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5 Strategies To Reach Success While Battling Depression

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depression

Depression is a challenge, it can affect everyone from your everyday person to celebrities. It’s not a choice to suffer from depression, but there is a choice in how you react to it.

Ernest Hemingway eventually chose suicide. He decided he didn’t want to confront the demons of his depression any longer. Sometimes even the strongest can fall.

Depression isn’t a joke and it’s certainly not a weakness. It can wrap its large hands around your neck and strangle you into submission. It’s not fun to suffer and you can’t “just get over it.

It’s a battle, a war. You may not be able to switch your moods with the snap of your fingers, but you can choose to drop your gloves against this crushing illness.

Depression can help create mystical stories like Edgar Allan Poe’s. It can help create awe inspiring paintings like Vincent Van Gogh’s. It can help create beautiful music like Beethoven’s.

Many have suffered, in many professions. Actor Marlon Brando (of The Godfather) suffered from chronic depression his entire life. Billy Joel checked himself into a hospital after a failed suicide attempt. Becoming the “President of The United States of America” while suffering from major depression is even a possibility, like Abraham Lincoln did.

Unfortunately, most people who suffer deeply enough turn to drugs and alcohol. I turned to alcohol. The reason drugs and alcohol are the dark alleys people linger down is because it’s a form of self-medication. It’s no different then the guy who comes home after a long day of work and drinks a six-pack of beer while watching mindless television. He’s self-medicating himself to avoid the issues — loneliness, job dissatisfaction, stress, etc. — that are being presented directly to him.

The list of famous people who suffer or have suffered can go on and on. What needs to be understood is that you can be very successful while getting punched and kicked by this bully that invades your mind.

As you can tell by Poe, Van Gogh, and Beethoven, depression can carry certain benefits if you are a creative artist such as a writer, a painter, or a musician. You just have to be careful you don’t get too deep like Hemingway and Billy Joel.

But what if you’re a CEO or everyday worker? Can you still live a successful life while dealing with the daily grind depression can bring?

In a society where power and hiding from your vulnerabilities rule all, hiding from depression is a common problem. Success can come with glorious benefits, but certain fears also tag along. It all depends what your goals are, what YOU are about. If you are about respect, compassion, kindness, and love, you are on the right track, and yes, you can become a wealthy person living by those traits. If you are solely about power and money, a laundry list of insecurities will clench onto you, potentially leading you down a disastrous path.

You can be anything while suffering, it’s been done. A powerful CEO or a single mom working two jobs to get by. The key is to fight back and never give up.

Here are some ways to fight depression while living a successful life:

 

1. Keep Up With Your Health

You don’t need crazy workouts to be healthy, that’s just a myth created by the fitness industry. All you really need is a sensible diet and some regular activity that gets you moving. Go for a long walk, do some simple bodyweight exercises, or enjoy an activity that gets you sweating. You don’t have to squat 400 pounds to be ‘fit’, that’s just macho, ego talk that persuades people to be scared of fitness.

Self-medication is a dangerous outlet when it comes to mental illness. Alcohol was my form of self-medication. For many celebrities, hard drugs is an addiction they fall into to escape the reality of their mental demons. When money and access are not a problem, it becomes far too easy to believe drugs are the best way to forget about your struggles.

Drugs and alcohol can kill. They can be used as a form of delayed suicide. Be conscious if you’re falling into that trap and seek help immediately if you are.

 

2. Read…A lot

I recommend a minimum of an hour a day. Read stories about people who have suffered, read strategies you could use in your life, read some good fiction. Keep your mind working.

Letting depression force you into a dark corner is far too easy. Sometimes you’ll feel as if you have no control, but you do. It may be a moment to fight, but reading good books can help teach you and inspire you to keep going.

 

3. Live Aggressively

Facing our fears feels harder than climbing Everest. It’s scary. Fight the urge to stay in your room and go out to dinner with a friend. Start building momentum, understand depression doesn’t have to hold you back.

Living passively is the worst way to handle depression, it keeps you tied down. When I first started talking openly about my depression I was scared. Just the thought of sharing my feelings caused my body to pour sweat. I aggressively worked through my sweat drenched clothes and talked. It helped. It actually speed up my recovery because, whether people understood or not, they knew how I felt.

I could be who I was. It was freeing. If I had a bad day it was easier to acknowledge it, and work through the day with it.

Living aggressively doesn’t mean taking an axe to everything in your path. It’s not a violent or vicious path. Living aggressively is living intently. Simply intend on moving past your depression and get to work.

We have one life. Don’t allow depression to keep you down.

 

4. Be Better Today Than You Were Yesterday

It’s okay to struggle, but it’s not okay to quit.

How you improve at anything is through constant tiny steps that eventually turn into one, gigantic success.

It’s the same with battling depression. You have to work at it. It doesn’t just disappear. You have to work through your issues and make small improvements as you go.

“I’ve had some dark nights of the soul, of course, but giving in to depression would be a sellout, a defeat.” – Christopher Hitchens

Depression will knock you back down along your journey, that’s guaranteed. The key: to get your ass back up. I used to let depression knock me out for weeks, sometimes months. It was horrible. Once I started working on myself, I was able to start making a little progress and feeling a little better.

Then, I was better. It didn’t happen on a scheduled date, it just happened. I just believed I was better, and I was. I don’t really have an explanation for it, that’s just the way it happened for me. After years of tiny improvements, I finally felt like I had just defeated my enemy.

But it starts small. Sometimes just getting out of bed is that small step. Do it. Throwing off the covers and sliding out can be a successful day while you’re fighting. Create a positive mindset around that success and begin building momentum.

 

5. The Search For Personal Greatness

Being in a deep depression allows you to laser focus on the present. Every thought about your life is on display and available for analysis. A major factor in overcoming depression is coming to grips with who you are.

This can be life’s greatest struggle. Most highly successful people lose their way in the search for more money or more power; however, we must remember, deep seeded happiness comes from within, not from materials. Yes, materials and ego boosting delusions that associate with money and power help, but that happiness is only as strong as the current feeling towards your material items or ego. If they crash or lose intensity, so does your happiness.

Being successful doesn’t mean being a millionaire, it means being happy. Battling with mental illness will be the hardest fight of your life, but it’s a fight worth putting your full effort into. As you claw out of your personal dark dark valley you’ll find new aspects of yourself and accept that person.

The law of impermanence reminds us we will one day pass, be gone from this life. Focusing on material and ego based power is dangerous and could lead to disaster. Experiencing life and learning about your true self  will lead to a successful life filled with happiness.

 

Mental illness can ravage a life, but you don’t have to let it. The stigma surrounding mental illness is an incredibly dangerous one, keeping many quiet about their struggles. That’s why I write openly about mine. We must let people know that it’s okay to struggle, but it’s never okay to quit.

Daniel is a writer who struggled with both depression and anxiety for many years. His mission is to crush the stigma related to depression and build awareness that it's okay to struggle, but it's not okay to quit.

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64 Comments

64 Comments

  1. TUSHAR PATIL

    Feb 24, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    it’s not easy to go out of depression. I am going through this phase now. want to get out of it. don’t let it control you keep struggling keep your thought positive. one day will come u will realize its not the end it’s only the bend that god gives you to make you more strong to face life.

