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A Simple Guide on How to Handle Destructive Criticism

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destructive criticism

People criticized me. So I changed. But people still criticized me. So I changed more. And still people criticized me. Then finally I realized it’s what they will do, no matter what. And I changed once more, by no longer listening to those people.

Does that mean I have stopped listening to people’s advice? Of course not, I welcome it, I’m grateful for it. But there is a not-so-fine-line between those who destructively criticize, and those offering “constructive criticism” — that is, the advice that can be the most important, even and perhaps especially the tough love variety.

The difference resides in the intention of the person delivering the criticism:

  • Are they someone who genuinely cares about you, and/or about the results of your actions, first of all?
  • Are they saying whatever they are saying because they genuinely care about your improvement, or the improvement of whatever it is your actions are impacting, even if their words may not be the best they could have chosen?
  • Are they truly speaking from an emotional place of insecurity, jealousy, guilt, anger, or hate?

Responding Versus Reacting

If you and I were purely rational beings, it would be pretty easy to routinely recognize others’ intentions, and therefore the difference between constructive versus destructive criticism. Be we too have these little things called “emotions” that can sometimes get in our way… in a big way.

So one of the most beneficial things you can learn is to “scan yourself” to recognize your own emotions at any given time. (This is a habit that serves you well in many respects of life, of course; people can get better and better at it, but no one ever perfects it.)

When it comes to determining the difference between someone giving constructive versus destructive criticism, assess if you have any emotional disturbances or walls up inside you. For example, are you feeling insecure in the face of the particular constructive criticism you are receiving, taking things personally when they are not so, and misinterpreting it as destructive?

Do you have your own internal anger or sadness about something in relation to the person who is delivering what they mean as good advice, which therefore may be tainting how you hear it? Are you simply crabby?

It is not always easy to scan and analyze your own emotions in this manner, but then little that is worth doing is ever easy. The more you can recognize your own emotions so you can respond versus react, the more strife you will avoid and growth you will achieve.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond”

Recognizing the Destructive

If you do have your own emotions in check, then, it is typically not hard to recognize those who are destructively criticizing you. If their criticism is full of downright insults — calling you stupid and the like, implying or stating outright you’ll never amount to much, etc. — that is clearly destructive.

But also watch their facial and bodily expressions, and listen to the tone of their voices. Instead of the look and sound of care, concern, or worry, destructive criticism usually looks and feels like an attack.

Sometimes you will even sense a sort of sick delight in the person destructively criticizing you, because these “broken” people draw a temporary and false sense of strength and joy from tearing you and likely others down.

The Only Thing to Do

When you are certain a person is in the business of destructively criticizing you, the best thing or the ONLY thing you can do is let them go. Shut them off. Detach. Stop listening. Easier said than done, I know, but amongst the most important things you’ll ever do in your life. If this person is someone you can physically part from in your life, do so.

What If It’s Someone Close to You?

However, often the biggest challenge comes when someone you care about, and who “should” care about you, such as a parent, sibling, spouse, or even someone who once did care about you like an ex or old friend — turns to destructive criticism.

This can feel especially disheartening and like it just doesn’t add up. Because this is a person we ought to be able trust, and so it is extremely easy to take their criticism to heart, even if we rationally know their criticism is not well-intentioned and frankly, full of crap.

But in these cases too, difficult as it may be, you must detach. You may not be able to physically leave in some cases, but you can increasingly teach yourself to mentally and emotionally depart and NOT take any of their destructive words to heart. Yes, it takes work to do this, but believe me, the work is worth it.

“Your circle of influence dictates your path” – Oprah

By the way, if you cannot, or choose not to, physically depart from this person, do remember you cannot fix anyone else, no matter how much you love them and wish you could. You can attempt your own constructive advice to try to help them, but be prepared for extensive resistance, to say the least. The good news is that most “lost souls” do find their way back, starting with one trigger or another; the bad news is that not all do.

Only you, with your own set of values, know who it is you won’t physically leave despite their destructive criticism and negativity, or how far your lines are drawn before you must physically leave them. This is something you should assess and understand for yourself now, hard as it may be, if you don’t yet know.

Misguided Daggers

No matter what, you absolutely CAN choose who you will listen to, whose words you will let inside your head, and whose you will keep out. Even if they’re in the next office over, or in the bed right next to you.

