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12 Blessings From Having A Severe Health Challenge

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A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with a health challenge called Fructose Malabsorption and at first, I was quite worried of the change in the quality of life that I was told to expect. Friends started telling me all the things I would no longer be able to eat and the experience shocked me.

Since I have a positive mindset from years of self-development, I thought long and hard about how I could reframe this scenario to be a benefit. It turns out I didn’t need to because the universe gave the answer to me.

Below are the twelve blessings I have discovered from having health challenge:

 

1. I am now forced to be healthy

Most people try their entire life to be healthy, and it takes a lot of discipline. I have the blessing of having a food intolerance so it means that I can’t eat any junk food what so ever. I don’t know about you, but I think this is an amazing gift I have been given.

I don’t have to worry like most people about peer pressure or fitting in because I have a genuine reason why I can’t consume toxic, processed foods anymore, and I am kind of proud of it. I suspect that my fructose intolerance was caused by years of eating unhealthy food and consuming a ridiculous amount of sugar.

I watched the movie “That Sugar Film” recently and learnt that sugar is actually the main issue with the western diet and that it’s in everything. From yoghurt to tomato sauce, to our favourite breakfast cereal, almost anything we buy that is pre-packaged is likely to contain sugar.

What the movie points out is that often the label doesn’t tell you there is sugar, and the ingredients are given other names so you won’t always know if there is sugar present. By removing fructose foods from my diet, I am forced to not consume these foods anymore.

 

2. I won’t age as quickly

In today’s society, so many of us care so deeply about our vanity and the way we look. I stopped caring about vanity a long time ago, but I still have the pleasure from my new fructose intolerance to know that the aging process will slow down for me.

So often we think that we inherit baldness, gray hair and poor skin conditions, all the research I have read says that genes play a small part, but the number one factor that actually influences these conditions is our diet.

I am not joking when I say that I have friends (both male and female) that are in their twenties and already have some or lots of gray hair. Some of those same friends are also going bald or completely bald already. I am so happy to know that I am at least slowing this process down without having to do anything at all.

It’s never too late to start to be healthy; I am just lucky that I am being forced.

 

3. The universe is conspiring in my favour

For some reason, since I have started on this journey of self-development and massive success, the universe has conspired in my favour to bring me this health problem. It’s almost as if the universe wants me to stay on this path and so it’s throwing gifts disguised as challenges, to help me along the way.

I don’t say this to get all spiritual on you, I say this because the actions that we take every day determine our success and things will start to go your way as long as you have the skills and knowledge to understand what’s happening to you.

Had I have not done any personal development at all, I would have never been able to take the point of you that I take on most things today. To summarise this point, everything that looks like a problem is an opportunity – period.

 

4. I am more patient

Eating healthier foods and knowing what is going into your mouth allows you to become more patient over time. The reason most people are impatient and have to walk around like robots drinking coffee is because their diet doesn’t allow them to operate at a high level of energy.

On your way to the city next time, notice how many people are driving their cars in an angry way and are in a rush. The reason for this is because they have no energy, can’t sleep properly and are tired because their body is exhausted from processing all the fatty food they eat the day before.

When your body has to constantly work hard to process unhealthy food and remove the waste from your system, it uses up all your energy. The body is very clever, though, when there isn’t enough energy available; you’re put to sleep so that while you rest your body can work on breaking down the food.

Low energy levels are one of the main factors to being impatient and thanks to my fructose intolerance I am seeing a decreased level of this phenomenon.

 

5. I don’t need willpower to be healthy

One of the hardest parts of being healthy is to maintain the habit over a long period of time and not succumb to temptation. I have to admit that I have very good will power and can maintain a habit that is giving me value, but like everyone, even I have my moments.

It can be very tempting when walking past a nice cake store or smelling a fresh pizza that has just been cooked, to give in, and go and stuff our faces with food that we shouldn’t. One of the times we can be most at risk is when we are feeling an extreme emotion like sadness, where food scientifically can make us feel better in the short term.

Think of your body like being a year seven high school science experiment. When you mix different chemicals together in a test tube, you get both positive and negative results. For the human body, when you mix plant-based foods together with a well balanced diet, as opposed to mixing plant-based food with lots of junk food, the end result is completely different.

“Your body is really just a never-ending chemical reaction and you can choose to make the reaction be beneficial or a hindrance in your life”

 

6. I am now grateful for the past foods I experienced

Before I had this fructose intolerance, I was able to eat absolutely anything I wanted and for a long time I was never grateful for this. It’s amazing how when something is taken away from you, you realise how lucky you were to have it in the first place.

Had this event not happened in my life I would still be going along eating whatever I want and not being grateful for this privilege. There are millions of people that starve every day and have never had the opportunity to eat some of the fine foods that western culture allows us to experience.

While I have eaten my last scoop of ice cream and last slice of pizza, I am grateful that I got to experience them in the first place.

 

7. Tea has become my new vice

Drinking Tea Is A Great Vice - Tim DenningEverybody tends to have a vice, which is a bad habit that they regularly do. A typical vice for most people is coffee or eating junk food. A vice is a way for us to reward ourselves after a busy workweek. Junk food used to be my vice, but this new fructose intolerance has forced me to find a new one.

The new vice I have taken up is tea, which is not really a bad habit and is quite healthy if you drink the right one. I would never have found this healthy vice if I hadn’t had to deal with this food issue. Again, I am blessed to be forced to change my life and form a new healthy habit.

After a long week of work, there is nothing I like more than relaxing over some fresh tea and taking my mind off work. Having something that is a temptation is fine as long as it’s good for you, and tea has been that for me.

 

8. I now need to look at what’s in my food

Many of us eat foods every day, and we have no idea what the ingredients are. When you have a fructose intolerance, you are forced to question everything you eat and understand what’s in the food you are consuming.

Having a fructose intolerance means that when I’m at the supermarket I look at the ingredients tab of everything, and I have started to become more aware. The result of all of this is that you make better decisions about what you eat which can affect your health for the long term.

It also makes you realise how much processed food you are eating and you start to eat more natural foods. The reason you want to eat more natural food when you have a fructose intolerance is that you know exactly what’s in whole foods like vegetables so there an easier choice.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Andrea Danti

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Andrea Danti

 

9. I get to see a dietician

The first thing your doctor does after you are diagnosed with a fructose intolerance issue is send you to a dietician. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second, most of us are probably not going to go and see a dietician of our own accord because we tell ourselves we’re healthy, and we don’t want to know if the little chocolate indulgences we love are harming us.

