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4 Reasons To Let Death Be Your Biggest Motivator

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Death Is Your Biggest Motivator - Addicted2Success

I don’t know about everyone else, but there seem to be a lot of people around me dying lately. It’s this very idea that has become one of my biggest motivators of late, and it can do the same for you. Death comes when you least expect it, and it’s relentless in the way that it touches our lives.

Recently, one of my work colleagues was sitting down having lunch with his mum. Halfway through the meal, she was talking and couldn’t speak all of a sudden. Within minutes, an ambulance arrived, and within hours, she had passed away. She was perfectly healthy and had no signs of anything like this happening. It was a stroke that tragically ended her life and the life of a grandmother.

A year earlier, the same thing happened to my aunt. She was just going about her day, perfectly healthy, and then in less than twenty-four hours a stroke took her life away. There is no logic to any of these random acts of death, other than one inescapable truth; we all need to come to grips with the fact that life and death go hand in hand.

When death strikes it shouldn’t come as a shock but rather an expectation. It shouldn’t come as a tragedy but rather a celebration. So your thinking to yourself right now in this moment “Tim what’s inspiring about all of this?”

What’s inspiring is that you can let death be your biggest motivator. Here are the four reasons why.

 

1. It should remind you to live fearlessly and in the moment

We spend a large proportion of our life suffering from fear. In my life, I have feared lots of different things and each time that fear has ended up becoming a triumph. This is why when we look at death we need to live fearlessly. It’s unavoidable, and it happens to all of us.

Death reminds us of the most important rule of meditation: to live in the moment. We can’t control what has already happened or to some degree what may happen in the future (although we can plant seeds now that can allow our future to blossom).

Living in the moment and being grateful for what we do have is what will enable us to live fearlessly. Pretending that death doesn’t exist or that we should fear it in some way will never allow us to be successful. Don’t let the concept of death use you but instead use it to motivate you for the here and now.

 

2. It should create a sense of urgency

The one piece of motivation we all need is to have more urgency about our lives. Many of us live as if time is irrelevant and that we are immortal. Worse still, we live as though some person in the distant future is going to cure all medical illness and allow us to live forever.

Medicine will continue to evolve in the future, but it will not stop death in any way. Instead, think of death as a way to motivate yourself to get more out of every day. Allow death to make you think about why your energy levels are so important.

“Your energy levels are the multiplier of time” – Tim Denning

The more energy you have, the less you need to sleep and, therefore, the more awake time you will have to work on your dream and crush your goals (such a great motivation).

If you have been thinking about changing jobs or becoming an entrepreneur why wait? Given the two stories I have presented about strokes occurring, what makes you think any of us immune? If anything, the western way of living has made a lot of us have much less time on this earth, not more.

Use death as your motive for action and as a tool that can allow you to impact and inspire others sooner. Don’t focus on it in a negative way but in a way that will empower you to be more and to become who you have always wanted to be.

Stop settling for second best because you may not have the time in your life to ever get what you want. For the younger people out there, enjoy your teenage and early adult life and spend as much time as you can exploring.

Travel to as many destinations as you can and see what real beauty is out in the world. Meet new people from other cultures and see how the poorest parts in the world live. Have more urgency about what you do and don’t forget to live in the moment.

 

3. It should make you remember to love everyone else and love them why they are here

Too often we forget to love everyone around us and we are too busy judging. Let death be the motivation to connect with more people right now and to love them for who they are. Let death make you forget the differences between our varied cultures and only remind you to love others equally.

The people you currently love should never be taken for granted. At any stage, like with the two stroke victims I mentioned, they could be taken away from you without any chance to say goodbye. Don’t let this make you sad but let it motivate you to love them even more and spend the time you have with them in a meaningful way.

 

4. It should remind you of your purpose

At each of the recent funerals I have attended, I take careful note as to how the person who has passed is remembered. I let these funerals remind me not to be one of those people that are spoken about for a few hours after they are buried and then quickly forgotten by the majority of attendees.

Instead, I let the funeral and the deceased person remind of my purpose and to reset my motivation each time. It’s so easy to be distracted in life with our newly shortened attention spans. Death can help you refocus on your vision and remember why you do what you do.

It can help you think about what impact you want to have and how you want others to talk about you when you’re gone. On these somber days, all the money or lack of money is forgotten, and no one speaks of such a word. Very quickly, we are reminded just how insignificant money can be in the long term. Just remember that only your impact and influence are eternal.

Don't Lose Site Of Your Goals - Tim Denning
 

***Final Thought***

Remember there is only one of you and that each of us is special in our own unique way. I appreciate every one of you coming to Addicted2Success to be inspired and get practical advice. All I ask is that you pay it forward and do the same for others while you’re on this earth.

Be the light in someone else’s day during their darkest moment. Be the smile that may be that spark a homeless person needs to turn their life around. Send chills down people’s spine with your unique craft and creative side.

If you ever want to chat, then you know where to find me. Much love and much respect, and always stay Addicted 2 Success!

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Stefanie

    Feb 11, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Great article, Tim! I agree, it’s so easy to get distracted by such small things in our daily life! My biggest fear has been knowing death is near and noticing there were so many things I still wanted to do. That’s my biggest motivator for taking action and being with people that make a difference for me (instead of hanging out with people with a mediocre attitude).
    I liked the reminder of the energy, that’s so true! By the way, do you know the 1 Page Productivity Planner from Brendon Burchard? I found it a very helpful tool to have more clarity and presence.

