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8 Practical Ways to Stay Mentally Sharp

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In a modern age where intelligence is much more valued than physical strength, it is very important one stays mentally sharp and active. To stay dull and ignorant in a rapidly developing world like ours can be likened to going into a war zone without any weapons.

Here are 8 tips on how to keep your mind healthy:

1. Focus On Your Priorities And Goals

To stay mentally sharp, you must focus on your goals and aspirations. This is essential because it keeps you from being distracted and let’s you channel your mind to what really matters. You must utilise your time properly to prepare, plan and take action towards your goals.

When there is focus, mental alertness is improved and one’s productivity naturally improves. Resolve to always take some time periodically to define your priorities and the things you want to achieve, then focus on the step by step actions needed to make them come to pass.

 

2. Worry Less, Do More

Worrying does us more harm than good. It keeps us brooding over the past or future while stealing our alertness. Stop spending time worrying about things, instead you should always be asking yourself the question “What is the next step?” “What can I do to improve my situation?”

This attitude gets you thinking and coming up with new ideas on how to better yourself. Always remember that useful time is wasted when you worry, all you need to do is focus on making plans and taking action.

“A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work.” – John Lubbock

3. Exercise Your Mind And Body

Exercise is very important for our well being. Most of us are used to bodily exercise but few exercise their minds. Bodily exercise is important, but so is mental exercise. Make schedules to include exercise into your routine, this may include hitting the gym, joining a team for an outdoor sport, dancing, gymnastics etc

Don’t forget to exercise your mind as well. Games like Chess, Monopoly, Scrabble, Billiards, crossword and puzzles keep your mind thinking fast and sharp. There are lots of bodily and mental exercises, find out what suits you best.

 

4. Stay Around Smarter People

The power of association cannot be over emphasised. Little wonder why the popular maxim “Show me your friend and I’ll tell you who you are”, gained so much acceptance. If you associate with dumb people all the time, there is a tendency that you’ll start thinking and behaving like them even without your knowledge.

To stay mentally sharp and alert, ensure you stay around become who think fast and come up with brilliant ideas. They’d quickly stimulate you to also think the way they do.

 

5. Find Time To Entertain Yourself

Entertainment is also a wonderful part of life. We all need to find time to unwind after doing our daily work. Only doing your work all day can be boring and cause you mental stress. The brain doesn’t like it because it’s just like eating the same food all day.

Find time to relax, visit your friends, hang out with friends, see a new movie, play good music, go for a party or a date. Life is beautiful and we are meant to enjoy it. The only downside is just that some people over entertain themselves and I’m coming to that.

 

6. Eat A Healthy Diet

Your body and your mind are usually in sync. You can’t neglect one and expect the other to function well. Eating good food is important to your body and consequently your mind. That good feeling you get when you eat a balanced and satisfying meal actually improves your mental health. Have you ever thought clearly when you’re terrible hungry or when you’ve eaten junk all day? Probably not.

 

7. Keep Your Mind Open

Openness of mind is a quality you must possess if you value your state of mental health and activity. An open mind keeps you observant and aware of all possibilities that may emanate from an existing situation. When your mind is closed, you tend to think less and do the same things in the same way. A closed mind is not open to fresh knowledge, new discoveries and innovative ways of solving problems.

“Have an open mind – allow different ideas into your way of thinking.” – Peter Diamandis

8. Avoid Bad Habits

It is important you shun your bad habits if you want to stay sharp and smart. Bad habits range from over entertaining yourself with the media, smoking, drunkenness, watching TV all day, laziness to work etc. You know exactly what you’re doing wrong that is not adding any value to your life. You better make a firm decision to stop it now rather than let it control your life. Don’t let bad habits steal your time and your alertness.

Which do you believe is most important to staying mentally sharp? Share your thoughts below!

Nigel Ikechukwu is a writer, an engineering student and a chess enthusiast. He is also a blogger and founder of the personal development blog at www.boldwinner.com.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Evan

    Aug 18, 2016 at 7:15 am

    What’s up Nigel?

    Thanks for posting this article at A2S – I really like the prioritization methods and staying around smarter people. They say if you’re smarter than most people you’re around, you’re in the wrong room. If we can always improve our circle of influence, by placing smarter and more successful people around us, we will always improve.

