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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.

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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

Conquering Inner Battles: Tyson Fury Outside of the Boxing Ring

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Tyson Fury was born seven weeks premature. He weighed 1 pound and was born the size of his father’s hand. Doctors gave him little chance of survival, but Tyson’s father, John had other ideas. John predicted that one day Tyson would be Heavyweight World Champion and at the hospital, named his son after boxing legend Mike Tyson.

Growing up in Manchester, England, Tyson Fury doesn’t remember a life before boxing. He started boxing at a young age because of the constant bullying and torment others gave him; the many reasons why individuals take up boxing. As the years progressed, Tyson reached a height of 6 ft 9 and became one of the most dangerous heavyweight boxers in the world.

This article highlights the importance of conquering our inner battles through Tyson Fury’s actions and delves into what it takes to overcome mental battles to find a purpose and achieve what we all strive for; happiness.

“Exterior assets mean nothing if you can’t control what’s going on inside.” – Tyson Fury

The Empty Feeling Of Achievement

In 2015, Tyson was training and preparing for the biggest fight of his career against Wladimir Klitschko. It was revealed after the fight, Tyson had been struggling mentally and didn’t know how to overcome his battles. Even though he won, there was no sense of achievement. The belts, money, and success meant nothing to Tyson. He knew he would feel this way before even stepping into that ring.

Before the fight, Tyson said to his father “If I win this fight, I’ll probably never box again”. Even before the fight, there was no flame and Tyson still didn’t want to box. He had had enough. He expected more in life and wanted boxing to feel different. The value and achievement were gone.

After beating Klitschko, a rematch was on offer and it appeared the two would fight again. In a lead-up media conference, Tyson said, “I can do my best and that’s it. Win, lose or draw I put on my best fight. And if Wladimir beats me then good luck to him and I shake his hand and say he’s the better man. And obviously, if I beat him I’m in the same position. Still as sick as ever, still as depressed as life can be and still don’t really care for dying any second of the moment. That’s the way I live my life.

Not long after the press conference, Tyson had tested positive to cocaine and had his boxing license suspended, unable to compete. It was from then, Tysons life spiralled and he pushed away everyone close to him. He was out of boxing for 2 and a half years.

Tyson faced confronting battles that could at any moment end his life. He drove his Ferrari 190mph towards a bridge to end his life, tried to drink himself to death and ate and drank his way to obesity, ballooning out to 175kg (385 lbs). His wife and kids were the only thing that saved him before he was able to come to terms with overcoming his mental battles.

Here are 4 Ways To Conquer Our Inner Battles:

1. Reflection & Mindset

What we can all learn is that reflecting on the past and changing your mindset can be a good thing. By building a habit of introspection in our lives, we uncover more about ourselves, our values and our mindset starts to change about what’s important to us. It helps bring control and decision making back to within ourselves. The moment Tyson Fury decided to change his mindset was after being in a dark place, understanding his family was the most important thing to him. It helped him gain back control and his mind started to change.

2. Gratitude

It’s scientifically proven that showing gratitude makes you happier. Gratitude is appreciating something we have as opposed to reaching something new in the hope it will make us happier. When we use gratitude regularly, our mental state grows. Ways to show gratitude can be; write a thank you note, pay it forward, offer support, meditate or share your skills. Tyson shows gratitude by counting his blessings, donating to charity and being thankful. This has helped him become much more of a mentally strong individual. At the end of his fights, he uses his platform to express gratitude to all those who have helped him.

3. Change Your Routine

Routine can have negative connotations to it. We can think of them as tedious, boring and unfulfilled. By changing our mindset, we can establish a routine as a positive force and become happier because of it. If you’re finding yourself unhappy, change up your routine. Try different things. Whether it’s exercising, nurturing relationships or eating healthy, the smallest changes make the biggest difference.

In an interview with GQ magazine, Tyson Fury mentioned he found solace in ‘training, eating, sleeping and repeating’. He said, “I’m fantastic at the moment. I stress this a lot: It’s all got to do with routine, giving yourself short-term goals”. When it comes to your routine, try something you enjoy doing and repeat. You’ll find yourself a happier and more mentally strong person because of it.