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 12, 2016 at 8:35 am

      Thanks Stefanie I’m glad you liked it. I do know Brendan Burchard but I don’t have his planner. I would love it if you could send it to me 🙂

      • Stefanie

        Mar 7, 2016 at 8:20 am

        Done 🙂 Enjoy!

  2. Lawrence Berry

    Feb 10, 2016 at 1:02 am

    A lot of people are afraid to think of death because they are afraid to die, but only when you no longer cling to life, can you truly live to the fullest. One must realize that one day you will die and nothing would have mattered. so what do we really have to lose. Steve Jobs once said that remembering that we are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking that we have something to lose. This article was a great reminder to every to live life to the fullest and don’t be afraid to face death, for you should let it push you to greatness!

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 10, 2016 at 7:32 am

      Spot on Lawrence and Steve Jobs’s quote is timeless. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Bertie

    Feb 9, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Yep… this is something nobody wants to talk about, but it’s the one thing common to each and every human being. We tend to think that we’ll live to the average life expectancy in our country, and thus we leave for later everything we really want to do. We believe our life will follow a predictable path that fits into our schemes, but it doesn’t need to be that way.

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 10, 2016 at 7:31 am

      Totally agree with you Bertie. Why would anyone want to follow a predictable path? I sure wouldn’t.

  4. Jody McPhearson

    Feb 9, 2016 at 5:13 am

    That is a powerful reminder to live your purpose. I am embracing this in my life as I look to inspire others to live theirs. Thanks for the helpful reminder.

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 9, 2016 at 9:11 am

      No probs Jody and I am glad to see you are inspiring others in the process. Thanks for reading.

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Life

No Mess, No Clutter For 4 Weeks.

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Today is a special anniversary. It’s been four weeks of no mess and no clutter. A few of my work colleagues were fascinated by this achievement when I told them and asked me to write about it.

The process to get there was grueling. It made me sick, it was stressful and it was hard. It was worth every second though and it can help everyone reading this.

Here’s what I learned:

 

The past no longer has to haunt me.

After two weeks, I realized that I had let go of the ex-girlfriends, failed startups and memories that held no significance in my life. Throwing out junk and decluttering helps you deal with the past.

You may think you have dealt with the past but the objects that are left over are the last remaining bits that must be dealt with.

There’s something so freeing about letting go and dealing with your past. It creates space for you to excel in the future and empty your mind. No longer will a dumb pair of socks that your ex-partner bought, remind you of the way they complained about you all the time.

 

I saved money and lots of it.

It’s only been four weeks and my bank account is thanking me for the tidy up. Now that I know what I have, I can stop buying more batteries, screwdrivers and stationary that I already have.

“Once you’ve lived without clutter, you become like a prison guard, guarding your home against possessions you’ll never use”

This results in fewer purchases and my debit card thanks me.

I was spending hundreds of dollars every year buying things that I might use on a rainy day in a few years. That rainy day came often, yet I never used the items I was stockpiling.

Thanks to these little changes, I now have more money to invest in stocks and my new startup.

 

You quit letting other people’s junk become your burden.

People die and leave you stuff.
People move countries and leave you stuff.
People ask you to look after their stuff.
People give you stuff that you’re too scared to throw out in case they find out and get upset with you.

You can’t keep letting other people’s possessions become your burden. Set yourself free and let go of possessions regardless of where they came from or who will care. It’s the only way to declutter.

 

It’s obvious what I can live without.

Now that more than 50% of my possessions are in either charity bins or at the recycling center, I now know what I can live without. Here’s what I was wrong about.

– I thought I needed coconut oil. It turns out that I hate the taste and haven’t used it for two years. Throwing it away reminded me that I could live without it.

– I thought I needed fifteen different pyjama tops. It turns out I only ever wear three of them. The other twelve pairs are not my size and remind me of my old body which I’m not proud of.

– I thought I needed tons of bedding and as it turns out, I rotate the same few doona covers and sheets because they have bright colors that make me happy. The black and grey ones are depressing and I subconsciously never choose to use them.

– I thought I needed to buy in bulk. It turns out I don’t have the room and it feels better to live in a decluttered environment. Buying in bulk was only making the retailers rich, and me sad.

 

I’m surrounded by objects that make me happy.

That’s the result of having no mess and decluttering. Items that you keep (only keep the stuff that brings you joy) are now all around you. Everywhere I now look, I see useful possessions that get used and make me happy.

Decluttering allowed me to have more of what I love, and less of what I don’t. Being happy is a decision.

“It takes lots of small decisions about what to throw out, to get to a point where your limited number of possessions can bring you joy”

I also know everything I have now because I have so few possessions. This makes me happy.

 

My life is now organized.

Being organized is a massive time saver. No longer do I need to go on the equivalent of a twelve day Easter Egg Hunt to find a belt I want to wear. It’s now either the black one or the brown one.

This feeling of being organized is addictive and if you do one big tidy up, and you don’t stop until its done, you’ll never go back to your messy ways.

Being organized equals time, which equals money baby!

P.S – Before you send me an email full of rage over how simple I make this all sound, try it for yourself. Take a risk. Embrace the fear. I’m not the only one who has decluttered. There are thousands of us on the Internet that you can look up who’ve had the exact same experience.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Life

How to Get Better at Anything by Using This Self Encouragement Practice

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self encouragement

Whether you’re turning your sidehustle into a career, sculpting a fitter body, or perfecting your favourite sport, getting better at anything requires a simple yet specific sequence:

You do it, you encourage each of your efforts and then you repeat this process every day without cease.