    This is uncomfortable, and makes you feel like you haven’t done as much, but it’s where the growth occurs: outside your comfort zone.

    – Evan

  2. Nigel

    Aug 17, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks to everyone who commended the post and gave useful feedbacks.

  3. Zak Davis

    Aug 17, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Very informative. I like tip# 2 and 3

    We should not worry too much, sometimes the things we are worrying about does not really exist or will happen.

    Mind and Body exercise is also important. learning new skills such as a new language or trying activities we are passionate about is a good way to destress

  4. Tim Denning

    Aug 17, 2016 at 2:59 am

    Nigel this is a great post and clearly other people have really loved it by sharing it on social media. The most important point you raised to stay sharp is to worry less and do more. Worry and anger wastes a lot of our mental capacity. When we release all of this negative energy it allows us to think clearly and stay mentally sharp.

  5. Bryan Oliver

    Aug 16, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Great post, Nigel. Appreciate the awesome reminder. Instead of focusing on avoiding bad habits I focus on creating and maintaining good habits. This helps me do your points 1-7. Keep up the great work brother! Inspired.

  6. Benson Wong

    Aug 16, 2016 at 6:35 am

    Another one of my favorites is to read voraciously, for books introduce you to new ideas, concepts, and ways of thinking and doing. One sign of intelligence and mental sharpness is our ability to simultaneously keep and argue two opposing thoughts. Books do this for us.

    • Nigel

      Aug 17, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      Nice one Wong, it’s important to read voraciously, but reading too much itself is a vice.

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Life

Lost Your Mojo? Focus on These 3 Areas to Get Back in the Game

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get back in the game

It’s time for some good news! You’re only ever lacking in three areas and guess what? You can turn those 3 things around relatively easily and quickly!

It’s easy to get caught up thinking, that you’re miles behind, that you can’t find your flow or mojo or that you’re just lazy and unmotivated. The good news is you are only a few decisions, actions and days away from finding your mojo again!

Here are 3 things you need to look at when you’re feeling down and out:

1. Energy levels

The first place to look when you lose your mojo is your energy levels. What are you eating & drinking? Are you eating lean, green and light? If you aren’t already, cut your intake down and focus on hydrating your body with water and eating fresh organic food. Being light on your feet and energizing your body is most important.

Also, take a look at your exercise regime. Are you exercising for energy or are you burning your body out at the gym? Make sure you are getting good consistent rest every night and don’t forget to spend some time alone in nature connecting with your inner most self.

“You just got to wake up with a smile and love every minute of building your dream.” – Joe Duncan

2. Production levels

The second place to look is your production levels or more so, your lack of production! Are you producing enough work or activity to get the results you want? That’s usually the real cause of most of your problems; a lack of work, effort and momentum. In many cases a lack of production stems from a lack of energy – but hey, we’re working on that right?

3. Confidence levels

The third place to look when you’re floundering is your confidence levels. But don’t panic, we all lose our confidence from time to time. When you lose your confidence and your sense of certainty, everything else will be impacted, especially your performance.

The best way to get your confidence back is to go back to basics for a few days and try and build some momentum and get your flow back. You lose your confidence when you lose your self belief, so do the simple things you know you can do well, then you’ll start to believe in your ability again!

“You won’t always get it right, but that doesn’t mean you’re never going to get it right.” – Joe Duncan

It’s time to get your mojo back and get back in the game. Remember next time when you get stuck you only have to make adjustments in these three areas and most likely they will only be small tweaks and changes that need to be implemented. 

Click here if you are having trouble finding your flow, lost motivation and need some help to get back on your feet!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

How Never Giving Up Can Lead You From Pain and Suffering to Ease and Joy

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never give up

I struggled with many aspects of life early on such as growing up in challenging circumstances and getting bullied at school. I read my first self-development book at 13 and attended many courses and workshops, but nothing I encountered made the difference for me. It was only once I found a set of energetic processes and tools which I now use in my life and my work that I was able to turn things around.

Today, I get to write for you about my experiences, run a thriving mentoring and healing practice and travel to attend classes and events.

Here are some of the things I’ve done/learned along the way:

1. I took responsibility for my actions

I believe we attract all our experiences in order to learn from them. It is tough when we go through things we don’t know how to handle and experience pain, fear and anxiety as a result.  

