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

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

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

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

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

 

What is Stoicism?

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

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

Here is Stoicism broken down into insanely simple dot points:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Disruptions to serenity cannot be avoided.

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

 

You must disrupt yourself.

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

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

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

 

In good and bad times we have a choice.

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

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

 

Make it a habit of looking inward.

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

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

 

Being paranoid and fearful will destroy you.

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

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

 

Anger will not help you.

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

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

 

Everything takes up space.

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

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

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

 

Practice poverty.

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

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

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

 

You protect everything you have, why not your mind?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Without proper training, you’re a fool.

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

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

 

Your mind becomes what you think consistently.

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

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

 

You don’t know everything.

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

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

 

Think of your problems in relation to the sky.

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

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

 

Forget stereotypes and labels: concentrate on character.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

There is never an end to the personal development journey.

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

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

 

Work is good for you.

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

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

 

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

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

 

How you handle disaster is everything.

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

 

Seek out obstacles.

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

 

You have one job and only one job.

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

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

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

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Meg

    Sep 26, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    Wow! This is the best thing that I have read, it is just what I have needed to understand myself more! Thank you so much . I actually shed tears while reading this, again Thank you.

  2. T

    Sep 19, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Nice one. I like Stoicism as a mindset a lot while others prefer the more eastern philosophies.

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Life

4 Ways to Give Your Self-Efficacy a Serious Boost

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Boosting your self-efficacy is a simple, yet powerful way to improve the levels of success and happiness you experience in your life. Each of us have goals in our lives, but if we don’t believe in our ability to achieve them, then how are we ever going to be successful?

In fact, according to the Theory of Planned Behaviour, our self-efficacy impacts both the goals we set for ourselves, as well as the amount of action we will take. If we have strong self-efficacy, we will aim higher with more ambitious goals as well as be more likely to follow through with the necessary goal-directed behaviours. However, with low levels of self-efficacy, we are likely not even to follow through and pursue even the most meagre of goals.

Therefore, if we have goals in life that are important to us, it is essential we develop and strengthen our self-efficacy.

Luckily, there are 4 simple areas to focus on when it comes to boosting our self-belief:

1. Boost Self-Efficacy Through Creating Mini Wins

One problem with big personal and life goals is that they take a while to realise. Maintaining motivation over a long period of time can be tough, and after a while, it is only natural to start questioning whether the goal will ever happen.

Rather than letting doubt creep into our minds, setting mini-goals along the way allows us to experience a feeling of success, even if we still have some way to go. These smaller wins still fill us with the same energy and excitement that accompanies bigger goals, albeit at a slightly lower level. But what is really important is that these performance accomplishments keep our self-efficacy levels nice and high.

If we set ourselves lots of mini challenges on the way to our bigger goals, we will soon find our self-efficacy levels through the roof. Think about how you can break your big goals down to allow you to experience performance accomplishments along the way.

“People’s level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based more on what they believe than on what is objectively the case.” – Albert Bandura

2. Boost Self-Efficacy Through Appropriate Role Modeling

Having a role model is a great way to identify your route to success. If you are on a journey, there is a good chance someone has already taken that path and can help you identify the right way to approach your goal. If someone else has done it, there is no reason you can’t do it too.

However, sometimes our role models can be so far ahead of us, it can feel as if we will never get to their level. Therefore, it is important to either focus on the appropriate phase of your role model’s development or find a number of different role models that you can associate to.

For example, if you are wanting to grow your business, Richard Branson could be a good role model. However, if you are right at the beginning of your journey, it may not be appropriate to read about his Virgin Galactic endeavours, so maybe study his early years in business instead.

3. Boost Self-Efficacy Through Positive Verbal Encouragement

It isn’t difficult to find negative messages that will cause you to question your ability to follow through and be successful with your goals. Often, that negative voice can even live inside our own heads, and it will attempt to be heard any time there is a quiet moment in our day.

Therefore, it is vital we find a way to replace those negative messages with some positive reinforcement at regular intervals. The great thing is, there are so many different ways to accomplish this.

The amount of audio content has gone through the roof, and with the rise in popularity of podcasts as well as companies like Audible making this easily accessible to everyone, there is no reason not to fill your day with positive content. Turn your daily commute, queues and gym time into brain training by replacing your music with positive audio content. Listen to biographies about your role models to hit two self-efficacy boosters at the same time.

Alternatively, get yourself a coach or mentor and schedule regular meetings to assess your progress. Although the entire meeting may not be focused on boosting your self-efficacy, a good coach or mentor will end each meeting making you feel that you can be successful, even with the biggest of challenges.

