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4 Things I Learned About Life From Paulo Coelho

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Paulo Coelho

I haven’t read The Alchemist.

Yeah, I know. For someone who writes an article about Paulo Coelho AT LEAST I should read the book that made him a success.

But the only book I read was Aleph and it was really good. After reading it, I had an image of him as a very spiritual and calm person.

To learn more about Paulo Coelho, I read his authorized biography, “The Warrior’s Life,” which was written by Fernando Morais.

The most interesting parts of the book were the stories of his youth, which were far from what I had imagined. They were inspiring and made me reflect upon my life.

Read further to know the four life lessons you can learn from Paulo Coelho’s youth. Trust me – it’s worth it.

 

1. If you have a weakness, learn to compensate for it with your strength.

Paulo was weak physically.

According to his biography he was “very thin, frail and short.” He had a nickname – Pele – which means ‘skin. It was given only to those who were always being bullied by their classmates.

Considering his physical weakness, it was hard for Paulo to gain the respect of his peers. Yet he found out that despite his weakness, he managed to gain their respect.

How?

I quote: “By knowing things no one else knew and reading stories none of his peers had read was one way of gaining respect.”

The lesson: If you think you have a weakness, you don’t necessary need to remove that weakness. Some weaknesses, especially physical ones, are hard to get rid of. A more effective way would be to find your strengths and work on them until you are at least above average.

Or better yet: Be so good they can’t ignore you.

 

2. Rejection doesn’t matter. What matters is what you do after being rejected.

Paulo believed in himself. He believed that he was a good poet and that his poems were not suitable for small magazines. So he sent his poems to the ‘Escritores e Livros,’ a reputable literary column in a newspaper called Correio da Manha.

After a week, Paulo looked at the newspaper and read the following:

“To all young show-offs who are desperate to get themselves a name and publish books, it would be worthwhile recalling the example of Carlos Drummond de Andrade, who only published three volumes totalling 144 poems in 15 years.”

Like any normal person, he took it personally, but managed to regain his confidence and write his own version of Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem “If…”.

If you ask your friends and enemies for a chance.

If you can hear a ‘no’ and take it as a ‘maybe,’

If you can start from the bottom and yet still value the little that you have.

If you can improve yourself each moment and reach heights without succumbing to vanity.

Then you’ll be a writer.

The lesson: Rejection always hurts. Some say that rejection shouldn’t be taken personally, but honestly, I don’t think that advice helps. We value ourselves and the things we create, thus rejection brings a cognitive dissonance inside our minds.

Two conflicting thoughts, self-belief and self-doubt, wage wars to determine who will stay and rule the kingdoms inside our heads.

When there are two conflicting thoughts, we need something to guide us on what to do after the rejection. If you don’t know what to do or what to believe in, most of the time the evil side will win the war.

In the case of Paulo, his self-belief won and this is because of a certain obsession of his.

Paulo Coelho quotes

 

3. Be obsessed with your dream

Paulo was obsessed with the idea of becoming a famous writer. Yet, it was funny that the obsession only bore fruit in his later years.

This is because he was always changing his art: from poetry to acting, directing, writing about the occult, and lyric writing.

Although he gained success in some of his ventures, he kept reminding himself that he wanted to be a famous writer. That obsession made him what he is today.

The lesson: Sometimes, we think our dream lies buried under a pile of work or studies. I’m the same. I am going to a medical school, but I know being a doctor is not my dream. I want to be an entrepreneur.

For several reasons, I can’t cancel my entry to medical school. It looks like I don’t have a choice, but I actually have one: to choose to stick with my dream no matter what or to succumb to the path people ‘forced’ me to go on.

The same thing goes for you. Be obsessed with your dream and don’t let it die easily.

 

4. Your ‘horrible’ past doesn’t make you a failure in the future

One word sprung up inside my mind when I read about Paulo’s past – horrible.

Paulo failed in his studies, almost killed a boy because of his driving, was forced to stay in a psychiatry clinic because of his escalating problems, took drugs, was kidnapped by a secret organization and embraced Satanism.

There was more, but you get the picture.

Looking at his past, I was amused by the stark difference between his past and future selves. It shows how someone’s past is not a good predictor of his future because he is capable of changing it if he is willing.

The lesson: The problem with most of us is we focus on things we can’t change. It is true that our past can influence our future, but we don’t want to let that influence spread too much and work of its own accord.

We should stop doing that: Stop letting the past be our fortune-teller. What we need to do is to focus on the present and take control of our future.

Why?

We are the fortune-teller.

 

Conclusion

Let me leave you with a quote from the man, Paulo Coelho, himself:

“At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”

Thanks for reading.

 

Paulo Coelho picture quotes

 

Question: What have you learned from reading Paulo Coelho’s  books?

 

If you haven’t read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho make sure you get your hands on a copy here:

Feature Image by: REUTERS/Eloy Alonso

Wan is a medical student and budding blogger. His blog, Overthinker's Advice, is the space where he shares no-nonsense, actionable, and interesting personal development ideas that helps people to improve their lives. He is also the writer for the simple eBook "21 Things You Can Do to Slow Down Time" which you can get for free here.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Pingback: Wake up! Stand up! Embrace Life – Positive thoughts and Facts of Life

  2. Robert Bright Salijeni

    Mar 30, 2015 at 4:23 am

    Stand tall in the midst of adversities. Pursue that dream no matter what!

  3. Akpo 'Diddie Uyeh

    Oct 22, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Henceforth I would always tell myself the truth and manage rejections rather than let them get to me.