The blessing here is that I now have to go and see one and I have someone who I am accountable too. I can’t lie to myself or those around me about what I am eating because I will get found out. The tests I now have to do will reveal everything I am consuming, and whether I am eating what I say I am, so I have the benefit of being able to stay on track.

 

10. I get to maintain a food diary

After seeing the dietician, I now have to keep a daily food diary. This is another task that most of us don’t have the willpower to do and avoid like the plague. Again, I am accountable now and have to keep track of everything I eat.

It’s great to see after a few weeks what I am actually consuming as opposed to what I tell myself I am consuming every day – there is a big difference….haha.

 

11. I get reduced medical bills forever

We all spend lots of money over the course of our lifetime on healthcare. Imagine being able to cut those bills down drastically? The blessing I have from this fructose intolerance is that by being forced to be healthy I won’t develop the sicknesses that most people live with on a daily basis.

Being healthier means you don’t need to go and see the doctor as much or spend money on expensive specialists trying to figure out what’s wrong. This translates to less time worrying about what’s wrong with you, less of your time being wasted in medical waiting rooms and more time doing the things you love.

 

12. I don’t have to take time off work

I have already seen since I have been on a healthy streak for the last two years that I haven’t contracted the flu and I very rarely get colds. The last time I had a cold it lasted for two days. The beauty of my new fructose intolerance is that by cutting out unhealthy foods, my body will be functioning much more efficiently, and my insides will be much less acidic.

When I am working on work-related tasks, I will now be able to think clearer and won’t have the brain fog that most people deal with. This means that the quality of work I produce will be of a much higher standard, and I will become more patient with people because I am feeling good.

The blessing of my fructose intolerance is that I can function a lot longer than most and will have more energy. By not getting sick as much, I will be able to get more work done, take fewer days off work and achieve things that others are not able to do.

Overcoming Health Challenges With Amazing Food - Addicted2Success
 

I don’t know about you, but I think this new health challenge is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I am starting to wish it had happened sooner so I could enjoy the benefits I’m now seeing.

If you have dealt with a health problem recently and found some real benefits from it, then please leave a comment below or post on my Facebook Page.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Lawrence Berry

    Aug 1, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    This was a great article Tim. It’s funny because I was recently just talking to someone very close to me about eating healthy, but because we both are still very young, they think we dont have to eat healthy. Eating healthy gives you energy and I feel the difference every time I go on a junk food spree from eating healthy for months. I feel the difference in energy levels and it is really amazing. Eating healthy really does allow you to be more productive, and stay and feel young longer.

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 2, 2015 at 2:55 am

      Couldn’t agree more Lawrence. I am just lucky because I have no excuse and am being forced. It’s great that you and I have been able to come to this realization at a young age. Some people don’t realise until it’s too late.

  2. stemcellbuddy

    Jul 30, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Tim, What an inspiring blog – thanks.
    I too have had health challenges, in fact i have had them for almost 50 years now, but it is only within past 10 years that I have been FORCED to seriously consider finding a better way.
    After being diagnosed in 2006 with a degenerative condition and being advised that nothing could stop the degeneration in my left eye except for laser treatment which may possibly slow down the degeneration – NOT stop it. Problem was that there was a 50% chance laser could immediately blind me due to difficult position of the condition. I was told that I could expect to completely lose sight by 3 to 4 years with the possibility my right eye could indeed go the same way. I did not go ahead with the laser treatment. Within the following year I was guided towards new natural supplements. Took a new look at what I eat and I now presently live FREE of my degenerative condition. I also train myself daily to look at problems “as you do” by making them a challenge instead of a problem. – Everything will have a positive outcome if I work at it in the right way.

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 2, 2015 at 2:53 am

      Wow amazing story Stemcellbuddy! The decisions you had to make were tough but like me, you realised that the natural way is always better and I love your mindset. Send me your details on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tim.denning I would love to chat further with you.

  3. Tim Denning

    Jul 29, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Dotchamou thanks for your two inspiring quotes. Nothing is ever an issue as long as you know how to reframe it and get the message from the situation. If you learn the art of this technique then you will find you have very little struggles to deal with in your life and you will be much happier.

  4. Seth

    Jul 29, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    I actually feel the same way Tim. I had my first seizure 6 years ago and have had them sporadically ever since. I have had to change a lot in my life because of it but I think it was for the best. Going through a health related challenge really opened up my eyes and changed my life around completely. I not take very good care of myself and try to learn/absorb as much as possible in my fields of interest. Thanks for writing this piece.

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 2, 2015 at 2:51 am

      Hey Seth, dealing with seizures must be ten times harder than my health challenge. I respect you for being able to have a positive outlook and realising that you need to take care of yourself. Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Dotchamou Zakari

    Jul 29, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Hello, I hope your health will be better than before since your are positive. Most people will say that you are insane, but that doesn’t matter for somebody who is strong in his mind. In fact nothing is wasted in our life if we use it in our favor but most people curse everything that is not going in their ways instead of blessing it. Our life will be better if we can use the power of our life challenges in our favor.
    Here are two citations to lift up the mind of people who doesn’t want to be tested by life.
    “Don’t give up! It’s not over. The universe is balanced. Every set-back bears with it the seeds of a come-back.”
    ― Steve Maraboli

    “A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.”
    ― Ray A. Davis

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Life

10 Things You Must Do More Often in Order to Build an Enjoyable Life

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how to enjoy life

Most of us constantly look for ways to improve our lives. We want to make more money, be more attractive, and be regarded more highly by our friends and our colleagues. We are on a mission to achieve more, earn more, and learn more. More often than not, we are in a hurry to do all of it.

Unfortunately, this mindset misses the point. Think about it, what do all the things mentioned above have in common?  They’re all about ME. We’re all busy, we’ve all stretched out our limits and we’ve all got too much to do.

In the rush to improve our lives, we end up focusing too much on ourselves, which leads to disappointment and frustration when things don’t go as planned. But there are small actions we can take which help ground us in reality and make us remember what is most important about our lives.

Here are 10 things that you should do more often if you want to build a life that you truly enjoy:

1. Wake up before everyone else

Waking up early may not be your cup of tea, but I would urge even the most stalwart night owl to try this trick at least once over the course of the next few weeks. Set your alarm for an ungodly hour (like 5am) and make a concerted effort to get out of bed when your alarm goes off.

The brain functions differently in the early hours of the morning. Things may seem sharper, and ideas may come to you in different ways. On top of that, there is a subtle motivating factor that comes from the knowledge that you are up being productive while everyone else is still asleep in bed.

