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How Playing It Safe Can Ruin Your Life

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Have you ever missed out on a great opportunity because you played it safe?

Think about it. Look back over your life and think about the things you could have done. The opportunities you could have taken, the people you could have befriended, the experiences you could have savoured.

But back then those things seemed scary and risky. Wanting to play it safe, you elected to stay in your comfort zone at the time.

From where you sit now, you can easily and clearly see that you should have acted upon some of those things. In retrospect, those things were scary or risky at all – just different and new. They were, in all actuality, blessings that you walked away from.

It’s a sobering and outright sad feeling, isn’t it?

 

Playing It Safe Isn’t About Safety At All

You’re not the only one who has done that. Most of us have a tendency to play it safe.

Some of us equate playing it safe with being sensible and prudent. But most of the time, it’s something else all together.

The real problem isn’t safety or risk at all. The real problem is fear.

As humans, we are hard-wired to allow fear into our decision making. Most of us simply don’t understand fear, where it comes from, or the role it plays in what we choose to do or not do.

By understanding it more, you can prevent fear from clouding your decision-making process.

 

It’s Not Brain Surgery

What if I were to tell you that there was a little tiny part of your brain that pre-wires you to avoid risk and play it safe? Well, there actually is.

It’s called the amygdala and it plays a big part in what motivates us to behave the way we do. One of the functions of the amygdala is processing emotions – particularly those associated with survival. Like the emotion of fear for instance.

When you are in a familiar situation that you know to be safe, your amygdala is happy and secure – and so are you. But when something new or seemingly risky comes along, the amygdala kicks into high gear. It lets you know, “Hey, we’re outside our comfort zone here. Retreat! Withdrawal!”

Sometimes that reaction can save your life. Other times it can hold you back from a more fulfilling life.

The trick is learning to know the difference between valid fears of very real danger to our safety – and invalid fears of something new.

 

Mauled or Embarrassed – The Choice Is Yours

There are basically two types of decisions we make when we perceive danger or consequences. The first type, I call safe decisions – which are survival based. They keep us alive and assure we have adequate food and shelter. The second type I refer to as fearful decisions – which tend to keep us from taking less life-threatening risks and prevent us from spreading our wings.

Let’s take a look at some examples of both.

Safe or Feaurful

Safe decisions come from a very real fear of severe consequences to your health, life, or quality of life – while fearful decisions come from someplace completely different.

Look at that right hand column. If any one of those scenarios goes as badly as it’s capable of going, what happens? Does anyone die, go to prison, or lose their shelter? No. As it turns out the things we fear most seem to be much more about our feelings than they are about very serious consequences.

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.” – Mark Twain

 

Our Five Most Common Baseless Fears

In my professional life, I’ve noticed time and time again that there are five major feelings-based fears that people let trip them up on their path to a better life. You’ll notice that they’re all very closely related.

 

1: Fear of failure

Have you ever passed on an opportunity to try something truly exciting because you were afraid you might fail at it? I have. The ironic thing is the fact that if you don’t try, you’ve already failed. So there’s really not much to lose. And yet we talk ourselves into believing that by not risking failure we’re somehow better off.

 

2: Fear of rejection

If you pitched your idea to the boss, or asked out that cute girl you like, or submitted your novel to a publisher, you might get rejected – and rejection hurts. So instead of feeling that emotion, we limit our potential and call it “playing it safe.”

 

3: Fear of inadequacy

This one usually manifests itself as, “I’m not good enough to do this thing I really want to do.” While this fear doesn’t necessarily originate from survival instinct, it’s no less powerful than any of the others.

 

4: Fear of unworthiness

Closely related to the fear of inadequacy, the self-talk associated with the fear of unworthiness sounds like, “Who am I to think that I might achieve that thing?” It comes from a place of humility, which normally is a good thing. But it’s also self-deprecating and destructive.

 

5: Fear of further commitment

This one should sound familiar, because we’re all guilty of it from time to time. We don’t always pass on opportunity because we’re afraid that we’re not good enough. Sometimes we know darn well that we’re good enough, but the ramifications of succeeding and the additional commitment needed after success is achieved scare the bejesus out of us.

 

Fighting Emotion With Logic

So now that you know that these fears are normal and that you’re not the only one who struggles with them, the question becomes: What can you do to get over them?

I find that instead of fighting raw innate human fears head-to-head, it’s best to use logic to take their power away.

When you find yourself letting any of those fears stop you from bettering yourself, run yourself through these three questions:

 

1: What is the worst thing that could happen if I ignored my fear and did this?

Take out a pen and paper and list all the potential (realistic) consequences. Would there be a loss of life, health, or livelihood? Or is the real risk just having to temporarily deal with an uncomfortable emotion like rejection or embarrassment?

 

2: What is the absolute best thing that could happen if I ignored my fear and went for it?

List all these, too. How might your life be different? What things might you learn? Who might you have the opportunity to connect with?

 

3: Are the possible consequences under #1 worth the potential benefits under #2?

Take a good look at both lists and give this question some thought. If the consequence of a particular action is death and the upside is a 10% pay raise – then your choice is simple. Avoid death.

But if the consequence of your action is rejection and the potential benefit is your dream career, swallow your fear and go for it.

 

Logic Tames The Beast

I know this seems incredibly simple – and it is. It’s simple and obvious because we just took an emotional issue and made it logical.

When you take the emotional power away from your fear and look at the situation as data – good decisions become much easier.

Do me a favor. The next time you find yourself “playing it safe”, run yourself through this quick exercise. Reduce the emotional to the logical. Then come back and let us know how things turned out.

 

Time to speak up!

Share a time when you felt fearful but took the leap anyway. Or share a tip about taking calculated risks.

 

Gary Korisko writes about The Art of Genuine Influence on his blog RebootAuthentic.com. Download his free eBook, How to Alienate All The Right People – a real world guide to breaking away from the herd and doing something special.

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. James@youdolife

    Sep 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Very interesting article!!! A logical approach is very useful and gives people practical guidance that they can apply immediately!!

  2. Sebastian Hansen

    Jul 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Great article! Unfortunately, sometimes the limitation isn’t fear but rather money which can turn what appears to be a fearful decision such as starting your own business into a safe decision. For some of us, there are very few fearful decisions and a larger amount of safe decisions because of a shortage of money.

  3. Jason B

    Jul 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Best post I’ve read in a moment on here.

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 24, 2013 at 4:12 am

      Thanks for taking the time to say so, Jason. I really appreciate that!

  4. Gabriel

    Jul 21, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Wow absolutely amazing! So simple, but powerful. You spoke one million words with only a few.

    Thanks for the great article!

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 24, 2013 at 4:11 am

      Thank you, Gabriel. Very nice of you to say! I’m always happy to hear when someone finds my posts useful.