Now think about the goals you’ve set after, and the habits you’ve tried to hone. If you aren’t exactly where you want to be in your growth curve, you’re skipping one or two of these simple steps. Which is it for you?

I used to be really good at starting things—step one. But, back before I began my self-improvement journey, I didn’t have the slightest concept of self-encouragement—step two. I figured that once I did something well enough, I’d get all the congratulations I needed from other people. It didn’t work out that way.

When things got really tough in my new business ventures or educational endeavors, I’d crack. I didn’t have someone orienting me toward the future, coaching me, and approving my efforts. I didn’t have me in my own corner.

Self encouragement is like the protein you consume after a workout

Lifting weights is hard on your muscles, right? The resistance/stress breaks down tissue. But if you don’t replenish your body with protein after the workout, your muscles won’t grow, which makes regular workouts frustrating and pointless. The same is true for self-encouragement and your personal growth.

You need that reflexive “good job!” or “you’re kicking ass!” to rebuild confidence after a big effort. But when you don’t get that positive self-talk, you won’t feel good enough about yourself and confident enough about the future to persist in your success effort.

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” – Unknown

After landing back at my parents (for the third time) when my business venture in California went bust, I decided I would no longer succumb to the forces that had sabotaged my previous efforts. So I read all that I could from Tony Robbins and Zig Ziglar. The one thing I learned was that I had to become my own biggest supporter, otherwise, I’d continue to bring myself down with negative self-talk and inconsistent effort.

That’s when I started planning self-encouragement

My greatest weakness is that if I don’t plan something out and have an action step I can check off, I just won’t do it. This weakness ended up becoming my biggest strength when I decided to take ownership of it.

Since I wasn’t encouraging myself enough to grow consistently as a writer, I started writing out ten checkboxes for self encouragement in my daily planner. That’s when I literally got addicted to success.

Before, I’d write an article and then think to myself, “Yeah…probably not gonna make a difference anyway.” This attitude prevented me from taking risks and consistently doing my best, which is crucial for any kind of success. But when I started creating self-encouragement rituals to conclude my writing sessions, I got high off of the positivity.

“Thank you so much for kicking ass today! Thank you for doing everything you need to do to be successful and to make a difference. I’m so grateful for your efforts, and so excited to see where this effort takes you. Keep it up!”

This was instant gratification in the otherwise-delayed gratification process of achieving success, and it ended up giving me the confidence and positive attitude I needed to persist, to learn from my mistakes, and to grow in the ways I desired.

Three months after I planned for daily self-encouragement, I had my first full-time job as a staff writer at a major publication. That was no coincidence. When I continued my success sequence, do, encourage, persist, it was only another year before I was on each of the major magazines I’d dreamed of writing for.

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein

I gained a following. People began seeking me out for coaching, to help them gain similar success in wherever they wanted to improve their own lives. But more important than anything, I established an identity as my own greatest supporter, which will help me to succeed in anything I set my mind to: marriage, expanding my business, etc. I owe my successes and my career to ten self encouragement checkboxes.

Here’s how to start your self encouragement practice today:

1. Start a morning routine of affirmations

Before your mind can drift to negative thoughts, immediately set yourself to positive affirmations. I mean literally right after you wake up, don’t skip a beat! Pick out the forty affirmations that you need most. “I am worthy, I am persistent, I am successful” and write them down on a 3×5 index card. Then, recite them to yourself in a mirror as soon as you wake up. Keep up the habit until you have all forty memorized.

Once you start this practice you’ll become sensitized to your inner dialogue and you’ll begin to hear everything going on between your ears, including the negative. When you start to hear you beating yourself up, that’s when it’s crucial to fall back on the positive affirmation. You’ll cement this habit by scheduling regular self-encouragement checkins in a daily planner.

2. Create ten checkboxes for self encouragement in your daily planner

If you don’t already have a daily planning habit, you won’t get the life you want until you start planning for it every day. You don’t need to plan much, just your top five to eight goals, and the habits you intend to do every day (self-encouragement being the most important one). After you list your first three or four goals at the top, break the page up with “encourage yourself!”—followed by ten checkboxes.

As you check off your goals, make sure to encourage yourself for your efforts. For example, if one of your goals were to run five miles in the morning, when you check that goal off you’ll immediately applaud yourself and then check off a self-encouragement box. “Thank you so much for taking care of my body and making me feel good about myself, you’re doing awesome!” Check.

When you refer to your planner throughout the day, you’ll notice that there are more checkboxes than you have goals. Use those empty checkboxes as reminders to affirm yourself. “I am generous, kind, patient, uplifting, creative, dependable, perseverant, etc.” Check.

Keep this up over the course of a month and you’ll be on your way to mastering whatever it is you want.  

By holding yourself accountable to a self-encouragement practice, you’ll grow the resilience and confidence you need to persist in the things you love and to master the skills and habits you desire. All it takes is a blank sketchbook and the routine of planning out each of your goals at the beginning of a day, including ten checkboxes for self encouragement.

What self encouragement practices do you do? Comment below!

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Life

The 4 Dimensions of Personal Energy You Need to Adopt to Deliver Extraordinary Results

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personal energy

Managers tend to look at humans as productivity units. Energy is invested into prioritizing what’s on the to do list, with an attitude of do more and accomplish more. Work is translated into more hours and the human experience tends to be minimized, criticized or diminished.