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” – Mahatma Gandhi

4. Boost Self-Efficacy Through Getting Into The Zone

Lastly, a great way to boost your self-belief and self-efficacy is to use music or film to get you into the zone and help make you feel unstoppable. Do you have a favourite playlist that puts you in the right frame of mind and ready to take on the world? Create a Spotify playlist with all of the tracks you know gets you into an emotional state where you feel unstoppable and make sure you listen to this immediately before you take on any challenging activities.

Alternatively, if you have a little more time and attention to spare, video and film can really get you into the mood. Put on a movie like Rocky and you will immediately want to put on your best grey tracksuit and go for an early morning run through the streets. Alternatively, check out motivational videos on YouTube for more of a bitesize chunk of self-efficacy boosting content.

As you can see, boosting your self-efficacy can be simple and fun and easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Boosting your self-efficacy will encourage you to reach higher with your goals, follow through with your actions and develop the resilience needed to reach the levels of success you deserve. Do something every day to boost your self-efficacy and you’ll amaze yourself with the new levels of results you are able to achieve.  

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Life

Visualizing a Life of Greater Abundance

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Abundance is a spiritual principle that says the universe consists of all that I need and that all I need is available to me right now. We all want abundance, although few of us would say that we have it to the degree that we’d hope for. So what is the problem and how do we get to that state of experiencing it in our daily lives? The real problem—and solution—seems to lie in HOW we view abundance.

All things are energy. Everything that we think of as physical, all matter from the mighty mountains down to the molecules that make them up, is equally energy. Where we sometimes come up against limits in our thinking and in our awareness, however, is in choosing to see what our mind most easily recognizes—form. But if we have the option to view abundance either as a physical concept (individual things that have form and bounded limits) or as one of energy (boundless and infinite) why would we not choose the latter?

Identifying the Problem of Form  

One of my personal abundance blocks is becoming overly preoccupied in physical expressions of that abundance. The recognition of form presents many trip-hazards in the spiritual journey. Our fascination with it tends to often be the meddling of the ego which, of course, idolizes physical or conceptual form as a way to create duality (an I-am-separate-ness) in order to highlight its own existence apart from all other things.

As a matter of course, however, this condensing of infinite abundance into perceivable form is an act of SEVERE limitation. Any time a concept is packaged for convenient consumption it always loses its natural impact.

“You must realize that money is not good or evil; it is a tool for expressing your creative energy in the physical world.” – Stephen Richards

Definition also has the curious effect of opening up the possibility for judgment. For better or worse, we attach values to things. For instance, I might begin to believe that money isn’t really all that important. As crazy as that will sound for some, it has been a lifelong block for me. I see money and I think that I can do without it. Perhaps I feel there are nobler pursuits or possibly I think there may be too much effort to attain it and keep it or even a fear that I may lose it— and then what will I do with myself?

Visualizing Abundance As Energy

To begin the visualization, relax and place yourself in a state of mindful presence. If you are not familiar with this concept it is to simply become very aware of and in-tune with the now-moment. You dis-identify with the regrets (or victories) of the past and worries (or hopes) of the future. It is simply about being aware of NOW. Through this act of presence, you begin to become less attached to conceptual form of any kind, not just time.

Now, subtlety shift your awareness to the concept of abundance. It is important to avoid attaching images of manifested forms to it such as money or possessions. Rather than seeing concepts of what you think abundance should look like, begin to see the essence of abundance itself; energy. With eyes closed, in your state of presence, begin to “see” the waves of energy—the essence of abundance—all around you. Let your imagination vividly take over the visualization. You are directing this mind-movie; let it be as cinematically convincing as you can.

Notice a few things about the nature of this energy:

  • It is formless. There is no firm definition and there are no hard edges.
  • It flows where it wants to and as it wants to. You don’t control it, you can merely accept it.
  • It is infinite. There is a depth to the energy that is powerful and unending.
  • It is friendly. It gravitates toward and lovingly surrounds you.
  • It is good. There is nothing bad to abundance energy and it only has your best interest as its intention.
  • It is complete. The abundance energy is EVERYTHING that is good—health, loving relationships, and financial prosperity—without any definition between each.

This energy is the essence of infinite abundance. Abundance is wholeness and completeness. It is perfection. In many ways it could be described as heaven; the kingdom on earth. The energy is formless—you cannot see it directly as money or health or relationships or wonderful circumstances—but you can sense that all of those things are there. We don’t get a visual cue but we can feel them. There is no specificity or form but rather—at most—shades of energy like the bands of audial or visual frequencies in a spectrum.

