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6 Strategic Life Lessons From Game Of Thrones: Season 5

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6 Strategic Life Lessons From Game Of Thrones: Season 5

You’re probably thinking ‘how on Earth could the tv show Game Of Thrones help me achieve success?’ – but bear with me. I have identified 6 key strategic life lessons that can be learned from season 5 that directly relates to you and the situations you’ll encounter on your journey to success.

The last episode of season 5 of Game of Thrones was shocking for another time. In surprise of the series fans who haven’t read the books, Jon Snow was betrayed by a gathered group of the Night’s Watch men who stabbed him until he fall dead on the ground.

It seems that JRR Martin likes killing an important member of the Stark family in the end of each season. But the death of Jon Snow wasn’t the only remarkable happening in the last episode of season 5. Stannis attempted to attack Winterfell after the snowstorm ended and the snow began to melt.

Did I mention that he sacrificed his daughter to the Gods because his Witch lover told him this was the only way to win Winterfell? Unfortunately, it all ended in a disaster for Stannis. Then we saw Myrsella Lannister dying from the poison Ellaria Sand(Oberyn’s wife) gave her from a simple kiss in the mouth!

This was just a small recap to get into the main subject. Game of Thrones is a very intriguing series with a plot that really represents situations from real life. Betrayals from friends and brothers, terrible fathers and revenge are very common in real life as well.

Let’s see what strategy lessons the last episode of Game of Thrones and Jon Snow’s death can teach us:

 

1. People who are close to you because of your money will abandon you in the first difficulty

Stannis believed that his daughter sacrifice was enough to help him attack and conquer Winterfell. He also believed that an army of mercenary cavalry would really help him become a king. But as soon as his army encountered a heavy blizzard his mercenaries were looking for the first chance to abandon him.

Who would risk his own benefits (life) in front of a monetary reward that wasn’t even sure? Stannis would need to pass a lot of struggles before he could become a king. His paid army left him as soon as the heavy snowstorm ended. Then Stannis army was decreased by 50%.

This applies in real life too. When you keep people close to you because you offer them money in exchange for their alliance or relationship don’t expect these people to help you get through hardships.

They will be close to you as long as you provide them with what they need (money) but they will leave you alone when they see that you can’t offer them money and luxury anymore.

Friendships and alliances built up on money are completely unreliable.

 

2. Don’t make hasty decisions & don’t be afraid to take a step backwards

Stannis did another terrible mistake in the last episode. Even after his army abandoned him, he decided to attack Winterfell anyway. How could he do otherwise? He has been told that sacrificing his daughter would help him win Winterfell no matter what.

As soon as he faced another tragedy, namely his wife’s suicide, his mind was obfuscated. His critical sense was absent and he took the hurried decision to attack Winterfell with an unmounted army which was exhausted from the cold. The defenders of Winterfell were well prepared and mounted. As a result they crushed Stannis unmounted army.

When you encounter a huge difficulty or a series of tragedies (ie something like Stannis’s daughter death, wife suicide & being abandoned by his cavalry) the best decision you can make is to just wait.

Wait until your mind is clear and you are not emotionally affected by your failures. Take a step back and reorganize yourself. Don’t rush to make the decision to move forward and attack because you will end up beaten like Stannis was.

“And a step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.” – Kurt Vonnegut

3. You can’t trust anyone

I know this sounds harsh but nobody is 100% reliable, even your own family and friends. Sure people in your close environment care for you and will be more likely to help you, but how many times were you disappointed by someone, a friend of yours or relative, who didn’t do what he was supposed to do to help you?

People are very selfish, that’s the ugly truth. Trusting others without consideration or back up plans will cause you a lot of harm.

In particular, don’t trust people who have repeatedly disappointed you, betrayed you or tried to harm you in the past. Myrsella died from the poison that Ellaria Sand gave her by kissing her in the mouth to say her goodbye.

Elarria had tried to kill Myrsella before and she still wanted to take revenge from Myrsella’s family even if she said that she was sorry for her actions. Myrsella should never have trusted Ellaria’s words of repentance. If she had never trusted her she would have never kissed her and she would be still alive.

In addition, Jon Snow believed his steward Olly when he told him that a missing relative of his was alive. He didn’t take some time to think if he could trust Olly’s statement and driven by his emotions he followed Olly into a trap that lead to his death.

 

4. It’s the quiet ones that you have got to watch

The High Sparrow (what a foolish name) was given authority from Queen Cersei and King Tommen and was appointed High Septon (position of supreme authority in GOT church).

This old man was originally a humble septon who preached equality among all men and helped the poor while he was living a humble life. He seemed like a harmless old man. As he was gathering followers around him he became the leader of a movement called the Sparrows and due to Queen Cersei’s influence, he became the head of the church.

This position along with his steel personality made a guiltless old man a person who doesn’t bow to authority, someone who can’t be intimidated or threatened. As a result Queen Cersei who has made the mistake to give him this huge power was imprisoned by the Sparrows because of her previous sins. She was tortured and then humiliated in front of countless people.

Sometimes people who seem very guiltless, people who you think could never do any harm, are the ones that you should be afraid of. You have to watch them really closely and be careful about giving them power because you don’t know how they will use it.

 

5. Build your body

Ancient Greeks said that mens sana in corpore sano which means that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind and vice versa. Building your physique and doing some strength training to empower your body is essential for success.

Through exercising you learn how to develop discipline and focus, overcome obstacles, set up goals and achieve them. You also develop the physical power to accompany your brain’s power as well as the attractiveness derived from a well-built physique.

Why do you think that Spartans were so disciplined and one of the most powerful civilizations ever lived? They believed that working out and developing their bodies is essential for success.

In the last episode of Game of thrones we saw Sam (Jon Snow fat friend) asking Jon to let him leave the Night’s Watch and Castle Black to go and study to become a Maester (a man wise in history, science and medicine).

The reason behind Sam’s motive was mostly to protect his lover Gilly from the other men in Castle Black (who were not allowed to have sexual contact with women but would like to). Sam is a very smart guy but he is also extremely fat and weak and couldn’t physically protect Gilly and her baby from them.