As the demands of the workplace keep rising, many people respond by increasing their hours at a rapid pace, inevitably leading to burn out that costs both people and business. Many businesses invest in developing people’s knowledge and skills yet very few help build and sustain their capacity – their energy. When you invest in your people, they have greater capacity to make it possible to get more done in less time.

In today’s world, business leaders generally feel it is the employee’s problem to practice healthy behaviors. Given the amount of time people spend at work, a shared responsibility embarks on both the business and the employee. Where possible, workplaces must facilitate the development of healthy practices to create a mutually beneficial and sustainable environment. Individually, you are responsible for how you manage your energy, the workplace is responsible for creating a workplace where people are energized, and their creativity unleashed.

When workplaces invest in their people across all dimensions of their lives, magic happens. People turn up at work energized, more productive, and execute the shared vision to deliver results.

When you are fully energized, you accomplish more in less time. When you feel fulfilled, you become more engaged, effective and contribute without expectation. The human experience includes four dimensions of personal energy that need to be cultivated to increase these levels of energy and deliver extraordinary results across workplaces.

1. We function best when we feel positive

Most people tend to perform best when they feel positive. I’m not talking about the eternal optimist and rah-rah noise, I’m referring to the people who re-fuel their positive energy by identifying their trigger points to what drains their energy and then refocus on a solution. Creating a resourceful functional state where you can think clearly, logically and reflectively.

Building habits into your day avoids you slipping into negative emotions or moving through them quicker. Diffusing emotions through deep breathing, expressing appreciation and gratitude as the brain can only do one thing at a time. Adopting self-reflection techniques such as upgrading the lens approach creates opportunities to refocus your energy – How would l like to see this situation in 3 months’ time? What lessons can l learn from this situation?

“When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It’s very simple.” – Paulo Coelho

2. The human spirit

The human spirit transcends the individual human being. When you are clear about your purpose, what really matters, you focus better, feel more positive and feel a deeper commitment to contributing to humanity. To access the energy of the human spirit, explore what you do best and enjoy most at work and in life. Allocate time and energy to these areas and make a conscious decision to live your core values every day.

3. Sustaining your mental energy

Multitasking is a great way to kill your mental energy. When you lose your focus, or move from one task to the next, you increase the amount of time required to complete the primary task. Building simple rituals into your day can prevent mental fatigue.

Reduce interruptions by allocating uninterruptible 50-minute blocks of time to focus on the one task, respond to emails, voicemails at designated times during the day and identify the most important task for the next day. Robin Sharma, author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, suggests focusing for the next 90 days, the first 90 minutes of your work day on creating your new piece of code that will revolutionize the marketplace.

4. Physical energy

We all need nutrition, exercise, sleep and rest. It is part of the human condition. If you want to sustain your energy levels, the four essential components will increase your energy levels to enable your focus on your single most valuable project and manage your emotions. Your will power may be highest first thing in the morning, your energy may peak in the afternoon or your mental focus may be the sharpest late at night. Capitalize and build a pocket of time so you use your highest value hours for your most valuable activities.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin

Prioritizing healthy eating, engaging in movement activities and committed to deep restful sleep are the keys to sustaining your physical energy. Consistent sleeping times with undisrupted sleep is critical to your ability to maintain your energy levels. Power naps, removal of digital technology from bedrooms and investment in sleep transition activities such as reading non-work-related books, listening to a guided meditation or focusing on breath work are great practices to invest in re-building energy levels.

When you are physically active, mentally agile, emotionally stable and spiritually charged, you can balance different aspects of your life with ease. Adopting rituals to manage your energy on all dimensions daily creates an environment where you are leading you, not the other way around. Manage your energy, not your time.

What techniques do you use to maximize your energy? Comment below!

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Life

5 Simple Things to Do Right Now if You Feel Stuck in Life

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feeling stuck in life

As a success-blogger, I normally have a great deal of clarity about what I need to be working on. I’m also really driven by a sense of purpose in helping others get unstuck and make an impact in their lives. There aren’t many times that I find myself at a loss for what to do next.

Nonetheless, I recently hit a dry spell. I felt entirely stuck and a little burnt out. It felt like I was in a pit, emotionally unempowered and unable to move forward. Due to this, I decided to sit down and write out a list of ways that I could get myself moving and build up some momentum again.

Here is what I came up with and I’m sharing it with you in the hopes that if you, too, are stuck it will make difference for you:

1. Get An Empowering Mindset

When we start to feel like we can’t move forward we often get down on ourselves. We begin to feel incapable and think we must be the cause of all the inaction. This puts us in a negative mindset that is self-reinforcing. To break out of that limiting mentality, try the substitution game. For every negative thought that comes to mind, remove it and replace it with a positive one.

For instance, instead of, “I just can’t figure this out—I’m so stupid,” remove and replace it with, “I’m ALWAYS supplied with a way through at just the right time.” Affirmations like this will keep you positive and put you back in the driver’s seat. Keep at this hard because it is relatively easy to do and you can gain traction quickly.

“Growth hacking is a mindset, and those who have it will reap incredible gains.” – Ryan Holiday

2. Do Some Housekeeping

When I’m really humming along in life, I’ve got no time for cleaning up files and putting things in order. This has to be done sometime and the time when you are stuck not doing anything else makes as good of sense as any.

