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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

My Incredibly Simple Guide To Stoicism – Learn Practical Wisdom You Can Use

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I’ve been inspired to learn about Stoicism for a while.

The problem I’ve had is that it’s one of those topics that people love to complicate. The reason for the complication is that many of the teachings that come from Stoicism are spoken in English from a long time ago. I personally don’t have the patience to read this type of writing for long periods.

That’s why I’m going to debunk Stoicism for you in stupidly simple terms. The wisdom you get will transform you. You’ll gain a different perspective that will help you in all aspects of life.

“Everyone is preaching advice, but no one is sharing wisdom – that’s what Stoicism is”

 

What is Stoicism?

It’s an ancient form of philosophy. It was made famous in recent years again by Tim Ferriss and Ryan Holiday from the USA. These two gentleman credit a lot of their success to the wisdom that Stoicism taught them.

Stoicism began on a stoa which means porch to you and I. A stoa is where the early teachings of Stoicism started.

Here is Stoicism broken down into insanely simple dot points:

– Stoicism is focused on uncomplicated theories of life
– Stoicism is so clear that you can take action from the advice immediately
– Study is not required to understand Stoicism
– The most read Stoic is Lucius Seneca. Marcus Aurelius is also very popular

Stoicism doesn’t focus on the negative like modern-day self-help advice does. Stoicism is more a meditative practice that allows us to take the negative feelings we experience, and turn them into thoughts that give us peacefulness and perspective on life.

The most important part of learning Stoicism is having the right state of mind. Just like in life, the right state of mind can help us look at challenges in the best possible way.

At the crux of Stoicism is a list of reminders and words of wisdom that show how to live a good life. It’s not an argument about what is right and what is wrong. The Stoics had no time for this way of thinking.

Okay so now let’s skip ahead to the best lessons you can learn from Stoicism:

 

We don’t control events, but we do control what they mean.

This is a famous teaching from a lot of Tony Robbins work too. Everything that happens in your life can be controlled by your own mind to be good or bad. Once you understand this teaching, you can take back the power. You become less reactive and a lot calmer. You have the upper hand.

 

Disruptions to serenity cannot be avoided.

Tranquillity can never be reached by avoiding or blocking out distractions or horrible events. The way to get to that tranquil place is through your choices and judgment about those events and situations.

 

You must disrupt yourself.

Doing things the way they’ve always been done will lead you to be disrupted by someone or something who changes with the environment. Operating out of habit means you’ve stopped thinking and are mindlessly drifting through life. This means you’re not in control.

“When you lose control, your environment determines your results”

There’s a good chance that you’re going to think these results suck. The lesson here is break your habits, get out of your comfort zone and disrupt yourself like a cool, hip startup from Silicon Valley.

 

In good and bad times we have a choice.

Whether you’re in jail or an entrepreneur running the most successful startup on the planet, you have a choice. We all come from different backgrounds and we’ll all go through major highs, and painstaking lows. Through all of these different circumstances, we have a choice.

It’s having the freedom of choice that will set us free in the long run. It’s that freedom of choice that will ensure you don’t waste your life away thinking about stuff you can’t control. You’ll always feel the power of freedom when you control your choices, no matter what life throws at you.

 

Make it a habit of looking inward.

Stoics are obsessed with taking time to look inward. It’s something they advocate above all of their other teachings. They suggest spending time in the morning to ask yourself questions about your life. As you do this, you’ll find the answers to life’s biggest questions become clearer in the context of your own life.

Looking inward helps you find the answers that you knew all along and thought were hidden inside of someone else, or something else. This practice will only work if you’re honest with yourself. Don’t be too brutal on yourself either. Realize that we all start somewhere and it’s where we can go that is the greatest gift we can enjoy.

 

Being paranoid and fearful will destroy you.

The antidote to fear and paranoia is self-control. Learn to control your impulses. If you become fearful that others will sabotage your success and you don’t remain in control over these fearful thoughts, you’ll lose sight of reality. These fearful thoughts will cause you to project your fears onto other people and they’ll give you exactly what you fear.

In simple terms, fear is a self-fulfilling prophecy. What you put out comes right back at you.

 

Anger will not help you.

The Stoics believe that getting angry never gives you anything in return. Anger wastes your precious energy and resources, and provides no tangible benefit. This is why it’s better to practice non-reactivity rather than being pissed off at something you can’t control anyway.

Anger is like a contagious virus that spreads if you let it. Don’t let anger control you. Projecting anger on people can only result in you projecting anger on yourself. That’s why anger is also another self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

Everything takes up space.

Seneca wrote many times that even things you get for free have a cost. That cost is space – space in your garage or even space in your mind.

“Learning to live with less will create space in your life for the things that truly matter to you”

The aim of the game is to look at your material possession and be honest with yourself: do you really need that object? If the answer is no, free some space up in your life. What Seneca says here is the reason I have personally given away and sold most of my possessions. I’ve never been happier.

 

Practice poverty.

Especially during prosperous times in your life, the Stoics believe you should practice poverty. This is how you prepare for hardship and become an expert in dealing with the ups and downs of life. Comfort can become a form of slavery because you consistently start to think that someone could take away what you have.

When you’re familiar with what you fear, it no longer controls you. The worst can happen and you go through it with a sense of calmness and ease. People think you’re resilient but actually, you’ve just practiced the hard times as preparation.

