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7 Steps On How To Stay Motivated For The Long Haul

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There is excitement as we make a decision to do something big – help the homeless, start a business, run a marathon. But all too often these big dreams fall to the wayside. How do we keep the motivation to see a big goal through to the end?

Some people have called me “goal driven” because I persevere on projects that may take months or even years to accomplish. So I got thinking, what is it that helps me to keep going day after day while the end goal is still out of sight? Perhaps my experience can help other people to persist on their goals.

Here are the seven steps to help you stay motivated and stick to a big project:

1Make sure you have control over your goal

When you formulate your goal make sure that it is something under your power to achieve. For example, say “Apply to three graduate schools”, as opposed to saying “Get accepted to graduate school”. When your goal is stated as something that is under your control you are more likely to think of ways to make it happen.

“Everybody has goals, aspirations or whatever, and everybody has been at a point in their life where nobody believed in them.” – Eminem

2. Find subgoals that can be accomplished in 4 hours or less

It can be daunting to look at the big goal. You don’t know where to start. So first make a list of the steps that are required to accomplish a big goal. For example, the goal of writing an app can be broken down into large steps of design, coding, testing, submission, and marketing.

Each day I look at the step that I am working on and choose a small goal that should take four hours or less to achieve. By concentrating on the small goal I can stay focused and not worry about everything else that needs to be done. And, each time I accomplish the small goal I feel good about myself.

I chose four hours as the magic number because frequently tasks have a habit of expanding. Often a four hour goal turns into a three day goal, but that is still a short enough time horizon that I can keep the end in sight.

 

3. Each morning write down the single most important thing to do that day

It really helps me to have the goal for that day in writing.  Then, if I wander off topic, as I sometimes do, I can look at it and pull myself back on course. I know that if I do enough of the mini 4-hour goals that eventually I will accomplish something significant toward my big goal, so I don’t need to think about the big goal that day.

 

4. Live the dream

I can’t postpone good feelings until I have achieved the final result. What I am actually doing each day has to be the life that I want. If it isn’t, I have picked the wrong goal. For example, you will never achieve a goal of running a marathon if you detest having to run three or four times a week.

Having mini goals helps me to live the dream. Every day or two I am celebrating some small milestone that I have reached. When I reach a major milestone I generally take a day off and go do something fun to celebrate.

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

5. Take breaks for planning

Since I work towards a series of mini goals I need to have confidence that they are adding up to the intended target. Every now and then, perhaps every couple of months, I take time off from achieving a mini goal that day, and instead spend the day on planning. I consider whether there is a major step that I may have missed, and if so, add that to my list. I think about the major step that I am working on, and whether the activities I have been doing are actually bringing me closer to that goal.

If it feels helpful, I make a list of sub-tasks for the major steps. I like to get these things down on paper so that when I am working on a mini goal I am not constantly sidetracked by trying to think about other steps. Doing this planning step allows me to get it all out of my mind so that I can focus.

 

6. Decide where and when you are going to do your work

Studies have shown that if you decide on where and when you will do something that you are more likely to do it. I sit down each morning after breakfast at my computer and write down my goal for that day. That helps me to get started, and once I am started I generally find it easy to continue.

 

7. Don’t give up

Everybody has bad days, and some things take time to become fun. For example, the first time a person runs can hardly be called fun. It is difficult and tiring and sweaty. But after a couple of weeks, as your body toughens up, it can actually be exhilarating.

So hang in there when things are tough. Face the fact that it is no fun, but do it anyway. You should be back on track in a few days.

What can you do today to take a small step toward your big goal? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Susan de Jong is an app entrepreneur who loves to write software. Her apps include Lucidate, a brainstorming app that helps you explore your innermost thoughts, and Insight Personality Tests, a fun and motivational app. Download the apps today for free.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Sija

    Jan 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Thank u Susan. I agree with your points

  2. Siew

    Dec 7, 2015 at 3:59 am

    A very precise, easy to follow and inspirational article. Good job, Susan!
    It conveys the need to set goals with sub-goals identified so as be able to cherish the accomplishment frequently. The message is also be pragmatic in warning the readers that there will be times when it may take more time and effort to achieve the goal, but not to be discouraged. The message is valuable to people in all walks of life!

  3. Ly

    Dec 5, 2015 at 4:35 am

    Thank you, Susan, for this solid article. I like the step to create subgoals that can be done in 4 hours. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed with my goals for the day. Focusing a subgoals into a 4 hour spot will help me improve my time management and help me feel productive.

  4. Evan

    Dec 5, 2015 at 1:47 am

    Susan,

    Nice article you have here! I love taking breaks for planning and am using this to my advantage better now. I used to get caught up in 16 hour days but realized it’s not sustainable…

    I always take Sundays off, no matter what I have going on that week. Sometimes it’s hard but after enough time passes of doing it, I easily and guiltlessly wake up anytime on Sunday and keep my goals ahead of me.

    – Evan

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Life

15 Typical Life Problems And How To Solve Them.

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Image Credit: Unsplash / Aaron Weiss

All of our problems are the same. This is the 156th time I’ve written this fact (for those of you counting).

Problems are forever and we can’t avoid them. You’ll wake up tomorrow and have problems for breakfast. You’ll jump on the train and read a problem in your email inbox.

You’ll get to the office and get a problem smack bang in your pretty face!

The typical problems we face can be solved.

Here are 15 typical life problems and how to solve them:


You didn’t reach your goal.

Just because you set a goal, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. Many of life’s toughest goals take lots of attempts. Some of the goals I missed are:

• Dream careers

• Girls I wanted to date

• Saving enough money to build a school in Laos

• Reaching 100k followers on LinkedIn

People who talk about success and personal development (and even write for a site called Addicted2Success like me) also don’t reach their goals.

The best feeling about reaching a goal is the journey it took to get there. If all your goals were easy, then you’d feel nothing at the end of the process.

Solution:

Take the goal you didn’t achieve and try a different approach. Doing the same thing over and over to achieve your goal is the definition of insanity.

Your heroes miss their goals tooWhat makes them stand out is that they don’t give up. The fun of goal-setting is knowing that you’ll fail.


Someone criticized you.

If you want to make a dent in this world, then the critics will come out of the closet. The bigger your aspirations are, the more you’ll be criticized.

The number of critics you have is in direct proportion to your success.

“I had an entire blog post written about me saying how stupid I was. It felt like crap on day one. By day seven I’d made peace with the criticism and kept writing”

Solution:

You can’t please everybody that you meet in life.

When you speak on a stage, for example, 25% of people will like you, 25% won’t know who you are and 50% of people will think you’re an asshole even though you’ve probably done nothing wrong.

Critics are not all bad. You can learn things about yourself from them too. The solution is to learn from criticism, not be afraid of it.


Your career got messed up.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a happy-go-lucky office worker, your career is going to get messed up at some point.

The definition of business is this: Moving from one problem to another and making money in the meantime to fuel your mission. Business is really just problem-solving.

  • Redundancy could right hook you in the face.
  • The business you founded could go backwards and even bankrupt.
  • Your career skills could become outdated.
  • You could get fired for making a mistake.

Your career is going to get messed upThings you can never predict in your career are going to happen.

Solution:

See career challenges for what they are: an opportunity to try something different. If your career never got messed up, then you’d probably stay in your comfort-zone for your entire life and never try something different.

The solution is to see your career getting messed up as chance to grow.Getting made redundant could be the one reality that makes you want to create your own startup.

Having a customer leave could decrease your workload and create space for clients who won’t drain your time and make you no money.


You have financial troubles.

That crazy little thing called money will let you down at some point.

I’ve personally been rich and poor multiple times”

Upon reflection, the time I’ve been the happiest has been when I’ve had the least amount of money.

Countless studies have shown that money isn’t what your life’s about. As humans, we seek meaning, love and our own version of happiness.

Money won’t give you any of those human needs.

That doesn’t mean money doesn’t matter; it just means that it shouldn’t be your main focus or something you obsess over.

Solution:

Lack of money is a gift. When you don’t have money, you become resourceful and creative at the same time.

Lack of money helps you decide on what matters and what doesn’t.

If things get really bad, then you’ll likely prioritize feeding your family over buying another useless car that will never make you happy. You’ll take joy in the simple things in life.

The solution to financial problems is to see them as a gift and choose a meaning for your life instead.


You’re unhealthy.