More than that, however, I’ve also found the process of simplifying and organizing my notes to be very empowering. The very act of setting your mind on “cleaning things up” clarifies your mind. It’s an outward expression of something that changes your experience internally as well.

I’m of the opinion that if we need direction in our lives, we need to make room for it. In this way, we welcome that which we really need. By putting our work in order we prepare the way for new ideas and inspiration.

3. Find Some Quick Results To Encourage Yourself

No matter how stuck you are there is always something you can do that will bring about a measurable result. Even small victories help you feel like you are gaining ground. As you do this, keep these tips in mind:

  • Set simple goals and breeze through them. Think of things you can accomplish in five-to-ten minutes. As you complete them you will gain a sense of momentum.
  • Make this a visual activity. I like to write each of my tasks out and put a little box in front of them. Work to check each item off as quickly as you can. It should be fun so treat it as a game, marking complete as many as you can in an hour, for instance.

4. Get Back To Doing What You Love

To keep growing, I have to keep looking forward to the bigger picture in what I do. Right now I’m spending a lot of time preparing content for future books and courses, but that level of stretching has produced a little burnout. I’m always tunneling forward into territory that I’m not as familiar with so it saps my energy and mental resources.

It’s good to tackle these types of things so that I keep pushing myself. But when I begin to feel like I’m burning out, it’s good to step back into what I’m best at and most comfortable in…for me, that’s writing blog posts. It brings a refreshing sense of fun back into my life.

This gets a sense of positivity flowing again. We have to keep a deep feeling of joy with what we do. Jump-starting that by getting back into your element can get you on the road again.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – Rumi

5. Work On Something New

Sometimes we just get bogged-down and burned-out with what we are working on. It becomes drudgery, but there is always something related that we might not have begun to work on yet. Maybe we didn’t feel ready or we were just too invested in other things to take the turn down that road. In times like this, pull those things out and start working on them.

For me, that recent thing I began to do was guest posting on Addicted2Success. It was something that I had always wanted to do because I believe in everything that they are doing, but I hadn’t gone down that path yet because I didn’t feel ready.

In my period of trying to get unstuck, however, it began to feel like the perfect time to venture into new territory. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to focus on this avenue I have renewed energy and have come closer to fulfilling my overall dream of being a successful blogger.

If you just aren’t getting anywhere in your normal routine, it could be the perfect time to break into something else you’ve been holding off on.

What have you done to break free when YOU are stuck in life? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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If You’re Looking for Success, Here Are 5 Ways to Find It

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looking for success

What do people want when they talk about being successful? Some of us might want things such as a yacht, private island, or a jet. Others want to feel like they belong and have great relationships with their family and loved ones. (more…)

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

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Stefanie

    Feb 11, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Great article, Tim! I agree, it’s so easy to get distracted by such small things in our daily life! My biggest fear has been knowing death is near and noticing there were so many things I still wanted to do. That’s my biggest motivator for taking action and being with people that make a difference for me (instead of hanging out with people with a mediocre attitude).
    I liked the reminder of the energy, that’s so true! By the way, do you know the 1 Page Productivity Planner from Brendon Burchard? I found it a very helpful tool to have more clarity and presence.

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 12, 2016 at 8:35 am

      Thanks Stefanie I’m glad you liked it. I do know Brendan Burchard but I don’t have his planner. I would love it if you could send it to me 🙂

      • Stefanie

        Mar 7, 2016 at 8:20 am

        Done 🙂 Enjoy!

  2. Lawrence Berry

    Feb 10, 2016 at 1:02 am

    A lot of people are afraid to think of death because they are afraid to die, but only when you no longer cling to life, can you truly live to the fullest. One must realize that one day you will die and nothing would have mattered. so what do we really have to lose. Steve Jobs once said that remembering that we are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking that we have something to lose. This article was a great reminder to every to live life to the fullest and don’t be afraid to face death, for you should let it push you to greatness!

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 10, 2016 at 7:32 am

      Spot on Lawrence and Steve Jobs’s quote is timeless. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Bertie

    Feb 9, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Yep… this is something nobody wants to talk about, but it’s the one thing common to each and every human being. We tend to think that we’ll live to the average life expectancy in our country, and thus we leave for later everything we really want to do. We believe our life will follow a predictable path that fits into our schemes, but it doesn’t need to be that way.

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 10, 2016 at 7:31 am

      Totally agree with you Bertie. Why would anyone want to follow a predictable path? I sure wouldn’t.

  4. Jody McPhearson

    Feb 9, 2016 at 5:13 am

    That is a powerful reminder to live your purpose. I am embracing this in my life as I look to inspire others to live theirs. Thanks for the helpful reminder.

    • Tim Denning

      Feb 9, 2016 at 9:11 am

      No probs Jody and I am glad to see you are inspiring others in the process. Thanks for reading.

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Life

No Mess, No Clutter For 4 Weeks.

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Today is a special anniversary. It’s been four weeks of no mess and no clutter. A few of my work colleagues were fascinated by this achievement when I told them and asked me to write about it.

The process to get there was grueling. It made me sick, it was stressful and it was hard. It was worth every second though and it can help everyone reading this.

Here’s what I learned:

 

The past no longer has to haunt me.

After two weeks, I realized that I had let go of the ex-girlfriends, failed startups and memories that held no significance in my life. Throwing out junk and decluttering helps you deal with the past.

You may think you have dealt with the past but the objects that are left over are the last remaining bits that must be dealt with.