This leaves us many emotions to release and a skill gap to bridge, which if done right, allows us to develop a level of confidence about how to turn experience into awareness and integrate our learning into wisdom for future ease and higher outcomes.

For me, learning to let go was hard (we are not taught this and I kept feeling like I had to hold onto things to protect myself). After a while, I came to the decision that “It’s not what’s happened to me, it’s how I deal with it that matters”.

Choosing from this space was empowering and allowed me to move from regret and develop a sense of purpose from my experiences.

2. I jumped off the cliff without a parachute and became inspired and trusting on the way down

I had gotten to the point where if I stayed where I was, I would die. I didn’t know how my life would look or who I would become in the process of changing, yet I knew if I was going to survive I had to become a radically different version of me.

Once I made that decision, I found the tools I was looking for that were relatable, fun and powerful. I began to change my thoughts, feelings and emotions and way of viewing the world.

After a while, instead of using personal development to escape the pain of my life, I became addicted to pursuing the highest version of myself and curious how much change and transformation I could create. I was having fun!

I began to ask what was possible for me I’d never imagined and realized that who I actually am is completely different from who I had thought I wanted to become. I discovered my soul purpose was connected to my inner work and my years of struggle and transformation meant that I had something valuable to offer others.

“What we are waiting for is not as important as what happens to us while we are waiting. Trust the process.” – Mandy Hale

3. I had the unshakeable belief something else was possible

As growth, healing, and expansion became my highest goal, the details filled themselves in. The right people and things showed up to trigger my growth and to support me which helped me be less fearful, and more able to give and receive love from others.

I lost layers of accumulated emotional garbage and started to connect with my power and purpose. I stopped telling my victim story (except to inspire others) and I began to trust myself and have faith in life again to have my back.

4. I made heaps of mistakes and instead of feeling bad about it, I felt determined, courageous and free

This part was tough. There were setbacks, embarrassments, discouragements and challenges but I wasn’t going to give in and quit.  

I had to suck at some things in order to get better. Creating a new life from scratch is a great way to lose ego. There were a few hurdles where I would get super upset, yet giving up was never an option.

There’s no point in being upset so I sucked it up and moved on. This takes courage and feels totally weird at first, but it is so worth it.

5. I became a new version of me

In the course of recreating myself, I began to develop new attributes. I was so focusing on changing, I didn’t notice what was different about me at first.

Every few months I would write my goals and it wasn’t until I would check them that I began to realize how much I’d accomplished in the process of changing me.

This became clearer whenever I would run across someone who I once looked up to because their life suddenly looked smaller than I remembered. While they had been comfortable and barely moving, I had plodded past them like the proverbial tortoise. As I stay on this trajectory, the benefits and changes multiply exponentially over time.

“Every day, you reinvent yourself. You’re always in motion. But you decide every day: forward or backward.” – James Altucher

6. I became open to new ideas and concepts

In the process of being cracked wide open by life, I became curious, accepting and interested in different ideas, concepts and techniques.

Things like manifesting, consciousness, spirituality and other ‘strange’ ideas became my friends.  After years of trying to create change via psychological means, effort, willpower and implementing traditional tools of personal development, I found my wheelhouse in the different.

Today I am grateful for my early adversity and my own persistence and determination. Without them, who I am today would have remained undiscovered and I wouldn’t get to do the cool stuff I do with other people. I am grateful for the amazing tools and information around today, which can make the journey so much easier.

What helps you keep moving when you feel like giving up? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

As Bad As Smoking? 3 Reasons to Occasionally Unplug From Technology

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A popular meme reads: “I’m having people over to stare at their phones later if you want to come by…” It’s kind of funny in an alarming way since many people would consider walking barefoot across flaming hot coals before parting with their smartphones for a few weeks.

As useful as things like the Internet and mobile devices are, taking time to occasionally unplug is a good habit. Even if for no other reason than to develop your willpower and avoid being too heavily addicted to your wireless toy.

Consider the following three reasons for periodically unplugging from technology and taking a minute to smell the roses:

1. Face-To-Face Interaction

As useful as social media is for things like marketing, maintaining contact with old friends and sending messages across the world in the blink of an eye, there’s no substitute for a friendly meeting and a firm handshake.

