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5 Crazy-Simple Hacks to Never Run Out of Good Ideas Again

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5 Crazy-Simple Hacks to Never Run Out of Good Ideas Again

Have you ever felt stuck when coming up with an idea? Maybe you need a business idea, or an article idea, or an idea to help you solve a problem. And you feel like your idea well has run dry.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone, and it feels like dangerous territory. Ideas are the lifeblood of entrepreneurship. They enable you to solve problems, engage your audience, and come up with new products.

Any threat to your ability to think up new ideas can seem as if it’s threatening your business. But don’t worry., there are a few things you can do to make sure you never run out of ideas again.

Try these 5  tips to become a true idea machine:

 

1. Flex your idea muscle

Your ability to come up with ideas can be strengthened. Like a bicep or quad muscle, the more you work your idea generation muscle, the stronger it becomes. In the book Choose Yourself,  James Altucher suggests writing 10 ideas every day. They don’t have to be good ideas or live up to any standard.

They just have to be ideas. Whether you’re writing ideas to solve small problems you have around the house, business ideas or project ideas, write down 10 ideas every single day. Over the course of a year, you’ll have written 3,650 ideas and have strengthened that idea muscle.

“Ideas come from everything” – Alfred Hitchcock

2. Ask questions

It’s an interesting truth that many of us have never considered. The strength and quantity of our ideas are limited to the strength of our sphere of experience and knowledge. For instance, it’s difficult to come up with an idea to solve a problem you don’t know exists, a creative solution you never knew was a possibility, or an angle you’ve never even imagined.

So how do you expand your sphere of experience and knowledge? By borrowing some of other people’s. If you ask meaningful questions of others, you’ll be able to expand your knowledge of other people’s problems, solutions, and stories.

Next time you meet a stranger, instead of asking “what do you do?” or “how are you?” ask “what is the best thing that happened to you today?” or “what’s one solution you wish you had right now?”. These may seem odd questions, but they’ll help you break the idea seal.

 

3. Get out of your comfort zone

Ideas are a creative process. Think about it, when you’re generating ideas you’re just coming up with creative solutions to problems. So it makes sense that to come up with more creative ideas, you need to expand your creative capacities, and one of the best ways to do this is to get out of your comfort zone.

Getting out of your comfort zone by traveling, putting yourself out there, and doing things outside of your norm will help you become more creative and therefore generate more ideas. So do something you wouldn’t normally do. You may be surprised with the ideas you’re able to come up with.

 

4. Stop being a “tryhard”

Have you ever noticed that your best ideas come to you when you’re doing something mundane? You’re showering, driving or going for a walk, and all of a sudden…Eureka! Your brain has been graced by the presence of the idea fairy.

Yet during those times when you’re actually trying to come up with an idea, it’s really difficult. Maybe you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with a product name or article topic. And you find yourself sitting there in dumb silence, with the cursor blinking or a blank page in front of you. Your brain is blank. That’s because you’re trying too hard.

Like relationships, ideas don’t come to tryhards – they come to people who aren’t actively seeking them. So instead of trying too hard to come up with ideas, let your mind wander. Engage in mundane, routine activities to give your brain the space it needs to come up with the next big idea.

“No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo

5. Immerse yourself

Ideas don’t stand alone. They come from somewhere. The last idea you came up with was likely influenced by some piece of knowledge you had absorbed or something somebody said. Without the information we take in, we would have no base from which to generate ideas.

That’s where immersion comes in. If you want to generate a ton of ideas, you need to immerse yourself in information. Read autobiographies. Immerse yourself in articles and books and podcasts. Tune into the radio and watch documentaries and movies. Have conversations.

Ideas are often sparked by unexpected connections between the problem you’re trying to solve and something seemingly unrelated. By immersing yourself in idea-fueling information, you’ll be able to make more of those connections and become far more effective in coming up with creative ideas and solutions.

So go out and start generating ideas. Right now, it might seem like you’ll never have a good idea again.

But as you start to flex that idea muscle, ask questions, get out of your comfort zone, and immerse yourself (without trying too hard), you’ll notice the ideas begin to flow naturally again.And if you continue to engage in these activities, those ideas will keep coming.

Thank you for reading my article! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

Sarah Peterson encourages people to never settle for careers they don't love. Find your perfect lifestyle business idea with her free 6-part course so you can stop settling and start building your dream.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Sarah

    May 20, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    Writing ten ideas a day is a great idea. Sometimes things that seem zany one minute seem totally doable the next!

  2. Guilherme

    Aug 11, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    great post and I think many people need to take it to heart.
    I am by nature very curious and connect things well (but suck at a hell lot of other things).