  2. Martha

    Mar 2, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I have struggled terribly with anxiety, panic disorder at times, and major depression. I have tried everything that the doctors had to offer. I was tired of being on medication. I talked with my doctor and she reluctantly went along with me to taper off my medications, telling me that I WILL be back and that she wants me to try Lithium when I come back. I have not seen her since the beginning of December 2014 and it is now 3-2-15. I am off everything except I take 1 or 1/2 pill of Klonipin at bedtime. Soon, I will have to stop that as I will have no more pills left. It has not been easy. I ordered a 21 day brain detox program from Dr. Caroline Leaf. It’s an online program to help me change my thought patterns. I have a year’s subscription. I am on my 6th cycle of 21 days. She is a neuroscientist and says there is scientific proof we can change our brain and the chemicals in our brains by eliminating toxic thoughts and building healthy thoughts. It has seemed to help me at times, but I still feel very weak, facing this depression giant. I have sunk into a deep depression the last few days to where I see no reason to be alive. My life is over – I have no purpose, joy, or direction. I stay alone in my little apartment and do not want to go anywhere. It is overwhelming. I am thinking of going to school, a small local university two-year physical therapy assistant program. I am afraid I will not make it. Last Sept. I tried attending a local community college, only enrolled in two courses: math and psychology. I had to drop out. First I fractured my wrist and my other arm was already injured with tennis elbow. I had to use that other, injured arm, which injured it even more. I was always in excruciating pain. I think that was part of it — but I kept struggling along. Then the anxiety and depression took over and even though I was doing well, I dropped out. I couldn’t face it — thinking I was just going to fail. So, I am afraid to go back to school. The jobs I’ve recently had just added to my depression as I was treated horribly. I have never worked with such mean people in all my life! I am wondering where to go from here. I keep plugging along with my 21 day brain detox, but the depression at times is unbearable. I do not want to live and that just completely overwhelms me. I see no reason to be alive. I am just taking up space. I do not want to go back to medications. I would still get depressed on them and the doctors always changed them. I am really struggling right now badly. I pray for a way out – an idea – some inspiration somewhere – some hope – because right now I am living in complete darkness and I know I am not thinking or seeing my life correctly. This is awful. I need help and I do not know where to go, except God. I pray and seek Him daily. I am so tired of depression stopping me from living, that I do not want to live anymore. It is very sad. I am a capable and competent person, but I am not using what I have — I am not living — so why should I even be alive????

    • Ryan

      Apr 30, 2015 at 6:45 am

      Ive been in that situation about 3 years ago, i felt like there was nothing left for me so what was the point right? I still suffer from depression now but thats due to trying to become successfull, the way i got out of the situation of feeling like life was pointless is to get out of the house and just walk, you will be suprised the kinds of people you will meet along the way, i was only 21 at the time and living at home with parents, i used to drink every day but that just made me worse and ill. Once i started getting out and meeting new people my mind was on other things, then by some miracle i met someone, i could tell her all my problems at any time and when someone else understands what your going through it can take so much pressure from you. Since that time i found love, moved out with my girlfriend, got engaged, got a new job and im now in the process of starting my own business and moving to america next year hopefully. So just remember that small step can lead to a new life, just try it and you will be amazed

  3. Sean

    Oct 22, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Excellent article! I recently went through a long phase ( about 2 years) of depression. Before going through it I always considered it a fictional condition or an excuse. Boy was I wrong!! It is an extremely painful situation anyone can go through. After two years now I am recovering and doing much better. I overcame it without any medications strictly through nutrition, meditation, support ( which is critical) and belief in my mission. The moment that changed everything for me was when I realized that depressive thoughts were actually a means to suppress the vicious cycle of the daily grind. The moment you believe you can live the life you want !! Stop thinking it and start living it. Things will get a lot more clear for you and strength will come. Keep fighting everyone life is beautiful and depression is just a teacher :).

  4. Blurblurlimu

    Oct 14, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Hi Daniel,

    I like your phrases “it is ok to struggle, but it is not ok to quit”….

    I truly agreed getting out of bed is a small step, but this small step mean a big achievement to our fighting days. Recently, I have a relapse, I am struggling to leave my bed too every morning now, because I don’t have much energy especially when I wake up, I lost my confidence, I am afraid of the challenges that awaiting me after I leave my bed, and I don’t wish to meet with people too…

    Really struggling….

    When I see you wrote “it is ok to struggle”, I really felt quite comforting…

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Amy

    May 5, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Daniel – A very well written article. One that inspired me to continue to battle depression again. I congratulate you on writing about your experiences with the illness. I hope to be brave enough someday to also share my history and to feel that sense of freedom.

    Thank you for the article.
    Amy

  6. kritika

    May 3, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    i dont understand will this phase pas away or would i be suffering from depression all my life..i feel like my future is too dark,i wont do anything good in my proffesional life nor would i find a spouce..will i end up lonely or miserable!! anybody can please suggest what may i do?? i had decided to end up my life today itself coz i feel lik an insane but just thought to check out if there is any hope left for me…my doc says i should stop my studies coz i am too unstable some times happy other times miserable that i cannot do any thing good with my life,he saus people have to be stable and firm to be successful in carrer and relationships!!so whats the hope for my future?? should i die or try a year more?? please help

    • Blurblurlimu

      Oct 14, 2014 at 5:40 am

      Kritika,

      Have you discussed this with your lecturer or family? If your doctor advised you to stop studying at this moment, may be defer a semester might be an option for you? Then you can take the opportunity to rest and focus on medication or finding a solution for yourself.

      I deferred my study too when I first encountered depression during my tertiary education. Then, I resumed my study after rest for a semester, there were a lot of challenges when I resumed my study because it was indeed quite difficult to catch up especially when we lost the common with our same batch friends. However, I managed to graduate at the end….

      You are not a lone…don’t give up…

    • lavesh

      Nov 20, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      I wish to talk to u personally cause my situation iz same tooo

  7. kin

    May 3, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    i do

  8. ryan

    May 2, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Thank you for this. It reminds me that I can get back to that place of true internal happiness. When times are good they are really good and that should be the focus. If I focus on allowing the bad times and accepting what comes along with it will help significantly. I deserve happiness and so do all of you 🙂

  9. Emily Filloramo

    Apr 20, 2014 at 12:28 am

    I too suffered from depression 10 years ago, precipitated by a toxic situation.

    My psychiatrist said “What trauma are you reliving from your past through this situation that caused you to be depressed?” The lightbulb went off and I realized that the depression was a reflection of the part of me that held the toxic traumas of my childhood which I had conveniently swept under the rug and forgotten about.

    Sweeping our past “under the rug” will eventually bite us in the butt in midlife in the form of some mental or physical health crisis. This is what happened to me in my early 40’s.

    I buried my negative childhood memories, living in “quiet desperation”, pretending that everything was “great!”

    So I healed through “reparenting” the younger parts of me that held faulty beliefs of “I’m not lovable and I’m not enough” and turned those beliefs into “I am lovable, I am awesome, I am enough.” The depression and sleepless nights finally lifted.

    I realize now that the Universe purposely gave me the negative experiences for the evolution of my soul. When I turned 50, I found my life’s calling based on all of my traumatic experiences. Now I am happy beyond belief.

    When you find the gift in the negative experiences and make “lemonade” out of your “lemons”, you will thrive.

    I have a free video trainings on the page below that talks about healing through “Internal Family System” modality of healing and self-leadership.

    http://www.successandjoynow.com/increase-happiness/

    This modality does NOT see depression as a disease – it sees your depressed parts as burdens you are carrying from the young parts of you that were traumatized. When you reparent your traumatized young parts and release the burdens, the sadness and depression will more than likely lift. m/increase-happiness/

    BTW – I spent 10 years selling anti-depressants and bipolar medicines to psychiatrists. These meds take the edge off. They are essentially band-aids. You need to get to the root of the issues that are causing you to feel depressed and heal those wounded parts.