Quick tip: try eating a really cheap meal for a whole week every two months. Eat like you have almost no money. This will teach you to not only appreciate the nice meals but to be okay if you ever face poverty and have to live on very little money for a while. I know a few people that do a beans and rice meal for this week of living it rough. Try it!

 

You protect everything you have, why not your mind?

You don’t give away your wallet to a stranger on the street. You don’t hand the keys to your car over to a budding thief. You wouldn’t let your house be demolished by the council without a fight. So why would you hand over the keys to your mind so easily to any stranger who wants them?

You have to become aware of who you are unconsciously giving your mind over to. You need to realize who is influencing you in a negative way without knowing it.

“Your mind can create all the abundance you could ever imagine, so you need to protect it like it’s the only possession you have”

 

Don’t wreck the purpose of your life by trying to impress others.

The Stoics teach that the opinions of people you seek our to impress are not that great themselves. These people you seek to impress have addictions, their own problems, and are no wiser than the next person. The purpose of your life is not to impress people and doing so will have the opposite effect.

Focus on impressing yourself through personal growth and wisdom from people who serve the greater good. Go beyond yourself and avoid the need to seek approval. Take action and seek forgiveness later if you must.

 

Without proper training, you’re a fool.

If you seek to master a skill, then without proper training you will (by default) rely on ignorance, and you’ll act in a way that lacks discipline and requires chance.

“An investor without discipline is not an investor – he’s a gambler” – Ryan Holiday

 

Your mind becomes what you think consistently.

Whether you think mostly negative thoughts or positive thoughts will determine your default response to any situation. The more we practice negative thinking, the more likely we are to see the world as negative.

If we choose to practice nothing, then we also get the same outcome of an influx of negative thoughts. The only wise choice then is to practice seeing the good in everything. Start with being grateful

 

You don’t know everything.

This is a thought that many people secretly have when they claim they want to learn something new. The harsh reality is that many of us walk around as though we know everything. We know nothing of the infinite knowledge there is to acquire.

That sort of humbleness is where all the best learning starts from. Thinking less of yourself is the ultimate power: it’s where you can grow from and serve others. It’s this way of thinking that births leaders.

 

Think of your problems in relation to the sky.

Marcus Aurelius says that the stars wash away the dust of earthly life. This Stoic concept is a way for you to clear your mind of all the troubles you encounter day-to-day. In comparison, your problems are so small compared to the immense size of the universe.

Your problems don’t matter in the grand scheme of things so don’t fool yourself into believing they do. Look at the stars once in a while. Remember how lucky we are even to experience this planet we call Earth.

 

Forget stereotypes and labels: concentrate on character.

Stoics believe your character should be your most prominent feature. Outward traits such as skin color and clothing should be insignificant. Your character is defined by the work you do on yourself each day and the person you become.

Your character is what sells you as a person better than any other external force. Your character is your legacy. Your character is what you want to be known for.

 

Don’t sit on the sidelines. Do something inspirational yourself.

You can sit here all day and listen to me inspire you. You can watch all the inspirational videos that Youtube has to offer. What would be far better is to go out there and inspire people yourself rather than being inspired.

Take the inspiration you’ve gathered in your life and do something with it so you can allow others to create their own inspirational journey. Be the example rather than only listening to the example and saying “One day I’ll do that.”

 

There is never an end to the personal development journey.

You never reach mastery. The student never stops being a student. Even the teacher is still a student at heart. Stoicism is something you apply consistently, and it never ends. You apply it until the day you die and that’s how you gain the infinite wisdom it offers.

“You’ll never drink all the water in the ocean, just like you’ll never learn everything there is to know about Stoic philosophy and that’s fine too”

 

Work is good for you.

Ever heard that when people retire, they are statistically more likely to die within a few years of achieving this milestone in their life? That’s because work gives us a sense of purpose. Work gives us a reason to get up in the morning. Making progress through doing meaningful work feels good.

Too much idle time and the delusion that you can get rich and sit on a beach is what can cause you to feel empty inside. This feeling can cause you to have self-destructive thoughts that lead to an immense focus on one’s selfish desires and need for significance. In other words, work is good.

 

Don’t make life harder than it is. It’s your choice.

Choices are what stoics believe are the way to take a shortcut in life. They believe we can choose whatever we want including happiness, freedom, respect and feelings of being wealthy. The reoccurring theme here again is that we are in control of everything that happens and how we feel.

 

How you handle disaster is everything.

The way you deal with problematic situations is a true test of your character. Character in stoicism is not formed when everything is going right; character is formed when everything is going wrong. Don’t let problems spoil your mindset. Let optimism guide you in all situations.

 

Seek out obstacles.

Obstacles are a way for you to take a challenge that you may not like and use it as a lesson that can help you for the rest of your life. You learn from hardships above all else. Lessons from hardships make you smarter, stronger and better prepared for when adversity strikes again.

 

You have one job and only one job.

The Stoics have a core belief that all of us have only one job on Planet Earth: to be a good human being. If you learned nothing else about stoicism from this blog post, then I’ve succeeded.

Practice being a good human being and you’ll have one hell of a life.

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

Why Choosing the Right Romantic Partner Is Crucial to Your Success

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business couple

There are lots of things which can affect your success at work. Your drive and ambition, how well you work with the rest of your team, how you are perceived by your boss, and of course, how good you are at your job. Nevertheless, did you ever think your partner’s personality could be a contributing factor, too?

