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The book demonstrates that the outdated model of the world is that we become super successful, and then we get to experience happiness; this has proven to be wrong, it’s the other way round.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

Are Your SMART Goals Keeping You Stuck in Mediocrity?

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SMART Goals – they are often seen as the gospel in the personal and professional development industry for goal setting, but are they doing more harm than good? For the most part, I can appreciate the motivation behind setting SMART goals. Do we need goals that are specific, measurable, actionable and time based? Absolutely! My sticking point, however, comes to the “realistic” part.

I don’t like the word realistic. To be realistic means to create a glass ceiling on our capabilities. “Realistic” says that there is a limit to what we can achieve. And yet time and again throughout history, we’ve watched human beings achieve feats that aren’t realistic.

It certainly wasn’t realistic to think that, in the midst of the Great Depression, that a man could build a now multi-billion-dollar company from an animated mouse. It’s not realistic to think that a single mother, who could only write her stories on the bus to and from work each day, would go on to create a billion-dollar empire in Harry Potter. And it certainly isn’t realistic to think that a boy who dropped out of school at 16 because of his struggle with dyslexia could go on to be one of the world’s biggest business moguls today – owning planes, building spaceships and a slew of other companies.

And yet, Walt Disney, JK Rowling and Sir Richard Branson have all created these legacies. All because they dared to be unrealistic, and to believe in their vision. I’ve heard coaches tell their clients that a goal isn’t realistic. I’ve had coaches tell me the same. I’ve listened as my clients tell me their dreams, only to follow it up with “…but I don’t think that’s realistic.” Who am I, and who are you, to say whether a goal is realistic or not?

So, if we’re not completely following SMART goals, how should our goal setting look instead? See below for the 3 step process that will change your life!

1. Follow Stephen Covey’s advice and begin with the end in mind

What is your vision? Write it down, draw it if you need. Be specific. Give as much of the minute detail as possible. Define vague terms like “successful”, “wealthy” or “freedom”. Still give these terms a measure – is successful making a $100,000 or $1 million? Is that before tax or after?

“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.” – Jim Rohn

2. Now, break it down

Having worked in the fitness industry for a long time, I know that one of the main issues in goal setting is that people focus on the wrong thing. They tend to look at the big goal they’ve set, not the next step. Think about it, when you climb a mountain, do you stare at the top, or do you look at where your next step needs to be?

Looking at the summit makes the entire climb daunting. It can seem so far away and out of reach. The same is true for our goals. If we’re looking at the “top” – say having a million dollars in the bank while we’re still at the bottom with $100 to our name, or an internationally run business while still working out of our parent’s garage – that gap can seem impossible to overcome.

Once you know where you’re heading, you need to break the vision down into small, actionable, mini-goals. This allows us to create the “steps” we need to climb the proverbial mountain.

Here’s an example, say my goal is to have a successful wellness retreat (successful defined as a profit of $1 million a year). Now that I have a specific and measureable vision, I break it down. What came just before that? Well, I would open the wellness retreat and run my first program. And just before that? I would email confirmation of the first program, with program details, to my registrants.

And before that? I would be marketing the program. Before that I would finish construction on the retreat facilities. Staff training, creating blueprints, finding financing, buying the land – these would all be steps that would need to occur on the way up to my vision being achieved.

Use this question to work all the way back until you reach where you are in life now. You now have a roadmap to show you how to get to your vision. It doesn’t matter if there are 10 steps or 1,000 steps that lie between you and reaching the vision. All you need to focus on is the step that lies just in front of you.

3. Become the person who achieves that vision

John Demartini, a human behavioural specialist, has said that humans cannot become what they don’t already think they are. So many times, I have my clients say to me “Once I achieve x, then I’ll be successful”.

Well, successful people become successful because they already believe they are. championship athletes win because for years prior they’ve been treating their bodies and training like they are a championship athlete. Successful entrepreneurs face each day with a mindset of success.

How do you embed the mindset of the person who has your vision? I love to use this lateral thinking activity: ask yourself “how will having (the vision) make me feel? What mindset will I have when I achieve it?”

Let’s use the wellness retreat example again. Having that retreat would allow me to feel healthy, like I was making a difference to others and I would feel at peace in myself. Then ask – “What other activities would allow me to feel this way?”. To feel healthy, I could attend the gym and yoga classes regularly, and eat whole organic foods. I would ensure I get plenty of sleep.

Other activities that would make me feel like I was helping others would be to have clients and help them work on their health, fitness and mindfulness goals. I could run meditation or yoga classes in my local area. And to feel at peace in myself I could schedule in time to go hiking or to be out in nature regularly. I would also make sure I had my own regular meditation practice.

