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How To Be Happier And More Focused Using The Art Of Tidying Up: 34 Lessons From My Huge Tidy Up.

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Last week I spent two days throwing out more than 50% of my personal belongings.

What started this tidying up frenzy that caused me to throw out so much of my life’s possessions? It was a book that I read. In fact, I’ve read several books recently about why we should clean up our material possessions.

The results I experienced were phenomenal. By the end of this blog post, you’ll definitely want to do the same to replicate the results I got from this simple process.

Here are the 34 lessons from my huge tidy up which will inspire you to do the same:

 

1. Your mindset changes when you tidy up in one shot rather than bit by bit.

I’ve tried to tidy up for the last five years. It never fully happened. The reason was that I attempted to do this mammoth task in small chunks. As I tidied up one space or one category of belongings, I’d end up collecting more junk in the meantime.

“Seeing your home and workspace completely junk-free changes your mindset permanently”

I never want to go back to the old me because the tidy person I’ve now become is so much more organized, calm and in control. I now know what I value and what I don’t.

Once you’ve experienced this feeling, you’ll never go back. It’s only possible to get this feeling though by doing your big clean up in one shot without stopping.

Tidying up has changed my life and it can dramatically change yours too.

 

2. Discard first and organize second.

My huge tidy up followed the KonMari method. Basically, all you do is concentrate on discarding items that don’t bring you joy first and then the possessions you have left then need to be sorted. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Every other tidying up method I’ve tried previously has resulted in one big chaotic event that I never fully completed. Try this method and I promise you it will work.

 

3. Tidying up sentimental items forces you to let go of the past.

The first part of my clean-up was discarding clothing. Once I got to the sentimental items – these items are best to do last because they’re the hardest – I found that discarding sentimental items helped me to deal with elements of my past which I’d previously ignored.

I had old business cards from failed businesses that still haunted me, cards from ex-girlfriends, sad possessions that belonged to dead relatives, belongings that were part of my old passions like Djing and Playing the drums, and even items that I’d held onto from past careers.

As I discarded with these items, I finalized past chapters of my life that weren’t fully closed. This made me feel completely free and it’s created space for the future.

“We all suffer from the past and having a big tidy up is a great way to deal with it and bring a newfound joy to your life”

 

4. The stuff you throw away has already fulfilled its purpose.

The items you throw away have taught you what you don’t love and the things you want to spend less time with. The items you throw away teach you what no longer inspires you and the hobbies you no longer want to engage with.

Every item you throw away has taught you something. Some possessions have already given you all the joy they have to give you and so their time in your life has passed. Other possessions have taught you a lesson and so now they can move on to somebody else’s life too.

Going through my possessions taught me how so many of the things I had held onto had already fulfilled their purpose. It’s like I was expecting these throwaway items to give me multiple miracle gifts rather than be happy and grateful for the ones they’d already given me.

“I learned that the possessions I cherished were invisible because of all the things I held onto which didn’t serve me”

Everything has an expiry date including you. Don’t hold onto stuff forever. Set yourself free.

 

5. Tidying requires two decisions.

Whether or not to dispose of something and where to put the things you keep. It’s really that simple. Don’t overcomplicate it any more than that.

 

6. Being perfectly tidy once is enough to create sustained momentum.

You’ll never go back to your old untidy ways once you’ve lived in a perfectly clean and clutter-free space. It’s addictive and I want all of you to witness this for yourselves.

 

7. Better storage is not the answer.

Just because something has been put away, it does not mean that the clutter has been removed. Buying convenient storage solutions makes you think your clutter has gone. It hasn’t. Tidying up allows you to see everything you own and that in itself is very valuable.

Hiding objects in magic lock away storage solutions results in you probably never actually using that item. I had lots of possessions stored in boxes and the reality is that I’ve never opened those boxes in the last ten years. Possessions that bring you joy should be easy to access so you can reap the benefits.

Possessions that no longer bring you joy should be discarded so that maybe someone else can get some use out of what you discard. Unfortunately, you can’t take your material possessions to the grave with you, so you need to learn to let go, and tidy up!

 

8. Tidying by location doesn’t work. Tidying by category does.

You need to be able to see everything you have of a particular item like clothes.

When I went through this process I realized I had batteries stored in every room, I had three torches, loose change everywhere and a mountain of computer cables that I was never going to use – and that looked very untidy.

Once you can do a proper stocktake of what you have, you’ll find the process of discarding much easier. This step is fundamental to the tidying up process being effective.

 

9. All tidying begins with this question.

Does this item bring me joy? It’s the only question you need to ask. If you keep what brings you joy, you’ll experience more joy in your life which is the ultimate goal I want all of you to achieve. Keeping only what sparks joy will help you to reset your life and begin a lifestyle that is phenomenal!

 

10. The second question is this: When did I last use this item?

The answer to this question when I did my big tidy up was typically more than five years ago. If you haven’t used something for the last twelve months, then there’s a very strong chance you never will. It’s time to make a decision and discard items in this category.

 

11. It’s not about getting rid of stuff; it’s about cherishing what you have.

The sense of gratitude I got from my doing this tidy up made me love the items I held onto even more. Tidying up allows us to see just how lucky we are and it reminds us that it’s not about the possessions we have so much, but the feeling we get from them and the memories our stuff gives us.

We all need more gratitude. Tidying up is a fantastic way to be more grateful.

 

12. Calculating the amount of a category to hold onto.

In the category of clothes as an example, you might be wondering how you know when you have enough clothes. The lesson here is to hold onto the clothes that you enjoy and discard everything else. The clothes that bring you joy will equal the right amount in the end.