There are few things in life that have more potential to increase our happiness than building good relationships with the people around us. Taking the effort to postpone the reading and answering of your latest text message in order to listen and offer attention to the person in front of you can be a great way to improve relationships and show people you care.

If you want a more practical and success-driven reason, then consider the fact that developing a healthy network is one of the most powerful ways to successfully grow your business or career. Spending a business lunch or golf game glued to your touchscreen is a lousy way to build that network.

2. Creative Thinking

Creativity is another powerful asset in your effort to expand your success, solve your problems and increase your happiness. Getting in the habit of frequent, diligent reading (an activity often performed with mobile devices) is essential in developing your creative capacity. In addition, investing alone time to occasionally take a step back to think, review options and consider possible solutions towards life’s struggles is a great quality.

Making a habit of doing so can be beneficial for planning your career, planning an exciting night out on the town with your spouse, planning how to discipline your teenager and plenty more.

“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.” – Mencius

3. Health Concerns

The health risks caused by electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) are numerous and not to be ignored. Health damaging EMFs are emitted by various types of electronic devices including cellphones, tablets and laptops among others. Although pretending these dangers don’t exist may seem convenient, there’s nothing convenient about dealing with the consequences. Some have even suggested that cell phones may eventually prove to be as cancerous as cigarettes. Don’t believe me?

In the book ‘The Non-Tinfoil Guide To EMFs’, Nicolas Pineault writes, “A $25M study performed by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) studied the effects of exposing rats and mice to an amount of cellphone radiation equivalent to what a human would get by talking for 30 minutes a day, for 36 years.

“As reported by Microwave News: ‘The exposed rats were found to have higher rates of two types of cancers: glioma, a tumor of the glial cells in the brain, and malignant schwannoma of the heart, a very rare tumor. None of the unexposed control rats developed either type of tumor.’

“The irony is the whole reason John Bucher, the senior manager of the NTP study, wanted his agency to run this study is to prove once and for all that cellphones do not cause cancer.”

Swearing off technology is probably not the most practical solution. (Although if that’s your thing, then rock on.) That said, occasionally taking a break from technology and spending some time in nature might help counteract some of the negative effects.

Bonus: Stress Reduction

With so many people in our culture complaining of excessive stress and/or taking antidepressants, it makes sense to proactively take steps to reduce stress before it builds up so much that you experience a nervous breakdown.

I don’t know about you, but when I get away from the computer or turn off my mobile device for a bit, I can feel the difference. If I’ve been working on my laptop or tablet for too long, then getting away and taking a break offers a noticeable relief. I almost immediately feel calmer.

If you’ve been on your phone/tablet/computer for a while, consider taking a few minutes after you finish reading this article to leave technology behind and catch a breath of fresh air.

“The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug.” – Pico Iyer

Are you ready to build stronger relationships? Are you ready to proactively develop creative solutions? Are you ready to start preserving your health? Are you ready to leave some of that stress behind you? If so, then it’s time to fit a periodical unplug into your schedule. You might be surprised by how much this helps.

How many hours of the day do you use your phone? Are you being productive on it? Let us know in the comments below so we can help one another.

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Life

3 Ways to Have More Time by Living More Proactively

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We live in a reactive world. We feel compelled to check and respond to digital tools at a moment’s notice. A few minutes here and a few there checking email, responding to Slack messages, and replying to Facebook posts add up to a significant amount of time over the course of a day, week, and month. This precious time could be spent writing a book, training for a race, or being with your kids.

There’s a better way: live proactively. It means starting each day with purpose by taking control of what you do and when you do it. Embrace the proactive habits below and you’ll be amazed at what you accomplish.

1. Know Where Your Time Goes

It’s critical to start every day with a plan that details what you’re going to do and when. Take a few minutes each evening to create a schedule for the day ahead, hour-by-hour. Note your current commitments, like “meeting from 12pm to 1pm.” Then, give yourself large chunks of time to complete your priorities for the day.  

On Monday evening you plan your day for Tuesday, which could look something like this:

6am – 8am: Write draft of article

8am – 9am: Commute to work

9am – 11am: Write report

11am – 12pm: Attend meeting

You get the idea. Without a plan, it’s too easy to spend your days reacting to others: agreeing to take on a project or deciding to attend a last-minute meeting. This is a sure-fire way to unnecessarily drag out your days, leaving you with little time for anything else.

