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5 Secrets That Will Make You More Creative After Your Morning Coffee

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creativity
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Does a cup of something warm get your day off to a flying start? Coffee is more popular than ever before and in the U.S. alone an estimated 400 million cups of coffee are consumed each day. That’s 146 billion over the course of a year! For many of us across the world, our first thought upon waking is of coffee. It’s the perfect ritual to freshen up, shake off the remnants of sleep, and get the creative juices flowing.

Some people will head to their local coffee shop, others will use a machine in their home and after that first sip the ball is well and truly rolling. They sit at their computer, browse through their emails, and catch up with what’s going on in the world. Then… nothing. This happens sometimes. We’ve all felt it: despite the coffee we can’t quite get into the rhythm of the day and the motivation or energy that we need doesn’t quite come.

But there’s nothing to worry about! There are scientifically-proven methods to get your creativity flowing and you’ll find five of these secrets below:

1. Stretch those legs and go for a stroll

Do your surroundings feel all too familiar? The dull office walls, the habitual conversations, the same digital routines… It can all get a bit too much and this saps your creativity. This is why it’s great to get outside and take a walk.

Studies have shown that even a short stroll can boost a person’s creativity. A study from Stanford University found that the creative output for a person can increase by an average of 60 percent while they’re walking! You’ll feel calmer, your mind will relax, and you’ll think more freely.

It’s no wonder that so many visionaries and creative powerhouses have done this intuitively in the past. Steve Jobs was known to walk while thinking over problems, while Immanuel Kant is remembered just as much for his punctual walking sessions as his ideas.

2. Stop working in that awkward silence

The gentle hum of a computer. The droning of air conditioning units. The gentle tapping of keys. The clicking of mice. Against a silent backdrop these sounds are enough to make a person go wild and studies have demonstrated that silence actually saps our creativity.

Ambient noise can aid in creative cognition and improve our performance on creative tasks, so you should seek it out. Sneak out to a Starbucks or another coffee place to find the perfect background noise that can help you to get lost in your work and pursue new avenues of thought.

The study, which appeared in the Journey of Consumer Research, is a fascinating one and it explains the way that moderate sound assists us in creative tasks. Nonetheless, be careful not to overdo it because the same study found that any sound over 85 decibels actually hinders rather than helps our creativity and it can be even worse than silence!

“The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” – Kakuzo Okakaura

3. Get out of that office building and escape into nature

Being indoors can actually damage our creativity, too. Research from the University of Kansas has discovered that indoor environments and all that they bring – distractions, emails, notifications, people – means that our attention is divided across a huge range of sources and monitoring them reduces our capacity for creative and positive thought.

The solution to this is to go beyond the watercooler on your stroll. If you can find the time to get out of the office each day and into a natural environment your creativity, insights, and problem solving abilities will feel a big boost. In fact, the study demonstrates that participants witnessed a 50% boost in creativity after being outdoors for extended periods.

You should give it a try!  Experiment for a week and see how your work is affected by the exposure to fresh air and organic material. There’s a great line from The Suburbs by Arcade Fire which sums this up: “Move your feet from hot pavement and into the grass.”

4. Don’t force it – let your mind wander

Getting stuck on an idea is a horrible feeling that feels like a physical barrier. Sometimes, moving past it seems to be impossible. It’s the same with trying to kindle creativity in the morning when you’re just not feeling it. It’s like trying to wrestle your way out of quicksand: the harder you struggle the deeper you fall and you just become more stuck.

Distractions and daydreaming seem like intrusions at these times but research has shown they can actually help us with our problem solving. Every person daydreams almost constantly and many of these are found to be “generated from representations that are based on information from memory.”

When you find yourself frustrated distract yourself with something silly or non-productive rather than throwing yourself at the problem again and again. The natural flows and rhythms of your thoughts might throw up a solution and present you with another path to take toward solving your problem.

“You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.” – Roman Payne

5. Find the right beat for your thoughts to bounce

Do you listen to music while you work? What genre? Chilled trip-hop beats? Classical music? Pop? Everyone has a different type of music that they prefer and that music has the potential to influence their emotions.

It comes as no surprise that the way we feel affects the way that we think, so music is a powerful tool that we can use to intentionally influence our thought processes. Studies have discovered that when we are happy our divergent thinking abilities are improved.

That’s right… it’s time for you to put together a dreadfully happy Spotify playlist. Those sweet pop songs can facilitate creative cognition to get your creative juices flowing. The research was funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research so it’s all true: start building your happy playlist as soon as possible!

Coffee tastes great and helps to get us energized, but these techniques are scientifically proven to give us the creative boosts when we need them the most. Best of all, they can be mixed and matched. Consider putting on your playlist during your afternoon stroll in the park and letting your daydreams flow. Who knows what incredibly creative things you may come up with!

How do you get your creative juices flowing? Let us know your tips below!

My name is Peter Harengel. My mission is to inspire your innovative thinking by showing you the most inspiring sparks from creative industries. I research digital-centric innovation models for my doctoral studies and advise global brands on digital innovation issues at a strategy boutique firm. Previously I worked in the entertainment industry for firms such as the Sony Corporation of America/Columbia Records (New York) or Bertelsmann AG/BMG (Munich). Say Hello on LinkedIn or find out more about my current projects on Harengel.com.

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Life

The Guide to Coping With Stress, Anxiety and Failure

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how to cope with stress and anxiety
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

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

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

1. Deep breathing

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

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

2. Write down what you’re stressed about

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

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

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

3. Yoga

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

4. Caffeine could increase stress levels

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

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

5. Exercise and clean eating

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

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

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

1. Dissect the experience

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

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

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

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

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

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

3. You are equipped

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

5 Ways You Can Make the Most Out of Failure

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failure
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

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

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

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

1. Take five

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

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

2. Put things into perspective

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

3. Assess what went right

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

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

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

“Success is 99% failure.” – Soichiro Honda

5. Remember, what will be, will be

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

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

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destiny
Image Credit: Unsplash

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

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

There is Such a Thing as Preparing Too Much

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

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

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

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

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

Our Feelings Often Lie to Us

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

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

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

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

Perfectionism Can Halt All Progress

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

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

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

“Imperfection is perfection.” – Flume

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

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

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

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Life

3 Mental Tricks to Help You Become a More Productive Person

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how to become more productive
Image Credit: Unsplash

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

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

Step 1: See your everyday tasks as a gift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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80 Albert Einstein Quotes to Inspire You For Life

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

(more…)

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

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Life

The Guide to Coping With Stress, Anxiety and Failure

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how to cope with stress and anxiety
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

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

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

1. Deep breathing

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

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

2. Write down what you’re stressed about

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

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

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

3. Yoga

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

4. Caffeine could increase stress levels

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

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

5. Exercise and clean eating

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

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

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

1. Dissect the experience

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

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

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

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

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

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

3. You are equipped

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Continue Reading

Life

5 Ways You Can Make the Most Out of Failure

Published

on

failure
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

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

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

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

1. Take five

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

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

2. Put things into perspective

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

3. Assess what went right

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

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

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

“Success is 99% failure.” – Soichiro Honda

5. Remember, what will be, will be

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Continue Reading

Life

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

Published

on

destiny
Image Credit: Unsplash

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

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

There is Such a Thing as Preparing Too Much

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

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

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

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

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

Our Feelings Often Lie to Us

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

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

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

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

Perfectionism Can Halt All Progress

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

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

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

“Imperfection is perfection.” – Flume

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

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

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

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3 Mental Tricks to Help You Become a More Productive Person

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

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

Step 1: See your everyday tasks as a gift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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