I know that doesn’t sound tangible but it really works. Trust me on this.

 

13. Your possessions affect your self-image.

If you’re holding onto old t-shirts with holes in them so you can wear them to bed, you’ll make yourself feel unattractive when you go to sleep at night. I found during my clean up that I was holding onto clothes that no longer fitted or reminded me of the person I used to be, and using these clothes as pyjamas I could wear to bed.

I found I was going to bed with a poor self-image that reminded me of who I used to be. Even the clothes you wear affect how you feel and your confidence. Bottom-line is to ditch possessions that don’t bring you joy.

 

14. Touch items before you throw them away.

Interacting with your possessions before you decide how they make you feel helps make the decision for you. I found that by touching shirts in my wardrobe, the feeling of the material and how they looked up close made my decision-making process easier.

 

15. Ask yourself “What purpose does this item serve?

I held onto many miscellaneous items that I found were useless when I asked myself this question. Having a bag full of safety pins is great but if I haven’t used one for more than ten years, then there’s a good chance I never will.

I held onto boxes of batteries too yet I don’t own any devices that require replaceable batteries anymore. The purpose of what you have is important to consider. Don’t overthink it though. You’ll know pretty quickly if an item has a purpose in your life.

If there’s any doubt, get rid of the item.

 

16. Charitable throwing away is key to letting go.

Throwing things away feels really horrible if you know that an item won’t get further use. That’s why, where possible, I gave my possessions away to charity. You win and people that have nothing win as well. Charitable throwing away is reinforcing the gift of giving and helping you to declutter as well.

 

17. eBay and giving to friends doesn’t work.

Why? Because it takes time and gives you an excuse to hold onto things. The best thing you can do sometimes is take things to the recycling center because if you don’t, you’ll never get rid of them. It will always be this conversation in your head: “Someday, I’ll sell it on eBay.”

You have better things to do with your time than listing every unwanted item you have online or trying to give things to friends.

“Once you’ve gone through the art of tidying up and refocused your life, you’ll have so many possessions to get rid of that listing your items for sale online will simply take up too much time that could be spent on income producing activities that outweigh the pocket change you’ll get for your unwanted items”

Think of it this way: the things you are getting rid of have already given you your monies worth. This simple reframe in your mind will allow you to let go. It will allow you to forgive yourself for buying useless stuff that you no longer use.

The other thing I found is that it’s surprisingly hard to give things away to your friends and you begin to feel bad because you end up cluttering up their homes.

 

18. Unused possessions teach you that you didn’t need them after all.

Again, these possessions have fulfilled their purpose so you can now let them go.

 

19. Discarding teaches you your true passions.

If you throw something away and deeply regret it, then you learn what you’re truly passionate away. Even if you buy the same item again, you’ve learned an important lesson which is worth the cost of throwing away the original item.

 

20. Your decision-making skills get better.

You end up being able to make decisions better when you learn to let go of your unwanted possessions. Your possessions are a reflection of your life and where you’ve been. Tidying up helps you to be satisfied with where you’ve come from and who’ve you’ve become.

Being forced to make a decision that is final and that you can’t come back from, is strangely satisfying and it will show up in other areas of your life down the track.

 

21. The moment you first encounter a book is the right time to read it.

If you didn’t read it when you bought it, you probably never will. This means the lessons the book could have taught you were not meant for you. Books are one of the biggest uses of space and many need to be thrown away so that you can be left with the books you’ll actually get value from.

There’s no better feeling than being surrounded by only books that you love and make you smile.

 

22. The best way to deal with loose paper.

Throw them all away because you’ll probably never read them. If you really think you need a bit of paper, take a photo of it with your phone and then throw it away. Loose paper looks really messy and makes you feel disorganized.

 

23. All empty boxes must go!

I am the biggest offender when it comes to keeping empty boxes. I kept every empty box, from every purchase I made in the last five years. The result is a home full of empty boxes. The space these boxes take up could be used for other things like renting out your spare room on Airbnb or having a quiet room to study in.

The reason I held onto empty boxes was that I thought when I eventually sold some items, they’d be worth more with their original box. In most cases, no one pays more for an item because it comes with the original box worth $1.

It’s perfectly fine to sell an item without a box. Create space by throwing away boxes.

 

24. And now onto those spare buttons you store.

I had a whole box of spare buttons from clothing I purchased. Guess what? I can’t sew and never hold onto a piece of clothing once the button falls off. Clothes that have buttons fall off are generally passed their expiry date. Chuck them out and don’t look back.

You’ll never match the correct button to the right piece of clothing 90% of the time anyway.

 

25. Tidying up can cause sickness. It’s part of the process.

After all of my tidying up, I became very ill. Part of the reason was because of all the dust my old, unused items spread in my living spaces from lack of use, and being disturbed from their existing storage locations.

As well as that, the process of letting go of most of your possessions is exhausting and it’s hard work on the body. Tidying up is like one big storm which is followed by carnage (sickness) and then calm at the end once you know you’re organized for life.

 

26. Storage solutions hide items you dislike from sight. Avoid them, they’re the enemy.

You can walk into a shopping mall and find lots of storage solutions to help you supposedly be tidier. Storage solutions are a trap. Storage solutions hide your possessions in complex places that make it even harder to know what you actually own, therefore increasing the chance that you have multiple items that serve the same purpose.

 

27. Round objects take up more room.

If there’s a square or rectangle option for things like furniture and laundry baskets, go for that. Round objects take up more space. Period.