2. Spend a day doing anything you want to do

Many of us are shackled to our jobs, or studies and our personal commitments. We have become so overbooked that we rarely have a night off just to sit and relax. Even if we have that time, our minds typically wander to what we have to be doing the next day or later in the week.

Due to the above reason, I urge you to schedule one day a month where you actively schedule a full day of doing nothing but what you want to do. Not something for your business or your side project. Not something for someone else. Be selfish.

3. Reach out to old friends

The power of a network grows stronger based on how strong the connections are between each piece. Reach out to an old friend (or friends) and start the process of catching up and rebuilding relationships that have faded. You never know what opportunities may develop from these connections, so it is always a good idea to maintain these open channels.

“Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

4. Ask someone to do something for you which you could do yourself

You may have the time or skill necessary to do something, but delegating will be invaluable to you as you continue to move through life. The practice of delegating is a subtle art that few of us are comfortable with, but almost all of us would benefit from.

Delegating requires you to plan exactly what you want to happen, and it also requires that you set clear expectations for what you expect from others. You can practice this by hiring someone from Fiverr or Upwork to help you with your job or a random task of some kind.

5. Say thank you to someone that made a difference in your life in the last year

You have no idea what a difference a gesture of this kind can make to someone. Reach out to a stranger, a colleague, a family member, or a long lost friend. Tell them why you appreciate them, and say thank you for what they’ve done for you. You don’t need to tell them it was because I told you so… just go for it. You won’t regret it, and you’ll make their day.

6. Give your opinion about what someone should do in their life or in their work

This is nearly as hard as asking someone to do something for you. As humans, we tend to avoid potential conflicts, and telling someone to change something about their lives has a huge potential for conflict or argument. Still, if you are able to share your opinion in a clear and thought through manner, that person will not only appreciate your advice, they will respect you moving forward.

7. Give a compliment to someone without expecting anything in return

Similar to saying thank you to someone, giving a compliment allows you to strengthen your relationship with others in and outside of your network while helping you build the self confidence to share your opinions openly and without self-judgement. If possible, focus on giving “growth mindset” compliments rather than “fixed mindset” compliments.

Growth mindset compliments are those relating to skills or traits which can be learned and improved upon (i.e. you did such a good job with that presentation), whereas fixed mindset compliments are those which relate to fixed attributes related to physical appearance, intellect, etc (you’re so smart).

“Everybody likes a compliment.” – Abraham Lincoln

8. Make something and share it with the world

Often we are told to create widgets for our employers or to churn out content for individuals that pay us. However, real creativity requires tapping into our inner passions and ideas about how the world works. Being creative in this way is a great way to reconnect with your true nature and ground yourself in the present moment.

9. Go to a free event and see something you’ve not experienced before

Always keep on learning! If you live in or near a big city, chances are there are a ton of free events being advertised online which you can attend. Look for new museum exhibitions, street fairs, musical concerts, talks, etc. and try to attend something new every month. Even networking events can lead to future job prospects or business opportunities.

10. Cook a meal for someone (or a group of people)

Some of the strongest bonds between human beings are formed around food. Since the discovery of fire, humans have been gathering around and feeding one another, sharing memories, advice, opinions and accolades. Even if you’re not a good cook, throw a few pizzas in the oven and invite a few friends over for a drink.

Now I know what you’re thinking right now. I don’t have time to do all that every week, or even every month. Heck, maybe even every year is asking too much. But I assure you, you do have time for these activities. Some of them let you reconnect with yourself at a deeper level, while others require you to connect with the ones around you in an empathetic and emotionally engaged way.

Remember that this life is not just about you, it’s about everyone you come in contact with. Every small action you take will have a butterfly effect which changes the hearts and minds of those you come in contact with.

How are you making sure you’re building the life you truly want to live? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Life

The 4 Agreements You’ll Need to Make With Yourself to Live a Happier Life

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Here’s something we can all agree on: Life is hard. And if this wasn’t enough, caring about other people’s opinion only makes it harder. You have a good job but you’re too scared to run your own business. You have a good relationship with your partner, but you’re too scared to get married. And you live an interesting life but you’re too scared to share it on social media.

In other words, fear is taking over your life. The problem is that changing your perspective isn’t easy. But here’s the big secret…You can unlearn your previous beliefs and adopt new ones that will help set you free from your fears.

It won’t be easy but if you’re hungry for positive change, here are the four agreements based on the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz you’ll need to make with yourself:

1. Always Be True To Your Word

Do you know the power of your word? Most people don’t stop to appreciate the power they possess in their word. Your word has the power to kill millions of people or to change someone’s life forever. Think back when Martin Luther King managed to change millions of lives with his “I Have A Dream” speech.

The problem is most people fail to use the power of their word, or worse they use it to unintentionally hurt others. However, the trick is to say only what you truly mean. Don’t speak badly about yourself or others. And speak about truth and love.

Negative feedback can act as poison to other people. Start taking the power of your word seriously by speaking only positive things. Instead of gossiping behind your co-worker’s back, try to say positive things or don’t say anything at all.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

2. Free Yourself From People’s Ideas

Chances are that other people’s words closely relate to your own perception. So what happens? You believe your friend who calls you ugly when you’re having a bad hair day. You believe your boss who states you’re an incompetent worker when you’re experiencing a bad breakup. And you believe your family when they provide you with many reasons of why you won’t be able to run a successful business.

The list goes on and on. Repeat this for years and it’s no wonder why you take other people’s criticism personally. What you have to understand is that other people’s opinions aren’t about you, it’s a reflection of themselves. For example, if someone tells you that you’ll never launch a successful business it’s screaming what they believe is possible.

You shouldn’t even take your own comments personally. Sometimes your own words cause self-inflicting damage. So what’s the solution? Start by listing your beliefs that make you fearful or unhappy. Then work on your smallest beliefs and begin replacing them with positive beliefs.

3. Stop Making Assumptions About Everything

Be bold and ask questions. The next time someone explains something to you, repeat what they’ve said to confirm if their statement was correct. Rinse and repeat until you’re confident that you understand the other person. Will it be easy? Of course not. There will be times when you’ll be scared to ask questions or people will look annoyed. However, you can’t let fear hold you back.

Here are the two questions to ask yourself when you’re facing tough times: 1. If today was my last day would this problem be significant? 2. How do you want to live? Be curious and become confident in asking questions so you’ll never have to assume anything.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama XIV

4. Consistently Do Your Best

Don’t strive to be perfect, strive to do your best. You’ll regret more the chances we didn’t take vs the times you’ve failed. If you’re always performing at your best you’ll be less likely to feel disappointed. Your best will vary from time to time but as long as you’re always putting your best effort you’ll be at peace.

