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

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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

No Mess, No Clutter For 4 Weeks.

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Today is a special anniversary. It’s been four weeks of no mess and no clutter. A few of my work colleagues were fascinated by this achievement when I told them and asked me to write about it.

The process to get there was grueling. It made me sick, it was stressful and it was hard. It was worth every second though and it can help everyone reading this.

Here’s what I learned:

 

The past no longer has to haunt me.

After two weeks, I realized that I had let go of the ex-girlfriends, failed startups and memories that held no significance in my life. Throwing out junk and decluttering helps you deal with the past.

You may think you have dealt with the past but the objects that are left over are the last remaining bits that must be dealt with.

There’s something so freeing about letting go and dealing with your past. It creates space for you to excel in the future and empty your mind. No longer will a dumb pair of socks that your ex-partner bought, remind you of the way they complained about you all the time.

 

I saved money and lots of it.

It’s only been four weeks and my bank account is thanking me for the tidy up. Now that I know what I have, I can stop buying more batteries, screwdrivers and stationary that I already have.

“Once you’ve lived without clutter, you become like a prison guard, guarding your home against possessions you’ll never use”

This results in fewer purchases and my debit card thanks me.

I was spending hundreds of dollars every year buying things that I might use on a rainy day in a few years. That rainy day came often, yet I never used the items I was stockpiling.

Thanks to these little changes, I now have more money to invest in stocks and my new startup.

 

You quit letting other people’s junk become your burden.

People die and leave you stuff.
People move countries and leave you stuff.
People ask you to look after their stuff.
People give you stuff that you’re too scared to throw out in case they find out and get upset with you.

You can’t keep letting other people’s possessions become your burden. Set yourself free and let go of possessions regardless of where they came from or who will care. It’s the only way to declutter.

 

It’s obvious what I can live without.

Now that more than 50% of my possessions are in either charity bins or at the recycling center, I now know what I can live without. Here’s what I was wrong about.

– I thought I needed coconut oil. It turns out that I hate the taste and haven’t used it for two years. Throwing it away reminded me that I could live without it.

– I thought I needed fifteen different pyjama tops. It turns out I only ever wear three of them. The other twelve pairs are not my size and remind me of my old body which I’m not proud of.

– I thought I needed tons of bedding and as it turns out, I rotate the same few doona covers and sheets because they have bright colors that make me happy. The black and grey ones are depressing and I subconsciously never choose to use them.

– I thought I needed to buy in bulk. It turns out I don’t have the room and it feels better to live in a decluttered environment. Buying in bulk was only making the retailers rich, and me sad.

 

I’m surrounded by objects that make me happy.

That’s the result of having no mess and decluttering. Items that you keep (only keep the stuff that brings you joy) are now all around you. Everywhere I now look, I see useful possessions that get used and make me happy.

Decluttering allowed me to have more of what I love, and less of what I don’t. Being happy is a decision.

“It takes lots of small decisions about what to throw out, to get to a point where your limited number of possessions can bring you joy”

I also know everything I have now because I have so few possessions. This makes me happy.

 

My life is now organized.

Being organized is a massive time saver. No longer do I need to go on the equivalent of a twelve day Easter Egg Hunt to find a belt I want to wear. It’s now either the black one or the brown one.

This feeling of being organized is addictive and if you do one big tidy up, and you don’t stop until its done, you’ll never go back to your messy ways.

Being organized equals time, which equals money baby!

P.S – Before you send me an email full of rage over how simple I make this all sound, try it for yourself. Take a risk. Embrace the fear. I’m not the only one who has decluttered. There are thousands of us on the Internet that you can look up who’ve had the exact same experience.

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

How to Get Better at Anything by Using This Self Encouragement Practice

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self encouragement

Whether you’re turning your sidehustle into a career, sculpting a fitter body, or perfecting your favourite sport, getting better at anything requires a simple yet specific sequence:

You do it, you encourage each of your efforts and then you repeat this process every day without cease.

Now think about the goals you’ve set after, and the habits you’ve tried to hone. If you aren’t exactly where you want to be in your growth curve, you’re skipping one or two of these simple steps. Which is it for you?

I used to be really good at starting things—step one. But, back before I began my self-improvement journey, I didn’t have the slightest concept of self-encouragement—step two. I figured that once I did something well enough, I’d get all the congratulations I needed from other people. It didn’t work out that way.

When things got really tough in my new business ventures or educational endeavors, I’d crack. I didn’t have someone orienting me toward the future, coaching me, and approving my efforts. I didn’t have me in my own corner.