 

28. Buying in bulk costs more.

Retailers promote the benefits of buying in bulk. I disagree. Buying in bulk forces you to do the following:

– Buy more than you need
– It doesn’t account for your tastes changing over time which leaves you with leftovers
– Waste your precious mental space because of the excess clutter that occupies your brain
– Forget the cost of storage which is more than the discount of buying in bulk
– Distract you from your true creativity which is enhanced through empty space

“Our homes are not commercial warehouses that are to be used for storage of widgets”

This whole concept forces us to behave like factory workers. Our homes are to be lived in and are supposed to spark joy and help us to relax after a long day.

 

29. Tidying up shows us what we love.

After a massive clean-up, you’ll learn more about yourself and the things you value. During my clean-up, I learned that I love the simplicity of certain items. I learned that I also love the color of an item and that affects whether I’ll retain it for the long-term. Having learned this about myself, I’ll now be much more careful about the colors of objects I buy in the future.

 

30. You’ll learn about your weaknesses.

I learned that I have trouble letting go of the past and now I can work on this weakness going forward. Up until my big tidy up, I would never have believed this fact to be true.

 

31. Letting go is how you add new things into your life.

By cleaning out the junk that was occupying space in my life, I’ve now made room for new things. Maybe I’ll take up a new hobby or surround myself with new people. At least I have space now to do so and I’d love you to experience this feeling of freedom for yourself.

 

32. You’ll learn why you can’t throw something away.

It’s because of two reasons according to the book I read: an attachment to the past or a fear of the future. I held onto old gym diaries out of a fear that one day in the future I would need to look at them again if I decided to start the gym once more.

I also held onto cards from ex-girlfriends because I was nostalgic and didn’t want to let go of these old memories which deep down I had no desire to indulge in any longer.

 

33. Putting your home in order puts your mind in order.

Your mind is partly a reflection of the physical world. A messy home results in a messy mind that can’t think straight, make decisions or allow space for new ideas. Your possessions say so much about you and are a hidden contributor to your overall success in life.

It’s time to clean your house and remove some possessions.

 

34. The result is being surrounded by things that make you happy.

Now that I have gone through this mammoth task of tidying up everything I own and decluttering, I’m now left sitting here and evaluating the whole process. The result has been quite surprising. I find myself sitting here and looking around at only things that make me happy.

Everything I’ve held onto feels like it has a purpose. The possessions I have left make me feel happy and the objects in my life that produced negative emotions are now gone. I would never have predicted that tidying up could be so life-changing.

Try it for yourself and let me know how you go.

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

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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  1. Racial

    Jan 24, 2018 at 6:23 am

    Here are 8 ways to control and overcome your depression through lifestyle choices:
    1. Eat Healthy
    2. Work Out Every Day
    3. Get The Right Amount of Sleep
    4. Friendships
    5. Write Down Your Goals
    6. Stop the Negative Self-Talk
    7. Meditation
    8. Travel

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Life

5 Ways to Realize Your Authentic Self

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I was a scared kid throughout my younger years. Overly-cautious and wildly unsure were just a few of my characteristics as I headed into adulthood. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t present to many of the decisions I made in my youth in regards to navigating life thus I was blindly going along with it.

Due to this, I forced my hand since I either had to grow or collapse into myself. With the latter not being an option, what ensued was arguably the most difficult yet freeing process of my life. I was to realize my authentic self. While every human being has their own distinct recipe for self-actualization, there are a few things that consistently show up for all of us to be cognisant of.

Let’s look at 5 ways we mask who we are at the core and how to distinguish them:

1. We feel a loss of power when we’re inauthentic

Whenever we feel a loss of power or self-expression within a conversation, it’s due to us not being true to ourselves. What keeps us from freedom is our attachment to a particular view or opinion, and we forget that opinions are not the truth.

We can restore our power by acknowledging where we are being inauthentic and pretending thus taking full ownership and responsibility for where we’re stopping ourselves. As much as owning our shortcomings feels like it looks bad, the humanity of it contributes to much of the contrary.

“Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.” – Coco Chanel

2. Look at what you step over in conversation

Our word is our bond. The language we use tells a much deeper story than what may necessarily appear on the surface. Often times in conversation, we will throw a blanket statement over something we actually have a natural inclination to share more about. Words such as, “anyway,” “nevertheless,” and “regardless” are transitional words which often step over what we were committed to sharing in the previous moment.

Why do we so quickly shift from one part of the conversation to another? What part of acknowledging this area with another person is uncomfortable for us?  Answering some of these questions can shed a lot of light as to who we really are and what we stand for.

3. Acknowledge how many different personas you take on with the people in your life

We go through life like a play at times. It feels like everywhere we go, with whomever we meet, we’re putting on a performance. While the stage can be empowering at times, it’s equally exhausting once the threshold is met.

The reason humans love and cherish their alone time is due to the chance for mental recuperation. There’s no one to look good for, and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Looking in the mirror can be tough, but it’s far easier than looking in one with someone standing next to you.

As a result, we wear multiple hats throughout life. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it can be taxing for the human spirit. While it may be difficult at first, challenging yourself to take on a universal way of being with everyone you interact with—one that you yourself are happy with—can upshift your life to the highest degree of fulfillment.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. Question why you are the way you are and if it’s aligned with what matters most

I spent my early 20’s identifying as a hyper-driven individual with an unmatched work ethic. The reason for this wasn’t because I was a man of integrity or honor, but because I thought that working hard and getting results in life would grant me the approval and support of others.