Our health has become a real problem. We wonder why we feel tired, sick and get headaches. We’ll all experience health challenges at some point in our life.

How many health challenges we experience in our younger years will come down to food and exercise. The strategies for being healthy haven’t changed.

There’s no mystery around being healthy it’s just that we’ve become lazy.

Convenience powered by apps has overtaken our ability to do basic tasks and not binge watch Netflix every night.

Solution:

Take ownership. Quit feeling sick and do something about itHave some blood tests. Change your diet to be more plant-based.

Drink more water. Get your lazy ass to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes. Stand up from your desk every now and then so you’re not sitting for the whole day and messing your spine/neck up.

Whatever you do, take ownership of your health and quit being ignorant.


A relationship ended.

There’s less than 1% of people who met ‘The One,’ lived happily ever after, and never experience a breakup.

Even that 1% will have that relationship end at some point when either side passes away.

For the majority of us who don’t strike gold the first time around, we’re going to have to deal with breakups and the trials and tribulations of romance.

We’ll probably find ourselves in a toxic relationship for too long.

We’ll probably get cheated on at least once.

We’ll probably have our hearts smashed into a million pieces when we discover that someone ‘No longer loves us anymore.’

These are the realities of the human condition and our need to reproduce and keep our species alive.

Solution:

Finding love is about understanding what love is not. You need relationships to end to find out what love really is. All breakups suck in the beginning until you grow and move on. Then, the solution to this problem is to find yourself.

Once you find yourself, the heart will be ready for love again. How you move forward from there is up to you.

You can try the good old fashion nightclub scene. You could go to Meetups. Or, you could start swiping left and right on a few dating apps.

Have your heart broken just don’t let it stay that way


You made a dick of yourself.

Geez, this one is an ugly truth for me.

I’ve made an ass of myself more times than I’ve had protein and veggies for dinner. Here’s a few just for laughs (and your entertainment).

• There was the time I tried to pretend I could be the Wolf of Wall Street and got laughed out of the interview due to not being able to explain derivatives

• There was the time I thought this girl liked me and tried to hug her while we were walking only to have her hate my guts

• There was the time I went out with friends and threw up on my friend’s couch after having a single shot of Tequila

• There was the time I did my first public speaking gig and messed up a speech about my own life which I’d rehearsed over 100 times

We could talk for days about how I’ve embarrassed myself over the years. We could even compare epic fails to see who’s are worse. This is not a game though.

We’re all going to go into situations with the best of intentions or all the experience in the world and still screw up.

Solution:

Making a dick of yourself is a sign of courage. Courage is what is found in leaders and those who are doers.

Making a dick of yourself is an acceptance that you might fail in the short-term.

Those who fail in the short-term will eventually win in the long-term with practice.

The opposite of making a dick of yourself is perfection.That’s a life where you think your shit doesn’t stink and you spend your entire day trying to impress everybody to eventually impress nobody

Making an idiot of yourself is perfectly fine. What’s not fine is being perfect


Someone messed your *shit* up.

Car, home or insert other material possession that doesn’t matter. None of these material things that got messed up are joining you in the afterlife.

You can’t bury the Bentley with you (although someone tried) so you can drive around with your great, great, great grandpa and do burnouts in the afterlife.

The stuff that is going to get messed up doesn’t matter.

Solution:

What matters is that you don’t get messed up. What matters is that you take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Maybe when your junk gets messed up, you’ll realize that you didn’t need it in the first place.


You feel like your life has no meaning.

These moments where nothing makes sense is where you get to explore. We’re not born with a meaning for our life. Meaning comes from learning who we are and growing as a person.

The meaning for your life when you’re 19 will probably change from when you’re 51 and got three grown-up kids.

The quickest way to destroy your life is to believe that life has no meaning. A lack of meaning leads to depression, carelessness, drug taking and even crime at an extreme level.

Solution:

If you feel like your life has no meaning, then it’s time to experiment.Standing still is not how you find the answer.

Being intensely focused on one’s self only leads to more suffering

A short-term solution to this problem is to experiment with helping those who have nothing. Spend time with people who’d kill to be in your position and get some perspective.

I’ve found in my life that the greatest meaning for your life is normally tied to finding something you’d be happy to do for free that helps others.


You feel like you can’t go on.

We’ve all had those days. Those deep and sometimes dark thoughts can lead to a place you’ve never visited.

Some failures in life hurt more than others. Some failures can’t be solved through a listicle post such as this one with a dose of inspiration.

If you truly feel like you can’t go on, then there’s another way.

Solution:

Seek real help. These dark thoughts must be treated and sometimes the best medicine is to seek professional help through counseling, or for an extreme case, by calling Lifeline.

While I’ve never had suicidal thoughts personally, I have dealt with mental illness.

There is a way to come out the other side, but you have to put aside your pride and seek help

Please don’t become another victim of suicide by doing nothing.


Every day feels the same.

You wake up. You eat. You go to work. You eat. You come home. You eat. You go to bed.

Life can feel the same if you do nothing. It’s up to you to create variety and shape your habits into something more than a fixed schedule which makes you feel bored.

Days feel the same when there’s no purpose behind anything you’re doing.

Solution:

You must find joy in the repetition. You do that by taking those reps and making them mean something. Add some variety in by breaking your comfort zone. Set a goal to do something wild during your day every so often.

• Travel to another country

• Talk to someone new

• Try learning a new skill

Even after trying something new, you have to get used to some level of repetition. Let that repetition become habits that serve something which can help others.


Your friends are screwing your life up.

Dump them. Divorce them. Delete their number.

Every relationship you have in your life is a choice. The people around us often hold us back. They fill our minds with limiting beliefs, stories and goals that give us no sense of meaning.

Friends can kill our dreams or make us believe something we never thought was possible.

Solution:

Everyone deserves a second chance. Start by telling your toxic friends how you feel. Give them a chance to change with the new you.

If they refuse, take a break from them for a while. Ask yourself whether you want them in your life long-term.

‘Fitting in’ is what we’re taught to do. What I’d advise you to do is be you instead and that will attract the right people into your life.


You feel stressed.

77% of people in the US alone experience regular stress.

This young, previously blonde blogger has also recently learned about the effects of stress. I had a cortisol test and the doctor found the levels to be twice the normal range.

This stress led to brain fog, tiredness and a lack of mental clarity. Stress is also caused by what you let into your life. Having options can be a bad thing.

Solution:

We don’t need more; we need less to destress

• Declutter your home and office

• Say no to more meetings

• Say yes to invites from people that make you feel like saying “Hell Yes!”

• Buy less material things

• Have fewer people in your life

• Listen to one podcast instead of many

• Read fewer books instead of every one that’s recommended on a podcast

• Have less recurring subscriptions

• Invest and save more money so you can stress less about unexpected bills

• Take regular breaks (quarterly has worked for me)


A fear is standing in your way.

There are so many common fears — fear of spiders, flying, public speaking, dying, career change, heights and maybe even a fear of expressing yourself.

Fear is a concept of the mind. Nothing is scary or not scary. Our mind makes that choice for us and provides meaning to everything.

Fear can be overcome and that’s why we love stories of battling with fear. I’ve famously spoken about creating fear lists and then knocking them off one at a time.

Solution:

Smash the fear into tiny little pieces. Don’t avoid it. Don’t let it stand in your way any longer. Make a decision to overcome each fear you have and you’ll be unstoppable by the end.

Don’t let nerves trick you into thinking you’re fearful. We all get nerves, but we can still keep moving forward with nerves — I’ve even learned to use nerves to my advantage by using them as an extra energy source.

Nerves tell me I’m on the right track.

I’ve overcome my fear of public speaking and my fear of flying — my fear of spiders remains, but I’m working on that one 🙂

Real fear can be overcome through deliberate practice.


Dealing with the concept of death.

Last but not least, the old chestnut of death. Death is the one life problem we all have in common and can’t solve. Sorry for the bad news.

Death is going to take us eventually and it will take people you love through your life too.

The solution to dealing with death is not to overcome it but to accept it

Death can be our greatest motivator if we let it. Once you understand what death means in all of its darkness, you’ll understand life.

You’ll see death, not as a problem but a fact. That fact will change the way you see everything going forward. For me, it took several near-death experiences (almost being murdered and a cancer scare) to see death for what it is.

Death is not an easy pill to swallow. No short blog post like this is going to give you all the answers you’re probably wanting to know.