Self encouragement is like the protein you consume after a workout

Lifting weights is hard on your muscles, right? The resistance/stress breaks down tissue. But if you don’t replenish your body with protein after the workout, your muscles won’t grow, which makes regular workouts frustrating and pointless. The same is true for self-encouragement and your personal growth.

You need that reflexive “good job!” or “you’re kicking ass!” to rebuild confidence after a big effort. But when you don’t get that positive self-talk, you won’t feel good enough about yourself and confident enough about the future to persist in your success effort.

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” – Unknown

After landing back at my parents (for the third time) when my business venture in California went bust, I decided I would no longer succumb to the forces that had sabotaged my previous efforts. So I read all that I could from Tony Robbins and Zig Ziglar. The one thing I learned was that I had to become my own biggest supporter, otherwise, I’d continue to bring myself down with negative self-talk and inconsistent effort.

That’s when I started planning self-encouragement

My greatest weakness is that if I don’t plan something out and have an action step I can check off, I just won’t do it. This weakness ended up becoming my biggest strength when I decided to take ownership of it.

Since I wasn’t encouraging myself enough to grow consistently as a writer, I started writing out ten checkboxes for self encouragement in my daily planner. That’s when I literally got addicted to success.

Before, I’d write an article and then think to myself, “Yeah…probably not gonna make a difference anyway.” This attitude prevented me from taking risks and consistently doing my best, which is crucial for any kind of success. But when I started creating self-encouragement rituals to conclude my writing sessions, I got high off of the positivity.

“Thank you so much for kicking ass today! Thank you for doing everything you need to do to be successful and to make a difference. I’m so grateful for your efforts, and so excited to see where this effort takes you. Keep it up!”

This was instant gratification in the otherwise-delayed gratification process of achieving success, and it ended up giving me the confidence and positive attitude I needed to persist, to learn from my mistakes, and to grow in the ways I desired.

Three months after I planned for daily self-encouragement, I had my first full-time job as a staff writer at a major publication. That was no coincidence. When I continued my success sequence, do, encourage, persist, it was only another year before I was on each of the major magazines I’d dreamed of writing for.

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein

I gained a following. People began seeking me out for coaching, to help them gain similar success in wherever they wanted to improve their own lives. But more important than anything, I established an identity as my own greatest supporter, which will help me to succeed in anything I set my mind to: marriage, expanding my business, etc. I owe my successes and my career to ten self encouragement checkboxes.

Here’s how to start your self encouragement practice today:

1. Start a morning routine of affirmations

Before your mind can drift to negative thoughts, immediately set yourself to positive affirmations. I mean literally right after you wake up, don’t skip a beat! Pick out the forty affirmations that you need most. “I am worthy, I am persistent, I am successful” and write them down on a 3×5 index card. Then, recite them to yourself in a mirror as soon as you wake up. Keep up the habit until you have all forty memorized.

Once you start this practice you’ll become sensitized to your inner dialogue and you’ll begin to hear everything going on between your ears, including the negative. When you start to hear you beating yourself up, that’s when it’s crucial to fall back on the positive affirmation. You’ll cement this habit by scheduling regular self-encouragement checkins in a daily planner.

2. Create ten checkboxes for self encouragement in your daily planner

If you don’t already have a daily planning habit, you won’t get the life you want until you start planning for it every day. You don’t need to plan much, just your top five to eight goals, and the habits you intend to do every day (self-encouragement being the most important one). After you list your first three or four goals at the top, break the page up with “encourage yourself!”—followed by ten checkboxes.

As you check off your goals, make sure to encourage yourself for your efforts. For example, if one of your goals were to run five miles in the morning, when you check that goal off you’ll immediately applaud yourself and then check off a self-encouragement box. “Thank you so much for taking care of my body and making me feel good about myself, you’re doing awesome!” Check.

When you refer to your planner throughout the day, you’ll notice that there are more checkboxes than you have goals. Use those empty checkboxes as reminders to affirm yourself. “I am generous, kind, patient, uplifting, creative, dependable, perseverant, etc.” Check.

Keep this up over the course of a month and you’ll be on your way to mastering whatever it is you want.  

By holding yourself accountable to a self-encouragement practice, you’ll grow the resilience and confidence you need to persist in the things you love and to master the skills and habits you desire. All it takes is a blank sketchbook and the routine of planning out each of your goals at the beginning of a day, including ten checkboxes for self encouragement.

