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3 Lessons That Got Me Out of Homelessness

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Homeless becoming successful inspirational story

Andy Andrews is a New York Times best-selling author and speaker. He’s spoken in front of four U.S. presidents and Zig Ziglar described him as “the best speaker I have ever seen.” But he wasn’t always that way.

In fact, he was homeless when he started his career.

Enjoy the story of the old man who taught him how to overcome his circumstances and achieve success.

His name was Jones.

Not Mr. Jones. Just Jones.

I was 23 years old and living underneath a pier on Alabama’s Gulf Coast when I met him. I was alone, scared, and, most of all, angry.

Life had not turned out the way I had wanted it. Both of my parents were dead—my mom from cancer and my dad from a car accident—and, other than the small amount of money I made cleaning fish, I didn’t have a penny to my name.

One question kept rolling around in my head: Is life just a lottery ticket?

Does one person get a family and happiness while another ends up under a pier?

And that’s when I met Jones.

He was a peculiar old man who happened to show up one night underneath the pier where I was living. He was a friend when I didn’t have one and told me the truth when I didn’t want to hear it.

Jones taught me more than anyone else I’ve ever met, and if it weren’t for these three lessons in particular, I might still be under that pier:

 

1. Successful people read. A lot.

That very first night I met Jones under the pier, he asked me a question before he left: “Do you read?

As I nodded, he added, “I’m not asking if you can read; I’m asking if you do.

At that point in my life, I’d always been more of a Sports Illustrated kind of guy when it came to reading, so I wasn’t too excited when Jones pulled three small, orange hardcover books from his suitcase.

Seeing the names on the books, I asked, “Biographies?

No, he said, with a twinkle in his eye, “adventure stories! Success, failure, romance, intrigue, tragedy, and triumph—and the best part is that every word is true!

What he said next is something that has stuck in my mind forever: “Remember, young man, experience is not the best teacher. Other people’s experience is the best teacher. By reading about the lives of great people, you can unlock the secrets to what made them great.

I read Winston Churchill until dawn. When I finished the three Jones left me, I returned them to the library and checked out three more. Over time, I read more than 200 biographies. The insights into what it takes to be successful, combined with action, are what got me out from under the pier.

 

2. Don’t be average.

Jones had many sayings—things that seemed like they should be on a poster in a classroom or etched on a monument somewhere. This one has been a source of confidence and encouragement every time I’ve attempted to do something that made everyone in my life think I was crazy (like doing stand-up comedy, becoming a speaker, and writing a best-selling novel).

If you are doing what everyone else is doing, you are doing something wrong. Because most people are not obtaining results that are considered extraordinary.

Do you want extraordinary results in your life? If you’re on this website, the answer is most likely “yes.” If that’s the case, then it is critical that you differentiate the way you think from the vast majority of people. If you don’t, you will continue to achieve results in your life that are merely average.

And extraordinary people are not average.

 

3. Become a “noticer.” (Keep things in perspective)

I never found out what Jones did for a living, or even where he slept for that matter. He simply always seemed to be “around.

He, however, did have a name for what he did—he called himself a “noticer.

While others may be able to sing well or run fast, I notice things that other people overlook,” he explained. “I notice things about situations and people that produce perspective. That’s what most folks lack—perspective—a broader view.

That “broader view” is exactly what Jones gave me, and taught me to give others.

One day shortly after we met, Jones said he had a feast to share with me. At that time, I was a “one-meal-a-day” kind of guy, so you can imagine my excitement. That excitement, however, soon turned to disappointment when I saw that his “feast” consisted of a couple tins of Vienna sausages and sardines.

Since passing on a meal wasn’t really an option, I went ahead and ate with the old man. It wasn’t long before he resumed his habit of asking me annoying questions to which I thought the answers were obvious.

What are you eating?” was the question this time.

Incredulous, I replied, “Vienna sausages and sardines…

Where?

In the sand.

He smiled to himself and kept eating. “I thought so,” he mumbled.

Now I was mad. “What are you talking about?” I demanded.

Young man,” he said, “you see only the sand at your feet and what you are eating that you wish was something else. Incidentally, you ate sardines and Vienna sausages in the sand. I dined on surf and turf with an ocean view.

He slapped me on the back and quickly added, “It’s all about perspective.

Think about this as you go through your day—what in your life are you currently looking at with the wrong perspective? What seemingly bad situations could actually be blessings in disguise?

Our realities are always shaped and molded by our perspective. If you want your reality to be defined by success, know this—a lack of perspective will make even your greatest successes seem like failures.

Stop for a moment. Look. Listen. Learn. Watch for opportunities to provide perspective. And when you do, don’t keep it to yourself. Those who bring perspective to others are often accepted as leaders and valued greatly in today’s world.

 

Make sure you get your hands on Andy’s latest book, based on his experiences with Jones, The Noticer Returns.

Andy Andrews is the author of the New York Times bestsellers How Do You Kill 11 Million People?, The Noticer, and The Traveler's Gift, and is also an in-demand speaker for the world's largest organizations. Zig Ziglar said, "Andy Andrews is the best speaker I have ever seen."

