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12 Inspiring Ways My Anxiety Elevated My Life

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Anxiety Can Be Inspiring - Addicted2Success

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.

Tim Denning - Seeds 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.

Tim Denning - Stepping Out Of The Shadow
 

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.

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 or through his Facebook.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Jackie

    Oct 28, 2016 at 1:50 am

    Do you take medication now for anxiety?

  2. Nick Scuderi

    Feb 24, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    A lot of these ways really related to me and how I changed in my own life. I used to only focus on school or work and didn’t see life for what it really was. Since then, I opened my mind and now see life in a new way. We need to focus on important things in our lives, but we need to live life at the same time. The one thing I fear is to never try something and regret it later. I’m glad I finally “woke up”.

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      Thanks for sharing your point of view Nick. I think we all suffer the same fear if not getting to do everything we want to do in our lifetime. Time is limited so we must use it wisely and plan out what we want to achieve rather than being on auto-pilot.

  3. Toño

    Feb 18, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Perfect and right on time atricle for me (as always should I say), as I am stuck at home for a 4 days due my eye illness, not to mention my level of anxiety rised up because I missed my job, gym & swimming pool.. I was needed that portion of healthy read!

    Have to say, you did a lot of self-development work, and I mean A LOT! While reading your ways, one by one, I started to realise that behind inspiration and a prime example for us, readers, you came through so many things and re-shaped your life, did the massive upgrade to a whole new level. Sugar, coffee, alcohol adds much to level of stress and affects our body, leave alone, being up onto those things you will have a constant brain fog and yes, you named it, looking on how society defines this way of life you may think it is normal. When it’s actually not. Reading books is amazing and agree with you it definitely helps rewire your mind and change the way you look at things. It helped me throughout my journey overcome my OCD. You certainly need good focus and concentration to read.
    Oh, and I think I learned new word today – gamify! Sounds pretty awesome, gotta use it as well 🙂

    I also would like to know how to meditate. Or how to do it properly. It is hard for me to find time and quiet place where I can just sit and relax and reflect on everything, but sometimes I just feel like it.

    Thank you so much Tim, for inspiration and honest story, again I appreciate it greatly and looking forward to your future work! By the way, how’s your public speaking experience going? Did you have any chance to practice it ?

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 18, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Toño your commentary is always just what I need. Thanks for taking the time to leave such detailed comments. Hope you get better soon from your eye illness. You are spot on, I have done loads of self-development and it’s what has made me successful.

      Meditation is something I am still trying to master. I recommend doing it for 5 minutes per day, when you wake up using an iphone app like calm It gets easier as you practice it but the room you are in must be quiet.

      Did my first public speaking practice with a group today. My speech was only 90 seconds and it was a topic that was chosen for me on loneliness. I said that coming back from holidays makes me feel a bit lonely and explained it in further detail. I strongly recommend public speaking practice if you can get it. I have a long way to go though….lol

      • Toño

        Feb 18, 2016 at 10:41 am

        I’m glad you like my commentary, as sometimes I feel I just overwhelm you (or any other) with my rambling.. So it’s good to know.

        Also amazing to know you did your first public speaking today, yay! Congratulations and that was actually quite cool theme to discuss. How does it feel? I feel exactly the same when I get back from my holidays btw, partly I have to leave my family and also beautiful country of my origins. First week is tough and lonely indeed.

        Because of my job I do some practice of public speaking, sort of. Even though not much audience. But I really want to improve my skills there, would love to get more confidence as this is my main priority right now, what I am work on daily.

        As for meditation, I’ve read for beginners you need some object to concentrate your attention on, like some kind of a flower (yeah, got this from Robin Sharma book). I have a little bamboo growing so it might be a good choice.

        • Tim Denning

          Feb 20, 2016 at 2:23 am

          Toño the speech felt good. I have spoken in public many times but never really done speeches as such. If you want to improve your skills the cheapest way is through Toastmasters. If you have a bit more money to spend then there are some great short courses you can do that will get you results faster than Toastmasters.

          Best of luck with the meditation. Try to focus on the breathe if you are new to it rather than an object and definitely use a meditation app like Calm.

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Life

5 Ways to Realize Your Authentic Self

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I was a scared kid throughout my younger years. Overly-cautious and wildly unsure were just a few of my characteristics as I headed into adulthood. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t present to many of the decisions I made in my youth in regards to navigating life thus I was blindly going along with it.

Due to this, I forced my hand since I either had to grow or collapse into myself. With the latter not being an option, what ensued was arguably the most difficult yet freeing process of my life. I was to realize my authentic self. While every human being has their own distinct recipe for self-actualization, there are a few things that consistently show up for all of us to be cognisant of.