Why does this work? As humans, we punish ourselves multiple times for a single mistake. That’s because we tend to live in the future or past replaying old mistakes and punishing ourselves further. By always doing our best you eliminate the possibility for regret and self-judgment. Don’t forget to do your best with the little things as well.

Here’s what I mean: The moment you wake put your best effort to make your bed. When you’re feeling off, put your best effort going to go to the gym to lift weights. Stop waiting for those rare days when you wake up feeling amazing. Get up each morning with the intent to do your best at everything you do!

Start Living A Happy Life

Picture this, it’s 5 am and you’re starting your morning ritual. At the end of your ritual, you’re ready to have an amazing day despite it being Monday. But that’s not all. You’ve found the courage to leave your job to go all in with your business. You’ve found the courage to get married and take your relationship to the next level. You’ve even found the courage to share silly pictures of yourself on social media.

Life is good. Most people wish for these types of day, but not you. Ever since you’ve adopted these 4 agreements your life has transformed for the better. You’re no longer a victim to what happens in your life.

Amazing isn’t it? This can be your reality if you begin adopting these 4 agreements into your life today. You’ve only got one life to live, are you going to let fear hold you back from being happy?

What have you discovered about yourself? Comment below!

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5 Actionable Tips to Master Your Mental Illness and Be Successful

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With May being Mental Illness Awareness Month, it’s imperative to know what actions we can take to develop more successful emotions. Emotional pain is one of the worst things that can happen to an individual. After attempting suicide twice and checking myself into countless mental health clinics, I was able to finally to become the master of my world. Reaching rock bottom twice, I’ve learned how to become successful in both my personal and professional life.  With a little bit of effort, this is something you can do too.

Even if you’re not battling a mental illness, these techniques can work wonders for improving every part of life:

1. Reading For Personal Growth

With so much negative material in this world of the internet, one must take the time to purposefully install positive material that’ll help you grow. Just by being on Addicted2Success, you’re on the right path.

Reading also is another way to exercise your mind. By exercising the mind and inserting positive information into it on a consistent basis, it’s inevitable that your thoughts, actions, and results will begin to change. What I did, and still do, is read books from the genres of Self-Help, Self-Improvement, Personal Development, and Psychology.

2. Writing To Vent

Even after speaking to therapists and psychologists, what I have found to work wonders is to simply write. What’s great about this is you can get everything off of your chest and then destroy the evidence by shredding it once you’re done. By bottling everything up inside, it begins to eat away at us, stacks up with other negative emotions, and then comes back with a vengeance.

Start a daily journal to vent about everything that’s bothering you and then shred it if you choose. I personally shred everything all at once rather than one day at a time.

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” – Gustave Flaubert

3. Changing Environments

Jim Rohn said, “You’re the average of the five people you hang out with most.” This is true for success, finances, health, mentality, and all other areas of life. If you want to become successful, if you want to pull yourself out of an emotional slump, change the stimuli you’re currently in. This can include your friends, work, tv shows, news, movies, music, social media, unorganized office/home, and more.

If you feel like something is dragging you down, it is. Do what successful people do and change it! I personally went for months without a friend because they were the biggest source of negativity in my life…and I’d do it again!

4. Controlling Your Thoughts

This is easier said than done, but it’s extremely possible. On average, we have about 60,000 thoughts running through our minds every day, more than half of those are negative.

One thing you can try is to make a tally mark every time you notice a negative thought. Doing this will help you become more aware of this and you’ll notice over time, those tally marks will slowly dwindle. The key here is to have a predetermined affirmation or mantra to replace that negative thought with. I personally have a go-to affirmation which I repeat over-and-over again while forcing the biggest smile I can muster at the time.

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” – Mark Twain

5. Taking Action On Ideas

Ideas are a dime-a-dozen because too many are stillborn, most never take action on any idea they have. By taking action in any capacity on an idea that you come up with, it’ll help boost self-esteem and confidence. It also sends a signal to your subconscious mind that you’re becoming a different person who has a purpose in life. Start small at first, then go as big as your imagination can dream. I use to ignore my ideas because everyone told me how stupid I was, yet now I receive praise for being a innovative visionary with determination.

It took me nearly ten years without medication or therapy to completely reverse my life for the better. Now that I am where I am, I still practice all of this and more! You can be successful in whatever it is that you desire, but it all starts in the mind and your actions.

If you or anyone you know is battling any type of mental illness, know that it is only temporary if you choose for it to be. Take the advice Bob Proctor told me and implement it immediately: “The mind is the most powerful force in all of creation, hold the image of what you want, and surprise the whole world.”

What tricks do you have for controlling your mind and making sure your brain helps you achieve success throughout your day? Let us know in the comments below!

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Life

Why I Drastically Reduced My Social Media Consumption (And I Work in Social Media!)

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Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the way I consume, create and connect using social media.

What started out as a tool that was supposed to bring us together has turned into something we didn’t expect. Now, I’m the biggest advocate of all when it comes to social media. So much so, that I’ve dedicated most of my career to it.

This post is not designed to get you to delete social media and go and live off-grid, away from the Internet, on a farm, with no car and no connection to the community around you.

The point is to get you to rethink your social media usage.

These are the 4 burdens of social media:

 

Responding to comments

One of my coaching clients said to me the other day “How do you find time to respond to all of the comments you get online?”

I told him “I don’t.”

This is a new thing for me. If I go back six months, I was responding to every comment I got. It’s no secret that by responding to comments on social media in real-time, you get more engagement on your posts.

So yes, commenting is good if you are building an audience and want more people to see your work, but on the downside, you become a slave to comments.

The other challenge with comments is that you will get trolls and people that say nasty stuff. No matter how hard you try, some of them will affect your mindset, motivation or even your mood.

This is why I have drastically reduced the comments I respond to. I still engage and support people that like my work, I just do it less.

This leaves me more time to create, which ultimately provides more value than a reply to a comment.

 

Liking people’s posts

Social media also brings on the expectation that you’re supposed to like people’s posts who supported you, are your family or maybe even your work colleagues or friends.

I always like to support other people’s work, but I disagree with people expecting me to. Some posts just don’t resonate with me and that’s why I don’t reshare them even if they are my friends, colleagues or even super fans of my work.

 

Responding to direct messages

“Instant messaging has been the bane of my existence. It’s like a meeting that never ends”

Now everyone can reach me. This might seem like it makes us more connected but I don’t feel it does. Instead, it takes up huge amounts of time to respond to direct messages. A lot of the ones I get have ‘asks’ attached to them.