4. Have A Purpose

Human beings desire purpose. A Purpose is a fundamental component of living a satisfied life. When you have a purpose, you never wake up wondering what you’re going to do or what’s in store for the day. You become naturally less stressed and life becomes less complicated.

“Instead of consciously thinking about your purpose, you can try an indirect approach. Just realise that your purpose is inside of you, it’s just afraid to expose itself. You must trust that someday it will seemingly appear out of nowhere. When that day comes, make a happy dance, celebrate, whatever, but the next day, wake up and start working on your purpose” – Darius Foroux

After the Klitschko fight, Tyson felt he didn’t have a purpose. He had achieved everything in becoming the heavyweight champion. When the boxing was gone, there was nowhere he felt he could go. He tried golf, clay pigeon shooting, off-road driving but nothing interested him. Tyson also wasn’t training, which was something he had done every day since he was a child.

Eventually, he found purpose In relationships and faith. He turned his life around by understanding what drove him to happiness. Putting his purpose to action was how he became a healthier, more mentally strong person. It’s how he conquered his inner battles.

The Influence On Society

The influence on society is apparent. Tyson receives thousands of messages daily on social media with personal stories of individuals giving thanks on overcoming their inner battles. He’s an official ambassador for mental health in sport, does public speaking and is extremely open about struggles he has faced.

The man who thought he would be dead and the man everyone thought would never box again, has overcome the mental mindset that was derailing him. He is still recognised as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of this generation and uses his struggles to help others.

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Life

This 5 Minute Test Will Instantly Change Your Life

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Twelve months is too small for a life plan. The moment you understand this, the new year celebrations become a cliché. Success in life is always a build-up of several years of consistent “little” progress. The new year celebration is for gratitude, not for life planning.

People often overestimate what they can achieve in a year. But they greatly underestimate what they can achieve in 10 years. I discovered a whole new way of making progress in life quite recently. It was from the story of how a friend of mine made her most profound life progress yet. It began with a simple test that can change your life.

My friend was working in a small non-governmental organization that year. She was unsure of how to go forward in life. Life was looking scary and she was getting confused. Then, she attended a conference and took a simple test that helped her change her life.

Here are the 5 questions you must answer in the next 5 minutes:

1. What do you want to be doing (as work) 10 years from now?

Forget about today. Forget about next year. Let us go a bit further into the future. This question is not asking what you think you will be doing in 10 years. The question is asking what you would like to be doing in 10 years.

Saying that you want to be traveling around the world doesn’t count. Even if you plan to retire by then, you still have to be doing something to be responsible. To be doing nothing is to have no reason to be alive. Other people must feel your impact in some way. So, add 10 to your age and write down what you would like to be doing then.

My friend wanted to be working with top international organizations like the UN. She wants to be winning grants and handling big projects in her field. What is yours?

“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

2. Who is doing what you want to be doing in 10 years?

Believe it or not, there are people that are already living at least a similar version of your dream today. Do you know them? If you think there aren’t any, I challenge you to get on the internet and find out now.

Try as much as possible to find at least five names. Write only people whose life conforms to your answer in question 1. For my friend, she realized most of those she knew who had this life were in professors in academia. Go out and find your potential mentors today!

3. Identify (from the people you listed) who you need to become to get to your dream

It became clear to my friend that she ought to aim at becoming a university professor. Interestingly, she had always wanted this but never gave it attention. There is a person you’ll need to become to make your dream a reality. Until you identify who you need to be to have the life you want, your life will be without focus or direction. Who have you identified you need to be?

4. What job, work or responsibility will put you on a straight path to becoming who you’ve identified in question 3?

For my friend, she instantly knew she should be seeking a job opportunity at a University. It was the straight path to rise through the ranks to become the person she desired to be. Now, it is not about money or the pressure of getting something worthwhile to do. She had a clear target.