Let’s look at 5 ways we mask who we are at the core and how to distinguish them:

1. We feel a loss of power when we’re inauthentic

Whenever we feel a loss of power or self-expression within a conversation, it’s due to us not being true to ourselves. What keeps us from freedom is our attachment to a particular view or opinion, and we forget that opinions are not the truth.

We can restore our power by acknowledging where we are being inauthentic and pretending thus taking full ownership and responsibility for where we’re stopping ourselves. As much as owning our shortcomings feels like it looks bad, the humanity of it contributes to much of the contrary.

“Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.” – Coco Chanel

2. Look at what you step over in conversation

Our word is our bond. The language we use tells a much deeper story than what may necessarily appear on the surface. Often times in conversation, we will throw a blanket statement over something we actually have a natural inclination to share more about. Words such as, “anyway,” “nevertheless,” and “regardless” are transitional words which often step over what we were committed to sharing in the previous moment.

Why do we so quickly shift from one part of the conversation to another? What part of acknowledging this area with another person is uncomfortable for us?  Answering some of these questions can shed a lot of light as to who we really are and what we stand for.

3. Acknowledge how many different personas you take on with the people in your life

We go through life like a play at times. It feels like everywhere we go, with whomever we meet, we’re putting on a performance. While the stage can be empowering at times, it’s equally exhausting once the threshold is met.

The reason humans love and cherish their alone time is due to the chance for mental recuperation. There’s no one to look good for, and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Looking in the mirror can be tough, but it’s far easier than looking in one with someone standing next to you.

As a result, we wear multiple hats throughout life. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it can be taxing for the human spirit. While it may be difficult at first, challenging yourself to take on a universal way of being with everyone you interact with—one that you yourself are happy with—can upshift your life to the highest degree of fulfillment.

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

4. Question why you are the way you are and if it’s aligned with what matters most

I spent my early 20’s identifying as a hyper-driven individual with an unmatched work ethic. The reason for this wasn’t because I was a man of integrity or honor, but because I thought that working hard and getting results in life would grant me the approval and support of others.

What I was actually committed to was connection, yet my behavior—the long hours, the nights reading at home while my friends went out—was hiding the very thing I wanted all along. When I finally realized this, the breakthrough was as powerful as a hurricane. It completely reshaped how I organized my life and moreover, allowed me to finally let go of the suffocating pressure I imposed upon myself.

What you feel is missing in your life is a by-product of your own way of being. Begin to look where your ways of being are keeping you from experiencing what you want the most, at the purest source.

5. Examine your way of being while making requests

No one likes to be told no. What’s more uncomfortable, is requesting something of someone knowing they’re going to say no. But we never really know what they’re going to say—so why do we make this story up? Sure, someone you’ve asked the same thing to three times and received a no each time may have a higher percentage likelihood to decline. However, how the request occurs for them is where the real difference-maker resides.

Whether you realize it or not, when we make a request with an idea they might say no, it effectively shapes and colors our request the same way to the other person. As we make the “said request,” we feel this and overcompensate—attempting to influence the thinking of whom you’re asking, which is never a smart idea.

The other person senses this, feeling the same pressure and discomfort we impose upon ourselves, totally oblivious to what we’re actually committed to. By making every request as if the person were going to say yes, we focus on our commitment and the best possible way to articulate it. When it comes to being authentic, every action must be in correlation with what we stand for.

What do you see in yourself that you might not have noticed before?  What might this open for you now that you’re aware? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Inspiration Imperative: Finding Your Recipe to Inspire the World

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inspire the world

An undeniably beautiful facet of the human condition is the responsibility we all share to make each other’s lives better. Inspiring others can be an incredibly rewarding and efficient means to that end. After all, helping others is the spice of life and inspiration allows us to exponentially increase our output of “help”, residually, long after we move on to something else.

The amazing thing about inspiration is that it isn’t a zero-sum game; we can give as much as we desire and take as much as we desire – or even do both in the same act. Even better, being inspirational and taking in inspiration are both behavioral skills we can work at and develop. But what does it really mean to inspire others?

The one thing all inspirational moments have in common is how they make us feel; not the specifics of what they tell us, show us or even what they teach us. They leave us with a feeling we can’t let go of, and a seed is planted.

The inspiration we as humans impart on one another often comes through sharing our life experience and future vision in a way that catalyzes a change in mindset or behavior in someone else. Sometimes this happens without intention, but this piece focuses on how we can intentionally inspire by way of our vision.   

With that in mind here are some considerations as you embark on your personal journey of inspiration, broken into two sections: Building a deep reservoir of self-belief and Crafting your vision and living it authentically.

Building a deep reservoir of self-belief

The first step to inspiring others is conditioning belief in yourself. Self-belief can be built through habituation of behavior – think of this like working out a muscle. The process of opening yourself up to inspiration, identifying and utilizing your strengths and practicing self-affirmation are fail safe ways to build out self-belief as a resource you can call on as you inspire the world around you.