What self encouragement practices do you do? Comment below!

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Life

The 4 Dimensions of Personal Energy You Need to Adopt to Deliver Extraordinary Results

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personal energy

Managers tend to look at humans as productivity units. Energy is invested into prioritizing what’s on the to do list, with an attitude of do more and accomplish more. Work is translated into more hours and the human experience tends to be minimized, criticized or diminished.

As the demands of the workplace keep rising, many people respond by increasing their hours at a rapid pace, inevitably leading to burn out that costs both people and business. Many businesses invest in developing people’s knowledge and skills yet very few help build and sustain their capacity – their energy. When you invest in your people, they have greater capacity to make it possible to get more done in less time.

In today’s world, business leaders generally feel it is the employee’s problem to practice healthy behaviors. Given the amount of time people spend at work, a shared responsibility embarks on both the business and the employee. Where possible, workplaces must facilitate the development of healthy practices to create a mutually beneficial and sustainable environment. Individually, you are responsible for how you manage your energy, the workplace is responsible for creating a workplace where people are energized, and their creativity unleashed.

When workplaces invest in their people across all dimensions of their lives, magic happens. People turn up at work energized, more productive, and execute the shared vision to deliver results.

When you are fully energized, you accomplish more in less time. When you feel fulfilled, you become more engaged, effective and contribute without expectation. The human experience includes four dimensions of personal energy that need to be cultivated to increase these levels of energy and deliver extraordinary results across workplaces.

1. We function best when we feel positive

Most people tend to perform best when they feel positive. I’m not talking about the eternal optimist and rah-rah noise, I’m referring to the people who re-fuel their positive energy by identifying their trigger points to what drains their energy and then refocus on a solution. Creating a resourceful functional state where you can think clearly, logically and reflectively.

Building habits into your day avoids you slipping into negative emotions or moving through them quicker. Diffusing emotions through deep breathing, expressing appreciation and gratitude as the brain can only do one thing at a time. Adopting self-reflection techniques such as upgrading the lens approach creates opportunities to refocus your energy – How would l like to see this situation in 3 months’ time? What lessons can l learn from this situation?

“When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It’s very simple.” – Paulo Coelho

2. The human spirit

The human spirit transcends the individual human being. When you are clear about your purpose, what really matters, you focus better, feel more positive and feel a deeper commitment to contributing to humanity. To access the energy of the human spirit, explore what you do best and enjoy most at work and in life. Allocate time and energy to these areas and make a conscious decision to live your core values every day.

3. Sustaining your mental energy

Multitasking is a great way to kill your mental energy. When you lose your focus, or move from one task to the next, you increase the amount of time required to complete the primary task. Building simple rituals into your day can prevent mental fatigue.

Reduce interruptions by allocating uninterruptible 50-minute blocks of time to focus on the one task, respond to emails, voicemails at designated times during the day and identify the most important task for the next day. Robin Sharma, author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, suggests focusing for the next 90 days, the first 90 minutes of your work day on creating your new piece of code that will revolutionize the marketplace.

4. Physical energy

We all need nutrition, exercise, sleep and rest. It is part of the human condition. If you want to sustain your energy levels, the four essential components will increase your energy levels to enable your focus on your single most valuable project and manage your emotions. Your will power may be highest first thing in the morning, your energy may peak in the afternoon or your mental focus may be the sharpest late at night. Capitalize and build a pocket of time so you use your highest value hours for your most valuable activities.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin

Prioritizing healthy eating, engaging in movement activities and committed to deep restful sleep are the keys to sustaining your physical energy. Consistent sleeping times with undisrupted sleep is critical to your ability to maintain your energy levels. Power naps, removal of digital technology from bedrooms and investment in sleep transition activities such as reading non-work-related books, listening to a guided meditation or focusing on breath work are great practices to invest in re-building energy levels.

When you are physically active, mentally agile, emotionally stable and spiritually charged, you can balance different aspects of your life with ease. Adopting rituals to manage your energy on all dimensions daily creates an environment where you are leading you, not the other way around. Manage your energy, not your time.

What techniques do you use to maximize your energy? Comment below!

