Recently, Tim Ferriss turned 40. Many think of him as the ultimate form of success.
His life is not as rosy as you may think. After one particular episode of his podcast, he admitted to turning 40 and trying to answer life’s toughest questions. With all of his wisdom and success, he still has the same challenges trying to answer life’s biggest questions.
To solve this challenge, he started emailing these tough questions to people he thought were the smartest in the world at life. While I don’t know the result, I know I’ve struggled with the same questions as Mr. Ferriss.
No one prepares you for life and these tough questions that we all face surround even the most successful people. This was a real “lightbulb” moment for me when I realized that Tim Ferriss, and others, suffer from the same questions that I find hard to answer.
So let’s explore these questions, so we’re all on the same page.
Am I no longer young anymore?
Tim Ferriss has certainly brought up this one a bit. Now he’s 40 he’s no longer in his 20’s or 30’s which officially makes him a grown man in many cultures.
What I’ve learned about my own age is that I felt like an old man at 21 and feel like a teenager now that I’m a bit older. Age is determined by how you feel. I do think, though, that we all get to an age where our conscious and subconscious minds align and realize that life doesn’t last forever.
Tim appears to have finally reached this point and that’s why he’s asked the questions that follow this one. He’s at a point where these questions can no longer be ignored or taken as something to address later in life. That’s what age can do to you. This happens to all of us at different times in our life.
Don’t fear these questions. Use them as motivation.
Will I ever find my one true passion?
Just like with my blogging, Tim Ferriss has many pursuits himself. With only one life, it’s difficult not to consider whether this one pursuit that has got you where you are will be your last. For many of us, it will. For some, we may change paths.
I think this question is near impossible to answer. All I’ve learned is that you must do what you love and make it a passion. You have to become consciously aware of at least one thing you can invest your time into. Without even trying to find a passion, there’s a strong chance you’ll never get close.
Sometimes our passion is hidden. Like mine for example; I love inspiring people and have used music, blogging and even video to deliver my passion. Look a little deeper and you may find that all of your pursuits center around one particular theme (mines inspiring others) – that’s your passion.
Is this person my life partner?
Now that Tim’s 40 he’s definitely talking a lot more about finding a partner and even kids. Until he turned 40, these themes were somewhat ignored from his popular podcast or glossed over. When you realize that you can’t live forever, you start to think about three things:
1. Do I want a life partner?
2. Is the person I’m currently seeing my life partner?
3. Do I realize there could be multiple life partners in my life?
The reality is that even if you find a life partner, they could die, divorce you or even cheat on you. Nothing is for life. With that said, I think it’s healthy to at least try and find a life partner otherwise you may live to regret it later on.
“You have to decide whether a life partner works for your model of the world. For many of you, you’ll find it will”
Do I want kids and how will it change my life?
This one’s been mentioned a few times by Tim and I don’t think he knows the answer yet.
“The challenge is tossing up between the commitment kids take versus the legacy you want to leave”
I never thought I wanted kids but I think if I left this world without any physical human legacy, I’d feel like I hadn’t tried everything life has to offer. Everyone I know that has had kids describes it as a feeling you can’t explain. This is a question you need to contemplate.
This question is one of life’s biggest ones and many people (including Tim Ferriss) haven’t answered it yet. Unfortunately, at some stage, this question must be answered with a yes or a no.
How will I deal with sickness or death?
As Tim has gotten older and recently turned 40, he’s experienced what it’s like to have people close to him die. People can die at any age but this reality becomes more apparent as you get older. Each time someone passes away, you’re reminded of your own mortality.
With each death, you have a choice to make: will you use death as a motivator or will you let it make you sad and remind you of your mortality?
Dealing with death hasn’t been easy for Tim and I suspect it’s the same for everyone. We all have to find a way to move on in life when tragedy or sickness takes someone we love.
What does success really mean to me?
If you think about all the success Tim Ferriss has had, this question is something he clearly ponders a lot. When you’re at the top of the mountain, it’s not all that hard to forget how challenging it was to get there.