Becoming who you need to be will require that you have some experience credentials. You will get that experience by working somewhere. This is about handling a particular responsibility where you grow and develop. You need that job or responsibility that will put you in line to become who you need to become. So, what is that job for you?

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah

5. What is the training that will qualify you for the job in question 4?

My friend already had the training and qualifications she needed, so she took off with finding the job she had identified. It took about 3 months of researching job opportunities and taking very bold steps prior to landing the job she wanted at a university.

Most people need some amount of training to land the job they have identified. Work training has become easy today because of the internet. There are myriads of training opportunities that exist in any field you can think of. If you can’t afford the ones you are seeking, I can assure you that there is a free one somewhere that can get you started.

In the professional line, many schools around the world now offer online degrees. In the gig economy also, there are lots of training by experts in various spheres. There is no way you won’t find an online course that is right for you.

Is a particular training coming to mind right now? Take action on it immediately! The training gets you the job. The job makes you into the expert. Search out the training you need and take action immediately!

Conclusion

Once you identify the training and start it, you begin working your way from question number 5 to question 1. From the training, you get the job. From the job, you grow to become an expert or authority in the field. From becoming an expert, you will be free to live the way you want.

For some people, this can indeed take 10 years. But for most, it takes less than that to get to question 1.

My friend is now transitioning from the job to the expert. She made new changes after reevaluating her goals with another test. She recently quit her job at the university to get a more ambitious job in a bigger city. And yes, it is with an international organization.

Now you know what to do, what are you waiting for? Share with us your dream job you’d like to have!

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Life

How 8 Minutes of Meditation Can Give You the Productivity Boost You Need

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Of all the productivity hacks I’ve tried over the years, none has had as much of a positive impact relative to the time I put in than meditation. Just 8 minutes per day to be precise. Meditation is a practice that has been around for centuries. Once primarily used by practitioners of Buddhism to reach a higher level of consciousness, science has since shown it has a lot of more earthly benefits as well.

As Healthline reports, meditation improves concentration, reduces fatigue and stress, brings a sense of relaxation and improves sleep patterns, among other benefits. All the above reasons explain why some of the most successful people rely on meditation to thrive in their professions. Jeff Weiner, former Yahoo executive and the current CEO of Linkedin says that meditation has made a huge positive impact on his productivity. Similarly,  Ray Dalio, who is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, attributes a big part of his success to meditation.

5 Ways Meditation Helps with Productivity

Before I get to my own meditation routine that takes just 8 minutes of my time daily, let me first go over in general how meditation can give you a huge leg up in your career and business, backed by studies.

1. Improves Your Attention Span

There are tons of factors that improve productivity, but one that plays a very important role is the ability to focus. Being attentive enough to complete the task at hand means you’ll finish your work with higher accuracy and better efficiency.

According to Pubmed, several studies have shown the efficacy of meditation in reversing parts of the brain that cause mind wandering and the inability to concentrate. Russell Simmons, the CEO of Rush Communications, says that meditation is one of the things that has helped him focus the most.

2. Increases Neuroplasticity

For a long time, scientists believed that brain development only happened during childhood and then ceased. But recent discovery regarding the neuroplastic nature of the brain concludes that our brains actually continue to change and adapt through experiences. In other words, the brain is continually reorganizing itself by creating new neurons and new connections.

Meditation is one practice capable of changing your brain’s structure and functions. In fact, Harvard Researchers at MGH have shown that meditation increases grey matter volume in your brain. What this means is that it causes more neurons to accumulate in one space.

Another theory that explains how meditation boosts neuroplasticity is that it increases cerebral blood flow (CBF). By placing you in a state of relaxation, blood is able to flow more freely leading to better oxygenation and nourishment in your brain. With increased neuroplasticity, your ability to acquire new skills and positive habits increase.

3. Sharpens Your Memory

A major benefit of mediation is that it boosts one’s working memory capacity. The working memory determines how much information the central nervous system can hold and process at any time. It’s like the Random Access Memory in a computer.