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

Can you see how it makes sense that someone who is already actively engaging in all those activities would then own a successful wellness retreat? Engaging in these activities, while we’re taking action towards our vision allows our unconscious beliefs about ourselves to shift into alignment with who we need to be to reach that vision. When we change what we believe to be true about ourselves now, we shatter any glass ceilings that have been keeping us stuck.

Using this three-step goal setting system, you now know the destination you’re travelling to, you have a roadmap to get you there, and the belief that you can. All that’s left to do is now is put one foot in front of the other.

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Lacking Self-Discipline? Do This One Thing Everyday to Change Your Life

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What’s holding you back? This is the question that I asked myself after repeatedly falling short of my goals. In my mind, I had these crazy hopes and aspirations, but in reality, there was a gap between my intentions and my actions. Having read dozens of personal development and business books, I already had the knowledge. I already knew what I needed to do. The problem? A lack of follow through.

A couple years back, I had difficulty crawling out of bed in the morning. I was always tired and could barely muster out the energy to stay awake, let alone go to the gym, foster new relationships, or build my business. I was caught in a spiral of downward momentum, breaking out of which required a massive amount of willpower. The root cause of my problems, I came to realize, was a lack of self-discipline.

I define self-discipline as the ability to do what needs to get done regardless of whether you feel like it or not. I believe that self-discipline is the one thing that separates everything you are from everything you’re capable of being. In this article, I’ll reveal the #1 habit I’ve developed to skyrocket my self-discipline and rapidly elevate my mood, energy levels, and focus in the process.

The Secret To Sending Your Self-Discipline Through The Roof

Picture this: You finally decide to start waking up early and set an alarm for 5am the next day. The next morning you groggily open your eyes to the sound of your alarm buzzing, and a part of you whispers to hit the snooze. Your decision in that moment, on whether to hit the snooze or not, is what makes all the difference.

When you get out of bed at 5am, even though you don’t feel like it, you have effectively overcome your emotions and shown your brain who’s in charge. You have built momentum towards doing the right thing over the easy thing.

In every moment you have a choice. A choice to step forward into growth or back into comfort. The secret to developing warrior-like self-discipline is consistently making the decisions that move you forward into growth. And the #1 habit I’ve developed to build this muscle is starting my days with a cold shower.

“Self-discipline is the number one delineating factor between the rich, the middle class, and the poor.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Why I Take Cold Showers Everyday (And Maybe You Should To)

Cold showers have been a regular part of my daily routine for a couple of years now and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this: The days that I start with a cold shower always go more productive than the days that I don’t.

Taking cold showers provides an opportunity to exercise your willpower in overcoming the little voice in your head that doesn’t want to do it. This is the same voice that tries to talk you into  skipping your workouts, hitting the snooze, and reaching for that ice cream when you’re trying to avoid sugar.

Even after years of taking cold showers, I hear this little voice. But turning the knob to “C,” in spite of this voice, has been a great way to overcome my lower self and build momentum towards taking right action.

What’s more is that cold showers provide an incredible boost in energy and mood. So much so that cold showers are currently being studied as a possible measure against depression. What are the mechanisms behind this? Well, cold water exposure stimulates your body’s fight-or-flight response to which your sympathetic nervous system responds by rapidly elevating norepinephrine production.

Norepinephrine is a hormone that functions as a neurotransmitter to enhance focus, mood, and attention. In this study, 1-hour of cold water exposure increased norepinephrine production in subjects by as much as 530%.

“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Another reason to take cold showers is for the immune system benefits. As a high achiever, I’m sure you’ve found it frustrating when you’re unable to function optimally due to illness. We’ve all been there. How much better would it be if you could radically decrease your chances of getting sick by simply taking a cold shower everyday? Because in this study, subjects that took cold showers had a 29% reduced likelihood of illness from work compared to the subjects that did not take cold showers.

All-in-all, taking cold showers has been a game changer not only in strengthening my mental resolve but in helping my body function more optimally as well. I don’t remember the last time I was sick and I no longer need an espresso to get my day going.

With access to a smartphone, you have access to more information and more computing power than the president of the United States had a mere twenty years ago. In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. Everything you could ever need to know or learn about success is literally at your fingertips.

As such, specialized knowledge is no longer a barrier towards achieving your goals. The only missing link between where you are and where you want to be is the ability to do the things you already know you should be doing.

I’ve come to believe that self-discipline is the only difference between success and failure. Starting your days with a cold shower is a cheap, proven, and effective method to exercise your willpower and build momentum towards becoming the person you were meant to be.

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Life

Here Is Everything You Need to Know About Your Comfort Zone

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Although, a comfort zone can be defined as a state of mind in which people are at ease, in control of their environment and experiencing low level of anxiety and stress, this does not actually sum up the full meaning of a comfort zone. This is because different people have different anxiety and stress levels and the anxiety level of one man or woman might be above or below that of another. Therefore, comfort zones vary from person to person.