My strong constructive advice is to choose carefully, choose wisely, and for any and all who would destructively criticize you, remember their daggers are misguided. Those who destructively criticize others have one form or another of self-loathing, and the daggers they throw at others are really meant for themselves. Do the work to ban their misguided daggers from piercing your heart.

How are you dealing with criticism? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Brian Vaszily is the founder of AdvantageHacks.com, which publishes life-changing questions like this and other unique content that can improve your life and make you say “Huh!” and things like it. He’s the author of multiple books, including the #1 bestseller, The 9 Intense Experiences: An Action Plan to Change Your Life Forever, is a popular speaker, and has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS and other major media.

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Life

2 Shifts In Thinking That Can Change Your Life Forever

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mindset shift

During the first two years of building my previous company, my income was less than that of a McDonald’s employee. I was regularly discouraged by family members to “get a real job” and “pursue a different direction”.

Fortunately, I ignored this advice. It wasn’t until my company’s third year that we exploded in revenue and grossed millions of dollars in sales. So… what kept me going? Two major shifts in my thinking. Both of which come from Darren Hardy’s books (publisher of SUCCESS Magazine) The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster and The Compound Effect.

Thought shift #1: Imagine a hand-pumped water well, which uses a lever and a pipe to extract water from beneath the ground using suction.

To successfully bring the water to the surface, you have to pump the lever consistently. If you only pump the lever for a few minutes and stop, you won’t see any water. On the contrary, if you continue to pump the lever, you’ll eventually begin to see small drops of water.

Unfortunately, despite realizing some progress, this is the point where most wantrepreneurs give-up and exclaim: “Only a few drops of water!? You’ve got to be kidding me! Why did I put in so much hard work for so long for this tiny amount of progress?

But as Darren explains, wise people persist. The wise person who persists by continuing to pump the water lever , in spite of only seeing a few drops of water , eventually break through and get a steady stream of water (results).

“Don’t follow your dreams. Chase them down with aggressive pursuit.” – Darren Hardy

Don’t be the person who starts a business, works hard for a few months (aggressively pumping the water lever) and quits after seeing little-to-no progress (small drops of water). Don’t be the blogger who writes a few posts and quits after only two people read your amazing content.

Don’t be the unhealthy person who gives up on their weight-loss program after not seeing immediate results by the end of five workouts. The bottom line is this: You must persist and remain consistent. It takes time for meaningful progress to materialize. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Thought Shift #2: The “Life, Growth, and Achievement Pendulum.”

The second major thought shift that changed the trajectory of my life forever is the concept of the Life, Growth, and Achievement Pendulum.

Here’s how it works:

On one side of the life pendulum, you have failure, rejection, defeat, pain, and sadness. And on the other side of the life pendulum, you have success, victory, joy, and happiness. With this pendulum, you can’t directly control the positive side.

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their reception and response to failure” – John C. Maxwell

But what you can fully control is the pushing of the pendulum to the side of failure, rejection, sadness, and all the other painful things that are required to be endured for success to be achieved. Only pushing the pendulum to the side of great pain is what will yield great success.

No wonder why average people (who only allow their life pendulum to swing a small distance into the side of pain) experience the equivalent small degree of success! Extraordinary success requires extraordinary pain.

Just like exercising at the gym, big muscles aren’t built by enduring small levels of pain. There isn’t a single bodybuilder on planet earth who didn’t first go through massive amounts of pain to build their physique. Not one!

What are your plans for integrating these concepts in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

What I Do When I Have To Make Lots Of Big Decisions.

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I have to make lots of big decisions right now.

I’m suffering decision fatigue.

There’s an element of fear at play as much as I pretend there isn’t.

Most of the time my decision-making ability is at a very high level. Like anything, sometimes it slips (especially when I drink coffee because it makes me anxious). The key is to understand that you can’t always be amazing at making the right decisions.

 

There will be wrong decisions.

You’ll make dumb ass decisions sometimes and then wonder “How the F did I do that?” You won’t always know. The secret to success, if you haven’t learned it by now, is to stop being perfect. Doing is the key because everything else requires thinking.

 

Thinking becomes overthinking.

That’s why I have been able to have a crazy year of blowing my goals out of the water.