A study was done to investigate the effect of active meditation on individuals’ working memory capacities. Researchers had the participants take part in a 45-minute meditation exercise twice per week. After a couple of weeks, they recorded the results and discovered that the respondents’ working memory capacities had increased by more than 30%. Put simply; they could hold and process 30% more information than the average person.

The study proved that meditating increases the working memory capacity. With a larger working memory, you can take on more sophisticated tasks and handle them efficiently.

4. Improves Cognitive Thinking

As you age, your cognitive functioning deteriorates gradually. The resulting deficit weakens your ability to reason, remember and process information. All these are factors that can make you less productive at work and in other areas of your life. Good news is, practising meditation and mindfulness can help with that.

To examine the impact of meditation on cognitive function, researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara conducted a study. They asked 48 undergraduate students to attend one of two classes: a nutrition class or a mindfulness class. The result? Those who attended the mindfulness class saw marked improvements in their exams afterwards, while the nutrition group saw no statistically significant improvements.

One factor that can explain this outcome is that meditation improves the balance of the left and right sides of the brain. Synchronizing both brain hemispheres allows for greater processing power and neural communication.

5. Reduces Stress

Stress is something that people experience on a daily basis, and more so at work. According to the American Institute of Stress, work-induced stress is the most common form of stress. Based on a recent survey they did, at least 80% of Americans experienced stress at work, hampering productivity and leading to mistakes.

Thankfully, having a meditation practice as part of your routine can lower stress and make you more productive. It goes beyond just stress reduction, however. According to the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, meditation has been shown to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks.

How 8 Minutes of Meditation Daily Has Changed My Life

My personal journey with meditation has been nothing short of life changing. What if I told you there was a productivity hack that only required 8 minutes of your day, and as a consequence, will double your attention span, mental stamina, and ability to function under stress? What if I told you, thanks to just 8 minutes a day, a once self diagnosed ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) sufferer now frequently loses track of time as he ticks off one item after the next on his daily to-do lists? Yes, that’s what meditation has done for me, and I believe it can do that for anyone.

The meditation routine I follow is based on the best selling book “8 Minute Meditation” by Victor Davich. As a meditation guru, Victor sought out to devise a meditation program that fits in with the ultra busy lifestyles of Westerners while still delivering the main benefits the practice at its fullest provides.

Here is the gist of the “8 minute meditation” that I practice every day right before I go to bed:

  • Set a timer for 8 minutes.
  • Find a comfortable sitting pose. This could be in a cozy meditation chair or sitting with your legs crossed on a yoga mat
  • Close your eyes slowly as if you were planning to sleep. Avoid squeezing them or shutting them involuntarily.
  • Next, start taking slow, deep breaths.
  • With every inhale, envision that you are breathing in light. Follow the light as it enters your body.
  • With every exhale, imagine breathing out all the tension and negativity that you have been harbouring. Relax every muscle from those on your face, chest, back, legs all the way to the tips of your toes.
  • As you breathe in and out, your mind will most likely start to wonder. Do not get upset. Just slowly bring your awareness back to your breathing. Imagine catching a fish and just letting it go.
  • Continue this until the timer goes off. Then, slowly open your eyes again..

A big part of the magic happens in meditation when you do it consistently. For me, with every day of practice, my ability to stay focused on my breathing and stay present increased during those critical 8 minutes. And as my ability to do those seemingly simple things improved, that’s when I started to notice all the tangible benefits of meditation I mentioned earlier.

Meditation is not a new concept. And it doesn’t require you to invest anything that you don’t already have. This is one of the greatest benefits of meditating; it doesn’t require any special equipment or registration for training. Essentially, you have nothing to lose but so much to gain. To me, meditation dare i say is the greatest productivity hack of all time.

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Life

5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Hitting Rock Bottom

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At one time, the term rock bottom was completely foreign to me. I can remember feeling really bad for anyone who claimed to have ‘hit rock bottom.’ What devastation they must feel. Their whole world must have just collapsed. How will they go on? I was soon to find out.