Visualizing Yourself As Energy

At the same time view yourself as boundless energy. In your state of presence, this shouldn’t be difficult; you have already risen above the concept of form. In your awareness, recognize that the universe is also within YOU. Abundance is within YOU. Abundance IS you. So visualize yourself a wellspring of infinite energy yourself and allow it to flow out of you and join in dance with the energy around you. In this embrace of energy, you see yourself as one with the universe which is, of course, the epitome of abundance itself.

“We are all wealth. We are all treasure. We are the abundance of all things. Spend yourself completely.” – Bryant McGill

This entire technique is ultimately an act of accepting abundance. All of it is good; there is no reason to fear what may be drawn to you. You are immersing yourself in ALL good things. You are immersed in a sea of EVERY good thing that possibly is or could be by your manifestation of it. THIS is abundance. You are not deprived of any positive, helpful, empowering resource. You are now experiencing completeness.

This technique gets easier and more powerful with practice. I love this visualization because it goes straight to the root of the problem—form identity as it relates to abundance—and deals with it at the elemental level. By removing rigid concepts of abundance I have found that it is much easier to appropriate it into my life. If this has been helpful to you please comment and share that others may find success as well.

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We Know Thoughts Become Things, but Where Did Those Thoughts Come From?

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It’s common knowledge that what we concentrate on over any length of time, manifests. The notion that thoughts precede reality has been around for quite some time and we also know that the intermediate step between thoughts and reality is behavior.

So, we think something, that thought drives a certain behavioral pattern, and enough of that behavior will create whatever that original thought outcome was. But did you ever wonder where those thoughts came from? How many of them came from poor mothers and fathers and preachers and teachers when we were babies?

Let’s face it, our formative years were spent with these aforementioned individuals and they were adults. They may have said things to us that we perhaps misinterpreted because, we were six years old! They weren’t trying to deceive us or teach us something negative. They just assumed that when they said something (and it may not have even been to us) that the listener would be able to connect the dots!

Let me give you an example. When I was growing up my mother, father, and I were watching variety shows on the black and white television set in the middle of our living room, quite often my mother would say, when someone was singing, that they were actually dubbing! In other words, singing to a turned off microphone while the actual recording was actually being played from the sound engineers’ room! She was probably correct! Many of the singers on those old shows were dubbing their studio recordings.

“All action results from thought. So it is thoughts that matter.” – Sai Baba

But she made it seem as if the singer and the host were trying to deceive us. My mother would say something like, “They aren’t singing for real, they’re just moving their lips! Isn’t that terrible?” Now I could never really tell if they were singing, or not, but this was my mom, so I accepted what she said at face value. Except, I really thought those people were terrible people for trying to trick my poor mother and that they were very bad. (Keep in mind, I was 6!)

That script stayed with me long into adulthood, and I very consciously watched out for people that were going to make a fool out of me and I either avoided them or confronted them. That thought pattern of filling in the blanks from what adults told me when I was a child is what I like to call Projective Resolution, can be debilitating. Personally, it sabotaged several meaningful relationships and my first 2 professional positions.

I was able to identify the faulty script years later and resolve it, but I wonder how many more I have playing right now, that I might not be aware of. How about you? What scripts are causing your Projective Resolution?

The reason they are so hard to spot is because we have repeated them so many times for so many years, that they have become a habit and are firmly entrenched into our subconscious minds. But the behavior is real. And it can be devastating!

You may ask if it is possible to eradicate the old scripts and I believe the answer is yes. I did! And without any professional assistance, and well before I had the internet for quick guidance.

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Peace Pilgrim

If you think you are a victim of Projective Resolution, try these steps:

  • Step #1: Spend some time in quiet thought, thinking about situations with parents and others when you were a child. It may be helpful to start with your first thought of childhood and work up from there.
  • Step #2: What were some of the admonitions and sayings that were said to you? Perhaps it was “A stitch in time saves 9.” And you were told that so many times that you now take 9 stitches immediately, just in case. You plan, plan, plan! Can that be an OCD?
  • Step #3: Link past experiences to current behavior and tag the behaviors that you want to change. If you can identify current behaviors that are driven by conversations when you were a child and left to “fill in the blanks”, you are well on your way to rewriting the scripts.
  • Step #4: Now that you are an adult, put adult meaning on what the person (the adult) was trying to convey to you when you were a child. (Yes, you can actively role play with that person and talk to them adult-to-adult!)
  • Step #5: Place the proper meaning on that statement now.
  • Step #6: Forgive the adult who may have steered you wrong. They did the best they could at the time with what they had!
  • I hope that you see the moral to this story. Please be carful of what you say to children. They are taking what you say and filling in the blanks. But they are doing so with the mind of a child. If you think in those terms, you may guard your words very carefully.