I’ve used the 5-Second Rule and focused on making quick decisions that use my instincts and allow me to follow my heart. My brain is just too used to overthinking and going into its default mode – being fearful.

 

How do we deal with the fear?

You make sure you tell yourself that fear is always going to be present. Then, you use fear to push you forward. Something I do is this:

I tell myself that nerves, fear and anxiety are all just signs that I’m breaking my comfort zone. Knowing the power of breaking my comfort zone is rewarding and so I do a victory lap.

Whenever you experience these three sensations, do a victory lap because you are going to the next level of life. You’re doing what so few are prepared to do.

 

Caution: making decisions is addictive.

When you get to a point where I’m at now and you’re able to make fast decisions, it becomes addictive. You figure out that you can do pretty much anything when you cut out overthinking. With every decision comes more growth.

I’ve found that continuous growth is recommended and it turns out I’m not the only one. Many of my friends have become success addicts and tripled their value in less than a year.

“Once we know we can be unstoppable, all of the right doors open up”

Opportunities that were previously hidden now become so clear like a deer in the headlights of your car. A sense of clarity takes over and you know what you must do.

 

So what do we do when we have to make a big decision?

1. You put on your big boy/girl pants and accept what you’re currently feeling.
2. You think about the decision and make the choice that feels right at the time.
3. You ignore how hard or easy the decision is and concentrate on reaching an end outcome.

Right now I’m faced with some monster decisions. I’ve made certain promises that I must keep. I need to look at my career roadmap as well and there’s a lot of uncertainty in this area of my life. At the same time, I also need to nurture my side hustles more and monetize some of them.

For the curious bunch out there, you need to have multiple sources of income and ideally at least one passive income source. This one idea will change your life and give you more time and freedom to take breaks. It sounds easy in practice but it’s actually challenging.

We all want to turn our passions into passive income and sometimes when we haven’t been down this path, we’re uncertain even though Google can tell us 101 ways to make money.

“It’s like we have the strategies but we’re too caught up in our head to pick one and launch it finally”

Recently, I’ve also had to make big decisions about my priorities. I’ve become a slave to too many tasks and I need to cull a few things. Using the decision-making process above, I’ve narrowed my life down to family, my girlfriend, blogging, public speaking and my career. Everything else I’ve decided to ignore for right now.

Getting to this final list of priorities has required me to make lots of decisions. Some big and some small. I’m glad I have made those decisions though because otherwise, I’d end up being busy like so many people I know.

“Busy often occurs when you hold off making the decision you know you must”

 

Making decisions sets you free.

Until you make those big decisions, you become a prisoner of your own life. That prison cell exists in your mind and you find yourself trying to ignore the decision you must make. The hardest part I’ve found is concentrating on making the decision and what can go wrong.

I constantly find myself saying “What happens if I can’t go back to how things were?”

The truth is that how things were is boring. You can’t progress from this place. Nothing stays the same and you have to make the big decisions to enter a world you never thought was possible. This new world will make you feel phenomenal though once you make the big decisions.

These big decisions will set you free and you’ll feel a sense of achievement.

 

Bad news: the big decisions never stop.

That’s why you have to make big decisions and turn this skill into an art form. Exercise your decision-making ability. Know that no matter what happens, everything is going to work out for the best. Big decisions must be made and you can make them.

My next round of big decisions is right in front of me. I have to focus on my career for a bit and I have zero idea what that looks like.

“All I can do is trek into the abyss and make one big decision at a time”

 

***Parting Advice***

Consciously you know that there are big decisions that have to be made. Instead of avoiding them or putting them off, start following the above process and get clarity on what you want. Unless you make big decisions, you’ll always feel like you’re being held back.

You can do big things in this world.
You can be extraordinary.
It all starts with one big decision at a time.

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 Ways You Can Make A Habit Last

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habits

Wouldn’t you love it if your brain could run on autopilot? Did you know that habits are the brain’s own productivity drivers? In order to boost efficiency, the brain is constantly striving to transform tasks into habits. The brain works hard to process new information so that you understand how to perform a task before turning it into a habit.

Just imagine if you could program your system to do chores, exercise, and eat healthy in a minute! Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. But don’t despair! With just a small amount of discipline, you can create a new habit and stick to it.