Most people don’t think about their partner’s personality in terms of affecting their career success, but in fact, here are 5 reasons why your success at work lies in your partner’s personality:

1. You’re Independent – But You’re Not An Island

Some people are naturally resistant to the idea that their partner’s personality has an impact on their career success. It’s understandable. After all, aren’t we all sovereign beings who have sole responsibility for our lives and success?

But, think about it this way – are you more likely to perform well at work if you’re struggling with a lot of drama at home, or if your home life is running smoothly?

Imagine trying to get through an important meeting with your energy and focus intact, after a rough night fighting with your partner. When you think of it that way, it’s clear that your home life can and does impact your work life.

2. It Goes Beyond Whether You Fight Or Not

It’s obvious that having drama at home bleeds over into the workplace and impacts your performance. However, the effect of your partner’s personality on your career success goes beyond whether your relationship is drama-free or not.

Recent research from Washington University in St Louis shows that your partner’s personality has an effect on your working success. The study showed that the impact goes far beyond whether your partner is supportive during the big moments such as going for a promotion or a pay raise. In fact, your partner’s everyday behavior and attitude have a noticeable effect on your work life.

“It’s getting the right person that’s the challenge.” – Bob Schieffer

3. Why A Conscientious Partner Contributes To Work Success

Specifically, the study showed people who have a conscientious partner do better at work. If you have a conscientious partner, you know that you can trust them to do what they say they will do and have a strong sense of responsibility towards household tasks and chores.

People who have a conscientious partner feel more comfortable “outsourcing” to them. That means that if they’re busy at work, or caught up in a big project, they can put more attention and focus on it, because they know things at home will be taken care of in their absence. This increased focus makes it easier for them to succeed at work.

4. What If Your Partner Isn’t Conscientious?

Some of you might be reading this thinking “that’s great, but my partner isn’t that conscientious!” In that case, don’t despair. It’s time for some honest and open communication with your partner.

Sit down with your partner and talk honestly about how much their support means to you. Don’t accuse – that won’t help – but simply be honest about how their support at home contributes to your work life. Take the time to reassure them you want to offer them similar support when they need it.

5. It’s Time To Be Each Other’s Best Teammate

Whether it’s you who’s employed or your partner or the both of you, it’s time for you to be each other’s best teammate. Sit down with your partner and have an honest discussion about division of labor at home. Figure out who is responsible for which chores and household tasks, and talk about what happens when one of you is busy at work.

Being a good team goes beyond collaborating when it comes to housework and childcare, and into recognizing the way you impact each other’s work life and success. After all, success for one of you at work equals success for your household as a whole in terms of better cashflow and more stability.

“When I find the right person, nothing else will matter, but I’m prepared to kiss a lot of frogs.” – Sam Smith

Make time to talk with your partner about what is going on at their workplace, and share what is happening in your own career. Be aware of the times when your partner needs extra support because work is busy, and share honestly with them when you need some extra support.

Your home life has a direct impact on your working success. Stay aware of the effects so you can keep open communication with your partner and work towards greater success for both of you.

What does your partner do that makes you feel like they support you? Let us know by commenting below!

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Life

5 Ways to Kickstart Your Morning and Dominate Your Day

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morning routine

For many years, I dreaded Monday mornings and felt extremely excited for Friday mornings. I lived with this mindset for years until I realized that this was not a way to live a happy life. Why did I let these emotions dictate my days, I thought? Since I had seen this mindset all around me, I eventually thought this mindset was normal.

It wasn’t until I started reading various books on personal development that I finally made this shift. One common theme that I noticed was that regardless of the day, successful people living in a state of joy are this way because of how they start off each and every day. Once I started to implement some new ways to live, my outlook on each day and in life drastically changed.

Here are 5 ways to begin each morning to dominate your day:

1. Wake up with an intention

Many times, when we wake up, we immediately check our emails, Facebook, Instagram, press the snooze button multiple times, and rush off to start the coffee maker before going to work. What about setting an intention to have a positive and productive day? This can be in the form of writing in a daily journal or even visualizing for 5 minutes on having a phenomenal day. When we do this, we immediately shift our minds to a place that makes us happy and excited to experience a great day. This is a quick tool and can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.

2. Prepare your day in advance

When we are able to prepare our days ahead of time, we have a way of having a happy and joyful day. This can include scheduling out our productivity for the following day, doing tedious tasks when needed, and eliminating any procrastination. I have found when we bring over tasks that should have been completed the day before, we are only filling up our schedules with unnecessary things. This can also eliminate any stress that can also be avoided.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell

3. Spend time alone

There is nothing more liberating than being able to spend time alone in the morning before starting your day. Two of my favorite activities include meditation and reading for 30 minutes. These activities also tie into setting an intention for the day. They assist in setting a clear, calm, and amazing tone for the day. Also, when you are able to do things you absolutely love, this happiness stays with you throughout the day and also increases your energy for yourself and those around you.

4. Learn something new that excites you

Have you ever learned a new skill and felt so excited about it that you weren’t able to sleep? If you have, congratulations! This usually signifies that you have found your calling and are closer to fulfilling your purpose on earth. Think of a skill you have been wanting to learn that absolutely excites you. When you do this, you will find yourself waking up with more excitement because of this new skill set has set your soul on fire to learn. Be excited about this and include this new skillset as part of your morning routine.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

5. Each day is a new opportunity

How many times have you heard someone say “I cannot do that, I am not a morning person.” Well, when we tell ourselves this, our subconscious mind takes this as being true and will make you believe this. However, if we change our mindsets and tell ourselves every day is another opportunity to make a difference, add more value to the lives around us, and achieve our dreams and goals, our day will be better off.

