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Improve Your Focus in 9 Minutes or Less With This Morning Routine

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It’s your body’s job to house and protect your brain, but did you know that you can also use your body to strengthen your mind? In this article, you’re going to learn how to use your body to ignite your day. This short morning ritual can be done in under 9 minutes (including showering), and will set you up to crush the day!

A strong mind-body connection helps you stay focused by synchronizing your thoughts with your body. When your brain and body are both on the same page, staying on task happens naturally. You’re also going to learn why your brain loves movement, and how to engage your body in a way that fuels your brain. The more movement you expose your body to, the more exercise your brain gets at processing information. In short, more movement and exercise equals a healthier brain. Let’s get after it.

Give Your Brain the Movement it Craves

The more practice your brain gets at processing incoming sensory input the better. Stick to this short 9-minute morning routine for just 5 days and feel the difference. Laser-sharp focus? Yes, please! You should notice that it’s easier to stay locked-in throughout the day when you snap your body to attention first thing in the morning.

Start taking action right now with this simple routine. You might not have the time in your schedule for a full-on workout, but we all have a few minutes to invest in ourselves. One of the best ways to jumpstart your brain is by getting an explosive start with movement. Since all healthy movement starts with quality breathing, we’ll start there first.

Here is the whole process which will take less than 9 minutes:

1. Take a Breather

This exercise borrows heavily from the Wim Hof method. An absolute force of nature, Wim Hof is a true explorer of the human condition. His personal development exploits have literally rewritten the science textbooks. Through breathing exercises and cold exposure, he’s proven in clinical settings that it’s possible to consciously control the autonomic nervous system.

How did Wim Hof prove this? He can maintain his core body temperature in freezing temperatures as well as avoid getting sick when injected with large amounts of harmful bacteria. Not only that but in one experiment, he was able to train a small group of students with no previous experience to do the same. All with breathing exercises and cold exposure therapy!

Deep breathing is a great tool for grounding yourself in moments of high stress. While you sleep, your breathing is shallow, as most sleeping positions restrict the expansion of the diaphragm, chest, and stomach. That’s why the first step in preparing for the day is to warm up your diaphragm and gain access to the full depth of your breathing.

This way, when you need to calm yourself with a deep breath, your body is ready for it. When your alarm goes off, hop right out of bed. Stand in front of the mirror, and take in thirty deep breathes, bringing as much air as you can each time, and emptying your lungs fully when you exhale. Do this at whatever pace feels comfortable.

On the final exhale, push all the air out of your lungs and hold for 10 seconds, then breathe in as fully as you can and hold for another 10 to 15 seconds. The final holding phase stretches your stomach outwards so you have better breathing mechanics throughout the day. If you find yourself having to pause to yawn, that’s a good sign; it means your brain is waking up.

Repeat 3 times. Breathing in this way improves brain chemistry by increasing the expression of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a protein critical to memory and learning.

“When you are at home, even if the chicken is a little burnt, what’s the big deal? Relax.” – Jacques Pepin

2. Test Your New and Improved Breathing with Movement

Follow-up your breathing exercise with 10 squats and 5 push-ups, all the while breathing as deeply as you can.

3. Take a Cold(ish) Shower

Now it’s time to make a quick and cold shower part of your morning routine. Tony Robbins used to do this religiously before getting cryogenic therapy installed in his homes.  Fair warning, he hated taking cold showers but took them anyway because nothing was more effective at putting him in the moment, ready for the day.

I like to take a hot shower, then blast it on freezing-cold for 10-15 seconds before flipping it back to warm. I leave feeling refreshed. It’s not as hardcore as the way Tony used to do it, but it’s easier to tolerate and build into a habit.

“Everyone who has taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it that makes a difference.” – Nolan Bushnell

Conclusion

These are all ideas for how to quickly engage your body and brain to have a more productive day. You know yourself better than anyone else, so feel free to play around with different ways to invigorate your morning with movement (you can substitute any exercise you want for push-ups and squats).

Direct your attention to your breathing, and reap the rewards of a focused mind. The more comfortable you are physically, the more relaxed you’ll be mentally, and the more receptive people will be to what you have to say. So start off the day right by synchronizing your body and mind, and strap on your seatbelt for a productive day!

How do you tend to begin your mornings? Do you think it makes for a productive day? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Justin Faraday is a former EMT and avid health and nutrition enthusiast. After struggling with his health for many years, he got serious about feeling incredible. Get stellar mental health and nutrition advice at his blog: dopefreshfit.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/fullbodysmile/.

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Life

5 Simple Things to Do Right Now if You Feel Stuck in Life

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As a success-blogger, I normally have a great deal of clarity about what I need to be working on. I’m also really driven by a sense of purpose in helping others get unstuck and make an impact in their lives. There aren’t many times that I find myself at a loss for what to do next.

Nonetheless, I recently hit a dry spell. I felt entirely stuck and a little burnt out. It felt like I was in a pit, emotionally unempowered and unable to move forward. Due to this, I decided to sit down and write out a list of ways that I could get myself moving and build up some momentum again.

Here is what I came up with and I’m sharing it with you in the hopes that if you, too, are stuck it will make difference for you:

1. Get An Empowering Mindset

When we start to feel like we can’t move forward we often get down on ourselves. We begin to feel incapable and think we must be the cause of all the inaction. This puts us in a negative mindset that is self-reinforcing. To break out of that limiting mentality, try the substitution game. For every negative thought that comes to mind, remove it and replace it with a positive one.