  10. hasibrahman1

    Apr 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

    hermingway was really informational to me.and i felt famouscity is an big deal

  11. Amine AL KADERI (@amindeed)

    Mar 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I was fortunate enough to read your post after a frustrating weekend start.
    Thank you for inspiring and warming me up, Dan! 🙂

    • Dan Grant

      Mar 25, 2014 at 6:10 am

      Thank you for the kind words, Amine 🙂

  12. Npmac

    Mar 23, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Thank you, like it was written for me.

  13. meikedoliver40

    Mar 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Daniel thank you for this great post. I really needed to read this today. I’ve suffered from depression for as long as I can remember and I had it under control for a very long time. Recently it’s slowly crept back in and had me feeling as if everything I wanted in my life just isn’t worth working for. I have been writing in my journal and meditating to get through. It’s good to know that I’m not alone and that I’m not lazy or disinterested in life. Sometimes it’s a struggle to leave the house, it’s a struggle to go hang out, but once I get going….I’m glad that I do! It’s just a mental process sometimes.

    • Dan Grant

      Mar 25, 2014 at 6:08 am

      it’s a tough battle, that’s for sure. One worth working through, though. I’ve been incorporating mediation in my life lately and it’s been awesome. Thanks for your comment!

  14. Dan Grant

    Mar 14, 2014 at 2:46 am

    well said Wally, education is the key for sure!

  15. Wally

    Oct 16, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Thank you Daniel, I have been struggling for years, and must stress that over medication even from a Doctor can be dangerous. Some of the medicines easily make depression worse to the point of suicide even, I found out the hard way. So when treated and you feel like you start to lose interest in normal things while on a medicine stop or taper down no matter what the Doctor says. It just might save you from disaster. My new mission in life now that I am getting better, is to educate and help people become advocates for their mental health because of the stigma and the embarrassment causes one to be even more powerless in their recovery. Do research on anything that is given to you and know the risks even more than your doctor. Educate them whenever possible, especially if they are respectful and listen; the kind you want in the first place. I can not stress them enough. Most of these people have no idea what its like to have these problems and live on sometimes crippling medications. Learn everything about them, visit forums where others share experience with respect and always remember the rule of the benefits has to ALWAYS outweigh the risk of any treatment EVER. So learn the short and long term effects of anything that is ever prescribed. There is a disorder related to every human emotion that is natural in most cases that has a medication that will be pushed whenever possible because of negative business practice. Like going into a shady mechanic to have your oil changed only to find out you need a new this and that and this worked on; I’ m telling you from vast experience that you can experience the same thing with your brain every time you go into one of these treatment centers. Do your homework and always know more and good luck, you will move forward.

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Life

3 Ingredients to Create the Life of Your Dreams

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how to create the life of your dreams

Let’s bake a cake! This recipe calls for three simple ingredients: one cup of Courage, two tablespoons of Initiative, and three teaspoons of Will. You can put the money, education, and physical attractiveness back in the refrigerator. They can help improve the taste or quality, but they are not required to bake this cake. The cake is a metaphor for the life of your dreams. If you want to create massive achievement in your life, you will need to obtain courage, initiative, and will.

The main ingredients of courage, initiative, and will are fundamental to long term-achievement. You need the courage to start. The initiative is necessary to think outside the box. Will is required to continue when it gets tough.

Whether we are talking about achieving long-term happiness via a personal relationship or individual experiences, the ingredients mentioned above can significantly increase your chances of obtaining the life of your dreams. You aren’t born with courage, initiative, or will. In fact, you are born with fear, reluctance, and other mechanisms designed to keep you safe. However, with an intentional mindset guided by positive optimism, these characteristics can be grown and cultivated in a garden of possibilities for your life!  

How can you acquire courage, initiative, and will? Check out my 3 tips below:

1. Travel or better yet move out of the country

Yes, I will give you a moment to reread the line above. My first recommendation is for you to travel or ideally move out of the country! Travel and undeniably relocating outside of the country you were born in, requires courage. You must be brave to face the unknown, and there is no better way to do this other than to get out of your comfortable home environment and see the world. The experiences with traveling or moving will automatically build the courage within you to reach toward the achievements that you desire in life.  

“Dare to live the life you’ve always wanted.”

2. Learn a new language

Ideally, with the recommendation from number one, you will choose a location where a language other than your native tongue is spoken. With language acquisition, the learner must develop a spirit of initiative to do something that is not required. You can live your entire life and only communicate in one language, or you can expand your horizon and do something different. To become fluent in a new language will not be easy; the life of your dreams is worth the fight. The process of learning a language will attract the necessary skill set that accompanies initiative and ties in within my final recommendation.

3. Fail as often as possible

In traveling and undeniably with learning a new language, you will make mistakes. If you are not failing in the process of adjusting to a different culture, which will occur in traveling and language acquisition, you are doing something wrong! You must fail to adapt and ideally this will happen as frequent as possible. This does not mean that you look to fail. It does mean that you understand failure as an opportunity to learn. Failure builds your ability to develop the power of will. Possessing will can enable you to learn from your mistakes, improve, and keep pushing toward the achievements that can create the life of your dreams.  

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” – Gerard Way

If you put courage, initiative, and will into the oven responsible for making your dreams become a reality, you will be successful. It will not be easy. Occasionally you will become frustrated and want to open the door and see what’s taking so long for the cake or the life you desire. However, just stay the course and allow courage, initiative, and will to blend and bring into fruition the life of your dreams.

What other ingredients would you add?  Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

5 Skills You and Your Partner Need to Master to Become an Unstoppable Power Couple

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Power Couples: Those two words have to be the sexiest two words in the business world when placed together. What’s even sexier is when OTHERS label you and your significant other as a power couple.

I pride myself on being able to call my girlfriend and I a power couple. We are always on the same wavelength when it comes to goals, ambitions, and our vision. While we weren’t always such a strong couple, what it took to get to that point was a long journey of daily commitment and consistency.

In this article, I am going to share with you what has worked for our relationship over the past 6 years. While most of us feel we can run our business on our own, there are many that wish their significant other were just as involved and passionate about entrepreneurship as we are.

Stay focused on these five power couple truths and watch your relationship and businesses thrive:

1. Shared Vision & Goals

A couple should share a similar vision. Two people with a shared vision is so powerful because both people can always hold each other accountable for their goals in order to achieve that shared vision. If one person cannot buy into the other person’s vision, there won’t be the full support of the actions steps and the process it takes to achieve those goals. I personally love the fact that my girlfriend and I share a similar vision.

“The more people you help become successful the more successful you become.” – Steve Harvey

2. Effective Communication

Business or not, people need to be able to communicate effectively, which was extremely difficult to me when I first got into business. I mean, come on; up until I was 28 years old, I never even knew what “networking” was. However, over time within the business community I learned that communication in relationships is just as paramount as in business. Through solid and effective communication we have been able to understand each other’s struggles more, which has led us to daily masterminding sessions and a growth in our shared vision, mindset, and businesses.

3. Personal Development

Personal development is crucial in business and as a power couple. Being able to grow together professionally and intellectually is such an awarding feeling in my relationship. If you are both learning and growing together, imagine how strong your two minds are together. It’s a proven fact amongst entrepreneurs that focusing on personal growth builds confidence and a strong mindset. Multiply that strong mindset by two and you have one hell of a  power couple, ready to take over the world.