  4. Neerja gandhi

    Jun 3, 2014 at 8:14 am

    I have read his Alchemist….had been following, and was happy to read his Alchemist book 🙂 would want to read his other books as well 🙂

  5. Susy

    Apr 14, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    And two months later Paulo Coelho himself featured this article on his blog and made it viral on his Facebook page… A virtue that goes full circle. Nice.

    • Joel Brown

      Joel Brown

      Apr 14, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Yes, great work on the article Wan 🙂 You got Paulo’s attention.

  6. apurva prabhawalkar (@prapurva)

    Apr 12, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Hey Wan, thanks for writing this article. Cheers to you bro.

  7. iryne

    Mar 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    be so gud at your strength, replace your weakness that they just cant ignore u! i love that!

  8. festus Ogunrewo

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    It take a lot of courage and effort to achieve your dream and most of don’t be deterred by the naysayers. Its your dream its your life

  9. @Zingcali

    Feb 17, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    This makes a perfect sense at some stage in our lives we realize our strengths and weaknesses but deny to deal with our weaknesses until to a stage that becomes registered in your mind that this is who you really are ,and that is followed by the stage where we fight or take flight …that is your last freedom to be or not to be …this is a very relevant story

  10. Naomi@businessstartups

    Feb 14, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Hi Wan,

    Like a lot of successful entrepreneurs he has been through a lot in his life. But that persistent drive to continue throughout the hardship and where others would fail – is what splits the men from the boys.

    I guess it just comes down to how badly to want your dream to become reality?

    Naomi

  11. Jeremy

    Feb 14, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    One thing I noticed about all these awesome people is that they are insanely obsessed with their craft. They are obsessed with living a passionate life. Sometimes I think about whether I’m obsessed enough to succeed. But then again, thinking even about something like that is quite obsessive, no? It’s crazy.

    I’ve just ordered The Alchemist. Great article, Wan, and thanks for linking to my article. 🙂

  12. Claudia Columna (@claudiacolumna)

    Feb 13, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Entrepeneurial freedom meets freedom of art. Excellent medication, too. Congrats!
    Claudia – fortune-teller – Columna

  13. Nikola Gjakovski

    Feb 13, 2014 at 11:57 am

    “At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie” I have to tweet this 🙂 Shared this text everywhere very nicely written article

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Life

How to Fight Off Burnout With a Workout

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A lot of entrepreneurs complain about burnout and its buddies; migraines, lack of sleep, uneasiness, anxiety, and clouded thinking. When we are under stress and fatigue, almost to a point when we would just like to fall into a deep sleep and skip work for 48 hours, our mind does not function properly. In fact, here’s an experiment – think about your latest bad decisions in business, and think about your last friction with a co-worker, employee, or a boss.

Don’t you credit that experience to “a bad day”? And most likely, you were really tired or stressed that day, right? Now, it doesn’t matter if we only slept two hours that day or we woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning, some days are just bad. You feel tired, you don’t have time for self-reflection, there’s just so many things that need to be done.

However, what if there’s a little hack you can do so that you can increase the probability of a good work day? Would you do it? Well, here it is – get moving. You’re tired? Go hit the pool. Stressed out? Book a yoga class. Need a break from the concrete jungle? Invite your friends for a round of beach volleyball this weekend. The thing is, for you to beat burnout and exhaustion, you can tap into your reserve energy, and use it to produce more. Sound counterintuitive? We don’t blame you for thinking that, but several studies have proven that this works.

Tackling the science

A study done at the University of British Columbia found that cardio exercises like aerobics, dance, or martial arts boosts your hippocampus size. This is the part of the brain that facilitates knowledge transfer, memory, and emotional regulation. So whatever it is that you do for work or whatever business you’re in, exercise will absolutely improve your mind’s disposition while you’re doing it.

Regular exercise also encourages better sleep, which leads to a clearer mind and a healthier disposition. As you know, when you’re sleep deprived, you are prone to mistakes, bad judgment, and overly sensitive feelings. Reduced stress and anxiety have also been reported to be a positive effect of regular exercise and good sleep.

“Strength does not come from the physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Ghandi

Real life business action stars weigh in

Richard Branson, a known entrepreneur, enjoys a wide range of activities for his daily exercise. From kitesurfing, to tennis, to yoga, he makes sure he inserts ample exercise hours to his days. He varies his daily activities and claims that it adds hours of productivity to him.

Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter and Square, admits to following a tight schedule for exercise. He clocks in gym time, runs at least five kilometers daily, and also practices yoga. He believes it’s integral to how he does business and how he can function as a high performance entrepreneur. And since he owns two high – profile tech businesses, we can only imagine how busy his days get, yet, there’s really no excuse to not get active!

Where you can start

According to experts, the key here is to pick a physical activity that you actually enjoy. Something that you will look forward to doing. The first few days of your new lifestyle will be dedicated to building the habit rather than trying to lose weight or build muscle.

Another easy technique is including your loved ones or your colleagues in these activities. Since you are also looking forward to spending time with them and helping them become healthier, this is a good plus.

“Strive for progress, not perfection.”

Lastly, record and chart your experience. Keep track of the time you spend exercising; how soon you feel tired at work, whether you still get migraines, difficulty of sleeping, or find yourself bingeing…whatever your bad habits are before, see how exercise can change a lot of things for you.

Then, also keep a separate record or diary for how it helped your business. Did you see a drastic jump in productivity? Better time management? Better mood? Better decision making? Monitor it so you can appreciate it better. This way, you feel motivated to keep the habit and can even share your experience to your fellow entrepreneurs!

To many people, exercise is a way to get the body they want so they can look good and feel good at the same time. The thing is, constant correct physical activity, is just another way for you to reward yourself for building positive habits. Plus, now that you know it’s also a key factor to being successful in business, we’re pretty sure you’re never second-guessing this anymore. Now, are you ready to build a real empire? Then build the strength to create it first.