For instance, instead of, “I just can’t figure this out—I’m so stupid,” remove and replace it with, “I’m ALWAYS supplied with a way through at just the right time.” Affirmations like this will keep you positive and put you back in the driver’s seat. Keep at this hard because it is relatively easy to do and you can gain traction quickly.

“Growth hacking is a mindset, and those who have it will reap incredible gains.” – Ryan Holiday

2. Do Some Housekeeping

When I’m really humming along in life, I’ve got no time for cleaning up files and putting things in order. This has to be done sometime and the time when you are stuck not doing anything else makes as good of sense as any.

More than that, however, I’ve also found the process of simplifying and organizing my notes to be very empowering. The very act of setting your mind on “cleaning things up” clarifies your mind. It’s an outward expression of something that changes your experience internally as well.

I’m of the opinion that if we need direction in our lives, we need to make room for it. In this way, we welcome that which we really need. By putting our work in order we prepare the way for new ideas and inspiration.

3. Find Some Quick Results To Encourage Yourself

No matter how stuck you are there is always something you can do that will bring about a measurable result. Even small victories help you feel like you are gaining ground. As you do this, keep these tips in mind:

  • Set simple goals and breeze through them. Think of things you can accomplish in five-to-ten minutes. As you complete them you will gain a sense of momentum.
  • Make this a visual activity. I like to write each of my tasks out and put a little box in front of them. Work to check each item off as quickly as you can. It should be fun so treat it as a game, marking complete as many as you can in an hour, for instance.

4. Get Back To Doing What You Love

To keep growing, I have to keep looking forward to the bigger picture in what I do. Right now I’m spending a lot of time preparing content for future books and courses, but that level of stretching has produced a little burnout. I’m always tunneling forward into territory that I’m not as familiar with so it saps my energy and mental resources.

It’s good to tackle these types of things so that I keep pushing myself. But when I begin to feel like I’m burning out, it’s good to step back into what I’m best at and most comfortable in…for me, that’s writing blog posts. It brings a refreshing sense of fun back into my life.

This gets a sense of positivity flowing again. We have to keep a deep feeling of joy with what we do. Jump-starting that by getting back into your element can get you on the road again.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – Rumi

5. Work On Something New

Sometimes we just get bogged-down and burned-out with what we are working on. It becomes drudgery, but there is always something related that we might not have begun to work on yet. Maybe we didn’t feel ready or we were just too invested in other things to take the turn down that road. In times like this, pull those things out and start working on them.

For me, that recent thing I began to do was guest posting on Addicted2Success. It was something that I had always wanted to do because I believe in everything that they are doing, but I hadn’t gone down that path yet because I didn’t feel ready.

In my period of trying to get unstuck, however, it began to feel like the perfect time to venture into new territory. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to focus on this avenue I have renewed energy and have come closer to fulfilling my overall dream of being a successful blogger.

If you just aren’t getting anywhere in your normal routine, it could be the perfect time to break into something else you’ve been holding off on.

What have you done to break free when YOU are stuck in life? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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5 Subtle Things You Do When You Lack Confidence

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Confidence is a belief in one’s abilities and sense of competence. There are certain subtle things we do when we lack or have low confidence, and you need to be aware of these actions as they are quite subtle and can be easily skipped over. Even worse, we don’t identify the root cause of the problem and then spend years trying to fix something without any effect.

To prevent that, here is a list of 5 subtle things you do when you lack confidence:

1. You begin settling

You have it good enough in life so you settle for less because you think you don’t deserve it. The quote Jim Collins said about good being the enemy of great was focused on companies, but that can also apply to your life, your job and your relationship.

You got a job that you kind of hate. The job itself is okay but the boss is horrible and promotion/growth is not possible, but the salary is okay and the job is “just good.” When you lack confidence in your ability, you settle down. There are always other opportunities out there, so push forward.

The only thing worse than this is if the situation becomes permanent. Evaluate your life now and figure out where you are just floating by in. Believe in your ability to do better and take the risk. Learn new stuff and improve your life.

2. You avoid exposure

You think your ideas are not good or that your personality is not good enough. This is only fueled by your lack of confidence. You stand near the walls at a party to feel protected. The center of attention and the room is 2 meters away, but in your head, it’s a million miles.

Exposing yourself means showing other people who you are. To do that, we need to accept and love who we were. If we can’t, who can? For you to accept yourself continuously, do an exercise called “The Wheel of Change.” The exercise has 4 simple questions you need to answer for yourself giving you the building block of your confidence.

  1. What do I eliminate from my life?
  2. What do I create in my life?
  3. What do I accept in my life?
  4. What do I preserve in my life?

“With confidence, you have won before you have started.” – Marcus Garvey

3. You use distractions instead of solutions

The difference here is the belief. Zorro played by Antonio Banderas, couldn’t defeat his arch-enemy, Captain Harrison Love, because he just didn’t have the skills or knowledge at the time to do it. Due to this, he started drinking.

The drinking led him to despair and he almost gave up, yet a mentor played by Anthony Hopkins taught Zorro how to gain his confidence back and take out his enemies. The main thing was to master things in “The Zorro Circle.” That circle is small, but it’s a place where you have full control. When you master that circle, you expand it. The same things happen with your confidence.

You indulge in distractions, get overwhelmed and then quit. Nonetheless,  the main thing here is to do small things which are in your control. Use solutions instead of distractions and at some point, you will be able to solve problems which were out of your control when you started.