What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below!

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Life

The Simplest Mindset Hack to Get More Out of Life

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Money. Happiness. Success. Love. I think we can all agree that “more” is something we often find ourselves chasing, whether we’re willing to admit it or not, in our businesses, health, relationships and our lives in general.

Typically when we’re looking to increase our income (whether in our business or in our personal accounts) we often look to typical business and career strategies to do so. We look for a new, higher paying job. We open a new location. Work longer hours. Increase or improve our marketing efforts. Attend more networking events. The list goes on and on.

When we’re looking for more love in relationships we may schedule date nights with our significant other. Nag them for attention. Some, even resort to extra-marital affairs to feel the love they need. In health, we hire personal trainers. Go on diets…I’m sure you’re getting the point by now.

All of these strategies, however require us to do more of something. But what if the process to getting more of anything started before all that? What if there was a simple mindset hack that would allow your marketing, networking, dieting, date nights and gym sessions to have a greater impact? What if one behavioral tweak, that involved you doing less would lead to more happiness? More love? Just more!

“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.” – Steve Maraboli

The mindset hack to having more

This mindset hack is actually so simple you may not believe me but I’m going to tell you anyways. If you want to start having more in your life, the secret to doing so is to begin accepting compliments.

Yes. You read that right – by beginning to accept compliments we actually increase our ability to earn more money, experience more happiness and have more overall success. Stay with me and I’ll explain how this works.

First, however, I want you to consider this situation and question: Imagine it’s a normal day. It’s not your birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or any other day you’d expect to receive a compliment or gift. It’s just a normal day. You go to work, or maybe you meet a friend for lunch, when, out of nowhere, they compliment you, or buy you a small gift (like a coffee for example).

How do you react? If you’re like the bulk of the population you’ll say something like: “Oh you shouldn’t have” or “The next round is on me” or “This old thing?!” If your reaction is somewhere along these lines, what you are doing is energetically and unconsciously REJECTING the compliment or gift.

In today’s day and age, when someone compliments us, or buys us a small gift (like in the example above) our initial and unconscious reaction is often to reject or block ourselves from receiving it. Most people fear what others think of them, and because we don’t want to appear to be conceited or stuck-up we feel uncomfortable simply saying “thank you!”. In fact, this reaction has become so ingrained in us by society that most people don’t even realize they are doing it!

The second reason we typically reject unexpected compliments or gifts is because it takes us out of the driver’s seat. When we sit back and receive we’re not in control. Think about it, who is in control of the gift/compliment? The giver. Who is in control of the intention? The giver. The giver is also in control of how and when they give it.

The receiver is only in control of their reaction. From a primal and evolutionary standpoint, when we’re not in control we’re vulnerable, exposed, possibly even at a disadvantage. To regain control many people often give a gift or compliment back (“no, no, I’ll buy the coffees today!”) or reject it all together (“oh this dress? I only paid $5 for it”).

The underlying problem

The problem with this primal and societal patterning however, is that it instills a belief in our unconscious minds that it’s unsafe to receive. Our unconscious mind is highly suggestive and completely illogical. Our unconscious mind believes our actions and feelings over our words, and is always processing information from our surroundings and our inner dialogue. Our unconscious minds also love to make associations, so it regularly connects things like beliefs with behaviours that we wouldn’t consciously or logically associate.

When we suggest to our unconscious mind that it is unsafe to receive small things, like a compliment or $5 coffee, the unconscious mind expands this and applies this belief to receiving anything and everything. In our unconscious mind, if a $5 coffee is unsafe to receive, then receiving hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands from a client would be life threatening!

Because the brain is also highly symbolic, it perceives all receiving to be the same. This belief then extends a whole lot further than just receiving money. It impacts our ability to receive other revenue or income generating things like referrals, new clients and even opportunities to scale a business to new levels.

“If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it.” – Muhammad Ali

If you’re goal is to grow your income or your business, you may need to do new things like use social media ads or create referral partnerships. However, these activities will prove fruitless if you’ve wired your brain out of receiving the leads you’ll generate!

If you want more love from your partner, it doesn’t matter what they do to show more love, or how many affairs you have, you’ll never see or feel the love they are giving because you’ve blocked yourself from it. The same applies to your health and your life in general, you’ve told the filtering system in your unconscious mind (the Reticular Activating System) that it’s not safe to receive, so you won’t see the opportunities to accept these things.