Therefore, the best way I can define a comfort zone would be a state of mind where a person’s anxiety and vulnerability are minimized to manageable levels. It is that area of your life in which you feel familiar with and in control of.

For example, some people love to go to work every morning and are used to the routine of going to work daily such that their work place becomes their comfort zone and leaving this comfort zone to become a freelancer or start a business can be every challenging for them. Of course, for others, a comfort zone could be the time they take their meals or that time after work when they relax in front of their television or with social media after a hectic day at work. Of course, comfort zones are not static because they change based on the areas of your life you feel most comfortable with.

When are you out of your comfort zone? What is outside your comfort zone? When you begin to feel vulnerable, anxious, stressed, uncomfortable about doing something, then you’re stepping out of your comfort zone or you’re faced with the threat of stepping outside your comfort zone. Therefore, what is outside your comfort zone is something that scares or threatens you, and, not necessarily with bodily harm.

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing grows there.”

The Psychological States

According to White Alasdair, there are three psychological states: the comfort zone, optimal performance zone and the danger zone. Where the comfort zone is the stress-free zone which you’re familiar with. The optimal performance zone is the zone just outside your comfort zone where your performance is enhanced by some amount of stress. The danger zone, which is beyond the optimal performance zone, is where you feel great anxiety and your performance is below the performance you can attain in your comfort zone.

However, the problem is making distinctions between these psychological states and knowing when and how far you are willing to leave your comfort zone and when to stay in its confines.

Why do you need to leave your comfort zone? See the 4 reason below:

1. Stunted Growth

If you insist on staying in your comfort zone, you will probably never grow to be more than you are. That means you will always be stuck, never moving forward and never growing. Most people who become addicted to their comfort zones usually end up unable to achieve their goals because they’re somewhat obsessed with doing things the same way they’ve always done them even when it’s not producing results. As a result, you can never really explore what you’re capable of doing and what you can accomplish if you stick to your comfort zone

2. To find your Passion

Not moving out of your comfort zone makes it harder for you to discover your passion because no passion can ever be found in the shadows of your comfort zone, it can only be found by stepping away from your comfort zone.

3. To make sure you don’t settle for less

Even though you’ve not found that thing that makes your heart beat very fast (like love or passion), your comfort zone might push you to settle for less than what you could have if you just stepped out of it.

4. So you don’t get left behind

When you stay in your comfort zone, you will be left behind. Colleagues will leave you behind and people who were previously behind you in terms of life or career progress would meet up with you and leave you behind as well.

Why Your Comfort Zone is Good Sometimes

Although, many times, people focus more on the cons of not leaving your comfort zones, people sometimes forget that it might not be the best idea for you to move out of your comfort zone.

Here are some reasons why you might need to stay in your comfort zone:

1. You are not prepared to leave it yet

Sometimes, you might need to stay in your comfort zone a little while because you’re not yet prepared to step out of it and you may face dire consequences. So, you might need to make sure that you’re actually prepared to leave your comfort zone before you leave it.

2. Are you going too far away from your comfort zone?

It is true that without leaving our comfort zones, we might never know what we are capable of and what we can do. However, that does not mean that you should take giant leaps away from your comfort zone. Start with baby steps and move to strides as you leave your comfort zone.

3. Assess yourself

It is very important for you to assess yourself before leaving your comfort zone to see if it is the best choice for you to leave your comfort zone or If what is bothering you is just fear to leave it.

How to Leave or Expand Your Comfort Zone

First of all, you have to understand how the varying influences (Like parents, peers, siblings, etc.) in your life have contributed to shaping and conditioning your comfort zone. You have to overcome these influences and the conditions that have shaped the boundaries of your comfort zone. You will also have to change your habits, routines and behaviors that relate to your comfort zone and its boundaries.

But you can’t just do these overnight, you have to slowly push yourself out of your comfort zone and expand it. Here are few ways you can leave or expand your comfort zone:

  • Expose yourself to new environments that are just outside your comfort zone
  • Don’t overthink your decisions
  • Try new and different things like going somewhere new to eat, going to a different park to read, etc.
  • Don’t rely on your limited point of view, try to see things the way others do.
  • Do volunteer work
  • Challenge yourself from time to time

“To move to a new level in your life, you must break through your comfort zone and do things that are not comfortable.” – T. Harv Eker

Conclusion

Although your comfort zone might be the most comfortable part of your life, it isn’t wise to stay locked in it as it will not allow you to be who you are capable of being. And, most certainly, your big dreams and goals won’t come to pass so you need to work for them, and you can’t do that from your comfort zone.

Do you think there are sometimes people should stay in their comfort zone or should people always push at the boundaries of their comfort zone relentlessly? Comment below!