Planning your day takes a little upfront effort, but the results pay dividends in return. You’ll get a lot done in less time.

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

2. Determine When You’re Available to Communicate

You can’t be a hermit all day, every day. You’ll have to respond to people either personally or digitally at some point. That’s why you should determine in advance when you’re available to others to answer questions and discuss issues with friends and colleagues. Experiment and find a block of time that works for you, and include it in your daily schedule.

This proactive approach gives you a block of time to handle communication, instead of here and there throughout the day—a practice that can eat away at your day. Plus, using a block of time to handle correspondence sets the expectation for others: they can’t interrupt and pepper you all day long with questions.

3. Focus, Focus, Focus

Now that you’ve got a plan in place, it’s time to hone in on the details: do one task at a time. This way of working is at odds with the rest of the world, since it’s popular today to multitask. It’s common to see employees working on one monitor and responding to Slack messages on another. But there’s a problem with multitasking: it doesn’t work.

When we “multitask,” we’re not really doing multiple things at once. Rather, we’re doing “individual actions in rapid succession,” as pointed out by the Cleveland Clinic. We are in fact “mono-taskers.”

Eliminating digital distractions helps you to focus completely on the task at hand. Put your smartphone on silent and move it out of sight so you’re not tempted to check it while working. Close your email and Slack tabs. In other words, proactively eliminate digital and physical clutter, and you’ll find you get more quality work done when you focus and do things one at a time.

“What I’ve learned in these 11 years is you just got to stay focused and believe in yourself and trust your own ability and judgment.” – Mark Cuban

Above all, living proactively is a shift in mindset. Instead of saying “let’s see what blows up at the office today” and reacting to every whim, begin the day with purpose and be proactive with your time and attention—both are limited.

How do you make sure you use your time wisely? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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The Best Way to Create a Six-figure Startup From Scratch

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Many solo entrepreneurs make good six-figure income living selling products and services online. If you’re a technical person, it’s even better, as you can create a highly-scalable cloud-based business. For non-technical founders, there are still many ways to make a six-figure or, even, seven-figure annual revenue. (more…)

Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, business columnist and serial entrepreneur based in Northern California. She is a digital strategist for Oberlo and blogs at JenniferXue.com. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and other international publications.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Evan

    Aug 18, 2016 at 7:15 am

    What’s up Nigel?

    Thanks for posting this article at A2S – I really like the prioritization methods and staying around smarter people. They say if you’re smarter than most people you’re around, you’re in the wrong room. If we can always improve our circle of influence, by placing smarter and more successful people around us, we will always improve.

    This is uncomfortable, and makes you feel like you haven’t done as much, but it’s where the growth occurs: outside your comfort zone.

    – Evan

  2. Nigel

    Aug 17, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks to everyone who commended the post and gave useful feedbacks.

  3. Zak Davis

    Aug 17, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Very informative. I like tip# 2 and 3

    We should not worry too much, sometimes the things we are worrying about does not really exist or will happen.

    Mind and Body exercise is also important. learning new skills such as a new language or trying activities we are passionate about is a good way to destress

  4. Tim Denning

    Aug 17, 2016 at 2:59 am

    Nigel this is a great post and clearly other people have really loved it by sharing it on social media. The most important point you raised to stay sharp is to worry less and do more. Worry and anger wastes a lot of our mental capacity. When we release all of this negative energy it allows us to think clearly and stay mentally sharp.

  5. Bryan Oliver

    Aug 16, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Great post, Nigel. Appreciate the awesome reminder. Instead of focusing on avoiding bad habits I focus on creating and maintaining good habits. This helps me do your points 1-7. Keep up the great work brother! Inspired.

  6. Benson Wong

    Aug 16, 2016 at 6:35 am

    Another one of my favorites is to read voraciously, for books introduce you to new ideas, concepts, and ways of thinking and doing. One sign of intelligence and mental sharpness is our ability to simultaneously keep and argue two opposing thoughts. Books do this for us.

    • Nigel

      Aug 17, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      Nice one Wong, it’s important to read voraciously, but reading too much itself is a vice.

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Life

Lost Your Mojo? Focus on These 3 Areas to Get Back in the Game

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get back in the game

It’s time for some good news! You’re only ever lacking in three areas and guess what? You can turn those 3 things around relatively easily and quickly!