  5. Susan R

    Jul 18, 2013 at 5:38 am

    Good distinction between safe decisions and fearful decisions – reminds me of RAAF wartime pilot and Australian cricketer Keith Miller’s perspective on pressure/fear. When Michael Parkinson asked him about pressure in cricket, he answered ‘pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse, cricket is not.’
    Helps with the logic of fear, especially if you have ever really had reason to be afraid.

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      Susan – That’s an awesome quote! As funny as it is, it does a great job of establishing perspective. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Kimberley Grabas

    Jul 18, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Awesome post, Gary! I’m not sure how many times I’ve had to talk myself off the ledge because I’ve let the fear run rampant. Luckily, I’m getting better at recognizing the signs of hysteria, so I can de-escalate the drama (with logic) before it gets out of hand. 🙂

    I can’t think of one time where I worried about something, and then said after the fact: “Phew, good thing I spent some much time freaking out; it really helped!”

    I can, however, think of several occasions where I pushed through the fear and the end result turned out exponentially better then I could have predicted.

    Hmmm, I think you’re on to something, Gary!

    Kimberley

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 18, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      Hey Kimberly…

      I know all too well the onset of hysteria. I’m one of those people cursed with a 50/50 emotion/logic mix in my brain. You’d think that would make things even, but guess which one always kicks in first??

      You really do need to talk yourself down and look at risk/reward rationally.

      Thanks for jumping in. Nice to see you as always!

  7. Vincas Pikst

    Jul 16, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Ok,this one is more like a mix of death/bettering self fear.I went to a local lake for a swim.Warm summer day,some people swimming and tanning,not too loud.Everything’s cool.I go for a swim,which I don’t exactly enjoy,but the refreshing is nice.I get out of the water and see that there’s a diving board on the bridge near the shore.It’s a solid structure and at most 10 meters above the water.I decide to try it just for the heck of it.As I go up,I start getting filled up with fear.I’ve had a fear of heights for as long as I remember,so I’ll just say forever.I finally get to the top and come to the edge of the board.As I look down on the water the fear is almost paralyzing.It’s not a fear-excitement mix that you get when you go on an amusement park or something,it’s straight up unpleasant fear.Everything becomes darker for a few seconds,it was almost like there was a dark vortex in front of me.I jumped anyway.The fall was scary,the landing kinda hurt my ass,but it was all good.After a few minutes I came up to the board again,standing on that bridge and looking down to the water,just to check the feeling.The fear was ALMOST gone.
    I didn’t have a strong reason to jump or not to do it.I didn’t think of anything while on the board.I just felt fear and I JUST jumped.Don’t know what the moral of the story is here,because I didn’t feel like a hero afterwards either.And today I learned that I still got some fear of heights.My takeaway point would be that fear really is in the mind.If you don’t think(in my case,I didn’t think,I did all of that a lot of times before,like I thought that what if I fell over from this balcony,I would die,that would activate fear,and this program goes to the subconscious and then whenever you are physically high,you automatically turn on the fear mode,no thinking needed),you don’t fear.Be in the moment,and you will be in a quiet bliss.Thinking forward or even backwards is what activates fear.Being in the moment,just standing there on the edge and even falling into the water does not.
    Thanks for reading,hope you learned something 🙂

  8. karen

    Jul 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Playing safe can keep us in our comfort zone. We need to expand that comfort zone by taking a risk.

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 15, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      Very true, Karen. It can really stifle creativity… and opportunity.

  9. Laura Leigh Clarke

    Jul 14, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Hey Gary – awesome post. I love the “logic tames the beast” phrase!

    I was recently fearful about starting acting classes.

    It felt like a good idea when I registered, but then when it came to going to the class a part of me really wanted to chicken out. I actually used it as a test in facing the “little fear” and just experienced what it felt like to be uncomfortable. By the time I got to the class I was completely relaxed and had an awesome time. I’ve since signed up for another course that lasts all summer… and I can’t wait for it to start. 🙂

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 15, 2013 at 1:56 am

      Hey Laura!

      A great example of another great way to tame fear: Just feel it. You’re amazing at the psychological side of pretty much everything. I am constantly amazed by your insights 🙂

      Thanks for sharing that story.

  10. John-Anthony

    Jul 14, 2013 at 1:51 am

    Starting up my Non-profits.

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 15, 2013 at 1:53 am

      John-Anthony… That’s sounds like quite a task. Care to elaborate? How are they doing now?

  11. Bobbi Emel

    Jul 13, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Great post, Gary! I really like your simple, logical approach to getting past our baseless fears. Sometimes you do have to just take emotion out of the process and resort to a more intellectual approach. Good stuff!

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 14, 2013 at 3:47 am

      Agreed, Bobbi. As an admitted emotional person – I wish I could say it’s easy. It isn’t… but it is effective.

      • Sylva

        Jul 16, 2013 at 1:48 am

        What if your fears are not baseless but rooted in past failed experiences?

        • Gary Korisko

          Jul 17, 2013 at 2:35 pm

          Sylva –

          I think there could be a couple things happening in that situation. Not knowing specifically what you’re speaking of, my first reaction is that just because you failed at something before doesn’t mean you will again. And if that’s the case, that fear really could be baseless. The second, third, or tenth attempt could very well succeed.

          That being said – if you fail at the same thing repeatedly, you probably need to look at how you’re trying to achieve it in the first place. Your approach my need to be changed.

          Also – even if you don’t achieve your goal, there is always a valuable lesson to be had. It’s like a hidden, unexpected success wrapped in what looks like a failure.

        • Gary Korisko

          Jul 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm

          Thanks for sharing that, Vincas.

          Sometimes, it’s just like Nike says: Just Do It

  12. Mary Jaksch | A-List Blogging

    Jul 13, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Congratulations on an excellent post, Gary.

    I wonder about one point, though: fighting emotion with logic.

    I’m not so sure whether that really works all that well because emotions run deeper than thoughts.

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 14, 2013 at 3:46 am

      Thanks, Mary. I agree emotions run deeper than thoughts. That’s exactly why it takes some discipline to slow things down and look at the situation logically. In my opinion, that’s what makes emotions so difficult to control. But if you can try to replace the wildly emotional with logic, it sometimes helps to see a situation as it really is instead of how it feels.

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Life

How to Prevent Social Media From Stunting Your Personal Growth

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Over the years, social media has taken over our lives. Our society has become so addicted to social media to where we’re not only missing out on enjoying some of life’s most precious moments, but we’re also losing valuable interpersonal skills. The introverts have become more introverted, and the extroverts are becoming more recluse.

Social media has made “Netflix & Chill” the ideal date night, replacing the traditional “dinner and a movie” where you’re getting to know each other amongst others. If people were to go out, they have a constant need to document their every move on social media instead of being truly present and enjoying themselves. What’s also worse is that I see this social media dynamic being passed on to the younger generation. More and more kids are becoming hooked on social media, causing them to place their own personal value in the hands of strangers through a “like”.