What I was actually committed to was connection, yet my behavior—the long hours, the nights reading at home while my friends went out—was hiding the very thing I wanted all along. When I finally realized this, the breakthrough was as powerful as a hurricane. It completely reshaped how I organized my life and moreover, allowed me to finally let go of the suffocating pressure I imposed upon myself.

What you feel is missing in your life is a by-product of your own way of being. Begin to look where your ways of being are keeping you from experiencing what you want the most, at the purest source.

5. Examine your way of being while making requests

No one likes to be told no. What’s more uncomfortable, is requesting something of someone knowing they’re going to say no. But we never really know what they’re going to say—so why do we make this story up? Sure, someone you’ve asked the same thing to three times and received a no each time may have a higher percentage likelihood to decline. However, how the request occurs for them is where the real difference-maker resides.

Whether you realize it or not, when we make a request with an idea they might say no, it effectively shapes and colors our request the same way to the other person. As we make the “said request,” we feel this and overcompensate—attempting to influence the thinking of whom you’re asking, which is never a smart idea.

The other person senses this, feeling the same pressure and discomfort we impose upon ourselves, totally oblivious to what we’re actually committed to. By making every request as if the person were going to say yes, we focus on our commitment and the best possible way to articulate it. When it comes to being authentic, every action must be in correlation with what we stand for.

What do you see in yourself that you might not have noticed before?  What might this open for you now that you’re aware? Let us know in the comments below!

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Life

The Inspiration Imperative: Finding Your Recipe to Inspire the World

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inspire the world

An undeniably beautiful facet of the human condition is the responsibility we all share to make each other’s lives better. Inspiring others can be an incredibly rewarding and efficient means to that end. After all, helping others is the spice of life and inspiration allows us to exponentially increase our output of “help”, residually, long after we move on to something else.

The amazing thing about inspiration is that it isn’t a zero-sum game; we can give as much as we desire and take as much as we desire – or even do both in the same act. Even better, being inspirational and taking in inspiration are both behavioral skills we can work at and develop. But what does it really mean to inspire others?

The one thing all inspirational moments have in common is how they make us feel; not the specifics of what they tell us, show us or even what they teach us. They leave us with a feeling we can’t let go of, and a seed is planted.

The inspiration we as humans impart on one another often comes through sharing our life experience and future vision in a way that catalyzes a change in mindset or behavior in someone else. Sometimes this happens without intention, but this piece focuses on how we can intentionally inspire by way of our vision.   

With that in mind here are some considerations as you embark on your personal journey of inspiration, broken into two sections: Building a deep reservoir of self-belief and Crafting your vision and living it authentically.

Building a deep reservoir of self-belief

The first step to inspiring others is conditioning belief in yourself. Self-belief can be built through habituation of behavior – think of this like working out a muscle. The process of opening yourself up to inspiration, identifying and utilizing your strengths and practicing self-affirmation are fail safe ways to build out self-belief as a resource you can call on as you inspire the world around you.

Here are 3 things you can do to build your self belief to new levels:

1. Put yourself in positions of vulnerability daily

Make it a habit to leave your comfort zone both physically and mentally on a regular basis; doing so will increase your rate of learning and the inspiration you take in, dramatically. As you leave what makes you comfortable, open your mind so that others can feed you with inspiration.

2. Know your strengths and own them  

In his famous book, Strengths Finder 2.0, Tom Rath explains our tendency to focus on our weakness and the power each of us can unlock if we acknowledge and build on our strengths. As you enjoy successes, it is crucial to reflect on how you arrived at them, how they correlate to your strengths, and how you use your strengths to replicate them in the future.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

3. Regularly practice self-affirmation

Practicing self-affirmation goes hand-in-hand with owning your strengths and is an important habit which helps you build a foundation by which to inspire others. Ronald Alexander, PHD, provides some practical ways to make these effective in this Psychology Today article.

Crafting your vision and living it authentically

After you’ve built your foundation of self-belief you must have a vision. Visions come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever your goal may be, the vision must be clear; wavering and being wishy-washy about your goal will have the opposite effect. Remember, inspiring is not about telling people what they must do; it’s about instilling a feeling.

It’s also very important to remember that vision is nothing more than a wish for the future – until you build a narrative around it and make it real. A proven method to get there is by writing down your vision, being authentic in how you communicate it, and repeating it often to yourself and others.

Below are 3 things you should be doing with your vision:

1. Write down your vision and vision actualization statement

The first step to creating and executing on a vision is writing it down somewhere where you can refer to it regularly. All the rest follows. As Benjamin P Hardy notes, “if you read your long term goals every day you will think about them every day. If you think about them every day, and spend your days working toward them, they’ll manifest. Achieving goals is a science. There’s no confusion or ambiguity to it.”

Another great tip is to write a vision actualization statement as your future self (a year out) and then revisit it in a year. This is a description of what has manifested based on the realization of your vision and can be a couple paragraphs or pages. The key is to make it tangible; use numbers and specifics.

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world” – Joel L. Barker

2. Hold yourself accountable to authenticity, as you share your vision  

As you spread your vision you must do so from an authentic place. If you are not authentic through this process, people will quickly see through it and the lost trust can have lasting effects. One way to hold yourself accountable to this is noting every day what you did that day that “wasn’t you.” How many times that day did you compromise or mislead your beliefs?

3. Repeat, repeat, repeat

The greatest key to executing a vision, once built, is repeating its tenets to yourself and those around you as often as you can. This may take the form of morning affirmation, posting your vision to your community, chatting about it on your bus ride, or frequently re-reading what you’ve written down of it. Become known as the [insert your personal vision] gal or guy.

Well that should give you a start. Now get out there and inspire the world!