    One key to creativity I find is wandering, I noticed that as I increased my podcast consumption, I much more alert on the go and my brain shuts down.

    Funny enough, another great way to stretch my idea muscle I found is commenting on blogs 🙂 Take an idea, think about it and connect your own ideas to it and you’ll end-up moving into interesting pathways.

  3. Wanda

    Aug 10, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Thank-you Sarah,

    5 great tips to help us become idea machines! I particularly liked #5. It really does help when you surround yourself with relevant information. That’s when the ideas start to flow in!

  4. Dotchamou Zakari

    Aug 8, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Thank you for these valuable ideas you are sharing with us. We are all artist but our modern life do anything possible to kill our genius and talent. If we want to live our true life, we have to be an artist. I think that your post gives simple tips on how to be creative.
    I want to share these quotes with all the readers of this post

    “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso

    “Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people” – Leo Burnett

  5. Ethan Bridges

    Aug 8, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Hey Sarah,

    Nice post!

    I like your “tryhard” tip. That’s a nice way to balance all tension.

    I always try to maintain a level of curiosity, the more annoying level, the better 🙂 But I guard against overthinking too. Curiosity will take us a long way. They can stop us from making excuses.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

The 9 Question Exercise Which Will Help You Prioritize What Matters Most

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prioritize

You’re busy, I get it. If you’re like me, you’re constantly jumping from one activity to the next. From one commitment to another, you barely have enough time to think, let alone ask yourself the meaningful questions that will help you drive your career forward or lift your business to the next level. Nonetheless, you owe it to yourself and those around you to take the time to clearly define your goals and your aspirations if you are going to make real progress in any direction.

If you’re caught in the race or just trying to keep up with the Joneses, take it upon yourself to ask these questions. Take a few hours to sit down and write out the answers to these questions. If you’re working as part of a team, consider asking these questions as a group and starting a discussion around them.

Here are the 9 questions you need to be asking yourself on a consistent basis:

1. Where will your future growth come from?

This can relate to your business or your personal life. Consider whether you are in a place to grow emotionally, spiritually, or intellectually. Where will you have the greatest opportunity to grow? What form will this growth take?

2. How do you think your current strategy is going to change, based on emerging trends such as… [fill in the blank]?

Everyone experiences change. You are influenced by different things in different ways, and you have to be ready to face those changes by adjusting your goals and aspirations.

3. Why have you been successful so far? How will these reasons for success change in the future?

Consider what you have done which has worked well in the past and look at ways in which this might not work in the future. It is important to realize what has worked in the past may not always work in the future, so consider ways you may have to shift your thinking to address future goals.

“Every day, you reinvent yourself. You’re always in motion. But you decide every day: forward or backward.” – James Altucher

4. If you had more money, time or resources, how would you invest them to reach your goals more quickly or more effectively?

Sometimes it is valuable to consider what you would do if you had the option to invest more capital or resources into a project or a plan. Think about what you would do if you had all the time and money in the world. How would that affect your decisions and your next steps?

5. Are there things you can stop doing or place less emphasis on?

Consider how you spend your time currently. Are there things you do that don’t provide a return on investment? Are there things that you do which hinder your ability to get more done? Think about the habits you have and the people you spend time with. Where is there room to adjust or shift how you spend your time?  

6. What would you ask for if you were not afraid of getting “no” as an answer?

Most of us avoid taking action or moving towards our goals because we are afraid of being told “no” or rejected in some way. Rejection happens to everyone, and we won’t be able to put it off simply by avoiding action. Most often, the things that you are afraid of doing because you may receive a “no” response are the things you really should do.

7. As you think about the future of your career, your business or the project you’re working on, what are you most excited about?

Too often, we are so caught up in the minutiae of a day-to-day routine that we forget the reason we are doing something in the first place. Think about why you are most excited about something, and why you have started down a certain path.

“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” – Bob Dylan

8. As you think about the future, what are you most worried about?

It is likely that one thing getting in the way of you accomplishing your goals is the worry that you will fail to meet expectations. Take a closer look at what you are most worried about and try to understand the reasons for those worries. Often, the worries are unfounded, and you may be able to alleviate those worries through sheer force of will.

9. What are your dreams for the future?

This is one of the more challenging questions you will be asked to answer, but it is still incredibly important. Consider your dreams for the future, not just for this project or business or activity, but your long term dreams. What do you want your life to represent? What do you want your mark to be on the world?

The more detail you’re able to put into the responses to these questions, the more you will be able to create a strategy for how to effectively adjust and reach your goals. Take those 2 or 3 hours this month to write out your responses to these questions, and I assure you it will make a tremendous difference in your life and how you think about your aspirations.