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8 Unconventional Tips to Boost Your Self-Confidence

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Confident people seem to have it all. They are admired by others and generally do well at everything they try. Self-confidence plays an important role in our success, both in business and life. People that are self-confident are usually risk-takers, they believe in their abilities and aren’t afraid to fail because they know they can get past any obstacles.

But for those that struggle to believe in themselves, building up confidence can be a daunting task. However, there are ways to build confidence that aren’t difficult to implement.

Here are 8 ways you can boost your confidence:

1. Trust your gut

How many times have you had an impulse that you didn’t act on? Whether in a business or personal setting, if you struggle with low confidence it’s easy to walk away from situations where you have to put yourself in the spotlight. When you find yourself in a situation like this, give yourself a countdown to action. Three, two, one, go! If you take action immediately you don’t risk talking yourself out of something that might be a great idea. When inspiration strikes take it as a sign, trust your gut instinct, and act.

2. Strike a power pose

In a 2012 TED talk by Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy, the concept of the “Power Pose” (think Superman with hands on hips, chin up, chest out, feet apart and firmly planted) was introduced as a way to increase confidence and lower stress. By adopting expansive postures and taking up more space, her research claims that cortisol will decrease and testosterone will increase causing a boost in personal performance. If you find yourself feeling nervous about a meeting or presentation, find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted and hold a power pose for two minutes.

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale

3. Only share with your supporters

When we’re excited about a new idea or venture, we want to tell our friends and family. Often we are seeking encouragement, support, or even validation from the people closest to us. Many times, those people want to protect us from failure and disappointment and in doing so, they manage to squash our dreams and cause our confidence to plummet. If you must confide in someone, be careful who you share your goals or dreams with. Protect your confidence by sharing your deepest desires with only those people that support you unequivocally.

4. Daydream your way to success

Studies have shown that we have a better chance at success if we spend time visualizing the results we want to achieve. Athletes have long used the process of visualization to boost their confidence and in turn, enhance their performance.

In fact, one study from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, revealed that subjects who visualized their strength increasing for 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week for a total of 12 weeks, managed to do so without ever lifting a weight.

Top performers from the fields of golf, hockey, boxing, and even Olympians believe in the power of the mind to enhance their performance. Spend a few minutes every day in quiet contemplation seeing the outcomes you want in your life as if they have already become reality and you may see your confidence rise.

5. Failure is not bad

If we have issues with confidence often we will simply not act rather than risk failure. Keep in mind that many times quantity is more important than quality. The old saying practice makes perfect really does make sense. If we try we may indeed fail but if we then take that knowledge and try again, while making improvements and tweaking the process, we will hit on some winners. To build self-confidence, begin to redefine your definition of success, start to see your failures as opportunities to practice. Eventually your practice will make perfect.

6. Jump off the comparison train

These days people are obsessed with checking their social media accounts. In fact, a recent New York Post article, states that people check their phones over 80 times a day. With all this time spent on social it’s almost impossible not to compare yourself to others. No one posts a bad selfie, a video of their kid throwing a tantrum, or a bland image of their dinner of leftovers.

We are constantly barraged with beautiful people in beautiful places doing amazing things. It’s easy to compare our whole life to the staged, filtered, sliver of other people’s lives that is showcased on social. Jump off that comparison train with a social media detox and feel your confidence start to return.

“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” – Samuel Johnson

7. Loosen your grip

Going within can be a big confidence booster and people who practice meditation have reported an increase in their feelings of well-being, confidence, and self-worth. One of the reasons for this is that meditation allows us the opportunity to release the tight grip we have on attachment. We begin to allow our thoughts to float in and float out without judgement. This is particularly helpful when we are flooded with negative thoughts. By spending time developing a meditation practice we will learn to objectively observe our negative thoughts rather than allow them to take root and bring us down.

8. Know your stuff

You’ve heard the saying “knowledge is power” well I say knowledge is confidence. When we are in a situation and we feel comfortable that we know what we’re talking about, we feel confident. Confident in ourselves and confident in our abilities. Have you ever been in a situation where you knew all the answers and you still felt worried? No!

Do your best to know your stuff and confidence will be there for you. If you are prepping for a business event, make sure you feel comfortable speaking on your topic. The same goes for a social situation, if your confidence wanes when you can’t think of something to say, be sure you brush up on some recent news or have a few interesting stories to share. You will be calm and ready to go if you feel confident in your abilities.

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Are Your SMART Goals Keeping You Stuck in Mediocrity?