How do you cool off after a stressful experience? Comment below!

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Life

6 Positive Side Effects of Being Grateful

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Unless you’ve been living on a remote tropical island (and during recent turbulent times you may have been tempted to escape there), you have seen the growing evidence about the huge positive impact gratitude has on your health. As little as five minutes a day of focused gratitude, the no-cost quality of life booster, contributes to impressive improvements not only in emotional health, but also in physical, social, and spiritual health.

Some may ask, “what is gratitude?” Gratitude is a different emotion from happiness because it is most often a reaction to another individual’s generosity. The trigger, according to science, is to receive a message from someone else, interpret it as beneficial to yourself, and experience thankfulness.

Repeatedly, studies have shown that performing simple gratitude exercises, like keeping a gratitude diary or writing letters of thanks, can produce a range of impressive health benefits that often continue well after the expressions of gratitude are finished.

Ready to boost all your dimensions with some thank you’s? Here are 6 positive side effects of being grateful:

1. Physical Benefits

People who experience and express gratitude report feeling healthier than other people and report fewer aches and pains. This positive attitude creates a generous snowball of good health since thankful people are also more likely to exercise more often and visit their doctor regularly, which is likely to contribute to further longevity. The health benefits of a daily gratitude journal have been proven to decrease depression and anxiety, as well as improve cardiovascular function in heart patients.

A free health booster for us all? Grab a pen before bed and spend a mere 15 minutes jotting down what you are grateful for that day, and odds are you will sleep better and longer. That increases not only your quality but also potentially the quantity of your life.

2. Adds To Your Emotional Bank Account Balance

The math of your emotional bank account is pretty simple: positive emotions contribute, negative emotions withdraw. More positive + less negative = Higher emotional balance. Research shows that when it comes to your emotional bank account, gratitude is like a generous grandma who just can’t stop giving, and defends her sweet one against all negative withdrawals.

The simple act of writing a thank-you note to someone who has blessed you produces profound good feelings, empathy, and optimism. Remembering the moment that inspired the thank you card, in turn, produces even more positive emotions, a sort of cascading happiness effect.

Not only does gratitude increase well-being and happiness, it also shuts down emotional withdrawals by decreasing toxic emotions such as envy, resentment, frustration, guilt, and regret. No wonder small daily deposits of gratitude can have a compounding effect on your emotional bank account. So, go write grandma that thank you note you’ve been meaning to send. She’s earned your interest!

“Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” – Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

3. Builds Stronger Relationships

Grateful people appear warm and responsive, which increases their trust in others and influences them to approach and bond with their benefactors. Researchers refer to this as the “broaden-and-build theory” of positive emotions, where positive feelings encourage us to seek out new experiences, people, and activities. This comfort zone expansion increases the odds of finding high-quality relationship partners.

Expressions of thanks can also reinforce the bonds of current relationships, through the give-and-take of mutual gratitude. This immediate effect of greater joy contributes to long-term social success, so much that the person receiving gratitude reaps rewards in personal well-being and relationship satisfaction up to six months after the deliberate gratitude expression. That’s a powerful social benefit!

4. Better Work Environment

The impact of gratitude can even improve your work environment. A simple daily practice of reflecting on the parts of your job you are grateful for has been proven to positively impact your productivity, goal achievement, decision-making and networking skills.

Not only can being thankful help you manage your job responsibilities more effectively, but it also reduces job-related stress and burnout. Knowing this, it’s not hard to see how small doses of thankfulness could result in increased job satisfaction, but also a potential promotion, when you play your thank you cards right!

5. Fills Your Spirit

The spiritual blessings of counting your blessings are profound. Being grateful for what you have improves your self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance and achieving your life purpose.

Recent research on types of gratitude have important significance for not only individuals but society as a whole. Study participants who had reflected on and expressed gratitude for experiences rather than material purchases, were significantly more generous to others and kept less for themselves than did those in the group who reflected on possessions.

One explanation, according to scientists, is that when people feel closer to other humans, they might treat others better. By structuring community experiences and events that promote social and spiritual connection, organizers can encourage more future altruistic behavior, which benefits us all.

“It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” – Naomi Williams

6. Brain Power

Still skeptical? Even brain scans, hard scientific data, are confirming the astonishing impact of gratitude in 3 fascinating ways. A brain experiencing gratitude toward a specific person is flooded with feel-good hormones which makes you more inclined to desire that feeling again and make you feel attached to others at the same time.

Brain scans show gratitude also does something quite peculiar: it activates the hypothalamus.  Being thankful actually makes our metabolism, hunger and other natural bodily functions work more efficiently.

Perhaps most significantly during this high-stress era, gratitude increases mental strength. Remembering all you have to be thankful for, even during the most tragic times of your life, creates resilience and reduces Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

So, there you have it. That “Attitude of Gratitude” isn’t a platitude…it’s a health booster of highest magnitude!

What are you most grateful for today? Let us know in the comments below!

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Life

6 Proven Methods to Help You Take Back Your Daily Power

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Everyday, you wake up ready to take on the world. In your mind, you’re prepared for anything that comes your way, however  there are distractions that come along throughout the day. Each distraction takes away a little bit of your daily power, and eventually, you become numb to your intention of proactively having an awesome day. You’re simply out of mental energy because little negative distractions started to add up and your day goes down the drain by noon.

To stay focused on making your goals happen, here are 6 solutions to help you stop giving away your daily power:

1. Take your attention away from the distraction

It’s not a distraction if you don’t pay attention to it. Normally, when something happens, you automatically turn your focus to what’s going on. You’re now caught up in it and you want to see it through to the end. After 15 minutes, you then realize, “Where did the time go?” If you let daily distractions get the best of you, it will snowball into an unproductive day.