Which one of these questions has made the most profound impact on your life? Comment below and let us know!

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5 Ways to Realize Your Authentic Self

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I was a scared kid throughout my younger years. Overly-cautious and wildly unsure were just a few of my characteristics as I headed into adulthood. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t present to many of the decisions I made in my youth in regards to navigating life thus I was blindly going along with it.

Due to this, I forced my hand since I either had to grow or collapse into myself. With the latter not being an option, what ensued was arguably the most difficult yet freeing process of my life. I was to realize my authentic self. While every human being has their own distinct recipe for self-actualization, there are a few things that consistently show up for all of us to be cognisant of.

Let’s look at 5 ways we mask who we are at the core and how to distinguish them:

1. We feel a loss of power when we’re inauthentic

Whenever we feel a loss of power or self-expression within a conversation, it’s due to us not being true to ourselves. What keeps us from freedom is our attachment to a particular view or opinion, and we forget that opinions are not the truth.

We can restore our power by acknowledging where we are being inauthentic and pretending thus taking full ownership and responsibility for where we’re stopping ourselves. As much as owning our shortcomings feels like it looks bad, the humanity of it contributes to much of the contrary.

“Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.” – Coco Chanel

2. Look at what you step over in conversation

Our word is our bond. The language we use tells a much deeper story than what may necessarily appear on the surface. Often times in conversation, we will throw a blanket statement over something we actually have a natural inclination to share more about. Words such as, “anyway,” “nevertheless,” and “regardless” are transitional words which often step over what we were committed to sharing in the previous moment.

Why do we so quickly shift from one part of the conversation to another? What part of acknowledging this area with another person is uncomfortable for us?  Answering some of these questions can shed a lot of light as to who we really are and what we stand for.

3. Acknowledge how many different personas you take on with the people in your life

We go through life like a play at times. It feels like everywhere we go, with whomever we meet, we’re putting on a performance. While the stage can be empowering at times, it’s equally exhausting once the threshold is met.

The reason humans love and cherish their alone time is due to the chance for mental recuperation. There’s no one to look good for, and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Looking in the mirror can be tough, but it’s far easier than looking in one with someone standing next to you.

As a result, we wear multiple hats throughout life. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it can be taxing for the human spirit. While it may be difficult at first, challenging yourself to take on a universal way of being with everyone you interact with—one that you yourself are happy with—can upshift your life to the highest degree of fulfillment.

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

4. Question why you are the way you are and if it’s aligned with what matters most

I spent my early 20’s identifying as a hyper-driven individual with an unmatched work ethic. The reason for this wasn’t because I was a man of integrity or honor, but because I thought that working hard and getting results in life would grant me the approval and support of others.

What I was actually committed to was connection, yet my behavior—the long hours, the nights reading at home while my friends went out—was hiding the very thing I wanted all along. When I finally realized this, the breakthrough was as powerful as a hurricane. It completely reshaped how I organized my life and moreover, allowed me to finally let go of the suffocating pressure I imposed upon myself.

What you feel is missing in your life is a by-product of your own way of being. Begin to look where your ways of being are keeping you from experiencing what you want the most, at the purest source.

5. Examine your way of being while making requests

No one likes to be told no. What’s more uncomfortable, is requesting something of someone knowing they’re going to say no. But we never really know what they’re going to say—so why do we make this story up? Sure, someone you’ve asked the same thing to three times and received a no each time may have a higher percentage likelihood to decline. However, how the request occurs for them is where the real difference-maker resides.

Whether you realize it or not, when we make a request with an idea they might say no, it effectively shapes and colors our request the same way to the other person. As we make the “said request,” we feel this and overcompensate—attempting to influence the thinking of whom you’re asking, which is never a smart idea.

The other person senses this, feeling the same pressure and discomfort we impose upon ourselves, totally oblivious to what we’re actually committed to. By making every request as if the person were going to say yes, we focus on our commitment and the best possible way to articulate it. When it comes to being authentic, every action must be in correlation with what we stand for.

What do you see in yourself that you might not have noticed before?  What might this open for you now that you’re aware? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Inspiration Imperative: Finding Your Recipe to Inspire the World

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An undeniably beautiful facet of the human condition is the responsibility we all share to make each other’s lives better. Inspiring others can be an incredibly rewarding and efficient means to that end. After all, helping others is the spice of life and inspiration allows us to exponentially increase our output of “help”, residually, long after we move on to something else.

The amazing thing about inspiration is that it isn’t a zero-sum game; we can give as much as we desire and take as much as we desire – or even do both in the same act. Even better, being inspirational and taking in inspiration are both behavioral skills we can work at and develop. But what does it really mean to inspire others?