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SMART Goals – they are often seen as the gospel in the personal and professional development industry for goal setting, but are they doing more harm than good? For the most part, I can appreciate the motivation behind setting SMART goals. Do we need goals that are specific, measurable, actionable and time based? Absolutely! My sticking point, however, comes to the “realistic” part. (more…)

Tiffany Toombs is a mindset coach, trainer, and presenter that specializes in helping people rewire their brains to overcome self-sabotage and limiting beliefs that stop them from finding success. Tiffany runs courses and workshops all over the world to empower people to take control of their lives and their minds so they can achieve their true potential in life. She believes that everyone has a message to share and helps her clients reconnect with themselves to find their passion and purpose. Tiffany has a range of valuable resources for people to understand their minds and how to access the power of their unconscious minds on YouTube or in her eBook “Unlocking The Secrets To The Unconscious Mind”.

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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

Are Your SMART Goals Keeping You Stuck in Mediocrity?

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goal setting
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SMART Goals – they are often seen as the gospel in the personal and professional development industry for goal setting, but are they doing more harm than good? For the most part, I can appreciate the motivation behind setting SMART goals. Do we need goals that are specific, measurable, actionable and time based? Absolutely! My sticking point, however, comes to the “realistic” part.

I don’t like the word realistic. To be realistic means to create a glass ceiling on our capabilities. “Realistic” says that there is a limit to what we can achieve. And yet time and again throughout history, we’ve watched human beings achieve feats that aren’t realistic.

It certainly wasn’t realistic to think that, in the midst of the Great Depression, that a man could build a now multi-billion-dollar company from an animated mouse. It’s not realistic to think that a single mother, who could only write her stories on the bus to and from work each day, would go on to create a billion-dollar empire in Harry Potter. And it certainly isn’t realistic to think that a boy who dropped out of school at 16 because of his struggle with dyslexia could go on to be one of the world’s biggest business moguls today – owning planes, building spaceships and a slew of other companies.

And yet, Walt Disney, JK Rowling and Sir Richard Branson have all created these legacies. All because they dared to be unrealistic, and to believe in their vision. I’ve heard coaches tell their clients that a goal isn’t realistic. I’ve had coaches tell me the same. I’ve listened as my clients tell me their dreams, only to follow it up with “…but I don’t think that’s realistic.” Who am I, and who are you, to say whether a goal is realistic or not?

So, if we’re not completely following SMART goals, how should our goal setting look instead? See below for the 3 step process that will change your life!

1. Follow Stephen Covey’s advice and begin with the end in mind

What is your vision? Write it down, draw it if you need. Be specific. Give as much of the minute detail as possible. Define vague terms like “successful”, “wealthy” or “freedom”. Still give these terms a measure – is successful making a $100,000 or $1 million? Is that before tax or after?

“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.” – Jim Rohn

2. Now, break it down

Having worked in the fitness industry for a long time, I know that one of the main issues in goal setting is that people focus on the wrong thing. They tend to look at the big goal they’ve set, not the next step. Think about it, when you climb a mountain, do you stare at the top, or do you look at where your next step needs to be?

Looking at the summit makes the entire climb daunting. It can seem so far away and out of reach. The same is true for our goals. If we’re looking at the “top” – say having a million dollars in the bank while we’re still at the bottom with $100 to our name, or an internationally run business while still working out of our parent’s garage – that gap can seem impossible to overcome.

Once you know where you’re heading, you need to break the vision down into small, actionable, mini-goals. This allows us to create the “steps” we need to climb the proverbial mountain.

Here’s an example, say my goal is to have a successful wellness retreat (successful defined as a profit of $1 million a year). Now that I have a specific and measureable vision, I break it down. What came just before that? Well, I would open the wellness retreat and run my first program. And just before that? I would email confirmation of the first program, with program details, to my registrants.

And before that? I would be marketing the program. Before that I would finish construction on the retreat facilities. Staff training, creating blueprints, finding financing, buying the land – these would all be steps that would need to occur on the way up to my vision being achieved.

Use this question to work all the way back until you reach where you are in life now. You now have a roadmap to show you how to get to your vision. It doesn’t matter if there are 10 steps or 1,000 steps that lie between you and reaching the vision. All you need to focus on is the step that lies just in front of you.

3. Become the person who achieves that vision

John Demartini, a human behavioural specialist, has said that humans cannot become what they don’t already think they are. So many times, I have my clients say to me “Once I achieve x, then I’ll be successful”.

Well, successful people become successful because they already believe they are. championship athletes win because for years prior they’ve been treating their bodies and training like they are a championship athlete. Successful entrepreneurs face each day with a mindset of success.

How do you embed the mindset of the person who has your vision? I love to use this lateral thinking activity: ask yourself “how will having (the vision) make me feel? What mindset will I have when I achieve it?”

Let’s use the wellness retreat example again. Having that retreat would allow me to feel healthy, like I was making a difference to others and I would feel at peace in myself. Then ask – “What other activities would allow me to feel this way?”. To feel healthy, I could attend the gym and yoga classes regularly, and eat whole organic foods. I would ensure I get plenty of sleep.

