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15 Exhilarating Lessons From The Book “The Happiness Advantage”

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The Happinessness Advantage Book Lessons And Summary

Understanding what makes you happy is a skill everybody should want and take the time to master. One of the best ways to learn a new skill such as this is through reading books that are backed up with scientific evidence, stories, and personal experience.

This post will outline the lessons that you need to become happier in your life and start inspiring other people. The author of The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor, does a great job at simplifying complex lessons about our psychology, and turning them into bite-sized lessons that we can take action on straight away.

Here are 15 exhilarating lessons from The Happiness Advantage Book:

 

1. Success orbits around happiness (not the other way round)

Start thinking of your life as the universe. The sun is your happiness, and the Earth is your success that orbits around it. When you focus your life on being happy first and foremost, this creates the foundation you need to grow from. Just like a bamboo tree, all the growth happens underground, until one day, the bamboo grows very tall.

The book demonstrates that the outdated model of the world is that we become super successful, and then we get to experience happiness; this has proven to be wrong, it’s the other way round.

 

2. Happiness is the cause of good health, not the result

We’ve all worked in companies that are full of people that get sick every three months.

The Happiness Advantage teaches us that by being happy, we will statistically take less sick days, and be better at fighting viruses like the flu. (I hope that’s why I haven’t personally had the flu in three years!)

 

3. Happiness amplifies our ability to learn

Positive emotions that come from happiness allow us to get the best chemicals known to humankind such as dopamine and serotonin, which make us feel awesome. This doesn’t come as a shock but what will take you by surprise is that increased happiness increases the learning parts of our brain.

Ability To Learn - HappinessWhen this occurs, our brains are able to sort through new information better, hold onto the information longer, and be able to access information with speed. The result of these Superman like skills is that we can think far quicker on the spot, and our ideas are more creative.

These faster, more advanced tools that we get the benefit of because of happiness allow us to complete more complex tasks and solve bigger problems. For us entrepreneurs, being able to solve bigger and more complex problems should be at the top of our list. I’m hooked like an addict already.

 

4. Meditation rewires the brains happiness levels

Everywhere you go, people are talking about meditation. Don’t let the word bamboozle you. The easiest form of meditation as described in the book is to close your eyes, breathe in and out, and concentrate on your stomach going up and down.

By doing this for 5 minutes a day it’s shown to increase your happiness, and you will experience feelings of calmness and contentment. Your level of awareness and empathy towards others will also increase. If you meditate regularly, it can even permanently rewire your brain so you’ll be happier.

 

5. Future events can make you happy in the now

While reading the book, I was looking for a quick happiness hack that I had forgotten about which I could use instantly. The happiness hack I chose, which you should try, is to use future events to make you happy in the present.

This is not a brand new concept, but it’s one that is quickly forgotten. For me, I am using my upcoming USA San Fran Inspirationholiday as a way to increase my happiness right now. According to the book, just thinking about a favorite activity you love can raise your endorphin levels by 27% (geeeeeez).

The book reminded me that the most enjoyable part of an activity is actually the anticipation of what is going to occur, and not the event itself. What can you be happy about right now that hasn’t happened yet, and that you’re pumped about?

 

6. Break up your day with a short burst of time outdoors

Rather than being stuck in front of a computer in an office all day you should try using twenty minutes of the time you have blocked out for lunch to go outdoors. A startup that promotes this daily task will find employees having a more positive mood, broader thinking, and an ability to retain information better.

Plus, why would you not want to go outside anyway? It’s a great way to escape your paradigm and get a fresh look at your day. It could be the inspiration you need to make the next significant change in your life that you have been putting off. The smallest of things can trigger you to be happy and change the way you think.

 

7. Adjust your fulcrum and lever

Human potential is explained in The Happiness Advantage through a brilliantly simple model of the world.

If you think of your potential as being adjusted by the lever and the way to adjust it is determined by how much power and possibility you have, and if you think of the position of the fulcrum as being your mindset which generates your power, you have a brand new way to look at life.

Now all of a sudden a growth mindset has an exact formula in which you can use to increase your rate of success and the potential you have. This concept alone makes the entire book worth reading.

 

8. Turn tedious moments into your own objective

We’ve all sat through tedious events like a movie we don’t like and often thought that we would never get those two hours back. The book introduced me to the idea of turning these seemingly wasted moments into your own gamified objective.

What if while you were being forced to watch that zombie movie that your best friend loves so much, you made it a must to learn three new things? If the dialogue is meaningless, you could start to look at vocal pronunciation, sports ability, or even posture. Maybe the zombies posture will teach you to always sit up straight otherwise you might just begin to look like them.

“Turning negative or boring events into empowering stories is how a growth mindset can help you win at life” – Tim Denning

 

9. Develop a growth mindset

The phrase “growth mindset” has become a common saying in the corporate world but many don’t understand the meaning or practice it’s intent regularly. In the book, a growth mindset is the understanding that all of us have very different skills, talents, and interests. However, everyone can change and grow through application and experience.

Going through businesses that haven’t worked out, I have applied a growth mindset to overcome the fear and doubt that somehow things could have been different. A growth mindset has caused me to see these events as part of the journey to unlocking my full potential.

A growth mindset is heavily linked to the stories you tell yourself about a situation that occurs. Try to look at every negative event with a growth mindset and be mindful of other people’s interpretations. Always look for the lessons and how you can do better next time. Believe that you can be better and that there is more of you to unlock.