How do you aim to inspire others? Please comment below and share with us!

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Life

The Power Of Doing Only One Thing.

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This idea of doing only one thing was sparked by an event that happened this week. I decided to delete all podcasts on my phone and only keep the Tim Ferriss Show. In other areas of my life, I’ve done the same.

“I’ve selectively gone into each area and chosen one thing”

All the other things in the same category have been discarded. Here are some examples:

–    I had two pairs of earphones and now I have one

–    I’d read multiple books at the same time – now I do one at a time

–    I had multiple tools to cure stress and now I have one – meditation

I then took this minimalistic approach from how I handled material possessions and applied it to what I do each day.

Here are some examples:

–    I only pursue one passion now instead of many

–    I only execute on one vision instead of many

–    I only use my free time for one activity instead of many

 

Assess what you do and you’ll see one thing.

If you look at each category of your life, you’ll see that you spend a disproportionate amount of time in one area. I’ve normally had a few passions but if I evaluate the last five years, most of my efforts have been put towards blogging.

I had a few other passions but I didn’t spend a lot of time doing them. When I committed to doing one thing, I made a decision to stop pretending I cared about my other passions.

 

I listened to lots of podcasts until recently and I was constantly trying to keep up with the latest episodes. I found many of the podcasts shared similar messages and only one of them was life-changing in my eyes (The Tim Ferriss Podcast).

Now that I only listen to one podcast I can finally enjoy it, quit rushing and even playback episodes I’ve listened to already. Seeing the podcast screen with only one show on there is so refreshing!

Look at your life and you’ll see similar patterns.

 

It creates focus.

Doing one thing gives you extreme focus. This focus can be channelled towards tasks that lead to mastery instead of trying to dabble in lots of unrelated passions.

Focus is how you reach states of flow and achieve results that look impossible.

Doing one thing causes you to focus and practice more. Through this process, you can see your failures, areas of improvement and areas that you’re good at. This form of reflection gives you real-time feedback that can further compound your results.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” – Stephen Covey

 

It avoids overwhelm.

We can’t compute too many things at once. The power of doing one thing is that you avoid overwhelm. We can all manage one thing in each area of our life. The moment we introduce too many choices we end up with decision fatigue.

Overwhelm is selling yourself the false reality that you have to do everything to be successful. I’ve learned it’s the complete opposite.

To be successful, you have to focus and do one thing. Being successful is about not giving up and if you consistently put yourself into a state of overwhelm then you’ll simultaneously increase your negative thought patterns.

This milkshake of negativity will mix together and end up in failure if you let it.

Overwhelm is the enemy of passion and energy. Passion and energy become hyper-focused when you focus on one thing.

One podcast.

One business.

One romantic partner.

One vision.

One passion.

Embrace the power of doing one thing. 

<<<>>>

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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3 Mind-Blowing Facts No One Told You About Vulnerability

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Vulnerability; A scary word which was hunting me down for 13 years until I faced one of my biggest emotional breakthroughs. It was the day when my idea of a tough woman fell apart and I was forced to reconsider everything I believed about mental toughness. Before I dive into the 3 important takeaways I learned from this process, I have a confession to make. I was convinced, for 13 years, that vulnerability was one of the biggest weaknesses and anyone who admitted it was a coward. I know, sounds terrifying.

That’s why I developed a strong belief that constant toughness was the only way we could maintain our strength and protect ourselves from hurt. Showing emotions or talking about them became taboo because I believed that’s what the “weak” do. Because of this misconception, my emotional pain was becoming more intense since I wasn’t facing it, I was numbing it.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” – Crissi Jami

When I admitted for the very first time that I may be a vulnerable person, I almost had a heart attack. I felt a mix of stress, fear and an overwhelming excitement and freedom that I finally let it out. It helped me tremendously in my work as well as my personal life.

Here are the 3 important takeaways I learned from this powerful journey which made me understood the true strength of a human being:

1. Vulnerability is hidden strength and courage

We are living in a society where being perfect and not being “too emotional” works just fine. And this is the place where many of us miss the point of what the real strength represents. One thing we fail to realize is that keeping all of our painful feelings under control and playing a part of a tough cookie isn’t going to last for a long time. It is an illusion which tricks us into believing that we are strong and untouchable and that becomes our weakness.

The moment we accept the fact that vulnerability is a part of a courageous life, we allow ourselves to be real. Realness brings self-respect. Think about it this way, pretending is easy and convenient, but being able to admit vulnerability, that’s what takes guts because we are putting ourselves at the risk of judgment and misunderstanding.

2. Facing your vulnerable state empowers you

Isn’t this ironic? The moment when we start accepting our pain as something that actually exists, we feel stronger even in the weakest moments and here is how I came to this crazy conclusion.

Dealing with vulnerable feelings is something we don’t want to do. So we take that burden and decide that we will deal with it on Monday. 5 years later there is just another Monday. However, when we choose to face our pains, we put ourselves in the process of working on them, analyzing them and learning from them.

Can you imagine that each time when you feel vulnerable, instead of running away from it, you will put up with it? Can you imagine that each time you are faced with something hurtful instead of asking yourself “Why this has to happen to me?” you ask yourself “What’s in it for me?”

Power of any vulnerable state is in facing and learning about who we are, what we feel or why we feel it. It helps us in practicing our self-awareness where we better understand how our feelings work and how to deal with them more effectively.

“Courage is vulnerability. Vulnerability is courage. Like shadow and light, neither one can exist without the other.” – Wai Lan Yuen

3. Embracing vulnerability leads to authenticity

The minute we face those real, uncomfortable emotions, we are being honest with ourselves. I found this as one of the most transforming parts of being vulnerable. We are letting go of pretending or playing it strong all the time. We are letting go of this military approach to life and perfectionism which, by the way, doesn’t exist.