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Frank arcabascio

    Oct 19, 2013 at 5:54 am

    Amazing. I will email this to my friends. Surf n turf w an ocean view says it all … God gives us so much n we don’t care to see We block our own vision .. Literally. Thank you n god bless you Andy

  2. Sebastian

    Oct 13, 2013 at 4:42 am

    “Other people’s experience is the best teacher. By reading about the lives of great people, you can unlock the secrets to what made them great.”

    Thank God I found this.

  3. felix darkwah (@felixdarkwah)

    Oct 4, 2013 at 12:30 am

    this is a great piece…a bigger, wider and new perspective.

  4. Aleks

    Oct 3, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is worth reading.

  5. Andy Andrews (@AndyAndrews)

    Oct 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Awesome, Brandon! Thanks for reading!

  6. Nkiru Okeke Tugbiyele

    Oct 3, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Thank you for sharing these lessons. I’m blessed.

  7. Brandon

    Oct 3, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Nice write up! Just ordered “The Noticer” from what I have read so far it sounds good.

  8. Vig87

    Oct 2, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Hey Andy, thank you for sharing your time to write this post. Really inspiring and helpful! I was wondering what are a few good biographies that you could recommend to me?

    • Andy Andrews (@AndyAndrews)

      Oct 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      Any biography on George Washington Carver would be worth your while. There is an incredible amount to be learned from his life!

  9. Abia Hunter

    Oct 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing!

  10. LaTra Chivon

    Oct 2, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    I absolutely love this post! I may have to purchase this book I would love to know the ending!

    • Jon Vig

      Oct 3, 2013 at 12:06 am

      I was wondering what would be a couple of good recommendations on biographies for me or anyone else to read?

  11. Solomon

    Oct 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    This article is so awesome, especially your take on perspective, although i`m far from homeless, I feel hopeless and sad sometimes at the fact, I still haven’t found my life’s purpose at 26!

  12. Khalid

    Oct 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Hey Andy, would you say ‘be a noticer’ is one who grateful and always looks for the silver lining in any situation?

    • Andy Andrews (@AndyAndrews)

      Oct 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Khalid! I would say that is definitely one aspect of being a noticer. Gratitude plays such a huge role in shaping one’s perspective, so if you can master gratitude, life becomes much easier!

  13. Maxwell Ivey

    Oct 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Hello; This was a great post. When the government shut down is over and they reopen the national library services for the blind, I plan to download and read your books. I especially like the section on prospective. Recently I made a big sale, but the client didn’t pay the commission. I would be bitter, but the news of the sale brought me to the attention of a major manufacturer in my industry that wants me to represent their products through my website. I would be their exclusive sales person for the u s and north america. I also received requests to help locate other equipment for buyers because they saw the post I wrote about the sale. I will honestly admit that I may always have trouble enjoying my successes. But knowing this about myself does help me to take time to enjoy accomplishments and celebrate them. Keep up the great work, Max

  14. Andy Andrews (@AndyAndrews)

    Oct 2, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for featuring this, Joel! I’ll be checking in throughout the day to answer any questions!

    • Joel

      Joel

      Oct 2, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      Good on you Andy, this post is well written thanks for your contribution 🙂

      • Pritesh

        Oct 3, 2013 at 6:01 pm

        Hi Joel, I love your website. I really love it. Many a times though I wish there was a small button that can convert the article into a “Print Ready” page. Because, when I read an article like this, I wish to print it and stick it on the walls around my desk, so that I can see this for few days. Can this be done?

        • Joel

          Joel

          Oct 4, 2013 at 1:04 am

          Hi Pritesh,

          That is no problem at all, if you look on your left, there is a floating share bar. Point your mouse on the top button that says “Share” and then a drop down will appear, click on the “More” button and there should be a “Print” option that appears.

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Life

The Guide to Coping With Stress, Anxiety and Failure

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how to cope with stress and anxiety
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Instead of complaining about the ebb and flow of tough times, we need to learn how to overcome them. We often let bad news cast a pall on our day, but taking it in and moving on with life is what we need to do and that’s a challenge.

Let’s look at 6 ways on how we can deal with the stresses and anxieties we face in our daily lives:

1. Deep breathing

If your schedule has you feeling compressed by unexplainable and intangible forces, stop everything and start taking in deep breaths.

Nobody takes this clichéd advice seriously, however, from a scientific perspective, deep breathing causes your metabolism to decrease, slows down heart-rate, relaxes the muscles and calms you down. So, stop everything for a minute and start breathing!

2. Write down what you’re stressed about

When there is too much going on in your head, you can never get work done. Doing a simple task can seem frustrating if your mind is just a labyrinthine tangle of negative thoughts and demotivating voices. The moment you are not 100% invested in your task, you would catch yourself being stuck for hours and it’s ultimately undue stress.