There’s nothing wrong with an ‘ask’ through social media but if you don’t know someone at all, it gets annoying quickly.

 

Having to check notifications

When I see 150 new notifications on LinkedIn (or any social network) as much as I hate to admit it, it feels good. I end up checking my notifications in meetings, while out for dinner with my significant other and even in the car (dangerous).

“Most of what these notifications are telling me are unimportant but my dopamine addicted brain can’t resist. The need for validation that I am growing or becoming somebody is too great”

<<<>>>>>

It’s for these four reasons that I recently severely limited by social media usage.

This may seem like the action of a crazy person given that I work in social media. I promise you it’s not. I can still have a career in social media or as a blogger without checking apps 100 times a day.

My time is now focused on something far more important:

Maximizing my time creating content that serves my purpose instead of consuming which is what the social media platforms want me to do (I never did like following rules).

<<<>>>

Here are the benefits I got by drastically reducing my social media usage:

 

Less stress

The recent test I took to measure my cortisol levels shows that I’m currently at 800 on the cortisol scale and the normal range is between 0-400.

I’ve been looking for any way I can to reduce stress. My experimentation with reducing social media has helped significantly.

“I find myself living in flight mode more often and enjoying right now”

One of the biggest flaws with the 24/7 social media model is the increase in stress if nothing else. The need for instant validation is making our stress levels soar. It’s time to fight back!

 

It’s made me more creative

I’m now being inspired more by things I witness in real life as opposed to the sometimes made-up, perfect world of social media. Creativity fuels our passions and even our businesses.

It takes empty space and free time to be creative. Social media was sucking up all my spare time after work and on the weekend. By consuming less, I had blocks of spare time to create.

That also gave me time to be inspired by books that fuel my imagination like Harry Potter (strangely enough).

 

I feel freer

Being tied to my phone and glued to social media is like having chains around my arms.

“It’s been nice to be free of advice, funny videos, opinions, politics and everything else that is like a fire hose in your face”

 

More present

Meditation has been something I’ve sucked at for a long time. I find it hard to be present and observe the now. Part of the reason, I’ve discovered, is that I was thinking about what was happening on social media.

Having time away from social media has made being present easier for me. I’m thinking less about how many views I got on LinkedIn today and more about the meaning of life and the people I care about.

It’s not perfect though. I still spend time on social media (obviously) and so I have to balance the benefits, with the negatives like being less present.

 

Fewer distractions

All the way back to high school, my teachers told me “Tim, you’re easily distracted.”

Even on my report cards, it says it. My teachers put it down to my appreciation of the opposite sex (this is what they said!) but I disagree. I put it down to my need for human interaction which is what has made me love selling in the business world.

None the less, I am easily distracted -  that’s a fact. Social media has forced me to check my notifications consistently. Since reducing my social media consumption, I’ve put into action a new strategy.

What I do now is turn off all notifications on my phone, computer, iPad and laptop. I only have SMS and phone call notifications turned on.

This setup allows me to time-box when I check my social media and only look at certain times of the day. By batching similar tasks like checking notifications together, I spend less time overall on social media.

Not only do I have my notifications for social media turned off, but I also do most of the commenting and responding to messages on my iMac. The screen of my phone is small and it makes the process longer, more stressful and it’s a burden on my eyes.

 

It’s increased my real-world interactions with people

By being less social without the need for social media and online communities, my hunger for connection has not disappeared. If anything, it’s increased.

The only way to get my fix is to attend a social catchup, hang out with workmates, have more meetings with clients and say hi to strangers.

This has improved my confidence, got me out of my comfort-zone and even helped me with my public speaking ability.

 

Final thought

Social media doesn’t have to be a burden but until you learn to control it, it will wreak havoc on your life. Working in social media makes me a big advocate of the upside, but the downside is not so obvious.

I hope, through my own reduction in social media, you’ve got a new perspective – or at least a different view of social media.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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3 Important Principles You Need to Know That All Billionaires Have in Common

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I’ve always been highly interested in the similarities amongst the world’s wealthiest. Their habits, successes, mindset, and failures have fascinated me. The journey to great prosperity can seem overwhelming, but if you apply success principles to any endeavor you can quickly and efficiently overcome challenges and expand. (more…)

Rob Fajardo is 23 year old Thought Leader from NJ. He founded a brand called Leave Normal Behind, a content, community, and events hub for purpose driven people. The mission of LNB is to bring together purpose driven people and inspire them to become the best versions of themselves by creating things that matter and encouraging others to do the same. He is also the viral marketing mastermind behind fidget spinners (check @fidget360 on IG) and helped Gerard Adams, Co-Founder of Elite Daily, establish the executive team at Fownders responsible for building the Seed-2-Scale program there. If you want to get connect with Rob you can email him rob@leavenormalbehind.com.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Lawrence Berry

    Aug 1, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    This was a great article Tim. It’s funny because I was recently just talking to someone very close to me about eating healthy, but because we both are still very young, they think we dont have to eat healthy. Eating healthy gives you energy and I feel the difference every time I go on a junk food spree from eating healthy for months. I feel the difference in energy levels and it is really amazing. Eating healthy really does allow you to be more productive, and stay and feel young longer.

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 2, 2015 at 2:55 am

      Couldn’t agree more Lawrence. I am just lucky because I have no excuse and am being forced. It’s great that you and I have been able to come to this realization at a young age. Some people don’t realise until it’s too late.

  2. stemcellbuddy

    Jul 30, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Tim, What an inspiring blog – thanks.
    I too have had health challenges, in fact i have had them for almost 50 years now, but it is only within past 10 years that I have been FORCED to seriously consider finding a better way.
    After being diagnosed in 2006 with a degenerative condition and being advised that nothing could stop the degeneration in my left eye except for laser treatment which may possibly slow down the degeneration – NOT stop it. Problem was that there was a 50% chance laser could immediately blind me due to difficult position of the condition. I was told that I could expect to completely lose sight by 3 to 4 years with the possibility my right eye could indeed go the same way. I did not go ahead with the laser treatment. Within the following year I was guided towards new natural supplements. Took a new look at what I eat and I now presently live FREE of my degenerative condition. I also train myself daily to look at problems “as you do” by making them a challenge instead of a problem. – Everything will have a positive outcome if I work at it in the right way.

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 2, 2015 at 2:53 am

      Wow amazing story Stemcellbuddy! The decisions you had to make were tough but like me, you realised that the natural way is always better and I love your mindset. Send me your details on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tim.denning I would love to chat further with you.