Here are 3 things you can do to build your self belief to new levels:

1. Put yourself in positions of vulnerability daily

Make it a habit to leave your comfort zone both physically and mentally on a regular basis; doing so will increase your rate of learning and the inspiration you take in, dramatically. As you leave what makes you comfortable, open your mind so that others can feed you with inspiration.

2. Know your strengths and own them  

In his famous book, Strengths Finder 2.0, Tom Rath explains our tendency to focus on our weakness and the power each of us can unlock if we acknowledge and build on our strengths. As you enjoy successes, it is crucial to reflect on how you arrived at them, how they correlate to your strengths, and how you use your strengths to replicate them in the future.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

3. Regularly practice self-affirmation

Practicing self-affirmation goes hand-in-hand with owning your strengths and is an important habit which helps you build a foundation by which to inspire others. Ronald Alexander, PHD, provides some practical ways to make these effective in this Psychology Today article.

Crafting your vision and living it authentically

After you’ve built your foundation of self-belief you must have a vision. Visions come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever your goal may be, the vision must be clear; wavering and being wishy-washy about your goal will have the opposite effect. Remember, inspiring is not about telling people what they must do; it’s about instilling a feeling.

It’s also very important to remember that vision is nothing more than a wish for the future – until you build a narrative around it and make it real. A proven method to get there is by writing down your vision, being authentic in how you communicate it, and repeating it often to yourself and others.

Below are 3 things you should be doing with your vision:

1. Write down your vision and vision actualization statement

The first step to creating and executing on a vision is writing it down somewhere where you can refer to it regularly. All the rest follows. As Benjamin P Hardy notes, “if you read your long term goals every day you will think about them every day. If you think about them every day, and spend your days working toward them, they’ll manifest. Achieving goals is a science. There’s no confusion or ambiguity to it.”

Another great tip is to write a vision actualization statement as your future self (a year out) and then revisit it in a year. This is a description of what has manifested based on the realization of your vision and can be a couple paragraphs or pages. The key is to make it tangible; use numbers and specifics.

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world” – Joel L. Barker

2. Hold yourself accountable to authenticity, as you share your vision  

As you spread your vision you must do so from an authentic place. If you are not authentic through this process, people will quickly see through it and the lost trust can have lasting effects. One way to hold yourself accountable to this is noting every day what you did that day that “wasn’t you.” How many times that day did you compromise or mislead your beliefs?

3. Repeat, repeat, repeat

The greatest key to executing a vision, once built, is repeating its tenets to yourself and those around you as often as you can. This may take the form of morning affirmation, posting your vision to your community, chatting about it on your bus ride, or frequently re-reading what you’ve written down of it. Become known as the [insert your personal vision] gal or guy.

Well that should give you a start. Now get out there and inspire the world!

How do you aim to inspire others? Please comment below and share with us!

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Life

The Power Of Doing Only One Thing.

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This idea of doing only one thing was sparked by an event that happened this week. I decided to delete all podcasts on my phone and only keep the Tim Ferriss Show. In other areas of my life, I’ve done the same.

“I’ve selectively gone into each area and chosen one thing”

All the other things in the same category have been discarded. Here are some examples:

–    I had two pairs of earphones and now I have one

–    I’d read multiple books at the same time – now I do one at a time

–    I had multiple tools to cure stress and now I have one – meditation

I then took this minimalistic approach from how I handled material possessions and applied it to what I do each day.

Here are some examples:

–    I only pursue one passion now instead of many

–    I only execute on one vision instead of many

–    I only use my free time for one activity instead of many

 

Assess what you do and you’ll see one thing.

If you look at each category of your life, you’ll see that you spend a disproportionate amount of time in one area. I’ve normally had a few passions but if I evaluate the last five years, most of my efforts have been put towards blogging.

I had a few other passions but I didn’t spend a lot of time doing them. When I committed to doing one thing, I made a decision to stop pretending I cared about my other passions.

 

I listened to lots of podcasts until recently and I was constantly trying to keep up with the latest episodes. I found many of the podcasts shared similar messages and only one of them was life-changing in my eyes (The Tim Ferriss Podcast).

Now that I only listen to one podcast I can finally enjoy it, quit rushing and even playback episodes I’ve listened to already. Seeing the podcast screen with only one show on there is so refreshing!

Look at your life and you’ll see similar patterns.

 

It creates focus.

Doing one thing gives you extreme focus. This focus can be channelled towards tasks that lead to mastery instead of trying to dabble in lots of unrelated passions.

Focus is how you reach states of flow and achieve results that look impossible.

Doing one thing causes you to focus and practice more. Through this process, you can see your failures, areas of improvement and areas that you’re good at. This form of reflection gives you real-time feedback that can further compound your results.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” – Stephen Covey

 

It avoids overwhelm.

