As I opened the door to the shrink’s office both my hands were shaking non-stop (this was an everyday occurrence). It was one of the darkest times of my life, and I couldn’t see where I would end up. I thought to myself in this moment, “am I going mental? Isn’t this where crazy people end up?”
The doctor told me I was very sick, and struggling from a whole host of self-inflicted medical issues of which anxiety was the strongest. I took the last of the money I had at the time to pay for five sessions with the shrink.
It was now session number five and all I had done so far was talk about myself and have him shake his head. I started thinking that it was all a waste of money. In this last session, it was time for the shrink to give me his verdict and send me on my way.
He said one paragraph that changed my life forever. He said, “Tim my diagnosis is that you have all the tools already to overcome your anxiety issues. You have already taken significant steps, and I didn’t instigate any of it. “
He then continued to say “everything you need to turn your life around is already in your own head, and you are one of the smartest young men that has ever walked into this office. Stop second-guessing yourself and keep taking the small steps towards reducing your anxiety. I see great things ahead for you, young man!”
His words were so powerful, yet all he really did was reconfirm the action I was already taking and believe in me. It was nice that someone other than myself saw what I was capable of. This one idea is something that can transform almost anyone’s current level of success.
The story above occurred before my personal transformation a few years ago when I used to suffer from severe anxiety. It involved predominantly experiencing daily anxiety followed by depression and any other mental disorder you can think of. It was fuelled by my ever-increasing stress levels caused by my obsession with business, family issues, and my life heading in the wrong direction.
In this article, I am going to explain to you how this anxiety elevated my entire life to the next level. Now that you have read a bit about the anxiety I used to suffer I want you to understand that this is very normal, and lots of people have the same thing. Anxiety is nothing to be afraid of.
I am now in a fortunate stage of my life where I don’t experience the effects of anxiety anymore, and I believe any mental illness can be unlearned and used to motivate you.
Below are the twelve inspiring ways my anxiety elevated my life.
1. It made me get involved in personal development
Without my previous anxiety disorder, I would never have taken up a commitment to personal development. The way to overcome anxiety (and any mental disorder) is through constant personal development each day.
Back then, I realised that I needed to change my state of mind, so I began listening to Tony Robbins and then that led to a whole host of others like Zig Ziglar, Eric Thomas, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Jim Rohn, etc.
Most of my life, while listening to mp3’s and for the entire day, I would always have the curtains shut, and my office and bedroom were usually in total darkness.
Around the same time that I took up personal development, a strange thing happened: the curtain in my bedroom broke. This seemingly insignificant event meant that in the short term I had to keep the curtain open continuously. This changed my sleep pattern and had a real effect on me.
Shortly after, the curtain in my office broke. It was like it was supposed to happen and was a divine moment. To this day, both curtains are still broken and have to be kept open at all times. This small reminder each day serves as an anchor for where I am taking my life and how anxiety has helped me.
Anxiety can inspire you to do lots of things, but the best thing I have found it can do in my life is to inspire you to take up personal development.
2. It can teach you to think in the now
As I researched what anxiety was and how I could overcome it I figured out a simple concept; anxiety is thinking too much into the future and depression is thinking too much in the past. When I carefully analysed each day I realised that I was thinking about events that were way into the future and hadn’t even occurred yet.
Once I started thinking of these future events, I would then begin to stress about them in advance. The key to overcoming anxiety and using it to inspire you going forward is to stop the habit of stressing about things in the future.
Learn to think in the now and not try and control things that haven’t even occurred. Most of the time the events I was stressing about never ended up happening or turned out in an entirely different way. All of this time spent stressing on the future was wasted and made me tired constantly.
3. It got me reading books
Anxiety has inspired me to do lots of things but one way it elevated my life was to encourage me to take up reading. For many years, I never read any books because reading small words hurt my eyes and I didn’t have the concentration or focus (probably due to all the sugar).
After my experience with anxiety, I discovered that reading was a great way to heal my mind, and so I began reading books on an iPad which didn’t hurt my eyes. I mostly read motivational books and autobiographies of people who had done amazing things in their life.
This simple act started to rewire my brain, and it became the foundation for the success trajectory I am still on. It was a calming way to go to sleep each night rather than stressing about future events or having the TV yell at me about how bad the world was, and how horrible people could be.
4. It helped me quit coffee and alcohol
During my anxiety period, I learned to wake up with two or three coffees in the morning, have a soft drink for lunch, and then bring myself back down again with alcohol at night. Up until this point, all the references society had given me made me think this way of life was normal.