This is very exciting to think about. If you are someone who is still looking for exciting days ahead, take some time to reflect on what excites you. Maybe it is a new skill set or just a new routine to start off your days ahead. Every morning sets the tone for the day. Set a tone of joy and bliss and let that carry you out throughout the day!

One of the easiest ways to implement these steps is to pick out a few you feel really good about. These will be the easier ones to work with and then move on to the other steps that may take you out of your comfort zone. It may be difficult at first, but it always becomes easier and even more rewarding. Make each day count. You totally deserve it!

How do you live each day purposefully? Let us know by commenting below!

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8 Simple Methods to Boost Your Willpower and Self Control

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willpower

Surely if you’ve ever tried helping someone quit smoking, odds are that you will hear the word “will” spoken in the first 5 minutes. Aside from the popular procrastinating sentence: “I will quit smoking next year”, you might hear a smoker say: “It takes a lot of willpower to give up on cigarettes”. What do you think is the reason that most people quit smoking? Is it because they don’t have enough willpower?

At the beginning of every year, you will hear a lot of discussion about New Year’s resolutions. These tend to be high hopes for the year lying ahead in the form of a list of objectives. Let’s face it, most of us feel the need to start fresh, with a new chapter in the book of our life in which we’ve learned from our past mistakes and feel ready to move on.

These thoughts can take the form of: “I’m going to stop eating fast-food” or “Next year I promise I’ll hit the gym every other day” or “By the end of next year, I’ll have learnt a new language”. The list can go on and on because, after all, setting objectives is the easiest step. However, abandoning them is also easy. So, does willpower have anything to do with it?

First, let’s examine the relationship between willpower and self-control. Roy Baumeister conducted a study in which he wanted to test the effects of forced actions (or doing something that one doesn’t enjoy) on self-control. People have a limited amount of energy dedicated to self-control. The more one consumes that energy, the harder it becomes to maintain self-control and be productive.

Baumeister pinned the term “ego-depletion” to describe the loss of self-control due to mental effort.

Willpower is the fuel that drives self-control and both could be looked at as a muscle that loses tone if you don’t exercise.

Below, are 8 things you can practice to boost your will-power and self-control:

1. Control the context in which you live

For example: You decide to quit smoking but you continue meeting your smoker friends in places where people generally smoke. With the help of your own willpower, you manage to refrain from smoking for a while. Unfortunately, refraining from smoking drains you.

You then give in to your impulses, light up a cigarette and think to yourself: “Gosh, it’s so difficult to quit smoking. I might do it someday, though.” In this scenario, if you know yourself and you’re determined to quit smoking, it’s OK to admit that you aren’t capable (yet) to meet up with people in places that you know that your willpower will be drained.

2. Build good habits

Most of the things that we do every day are done on auto-pilot, according to our habits. It may not be obvious, but if you look back, you’ll notice the things you do now are more or less the same things you did yesterday, a month or a year before.

The good news is once a habit has been formed, the new actions you take will begin forming a better more productive habit. The bad news is that when you’re stressed or run out of willpower, you turn to bad habits or actions that bring you instant gratification such as drinking alcohol or playing computer games.

3. Sleep well

Going to the gym isn’t all about exercise. You need enough sleep and nutrients to see the best results. The same goes with your willpower-muscle: if you don’t get enough sleep, your brain won’t function at optimum levels and you will find it more difficult to do what needs to be done.

4. Start early on the most difficult tasks

Willpower is a limited resource and is consumed over the course of a day. Mornings are the best part of the day to get the really boring or difficult tasks done because your energy and willpower levels are at the top.

“The early morning has gold in its mouth.” – Benjamin Franklin

5. Keep your glucose levels under control

Another experiment conducted by Dr. Baumeister identified the fact that each act of self-control causes glucose levels to drop. You can counteract loss of self-control and willpower by making sure that your blood glucose levels are optimum.

6. Take breaks often

The best way to refresh your self-control is to split your workload into small tasks. A famous method called the Pomodoro technique works wonders for a lot of people. You work for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break to recharge and repeat the process. That way, you’ll stay focused, knowing you have a limited amount of time to complete tasks you won’t be in danger of information overload.

7. Exercise

It’s no mystery that so many successful people mention exercise as one of their top daily priorities. Any type of physical activity that requires self-control and discipline is beneficial for your mental and physical health. It will also make it easier for you to be disciplined in other areas of your life.

8. Prioritize and minimize

The fewer decisions you need to make, the more willpower you will have in your “reservoir” for the activities that are truly important to you. Steve Jobs, for example, was renowned for always wearing the same clothes. When asked why he did this, he simply replied that it’s one less decision to make every day.

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” – Keri Russell

Habits take time, effort and discipline to form. One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to change their habits is to be overly proud of the “battles” they’ve won against their will and comfort. It’s important to know that if you want to be a winner in the game of life, you have to maintain balance, so you will be as ready as you can for all of life’s challenges.  

What tips do you have for managing your self-control? Let us know by commenting below!