“You can have the best job in the world, but if you can’t find the meaning in it, you won’t enjoy it, whether you are a movie maker or an NFL playmaker”

 

10. Interrupt the pattern or suffer “The Tetris Effect”

The Tetris Effect And SuccessThe way we see the word around us has a lot to do with the wiring of the brain. Our brain can be wired to produce negative outcomes if we unconsciously practice negative patterns. The book describes a study where gamers played Tetris repeatedly and then when the test subjects went back into the real world they couldn’t stop seeing shapes falling from the sky.

These gamers also began to think of real world objects as Tetris pieces from the game. The Tetris effect in this scenario has a negative effect, but quite simply, you could use the same strategy to ingrain positive mental patterns, so you automatically perform tasks that increase your human potential as well as your value.

This whole idea gave me the feeling that our brains really are computers and we can insert our own programs into them once we understand the techniques. Have you got an old MS-Dos program of the world that needs replacing?

 

 

11. Create a positive Tetris Effect

An easy hack that you will learn in the book is to form a habit of scanning the world for everything that is positive. Make this task into a game if need be. When you play this game as described, you will experience advantages in your life such as happiness, gratitude, and optimism.

As these positive outcomes continue to occur on a frequent basis, you’ll begin to automatically expect these positive outcomes to continue because this entire habit has created this pattern by default. What a great way to increase your happiness!

 

12. Journal or blog to create happiness

A tool for increasing your happiness is to journal or blog on a weekly basis. This practice will make you fall into a Positive Tetris Effect. Your writing must contain references to positive thoughts or events and should focus on things you’re grateful for.

As the poster boy for this whole blogging and happiness experiment, I can gladly tell you it works more than you think it would. My entire life is now in a continuous paradigm of looking for the positive in everything so that I can share it with all of you. Try it for yourself or even just do the exercise by writing shorts posts on Twitter and Facebook.

 

13. Hard work increases our belief

There is one new belief the book recommends we adopt, and it’s as follows: our actions determine our fate, and this can only encourage us to work harder. As the hard work starts to show us the fruits of our labor, our belief in ourselves increases at the same time.

This positive new pattern then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and leads us to even greater success. The book then points out that the more we do something, and the harder we work at it, the more connections we form between the corresponding neurons.

Essentially, this means that the stronger the link becomes in our brain, the faster the messages can travel down the neural pathway. This process is what makes certain actions in your life become second nature, like driving a car.

I’m still flabbergasted at how basic this idea is, yet how incredibly valuable it is to our success. Give this new belief a shot!

 

14. Lower the activation energy for positive habits

Every task you attempt to complete requires a certain amount of energy to activate it. If you want to read more then rather than hide the book you want to read on a bookshelf, leave it somewhere like on the couch where there is no energy required to find it or start reading,Positive Activation Energy

Likewise, increase the activation energy on tasks such as waking up early to an alarm clock going off. If the alarm clock is right next to you, then you are likely to hit snooze, as it requires no effort. If the alarm clock is on the other side of the room, then there is a fair amount of activation energy required to get up, walk over, and turn it off. This will allow you to wake up early.

 

15. Bring on the drugs (the positive ones)

The best drug you can give yourself is a hit of oxytocin. What you probably didn’t know until now is that when you make positive social connections the hormone oxytocin is released into your body. The positive effects of this hormone are incredibly beneficial. You will experience reduced anxiety, improved concentration, and many other health benefits.

So, if you’re feeling unhappy, lonely, or any other negative state, go out and make some new social connections and let the people around you feed your happiness with their ability to induce the oxytocin drug.

“Relationships are the greatest predictor of both happiness and high performance”

What lesson did you learn from The Happiness Advantage? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net and my Facebook.

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Maia

    Jul 21, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Spot on, especially future stuff makes you happy now, always have something exciting/lovely to look forward to.

  2. Maia

    Jul 21, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Sooo true, especially future events making you happy now. Always put in your week/month a treat to look forward to. Doesn’t have to cost, even a lush bike ride. Spot on love it!!!!

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      Maia I’m glad you agree. Thanks for reading!

  3. MacDonald Monyem

    Jul 18, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    This is one book I will like to lay my hands on, it created in me a renewed energy to direct my energy towards happiness rather monotonic mind play, I will try it’s practical application especially points 4, 7 and 9. Thank you for sharing.

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 21, 2016 at 12:09 am

      MacDonald thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

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Life

3 Simple Self-Communication Tips to Ensure You Set Yourself Up to Achieve Your Goals

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Do you ever wonder why some people seem to hit every goal they set, while others struggle to even take the first step towards their goals? The difference may be in the finer details of how the goal is being set.

Communication, whether with ourselves or with others, is critical in today’s society. When we are setting goals, we are communicating our wants and desires with our unconscious mind. Yet despite the importance of being able to communicate effectively, rarely are we ever taught how to communicate or what the meaning of communication is.

The majority of the population choose their words carelessly and assume that the recipient of that communication will understand what they meant.

We’re typically even more careless when it comes to communicating with ourselves, because our own brains should understand what we mean…right? Wrong. This is why 95% of the population never achieve their goals. This is why New Year’s Resolutions have a shelf life of 3-4 weeks.