To avoid this, write down everything that bothers you, however big or small it is. Visualize and envision what you are going to do and remember that worrying about accomplishing a series of tasks will be futile. Don’t punish yourself by getting into a mess of unproductivity and negativity; write it down and clear it out.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

3. Yoga

Forcing yourself to contort your body into pretzel-like forms is not what yoga is about. Throughout the asanas, you need to breathe deeply and feel your muscles stretch. Listen to your body and feel every moment. The increased blood circulation to all parts of your body and the stabilization of hormones will calm you down.

4. Caffeine could increase stress levels

This is tragic news for the caffeine-lovers but you don’t need to panic about giving up on coffee. You need to bite the bullet and restrict coffee consumption to once-a-day. Caffeine can inhibit the absorption of adenosine (hormone) and cause a chaos in your biological clock if consumed excessively or late in the day.

Caffeine injects adrenaline into your system which may give you a temporary stimulation but later in the day you would feel agitated and fatigued. Take baby steps in controlling your addiction and when you have successfully reached the ‘one-cup-a-day’ stage, try to consume that cup of caffeine-loaded drink before 2pm.

5. Exercise and clean eating

Healthy meals and an active lifestyle go hand in hand in dissipating stress effectively. The psychological benefits of exercising have a neurochemical basis, which is the decrease in stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and the increase in the endorphin hormone which is the body’s natural painkiller and mood elevator.

Parenthetically, you will achieve a toned-looking body, your favourite clothes will fit you perfectly and you will be in the pink of health. All of this will collectively enable you to exude confidence and work efficiently. It’s simple, if you take care of your body, your body takes care of you.

Now that we have discussed handling daily-life stresses and anxieties, let’s talk about failures and how to overcome them:

1. Dissect the experience

Staying positive in the teeth of every difficulty sounds almost preposterous and unrealistic, and it is true that remaining happy all the time is impossible. What is essential though is to accept that you are a human, complain if you have to and feel free to be upset but don’t whine all day long and get over-emotional. Think about how that failure had played out.

Think about why you made the decision you made, recognize where exactly you went wrong and take ownership while not blaming others. There are many things in your control, and it’s up to you to make sure you conquer those factors and utilize them to your advantage. Be in tune with yourself and put things into perspective instead of dwelling on emotions.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

No two leaves are the same and hence it’s ridiculous to compare yourself to your peers. Your experiences, talents, desires, attitude and everything else is very different as compared to another person and hence there is no basis for you to compare and evaluate.

Always work on becoming the better version of yourself and surround yourself with people who support you, empathise with you, respect your decisions and believe in you.

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

3. You are equipped

Chances are if you are reading this article, you have the access to a laptop or a computer. You have the privilege of owning a device which basically encompasses the entire world. You have the resources and support to rise from a setback so be grateful for what you have and concentrate on progressing.

In conclusion, be it daily life stresses or an occasional failure, take it with a pinch of salt emotionally. Like glow sticks, we don’t shine until we are broken. Remember the world doesn’t owe you anything so work hard, treat problems as learning experiences, and never underestimate yourself.

How do you deal with the stress, anxiety, and failure? Let us know your tips below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

5 Ways You Can Make the Most Out of Failure

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failure
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It’s been said that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. I’d like to add another one to the list: rejection. No matter who you are and what life you live, there will be instances in your life when you experience rejection.

Nobody likes to be rejected. It sucks to be told you were good, just not good enough, for the project, job, partner or position. It’s confusing and frustrating, and it can make you want to scream. But more often than not, being rejected can be the start of something brilliant.

Here are five ways you can make sure you make the most out of your difficult experiences and come out at the other end stronger:

1. Take five

When you get bad news or hear negative feedback, most of us can’t help but fall into a sullen mood. Rather than fall into the trap of focusing on the negative and being overly self-critical, take five minutes to clear your head of all negativity. Even after five minutes of silent meditation, you’ll start to clear your head and realise that everything isn’t really all that bad.

“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” – Woody Allen

2. Put things into perspective

Unless you are a heart surgeon or have a job in which you are responsible for the wellbeing of others, nobody will die because of this disappointment or mistake. If you lose a job, you’ll find another one. If you don’t get that promotion, you can make more money in some other way. An opportunity lost is another chance for something new to come down the road. Remember that this is only a momentary pain and won’t last long in the grand scheme of things.

3. Assess what went right

You can nearly always find a positive lesson from even the most negative of circumstances. The hardest part is often escaping the negative mindset that everything must have gone wrong if things didn’t go exactly as planned. In reality, there are an infinite number of variables that could have caused an unsatisfactory outcome. If you manage to put the negative mindset out of your head you can focus on the many things that went right, rather than what went wrong. Always remember to look at things on the bright side.

4. Review what went wrong, and look for ways to improve

After you’ve had a chance to look at what exactly went right, you can then take a hard look at how to improve on what went wrong. Consider whether or not you need to get additional training in certain areas, to practice more often, or just to consider ways to improve what worked partially but not fully.

“Success is 99% failure.” – Soichiro Honda

5. Remember, what will be, will be

Try your best, then don’t worry be happy. You will always face difficulties through life, but the more you practice accepting these difficulties, the better positioned you’ll be to make use of your time effectively and improve your life. Look at life through the lens of a stoic philosopher and you will better understand how to live a life of streamlined success and happiness.