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How to Build an Unstoppable Mindset According to These 5 Popular Entrepreneurs

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mental toughness

If you ask any of the top entrepreneurs, or any entrepreneur for that matter, they’ll tell you that the one quality you need to become successful is mental toughness. Becoming mentally tough is probably something you’ve already heard about before in your life. It’s something that seems easy, yet most people take it granted. They’d rather think about it than become it. (more…)

Trevor Oldham is a 19-year-old entrepreneur who’s had eleutheromania ever since he can remember. When he’s not working or studying, you can catch him by the ocean taking photos of the world in which surrounds us. Trevor is the co-founder of Become The Lion and founder of Trevor James Products.

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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

My Incredibly Simple Guide To Stoicism – Learn Practical Wisdom You Can Use

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I’ve been inspired to learn about Stoicism for a while.

The problem I’ve had is that it’s one of those topics that people love to complicate. The reason for the complication is that many of the teachings that come from Stoicism are spoken in English from a long time ago. I personally don’t have the patience to read this type of writing for long periods.

That’s why I’m going to debunk Stoicism for you in stupidly simple terms. The wisdom you get will transform you. You’ll gain a different perspective that will help you in all aspects of life.

“Everyone is preaching advice, but no one is sharing wisdom – that’s what Stoicism is”

 

What is Stoicism?

It’s an ancient form of philosophy. It was made famous in recent years again by Tim Ferriss and Ryan Holiday from the USA. These two gentleman credit a lot of their success to the wisdom that Stoicism taught them.

Stoicism began on a stoa which means porch to you and I. A stoa is where the early teachings of Stoicism started.

Here is Stoicism broken down into insanely simple dot points:

– Stoicism is focused on uncomplicated theories of life
– Stoicism is so clear that you can take action from the advice immediately
– Study is not required to understand Stoicism
– The most read Stoic is Lucius Seneca. Marcus Aurelius is also very popular

Stoicism doesn’t focus on the negative like modern-day self-help advice does. Stoicism is more a meditative practice that allows us to take the negative feelings we experience, and turn them into thoughts that give us peacefulness and perspective on life.

The most important part of learning Stoicism is having the right state of mind. Just like in life, the right state of mind can help us look at challenges in the best possible way.

At the crux of Stoicism is a list of reminders and words of wisdom that show how to live a good life. It’s not an argument about what is right and what is wrong. The Stoics had no time for this way of thinking.

Okay so now let’s skip ahead to the best lessons you can learn from Stoicism:

 

We don’t control events, but we do control what they mean.

This is a famous teaching from a lot of Tony Robbins work too. Everything that happens in your life can be controlled by your own mind to be good or bad. Once you understand this teaching, you can take back the power. You become less reactive and a lot calmer. You have the upper hand.

 

Disruptions to serenity cannot be avoided.

Tranquillity can never be reached by avoiding or blocking out distractions or horrible events. The way to get to that tranquil place is through your choices and judgment about those events and situations.

 

You must disrupt yourself.

Doing things the way they’ve always been done will lead you to be disrupted by someone or something who changes with the environment. Operating out of habit means you’ve stopped thinking and are mindlessly drifting through life. This means you’re not in control.

“When you lose control, your environment determines your results”

There’s a good chance that you’re going to think these results suck. The lesson here is break your habits, get out of your comfort zone and disrupt yourself like a cool, hip startup from Silicon Valley.

 

In good and bad times we have a choice.

Whether you’re in jail or an entrepreneur running the most successful startup on the planet, you have a choice. We all come from different backgrounds and we’ll all go through major highs, and painstaking lows. Through all of these different circumstances, we have a choice.

It’s having the freedom of choice that will set us free in the long run. It’s that freedom of choice that will ensure you don’t waste your life away thinking about stuff you can’t control. You’ll always feel the power of freedom when you control your choices, no matter what life throws at you.

 

Make it a habit of looking inward.

Stoics are obsessed with taking time to look inward. It’s something they advocate above all of their other teachings. They suggest spending time in the morning to ask yourself questions about your life. As you do this, you’ll find the answers to life’s biggest questions become clearer in the context of your own life.

Looking inward helps you find the answers that you knew all along and thought were hidden inside of someone else, or something else. This practice will only work if you’re honest with yourself. Don’t be too brutal on yourself either. Realize that we all start somewhere and it’s where we can go that is the greatest gift we can enjoy.

 

Being paranoid and fearful will destroy you.

The antidote to fear and paranoia is self-control. Learn to control your impulses. If you become fearful that others will sabotage your success and you don’t remain in control over these fearful thoughts, you’ll lose sight of reality. These fearful thoughts will cause you to project your fears onto other people and they’ll give you exactly what you fear.

In simple terms, fear is a self-fulfilling prophecy. What you put out comes right back at you.

 

Anger will not help you.

The Stoics believe that getting angry never gives you anything in return. Anger wastes your precious energy and resources, and provides no tangible benefit. This is why it’s better to practice non-reactivity rather than being pissed off at something you can’t control anyway.

Anger is like a contagious virus that spreads if you let it. Don’t let anger control you. Projecting anger on people can only result in you projecting anger on yourself. That’s why anger is also another self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

Everything takes up space.

Seneca wrote many times that even things you get for free have a cost. That cost is space – space in your garage or even space in your mind.

“Learning to live with less will create space in your life for the things that truly matter to you”

The aim of the game is to look at your material possession and be honest with yourself: do you really need that object? If the answer is no, free some space up in your life. What Seneca says here is the reason I have personally given away and sold most of my possessions. I’ve never been happier.

 

Practice poverty.

