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13 Life Changing Principles From Benjamin Franklin

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benjamin franklin autobiography

How do you decide what’s important to you on a day to day basis? How do you decide what principles to stand by and what moral code to uphold?

Today we are constantly bombarded by news and social media messages from all around the world. This 24-hour news cycle has changed the way we absorb information, and it has shifted the way we identify reliable content. In fact, it has even changed the way that we think about what is important and how we envision success.

If you’re like me, you find it difficult to cut through the noise and develop a clear understanding of what is truly important to you. The challenge of cutting through the noise has led me to go back in time to explore the writings of some of the leading thinkers and professionals of the past.

Here are Benjamin Franklin’s 13 principles he believed led to success:

1. Temperance

Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation. Temperance is not a trait that comes easily to many people. We live in a world driven by consumerism and excess, and we are constantly being sold on bottomless brunches or all you can eat buffets. Still, there is a growing movement of temperance and minimalism, especially among young people. The growth of this movement is something to watch out for moving forward.

2. Silence

Speak not what may benefit others or yourself, and avoid trifling conversation. We live in an age of connectivity and “always on” engagement. Too often we’re caught up reading our Facebook News Feed and updating people on our every thought and action. Interestingly, we are seeing a push away from this hyper connectivity towards “digital detoxes” and the growing popularity of silent retreats.

3. Order

Let all your things have their places. With more information comes a greater need for order. If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he would be blown away by the number of organisations, apps, and programs available to people looking to streamline their lives.

4. Resolution

Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve. Goal setting is a top priority for most millennials and young people, yet people still struggle to follow through on their resolutions. Once you make a decision about something you want to accomplish, try your best to stick to it by setting out a definite plan for accomplishing it.

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” – Benjamin Franklin

5. Frugality

Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself. For example, waste nothing. Frugality isn’t sexy, but it is seductively addictive. While most people would prefer to live a life of luxury and drive luxury sports cars all day, the skill required to live frugally and within your means translates into an amazing strength of will and character.

Plus, it can actually be fun. Living within (or below) your means during good times is one way to ensure that you can survive when times are tough. There are a number of resources available online that provide advice on how to save money on everything from rent to food to transportation and leisure travel.

6. Industry

Lose no time. Always be employed in something useful, and cut off all unnecessary actions. Being busy for the sake of business is not helpful. Rather, being productive by doing only that which is useful to you or someone else is key to success. Always be looking for ways to cut out unnecessary actions.

7. Sincerity

Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly. Being truthful and sincere in your thoughts, words, and deeds is one of the best ways to achieve happiness and develop stronger relationships with those around you. While you may look for ways to avoid telling the truth because it might be hurtful or damaging, consider what affect it will have on you if you constantly have to hide how you truly feel.

8. Justice

Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty. Effectively, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don’t be rude.

9. Moderation

Avoid extremes. Forbear resenting injuries so much you think they deserve. Avoid becoming overly obsessive about any one thing or idea. Live a life of balance and moderation and you will be much better at making challenging decisions.

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” – Benjamin Franklin

10. Cleanliness

Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation. Pretty straight forward, don’t be a slob.

11. Tranquillity

Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable. Try your best, then don’t worry, be happy. If you aren’t able to accomplish a goal but you’ve still tried your very best, there is no use worrying.

12. Chastity

Rarely use venery (sex) but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation. While this may seem like a rather antiquated principle, the power of chastity is not to be underestimated. There is a growing population of people who are self-diagnosed sex addicts or porn addicts. Addiction to pornography and sex can affect productivity and the ability to focus on long term goals.

13. Humility

Imitate Jesus and Socrates. Again, while this may seem rather dated, there is much to be said for emulating the lives of those who have lived simple and influential lives. Clearly, some of these virtues are more relevant than others, but most of the principles mentioned represent areas of personal development that nearly everyone on earth struggles with in one way or another.

Benjamin Franklin suggests that in order to develop yourself properly, you should focus on improving one quality at a time rather than trying to tackle all thirteen points at once. It is with this in mind that I urge you to take a look at your own habits and areas of interest and to choose one principle to focus on improving over the next week.

Which one of these habits will you implement first into your life and why? Comment below!

McVal Osborne is the author of Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Lawrence

    Feb 1, 2018 at 3:35 am

    Hello McVal,

    Living by these principles will live to a happier, more productive life. I know this because I have at one point in time applied one or more of these principles to my life. I have seen the difference in the quality of my life when I live by principles and when I don’t. While I agree with all of the principles here stated by Benjamin, I think discipline should also be here for a disciplined mind can truly adhere to the principles stated here.

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Life

5 Ways to Realize Your Authentic Self

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authenticity

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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Life

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

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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authenticity

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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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Lawrence

    Feb 1, 2018 at 3:35 am

    Hello McVal,

    Living by these principles will live to a happier, more productive life. I know this because I have at one point in time applied one or more of these principles to my life. I have seen the difference in the quality of my life when I live by principles and when I don’t. While I agree with all of the principles here stated by Benjamin, I think discipline should also be here for a disciplined mind can truly adhere to the principles stated here.

Leave a Reply

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

Life

5 Ways to Realize Your Authentic Self

Published

on

authenticity

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!

Continue Reading

Life

The Inspiration Imperative: Finding Your Recipe to Inspire the World

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on

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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Life

3 Mind-Blowing Facts No One Told You About Vulnerability

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vulnerability

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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