The next time someone compliments you or buys you a small gift randomly, accept it graciously and simply say “thank you”. Practice this every time someone wants to give you something. Rewiring the brain takes repetition, it’s not enough to accept one compliment and return to your old patterns! Begin implementing this new behavior of receiving today and you’ll start noticing changes in your life and financial situation before the end of the month!

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5 Simple Ways You Can Unleash Your Maximum Personal Potential

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Imagine living a life with unlimited potential, and you could achieve whatever you want. How good would that be? Nobody wants to live in mediocrity and everyone wants to live an extraordinary and fulfilling life. However, this is far from the truth. (more…)

Want to discover the secrets to unleashing your potential and live a great and successful life? Follow Shawn Lim on his blog, StunningMotivation.com. You can download his guidebook, Active Goal Setting and make your dreams a reality. You can also follow him on Facebook.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Meg

    Sep 26, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    Wow! This is the best thing that I have read, it is just what I have needed to understand myself more! Thank you so much . I actually shed tears while reading this, again Thank you.

  2. T

    Sep 19, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Nice one. I like Stoicism as a mindset a lot while others prefer the more eastern philosophies.

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Life

4 Ways to Give Your Self-Efficacy a Serious Boost

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Boosting your self-efficacy is a simple, yet powerful way to improve the levels of success and happiness you experience in your life. Each of us have goals in our lives, but if we don’t believe in our ability to achieve them, then how are we ever going to be successful?

In fact, according to the Theory of Planned Behaviour, our self-efficacy impacts both the goals we set for ourselves, as well as the amount of action we will take. If we have strong self-efficacy, we will aim higher with more ambitious goals as well as be more likely to follow through with the necessary goal-directed behaviours. However, with low levels of self-efficacy, we are likely not even to follow through and pursue even the most meagre of goals.

Therefore, if we have goals in life that are important to us, it is essential we develop and strengthen our self-efficacy.

Luckily, there are 4 simple areas to focus on when it comes to boosting our self-belief:

1. Boost Self-Efficacy Through Creating Mini Wins

One problem with big personal and life goals is that they take a while to realise. Maintaining motivation over a long period of time can be tough, and after a while, it is only natural to start questioning whether the goal will ever happen.

Rather than letting doubt creep into our minds, setting mini-goals along the way allows us to experience a feeling of success, even if we still have some way to go. These smaller wins still fill us with the same energy and excitement that accompanies bigger goals, albeit at a slightly lower level. But what is really important is that these performance accomplishments keep our self-efficacy levels nice and high.

If we set ourselves lots of mini challenges on the way to our bigger goals, we will soon find our self-efficacy levels through the roof. Think about how you can break your big goals down to allow you to experience performance accomplishments along the way.

“People’s level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based more on what they believe than on what is objectively the case.” – Albert Bandura

2. Boost Self-Efficacy Through Appropriate Role Modeling

Having a role model is a great way to identify your route to success. If you are on a journey, there is a good chance someone has already taken that path and can help you identify the right way to approach your goal. If someone else has done it, there is no reason you can’t do it too.

However, sometimes our role models can be so far ahead of us, it can feel as if we will never get to their level. Therefore, it is important to either focus on the appropriate phase of your role model’s development or find a number of different role models that you can associate to.

For example, if you are wanting to grow your business, Richard Branson could be a good role model. However, if you are right at the beginning of your journey, it may not be appropriate to read about his Virgin Galactic endeavours, so maybe study his early years in business instead.

3. Boost Self-Efficacy Through Positive Verbal Encouragement

It isn’t difficult to find negative messages that will cause you to question your ability to follow through and be successful with your goals. Often, that negative voice can even live inside our own heads, and it will attempt to be heard any time there is a quiet moment in our day.

Therefore, it is vital we find a way to replace those negative messages with some positive reinforcement at regular intervals. The great thing is, there are so many different ways to accomplish this.

The amount of audio content has gone through the roof, and with the rise in popularity of podcasts as well as companies like Audible making this easily accessible to everyone, there is no reason not to fill your day with positive content. Turn your daily commute, queues and gym time into brain training by replacing your music with positive audio content. Listen to biographies about your role models to hit two self-efficacy boosters at the same time.

Alternatively, get yourself a coach or mentor and schedule regular meetings to assess your progress. Although the entire meeting may not be focused on boosting your self-efficacy, a good coach or mentor will end each meeting making you feel that you can be successful, even with the biggest of challenges.

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” – Mahatma Gandhi

4. Boost Self-Efficacy Through Getting Into The Zone

Lastly, a great way to boost your self-belief and self-efficacy is to use music or film to get you into the zone and help make you feel unstoppable. Do you have a favourite playlist that puts you in the right frame of mind and ready to take on the world? Create a Spotify playlist with all of the tracks you know gets you into an emotional state where you feel unstoppable and make sure you listen to this immediately before you take on any challenging activities.