The only way I see of dealing with the reality of death is to go out there and live the best damn life you can, while you can!

Use your life to do something that gives you meaning and then you’ll no longer see death as a problem when it comes upon you.

Peace, love and respect — thanks for reading.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Life

4 Lies You Keep Telling Yourself When You’re Afraid to Do Something

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lies you tell yourself
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

When’s the last time you let fear get the better of you? Whether we want to admit it or not, fear keeps us from doing a lot of the things we know we really should do to achieve our goals. Fear is especially detrimental to entrepreneurs (read ‘wantrepreneurs’) that want to launch their first big project.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share with you four lies people tend to tell themselves when they’re coming up with reasons NOT to do something. Hopefully by calling out these lies for what they are you can get your next big project started without so much delay or frustration.

Here are the 4 lies you keep telling yourself when you’re afraid to do something:

1. I’m not ready to do this

Fear is a major obstacle for many early-stage entrepreneurs or business people as they start to plan and build their first ventures. Without positive reinforcement, many people can be paralysed by that fear, and some never launch their product or service because of that fear.

They’re afraid what they have to sell is no good, and they lack the self confidence to push through the discomfort and do it anyway. But I’ve got news for you, you are ready.

Discomfort is part of the process, and it is part of the journey. Likely, you will fail or experience certain difficulties, but without regular action, you won’t achieve anything. Regular action is key, so set deadlines for yourself and get to work.

“Momentum begets momentum, and the best way to start is to start.” – Gil Penchina

2. I have so many ideas, but I should wait until I have one that is good enough to pursue

Another big barrier to entry for many young entrepreneurs is knowing where to focus their time, money and energy. Most entrepreneurs have no shortage of good ideas, but knowing which areas to focus their efforts on is key if they truly want to become successful. A jack of all trades is a master of none.

Rather than avoiding choosing one path and trying to juggle three or four ideas, narrow your idea down to one niche, and stick with it for a duration of time to understand whether or not you can gain traction with that idea. When I say traction, I mean interest from the market.

If you can ask a large enough segment of the market for their interest in a certain topic, and if they express interest in that topic (even without buying), you should consider that proof of market validation.

Finding and selecting a niche is also an art in and of itself, but not impossible to teach. You should blend your current skill set (or find something that you can easily learn) with what there is a market demand for and what you are interested in. Once you find something that overlaps in those three areas, you will find a profitable niche for yourself.

3. This has already been created, I shouldn’t bother producing one more thing that people don’t need

Another problem that people face when they consider setting up their own business is learning how to sell, not just to other people, but to themselves. Chances are, if you have an idea for a product, it can be marketed and sold effectively, and it will provide some value to those who use it.

Unfortunately, many people have a very low self-image of their own skills and knowledge, and whether or not what they have will be of value to others.

Negative self talk can be a powerful influence on the success of your future business, so beware of its influence on you and how often you find yourself slipping into this mindset.

One way to get out of this mindset is to think less of yourself and more about the customer. Get in the habit of thinking less about what skills you have (or what skills you lack) and think instead of the market and what needs those people have.

When you decide to solve people’s problems, you have gone into a mode of selfless service, which is ultimately much more profitable than sitting on your butt feeling sorry for yourself. Strange isn’t it?

“The best way to sell yourself to others is first to sell the others to yourself.” – Napoleon Hill

4. It’s too late to start working on this today, I’ll make a fresh start in the morning

Everyone knows that the first few hours of the morning tend to be the most productive. With that in mind, it makes sense to start your day with the tasks that are going to be the most challenging, followed by the tasks that are perhaps more enjoyable or less monotonous. However, that won’t work for some people.

Sometimes it’s hard to wake up first thing in the morning. Perhaps you stayed out partying too hard last night, or you were kept up watching Netflix. Maybe you got to bed at a reasonable hour but just aren’t a morning person. Whatever the case, don’t think that you have to let all of the pieces fall into the right place at the right time.

Starting now is always better than waiting. Sure, you might not send off a client deliverable to someone at 2am, but if you are up and awake and able to string two sentences together or spend 15 minutes researching a certain topic, do it. Making even small bits of progress over time can lead to lasting success.

Whatever you end up telling yourself, understand that you are still responsible for your actions. Perhaps more importantly, you are responsible for your inaction. What inaction will you be responsible for if you decide to believe the lies you tell yourself on a regular basis?

How could your life be different if you decided, starting today, you aren’t going to take no for an answer? I for one, would love to see what the new you does with that power.

How do you get yourself back on track when you’re afraid to do something? Let us know your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

6 Signs That You’re Already the Master of Your Own Destiny

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destiny
Image Credit: Unsplash

You wake up early, grind, produce, and orient yourself to the best you can be every day. What if, just for today, you paused for a moment to honor how far you’ve come? How might it serve you and how you serve others if you just gave yourself praise for all the adversity you have met with open arms?

It can be distorting at times to take a level-headed assessment of how far we have come while on our journey to success and personal mastery. There is a renewed personal vitality and nourishment that occurs when we slow down and sit with personal praise for a moment.

With that, consider this the letter from the Robin to your Batman. This is your permission slip to realize fully that no matter where you’re at, that all your time and talents have gotten you this far, and that is something to celebrate!

When it comes to carving our higher selves out of the blood, sweat, and tears in applying courage towards our dreams, there is tremendous value in developing an intimate relationship with all the ways in which our mindset, values, behaviors, and perspective have shifted over time.

Here are the signs that you’re already the master of your own destiny:

1. You have moved past the tendency of judging others

Your baseline state is observing the nuances of a situation or interaction without projecting your thoughts, emotions, or insecurities onto others. The flexibility that is born from this skill of self-knowledge and emotional awareness is the bedrock and proof for how far you’ve come.

2. Relationships in your life are changing

You’re attracting relationships into your life that reflect your higher self and dropping those that no longer serve your best interests. If people start to fall out of your life, you no longer feel guilty or sad – you simply come to terms with this inevitable fact of personal evolution.

Everyone walks their own path here, and just because they no longer resonate with you, does not make them a bad person. It just means they too need to find others who share their vibration.

“Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.” – Bob Marley

3. You have become increasingly in tune with the emotional component of social skills

You think less, and you feel more. Humans are moved by emotion, so the more you become emotionally aware you are the more you can actualize your impact.

Ultimately, you understand the interconnectedness of being open to more of what is going on around you with how others are feeling and the emotions going on in yourself, so your leadership has become more inclusive and effective.

4. You believe you can inspire the world just by being who you authentically are

Sure, you have days of confusion and setbacks, and you still feel a form of relaxation when you’re tethered to the deep knowing that the more you share from a place of authenticity you give others permission to do the same. This belief opens the door to more intuitive listening to your gut. It also means you’re less attached to outcomes, which comes with it the sort of freedom only few people ever really experience.

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe

5. You are kind to yourself by honoring your integrity

This means not giving yourself a break to bail out on your word you give to yourself and others, and you do so from a place of compassion. You understand the difference between setting standards and your word to align with perfectionism compared to that which serves your dignity and the dignity of those around you.

This subtle wisdom in perspective can mean all the difference in creating your empire through burning out and maintaining peak performance over time, while truly enjoying the ride.

6. You prioritize self-care and personal recovery

Gone are the days of working hard and playing hard. Whether you experienced burnout in the past or have witnessed it in others, you are meticulous in your self-care strategies.

You’ve come to internalize the risks of working hard to build the life you want only to miss enjoying it because you succumbed to being plugged in around the clock.

You must prioritize all the following:

  • Meditation
  • Staying hydrated
  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Eating healthy in accordance to your body type and what it needs to stay optimized
  • Intimate connection with those you care about
  • Journaling to organize your thoughts
  • Creating healthy boundaries and saying no when appropriate

You deserve to be acknowledged, wherever you are on your journey. Don’t let the spell of personal improvement cloud your sense of personal mastery in the now.

Your destiny is relying on you to appreciate who you are at the core and share yourself with the world authentically. On some level, you can do that fully, right now. May this be an inspiration to press pause more often and honor yourself, in the name of falling in love with the process.

How do you spend your time relaxing in order to recharge yourself? Let us know what you do in the comments below!

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Life

How to Instantly Heighten Your Influence Through Effective Communication

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Image Credit: Unsplash

As a practitioner and coach of NLP, I regularly experience people reaching out to me to work through a problem. While these issues range anywhere from a relational vendetta to a self-discovery impasse, roughly 90 percent of these hang-ups are centered around ineffective communication.