Other activities that would make me feel like I was helping others would be to have clients and help them work on their health, fitness and mindfulness goals. I could run meditation or yoga classes in my local area. And to feel at peace in myself I could schedule in time to go hiking or to be out in nature regularly. I would also make sure I had my own regular meditation practice.

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

Can you see how it makes sense that someone who is already actively engaging in all those activities would then own a successful wellness retreat? Engaging in these activities, while we’re taking action towards our vision allows our unconscious beliefs about ourselves to shift into alignment with who we need to be to reach that vision. When we change what we believe to be true about ourselves now, we shatter any glass ceilings that have been keeping us stuck.

Using this three-step goal setting system, you now know the destination you’re travelling to, you have a roadmap to get you there, and the belief that you can. All that’s left to do is now is put one foot in front of the other.

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Lacking Self-Discipline? Do This One Thing Everyday to Change Your Life

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What’s holding you back? This is the question that I asked myself after repeatedly falling short of my goals. In my mind, I had these crazy hopes and aspirations, but in reality, there was a gap between my intentions and my actions. Having read dozens of personal development and business books, I already had the knowledge. I already knew what I needed to do. The problem? A lack of follow through.

A couple years back, I had difficulty crawling out of bed in the morning. I was always tired and could barely muster out the energy to stay awake, let alone go to the gym, foster new relationships, or build my business. I was caught in a spiral of downward momentum, breaking out of which required a massive amount of willpower. The root cause of my problems, I came to realize, was a lack of self-discipline.

I define self-discipline as the ability to do what needs to get done regardless of whether you feel like it or not. I believe that self-discipline is the one thing that separates everything you are from everything you’re capable of being. In this article, I’ll reveal the #1 habit I’ve developed to skyrocket my self-discipline and rapidly elevate my mood, energy levels, and focus in the process.

The Secret To Sending Your Self-Discipline Through The Roof

Picture this: You finally decide to start waking up early and set an alarm for 5am the next day. The next morning you groggily open your eyes to the sound of your alarm buzzing, and a part of you whispers to hit the snooze. Your decision in that moment, on whether to hit the snooze or not, is what makes all the difference.

When you get out of bed at 5am, even though you don’t feel like it, you have effectively overcome your emotions and shown your brain who’s in charge. You have built momentum towards doing the right thing over the easy thing.

In every moment you have a choice. A choice to step forward into growth or back into comfort. The secret to developing warrior-like self-discipline is consistently making the decisions that move you forward into growth. And the #1 habit I’ve developed to build this muscle is starting my days with a cold shower.

“Self-discipline is the number one delineating factor between the rich, the middle class, and the poor.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Why I Take Cold Showers Everyday (And Maybe You Should To)

Cold showers have been a regular part of my daily routine for a couple of years now and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this: The days that I start with a cold shower always go more productive than the days that I don’t.

Taking cold showers provides an opportunity to exercise your willpower in overcoming the little voice in your head that doesn’t want to do it. This is the same voice that tries to talk you into  skipping your workouts, hitting the snooze, and reaching for that ice cream when you’re trying to avoid sugar.

Even after years of taking cold showers, I hear this little voice. But turning the knob to “C,” in spite of this voice, has been a great way to overcome my lower self and build momentum towards taking right action.

What’s more is that cold showers provide an incredible boost in energy and mood. So much so that cold showers are currently being studied as a possible measure against depression. What are the mechanisms behind this? Well, cold water exposure stimulates your body’s fight-or-flight response to which your sympathetic nervous system responds by rapidly elevating norepinephrine production.

Norepinephrine is a hormone that functions as a neurotransmitter to enhance focus, mood, and attention. In this study, 1-hour of cold water exposure increased norepinephrine production in subjects by as much as 530%.

“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Another reason to take cold showers is for the immune system benefits. As a high achiever, I’m sure you’ve found it frustrating when you’re unable to function optimally due to illness. We’ve all been there. How much better would it be if you could radically decrease your chances of getting sick by simply taking a cold shower everyday? Because in this study, subjects that took cold showers had a 29% reduced likelihood of illness from work compared to the subjects that did not take cold showers.

All-in-all, taking cold showers has been a game changer not only in strengthening my mental resolve but in helping my body function more optimally as well. I don’t remember the last time I was sick and I no longer need an espresso to get my day going.

With access to a smartphone, you have access to more information and more computing power than the president of the United States had a mere twenty years ago. In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. Everything you could ever need to know or learn about success is literally at your fingertips.

As such, specialized knowledge is no longer a barrier towards achieving your goals. The only missing link between where you are and where you want to be is the ability to do the things you already know you should be doing.

I’ve come to believe that self-discipline is the only difference between success and failure. Starting your days with a cold shower is a cheap, proven, and effective method to exercise your willpower and build momentum towards becoming the person you were meant to be.