We don’t communicate in words. For everything we say, the person we’re speaking to (including ourselves) gets an image in their head. How they interpret that image determines how they interpret what has been said to them. Allow me to demonstrate.

“I want to travel to an isolated beach and stay in a hut over the water for a week”. What picture do you have in your head? I’m guessing a beach, with a hut over the water. Pretty cool right? Here’s the thing, if we’re choosing our words carelessly, then we lack control over the picture that is created. This is a FATAL goal setting mistake.

Within our unconscious mind (the part of our mind that drives behaviour) is our filtering system, the Reticular Activating System, or RAS.

The RAS is like our internal GPS. When we set a goal, the RAS holds onto a picture of that goal and becomes like a homing device towards making it happen. How do you know you’re putting the right image into your RAS?

Here are 3 simple self-communication tips to ensure you set yourself up for success in achieving your goals:

1. Watch Your Mouth!

No, I don’t mean no swearing. The words we use when setting goals are critical to our success. There are certain words the unconscious mind processes in a negative fashion. The first word we need to remove from our vocabulary is “not” or any derivative of not (ie. don’t, can’t, etc). The unconscious mind is unable to process negatives.

Here’s an example. “Don’t think of a purple frog” What picture do you have in your head? A purple frog! When we use negatives in our communication, the unconscious mind has to get a picture of what we’ve said, then the conscious mind comes in and gives a new directive to picture. If we set a goal like “Don’t have any debt” or “I don’t want a partner who cheats on me” then we give the RAS a picture of what we don’t want. The RAS then sets out to find us what we don’t want as quickly and easily as possible. Instead focus on what you do want!

Another word to eliminate from your goal setting (and your vocabulary in general) is “try.” To the unconscious mind, try means “this isn’t important enough to commit to so I have an excuse to fail.” Anyone who “tries” to do anything rarely succeeds. Instead, remove your excuses and commit!

“Aim higher. Stay focused.” – Brandon Adams

2. Be specific!

We’ve all heard of setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely). Being specific when communicating your goals is particularly important to the unconscious mind.

If the goal or end result is too ambiguous, the unconscious mind won’t be able to create a picture to move towards. In the absence of a specific picture, it will continue to move towards whatever beliefs or programming is already installed in the unconscious.

For example, setting a goal to be “financially free” won’t move the RAS into action. Instead, set a specific dollar amount you want to see in the bank! Paint a clear picture for your unconscious mind to grasp. It’s worth spending time creating this picture so it’s as clear as possible. You can even print out pictures if you need to!

3. Get Emotional!

Emotions drive our unconscious minds into action. If the goals you set aren’t making you emotional (in a good way) then you’re unlikely to take action. At the same time, if your current situation isn’t making you experience negative emotions, you also won’t be motivated to act.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

There are two types of goals we can set – towards motivated goals and away from motivated goals.

Away from motivated goals are when the pain or discomfort of our current situation is so intense that we have to take action.

Think about people with unhealthy habits like smoking. When they witness someone close to them die, or they have a brush with death themselves, they can easily and quickly stop smoking. People who are overweight are typically spurred into action when they are unable to fit into their wardrobe anymore.

The problem with away from motivated goals is that the motivation only lasts while the pain or discomfort is present. It’s not uncommon for someone with a weight loss goal to completely lose motivation at the halfway point because the intensity of their situation no longer overwhelms them.

Towards motivated goals focus on a reward at the end creating a strong emotion such as pride, excitement or sheer bliss.

Examples include brides wanting to look slim in their wedding dress or people who reward themselves with cars or houses remain motivated to continue taking action towards their goal. This is because even once the pain of their current situation dissipates, they are still aiming for the emotion of the reward.

It’s ok to use pain to motivate you to take action, just make sure your goal also contains towards motivation and the emotions you’ll feel once you reach the goal.

Contrary to what Freud may have caused you to believe, our unconscious mind wants to help us get what we want! We just need to communicate effectively and give our GPS (aka the RAS) the proper information so it can find the fastest, easiest route to the future we truly want!

How do you set goals and make sure you hit them? Let us know your advice below!

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Build Up Your Social Media Presence Using These Three Personal Powers

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Instead of being on defense when it comes to social media, show the world you mean business with respect, compassion and dignity. Ask anyone of your friends or online connections if they’ve found themselves going down a rabbit hole online and a bunch of them probably will say, “Yep, it happened just the other day.”

Everyone is trying to yank and pull for attention in the online space. People will go to great lengths for a few minutes of your precious time. Do you ever do an inventory of how much time you actually spend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and so on? I’d imagine for a lot of us, that the time inventory would be incredibly imbalanced.

There was a time many years ago where Facebook actually was all about staying connected to families and friends to hear about their successes and tough times. People shared births, anniversaries, new jobs, and deaths. These things were shared with others out of simply wanting to stay in touch.

Along the way, though, businesses and entrepreneurs found a way to get their products and services out through the use of social media. We’ve used it to launch programs, books, products, conferences…you name it. Yet, where did the honoring process for other human beings get lost in the shuffle? It got lost because a hunger for the almighty currency (money) took precedence.

Bringing back these three personal elements that are within every one of us back to the online world will go a long way toward changing its current state of crisis. ­

Here are three suggestions:

1. Show respect

Everyone wants to be heard and respected. It’s not going to happen all of the time because human beings have differences of opinions. Is it so hard to simply respect another person’s opinion or thought without totally eviscerating them through online comments? We all get triggered by other people, but there is a way to respectfully disagree with others.