Luckily, we don’t have to allow social media to ruin our lives. Despite how addicting social media is, we have complete control on how it’s used. Here’s how I prevent social media from stunting my own personal growth.

1. Limit Your Time On Social Media

Scrolling your timeline is like diving into a black hole. Once you start scrolling on Instagram, Facebook, or even Twitter, it’s hard to stop. Even for me, I struggle putting my phone down, thus getting sucked into the “social media matrix”.

What I found to be extremely helpful is limiting my time on social media. I literally allow myself a certain amount of minutes of “scroll time” before I put my phone away to focus on something else. Because my business revolves around social media, I check my phone approximately 4 times a day, for 15 minutes at a time. During those short periods, I’m responding to any comments or DMs, and engaging with other people’s posts to keep my own personal engagement high on my profile.

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

2. Find New Hobbies

There was a period of time where I was very conscious of when and why I randomly start scrolling social media. What I discovered was that I was more prone to fall into the black hole of social media when I was bored.

I’m a part of the last generation to have experienced life without the internet and social media. I recall days being spent reading, wrestling with my dad, walking or riding bikes at the local park, playing sports outside with the neighborhood kids, or building small LEGO communities (remember those?). There was never a dull moment because our days were filled with hobbies.

If you let the demands of being an adult consume you, don’t be afraid to re-introduce your old hobbies back into your life.

3. Unplug With Family & Friends

There are more and more people who are spending time on social media in the company of their family and friends. Family dinners and time spent with your friends are now being interrupted by social media. As I mentioned earlier, this is typically a sign of boredom that comes across as rude to those in your presence. By not being in the moment, you could be missing out on valuable information and vital conversations that could strengthen your personal growth and interpersonal skills.

One thing I found to be helpful when in the presence of your friends and family is to designate one spot where everyone can dump their phones so that everyone is now forced to be in the moment and enjoy the company of those around them. At family dinner, I make everyone leave their phones in their room, and when my friends get together, I make them turn their phones off and place them in a small bag that I bring. It’s imperative that we unplug. You’ll find that the time spent was much more enjoyable when you’re focused on being mentally present.

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde

4. Don’t Go To Bed With Your Phone

We’re all guilty of going to bed and falling asleep with our phones in our hand. There were times where I literally fell asleep looking at my phone in the air, and it dropped and popped me in the face. That was a “wake-up call”, literally, that I needed to change my ways. Not to mention, I also noticed that I was experiencing weird dreams and sometimes nightmares because of what I was consuming before I went to sleep. All of which is not good for your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Rather than charge my phone overnight using a power outlet close to the bed, I now charge my phone overnight on the other side of the room. The first few days of doing this was rough. I was so used to falling asleep scrolling social media that it was hard to fall asleep without it. Now, I lie down and meditate until I fall asleep. After a week of light meditation prior to sleep, I noticed that I woke up feeling energized and well rested. My mind wasn’t mentally fatigued like before, and my days were much more productive. As a result, I highly recommend everyone to go to bed without their phone by their side.

Conclusion

Moderation is key when it comes to social media consumption. Social media is not bad however, like anything, too much of something can have a reverse effect. Social media is a very valuable tool, one that allowed me to connect with people of all walks of life across the world and earn a living. We don’t have to let social media take over and ruin our lives. What we can do is find balance.

How do you stay balanced? Comment below!

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Life

5 Mindset Shifts You Can Steal From the Movies to Have Blockbuster Success

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If only our clients had the passion of Potterheads. Remember the midnight premiers? Potterheads lined up for hours, dressed in full costume, wands a-blazin’. When the doors finally opened, they couldn’t throw their money at the ticket booth fast enough. How do you create that kind of enthusiasm for your own business?

I’m going to share five mindset shifts straight out of the movie business that you can use to fuel lifelong fanatics. Some of it is going to be tough love, but hey, nobody said getting your own fan club was easy.

1. Stay humble, stay hungry

Working actors audition an average of 67 times before booking a gig. 67 times! And that’s working actors—people who earn their entire livelihood from acting. Most entrepreneurs will hear this stat and say, “I get it. I need to accept failure 66 times.” But this isn’t about that. It’s about showing up 67.

Accepting failure is passive. You can accept failure from your couch. Showing up and trying, however, is active. When you show up, you commit to taking a step forward. And 66 times, you’ll get knocked down. It’s humbling. But on attempt 67, that step forward might finally stick.

Mindset shift: You have an insatiable appetite for success. You know that every failure is one failure down and that, soon, you’ll knock it out of the park.

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” – Robert Kiyosaki

2. Treat your audience as kings

The box office doesn’t care what the director’s intentions were, how cool the writer is, or if the lead actor was featured in some fancy magazine, it cares about people in seats. And when thematic costumes clothe them (ala Potterheads), there are more of them.

In movies and entrepreneurship, your most critical metrics depend on your audience’s choices. So, the sooner you start treating your audience as kings and making everything about them, the sooner your metrics will start climbing.

How does the Harry Potter franchise treat Potterheads as kings? Movie premiers are 100% about the fans. They get to feel cool in costume, show off to friends, be among the first, hang out with other super-fans, and more. No matter what, putting your audience’s desire ahead of your own will always pay off in the long run.

Mindset shifts: Other entrepreneurs pursue immediate recognition. But you know that the more special you make your audience feel, the more success you’ll have down the road.

3. Depict compelling transformations

Humans have a fundamental desire for transformation. We love watching movies about redemption, growing up, settling down, overcoming adversity, underdogs, and more. Harry Potter is full of that stuff. Heck, the series even allowed a generation of readers to transform into adults alongside Harry.

This is why Before and After pictures are so incredibly persuasive. They help us to visualize the change we crave. And every single product or service on the market offers some form of transformation. All you have to do is call it out.  

Mindset shift: Bad entrepreneurs sell products. Good entrepreneurs sell solutions. Entrepreneurs who create rabid fans sell transformation.

4. Trust the fundamentals

When I took my first screenwriting class, the number of hyper-specific rules shocked me. Did you know that about 20 minutes into every movie, something dramatic changes in the protagonist’s life and propels them into a new world?

Don’t believe me? Time it. Unsurprisingly, one kid in my class completely ignored the rules. Even more unsurprisingly, his scripts sucked. When my professor called him out, the kid blubbered, “But Tarantino—” To which my professor replied, “Are you Tarantino?” No. No, he was not Tarantino.

The difference between you, me, that kid, and Tarantino is that Tarantino paid his dues. It’s extremely rare to find someone who became successful by completely ignoring the conventions of their craft. And the same is true for entrepreneurship.

Mindset shift: Nobody is “above” learning the fundamentals. You know that by appreciating the current structures and systems, you will be better poised to disrupt them in the future.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs

5. Kill your darlings

Once upon a time, an animation studio was four years into creating a film about the ocean. They had sunk thousands of hours, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into the project. Then, the unthinkable happened… Finding Nemo. You know what the studio did with their ocean movie? They scrapped it.