Through reading, I quickly figured out that these things were fuelling my anxiety even further and that I had to give them up. As I slowly kicked these bad habits, my state of mind shifted. I stopped making poor decisions and behaving badly as a reaction to my lack of energy and lethargicness.
5. It made me start tracking my success
Often when you try and overcome anxiety, it feels like you are making no progress. One thing that anxiety taught me was that it’s important to track your success. In the short term, I began to keep a note on my iPad of all the times I had successfully conquered anxiety.
Within a few weeks, I realised I was making a lot more progress than I had previously thought. Unless you write down your win’s, you will never know just how good you are!
6. It taught me to gamify my life
A cool outcome from the anxiety crushing process was that it taught me to play games with myself. As I kept a list of wins, I started to think of ways to increase my winning score and have even more successful situations.
I have later used this same technique to inspire me to write articles by keeping score of my progress and how well I’m doing. The concept of gamification is a great way to fast track any component of self-development. Gamifying your life is much better than wasting your time on computer or smartphone games.
7. It helped me to take control
Through the anxiety process, I discovered that the major driver behind anxiety is control. Anxiety is something that can take control of your human operating system and leave you without the power to make decisions yourself.
This concept empowered me to take back control and not let anything control my destiny. Instead of letting others make decisions about what I was going to do each day, I became stubborn and insisted on taking back control on even the smallest decisions.
Until you take back control of your own decision-making ability, you will never reach the pinnacle of success.
8. It reconnected me to the habit of learning and sales
Anxiety showed me that learning is so important, and it can help us to achieve anything and even overcome mental illness. The way I overcame anxiety, if you break it down, is through learning new ideas, unlearning bad habits, and relearning what made me successful in the first place.
You need to learn new ideas from inspiring individuals around you (or blogs like this), have the discipline to acknowledge your current bad habits and beliefs, and relearn the things that you have forgotten.
So in my personal transformation I used self-help content to learn new ideas, I wrote down all my bad habits and conquered them one by one, and I relearned how to sell by taking an entry level job in sales for a short time. I want to focus on the relearn component for a minute because this was something that had the biggest impact on me.
When people ask me what made me successful as an entrepreneur, for a long time I had no idea. Through overcoming anxiety, I learned that sales is where all my success started from. I learned that sales equals confidence, and confidence drowns out anxiety.
Do you see the benefit of severe anxiety and what it can do for you yet?
9. It showed me the power of meditation
I didn’t actually discover meditation until after I cured the majority of my anxiety but it’s a great way to relax. Meditating, as part of the cure for anxiety, is now common practice although a few years ago it wasn’t that well known when I was going through my own treatment.
Essentially, meditation helps bring your mind back to the present and allows you to re-focus. The easiest way to try it is using an app like the one I have called “Calm.” I find that when I am required to produce moments of inspiration, meditation allows me to settle the mind and prepare for greatness.
Part of my new found inspiration has a lot to do with what anxiety did to my mind and how meditation helped to remove those mental roadblocks. I’m sure it can help you too.
10. It changed my work life
Anxiety helped me to elevate my life by first of all crippling everything I had, and then allowing me to come to the decision that my day-to-day work life had to change drastically. If it weren’t for anxiety I would still be stuck in the same work that I hated, with the same people that brought me down, and the same old beliefs that weren’t serving me.
What you do to earn a living each day has a lot to do with how inspired you are and where your life is heading. It can be tough to change your work life unless you have an event that forces you to quit and start again. Hopefully, if you’re lucky, that event may lead you down the path of entrepreneurship.
If not, that’s okay; there are still many wonderful things you can do to contribute to mankind and discover your purpose for being on earth. After all, you only get one chance at life so use it wisely ☺
Severe mental illness can be the trigger for something new, and all success starts with some sort of challenge or pain first. Anxiety was very much the seed of greatness in my life, and it can do wonders for you if you get the lessons from it.
11. It made me realise everyone suffers from a degree of anxiety
Have you ever seen someone toot their horn or swear at another person? The chances are that they probably suffer from anxiety to some degree. Anxiety can make you very frustrated and cause you to take this frustration out on other people.
During my anxiety days, I was often angry at the fact that I had to deal with this issue and thought I was one of the only ones. What I now know is that lots of people have this mental illness and that it’s what fuels most of the negative people you engage with on a daily basis.
Once I learned to identify anxiety and crush it, I found myself being much nicer to people and less frustrated. This resulted in lower levels of stress, more happiness, and a sharp increase in my overall mental and physical health.
“We are all infected with anxiety, but we have the vaccine already inside of us” – Tim Denning
12. It taught me to be more vulnerable
The biggest lesson I got from my dance with anxiety was that it can help you elevate your life further by teaching you to be more vulnerable. The only way to overcome anxiety is first to admit to yourself that you have it, and then to seek advice by being vulnerable enough to talk to another person about it.