Alternatively, if you have a little more time and attention to spare, video and film can really get you into the mood. Put on a movie like Rocky and you will immediately want to put on your best grey tracksuit and go for an early morning run through the streets. Alternatively, check out motivational videos on YouTube for more of a bitesize chunk of self-efficacy boosting content.

As you can see, boosting your self-efficacy can be simple and fun and easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Boosting your self-efficacy will encourage you to reach higher with your goals, follow through with your actions and develop the resilience needed to reach the levels of success you deserve. Do something every day to boost your self-efficacy and you’ll amaze yourself with the new levels of results you are able to achieve.  

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Life

Visualizing a Life of Greater Abundance

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Abundance is a spiritual principle that says the universe consists of all that I need and that all I need is available to me right now. We all want abundance, although few of us would say that we have it to the degree that we’d hope for. So what is the problem and how do we get to that state of experiencing it in our daily lives? The real problem—and solution—seems to lie in HOW we view abundance.

All things are energy. Everything that we think of as physical, all matter from the mighty mountains down to the molecules that make them up, is equally energy. Where we sometimes come up against limits in our thinking and in our awareness, however, is in choosing to see what our mind most easily recognizes—form. But if we have the option to view abundance either as a physical concept (individual things that have form and bounded limits) or as one of energy (boundless and infinite) why would we not choose the latter?

Identifying the Problem of Form  

One of my personal abundance blocks is becoming overly preoccupied in physical expressions of that abundance. The recognition of form presents many trip-hazards in the spiritual journey. Our fascination with it tends to often be the meddling of the ego which, of course, idolizes physical or conceptual form as a way to create duality (an I-am-separate-ness) in order to highlight its own existence apart from all other things.

As a matter of course, however, this condensing of infinite abundance into perceivable form is an act of SEVERE limitation. Any time a concept is packaged for convenient consumption it always loses its natural impact.

“You must realize that money is not good or evil; it is a tool for expressing your creative energy in the physical world.” – Stephen Richards

Definition also has the curious effect of opening up the possibility for judgment. For better or worse, we attach values to things. For instance, I might begin to believe that money isn’t really all that important. As crazy as that will sound for some, it has been a lifelong block for me. I see money and I think that I can do without it. Perhaps I feel there are nobler pursuits or possibly I think there may be too much effort to attain it and keep it or even a fear that I may lose it— and then what will I do with myself?

Visualizing Abundance As Energy

To begin the visualization, relax and place yourself in a state of mindful presence. If you are not familiar with this concept it is to simply become very aware of and in-tune with the now-moment. You dis-identify with the regrets (or victories) of the past and worries (or hopes) of the future. It is simply about being aware of NOW. Through this act of presence, you begin to become less attached to conceptual form of any kind, not just time.

Now, subtlety shift your awareness to the concept of abundance. It is important to avoid attaching images of manifested forms to it such as money or possessions. Rather than seeing concepts of what you think abundance should look like, begin to see the essence of abundance itself; energy. With eyes closed, in your state of presence, begin to “see” the waves of energy—the essence of abundance—all around you. Let your imagination vividly take over the visualization. You are directing this mind-movie; let it be as cinematically convincing as you can.

Notice a few things about the nature of this energy:

  • It is formless. There is no firm definition and there are no hard edges.
  • It flows where it wants to and as it wants to. You don’t control it, you can merely accept it.
  • It is infinite. There is a depth to the energy that is powerful and unending.
  • It is friendly. It gravitates toward and lovingly surrounds you.
  • It is good. There is nothing bad to abundance energy and it only has your best interest as its intention.
  • It is complete. The abundance energy is EVERYTHING that is good—health, loving relationships, and financial prosperity—without any definition between each.

This energy is the essence of infinite abundance. Abundance is wholeness and completeness. It is perfection. In many ways it could be described as heaven; the kingdom on earth. The energy is formless—you cannot see it directly as money or health or relationships or wonderful circumstances—but you can sense that all of those things are there. We don’t get a visual cue but we can feel them. There is no specificity or form but rather—at most—shades of energy like the bands of audial or visual frequencies in a spectrum.

Visualizing Yourself As Energy

At the same time view yourself as boundless energy. In your state of presence, this shouldn’t be difficult; you have already risen above the concept of form. In your awareness, recognize that the universe is also within YOU. Abundance is within YOU. Abundance IS you. So visualize yourself a wellspring of infinite energy yourself and allow it to flow out of you and join in dance with the energy around you. In this embrace of energy, you see yourself as one with the universe which is, of course, the epitome of abundance itself.