The best lessons you learn in life are very rarely the easiest. Remember to reflect on why some of the hardest decisions and saddest realisations you may have are vitally important for future growth and genuine happiness. These moments force you to break out of your normal state of consciousness and reassess what is most important to you.

They make you reflect on what has worked, and more importantly, what hasn’t. Only in these moments do you realise who you really are, and exactly what you are capable of.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

You Can Create Whatever Life You Want So Stop Talking Yourself Out of Your Destiny

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There’s never been a time like right now in human history for entrepreneurship. We have access to virtually limitless knowledge thanks to the advent of the internet, and you can reach anyone on this planet literally at the click of a button.

However, despite the massive amount of opportunity out there, there are still time-tested principles that every wanna-be entrepreneur needs to know in order to truly succeed. Knowing these principles can spell the difference between achieving your dreams and talking yourself out of your destiny.

There is Such a Thing as Preparing Too Much

While it’s certainly necessary to prepare in life, a just as devastating problem many people face in life is being too prepared. Way too often, people believe they’re actually working by spending hours “preparing” when all they’re doing is thinking about working while their actual work goes untouched.

As Gary Vaynerchuk put it bluntly in one of his livestream Q&A videos, “There are just so many ways to build your business, but lack of action is not one of them.” Basically, we are both blessed and cursed by our access to virtually limitless knowledge. We can turn on the faucet of knowledge and grab a quick swig when we need it, but if we leave it on for too long we’ll be drowning in information and be stuck trying to process everything.

If you spend too much time processing, you’ll be more likely to talk yourself out of taking the risks necessary to build a successful business. The solution is simple: stop processing and start taking action.

A phrase I find myself repeating a lot when I get into a bind is, “How did successful people do it before the age of internet?” The answer is they did it by not talking themselves off of the ledge of destiny and instead diving into their project headfirst.

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” – Simone de Beauvoir

Our Feelings Often Lie to Us

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like throwing in the towel when trying to build my web design business. I remember one day in particular I had a massive headache and was on the verge of quitting everything due to the frustration I felt while dealing with a problematic client.

I looked at my watch and realized I hadn’t eaten yet that morning, so I went and made myself breakfast. After eating a bowl of scrambled eggs and toast, my headache magically vanished along with my thoughts of wanting to quit. I quickly realized what needed to be done and fixed the client’s issue without much thought. The problem wasn’t with the client, the problem was with my stomach.

Can you imagine how ridiculous I would have looked had I fired my client all because I hadn’t eaten that day? This is why our feelings sometimes need to take a backseat when it comes to making wise, calculated decisions for our success.

Intuition is important, obviously, but it’s best utilized with years of reliable experience to back it up. So go with your gut when it’s wise to do so, but always make sure your gut is fed otherwise you may regret what it has to say.

Perfectionism Can Halt All Progress

You will never have everything figured out. Let that sink in. It’s become such a trope in our society that it’s surprising how easily we tend to forget it. There isn’t a single business out there that has all the answers on how to do things right, so why do we feel the need to stop moving forward if things aren’t perfect?

I remember a friend of mine spent years trying to compose music on his synthesizer but never released anything because it “wasn’t good enough” by his standards. I gave him the simple proposition to “put out crappy music”, since no matter what he would always think his music was crappy due to his perfectionist mindset. Within a day, he finally put something out on SoundCloud and his song “#Selfie” became a hit worldwide while his band The ChainSmokers continues to put out hits to this day.

OK, I’m kidding about that last part, but hopefully you get my point. My friend finally had a song out that he could have had out years ago but was too caught up on making everything “perfect” to do anything. He had, in effect, talked himself out of taking action. The same thing applies with business, even if you don’t have everything figured out it’s best to just start something and learn as you go.

“Imperfection is perfection.” – Flume

Whenever that annoying, perfectionist voice in your head tries to get you to quit because you’ll never have the “perfect” product or service to sell, tell it to shut up and put out your product or service anyway. As you gain experience in your field and receive valuable feedback from customers, you’ll be able to continually improve things with your business.

Had you not taken action to begin with, you would never have attained either of these two valuable assets. Never settle for mediocrity, but at the same time recognize your need to be in motion even if the thing that sets you in motion is initially subpar.

How do you push yourself and keep motivated? Let us know your thoughts below!

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Life

3 Mental Tricks to Help You Become a More Productive Person

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Whether you’re a career salesman, a student, or a software engineer, you can’t move an inch in your career if you produce less. Productivity is the key that will unlock your success. Unfortunately, not all of us are productive. And some of it is not our problem. Our Internet-empowered world is bloated with too many social media tools, too many emails and notifications, too many SMS and short messages, too many YouTube videos and Netflix movies. The distractions are at an all time high.

But what if there is a system that will help you keep all these distractions aside until you have accomplished your tasks? There is. And it only takes 3 simple steps. Read Below:

Step 1: See your everyday tasks as a gift

Showing up every day to work is anything but fun. You know your life depends on it, but some days are not your best days. No matter how you plan your projects, you can’t show up to do them. You’re tired and bored and uninterested. What’s the way forward? It’s not about planning. It’s not about waking up early. It’s not about lack of exercise or anything like that.