Here are a few tips that will make it easier for you to stick to new habits that can potentially improve your health, work, and life in general:

1. Commit To Doing It For 30 Days Straight

If you want a habit to last, the first thing to do is make it last for a month at least. Because, to make a habit, all you need is three to four weeks’ time – and you are set. Once you make it through the initial conditioning phase, the rest will be easy. A month can be considered a good amount of time to settle and get used to a habit.

The time slot is just enough to commit to a change. If you want to make your diet more healthy, you should first commit to cutting down on junk and eating more healthy foods for a month. Once you consistently stick to a habit on a daily basis, it will be imprinted into your brain. They say it only takes 21 days to get addicted to something, so make the most of it.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Will Durant

2. Start Simple And Gradually Improve

When you try to inculcate a habit, don’t go all out at once. It is difficult to condition your mind to adopt a habit in a single day. Even if you manage to do it, it won’t last long. It is common to get over motivated and take on too much at once. But, if you start slow and gradually incorporate it, then the transition will be more steady. That way your brain won’t be able to forget the task.

For example, if you are planning to put in more time at work, then it’s not easy to put in too many hours at once. Start small and build it up gradually – then it will be easier to stick to. Don’t expect to see immediate improvements and don’t get disappointed; all good things take time. When you gradually ease your body into a routine, then chances are you will successfully get your body used to it.

3. Find Inspiration Or Something That Triggers

For a habit to last, you could use a push mentally. Something that motivates you to keep going. Maybe you have a friend or colleague who has a habit that inspired you to get started. Observe how they kept going and keep that in mind every time you think about giving up. Find other ways that will help you make the habit last a month until you get habituated to it.

For instance, if you want to exercise, then look at someone who has managed to drop those kilos with dedication. Spend more time with those people who have the habits you want to mirror. This can trigger you to work on yourself until you get what you want. Even learning new habits with friends can improve the experience and ensure that you stick to them.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun

4. Set Goals And Know The Benefits

You should always channel your habits towards long term goals that motivate you. Being aware of the consequences and the benefits work in a great way to give you the push you need. Be familiar with the benefits of the change you are making. Like how your body will react to a healthy diet and regular exercise. Read books and research on how you can improve the quality of life with just these few changes.

That way you can be sure that your habits last forever. If your energy and motivation are not enough, you stand the risk of giving up too soon. Setting targets will only help you put in more effort towards achieving it. Withhold judgment until at least a month, and that will give you enough time to notice the change it has brought about in your life.

Forming a habit and making it last is quite a challenge. There is a lot of science behind the process of habit formation. It’s all about how you channel your mind into that particular cycle of habit. These are a few ways in which you can transform your life. Everything is a result of your habits. And it is in your hands how you want to improve yourself by forming new habits. With a proper plan and framework, you can make and stick to good habits.

How do you maintain your habits? Comment below!

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Life

Negative Self-Talk: 3 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Those Thoughts

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negative self talk

Who else suffers from negative self-talk and wants to liberate themselves? I used to have a  terrible opinion about my skills, my abilities, and myself in general. It is difficult and distressing to live this way. I mean, who feels good talking down about themselves all day? Nobody! Not only does it make you mentally sick, it is also holding you back from your dreams and successes.

I lived this destructive way for decades. Fortunately, I realized that I was wasting my life, if I didn’t get that BS out of my head. I was sick of it, and decided to find a way to stop my negative self-talk. My ultimate goal was to accept myself.

Here are three simple ways that have made the difference for me and gave me a sense of freedom:

1. Disconnect

The next time you catch yourself talking about yourself negatively, stop. Take your thoughts and put them into a story. Tell yourself the story in the third person, and use a different name than yours. This way you can disconnect yourself from the negative thoughts.

Here is an example what such a story could look like:

“Once upon a time, there was a woman named Pia. Her dream was to become a successful entrepreneur. It is not easy and Pia encountered some challenges. Pia talked down about herself and thought that she would never become a successful entrepreneur. She told herself that she is not good enough and does not have the right qualities. Pia met a friend to talk about her struggles. Fortunately, her friend pointed out that she had just hit a short-term challenge that is related to one specific situation, but does not relate to her skills and qualities. Pia’s friend told her that she could grow with this challenge. That changed Pia’s view of her own situation. She was happy and wanted to continue her journey straight away.”