Now, I in no way claim to be an expert in this department. In fact, the more I dissect what I know to be true about communication, the more I realize I’m aloof to most of it. However, amongst the sea of pain and heartache, some common themes arose from the language and perceptions being opted for. These patterns clearly weren’t doing anyone any favors in the arenas of connection and influence and moreover, created a vague feeling of  —and  I use this term loosely — helplessness.

This isn’t exactly a surprise, as sharing and receiving ideas isn’t exactly our strong suit. Social issues, divorces, and violence can all be traced back to some type of breakdown in communication. Much of the world succumbs to a baseline of ineffective dialogue and we need an effective solution.

After just about every meaningful relationship in my life bit the dust, I woke up to a few painstakingly common denominators that were consistently tarnishing the effect I was having on people. Have a peek behind the curtain.

Here are four critical communication distinctions that will make an immediate impact with the people in your life:

1. Resist the urge to say “you”

Because of our overwhelming desire to be right — and therefore protected — we love sharing where the other person failed to meet our expectations. It’s common practice to pepper the phrases “you did this” or “you said that” throughout our explanation, as we want to reinforce how the other person made us feel.

This gets us absolutely nowhere and transforms the pre-existing chain-link fence into castle walls. By renouncing the use of “you”, the person’s nerves are calmed as the spotlight has been taken off of them—dissipating the feeling of being put on trial. The entire experience is now under consideration and they can sense you’ll be a little more objective in your drawing of conclusions.

“Communication- the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer

2. Use “what” instead of “why”

Questions can be the most powerful gateway to understanding what’s happening in another person’s world. However, we often jump the gun when it comes to dealing with communication breakdowns.

“Why” possesses far too much depth as an inquiry, often careening someone off an emotional cliff. It pierces the conscious mind and it typically elicits a sharp comment or cutting remark in response, capping a lid on the potential for forward momentum in the conversation. Most people would prefer walking into the ocean, as opposed to being dropped into shark-infested waters.

“What” is much more of a surface-level inquisition. It treads lightly and doesn’t require the other person to dig as deep in their explanation. “Why” confronts the individual, while “what” confronts the situation.

3. Resist over-identifying with what’s being said

Expecting someone else to base their every move around your feelings is a recipe for disaster. No one has a complete picture of reality but our continual sole reliance on our own subjective view robs us of being quality contributors to others — most notably, in our closest relationships.

It’s the difference between the spouse who yells and screams at their partner for coming home late versus the one that greets their partner with genuine concern and worry for their well-being. One is a focus on the short-term (the emotions that arose from the situation), while the other is a response to the long-term and what’s most important (the health of the individual).

Taking the “all things considered” approach will do you far more good than simply concerning yourself with your own feelings. After all, they aren’t always valid. Stop yourself from the knee-jerk reactions whenever curveballs get thrown your way and instead, take a look at the score, the inning, how many outs, and the men on base— then you can take a swing.

“Communication must be HOT. That’s Honest, Open, and Two-way.” – Dan Oswald

4. Understand that how you perceive the conversation is entirely one-dimensional

Words, tone, and body language can play serious tricks on us sometimes. Consider that it’s impossible to know the truth within a conversation, as the “truth” is contingent upon whose point of view you’re basing it off of.

When communication reaches a stopping point, it’s usually a result of neither party being willing to waver on their indifferences. Attachment and pride get in the way in many areas of life and communication is no exception. To truly understand another person and appreciate where they’re coming from, you must give up your point of view.

It allows you to be a clear space for their ideas and input—free from judgment or cynicism. You can literally create freedom for another human being simply by opting to remain stoic and allow them to try on their own opinion, instead of having to force it down someone else’s combative throat.

This doesn’t mean you agree with them or validate what they’re saying. It’s simply a matter of making an impact— people will not move for someone they don’t feel heard by. Giving up your position not only allows room to understand another person, it creates freedom to roam the meadow of new ideas. It shows you that you’re okay despite temporarily being of no position or stance.

Our ego thinks we can’t survive without a strong opinion etched firmly within our psyche. It’s up to you to show yourself that you don’t have to be held hostage to that opinion— for you can let go of it at any moment in lieu of what really makes the difference for people.

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Life

15 Typical Life Problems And How To Solve Them.

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on

Image Credit: Unsplash / Aaron Weiss

All of our problems are the same. This is the 156th time I’ve written this fact (for those of you counting).

Problems are forever and we can’t avoid them. You’ll wake up tomorrow and have problems for breakfast. You’ll jump on the train and read a problem in your email inbox.

You’ll get to the office and get a problem smack bang in your pretty face!

The typical problems we face can be solved.

Here are 15 typical life problems and how to solve them:


You didn’t reach your goal.

Just because you set a goal, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. Many of life’s toughest goals take lots of attempts. Some of the goals I missed are:

• Dream careers

• Girls I wanted to date

• Saving enough money to build a school in Laos

• Reaching 100k followers on LinkedIn

People who talk about success and personal development (and even write for a site called Addicted2Success like me) also don’t reach their goals.

The best feeling about reaching a goal is the journey it took to get there. If all your goals were easy, then you’d feel nothing at the end of the process.

Solution:

Take the goal you didn’t achieve and try a different approach. Doing the same thing over and over to achieve your goal is the definition of insanity.

Your heroes miss their goals tooWhat makes them stand out is that they don’t give up. The fun of goal-setting is knowing that you’ll fail.


Someone criticized you.

If you want to make a dent in this world, then the critics will come out of the closet. The bigger your aspirations are, the more you’ll be criticized.

The number of critics you have is in direct proportion to your success.

“I had an entire blog post written about me saying how stupid I was. It felt like crap on day one. By day seven I’d made peace with the criticism and kept writing”

Solution:

You can’t please everybody that you meet in life.

When you speak on a stage, for example, 25% of people will like you, 25% won’t know who you are and 50% of people will think you’re an asshole even though you’ve probably done nothing wrong.

Critics are not all bad. You can learn things about yourself from them too. The solution is to learn from criticism, not be afraid of it.


Your career got messed up.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a happy-go-lucky office worker, your career is going to get messed up at some point.

The definition of business is this: Moving from one problem to another and making money in the meantime to fuel your mission. Business is really just problem-solving.

  • Redundancy could right hook you in the face.
  • The business you founded could go backwards and even bankrupt.
  • Your career skills could become outdated.
  • You could get fired for making a mistake.

Your career is going to get messed upThings you can never predict in your career are going to happen.

Solution:

See career challenges for what they are: an opportunity to try something different. If your career never got messed up, then you’d probably stay in your comfort-zone for your entire life and never try something different.

The solution is to see your career getting messed up as chance to grow.Getting made redundant could be the one reality that makes you want to create your own startup.

Having a customer leave could decrease your workload and create space for clients who won’t drain your time and make you no money.


You have financial troubles.

That crazy little thing called money will let you down at some point.

I’ve personally been rich and poor multiple times”

Upon reflection, the time I’ve been the happiest has been when I’ve had the least amount of money.

Countless studies have shown that money isn’t what your life’s about. As humans, we seek meaning, love and our own version of happiness.

Money won’t give you any of those human needs.

That doesn’t mean money doesn’t matter; it just means that it shouldn’t be your main focus or something you obsess over.

Solution:

Lack of money is a gift. When you don’t have money, you become resourceful and creative at the same time.

Lack of money helps you decide on what matters and what doesn’t.

If things get really bad, then you’ll likely prioritize feeding your family over buying another useless car that will never make you happy. You’ll take joy in the simple things in life.

The solution to financial problems is to see them as a gift and choose a meaning for your life instead.


You’re unhealthy.

Our health has become a real problem. We wonder why we feel tired, sick and get headaches. We’ll all experience health challenges at some point in our life.

How many health challenges we experience in our younger years will come down to food and exercise. The strategies for being healthy haven’t changed.

There’s no mystery around being healthy it’s just that we’ve become lazy.

Convenience powered by apps has overtaken our ability to do basic tasks and not binge watch Netflix every night.

Solution:

Take ownership. Quit feeling sick and do something about itHave some blood tests. Change your diet to be more plant-based.

Drink more water. Get your lazy ass to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes. Stand up from your desk every now and then so you’re not sitting for the whole day and messing your spine/neck up.

Whatever you do, take ownership of your health and quit being ignorant.