2. Keep moving forward

This is the rule for everything. No matter what happens or what gets in your way, keep moving forward. Your goal is to get things done and it won’t get done if you stop and complain about it. It’s so easy to give away your daily power to something that doesn’t even matter so don’t allow little things to stop you from making big moves. If it’s not helping you with your work, it’s not worth stopping to discuss and criticize. Keep moving forward.

“You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.” – Tony Robbins

3. Leave the arguments to other people

People who argue waste a ton of time. Unless it’s your job to find others to argue with, it’s useless. You build up your emotions, trying to prove you’re right to someone who probably doesn’t really care. After you’re into your feelings, it’s hard to come back down and concentrate on what you were doing.

There are some people out there who literally argue for sport. They will pick an argument just to see the other person get worked up. Again, this is a real time waster and can mentally drain you. You could be using that energy towards making more important moves and decisions. Learn to bypass the arguments.

4. Just say no

When you’re doing your work, you will find that people will stop by and start a conversation. It’s like there’s a sign on your head that says, “I’m really deep into what I’m doing – please interrupt me.” Kindly tell that person that you can talk with them later, just not right now.

Also, if you’re invited to a party or a get-together that you really don’t want to go to, just say no. You may have more important things to accomplish and you honestly need that time to focus. Don’t feel like you’re obligated to go, just because they asked. An invitation allows you to say yes or no. Tell them you’ll make it next time.

“Learn to say no without explaining yourself.”

5. Stop worrying about what you can’t control

Things happen out of our control, yet that doesn’t mean you should take the time to complain about it. It means you should figure out a way to get around it and proceed with what you were doing in the first place. Accept the fact that it happened.

Unless you can change what happened, leave it alone and move on with your life. Some people get stuck on what happened and they don’t know how to get over it and move on. Focus your time and energy on what you can control. Make that happen.

6. Get over your emotions

Your emotions can take away a tremendous amount of your daily power. It sounds mean, but there should be a scheduled time when you put your emotions aside in order to work. You will not work effectively if you are emotional. Unless you’re a songwriter and you just broke up with your girlfriend, then it’s fine. That’s actually part of your work, because you’ll end up writing a hit song.

It’s the opposite for just about everything else. It’s not the right time to deal with emotions when your finger is on the red button and your cat just died. Devote some time to it, but not when you’re in the process of saving the world.

There are many ways small things can take away your daily power, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You are in control of your mind and your thoughts. If you are conscious enough to recognize when it’s happening, you can do something about it. Your day will be more productive and your daily power will be infinite.

How do you stay productive throughout the day? Let us know your advice in the comments below!

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Life

10 Simple Ways You Can Bounce Back in Life After Failure

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You’ve just failed to achieve something that you have aspired for. Maybe it’s a test, or a job, or even love. You’re now at a juncture, with two paths for you to consider: Sit and moan about it, but do nothing to change or bounce back. The reason you are reading this itself indicates that you are part of the latter category.

Here are 10 simple ways to bounce back in life no matter the situation:

1. I can do it and I will

This is, beyond doubt, the first thing you need to tell yourself every single day. Maybe even the first thing every single morning. Waking up reinvigorated, reinforce yourself ,“It’s a brand new day. There is so much for me to do, and now is the time. I can neither change my past, nor my future, but I shall act today and shape my future.”

2. Chalk out your plan

For anything that you want to achieve, be it a skill, passing a test, getting a job, losing weight or learning to drive, you need a plan. Chalking out this plan is your next step. It has to be based on your goal. Talk to experts, refer to relevant resources and read books about the goals that you want to accomplish. Come up with a plan as per your timeline and goals, the resources that you possess, and most importantly, your strengths.

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.” – Colin Powell

3. Modularise your goal

Breaking down a significant task into smaller chunks always helps. It fosters self-belief and keeps the next goal in sight. Keep up your plan for a week and then break it down further to a daily level. Let’s say your goal is running a 5K marathon in the next month. Then your plan could look something like this:

  • 1st week – run 3 times a week.
  • 2nd week – run every day with short water breaks after every 8 /10 minutes.
  • 3rd week – Work on managing my breath.
  • 4th week – Practice and more practice (there’s no substitute for dedication).
  • D Day – Achieve what you’ve worked so hard for!

4. Keep track of your goal

The biggest mistake you could make is to think you have time. Before you realize it, all your time is gone. Unfortunately, time is the one resource we cannot conserve. Procrastination is addictive, and you will get better at it with each day that passes. Your backlog of tasks will keep growing each day, and to such an extent that one day, it seems unachievable and you have to abandon it. Bhagavad Geeta (an ancient scripture on how to live life) says – “your soul is your greatest friend as well as your biggest enemy. The real doer is your mind. Make it a habit to work to finish your target for the day. This becomes the base of building your confidence and belief in self.”

5. Celebrate your small wins

Reward yourself for sticking to your plan and achieving progress day by day. Getting yourself on the track is easier than keeping yourself there. Check your progress on a periodic basis. You may not be exactly where you planned yourself to be but, as long as you are within 10% of your planned progress, you’re good. Rewarding yourself for the progress made gives you the confidence and assurance to say, “I have made it till here and I have been consistent in my progress. I will make it.”

6. Be that deaf frog

Many of you would have heard about the story of the frog which climbed to the treetop while most of the other frogs kept shouting that it was impossible to reach the tree top. The reason it was able to reach the top was that it was deaf. So it couldn’t listen to all the negative comments, it was only focused on reaching its goal.