As entrepreneurs, once we invest a lot of time and energy into something, we’re afraid to abandon it—even if the circumstances that made it worth pursuing in the first place don’t exist anymore. It’s the sunk cost fallacy. It’s important to remember that regardless of if you keep chugging along, the investment you made is unrecoverable. On the flip side, the gains you made are still valuable. The only choice you have is how you move forward—and sometimes, that means changing course.

Mindset shift: No effort goes to waste, even if the resulting work becomes irrelevant. Instead of letting your ego rule your decisions, you choose the best course of action and move on.

Building enthusiasm for your business is a slow but crucial process. What techniques have you pulled from other fields to help connect with your audience?

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Life

How Stress Can Actually Improve the Quality of Your Life

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Naturally, those of us who experience less stress in our lives are more likely to succeed. So, it’s important that you learn how to reduce your daily level of stress, right? Maybe not. Recent research has shown the common wisdom about stress might be dangerously inaccurate. Psychologists tracked the health of 30,000 adults in the United States over an 8-year period. Participants were asked two important questions:

1.    “How much stress have you experienced in the last year?”
2.    “Do you believe stress is harmful to your health?”

The researchers found that people who experienced high levels of stress were 43% more likely to die in the study’s 8-year period. Doesn’t that prove stress is in fact bad for your health? Not exactly, stress was only harmful to the people who believed stress was harmful.

Those people who experienced high amounts of stress but didn’t believe it was harmful to their health were less likely to die than all other groups in the study. They were even less likely to die than the people who experienced low levels of stress (but believed stress is harmful.)

Put simply, people who believe that stress is not harmful live longer lives than those who believe it is. This study showed that it might not be stress that damages our health, but our beliefs about stress that damages our health.

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard

Breakthroughs In Stress Research

At first, this might be hard to believe. Kelly McGonigal elegantly explains this phenomenon in The Upside of Stress, “Stress mindsets are powerful because they affect not just how you think but also how you act. When you view stress as harmful, it is something to be avoided. Feeling stressed becomes a signal to try to escape or reduce the stress. And indeed, people who endorse a stress-is-harmful mindset are more likely to say that they cope with stress by trying to avoid it.”

People who believe stress is negative are more likely to avoid it by smoking, binge-eating, or watching too much TV. Afterwards, their physical health pays the price. Fortunately, research has shown that your beliefs about stress can be changed – and changing them has powerful benefits.

A study by Jeremy Jameson and colleagues had people endure a grueling social stress test. Participants were asked to give a 5-minute impromptu speech about their personal weaknesses to a panel of judges. To make this situation even more stressful, the judges were instructed to give negative feedback to the participant giving the speech. This study wasn’t just about sadistically putting people through social pressure, it was testing whether a mindset intervention could change how people react to stress.

Before giving the impromptu speech, participants were shown one of two videos:

  • The first video opened with the message, “Most people think that stress is negative… but research shows that stress is even more debilitating than you expect.”
  • The second video opened with, “Most people think that stress is negative… but actually research shows that it is enhancing.”

Participants who were shown the video that gave examples of how stress can be enhancing were less stressed out during the interview, felt more confident while speaking, and gave better interviews (as rated both by themselves and the judges). Even more impressively, although normally a stress response causes a person’s blood vessels to constrict, the blood vessels of participants who saw the pro-stress video remained relaxed.

“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.” – David Allen

The Power Of Your Stress Mindset

So, a 3-minute video was able to change the way people responded to a stressful situation, not just psychologically, but physiologically. When we think stress is something we must avoid, stress becomes a negative feedback loop. We experience stress, we think it’s a bad thing, and then our stress makes us even more stressed (and on and on).

But, when we think stress is just a natural part of life, or even a good thing, we are able to embrace it instead of being controlled by it. This not only allows us to perform better in stressful situations, it also enables us to make healthier decisions (because we won’t attempt to avoid stress with unhealthy coping behaviors).

How do you handle stress? Comment below!

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Life

One Piece Of Simple Advice That Changed My Life.

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Image Credit: Unsplash / Danilo Santos
“Stay positive no matter what happens.”

That’s one simple piece of advice that changed my life.

I learned the importance of this advice the hard way when my life was traveling along just nicely. I had a high paying job, a booming blogging career, a partner who loved me, and enough money to live and enjoy a few simple pleasures.

I got to travel overseas to exotic locations and work even allowed me to have some pretty unique experiences like sleeping on a yacht and going surfing with a crazy bunch of entrepreneurs.

I thought I had it all.

People looked at my life and thought it was spectacular.


Deep inside of me, I knew something was not quite right.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Something about this so-called perfect life felt wrong.

Before I knew it, I broke up with my girlfriend, lost all of my work colleagues to competitors and found myself staring into a glass half full of instant coffee.

When I hit challenges, I found myself getting pissed off. I’d say to myself “Why me?” and “Get out of my way idiot, you’re blocking the path in front of me.”

How could an internet proclaimed self-help blogger have these crazy, messed up thoughts?

What was wrong was I’d forgotten how to stay positive. I thought that I was past the point of having to deal with challenges and I’d reached a level that I could never go back from.

“Personal development and inspirational content can make you feel invincible — especially when you’re the one creating it”

Sometimes the very thing you preach can be the one thing that is your own downfall.

As I analyzed the situation, I saw that I’d forgotten how to practice positivity.


How does one practice positivity?

By deciding to. Positivity is a choice.

Positivity is like going on an adventure and forcing yourself to see at least one good thing about the journey.

One little hack I used was writing down three things each day I was grateful for. I forced myself to do it at work and locked it into my diary for 9 am every morning.

During the career challenges I mentioned earlier, the lady that sits a few desks away from me described my situation as like being on the Titanic. She called my business unit the “Sinking Ship.”

Outside forces are going to have an effect on you if you let them. I chose to see positivity in what she was saying. I wrote down notes of how this could be positive.

It took a while, but eventually, I got the answer: The Titanic she described was a forced career change into something I liked even more. I’d become comfortable and that was the issue.

At that moment, I realized that I had the power within me to always see positivity if I wanted to.


It’s not about getting rid of negative thoughts necessarily.

It takes a lot of energy to remove or block negative thoughts. Choosing positivity is a much easier process to go through and it takes less energy.

Committing to yourself that there is at least one good outcome from every situation, forces your mind into positivity. It can be done.

You’re supposed to have negative thoughts. They keep you alive. Having zero negative thoughts is impossible. What helped me was balancing my thoughts to be more of the positive variety.


Gossiping and complaining breeds the opposite outcome.

Trying to stay positive no matter what is extremely difficult when you’re in conversations with people who are egging you on to complain, or gossip about someone or something.

The temptation is huge because whether we like it or not, it feels good.