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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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3 Powerful Ways to Stay Motivated While Building Your Startup

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building a startup

I hear one particular story being repeated over and over again in the startup world. See if you’ve heard it before. A friend tells me how excited he is about a new business idea. He’s talked to several potential customers who seem really interested, and he’s even contracted folks in the industry to help him build a prototype. (more…)

Raya Khashab is the CEO and co-founder of ezClocker, a time tracking and scheduling software for small business. She is passionate about customers and building products that change the way people run their business. She is also a big supporter of the startup community and helping people achieve their dreams. You can reach her on Twitter @rayakhashab

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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

No Mess, No Clutter For 4 Weeks.

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Today is a special anniversary. It’s been four weeks of no mess and no clutter. A few of my work colleagues were fascinated by this achievement when I told them and asked me to write about it.

The process to get there was grueling. It made me sick, it was stressful and it was hard. It was worth every second though and it can help everyone reading this.

Here’s what I learned:

 

The past no longer has to haunt me.

After two weeks, I realized that I had let go of the ex-girlfriends, failed startups and memories that held no significance in my life. Throwing out junk and decluttering helps you deal with the past.

You may think you have dealt with the past but the objects that are left over are the last remaining bits that must be dealt with.

There’s something so freeing about letting go and dealing with your past. It creates space for you to excel in the future and empty your mind. No longer will a dumb pair of socks that your ex-partner bought, remind you of the way they complained about you all the time.

 

I saved money and lots of it.

It’s only been four weeks and my bank account is thanking me for the tidy up. Now that I know what I have, I can stop buying more batteries, screwdrivers and stationary that I already have.

“Once you’ve lived without clutter, you become like a prison guard, guarding your home against possessions you’ll never use”

This results in fewer purchases and my debit card thanks me.

I was spending hundreds of dollars every year buying things that I might use on a rainy day in a few years. That rainy day came often, yet I never used the items I was stockpiling.

Thanks to these little changes, I now have more money to invest in stocks and my new startup.

 

You quit letting other people’s junk become your burden.

People die and leave you stuff.
People move countries and leave you stuff.
People ask you to look after their stuff.
People give you stuff that you’re too scared to throw out in case they find out and get upset with you.

You can’t keep letting other people’s possessions become your burden. Set yourself free and let go of possessions regardless of where they came from or who will care. It’s the only way to declutter.

 

It’s obvious what I can live without.

Now that more than 50% of my possessions are in either charity bins or at the recycling center, I now know what I can live without. Here’s what I was wrong about.

– I thought I needed coconut oil. It turns out that I hate the taste and haven’t used it for two years. Throwing it away reminded me that I could live without it.

– I thought I needed fifteen different pyjama tops. It turns out I only ever wear three of them. The other twelve pairs are not my size and remind me of my old body which I’m not proud of.

– I thought I needed tons of bedding and as it turns out, I rotate the same few doona covers and sheets because they have bright colors that make me happy. The black and grey ones are depressing and I subconsciously never choose to use them.

– I thought I needed to buy in bulk. It turns out I don’t have the room and it feels better to live in a decluttered environment. Buying in bulk was only making the retailers rich, and me sad.

 

I’m surrounded by objects that make me happy.

That’s the result of having no mess and decluttering. Items that you keep (only keep the stuff that brings you joy) are now all around you. Everywhere I now look, I see useful possessions that get used and make me happy.

Decluttering allowed me to have more of what I love, and less of what I don’t. Being happy is a decision.

“It takes lots of small decisions about what to throw out, to get to a point where your limited number of possessions can bring you joy”

I also know everything I have now because I have so few possessions. This makes me happy.

 

My life is now organized.

Being organized is a massive time saver. No longer do I need to go on the equivalent of a twelve day Easter Egg Hunt to find a belt I want to wear. It’s now either the black one or the brown one.

This feeling of being organized is addictive and if you do one big tidy up, and you don’t stop until its done, you’ll never go back to your messy ways.

Being organized equals time, which equals money baby!

P.S – Before you send me an email full of rage over how simple I make this all sound, try it for yourself. Take a risk. Embrace the fear. I’m not the only one who has decluttered. There are thousands of us on the Internet that you can look up who’ve had the exact same experience.

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

How to Get Better at Anything by Using This Self Encouragement Practice

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self encouragement

Whether you’re turning your sidehustle into a career, sculpting a fitter body, or perfecting your favourite sport, getting better at anything requires a simple yet specific sequence:

You do it, you encourage each of your efforts and then you repeat this process every day without cease.

Now think about the goals you’ve set after, and the habits you’ve tried to hone. If you aren’t exactly where you want to be in your growth curve, you’re skipping one or two of these simple steps. Which is it for you?