The one thing all inspirational moments have in common is how they make us feel; not the specifics of what they tell us, show us or even what they teach us. They leave us with a feeling we can’t let go of, and a seed is planted.

The inspiration we as humans impart on one another often comes through sharing our life experience and future vision in a way that catalyzes a change in mindset or behavior in someone else. Sometimes this happens without intention, but this piece focuses on how we can intentionally inspire by way of our vision.   

With that in mind here are some considerations as you embark on your personal journey of inspiration, broken into two sections: Building a deep reservoir of self-belief and Crafting your vision and living it authentically.

Building a deep reservoir of self-belief

The first step to inspiring others is conditioning belief in yourself. Self-belief can be built through habituation of behavior – think of this like working out a muscle. The process of opening yourself up to inspiration, identifying and utilizing your strengths and practicing self-affirmation are fail safe ways to build out self-belief as a resource you can call on as you inspire the world around you.

Here are 3 things you can do to build your self belief to new levels:

1. Put yourself in positions of vulnerability daily

Make it a habit to leave your comfort zone both physically and mentally on a regular basis; doing so will increase your rate of learning and the inspiration you take in, dramatically. As you leave what makes you comfortable, open your mind so that others can feed you with inspiration.

2. Know your strengths and own them  

In his famous book, Strengths Finder 2.0, Tom Rath explains our tendency to focus on our weakness and the power each of us can unlock if we acknowledge and build on our strengths. As you enjoy successes, it is crucial to reflect on how you arrived at them, how they correlate to your strengths, and how you use your strengths to replicate them in the future.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

3. Regularly practice self-affirmation

Practicing self-affirmation goes hand-in-hand with owning your strengths and is an important habit which helps you build a foundation by which to inspire others. Ronald Alexander, PHD, provides some practical ways to make these effective in this Psychology Today article.

Crafting your vision and living it authentically

After you’ve built your foundation of self-belief you must have a vision. Visions come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever your goal may be, the vision must be clear; wavering and being wishy-washy about your goal will have the opposite effect. Remember, inspiring is not about telling people what they must do; it’s about instilling a feeling.

It’s also very important to remember that vision is nothing more than a wish for the future – until you build a narrative around it and make it real. A proven method to get there is by writing down your vision, being authentic in how you communicate it, and repeating it often to yourself and others.

Below are 3 things you should be doing with your vision:

1. Write down your vision and vision actualization statement

The first step to creating and executing on a vision is writing it down somewhere where you can refer to it regularly. All the rest follows. As Benjamin P Hardy notes, “if you read your long term goals every day you will think about them every day. If you think about them every day, and spend your days working toward them, they’ll manifest. Achieving goals is a science. There’s no confusion or ambiguity to it.”

Another great tip is to write a vision actualization statement as your future self (a year out) and then revisit it in a year. This is a description of what has manifested based on the realization of your vision and can be a couple paragraphs or pages. The key is to make it tangible; use numbers and specifics.

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world” – Joel L. Barker

2. Hold yourself accountable to authenticity, as you share your vision  

As you spread your vision you must do so from an authentic place. If you are not authentic through this process, people will quickly see through it and the lost trust can have lasting effects. One way to hold yourself accountable to this is noting every day what you did that day that “wasn’t you.” How many times that day did you compromise or mislead your beliefs?

3. Repeat, repeat, repeat

The greatest key to executing a vision, once built, is repeating its tenets to yourself and those around you as often as you can. This may take the form of morning affirmation, posting your vision to your community, chatting about it on your bus ride, or frequently re-reading what you’ve written down of it. Become known as the [insert your personal vision] gal or guy.

Well that should give you a start. Now get out there and inspire the world!

How do you aim to inspire others? Please comment below and share with us!

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Life

The Power Of Doing Only One Thing.

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This idea of doing only one thing was sparked by an event that happened this week. I decided to delete all podcasts on my phone and only keep the Tim Ferriss Show. In other areas of my life, I’ve done the same.

“I’ve selectively gone into each area and chosen one thing”

All the other things in the same category have been discarded. Here are some examples:

–    I had two pairs of earphones and now I have one

–    I’d read multiple books at the same time – now I do one at a time

–    I had multiple tools to cure stress and now I have one – meditation

I then took this minimalistic approach from how I handled material possessions and applied it to what I do each day.

Here are some examples:

–    I only pursue one passion now instead of many

–    I only execute on one vision instead of many

–    I only use my free time for one activity instead of many

 

Assess what you do and you’ll see one thing.