He was badly beaten up when he tried to protect them and he would have died if Jon Snow’s wolf hadn’t saved him. If Sam had focused on building his body and learned to use it, he would have the power to protect his lover.

This doesn’t mean that you need to lift weights and become huge in real life to fight and beat other people. Our society is a little more civilized but even in the case you would need to do that, a strong and muscular body would help instead of a weak, fat one.

Either way, exercising and building your body can only offer you several significant benefits. It’s far better than sitting on the couch eating pizzas and burgers. It feels awesome.

Reading

6. Jon Snow dies because of lack of communication skills

Jon did the terrible mistake to help the wildlings and bring them to Castle Black. Jon’s decision was well-intentioned and kind because he saved a ton of lives but his “brothers” in the Night Watch didn’t think the same. The Night Watch was fighting for years with the wildlings and many of the Night’s Watch brothers were killed in these fights.

Even the fact that he was lord commander of the Night Watch didn’t make its members accept his decision to help the wildlings. They considered him a traitor.

Jon Snow dies in Game of Thrones because of his lack of understanding the feelings of the other men in the Night Watch. He knew that they would feel betrayed but he didn’t do anything to fix the situation. Maybe the situation could never be fixed but he could still try to change their feelings.

If this didn’t work then he should be ultra cautious and careful. When you know that some dozens of people hate you and want to harm you, you must be perspicacious enough to recognize the threat and try to avoid potential dangers.

The same can happen in business, politics and every form of leadership in real life. Being a leader is tough and sometimes you might need to make decisions that will make people angry. If you don’t take measures to reduce their feelings of anger or prevent harmful situations you might end up losing a lot of money or even your work.

 

Thanks for reading my article! What did you learn from Game Of Thrones: Season 5? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!

Damian is the owner of DareandConquer.com, a blog dedicated to help people go from mediocre to exceptional. You can download his FREE E-Book to learn how you can become more disciplined, focused and beat procrastination.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Abel Solomon

    Jul 1, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Very good article, I love how you linked it all together, please do one for Breaking Bad there is so much one can learn from Walt`s character. Me personally as a Christian I put my confidence in God because I know he will never let me down, we were not made to trust completely in our own abilities and intellect but to depend on God by faith. Sorry if some don’t believe or agree with this view.

    Psalm 118- 8

    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

  2. Anushka

    Jun 28, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    The last bullet point on Jon Snows communication skills is stella, I love it so much that when I read it I laughed out loud. Even thought it was a solid strategy that Jon Snow had, he lacked empathy for the very men he was trying to motivate. Men who were already on the fence about ability to lead in the first place… Great life lesson, lack of empathy kills… Great article !

  3. Daithi

    Jun 27, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Nice observations and well crafted.

    To contribute:
    1. Agree. As the Beatles said, “money can’t buy me love”. Stannis’ decision to burn his daughter also burned his relationship with his army. Although it was alledged, they weren’t privy to her blood magic and had no reason to believe that the sacrifice would result in victory. The sacrifice itself served as the catalyst for mass exodus and ultimately defeat.

    2. Agree. Stannis had lost his mind at this stage. All his family relationships ended as a result of his delusions towards power. A man on his last legs resigned to finishing his last fight.

    3. Disagree. You can trust some people. You just can’t trust all people. In fact, you can’t trust most people, so mostly agree but just disagreeing for the sake of difference.

    4. Agree. Especially the smart, principled, disciplined, erudite, wise, cunning and quiet ones.

    5. Does Sam even lift bro?

    6. In the end, Jon Snow did prove that he did in fact, know nothing… about understanding the depth and range of emotion among the men he commanded. He was a young educated bastard of a well respected noble. His men were likely a range of betrayed royal courteseans and condenmed men. He assumed that his men would follow a similar line of thinking and emotional development as he did through his relationship with the girl. Most of his men had never touched a woman. Their raw bitter hatred of the Wildlings was lifted from them and transferred onto Snow. It was more than he could carry. He fell.

    • Damian Pros

      Jun 28, 2015 at 5:53 am

      Hey Daithi,

      This was a very insightful comment! Absolutely well said.

      As for the 3rd point: of course there are people that you can trust and depend on more than others. But sometimes the only person you can rely on 100% is yourself.

  4. Lawrence Berry

    Jun 27, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    This was a very interesting article. I surely do watch the game of thrones when I get the chance to. I think some of these you hit right on the money. Number 1 is very true. Your real friends would never abandon you, and the people you have by your side because of the monetary value you give them, will never be truly faithful to you. It is very interesting though that you look at the high sparrow in such a negative way. I thought he was just really a guy who worshiped the Gods before anyone else. The Queen was the bad one in my eyes. It was still nice to see a different perspective of things.

    • Damian Pros

      Jun 27, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      Hey lawrence, thanks for leaving your opinion. You are spot on what you said about money.

      Concerning the High Sparrow, I don’t know man, maybe I don’t like him because of the hilarious name. Why on earth call your self sparrow? Even if the queen was the bad one I don’t think she deserved that kind of humiliation.

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Life

Don’t Like Your Story? Here Are 8 Steps to Reboot Your Life and Start Again

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Create your own story
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Most of the habits, routines, and rituals we practice as adults were learned at an early age. Some of these behaviors serve us well while others create barriers to our personal progress and professional success. And though it’s true that you aren’t responsible for all the awful lessons you might have learned during your youth, as an adult you are ultimately accountable for your choices and habits.

So, what happens when much of what you learned was essential to your childhood survival but is now getting in the way of your ability to thrive? You … can start … again.

Here are eight steps to help you launch your new mindset:

1. Write a deep and meaningful love letter to yourself

Grab a pen and some paper, turn on some relaxing music, get in a comfortable position, and get prepared to write the most profound and meaningful letter of your life. As you begin to write, try to recall your childhood hopes and dreams. Write about the level of commitment you will make to yourself. Write about how you’ll forgive and help yourself stand whenever life knocks you down. When you write, be as detailed as possible. Your love letter will have a tremendous ongoing impact on your life. Don’t rush through it. Just sit with your thoughts for a while.