By telling yourself a story, you take another perspective of the situation. From an external view, everything seems to be less difficult, because it is disconnected from yourself. This is the reason why we can give good advice to others, but struggle in similar situations when it directly affects ourselves. So, step out of yourself and take the view of a third person by telling yourself a story about your limiting thoughts.

“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.” – Terry Pratchett

2. Contribute

The challenge with negative self-talk is either to reframe our thoughts (e.g. seeing them from another perspective by telling a story) or to get out of our own heads. The latter does work when we can manage to focus on something else other than our challenge. I’ve learned that contributing to another person’s life really gets me out of my head, because I’m busy thinking about them.

There are two main benefits by serving beyond our own needs and doing something good for others:

  • We get out of our heads through focusing on another person’s needs.
  • We feel good because we know we are doing something great.

“The secret of living is giving!” – Anthony Robbins

Soon, this becomes a healthy habit. The focus shifts from ourselves to how we can contribute to others and the negative self-talk disappears. In fact, the self-talk changes from being negative to positive, simply because internally we know that we are doing the right thing by helping someone.

Try it out this week or month by volunteering at an event. Google local events. Volunteers are always welcome.

3. Compete

In general, it is not recommended to compare yourself with others. In this case, I’m telling you to do it! But the “others” are your former selves. See how much you have grown from where you were then to where you are today. Often, we overlook the progress we have already made. Without seeing progress, we tend to get discouraged and talk ourselves down; this is where negative self-talk starts.

Now, you can play against yourself. Compete with your former self regularly by practicing, for example, self-regulation. That means, instill healthy habits like exercising, eating healthy food, and getting up early, or habits that are beneficial to your specific situation. By strengthening your self-discipline, you’ll automatically feel better. And, you can tell your former self that you are better! That turns the negative self-talk into positive self-talk.

Eliminate the BS

Now you have three possible ways to either reframe your negative thoughts or to get out of your head completely. Experiment with them and have fun! Be a creative story-teller, a love-giving individual, or a successful competitor with several gold medals.

What relief would it be to get rid of the BS you tell yourself? What opportunities would come up, when you stop talking yourself down? Comment below

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7 Steps to Building Real Relationships With Influencers

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building relationships with influencers

They say your net worth is equivalent to the five closest people in your network. This is also true for your level of influence, where your “net influence” is equivalent to the five closest people in your network. So how do you build a network of influential people and start becoming an influencer yourself? (more…)

I’m Sina Fak. I believe the greatest businesses in the world are creating something more than just a product or service. My mission is to understand the motivations behind human decision and work with people and organizations who are out to make the world a better place.  You can learn more about me on my website and connect with me on LinkedIn.

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Life

2 Shifts In Thinking That Can Change Your Life Forever

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mindset shift

During the first two years of building my previous company, my income was less than that of a McDonald’s employee. I was regularly discouraged by family members to “get a real job” and “pursue a different direction”.

Fortunately, I ignored this advice. It wasn’t until my company’s third year that we exploded in revenue and grossed millions of dollars in sales. So… what kept me going? Two major shifts in my thinking. Both of which come from Darren Hardy’s books (publisher of SUCCESS Magazine) The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster and The Compound Effect.

Thought shift #1: Imagine a hand-pumped water well, which uses a lever and a pipe to extract water from beneath the ground using suction.

To successfully bring the water to the surface, you have to pump the lever consistently. If you only pump the lever for a few minutes and stop, you won’t see any water. On the contrary, if you continue to pump the lever, you’ll eventually begin to see small drops of water.

Unfortunately, despite realizing some progress, this is the point where most wantrepreneurs give-up and exclaim: “Only a few drops of water!? You’ve got to be kidding me! Why did I put in so much hard work for so long for this tiny amount of progress?

But as Darren explains, wise people persist. The wise person who persists by continuing to pump the water lever , in spite of only seeing a few drops of water , eventually break through and get a steady stream of water (results).

“Don’t follow your dreams. Chase them down with aggressive pursuit.” – Darren Hardy

Don’t be the person who starts a business, works hard for a few months (aggressively pumping the water lever) and quits after seeing little-to-no progress (small drops of water). Don’t be the blogger who writes a few posts and quits after only two people read your amazing content.