If you look at each category of your life, you’ll see that you spend a disproportionate amount of time in one area. I’ve normally had a few passions but if I evaluate the last five years, most of my efforts have been put towards blogging.

I had a few other passions but I didn’t spend a lot of time doing them. When I committed to doing one thing, I made a decision to stop pretending I cared about my other passions.

 

I listened to lots of podcasts until recently and I was constantly trying to keep up with the latest episodes. I found many of the podcasts shared similar messages and only one of them was life-changing in my eyes (The Tim Ferriss Podcast).

Now that I only listen to one podcast I can finally enjoy it, quit rushing and even playback episodes I’ve listened to already. Seeing the podcast screen with only one show on there is so refreshing!

Look at your life and you’ll see similar patterns.

 

It creates focus.

Doing one thing gives you extreme focus. This focus can be channelled towards tasks that lead to mastery instead of trying to dabble in lots of unrelated passions.

Focus is how you reach states of flow and achieve results that look impossible.

Doing one thing causes you to focus and practice more. Through this process, you can see your failures, areas of improvement and areas that you’re good at. This form of reflection gives you real-time feedback that can further compound your results.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” – Stephen Covey

 

It avoids overwhelm.

We can’t compute too many things at once. The power of doing one thing is that you avoid overwhelm. We can all manage one thing in each area of our life. The moment we introduce too many choices we end up with decision fatigue.

Overwhelm is selling yourself the false reality that you have to do everything to be successful. I’ve learned it’s the complete opposite.

To be successful, you have to focus and do one thing. Being successful is about not giving up and if you consistently put yourself into a state of overwhelm then you’ll simultaneously increase your negative thought patterns.

This milkshake of negativity will mix together and end up in failure if you let it.

Overwhelm is the enemy of passion and energy. Passion and energy become hyper-focused when you focus on one thing.

One podcast.

One business.

One romantic partner.

One vision.

One passion.

Embrace the power of doing one thing. 

<<<>>>

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

The 9 Question Exercise Which Will Help You Prioritize What Matters Most

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prioritize

You’re busy, I get it. If you’re like me, you’re constantly jumping from one activity to the next. From one commitment to another, you barely have enough time to think, let alone ask yourself the meaningful questions that will help you drive your career forward or lift your business to the next level. Nonetheless, you owe it to yourself and those around you to take the time to clearly define your goals and your aspirations if you are going to make real progress in any direction. (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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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Sarah

    May 20, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    Writing ten ideas a day is a great idea. Sometimes things that seem zany one minute seem totally doable the next!

  2. Guilherme

    Aug 11, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    great post and I think many people need to take it to heart.
    I am by nature very curious and connect things well (but suck at a hell lot of other things).

    One key to creativity I find is wandering, I noticed that as I increased my podcast consumption, I much more alert on the go and my brain shuts down.

    Funny enough, another great way to stretch my idea muscle I found is commenting on blogs 🙂 Take an idea, think about it and connect your own ideas to it and you’ll end-up moving into interesting pathways.

  3. Wanda

    Aug 10, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Thank-you Sarah,

    5 great tips to help us become idea machines! I particularly liked #5. It really does help when you surround yourself with relevant information. That’s when the ideas start to flow in!

  4. Dotchamou Zakari

    Aug 8, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Thank you for these valuable ideas you are sharing with us. We are all artist but our modern life do anything possible to kill our genius and talent. If we want to live our true life, we have to be an artist. I think that your post gives simple tips on how to be creative.
    I want to share these quotes with all the readers of this post

    “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” – Pablo Picasso

    “Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people” – Leo Burnett

  5. Ethan Bridges

    Aug 8, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Hey Sarah,

    Nice post!

    I like your “tryhard” tip. That’s a nice way to balance all tension.

    I always try to maintain a level of curiosity, the more annoying level, the better 🙂 But I guard against overthinking too. Curiosity will take us a long way. They can stop us from making excuses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

The 9 Question Exercise Which Will Help You Prioritize What Matters Most

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prioritize

You’re busy, I get it. If you’re like me, you’re constantly jumping from one activity to the next. From one commitment to another, you barely have enough time to think, let alone ask yourself the meaningful questions that will help you drive your career forward or lift your business to the next level. Nonetheless, you owe it to yourself and those around you to take the time to clearly define your goals and your aspirations if you are going to make real progress in any direction.

If you’re caught in the race or just trying to keep up with the Joneses, take it upon yourself to ask these questions. Take a few hours to sit down and write out the answers to these questions. If you’re working as part of a team, consider asking these questions as a group and starting a discussion around them.