Don’t fall into the trap of rationalization, explaining why you are where you are in life. Just start working small, use solutions instead of distractions and you will get there.

4. You are a one-trick pony

A man came to see a psychologist and told him: “Doctor, I’m always depressed. I tried everything but nothing works. Please, help me out.” The psychologist told him to stand up and come to the window with him. “You see that tent over there?. That is the circus and they are really good. There is this one clown in particular who is really funny. He makes everyone laugh so hard. You should go and see him and you won’t have any reason to be depressed.”

The man turned to the psychologist and said, “Doctor, I am that clown!” You are not a one-trick pony but your friends perceive you like that. You are the funny one that cracks jokes or the trivia guy who has interesting facts around the water cooler.

At a certain point, this becomes who you are, and then, you are scared to show anything else to people around you. At some point, it becomes unbearable and you crack. To prevent this, you need to know that it’s okay to show your full personality.

You are not a one-trick pony. You are a human being with a full range of emotions, character-traits and personalities that must be shown to the world. This is the way to confidence. The other way brings you to the story of Robin Williams who tragically ended his life, so show yourself fully.

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee

5. You lack tears in your eyes

It’s when you are aligned with emotions – when you respect how you feel – that you are truly free to feel the freedom of your emotions. You must love and cherish them when they occur by shedding happy yet sad tears as well.

When you acknowledge what you feel and own it to your deepest level, that’s when you’ll feel the biggest confidence. Don’t run away from your emotions, but own them. Let them go through your body and mind and acknowledge what’s happening in you. Feel it. They are sometimes pleasant and sometimes not, yet they are yours. It’s not how you feel, it’s how you feel about how you feel.

What do you do when you lack confidence? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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22 Incredibly Weird But Profound Life Lessons.

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We’ve all read loads of articles that talk about life lessons, and after a while, they all sound the same.

I wanted to address the unknown, simple and incredibly profound life lessons that I’ve learned. These lessons have come from the strangest of places and many of them are weird.

I like to think that hidden in the weirdness and strangeness of life is where the golden nuggets of wisdom lie.

Here are 22 incredibly weird life lessons I’ve learned:

 

1. Glass bottles, teapots and lava lamps hold beauty.

That’s why I have them around me when I write. They help me peer into another universe and see things up close. They are fully transparent and leave you with more questions than answers.

“Beauty exists in glass just like it exists in many other simple things you currently take for granted”

 

2. Watering pot plants helps you care for others.

I’ve never had kids but pot plants show me that I can care for something other than myself and do a good job. They’re green and feel good to look at. Pot plants also clean the air which is a must in any space where you do creative work and need to feel good.

 

3. That one sentence text message means so much.

“Congrats on the new job”
“Hope you sell your house for a good price”
“Thanks for being my mentor”
“Let me know if you need anything”
“I believe you can do it”
“I’m cheering on the sidelines for you”

You’ve probably never thought these very brief messages would mean much. You probably took these short messages for granted. Next time you’re at rock bottom though, see how these short messages can completely change everything.

That’s why I send messages like this all the time because you never know when someone is at rock bottom or may need a few words to change their perspective.

 

4. An immaculate desk makes your content better.

I’ve A/B tested content written with a messy desk and content written on a desk full of clutter. A clean desk always creates clearer thoughts that sound less distracted.

“Your environment does affect the content you create whether that’s blog posts, videos or audio”

 

5. One block of dark chocolate is all it takes.

That’s all it took for me to get addicted to sugar again. Those small temptations always lead to bigger problems if you don’t remain disciplined. Once you’re rekindled with your temptations, your body demands more.

Don’t let a quick decision ruin everything you’ve built for yourself. Keep saying no to things that don’t serve you.

 

6. That one insult will ruin everything.

Saying nasty stuff only brings more of that into your life. Watch how good a smile can be in even the toughest situation, and you’ll see why you should never insult someone again.

 

7. One beep of your car horn.

It breaks your thought pattern and creates anxiety. People will cut you off and make mistakes when you’re driving. I’ve learned to stop reacting so much which has made me calmer. Avoid the temptation to toot people. It hurts you more than it hurts them.

 

8. You’re one book away from a breakthrough.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah Tim, I get it – read books!”

Well yes, you’ve been told a hundred times to read more. I read heaps and sometimes it does feel pointless. The thing is that all it takes is one idea from a book to create a breakthrough. Most of the advice you read in books you’ve heard before.

Sometimes it’s that one bit of advice, told in such a way, that creates a change in you. You could be one book away from changing your career, starting a new relationship or discovering a new passion.

 

9. Old clothes around the house will remind you of your former self.

I had an old pair of pyjamas that always put me in a bad mood. I realized it was because these pyjamas used to be my gym clothes when I was at the top of my fitness game. If something brings you no joy, get rid of it. Try replacing old clothes with ones that you can create new memories in as your future self.

 

10. You’re one or two connections away from anyone.

Okay, hear me out. I did a diagram the other day and realized that even a simple kid from Australia with a relatively small network (I’m talking about me) is only one or two connections away from Gary Vaynerchuk, Richard Branson, Tim Ferriss, and the founders of Uber and Airbnb.

I’m not kidding. You’re closer to your heroes than you think. Everyone knows everyone which is a big advantage providing you don’t abuse it.

 

11. A car is a distraction whether you like it or not.

Washing it.
Scratches.
Petrol.
Storing it.