4. Quality Time

If you’re in an entrepreneurial relationship, chances are you have had challenges at times when it comes to quality time with your significant other. Hey, I understand. We all have a “Love for the Hustle,” and so does my significant other. She comes from an entrepreneur household and can hustle with the best of us. So the key to making sure we have our quality time is all based on time management. Remember folks, priorities first.

Although you may be supportive and you are okay with less quality time or cancelled dates, always stick to your values to each other and what’s most important to you both and your shared vision and goals. A power couple is only a power couple because of how strong and committed the two are to their relationship just as much as their business.

They know when to turn off the phone and make time for each other genuinely. Remember, with that also includes effective communication to get schedules aligned.

“The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.” – Tony Robbins

5. Endless Support & Encouragement

A true power couple cannot stress how much support and understanding there has to be in their relationship. When you’re on the grind and you hit those roadblocks, not too many people are in your corner. As for me though, when I hit those rough chapters in business, other than my mastermind group, I know there is always one person I can count on to always have my back and bring me back into high spirits and push me further than the day before.

Bottom line, a power couple is a couple that are truly confident in their relationship and in business. Two people in a relationship with a shared goal, vision, and mindset are more powerful than business partners. You both know more about each other than you would even care to know about your business partner and accept each other through all the flaws and mistakes.

There is an unspoken commitment that goes beyond business or friendships. In my experience, being with someone who has just as much hustle as me has been a blessing. There aren’t questions about what time I will be home or who I am meeting. We know we are committed to one another and also hustling for a shared vision or our future.

What are some relationship goals every power couple should have?  Comment below!

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Life

4 Research-Backed Ways to Improve Your Productivity Today

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We are always looking for how we can fit more into our days and weeks, eager to try the newest productivity tip that comes our way, just like the newest fad diet. The pomodoro technique? Check. Waking up at 4am like Apple CEO Tim Cook? Tried it. The ‘throw out your to-do list’ productivity tip? Tried that one, too.

And yet we’re still looking for the productivity hack, that magic pill promising to will us into action toward the goal of checking everything off our to-do list by the day’s end.

But, here’s the thing. Before you can even think about trying the latest tips and tricks on the productivity front, you have to change your thinking about productivity. In other words, you have to start thinking of managing your energy first – not time itself.

The forces that provide energy – namely, your body and your mind, need to be the starting points. It’s the number one most overlooked productivity tip out there.

The Links Between Energy and Productivity

The links between productivity, sleep, healthy food, exercise and mental health are well-documented and yet they are among the most overlooked productivity boosters out there.  The link between sleep and productivity is well-known, but it can be difficult to stop burning the midnight oil, even though it’s so counterintuitive.

One study found that insomniacs and those with insufficient sleep syndrome (those who fail to get enough sleep at night and are sleep deprived) had significantly worse productivity levels and overall performance compared to those who got more sleep.

And then there’s all of the studies linking certain foods and energy levels. According to the World Health Organization, healthy eating can increase your productivity levels by 20 percent. Although drive-thrus were designed to be efficient, they are backfiring when it comes to productivity.

And, of course, the dreaded topic of exercise. This study compared 200 employees on the days they exercised and the days they didn’t. The results were impressive. 72% reported improvements in time management, while 74% reported better workload management. The scores were also 41% higher on feeling motivated to work, 22% higher for finishing work on time and 21% higher in concentration.

There’s also mental energy that comes into play when it comes to productivity, with studies showing that people only have a limited amount of energy to spend during the day. Once that’s depleted, productivity decreases.

“Manage your energy, not your time.” – Paul Dickey

How to Manage Your Energy Levels

When it comes to getting more sleep, eating healthier and getting more exercise in, you’re likely familiar with the old classics: avoid digital screens an hour or two before going to bed, swap out white carbs for brown carbs, nix the sugar and so on.

Keep in mind many of these elements are interconnected. So, carving out a little bit of time for exercise can help you sleep better at night.

But here is what some of the latest research on the topic has to say.

1. Sleep

Do you have trouble falling asleep once your head hits the pillow? A cognitive scientist has offered a new, drug-free sleep hack called cognitive shuffling that promises to make you fall asleep in mere seconds. The idea is that it lulls you into that foggy state that comes before actual sleep where things stop making sense.

This is how it works: Instead of counting sheep, choose a random word like ‘Productivity.’ Next, come up with new words based on each letter and imagine those words vividly.  By focusing on random words and images, it lulls the brain into that foggy state.

Are you getting enough sunlight exposure in the morning? Sunlight has been linked with better sleep. This helps regulate circadian rhythms. Try taking the dog out for a brisk walk around the block in the morning or drinking your morning cup of coffee on the patio.

2. Diet

The best diet for energy? According to a new study published by American Academy of Neurology, the answer lies in the Mediterranean diet – a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, cereal grains and olive oil and fewer animal products like dairy and fish.

The study, while using a population of older adults, found that they retained more brain volume over three years than those who did not follow the diet as closely. If you can swap out processed foods throughout your work week, your brain will thank you with more brain power throughout the day.

3. Exercise

When we want to get more accomplished in the day, it seems counterintuitive to try to fit in exercise. Nonetheless, new research on the topic is showing you don’t need to spend hours on the treadmill or at the gym in order to unleash the brain-boosting benefits of exercise.

The best kind of exercise for people that don’t have a lot of time? Short bouts of intense exercise. A new study has found that even one minute of exercise – one minute! – has similar health effects to longer endurance training.

If you’re resistant to exercise, a more gentle form of exercise like Hatha yoga has been found to improve brain function and energy levels. The same was true for mindfulness meditation. The study found that all you needed was 25 minutes.

Using your lunch break to do a little bit of mindfulness meditation can help see you through that classic afternoon slump and reach for the coffee pot.

“Exercise should be regarded as tribute to the heart.” – Gene Tunney

4. Mental Health

When it comes to mental energy, it is important to prioritize mental health. A surprising way to boost energy is watching cat videos. One study has found that watching cat videos at your desk improves energy and boosts positive emotions.

The benefits of green space on mental health, including the ability to reduce stress, have been well documented. Whether you add a couple of plants to your desk at work or you walk over to the park on your lunch break, you will leave feeling calmer and ready to take on the rest of your day.

The Takeaway

Before you read the latest and greatest productivity hack, or before you question why you’re not accomplishing enough, ensure that you are managing your physical and mental energy first. This is the number one most overlooked productivity tip out there.

How are you managing your energy throughout the day? Let us know anything you do which you believe can be beneficial to all of us.

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15 Secrets to Creating the Best Version of Yourself

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You have reached the point in your life where you want to change many things and become a better version of yourself. You are not completely satisfied with how things are going at this particular moment and you know that you can be much better. What can be done to make sure that you are becoming the better version of yourself?

Here are 15 ways to create an improved version of you:

1. Ready to start

When you decide to make changes in any sphere of your life, starting usually is one of the most difficult stages. However, to begin doing something means that the job is half done, no matter how difficult the task may be.

2. Be prepared for hard work

Yes, changing your outlook and habits that were forming for many years will not be easy. But if we do want to improve ourselves, we need to realize that a significant amount of effort will be required for a successful outcome.

3. Don’t get overwhelmed

It is great to make a decision to work on yourself and improve your life. However, the idea of doing so might be quite daunting and even seem impossible. The secret is to move in small steps in a determined direction. Along the way, you will get more experience, so you will move faster and more confidently.