Here are the 9 questions you need to be asking yourself on a consistent basis:

1. Where will your future growth come from?

This can relate to your business or your personal life. Consider whether you are in a place to grow emotionally, spiritually, or intellectually. Where will you have the greatest opportunity to grow? What form will this growth take?

2. How do you think your current strategy is going to change, based on emerging trends such as… [fill in the blank]?

Everyone experiences change. You are influenced by different things in different ways, and you have to be ready to face those changes by adjusting your goals and aspirations.

3. Why have you been successful so far? How will these reasons for success change in the future?

Consider what you have done which has worked well in the past and look at ways in which this might not work in the future. It is important to realize what has worked in the past may not always work in the future, so consider ways you may have to shift your thinking to address future goals.

“Every day, you reinvent yourself. You’re always in motion. But you decide every day: forward or backward.” – James Altucher

4. If you had more money, time or resources, how would you invest them to reach your goals more quickly or more effectively?

Sometimes it is valuable to consider what you would do if you had the option to invest more capital or resources into a project or a plan. Think about what you would do if you had all the time and money in the world. How would that affect your decisions and your next steps?

5. Are there things you can stop doing or place less emphasis on?

Consider how you spend your time currently. Are there things you do that don’t provide a return on investment? Are there things that you do which hinder your ability to get more done? Think about the habits you have and the people you spend time with. Where is there room to adjust or shift how you spend your time?  

6. What would you ask for if you were not afraid of getting “no” as an answer?

Most of us avoid taking action or moving towards our goals because we are afraid of being told “no” or rejected in some way. Rejection happens to everyone, and we won’t be able to put it off simply by avoiding action. Most often, the things that you are afraid of doing because you may receive a “no” response are the things you really should do.

7. As you think about the future of your career, your business or the project you’re working on, what are you most excited about?

Too often, we are so caught up in the minutiae of a day-to-day routine that we forget the reason we are doing something in the first place. Think about why you are most excited about something, and why you have started down a certain path.

“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” – Bob Dylan

8. As you think about the future, what are you most worried about?

It is likely that one thing getting in the way of you accomplishing your goals is the worry that you will fail to meet expectations. Take a closer look at what you are most worried about and try to understand the reasons for those worries. Often, the worries are unfounded, and you may be able to alleviate those worries through sheer force of will.

9. What are your dreams for the future?

This is one of the more challenging questions you will be asked to answer, but it is still incredibly important. Consider your dreams for the future, not just for this project or business or activity, but your long term dreams. What do you want your life to represent? What do you want your mark to be on the world?

The more detail you’re able to put into the responses to these questions, the more you will be able to create a strategy for how to effectively adjust and reach your goals. Take those 2 or 3 hours this month to write out your responses to these questions, and I assure you it will make a tremendous difference in your life and how you think about your aspirations.

Which one of these questions has made the most profound impact on your life? Comment below and let us know!

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Life

5 Ways to Realize Your Authentic Self

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I was a scared kid throughout my younger years. Overly-cautious and wildly unsure were just a few of my characteristics as I headed into adulthood. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t present to many of the decisions I made in my youth in regards to navigating life thus I was blindly going along with it.

Due to this, I forced my hand since I either had to grow or collapse into myself. With the latter not being an option, what ensued was arguably the most difficult yet freeing process of my life. I was to realize my authentic self. While every human being has their own distinct recipe for self-actualization, there are a few things that consistently show up for all of us to be cognisant of.

Let’s look at 5 ways we mask who we are at the core and how to distinguish them:

1. We feel a loss of power when we’re inauthentic

Whenever we feel a loss of power or self-expression within a conversation, it’s due to us not being true to ourselves. What keeps us from freedom is our attachment to a particular view or opinion, and we forget that opinions are not the truth.

We can restore our power by acknowledging where we are being inauthentic and pretending thus taking full ownership and responsibility for where we’re stopping ourselves. As much as owning our shortcomings feels like it looks bad, the humanity of it contributes to much of the contrary.

“Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.” – Coco Chanel

2. Look at what you step over in conversation

Our word is our bond. The language we use tells a much deeper story than what may necessarily appear on the surface. Often times in conversation, we will throw a blanket statement over something we actually have a natural inclination to share more about. Words such as, “anyway,” “nevertheless,” and “regardless” are transitional words which often step over what we were committed to sharing in the previous moment.

Why do we so quickly shift from one part of the conversation to another? What part of acknowledging this area with another person is uncomfortable for us?  Answering some of these questions can shed a lot of light as to who we really are and what we stand for.

3. Acknowledge how many different personas you take on with the people in your life

We go through life like a play at times. It feels like everywhere we go, with whomever we meet, we’re putting on a performance. While the stage can be empowering at times, it’s equally exhausting once the threshold is met.