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Life

Here Is Everything You Need to Know About Your Comfort Zone

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Although, a comfort zone can be defined as a state of mind in which people are at ease, in control of their environment and experiencing low level of anxiety and stress, this does not actually sum up the full meaning of a comfort zone. This is because different people have different anxiety and stress levels and the anxiety level of one man or woman might be above or below that of another. Therefore, comfort zones vary from person to person.

Therefore, the best way I can define a comfort zone would be a state of mind where a person’s anxiety and vulnerability are minimized to manageable levels. It is that area of your life in which you feel familiar with and in control of.

For example, some people love to go to work every morning and are used to the routine of going to work daily such that their work place becomes their comfort zone and leaving this comfort zone to become a freelancer or start a business can be every challenging for them. Of course, for others, a comfort zone could be the time they take their meals or that time after work when they relax in front of their television or with social media after a hectic day at work. Of course, comfort zones are not static because they change based on the areas of your life you feel most comfortable with.

When are you out of your comfort zone? What is outside your comfort zone? When you begin to feel vulnerable, anxious, stressed, uncomfortable about doing something, then you’re stepping out of your comfort zone or you’re faced with the threat of stepping outside your comfort zone. Therefore, what is outside your comfort zone is something that scares or threatens you, and, not necessarily with bodily harm.

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing grows there.”

The Psychological States

According to White Alasdair, there are three psychological states: the comfort zone, optimal performance zone and the danger zone. Where the comfort zone is the stress-free zone which you’re familiar with. The optimal performance zone is the zone just outside your comfort zone where your performance is enhanced by some amount of stress. The danger zone, which is beyond the optimal performance zone, is where you feel great anxiety and your performance is below the performance you can attain in your comfort zone.

However, the problem is making distinctions between these psychological states and knowing when and how far you are willing to leave your comfort zone and when to stay in its confines.

Why do you need to leave your comfort zone? See the 4 reason below:

1. Stunted Growth

If you insist on staying in your comfort zone, you will probably never grow to be more than you are. That means you will always be stuck, never moving forward and never growing. Most people who become addicted to their comfort zones usually end up unable to achieve their goals because they’re somewhat obsessed with doing things the same way they’ve always done them even when it’s not producing results. As a result, you can never really explore what you’re capable of doing and what you can accomplish if you stick to your comfort zone

2. To find your Passion

Not moving out of your comfort zone makes it harder for you to discover your passion because no passion can ever be found in the shadows of your comfort zone, it can only be found by stepping away from your comfort zone.

3. To make sure you don’t settle for less

Even though you’ve not found that thing that makes your heart beat very fast (like love or passion), your comfort zone might push you to settle for less than what you could have if you just stepped out of it.

4. So you don’t get left behind

When you stay in your comfort zone, you will be left behind. Colleagues will leave you behind and people who were previously behind you in terms of life or career progress would meet up with you and leave you behind as well.

Why Your Comfort Zone is Good Sometimes

Although, many times, people focus more on the cons of not leaving your comfort zones, people sometimes forget that it might not be the best idea for you to move out of your comfort zone.

Here are some reasons why you might need to stay in your comfort zone:

1. You are not prepared to leave it yet

Sometimes, you might need to stay in your comfort zone a little while because you’re not yet prepared to step out of it and you may face dire consequences. So, you might need to make sure that you’re actually prepared to leave your comfort zone before you leave it.

2. Are you going too far away from your comfort zone?

It is true that without leaving our comfort zones, we might never know what we are capable of and what we can do. However, that does not mean that you should take giant leaps away from your comfort zone. Start with baby steps and move to strides as you leave your comfort zone.

3. Assess yourself

It is very important for you to assess yourself before leaving your comfort zone to see if it is the best choice for you to leave your comfort zone or If what is bothering you is just fear to leave it.

How to Leave or Expand Your Comfort Zone

First of all, you have to understand how the varying influences (Like parents, peers, siblings, etc.) in your life have contributed to shaping and conditioning your comfort zone. You have to overcome these influences and the conditions that have shaped the boundaries of your comfort zone. You will also have to change your habits, routines and behaviors that relate to your comfort zone and its boundaries.

But you can’t just do these overnight, you have to slowly push yourself out of your comfort zone and expand it. Here are few ways you can leave or expand your comfort zone:

  • Expose yourself to new environments that are just outside your comfort zone
  • Don’t overthink your decisions
  • Try new and different things like going somewhere new to eat, going to a different park to read, etc.
  • Don’t rely on your limited point of view, try to see things the way others do.
  • Do volunteer work
  • Challenge yourself from time to time

“To move to a new level in your life, you must break through your comfort zone and do things that are not comfortable.” – T. Harv Eker

Conclusion

Although your comfort zone might be the most comfortable part of your life, it isn’t wise to stay locked in it as it will not allow you to be who you are capable of being. And, most certainly, your big dreams and goals won’t come to pass so you need to work for them, and you can’t do that from your comfort zone.