The same goes for many material possessions which suck up time that you could be using to crush your goals. I look forward to the day where we can all easily access a shared electric car. Cars are a distraction that rarely bring joy.

 

12. Complex investments subtract from your passion.

Investment properties.
Share trading.
Buying crypto.

These are all investments I’ve made which have eaten up my free time that should have been used for blogging. The temptation to keep making more and more money that I’ll probably never get to spend seems alluring in the moment. Stick to simple investments unless investing is your passion.

Investments such as index funds typically beat the full-time investor and require little work to maintain. This leaves you more time and space in your brain to use on your passions in life.

 

13. The local park does change how you feel.

There’s something about fresh air and trees that takes you out of your head. Greenery is what’s needed when you’ve been working hard and need an escape. You don’t have to spend thousands and go overseas to have this simple escape. The local park can often be far enough.

 

14. The time you need does exist.

That’s why I stopped the following:

– Replying to every social media comment
– Checking emails fifty times a day
– Taking calls from unknown numbers
– Streaming TV shows
– Talking to people on the phone that piss me off
– Going to events to “make an appearance”

 

15. One minute activities are worth their weight in gold.

Spending sixty seconds on something is how new habits can often be formed. I tried bouncing on a trampoline for sixty seconds and loved it; I tried eating sardines for sixty seconds and saw the benefits straight away; I tried smiling for no good reason for sixty seconds and saw the impact.

 

16. The next conversation could be your soul mate.

That next encounter could be the love of your life. If you are determined to live life with the right positive attitude, then someone will find that attractive. If you tell everybody that you’ll never find someone, then that’s what life will deliver because you asked for it.

 

17. A comment on social media can become something.

I’ve had some followers read my stuff for years. One of them the other day introduced me to a highly lucrative new business. Always be nice to everyone on social media. You never know where your next opportunity could come from.

 

18. Keeping the toilet bowl clean is a must.

Always leave the world better than you found it. You would also like to find the toilet clean when nature calls.

 

19. Showing one person, one thing, makes you a coach.

That’s how I started my business by offering advice to a young man for free. Once you can add value to one person’s life, you can be a coach. Through coaching, you can help pass on your knowledge and wisdom to others who can use it towards their goals.

We all have it within us to be a coach.

Becoming a coach is the first step to leadership. Leaders create change.

 

20. Please and thank you does make you smile.

Say it and then watch what it does. You’ll feel good when you say it like you mean it. No one’s here to be your butler so be nice to everyone. Say thank you and please with passion and gratitude.

 

21. You’re being referenced checked 100% of the time.

That’s why lying will kill your success. Everything you do is being shared with your network so give people something inspiring, happy and positive to say about you. That’s how you attract more of what you want into your life.

 

22. A five-dollar donation is enough.

I was sitting at a restaurant with a friend last week and a man who had very little was selling a magazine to feed himself. My friend gave him 5-dollars and told him to keep the magazine. That five dollars changed the man’s day and he was so very happy that someone showed him kindness.

My friend also felt great after the encounter. It doesn’t take much to bring happiness to the world. It’s not the money or things that creates happiness; it’s the kindness you show when you do something without expecting anything in return.

It’s easier to be happy than you think.

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

13 Life Changing Principles From Benjamin Franklin

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How do you decide what’s important to you on a day to day basis? How do you decide what principles to stand by and what moral code to uphold?

Today we are constantly bombarded by news and social media messages from all around the world. This 24-hour news cycle has changed the way we absorb information, and it has shifted the way we identify reliable content. In fact, it has even changed the way that we think about what is important and how we envision success.

If you’re like me, you find it difficult to cut through the noise and develop a clear understanding of what is truly important to you. The challenge of cutting through the noise has led me to go back in time to explore the writings of some of the leading thinkers and professionals of the past.

Here are Benjamin Franklin’s 13 principles he believed led to success:

1. Temperance

Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation. Temperance is not a trait that comes easily to many people. We live in a world driven by consumerism and excess, and we are constantly being sold on bottomless brunches or all you can eat buffets. Still, there is a growing movement of temperance and minimalism, especially among young people. The growth of this movement is something to watch out for moving forward.

2. Silence

Speak not what may benefit others or yourself, and avoid trifling conversation. We live in an age of connectivity and “always on” engagement. Too often we’re caught up reading our Facebook News Feed and updating people on our every thought and action. Interestingly, we are seeing a push away from this hyper connectivity towards “digital detoxes” and the growing popularity of silent retreats.

3. Order

Let all your things have their places. With more information comes a greater need for order. If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he would be blown away by the number of organisations, apps, and programs available to people looking to streamline their lives.

4. Resolution

Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve. Goal setting is a top priority for most millennials and young people, yet people still struggle to follow through on their resolutions. Once you make a decision about something you want to accomplish, try your best to stick to it by setting out a definite plan for accomplishing it.

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” – Benjamin Franklin

5. Frugality

Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself. For example, waste nothing. Frugality isn’t sexy, but it is seductively addictive. While most people would prefer to live a life of luxury and drive luxury sports cars all day, the skill required to live frugally and within your means translates into an amazing strength of will and character.

Plus, it can actually be fun. Living within (or below) your means during good times is one way to ensure that you can survive when times are tough. There are a number of resources available online that provide advice on how to save money on everything from rent to food to transportation and leisure travel.

6. Industry

Lose no time. Always be employed in something useful, and cut off all unnecessary actions. Being busy for the sake of business is not helpful. Rather, being productive by doing only that which is useful to you or someone else is key to success. Always be looking for ways to cut out unnecessary actions.