“We are all wealth. We are all treasure. We are the abundance of all things. Spend yourself completely.” – Bryant McGill

This entire technique is ultimately an act of accepting abundance. All of it is good; there is no reason to fear what may be drawn to you. You are immersing yourself in ALL good things. You are immersed in a sea of EVERY good thing that possibly is or could be by your manifestation of it. THIS is abundance. You are not deprived of any positive, helpful, empowering resource. You are now experiencing completeness.

This technique gets easier and more powerful with practice. I love this visualization because it goes straight to the root of the problem—form identity as it relates to abundance—and deals with it at the elemental level. By removing rigid concepts of abundance I have found that it is much easier to appropriate it into my life. If this has been helpful to you please comment and share that others may find success as well.

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We Know Thoughts Become Things, but Where Did Those Thoughts Come From?

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It’s common knowledge that what we concentrate on over any length of time, manifests. The notion that thoughts precede reality has been around for quite some time and we also know that the intermediate step between thoughts and reality is behavior.

So, we think something, that thought drives a certain behavioral pattern, and enough of that behavior will create whatever that original thought outcome was. But did you ever wonder where those thoughts came from? How many of them came from poor mothers and fathers and preachers and teachers when we were babies?

Let’s face it, our formative years were spent with these aforementioned individuals and they were adults. They may have said things to us that we perhaps misinterpreted because, we were six years old! They weren’t trying to deceive us or teach us something negative. They just assumed that when they said something (and it may not have even been to us) that the listener would be able to connect the dots!

Let me give you an example. When I was growing up my mother, father, and I were watching variety shows on the black and white television set in the middle of our living room, quite often my mother would say, when someone was singing, that they were actually dubbing! In other words, singing to a turned off microphone while the actual recording was actually being played from the sound engineers’ room! She was probably correct! Many of the singers on those old shows were dubbing their studio recordings.

“All action results from thought. So it is thoughts that matter.” – Sai Baba

But she made it seem as if the singer and the host were trying to deceive us. My mother would say something like, “They aren’t singing for real, they’re just moving their lips! Isn’t that terrible?” Now I could never really tell if they were singing, or not, but this was my mom, so I accepted what she said at face value. Except, I really thought those people were terrible people for trying to trick my poor mother and that they were very bad. (Keep in mind, I was 6!)

That script stayed with me long into adulthood, and I very consciously watched out for people that were going to make a fool out of me and I either avoided them or confronted them. That thought pattern of filling in the blanks from what adults told me when I was a child is what I like to call Projective Resolution, can be debilitating. Personally, it sabotaged several meaningful relationships and my first 2 professional positions.

I was able to identify the faulty script years later and resolve it, but I wonder how many more I have playing right now, that I might not be aware of. How about you? What scripts are causing your Projective Resolution?

The reason they are so hard to spot is because we have repeated them so many times for so many years, that they have become a habit and are firmly entrenched into our subconscious minds. But the behavior is real. And it can be devastating!

You may ask if it is possible to eradicate the old scripts and I believe the answer is yes. I did! And without any professional assistance, and well before I had the internet for quick guidance.

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Peace Pilgrim

If you think you are a victim of Projective Resolution, try these steps:

  • Step #1: Spend some time in quiet thought, thinking about situations with parents and others when you were a child. It may be helpful to start with your first thought of childhood and work up from there.
  • Step #2: What were some of the admonitions and sayings that were said to you? Perhaps it was “A stitch in time saves 9.” And you were told that so many times that you now take 9 stitches immediately, just in case. You plan, plan, plan! Can that be an OCD?
  • Step #3: Link past experiences to current behavior and tag the behaviors that you want to change. If you can identify current behaviors that are driven by conversations when you were a child and left to “fill in the blanks”, you are well on your way to rewriting the scripts.
  • Step #4: Now that you are an adult, put adult meaning on what the person (the adult) was trying to convey to you when you were a child. (Yes, you can actively role play with that person and talk to them adult-to-adult!)
  • Step #5: Place the proper meaning on that statement now.
  • Step #6: Forgive the adult who may have steered you wrong. They did the best they could at the time with what they had!
  • I hope that you see the moral to this story. Please be carful of what you say to children. They are taking what you say and filling in the blanks. But they are doing so with the mind of a child. If you think in those terms, you may guard your words very carefully.

What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below!