2. Nurture yourself like a well-loved child

See your younger self as a child that you are responsible for protecting, nurturing, guiding and providing care for. Make it a habit of speaking lovingly and kindly to the child you carry within you. Your interactions with the world can be rough, but you can choose gentleness when caring for your own emotional well-being.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

3. Use a vision board to practice visualization

A vision board is used to display images representing whatever you want to be, do or have in your life. Similar to visualization, vision boards work in line with the principles of The Law of Attraction. Create a vision board and let your imagination soar. Free your mind to allow for every possibility. Know there are no limits except the ones you have imagined.

4. Take your visualization to epic proportions by writing your future story

This exercise is in line with the work you’ve done on your vision board. It’s about hoping for the future and believing in yourself. As you write your future story, you’ll need to abandon your self-limiting beliefs. Tell the story as you would to a friend who hasn’t seen you in five or more years. As you write your future story, share the achievements that made you proud and tell your friend about the many changes you have made and the obstacles you overcame to get where you are in that moment.

5. Invest in a planner/journal and take your dreams from wishing to measurable goals

Planners and journals are great tools that are too often overlooked. There’s a belief that, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and also a belief that “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Planners help to minimize the risk of failure by helping you identify milestones and tackle potential issues. Working with a journal also helps you to document wins, work through challenges and brainstorm solutions. As you use your planner, revisit your vision board and future story and bring it all together.

6. Make your home, and workspaces work for you

Whether it’s your home or workspace, make it personal, nurturing, supportive and comfortable. These are the spaces where you live out your days. Every sight, sound, and smell has an effect on both your body and mind. Make your areas work to empower you, boost your productivity, and nurture your imagination. Make it look and feel like the you that you are striving to become.

7. Show yourself love by practicing excellent self-care

If you want to test your self-love, look at how well you practice self-care. We give time and attention to the things we care most about. And we tend to care most about the things we give our time and attention to. Practicing self-care includes getting enough physical activity, eating well, caring for our emotional well-being, being kind to ourselves with our self-talk and doing the extras like caring for our skin and getting massages. The last two items might appear minor, but notice how much we tend to touch those we love.

“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” – Diane Von Furstenberg

8. Develop and practice a ritual with mantras, motivation, and meditation

Why mantras, motivation, and meditation? Mantras because you can make mindset changes by repeating motivational and empowering phrases to connect with your thoughts and rewrite your subconscious beliefs. Motivation because you can seek clarity in your goals and empower yourself to take action to achieve your dreams. Meditation because you can strive to feel centered and find peace of mind.

Reboot your life and begin again by retraining your brain to adopt a healthier, more positive mindset and discovering more functional habits. Give these eight recommendations a shot, then pay close attention to the changes you’ll begin to notice within your mind, throughout your body, and in your surroundings.

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Life

10 Tips to Create Time and Space for Both Your Goals and Your Loved Ones

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Let’s face it, there are only 24 hours in a day and we all have the same 24 hours. How we spend those 24 hours will determine how much we have to show for them. Whether you are just starting out on a new venture, or perhaps you are taking an existing project or business to the next level, it takes a lot of time, energy and commitment to make it happen. But our personal relationships take the same components to function happily as well.

Here are some helpful tips to help you focus and plan ahead so that you can be your best self in all  areas of your life, without feeling depleted or guilty:

1. Write down your top 3 goals/priorities that you want to focus on this year

Do not list more than 3 – if you have more than 3 major goals then you may be overwhelming yourself and spreading your energy and time too thin.

2. Make 2 lists: Personal and professional goal-related activities

List all the things that you do in each category, so that you can see exactly what tasks you are currently handling in each category. For example, you may be married and also starting a business as a holistic coach. In the personal column, you may list that your spouse expects you to make dinner, and the grocery shopping – as well as have quality time to relax together after dinner.

In the professional column, your list of activities and tasks may include scheduling client appointments, attending networking events, bookkeeping, making sales calls, etc. When you put these lists next to each other, you quickly see that you have way too much on your plate, and that some of these tasks need to be delegated or eliminated.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

3. Go through each list and mark each task in order of importance

Use the hospital triage system: indicate which activities are most urgent and important by putting a #1 next to them and a #2 next to the tasks that are vital but not urgent, and a #3 next to the ones that need to be handled, but are easy to reschedule. Place the letter D next to all tasks that can be handed over, and simply cross out the tasks that you need to stop doing because they are no longer in alignment with your goals.

4. Use a calendar or day planner

It can be an electronic calendar, or a paper one. Do not use pen – you will need to erase things and move them around to honor your need for flexibility and the ever-changing nature of life.

5. In your calendar, make actual appointments that include start and end times to accomplish your #1 tasks

For example, if your business relies on you making sales calls, then that would be a #1 task that needs to have a home in your schedule with actual times allotted for it. Once you have scheduled all of your #1 tasks (both personal and professional), then proceed to entering in the #2 and #3 tasks.

6. Make your time with loved ones a #1 priority and schedule it in!

If it’s not written down or entered on your calendar, then it is just a good intention…it’s not real unless it’s on the books! For example, you could plan your schedule so that your work is completed most days by 6pm, and that all the time after that hour is designated time with your loved ones. Guard this time carefully.

7. Be in communication

Let your colleagues, clients, friends and family know what you are trying to accomplish and that you intend to be present to everyone – including yourself. Be honest about your challenges and stay focused on the goals rather than distracted by the obstacles.

There will be times when your schedule will need to change or you will have to cancel something. Don’t make it wrong, just clean it up and explain to all parties. Also, ask the people in your life what they need and expect from you as well. Don’t feel pressured to be a mind-reader or a people-pleaser.

“People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.” – Brian Tracy

8. Be flexible

Life is constantly moving, changing and growing. Stuff happens. Don’t schedule yourself so tightly that you can’t make adjustments when life throws you a curve ball. Give yourself the gift of structure and discipline so that you may experience the freedom it creates for you. But don’t become a task-master, where your schedule becomes a slave driver. Instead, master your tasks so that you can work smarter, not harder.