It’s easy to get caught up thinking, that you’re miles behind, that you can’t find your flow or mojo or that you’re just lazy and unmotivated. The good news is you are only a few decisions, actions and days away from finding your mojo again!

Here are 3 things you need to look at when you’re feeling down and out:

1. Energy levels

The first place to look when you lose your mojo is your energy levels. What are you eating & drinking? Are you eating lean, green and light? If you aren’t already, cut your intake down and focus on hydrating your body with water and eating fresh organic food. Being light on your feet and energizing your body is most important.

Also, take a look at your exercise regime. Are you exercising for energy or are you burning your body out at the gym? Make sure you are getting good consistent rest every night and don’t forget to spend some time alone in nature connecting with your inner most self.

“You just got to wake up with a smile and love every minute of building your dream.” – Joe Duncan

2. Production levels

The second place to look is your production levels or more so, your lack of production! Are you producing enough work or activity to get the results you want? That’s usually the real cause of most of your problems; a lack of work, effort and momentum. In many cases a lack of production stems from a lack of energy – but hey, we’re working on that right?

3. Confidence levels

The third place to look when you’re floundering is your confidence levels. But don’t panic, we all lose our confidence from time to time. When you lose your confidence and your sense of certainty, everything else will be impacted, especially your performance.

The best way to get your confidence back is to go back to basics for a few days and try and build some momentum and get your flow back. You lose your confidence when you lose your self belief, so do the simple things you know you can do well, then you’ll start to believe in your ability again!

“You won’t always get it right, but that doesn’t mean you’re never going to get it right.” – Joe Duncan

It’s time to get your mojo back and get back in the game. Remember next time when you get stuck you only have to make adjustments in these three areas and most likely they will only be small tweaks and changes that need to be implemented. 

Click here if you are having trouble finding your flow, lost motivation and need some help to get back on your feet!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

How Never Giving Up Can Lead You From Pain and Suffering to Ease and Joy

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never give up

I struggled with many aspects of life early on such as growing up in challenging circumstances and getting bullied at school. I read my first self-development book at 13 and attended many courses and workshops, but nothing I encountered made the difference for me. It was only once I found a set of energetic processes and tools which I now use in my life and my work that I was able to turn things around.

Today, I get to write for you about my experiences, run a thriving mentoring and healing practice and travel to attend classes and events.

Here are some of the things I’ve done/learned along the way:

1. I took responsibility for my actions

I believe we attract all our experiences in order to learn from them. It is tough when we go through things we don’t know how to handle and experience pain, fear and anxiety as a result.  

This leaves us many emotions to release and a skill gap to bridge, which if done right, allows us to develop a level of confidence about how to turn experience into awareness and integrate our learning into wisdom for future ease and higher outcomes.

For me, learning to let go was hard (we are not taught this and I kept feeling like I had to hold onto things to protect myself). After a while, I came to the decision that “It’s not what’s happened to me, it’s how I deal with it that matters”.

Choosing from this space was empowering and allowed me to move from regret and develop a sense of purpose from my experiences.

2. I jumped off the cliff without a parachute and became inspired and trusting on the way down

I had gotten to the point where if I stayed where I was, I would die. I didn’t know how my life would look or who I would become in the process of changing, yet I knew if I was going to survive I had to become a radically different version of me.

Once I made that decision, I found the tools I was looking for that were relatable, fun and powerful. I began to change my thoughts, feelings and emotions and way of viewing the world.

After a while, instead of using personal development to escape the pain of my life, I became addicted to pursuing the highest version of myself and curious how much change and transformation I could create. I was having fun!

I began to ask what was possible for me I’d never imagined and realized that who I actually am is completely different from who I had thought I wanted to become. I discovered my soul purpose was connected to my inner work and my years of struggle and transformation meant that I had something valuable to offer others.

“What we are waiting for is not as important as what happens to us while we are waiting. Trust the process.” – Mandy Hale

3. I had the unshakeable belief something else was possible

As growth, healing, and expansion became my highest goal, the details filled themselves in. The right people and things showed up to trigger my growth and to support me which helped me be less fearful, and more able to give and receive love from others.

I lost layers of accumulated emotional garbage and started to connect with my power and purpose. I stopped telling my victim story (except to inspire others) and I began to trust myself and have faith in life again to have my back.