7. Sincerity

Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly. Being truthful and sincere in your thoughts, words, and deeds is one of the best ways to achieve happiness and develop stronger relationships with those around you. While you may look for ways to avoid telling the truth because it might be hurtful or damaging, consider what affect it will have on you if you constantly have to hide how you truly feel.

8. Justice

Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty. Effectively, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don’t be rude.

9. Moderation

Avoid extremes. Forbear resenting injuries so much you think they deserve. Avoid becoming overly obsessive about any one thing or idea. Live a life of balance and moderation and you will be much better at making challenging decisions.

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” – Benjamin Franklin

10. Cleanliness

Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation. Pretty straight forward, don’t be a slob.

11. Tranquillity

Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable. Try your best, then don’t worry, be happy. If you aren’t able to accomplish a goal but you’ve still tried your very best, there is no use worrying.

12. Chastity

Rarely use venery (sex) but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation. While this may seem like a rather antiquated principle, the power of chastity is not to be underestimated. There is a growing population of people who are self-diagnosed sex addicts or porn addicts. Addiction to pornography and sex can affect productivity and the ability to focus on long term goals.

13. Humility

Imitate Jesus and Socrates. Again, while this may seem rather dated, there is much to be said for emulating the lives of those who have lived simple and influential lives. Clearly, some of these virtues are more relevant than others, but most of the principles mentioned represent areas of personal development that nearly everyone on earth struggles with in one way or another.

Benjamin Franklin suggests that in order to develop yourself properly, you should focus on improving one quality at a time rather than trying to tackle all thirteen points at once. It is with this in mind that I urge you to take a look at your own habits and areas of interest and to choose one principle to focus on improving over the next week.

Which one of these habits will you implement first into your life and why? Comment below!

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Life

5 Simple Things to Do Right Now if You Feel Stuck in Life

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As a success-blogger, I normally have a great deal of clarity about what I need to be working on. I’m also really driven by a sense of purpose in helping others get unstuck and make an impact in their lives. There aren’t many times that I find myself at a loss for what to do next.

Nonetheless, I recently hit a dry spell. I felt entirely stuck and a little burnt out. It felt like I was in a pit, emotionally unempowered and unable to move forward. Due to this, I decided to sit down and write out a list of ways that I could get myself moving and build up some momentum again. (more…)

Aaron Force is a blogger from Seattle, Washington. He writes to help others live their most powerful life by allowing them to find their purpose, get unstuck, and impact the world. He can be found at www.aaronforce.net or at https://www.facebook.com/aforce01/.

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Life

5 Simple Things to Do Right Now if You Feel Stuck in Life

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feeling stuck in life

As a success-blogger, I normally have a great deal of clarity about what I need to be working on. I’m also really driven by a sense of purpose in helping others get unstuck and make an impact in their lives. There aren’t many times that I find myself at a loss for what to do next.

Nonetheless, I recently hit a dry spell. I felt entirely stuck and a little burnt out. It felt like I was in a pit, emotionally unempowered and unable to move forward. Due to this, I decided to sit down and write out a list of ways that I could get myself moving and build up some momentum again.

Here is what I came up with and I’m sharing it with you in the hopes that if you, too, are stuck it will make difference for you:

1. Get An Empowering Mindset

When we start to feel like we can’t move forward we often get down on ourselves. We begin to feel incapable and think we must be the cause of all the inaction. This puts us in a negative mindset that is self-reinforcing. To break out of that limiting mentality, try the substitution game. For every negative thought that comes to mind, remove it and replace it with a positive one.

For instance, instead of, “I just can’t figure this out—I’m so stupid,” remove and replace it with, “I’m ALWAYS supplied with a way through at just the right time.” Affirmations like this will keep you positive and put you back in the driver’s seat. Keep at this hard because it is relatively easy to do and you can gain traction quickly.

“Growth hacking is a mindset, and those who have it will reap incredible gains.” – Ryan Holiday

2. Do Some Housekeeping

When I’m really humming along in life, I’ve got no time for cleaning up files and putting things in order. This has to be done sometime and the time when you are stuck not doing anything else makes as good of sense as any.

More than that, however, I’ve also found the process of simplifying and organizing my notes to be very empowering. The very act of setting your mind on “cleaning things up” clarifies your mind. It’s an outward expression of something that changes your experience internally as well.

I’m of the opinion that if we need direction in our lives, we need to make room for it. In this way, we welcome that which we really need. By putting our work in order we prepare the way for new ideas and inspiration.

3. Find Some Quick Results To Encourage Yourself

No matter how stuck you are there is always something you can do that will bring about a measurable result. Even small victories help you feel like you are gaining ground. As you do this, keep these tips in mind:

  • Set simple goals and breeze through them. Think of things you can accomplish in five-to-ten minutes. As you complete them you will gain a sense of momentum.
  • Make this a visual activity. I like to write each of my tasks out and put a little box in front of them. Work to check each item off as quickly as you can. It should be fun so treat it as a game, marking complete as many as you can in an hour, for instance.

4. Get Back To Doing What You Love

To keep growing, I have to keep looking forward to the bigger picture in what I do. Right now I’m spending a lot of time preparing content for future books and courses, but that level of stretching has produced a little burnout. I’m always tunneling forward into territory that I’m not as familiar with so it saps my energy and mental resources.