This applies to anyone, keeping one’s mind clean and positive is very important. If you keep listening to what people around you say and seek their approval, then you will never be able to progress. Our mind uses the sense organs to receive information and process it.

What we see, hear and whom we choose to be around is a major contributor to our thoughts. Hence, observing who you spend time with, is very important to keep you on your path. It’s always good to have friends whose company keeps you motivated.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

7. Avoid distractions, keep your eyes set on the goal

The formula for success in this age is the ability to focus and cut down on distractions, since all of us are force fed information every minute via social media and all the other channels. However, the authenticity and relevance of all this information are a huge question mark. All the media have very catchy or sensational titles to grab your attention.

This reduces our attention and memory span hugely. Continuing from the previous point, what you take inside determines your thoughts. Keep a watch on how you are spending your extra time. Keeping one limited on social media and Whatsapp is essential for success. Better not to be there at all, but the next best option is to limit yourself.

The question then arises, how else do I relax? Go for a walk, talk to your friends, or even go play outdoors. Do something that gives you happiness. You may feel left out, not knowing what’s happening in the world outside during the initial days, but there is nothing worth knowing that appears exclusively on social media. Eventually, you will get to know what’s important to you.

8. Don’t compare yourself to others

Your life is yours and you can never swap it with anyone else. Remember, the best of resources may not necessarily bring the best results, it’s the ones with the best attitude, and motivated minds that come up with the best results. You are the master of your life and no one else can make it better other than you.

9. Work on your weaknesses don’t run away from them

Everyone is unique and has their own set of strengths. Some may know how to portray their strengths in a better way, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any strengths. See what you are good at and leverage on that. Work on your weak areas with more dedication to improve it. Running away from the problem will only make it bigger, and it is better to confront it and deal with it once and for all.

10. Reflect on where you started and how far have you come

Finally, reflect on where you started and how far you have come. It’s amazing to see what hurdles you have crossed to get where you are today. It’s by your determination and dedicated effort you have come here, and it doesn’t happen by luck or accident. Waiting for things to happen hasn’t brought you here, your efforts have. Ultimately, you will achieve your goal and your dream will become a positive reality. There is no better day than today to start your journey. Stay happy and positive, that’s a great vitamin for your mind.

How do you best recover from failure? Comment below!

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Answer These 4 Questions to Have a Successful Social Impact for Your Business

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Answer the right questions before you start your Social Media Strategy and you will achieve the best results for your brand. Businesses are key players on the social media networks today. Social Media is a direct and real-time way of relationship of consumers with brands. Social media users really connect in a personal level with their favourite brands. (more…)

Angie Perez B is a certified digital marketing specialist, social media strategist, author and coach for small businesses. She blogs at AngiePerezB.com about digital marketing trends, and at Radianstar.com about how bloggers and businesses can use social media to gain leads and secure clients. Click here to get started.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Pingback: Wake up! Stand up! Embrace Life – Positive thoughts and Facts of Life

  2. Robert Bright Salijeni

    Mar 30, 2015 at 4:23 am

    Stand tall in the midst of adversities. Pursue that dream no matter what!

  3. Akpo 'Diddie Uyeh

    Oct 22, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Henceforth I would always tell myself the truth and manage rejections rather than let them get to me.

  4. Neerja gandhi

    Jun 3, 2014 at 8:14 am

    I have read his Alchemist….had been following, and was happy to read his Alchemist book 🙂 would want to read his other books as well 🙂

  5. Susy

    Apr 14, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    And two months later Paulo Coelho himself featured this article on his blog and made it viral on his Facebook page… A virtue that goes full circle. Nice.

    • Joel Brown

      Joel Brown

      Apr 14, 2014 at 6:26 pm

      Yes, great work on the article Wan 🙂 You got Paulo’s attention.

  6. apurva prabhawalkar (@prapurva)

    Apr 12, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Hey Wan, thanks for writing this article. Cheers to you bro.

  7. iryne

    Mar 21, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    be so gud at your strength, replace your weakness that they just cant ignore u! i love that!

  8. festus Ogunrewo

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    It take a lot of courage and effort to achieve your dream and most of don’t be deterred by the naysayers. Its your dream its your life

  9. @Zingcali

    Feb 17, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    This makes a perfect sense at some stage in our lives we realize our strengths and weaknesses but deny to deal with our weaknesses until to a stage that becomes registered in your mind that this is who you really are ,and that is followed by the stage where we fight or take flight …that is your last freedom to be or not to be …this is a very relevant story

  10. Naomi@businessstartups

    Feb 14, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Hi Wan,

    Like a lot of successful entrepreneurs he has been through a lot in his life. But that persistent drive to continue throughout the hardship and where others would fail – is what splits the men from the boys.

    I guess it just comes down to how badly to want your dream to become reality?

    Naomi

  11. Jeremy

    Feb 14, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    One thing I noticed about all these awesome people is that they are insanely obsessed with their craft. They are obsessed with living a passionate life. Sometimes I think about whether I’m obsessed enough to succeed. But then again, thinking even about something like that is quite obsessive, no? It’s crazy.

    I’ve just ordered The Alchemist. Great article, Wan, and thanks for linking to my article. 🙂

  12. Claudia Columna (@claudiacolumna)

    Feb 13, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Entrepeneurial freedom meets freedom of art. Excellent medication, too. Congrats!
    Claudia – fortune-teller – Columna

  13. Nikola Gjakovski

    Feb 13, 2014 at 11:57 am

    “At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie” I have to tweet this 🙂 Shared this text everywhere very nicely written article

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Life

How to Fight Off Burnout With a Workout

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A lot of entrepreneurs complain about burnout and its buddies; migraines, lack of sleep, uneasiness, anxiety, and clouded thinking. When we are under stress and fatigue, almost to a point when we would just like to fall into a deep sleep and skip work for 48 hours, our mind does not function properly. In fact, here’s an experiment – think about your latest bad decisions in business, and think about your last friction with a co-worker, employee, or a boss.