A relationship ended.

There’s less than 1% of people who met ‘The One,’ lived happily ever after, and never experience a breakup.

Even that 1% will have that relationship end at some point when either side passes away.

For the majority of us who don’t strike gold the first time around, we’re going to have to deal with breakups and the trials and tribulations of romance.

We’ll probably find ourselves in a toxic relationship for too long.

We’ll probably get cheated on at least once.

We’ll probably have our hearts smashed into a million pieces when we discover that someone ‘No longer loves us anymore.’

These are the realities of the human condition and our need to reproduce and keep our species alive.

Solution:

Finding love is about understanding what love is not. You need relationships to end to find out what love really is. All breakups suck in the beginning until you grow and move on. Then, the solution to this problem is to find yourself.

Once you find yourself, the heart will be ready for love again. How you move forward from there is up to you.

You can try the good old fashion nightclub scene. You could go to Meetups. Or, you could start swiping left and right on a few dating apps.

Have your heart broken just don’t let it stay that way


You made a dick of yourself.

Geez, this one is an ugly truth for me.

I’ve made an ass of myself more times than I’ve had protein and veggies for dinner. Here’s a few just for laughs (and your entertainment).

• There was the time I tried to pretend I could be the Wolf of Wall Street and got laughed out of the interview due to not being able to explain derivatives

• There was the time I thought this girl liked me and tried to hug her while we were walking only to have her hate my guts

• There was the time I went out with friends and threw up on my friend’s couch after having a single shot of Tequila

• There was the time I did my first public speaking gig and messed up a speech about my own life which I’d rehearsed over 100 times

We could talk for days about how I’ve embarrassed myself over the years. We could even compare epic fails to see who’s are worse. This is not a game though.

We’re all going to go into situations with the best of intentions or all the experience in the world and still screw up.

Solution:

Making a dick of yourself is a sign of courage. Courage is what is found in leaders and those who are doers.

Making a dick of yourself is an acceptance that you might fail in the short-term.

Those who fail in the short-term will eventually win in the long-term with practice.

The opposite of making a dick of yourself is perfection.That’s a life where you think your shit doesn’t stink and you spend your entire day trying to impress everybody to eventually impress nobody

Making an idiot of yourself is perfectly fine. What’s not fine is being perfect


Someone messed your *shit* up.

Car, home or insert other material possession that doesn’t matter. None of these material things that got messed up are joining you in the afterlife.

You can’t bury the Bentley with you (although someone tried) so you can drive around with your great, great, great grandpa and do burnouts in the afterlife.

The stuff that is going to get messed up doesn’t matter.

Solution:

What matters is that you don’t get messed up. What matters is that you take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Maybe when your junk gets messed up, you’ll realize that you didn’t need it in the first place.


You feel like your life has no meaning.

These moments where nothing makes sense is where you get to explore. We’re not born with a meaning for our life. Meaning comes from learning who we are and growing as a person.

The meaning for your life when you’re 19 will probably change from when you’re 51 and got three grown-up kids.

The quickest way to destroy your life is to believe that life has no meaning. A lack of meaning leads to depression, carelessness, drug taking and even crime at an extreme level.

Solution:

If you feel like your life has no meaning, then it’s time to experiment.Standing still is not how you find the answer.

Being intensely focused on one’s self only leads to more suffering

A short-term solution to this problem is to experiment with helping those who have nothing. Spend time with people who’d kill to be in your position and get some perspective.

I’ve found in my life that the greatest meaning for your life is normally tied to finding something you’d be happy to do for free that helps others.


You feel like you can’t go on.

We’ve all had those days. Those deep and sometimes dark thoughts can lead to a place you’ve never visited.

Some failures in life hurt more than others. Some failures can’t be solved through a listicle post such as this one with a dose of inspiration.

If you truly feel like you can’t go on, then there’s another way.

Solution:

Seek real help. These dark thoughts must be treated and sometimes the best medicine is to seek professional help through counseling, or for an extreme case, by calling Lifeline.

While I’ve never had suicidal thoughts personally, I have dealt with mental illness.

There is a way to come out the other side, but you have to put aside your pride and seek help

Please don’t become another victim of suicide by doing nothing.


Every day feels the same.

You wake up. You eat. You go to work. You eat. You come home. You eat. You go to bed.

Life can feel the same if you do nothing. It’s up to you to create variety and shape your habits into something more than a fixed schedule which makes you feel bored.

Days feel the same when there’s no purpose behind anything you’re doing.

Solution:

You must find joy in the repetition. You do that by taking those reps and making them mean something. Add some variety in by breaking your comfort zone. Set a goal to do something wild during your day every so often.

• Travel to another country

• Talk to someone new

• Try learning a new skill

Even after trying something new, you have to get used to some level of repetition. Let that repetition become habits that serve something which can help others.


Your friends are screwing your life up.

Dump them. Divorce them. Delete their number.

Every relationship you have in your life is a choice. The people around us often hold us back. They fill our minds with limiting beliefs, stories and goals that give us no sense of meaning.

Friends can kill our dreams or make us believe something we never thought was possible.

Solution:

Everyone deserves a second chance. Start by telling your toxic friends how you feel. Give them a chance to change with the new you.

If they refuse, take a break from them for a while. Ask yourself whether you want them in your life long-term.

‘Fitting in’ is what we’re taught to do. What I’d advise you to do is be you instead and that will attract the right people into your life.


You feel stressed.

77% of people in the US alone experience regular stress.

This young, previously blonde blogger has also recently learned about the effects of stress. I had a cortisol test and the doctor found the levels to be twice the normal range.

This stress led to brain fog, tiredness and a lack of mental clarity. Stress is also caused by what you let into your life. Having options can be a bad thing.

Solution:

We don’t need more; we need less to destress

• Declutter your home and office

• Say no to more meetings

• Say yes to invites from people that make you feel like saying “Hell Yes!”

• Buy less material things

• Have fewer people in your life

• Listen to one podcast instead of many

• Read fewer books instead of every one that’s recommended on a podcast

• Have less recurring subscriptions

• Invest and save more money so you can stress less about unexpected bills

• Take regular breaks (quarterly has worked for me)


A fear is standing in your way.

There are so many common fears — fear of spiders, flying, public speaking, dying, career change, heights and maybe even a fear of expressing yourself.

Fear is a concept of the mind. Nothing is scary or not scary. Our mind makes that choice for us and provides meaning to everything.

Fear can be overcome and that’s why we love stories of battling with fear. I’ve famously spoken about creating fear lists and then knocking them off one at a time.

Solution:

Smash the fear into tiny little pieces. Don’t avoid it. Don’t let it stand in your way any longer. Make a decision to overcome each fear you have and you’ll be unstoppable by the end.

Don’t let nerves trick you into thinking you’re fearful. We all get nerves, but we can still keep moving forward with nerves — I’ve even learned to use nerves to my advantage by using them as an extra energy source.

Nerves tell me I’m on the right track.

I’ve overcome my fear of public speaking and my fear of flying — my fear of spiders remains, but I’m working on that one 🙂

Real fear can be overcome through deliberate practice.


Dealing with the concept of death.

Last but not least, the old chestnut of death. Death is the one life problem we all have in common and can’t solve. Sorry for the bad news.

Death is going to take us eventually and it will take people you love through your life too.

The solution to dealing with death is not to overcome it but to accept it

Death can be our greatest motivator if we let it. Once you understand what death means in all of its darkness, you’ll understand life.

You’ll see death, not as a problem but a fact. That fact will change the way you see everything going forward. For me, it took several near-death experiences (almost being murdered and a cancer scare) to see death for what it is.

Death is not an easy pill to swallow. No short blog post like this is going to give you all the answers you’re probably wanting to know.

The only way I see of dealing with the reality of death is to go out there and live the best damn life you can, while you can!

Use your life to do something that gives you meaning and then you’ll no longer see death as a problem when it comes upon you.

Peace, love and respect — thanks for reading.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Sija

    Jan 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Thank u Susan. I agree with your points

  2. Siew

    Dec 7, 2015 at 3:59 am

    A very precise, easy to follow and inspirational article. Good job, Susan!
    It conveys the need to set goals with sub-goals identified so as be able to cherish the accomplishment frequently. The message is also be pragmatic in warning the readers that there will be times when it may take more time and effort to achieve the goal, but not to be discouraged. The message is valuable to people in all walks of life!