If you want to conquer your to-do list, day in and day out, you need a simple shift in your mindset. Stop thinking of your tasks as work. See those tasks as gifts…as natural endowments exclusively given to you. This simple shift in your mindset will awaken the sleeping giant within you. You’ll start feeling great about yourself, stop seeing your work as burdensome. The tasks will now make you feel proud.

No longer will your showing up early at your desk irritate you—because now you feel comfortable doing the work that matters. The mindset adjustment is not even difficult. Just figure out the value that your tasks will bring to your marketplace.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss

Step 2: Be conscious of the impeccable values of your tasks

That’s how to shift your thinking. You dissect the unique values that are embedded in your tasks (when you accomplish them, of course). If you’re a web designer, for example, think about the joy and life-changing events that your design job will bring to your client. That landing page that you’ll design, it would mean the world to your client.

It will even change their business and their lives along the way. But that will not happen if you don’t show up every day, roll up your sleeves and work on that landing page. Now if you can visualize that value, it will serve you well. You’ll be motivated. So, how do you become more conscious of the values of your work? Write them down. And read them every day to spark your productivity.

Step 3: Remind yourself of the limited time you have in life

We like to postpone today’s tasks for tomorrow. Often, we’ll schedule a time to work, but when the time is due, we come up with another excuse, “I’ve got to call that client instead; I’ll leave that work till tomorrow.” But we don’t own tomorrow. We don’t have control over it. We don’t even know what it holds. And we have a very limited time.

If you want to improve your productivity, you have got to remind yourself about the scarcity of your time. Here are a few questions to ask yourself (I recommend that you do these exercises every time before you begin to work):

  • If you only have 24 hours left today, how do you want to spend it?
  • If you have 5 projects to complete today, how do you manage your time?
  • Would you rather watch a movie on Netflix or accomplish today’s task and move closer to your vision?

“Do something instead of killing time because time is killing you.” – Paulo Coelho

It’s about making smart choices. I know It’s hard. It’s tough. It requires an impeccable amount of discipline. But with constant practice, these mental tricks will help you become a more productive person, move you closer to realizing your vision.

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80 Albert Einstein Quotes to Inspire You For Life

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Albert Einstein is recognized around the world as one of the most iconic and intelligent minds ever.  From his fantastic scientific discoveries, to the hardships he endured during his life; Einstein shared a lot of wisdom and insight on life, people, and the world in general

(more…)

Joe Kleckner has a passion for all things motivation & self-development.  From blogs such as Addicted2Success, to the videos of Eric Thomas and Elliott Hulse, to the lectures of legends such as Tony Robbins.  This passion has landed him an internship with Addicted2Success. Follow him on Twitter & Snapchat as he journeys towards greatness, one day at a time.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Frank arcabascio

    Oct 19, 2013 at 5:54 am

    Amazing. I will email this to my friends. Surf n turf w an ocean view says it all … God gives us so much n we don’t care to see We block our own vision .. Literally. Thank you n god bless you Andy

  2. Sebastian

    Oct 13, 2013 at 4:42 am

    “Other people’s experience is the best teacher. By reading about the lives of great people, you can unlock the secrets to what made them great.”

    Thank God I found this.

  3. felix darkwah (@felixdarkwah)

    Oct 4, 2013 at 12:30 am

    this is a great piece…a bigger, wider and new perspective.

  4. Aleks

    Oct 3, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is worth reading.

  5. Andy Andrews (@AndyAndrews)

    Oct 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Awesome, Brandon! Thanks for reading!

  6. Nkiru Okeke Tugbiyele

    Oct 3, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Thank you for sharing these lessons. I’m blessed.

  7. Brandon

    Oct 3, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Nice write up! Just ordered “The Noticer” from what I have read so far it sounds good.

  8. Vig87

    Oct 2, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Hey Andy, thank you for sharing your time to write this post. Really inspiring and helpful! I was wondering what are a few good biographies that you could recommend to me?

    • Andy Andrews (@AndyAndrews)

      Oct 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      Any biography on George Washington Carver would be worth your while. There is an incredible amount to be learned from his life!

  9. Abia Hunter

    Oct 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing!

  10. LaTra Chivon

    Oct 2, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    I absolutely love this post! I may have to purchase this book I would love to know the ending!

    • Jon Vig

      Oct 3, 2013 at 12:06 am

      I was wondering what would be a couple of good recommendations on biographies for me or anyone else to read?

  11. Solomon

    Oct 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    This article is so awesome, especially your take on perspective, although i`m far from homeless, I feel hopeless and sad sometimes at the fact, I still haven’t found my life’s purpose at 26!

  12. Khalid

    Oct 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Hey Andy, would you say ‘be a noticer’ is one who grateful and always looks for the silver lining in any situation?

    • Andy Andrews (@AndyAndrews)

      Oct 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Khalid! I would say that is definitely one aspect of being a noticer. Gratitude plays such a huge role in shaping one’s perspective, so if you can master gratitude, life becomes much easier!

