The worst form of fear isn’t one that keeps you awake at night staring at the ceiling. It’s not the pounding of your heart against your chest when you run away from danger. It’s the helplessness you feel when you realise you’ll never achieve your goals.
After all, if you repeatedly doubt your abilities, it’s impossible to muster the courage needed to take what you want in life. You resign yourself to fate. You accept the many bad hands the world deals you, and you’re powerless to stop the downward spiral that cuts your ambition short and holds you back forever.
Perhaps no one is more familiar with this debilitating form of fear than Leonard Kim. Now an acclaimed personal branding expert and well-respected marketing authority, he didn’t always enjoy such bright prospects.
In his TEDx Talk Kim details how at 28 years old his life took a turn for the worse. The businesses he worked on fell apart, his savings evaporated, and the once clear vision he had for the future began to fade away.
But these dark times came with a surprising revelation. Fear – and the path it illuminates – lies at the centre of self-discovery and personal growth.
Below are 3 ways fear will hold you back permanently:
1. You’re forced to compromise on your goals
We can never move forward in life if we’re constantly running from our fears. Even though most of us know what we want to achieve (the dream home, the nice car, the perfect job), we’re too afraid of rejection, judgement, and failure to go out and do the things necessary to accomplish them.
But fear doesn’t just lock us in place. The compromises and unfavourable circumstances it forces us to accept can actually cause us to lose what precious little we do have in the first place. Kim recalls the time he hit rock bottom and the series of events that drove him there:
“Because I was afraid to do the work my businesses required in order to be successful, everything I worked on just seemed to fall apart. I lost all of my savings and debt kept piling up. I couldn’t afford my electricity bill and the lights in my home shut off.
When I was hungry I had to walk down to buy a burrito from the 7 Eleven, unplug my microwave, and drag it into my apartment building’s hallway. I’d heat up my food in front of the neighbouring tenants doorways, and then go back inside to eat it in the dark.”
Kim’s lesson was brutal. Every time you walk away from a challenge, or attempt something half-heartedly, you take a step further away from your goals. Sometimes those decisions have unforeseen consequences, many of which culminate in an inescapable downwards spiral that makes it impossible to pursue your goals at all.
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer
2. Your relationships will disintegrate
Persistent fear causes anxiety – a constant state of worry making you focus too much on your own concerns and problems, and too little on the problems of those around you.
In fact, psychological research suggests that fear can make you selfish to the point that your relationships begin to deteriorate. Jealousy, suspicion, and insecurity manifest themselves in damaging ways, and before too long you’ll isolate yourself from people altogether.
Kim encountered the devastating impact of anxiety first hand. “I started getting panic attacks. I made excuses to my friends about why I couldn’t go out, and I had no self-confidence to even consider dating anyone.”
He learned the fear that stops you from applying yourself in business or your career will eventually destroy your social life, and without meaningful relationships you’ll have nobody to support you through difficult times or to reaffirm your value.
3. You’ll always live with regret
Some conversations are tough to have. But it’s often the conversations we have with ourselves that are most difficult of all.
“I want to change careers, but I’m scared of what my friends will say. I want to grow my business, but I’m afraid I’m going to fail.” We second-guess ourselves at every junction, and falter at every major decision. We imagine a thousand ways we could fail, and as a result we’re too unmotivated to even begin. But before you resign yourself to this trepidation, examine what your future will be like as a result of your inaction.
Kim says, “I pictured myself at my funeral and I realised that nobody was going to be there. All the chairs were empty and the reason was because I chased away everybody that cared about me, nobody trusted me, and I was a complete and utter failure.”
The life you’ll lead in the future is entirely determined by the decisions you make today. If you let fear make those decisions for you, the only legacy you’ll leave behind is one of regret and wasted potential.
“Live so that when the final summons comes you will leave something more behind you than an epitaph on a tombstone or an obituary in a newspaper.” – Billy Sunday
What’s the solution?