In fact, one way you could actually show others respect is by not reacting and commenting out of that energy. You and I are not going to agree on every single topic all the time. That’s a given as we are human. I do believe a little more respect shown in the online space can change the landscape a bit more.

“Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?” – Confucius

2. Show compassion

Understand this point about compassion: We all have the capacity to share this emotion with others. It does not mean you have to roll over and just take someone’s abuse. That’s not what I am talking about. Online bullying and scathing words have led some teenagers and adults to committing suicide.

When online behavior reaches that level, then people need to take one giant step back and ask themselves, “What’s going on inside me that I react in that way?” Alas, though, we don’t all think before writing.

Businesses especially need to be careful about their own words and phrases. Case in point: Watch social media platforms during big sports days, like Sundays during the National Football League season.

It’s tough not to “tweet” something toward your favorite team when something goes awry. Do not think you can simply get away with whatever you say because you are a multi-billion-dollar company. One streak of bad news can turn a real sweet streak of success into a pool of failure and despair. Showing compassion to others online starts with you.

3. Show dignity

Where in the world has our dignity gone as a society? This is not about politics or religion in this space. It all comes down to personal accountability and honor. Dignity for corporations and large businesses is not too hot these days. A lot of them don’t know how to effectively communicate with employees or customers through their written and verbal words.

They lean on their historic past filled with pictures of profits soaring through the roof and being the darling of whatever sector they are in for business. A lot of people in high places of power totally forget where they came from, like the bottom of the barrel, and act like fools.

The more dignity you show others in business and life, the more it will be showed towards you. This kind of follows one of those universal laws around cause and effect. The action you take (the cause) leads to the response (the effect), so be dignified in your approach to business and life.

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

When you use all three of these elements in your social media presence, more people will become attracted to you and your business. These can become the foundation for your success both today and in the future.

Which one of these 3 elements do you think is lacking most in social media today? Share your thoughts below!

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How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan.

However, like anything in life, our plans don’t always go the way we think they will. If you can treat anything you are trying to achieve in life like a puzzle, it will help you get through the confusion and come up with a plan to achieve your goals.

Take Your Goals One Step at a Time

Putting a puzzle together is the perfect analogy for anything you are trying to achieve in life. You won’t know all the steps to take to achieve your goal until you are in the middle of it. Each step comes up when it needs to and you complete it as it comes up. Some of the pieces might need to be moved around but that is ok. It is ok if the first piece doesn’t fit, you make adjustments and move forward.

It is much less overwhelming to take it piece by piece instead of trying to figure out the whole picture before you even get started. Many things will come up that you didn’t expect and that is why you cannot see the whole picture until it is done. It is good to remain flexible and take it step by step as new things come up.

“Set your target and keep trying until you reach it.” – Napoleon Hill

Starting is the First Step to Achieve Any Goal You Want in Life

The most important thing is to start! You won’t know how it’s all going to go and you may need to change some things around in the middle. But in the end, you will have the complete picture. If you look at your goal with anxiety and think it is too hard in the beginning, then you may not even start. You only need to know the first step, get organized and all the pieces will fit into place.

I was overwhelmed when I first looked at the puzzle and I thought “maybe I won’t even do it. Is it worth it?” But I decided that I’d start, even if I didn’t finish it at least I’d try. But you know what? Once I got into the puzzle, it wasn’t so bad. It was way less overwhelming when I was in the middle of it then it was before I started.

You have time on your side. You don’t have to do it all in one day or one week or one year. You have plenty of time. That is something that helped me. There was no pressure to get it done in one day which was my original goal; the only pressure I had was that which I put upon myself.

Get Organized and Start With a Solid Plan

If you are starting out on a goal, it is important to get organized first. Yes, you won’t know everything that is going to happen but at least you will be organized enough that when things do come up, you will know how to incorporate them into your plan. Being organized will make it much easier to see where all the pieces go and save you a lot of time in the long run.

I got organized and sorted the puzzle pieces by colors as well as outside and inside pieces to make it easier to see where the pieces would fit. If I left them all in one big pile, I’d constantly have to sort through the pile to find what I was looking for and waste a ton of time. By having them broken out into smaller piles, I was able to find what I was looking for much faster and saved a lot of time.

This works with whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life. Get organized and make a plan. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration. It is so much easier to go through little organized piles of items than one big, disorganized pile.

“Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day.” – Harvey MacKay

Get Through the Tough Times When Going for Your Goals

Before I dove into the puzzle, I was confused and a bit frustrated but determined to make it work. In the end all the pieces fit together perfectly and made a beautiful picture. It’s interesting to think of a project or a goal you want to achieve like a big puzzle with many pieces. When you first dump out the pieces, it is a mess. They just look like pieces, nothing is created yet. But as you go through the process and move things around it starts to come together.

You may hit some speed bumps along the way and get a bit frustrated, but if you are organized and take it one step at a time it will form a lovely picture in the end. So, keep going as determined as ever by moving one piece at a time.

Sometimes the piece will fit and other times you’ll need to find a different puzzle piece to go in that spot. Before you know it, you have a beautiful picture created that you never thought you’d be able to do before you started. It may be an interesting, messy, confusing, fun, bumpy ride but in the end all the pieces will form the beautiful picture that you set out to achieve.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem: How You Can Build Both

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Self-esteem can be defined as the confidence in your own abilities or worth. Self-compassion, however, can be defined by the ability to be gentle with yourself, even if you have misjudged or made a mistake.