The trouble with complaining or gossiping is that it only breeds more negativity.

You’re asking your brain to dish up negative possibilities and recall negative situations. The other person’s reaction to your negativity only rewards your brain for its hard work.

You can’t focus on being positive if you deliberately hijack your brain every time with gossip talk and picking faults with your co-workers.

People stuff up; they have different beliefs to you; they have other priorities.

Gossiping and complaining doesn’t make anyone else wrong. It does make you practice negativity though and that’s not going to change your life.


Take a long hard look at yourself.

Are you being positive most of the time? When I asked myself this question, I could see clearly that I was not.

I’d fallen into bad habits and allowed outside forces to manipulate my thoughts and turn them toxic.

My life started to change when I acknowledged what was going on and took ownership for it.

“It’s damn hard to admit as a self-help blogger that you’re being extremely negative and ruining your own success. It’s somewhat counter-intuitive. Either way, this reality was my truth and I owned it!”

Ignoring the problem is not going to make it magically disappear.

So, what did I do?

  • Stayed clear of the people who were fuelling my negativity
  • Focused on the positivity that already existed in my life like blogging, love and family
  • Chose a new career path that was closer to what I loved
  • Spent more time with other bloggers to learn how they dealt with negativity
  • Took accountability and stopped focusing on outside interference
  • Doubled down on my blogging so I could spread more positivity
  • Spent lots of time watching videos on a Facebook page called Human Kindness

Above all else, one thing that helped was being more kind.

When you’re kind to everyone you encounter, positivity comes at you a hundred miles an hour.

People will make you feel positive when you are kind towards them. You don’t have to hand out millions of dollars in donations or build an orphanage either.

Simple acts of kindness like holding the door open, complimenting someone, or letting a driver into your lane is all it takes.


Tragedy will strike everyone.

That’s not something to be sad about it’s just a fact of life. When you can go through any event and always find a way to be positive, you’re able to recover much quicker. This allows you to support others during these tough times.


Positivity can make you see another way.

By seeing positivity, you’ll discover other options that those around you can’t see.

“Positivity is closely linked to creativity”

Seeing hidden opportunities doesn’t happen when you’re pissed off and want to kill your neighbor because of their dog that always barks when you’re sleeping.

Positivity sparks possibility and that’s where your next opportunity will come from.


Final thought.

Positivity really is the simple advice that will change your life. We can all use more of it and it’s missing in so many souls around the world. Find another way to move forward and don’t be afraid to take a step back once in a while.

Choose positivity in every situation and your life will change. You’ll see a brighter future, and better yet, you’ll create that future for yourself.

You deserve to be fulfilled and do what you love. Let positivity get you there faster.

<<<>>>

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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Motivation

7 Powerful and Inspiring Words of Encouragement to Help Lift You Up

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

When you’re going through tough times, all you need is sympathy. You just need someone to tell you how strong you are and how you can cope with the situation. Essentially, you’re waiting for a soothing voice that can calm your inner storm and genuinely help with your troubles. (more…)

I am Eliana Jags, Co-Founder & Author at beinginsightful.com. I'm passionate about writing motivational and inspirational articles. Before I became a full-time blogger, I was a Software Engineer but left the job to fulfill my dream of becoming a writer and thus I've committed myself completely to my passion of writing. You can connect with me on my Facebook page here.

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. James@youdolife

    Sep 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Very interesting article!!! A logical approach is very useful and gives people practical guidance that they can apply immediately!!

  2. Sebastian Hansen

    Jul 26, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Great article! Unfortunately, sometimes the limitation isn’t fear but rather money which can turn what appears to be a fearful decision such as starting your own business into a safe decision. For some of us, there are very few fearful decisions and a larger amount of safe decisions because of a shortage of money.

  3. Jason B

    Jul 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Best post I’ve read in a moment on here.

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 24, 2013 at 4:12 am

      Thanks for taking the time to say so, Jason. I really appreciate that!

  4. Gabriel

    Jul 21, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Wow absolutely amazing! So simple, but powerful. You spoke one million words with only a few.

    Thanks for the great article!

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 24, 2013 at 4:11 am

      Thank you, Gabriel. Very nice of you to say! I’m always happy to hear when someone finds my posts useful.

  5. Susan R

    Jul 18, 2013 at 5:38 am

    Good distinction between safe decisions and fearful decisions – reminds me of RAAF wartime pilot and Australian cricketer Keith Miller’s perspective on pressure/fear. When Michael Parkinson asked him about pressure in cricket, he answered ‘pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse, cricket is not.’
    Helps with the logic of fear, especially if you have ever really had reason to be afraid.

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      Susan – That’s an awesome quote! As funny as it is, it does a great job of establishing perspective. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Kimberley Grabas

    Jul 18, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Awesome post, Gary! I’m not sure how many times I’ve had to talk myself off the ledge because I’ve let the fear run rampant. Luckily, I’m getting better at recognizing the signs of hysteria, so I can de-escalate the drama (with logic) before it gets out of hand. 🙂

    I can’t think of one time where I worried about something, and then said after the fact: “Phew, good thing I spent some much time freaking out; it really helped!”

    I can, however, think of several occasions where I pushed through the fear and the end result turned out exponentially better then I could have predicted.

    Hmmm, I think you’re on to something, Gary!

    Kimberley

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 18, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      Hey Kimberly…

      I know all too well the onset of hysteria. I’m one of those people cursed with a 50/50 emotion/logic mix in my brain. You’d think that would make things even, but guess which one always kicks in first??

      You really do need to talk yourself down and look at risk/reward rationally.

      Thanks for jumping in. Nice to see you as always!

  7. Vincas Pikst

    Jul 16, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Ok,this one is more like a mix of death/bettering self fear.I went to a local lake for a swim.Warm summer day,some people swimming and tanning,not too loud.Everything’s cool.I go for a swim,which I don’t exactly enjoy,but the refreshing is nice.I get out of the water and see that there’s a diving board on the bridge near the shore.It’s a solid structure and at most 10 meters above the water.I decide to try it just for the heck of it.As I go up,I start getting filled up with fear.I’ve had a fear of heights for as long as I remember,so I’ll just say forever.I finally get to the top and come to the edge of the board.As I look down on the water the fear is almost paralyzing.It’s not a fear-excitement mix that you get when you go on an amusement park or something,it’s straight up unpleasant fear.Everything becomes darker for a few seconds,it was almost like there was a dark vortex in front of me.I jumped anyway.The fall was scary,the landing kinda hurt my ass,but it was all good.After a few minutes I came up to the board again,standing on that bridge and looking down to the water,just to check the feeling.The fear was ALMOST gone.
    I didn’t have a strong reason to jump or not to do it.I didn’t think of anything while on the board.I just felt fear and I JUST jumped.Don’t know what the moral of the story is here,because I didn’t feel like a hero afterwards either.And today I learned that I still got some fear of heights.My takeaway point would be that fear really is in the mind.If you don’t think(in my case,I didn’t think,I did all of that a lot of times before,like I thought that what if I fell over from this balcony,I would die,that would activate fear,and this program goes to the subconscious and then whenever you are physically high,you automatically turn on the fear mode,no thinking needed),you don’t fear.Be in the moment,and you will be in a quiet bliss.Thinking forward or even backwards is what activates fear.Being in the moment,just standing there on the edge and even falling into the water does not.
    Thanks for reading,hope you learned something 🙂

  8. karen

    Jul 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Playing safe can keep us in our comfort zone. We need to expand that comfort zone by taking a risk.