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Life

The Simplest Mindset Hack to Get More Out of Life

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Money. Happiness. Success. Love. I think we can all agree that “more” is something we often find ourselves chasing, whether we’re willing to admit it or not, in our businesses, health, relationships and our lives in general.

Typically when we’re looking to increase our income (whether in our business or in our personal accounts) we often look to typical business and career strategies to do so. We look for a new, higher paying job. We open a new location. Work longer hours. Increase or improve our marketing efforts. Attend more networking events. The list goes on and on.

When we’re looking for more love in relationships we may schedule date nights with our significant other. Nag them for attention. Some, even resort to extra-marital affairs to feel the love they need. In health, we hire personal trainers. Go on diets…I’m sure you’re getting the point by now.

All of these strategies, however require us to do more of something. But what if the process to getting more of anything started before all that? What if there was a simple mindset hack that would allow your marketing, networking, dieting, date nights and gym sessions to have a greater impact? What if one behavioral tweak, that involved you doing less would lead to more happiness? More love? Just more!

“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.” – Steve Maraboli

The mindset hack to having more

This mindset hack is actually so simple you may not believe me but I’m going to tell you anyways. If you want to start having more in your life, the secret to doing so is to begin accepting compliments.

Yes. You read that right – by beginning to accept compliments we actually increase our ability to earn more money, experience more happiness and have more overall success. Stay with me and I’ll explain how this works.

First, however, I want you to consider this situation and question: Imagine it’s a normal day. It’s not your birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or any other day you’d expect to receive a compliment or gift. It’s just a normal day. You go to work, or maybe you meet a friend for lunch, when, out of nowhere, they compliment you, or buy you a small gift (like a coffee for example).

How do you react? If you’re like the bulk of the population you’ll say something like: “Oh you shouldn’t have” or “The next round is on me” or “This old thing?!” If your reaction is somewhere along these lines, what you are doing is energetically and unconsciously REJECTING the compliment or gift.

In today’s day and age, when someone compliments us, or buys us a small gift (like in the example above) our initial and unconscious reaction is often to reject or block ourselves from receiving it. Most people fear what others think of them, and because we don’t want to appear to be conceited or stuck-up we feel uncomfortable simply saying “thank you!”. In fact, this reaction has become so ingrained in us by society that most people don’t even realize they are doing it!

The second reason we typically reject unexpected compliments or gifts is because it takes us out of the driver’s seat. When we sit back and receive we’re not in control. Think about it, who is in control of the gift/compliment? The giver. Who is in control of the intention? The giver. The giver is also in control of how and when they give it.

The receiver is only in control of their reaction. From a primal and evolutionary standpoint, when we’re not in control we’re vulnerable, exposed, possibly even at a disadvantage. To regain control many people often give a gift or compliment back (“no, no, I’ll buy the coffees today!”) or reject it all together (“oh this dress? I only paid $5 for it”).

The underlying problem

The problem with this primal and societal patterning however, is that it instills a belief in our unconscious minds that it’s unsafe to receive. Our unconscious mind is highly suggestive and completely illogical. Our unconscious mind believes our actions and feelings over our words, and is always processing information from our surroundings and our inner dialogue. Our unconscious minds also love to make associations, so it regularly connects things like beliefs with behaviours that we wouldn’t consciously or logically associate.

When we suggest to our unconscious mind that it is unsafe to receive small things, like a compliment or $5 coffee, the unconscious mind expands this and applies this belief to receiving anything and everything. In our unconscious mind, if a $5 coffee is unsafe to receive, then receiving hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands from a client would be life threatening!

Because the brain is also highly symbolic, it perceives all receiving to be the same. This belief then extends a whole lot further than just receiving money. It impacts our ability to receive other revenue or income generating things like referrals, new clients and even opportunities to scale a business to new levels.

“If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it.” – Muhammad Ali

If you’re goal is to grow your income or your business, you may need to do new things like use social media ads or create referral partnerships. However, these activities will prove fruitless if you’ve wired your brain out of receiving the leads you’ll generate!

If you want more love from your partner, it doesn’t matter what they do to show more love, or how many affairs you have, you’ll never see or feel the love they are giving because you’ve blocked yourself from it. The same applies to your health and your life in general, you’ve told the filtering system in your unconscious mind (the Reticular Activating System) that it’s not safe to receive, so you won’t see the opportunities to accept these things.

The next time someone compliments you or buys you a small gift randomly, accept it graciously and simply say “thank you”. Practice this every time someone wants to give you something. Rewiring the brain takes repetition, it’s not enough to accept one compliment and return to your old patterns! Begin implementing this new behavior of receiving today and you’ll start noticing changes in your life and financial situation before the end of the month!

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