Don’t you credit that experience to “a bad day”? And most likely, you were really tired or stressed that day, right? Now, it doesn’t matter if we only slept two hours that day or we woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning, some days are just bad. You feel tired, you don’t have time for self-reflection, there’s just so many things that need to be done.

However, what if there’s a little hack you can do so that you can increase the probability of a good work day? Would you do it? Well, here it is – get moving. You’re tired? Go hit the pool. Stressed out? Book a yoga class. Need a break from the concrete jungle? Invite your friends for a round of beach volleyball this weekend. The thing is, for you to beat burnout and exhaustion, you can tap into your reserve energy, and use it to produce more. Sound counterintuitive? We don’t blame you for thinking that, but several studies have proven that this works.

Tackling the science

A study done at the University of British Columbia found that cardio exercises like aerobics, dance, or martial arts boosts your hippocampus size. This is the part of the brain that facilitates knowledge transfer, memory, and emotional regulation. So whatever it is that you do for work or whatever business you’re in, exercise will absolutely improve your mind’s disposition while you’re doing it.

Regular exercise also encourages better sleep, which leads to a clearer mind and a healthier disposition. As you know, when you’re sleep deprived, you are prone to mistakes, bad judgment, and overly sensitive feelings. Reduced stress and anxiety have also been reported to be a positive effect of regular exercise and good sleep.

“Strength does not come from the physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Ghandi

Real life business action stars weigh in

Richard Branson, a known entrepreneur, enjoys a wide range of activities for his daily exercise. From kitesurfing, to tennis, to yoga, he makes sure he inserts ample exercise hours to his days. He varies his daily activities and claims that it adds hours of productivity to him.

Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter and Square, admits to following a tight schedule for exercise. He clocks in gym time, runs at least five kilometers daily, and also practices yoga. He believes it’s integral to how he does business and how he can function as a high performance entrepreneur. And since he owns two high – profile tech businesses, we can only imagine how busy his days get, yet, there’s really no excuse to not get active!

Where you can start

According to experts, the key here is to pick a physical activity that you actually enjoy. Something that you will look forward to doing. The first few days of your new lifestyle will be dedicated to building the habit rather than trying to lose weight or build muscle.

Another easy technique is including your loved ones or your colleagues in these activities. Since you are also looking forward to spending time with them and helping them become healthier, this is a good plus.

“Strive for progress, not perfection.”

Lastly, record and chart your experience. Keep track of the time you spend exercising; how soon you feel tired at work, whether you still get migraines, difficulty of sleeping, or find yourself bingeing…whatever your bad habits are before, see how exercise can change a lot of things for you.

Then, also keep a separate record or diary for how it helped your business. Did you see a drastic jump in productivity? Better time management? Better mood? Better decision making? Monitor it so you can appreciate it better. This way, you feel motivated to keep the habit and can even share your experience to your fellow entrepreneurs!

To many people, exercise is a way to get the body they want so they can look good and feel good at the same time. The thing is, constant correct physical activity, is just another way for you to reward yourself for building positive habits. Plus, now that you know it’s also a key factor to being successful in business, we’re pretty sure you’re never second-guessing this anymore. Now, are you ready to build a real empire? Then build the strength to create it first.

How do you cool off after a stressful experience? Comment below!

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Life

6 Positive Side Effects of Being Grateful

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Unless you’ve been living on a remote tropical island (and during recent turbulent times you may have been tempted to escape there), you have seen the growing evidence about the huge positive impact gratitude has on your health. As little as five minutes a day of focused gratitude, the no-cost quality of life booster, contributes to impressive improvements not only in emotional health, but also in physical, social, and spiritual health.

Some may ask, “what is gratitude?” Gratitude is a different emotion from happiness because it is most often a reaction to another individual’s generosity. The trigger, according to science, is to receive a message from someone else, interpret it as beneficial to yourself, and experience thankfulness.

Repeatedly, studies have shown that performing simple gratitude exercises, like keeping a gratitude diary or writing letters of thanks, can produce a range of impressive health benefits that often continue well after the expressions of gratitude are finished.

Ready to boost all your dimensions with some thank you’s? Here are 6 positive side effects of being grateful:

1. Physical Benefits

People who experience and express gratitude report feeling healthier than other people and report fewer aches and pains. This positive attitude creates a generous snowball of good health since thankful people are also more likely to exercise more often and visit their doctor regularly, which is likely to contribute to further longevity. The health benefits of a daily gratitude journal have been proven to decrease depression and anxiety, as well as improve cardiovascular function in heart patients.

A free health booster for us all? Grab a pen before bed and spend a mere 15 minutes jotting down what you are grateful for that day, and odds are you will sleep better and longer. That increases not only your quality but also potentially the quantity of your life.

2. Adds To Your Emotional Bank Account Balance

The math of your emotional bank account is pretty simple: positive emotions contribute, negative emotions withdraw. More positive + less negative = Higher emotional balance. Research shows that when it comes to your emotional bank account, gratitude is like a generous grandma who just can’t stop giving, and defends her sweet one against all negative withdrawals.

The simple act of writing a thank-you note to someone who has blessed you produces profound good feelings, empathy, and optimism. Remembering the moment that inspired the thank you card, in turn, produces even more positive emotions, a sort of cascading happiness effect.