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 15, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      Very true, Karen. It can really stifle creativity… and opportunity.

  9. Laura Leigh Clarke

    Jul 14, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Hey Gary – awesome post. I love the “logic tames the beast” phrase!

    I was recently fearful about starting acting classes.

    It felt like a good idea when I registered, but then when it came to going to the class a part of me really wanted to chicken out. I actually used it as a test in facing the “little fear” and just experienced what it felt like to be uncomfortable. By the time I got to the class I was completely relaxed and had an awesome time. I’ve since signed up for another course that lasts all summer… and I can’t wait for it to start. 🙂

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 15, 2013 at 1:56 am

      Hey Laura!

      A great example of another great way to tame fear: Just feel it. You’re amazing at the psychological side of pretty much everything. I am constantly amazed by your insights 🙂

      Thanks for sharing that story.

  10. John-Anthony

    Jul 14, 2013 at 1:51 am

    Starting up my Non-profits.

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 15, 2013 at 1:53 am

      John-Anthony… That’s sounds like quite a task. Care to elaborate? How are they doing now?

  11. Bobbi Emel

    Jul 13, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Great post, Gary! I really like your simple, logical approach to getting past our baseless fears. Sometimes you do have to just take emotion out of the process and resort to a more intellectual approach. Good stuff!

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 14, 2013 at 3:47 am

      Agreed, Bobbi. As an admitted emotional person – I wish I could say it’s easy. It isn’t… but it is effective.

      • Sylva

        Jul 16, 2013 at 1:48 am

        What if your fears are not baseless but rooted in past failed experiences?

        • Gary Korisko

          Jul 17, 2013 at 2:35 pm

          Sylva –

          I think there could be a couple things happening in that situation. Not knowing specifically what you’re speaking of, my first reaction is that just because you failed at something before doesn’t mean you will again. And if that’s the case, that fear really could be baseless. The second, third, or tenth attempt could very well succeed.

          That being said – if you fail at the same thing repeatedly, you probably need to look at how you’re trying to achieve it in the first place. Your approach my need to be changed.

          Also – even if you don’t achieve your goal, there is always a valuable lesson to be had. It’s like a hidden, unexpected success wrapped in what looks like a failure.

        • Gary Korisko

          Jul 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm

          Thanks for sharing that, Vincas.

          Sometimes, it’s just like Nike says: Just Do It

  12. Mary Jaksch | A-List Blogging

    Jul 13, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Congratulations on an excellent post, Gary.

    I wonder about one point, though: fighting emotion with logic.

    I’m not so sure whether that really works all that well because emotions run deeper than thoughts.

    • Gary Korisko

      Jul 14, 2013 at 3:46 am

      Thanks, Mary. I agree emotions run deeper than thoughts. That’s exactly why it takes some discipline to slow things down and look at the situation logically. In my opinion, that’s what makes emotions so difficult to control. But if you can try to replace the wildly emotional with logic, it sometimes helps to see a situation as it really is instead of how it feels.

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Life

How to Prevent Social Media From Stunting Your Personal Growth

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Over the years, social media has taken over our lives. Our society has become so addicted to social media to where we’re not only missing out on enjoying some of life’s most precious moments, but we’re also losing valuable interpersonal skills. The introverts have become more introverted, and the extroverts are becoming more recluse.

Social media has made “Netflix & Chill” the ideal date night, replacing the traditional “dinner and a movie” where you’re getting to know each other amongst others. If people were to go out, they have a constant need to document their every move on social media instead of being truly present and enjoying themselves. What’s also worse is that I see this social media dynamic being passed on to the younger generation. More and more kids are becoming hooked on social media, causing them to place their own personal value in the hands of strangers through a “like”.

Luckily, we don’t have to allow social media to ruin our lives. Despite how addicting social media is, we have complete control on how it’s used. Here’s how I prevent social media from stunting my own personal growth.

1. Limit Your Time On Social Media

Scrolling your timeline is like diving into a black hole. Once you start scrolling on Instagram, Facebook, or even Twitter, it’s hard to stop. Even for me, I struggle putting my phone down, thus getting sucked into the “social media matrix”.

What I found to be extremely helpful is limiting my time on social media. I literally allow myself a certain amount of minutes of “scroll time” before I put my phone away to focus on something else. Because my business revolves around social media, I check my phone approximately 4 times a day, for 15 minutes at a time. During those short periods, I’m responding to any comments or DMs, and engaging with other people’s posts to keep my own personal engagement high on my profile.

“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

2. Find New Hobbies

There was a period of time where I was very conscious of when and why I randomly start scrolling social media. What I discovered was that I was more prone to fall into the black hole of social media when I was bored.

I’m a part of the last generation to have experienced life without the internet and social media. I recall days being spent reading, wrestling with my dad, walking or riding bikes at the local park, playing sports outside with the neighborhood kids, or building small LEGO communities (remember those?). There was never a dull moment because our days were filled with hobbies.

If you let the demands of being an adult consume you, don’t be afraid to re-introduce your old hobbies back into your life.

3. Unplug With Family & Friends

There are more and more people who are spending time on social media in the company of their family and friends. Family dinners and time spent with your friends are now being interrupted by social media. As I mentioned earlier, this is typically a sign of boredom that comes across as rude to those in your presence. By not being in the moment, you could be missing out on valuable information and vital conversations that could strengthen your personal growth and interpersonal skills.

One thing I found to be helpful when in the presence of your friends and family is to designate one spot where everyone can dump their phones so that everyone is now forced to be in the moment and enjoy the company of those around them. At family dinner, I make everyone leave their phones in their room, and when my friends get together, I make them turn their phones off and place them in a small bag that I bring. It’s imperative that we unplug. You’ll find that the time spent was much more enjoyable when you’re focused on being mentally present.

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde

4. Don’t Go To Bed With Your Phone

We’re all guilty of going to bed and falling asleep with our phones in our hand. There were times where I literally fell asleep looking at my phone in the air, and it dropped and popped me in the face. That was a “wake-up call”, literally, that I needed to change my ways. Not to mention, I also noticed that I was experiencing weird dreams and sometimes nightmares because of what I was consuming before I went to sleep. All of which is not good for your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Rather than charge my phone overnight using a power outlet close to the bed, I now charge my phone overnight on the other side of the room. The first few days of doing this was rough. I was so used to falling asleep scrolling social media that it was hard to fall asleep without it. Now, I lie down and meditate until I fall asleep. After a week of light meditation prior to sleep, I noticed that I woke up feeling energized and well rested. My mind wasn’t mentally fatigued like before, and my days were much more productive. As a result, I highly recommend everyone to go to bed without their phone by their side.