Don’t be the unhealthy person who gives up on their weight-loss program after not seeing immediate results by the end of five workouts. The bottom line is this: You must persist and remain consistent. It takes time for meaningful progress to materialize. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Thought Shift #2: The “Life, Growth, and Achievement Pendulum.”

The second major thought shift that changed the trajectory of my life forever is the concept of the Life, Growth, and Achievement Pendulum.

Here’s how it works:

On one side of the life pendulum, you have failure, rejection, defeat, pain, and sadness. And on the other side of the life pendulum, you have success, victory, joy, and happiness. With this pendulum, you can’t directly control the positive side.

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their reception and response to failure” – John C. Maxwell

But what you can fully control is the pushing of the pendulum to the side of failure, rejection, sadness, and all the other painful things that are required to be endured for success to be achieved. Only pushing the pendulum to the side of great pain is what will yield great success.

No wonder why average people (who only allow their life pendulum to swing a small distance into the side of pain) experience the equivalent small degree of success! Extraordinary success requires extraordinary pain.

Just like exercising at the gym, big muscles aren’t built by enduring small levels of pain. There isn’t a single bodybuilder on planet earth who didn’t first go through massive amounts of pain to build their physique. Not one!

What are your plans for integrating these concepts in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

What I Do When I Have To Make Lots Of Big Decisions.

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I have to make lots of big decisions right now.

I’m suffering decision fatigue.

There’s an element of fear at play as much as I pretend there isn’t.

Most of the time my decision-making ability is at a very high level. Like anything, sometimes it slips (especially when I drink coffee because it makes me anxious). The key is to understand that you can’t always be amazing at making the right decisions.

 

There will be wrong decisions.

You’ll make dumb ass decisions sometimes and then wonder “How the F did I do that?” You won’t always know. The secret to success, if you haven’t learned it by now, is to stop being perfect. Doing is the key because everything else requires thinking.

 

Thinking becomes overthinking.

That’s why I have been able to have a crazy year of blowing my goals out of the water.

I’ve used the 5-Second Rule and focused on making quick decisions that use my instincts and allow me to follow my heart. My brain is just too used to overthinking and going into its default mode – being fearful.

 

How do we deal with the fear?

You make sure you tell yourself that fear is always going to be present. Then, you use fear to push you forward. Something I do is this:

I tell myself that nerves, fear and anxiety are all just signs that I’m breaking my comfort zone. Knowing the power of breaking my comfort zone is rewarding and so I do a victory lap.

Whenever you experience these three sensations, do a victory lap because you are going to the next level of life. You’re doing what so few are prepared to do.

 

Caution: making decisions is addictive.

When you get to a point where I’m at now and you’re able to make fast decisions, it becomes addictive. You figure out that you can do pretty much anything when you cut out overthinking. With every decision comes more growth.

I’ve found that continuous growth is recommended and it turns out I’m not the only one. Many of my friends have become success addicts and tripled their value in less than a year.

“Once we know we can be unstoppable, all of the right doors open up”

Opportunities that were previously hidden now become so clear like a deer in the headlights of your car. A sense of clarity takes over and you know what you must do.

 

So what do we do when we have to make a big decision?

1. You put on your big boy/girl pants and accept what you’re currently feeling.
2. You think about the decision and make the choice that feels right at the time.
3. You ignore how hard or easy the decision is and concentrate on reaching an end outcome.

Right now I’m faced with some monster decisions. I’ve made certain promises that I must keep. I need to look at my career roadmap as well and there’s a lot of uncertainty in this area of my life. At the same time, I also need to nurture my side hustles more and monetize some of them.

For the curious bunch out there, you need to have multiple sources of income and ideally at least one passive income source. This one idea will change your life and give you more time and freedom to take breaks. It sounds easy in practice but it’s actually challenging.

We all want to turn our passions into passive income and sometimes when we haven’t been down this path, we’re uncertain even though Google can tell us 101 ways to make money.

“It’s like we have the strategies but we’re too caught up in our head to pick one and launch it finally”

Recently, I’ve also had to make big decisions about my priorities. I’ve become a slave to too many tasks and I need to cull a few things. Using the decision-making process above, I’ve narrowed my life down to family, my girlfriend, blogging, public speaking and my career. Everything else I’ve decided to ignore for right now.