  3. Ly

    Dec 5, 2015 at 4:35 am

    Thank you, Susan, for this solid article. I like the step to create subgoals that can be done in 4 hours. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed with my goals for the day. Focusing a subgoals into a 4 hour spot will help me improve my time management and help me feel productive.

  4. Evan

    Dec 5, 2015 at 1:47 am

    Susan,

    Nice article you have here! I love taking breaks for planning and am using this to my advantage better now. I used to get caught up in 16 hour days but realized it’s not sustainable…

    I always take Sundays off, no matter what I have going on that week. Sometimes it’s hard but after enough time passes of doing it, I easily and guiltlessly wake up anytime on Sunday and keep my goals ahead of me.

    – Evan

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

Life

15 Typical Life Problems And How To Solve Them.

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash / Aaron Weiss

All of our problems are the same. This is the 156th time I’ve written this fact (for those of you counting).

Problems are forever and we can’t avoid them. You’ll wake up tomorrow and have problems for breakfast. You’ll jump on the train and read a problem in your email inbox.

You’ll get to the office and get a problem smack bang in your pretty face!

The typical problems we face can be solved.

Here are 15 typical life problems and how to solve them:


You didn’t reach your goal.

Just because you set a goal, doesn’t mean you’re going to get it. Many of life’s toughest goals take lots of attempts. Some of the goals I missed are:

• Dream careers

• Girls I wanted to date

• Saving enough money to build a school in Laos

• Reaching 100k followers on LinkedIn

People who talk about success and personal development (and even write for a site called Addicted2Success like me) also don’t reach their goals.

The best feeling about reaching a goal is the journey it took to get there. If all your goals were easy, then you’d feel nothing at the end of the process.

Solution:

Take the goal you didn’t achieve and try a different approach. Doing the same thing over and over to achieve your goal is the definition of insanity.

Your heroes miss their goals tooWhat makes them stand out is that they don’t give up. The fun of goal-setting is knowing that you’ll fail.


Someone criticized you.

If you want to make a dent in this world, then the critics will come out of the closet. The bigger your aspirations are, the more you’ll be criticized.

The number of critics you have is in direct proportion to your success.

“I had an entire blog post written about me saying how stupid I was. It felt like crap on day one. By day seven I’d made peace with the criticism and kept writing”

Solution:

You can’t please everybody that you meet in life.

When you speak on a stage, for example, 25% of people will like you, 25% won’t know who you are and 50% of people will think you’re an asshole even though you’ve probably done nothing wrong.

Critics are not all bad. You can learn things about yourself from them too. The solution is to learn from criticism, not be afraid of it.


Your career got messed up.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a happy-go-lucky office worker, your career is going to get messed up at some point.

The definition of business is this: Moving from one problem to another and making money in the meantime to fuel your mission. Business is really just problem-solving.

  • Redundancy could right hook you in the face.
  • The business you founded could go backwards and even bankrupt.
  • Your career skills could become outdated.
  • You could get fired for making a mistake.

Your career is going to get messed upThings you can never predict in your career are going to happen.

Solution:

See career challenges for what they are: an opportunity to try something different. If your career never got messed up, then you’d probably stay in your comfort-zone for your entire life and never try something different.

The solution is to see your career getting messed up as chance to grow.Getting made redundant could be the one reality that makes you want to create your own startup.

Having a customer leave could decrease your workload and create space for clients who won’t drain your time and make you no money.


You have financial troubles.

That crazy little thing called money will let you down at some point.

I’ve personally been rich and poor multiple times”

Upon reflection, the time I’ve been the happiest has been when I’ve had the least amount of money.

Countless studies have shown that money isn’t what your life’s about. As humans, we seek meaning, love and our own version of happiness.

Money won’t give you any of those human needs.

That doesn’t mean money doesn’t matter; it just means that it shouldn’t be your main focus or something you obsess over.

Solution:

Lack of money is a gift. When you don’t have money, you become resourceful and creative at the same time.

Lack of money helps you decide on what matters and what doesn’t.

If things get really bad, then you’ll likely prioritize feeding your family over buying another useless car that will never make you happy. You’ll take joy in the simple things in life.

The solution to financial problems is to see them as a gift and choose a meaning for your life instead.


You’re unhealthy.

Our health has become a real problem. We wonder why we feel tired, sick and get headaches. We’ll all experience health challenges at some point in our life.

How many health challenges we experience in our younger years will come down to food and exercise. The strategies for being healthy haven’t changed.

There’s no mystery around being healthy it’s just that we’ve become lazy.

Convenience powered by apps has overtaken our ability to do basic tasks and not binge watch Netflix every night.

Solution:

Take ownership. Quit feeling sick and do something about itHave some blood tests. Change your diet to be more plant-based.

Drink more water. Get your lazy ass to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes. Stand up from your desk every now and then so you’re not sitting for the whole day and messing your spine/neck up.

Whatever you do, take ownership of your health and quit being ignorant.


A relationship ended.

There’s less than 1% of people who met ‘The One,’ lived happily ever after, and never experience a breakup.

Even that 1% will have that relationship end at some point when either side passes away.

For the majority of us who don’t strike gold the first time around, we’re going to have to deal with breakups and the trials and tribulations of romance.

We’ll probably find ourselves in a toxic relationship for too long.

We’ll probably get cheated on at least once.

We’ll probably have our hearts smashed into a million pieces when we discover that someone ‘No longer loves us anymore.’

These are the realities of the human condition and our need to reproduce and keep our species alive.

Solution:

Finding love is about understanding what love is not. You need relationships to end to find out what love really is. All breakups suck in the beginning until you grow and move on. Then, the solution to this problem is to find yourself.

Once you find yourself, the heart will be ready for love again. How you move forward from there is up to you.

You can try the good old fashion nightclub scene. You could go to Meetups. Or, you could start swiping left and right on a few dating apps.

Have your heart broken just don’t let it stay that way


You made a dick of yourself.

Geez, this one is an ugly truth for me.

I’ve made an ass of myself more times than I’ve had protein and veggies for dinner. Here’s a few just for laughs (and your entertainment).

• There was the time I tried to pretend I could be the Wolf of Wall Street and got laughed out of the interview due to not being able to explain derivatives

• There was the time I thought this girl liked me and tried to hug her while we were walking only to have her hate my guts

• There was the time I went out with friends and threw up on my friend’s couch after having a single shot of Tequila

• There was the time I did my first public speaking gig and messed up a speech about my own life which I’d rehearsed over 100 times

We could talk for days about how I’ve embarrassed myself over the years. We could even compare epic fails to see who’s are worse. This is not a game though.

We’re all going to go into situations with the best of intentions or all the experience in the world and still screw up.

Solution:

Making a dick of yourself is a sign of courage. Courage is what is found in leaders and those who are doers.

Making a dick of yourself is an acceptance that you might fail in the short-term.

Those who fail in the short-term will eventually win in the long-term with practice.

The opposite of making a dick of yourself is perfection.That’s a life where you think your shit doesn’t stink and you spend your entire day trying to impress everybody to eventually impress nobody

Making an idiot of yourself is perfectly fine. What’s not fine is being perfect


Someone messed your *shit* up.

Car, home or insert other material possession that doesn’t matter. None of these material things that got messed up are joining you in the afterlife.

You can’t bury the Bentley with you (although someone tried) so you can drive around with your great, great, great grandpa and do burnouts in the afterlife.

The stuff that is going to get messed up doesn’t matter.

Solution:

What matters is that you don’t get messed up. What matters is that you take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Maybe when your junk gets messed up, you’ll realize that you didn’t need it in the first place.


You feel like your life has no meaning.

These moments where nothing makes sense is where you get to explore. We’re not born with a meaning for our life. Meaning comes from learning who we are and growing as a person.

The meaning for your life when you’re 19 will probably change from when you’re 51 and got three grown-up kids.

The quickest way to destroy your life is to believe that life has no meaning. A lack of meaning leads to depression, carelessness, drug taking and even crime at an extreme level.

Solution:

If you feel like your life has no meaning, then it’s time to experiment.Standing still is not how you find the answer.

Being intensely focused on one’s self only leads to more suffering

A short-term solution to this problem is to experiment with helping those who have nothing. Spend time with people who’d kill to be in your position and get some perspective.

I’ve found in my life that the greatest meaning for your life is normally tied to finding something you’d be happy to do for free that helps others.