Breaking the hold fear has over you is scary – but it’s not impossible. Here are three steps you can follow to gradually overcome your fear:
- Step 1: Recognise it – Figure out what it is that you’re afraid of. By identifying the source of your fear (and the reasons behind it) you’ll be better equipped to tackle it head-on.
- Step 2: Face it – To overcome fear, you need to do things that scare you. You’ll never get comfortable with rejection, judgement, or failure if you never leave your comfort zone.
- Step 3: Do something about it – By continually and repeatedly stepping out of your comfort zone, things that seemed scary in the fast will have a greatly diminished effect on you. Before too long you’ll cease to be afraid of them at all.
Are you letting fear control you or are you using it to your advantage? Let us know by commenting below!
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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work
How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.
You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.
Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?
The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:
- I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
- I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
- I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal.
It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.
Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.
Can you train or recharge your willpower?
A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.
The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.
Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:
1. Focused breathing
Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.
You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.
2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal
According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.
You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.
Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.
High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.
3 Inspiring Lessons We Can Learn From Jim Carrey About the Law of Attraction
You’ve more than likely heard of Jim Carrey before. Over the years, he has starred in many popular films including The Truman Show, The Mask, and Bruce Almighty (just to name a few.)
But his personality goes a lot deeper than just his comedic persona and movie star charisma. In fact, Jim Carrey is probably one of the most philosophical individuals on the planet!
Although he isn’t in the spotlight as much anymore, throughout the years, he has credited his success and fortunes by applying the Law of attraction into his life. What’s even more inspiring is that Jim Carrey, like you and I, came from humble beginnings. No silver spoon or easy ticket. In fact, his family was very poor throughout his childhood. So what made him so successful in attracting such an extravagant and self-fulfilling life?
Here are 3 lessons you can learn from Jim Carrey when it comes to manifesting your dreams into a reality:
1. You Have To Take Action
“You can’t just visualize then go eat a sandwich”, Jim Carrey says. It goes without saying that the law of attraction does require action. You cannot simply rely on visualizing and expect to see results, especially when it comes to manifesting desires that other people would like to achieve also. E.g. Careers, scholarships, competitions, anything that involves another individual.
Visualization and positive thinking are crucial when it comes to using the law of attraction, but you have to meet the universe halfway with the steps you take as well. We are physical beings that require physical steps to get physical results. The real key is to make daily plans/goals in order to get you closer towards achieving your desires. So after that sandwich, make sure start taking action toward your dreams!
This could be working on your hobbies or passion, applying for that dream job or studying to get better grades. As long as you are moving toward your goals then there’s no reason why it can’t happen. So get out there and kick some butt.
2. Double Down On What You Love
“My father could have been a great comedian but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant and when I was 12 years old he was let go from that safe job, and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father. Not the least of which was that: You can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
If this story of Jim Carrey’s father doesn’t pull on your heartstrings and inspire you at the same time, nothing else will! This is such an undeniable life lesson that everyone needs to learn. A lesson to take risks, push comfort zones and go all-in on what you love doing. So if your dreams, hobbies or goals seem far fetched to the majority, then you are already beating the other 99%.
Be that 1% that’s willing to dream big and rise above the norm. Unfortunately, in today’s society, our ancestral instincts still rule our everyday life. Fear is one of them and controls the majority of our population. It’s scary to push comfort zones and try something new, the thought of failure is often paralyzing to many. But my question to you is, will you look back one day and regret the chances you didn’t take?
3. Keep Your Eye On The Prize
“As far as I can tell, it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and working toward it, while letting go of how it comes to pass.” Holding onto every little detail when it comes to manifesting, can conjure up more harm than good. The reason is that the universe will deliver in ways you might not expect.
If you are too busy wondering when your desires will manifest, comparing yourself to others, or ignoring every sign that doesn’t look like your detailed plan you’ve written down, then you may be missing out on opportunities that are right in front of you! Your visualizations don’t have to be perfect, in fact, it’s better to just let go altogether and focus on the result itself rather than dwelling on every little detail. This doesn’t mean to simply forget about what you want but instead having the confidence it will happen in time.