In today’s world, embracing authenticity is a bold and brave decision. If you are anything like me, you know that choosing authenticity over impressing the world around you is a challenging process. It means standing in front of the world, emotionally naked and ready to face any feedback, whether pleasant or unpleasant. But, isn’t this a chance we all want to take?

Conclusion

Accepting vulnerability is one of the most courageous acts we can ever undertake. It’s risky, it’s scary, even terrifying in some cases because people don’t want to “do” vulnerability. Playing who is a bigger badass seems cooler.

But once we step up and decide to speak up about this issue, we open the door for others who are living in this emotional prison without knowing what to do or how to handle it. We give them the opportunity to say two of the most powerful words which stand behind real toughness and those are  “ME TOO.”

How do you handle vulnerability? Comment below!

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5 Ways to Realize Your Authentic Self

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I was a scared kid throughout my younger years. Overly-cautious and wildly unsure were just a few of my characteristics as I headed into adulthood. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t present to many of the decisions I made in my youth in regards to navigating life thus I was blindly going along with it. (more…)

Dan Whalen is a franchise operator with College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving, personal development writer, and NLP master practitioner. He has a background in business management and team leadership spanning nearly a decade, and has a deeply-rooted passion for helping people experience fulfilling lives. You can find him on Twitter at @DanielJWhalen.

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  1. Racial

    Jan 24, 2018 at 6:23 am

    Here are 8 ways to control and overcome your depression through lifestyle choices:
    1. Eat Healthy
    2. Work Out Every Day
    3. Get The Right Amount of Sleep
    4. Friendships
    5. Write Down Your Goals
    6. Stop the Negative Self-Talk
    7. Meditation
    8. Travel

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Life

5 Ways to Realize Your Authentic Self

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authenticity

I was a scared kid throughout my younger years. Overly-cautious and wildly unsure were just a few of my characteristics as I headed into adulthood. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t present to many of the decisions I made in my youth in regards to navigating life thus I was blindly going along with it.

Due to this, I forced my hand since I either had to grow or collapse into myself. With the latter not being an option, what ensued was arguably the most difficult yet freeing process of my life. I was to realize my authentic self. While every human being has their own distinct recipe for self-actualization, there are a few things that consistently show up for all of us to be cognisant of.

Let’s look at 5 ways we mask who we are at the core and how to distinguish them:

1. We feel a loss of power when we’re inauthentic

Whenever we feel a loss of power or self-expression within a conversation, it’s due to us not being true to ourselves. What keeps us from freedom is our attachment to a particular view or opinion, and we forget that opinions are not the truth.

We can restore our power by acknowledging where we are being inauthentic and pretending thus taking full ownership and responsibility for where we’re stopping ourselves. As much as owning our shortcomings feels like it looks bad, the humanity of it contributes to much of the contrary.

“Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.” – Coco Chanel

2. Look at what you step over in conversation

Our word is our bond. The language we use tells a much deeper story than what may necessarily appear on the surface. Often times in conversation, we will throw a blanket statement over something we actually have a natural inclination to share more about. Words such as, “anyway,” “nevertheless,” and “regardless” are transitional words which often step over what we were committed to sharing in the previous moment.

Why do we so quickly shift from one part of the conversation to another? What part of acknowledging this area with another person is uncomfortable for us?  Answering some of these questions can shed a lot of light as to who we really are and what we stand for.

3. Acknowledge how many different personas you take on with the people in your life

We go through life like a play at times. It feels like everywhere we go, with whomever we meet, we’re putting on a performance. While the stage can be empowering at times, it’s equally exhausting once the threshold is met.

The reason humans love and cherish their alone time is due to the chance for mental recuperation. There’s no one to look good for, and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Looking in the mirror can be tough, but it’s far easier than looking in one with someone standing next to you.

As a result, we wear multiple hats throughout life. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it can be taxing for the human spirit. While it may be difficult at first, challenging yourself to take on a universal way of being with everyone you interact with—one that you yourself are happy with—can upshift your life to the highest degree of fulfillment.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. Question why you are the way you are and if it’s aligned with what matters most

I spent my early 20’s identifying as a hyper-driven individual with an unmatched work ethic. The reason for this wasn’t because I was a man of integrity or honor, but because I thought that working hard and getting results in life would grant me the approval and support of others.

What I was actually committed to was connection, yet my behavior—the long hours, the nights reading at home while my friends went out—was hiding the very thing I wanted all along. When I finally realized this, the breakthrough was as powerful as a hurricane. It completely reshaped how I organized my life and moreover, allowed me to finally let go of the suffocating pressure I imposed upon myself.

What you feel is missing in your life is a by-product of your own way of being. Begin to look where your ways of being are keeping you from experiencing what you want the most, at the purest source.

5. Examine your way of being while making requests

No one likes to be told no. What’s more uncomfortable, is requesting something of someone knowing they’re going to say no. But we never really know what they’re going to say—so why do we make this story up? Sure, someone you’ve asked the same thing to three times and received a no each time may have a higher percentage likelihood to decline. However, how the request occurs for them is where the real difference-maker resides.

Whether you realize it or not, when we make a request with an idea they might say no, it effectively shapes and colors our request the same way to the other person. As we make the “said request,” we feel this and overcompensate—attempting to influence the thinking of whom you’re asking, which is never a smart idea.