Especially during prosperous times in your life, the Stoics believe you should practice poverty. This is how you prepare for hardship and become an expert in dealing with the ups and downs of life. Comfort can become a form of slavery because you consistently start to think that someone could take away what you have.

When you’re familiar with what you fear, it no longer controls you. The worst can happen and you go through it with a sense of calmness and ease. People think you’re resilient but actually, you’ve just practiced the hard times as preparation.

Quick tip: try eating a really cheap meal for a whole week every two months. Eat like you have almost no money. This will teach you to not only appreciate the nice meals but to be okay if you ever face poverty and have to live on very little money for a while. I know a few people that do a beans and rice meal for this week of living it rough. Try it!

 

You protect everything you have, why not your mind?

You don’t give away your wallet to a stranger on the street. You don’t hand the keys to your car over to a budding thief. You wouldn’t let your house be demolished by the council without a fight. So why would you hand over the keys to your mind so easily to any stranger who wants them?

You have to become aware of who you are unconsciously giving your mind over to. You need to realize who is influencing you in a negative way without knowing it.

“Your mind can create all the abundance you could ever imagine, so you need to protect it like it’s the only possession you have”

 

Don’t wreck the purpose of your life by trying to impress others.

The Stoics teach that the opinions of people you seek our to impress are not that great themselves. These people you seek to impress have addictions, their own problems, and are no wiser than the next person. The purpose of your life is not to impress people and doing so will have the opposite effect.

Focus on impressing yourself through personal growth and wisdom from people who serve the greater good. Go beyond yourself and avoid the need to seek approval. Take action and seek forgiveness later if you must.

 

Without proper training, you’re a fool.

If you seek to master a skill, then without proper training you will (by default) rely on ignorance, and you’ll act in a way that lacks discipline and requires chance.

“An investor without discipline is not an investor – he’s a gambler” – Ryan Holiday

 

Your mind becomes what you think consistently.

Whether you think mostly negative thoughts or positive thoughts will determine your default response to any situation. The more we practice negative thinking, the more likely we are to see the world as negative.

If we choose to practice nothing, then we also get the same outcome of an influx of negative thoughts. The only wise choice then is to practice seeing the good in everything. Start with being grateful

 

You don’t know everything.

This is a thought that many people secretly have when they claim they want to learn something new. The harsh reality is that many of us walk around as though we know everything. We know nothing of the infinite knowledge there is to acquire.

That sort of humbleness is where all the best learning starts from. Thinking less of yourself is the ultimate power: it’s where you can grow from and serve others. It’s this way of thinking that births leaders.

 

Think of your problems in relation to the sky.

Marcus Aurelius says that the stars wash away the dust of earthly life. This Stoic concept is a way for you to clear your mind of all the troubles you encounter day-to-day. In comparison, your problems are so small compared to the immense size of the universe.

Your problems don’t matter in the grand scheme of things so don’t fool yourself into believing they do. Look at the stars once in a while. Remember how lucky we are even to experience this planet we call Earth.

 

Forget stereotypes and labels: concentrate on character.

Stoics believe your character should be your most prominent feature. Outward traits such as skin color and clothing should be insignificant. Your character is defined by the work you do on yourself each day and the person you become.

Your character is what sells you as a person better than any other external force. Your character is your legacy. Your character is what you want to be known for.

 

Don’t sit on the sidelines. Do something inspirational yourself.

You can sit here all day and listen to me inspire you. You can watch all the inspirational videos that Youtube has to offer. What would be far better is to go out there and inspire people yourself rather than being inspired.

Take the inspiration you’ve gathered in your life and do something with it so you can allow others to create their own inspirational journey. Be the example rather than only listening to the example and saying “One day I’ll do that.”

 

There is never an end to the personal development journey.

You never reach mastery. The student never stops being a student. Even the teacher is still a student at heart. Stoicism is something you apply consistently, and it never ends. You apply it until the day you die and that’s how you gain the infinite wisdom it offers.

“You’ll never drink all the water in the ocean, just like you’ll never learn everything there is to know about Stoic philosophy and that’s fine too”

 

Work is good for you.

Ever heard that when people retire, they are statistically more likely to die within a few years of achieving this milestone in their life? That’s because work gives us a sense of purpose. Work gives us a reason to get up in the morning. Making progress through doing meaningful work feels good.

Too much idle time and the delusion that you can get rich and sit on a beach is what can cause you to feel empty inside. This feeling can cause you to have self-destructive thoughts that lead to an immense focus on one’s selfish desires and need for significance. In other words, work is good.

 

Don’t make life harder than it is. It’s your choice.

Choices are what stoics believe are the way to take a shortcut in life. They believe we can choose whatever we want including happiness, freedom, respect and feelings of being wealthy. The reoccurring theme here again is that we are in control of everything that happens and how we feel.

 

How you handle disaster is everything.

The way you deal with problematic situations is a true test of your character. Character in stoicism is not formed when everything is going right; character is formed when everything is going wrong. Don’t let problems spoil your mindset. Let optimism guide you in all situations.

 

Seek out obstacles.

Obstacles are a way for you to take a challenge that you may not like and use it as a lesson that can help you for the rest of your life. You learn from hardships above all else. Lessons from hardships make you smarter, stronger and better prepared for when adversity strikes again.

 

You have one job and only one job.

The Stoics have a core belief that all of us have only one job on Planet Earth: to be a good human being. If you learned nothing else about stoicism from this blog post, then I’ve succeeded.

Practice being a good human being and you’ll have one hell of a life.