We can’t compute too many things at once. The power of doing one thing is that you avoid overwhelm. We can all manage one thing in each area of our life. The moment we introduce too many choices we end up with decision fatigue.

Overwhelm is selling yourself the false reality that you have to do everything to be successful. I’ve learned it’s the complete opposite.

To be successful, you have to focus and do one thing. Being successful is about not giving up and if you consistently put yourself into a state of overwhelm then you’ll simultaneously increase your negative thought patterns.

This milkshake of negativity will mix together and end up in failure if you let it.

Overwhelm is the enemy of passion and energy. Passion and energy become hyper-focused when you focus on one thing.

One podcast.

One business.

One romantic partner.

One vision.

One passion.

Embrace the power of doing one thing. 

<<<>>>

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 Mind-Blowing Facts No One Told You About Vulnerability

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Vulnerability; A scary word which was hunting me down for 13 years until I faced one of my biggest emotional breakthroughs. It was the day when my idea of a tough woman fell apart and I was forced to reconsider everything I believed about mental toughness. Before I dive into the 3 important takeaways I learned from this process, I have a confession to make. I was convinced, for 13 years, that vulnerability was one of the biggest weaknesses and anyone who admitted it was a coward. I know, sounds terrifying.

That’s why I developed a strong belief that constant toughness was the only way we could maintain our strength and protect ourselves from hurt. Showing emotions or talking about them became taboo because I believed that’s what the “weak” do. Because of this misconception, my emotional pain was becoming more intense since I wasn’t facing it, I was numbing it.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” – Crissi Jami

When I admitted for the very first time that I may be a vulnerable person, I almost had a heart attack. I felt a mix of stress, fear and an overwhelming excitement and freedom that I finally let it out. It helped me tremendously in my work as well as my personal life.

Here are the 3 important takeaways I learned from this powerful journey which made me understood the true strength of a human being:

1. Vulnerability is hidden strength and courage

We are living in a society where being perfect and not being “too emotional” works just fine. And this is the place where many of us miss the point of what the real strength represents. One thing we fail to realize is that keeping all of our painful feelings under control and playing a part of a tough cookie isn’t going to last for a long time. It is an illusion which tricks us into believing that we are strong and untouchable and that becomes our weakness.

The moment we accept the fact that vulnerability is a part of a courageous life, we allow ourselves to be real. Realness brings self-respect. Think about it this way, pretending is easy and convenient, but being able to admit vulnerability, that’s what takes guts because we are putting ourselves at the risk of judgment and misunderstanding.

2. Facing your vulnerable state empowers you

Isn’t this ironic? The moment when we start accepting our pain as something that actually exists, we feel stronger even in the weakest moments and here is how I came to this crazy conclusion.

Dealing with vulnerable feelings is something we don’t want to do. So we take that burden and decide that we will deal with it on Monday. 5 years later there is just another Monday. However, when we choose to face our pains, we put ourselves in the process of working on them, analyzing them and learning from them.

Can you imagine that each time when you feel vulnerable, instead of running away from it, you will put up with it? Can you imagine that each time you are faced with something hurtful instead of asking yourself “Why this has to happen to me?” you ask yourself “What’s in it for me?”

Power of any vulnerable state is in facing and learning about who we are, what we feel or why we feel it. It helps us in practicing our self-awareness where we better understand how our feelings work and how to deal with them more effectively.

“Courage is vulnerability. Vulnerability is courage. Like shadow and light, neither one can exist without the other.” – Wai Lan Yuen

3. Embracing vulnerability leads to authenticity

The minute we face those real, uncomfortable emotions, we are being honest with ourselves. I found this as one of the most transforming parts of being vulnerable. We are letting go of pretending or playing it strong all the time. We are letting go of this military approach to life and perfectionism which, by the way, doesn’t exist.

In today’s world, embracing authenticity is a bold and brave decision. If you are anything like me, you know that choosing authenticity over impressing the world around you is a challenging process. It means standing in front of the world, emotionally naked and ready to face any feedback, whether pleasant or unpleasant. But, isn’t this a chance we all want to take?

Conclusion

Accepting vulnerability is one of the most courageous acts we can ever undertake. It’s risky, it’s scary, even terrifying in some cases because people don’t want to “do” vulnerability. Playing who is a bigger badass seems cooler.

But once we step up and decide to speak up about this issue, we open the door for others who are living in this emotional prison without knowing what to do or how to handle it. We give them the opportunity to say two of the most powerful words which stand behind real toughness and those are  “ME TOO.”

How do you handle vulnerability? Comment below!