Not only does gratitude increase well-being and happiness, it also shuts down emotional withdrawals by decreasing toxic emotions such as envy, resentment, frustration, guilt, and regret. No wonder small daily deposits of gratitude can have a compounding effect on your emotional bank account. So, go write grandma that thank you note you’ve been meaning to send. She’s earned your interest!

“Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” – Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

3. Builds Stronger Relationships

Grateful people appear warm and responsive, which increases their trust in others and influences them to approach and bond with their benefactors. Researchers refer to this as the “broaden-and-build theory” of positive emotions, where positive feelings encourage us to seek out new experiences, people, and activities. This comfort zone expansion increases the odds of finding high-quality relationship partners.

Expressions of thanks can also reinforce the bonds of current relationships, through the give-and-take of mutual gratitude. This immediate effect of greater joy contributes to long-term social success, so much that the person receiving gratitude reaps rewards in personal well-being and relationship satisfaction up to six months after the deliberate gratitude expression. That’s a powerful social benefit!

4. Better Work Environment

The impact of gratitude can even improve your work environment. A simple daily practice of reflecting on the parts of your job you are grateful for has been proven to positively impact your productivity, goal achievement, decision-making and networking skills.

Not only can being thankful help you manage your job responsibilities more effectively, but it also reduces job-related stress and burnout. Knowing this, it’s not hard to see how small doses of thankfulness could result in increased job satisfaction, but also a potential promotion, when you play your thank you cards right!

5. Fills Your Spirit

The spiritual blessings of counting your blessings are profound. Being grateful for what you have improves your self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance and achieving your life purpose.

Recent research on types of gratitude have important significance for not only individuals but society as a whole. Study participants who had reflected on and expressed gratitude for experiences rather than material purchases, were significantly more generous to others and kept less for themselves than did those in the group who reflected on possessions.

One explanation, according to scientists, is that when people feel closer to other humans, they might treat others better. By structuring community experiences and events that promote social and spiritual connection, organizers can encourage more future altruistic behavior, which benefits us all.

“It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” – Naomi Williams

6. Brain Power

Still skeptical? Even brain scans, hard scientific data, are confirming the astonishing impact of gratitude in 3 fascinating ways. A brain experiencing gratitude toward a specific person is flooded with feel-good hormones which makes you more inclined to desire that feeling again and make you feel attached to others at the same time.

Brain scans show gratitude also does something quite peculiar: it activates the hypothalamus.  Being thankful actually makes our metabolism, hunger and other natural bodily functions work more efficiently.

Perhaps most significantly during this high-stress era, gratitude increases mental strength. Remembering all you have to be thankful for, even during the most tragic times of your life, creates resilience and reduces Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

So, there you have it. That “Attitude of Gratitude” isn’t a platitude…it’s a health booster of highest magnitude!

What are you most grateful for today? Let us know in the comments below!

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Life

6 Proven Methods to Help You Take Back Your Daily Power

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Everyday, you wake up ready to take on the world. In your mind, you’re prepared for anything that comes your way, however  there are distractions that come along throughout the day. Each distraction takes away a little bit of your daily power, and eventually, you become numb to your intention of proactively having an awesome day. You’re simply out of mental energy because little negative distractions started to add up and your day goes down the drain by noon.

To stay focused on making your goals happen, here are 6 solutions to help you stop giving away your daily power:

1. Take your attention away from the distraction

It’s not a distraction if you don’t pay attention to it. Normally, when something happens, you automatically turn your focus to what’s going on. You’re now caught up in it and you want to see it through to the end. After 15 minutes, you then realize, “Where did the time go?” If you let daily distractions get the best of you, it will snowball into an unproductive day.

2. Keep moving forward

This is the rule for everything. No matter what happens or what gets in your way, keep moving forward. Your goal is to get things done and it won’t get done if you stop and complain about it. It’s so easy to give away your daily power to something that doesn’t even matter so don’t allow little things to stop you from making big moves. If it’s not helping you with your work, it’s not worth stopping to discuss and criticize. Keep moving forward.

“You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.” – Tony Robbins

3. Leave the arguments to other people

People who argue waste a ton of time. Unless it’s your job to find others to argue with, it’s useless. You build up your emotions, trying to prove you’re right to someone who probably doesn’t really care. After you’re into your feelings, it’s hard to come back down and concentrate on what you were doing.

There are some people out there who literally argue for sport. They will pick an argument just to see the other person get worked up. Again, this is a real time waster and can mentally drain you. You could be using that energy towards making more important moves and decisions. Learn to bypass the arguments.

4. Just say no

When you’re doing your work, you will find that people will stop by and start a conversation. It’s like there’s a sign on your head that says, “I’m really deep into what I’m doing – please interrupt me.” Kindly tell that person that you can talk with them later, just not right now.

Also, if you’re invited to a party or a get-together that you really don’t want to go to, just say no. You may have more important things to accomplish and you honestly need that time to focus. Don’t feel like you’re obligated to go, just because they asked. An invitation allows you to say yes or no. Tell them you’ll make it next time.

“Learn to say no without explaining yourself.”

5. Stop worrying about what you can’t control

Things happen out of our control, yet that doesn’t mean you should take the time to complain about it. It means you should figure out a way to get around it and proceed with what you were doing in the first place. Accept the fact that it happened.

Unless you can change what happened, leave it alone and move on with your life. Some people get stuck on what happened and they don’t know how to get over it and move on. Focus your time and energy on what you can control. Make that happen.

6. Get over your emotions

Your emotions can take away a tremendous amount of your daily power. It sounds mean, but there should be a scheduled time when you put your emotions aside in order to work. You will not work effectively if you are emotional. Unless you’re a songwriter and you just broke up with your girlfriend, then it’s fine. That’s actually part of your work, because you’ll end up writing a hit song.