Getting to this final list of priorities has required me to make lots of decisions. Some big and some small. I’m glad I have made those decisions though because otherwise, I’d end up being busy like so many people I know.

“Busy often occurs when you hold off making the decision you know you must”

 

Making decisions sets you free.

Until you make those big decisions, you become a prisoner of your own life. That prison cell exists in your mind and you find yourself trying to ignore the decision you must make. The hardest part I’ve found is concentrating on making the decision and what can go wrong.

I constantly find myself saying “What happens if I can’t go back to how things were?”

The truth is that how things were is boring. You can’t progress from this place. Nothing stays the same and you have to make the big decisions to enter a world you never thought was possible. This new world will make you feel phenomenal though once you make the big decisions.

These big decisions will set you free and you’ll feel a sense of achievement.

 

Bad news: the big decisions never stop.

That’s why you have to make big decisions and turn this skill into an art form. Exercise your decision-making ability. Know that no matter what happens, everything is going to work out for the best. Big decisions must be made and you can make them.

My next round of big decisions is right in front of me. I have to focus on my career for a bit and I have zero idea what that looks like.

“All I can do is trek into the abyss and make one big decision at a time”

 

***Parting Advice***

Consciously you know that there are big decisions that have to be made. Instead of avoiding them or putting them off, start following the above process and get clarity on what you want. Unless you make big decisions, you’ll always feel like you’re being held back.

You can do big things in this world.
You can be extraordinary.
It all starts with one big decision at a time.

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 Ways You Can Make A Habit Last

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habits

Wouldn’t you love it if your brain could run on autopilot? Did you know that habits are the brain’s own productivity drivers? In order to boost efficiency, the brain is constantly striving to transform tasks into habits. The brain works hard to process new information so that you understand how to perform a task before turning it into a habit.

Just imagine if you could program your system to do chores, exercise, and eat healthy in a minute! Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. But don’t despair! With just a small amount of discipline, you can create a new habit and stick to it.

Here are a few tips that will make it easier for you to stick to new habits that can potentially improve your health, work, and life in general:

1. Commit To Doing It For 30 Days Straight

If you want a habit to last, the first thing to do is make it last for a month at least. Because, to make a habit, all you need is three to four weeks’ time – and you are set. Once you make it through the initial conditioning phase, the rest will be easy. A month can be considered a good amount of time to settle and get used to a habit.

The time slot is just enough to commit to a change. If you want to make your diet more healthy, you should first commit to cutting down on junk and eating more healthy foods for a month. Once you consistently stick to a habit on a daily basis, it will be imprinted into your brain. They say it only takes 21 days to get addicted to something, so make the most of it.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” – Will Durant

2. Start Simple And Gradually Improve

When you try to inculcate a habit, don’t go all out at once. It is difficult to condition your mind to adopt a habit in a single day. Even if you manage to do it, it won’t last long. It is common to get over motivated and take on too much at once. But, if you start slow and gradually incorporate it, then the transition will be more steady. That way your brain won’t be able to forget the task.

For example, if you are planning to put in more time at work, then it’s not easy to put in too many hours at once. Start small and build it up gradually – then it will be easier to stick to. Don’t expect to see immediate improvements and don’t get disappointed; all good things take time. When you gradually ease your body into a routine, then chances are you will successfully get your body used to it.

3. Find Inspiration Or Something That Triggers

For a habit to last, you could use a push mentally. Something that motivates you to keep going. Maybe you have a friend or colleague who has a habit that inspired you to get started. Observe how they kept going and keep that in mind every time you think about giving up. Find other ways that will help you make the habit last a month until you get habituated to it.

For instance, if you want to exercise, then look at someone who has managed to drop those kilos with dedication. Spend more time with those people who have the habits you want to mirror. This can trigger you to work on yourself until you get what you want. Even learning new habits with friends can improve the experience and ensure that you stick to them.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun

4. Set Goals And Know The Benefits

You should always channel your habits towards long term goals that motivate you. Being aware of the consequences and the benefits work in a great way to give you the push you need. Be familiar with the benefits of the change you are making. Like how your body will react to a healthy diet and regular exercise. Read books and research on how you can improve the quality of life with just these few changes.