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5 Ways to Realize Your Authentic Self

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I was a scared kid throughout my younger years. Overly-cautious and wildly unsure were just a few of my characteristics as I headed into adulthood. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t present to many of the decisions I made in my youth in regards to navigating life thus I was blindly going along with it. (more…)

Dan Whalen is a franchise operator with College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving, personal development writer, and NLP master practitioner. He has a background in business management and team leadership spanning nearly a decade, and has a deeply-rooted passion for helping people experience fulfilling lives. You can find him on Twitter at @DanielJWhalen.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Jackie

    Oct 28, 2016 at 1:50 am

    Do you take medication now for anxiety?

  2. Nick Scuderi

    Feb 24, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    A lot of these ways really related to me and how I changed in my own life. I used to only focus on school or work and didn’t see life for what it really was. Since then, I opened my mind and now see life in a new way. We need to focus on important things in our lives, but we need to live life at the same time. The one thing I fear is to never try something and regret it later. I’m glad I finally “woke up”.

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 24, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      Thanks for sharing your point of view Nick. I think we all suffer the same fear if not getting to do everything we want to do in our lifetime. Time is limited so we must use it wisely and plan out what we want to achieve rather than being on auto-pilot.

  3. Toño

    Feb 18, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Perfect and right on time atricle for me (as always should I say), as I am stuck at home for a 4 days due my eye illness, not to mention my level of anxiety rised up because I missed my job, gym & swimming pool.. I was needed that portion of healthy read!

    Have to say, you did a lot of self-development work, and I mean A LOT! While reading your ways, one by one, I started to realise that behind inspiration and a prime example for us, readers, you came through so many things and re-shaped your life, did the massive upgrade to a whole new level. Sugar, coffee, alcohol adds much to level of stress and affects our body, leave alone, being up onto those things you will have a constant brain fog and yes, you named it, looking on how society defines this way of life you may think it is normal. When it’s actually not. Reading books is amazing and agree with you it definitely helps rewire your mind and change the way you look at things. It helped me throughout my journey overcome my OCD. You certainly need good focus and concentration to read.
    Oh, and I think I learned new word today – gamify! Sounds pretty awesome, gotta use it as well 🙂

    I also would like to know how to meditate. Or how to do it properly. It is hard for me to find time and quiet place where I can just sit and relax and reflect on everything, but sometimes I just feel like it.

    Thank you so much Tim, for inspiration and honest story, again I appreciate it greatly and looking forward to your future work! By the way, how’s your public speaking experience going? Did you have any chance to practice it ?

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 18, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Toño your commentary is always just what I need. Thanks for taking the time to leave such detailed comments. Hope you get better soon from your eye illness. You are spot on, I have done loads of self-development and it’s what has made me successful.

      Meditation is something I am still trying to master. I recommend doing it for 5 minutes per day, when you wake up using an iphone app like calm It gets easier as you practice it but the room you are in must be quiet.

      Did my first public speaking practice with a group today. My speech was only 90 seconds and it was a topic that was chosen for me on loneliness. I said that coming back from holidays makes me feel a bit lonely and explained it in further detail. I strongly recommend public speaking practice if you can get it. I have a long way to go though….lol

      • Toño

        Feb 18, 2016 at 10:41 am

        I’m glad you like my commentary, as sometimes I feel I just overwhelm you (or any other) with my rambling.. So it’s good to know.

        Also amazing to know you did your first public speaking today, yay! Congratulations and that was actually quite cool theme to discuss. How does it feel? I feel exactly the same when I get back from my holidays btw, partly I have to leave my family and also beautiful country of my origins. First week is tough and lonely indeed.

        Because of my job I do some practice of public speaking, sort of. Even though not much audience. But I really want to improve my skills there, would love to get more confidence as this is my main priority right now, what I am work on daily.

        As for meditation, I’ve read for beginners you need some object to concentrate your attention on, like some kind of a flower (yeah, got this from Robin Sharma book). I have a little bamboo growing so it might be a good choice.

        • Tim Denning

          Feb 20, 2016 at 2:23 am

          Toño the speech felt good. I have spoken in public many times but never really done speeches as such. If you want to improve your skills the cheapest way is through Toastmasters. If you have a bit more money to spend then there are some great short courses you can do that will get you results faster than Toastmasters.

          Best of luck with the meditation. Try to focus on the breathe if you are new to it rather than an object and definitely use a meditation app like Calm.

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Life

5 Ways to Realize Your Authentic Self

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I was a scared kid throughout my younger years. Overly-cautious and wildly unsure were just a few of my characteristics as I headed into adulthood. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t present to many of the decisions I made in my youth in regards to navigating life thus I was blindly going along with it.

Due to this, I forced my hand since I either had to grow or collapse into myself. With the latter not being an option, what ensued was arguably the most difficult yet freeing process of my life. I was to realize my authentic self. While every human being has their own distinct recipe for self-actualization, there are a few things that consistently show up for all of us to be cognisant of.