It’s good to tackle these types of things so that I keep pushing myself. But when I begin to feel like I’m burning out, it’s good to step back into what I’m best at and most comfortable in…for me, that’s writing blog posts. It brings a refreshing sense of fun back into my life.

This gets a sense of positivity flowing again. We have to keep a deep feeling of joy with what we do. Jump-starting that by getting back into your element can get you on the road again.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – Rumi

5. Work On Something New

Sometimes we just get bogged-down and burned-out with what we are working on. It becomes drudgery, but there is always something related that we might not have begun to work on yet. Maybe we didn’t feel ready or we were just too invested in other things to take the turn down that road. In times like this, pull those things out and start working on them.

For me, that recent thing I began to do was guest posting on Addicted2Success. It was something that I had always wanted to do because I believe in everything that they are doing, but I hadn’t gone down that path yet because I didn’t feel ready.

In my period of trying to get unstuck, however, it began to feel like the perfect time to venture into new territory. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to focus on this avenue I have renewed energy and have come closer to fulfilling my overall dream of being a successful blogger.

If you just aren’t getting anywhere in your normal routine, it could be the perfect time to break into something else you’ve been holding off on.

What have you done to break free when YOU are stuck in life? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

5 Subtle Things You Do When You Lack Confidence

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Confidence is a belief in one’s abilities and sense of competence. There are certain subtle things we do when we lack or have low confidence, and you need to be aware of these actions as they are quite subtle and can be easily skipped over. Even worse, we don’t identify the root cause of the problem and then spend years trying to fix something without any effect.

To prevent that, here is a list of 5 subtle things you do when you lack confidence:

1. You begin settling

You have it good enough in life so you settle for less because you think you don’t deserve it. The quote Jim Collins said about good being the enemy of great was focused on companies, but that can also apply to your life, your job and your relationship.

You got a job that you kind of hate. The job itself is okay but the boss is horrible and promotion/growth is not possible, but the salary is okay and the job is “just good.” When you lack confidence in your ability, you settle down. There are always other opportunities out there, so push forward.

The only thing worse than this is if the situation becomes permanent. Evaluate your life now and figure out where you are just floating by in. Believe in your ability to do better and take the risk. Learn new stuff and improve your life.

2. You avoid exposure

You think your ideas are not good or that your personality is not good enough. This is only fueled by your lack of confidence. You stand near the walls at a party to feel protected. The center of attention and the room is 2 meters away, but in your head, it’s a million miles.

Exposing yourself means showing other people who you are. To do that, we need to accept and love who we were. If we can’t, who can? For you to accept yourself continuously, do an exercise called “The Wheel of Change.” The exercise has 4 simple questions you need to answer for yourself giving you the building block of your confidence.

  1. What do I eliminate from my life?
  2. What do I create in my life?
  3. What do I accept in my life?
  4. What do I preserve in my life?

“With confidence, you have won before you have started.” – Marcus Garvey

3. You use distractions instead of solutions

The difference here is the belief. Zorro played by Antonio Banderas, couldn’t defeat his arch-enemy, Captain Harrison Love, because he just didn’t have the skills or knowledge at the time to do it. Due to this, he started drinking.

The drinking led him to despair and he almost gave up, yet a mentor played by Anthony Hopkins taught Zorro how to gain his confidence back and take out his enemies. The main thing was to master things in “The Zorro Circle.” That circle is small, but it’s a place where you have full control. When you master that circle, you expand it. The same things happen with your confidence.

You indulge in distractions, get overwhelmed and then quit. Nonetheless,  the main thing here is to do small things which are in your control. Use solutions instead of distractions and at some point, you will be able to solve problems which were out of your control when you started.

Don’t fall into the trap of rationalization, explaining why you are where you are in life. Just start working small, use solutions instead of distractions and you will get there.

4. You are a one-trick pony

A man came to see a psychologist and told him: “Doctor, I’m always depressed. I tried everything but nothing works. Please, help me out.” The psychologist told him to stand up and come to the window with him. “You see that tent over there?. That is the circus and they are really good. There is this one clown in particular who is really funny. He makes everyone laugh so hard. You should go and see him and you won’t have any reason to be depressed.”

The man turned to the psychologist and said, “Doctor, I am that clown!” You are not a one-trick pony but your friends perceive you like that. You are the funny one that cracks jokes or the trivia guy who has interesting facts around the water cooler.

At a certain point, this becomes who you are, and then, you are scared to show anything else to people around you. At some point, it becomes unbearable and you crack. To prevent this, you need to know that it’s okay to show your full personality.

You are not a one-trick pony. You are a human being with a full range of emotions, character-traits and personalities that must be shown to the world. This is the way to confidence. The other way brings you to the story of Robin Williams who tragically ended his life, so show yourself fully.

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee

5. You lack tears in your eyes

It’s when you are aligned with emotions – when you respect how you feel – that you are truly free to feel the freedom of your emotions. You must love and cherish them when they occur by shedding happy yet sad tears as well.

When you acknowledge what you feel and own it to your deepest level, that’s when you’ll feel the biggest confidence. Don’t run away from your emotions, but own them. Let them go through your body and mind and acknowledge what’s happening in you. Feel it. They are sometimes pleasant and sometimes not, yet they are yours. It’s not how you feel, it’s how you feel about how you feel.

What do you do when you lack confidence? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

22 Incredibly Weird But Profound Life Lessons.

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We’ve all read loads of articles that talk about life lessons, and after a while, they all sound the same.