9. Be realistic and ask for help when you need it

If your goals are quite lofty, then you may need to let go of a lot of extraneous activity in order to accomplish them. Also, you may simply not have a lot of free time! Continuously check in with yourself to see if you are willing to be, do and have all that will be demanded of you in order to achieve your goals. You don’t have to give up just because it’s hard, but you may need to course-correct from time to time to stay in alignment with your authentic desires.

10. Keep an open mind and your eye on the prize

You really can have it all – but maybe not all at the same time. By choosing what you wish to focus on and giving each task a home in your calendar, you will begin to get more done in less time because you are focusing your energy on very specific types of activity.

Prioritizing goals, organizing your time and writing things down so that you can see it all in front of you is a great way to get clear, efficient and effective. Being in communication with the people in your life is the key to things working more smoothly.

And remember, it’s not about perfection. Focus on your sense of purpose and your progress instead, and you will create more space in your mind for new possibilities.

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Life

Are Your SMART Goals Keeping You Stuck in Mediocrity?

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SMART Goals – they are often seen as the gospel in the personal and professional development industry for goal setting, but are they doing more harm than good? For the most part, I can appreciate the motivation behind setting SMART goals. Do we need goals that are specific, measurable, actionable and time based? Absolutely! My sticking point, however, comes to the “realistic” part.

I don’t like the word realistic. To be realistic means to create a glass ceiling on our capabilities. “Realistic” says that there is a limit to what we can achieve. And yet time and again throughout history, we’ve watched human beings achieve feats that aren’t realistic.

It certainly wasn’t realistic to think that, in the midst of the Great Depression, that a man could build a now multi-billion-dollar company from an animated mouse. It’s not realistic to think that a single mother, who could only write her stories on the bus to and from work each day, would go on to create a billion-dollar empire in Harry Potter. And it certainly isn’t realistic to think that a boy who dropped out of school at 16 because of his struggle with dyslexia could go on to be one of the world’s biggest business moguls today – owning planes, building spaceships and a slew of other companies.

And yet, Walt Disney, JK Rowling and Sir Richard Branson have all created these legacies. All because they dared to be unrealistic, and to believe in their vision. I’ve heard coaches tell their clients that a goal isn’t realistic. I’ve had coaches tell me the same. I’ve listened as my clients tell me their dreams, only to follow it up with “…but I don’t think that’s realistic.” Who am I, and who are you, to say whether a goal is realistic or not?

So, if we’re not completely following SMART goals, how should our goal setting look instead? See below for the 3 step process that will change your life!

1. Follow Stephen Covey’s advice and begin with the end in mind

What is your vision? Write it down, draw it if you need. Be specific. Give as much of the minute detail as possible. Define vague terms like “successful”, “wealthy” or “freedom”. Still give these terms a measure – is successful making a $100,000 or $1 million? Is that before tax or after?

“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.” – Jim Rohn

2. Now, break it down

Having worked in the fitness industry for a long time, I know that one of the main issues in goal setting is that people focus on the wrong thing. They tend to look at the big goal they’ve set, not the next step. Think about it, when you climb a mountain, do you stare at the top, or do you look at where your next step needs to be?

Looking at the summit makes the entire climb daunting. It can seem so far away and out of reach. The same is true for our goals. If we’re looking at the “top” – say having a million dollars in the bank while we’re still at the bottom with $100 to our name, or an internationally run business while still working out of our parent’s garage – that gap can seem impossible to overcome.

Once you know where you’re heading, you need to break the vision down into small, actionable, mini-goals. This allows us to create the “steps” we need to climb the proverbial mountain.

Here’s an example, say my goal is to have a successful wellness retreat (successful defined as a profit of $1 million a year). Now that I have a specific and measureable vision, I break it down. What came just before that? Well, I would open the wellness retreat and run my first program. And just before that? I would email confirmation of the first program, with program details, to my registrants.

And before that? I would be marketing the program. Before that I would finish construction on the retreat facilities. Staff training, creating blueprints, finding financing, buying the land – these would all be steps that would need to occur on the way up to my vision being achieved.

Use this question to work all the way back until you reach where you are in life now. You now have a roadmap to show you how to get to your vision. It doesn’t matter if there are 10 steps or 1,000 steps that lie between you and reaching the vision. All you need to focus on is the step that lies just in front of you.

3. Become the person who achieves that vision

John Demartini, a human behavioural specialist, has said that humans cannot become what they don’t already think they are. So many times, I have my clients say to me “Once I achieve x, then I’ll be successful”.

Well, successful people become successful because they already believe they are. championship athletes win because for years prior they’ve been treating their bodies and training like they are a championship athlete. Successful entrepreneurs face each day with a mindset of success.

How do you embed the mindset of the person who has your vision? I love to use this lateral thinking activity: ask yourself “how will having (the vision) make me feel? What mindset will I have when I achieve it?”

Let’s use the wellness retreat example again. Having that retreat would allow me to feel healthy, like I was making a difference to others and I would feel at peace in myself. Then ask – “What other activities would allow me to feel this way?”. To feel healthy, I could attend the gym and yoga classes regularly, and eat whole organic foods. I would ensure I get plenty of sleep.

Other activities that would make me feel like I was helping others would be to have clients and help them work on their health, fitness and mindfulness goals. I could run meditation or yoga classes in my local area. And to feel at peace in myself I could schedule in time to go hiking or to be out in nature regularly. I would also make sure I had my own regular meditation practice.

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

Can you see how it makes sense that someone who is already actively engaging in all those activities would then own a successful wellness retreat? Engaging in these activities, while we’re taking action towards our vision allows our unconscious beliefs about ourselves to shift into alignment with who we need to be to reach that vision. When we change what we believe to be true about ourselves now, we shatter any glass ceilings that have been keeping us stuck.

Using this three-step goal setting system, you now know the destination you’re travelling to, you have a roadmap to get you there, and the belief that you can. All that’s left to do is now is put one foot in front of the other.

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Life

Lacking Self-Discipline? Do This One Thing Everyday to Change Your Life

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What’s holding you back? This is the question that I asked myself after repeatedly falling short of my goals. In my mind, I had these crazy hopes and aspirations, but in reality, there was a gap between my intentions and my actions. Having read dozens of personal development and business books, I already had the knowledge. I already knew what I needed to do. The problem? A lack of follow through.