Let’s look at 5 ways we mask who we are at the core and how to distinguish them:

1. We feel a loss of power when we’re inauthentic

Whenever we feel a loss of power or self-expression within a conversation, it’s due to us not being true to ourselves. What keeps us from freedom is our attachment to a particular view or opinion, and we forget that opinions are not the truth.

We can restore our power by acknowledging where we are being inauthentic and pretending thus taking full ownership and responsibility for where we’re stopping ourselves. As much as owning our shortcomings feels like it looks bad, the humanity of it contributes to much of the contrary.

“Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.” – Coco Chanel

2. Look at what you step over in conversation

Our word is our bond. The language we use tells a much deeper story than what may necessarily appear on the surface. Often times in conversation, we will throw a blanket statement over something we actually have a natural inclination to share more about. Words such as, “anyway,” “nevertheless,” and “regardless” are transitional words which often step over what we were committed to sharing in the previous moment.

Why do we so quickly shift from one part of the conversation to another? What part of acknowledging this area with another person is uncomfortable for us?  Answering some of these questions can shed a lot of light as to who we really are and what we stand for.

3. Acknowledge how many different personas you take on with the people in your life

We go through life like a play at times. It feels like everywhere we go, with whomever we meet, we’re putting on a performance. While the stage can be empowering at times, it’s equally exhausting once the threshold is met.

The reason humans love and cherish their alone time is due to the chance for mental recuperation. There’s no one to look good for, and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Looking in the mirror can be tough, but it’s far easier than looking in one with someone standing next to you.

As a result, we wear multiple hats throughout life. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it can be taxing for the human spirit. While it may be difficult at first, challenging yourself to take on a universal way of being with everyone you interact with—one that you yourself are happy with—can upshift your life to the highest degree of fulfillment.

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

4. Question why you are the way you are and if it’s aligned with what matters most

I spent my early 20’s identifying as a hyper-driven individual with an unmatched work ethic. The reason for this wasn’t because I was a man of integrity or honor, but because I thought that working hard and getting results in life would grant me the approval and support of others.

What I was actually committed to was connection, yet my behavior—the long hours, the nights reading at home while my friends went out—was hiding the very thing I wanted all along. When I finally realized this, the breakthrough was as powerful as a hurricane. It completely reshaped how I organized my life and moreover, allowed me to finally let go of the suffocating pressure I imposed upon myself.

What you feel is missing in your life is a by-product of your own way of being. Begin to look where your ways of being are keeping you from experiencing what you want the most, at the purest source.

5. Examine your way of being while making requests

No one likes to be told no. What’s more uncomfortable, is requesting something of someone knowing they’re going to say no. But we never really know what they’re going to say—so why do we make this story up? Sure, someone you’ve asked the same thing to three times and received a no each time may have a higher percentage likelihood to decline. However, how the request occurs for them is where the real difference-maker resides.

Whether you realize it or not, when we make a request with an idea they might say no, it effectively shapes and colors our request the same way to the other person. As we make the “said request,” we feel this and overcompensate—attempting to influence the thinking of whom you’re asking, which is never a smart idea.

The other person senses this, feeling the same pressure and discomfort we impose upon ourselves, totally oblivious to what we’re actually committed to. By making every request as if the person were going to say yes, we focus on our commitment and the best possible way to articulate it. When it comes to being authentic, every action must be in correlation with what we stand for.

What do you see in yourself that you might not have noticed before?  What might this open for you now that you’re aware? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Inspiration Imperative: Finding Your Recipe to Inspire the World

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An undeniably beautiful facet of the human condition is the responsibility we all share to make each other’s lives better. Inspiring others can be an incredibly rewarding and efficient means to that end. After all, helping others is the spice of life and inspiration allows us to exponentially increase our output of “help”, residually, long after we move on to something else.

The amazing thing about inspiration is that it isn’t a zero-sum game; we can give as much as we desire and take as much as we desire – or even do both in the same act. Even better, being inspirational and taking in inspiration are both behavioral skills we can work at and develop. But what does it really mean to inspire others?

The one thing all inspirational moments have in common is how they make us feel; not the specifics of what they tell us, show us or even what they teach us. They leave us with a feeling we can’t let go of, and a seed is planted.

The inspiration we as humans impart on one another often comes through sharing our life experience and future vision in a way that catalyzes a change in mindset or behavior in someone else. Sometimes this happens without intention, but this piece focuses on how we can intentionally inspire by way of our vision.   

With that in mind here are some considerations as you embark on your personal journey of inspiration, broken into two sections: Building a deep reservoir of self-belief and Crafting your vision and living it authentically.