That way you can be sure that your habits last forever. If your energy and motivation are not enough, you stand the risk of giving up too soon. Setting targets will only help you put in more effort towards achieving it. Withhold judgment until at least a month, and that will give you enough time to notice the change it has brought about in your life.

Forming a habit and making it last is quite a challenge. There is a lot of science behind the process of habit formation. It’s all about how you channel your mind into that particular cycle of habit. These are a few ways in which you can transform your life. Everything is a result of your habits. And it is in your hands how you want to improve yourself by forming new habits. With a proper plan and framework, you can make and stick to good habits.

How do you maintain your habits? Comment below!

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Life

Negative Self-Talk: 3 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Those Thoughts

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Who else suffers from negative self-talk and wants to liberate themselves? I used to have a  terrible opinion about my skills, my abilities, and myself in general. It is difficult and distressing to live this way. I mean, who feels good talking down about themselves all day? Nobody! Not only does it make you mentally sick, it is also holding you back from your dreams and successes.

I lived this destructive way for decades. Fortunately, I realized that I was wasting my life, if I didn’t get that BS out of my head. I was sick of it, and decided to find a way to stop my negative self-talk. My ultimate goal was to accept myself.

Here are three simple ways that have made the difference for me and gave me a sense of freedom:

1. Disconnect

The next time you catch yourself talking about yourself negatively, stop. Take your thoughts and put them into a story. Tell yourself the story in the third person, and use a different name than yours. This way you can disconnect yourself from the negative thoughts.

Here is an example what such a story could look like:

“Once upon a time, there was a woman named Pia. Her dream was to become a successful entrepreneur. It is not easy and Pia encountered some challenges. Pia talked down about herself and thought that she would never become a successful entrepreneur. She told herself that she is not good enough and does not have the right qualities. Pia met a friend to talk about her struggles. Fortunately, her friend pointed out that she had just hit a short-term challenge that is related to one specific situation, but does not relate to her skills and qualities. Pia’s friend told her that she could grow with this challenge. That changed Pia’s view of her own situation. She was happy and wanted to continue her journey straight away.”

By telling yourself a story, you take another perspective of the situation. From an external view, everything seems to be less difficult, because it is disconnected from yourself. This is the reason why we can give good advice to others, but struggle in similar situations when it directly affects ourselves. So, step out of yourself and take the view of a third person by telling yourself a story about your limiting thoughts.

“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.” – Terry Pratchett

2. Contribute

The challenge with negative self-talk is either to reframe our thoughts (e.g. seeing them from another perspective by telling a story) or to get out of our own heads. The latter does work when we can manage to focus on something else other than our challenge. I’ve learned that contributing to another person’s life really gets me out of my head, because I’m busy thinking about them.

There are two main benefits by serving beyond our own needs and doing something good for others:

  • We get out of our heads through focusing on another person’s needs.
  • We feel good because we know we are doing something great.

“The secret of living is giving!” – Anthony Robbins

Soon, this becomes a healthy habit. The focus shifts from ourselves to how we can contribute to others and the negative self-talk disappears. In fact, the self-talk changes from being negative to positive, simply because internally we know that we are doing the right thing by helping someone.

Try it out this week or month by volunteering at an event. Google local events. Volunteers are always welcome.

3. Compete

In general, it is not recommended to compare yourself with others. In this case, I’m telling you to do it! But the “others” are your former selves. See how much you have grown from where you were then to where you are today. Often, we overlook the progress we have already made. Without seeing progress, we tend to get discouraged and talk ourselves down; this is where negative self-talk starts.

Now, you can play against yourself. Compete with your former self regularly by practicing, for example, self-regulation. That means, instill healthy habits like exercising, eating healthy food, and getting up early, or habits that are beneficial to your specific situation. By strengthening your self-discipline, you’ll automatically feel better. And, you can tell your former self that you are better! That turns the negative self-talk into positive self-talk.

Eliminate the BS

Now you have three possible ways to either reframe your negative thoughts or to get out of your head completely. Experiment with them and have fun! Be a creative story-teller, a love-giving individual, or a successful competitor with several gold medals.

What relief would it be to get rid of the BS you tell yourself? What opportunities would come up, when you stop talking yourself down? Comment below

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