There’s something so freeing about letting go and dealing with your past. It creates space for you to excel in the future and empty your mind. No longer will a dumb pair of socks that your ex-partner bought, remind you of the way they complained about you all the time.

 

I saved money and lots of it.

It’s only been four weeks and my bank account is thanking me for the tidy up. Now that I know what I have, I can stop buying more batteries, screwdrivers and stationary that I already have.

“Once you’ve lived without clutter, you become like a prison guard, guarding your home against possessions you’ll never use”

This results in fewer purchases and my debit card thanks me.

I was spending hundreds of dollars every year buying things that I might use on a rainy day in a few years. That rainy day came often, yet I never used the items I was stockpiling.

Thanks to these little changes, I now have more money to invest in stocks and my new startup.

 

You quit letting other people’s junk become your burden.

People die and leave you stuff.
People move countries and leave you stuff.
People ask you to look after their stuff.
People give you stuff that you’re too scared to throw out in case they find out and get upset with you.

You can’t keep letting other people’s possessions become your burden. Set yourself free and let go of possessions regardless of where they came from or who will care. It’s the only way to declutter.

 

It’s obvious what I can live without.

Now that more than 50% of my possessions are in either charity bins or at the recycling center, I now know what I can live without. Here’s what I was wrong about.

– I thought I needed coconut oil. It turns out that I hate the taste and haven’t used it for two years. Throwing it away reminded me that I could live without it.

– I thought I needed fifteen different pyjama tops. It turns out I only ever wear three of them. The other twelve pairs are not my size and remind me of my old body which I’m not proud of.

– I thought I needed tons of bedding and as it turns out, I rotate the same few doona covers and sheets because they have bright colors that make me happy. The black and grey ones are depressing and I subconsciously never choose to use them.

– I thought I needed to buy in bulk. It turns out I don’t have the room and it feels better to live in a decluttered environment. Buying in bulk was only making the retailers rich, and me sad.

 

I’m surrounded by objects that make me happy.

That’s the result of having no mess and decluttering. Items that you keep (only keep the stuff that brings you joy) are now all around you. Everywhere I now look, I see useful possessions that get used and make me happy.

Decluttering allowed me to have more of what I love, and less of what I don’t. Being happy is a decision.

“It takes lots of small decisions about what to throw out, to get to a point where your limited number of possessions can bring you joy”

I also know everything I have now because I have so few possessions. This makes me happy.

 

My life is now organized.

Being organized is a massive time saver. No longer do I need to go on the equivalent of a twelve day Easter Egg Hunt to find a belt I want to wear. It’s now either the black one or the brown one.

This feeling of being organized is addictive and if you do one big tidy up, and you don’t stop until its done, you’ll never go back to your messy ways.

Being organized equals time, which equals money baby!

P.S – Before you send me an email full of rage over how simple I make this all sound, try it for yourself. Take a risk. Embrace the fear. I’m not the only one who has decluttered. There are thousands of us on the Internet that you can look up who’ve had the exact same experience.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Life

How to Get Better at Anything by Using This Self Encouragement Practice

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self encouragement

Whether you’re turning your sidehustle into a career, sculpting a fitter body, or perfecting your favourite sport, getting better at anything requires a simple yet specific sequence:

You do it, you encourage each of your efforts and then you repeat this process every day without cease.

Now think about the goals you’ve set after, and the habits you’ve tried to hone. If you aren’t exactly where you want to be in your growth curve, you’re skipping one or two of these simple steps. Which is it for you?

I used to be really good at starting things—step one. But, back before I began my self-improvement journey, I didn’t have the slightest concept of self-encouragement—step two. I figured that once I did something well enough, I’d get all the congratulations I needed from other people. It didn’t work out that way.

When things got really tough in my new business ventures or educational endeavors, I’d crack. I didn’t have someone orienting me toward the future, coaching me, and approving my efforts. I didn’t have me in my own corner.

Self encouragement is like the protein you consume after a workout

Lifting weights is hard on your muscles, right? The resistance/stress breaks down tissue. But if you don’t replenish your body with protein after the workout, your muscles won’t grow, which makes regular workouts frustrating and pointless. The same is true for self-encouragement and your personal growth.

You need that reflexive “good job!” or “you’re kicking ass!” to rebuild confidence after a big effort. But when you don’t get that positive self-talk, you won’t feel good enough about yourself and confident enough about the future to persist in your success effort.

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” – Unknown

After landing back at my parents (for the third time) when my business venture in California went bust, I decided I would no longer succumb to the forces that had sabotaged my previous efforts. So I read all that I could from Tony Robbins and Zig Ziglar. The one thing I learned was that I had to become my own biggest supporter, otherwise, I’d continue to bring myself down with negative self-talk and inconsistent effort.

That’s when I started planning self-encouragement

My greatest weakness is that if I don’t plan something out and have an action step I can check off, I just won’t do it. This weakness ended up becoming my biggest strength when I decided to take ownership of it.

Since I wasn’t encouraging myself enough to grow consistently as a writer, I started writing out ten checkboxes for self encouragement in my daily planner. That’s when I literally got addicted to success.

Before, I’d write an article and then think to myself, “Yeah…probably not gonna make a difference anyway.” This attitude prevented me from taking risks and consistently doing my best, which is crucial for any kind of success. But when I started creating self-encouragement rituals to conclude my writing sessions, I got high off of the positivity.

“Thank you so much for kicking ass today! Thank you for doing everything you need to do to be successful and to make a difference. I’m so grateful for your efforts, and so excited to see where this effort takes you. Keep it up!”