Without courage, you will never elevate your life to the next level. Courage involves you accepting that you need to get vulnerable on a regular basis.
You need to do things that are difficult, and produce the good kind of anxiety, all with the acceptance that you could fail and learn a great lesson at the end of it – what a horrible thing that would be ☺
What major event (like severe anxiety) has helped you elevate your life? Let me know in the comment section below or on my personal Facebook and Twitter Pages.
8 Things You Can Do to Rise Above Failure and Attain Success
Highly successful people have tasted failure more than success. Whether its Nikola Tesla or Michael Jordan, everyone had his/her fair share of failures before rising to the pinnacle of success. Yet, most people I know are averse to the idea of failure.
When ambition fuels your desires, you become so conscious about avoiding failure that you forget to learn how to cope with it when you actually experience it. So, when you come face-to-face with adversity, it often overwhelms you.
This brings us to the question, how can you train yourself to overcome these difficulties and use them to your advantage? Here’s how:
1. Acceptance is important to overcome failure
When the going gets tough, one of the most frustrating things you may get to hear is “stay positive.” The idea of positive thinking has been misconstrued, misused, and abused continuously. Contrary to popular belief, positive thinking has nothing to do with smiling and being happy with everything that happens to you all the time. Anyone who preaches that is either lying or crazy.
Use positive thinking to learn, grow, and evolve from the experiences we gather in life. Positive thinking simply means that if you are faced with a setback, you work hard to overcome the challenges. When you experience hardships, it is alright to feel upset and disappointed. Our objective, however, is not to stay down.
2. Be honest with yourself
The most crucial part of dealing with a failure involves pausing for a couple of minutes and pondering over what happened. You need to be completely honest with yourself on why it happened.
It is easy to pull out the Smartphone, turn on the laptop or find other forms of distraction. Most people would do anything to distract themselves and keep their eyes shut to the mistakes they have made.
However, if you don’t confront, you don’t learn. And if you don’t learn, then you are setting yourself up for failure again. Albert Einstein famously stated that it was insane to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. If you don’t derive a lesson out of mistakes and failures in life, then you are doomed to keep repeating them, whether you realise it or not.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
3. Don’t beat yourself up over a temporary setback
When you have experienced a setback, many of you may succumb to the feeling that you’ll always keep failing. It is easy to convince yourself that you are indeed a failure. Don’t let such destructive ideas or thoughts creep into your head. Instead, keep reminding yourself that just because you failed today, it doesn’t mean you’d fail the next time as well.
It is also important that you treat your failure as a passing phase. When you keep moving forward, focus on the right things, and keep learning. Perceiving the setback as a temporary phase rather than something permanent is vital to developing an optimistic attitude in life.
4. Focus on nurturing and improving yourself
Failures don’t discriminate, and it comes to everyone at some point. The trick lies in learning to deal with it and what you do about it that makes all the difference. In many cases, failure happens because a person wasn’t prepared, didn’t invest time on planning or was ill-equipped. It can also be because Lady Luck decided not to shower her favours.
Except for the last one, the rest of the issues can be fixed. Prepare a list of all the things that you think resulted in your failure. Start working on them one at a time. Do everything in your capacity to rectify, improve, resolve, and develop.
5. Find inspiration and support in abundance
Interacting with someone close can be more helpful than you think. You can also learn from people who have been through similar situations and have achieved what you hope to. Gain insights on how they managed to sail through the setbacks or low-points before and during the moment of success.
Or you can gain the motivation or enthusiasm by listening to someone else from an audiobook or podcast for maybe 30-60 minutes. It doesn’t have to be focused on your current setbacks. Change your mood and mindset back towards optimism again.
6. Adopt a constructive approach and learn from the adverse situation
Consider it as valuable feedback and take home something you can implement in the process of overcoming your failure. The following are some of the questions you need to ask yourself:
- What is the lesson for me?
- How can I rectify myself to avoid making the same mistake and do better next time?
- What can I do to enjoy guaranteed success?
You don’t need to rush through the process. Some of the answers may be immediate, while others might take an hour, a day or even a week to pop up. The significant thing is to start thinking about the situation from this perspective. Also, you need to be constructive about things rather than getting stuck with denial, negativity and apathy.
7. Stop mulling over and move on
Processing the situation and accepting it is the ideal way to deal with failures. Any individual who has experienced failures will know that it is quite easy to stay stuck in the loop of similar thoughts. In fact, this may go around and around for weeks or even months.