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

Why Choosing the Right Romantic Partner Is Crucial to Your Success

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business couple

There are lots of things which can affect your success at work. Your drive and ambition, how well you work with the rest of your team, how you are perceived by your boss, and of course, how good you are at your job. Nevertheless, did you ever think your partner’s personality could be a contributing factor, too?

Most people don’t think about their partner’s personality in terms of affecting their career success, but in fact, here are 5 reasons why your success at work lies in your partner’s personality:

1. You’re Independent – But You’re Not An Island

Some people are naturally resistant to the idea that their partner’s personality has an impact on their career success. It’s understandable. After all, aren’t we all sovereign beings who have sole responsibility for our lives and success?

But, think about it this way – are you more likely to perform well at work if you’re struggling with a lot of drama at home, or if your home life is running smoothly?

Imagine trying to get through an important meeting with your energy and focus intact, after a rough night fighting with your partner. When you think of it that way, it’s clear that your home life can and does impact your work life.

2. It Goes Beyond Whether You Fight Or Not

It’s obvious that having drama at home bleeds over into the workplace and impacts your performance. However, the effect of your partner’s personality on your career success goes beyond whether your relationship is drama-free or not.

Recent research from Washington University in St Louis shows that your partner’s personality has an effect on your working success. The study showed that the impact goes far beyond whether your partner is supportive during the big moments such as going for a promotion or a pay raise. In fact, your partner’s everyday behavior and attitude have a noticeable effect on your work life.

“It’s getting the right person that’s the challenge.” – Bob Schieffer

3. Why A Conscientious Partner Contributes To Work Success

Specifically, the study showed people who have a conscientious partner do better at work. If you have a conscientious partner, you know that you can trust them to do what they say they will do and have a strong sense of responsibility towards household tasks and chores.

People who have a conscientious partner feel more comfortable “outsourcing” to them. That means that if they’re busy at work, or caught up in a big project, they can put more attention and focus on it, because they know things at home will be taken care of in their absence. This increased focus makes it easier for them to succeed at work.

4. What If Your Partner Isn’t Conscientious?

Some of you might be reading this thinking “that’s great, but my partner isn’t that conscientious!” In that case, don’t despair. It’s time for some honest and open communication with your partner.

Sit down with your partner and talk honestly about how much their support means to you. Don’t accuse – that won’t help – but simply be honest about how their support at home contributes to your work life. Take the time to reassure them you want to offer them similar support when they need it.

5. It’s Time To Be Each Other’s Best Teammate

Whether it’s you who’s employed or your partner or the both of you, it’s time for you to be each other’s best teammate. Sit down with your partner and have an honest discussion about division of labor at home. Figure out who is responsible for which chores and household tasks, and talk about what happens when one of you is busy at work.

Being a good team goes beyond collaborating when it comes to housework and childcare, and into recognizing the way you impact each other’s work life and success. After all, success for one of you at work equals success for your household as a whole in terms of better cashflow and more stability.

“When I find the right person, nothing else will matter, but I’m prepared to kiss a lot of frogs.” – Sam Smith

Make time to talk with your partner about what is going on at their workplace, and share what is happening in your own career. Be aware of the times when your partner needs extra support because work is busy, and share honestly with them when you need some extra support.

Your home life has a direct impact on your working success. Stay aware of the effects so you can keep open communication with your partner and work towards greater success for both of you.

What does your partner do that makes you feel like they support you? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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5 Ways to Kickstart Your Morning and Dominate Your Day

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For many years, I dreaded Monday mornings and felt extremely excited for Friday mornings. I lived with this mindset for years until I realized that this was not a way to live a happy life. Why did I let these emotions dictate my days, I thought? Since I had seen this mindset all around me, I eventually thought this mindset was normal.

It wasn’t until I started reading various books on personal development that I finally made this shift. One common theme that I noticed was that regardless of the day, successful people living in a state of joy are this way because of how they start off each and every day. Once I started to implement some new ways to live, my outlook on each day and in life drastically changed.

Here are 5 ways to begin each morning to dominate your day:

1. Wake up with an intention

Many times, when we wake up, we immediately check our emails, Facebook, Instagram, press the snooze button multiple times, and rush off to start the coffee maker before going to work. What about setting an intention to have a positive and productive day? This can be in the form of writing in a daily journal or even visualizing for 5 minutes on having a phenomenal day. When we do this, we immediately shift our minds to a place that makes us happy and excited to experience a great day. This is a quick tool and can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.

2. Prepare your day in advance

When we are able to prepare our days ahead of time, we have a way of having a happy and joyful day. This can include scheduling out our productivity for the following day, doing tedious tasks when needed, and eliminating any procrastination. I have found when we bring over tasks that should have been completed the day before, we are only filling up our schedules with unnecessary things. This can also eliminate any stress that can also be avoided.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell

3. Spend time alone

There is nothing more liberating than being able to spend time alone in the morning before starting your day. Two of my favorite activities include meditation and reading for 30 minutes. These activities also tie into setting an intention for the day. They assist in setting a clear, calm, and amazing tone for the day. Also, when you are able to do things you absolutely love, this happiness stays with you throughout the day and also increases your energy for yourself and those around you.