The reason humans love and cherish their alone time is due to the chance for mental recuperation. There’s no one to look good for, and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Looking in the mirror can be tough, but it’s far easier than looking in one with someone standing next to you.

As a result, we wear multiple hats throughout life. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it can be taxing for the human spirit. While it may be difficult at first, challenging yourself to take on a universal way of being with everyone you interact with—one that you yourself are happy with—can upshift your life to the highest degree of fulfillment.

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

4. Question why you are the way you are and if it’s aligned with what matters most

I spent my early 20’s identifying as a hyper-driven individual with an unmatched work ethic. The reason for this wasn’t because I was a man of integrity or honor, but because I thought that working hard and getting results in life would grant me the approval and support of others.

What I was actually committed to was connection, yet my behavior—the long hours, the nights reading at home while my friends went out—was hiding the very thing I wanted all along. When I finally realized this, the breakthrough was as powerful as a hurricane. It completely reshaped how I organized my life and moreover, allowed me to finally let go of the suffocating pressure I imposed upon myself.

What you feel is missing in your life is a by-product of your own way of being. Begin to look where your ways of being are keeping you from experiencing what you want the most, at the purest source.

5. Examine your way of being while making requests

No one likes to be told no. What’s more uncomfortable, is requesting something of someone knowing they’re going to say no. But we never really know what they’re going to say—so why do we make this story up? Sure, someone you’ve asked the same thing to three times and received a no each time may have a higher percentage likelihood to decline. However, how the request occurs for them is where the real difference-maker resides.

Whether you realize it or not, when we make a request with an idea they might say no, it effectively shapes and colors our request the same way to the other person. As we make the “said request,” we feel this and overcompensate—attempting to influence the thinking of whom you’re asking, which is never a smart idea.

The other person senses this, feeling the same pressure and discomfort we impose upon ourselves, totally oblivious to what we’re actually committed to. By making every request as if the person were going to say yes, we focus on our commitment and the best possible way to articulate it. When it comes to being authentic, every action must be in correlation with what we stand for.

What do you see in yourself that you might not have noticed before?  What might this open for you now that you’re aware? Let us know in the comments below!

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Life

The Inspiration Imperative: Finding Your Recipe to Inspire the World

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An undeniably beautiful facet of the human condition is the responsibility we all share to make each other’s lives better. Inspiring others can be an incredibly rewarding and efficient means to that end. After all, helping others is the spice of life and inspiration allows us to exponentially increase our output of “help”, residually, long after we move on to something else.

The amazing thing about inspiration is that it isn’t a zero-sum game; we can give as much as we desire and take as much as we desire – or even do both in the same act. Even better, being inspirational and taking in inspiration are both behavioral skills we can work at and develop. But what does it really mean to inspire others?

The one thing all inspirational moments have in common is how they make us feel; not the specifics of what they tell us, show us or even what they teach us. They leave us with a feeling we can’t let go of, and a seed is planted.

The inspiration we as humans impart on one another often comes through sharing our life experience and future vision in a way that catalyzes a change in mindset or behavior in someone else. Sometimes this happens without intention, but this piece focuses on how we can intentionally inspire by way of our vision.   

With that in mind here are some considerations as you embark on your personal journey of inspiration, broken into two sections: Building a deep reservoir of self-belief and Crafting your vision and living it authentically.

Building a deep reservoir of self-belief

The first step to inspiring others is conditioning belief in yourself. Self-belief can be built through habituation of behavior – think of this like working out a muscle. The process of opening yourself up to inspiration, identifying and utilizing your strengths and practicing self-affirmation are fail safe ways to build out self-belief as a resource you can call on as you inspire the world around you.

Here are 3 things you can do to build your self belief to new levels:

1. Put yourself in positions of vulnerability daily

Make it a habit to leave your comfort zone both physically and mentally on a regular basis; doing so will increase your rate of learning and the inspiration you take in, dramatically. As you leave what makes you comfortable, open your mind so that others can feed you with inspiration.

2. Know your strengths and own them  

In his famous book, Strengths Finder 2.0, Tom Rath explains our tendency to focus on our weakness and the power each of us can unlock if we acknowledge and build on our strengths. As you enjoy successes, it is crucial to reflect on how you arrived at them, how they correlate to your strengths, and how you use your strengths to replicate them in the future.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

3. Regularly practice self-affirmation

Practicing self-affirmation goes hand-in-hand with owning your strengths and is an important habit which helps you build a foundation by which to inspire others. Ronald Alexander, PHD, provides some practical ways to make these effective in this Psychology Today article.