I think Tim is still defining what success means to him and I believe he has at least realized it has nothing to do with podcast downloads, books sold or money in the bank. All of us need to at least get to this level at some stage in our life. Defining what success is beyond these mediocre metrics is the mysterious puzzle to solve. Luckily puzzles are fun and intriguing.
“Based on what I’ve seen of Tim, I think the one thing he hasn’t mastered is how he can mentor others beyond his podcast and books”
While his podcast and books help us all greatly, deep down, Tim knows that it also tickles the fetish he has for experimentation and talking to leaders.
Doing something solely for the purpose of helping others and having no real personal gain is the next level. I’m not there yet either and I think we all arrive there at some point. Both Tim and I will hopefully discover this feeling later in life before we leave this world.
I’d love you to discover this same concept of success for yourself too.
So what do you do now with these questions?
We’ve come a long way in a relatively small number of words. This post is designed to point out these questions, so you don’t lose sight of them.
I may have presented more questions than answers and that’s okay.
Here are some answers to these questions to ponder:
– There’s a high chance there isn’t one of anything.
– You’ll know when something feels right. Trust your judgment.
– What you value could be very different to everyone else and that’s cool.
Tim Ferris, myself, and anyone else you may follow all have the same questions to ponder. If you realize that after reading this at the very least, then my job is done. If you didn’t, then read this blog post again.
Everyone you meet in life is having their own battle with these life questions. These questions create fear, sadness, awareness and happiness all at the same time.
These life questions are the meaning of your life. I’ve just given you the most difficult challenge you’ll ever face in life and only just come to terms with that. It’s okay though – someone has to be the messenger.
Answer these questions above and you’ll know what life means to you. Good luck!
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
6 Reasons Why You Should Never Glorify Failure After You’ve Failed
Many people are ashamed of failure. If they so much as smell a whiff of failure, they quit instantly because the public notices it quickly. But you shouldn’t be ashamed of failure. A lot of people have failed. I’ve failed over and over again in my career, business, relationships and more. Yet, I keep trying because failure isn’t the final verdict. (more…)
How to Move Forward When All Seems Lost
A few weeks ago, the relationship of my venture with a long-term client turned rocky. Losing them would mean a huge loss for my business, but it appeared like that’s where we were headed. My mind raced with unpleasant thoughts. Maybe the client had figured out that I couldn’t lead my team well. Maybe I was not good enough to be an entrepreneur. Maybe I was not good enough to do anything.
Why was the world so unfair?! Within moments, my anxiety had shot through the roof and my heart was racing faster than an F1 car engine. But I know I’m not the only one who feels like this.
Why Problems Overwhelm Us
As human beings, we’re good at solving problems, so they shouldn’t stress us out. Yet, they do just that. Why?
Consider some of these situations in life. When a relationship is headed for troubled waters, we wonder whether our partner loves us anymore. Our mind unearths memories of when we got dumped or rejected. We blame ourselves for falling for the wrong people and tell ourselves that we’re not worth receiving love.
How do you think the relationship will steer after that? If we cannot stick to a diet, we think of other times when we gave up. We remember what people said about things that we couldn’t do and ask ourselves, “were they right?” We tell ourselves that we don’t have what it takes to succeed at anything.
Do you think we’ll find the grit to stick to the diet after this? So here we are… thinking we’re not good enough to be entrepreneurs, to be loved, to get promoted, or to achieve our personal goals. Notice a pattern yet? We move in the wrong direction. The destination is to achieve the goal. And unless we stop giving into emotions and start addressing situations, we’ll keep failing to get there.
Negative emotions (and even extremely positive ones) blur our vision. The more we focus on them, the deeper we go into how we feel. We either get angry because things aren’t the way we want them to be, or get paralyzed by the fear of the worst possible outcome. This means we pull away from the one thing we must do to set things right — take action.