A couple years back, I had difficulty crawling out of bed in the morning. I was always tired and could barely muster out the energy to stay awake, let alone go to the gym, foster new relationships, or build my business. I was caught in a spiral of downward momentum, breaking out of which required a massive amount of willpower. The root cause of my problems, I came to realize, was a lack of self-discipline.

I define self-discipline as the ability to do what needs to get done regardless of whether you feel like it or not. I believe that self-discipline is the one thing that separates everything you are from everything you’re capable of being. In this article, I’ll reveal the #1 habit I’ve developed to skyrocket my self-discipline and rapidly elevate my mood, energy levels, and focus in the process.

The Secret To Sending Your Self-Discipline Through The Roof

Picture this: You finally decide to start waking up early and set an alarm for 5am the next day. The next morning you groggily open your eyes to the sound of your alarm buzzing, and a part of you whispers to hit the snooze. Your decision in that moment, on whether to hit the snooze or not, is what makes all the difference.

When you get out of bed at 5am, even though you don’t feel like it, you have effectively overcome your emotions and shown your brain who’s in charge. You have built momentum towards doing the right thing over the easy thing.

In every moment you have a choice. A choice to step forward into growth or back into comfort. The secret to developing warrior-like self-discipline is consistently making the decisions that move you forward into growth. And the #1 habit I’ve developed to build this muscle is starting my days with a cold shower.

“Self-discipline is the number one delineating factor between the rich, the middle class, and the poor.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Why I Take Cold Showers Everyday (And Maybe You Should To)

Cold showers have been a regular part of my daily routine for a couple of years now and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this: The days that I start with a cold shower always go more productive than the days that I don’t.

Taking cold showers provides an opportunity to exercise your willpower in overcoming the little voice in your head that doesn’t want to do it. This is the same voice that tries to talk you into  skipping your workouts, hitting the snooze, and reaching for that ice cream when you’re trying to avoid sugar.

Even after years of taking cold showers, I hear this little voice. But turning the knob to “C,” in spite of this voice, has been a great way to overcome my lower self and build momentum towards taking right action.

What’s more is that cold showers provide an incredible boost in energy and mood. So much so that cold showers are currently being studied as a possible measure against depression. What are the mechanisms behind this? Well, cold water exposure stimulates your body’s fight-or-flight response to which your sympathetic nervous system responds by rapidly elevating norepinephrine production.

Norepinephrine is a hormone that functions as a neurotransmitter to enhance focus, mood, and attention. In this study, 1-hour of cold water exposure increased norepinephrine production in subjects by as much as 530%.

“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Another reason to take cold showers is for the immune system benefits. As a high achiever, I’m sure you’ve found it frustrating when you’re unable to function optimally due to illness. We’ve all been there. How much better would it be if you could radically decrease your chances of getting sick by simply taking a cold shower everyday? Because in this study, subjects that took cold showers had a 29% reduced likelihood of illness from work compared to the subjects that did not take cold showers.

All-in-all, taking cold showers has been a game changer not only in strengthening my mental resolve but in helping my body function more optimally as well. I don’t remember the last time I was sick and I no longer need an espresso to get my day going.

With access to a smartphone, you have access to more information and more computing power than the president of the United States had a mere twenty years ago. In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. Everything you could ever need to know or learn about success is literally at your fingertips.

As such, specialized knowledge is no longer a barrier towards achieving your goals. The only missing link between where you are and where you want to be is the ability to do the things you already know you should be doing.

I’ve come to believe that self-discipline is the only difference between success and failure. Starting your days with a cold shower is a cheap, proven, and effective method to exercise your willpower and build momentum towards becoming the person you were meant to be.

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Success Advice

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Day Job for Your Creative Ventures

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building a side business
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If you’ve spent anytime online you’ve no doubt come across people like this: “Hi there, I’m Timothy Moneybags and I made a million dollars from my best-selling novel after I quit my job and pursued my dream of becoming a writer!” (more…)

An SEO expert, consultant, and musician, Thomas Adams writes on his website ThomasFAdams.com where he teaches wanna-be entrepreneurs how to start and maintain successful online businesses involving everything from web design to eCommerce. He has worked extensively with businesses both big and small to improve their SEO since 2014. On the side, he loves playing piano and writing songs.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Abel Solomon

    Jul 1, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Very good article, I love how you linked it all together, please do one for Breaking Bad there is so much one can learn from Walt`s character. Me personally as a Christian I put my confidence in God because I know he will never let me down, we were not made to trust completely in our own abilities and intellect but to depend on God by faith. Sorry if some don’t believe or agree with this view.

    Psalm 118- 8

    It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

  2. Anushka

    Jun 28, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    The last bullet point on Jon Snows communication skills is stella, I love it so much that when I read it I laughed out loud. Even thought it was a solid strategy that Jon Snow had, he lacked empathy for the very men he was trying to motivate. Men who were already on the fence about ability to lead in the first place… Great life lesson, lack of empathy kills… Great article !

  3. Daithi

    Jun 27, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Nice observations and well crafted.

    To contribute:
    1. Agree. As the Beatles said, “money can’t buy me love”. Stannis’ decision to burn his daughter also burned his relationship with his army. Although it was alledged, they weren’t privy to her blood magic and had no reason to believe that the sacrifice would result in victory. The sacrifice itself served as the catalyst for mass exodus and ultimately defeat.

    2. Agree. Stannis had lost his mind at this stage. All his family relationships ended as a result of his delusions towards power. A man on his last legs resigned to finishing his last fight.

    3. Disagree. You can trust some people. You just can’t trust all people. In fact, you can’t trust most people, so mostly agree but just disagreeing for the sake of difference.

    4. Agree. Especially the smart, principled, disciplined, erudite, wise, cunning and quiet ones.

    5. Does Sam even lift bro?

    6. In the end, Jon Snow did prove that he did in fact, know nothing… about understanding the depth and range of emotion among the men he commanded. He was a young educated bastard of a well respected noble. His men were likely a range of betrayed royal courteseans and condenmed men. He assumed that his men would follow a similar line of thinking and emotional development as he did through his relationship with the girl. Most of his men had never touched a woman. Their raw bitter hatred of the Wildlings was lifted from them and transferred onto Snow. It was more than he could carry. He fell.