4. No fear of failure

The realization that you have made a mistake sometimes is hard to accept and can be devastating. However, you must understand that a mistake is actually a good thing, as it gives you a great opportunity to shine next time, as you already know how to do it right.

5. Give up your pride

If someone is telling you that you’ve done something wrong, it might be difficult to accept those negative comments. Obviously, you want to be viewed as invincible and someone who never makes mistakes. Nonetheless, refusing to accept criticism very often means losing a chance to improve your work.

6. Get rid of unhealthy perfectionism

Striving for excellence in everything is great, but it may become an obstacle. The obsession of being the best in everything is meaningless, as we are all imperfect and sometimes good is more than enough in reaching your goal.

“I made decisions that I regret, and I took them as learning experiences… I’m human, not perfect, like anybody else.” – Queen Latifah

7. Leave the job you hate

The idea of leaving a job for many might sound insane, as a refusal from a stable income seems like an unreasonable thing to do. In fact, what is unreasonable is to stick with the job you hate because of money, as time is actually the most precious currency.

8. Get rid of the toxic environment

Your decision to change yourself for the better will inevitably lead to conflicts with people from your surroundings. There might be many of those who are unhappy with you changing. They will try to drag you down to the previous state of things, so you might need to cease contact with such toxic people.

9. Take time to deal with addictions

If you want to become a better version of yourself, addiction is something that will be one of the biggest obstacles in your way. It deprives you of energy and completely changes the focus of your life. You must deal with it if you are determined to see a better you.

10. Move away from your comfort zone

The feeling of stability and security is great, but moving away from your comfort zone can bring you an immense satisfaction, as you will be able to see yourself from the unknown side. It is obviously frightening and uncomfortable, but you might unleash many amazing traits you never expected to be within you.

11. Start exercising

Yes, we all have heard it for a million times, but exercising is so important that it must be in the list of actions that can make you a better version of yourself. Regular physical activity is one of the factors that changes your mindset and makes your body healthier.

12. Do not wait for the perfect moment

Waiting for the stars to be perfectly aligned is a destructive habit. Time is finite and too precious to waste. There is a chance when you think it is the right moment that it might be too late. Do not hesitate for too long. Act.

13. Take responsibility

We might blame our surroundings and circumstances for what happens in our life. Sometimes we might be inclined to feel that someone can come and make us happy. However, it is important to realize that it is all up to us. We are in charge of our destiny and our happiness depends only on ourselves.

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln

14. Ditch the habit of trying to be in control all the time

If you have the habit as trying to control everything and everyone, you will need to get rid of it. Life is too unpredictable, so trying to be in charge of everything is meaningless and will only get in the way of your personal development.

15. Learn to be positive

Staying upbeat is by far one of the most precious habits you could ever have. Hard times might be inevitable, but the greatest solutions to a problem usually arise when you are looking at a it with a smile.

It is scary to let go of your previous habits and routines which you have become used to over the years. However, if you made a firm decision to change yourself for the better and turn your life around, nothing will stop you. We hope that with the listed ways of improving yourself you will be able to reach your goal and become the best you can be.

Which one of the 15 secrets above will you now implement everyday? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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37 Joe Rogan Quotes That Will Motivate You to Greatness

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Joe Rogan is a stand-up comedian, a figure in the MMA space, and former host of Fear Factor.  But Rogan is more recognized his famous podcast The Joe Rogan Experience which is at the top of many iTunes charts.  Each week, Joe Rogan sits down with a public figure to have a raw conversation to discuss their story, passions, and life in general.  These people range from actors & scientists, to controversial figures in the news.  Rogan is well known for dropping knowledge bombs in his show and is respected & looked up to by people in a variety of spaces as a motivational & inspirational figure. (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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64 Comments

64 Comments

  1. TUSHAR PATIL

    Feb 24, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    it’s not easy to go out of depression. I am going through this phase now. want to get out of it. don’t let it control you keep struggling keep your thought positive. one day will come u will realize its not the end it’s only the bend that god gives you to make you more strong to face life.

  2. Martha

    Mar 2, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I have struggled terribly with anxiety, panic disorder at times, and major depression. I have tried everything that the doctors had to offer. I was tired of being on medication. I talked with my doctor and she reluctantly went along with me to taper off my medications, telling me that I WILL be back and that she wants me to try Lithium when I come back. I have not seen her since the beginning of December 2014 and it is now 3-2-15. I am off everything except I take 1 or 1/2 pill of Klonipin at bedtime. Soon, I will have to stop that as I will have no more pills left. It has not been easy. I ordered a 21 day brain detox program from Dr. Caroline Leaf. It’s an online program to help me change my thought patterns. I have a year’s subscription. I am on my 6th cycle of 21 days. She is a neuroscientist and says there is scientific proof we can change our brain and the chemicals in our brains by eliminating toxic thoughts and building healthy thoughts. It has seemed to help me at times, but I still feel very weak, facing this depression giant. I have sunk into a deep depression the last few days to where I see no reason to be alive. My life is over – I have no purpose, joy, or direction. I stay alone in my little apartment and do not want to go anywhere. It is overwhelming. I am thinking of going to school, a small local university two-year physical therapy assistant program. I am afraid I will not make it. Last Sept. I tried attending a local community college, only enrolled in two courses: math and psychology. I had to drop out. First I fractured my wrist and my other arm was already injured with tennis elbow. I had to use that other, injured arm, which injured it even more. I was always in excruciating pain. I think that was part of it — but I kept struggling along. Then the anxiety and depression took over and even though I was doing well, I dropped out. I couldn’t face it — thinking I was just going to fail. So, I am afraid to go back to school. The jobs I’ve recently had just added to my depression as I was treated horribly. I have never worked with such mean people in all my life! I am wondering where to go from here. I keep plugging along with my 21 day brain detox, but the depression at times is unbearable. I do not want to live and that just completely overwhelms me. I see no reason to be alive. I am just taking up space. I do not want to go back to medications. I would still get depressed on them and the doctors always changed them. I am really struggling right now badly. I pray for a way out – an idea – some inspiration somewhere – some hope – because right now I am living in complete darkness and I know I am not thinking or seeing my life correctly. This is awful. I need help and I do not know where to go, except God. I pray and seek Him daily. I am so tired of depression stopping me from living, that I do not want to live anymore. It is very sad. I am a capable and competent person, but I am not using what I have — I am not living — so why should I even be alive????

    • Ryan

      Apr 30, 2015 at 6:45 am

      Ive been in that situation about 3 years ago, i felt like there was nothing left for me so what was the point right? I still suffer from depression now but thats due to trying to become successfull, the way i got out of the situation of feeling like life was pointless is to get out of the house and just walk, you will be suprised the kinds of people you will meet along the way, i was only 21 at the time and living at home with parents, i used to drink every day but that just made me worse and ill. Once i started getting out and meeting new people my mind was on other things, then by some miracle i met someone, i could tell her all my problems at any time and when someone else understands what your going through it can take so much pressure from you. Since that time i found love, moved out with my girlfriend, got engaged, got a new job and im now in the process of starting my own business and moving to america next year hopefully. So just remember that small step can lead to a new life, just try it and you will be amazed

  3. Sean

    Oct 22, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Excellent article! I recently went through a long phase ( about 2 years) of depression. Before going through it I always considered it a fictional condition or an excuse. Boy was I wrong!! It is an extremely painful situation anyone can go through. After two years now I am recovering and doing much better. I overcame it without any medications strictly through nutrition, meditation, support ( which is critical) and belief in my mission. The moment that changed everything for me was when I realized that depressive thoughts were actually a means to suppress the vicious cycle of the daily grind. The moment you believe you can live the life you want !! Stop thinking it and start living it. Things will get a lot more clear for you and strength will come. Keep fighting everyone life is beautiful and depression is just a teacher :).