The other person senses this, feeling the same pressure and discomfort we impose upon ourselves, totally oblivious to what we’re actually committed to. By making every request as if the person were going to say yes, we focus on our commitment and the best possible way to articulate it. When it comes to being authentic, every action must be in correlation with what we stand for.

What do you see in yourself that you might not have noticed before?  What might this open for you now that you’re aware? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Inspiration Imperative: Finding Your Recipe to Inspire the World

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inspire the world

An undeniably beautiful facet of the human condition is the responsibility we all share to make each other’s lives better. Inspiring others can be an incredibly rewarding and efficient means to that end. After all, helping others is the spice of life and inspiration allows us to exponentially increase our output of “help”, residually, long after we move on to something else.

The amazing thing about inspiration is that it isn’t a zero-sum game; we can give as much as we desire and take as much as we desire – or even do both in the same act. Even better, being inspirational and taking in inspiration are both behavioral skills we can work at and develop. But what does it really mean to inspire others?

The one thing all inspirational moments have in common is how they make us feel; not the specifics of what they tell us, show us or even what they teach us. They leave us with a feeling we can’t let go of, and a seed is planted.

The inspiration we as humans impart on one another often comes through sharing our life experience and future vision in a way that catalyzes a change in mindset or behavior in someone else. Sometimes this happens without intention, but this piece focuses on how we can intentionally inspire by way of our vision.   

With that in mind here are some considerations as you embark on your personal journey of inspiration, broken into two sections: Building a deep reservoir of self-belief and Crafting your vision and living it authentically.

Building a deep reservoir of self-belief

The first step to inspiring others is conditioning belief in yourself. Self-belief can be built through habituation of behavior – think of this like working out a muscle. The process of opening yourself up to inspiration, identifying and utilizing your strengths and practicing self-affirmation are fail safe ways to build out self-belief as a resource you can call on as you inspire the world around you.

Here are 3 things you can do to build your self belief to new levels:

1. Put yourself in positions of vulnerability daily

Make it a habit to leave your comfort zone both physically and mentally on a regular basis; doing so will increase your rate of learning and the inspiration you take in, dramatically. As you leave what makes you comfortable, open your mind so that others can feed you with inspiration.

2. Know your strengths and own them  

In his famous book, Strengths Finder 2.0, Tom Rath explains our tendency to focus on our weakness and the power each of us can unlock if we acknowledge and build on our strengths. As you enjoy successes, it is crucial to reflect on how you arrived at them, how they correlate to your strengths, and how you use your strengths to replicate them in the future.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

3. Regularly practice self-affirmation

Practicing self-affirmation goes hand-in-hand with owning your strengths and is an important habit which helps you build a foundation by which to inspire others. Ronald Alexander, PHD, provides some practical ways to make these effective in this Psychology Today article.

Crafting your vision and living it authentically

After you’ve built your foundation of self-belief you must have a vision. Visions come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever your goal may be, the vision must be clear; wavering and being wishy-washy about your goal will have the opposite effect. Remember, inspiring is not about telling people what they must do; it’s about instilling a feeling.

It’s also very important to remember that vision is nothing more than a wish for the future – until you build a narrative around it and make it real. A proven method to get there is by writing down your vision, being authentic in how you communicate it, and repeating it often to yourself and others.

Below are 3 things you should be doing with your vision:

1. Write down your vision and vision actualization statement

The first step to creating and executing on a vision is writing it down somewhere where you can refer to it regularly. All the rest follows. As Benjamin P Hardy notes, “if you read your long term goals every day you will think about them every day. If you think about them every day, and spend your days working toward them, they’ll manifest. Achieving goals is a science. There’s no confusion or ambiguity to it.”

Another great tip is to write a vision actualization statement as your future self (a year out) and then revisit it in a year. This is a description of what has manifested based on the realization of your vision and can be a couple paragraphs or pages. The key is to make it tangible; use numbers and specifics.

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world” – Joel L. Barker

2. Hold yourself accountable to authenticity, as you share your vision  

As you spread your vision you must do so from an authentic place. If you are not authentic through this process, people will quickly see through it and the lost trust can have lasting effects. One way to hold yourself accountable to this is noting every day what you did that day that “wasn’t you.” How many times that day did you compromise or mislead your beliefs?

3. Repeat, repeat, repeat

The greatest key to executing a vision, once built, is repeating its tenets to yourself and those around you as often as you can. This may take the form of morning affirmation, posting your vision to your community, chatting about it on your bus ride, or frequently re-reading what you’ve written down of it. Become known as the [insert your personal vision] gal or guy.

Well that should give you a start. Now get out there and inspire the world!

How do you aim to inspire others? Please comment below and share with us!

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The Power Of Doing Only One Thing.

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This idea of doing only one thing was sparked by an event that happened this week. I decided to delete all podcasts on my phone and only keep the Tim Ferriss Show. In other areas of my life, I’ve done the same.

“I’ve selectively gone into each area and chosen one thing”

All the other things in the same category have been discarded. Here are some examples:

–    I had two pairs of earphones and now I have one

–    I’d read multiple books at the same time – now I do one at a time

–    I had multiple tools to cure stress and now I have one – meditation

I then took this minimalistic approach from how I handled material possessions and applied it to what I do each day.

Here are some examples:

–    I only pursue one passion now instead of many

–    I only execute on one vision instead of many

–    I only use my free time for one activity instead of many

 

Assess what you do and you’ll see one thing.

If you look at each category of your life, you’ll see that you spend a disproportionate amount of time in one area. I’ve normally had a few passions but if I evaluate the last five years, most of my efforts have been put towards blogging.