You ask yourself from time to time, how is self esteem related to success? Having a sense of low self-esteem can really become a barrier for building your career and ultimately, living the life you want.

You may be completely competent in your skills and abilities but be too afraid to show the world your talents or too hesitant to apply for that job. Low self-esteem may hinder you in your personal life by leaving you with feelings of inadequacy or you may always be comparing yourself to someone else.

Self-esteem is not something that can be instantly repaired overnight. Building your self-esteem can take time and, most importantly, self-compassion. It is most important to be kind to yourself and accept that from time to time, you will make mistakes.

Creating a strong sense of self-compassion can ultimately bring more to your life than just a newfound sense of self-love.

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem

When looking at self compassion vs self esteem, which is more important? Self-esteem can be volatile and emotional, while self-compassion can allow you to remove your self-esteem from your value judgments of yourself.

Knowing this will allow you to look at your decisions and actions from a non-judgmental mindset. You will be able to look at your traits, both good and bad, and accept that all of them are a part of human nature.

New studies suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key that allows you to achieve more growth because you can take your best traits and cultivate them while look at your worst traits objectively.

It can be argued that improving self-compassion will ultimately serve you better in the long run than improving your self-esteem. Even if self-compassion is more important, you can still have room to improve your self-esteem while you are at it.

Here are some tips to tell you how to work on self esteem and self compassion:

1. Be Gentle with Yourself

No one is perfect and, as humans, we will all make mistakes. It is important to recognize and accept our flaws and mistakes as imperfect. Embrace that there are people that care about you, despite your flaws.

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness has many reported benefits for improving your mental health. You can use mindfulness by becoming aware and present in the current moment. Using mindfulness can help you look at your thoughts objectively and decide “Is this a fact about myself or a judgement?”

By staying mindful of how you are speaking to yourself, you can identify where your thoughts are becoming negative and redirect your thinking to more positive thoughts.

Practicing mindfulness will help you look at the current moment without judgements or preconceived ideas about yourself and allow room for growth.

3. Allow Room to Grow

We all inherently have traits that can be seen as undesirable, yet it’s what we do with those traits that decide whether we grow or remain where we’re at in life. By looking objectively at your flaws with a growth mindset, you can transform your life.

Allow yourself to take the things about yourself that you are uncomfortable with and learn from them on how to better yourself. The takeaways would be to focus on one thing at a time and take baby steps.

4. Be Grateful

It is easy to compare ourselves and what we have, or don’t have, to those around us.

Everyone around us is putting the greatest highlights of their lives on social media, and we end up making comparisons that we shouldn’t. It is important to remember to be grateful for what you do have such as the ability to be a great writer or excel in mathematics.

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – John Wooden

Secondly, we need to be mindful of our positive traits, and how they can benefit the world. Think about how your specific skills have served you in the past. Perhaps, you are great at taking the lead and because of that, you’re the main leader on work projects. Remember that your positive traits deserve acknowledgement and praise.

5. Do Good

It has been proven that participating in improving the well-being of those around you will aid in improving your own well-being. Doing good and helping those around you will only have a positive effect in your life.

It is not beneficial to tear others down in an effort to build yourself up. Saying and doing helpful things for others around you will not only improve their self-esteem but yours as well.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

It will take some time and commitment to truly work on your self-esteem and self-compassion. This is not a commitment to yourself that you should take lightly. Decide that now is the time for action and truly commit to remaining consistent in bettering yourself.

You may see the successful people around you and how they seem to be so confident in themselves and wonder to yourself, is self-esteem the key to success? Truthfully, the answer would be no.

The key to success lies within many factors, and self-esteem and self-compassion are only two of the factors. As far as building both areas, practicing these strategies listed will help you learn how to get better in self-esteem and self-compassion.

Which one of the above factors resonated most with you in your pursuit of building your self-compassion and self-esteem? Let us know below!

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The 3 P’s of Irresistible Leadership: Passion, Persistence, and Panache

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If any of you reading this have ever studied the theoretical underpinnings of leadership, you will have come across several theories such as the great man theory and charismatic leadership theory. Over the decades, leadership has evolved more from an art of telling people what to do to that of subtle influence, suggestion, and rendering by example. (more…)

Biagio Sciacca, known to his friends as Bill, was a lifelong resident of Pittston, PA. He is the owner of Intelligent Motivation, Inc. a global consulting and training firm specializing in management and leadership training as well as psychological assessment for hiring and staff development. He is the author of several books relating to goal setting, and his third book, Provocative Leadership, is publishing soon. Now residing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, he divides his time between his international coaching and training clients, writing his next book and wandering aimlessly on the beach. Feel free to contact Bill at bill@intelligentmotivationinc.com or schedule a call with him by going to www.intelligentmotivationinc.com and clicking on the “set up a call” tab.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Maia

    Jul 21, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Spot on, especially future stuff makes you happy now, always have something exciting/lovely to look forward to.

  2. Maia

    Jul 21, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Sooo true, especially future events making you happy now. Always put in your week/month a treat to look forward to. Doesn’t have to cost, even a lush bike ride. Spot on love it!!!!