Building a deep reservoir of self-belief

The first step to inspiring others is conditioning belief in yourself. Self-belief can be built through habituation of behavior – think of this like working out a muscle. The process of opening yourself up to inspiration, identifying and utilizing your strengths and practicing self-affirmation are fail safe ways to build out self-belief as a resource you can call on as you inspire the world around you.

Here are 3 things you can do to build your self belief to new levels:

1. Put yourself in positions of vulnerability daily

Make it a habit to leave your comfort zone both physically and mentally on a regular basis; doing so will increase your rate of learning and the inspiration you take in, dramatically. As you leave what makes you comfortable, open your mind so that others can feed you with inspiration.

2. Know your strengths and own them  

In his famous book, Strengths Finder 2.0, Tom Rath explains our tendency to focus on our weakness and the power each of us can unlock if we acknowledge and build on our strengths. As you enjoy successes, it is crucial to reflect on how you arrived at them, how they correlate to your strengths, and how you use your strengths to replicate them in the future.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

3. Regularly practice self-affirmation

Practicing self-affirmation goes hand-in-hand with owning your strengths and is an important habit which helps you build a foundation by which to inspire others. Ronald Alexander, PHD, provides some practical ways to make these effective in this Psychology Today article.

Crafting your vision and living it authentically

After you’ve built your foundation of self-belief you must have a vision. Visions come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever your goal may be, the vision must be clear; wavering and being wishy-washy about your goal will have the opposite effect. Remember, inspiring is not about telling people what they must do; it’s about instilling a feeling.

It’s also very important to remember that vision is nothing more than a wish for the future – until you build a narrative around it and make it real. A proven method to get there is by writing down your vision, being authentic in how you communicate it, and repeating it often to yourself and others.

Below are 3 things you should be doing with your vision:

1. Write down your vision and vision actualization statement

The first step to creating and executing on a vision is writing it down somewhere where you can refer to it regularly. All the rest follows. As Benjamin P Hardy notes, “if you read your long term goals every day you will think about them every day. If you think about them every day, and spend your days working toward them, they’ll manifest. Achieving goals is a science. There’s no confusion or ambiguity to it.”

Another great tip is to write a vision actualization statement as your future self (a year out) and then revisit it in a year. This is a description of what has manifested based on the realization of your vision and can be a couple paragraphs or pages. The key is to make it tangible; use numbers and specifics.

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world” – Joel L. Barker

2. Hold yourself accountable to authenticity, as you share your vision  

As you spread your vision you must do so from an authentic place. If you are not authentic through this process, people will quickly see through it and the lost trust can have lasting effects. One way to hold yourself accountable to this is noting every day what you did that day that “wasn’t you.” How many times that day did you compromise or mislead your beliefs?

3. Repeat, repeat, repeat

The greatest key to executing a vision, once built, is repeating its tenets to yourself and those around you as often as you can. This may take the form of morning affirmation, posting your vision to your community, chatting about it on your bus ride, or frequently re-reading what you’ve written down of it. Become known as the [insert your personal vision] gal or guy.

Well that should give you a start. Now get out there and inspire the world!

How do you aim to inspire others? Please comment below and share with us!

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The Power Of Doing Only One Thing.

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This idea of doing only one thing was sparked by an event that happened this week. I decided to delete all podcasts on my phone and only keep the Tim Ferriss Show. In other areas of my life, I’ve done the same.

“I’ve selectively gone into each area and chosen one thing”

All the other things in the same category have been discarded. Here are some examples:

–    I had two pairs of earphones and now I have one

–    I’d read multiple books at the same time – now I do one at a time

–    I had multiple tools to cure stress and now I have one – meditation

I then took this minimalistic approach from how I handled material possessions and applied it to what I do each day.

Here are some examples:

–    I only pursue one passion now instead of many

–    I only execute on one vision instead of many

–    I only use my free time for one activity instead of many

 

Assess what you do and you’ll see one thing.

If you look at each category of your life, you’ll see that you spend a disproportionate amount of time in one area. I’ve normally had a few passions but if I evaluate the last five years, most of my efforts have been put towards blogging.

I had a few other passions but I didn’t spend a lot of time doing them. When I committed to doing one thing, I made a decision to stop pretending I cared about my other passions.

 

I listened to lots of podcasts until recently and I was constantly trying to keep up with the latest episodes. I found many of the podcasts shared similar messages and only one of them was life-changing in my eyes (The Tim Ferriss Podcast).

Now that I only listen to one podcast I can finally enjoy it, quit rushing and even playback episodes I’ve listened to already. Seeing the podcast screen with only one show on there is so refreshing!

Look at your life and you’ll see similar patterns.

 

It creates focus.

Doing one thing gives you extreme focus. This focus can be channelled towards tasks that lead to mastery instead of trying to dabble in lots of unrelated passions.

Focus is how you reach states of flow and achieve results that look impossible.