An example of this is when Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for 30 million dollars. The only detail he knew was that he would earn it through his acting career, and he did indeed achieve this goal! So make sure to tell the universe what you want, but try not to hold onto every little detail!
Jim Carrey is just another person like you and me, with his own personal ups and downs in his road to success. He is someone to look up to when applying the law of attraction in your life too. It doesn’t matter if your goals or desires are different because the core foundation will always stay the same. You can and will do this if you think, feel and act as if it will happen!
Meditation for Beginners: How It Works and Where to Start
Meditation was first developed in India many years ago (around 5000-3500 BCE). It took quite some time to become popular in the western world, but today, it is celebrated as a therapeutic tool to ease stress, anxiety, depression, and addictions. In the past years, it has also become recognized as helping to improve mental performance, and consequently became a multi-billion dollar business. If you’ve never tried it, you may be wondering how something so simple as sitting with your eyes closed could deliver such incredible benefits.
How meditation works
Meditation is about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective over one’s thoughts. Many think that meditating is about trying to achieve a zen state of mind, but that’s not the point. Observing one’s thoughts, and then letting go of them so that eventually you may start to better understand them, is the real goal of each meditation practice.
There are different techniques to go through this mental process. Some focus on the breath and bodily sensation, others make you visualize an object, and others help you to channel your thoughts towards acts of love and kindness.
A typical meditation session involves you sitting on a chair or cross-legged on the floor with your eyes closed. Once you assume a comfortable position and focus on your breath, you should start noticing your thoughts. At this point, according to what type of technique you’re using, you will try to let those thoughts go away by focusing on something else (this could be your breath or a mental image you created).
With time and practice, you may be able to reach a state of mind where very few thoughts (or none) are present. Despite the simplicity of this process, meditating for more than ten minutes is extremely tough for most. Many people that try meditation get discouraged by the fact that “they can’t stop thinking.” In fact, it has been proven that people spend most of their days being anything but mindful and peaceful.
In a 2010 study, Harvard researchers asked more than 2000 adults about their thoughts and actions at random moments throughout their day via an iPhone app. People’s minds wandered 47% of the time, and mind wandering often triggered unhappiness, the scientists reported.
They also observed that spending time observing our thoughts without getting stuck on them, may help to better understand oneself, and possibly being able to reduce the number of negative thoughts one experiences.
“The mind is definitely something that can be transformed, and meditation is a means to transform it.” – Dalai Lama
What science says about meditation
People have practiced meditation for thousands of years, but scientists have studied its effects for only a dozen. In the past few years, many studies have been published about the neurological benefits of meditation, proving it to improve brain function in many different ways.
Meditation’s benefits range from preserving the aging brain, to improving happiness by reducing the activity of the brain’s “me center” (monkey mind). A more recent study has even proven that meditation is as powerful as antidepressants in treating depression, anxiety, and pain. Many more studies are being conducted every day on meditation, and we can expect to gain a lot more insight in the near future.
Can anyone meditate?
Millions of people are practicing mindfulness meditation every day with great results, but there are also as many people that have tried meditating and didn’t like it or didn’t manage to be consistent with their practice. The most important part of developing a meditation practice is consistency. You don’t have to meditate every single day, but the benefits are tied to regular, consistent practice.
Some studies claim that some benefits of meditation such as improved mood, decreased stress and decreased blood pressure, can be felt after a single session. Some other benefits like increased focus and decreased anxiety may be experienced after a few weeks and others take longer to develop.
Some people claim that as little as five minutes of meditation per day can make miracles, but research shows that a regular practice associated with benefits involves 10-20 minutes of meditation at least three times per week.
“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” – Mother Teresa
What’s the best way to begin a meditation practice?
A good place to start for aspiring mediators is Headspace. Andy Puddicombe, a former English student in sport science, dropped his studies to travel to Asia and trained as a Buddhist monk. He created Headspace with the goal of helping millions of people to live a more mindful life. Over 30 million people have downloaded and use headspace. This is due to his simplicity and its beautiful design and animations.
Do you meditate? If so, what’s your favorite aspect of it? Share your thoughts below!
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