4. Learn something new that excites you

Have you ever learned a new skill and felt so excited about it that you weren’t able to sleep? If you have, congratulations! This usually signifies that you have found your calling and are closer to fulfilling your purpose on earth. Think of a skill you have been wanting to learn that absolutely excites you. When you do this, you will find yourself waking up with more excitement because of this new skill set has set your soul on fire to learn. Be excited about this and include this new skillset as part of your morning routine.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

5. Each day is a new opportunity

How many times have you heard someone say “I cannot do that, I am not a morning person.” Well, when we tell ourselves this, our subconscious mind takes this as being true and will make you believe this. However, if we change our mindsets and tell ourselves every day is another opportunity to make a difference, add more value to the lives around us, and achieve our dreams and goals, our day will be better off.

This is very exciting to think about. If you are someone who is still looking for exciting days ahead, take some time to reflect on what excites you. Maybe it is a new skill set or just a new routine to start off your days ahead. Every morning sets the tone for the day. Set a tone of joy and bliss and let that carry you out throughout the day!

One of the easiest ways to implement these steps is to pick out a few you feel really good about. These will be the easier ones to work with and then move on to the other steps that may take you out of your comfort zone. It may be difficult at first, but it always becomes easier and even more rewarding. Make each day count. You totally deserve it!

How do you live each day purposefully? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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8 Simple Methods to Boost Your Willpower and Self Control

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Surely if you’ve ever tried helping someone quit smoking, odds are that you will hear the word “will” spoken in the first 5 minutes. Aside from the popular procrastinating sentence: “I will quit smoking next year”, you might hear a smoker say: “It takes a lot of willpower to give up on cigarettes”. What do you think is the reason that most people quit smoking? Is it because they don’t have enough willpower?

At the beginning of every year, you will hear a lot of discussion about New Year’s resolutions. These tend to be high hopes for the year lying ahead in the form of a list of objectives. Let’s face it, most of us feel the need to start fresh, with a new chapter in the book of our life in which we’ve learned from our past mistakes and feel ready to move on.

These thoughts can take the form of: “I’m going to stop eating fast-food” or “Next year I promise I’ll hit the gym every other day” or “By the end of next year, I’ll have learnt a new language”. The list can go on and on because, after all, setting objectives is the easiest step. However, abandoning them is also easy. So, does willpower have anything to do with it?

First, let’s examine the relationship between willpower and self-control. Roy Baumeister conducted a study in which he wanted to test the effects of forced actions (or doing something that one doesn’t enjoy) on self-control. People have a limited amount of energy dedicated to self-control. The more one consumes that energy, the harder it becomes to maintain self-control and be productive.

Baumeister pinned the term “ego-depletion” to describe the loss of self-control due to mental effort.

Willpower is the fuel that drives self-control and both could be looked at as a muscle that loses tone if you don’t exercise.

Below, are 8 things you can practice to boost your will-power and self-control:

1. Control the context in which you live

For example: You decide to quit smoking but you continue meeting your smoker friends in places where people generally smoke. With the help of your own willpower, you manage to refrain from smoking for a while. Unfortunately, refraining from smoking drains you.

You then give in to your impulses, light up a cigarette and think to yourself: “Gosh, it’s so difficult to quit smoking. I might do it someday, though.” In this scenario, if you know yourself and you’re determined to quit smoking, it’s OK to admit that you aren’t capable (yet) to meet up with people in places that you know that your willpower will be drained.

2. Build good habits

Most of the things that we do every day are done on auto-pilot, according to our habits. It may not be obvious, but if you look back, you’ll notice the things you do now are more or less the same things you did yesterday, a month or a year before.

The good news is once a habit has been formed, the new actions you take will begin forming a better more productive habit. The bad news is that when you’re stressed or run out of willpower, you turn to bad habits or actions that bring you instant gratification such as drinking alcohol or playing computer games.

3. Sleep well

Going to the gym isn’t all about exercise. You need enough sleep and nutrients to see the best results. The same goes with your willpower-muscle: if you don’t get enough sleep, your brain won’t function at optimum levels and you will find it more difficult to do what needs to be done.

4. Start early on the most difficult tasks

Willpower is a limited resource and is consumed over the course of a day. Mornings are the best part of the day to get the really boring or difficult tasks done because your energy and willpower levels are at the top.

“The early morning has gold in its mouth.” – Benjamin Franklin

5. Keep your glucose levels under control

Another experiment conducted by Dr. Baumeister identified the fact that each act of self-control causes glucose levels to drop. You can counteract loss of self-control and willpower by making sure that your blood glucose levels are optimum.

6. Take breaks often

The best way to refresh your self-control is to split your workload into small tasks. A famous method called the Pomodoro technique works wonders for a lot of people. You work for 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break to recharge and repeat the process. That way, you’ll stay focused, knowing you have a limited amount of time to complete tasks you won’t be in danger of information overload.

7. Exercise

It’s no mystery that so many successful people mention exercise as one of their top daily priorities. Any type of physical activity that requires self-control and discipline is beneficial for your mental and physical health. It will also make it easier for you to be disciplined in other areas of your life.

8. Prioritize and minimize

The fewer decisions you need to make, the more willpower you will have in your “reservoir” for the activities that are truly important to you. Steve Jobs, for example, was renowned for always wearing the same clothes. When asked why he did this, he simply replied that it’s one less decision to make every day.

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” – Keri Russell

Habits take time, effort and discipline to form. One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to change their habits is to be overly proud of the “battles” they’ve won against their will and comfort. It’s important to know that if you want to be a winner in the game of life, you have to maintain balance, so you will be as ready as you can for all of life’s challenges.  

What tips do you have for managing your self-control? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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