  4. Blurblurlimu

    Oct 14, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Hi Daniel,

    I like your phrases “it is ok to struggle, but it is not ok to quit”….

    I truly agreed getting out of bed is a small step, but this small step mean a big achievement to our fighting days. Recently, I have a relapse, I am struggling to leave my bed too every morning now, because I don’t have much energy especially when I wake up, I lost my confidence, I am afraid of the challenges that awaiting me after I leave my bed, and I don’t wish to meet with people too…

    Really struggling….

    When I see you wrote “it is ok to struggle”, I really felt quite comforting…

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Amy

    May 5, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Daniel – A very well written article. One that inspired me to continue to battle depression again. I congratulate you on writing about your experiences with the illness. I hope to be brave enough someday to also share my history and to feel that sense of freedom.

    Thank you for the article.
    Amy

  6. kritika

    May 3, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    i dont understand will this phase pas away or would i be suffering from depression all my life..i feel like my future is too dark,i wont do anything good in my proffesional life nor would i find a spouce..will i end up lonely or miserable!! anybody can please suggest what may i do?? i had decided to end up my life today itself coz i feel lik an insane but just thought to check out if there is any hope left for me…my doc says i should stop my studies coz i am too unstable some times happy other times miserable that i cannot do any thing good with my life,he saus people have to be stable and firm to be successful in carrer and relationships!!so whats the hope for my future?? should i die or try a year more?? please help

    • Blurblurlimu

      Oct 14, 2014 at 5:40 am

      Kritika,

      Have you discussed this with your lecturer or family? If your doctor advised you to stop studying at this moment, may be defer a semester might be an option for you? Then you can take the opportunity to rest and focus on medication or finding a solution for yourself.

      I deferred my study too when I first encountered depression during my tertiary education. Then, I resumed my study after rest for a semester, there were a lot of challenges when I resumed my study because it was indeed quite difficult to catch up especially when we lost the common with our same batch friends. However, I managed to graduate at the end….

      You are not a lone…don’t give up…

    • lavesh

      Nov 20, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      I wish to talk to u personally cause my situation iz same tooo

  7. kin

    May 3, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    i do

  8. ryan

    May 2, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Thank you for this. It reminds me that I can get back to that place of true internal happiness. When times are good they are really good and that should be the focus. If I focus on allowing the bad times and accepting what comes along with it will help significantly. I deserve happiness and so do all of you 🙂

  9. Emily Filloramo

    Apr 20, 2014 at 12:28 am

    I too suffered from depression 10 years ago, precipitated by a toxic situation.

    My psychiatrist said “What trauma are you reliving from your past through this situation that caused you to be depressed?” The lightbulb went off and I realized that the depression was a reflection of the part of me that held the toxic traumas of my childhood which I had conveniently swept under the rug and forgotten about.

    Sweeping our past “under the rug” will eventually bite us in the butt in midlife in the form of some mental or physical health crisis. This is what happened to me in my early 40’s.

    I buried my negative childhood memories, living in “quiet desperation”, pretending that everything was “great!”

    So I healed through “reparenting” the younger parts of me that held faulty beliefs of “I’m not lovable and I’m not enough” and turned those beliefs into “I am lovable, I am awesome, I am enough.” The depression and sleepless nights finally lifted.

    I realize now that the Universe purposely gave me the negative experiences for the evolution of my soul. When I turned 50, I found my life’s calling based on all of my traumatic experiences. Now I am happy beyond belief.

    When you find the gift in the negative experiences and make “lemonade” out of your “lemons”, you will thrive.

    I have a free video trainings on the page below that talks about healing through “Internal Family System” modality of healing and self-leadership.

    http://www.successandjoynow.com/increase-happiness/

    This modality does NOT see depression as a disease – it sees your depressed parts as burdens you are carrying from the young parts of you that were traumatized. When you reparent your traumatized young parts and release the burdens, the sadness and depression will more than likely lift. m/increase-happiness/

    BTW – I spent 10 years selling anti-depressants and bipolar medicines to psychiatrists. These meds take the edge off. They are essentially band-aids. You need to get to the root of the issues that are causing you to feel depressed and heal those wounded parts.

  10. hasibrahman1

    Apr 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

    hermingway was really informational to me.and i felt famouscity is an big deal

  11. Amine AL KADERI (@amindeed)

    Mar 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I was fortunate enough to read your post after a frustrating weekend start.
    Thank you for inspiring and warming me up, Dan! 🙂

    • Dan Grant

      Mar 25, 2014 at 6:10 am

      Thank you for the kind words, Amine 🙂

  12. Npmac

    Mar 23, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Thank you, like it was written for me.

  13. meikedoliver40

    Mar 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Daniel thank you for this great post. I really needed to read this today. I’ve suffered from depression for as long as I can remember and I had it under control for a very long time. Recently it’s slowly crept back in and had me feeling as if everything I wanted in my life just isn’t worth working for. I have been writing in my journal and meditating to get through. It’s good to know that I’m not alone and that I’m not lazy or disinterested in life. Sometimes it’s a struggle to leave the house, it’s a struggle to go hang out, but once I get going….I’m glad that I do! It’s just a mental process sometimes.

    • Dan Grant

      Mar 25, 2014 at 6:08 am

      it’s a tough battle, that’s for sure. One worth working through, though. I’ve been incorporating mediation in my life lately and it’s been awesome. Thanks for your comment!

  14. Dan Grant

    Mar 14, 2014 at 2:46 am

    well said Wally, education is the key for sure!

  15. Wally

    Oct 16, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Thank you Daniel, I have been struggling for years, and must stress that over medication even from a Doctor can be dangerous. Some of the medicines easily make depression worse to the point of suicide even, I found out the hard way. So when treated and you feel like you start to lose interest in normal things while on a medicine stop or taper down no matter what the Doctor says. It just might save you from disaster. My new mission in life now that I am getting better, is to educate and help people become advocates for their mental health because of the stigma and the embarrassment causes one to be even more powerless in their recovery. Do research on anything that is given to you and know the risks even more than your doctor. Educate them whenever possible, especially if they are respectful and listen; the kind you want in the first place. I can not stress them enough. Most of these people have no idea what its like to have these problems and live on sometimes crippling medications. Learn everything about them, visit forums where others share experience with respect and always remember the rule of the benefits has to ALWAYS outweigh the risk of any treatment EVER. So learn the short and long term effects of anything that is ever prescribed. There is a disorder related to every human emotion that is natural in most cases that has a medication that will be pushed whenever possible because of negative business practice. Like going into a shady mechanic to have your oil changed only to find out you need a new this and that and this worked on; I’ m telling you from vast experience that you can experience the same thing with your brain every time you go into one of these treatment centers. Do your homework and always know more and good luck, you will move forward.

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Life

3 Ingredients to Create the Life of Your Dreams

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Let’s bake a cake! This recipe calls for three simple ingredients: one cup of Courage, two tablespoons of Initiative, and three teaspoons of Will. You can put the money, education, and physical attractiveness back in the refrigerator. They can help improve the taste or quality, but they are not required to bake this cake. The cake is a metaphor for the life of your dreams. If you want to create massive achievement in your life, you will need to obtain courage, initiative, and will.