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      Maia I’m glad you agree. Thanks for reading!

  3. MacDonald Monyem

    Jul 18, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    This is one book I will like to lay my hands on, it created in me a renewed energy to direct my energy towards happiness rather monotonic mind play, I will try it’s practical application especially points 4, 7 and 9. Thank you for sharing.

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 21, 2016 at 12:09 am

      MacDonald thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

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Life

3 Simple Self-Communication Tips to Ensure You Set Yourself Up to Achieve Your Goals

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Do you ever wonder why some people seem to hit every goal they set, while others struggle to even take the first step towards their goals? The difference may be in the finer details of how the goal is being set.

Communication, whether with ourselves or with others, is critical in today’s society. When we are setting goals, we are communicating our wants and desires with our unconscious mind. Yet despite the importance of being able to communicate effectively, rarely are we ever taught how to communicate or what the meaning of communication is.

The majority of the population choose their words carelessly and assume that the recipient of that communication will understand what they meant.

We’re typically even more careless when it comes to communicating with ourselves, because our own brains should understand what we mean…right? Wrong. This is why 95% of the population never achieve their goals. This is why New Year’s Resolutions have a shelf life of 3-4 weeks.

We don’t communicate in words. For everything we say, the person we’re speaking to (including ourselves) gets an image in their head. How they interpret that image determines how they interpret what has been said to them. Allow me to demonstrate.

“I want to travel to an isolated beach and stay in a hut over the water for a week”. What picture do you have in your head? I’m guessing a beach, with a hut over the water. Pretty cool right? Here’s the thing, if we’re choosing our words carelessly, then we lack control over the picture that is created. This is a FATAL goal setting mistake.

Within our unconscious mind (the part of our mind that drives behaviour) is our filtering system, the Reticular Activating System, or RAS.

The RAS is like our internal GPS. When we set a goal, the RAS holds onto a picture of that goal and becomes like a homing device towards making it happen. How do you know you’re putting the right image into your RAS?

Here are 3 simple self-communication tips to ensure you set yourself up for success in achieving your goals:

1. Watch Your Mouth!

No, I don’t mean no swearing. The words we use when setting goals are critical to our success. There are certain words the unconscious mind processes in a negative fashion. The first word we need to remove from our vocabulary is “not” or any derivative of not (ie. don’t, can’t, etc). The unconscious mind is unable to process negatives.

Here’s an example. “Don’t think of a purple frog” What picture do you have in your head? A purple frog! When we use negatives in our communication, the unconscious mind has to get a picture of what we’ve said, then the conscious mind comes in and gives a new directive to picture. If we set a goal like “Don’t have any debt” or “I don’t want a partner who cheats on me” then we give the RAS a picture of what we don’t want. The RAS then sets out to find us what we don’t want as quickly and easily as possible. Instead focus on what you do want!

Another word to eliminate from your goal setting (and your vocabulary in general) is “try.” To the unconscious mind, try means “this isn’t important enough to commit to so I have an excuse to fail.” Anyone who “tries” to do anything rarely succeeds. Instead, remove your excuses and commit!

“Aim higher. Stay focused.” – Brandon Adams

2. Be specific!

We’ve all heard of setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely). Being specific when communicating your goals is particularly important to the unconscious mind.

If the goal or end result is too ambiguous, the unconscious mind won’t be able to create a picture to move towards. In the absence of a specific picture, it will continue to move towards whatever beliefs or programming is already installed in the unconscious.

For example, setting a goal to be “financially free” won’t move the RAS into action. Instead, set a specific dollar amount you want to see in the bank! Paint a clear picture for your unconscious mind to grasp. It’s worth spending time creating this picture so it’s as clear as possible. You can even print out pictures if you need to!

3. Get Emotional!

Emotions drive our unconscious minds into action. If the goals you set aren’t making you emotional (in a good way) then you’re unlikely to take action. At the same time, if your current situation isn’t making you experience negative emotions, you also won’t be motivated to act.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

There are two types of goals we can set – towards motivated goals and away from motivated goals.

Away from motivated goals are when the pain or discomfort of our current situation is so intense that we have to take action.

Think about people with unhealthy habits like smoking. When they witness someone close to them die, or they have a brush with death themselves, they can easily and quickly stop smoking. People who are overweight are typically spurred into action when they are unable to fit into their wardrobe anymore.

The problem with away from motivated goals is that the motivation only lasts while the pain or discomfort is present. It’s not uncommon for someone with a weight loss goal to completely lose motivation at the halfway point because the intensity of their situation no longer overwhelms them.

Towards motivated goals focus on a reward at the end creating a strong emotion such as pride, excitement or sheer bliss.

Examples include brides wanting to look slim in their wedding dress or people who reward themselves with cars or houses remain motivated to continue taking action towards their goal. This is because even once the pain of their current situation dissipates, they are still aiming for the emotion of the reward.

It’s ok to use pain to motivate you to take action, just make sure your goal also contains towards motivation and the emotions you’ll feel once you reach the goal.

Contrary to what Freud may have caused you to believe, our unconscious mind wants to help us get what we want! We just need to communicate effectively and give our GPS (aka the RAS) the proper information so it can find the fastest, easiest route to the future we truly want!

How do you set goals and make sure you hit them? Let us know your advice below!