4. I made heaps of mistakes and instead of feeling bad about it, I felt determined, courageous and free

This part was tough. There were setbacks, embarrassments, discouragements and challenges but I wasn’t going to give in and quit.  

I had to suck at some things in order to get better. Creating a new life from scratch is a great way to lose ego. There were a few hurdles where I would get super upset, yet giving up was never an option.

There’s no point in being upset so I sucked it up and moved on. This takes courage and feels totally weird at first, but it is so worth it.

5. I became a new version of me

In the course of recreating myself, I began to develop new attributes. I was so focusing on changing, I didn’t notice what was different about me at first.

Every few months I would write my goals and it wasn’t until I would check them that I began to realize how much I’d accomplished in the process of changing me.

This became clearer whenever I would run across someone who I once looked up to because their life suddenly looked smaller than I remembered. While they had been comfortable and barely moving, I had plodded past them like the proverbial tortoise. As I stay on this trajectory, the benefits and changes multiply exponentially over time.

“Every day, you reinvent yourself. You’re always in motion. But you decide every day: forward or backward.” – James Altucher

6. I became open to new ideas and concepts

In the process of being cracked wide open by life, I became curious, accepting and interested in different ideas, concepts and techniques.

Things like manifesting, consciousness, spirituality and other ‘strange’ ideas became my friends.  After years of trying to create change via psychological means, effort, willpower and implementing traditional tools of personal development, I found my wheelhouse in the different.

Today I am grateful for my early adversity and my own persistence and determination. Without them, who I am today would have remained undiscovered and I wouldn’t get to do the cool stuff I do with other people. I am grateful for the amazing tools and information around today, which can make the journey so much easier.

What helps you keep moving when you feel like giving up? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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As Bad As Smoking? 3 Reasons to Occasionally Unplug From Technology

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A popular meme reads: “I’m having people over to stare at their phones later if you want to come by…” It’s kind of funny in an alarming way since many people would consider walking barefoot across flaming hot coals before parting with their smartphones for a few weeks.

As useful as things like the Internet and mobile devices are, taking time to occasionally unplug is a good habit. Even if for no other reason than to develop your willpower and avoid being too heavily addicted to your wireless toy.

Consider the following three reasons for periodically unplugging from technology and taking a minute to smell the roses:

1. Face-To-Face Interaction

As useful as social media is for things like marketing, maintaining contact with old friends and sending messages across the world in the blink of an eye, there’s no substitute for a friendly meeting and a firm handshake.

There are few things in life that have more potential to increase our happiness than building good relationships with the people around us. Taking the effort to postpone the reading and answering of your latest text message in order to listen and offer attention to the person in front of you can be a great way to improve relationships and show people you care.

If you want a more practical and success-driven reason, then consider the fact that developing a healthy network is one of the most powerful ways to successfully grow your business or career. Spending a business lunch or golf game glued to your touchscreen is a lousy way to build that network.

2. Creative Thinking

Creativity is another powerful asset in your effort to expand your success, solve your problems and increase your happiness. Getting in the habit of frequent, diligent reading (an activity often performed with mobile devices) is essential in developing your creative capacity. In addition, investing alone time to occasionally take a step back to think, review options and consider possible solutions towards life’s struggles is a great quality.

Making a habit of doing so can be beneficial for planning your career, planning an exciting night out on the town with your spouse, planning how to discipline your teenager and plenty more.

“Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.” – Mencius

3. Health Concerns

The health risks caused by electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) are numerous and not to be ignored. Health damaging EMFs are emitted by various types of electronic devices including cellphones, tablets and laptops among others. Although pretending these dangers don’t exist may seem convenient, there’s nothing convenient about dealing with the consequences. Some have even suggested that cell phones may eventually prove to be as cancerous as cigarettes. Don’t believe me?

In the book ‘The Non-Tinfoil Guide To EMFs’, Nicolas Pineault writes, “A $25M study performed by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) studied the effects of exposing rats and mice to an amount of cellphone radiation equivalent to what a human would get by talking for 30 minutes a day, for 36 years.

“As reported by Microwave News: ‘The exposed rats were found to have higher rates of two types of cancers: glioma, a tumor of the glial cells in the brain, and malignant schwannoma of the heart, a very rare tumor. None of the unexposed control rats developed either type of tumor.’

