowning in information and be stuck trying to process everything.

If you spend too much time processing, you’ll be more likely to talk yourself out of taking the risks necessary to build a successful business. The solution is simple: stop processing and start taking action.

A phrase I find myself repeating a lot when I get into a bind is, “How did successful people do it before the age of internet?” The answer is they did it by not talking themselves off of the ledge of destiny and instead diving into their project headfirst.

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” – Simone de Beauvoir

Our Feelings Often Lie to Us

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like throwing in the towel when trying to build my web design business. I remember one day in particular I had a massive headache and was on the verge of quitting everything due to the frustration I felt while dealing with a problematic client.

I looked at my watch and realized I hadn’t eaten yet that morning, so I went and made myself breakfast. After eating a bowl of scrambled eggs and toast, my headache magically vanished along with my thoughts of wanting to quit. I quickly realized what needed to be done and fixed the client’s issue without much thought. The problem wasn’t with the client, the problem was with my stomach.

Can you imagine how ridiculous I would have looked had I fired my client all because I hadn’t eaten that day? This is why our feelings sometimes need to take a backseat when it comes to making wise, calculated decisions for our success.

Intuition is important, obviously, but it’s best utilized with years of reliable experience to back it up. So go with your gut when it’s wise to do so, but always make sure your gut is fed otherwise you may regret what it has to say.

Perfectionism Can Halt All Progress

You will never have everything figured out. Let that sink in. It’s become such a trope in our society that it’s surprising how easily we tend to forget it. There isn’t a single business out there that has all the answers on how to do things right, so why do we feel the need to stop moving forward if things aren’t perfect?

I remember a friend of mine spent years trying to compose music on his synthesizer but never released anything because it “wasn’t good enough” by his standards. I gave him the simple proposition to “put out crappy music”, since no matter what he would always think his music was crappy due to his perfectionist mindset. Within a day, he finally put something out on SoundCloud and his song “#Selfie” became a hit worldwide while his band The ChainSmokers continues to put out hits to this day.

OK, I’m kidding about that last part, but hopefully you get my point. My friend finally had a song out that he could have had out years ago but was too caught up on making everything “perfect” to do anything. He had, in effect, talked himself out of taking action. The same thing applies with business, even if you don’t have everything figured out it’s best to just start something and learn as you go.

“Imperfection is perfection.” – Flume

Whenever that annoying, perfectionist voice in your head tries to get you to quit because you’ll never have the “perfect” product or service to sell, tell it to shut up and put out your product or service anyway. As you gain experience in your field and receive valuable feedback from customers, you’ll be able to continually improve things with your business.

Had you not taken action to begin with, you would never have attained either of these two valuable assets. Never settle for mediocrity, but at the same time recognize your need to be in motion even if the thing that sets you in motion is initially subpar.

How do you push yourself and keep motivated? Let us know your thoughts below!

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3 Mental Tricks to Help You Become a More Productive Person

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Whether you’re a career salesman, a student, or a software engineer, you can’t move an inch in your career if you produce less. Productivity is the key that will unlock your success. Unfortunately, not all of us are productive. And some of it is not our problem. Our Internet-empowered world is bloated with too many social media tools, too many emails and notifications, too many SMS and short messages, too many YouTube videos and Netflix movies. The distractions are at an all time high.

But what if there is a system that will help you keep all these distractions aside until you have accomplished your tasks? There is. And it only takes 3 simple steps. Read Below:

Step 1: See your everyday tasks as a gift

Showing up every day to work is anything but fun. You know your life depends on it, but some days are not your best days. No matter how you plan your projects, you can’t show up to do them. You’re tired and bored and uninterested. What’s the way forward? It’s not about planning. It’s not about waking up early. It’s not about lack of exercise or anything like that.

If you want to conquer your to-do list, day in and day out, you need a simple shift in your mindset. Stop thinking of your tasks as work. See those tasks as gifts…as natural endowments exclusively given to you. This simple shift in your mindset will awaken the sleeping giant within you. You’ll start feeling great about yourself, stop seeing your work as burdensome. The tasks will now make you feel proud.

No longer will your showing up early at your desk irritate you—because now you feel comfortable doing the work that matters. The mindset adjustment is not even difficult. Just figure out the value that your tasks will bring to your marketplace.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss

Step 2: Be conscious of the impeccable values of your tasks

That’s how to shift your thinking. You dissect the unique values that are embedded in your tasks (when you accomplish them, of course). If you’re a web designer, for example, think about the joy and life-changing events that your design job will bring to your client. That landing page that you’ll design, it would mean the world to your client.

It will even change their business and their lives along the way. But that will not happen if you don’t show up every day, roll up your sleeves and work on that landing page. Now if you can visualize that value, it will serve you well. You’ll be motivated. So, how do you become more conscious of the values of your work? Write them down. And read them every day to spark your productivity.

Step 3: Remind yourself of the limited time you have in life

We like to postpone today’s tasks for tomorrow. Often, we’ll schedule a time to work, but when the time is due, we come up with another excuse, “I’ve got to call that client instead; I’ll leave that work till tomorrow.” But we don’t own tomorrow. We don’t have control over it. We don’t even know what it holds. And we have a very limited time.

If you want to improve your productivity, you have got to remind yourself about the scarcity of your time. Here are a few questions to ask yourself (I recommend that you do these exercises every time before you begin to work):

  • If you only have 24 hours left today, how do you want to spend it?
  • If you have 5 projects to complete today, how do you manage your time?
  • Would you rather watch a movie on Netflix or accomplish today’s task and move closer to your vision?

“Do something instead of killing time because time is killing you.” – Paulo Coelho

It’s about making smart choices. I know It’s hard. It’s tough. It requires an impeccable amount of discipline. But with constant practice, these mental tricks will help you become a more productive person, move you closer to realizing your vision.

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