  13. Maxwell Ivey

    Oct 2, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Hello; This was a great post. When the government shut down is over and they reopen the national library services for the blind, I plan to download and read your books. I especially like the section on prospective. Recently I made a big sale, but the client didn’t pay the commission. I would be bitter, but the news of the sale brought me to the attention of a major manufacturer in my industry that wants me to represent their products through my website. I would be their exclusive sales person for the u s and north america. I also received requests to help locate other equipment for buyers because they saw the post I wrote about the sale. I will honestly admit that I may always have trouble enjoying my successes. But knowing this about myself does help me to take time to enjoy accomplishments and celebrate them. Keep up the great work, Max

  14. Andy Andrews (@AndyAndrews)

    Oct 2, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks for featuring this, Joel! I’ll be checking in throughout the day to answer any questions!

    • Joel

      Joel

      Oct 2, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      Good on you Andy, this post is well written thanks for your contribution 🙂

      • Pritesh

        Oct 3, 2013 at 6:01 pm

        Hi Joel, I love your website. I really love it. Many a times though I wish there was a small button that can convert the article into a “Print Ready” page. Because, when I read an article like this, I wish to print it and stick it on the walls around my desk, so that I can see this for few days. Can this be done?

        • Joel

          Joel

          Oct 4, 2013 at 1:04 am

          Hi Pritesh,

          That is no problem at all, if you look on your left, there is a floating share bar. Point your mouse on the top button that says “Share” and then a drop down will appear, click on the “More” button and there should be a “Print” option that appears.

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Life

The Guide to Coping With Stress, Anxiety and Failure

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Instead of complaining about the ebb and flow of tough times, we need to learn how to overcome them. We often let bad news cast a pall on our day, but taking it in and moving on with life is what we need to do and that’s a challenge.

Let’s look at 6 ways on how we can deal with the stresses and anxieties we face in our daily lives:

1. Deep breathing

If your schedule has you feeling compressed by unexplainable and intangible forces, stop everything and start taking in deep breaths.

Nobody takes this clichéd advice seriously, however, from a scientific perspective, deep breathing causes your metabolism to decrease, slows down heart-rate, relaxes the muscles and calms you down. So, stop everything for a minute and start breathing!

2. Write down what you’re stressed about

When there is too much going on in your head, you can never get work done. Doing a simple task can seem frustrating if your mind is just a labyrinthine tangle of negative thoughts and demotivating voices. The moment you are not 100% invested in your task, you would catch yourself being stuck for hours and it’s ultimately undue stress.

To avoid this, write down everything that bothers you, however big or small it is. Visualize and envision what you are going to do and remember that worrying about accomplishing a series of tasks will be futile. Don’t punish yourself by getting into a mess of unproductivity and negativity; write it down and clear it out.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

3. Yoga

Forcing yourself to contort your body into pretzel-like forms is not what yoga is about. Throughout the asanas, you need to breathe deeply and feel your muscles stretch. Listen to your body and feel every moment. The increased blood circulation to all parts of your body and the stabilization of hormones will calm you down.

4. Caffeine could increase stress levels

This is tragic news for the caffeine-lovers but you don’t need to panic about giving up on coffee. You need to bite the bullet and restrict coffee consumption to once-a-day. Caffeine can inhibit the absorption of adenosine (hormone) and cause a chaos in your biological clock if consumed excessively or late in the day.

Caffeine injects adrenaline into your system which may give you a temporary stimulation but later in the day you would feel agitated and fatigued. Take baby steps in controlling your addiction and when you have successfully reached the ‘one-cup-a-day’ stage, try to consume that cup of caffeine-loaded drink before 2pm.

5. Exercise and clean eating

Healthy meals and an active lifestyle go hand in hand in dissipating stress effectively. The psychological benefits of exercising have a neurochemical basis, which is the decrease in stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and the increase in the endorphin hormone which is the body’s natural painkiller and mood elevator.

Parenthetically, you will achieve a toned-looking body, your favourite clothes will fit you perfectly and you will be in the pink of health. All of this will collectively enable you to exude confidence and work efficiently. It’s simple, if you take care of your body, your body takes care of you.

Now that we have discussed handling daily-life stresses and anxieties, let’s talk about failures and how to overcome them:

1. Dissect the experience

Staying positive in the teeth of every difficulty sounds almost preposterous and unrealistic, and it is true that remaining happy all the time is impossible. What is essential though is to accept that you are a human, complain if you have to and feel free to be upset but don’t whine all day long and get over-emotional. Think about how that failure had played out.

Think about why you made the decision you made, recognize where exactly you went wrong and take ownership while not blaming others. There are many things in your control, and it’s up to you to make sure you conquer those factors and utilize them to your advantage. Be in tune with yourself and put things into perspective instead of dwelling on emotions.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

No two leaves are the same and hence it’s ridiculous to compare yourself to your peers. Your experiences, talents, desires, attitude and everything else is very different as compared to another person and hence there is no basis for you to compare and evaluate.