  3. Tim Denning

    Jul 29, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Dotchamou thanks for your two inspiring quotes. Nothing is ever an issue as long as you know how to reframe it and get the message from the situation. If you learn the art of this technique then you will find you have very little struggles to deal with in your life and you will be much happier.

  4. Seth

    Jul 29, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    I actually feel the same way Tim. I had my first seizure 6 years ago and have had them sporadically ever since. I have had to change a lot in my life because of it but I think it was for the best. Going through a health related challenge really opened up my eyes and changed my life around completely. I not take very good care of myself and try to learn/absorb as much as possible in my fields of interest. Thanks for writing this piece.

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 2, 2015 at 2:51 am

      Hey Seth, dealing with seizures must be ten times harder than my health challenge. I respect you for being able to have a positive outlook and realising that you need to take care of yourself. Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. Dotchamou Zakari

    Jul 29, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Hello, I hope your health will be better than before since your are positive. Most people will say that you are insane, but that doesn’t matter for somebody who is strong in his mind. In fact nothing is wasted in our life if we use it in our favor but most people curse everything that is not going in their ways instead of blessing it. Our life will be better if we can use the power of our life challenges in our favor.
    Here are two citations to lift up the mind of people who doesn’t want to be tested by life.
    “Don’t give up! It’s not over. The universe is balanced. Every set-back bears with it the seeds of a come-back.”
    ― Steve Maraboli

    “A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.”
    ― Ray A. Davis

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Life

10 Things You Must Do More Often in Order to Build an Enjoyable Life

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Most of us constantly look for ways to improve our lives. We want to make more money, be more attractive, and be regarded more highly by our friends and our colleagues. We are on a mission to achieve more, earn more, and learn more. More often than not, we are in a hurry to do all of it.

Unfortunately, this mindset misses the point. Think about it, what do all the things mentioned above have in common?  They’re all about ME. We’re all busy, we’ve all stretched out our limits and we’ve all got too much to do.

In the rush to improve our lives, we end up focusing too much on ourselves, which leads to disappointment and frustration when things don’t go as planned. But there are small actions we can take which help ground us in reality and make us remember what is most important about our lives.

Here are 10 things that you should do more often if you want to build a life that you truly enjoy:

1. Wake up before everyone else

Waking up early may not be your cup of tea, but I would urge even the most stalwart night owl to try this trick at least once over the course of the next few weeks. Set your alarm for an ungodly hour (like 5am) and make a concerted effort to get out of bed when your alarm goes off.

The brain functions differently in the early hours of the morning. Things may seem sharper, and ideas may come to you in different ways. On top of that, there is a subtle motivating factor that comes from the knowledge that you are up being productive while everyone else is still asleep in bed.

2. Spend a day doing anything you want to do

Many of us are shackled to our jobs, or studies and our personal commitments. We have become so overbooked that we rarely have a night off just to sit and relax. Even if we have that time, our minds typically wander to what we have to be doing the next day or later in the week.

Due to the above reason, I urge you to schedule one day a month where you actively schedule a full day of doing nothing but what you want to do. Not something for your business or your side project. Not something for someone else. Be selfish.

3. Reach out to old friends

The power of a network grows stronger based on how strong the connections are between each piece. Reach out to an old friend (or friends) and start the process of catching up and rebuilding relationships that have faded. You never know what opportunities may develop from these connections, so it is always a good idea to maintain these open channels.

“Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

4. Ask someone to do something for you which you could do yourself

You may have the time or skill necessary to do something, but delegating will be invaluable to you as you continue to move through life. The practice of delegating is a subtle art that few of us are comfortable with, but almost all of us would benefit from.

Delegating requires you to plan exactly what you want to happen, and it also requires that you set clear expectations for what you expect from others. You can practice this by hiring someone from Fiverr or Upwork to help you with your job or a random task of some kind.

5. Say thank you to someone that made a difference in your life in the last year

You have no idea what a difference a gesture of this kind can make to someone. Reach out to a stranger, a colleague, a family member, or a long lost friend. Tell them why you appreciate them, and say thank you for what they’ve done for you. You don’t need to tell them it was because I told you so… just go for it. You won’t regret it, and you’ll make their day.

6. Give your opinion about what someone should do in their life or in their work

This is nearly as hard as asking someone to do something for you. As humans, we tend to avoid potential conflicts, and telling someone to change something about their lives has a huge potential for conflict or argument. Still, if you are able to share your opinion in a clear and thought through manner, that person will not only appreciate your advice, they will respect you moving forward.

7. Give a compliment to someone without expecting anything in return

Similar to saying thank you to someone, giving a compliment allows you to strengthen your relationship with others in and outside of your network while helping you build the self confidence to share your opinions openly and without self-judgement. If possible, focus on giving “growth mindset” compliments rather than “fixed mindset” compliments.

Growth mindset compliments are those relating to skills or traits which can be learned and improved upon (i.e. you did such a good job with that presentation), whereas fixed mindset compliments are those which relate to fixed attributes related to physical appearance, intellect, etc (you’re so smart).

“Everybody likes a compliment.” – Abraham Lincoln

8. Make something and share it with the world

Often we are told to create widgets for our employers or to churn out content for individuals that pay us. However, real creativity requires tapping into our inner passions and ideas about how the world works. Being creative in this way is a great way to reconnect with your true nature and ground yourself in the present moment.

9. Go to a free event and see something you’ve not experienced before

Always keep on learning! If you live in or near a big city, chances are there are a ton of free events being advertised online which you can attend. Look for new museum exhibitions, street fairs, musical concerts, talks, etc. and try to attend something new every month. Even networking events can lead to future job prospects or business opportunities.

10. Cook a meal for someone (or a group of people)

Some of the strongest bonds between human beings are formed around food. Since the discovery of fire, humans have been gathering around and feeding one another, sharing memories, advice, opinions and accolades. Even if you’re not a good cook, throw a few pizzas in the oven and invite a few friends over for a drink.

Now I know what you’re thinking right now. I don’t have time to do all that every week, or even every month. Heck, maybe even every year is asking too much. But I assure you, you do have time for these activities. Some of them let you reconnect with yourself at a deeper level, while others require you to connect with the ones around you in an empathetic and emotionally engaged way.

Remember that this life is not just about you, it’s about everyone you come in contact with. Every small action you take will have a butterfly effect which changes the hearts and minds of those you come in contact with.

How are you making sure you’re building the life you truly want to live? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Life

The 4 Agreements You’ll Need to Make With Yourself to Live a Happier Life

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Here’s something we can all agree on: Life is hard. And if this wasn’t enough, caring about other people’s opinion only makes it harder. You have a good job but you’re too scared to run your own business. You have a good relationship with your partner, but you’re too scared to get married. And you live an interesting life but you’re too scared to share it on social media.