It’s the opposite for just about everything else. It’s not the right time to deal with emotions when your finger is on the red button and your cat just died. Devote some time to it, but not when you’re in the process of saving the world.

There are many ways small things can take away your daily power, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You are in control of your mind and your thoughts. If you are conscious enough to recognize when it’s happening, you can do something about it. Your day will be more productive and your daily power will be infinite.

How do you stay productive throughout the day? Let us know your advice in the comments below!

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Life

10 Simple Ways You Can Bounce Back in Life After Failure

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You’ve just failed to achieve something that you have aspired for. Maybe it’s a test, or a job, or even love. You’re now at a juncture, with two paths for you to consider: Sit and moan about it, but do nothing to change or bounce back. The reason you are reading this itself indicates that you are part of the latter category.

Here are 10 simple ways to bounce back in life no matter the situation:

1. I can do it and I will

This is, beyond doubt, the first thing you need to tell yourself every single day. Maybe even the first thing every single morning. Waking up reinvigorated, reinforce yourself ,“It’s a brand new day. There is so much for me to do, and now is the time. I can neither change my past, nor my future, but I shall act today and shape my future.”

2. Chalk out your plan

For anything that you want to achieve, be it a skill, passing a test, getting a job, losing weight or learning to drive, you need a plan. Chalking out this plan is your next step. It has to be based on your goal. Talk to experts, refer to relevant resources and read books about the goals that you want to accomplish. Come up with a plan as per your timeline and goals, the resources that you possess, and most importantly, your strengths.

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.” – Colin Powell

3. Modularise your goal

Breaking down a significant task into smaller chunks always helps. It fosters self-belief and keeps the next goal in sight. Keep up your plan for a week and then break it down further to a daily level. Let’s say your goal is running a 5K marathon in the next month. Then your plan could look something like this:

  • 1st week – run 3 times a week.
  • 2nd week – run every day with short water breaks after every 8 /10 minutes.
  • 3rd week – Work on managing my breath.
  • 4th week – Practice and more practice (there’s no substitute for dedication).
  • D Day – Achieve what you’ve worked so hard for!

4. Keep track of your goal

The biggest mistake you could make is to think you have time. Before you realize it, all your time is gone. Unfortunately, time is the one resource we cannot conserve. Procrastination is addictive, and you will get better at it with each day that passes. Your backlog of tasks will keep growing each day, and to such an extent that one day, it seems unachievable and you have to abandon it. Bhagavad Geeta (an ancient scripture on how to live life) says – “your soul is your greatest friend as well as your biggest enemy. The real doer is your mind. Make it a habit to work to finish your target for the day. This becomes the base of building your confidence and belief in self.”

5. Celebrate your small wins

Reward yourself for sticking to your plan and achieving progress day by day. Getting yourself on the track is easier than keeping yourself there. Check your progress on a periodic basis. You may not be exactly where you planned yourself to be but, as long as you are within 10% of your planned progress, you’re good. Rewarding yourself for the progress made gives you the confidence and assurance to say, “I have made it till here and I have been consistent in my progress. I will make it.”

6. Be that deaf frog

Many of you would have heard about the story of the frog which climbed to the treetop while most of the other frogs kept shouting that it was impossible to reach the tree top. The reason it was able to reach the top was that it was deaf. So it couldn’t listen to all the negative comments, it was only focused on reaching its goal.

This applies to anyone, keeping one’s mind clean and positive is very important. If you keep listening to what people around you say and seek their approval, then you will never be able to progress. Our mind uses the sense organs to receive information and process it.

What we see, hear and whom we choose to be around is a major contributor to our thoughts. Hence, observing who you spend time with, is very important to keep you on your path. It’s always good to have friends whose company keeps you motivated.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

7. Avoid distractions, keep your eyes set on the goal

The formula for success in this age is the ability to focus and cut down on distractions, since all of us are force fed information every minute via social media and all the other channels. However, the authenticity and relevance of all this information are a huge question mark. All the media have very catchy or sensational titles to grab your attention.

This reduces our attention and memory span hugely. Continuing from the previous point, what you take inside determines your thoughts. Keep a watch on how you are spending your extra time. Keeping one limited on social media and Whatsapp is essential for success. Better not to be there at all, but the next best option is to limit yourself.

The question then arises, how else do I relax? Go for a walk, talk to your friends, or even go play outdoors. Do something that gives you happiness. You may feel left out, not knowing what’s happening in the world outside during the initial days, but there is nothing worth knowing that appears exclusively on social media. Eventually, you will get to know what’s important to you.

8. Don’t compare yourself to others

Your life is yours and you can never swap it with anyone else. Remember, the best of resources may not necessarily bring the best results, it’s the ones with the best attitude, and motivated minds that come up with the best results. You are the master of your life and no one else can make it better other than you.

9. Work on your weaknesses don’t run away from them

Everyone is unique and has their own set of strengths. Some may know how to portray their strengths in a better way, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any strengths. See what you are good at and leverage on that. Work on your weak areas with more dedication to improve it. Running away from the problem will only make it bigger, and it is better to confront it and deal with it once and for all.

10. Reflect on where you started and how far have you come

Finally, reflect on where you started and how far you have come. It’s amazing to see what hurdles you have crossed to get where you are today. It’s by your determination and dedicated effort you have come here, and it doesn’t happen by luck or accident. Waiting for things to happen hasn’t brought you here, your efforts have. Ultimately, you will achieve your goal and your dream will become a positive reality. There is no better day than today to start your journey. Stay happy and positive, that’s a great vitamin for your mind.

How do you best recover from failure? Comment below!

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