You feel like you can’t go on.

We’ve all had those days. Those deep and sometimes dark thoughts can lead to a place you’ve never visited.

Some failures in life hurt more than others. Some failures can’t be solved through a listicle post such as this one with a dose of inspiration.

If you truly feel like you can’t go on, then there’s another way.

Solution:

Seek real help. These dark thoughts must be treated and sometimes the best medicine is to seek professional help through counseling, or for an extreme case, by calling Lifeline.

While I’ve never had suicidal thoughts personally, I have dealt with mental illness.

There is a way to come out the other side, but you have to put aside your pride and seek help

Please don’t become another victim of suicide by doing nothing.


Every day feels the same.

You wake up. You eat. You go to work. You eat. You come home. You eat. You go to bed.

Life can feel the same if you do nothing. It’s up to you to create variety and shape your habits into something more than a fixed schedule which makes you feel bored.

Days feel the same when there’s no purpose behind anything you’re doing.

Solution:

You must find joy in the repetition. You do that by taking those reps and making them mean something. Add some variety in by breaking your comfort zone. Set a goal to do something wild during your day every so often.

• Travel to another country

• Talk to someone new

• Try learning a new skill

Even after trying something new, you have to get used to some level of repetition. Let that repetition become habits that serve something which can help others.


Your friends are screwing your life up.

Dump them. Divorce them. Delete their number.

Every relationship you have in your life is a choice. The people around us often hold us back. They fill our minds with limiting beliefs, stories and goals that give us no sense of meaning.

Friends can kill our dreams or make us believe something we never thought was possible.

Solution:

Everyone deserves a second chance. Start by telling your toxic friends how you feel. Give them a chance to change with the new you.

If they refuse, take a break from them for a while. Ask yourself whether you want them in your life long-term.

‘Fitting in’ is what we’re taught to do. What I’d advise you to do is be you instead and that will attract the right people into your life.


You feel stressed.

77% of people in the US alone experience regular stress.

This young, previously blonde blogger has also recently learned about the effects of stress. I had a cortisol test and the doctor found the levels to be twice the normal range.

This stress led to brain fog, tiredness and a lack of mental clarity. Stress is also caused by what you let into your life. Having options can be a bad thing.

Solution:

We don’t need more; we need less to destress

• Declutter your home and office

• Say no to more meetings

• Say yes to invites from people that make you feel like saying “Hell Yes!”

• Buy less material things

• Have fewer people in your life

• Listen to one podcast instead of many

• Read fewer books instead of every one that’s recommended on a podcast

• Have less recurring subscriptions

• Invest and save more money so you can stress less about unexpected bills

• Take regular breaks (quarterly has worked for me)


A fear is standing in your way.

There are so many common fears — fear of spiders, flying, public speaking, dying, career change, heights and maybe even a fear of expressing yourself.

Fear is a concept of the mind. Nothing is scary or not scary. Our mind makes that choice for us and provides meaning to everything.

Fear can be overcome and that’s why we love stories of battling with fear. I’ve famously spoken about creating fear lists and then knocking them off one at a time.

Solution:

Smash the fear into tiny little pieces. Don’t avoid it. Don’t let it stand in your way any longer. Make a decision to overcome each fear you have and you’ll be unstoppable by the end.

Don’t let nerves trick you into thinking you’re fearful. We all get nerves, but we can still keep moving forward with nerves — I’ve even learned to use nerves to my advantage by using them as an extra energy source.

Nerves tell me I’m on the right track.

I’ve overcome my fear of public speaking and my fear of flying — my fear of spiders remains, but I’m working on that one 🙂

Real fear can be overcome through deliberate practice.


Dealing with the concept of death.

Last but not least, the old chestnut of death. Death is the one life problem we all have in common and can’t solve. Sorry for the bad news.

Death is going to take us eventually and it will take people you love through your life too.

The solution to dealing with death is not to overcome it but to accept it

Death can be our greatest motivator if we let it. Once you understand what death means in all of its darkness, you’ll understand life.

You’ll see death, not as a problem but a fact. That fact will change the way you see everything going forward. For me, it took several near-death experiences (almost being murdered and a cancer scare) to see death for what it is.

Death is not an easy pill to swallow. No short blog post like this is going to give you all the answers you’re probably wanting to know.

The only way I see of dealing with the reality of death is to go out there and live the best damn life you can, while you can!

Use your life to do something that gives you meaning and then you’ll no longer see death as a problem when it comes upon you.

Peace, love and respect — thanks for reading.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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4 Lies You Keep Telling Yourself When You’re Afraid to Do Something

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When’s the last time you let fear get the better of you? Whether we want to admit it or not, fear keeps us from doing a lot of the things we know we really should do to achieve our goals. Fear is especially detrimental to entrepreneurs (read ‘wantrepreneurs’) that want to launch their first big project.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share with you four lies people tend to tell themselves when they’re coming up with reasons NOT to do something. Hopefully by calling out these lies for what they are you can get your next big project started without so much delay or frustration.

Here are the 4 lies you keep telling yourself when you’re afraid to do something:

1. I’m not ready to do this

Fear is a major obstacle for many early-stage entrepreneurs or business people as they start to plan and build their first ventures. Without positive reinforcement, many people can be paralysed by that fear, and some never launch their product or service because of that fear.

They’re afraid what they have to sell is no good, and they lack the self confidence to push through the discomfort and do it anyway. But I’ve got news for you, you are ready.

Discomfort is part of the process, and it is part of the journey. Likely, you will fail or experience certain difficulties, but without regular action, you won’t achieve anything. Regular action is key, so set deadlines for yourself and get to work.

“Momentum begets momentum, and the best way to start is to start.” – Gil Penchina

2. I have so many ideas, but I should wait until I have one that is good enough to pursue

Another big barrier to entry for many young entrepreneurs is knowing where to focus their time, money and energy. Most entrepreneurs have no shortage of good ideas, but knowing which areas to focus their efforts on is key if they truly want to become successful. A jack of all trades is a master of none.

Rather than avoiding choosing one path and trying to juggle three or four ideas, narrow your idea down to one niche, and stick with it for a duration of time to understand whether or not you can gain traction with that idea. When I say traction, I mean interest from the market.

If you can ask a large enough segment of the market for their interest in a certain topic, and if they express interest in that topic (even without buying), you should consider that proof of market validation.

Finding and selecting a niche is also an art in and of itself, but not impossible to teach. You should blend your current skill set (or find something that you can easily learn) with what there is a market demand for and what you are interested in. Once you find something that overlaps in those three areas, you will find a profitable niche for yourself.

3. This has already been created, I shouldn’t bother producing one more thing that people don’t need

Another problem that people face when they consider setting up their own business is learning how to sell, not just to other people, but to themselves. Chances are, if you have an idea for a product, it can be marketed and sold effectively, and it will provide some value to those who use it.

Unfortunately, many people have a very low self-image of their own skills and knowledge, and whether or not what they have will be of value to others.

Negative self talk can be a powerful influence on the success of your future business, so beware of its influence on you and how often you find yourself slipping into this mindset.

One way to get out of this mindset is to think less of yourself and more about the customer. Get in the habit of thinking less about what skills you have (or what skills you lack) and think instead of the market and what needs those people have.

When you decide to solve people’s problems, you have gone into a mode of selfless service, which is ultimately much more profitable than sitting on your butt feeling sorry for yourself. Strange isn’t it?

“The best way to sell yourself to others is first to sell the others to yourself.” – Napoleon Hill

4. It’s too late to start working on this today, I’ll make a fresh start in the morning

Everyone knows that the first few hours of the morning tend to be the most productive. With that in mind, it makes sense to start your day with the tasks that are going to be the most challenging, followed by the tasks that are perhaps more enjoyable or less monotonous. However, that won’t work for some people.

Sometimes it’s hard to wake up first thing in the morning. Perhaps you stayed out partying too hard last night, or you were kept up watching Netflix. Maybe you got to bed at a reasonable hour but just aren’t a morning person. Whatever the case, don’t think that you have to let all of the pieces fall into the right place at the right time.

Starting now is always better than waiting. Sure, you might not send off a client deliverable to someone at 2am, but if you are up and awake and able to string two sentences together or spend 15 minutes researching a certain topic, do it. Making even small bits of progress over time can lead to lasting success.