Crafting your vision and living it authentically

After you’ve built your foundation of self-belief you must have a vision. Visions come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever your goal may be, the vision must be clear; wavering and being wishy-washy about your goal will have the opposite effect. Remember, inspiring is not about telling people what they must do; it’s about instilling a feeling.

It’s also very important to remember that vision is nothing more than a wish for the future – until you build a narrative around it and make it real. A proven method to get there is by writing down your vision, being authentic in how you communicate it, and repeating it often to yourself and others.

Below are 3 things you should be doing with your vision:

1. Write down your vision and vision actualization statement

The first step to creating and executing on a vision is writing it down somewhere where you can refer to it regularly. All the rest follows. As Benjamin P Hardy notes, “if you read your long term goals every day you will think about them every day. If you think about them every day, and spend your days working toward them, they’ll manifest. Achieving goals is a science. There’s no confusion or ambiguity to it.”

Another great tip is to write a vision actualization statement as your future self (a year out) and then revisit it in a year. This is a description of what has manifested based on the realization of your vision and can be a couple paragraphs or pages. The key is to make it tangible; use numbers and specifics.

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world” – Joel L. Barker

2. Hold yourself accountable to authenticity, as you share your vision  

As you spread your vision you must do so from an authentic place. If you are not authentic through this process, people will quickly see through it and the lost trust can have lasting effects. One way to hold yourself accountable to this is noting every day what you did that day that “wasn’t you.” How many times that day did you compromise or mislead your beliefs?

3. Repeat, repeat, repeat

The greatest key to executing a vision, once built, is repeating its tenets to yourself and those around you as often as you can. This may take the form of morning affirmation, posting your vision to your community, chatting about it on your bus ride, or frequently re-reading what you’ve written down of it. Become known as the [insert your personal vision] gal or guy.

Well that should give you a start. Now get out there and inspire the world!

How do you aim to inspire others? Please comment below and share with us!

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Life

The Power Of Doing Only One Thing.

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This idea of doing only one thing was sparked by an event that happened this week. I decided to delete all podcasts on my phone and only keep the Tim Ferriss Show. In other areas of my life, I’ve done the same.

“I’ve selectively gone into each area and chosen one thing”

All the other things in the same category have been discarded. Here are some examples:

–    I had two pairs of earphones and now I have one

–    I’d read multiple books at the same time – now I do one at a time

–    I had multiple tools to cure stress and now I have one – meditation

I then took this minimalistic approach from how I handled material possessions and applied it to what I do each day.

Here are some examples:

–    I only pursue one passion now instead of many

–    I only execute on one vision instead of many

–    I only use my free time for one activity instead of many

 

Assess what you do and you’ll see one thing.

If you look at each category of your life, you’ll see that you spend a disproportionate amount of time in one area. I’ve normally had a few passions but if I evaluate the last five years, most of my efforts have been put towards blogging.

I had a few other passions but I didn’t spend a lot of time doing them. When I committed to doing one thing, I made a decision to stop pretending I cared about my other passions.

 

I listened to lots of podcasts until recently and I was constantly trying to keep up with the latest episodes. I found many of the podcasts shared similar messages and only one of them was life-changing in my eyes (The Tim Ferriss Podcast).

Now that I only listen to one podcast I can finally enjoy it, quit rushing and even playback episodes I’ve listened to already. Seeing the podcast screen with only one show on there is so refreshing!

Look at your life and you’ll see similar patterns.

 

It creates focus.

Doing one thing gives you extreme focus. This focus can be channelled towards tasks that lead to mastery instead of trying to dabble in lots of unrelated passions.

Focus is how you reach states of flow and achieve results that look impossible.

Doing one thing causes you to focus and practice more. Through this process, you can see your failures, areas of improvement and areas that you’re good at. This form of reflection gives you real-time feedback that can further compound your results.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” – Stephen Covey

 

It avoids overwhelm.

We can’t compute too many things at once. The power of doing one thing is that you avoid overwhelm. We can all manage one thing in each area of our life. The moment we introduce too many choices we end up with decision fatigue.

Overwhelm is selling yourself the false reality that you have to do everything to be successful. I’ve learned it’s the complete opposite.

To be successful, you have to focus and do one thing. Being successful is about not giving up and if you consistently put yourself into a state of overwhelm then you’ll simultaneously increase your negative thought patterns.

This milkshake of negativity will mix together and end up in failure if you let it.

Overwhelm is the enemy of passion and energy. Passion and energy become hyper-focused when you focus on one thing.

One podcast.

One business.

One romantic partner.

One vision.

One passion.

Embrace the power of doing one thing. 

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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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