This was instant gratification in the otherwise-delayed gratification process of achieving success, and it ended up giving me the confidence and positive attitude I needed to persist, to learn from my mistakes, and to grow in the ways I desired.

Three months after I planned for daily self-encouragement, I had my first full-time job as a staff writer at a major publication. That was no coincidence. When I continued my success sequence, do, encourage, persist, it was only another year before I was on each of the major magazines I’d dreamed of writing for.

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein

I gained a following. People began seeking me out for coaching, to help them gain similar success in wherever they wanted to improve their own lives. But more important than anything, I established an identity as my own greatest supporter, which will help me to succeed in anything I set my mind to: marriage, expanding my business, etc. I owe my successes and my career to ten self encouragement checkboxes.

Here’s how to start your self encouragement practice today:

1. Start a morning routine of affirmations

Before your mind can drift to negative thoughts, immediately set yourself to positive affirmations. I mean literally right after you wake up, don’t skip a beat! Pick out the forty affirmations that you need most. “I am worthy, I am persistent, I am successful” and write them down on a 3×5 index card. Then, recite them to yourself in a mirror as soon as you wake up. Keep up the habit until you have all forty memorized.

Once you start this practice you’ll become sensitized to your inner dialogue and you’ll begin to hear everything going on between your ears, including the negative. When you start to hear you beating yourself up, that’s when it’s crucial to fall back on the positive affirmation. You’ll cement this habit by scheduling regular self-encouragement checkins in a daily planner.

2. Create ten checkboxes for self encouragement in your daily planner

If you don’t already have a daily planning habit, you won’t get the life you want until you start planning for it every day. You don’t need to plan much, just your top five to eight goals, and the habits you intend to do every day (self-encouragement being the most important one). After you list your first three or four goals at the top, break the page up with “encourage yourself!”—followed by ten checkboxes.

As you check off your goals, make sure to encourage yourself for your efforts. For example, if one of your goals were to run five miles in the morning, when you check that goal off you’ll immediately applaud yourself and then check off a self-encouragement box. “Thank you so much for taking care of my body and making me feel good about myself, you’re doing awesome!” Check.

When you refer to your planner throughout the day, you’ll notice that there are more checkboxes than you have goals. Use those empty checkboxes as reminders to affirm yourself. “I am generous, kind, patient, uplifting, creative, dependable, perseverant, etc.” Check.

Keep this up over the course of a month and you’ll be on your way to mastering whatever it is you want.  

By holding yourself accountable to a self-encouragement practice, you’ll grow the resilience and confidence you need to persist in the things you love and to master the skills and habits you desire. All it takes is a blank sketchbook and the routine of planning out each of your goals at the beginning of a day, including ten checkboxes for self encouragement.

What self encouragement practices do you do? Comment below!

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Life

The 4 Dimensions of Personal Energy You Need to Adopt to Deliver Extraordinary Results

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personal energy

Managers tend to look at humans as productivity units. Energy is invested into prioritizing what’s on the to do list, with an attitude of do more and accomplish more. Work is translated into more hours and the human experience tends to be minimized, criticized or diminished.

As the demands of the workplace keep rising, many people respond by increasing their hours at a rapid pace, inevitably leading to burn out that costs both people and business. Many businesses invest in developing people’s knowledge and skills yet very few help build and sustain their capacity – their energy. When you invest in your people, they have greater capacity to make it possible to get more done in less time.

In today’s world, business leaders generally feel it is the employee’s problem to practice healthy behaviors. Given the amount of time people spend at work, a shared responsibility embarks on both the business and the employee. Where possible, workplaces must facilitate the development of healthy practices to create a mutually beneficial and sustainable environment. Individually, you are responsible for how you manage your energy, the workplace is responsible for creating a workplace where people are energized, and their creativity unleashed.

When workplaces invest in their people across all dimensions of their lives, magic happens. People turn up at work energized, more productive, and execute the shared vision to deliver results.

When you are fully energized, you accomplish more in less time. When you feel fulfilled, you become more engaged, effective and contribute without expectation. The human experience includes four dimensions of personal energy that need to be cultivated to increase these levels of energy and deliver extraordinary results across workplaces.

1. We function best when we feel positive

Most people tend to perform best when they feel positive. I’m not talking about the eternal optimist and rah-rah noise, I’m referring to the people who re-fuel their positive energy by identifying their trigger points to what drains their energy and then refocus on a solution. Creating a resourceful functional state where you can think clearly, logically and reflectively.

Building habits into your day avoids you slipping into negative emotions or moving through them quicker. Diffusing emotions through deep breathing, expressing appreciation and gratitude as the brain can only do one thing at a time. Adopting self-reflection techniques such as upgrading the lens approach creates opportunities to refocus your energy – How would l like to see this situation in 3 months’ time? What lessons can l learn from this situation?

“When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It’s very simple.” – Paulo Coelho

2. The human spirit

The human spirit transcends the individual human being. When you are clear about your purpose, what really matters, you focus better, feel more positive and feel a deeper commitment to contributing to humanity. To access the energy of the human spirit, explore what you do best and enjoy most at work and in life. Allocate time and energy to these areas and make a conscious decision to live your core values every day.

3. Sustaining your mental energy

Multitasking is a great way to kill your mental energy. When you lose your focus, or move from one task to the next, you increase the amount of time required to complete the primary task. Building simple rituals into your day can prevent mental fatigue.