Whatever you end up telling yourself, understand that you are still responsible for your actions. Perhaps more importantly, you are responsible for your inaction. What inaction will you be responsible for if you decide to believe the lies you tell yourself on a regular basis?

How could your life be different if you decided, starting today, you aren’t going to take no for an answer? I for one, would love to see what the new you does with that power.

How do you get yourself back on track when you’re afraid to do something? Let us know your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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6 Signs That You’re Already the Master of Your Own Destiny

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You wake up early, grind, produce, and orient yourself to the best you can be every day. What if, just for today, you paused for a moment to honor how far you’ve come? How might it serve you and how you serve others if you just gave yourself praise for all the adversity you have met with open arms?

It can be distorting at times to take a level-headed assessment of how far we have come while on our journey to success and personal mastery. There is a renewed personal vitality and nourishment that occurs when we slow down and sit with personal praise for a moment.

With that, consider this the letter from the Robin to your Batman. This is your permission slip to realize fully that no matter where you’re at, that all your time and talents have gotten you this far, and that is something to celebrate!

When it comes to carving our higher selves out of the blood, sweat, and tears in applying courage towards our dreams, there is tremendous value in developing an intimate relationship with all the ways in which our mindset, values, behaviors, and perspective have shifted over time.

Here are the signs that you’re already the master of your own destiny:

1. You have moved past the tendency of judging others

Your baseline state is observing the nuances of a situation or interaction without projecting your thoughts, emotions, or insecurities onto others. The flexibility that is born from this skill of self-knowledge and emotional awareness is the bedrock and proof for how far you’ve come.

2. Relationships in your life are changing

You’re attracting relationships into your life that reflect your higher self and dropping those that no longer serve your best interests. If people start to fall out of your life, you no longer feel guilty or sad – you simply come to terms with this inevitable fact of personal evolution.

Everyone walks their own path here, and just because they no longer resonate with you, does not make them a bad person. It just means they too need to find others who share their vibration.

“Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.” – Bob Marley

3. You have become increasingly in tune with the emotional component of social skills

You think less, and you feel more. Humans are moved by emotion, so the more you become emotionally aware you are the more you can actualize your impact.

Ultimately, you understand the interconnectedness of being open to more of what is going on around you with how others are feeling and the emotions going on in yourself, so your leadership has become more inclusive and effective.

4. You believe you can inspire the world just by being who you authentically are

Sure, you have days of confusion and setbacks, and you still feel a form of relaxation when you’re tethered to the deep knowing that the more you share from a place of authenticity you give others permission to do the same. This belief opens the door to more intuitive listening to your gut. It also means you’re less attached to outcomes, which comes with it the sort of freedom only few people ever really experience.

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe

5. You are kind to yourself by honoring your integrity

This means not giving yourself a break to bail out on your word you give to yourself and others, and you do so from a place of compassion. You understand the difference between setting standards and your word to align with perfectionism compared to that which serves your dignity and the dignity of those around you.

This subtle wisdom in perspective can mean all the difference in creating your empire through burning out and maintaining peak performance over time, while truly enjoying the ride.

6. You prioritize self-care and personal recovery

Gone are the days of working hard and playing hard. Whether you experienced burnout in the past or have witnessed it in others, you are meticulous in your self-care strategies.

You’ve come to internalize the risks of working hard to build the life you want only to miss enjoying it because you succumbed to being plugged in around the clock.

You must prioritize all the following:

  • Meditation
  • Staying hydrated
  • Getting a good night’s sleep
  • Eating healthy in accordance to your body type and what it needs to stay optimized
  • Intimate connection with those you care about
  • Journaling to organize your thoughts
  • Creating healthy boundaries and saying no when appropriate

You deserve to be acknowledged, wherever you are on your journey. Don’t let the spell of personal improvement cloud your sense of personal mastery in the now.

Your destiny is relying on you to appreciate who you are at the core and share yourself with the world authentically. On some level, you can do that fully, right now. May this be an inspiration to press pause more often and honor yourself, in the name of falling in love with the process.

How do you spend your time relaxing in order to recharge yourself? Let us know what you do in the comments below!

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How to Instantly Heighten Your Influence Through Effective Communication

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As a practitioner and coach of NLP, I regularly experience people reaching out to me to work through a problem. While these issues range anywhere from a relational vendetta to a self-discovery impasse, roughly 90 percent of these hang-ups are centered around ineffective communication.

Now, I in no way claim to be an expert in this department. In fact, the more I dissect what I know to be true about communication, the more I realize I’m aloof to most of it. However, amongst the sea of pain and heartache, some common themes arose from the language and perceptions being opted for. These patterns clearly weren’t doing anyone any favors in the arenas of connection and influence and moreover, created a vague feeling of  —and  I use this term loosely — helplessness.

This isn’t exactly a surprise, as sharing and receiving ideas isn’t exactly our strong suit. Social issues, divorces, and violence can all be traced back to some type of breakdown in communication. Much of the world succumbs to a baseline of ineffective dialogue and we need an effective solution.

After just about every meaningful relationship in my life bit the dust, I woke up to a few painstakingly common denominators that were consistently tarnishing the effect I was having on people. Have a peek behind the curtain.

Here are four critical communication distinctions that will make an immediate impact with the people in your life:

1. Resist the urge to say “you”

Because of our overwhelming desire to be right — and therefore protected — we love sharing where the other person failed to meet our expectations. It’s common practice to pepper the phrases “you did this” or “you said that” throughout our explanation, as we want to reinforce how the other person made us feel.

This gets us absolutely nowhere and transforms the pre-existing chain-link fence into castle walls. By renouncing the use of “you”, the person’s nerves are calmed as the spotlight has been taken off of them—dissipating the feeling of being put on trial. The entire experience is now under consideration and they can sense you’ll be a little more objective in your drawing of conclusions.

“Communication- the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer

2. Use “what” instead of “why”

Questions can be the most powerful gateway to understanding what’s happening in another person’s world. However, we often jump the gun when it comes to dealing with communication breakdowns.

“Why” possesses far too much depth as an inquiry, often careening someone off an emotional cliff. It pierces the conscious mind and it typically elicits a sharp comment or cutting remark in response, capping a lid on the potential for forward momentum in the conversation. Most people would prefer walking into the ocean, as opposed to being dropped into shark-infested waters.

“What” is much more of a surface-level inquisition. It treads lightly and doesn’t require the other person to dig as deep in their explanation. “Why” confronts the individual, while “what” confronts the situation.

3. Resist over-identifying with what’s being said

Expecting someone else to base their every move around your feelings is a recipe for disaster. No one has a complete picture of reality but our continual sole reliance on our own subjective view robs us of being quality contributors to others — most notably, in our closest relationships.

It’s the difference between the spouse who yells and screams at their partner for coming home late versus the one that greets their partner with genuine concern and worry for their well-being. One is a focus on the short-term (the emotions that arose from the situation), while the other is a response to the long-term and what’s most important (the health of the individual).

Taking the “all things considered” approach will do you far more good than simply concerning yourself with your own feelings. After all, they aren’t always valid. Stop yourself from the knee-jerk reactions whenever curveballs get thrown your way and instead, take a look at the score, the inning, how many outs, and the men on base— then you can take a swing.

“Communication must be HOT. That’s Honest, Open, and Two-way.” – Dan Oswald

4. Understand that how you perceive the conversation is entirely one-dimensional

Words, tone, and body language can play serious tricks on us sometimes. Consider that it’s impossible to know the truth within a conversation, as the “truth” is contingent upon whose point of view you’re basing it off of.

When communication reaches a stopping point, it’s usually a result of neither party being willing to waver on their indifferences. Attachment and pride get in the way in many areas of life and communication is no exception. To truly understand another person and appreciate where they’re coming from, you must give up your point of view.

It allows you to be a clear space for their ideas and input—free from judgment or cynicism. You can literally create freedom for another human being simply by opting to remain stoic and allow them to try on their own opinion, instead of having to force it down someone else’s combative throat.

This doesn’t mean you agree with them or validate what they’re saying. It’s simply a matter of making an impact— people will not move for someone they don’t feel heard by. Giving up your position not only allows room to understand another person, it creates freedom to roam the meadow of new ideas. It shows you that you’re okay despite temporarily being of no position or stance.

Our ego thinks we can’t survive without a strong opinion etched firmly within our psyche. It’s up to you to show yourself that you don’t have to be held hostage to that opinion— for you can let go of it at any moment in lieu of what really makes the difference for people.

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