Always work on becoming the better version of yourself and surround yourself with people who support you, empathise with you, respect your decisions and believe in you.

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

3. You are equipped

Chances are if you are reading this article, you have the access to a laptop or a computer. You have the privilege of owning a device which basically encompasses the entire world. You have the resources and support to rise from a setback so be grateful for what you have and concentrate on progressing.

In conclusion, be it daily life stresses or an occasional failure, take it with a pinch of salt emotionally. Like glow sticks, we don’t shine until we are broken. Remember the world doesn’t owe you anything so work hard, treat problems as learning experiences, and never underestimate yourself.

How do you deal with the stress, anxiety, and failure? Let us know your tips below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

5 Ways You Can Make the Most Out of Failure

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It’s been said that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. I’d like to add another one to the list: rejection. No matter who you are and what life you live, there will be instances in your life when you experience rejection.

Nobody likes to be rejected. It sucks to be told you were good, just not good enough, for the project, job, partner or position. It’s confusing and frustrating, and it can make you want to scream. But more often than not, being rejected can be the start of something brilliant.

Here are five ways you can make sure you make the most out of your difficult experiences and come out at the other end stronger:

1. Take five

When you get bad news or hear negative feedback, most of us can’t help but fall into a sullen mood. Rather than fall into the trap of focusing on the negative and being overly self-critical, take five minutes to clear your head of all negativity. Even after five minutes of silent meditation, you’ll start to clear your head and realise that everything isn’t really all that bad.

“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” – Woody Allen

2. Put things into perspective

Unless you are a heart surgeon or have a job in which you are responsible for the wellbeing of others, nobody will die because of this disappointment or mistake. If you lose a job, you’ll find another one. If you don’t get that promotion, you can make more money in some other way. An opportunity lost is another chance for something new to come down the road. Remember that this is only a momentary pain and won’t last long in the grand scheme of things.

3. Assess what went right

You can nearly always find a positive lesson from even the most negative of circumstances. The hardest part is often escaping the negative mindset that everything must have gone wrong if things didn’t go exactly as planned. In reality, there are an infinite number of variables that could have caused an unsatisfactory outcome. If you manage to put the negative mindset out of your head you can focus on the many things that went right, rather than what went wrong. Always remember to look at things on the bright side.

4. Review what went wrong, and look for ways to improve

After you’ve had a chance to look at what exactly went right, you can then take a hard look at how to improve on what went wrong. Consider whether or not you need to get additional training in certain areas, to practice more often, or just to consider ways to improve what worked partially but not fully.

“Success is 99% failure.” – Soichiro Honda

5. Remember, what will be, will be

Try your best, then don’t worry be happy. You will always face difficulties through life, but the more you practice accepting these difficulties, the better positioned you’ll be to make use of your time effectively and improve your life. Look at life through the lens of a stoic philosopher and you will better understand how to live a life of streamlined success and happiness.

The best lessons you learn in life are very rarely the easiest. Remember to reflect on why some of the hardest decisions and saddest realisations you may have are vitally important for future growth and genuine happiness. These moments force you to break out of your normal state of consciousness and reassess what is most important to you.

They make you reflect on what has worked, and more importantly, what hasn’t. Only in these moments do you realise who you really are, and exactly what you are capable of.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

You Can Create Whatever Life You Want So Stop Talking Yourself Out of Your Destiny

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There’s never been a time like right now in human history for entrepreneurship. We have access to virtually limitless knowledge thanks to the advent of the internet, and you can reach anyone on this planet literally at the click of a button.

However, despite the massive amount of opportunity out there, there are still time-tested principles that every wanna-be entrepreneur needs to know in order to truly succeed. Knowing these principles can spell the difference between achieving your dreams and talking yourself out of your destiny.

There is Such a Thing as Preparing Too Much

While it’s certainly necessary to prepare in life, a just as devastating problem many people face in life is being too prepared. Way too often, people believe they’re actually working by spending hours “preparing” when all they’re doing is thinking about working while their actual work goes untouched.

As Gary Vaynerchuk put it bluntly in one of his livestream Q&A videos, “There are just so many ways to build your business, but lack of action is not one of them.” Basically, we are both blessed and cursed by our access to virtually limitless knowledge. We can turn on the faucet of knowledge and grab a quick swig when we need it, but if we leave it on for too long we’ll be drowning in information and be stuck trying to process everything.

If you spend too much time processing, you’ll be more likely to talk yourself out of taking the risks necessary to build a successful business. The solution is simple: stop processing and start taking action.

A phrase I find myself repeating a lot when I get into a bind is, “How did successful people do it before the age of internet?” The answer is they did it by not talking themselves off of the ledge of destiny and instead diving into their project headfirst.

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” – Simone de Beauvoir

Our Feelings Often Lie to Us

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like throwing in the towel when trying to build my web design business. I remember one day in particular I had a massive headache and was on the verge of quitting everything due to the frustration I felt while dealing with a problematic client.