Reduce interruptions by allocating uninterruptible 50-minute blocks of time to focus on the one task, respond to emails, voicemails at designated times during the day and identify the most important task for the next day. Robin Sharma, author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, suggests focusing for the next 90 days, the first 90 minutes of your work day on creating your new piece of code that will revolutionize the marketplace.

4. Physical energy

We all need nutrition, exercise, sleep and rest. It is part of the human condition. If you want to sustain your energy levels, the four essential components will increase your energy levels to enable your focus on your single most valuable project and manage your emotions. Your will power may be highest first thing in the morning, your energy may peak in the afternoon or your mental focus may be the sharpest late at night. Capitalize and build a pocket of time so you use your highest value hours for your most valuable activities.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin

Prioritizing healthy eating, engaging in movement activities and committed to deep restful sleep are the keys to sustaining your physical energy. Consistent sleeping times with undisrupted sleep is critical to your ability to maintain your energy levels. Power naps, removal of digital technology from bedrooms and investment in sleep transition activities such as reading non-work-related books, listening to a guided meditation or focusing on breath work are great practices to invest in re-building energy levels.

When you are physically active, mentally agile, emotionally stable and spiritually charged, you can balance different aspects of your life with ease. Adopting rituals to manage your energy on all dimensions daily creates an environment where you are leading you, not the other way around. Manage your energy, not your time.

What techniques do you use to maximize your energy? Comment below!

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Life

5 Simple Things to Do Right Now if You Feel Stuck in Life

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feeling stuck in life

As a success-blogger, I normally have a great deal of clarity about what I need to be working on. I’m also really driven by a sense of purpose in helping others get unstuck and make an impact in their lives. There aren’t many times that I find myself at a loss for what to do next.

Nonetheless, I recently hit a dry spell. I felt entirely stuck and a little burnt out. It felt like I was in a pit, emotionally unempowered and unable to move forward. Due to this, I decided to sit down and write out a list of ways that I could get myself moving and build up some momentum again.

Here is what I came up with and I’m sharing it with you in the hopes that if you, too, are stuck it will make difference for you:

1. Get An Empowering Mindset

When we start to feel like we can’t move forward we often get down on ourselves. We begin to feel incapable and think we must be the cause of all the inaction. This puts us in a negative mindset that is self-reinforcing. To break out of that limiting mentality, try the substitution game. For every negative thought that comes to mind, remove it and replace it with a positive one.

For instance, instead of, “I just can’t figure this out—I’m so stupid,” remove and replace it with, “I’m ALWAYS supplied with a way through at just the right time.” Affirmations like this will keep you positive and put you back in the driver’s seat. Keep at this hard because it is relatively easy to do and you can gain traction quickly.

“Growth hacking is a mindset, and those who have it will reap incredible gains.” – Ryan Holiday

2. Do Some Housekeeping

When I’m really humming along in life, I’ve got no time for cleaning up files and putting things in order. This has to be done sometime and the time when you are stuck not doing anything else makes as good of sense as any.

More than that, however, I’ve also found the process of simplifying and organizing my notes to be very empowering. The very act of setting your mind on “cleaning things up” clarifies your mind. It’s an outward expression of something that changes your experience internally as well.

I’m of the opinion that if we need direction in our lives, we need to make room for it. In this way, we welcome that which we really need. By putting our work in order we prepare the way for new ideas and inspiration.

3. Find Some Quick Results To Encourage Yourself

No matter how stuck you are there is always something you can do that will bring about a measurable result. Even small victories help you feel like you are gaining ground. As you do this, keep these tips in mind:

  • Set simple goals and breeze through them. Think of things you can accomplish in five-to-ten minutes. As you complete them you will gain a sense of momentum.
  • Make this a visual activity. I like to write each of my tasks out and put a little box in front of them. Work to check each item off as quickly as you can. It should be fun so treat it as a game, marking complete as many as you can in an hour, for instance.

4. Get Back To Doing What You Love

To keep growing, I have to keep looking forward to the bigger picture in what I do. Right now I’m spending a lot of time preparing content for future books and courses, but that level of stretching has produced a little burnout. I’m always tunneling forward into territory that I’m not as familiar with so it saps my energy and mental resources.

It’s good to tackle these types of things so that I keep pushing myself. But when I begin to feel like I’m burning out, it’s good to step back into what I’m best at and most comfortable in…for me, that’s writing blog posts. It brings a refreshing sense of fun back into my life.

This gets a sense of positivity flowing again. We have to keep a deep feeling of joy with what we do. Jump-starting that by getting back into your element can get you on the road again.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – Rumi

5. Work On Something New

Sometimes we just get bogged-down and burned-out with what we are working on. It becomes drudgery, but there is always something related that we might not have begun to work on yet. Maybe we didn’t feel ready or we were just too invested in other things to take the turn down that road. In times like this, pull those things out and start working on them.

For me, that recent thing I began to do was guest posting on Addicted2Success. It was something that I had always wanted to do because I believe in everything that they are doing, but I hadn’t gone down that path yet because I didn’t feel ready.

In my period of trying to get unstuck, however, it began to feel like the perfect time to venture into new territory. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to focus on this avenue I have renewed energy and have come closer to fulfilling my overall dream of being a successful blogger.

If you just aren’t getting anywhere in your normal routine, it could be the perfect time to break into something else you’ve been holding off on.

What have you done to break free when YOU are stuck in life? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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