    • Damian Pros

      Jun 28, 2015 at 5:53 am

      Hey Daithi,

      This was a very insightful comment! Absolutely well said.

      As for the 3rd point: of course there are people that you can trust and depend on more than others. But sometimes the only person you can rely on 100% is yourself.

  4. Lawrence Berry

    Jun 27, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    This was a very interesting article. I surely do watch the game of thrones when I get the chance to. I think some of these you hit right on the money. Number 1 is very true. Your real friends would never abandon you, and the people you have by your side because of the monetary value you give them, will never be truly faithful to you. It is very interesting though that you look at the high sparrow in such a negative way. I thought he was just really a guy who worshiped the Gods before anyone else. The Queen was the bad one in my eyes. It was still nice to see a different perspective of things.

    • Damian Pros

      Jun 27, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      Hey lawrence, thanks for leaving your opinion. You are spot on what you said about money.

      Concerning the High Sparrow, I don’t know man, maybe I don’t like him because of the hilarious name. Why on earth call your self sparrow? Even if the queen was the bad one I don’t think she deserved that kind of humiliation.

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Life

Don’t Like Your Story? Here Are 8 Steps to Reboot Your Life and Start Again

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Most of the habits, routines, and rituals we practice as adults were learned at an early age. Some of these behaviors serve us well while others create barriers to our personal progress and professional success. And though it’s true that you aren’t responsible for all the awful lessons you might have learned during your youth, as an adult you are ultimately accountable for your choices and habits.

So, what happens when much of what you learned was essential to your childhood survival but is now getting in the way of your ability to thrive? You … can start … again.

Here are eight steps to help you launch your new mindset:

1. Write a deep and meaningful love letter to yourself

Grab a pen and some paper, turn on some relaxing music, get in a comfortable position, and get prepared to write the most profound and meaningful letter of your life. As you begin to write, try to recall your childhood hopes and dreams. Write about the level of commitment you will make to yourself. Write about how you’ll forgive and help yourself stand whenever life knocks you down. When you write, be as detailed as possible. Your love letter will have a tremendous ongoing impact on your life. Don’t rush through it. Just sit with your thoughts for a while.

2. Nurture yourself like a well-loved child

See your younger self as a child that you are responsible for protecting, nurturing, guiding and providing care for. Make it a habit of speaking lovingly and kindly to the child you carry within you. Your interactions with the world can be rough, but you can choose gentleness when caring for your own emotional well-being.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

3. Use a vision board to practice visualization

A vision board is used to display images representing whatever you want to be, do or have in your life. Similar to visualization, vision boards work in line with the principles of The Law of Attraction. Create a vision board and let your imagination soar. Free your mind to allow for every possibility. Know there are no limits except the ones you have imagined.

4. Take your visualization to epic proportions by writing your future story

This exercise is in line with the work you’ve done on your vision board. It’s about hoping for the future and believing in yourself. As you write your future story, you’ll need to abandon your self-limiting beliefs. Tell the story as you would to a friend who hasn’t seen you in five or more years. As you write your future story, share the achievements that made you proud and tell your friend about the many changes you have made and the obstacles you overcame to get where you are in that moment.

5. Invest in a planner/journal and take your dreams from wishing to measurable goals

Planners and journals are great tools that are too often overlooked. There’s a belief that, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and also a belief that “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Planners help to minimize the risk of failure by helping you identify milestones and tackle potential issues. Working with a journal also helps you to document wins, work through challenges and brainstorm solutions. As you use your planner, revisit your vision board and future story and bring it all together.

6. Make your home, and workspaces work for you

Whether it’s your home or workspace, make it personal, nurturing, supportive and comfortable. These are the spaces where you live out your days. Every sight, sound, and smell has an effect on both your body and mind. Make your areas work to empower you, boost your productivity, and nurture your imagination. Make it look and feel like the you that you are striving to become.

7. Show yourself love by practicing excellent self-care

If you want to test your self-love, look at how well you practice self-care. We give time and attention to the things we care most about. And we tend to care most about the things we give our time and attention to. Practicing self-care includes getting enough physical activity, eating well, caring for our emotional well-being, being kind to ourselves with our self-talk and doing the extras like caring for our skin and getting massages. The last two items might appear minor, but notice how much we tend to touch those we love.

“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” – Diane Von Furstenberg

8. Develop and practice a ritual with mantras, motivation, and meditation

Why mantras, motivation, and meditation? Mantras because you can make mindset changes by repeating motivational and empowering phrases to connect with your thoughts and rewrite your subconscious beliefs. Motivation because you can seek clarity in your goals and empower yourself to take action to achieve your dreams. Meditation because you can strive to feel centered and find peace of mind.

Reboot your life and begin again by retraining your brain to adopt a healthier, more positive mindset and discovering more functional habits. Give these eight recommendations a shot, then pay close attention to the changes you’ll begin to notice within your mind, throughout your body, and in your surroundings.

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Life

10 Tips to Create Time and Space for Both Your Goals and Your Loved Ones

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Let’s face it, there are only 24 hours in a day and we all have the same 24 hours. How we spend those 24 hours will determine how much we have to show for them. Whether you are just starting out on a new venture, or perhaps you are taking an existing project or business to the next level, it takes a lot of time, energy and commitment to make it happen. But our personal relationships take the same components to function happily as well.

Here are some helpful tips to help you focus and plan ahead so that you can be your best self in all  areas of your life, without feeling depleted or guilty:

1. Write down your top 3 goals/priorities that you want to focus on this year

Do not list more than 3 – if you have more than 3 major goals then you may be overwhelming yourself and spreading your energy and time too thin.

2. Make 2 lists: Personal and professional goal-related activities

List all the things that you do in each category, so that you can see exactly what tasks you are currently handling in each category. For example, you may be married and also starting a business as a holistic coach. In the personal column, you may list that your spouse expects you to make dinner, and the grocery shopping – as well as have quality time to relax together after dinner.