I used to be really good at starting things—step one. But, back before I began my self-improvement journey, I didn’t have the slightest concept of self-encouragement—step two. I figured that once I did something well enough, I’d get all the congratulations I needed from other people. It didn’t work out that way.

When things got really tough in my new business ventures or educational endeavors, I’d crack. I didn’t have someone orienting me toward the future, coaching me, and approving my efforts. I didn’t have me in my own corner.

Self encouragement is like the protein you consume after a workout

Lifting weights is hard on your muscles, right? The resistance/stress breaks down tissue. But if you don’t replenish your body with protein after the workout, your muscles won’t grow, which makes regular workouts frustrating and pointless. The same is true for self-encouragement and your personal growth.

You need that reflexive “good job!” or “you’re kicking ass!” to rebuild confidence after a big effort. But when you don’t get that positive self-talk, you won’t feel good enough about yourself and confident enough about the future to persist in your success effort.

“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” – Unknown

After landing back at my parents (for the third time) when my business venture in California went bust, I decided I would no longer succumb to the forces that had sabotaged my previous efforts. So I read all that I could from Tony Robbins and Zig Ziglar. The one thing I learned was that I had to become my own biggest supporter, otherwise, I’d continue to bring myself down with negative self-talk and inconsistent effort.

That’s when I started planning self-encouragement

My greatest weakness is that if I don’t plan something out and have an action step I can check off, I just won’t do it. This weakness ended up becoming my biggest strength when I decided to take ownership of it.

Since I wasn’t encouraging myself enough to grow consistently as a writer, I started writing out ten checkboxes for self encouragement in my daily planner. That’s when I literally got addicted to success.

Before, I’d write an article and then think to myself, “Yeah…probably not gonna make a difference anyway.” This attitude prevented me from taking risks and consistently doing my best, which is crucial for any kind of success. But when I started creating self-encouragement rituals to conclude my writing sessions, I got high off of the positivity.

“Thank you so much for kicking ass today! Thank you for doing everything you need to do to be successful and to make a difference. I’m so grateful for your efforts, and so excited to see where this effort takes you. Keep it up!”

This was instant gratification in the otherwise-delayed gratification process of achieving success, and it ended up giving me the confidence and positive attitude I needed to persist, to learn from my mistakes, and to grow in the ways I desired.

Three months after I planned for daily self-encouragement, I had my first full-time job as a staff writer at a major publication. That was no coincidence. When I continued my success sequence, do, encourage, persist, it was only another year before I was on each of the major magazines I’d dreamed of writing for.

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Albert Einstein

I gained a following. People began seeking me out for coaching, to help them gain similar success in wherever they wanted to improve their own lives. But more important than anything, I established an identity as my own greatest supporter, which will help me to succeed in anything I set my mind to: marriage, expanding my business, etc. I owe my successes and my career to ten self encouragement checkboxes.

Here’s how to start your self encouragement practice today:

1. Start a morning routine of affirmations

Before your mind can drift to negative thoughts, immediately set yourself to positive affirmations. I mean literally right after you wake up, don’t skip a beat! Pick out the forty affirmations that you need most. “I am worthy, I am persistent, I am successful” and write them down on a 3×5 index card. Then, recite them to yourself in a mirror as soon as you wake up. Keep up the habit until you have all forty memorized.

Once you start this practice you’ll become sensitized to your inner dialogue and you’ll begin to hear everything going on between your ears, including the negative. When you start to hear you beating yourself up, that’s when it’s crucial to fall back on the positive affirmation. You’ll cement this habit by scheduling regular self-encouragement checkins in a daily planner.

2. Create ten checkboxes for self encouragement in your daily planner

If you don’t already have a daily planning habit, you won’t get the life you want until you start planning for it every day. You don’t need to plan much, just your top five to eight goals, and the habits you intend to do every day (self-encouragement being the most important one). After you list your first three or four goals at the top, break the page up with “encourage yourself!”—followed by ten checkboxes.

As you check off your goals, make sure to encourage yourself for your efforts. For example, if one of your goals were to run five miles in the morning, when you check that goal off you’ll immediately applaud yourself and then check off a self-encouragement box. “Thank you so much for taking care of my body and making me feel good about myself, you’re doing awesome!” Check.

When you refer to your planner throughout the day, you’ll notice that there are more checkboxes than you have goals. Use those empty checkboxes as reminders to affirm yourself. “I am generous, kind, patient, uplifting, creative, dependable, perseverant, etc.” Check.