Now, in order to be free from this trap, the one habit that might help you is the set of questions like the ones shared above. You can also create a rough plan for how you wish to move forward from here. So, take some time to sit down and write them down.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
8. Purge out all the negativity
Another impactful way to handle the emotional meltdown and the thoughts that emerge from experiencing failure is to purge out all the negativity. In order to let everything out, you need to confide in someone close to you. There are two ways to go about it: Engaging in a conversation with someone will allow you to see it from a different perspective. The person you talk to can assist you in grounding yourself in reality again and motivate you to look for a way forward.
Or you can simply vent about it while the other person who is listening can sort things out for you. He/she can help you accept what happened and boost your spirit by instilling a sense of hope.
The significant thing to remember is that while you can’t stop obstacles from appearing in life, you can devise smart ways to handle them. If you persevere, you can easily discover opportunities that have been waiting for you on the other side. Now, as you become more efficient at dealing with the failures, you will allow yourself to see the positive side in even the toughest of scenarios.
How Stress Can Actually Improve the Quality of Your Life
Naturally, those of us who experience less stress in our lives are more likely to succeed. So, it’s important that you learn how to reduce your daily level of stress, right? Maybe not. Recent research has shown the common wisdom about stress might be dangerously inaccurate. Psychologists tracked the health of 30,000 adults in the United States over an 8-year period. Participants were asked two important questions:
1. “How much stress have you experienced in the last year?”
2. “Do you believe stress is harmful to your health?” (more…)
The Truth About the Law of Attraction
When we want something, we generally imagine the form it will take when it manifests. If we’re not careful, however, we can find ourselves attached more to the imagined form than the actual desired outcome. This is like placing an online order and expecting it to come in a blue box shipped by UPS. If we then receive a red box delivered by FedEx, we might not realize that it’s what we ordered, and never even open it!
For example, most of us say that we want money, but when money comes in the form of a free coffee or a gift or a discount, we don’t see it for what it is. We overlook it, and maybe we even say “No, thanks” and decline the gift which is, in one way or another, still money. In doing so, we fail to appreciate the value of the discount, the gift, or the freebie. If it isn’t cash being handed to us, we don’t see it as a manifestation of our desire.
The law of attraction is a funny thing.
It is much more complex and much more intricate than what it seems to be and yet, at the same time, it’s so very simple: We always get what we want. We always receive more of the energy at which we vibrate. Always.
However, if we’re acting from the energy of “I don’t deserve it” or “I don’t think I’m worthy,” then whatever it is that we receive will be negated and essentially unseen. On the other hand, if we are open, observant, and maintaining an abundance mindset, we will receive our request on numerous levels and from plentiful sources!
“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill
This is because we “place our order” not only through our words, but through our actions, our beliefs, and our thoughts.
Last month, I was open to receiving a new client. I didn’t know how it would happen, but I’d set my intention: I was going to get a new client. That night, out of nowhere, I got a message from an old student of mine. She was looking to hire me again as her coach for the upcoming college entrance exams in the U.S. But wait! I didn’t want an entrance exam client.
What I actually wanted was to get life and business coaching clients. This student was my “red box from Fed Ex.” I wanted to decline at first, but as I was about to reply, something made me stop. I asked myself, “Why am I rejecting this?”
This student is an amazing client. She pays on time. She’s not needy. She does her part. Best of all? She doesn’t short-change me. So I said yes, because I realized that the Universe was simply responding to the essence of my desire.
You see, my “Big Why” in everything I do has always been to facilitate an accelerated personal and business growth for my clients, and this student fit the bill in every way. She wanted the personal growth, she was ready to go all in and she reached out to me.
It didn’t look like the package I was expecting so I didn’t recognize it at first—and I nearly turned it away—but she was the perfect answer to my request.
Serving people like her has always been a driving force in my life.
The Universe knows that. It also knew that I wanted a client asap so that I could re-invest the money into my business, so it responded in the most ideal way… but in an unexpected form. And I came so close to missing it!
How many times have I missed other opportunities like this? How many times have I dismissed a “red box” because it wasn’t “blue?” I’ll never know. But I do know that, had I not stopped myself from sending a “No, thanks,” I would have felt as though the Universe wasn’t listening.
That’s the thing: the Universe is always listening.
The more open we are in receiving, the more we thrive. The more open our energy is, the greater the possibilities. Don’t just return that red box to the post office and keep waiting on a blue one. Ask yourself, first and foremost, if what you’re receiving at the moment matches up with your underlying desire.