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Life

Build Up Your Social Media Presence Using These Three Personal Powers

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Instead of being on defense when it comes to social media, show the world you mean business with respect, compassion and dignity. Ask anyone of your friends or online connections if they’ve found themselves going down a rabbit hole online and a bunch of them probably will say, “Yep, it happened just the other day.”

Everyone is trying to yank and pull for attention in the online space. People will go to great lengths for a few minutes of your precious time. Do you ever do an inventory of how much time you actually spend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and so on? I’d imagine for a lot of us, that the time inventory would be incredibly imbalanced.

There was a time many years ago where Facebook actually was all about staying connected to families and friends to hear about their successes and tough times. People shared births, anniversaries, new jobs, and deaths. These things were shared with others out of simply wanting to stay in touch.

Along the way, though, businesses and entrepreneurs found a way to get their products and services out through the use of social media. We’ve used it to launch programs, books, products, conferences…you name it. Yet, where did the honoring process for other human beings get lost in the shuffle? It got lost because a hunger for the almighty currency (money) took precedence.

Bringing back these three personal elements that are within every one of us back to the online world will go a long way toward changing its current state of crisis. ­

Here are three suggestions:

1. Show respect

Everyone wants to be heard and respected. It’s not going to happen all of the time because human beings have differences of opinions. Is it so hard to simply respect another person’s opinion or thought without totally eviscerating them through online comments? We all get triggered by other people, but there is a way to respectfully disagree with others.

In fact, one way you could actually show others respect is by not reacting and commenting out of that energy. You and I are not going to agree on every single topic all the time. That’s a given as we are human. I do believe a little more respect shown in the online space can change the landscape a bit more.

“Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?” – Confucius

2. Show compassion

Understand this point about compassion: We all have the capacity to share this emotion with others. It does not mean you have to roll over and just take someone’s abuse. That’s not what I am talking about. Online bullying and scathing words have led some teenagers and adults to committing suicide.

When online behavior reaches that level, then people need to take one giant step back and ask themselves, “What’s going on inside me that I react in that way?” Alas, though, we don’t all think before writing.

Businesses especially need to be careful about their own words and phrases. Case in point: Watch social media platforms during big sports days, like Sundays during the National Football League season.

It’s tough not to “tweet” something toward your favorite team when something goes awry. Do not think you can simply get away with whatever you say because you are a multi-billion-dollar company. One streak of bad news can turn a real sweet streak of success into a pool of failure and despair. Showing compassion to others online starts with you.

3. Show dignity

Where in the world has our dignity gone as a society? This is not about politics or religion in this space. It all comes down to personal accountability and honor. Dignity for corporations and large businesses is not too hot these days. A lot of them don’t know how to effectively communicate with employees or customers through their written and verbal words.

They lean on their historic past filled with pictures of profits soaring through the roof and being the darling of whatever sector they are in for business. A lot of people in high places of power totally forget where they came from, like the bottom of the barrel, and act like fools.

The more dignity you show others in business and life, the more it will be showed towards you. This kind of follows one of those universal laws around cause and effect. The action you take (the cause) leads to the response (the effect), so be dignified in your approach to business and life.

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

When you use all three of these elements in your social media presence, more people will become attracted to you and your business. These can become the foundation for your success both today and in the future.

Which one of these 3 elements do you think is lacking most in social media today? Share your thoughts below!

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Life

How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan.

However, like anything in life, our plans don’t always go the way we think they will. If you can treat anything you are trying to achieve in life like a puzzle, it will help you get through the confusion and come up with a plan to achieve your goals.

Take Your Goals One Step at a Time

Putting a puzzle together is the perfect analogy for anything you are trying to achieve in life. You won’t know all the steps to take to achieve your goal until you are in the middle of it. Each step comes up when it needs to and you complete it as it comes up. Some of the pieces might need to be moved around but that is ok. It is ok if the first piece doesn’t fit, you make adjustments and move forward.

It is much less overwhelming to take it piece by piece instead of trying to figure out the whole picture before you even get started. Many things will come up that you didn’t expect and that is why you cannot see the whole picture until it is done. It is good to remain flexible and take it step by step as new things come up.

“Set your target and keep trying until you reach it.” – Napoleon Hill

Starting is the First Step to Achieve Any Goal You Want in Life

The most important thing is to start! You won’t know how it’s all going to go and you may need to change some things around in the middle. But in the end, you will have the complete picture. If you look at your goal with anxiety and think it is too hard in the beginning, then you may not even start. You only need to know the first step, get organized and all the pieces will fit into place.

I was overwhelmed when I first looked at the puzzle and I thought “maybe I won’t even do it. Is it worth it?” But I decided that I’d start, even if I didn’t finish it at least I’d try. But you know what? Once I got into the puzzle, it wasn’t so bad. It was way less overwhelming when I was in the middle of it then it was before I started.

You have time on your side. You don’t have to do it all in one day or one week or one year. You have plenty of time. That is something that helped me. There was no pressure to get it done in one day which was my original goal; the only pressure I had was that which I put upon myself.

Get Organized and Start With a Solid Plan

If you are starting out on a goal, it is important to get organized first. Yes, you won’t know everything that is going to happen but at least you will be organized enough that when things do come up, you will know how to incorporate them into your plan. Being organized will make it much easier to see where all the pieces go and save you a lot of time in the long run.