“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep.” – Dale Carnegie
How to Take Action in the Face of Problems
Most human beings are good at solving problems. Where we get blindsided is at diagnosing the right problem. To diagnose the right problem, we must address the situation instead of emotions. We must see things for what they are, collect facts on what we’re worrying about, and then ask ourselves, “What should I do next?”
In his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, Dale Carnegie wrote: “Neither you nor I nor Einstein nor the Supreme Court of the United States is brilliant enough to reach an intelligent decision on any problem without first getting the facts.”
To address the tricky situation with my client, I took the following three steps:
1. First, I acknowledged the feeling
Solving a problem doesn’t mean ignoring emotions. It’s important to acknowledge how you feel because it reveals the path, but domesticating your emotions is more important. I acknowledged how I felt by saying, “I feel anxious because the client might not want to work with us anymore and this will be a financial loss for us.”
Note how I said “I feel anxious” and not “I’m a loser.” If I had given into negative chatter, I wouldn’t have uncovered the direction to move in (the part after “because”). This is why domesticating emotions is crucial.
2. Next, I prepared for the worst
We often run from our worst fears rather than facing them despite knowing that the worst outcome rarely comes true. The result is that we stay stuck in fear instead of pushing beyond it. And we never discover what we’re really capable of, which sucks.
In my case, the worst meant losing the client. It would hurt but it was the truth. However, we could get more clients. Plus we already had other clients who helped us pay the bills. In other words, I wouldn’t have to live on the street.
The moment I accepted this, a huge weight got lifted off my chest. This prepared me for the third and final step.
“Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.” – Zig Ziglar
3. Lastly, I examined the situation
Examining a situation means setting aside your emotional baggage and focusing on facts. When you trust that you’ll be okay, you become better at diagnosing the real problem. Once I felt lighter, I could see things clearly.
I used the 5 Whys Technique (asking “why” five times) to figure out the real reason for the client’s dissatisfaction. Then I collected data on the issue and on what we had previously delivered.
Finally, I reached out to the CEO of the client and held a detailed and constructive discussion based on my findings. Within four days, the CEO and I were back to the way things were before.
The best way to prepare for tomorrow is to give today your best. I’m not sure whether the issue with the client got resolved for good or whether the client won’t pack up and leave one day. However, I am sure that I’m prepared to handle such cases better today than I was yesterday.
Control your emotions instead of letting them run amok. Accept things for what they are instead of what you want them to be. Be realistic instead of delusional. Address the situation instead of succumbing to emotions.
Don’t preempt what lies ten miles ahead and get paralyzed by fear. Address what lies clearly in front of you and keep moving. One day you’ll be surprised about how close to your destination you are.
How do you move forward when all hope seems to be lost? Share your advice below!
8 Effective Tips to Improve Your Emotional Wellbeing
You know what they say, “Health Is Wealth”. But, more often than not, we only mean it in the context of physical health. There’s no question that being fit is the world’s greatest treasure. Unfortunately, not a lot of us take time out to look after our emotional health and wellbeing.
Let’s not forget – it’s ‘Mind Over Matter’. So, if you are able to take control of your emotions, thoughts, how you feel through the day and how you respond to myriad situations; there’s nothing quite like it. When you become the master of your emotions; health, prosperity, and basically all good things are bound to follow you.
With that said, here are 8 surefire ways that will improve your emotional wellbeing:
1. Practice Mindfulness
Half the time, we don’t even know what we’re thinking or how we’re feeling. That’s because we let our minds operate on autopilot. It’s time to take control of your mind. Be aware of what and how you feel throughout the day. The upside to this practice is that you can detect negative emotions right on the onset and quickly change them and their corresponding feeling.
Feelings of anger, jealousy, hatred; they are not good for the mind, soul, or the body. Paying close attention to the spectrum of emotions you experience throughout the day, will help you detect the negative ones and kick them away before they fester deep enough to take away your happiness and emotional health.