My journey to rock bottom

I’m not gonna say I had it all but for the most part, my world was pretty good. It wasn’t perfect and I’ll admit, I was sailing through on a song and a prayer. I lived in a nice house in a posh neighbourhood with my partner and in 2010 I purchased my first business, a hair salon.

I belonged to an amazing networking group of successful women. I was well respected in the community and had lots of friends. You could say my life was pretty good. However, this didn’t last for long.

Three years after the purchase of the salon I closed the doors and declared bankruptcy. Six months after bankruptcy, I walked out of my abusive relationship with nothing to my name.

I was a shell of a person. I had nothing and in my eyes, I was a complete and utter failure. At 52 years old, my whole world came crashing down on me and I for the first time in my life, was absolutely terrified.

I walked around in a daze for months. I was completely empty inside, both emotionally and mentally. I had no desire to rebuild my life. There was little life left in me to work on. I secured my old job at the salon I was at prior to my business purchase. Every day I had to face people who I’m sure were disappointed in me and most likely laughing at me behind my back.

I was a loser. They knew it and so did I. When you hit rock bottom, any and all self respect and self confidence you ever had goes right out the window. You’re constantly embarrassed and feel worthless all the time. However, one day something snaps when you look in the mirror and can’t stand to look at the person looking back at you. This is without a shadow of a doubt the moment some confidence and hope arises to change.

I looked in the mirror one day and I didn’t recognize the person staring back. She was sad, empty, blank and lifeless. This wasn’t Iva and I so desperately wanted her back. I missed the optimistic, bubbly and outgoing girl that used to stare back at me in the mirror. And I was determined to get her back.

I had reached a point where I was tired of crying and feeling sorry for myself. I was tired of telling myself I was a loser and a failure and that I would never amount to anything. But I was mostly tired of just existing with no purpose or passion.

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling

The climb out of rock bottom

I started devouring self help books and reading any and all blogs I could on how to get your life back on track and how to find self love and self worth again. I read inspirational quotes and listened to motivational YouTube videos day in and day out. I journaled and cried and prayed and meditated. All the things I have never done in my life, I was doing daily without fail.

Slowly, Iva was emerging but she was so much different this time around. She had hope, faith and determination and nothing was going to stop her or stand in her way of rebuilding her life. My journey out of rock bottom took almost a full year to complete but in that time, I learned so much about myself, people and life.

Here are the 5 life lessons I learned from hitting rock bottom:

1. Failure isn’t real

There’s no such thing as failure. I’m not even sure why this word exists. You had an idea or a plan, tried it, and it didn’t work. You learn lessons from this and you move on. Always remember one very important thing: you tried. Most people don’t even bother. Believe in yourself.

2. You’re not stuck anywhere

If something isn’t working or isn’t good for you, leave it. I was terrified to leave my abusive relationship because I knew it meant I would lose everything. And I did. When I finally took the plunge and left, everything in my life changed for the better. Have faith!

3. Change is fun and scary, but do it anyway

Although change is terrifying, it’s necessary. We don’t grow in our comfort zone or in our misery. Sometimes you have to do things that will scare the daylights out of you..do them anyway. This is where you learn and grow. You meet people and you experience things you never would have if you stayed in your comfort zone. Take the leap.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill

4. Everything is temporary

The good and the bad. Nothing is forever. No matter how horrible your situation is, it won’t last. It will eventually go away or maybe even turn out great! Embrace all the good life has to offer you and learn the lessons the bad will give you. Have patience.

5. You have great power over your life

I was determined to change my life any way I had to. I did whatever I had to do to turn my life around. Was it easy? No. Is it impossible? No. I knew I had the power to change and it was up to me, and only me, to do that. No one could do it for me.

No matter where you are in your life right now, if things aren’t working out the way you expected, don’t worry. Things will always get better if you try to make them better. You can do anything you want. All you have to do is find the power that’s in you and unleash it.

Have you ever hit rock bottom? What advice do you have for someone who’s there? Share your ideas and advice below!

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