I got organized and sorted the puzzle pieces by colors as well as outside and inside pieces to make it easier to see where the pieces would fit. If I left them all in one big pile, I’d constantly have to sort through the pile to find what I was looking for and waste a ton of time. By having them broken out into smaller piles, I was able to find what I was looking for much faster and saved a lot of time.

This works with whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life. Get organized and make a plan. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration. It is so much easier to go through little organized piles of items than one big, disorganized pile.

“Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day.” – Harvey MacKay

Get Through the Tough Times When Going for Your Goals

Before I dove into the puzzle, I was confused and a bit frustrated but determined to make it work. In the end all the pieces fit together perfectly and made a beautiful picture. It’s interesting to think of a project or a goal you want to achieve like a big puzzle with many pieces. When you first dump out the pieces, it is a mess. They just look like pieces, nothing is created yet. But as you go through the process and move things around it starts to come together.

You may hit some speed bumps along the way and get a bit frustrated, but if you are organized and take it one step at a time it will form a lovely picture in the end. So, keep going as determined as ever by moving one piece at a time.

Sometimes the piece will fit and other times you’ll need to find a different puzzle piece to go in that spot. Before you know it, you have a beautiful picture created that you never thought you’d be able to do before you started. It may be an interesting, messy, confusing, fun, bumpy ride but in the end all the pieces will form the beautiful picture that you set out to achieve.

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Life

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem: How You Can Build Both

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Self-esteem can be defined as the confidence in your own abilities or worth. Self-compassion, however, can be defined by the ability to be gentle with yourself, even if you have misjudged or made a mistake.

You ask yourself from time to time, how is self esteem related to success? Having a sense of low self-esteem can really become a barrier for building your career and ultimately, living the life you want.

You may be completely competent in your skills and abilities but be too afraid to show the world your talents or too hesitant to apply for that job. Low self-esteem may hinder you in your personal life by leaving you with feelings of inadequacy or you may always be comparing yourself to someone else.

Self-esteem is not something that can be instantly repaired overnight. Building your self-esteem can take time and, most importantly, self-compassion. It is most important to be kind to yourself and accept that from time to time, you will make mistakes.

Creating a strong sense of self-compassion can ultimately bring more to your life than just a newfound sense of self-love.

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem

When looking at self compassion vs self esteem, which is more important? Self-esteem can be volatile and emotional, while self-compassion can allow you to remove your self-esteem from your value judgments of yourself.

Knowing this will allow you to look at your decisions and actions from a non-judgmental mindset. You will be able to look at your traits, both good and bad, and accept that all of them are a part of human nature.

New studies suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key that allows you to achieve more growth because you can take your best traits and cultivate them while look at your worst traits objectively.

It can be argued that improving self-compassion will ultimately serve you better in the long run than improving your self-esteem. Even if self-compassion is more important, you can still have room to improve your self-esteem while you are at it.

Here are some tips to tell you how to work on self esteem and self compassion:

1. Be Gentle with Yourself

No one is perfect and, as humans, we will all make mistakes. It is important to recognize and accept our flaws and mistakes as imperfect. Embrace that there are people that care about you, despite your flaws.

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness has many reported benefits for improving your mental health. You can use mindfulness by becoming aware and present in the current moment. Using mindfulness can help you look at your thoughts objectively and decide “Is this a fact about myself or a judgement?”

By staying mindful of how you are speaking to yourself, you can identify where your thoughts are becoming negative and redirect your thinking to more positive thoughts.

Practicing mindfulness will help you look at the current moment without judgements or preconceived ideas about yourself and allow room for growth.

3. Allow Room to Grow

We all inherently have traits that can be seen as undesirable, yet it’s what we do with those traits that decide whether we grow or remain where we’re at in life. By looking objectively at your flaws with a growth mindset, you can transform your life.

Allow yourself to take the things about yourself that you are uncomfortable with and learn from them on how to better yourself. The takeaways would be to focus on one thing at a time and take baby steps.

4. Be Grateful

It is easy to compare ourselves and what we have, or don’t have, to those around us.

Everyone around us is putting the greatest highlights of their lives on social media, and we end up making comparisons that we shouldn’t. It is important to remember to be grateful for what you do have such as the ability to be a great writer or excel in mathematics.

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – John Wooden

Secondly, we need to be mindful of our positive traits, and how they can benefit the world. Think about how your specific skills have served you in the past. Perhaps, you are great at taking the lead and because of that, you’re the main leader on work projects. Remember that your positive traits deserve acknowledgement and praise.

5. Do Good

It has been proven that participating in improving the well-being of those around you will aid in improving your own well-being. Doing good and helping those around you will only have a positive effect in your life.

It is not beneficial to tear others down in an effort to build yourself up. Saying and doing helpful things for others around you will not only improve their self-esteem but yours as well.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

It will take some time and commitment to truly work on your self-esteem and self-compassion. This is not a commitment to yourself that you should take lightly. Decide that now is the time for action and truly commit to remaining consistent in bettering yourself.

You may see the successful people around you and how they seem to be so confident in themselves and wonder to yourself, is self-esteem the key to success? Truthfully, the answer would be no.

The key to success lies within many factors, and self-esteem and self-compassion are only two of the factors. As far as building both areas, practicing these strategies listed will help you learn how to get better in self-esteem and self-compassion.

Which one of the above factors resonated most with you in your pursuit of building your self-compassion and self-esteem? Let us know below!

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