“The irony is the whole reason John Bucher, the senior manager of the NTP study, wanted his agency to run this study is to prove once and for all that cellphones do not cause cancer.”

Swearing off technology is probably not the most practical solution. (Although if that’s your thing, then rock on.) That said, occasionally taking a break from technology and spending some time in nature might help counteract some of the negative effects.

Bonus: Stress Reduction

With so many people in our culture complaining of excessive stress and/or taking antidepressants, it makes sense to proactively take steps to reduce stress before it builds up so much that you experience a nervous breakdown.

I don’t know about you, but when I get away from the computer or turn off my mobile device for a bit, I can feel the difference. If I’ve been working on my laptop or tablet for too long, then getting away and taking a break offers a noticeable relief. I almost immediately feel calmer.

If you’ve been on your phone/tablet/computer for a while, consider taking a few minutes after you finish reading this article to leave technology behind and catch a breath of fresh air.

“The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug.” – Pico Iyer

Are you ready to build stronger relationships? Are you ready to proactively develop creative solutions? Are you ready to start preserving your health? Are you ready to leave some of that stress behind you? If so, then it’s time to fit a periodical unplug into your schedule. You might be surprised by how much this helps.

How many hours of the day do you use your phone? Are you being productive on it? Let us know in the comments below so we can help one another.

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3 Ways to Have More Time by Living More Proactively

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We live in a reactive world. We feel compelled to check and respond to digital tools at a moment’s notice. A few minutes here and a few there checking email, responding to Slack messages, and replying to Facebook posts add up to a significant amount of time over the course of a day, week, and month. This precious time could be spent writing a book, training for a race, or being with your kids.

There’s a better way: live proactively. It means starting each day with purpose by taking control of what you do and when you do it. Embrace the proactive habits below and you’ll be amazed at what you accomplish.

1. Know Where Your Time Goes

It’s critical to start every day with a plan that details what you’re going to do and when. Take a few minutes each evening to create a schedule for the day ahead, hour-by-hour. Note your current commitments, like “meeting from 12pm to 1pm.” Then, give yourself large chunks of time to complete your priorities for the day.  

On Monday evening you plan your day for Tuesday, which could look something like this:

6am – 8am: Write draft of article

8am – 9am: Commute to work

9am – 11am: Write report

11am – 12pm: Attend meeting

You get the idea. Without a plan, it’s too easy to spend your days reacting to others: agreeing to take on a project or deciding to attend a last-minute meeting. This is a sure-fire way to unnecessarily drag out your days, leaving you with little time for anything else.

Planning your day takes a little upfront effort, but the results pay dividends in return. You’ll get a lot done in less time.

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

2. Determine When You’re Available to Communicate

You can’t be a hermit all day, every day. You’ll have to respond to people either personally or digitally at some point. That’s why you should determine in advance when you’re available to others to answer questions and discuss issues with friends and colleagues. Experiment and find a block of time that works for you, and include it in your daily schedule.

This proactive approach gives you a block of time to handle communication, instead of here and there throughout the day—a practice that can eat away at your day. Plus, using a block of time to handle correspondence sets the expectation for others: they can’t interrupt and pepper you all day long with questions.

3. Focus, Focus, Focus

Now that you’ve got a plan in place, it’s time to hone in on the details: do one task at a time. This way of working is at odds with the rest of the world, since it’s popular today to multitask. It’s common to see employees working on one monitor and responding to Slack messages on another. But there’s a problem with multitasking: it doesn’t work.

When we “multitask,” we’re not really doing multiple things at once. Rather, we’re doing “individual actions in rapid succession,” as pointed out by the Cleveland Clinic. We are in fact “mono-taskers.”

Eliminating digital distractions helps you to focus completely on the task at hand. Put your smartphone on silent and move it out of sight so you’re not tempted to check it while working. Close your email and Slack tabs. In other words, proactively eliminate digital and physical clutter, and you’ll find you get more quality work done when you focus and do things one at a time.

“What I’ve learned in these 11 years is you just got to stay focused and believe in yourself and trust your own ability and judgment.” – Mark Cuban

Above all, living proactively is a shift in mindset. Instead of saying “let’s see what blows up at the office today” and reacting to every whim, begin the day with purpose and be proactive with your time and attention—both are limited.

How do you make sure you use your time wisely? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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