In other words, fear is taking over your life. The problem is that changing your perspective isn’t easy. But here’s the big secret…You can unlearn your previous beliefs and adopt new ones that will help set you free from your fears.

It won’t be easy but if you’re hungry for positive change, here are the four agreements based on the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz you’ll need to make with yourself:

1. Always Be True To Your Word

Do you know the power of your word? Most people don’t stop to appreciate the power they possess in their word. Your word has the power to kill millions of people or to change someone’s life forever. Think back when Martin Luther King managed to change millions of lives with his “I Have A Dream” speech.

The problem is most people fail to use the power of their word, or worse they use it to unintentionally hurt others. However, the trick is to say only what you truly mean. Don’t speak badly about yourself or others. And speak about truth and love.

Negative feedback can act as poison to other people. Start taking the power of your word seriously by speaking only positive things. Instead of gossiping behind your co-worker’s back, try to say positive things or don’t say anything at all.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

2. Free Yourself From People’s Ideas

Chances are that other people’s words closely relate to your own perception. So what happens? You believe your friend who calls you ugly when you’re having a bad hair day. You believe your boss who states you’re an incompetent worker when you’re experiencing a bad breakup. And you believe your family when they provide you with many reasons of why you won’t be able to run a successful business.

The list goes on and on. Repeat this for years and it’s no wonder why you take other people’s criticism personally. What you have to understand is that other people’s opinions aren’t about you, it’s a reflection of themselves. For example, if someone tells you that you’ll never launch a successful business it’s screaming what they believe is possible.

You shouldn’t even take your own comments personally. Sometimes your own words cause self-inflicting damage. So what’s the solution? Start by listing your beliefs that make you fearful or unhappy. Then work on your smallest beliefs and begin replacing them with positive beliefs.

3. Stop Making Assumptions About Everything

Be bold and ask questions. The next time someone explains something to you, repeat what they’ve said to confirm if their statement was correct. Rinse and repeat until you’re confident that you understand the other person. Will it be easy? Of course not. There will be times when you’ll be scared to ask questions or people will look annoyed. However, you can’t let fear hold you back.

Here are the two questions to ask yourself when you’re facing tough times: 1. If today was my last day would this problem be significant? 2. How do you want to live? Be curious and become confident in asking questions so you’ll never have to assume anything.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama XIV

4. Consistently Do Your Best

Don’t strive to be perfect, strive to do your best. You’ll regret more the chances we didn’t take vs the times you’ve failed. If you’re always performing at your best you’ll be less likely to feel disappointed. Your best will vary from time to time but as long as you’re always putting your best effort you’ll be at peace.

Why does this work? As humans, we punish ourselves multiple times for a single mistake. That’s because we tend to live in the future or past replaying old mistakes and punishing ourselves further. By always doing our best you eliminate the possibility for regret and self-judgment. Don’t forget to do your best with the little things as well.

Here’s what I mean: The moment you wake put your best effort to make your bed. When you’re feeling off, put your best effort going to go to the gym to lift weights. Stop waiting for those rare days when you wake up feeling amazing. Get up each morning with the intent to do your best at everything you do!

Start Living A Happy Life

Picture this, it’s 5 am and you’re starting your morning ritual. At the end of your ritual, you’re ready to have an amazing day despite it being Monday. But that’s not all. You’ve found the courage to leave your job to go all in with your business. You’ve found the courage to get married and take your relationship to the next level. You’ve even found the courage to share silly pictures of yourself on social media.

Life is good. Most people wish for these types of day, but not you. Ever since you’ve adopted these 4 agreements your life has transformed for the better. You’re no longer a victim to what happens in your life.

Amazing isn’t it? This can be your reality if you begin adopting these 4 agreements into your life today. You’ve only got one life to live, are you going to let fear hold you back from being happy?

What have you discovered about yourself? Comment below!

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Life

5 Actionable Tips to Master Your Mental Illness and Be Successful

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With May being Mental Illness Awareness Month, it’s imperative to know what actions we can take to develop more successful emotions. Emotional pain is one of the worst things that can happen to an individual. After attempting suicide twice and checking myself into countless mental health clinics, I was able to finally to become the master of my world. Reaching rock bottom twice, I’ve learned how to become successful in both my personal and professional life.  With a little bit of effort, this is something you can do too.

Even if you’re not battling a mental illness, these techniques can work wonders for improving every part of life:

1. Reading For Personal Growth

With so much negative material in this world of the internet, one must take the time to purposefully install positive material that’ll help you grow. Just by being on Addicted2Success, you’re on the right path.

Reading also is another way to exercise your mind. By exercising the mind and inserting positive information into it on a consistent basis, it’s inevitable that your thoughts, actions, and results will begin to change. What I did, and still do, is read books from the genres of Self-Help, Self-Improvement, Personal Development, and Psychology.

2. Writing To Vent

Even after speaking to therapists and psychologists, what I have found to work wonders is to simply write. What’s great about this is you can get everything off of your chest and then destroy the evidence by shredding it once you’re done. By bottling everything up inside, it begins to eat away at us, stacks up with other negative emotions, and then comes back with a vengeance.

Start a daily journal to vent about everything that’s bothering you and then shred it if you choose. I personally shred everything all at once rather than one day at a time.

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” – Gustave Flaubert

3. Changing Environments

Jim Rohn said, “You’re the average of the five people you hang out with most.” This is true for success, finances, health, mentality, and all other areas of life. If you want to become successful, if you want to pull yourself out of an emotional slump, change the stimuli you’re currently in. This can include your friends, work, tv shows, news, movies, music, social media, unorganized office/home, and more.

If you feel like something is dragging you down, it is. Do what successful people do and change it! I personally went for months without a friend because they were the biggest source of negativity in my life…and I’d do it again!

4. Controlling Your Thoughts

This is easier said than done, but it’s extremely possible. On average, we have about 60,000 thoughts running through our minds every day, more than half of those are negative.

One thing you can try is to make a tally mark every time you notice a negative thought. Doing this will help you become more aware of this and you’ll notice over time, those tally marks will slowly dwindle. The key here is to have a predetermined affirmation or mantra to replace that negative thought with. I personally have a go-to affirmation which I repeat over-and-over again while forcing the biggest smile I can muster at the time.