Do you think there are sometimes people should stay in their comfort zone or should people always push at the boundaries of their comfort zone relentlessly? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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8 Unconventional Tips to Boost Your Self-Confidence

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Confident people seem to have it all. They are admired by others and generally do well at everything they try. Self-confidence plays an important role in our success, both in business and life. People that are self-confident are usually risk-takers, they believe in their abilities and aren’t afraid to fail because they know they can get past any obstacles.

But for those that struggle to believe in themselves, building up confidence can be a daunting task. However, there are ways to build confidence that aren’t difficult to implement.

Here are 8 ways you can boost your confidence:

1. Trust your gut

How many times have you had an impulse that you didn’t act on? Whether in a business or personal setting, if you struggle with low confidence it’s easy to walk away from situations where you have to put yourself in the spotlight. When you find yourself in a situation like this, give yourself a countdown to action. Three, two, one, go! If you take action immediately you don’t risk talking yourself out of something that might be a great idea. When inspiration strikes take it as a sign, trust your gut instinct, and act.

2. Strike a power pose

In a 2012 TED talk by Harvard Business School social psychologist Amy Cuddy, the concept of the “Power Pose” (think Superman with hands on hips, chin up, chest out, feet apart and firmly planted) was introduced as a way to increase confidence and lower stress. By adopting expansive postures and taking up more space, her research claims that cortisol will decrease and testosterone will increase causing a boost in personal performance. If you find yourself feeling nervous about a meeting or presentation, find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted and hold a power pose for two minutes.

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale

3. Only share with your supporters

When we’re excited about a new idea or venture, we want to tell our friends and family. Often we are seeking encouragement, support, or even validation from the people closest to us. Many times, those people want to protect us from failure and disappointment and in doing so, they manage to squash our dreams and cause our confidence to plummet. If you must confide in someone, be careful who you share your goals or dreams with. Protect your confidence by sharing your deepest desires with only those people that support you unequivocally.

4. Daydream your way to success

Studies have shown that we have a better chance at success if we spend time visualizing the results we want to achieve. Athletes have long used the process of visualization to boost their confidence and in turn, enhance their performance.

In fact, one study from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, revealed that subjects who visualized their strength increasing for 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week for a total of 12 weeks, managed to do so without ever lifting a weight.

Top performers from the fields of golf, hockey, boxing, and even Olympians believe in the power of the mind to enhance their performance. Spend a few minutes every day in quiet contemplation seeing the outcomes you want in your life as if they have already become reality and you may see your confidence rise.

5. Failure is not bad

If we have issues with confidence often we will simply not act rather than risk failure. Keep in mind that many times quantity is more important than quality. The old saying practice makes perfect really does make sense. If we try we may indeed fail but if we then take that knowledge and try again, while making improvements and tweaking the process, we will hit on some winners. To build self-confidence, begin to redefine your definition of success, start to see your failures as opportunities to practice. Eventually your practice will make perfect.

6. Jump off the comparison train

These days people are obsessed with checking their social media accounts. In fact, a recent New York Post article, states that people check their phones over 80 times a day. With all this time spent on social it’s almost impossible not to compare yourself to others. No one posts a bad selfie, a video of their kid throwing a tantrum, or a bland image of their dinner of leftovers.

We are constantly barraged with beautiful people in beautiful places doing amazing things. It’s easy to compare our whole life to the staged, filtered, sliver of other people’s lives that is showcased on social. Jump off that comparison train with a social media detox and feel your confidence start to return.

“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” – Samuel Johnson

7. Loosen your grip

Going within can be a big confidence booster and people who practice meditation have reported an increase in their feelings of well-being, confidence, and self-worth. One of the reasons for this is that meditation allows us the opportunity to release the tight grip we have on attachment. We begin to allow our thoughts to float in and float out without judgement. This is particularly helpful when we are flooded with negative thoughts. By spending time developing a meditation practice we will learn to objectively observe our negative thoughts rather than allow them to take root and bring us down.

8. Know your stuff

You’ve heard the saying “knowledge is power” well I say knowledge is confidence. When we are in a situation and we feel comfortable that we know what we’re talking about, we feel confident. Confident in ourselves and confident in our abilities. Have you ever been in a situation where you knew all the answers and you still felt worried? No!

Do your best to know your stuff and confidence will be there for you. If you are prepping for a business event, make sure you feel comfortable speaking on your topic. The same goes for a social situation, if your confidence wanes when you can’t think of something to say, be sure you brush up on some recent news or have a few interesting stories to share. You will be calm and ready to go if you feel confident in your abilities.

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