The main ingredients of courage, initiative, and will are fundamental to long term-achievement. You need the courage to start. The initiative is necessary to think outside the box. Will is required to continue when it gets tough.

Whether we are talking about achieving long-term happiness via a personal relationship or individual experiences, the ingredients mentioned above can significantly increase your chances of obtaining the life of your dreams. You aren’t born with courage, initiative, or will. In fact, you are born with fear, reluctance, and other mechanisms designed to keep you safe. However, with an intentional mindset guided by positive optimism, these characteristics can be grown and cultivated in a garden of possibilities for your life!  

How can you acquire courage, initiative, and will? Check out my 3 tips below:

1. Travel or better yet move out of the country

Yes, I will give you a moment to reread the line above. My first recommendation is for you to travel or ideally move out of the country! Travel and undeniably relocating outside of the country you were born in, requires courage. You must be brave to face the unknown, and there is no better way to do this other than to get out of your comfortable home environment and see the world. The experiences with traveling or moving will automatically build the courage within you to reach toward the achievements that you desire in life.  

“Dare to live the life you’ve always wanted.”

2. Learn a new language

Ideally, with the recommendation from number one, you will choose a location where a language other than your native tongue is spoken. With language acquisition, the learner must develop a spirit of initiative to do something that is not required. You can live your entire life and only communicate in one language, or you can expand your horizon and do something different. To become fluent in a new language will not be easy; the life of your dreams is worth the fight. The process of learning a language will attract the necessary skill set that accompanies initiative and ties in within my final recommendation.

3. Fail as often as possible

In traveling and undeniably with learning a new language, you will make mistakes. If you are not failing in the process of adjusting to a different culture, which will occur in traveling and language acquisition, you are doing something wrong! You must fail to adapt and ideally this will happen as frequent as possible. This does not mean that you look to fail. It does mean that you understand failure as an opportunity to learn. Failure builds your ability to develop the power of will. Possessing will can enable you to learn from your mistakes, improve, and keep pushing toward the achievements that can create the life of your dreams.  

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” – Gerard Way

If you put courage, initiative, and will into the oven responsible for making your dreams become a reality, you will be successful. It will not be easy. Occasionally you will become frustrated and want to open the door and see what’s taking so long for the cake or the life you desire. However, just stay the course and allow courage, initiative, and will to blend and bring into fruition the life of your dreams.

What other ingredients would you add?  Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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5 Skills You and Your Partner Need to Master to Become an Unstoppable Power Couple

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Power Couples: Those two words have to be the sexiest two words in the business world when placed together. What’s even sexier is when OTHERS label you and your significant other as a power couple.

I pride myself on being able to call my girlfriend and I a power couple. We are always on the same wavelength when it comes to goals, ambitions, and our vision. While we weren’t always such a strong couple, what it took to get to that point was a long journey of daily commitment and consistency.

In this article, I am going to share with you what has worked for our relationship over the past 6 years. While most of us feel we can run our business on our own, there are many that wish their significant other were just as involved and passionate about entrepreneurship as we are.

Stay focused on these five power couple truths and watch your relationship and businesses thrive:

1. Shared Vision & Goals

A couple should share a similar vision. Two people with a shared vision is so powerful because both people can always hold each other accountable for their goals in order to achieve that shared vision. If one person cannot buy into the other person’s vision, there won’t be the full support of the actions steps and the process it takes to achieve those goals. I personally love the fact that my girlfriend and I share a similar vision.

“The more people you help become successful the more successful you become.” – Steve Harvey

2. Effective Communication

Business or not, people need to be able to communicate effectively, which was extremely difficult to me when I first got into business. I mean, come on; up until I was 28 years old, I never even knew what “networking” was. However, over time within the business community I learned that communication in relationships is just as paramount as in business. Through solid and effective communication we have been able to understand each other’s struggles more, which has led us to daily masterminding sessions and a growth in our shared vision, mindset, and businesses.

3. Personal Development

Personal development is crucial in business and as a power couple. Being able to grow together professionally and intellectually is such an awarding feeling in my relationship. If you are both learning and growing together, imagine how strong your two minds are together. It’s a proven fact amongst entrepreneurs that focusing on personal growth builds confidence and a strong mindset. Multiply that strong mindset by two and you have one hell of a  power couple, ready to take over the world.

4. Quality Time

If you’re in an entrepreneurial relationship, chances are you have had challenges at times when it comes to quality time with your significant other. Hey, I understand. We all have a “Love for the Hustle,” and so does my significant other. She comes from an entrepreneur household and can hustle with the best of us. So the key to making sure we have our quality time is all based on time management. Remember folks, priorities first.

Although you may be supportive and you are okay with less quality time or cancelled dates, always stick to your values to each other and what’s most important to you both and your shared vision and goals. A power couple is only a power couple because of how strong and committed the two are to their relationship just as much as their business.

They know when to turn off the phone and make time for each other genuinely. Remember, with that also includes effective communication to get schedules aligned.

“The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.” – Tony Robbins

5. Endless Support & Encouragement

A true power couple cannot stress how much support and understanding there has to be in their relationship. When you’re on the grind and you hit those roadblocks, not too many people are in your corner. As for me though, when I hit those rough chapters in business, other than my mastermind group, I know there is always one person I can count on to always have my back and bring me back into high spirits and push me further than the day before.

Bottom line, a power couple is a couple that are truly confident in their relationship and in business. Two people in a relationship with a shared goal, vision, and mindset are more powerful than business partners. You both know more about each other than you would even care to know about your business partner and accept each other through all the flaws and mistakes.

There is an unspoken commitment that goes beyond business or friendships. In my experience, being with someone who has just as much hustle as me has been a blessing. There aren’t questions about what time I will be home or who I am meeting. We know we are committed to one another and also hustling for a shared vision or our future.

What are some relationship goals every power couple should have?  Comment below!

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4 Research-Backed Ways to Improve Your Productivity Today

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We are always looking for how we can fit more into our days and weeks, eager to try the newest productivity tip that comes our way, just like the newest fad diet. The pomodoro technique? Check. Waking up at 4am like Apple CEO Tim Cook? Tried it. The ‘throw out your to-do list’ productivity tip? Tried that one, too.

And yet we’re still looking for the productivity hack, that magic pill promising to will us into action toward the goal of checking everything off our to-do list by the day’s end.

But, here’s the thing. Before you can even think about trying the latest tips and tricks on the productivity front, you have to change your thinking about productivity. In other words, you have to start thinking of managing your energy first – not time itself.

The forces that provide energy – namely, your body and your mind, need to be the starting points. It’s the number one most overlooked productivity tip out there.

The Links Between Energy and Productivity

The links between productivity, sleep, healthy food, exercise and mental health are well-documented and yet they are among the most overlooked productivity boosters out there.  The link between sleep and productivity is well-known, but it can be difficult to stop burning the midnight oil, even though it’s so counterintuitive.

One study found that insomniacs and those with insufficient sleep syndrome (those who fail to get enough sleep at night and are sleep deprived) had significantly worse productivity levels and overall performance compared to those who got more sleep.

And then there’s all of the studies linking certain foods and energy levels. According to the World Health Organization, healthy eating can increase your productivity levels by 20 percent. Although drive-thrus were designed to be efficient, they are backfiring when it comes to productivity.