I wanted to address the unknown, simple and incredibly profound life lessons that I’ve learned. These lessons have come from the strangest of places and many of them are weird.

I like to think that hidden in the weirdness and strangeness of life is where the golden nuggets of wisdom lie.

Here are 22 incredibly weird life lessons I’ve learned:

 

1. Glass bottles, teapots and lava lamps hold beauty.

That’s why I have them around me when I write. They help me peer into another universe and see things up close. They are fully transparent and leave you with more questions than answers.

“Beauty exists in glass just like it exists in many other simple things you currently take for granted”

 

2. Watering pot plants helps you care for others.

I’ve never had kids but pot plants show me that I can care for something other than myself and do a good job. They’re green and feel good to look at. Pot plants also clean the air which is a must in any space where you do creative work and need to feel good.

 

3. That one sentence text message means so much.

“Congrats on the new job”
“Hope you sell your house for a good price”
“Thanks for being my mentor”
“Let me know if you need anything”
“I believe you can do it”
“I’m cheering on the sidelines for you”

You’ve probably never thought these very brief messages would mean much. You probably took these short messages for granted. Next time you’re at rock bottom though, see how these short messages can completely change everything.

That’s why I send messages like this all the time because you never know when someone is at rock bottom or may need a few words to change their perspective.

 

4. An immaculate desk makes your content better.

I’ve A/B tested content written with a messy desk and content written on a desk full of clutter. A clean desk always creates clearer thoughts that sound less distracted.

“Your environment does affect the content you create whether that’s blog posts, videos or audio”

 

5. One block of dark chocolate is all it takes.

That’s all it took for me to get addicted to sugar again. Those small temptations always lead to bigger problems if you don’t remain disciplined. Once you’re rekindled with your temptations, your body demands more.

Don’t let a quick decision ruin everything you’ve built for yourself. Keep saying no to things that don’t serve you.

 

6. That one insult will ruin everything.

Saying nasty stuff only brings more of that into your life. Watch how good a smile can be in even the toughest situation, and you’ll see why you should never insult someone again.

 

7. One beep of your car horn.

It breaks your thought pattern and creates anxiety. People will cut you off and make mistakes when you’re driving. I’ve learned to stop reacting so much which has made me calmer. Avoid the temptation to toot people. It hurts you more than it hurts them.

 

8. You’re one book away from a breakthrough.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah Tim, I get it – read books!”

Well yes, you’ve been told a hundred times to read more. I read heaps and sometimes it does feel pointless. The thing is that all it takes is one idea from a book to create a breakthrough. Most of the advice you read in books you’ve heard before.

Sometimes it’s that one bit of advice, told in such a way, that creates a change in you. You could be one book away from changing your career, starting a new relationship or discovering a new passion.

 

9. Old clothes around the house will remind you of your former self.

I had an old pair of pyjamas that always put me in a bad mood. I realized it was because these pyjamas used to be my gym clothes when I was at the top of my fitness game. If something brings you no joy, get rid of it. Try replacing old clothes with ones that you can create new memories in as your future self.

 

10. You’re one or two connections away from anyone.

Okay, hear me out. I did a diagram the other day and realized that even a simple kid from Australia with a relatively small network (I’m talking about me) is only one or two connections away from Gary Vaynerchuk, Richard Branson, Tim Ferriss, and the founders of Uber and Airbnb.

I’m not kidding. You’re closer to your heroes than you think. Everyone knows everyone which is a big advantage providing you don’t abuse it.

 

11. A car is a distraction whether you like it or not.

Washing it.
Scratches.
Petrol.
Storing it.

The same goes for many material possessions which suck up time that you could be using to crush your goals. I look forward to the day where we can all easily access a shared electric car. Cars are a distraction that rarely bring joy.

 

12. Complex investments subtract from your passion.

Investment properties.
Share trading.
Buying crypto.

These are all investments I’ve made which have eaten up my free time that should have been used for blogging. The temptation to keep making more and more money that I’ll probably never get to spend seems alluring in the moment. Stick to simple investments unless investing is your passion.

Investments such as index funds typically beat the full-time investor and require little work to maintain. This leaves you more time and space in your brain to use on your passions in life.

 

13. The local park does change how you feel.

There’s something about fresh air and trees that takes you out of your head. Greenery is what’s needed when you’ve been working hard and need an escape. You don’t have to spend thousands and go overseas to have this simple escape. The local park can often be far enough.

 

14. The time you need does exist.

That’s why I stopped the following:

– Replying to every social media comment
– Checking emails fifty times a day
– Taking calls from unknown numbers
– Streaming TV shows
– Talking to people on the phone that piss me off
– Going to events to “make an appearance”

 

15. One minute activities are worth their weight in gold.

Spending sixty seconds on something is how new habits can often be formed. I tried bouncing on a trampoline for sixty seconds and loved it; I tried eating sardines for sixty seconds and saw the benefits straight away; I tried smiling for no good reason for sixty seconds and saw the impact.

 

16. The next conversation could be your soul mate.

That next encounter could be the love of your life. If you are determined to live life with the right positive attitude, then someone will find that attractive. If you tell everybody that you’ll never find someone, then that’s what life will deliver because you asked for it.

 

17. A comment on social media can become something.

I’ve had some followers read my stuff for years. One of them the other day introduced me to a highly lucrative new business. Always be nice to everyone on social media. You never know where your next opportunity could come from.