Keep this up over the course of a month and you’ll be on your way to mastering whatever it is you want.  

By holding yourself accountable to a self-encouragement practice, you’ll grow the resilience and confidence you need to persist in the things you love and to master the skills and habits you desire. All it takes is a blank sketchbook and the routine of planning out each of your goals at the beginning of a day, including ten checkboxes for self encouragement.

What self encouragement practices do you do? Comment below!

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Life

The 4 Dimensions of Personal Energy You Need to Adopt to Deliver Extraordinary Results

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personal energy

Managers tend to look at humans as productivity units. Energy is invested into prioritizing what’s on the to do list, with an attitude of do more and accomplish more. Work is translated into more hours and the human experience tends to be minimized, criticized or diminished.

As the demands of the workplace keep rising, many people respond by increasing their hours at a rapid pace, inevitably leading to burn out that costs both people and business. Many businesses invest in developing people’s knowledge and skills yet very few help build and sustain their capacity – their energy. When you invest in your people, they have greater capacity to make it possible to get more done in less time.

In today’s world, business leaders generally feel it is the employee’s problem to practice healthy behaviors. Given the amount of time people spend at work, a shared responsibility embarks on both the business and the employee. Where possible, workplaces must facilitate the development of healthy practices to create a mutually beneficial and sustainable environment. Individually, you are responsible for how you manage your energy, the workplace is responsible for creating a workplace where people are energized, and their creativity unleashed.

When workplaces invest in their people across all dimensions of their lives, magic happens. People turn up at work energized, more productive, and execute the shared vision to deliver results.

When you are fully energized, you accomplish more in less time. When you feel fulfilled, you become more engaged, effective and contribute without expectation. The human experience includes four dimensions of personal energy that need to be cultivated to increase these levels of energy and deliver extraordinary results across workplaces.

1. We function best when we feel positive

Most people tend to perform best when they feel positive. I’m not talking about the eternal optimist and rah-rah noise, I’m referring to the people who re-fuel their positive energy by identifying their trigger points to what drains their energy and then refocus on a solution. Creating a resourceful functional state where you can think clearly, logically and reflectively.

Building habits into your day avoids you slipping into negative emotions or moving through them quicker. Diffusing emotions through deep breathing, expressing appreciation and gratitude as the brain can only do one thing at a time. Adopting self-reflection techniques such as upgrading the lens approach creates opportunities to refocus your energy – How would l like to see this situation in 3 months’ time? What lessons can l learn from this situation?

“When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It’s very simple.” – Paulo Coelho

2. The human spirit

The human spirit transcends the individual human being. When you are clear about your purpose, what really matters, you focus better, feel more positive and feel a deeper commitment to contributing to humanity. To access the energy of the human spirit, explore what you do best and enjoy most at work and in life. Allocate time and energy to these areas and make a conscious decision to live your core values every day.

3. Sustaining your mental energy

Multitasking is a great way to kill your mental energy. When you lose your focus, or move from one task to the next, you increase the amount of time required to complete the primary task. Building simple rituals into your day can prevent mental fatigue.

Reduce interruptions by allocating uninterruptible 50-minute blocks of time to focus on the one task, respond to emails, voicemails at designated times during the day and identify the most important task for the next day. Robin Sharma, author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, suggests focusing for the next 90 days, the first 90 minutes of your work day on creating your new piece of code that will revolutionize the marketplace.

4. Physical energy

We all need nutrition, exercise, sleep and rest. It is part of the human condition. If you want to sustain your energy levels, the four essential components will increase your energy levels to enable your focus on your single most valuable project and manage your emotions. Your will power may be highest first thing in the morning, your energy may peak in the afternoon or your mental focus may be the sharpest late at night. Capitalize and build a pocket of time so you use your highest value hours for your most valuable activities.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” – Benjamin Franklin

Prioritizing healthy eating, engaging in movement activities and committed to deep restful sleep are the keys to sustaining your physical energy. Consistent sleeping times with undisrupted sleep is critical to your ability to maintain your energy levels. Power naps, removal of digital technology from bedrooms and investment in sleep transition activities such as reading non-work-related books, listening to a guided meditation or focusing on breath work are great practices to invest in re-building energy levels.

When you are physically active, mentally agile, emotionally stable and spiritually charged, you can balance different aspects of your life with ease. Adopting rituals to manage your energy on all dimensions daily creates an environment where you are leading you, not the other way around. Manage your energy, not your time.

What techniques do you use to maximize your energy? Comment below!

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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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