And, of course, the dreaded topic of exercise. This study compared 200 employees on the days they exercised and the days they didn’t. The results were impressive. 72% reported improvements in time management, while 74% reported better workload management. The scores were also 41% higher on feeling motivated to work, 22% higher for finishing work on time and 21% higher in concentration.

There’s also mental energy that comes into play when it comes to productivity, with studies showing that people only have a limited amount of energy to spend during the day. Once that’s depleted, productivity decreases.

“Manage your energy, not your time.” – Paul Dickey

How to Manage Your Energy Levels

When it comes to getting more sleep, eating healthier and getting more exercise in, you’re likely familiar with the old classics: avoid digital screens an hour or two before going to bed, swap out white carbs for brown carbs, nix the sugar and so on.

Keep in mind many of these elements are interconnected. So, carving out a little bit of time for exercise can help you sleep better at night.

But here is what some of the latest research on the topic has to say.

1. Sleep

Do you have trouble falling asleep once your head hits the pillow? A cognitive scientist has offered a new, drug-free sleep hack called cognitive shuffling that promises to make you fall asleep in mere seconds. The idea is that it lulls you into that foggy state that comes before actual sleep where things stop making sense.

This is how it works: Instead of counting sheep, choose a random word like ‘Productivity.’ Next, come up with new words based on each letter and imagine those words vividly.  By focusing on random words and images, it lulls the brain into that foggy state.

Are you getting enough sunlight exposure in the morning? Sunlight has been linked with better sleep. This helps regulate circadian rhythms. Try taking the dog out for a brisk walk around the block in the morning or drinking your morning cup of coffee on the patio.

2. Diet

The best diet for energy? According to a new study published by American Academy of Neurology, the answer lies in the Mediterranean diet – a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, cereal grains and olive oil and fewer animal products like dairy and fish.

The study, while using a population of older adults, found that they retained more brain volume over three years than those who did not follow the diet as closely. If you can swap out processed foods throughout your work week, your brain will thank you with more brain power throughout the day.

3. Exercise

When we want to get more accomplished in the day, it seems counterintuitive to try to fit in exercise. Nonetheless, new research on the topic is showing you don’t need to spend hours on the treadmill or at the gym in order to unleash the brain-boosting benefits of exercise.

The best kind of exercise for people that don’t have a lot of time? Short bouts of intense exercise. A new study has found that even one minute of exercise – one minute! – has similar health effects to longer endurance training.

If you’re resistant to exercise, a more gentle form of exercise like Hatha yoga has been found to improve brain function and energy levels. The same was true for mindfulness meditation. The study found that all you needed was 25 minutes.

Using your lunch break to do a little bit of mindfulness meditation can help see you through that classic afternoon slump and reach for the coffee pot.

“Exercise should be regarded as tribute to the heart.” – Gene Tunney

4. Mental Health

When it comes to mental energy, it is important to prioritize mental health. A surprising way to boost energy is watching cat videos. One study has found that watching cat videos at your desk improves energy and boosts positive emotions.

The benefits of green space on mental health, including the ability to reduce stress, have been well documented. Whether you add a couple of plants to your desk at work or you walk over to the park on your lunch break, you will leave feeling calmer and ready to take on the rest of your day.

The Takeaway

Before you read the latest and greatest productivity hack, or before you question why you’re not accomplishing enough, ensure that you are managing your physical and mental energy first. This is the number one most overlooked productivity tip out there.

How are you managing your energy throughout the day? Let us know anything you do which you believe can be beneficial to all of us.

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15 Secrets to Creating the Best Version of Yourself

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the best version of yourself

You have reached the point in your life where you want to change many things and become a better version of yourself. You are not completely satisfied with how things are going at this particular moment and you know that you can be much better. What can be done to make sure that you are becoming the better version of yourself?

Here are 15 ways to create an improved version of you:

1. Ready to start

When you decide to make changes in any sphere of your life, starting usually is one of the most difficult stages. However, to begin doing something means that the job is half done, no matter how difficult the task may be.

2. Be prepared for hard work

Yes, changing your outlook and habits that were forming for many years will not be easy. But if we do want to improve ourselves, we need to realize that a significant amount of effort will be required for a successful outcome.

3. Don’t get overwhelmed

It is great to make a decision to work on yourself and improve your life. However, the idea of doing so might be quite daunting and even seem impossible. The secret is to move in small steps in a determined direction. Along the way, you will get more experience, so you will move faster and more confidently.

4. No fear of failure

The realization that you have made a mistake sometimes is hard to accept and can be devastating. However, you must understand that a mistake is actually a good thing, as it gives you a great opportunity to shine next time, as you already know how to do it right.

5. Give up your pride

If someone is telling you that you’ve done something wrong, it might be difficult to accept those negative comments. Obviously, you want to be viewed as invincible and someone who never makes mistakes. Nonetheless, refusing to accept criticism very often means losing a chance to improve your work.

6. Get rid of unhealthy perfectionism

Striving for excellence in everything is great, but it may become an obstacle. The obsession of being the best in everything is meaningless, as we are all imperfect and sometimes good is more than enough in reaching your goal.

“I made decisions that I regret, and I took them as learning experiences… I’m human, not perfect, like anybody else.” – Queen Latifah

7. Leave the job you hate

The idea of leaving a job for many might sound insane, as a refusal from a stable income seems like an unreasonable thing to do. In fact, what is unreasonable is to stick with the job you hate because of money, as time is actually the most precious currency.

8. Get rid of the toxic environment

Your decision to change yourself for the better will inevitably lead to conflicts with people from your surroundings. There might be many of those who are unhappy with you changing. They will try to drag you down to the previous state of things, so you might need to cease contact with such toxic people.

9. Take time to deal with addictions

If you want to become a better version of yourself, addiction is something that will be one of the biggest obstacles in your way. It deprives you of energy and completely changes the focus of your life. You must deal with it if you are determined to see a better you.

10. Move away from your comfort zone

The feeling of stability and security is great, but moving away from your comfort zone can bring you an immense satisfaction, as you will be able to see yourself from the unknown side. It is obviously frightening and uncomfortable, but you might unleash many amazing traits you never expected to be within you.

11. Start exercising

Yes, we all have heard it for a million times, but exercising is so important that it must be in the list of actions that can make you a better version of yourself. Regular physical activity is one of the factors that changes your mindset and makes your body healthier.

12. Do not wait for the perfect moment

Waiting for the stars to be perfectly aligned is a destructive habit. Time is finite and too precious to waste. There is a chance when you think it is the right moment that it might be too late. Do not hesitate for too long. Act.

13. Take responsibility

We might blame our surroundings and circumstances for what happens in our life. Sometimes we might be inclined to feel that someone can come and make us happy. However, it is important to realize that it is all up to us. We are in charge of our destiny and our happiness depends only on ourselves.

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln

14. Ditch the habit of trying to be in control all the time

If you have the habit as trying to control everything and everyone, you will need to get rid of it. Life is too unpredictable, so trying to be in charge of everything is meaningless and will only get in the way of your personal development.

15. Learn to be positive

Staying upbeat is by far one of the most precious habits you could ever have. Hard times might be inevitable, but the greatest solutions to a problem usually arise when you are looking at a it with a smile.

It is scary to let go of your previous habits and routines which you have become used to over the years. However, if you made a firm decision to change yourself for the better and turn your life around, nothing will stop you. We hope that with the listed ways of improving yourself you will be able to reach your goal and become the best you can be.

Which one of the 15 secrets above will you now implement everyday? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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