See yourself living in abundance and you will attract it.” – Rhonda Byrne
The key is to be willing to receive anything and everything. How? Keep on reading1
1. Get clear on your “underlying desire.”
Identify exactly what it is that you really want—in my case, it was an ideal client (underlying) as opposed to a coaching client (surface)—and focus on that. Clear out all the mental noise and static that clouds your awareness.
2. Be flexible
Keep your eyes and mind open for anything that fits the description. When you ask for money, recognize that free coffee for what it is: $3 you were going to spend anyway, that can now remain in your pocket. Every penny on the ground, every coupon, it’s all money.
3. Keep an attitude of gratitude.
The more you appreciate what you have, the more that comes your way. Your grateful mindset opens the energetic door for more to flow your way, because “where attention goes, energy flows.” The more you focus on the things you want, the more you will draw them into your experience.
Remember, that the Universe responds to our requests in whatever way fits best within the big picture.
It’s a picture so big that we couldn’t possibly begin to see how it comes together. Trust it. Know that when you ask, you will receive. It may not come in the form you anticipate, but always in a form that responds to your underlying desire. You just have to be ready to see it.
7 Simple Ways to Master Your Emotions When Making Decisions
A lot of people have big regrets when lying on their deathbed. These regrets are often related to bad decisions or decisions not taken. Thus, as it turns out, decision-making is dependent on great self-confidence. A person who has confidence in their decisions has an easier time making them.
Emotions also play a big role in all of this. This is a debate that has confronted two great thinkers. According to Descartes, “decisions are the product of the rational mind.” In other words, decision-making is essentially based on facts and mathematics.
But this thesis was refuted and proven to be wrong by Antonio Damasio in one of his works called “The Error of Descartes”. This was partly based on the story of Elliott, a kid that was very smart, who had above average rational capabilities, but incapable of making a decision, after a surgery to remove a brain tumor on the surface of his frontal lobes. After all his work in that matter, he concludes that a person who is incapable of emotion is incapable of making the most rational decisions.
The management of emotions is therefore completely inherent to good decision making, especially when making the most important decisions. To this end, here are 7 tips to put into practice to really master your emotions thus making the best decisions possible and never regreting them.
1. Take a step back
You must learn to take the time to identify and understand your emotions. Since physical reactions are emotionally related, also take the time to detect the reactions you have to some of your emotions. To be able to take the distance necessary to make decisions, it’s important to refer to your prefrontal cortex. This is the area of the brain responsible for reasoning. To do so you need to put yourself in a stress-free environment for a few minutes.
The best way to do this is to learn to breathe deeply. This will allow activating your prefrontal cortex again, therefore, to have better control of your emotions so you do not react to them, let alone to the event that causes these emotions. Do this exercise for at least 15 minutes. It’s amazing how you can train yourself never to react, no matter what the situation. Ideally, let at least 24 hours go by before responding to a situation that would normally cause tension.
3. Pay attention
Once you are in the prefrontal cortex, put one hand on your abdomen, at the level of your intestines, and the other hand on your heart, and take the time to listen. These two parts of the body are the two major centers of vibrations and emotions. This is why it’s important to listen and pay attention to them.
The purpose of this exercise is to become aware of your gut and heart. What you need to remember is that the only person you need to trust is yourself. By practicing this exercise, one thing will become very clear: what the emotion you feel seeks to convey to you about the decision you have to make.
Since everything is energy, first make sure that the vibration of the decision you are about to make and that of your heart and gut are in sync. You will then know whether to go ahead with your decision or reject it based on whether you feel serenity or heaviness.
4. Discern untruths
It is important to know whether your nervousness is the result of an untruth you’ve told yourself. These can corrupt the vibrations that should help you make the right decision. You have to throw out all of these untruths and come to the decision-making without any filter. Stop thinking that you’re unlucky, that you’re in a bad situation, that your life is a failure, or that you are a victim.
5. Become aware of your emotions instead of avoiding them
To become aware of your emotions, you must learn to coach yourself. Ask yourself questions: How did you feel the last time you had to ask these types of questions? What did you get in return? Rename what you felt and the result you obtained from what you decided to do. You will thus be much better at assimilating, understanding, and welcoming your emotions.
6. Be as present as possible
There is no point in focusing on the big events surrounding the decision you want to make. Concentrate instead on the present moment, without analyzing the events. Judge based on emotions rather than the event. By being more present, you will be better able to listen to your emotions and feel them.
7. Make your emotions your allies
Each of your emotions speaks to you through the physical and physiological reactions that they generate in you. Look to the weight of their impact on you as an indicator. Only by listening to them, using them, and managing them can you manage your emotions.
Habit comes with practice. With time, these 7 points will become much more natural and will become automatic. You will make better decisions for yourself. This is one of the best ways to not end up with one of the big regrets.
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