I had a few other passions but I didn’t spend a lot of time doing them. When I committed to doing one thing, I made a decision to stop pretending I cared about my other passions.

 

I listened to lots of podcasts until recently and I was constantly trying to keep up with the latest episodes. I found many of the podcasts shared similar messages and only one of them was life-changing in my eyes (The Tim Ferriss Podcast).

Now that I only listen to one podcast I can finally enjoy it, quit rushing and even playback episodes I’ve listened to already. Seeing the podcast screen with only one show on there is so refreshing!

Look at your life and you’ll see similar patterns.

 

It creates focus.

Doing one thing gives you extreme focus. This focus can be channelled towards tasks that lead to mastery instead of trying to dabble in lots of unrelated passions.

Focus is how you reach states of flow and achieve results that look impossible.

Doing one thing causes you to focus and practice more. Through this process, you can see your failures, areas of improvement and areas that you’re good at. This form of reflection gives you real-time feedback that can further compound your results.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” – Stephen Covey

 

It avoids overwhelm.

We can’t compute too many things at once. The power of doing one thing is that you avoid overwhelm. We can all manage one thing in each area of our life. The moment we introduce too many choices we end up with decision fatigue.

Overwhelm is selling yourself the false reality that you have to do everything to be successful. I’ve learned it’s the complete opposite.

To be successful, you have to focus and do one thing. Being successful is about not giving up and if you consistently put yourself into a state of overwhelm then you’ll simultaneously increase your negative thought patterns.

This milkshake of negativity will mix together and end up in failure if you let it.

Overwhelm is the enemy of passion and energy. Passion and energy become hyper-focused when you focus on one thing.

One podcast.

One business.

One romantic partner.

One vision.

One passion.

Embrace the power of doing one thing. 

<<<>>>

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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3 Mind-Blowing Facts No One Told You About Vulnerability

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vulnerability

Vulnerability; A scary word which was hunting me down for 13 years until I faced one of my biggest emotional breakthroughs. It was the day when my idea of a tough woman fell apart and I was forced to reconsider everything I believed about mental toughness. Before I dive into the 3 important takeaways I learned from this process, I have a confession to make. I was convinced, for 13 years, that vulnerability was one of the biggest weaknesses and anyone who admitted it was a coward. I know, sounds terrifying.

That’s why I developed a strong belief that constant toughness was the only way we could maintain our strength and protect ourselves from hurt. Showing emotions or talking about them became taboo because I believed that’s what the “weak” do. Because of this misconception, my emotional pain was becoming more intense since I wasn’t facing it, I was numbing it.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” – Crissi Jami

When I admitted for the very first time that I may be a vulnerable person, I almost had a heart attack. I felt a mix of stress, fear and an overwhelming excitement and freedom that I finally let it out. It helped me tremendously in my work as well as my personal life.

Here are the 3 important takeaways I learned from this powerful journey which made me understood the true strength of a human being:

1. Vulnerability is hidden strength and courage

We are living in a society where being perfect and not being “too emotional” works just fine. And this is the place where many of us miss the point of what the real strength represents. One thing we fail to realize is that keeping all of our painful feelings under control and playing a part of a tough cookie isn’t going to last for a long time. It is an illusion which tricks us into believing that we are strong and untouchable and that becomes our weakness.

The moment we accept the fact that vulnerability is a part of a courageous life, we allow ourselves to be real. Realness brings self-respect. Think about it this way, pretending is easy and convenient, but being able to admit vulnerability, that’s what takes guts because we are putting ourselves at the risk of judgment and misunderstanding.

2. Facing your vulnerable state empowers you

Isn’t this ironic? The moment when we start accepting our pain as something that actually exists, we feel stronger even in the weakest moments and here is how I came to this crazy conclusion.

Dealing with vulnerable feelings is something we don’t want to do. So we take that burden and decide that we will deal with it on Monday. 5 years later there is just another Monday. However, when we choose to face our pains, we put ourselves in the process of working on them, analyzing them and learning from them.

Can you imagine that each time when you feel vulnerable, instead of running away from it, you will put up with it? Can you imagine that each time you are faced with something hurtful instead of asking yourself “Why this has to happen to me?” you ask yourself “What’s in it for me?”

Power of any vulnerable state is in facing and learning about who we are, what we feel or why we feel it. It helps us in practicing our self-awareness where we better understand how our feelings work and how to deal with them more effectively.

“Courage is vulnerability. Vulnerability is courage. Like shadow and light, neither one can exist without the other.” – Wai Lan Yuen

3. Embracing vulnerability leads to authenticity

The minute we face those real, uncomfortable emotions, we are being honest with ourselves. I found this as one of the most transforming parts of being vulnerable. We are letting go of pretending or playing it strong all the time. We are letting go of this military approach to life and perfectionism which, by the way, doesn’t exist.

In today’s world, embracing authenticity is a bold and brave decision. If you are anything like me, you know that choosing authenticity over impressing the world around you is a challenging process. It means standing in front of the world, emotionally naked and ready to face any feedback, whether pleasant or unpleasant. But, isn’t this a chance we all want to take?

Conclusion

Accepting vulnerability is one of the most courageous acts we can ever undertake. It’s risky, it’s scary, even terrifying in some cases because people don’t want to “do” vulnerability. Playing who is a bigger badass seems cooler.

But once we step up and decide to speak up about this issue, we open the door for others who are living in this emotional prison without knowing what to do or how to handle it. We give them the opportunity to say two of the most powerful words which stand behind real toughness and those are  “ME TOO.”

How do you handle vulnerability? Comment below!

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