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” – Mark Twain

5. Taking Action On Ideas

Ideas are a dime-a-dozen because too many are stillborn, most never take action on any idea they have. By taking action in any capacity on an idea that you come up with, it’ll help boost self-esteem and confidence. It also sends a signal to your subconscious mind that you’re becoming a different person who has a purpose in life. Start small at first, then go as big as your imagination can dream. I use to ignore my ideas because everyone told me how stupid I was, yet now I receive praise for being a innovative visionary with determination.

It took me nearly ten years without medication or therapy to completely reverse my life for the better. Now that I am where I am, I still practice all of this and more! You can be successful in whatever it is that you desire, but it all starts in the mind and your actions.

If you or anyone you know is battling any type of mental illness, know that it is only temporary if you choose for it to be. Take the advice Bob Proctor told me and implement it immediately: “The mind is the most powerful force in all of creation, hold the image of what you want, and surprise the whole world.”

What tricks do you have for controlling your mind and making sure your brain helps you achieve success throughout your day? Let us know in the comments below!

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Life

Why I Drastically Reduced My Social Media Consumption (And I Work in Social Media!)

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Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the way I consume, create and connect using social media.

What started out as a tool that was supposed to bring us together has turned into something we didn’t expect. Now, I’m the biggest advocate of all when it comes to social media. So much so, that I’ve dedicated most of my career to it.

This post is not designed to get you to delete social media and go and live off-grid, away from the Internet, on a farm, with no car and no connection to the community around you.

The point is to get you to rethink your social media usage.

These are the 4 burdens of social media:

 

Responding to comments

One of my coaching clients said to me the other day “How do you find time to respond to all of the comments you get online?”

I told him “I don’t.”

This is a new thing for me. If I go back six months, I was responding to every comment I got. It’s no secret that by responding to comments on social media in real-time, you get more engagement on your posts.

So yes, commenting is good if you are building an audience and want more people to see your work, but on the downside, you become a slave to comments.

The other challenge with comments is that you will get trolls and people that say nasty stuff. No matter how hard you try, some of them will affect your mindset, motivation or even your mood.

This is why I have drastically reduced the comments I respond to. I still engage and support people that like my work, I just do it less.

This leaves me more time to create, which ultimately provides more value than a reply to a comment.

 

Liking people’s posts

Social media also brings on the expectation that you’re supposed to like people’s posts who supported you, are your family or maybe even your work colleagues or friends.

I always like to support other people’s work, but I disagree with people expecting me to. Some posts just don’t resonate with me and that’s why I don’t reshare them even if they are my friends, colleagues or even super fans of my work.

 

Responding to direct messages

“Instant messaging has been the bane of my existence. It’s like a meeting that never ends”

Now everyone can reach me. This might seem like it makes us more connected but I don’t feel it does. Instead, it takes up huge amounts of time to respond to direct messages. A lot of the ones I get have ‘asks’ attached to them.

There’s nothing wrong with an ‘ask’ through social media but if you don’t know someone at all, it gets annoying quickly.

 

Having to check notifications

When I see 150 new notifications on LinkedIn (or any social network) as much as I hate to admit it, it feels good. I end up checking my notifications in meetings, while out for dinner with my significant other and even in the car (dangerous).

“Most of what these notifications are telling me are unimportant but my dopamine addicted brain can’t resist. The need for validation that I am growing or becoming somebody is too great”

<<<>>>>>

It’s for these four reasons that I recently severely limited by social media usage.

This may seem like the action of a crazy person given that I work in social media. I promise you it’s not. I can still have a career in social media or as a blogger without checking apps 100 times a day.

My time is now focused on something far more important:

Maximizing my time creating content that serves my purpose instead of consuming which is what the social media platforms want me to do (I never did like following rules).

<<<>>>

Here are the benefits I got by drastically reducing my social media usage:

 

Less stress

The recent test I took to measure my cortisol levels shows that I’m currently at 800 on the cortisol scale and the normal range is between 0-400.

I’ve been looking for any way I can to reduce stress. My experimentation with reducing social media has helped significantly.

“I find myself living in flight mode more often and enjoying right now”

One of the biggest flaws with the 24/7 social media model is the increase in stress if nothing else. The need for instant validation is making our stress levels soar. It’s time to fight back!

 

It’s made me more creative

I’m now being inspired more by things I witness in real life as opposed to the sometimes made-up, perfect world of social media. Creativity fuels our passions and even our businesses.

It takes empty space and free time to be creative. Social media was sucking up all my spare time after work and on the weekend. By consuming less, I had blocks of spare time to create.

That also gave me time to be inspired by books that fuel my imagination like Harry Potter (strangely enough).

 

I feel freer

Being tied to my phone and glued to social media is like having chains around my arms.

“It’s been nice to be free of advice, funny videos, opinions, politics and everything else that is like a fire hose in your face”

 

More present

Meditation has been something I’ve sucked at for a long time. I find it hard to be present and observe the now. Part of the reason, I’ve discovered, is that I was thinking about what was happening on social media.

Having time away from social media has made being present easier for me. I’m thinking less about how many views I got on LinkedIn today and more about the meaning of life and the people I care about.

It’s not perfect though. I still spend time on social media (obviously) and so I have to balance the benefits, with the negatives like being less present.

 

Fewer distractions

All the way back to high school, my teachers told me “Tim, you’re easily distracted.”

Even on my report cards, it says it. My teachers put it down to my appreciation of the opposite sex (this is what they said!) but I disagree. I put it down to my need for human interaction which is what has made me love selling in the business world.

None the less, I am easily distracted -  that’s a fact. Social media has forced me to check my notifications consistently. Since reducing my social media consumption, I’ve put into action a new strategy.

What I do now is turn off all notifications on my phone, computer, iPad and laptop. I only have SMS and phone call notifications turned on.

This setup allows me to time-box when I check my social media and only look at certain times of the day. By batching similar tasks like checking notifications together, I spend less time overall on social media.

Not only do I have my notifications for social media turned off, but I also do most of the commenting and responding to messages on my iMac. The screen of my phone is small and it makes the process longer, more stressful and it’s a burden on my eyes.

 

It’s increased my real-world interactions with people

By being less social without the need for social media and online communities, my hunger for connection has not disappeared. If anything, it’s increased.

The only way to get my fix is to attend a social catchup, hang out with workmates, have more meetings with clients and say hi to strangers.

This has improved my confidence, got me out of my comfort-zone and even helped me with my public speaking ability.

 

Final thought

Social media doesn’t have to be a burden but until you learn to control it, it will wreak havoc on your life. Working in social media makes me a big advocate of the upside, but the downside is not so obvious.

I hope, through my own reduction in social media, you’ve got a new perspective – or at least a different view of social media.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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