In the professional column, your list of activities and tasks may include scheduling client appointments, attending networking events, bookkeeping, making sales calls, etc. When you put these lists next to each other, you quickly see that you have way too much on your plate, and that some of these tasks need to be delegated or eliminated.

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

3. Go through each list and mark each task in order of importance

Use the hospital triage system: indicate which activities are most urgent and important by putting a #1 next to them and a #2 next to the tasks that are vital but not urgent, and a #3 next to the ones that need to be handled, but are easy to reschedule. Place the letter D next to all tasks that can be handed over, and simply cross out the tasks that you need to stop doing because they are no longer in alignment with your goals.

4. Use a calendar or day planner

It can be an electronic calendar, or a paper one. Do not use pen – you will need to erase things and move them around to honor your need for flexibility and the ever-changing nature of life.

5. In your calendar, make actual appointments that include start and end times to accomplish your #1 tasks

For example, if your business relies on you making sales calls, then that would be a #1 task that needs to have a home in your schedule with actual times allotted for it. Once you have scheduled all of your #1 tasks (both personal and professional), then proceed to entering in the #2 and #3 tasks.

6. Make your time with loved ones a #1 priority and schedule it in!

If it’s not written down or entered on your calendar, then it is just a good intention…it’s not real unless it’s on the books! For example, you could plan your schedule so that your work is completed most days by 6pm, and that all the time after that hour is designated time with your loved ones. Guard this time carefully.

7. Be in communication

Let your colleagues, clients, friends and family know what you are trying to accomplish and that you intend to be present to everyone – including yourself. Be honest about your challenges and stay focused on the goals rather than distracted by the obstacles.

There will be times when your schedule will need to change or you will have to cancel something. Don’t make it wrong, just clean it up and explain to all parties. Also, ask the people in your life what they need and expect from you as well. Don’t feel pressured to be a mind-reader or a people-pleaser.

“People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.” – Brian Tracy

8. Be flexible

Life is constantly moving, changing and growing. Stuff happens. Don’t schedule yourself so tightly that you can’t make adjustments when life throws you a curve ball. Give yourself the gift of structure and discipline so that you may experience the freedom it creates for you. But don’t become a task-master, where your schedule becomes a slave driver. Instead, master your tasks so that you can work smarter, not harder.

9. Be realistic and ask for help when you need it

If your goals are quite lofty, then you may need to let go of a lot of extraneous activity in order to accomplish them. Also, you may simply not have a lot of free time! Continuously check in with yourself to see if you are willing to be, do and have all that will be demanded of you in order to achieve your goals. You don’t have to give up just because it’s hard, but you may need to course-correct from time to time to stay in alignment with your authentic desires.

10. Keep an open mind and your eye on the prize

You really can have it all – but maybe not all at the same time. By choosing what you wish to focus on and giving each task a home in your calendar, you will begin to get more done in less time because you are focusing your energy on very specific types of activity.

Prioritizing goals, organizing your time and writing things down so that you can see it all in front of you is a great way to get clear, efficient and effective. Being in communication with the people in your life is the key to things working more smoothly.

And remember, it’s not about perfection. Focus on your sense of purpose and your progress instead, and you will create more space in your mind for new possibilities.

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Life

Are Your SMART Goals Keeping You Stuck in Mediocrity?

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SMART Goals – they are often seen as the gospel in the personal and professional development industry for goal setting, but are they doing more harm than good? For the most part, I can appreciate the motivation behind setting SMART goals. Do we need goals that are specific, measurable, actionable and time based? Absolutely! My sticking point, however, comes to the “realistic” part.

I don’t like the word realistic. To be realistic means to create a glass ceiling on our capabilities. “Realistic” says that there is a limit to what we can achieve. And yet time and again throughout history, we’ve watched human beings achieve feats that aren’t realistic.

It certainly wasn’t realistic to think that, in the midst of the Great Depression, that a man could build a now multi-billion-dollar company from an animated mouse. It’s not realistic to think that a single mother, who could only write her stories on the bus to and from work each day, would go on to create a billion-dollar empire in Harry Potter. And it certainly isn’t realistic to think that a boy who dropped out of school at 16 because of his struggle with dyslexia could go on to be one of the world’s biggest business moguls today – owning planes, building spaceships and a slew of other companies.

And yet, Walt Disney, JK Rowling and Sir Richard Branson have all created these legacies. All because they dared to be unrealistic, and to believe in their vision. I’ve heard coaches tell their clients that a goal isn’t realistic. I’ve had coaches tell me the same. I’ve listened as my clients tell me their dreams, only to follow it up with “…but I don’t think that’s realistic.” Who am I, and who are you, to say whether a goal is realistic or not?

So, if we’re not completely following SMART goals, how should our goal setting look instead? See below for the 3 step process that will change your life!

1. Follow Stephen Covey’s advice and begin with the end in mind

What is your vision? Write it down, draw it if you need. Be specific. Give as much of the minute detail as possible. Define vague terms like “successful”, “wealthy” or “freedom”. Still give these terms a measure – is successful making a $100,000 or $1 million? Is that before tax or after?

“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.” – Jim Rohn

2. Now, break it down

Having worked in the fitness industry for a long time, I know that one of the main issues in goal setting is that people focus on the wrong thing. They tend to look at the big goal they’ve set, not the next step. Think about it, when you climb a mountain, do you stare at the top, or do you look at where your next step needs to be?

Looking at the summit makes the entire climb daunting. It can seem so far away and out of reach. The same is true for our goals. If we’re looking at the “top” – say having a million dollars in the bank while we’re still at the bottom with $100 to our name, or an internationally run business while still working out of our parent’s garage – that gap can seem impossible to overcome.

Once you know where you’re heading, you need to break the vision down into small, actionable, mini-goals. This allows us to create the “steps” we need to climb the proverbial mountain.

Here’s an example, say my goal is to have a successful wellness retreat (successful defined as a profit of $1 million a year). Now that I have a specific and measureable vision, I break it down. What came just before that? Well, I would open the wellness retreat and run my first program. And just before that? I would email confirmation of the first program, with program details, to my registrants.