Conclusion

Moderation is key when it comes to social media consumption. Social media is not bad however, like anything, too much of something can have a reverse effect. Social media is a very valuable tool, one that allowed me to connect with people of all walks of life across the world and earn a living. We don’t have to let social media take over and ruin our lives. What we can do is find balance.

How do you stay balanced? Comment below!

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Life

5 Mindset Shifts You Can Steal From the Movies to Have Blockbuster Success

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If only our clients had the passion of Potterheads. Remember the midnight premiers? Potterheads lined up for hours, dressed in full costume, wands a-blazin’. When the doors finally opened, they couldn’t throw their money at the ticket booth fast enough. How do you create that kind of enthusiasm for your own business?

I’m going to share five mindset shifts straight out of the movie business that you can use to fuel lifelong fanatics. Some of it is going to be tough love, but hey, nobody said getting your own fan club was easy.

1. Stay humble, stay hungry

Working actors audition an average of 67 times before booking a gig. 67 times! And that’s working actors—people who earn their entire livelihood from acting. Most entrepreneurs will hear this stat and say, “I get it. I need to accept failure 66 times.” But this isn’t about that. It’s about showing up 67.

Accepting failure is passive. You can accept failure from your couch. Showing up and trying, however, is active. When you show up, you commit to taking a step forward. And 66 times, you’ll get knocked down. It’s humbling. But on attempt 67, that step forward might finally stick.

Mindset shift: You have an insatiable appetite for success. You know that every failure is one failure down and that, soon, you’ll knock it out of the park.

“Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” – Robert Kiyosaki

2. Treat your audience as kings

The box office doesn’t care what the director’s intentions were, how cool the writer is, or if the lead actor was featured in some fancy magazine, it cares about people in seats. And when thematic costumes clothe them (ala Potterheads), there are more of them.

In movies and entrepreneurship, your most critical metrics depend on your audience’s choices. So, the sooner you start treating your audience as kings and making everything about them, the sooner your metrics will start climbing.

How does the Harry Potter franchise treat Potterheads as kings? Movie premiers are 100% about the fans. They get to feel cool in costume, show off to friends, be among the first, hang out with other super-fans, and more. No matter what, putting your audience’s desire ahead of your own will always pay off in the long run.

Mindset shifts: Other entrepreneurs pursue immediate recognition. But you know that the more special you make your audience feel, the more success you’ll have down the road.

3. Depict compelling transformations

Humans have a fundamental desire for transformation. We love watching movies about redemption, growing up, settling down, overcoming adversity, underdogs, and more. Harry Potter is full of that stuff. Heck, the series even allowed a generation of readers to transform into adults alongside Harry.

This is why Before and After pictures are so incredibly persuasive. They help us to visualize the change we crave. And every single product or service on the market offers some form of transformation. All you have to do is call it out.  

Mindset shift: Bad entrepreneurs sell products. Good entrepreneurs sell solutions. Entrepreneurs who create rabid fans sell transformation.

4. Trust the fundamentals

When I took my first screenwriting class, the number of hyper-specific rules shocked me. Did you know that about 20 minutes into every movie, something dramatic changes in the protagonist’s life and propels them into a new world?

Don’t believe me? Time it. Unsurprisingly, one kid in my class completely ignored the rules. Even more unsurprisingly, his scripts sucked. When my professor called him out, the kid blubbered, “But Tarantino—” To which my professor replied, “Are you Tarantino?” No. No, he was not Tarantino.

The difference between you, me, that kid, and Tarantino is that Tarantino paid his dues. It’s extremely rare to find someone who became successful by completely ignoring the conventions of their craft. And the same is true for entrepreneurship.

Mindset shift: Nobody is “above” learning the fundamentals. You know that by appreciating the current structures and systems, you will be better poised to disrupt them in the future.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” – Steve Jobs

5. Kill your darlings

Once upon a time, an animation studio was four years into creating a film about the ocean. They had sunk thousands of hours, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into the project. Then, the unthinkable happened… Finding Nemo. You know what the studio did with their ocean movie? They scrapped it.

As entrepreneurs, once we invest a lot of time and energy into something, we’re afraid to abandon it—even if the circumstances that made it worth pursuing in the first place don’t exist anymore. It’s the sunk cost fallacy. It’s important to remember that regardless of if you keep chugging along, the investment you made is unrecoverable. On the flip side, the gains you made are still valuable. The only choice you have is how you move forward—and sometimes, that means changing course.

Mindset shift: No effort goes to waste, even if the resulting work becomes irrelevant. Instead of letting your ego rule your decisions, you choose the best course of action and move on.

Building enthusiasm for your business is a slow but crucial process. What techniques have you pulled from other fields to help connect with your audience?

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Life

How Stress Can Actually Improve the Quality of Your Life

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Naturally, those of us who experience less stress in our lives are more likely to succeed. So, it’s important that you learn how to reduce your daily level of stress, right? Maybe not. Recent research has shown the common wisdom about stress might be dangerously inaccurate. Psychologists tracked the health of 30,000 adults in the United States over an 8-year period. Participants were asked two important questions:

1.    “How much stress have you experienced in the last year?”
2.    “Do you believe stress is harmful to your health?”

The researchers found that people who experienced high levels of stress were 43% more likely to die in the study’s 8-year period. Doesn’t that prove stress is in fact bad for your health? Not exactly, stress was only harmful to the people who believed stress was harmful.

Those people who experienced high amounts of stress but didn’t believe it was harmful to their health were less likely to die than all other groups in the study. They were even less likely to die than the people who experienced low levels of stress (but believed stress is harmful.)

Put simply, people who believe that stress is not harmful live longer lives than those who believe it is. This study showed that it might not be stress that damages our health, but our beliefs about stress that damages our health.

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard

Breakthroughs In Stress Research

At first, this might be hard to believe. Kelly McGonigal elegantly explains this phenomenon in The Upside of Stress, “Stress mindsets are powerful because they affect not just how you think but also how you act. When you view stress as harmful, it is something to be avoided. Feeling stressed becomes a signal to try to escape or reduce the stress. And indeed, people who endorse a stress-is-harmful mindset are more likely to say that they cope with stress by trying to avoid it.”

People who believe stress is negative are more likely to avoid it by smoking, binge-eating, or watching too much TV. Afterwards, their physical health pays the price. Fortunately, research has shown that your beliefs about stress can be changed – and changing them has powerful benefits.