Doing one thing causes you to focus and practice more. Through this process, you can see your failures, areas of improvement and areas that you’re good at. This form of reflection gives you real-time feedback that can further compound your results.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” – Stephen Covey

 

It avoids overwhelm.

We can’t compute too many things at once. The power of doing one thing is that you avoid overwhelm. We can all manage one thing in each area of our life. The moment we introduce too many choices we end up with decision fatigue.

Overwhelm is selling yourself the false reality that you have to do everything to be successful. I’ve learned it’s the complete opposite.

To be successful, you have to focus and do one thing. Being successful is about not giving up and if you consistently put yourself into a state of overwhelm then you’ll simultaneously increase your negative thought patterns.

This milkshake of negativity will mix together and end up in failure if you let it.

Overwhelm is the enemy of passion and energy. Passion and energy become hyper-focused when you focus on one thing.

One podcast.

One business.

One romantic partner.

One vision.

One passion.

Embrace the power of doing one thing. 

<<<>>>

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 Mind-Blowing Facts No One Told You About Vulnerability

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Vulnerability; A scary word which was hunting me down for 13 years until I faced one of my biggest emotional breakthroughs. It was the day when my idea of a tough woman fell apart and I was forced to reconsider everything I believed about mental toughness. Before I dive into the 3 important takeaways I learned from this process, I have a confession to make. I was convinced, for 13 years, that vulnerability was one of the biggest weaknesses and anyone who admitted it was a coward. I know, sounds terrifying.

That’s why I developed a strong belief that constant toughness was the only way we could maintain our strength and protect ourselves from hurt. Showing emotions or talking about them became taboo because I believed that’s what the “weak” do. Because of this misconception, my emotional pain was becoming more intense since I wasn’t facing it, I was numbing it.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” – Crissi Jami

When I admitted for the very first time that I may be a vulnerable person, I almost had a heart attack. I felt a mix of stress, fear and an overwhelming excitement and freedom that I finally let it out. It helped me tremendously in my work as well as my personal life.

Here are the 3 important takeaways I learned from this powerful journey which made me understood the true strength of a human being:

1. Vulnerability is hidden strength and courage

We are living in a society where being perfect and not being “too emotional” works just fine. And this is the place where many of us miss the point of what the real strength represents. One thing we fail to realize is that keeping all of our painful feelings under control and playing a part of a tough cookie isn’t going to last for a long time. It is an illusion which tricks us into believing that we are strong and untouchable and that becomes our weakness.

The moment we accept the fact that vulnerability is a part of a courageous life, we allow ourselves to be real. Realness brings self-respect. Think about it this way, pretending is easy and convenient, but being able to admit vulnerability, that’s what takes guts because we are putting ourselves at the risk of judgment and misunderstanding.

2. Facing your vulnerable state empowers you

Isn’t this ironic? The moment when we start accepting our pain as something that actually exists, we feel stronger even in the weakest moments and here is how I came to this crazy conclusion.

Dealing with vulnerable feelings is something we don’t want to do. So we take that burden and decide that we will deal with it on Monday. 5 years later there is just another Monday. However, when we choose to face our pains, we put ourselves in the process of working on them, analyzing them and learning from them.

Can you imagine that each time when you feel vulnerable, instead of running away from it, you will put up with it? Can you imagine that each time you are faced with something hurtful instead of asking yourself “Why this has to happen to me?” you ask yourself “What’s in it for me?”

Power of any vulnerable state is in facing and learning about who we are, what we feel or why we feel it. It helps us in practicing our self-awareness where we better understand how our feelings work and how to deal with them more effectively.

“Courage is vulnerability. Vulnerability is courage. Like shadow and light, neither one can exist without the other.” – Wai Lan Yuen

3. Embracing vulnerability leads to authenticity

The minute we face those real, uncomfortable emotions, we are being honest with ourselves. I found this as one of the most transforming parts of being vulnerable. We are letting go of pretending or playing it strong all the time. We are letting go of this military approach to life and perfectionism which, by the way, doesn’t exist.

In today’s world, embracing authenticity is a bold and brave decision. If you are anything like me, you know that choosing authenticity over impressing the world around you is a challenging process. It means standing in front of the world, emotionally naked and ready to face any feedback, whether pleasant or unpleasant. But, isn’t this a chance we all want to take?

Conclusion

Accepting vulnerability is one of the most courageous acts we can ever undertake. It’s risky, it’s scary, even terrifying in some cases because people don’t want to “do” vulnerability. Playing who is a bigger badass seems cooler.

But once we step up and decide to speak up about this issue, we open the door for others who are living in this emotional prison without knowing what to do or how to handle it. We give them the opportunity to say two of the most powerful words which stand behind real toughness and those are  “ME TOO.”

How do you handle vulnerability? Comment below!

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