 

18. Keeping the toilet bowl clean is a must.

Always leave the world better than you found it. You would also like to find the toilet clean when nature calls.

 

19. Showing one person, one thing, makes you a coach.

That’s how I started my business by offering advice to a young man for free. Once you can add value to one person’s life, you can be a coach. Through coaching, you can help pass on your knowledge and wisdom to others who can use it towards their goals.

We all have it within us to be a coach.

Becoming a coach is the first step to leadership. Leaders create change.

 

20. Please and thank you does make you smile.

Say it and then watch what it does. You’ll feel good when you say it like you mean it. No one’s here to be your butler so be nice to everyone. Say thank you and please with passion and gratitude.

 

21. You’re being referenced checked 100% of the time.

That’s why lying will kill your success. Everything you do is being shared with your network so give people something inspiring, happy and positive to say about you. That’s how you attract more of what you want into your life.

 

22. A five-dollar donation is enough.

I was sitting at a restaurant with a friend last week and a man who had very little was selling a magazine to feed himself. My friend gave him 5-dollars and told him to keep the magazine. That five dollars changed the man’s day and he was so very happy that someone showed him kindness.

My friend also felt great after the encounter. It doesn’t take much to bring happiness to the world. It’s not the money or things that creates happiness; it’s the kindness you show when you do something without expecting anything in return.

It’s easier to be happy than you think.

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

13 Life Changing Principles From Benjamin Franklin

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How do you decide what’s important to you on a day to day basis? How do you decide what principles to stand by and what moral code to uphold?

Today we are constantly bombarded by news and social media messages from all around the world. This 24-hour news cycle has changed the way we absorb information, and it has shifted the way we identify reliable content. In fact, it has even changed the way that we think about what is important and how we envision success.

If you’re like me, you find it difficult to cut through the noise and develop a clear understanding of what is truly important to you. The challenge of cutting through the noise has led me to go back in time to explore the writings of some of the leading thinkers and professionals of the past.

Here are Benjamin Franklin’s 13 principles he believed led to success:

1. Temperance

Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation. Temperance is not a trait that comes easily to many people. We live in a world driven by consumerism and excess, and we are constantly being sold on bottomless brunches or all you can eat buffets. Still, there is a growing movement of temperance and minimalism, especially among young people. The growth of this movement is something to watch out for moving forward.

2. Silence

Speak not what may benefit others or yourself, and avoid trifling conversation. We live in an age of connectivity and “always on” engagement. Too often we’re caught up reading our Facebook News Feed and updating people on our every thought and action. Interestingly, we are seeing a push away from this hyper connectivity towards “digital detoxes” and the growing popularity of silent retreats.

3. Order

Let all your things have their places. With more information comes a greater need for order. If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he would be blown away by the number of organisations, apps, and programs available to people looking to streamline their lives.

4. Resolution

Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve. Goal setting is a top priority for most millennials and young people, yet people still struggle to follow through on their resolutions. Once you make a decision about something you want to accomplish, try your best to stick to it by setting out a definite plan for accomplishing it.

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” – Benjamin Franklin

5. Frugality

Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself. For example, waste nothing. Frugality isn’t sexy, but it is seductively addictive. While most people would prefer to live a life of luxury and drive luxury sports cars all day, the skill required to live frugally and within your means translates into an amazing strength of will and character.

Plus, it can actually be fun. Living within (or below) your means during good times is one way to ensure that you can survive when times are tough. There are a number of resources available online that provide advice on how to save money on everything from rent to food to transportation and leisure travel.

6. Industry

Lose no time. Always be employed in something useful, and cut off all unnecessary actions. Being busy for the sake of business is not helpful. Rather, being productive by doing only that which is useful to you or someone else is key to success. Always be looking for ways to cut out unnecessary actions.

7. Sincerity

Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly. Being truthful and sincere in your thoughts, words, and deeds is one of the best ways to achieve happiness and develop stronger relationships with those around you. While you may look for ways to avoid telling the truth because it might be hurtful or damaging, consider what affect it will have on you if you constantly have to hide how you truly feel.

8. Justice

Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty. Effectively, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Don’t be rude.

9. Moderation

Avoid extremes. Forbear resenting injuries so much you think they deserve. Avoid becoming overly obsessive about any one thing or idea. Live a life of balance and moderation and you will be much better at making challenging decisions.

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” – Benjamin Franklin

10. Cleanliness

Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation. Pretty straight forward, don’t be a slob.

11. Tranquillity

Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable. Try your best, then don’t worry, be happy. If you aren’t able to accomplish a goal but you’ve still tried your very best, there is no use worrying.

12. Chastity

Rarely use venery (sex) but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation. While this may seem like a rather antiquated principle, the power of chastity is not to be underestimated. There is a growing population of people who are self-diagnosed sex addicts or porn addicts. Addiction to pornography and sex can affect productivity and the ability to focus on long term goals.

13. Humility

Imitate Jesus and Socrates. Again, while this may seem rather dated, there is much to be said for emulating the lives of those who have lived simple and influential lives. Clearly, some of these virtues are more relevant than others, but most of the principles mentioned represent areas of personal development that nearly everyone on earth struggles with in one way or another.

Benjamin Franklin suggests that in order to develop yourself properly, you should focus on improving one quality at a time rather than trying to tackle all thirteen points at once. It is with this in mind that I urge you to take a look at your own habits and areas of interest and to choose one principle to focus on improving over the next week.

Which one of these habits will you implement first into your life and why? Comment below!

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