A study by Jeremy Jameson and colleagues had people endure a grueling social stress test. Participants were asked to give a 5-minute impromptu speech about their personal weaknesses to a panel of judges. To make this situation even more stressful, the judges were instructed to give negative feedback to the participant giving the speech. This study wasn’t just about sadistically putting people through social pressure, it was testing whether a mindset intervention could change how people react to stress.

Before giving the impromptu speech, participants were shown one of two videos:

  • The first video opened with the message, “Most people think that stress is negative… but research shows that stress is even more debilitating than you expect.”
  • The second video opened with, “Most people think that stress is negative… but actually research shows that it is enhancing.”

Participants who were shown the video that gave examples of how stress can be enhancing were less stressed out during the interview, felt more confident while speaking, and gave better interviews (as rated both by themselves and the judges). Even more impressively, although normally a stress response causes a person’s blood vessels to constrict, the blood vessels of participants who saw the pro-stress video remained relaxed.

“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.” – David Allen

The Power Of Your Stress Mindset

So, a 3-minute video was able to change the way people responded to a stressful situation, not just psychologically, but physiologically. When we think stress is something we must avoid, stress becomes a negative feedback loop. We experience stress, we think it’s a bad thing, and then our stress makes us even more stressed (and on and on).

But, when we think stress is just a natural part of life, or even a good thing, we are able to embrace it instead of being controlled by it. This not only allows us to perform better in stressful situations, it also enables us to make healthier decisions (because we won’t attempt to avoid stress with unhealthy coping behaviors).

How do you handle stress? Comment below!

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Life

One Piece Of Simple Advice That Changed My Life.

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“Stay positive no matter what happens.”

That’s one simple piece of advice that changed my life.

I learned the importance of this advice the hard way when my life was traveling along just nicely. I had a high paying job, a booming blogging career, a partner who loved me, and enough money to live and enjoy a few simple pleasures.

I got to travel overseas to exotic locations and work even allowed me to have some pretty unique experiences like sleeping on a yacht and going surfing with a crazy bunch of entrepreneurs.

I thought I had it all.

People looked at my life and thought it was spectacular.


Deep inside of me, I knew something was not quite right.

I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Something about this so-called perfect life felt wrong.

Before I knew it, I broke up with my girlfriend, lost all of my work colleagues to competitors and found myself staring into a glass half full of instant coffee.

When I hit challenges, I found myself getting pissed off. I’d say to myself “Why me?” and “Get out of my way idiot, you’re blocking the path in front of me.”

How could an internet proclaimed self-help blogger have these crazy, messed up thoughts?

What was wrong was I’d forgotten how to stay positive. I thought that I was past the point of having to deal with challenges and I’d reached a level that I could never go back from.

“Personal development and inspirational content can make you feel invincible — especially when you’re the one creating it”

Sometimes the very thing you preach can be the one thing that is your own downfall.

As I analyzed the situation, I saw that I’d forgotten how to practice positivity.


How does one practice positivity?

By deciding to. Positivity is a choice.

Positivity is like going on an adventure and forcing yourself to see at least one good thing about the journey.

One little hack I used was writing down three things each day I was grateful for. I forced myself to do it at work and locked it into my diary for 9 am every morning.

During the career challenges I mentioned earlier, the lady that sits a few desks away from me described my situation as like being on the Titanic. She called my business unit the “Sinking Ship.”

Outside forces are going to have an effect on you if you let them. I chose to see positivity in what she was saying. I wrote down notes of how this could be positive.

It took a while, but eventually, I got the answer: The Titanic she described was a forced career change into something I liked even more. I’d become comfortable and that was the issue.

At that moment, I realized that I had the power within me to always see positivity if I wanted to.


It’s not about getting rid of negative thoughts necessarily.

It takes a lot of energy to remove or block negative thoughts. Choosing positivity is a much easier process to go through and it takes less energy.

Committing to yourself that there is at least one good outcome from every situation, forces your mind into positivity. It can be done.

You’re supposed to have negative thoughts. They keep you alive. Having zero negative thoughts is impossible. What helped me was balancing my thoughts to be more of the positive variety.


Gossiping and complaining breeds the opposite outcome.

Trying to stay positive no matter what is extremely difficult when you’re in conversations with people who are egging you on to complain, or gossip about someone or something.

The temptation is huge because whether we like it or not, it feels good.

The trouble with complaining or gossiping is that it only breeds more negativity.

You’re asking your brain to dish up negative possibilities and recall negative situations. The other person’s reaction to your negativity only rewards your brain for its hard work.

You can’t focus on being positive if you deliberately hijack your brain every time with gossip talk and picking faults with your co-workers.

People stuff up; they have different beliefs to you; they have other priorities.

Gossiping and complaining doesn’t make anyone else wrong. It does make you practice negativity though and that’s not going to change your life.


Take a long hard look at yourself.

Are you being positive most of the time? When I asked myself this question, I could see clearly that I was not.

I’d fallen into bad habits and allowed outside forces to manipulate my thoughts and turn them toxic.

My life started to change when I acknowledged what was going on and took ownership for it.

“It’s damn hard to admit as a self-help blogger that you’re being extremely negative and ruining your own success. It’s somewhat counter-intuitive. Either way, this reality was my truth and I owned it!”

Ignoring the problem is not going to make it magically disappear.

So, what did I do?

  • Stayed clear of the people who were fuelling my negativity
  • Focused on the positivity that already existed in my life like blogging, love and family
  • Chose a new career path that was closer to what I loved
  • Spent more time with other bloggers to learn how they dealt with negativity
  • Took accountability and stopped focusing on outside interference
  • Doubled down on my blogging so I could spread more positivity
  • Spent lots of time watching videos on a Facebook page called Human Kindness

Above all else, one thing that helped was being more kind.

When you’re kind to everyone you encounter, positivity comes at you a hundred miles an hour.

People will make you feel positive when you are kind towards them. You don’t have to hand out millions of dollars in donations or build an orphanage either.

Simple acts of kindness like holding the door open, complimenting someone, or letting a driver into your lane is all it takes.


Tragedy will strike everyone.

That’s not something to be sad about it’s just a fact of life. When you can go through any event and always find a way to be positive, you’re able to recover much quicker. This allows you to support others during these tough times.


Positivity can make you see another way.

By seeing positivity, you’ll discover other options that those around you can’t see.

“Positivity is closely linked to creativity”

Seeing hidden opportunities doesn’t happen when you’re pissed off and want to kill your neighbor because of their dog that always barks when you’re sleeping.

Positivity sparks possibility and that’s where your next opportunity will come from.


Final thought.

Positivity really is the simple advice that will change your life. We can all use more of it and it’s missing in so many souls around the world. Find another way to move forward and don’t be afraid to take a step back once in a while.

Choose positivity in every situation and your life will change. You’ll see a brighter future, and better yet, you’ll create that future for yourself.

You deserve to be fulfilled and do what you love. Let positivity get you there faster.

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