2. Stay Physically Active
As you engage in physical activities, your brain produces a whole bunch of feel-good hormones such as endorphins and dopamine. These hormones are what causes the ‘elated’ or ‘euphoric’ feeling. Being physically active uplifts your mood and your outlook towards life. It readies you to take the challenges more head-on instead of becoming overwhelmed by the littlest of inconvenience.
You are better able to analyze tough situations and take a more proactive rather than a reactive approach. It’s no question physical health is in direct proportion with emotional health. A healthy mind resides in a healthy body and vice versa.
“Caring for the mind is as important and crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.” – Sid Garza-Hillman
3. Get Sufficient Sleep
Ever noticed how you feel depressed and cranky, and just out of focus the day you fail to get a good night’s sleep? Well, if you fail to get sufficient sleep for a couple of days, you are bound to feel more depressed, cranky and eventually more prone to a host of negative emotions. Research shows that sleep deprivation sends amygdala – our brain’s emotional response center into overdrive.
Amygdala controls our immediate emotional responses. When it becomes overactive, we become more reactive rather than active. We become more irritable, angry and anxious. A good night’s sleep is vital to improving your emotional wellbeing.
4. Develop a New Hobby
Learn to swim. Try arts and crafts. How about painting? Swimming is a ‘happy’ activity. You get to make new friends and stay fit. Arts and crafts, as we all know, tends to have a relaxing effect on the mind and the nerves.
Just the process of creating something from scratch makes you confident and gets those creative juices flowing. Similarly, painting helps you express yourself. All these factors together create a ‘happy you’. The one who likes to engage in new things instead of resisting change or difficult situations.
5. Eat Healthy
Ever heard of the phrase, “You are what you eat”? Well, it’s true to the last syllable. When you eat foods rich in salt, sodium, fat – you are bound to feel lethargic. It takes longer for the body to digest such foods. That means the body is forced to deprive organs of blood and use it for the digestion purpose.
Result? You become lazy, moody, not ready to take any responsibility which leads to feeling cranky and irritable. On the other hand, eating fibrous vegetables, fruits, salads, and complex sugars keeps you upbeat and healthy.
6. Laugh Your Heart Out
Laughter is the best medicine. That is why they have a dedicated ‘laughter session’ in yoga studios. You don’t even have to mean it. The simple act of spreading your cheeks and pretending to laugh sends a signal to your body that you are happy.
And what happens when you are happy? Your brain releases happy hormones like dopamine, serotonin and what not. In fact, many studies have gone so far as to stipulate that laughter alone is capable of treating all kinds of physical ailments. Why should emotional ailments be any different?
7. Try Relaxation Techniques
‘’Visualization technique’’ where you imagine yourself in a happy place is a surefire way to calm your nerves if you find yourself distressed. You may also try praying to elate yourself. Praying is good for the mind and the soul.
Controlled breathing or ‘biofeedback technique’ are some other relaxation techniques that can tame how you feel and even your bodily functions. Try surrounding yourself with aromatherapy or scented candles because the smell is a big factor in governing how we feel.
“Positive emotional energy is the key to health, happiness and wellbeing. The more positive you are, the better your life will be in every area.” – Brian Tracy
8. Count Your Blessings
We all have so much to be thankful for. It could be a friend who stands by you or a happy family. Good health. Financial freedom. Make a list of all the things that you feel grateful for in your life. If it’s a person, be sure to communicate your feelings and express your gratitude.
You will feel so much happier. Happiness is the diet of a healthy mind and an intelligent emotional response mechanism. You could also try writing a poem or simply expressing your gratitude through the power of prayers.
There are so many ways to become emotionally intelligent and not one of them requires any investment or special skills. Practically anyone and everyone can do it. All you need is the will and the desire.
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The word gratitude has been tossed around, but do you know exactly what it means or how to implement it into your life? Someone has probably told you in your life, “Express more gratitude.” Well, that sounds like a great idea, but if you don’t know what gratitude is, how can you fully express it in your life? It’s a concept that once you grasp, it will change your life. (more…)
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