And before that? I would be marketing the program. Before that I would finish construction on the retreat facilities. Staff training, creating blueprints, finding financing, buying the land – these would all be steps that would need to occur on the way up to my vision being achieved.

Use this question to work all the way back until you reach where you are in life now. You now have a roadmap to show you how to get to your vision. It doesn’t matter if there are 10 steps or 1,000 steps that lie between you and reaching the vision. All you need to focus on is the step that lies just in front of you.

3. Become the person who achieves that vision

John Demartini, a human behavioural specialist, has said that humans cannot become what they don’t already think they are. So many times, I have my clients say to me “Once I achieve x, then I’ll be successful”.

Well, successful people become successful because they already believe they are. championship athletes win because for years prior they’ve been treating their bodies and training like they are a championship athlete. Successful entrepreneurs face each day with a mindset of success.

How do you embed the mindset of the person who has your vision? I love to use this lateral thinking activity: ask yourself “how will having (the vision) make me feel? What mindset will I have when I achieve it?”

Let’s use the wellness retreat example again. Having that retreat would allow me to feel healthy, like I was making a difference to others and I would feel at peace in myself. Then ask – “What other activities would allow me to feel this way?”. To feel healthy, I could attend the gym and yoga classes regularly, and eat whole organic foods. I would ensure I get plenty of sleep.

Other activities that would make me feel like I was helping others would be to have clients and help them work on their health, fitness and mindfulness goals. I could run meditation or yoga classes in my local area. And to feel at peace in myself I could schedule in time to go hiking or to be out in nature regularly. I would also make sure I had my own regular meditation practice.

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

Can you see how it makes sense that someone who is already actively engaging in all those activities would then own a successful wellness retreat? Engaging in these activities, while we’re taking action towards our vision allows our unconscious beliefs about ourselves to shift into alignment with who we need to be to reach that vision. When we change what we believe to be true about ourselves now, we shatter any glass ceilings that have been keeping us stuck.

Using this three-step goal setting system, you now know the destination you’re travelling to, you have a roadmap to get you there, and the belief that you can. All that’s left to do is now is put one foot in front of the other.

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Life

Lacking Self-Discipline? Do This One Thing Everyday to Change Your Life

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What’s holding you back? This is the question that I asked myself after repeatedly falling short of my goals. In my mind, I had these crazy hopes and aspirations, but in reality, there was a gap between my intentions and my actions. Having read dozens of personal development and business books, I already had the knowledge. I already knew what I needed to do. The problem? A lack of follow through.

A couple years back, I had difficulty crawling out of bed in the morning. I was always tired and could barely muster out the energy to stay awake, let alone go to the gym, foster new relationships, or build my business. I was caught in a spiral of downward momentum, breaking out of which required a massive amount of willpower. The root cause of my problems, I came to realize, was a lack of self-discipline.

I define self-discipline as the ability to do what needs to get done regardless of whether you feel like it or not. I believe that self-discipline is the one thing that separates everything you are from everything you’re capable of being. In this article, I’ll reveal the #1 habit I’ve developed to skyrocket my self-discipline and rapidly elevate my mood, energy levels, and focus in the process.

The Secret To Sending Your Self-Discipline Through The Roof

Picture this: You finally decide to start waking up early and set an alarm for 5am the next day. The next morning you groggily open your eyes to the sound of your alarm buzzing, and a part of you whispers to hit the snooze. Your decision in that moment, on whether to hit the snooze or not, is what makes all the difference.

When you get out of bed at 5am, even though you don’t feel like it, you have effectively overcome your emotions and shown your brain who’s in charge. You have built momentum towards doing the right thing over the easy thing.

In every moment you have a choice. A choice to step forward into growth or back into comfort. The secret to developing warrior-like self-discipline is consistently making the decisions that move you forward into growth. And the #1 habit I’ve developed to build this muscle is starting my days with a cold shower.

“Self-discipline is the number one delineating factor between the rich, the middle class, and the poor.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Why I Take Cold Showers Everyday (And Maybe You Should To)

Cold showers have been a regular part of my daily routine for a couple of years now and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this: The days that I start with a cold shower always go more productive than the days that I don’t.

Taking cold showers provides an opportunity to exercise your willpower in overcoming the little voice in your head that doesn’t want to do it. This is the same voice that tries to talk you into  skipping your workouts, hitting the snooze, and reaching for that ice cream when you’re trying to avoid sugar.

Even after years of taking cold showers, I hear this little voice. But turning the knob to “C,” in spite of this voice, has been a great way to overcome my lower self and build momentum towards taking right action.

What’s more is that cold showers provide an incredible boost in energy and mood. So much so that cold showers are currently being studied as a possible measure against depression. What are the mechanisms behind this? Well, cold water exposure stimulates your body’s fight-or-flight response to which your sympathetic nervous system responds by rapidly elevating norepinephrine production.

Norepinephrine is a hormone that functions as a neurotransmitter to enhance focus, mood, and attention. In this study, 1-hour of cold water exposure increased norepinephrine production in subjects by as much as 530%.

“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Another reason to take cold showers is for the immune system benefits. As a high achiever, I’m sure you’ve found it frustrating when you’re unable to function optimally due to illness. We’ve all been there. How much better would it be if you could radically decrease your chances of getting sick by simply taking a cold shower everyday? Because in this study, subjects that took cold showers had a 29% reduced likelihood of illness from work compared to the subjects that did not take cold showers.

All-in-all, taking cold showers has been a game changer not only in strengthening my mental resolve but in helping my body function more optimally as well. I don’t remember the last time I was sick and I no longer need an espresso to get my day going.

With access to a smartphone, you have access to more information and more computing power than the president of the United States had a mere twenty years ago. In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. Everything you could ever need to know or learn about success is literally at your fingertips.

As such, specialized knowledge is no longer a barrier towards achieving your goals. The only missing link between where you are and where you want to be is the ability to do the things you already know you should be doing.

I’ve come to believe that self-discipline is the only difference between success and failure. Starting your days with a cold shower is a cheap, proven, and effective method to exercise your willpower and build momentum towards becoming the person you were meant to be.

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