I looked at my watch and realized I hadn’t eaten yet that morning, so I went and made myself breakfast. After eating a bowl of scrambled eggs and toast, my headache magically vanished along with my thoughts of wanting to quit. I quickly realized what needed to be done and fixed the client’s issue without much thought. The problem wasn’t with the client, the problem was with my stomach.

Can you imagine how ridiculous I would have looked had I fired my client all because I hadn’t eaten that day? This is why our feelings sometimes need to take a backseat when it comes to making wise, calculated decisions for our success.

Intuition is important, obviously, but it’s best utilized with years of reliable experience to back it up. So go with your gut when it’s wise to do so, but always make sure your gut is fed otherwise you may regret what it has to say.

Perfectionism Can Halt All Progress

You will never have everything figured out. Let that sink in. It’s become such a trope in our society that it’s surprising how easily we tend to forget it. There isn’t a single business out there that has all the answers on how to do things right, so why do we feel the need to stop moving forward if things aren’t perfect?

I remember a friend of mine spent years trying to compose music on his synthesizer but never released anything because it “wasn’t good enough” by his standards. I gave him the simple proposition to “put out crappy music”, since no matter what he would always think his music was crappy due to his perfectionist mindset. Within a day, he finally put something out on SoundCloud and his song “#Selfie” became a hit worldwide while his band The ChainSmokers continues to put out hits to this day.

OK, I’m kidding about that last part, but hopefully you get my point. My friend finally had a song out that he could have had out years ago but was too caught up on making everything “perfect” to do anything. He had, in effect, talked himself out of taking action. The same thing applies with business, even if you don’t have everything figured out it’s best to just start something and learn as you go.

“Imperfection is perfection.” – Flume

Whenever that annoying, perfectionist voice in your head tries to get you to quit because you’ll never have the “perfect” product or service to sell, tell it to shut up and put out your product or service anyway. As you gain experience in your field and receive valuable feedback from customers, you’ll be able to continually improve things with your business.

Had you not taken action to begin with, you would never have attained either of these two valuable assets. Never settle for mediocrity, but at the same time recognize your need to be in motion even if the thing that sets you in motion is initially subpar.

How do you push yourself and keep motivated? Let us know your thoughts below!

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Life

3 Mental Tricks to Help You Become a More Productive Person

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Whether you’re a career salesman, a student, or a software engineer, you can’t move an inch in your career if you produce less. Productivity is the key that will unlock your success. Unfortunately, not all of us are productive. And some of it is not our problem. Our Internet-empowered world is bloated with too many social media tools, too many emails and notifications, too many SMS and short messages, too many YouTube videos and Netflix movies. The distractions are at an all time high.

But what if there is a system that will help you keep all these distractions aside until you have accomplished your tasks? There is. And it only takes 3 simple steps. Read Below:

Step 1: See your everyday tasks as a gift

Showing up every day to work is anything but fun. You know your life depends on it, but some days are not your best days. No matter how you plan your projects, you can’t show up to do them. You’re tired and bored and uninterested. What’s the way forward? It’s not about planning. It’s not about waking up early. It’s not about lack of exercise or anything like that.

If you want to conquer your to-do list, day in and day out, you need a simple shift in your mindset. Stop thinking of your tasks as work. See those tasks as gifts…as natural endowments exclusively given to you. This simple shift in your mindset will awaken the sleeping giant within you. You’ll start feeling great about yourself, stop seeing your work as burdensome. The tasks will now make you feel proud.

No longer will your showing up early at your desk irritate you—because now you feel comfortable doing the work that matters. The mindset adjustment is not even difficult. Just figure out the value that your tasks will bring to your marketplace.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss

Step 2: Be conscious of the impeccable values of your tasks

That’s how to shift your thinking. You dissect the unique values that are embedded in your tasks (when you accomplish them, of course). If you’re a web designer, for example, think about the joy and life-changing events that your design job will bring to your client. That landing page that you’ll design, it would mean the world to your client.

It will even change their business and their lives along the way. But that will not happen if you don’t show up every day, roll up your sleeves and work on that landing page. Now if you can visualize that value, it will serve you well. You’ll be motivated. So, how do you become more conscious of the values of your work? Write them down. And read them every day to spark your productivity.

Step 3: Remind yourself of the limited time you have in life

We like to postpone today’s tasks for tomorrow. Often, we’ll schedule a time to work, but when the time is due, we come up with another excuse, “I’ve got to call that client instead; I’ll leave that work till tomorrow.” But we don’t own tomorrow. We don’t have control over it. We don’t even know what it holds. And we have a very limited time.

If you want to improve your productivity, you have got to remind yourself about the scarcity of your time. Here are a few questions to ask yourself (I recommend that you do these exercises every time before you begin to work):

  • If you only have 24 hours left today, how do you want to spend it?
  • If you have 5 projects to complete today, how do you manage your time?
  • Would you rather watch a movie on Netflix or accomplish today’s task and move closer to your vision?

“Do something instead of killing time because time is killing you.” – Paulo Coelho

It’s about making smart choices. I know It’s hard. It’s tough. It requires an impeccable amount of discipline. But with constant practice, these mental tricks will help you become a more productive person, move you closer to realizing your vision.

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