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Stopping Loneliness From Killing You: The Silent Battle

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Stopping Lonliness

There’s an epidemic that is going on in our world. It’s one that the majority of people who suffer from it never admit. It’s the cause of many health issues and it often goes untreated. The cures are so simplistic, but they can only be applied when the illness is identified. What’s more, we’ve all suffered and will suffer again from this killer. The killer I am describing is loneliness.

“Studies show that loneliness is associated with higher blood pressure, and heart disease. Loneliness literally breaks your heart”

If that’s not enough, loneliness increases your chance of dying by 26 percent, which is higher than both depression and anxiety. The point I want you to get is that we all suffer from loneliness. It’s a battle that we endure alone, and stay silent about.

We stay silent about it because it affects our ego. Battling loneliness takes courage and strength. We all have these traits deep down inside of us; it’s just that we don’t let them come out and play in the sandpit enough with us.

One way humans attempt to overcome loneliness is by trying to find a sense of connection and identity through addictions like drugs, alcohol and sugar. Numbing the pain of loneliness is not the answer, but you are already smart enough to know that deep down.

 

How do you know you are lonely?

Loneliness is not about having enough friends; it’s about a feeling of disconnect. When you’re lonely, you feel like nothing is moving you into action and like you have a lack of purpose.

Having a break, and being by yourself, feels lonely rather than invigorating. Spending time being creative by yourself also feels lonely rather than productive.

Here are the 4 ways you can overcome loneliness:

 

1. Define it

The feeling of loneliness must be acknowledged before it can be overcome. Spending some quiet time and writing down your thoughts is a great way to understand what’s happening in your head. The reality is that what’s happening in your head, is what’s causing your loneliness.

Once you have written down all your thoughts, try and see which thought that you’ve written down makes you feel the most empty. It’s highly likely that it’s this thought that’s causing most of your suffering. Surprisingly, working out what’s making you lonely is not that tough; acknowledging it is where the power is.

 

2. Try “giving” as a quick-fix

The fastest way to forget about your loneliness, and bring yourself back to an empowering state, is to give your time or money to those who have nothing. By focusing on something other than yourself, you refill your emotional glass with positive thoughts.

Giving to other people feels good. Get around inspiring individuals and give your time. There’s no way you can stay lonely for long if you try this strategy.

 

3. Redefine your purpose

I remember reading a few years ago that according to life insurance statistics, when a man retires, the chance of him dying increases significantly. What causes this sudden onslaught of disease is a lack of purpose, and the negative feelings that come with not belonging to a higher vision.

eclecticallymeaganhappyAt the core of loneliness is this empty disconnect that can be reinvigorated when you redefine what you were put on this planet to do. We’re all lonely at some point or another, but that’s no reason to go into a downward spiral, and deprive the world of your amazing beauty.

Think about what tasks make you happy and connected. If you don’t know, then go out into the world and try lots of things. Go kite surfing, climb a mountain, try public speaking, kiss a guy or girl off a dating app. The bottom line is this: get out of your head, and into action.

Take a journey in life that you’ve never tried. Instead of focusing on how lonely and disconnected you are, spend your time trying new tasks. Feeling like you’re hardly done by will not solve your problem. The cure for loneliness lies inside yourself, and only you can extract it.

“Like a beautifully brewed tea, extracting the flavor and bringing back happiness in your life takes time”

Have patience and believe that you will find a way to be connected once again. Make it your life mission to figure out how to become connected.

Our human brains are so very clever, and if you ask enough intelligent questions, eventually you’ll find what you’re looking for. The answer may be hidden in total darkness, but your brain has the power to shine a flashlight on the very object or event that can reshape your life, and make you live with passion once again.

 

4. Drop the pain blockers

To overcome loneliness, you have to stop blocking the pain with the following bad habits:

– Watching TV

– Always checking social media notifications

– Eating junk food

– Drinking alcohol

Being lonely is hard enough. The last thing you want to do is numb the suffering of loneliness with substances, and events that will make you feel even more disconnected. With every temporary upper, there is a guaranteed downer.

Despite what advertising tells us, we can’t distract ourselves from our problems forever or avoid them. Money will not make our problems or feelings of loneliness go away. What will make your loneliness vanish is reconnecting with yourself in the first instance, and then society in the second instance.

 

What can you do to help sufferers?

Without sounding all high and mighty, I’ve been lucky enough not to suffer from loneliness for the majority of my life. I’ve used the above strategies to get back on track when the inevitable loneliness and feelings of disconnect come knocking at the door of my mind.

Just because some of us may not be dealing with loneliness, doesn’t mean that this article is a waste of your time. If you’re not dealing with loneliness, then go out and help other people not suffer from this epidemic that is at the root of so many problems in our society.

Door Of NeighborFind someone who looks lonely, and offer them a friendly chat. Knock on the door of a neighbor that you never see leave their home, and sit down and talk to them. People over sixty suffer the most, and I’m sure you know plenty of people in that age bracket that you could have a conversation with.

A simple conversation may not sound like much, but that’s all it takes to brighten someone’s day. Overcoming pain and bringing back success is not difficult. The solutions to problems are always much less complicated than we believe.

No one deserves to be alone, considering how many billions of people there are on this planet. You may only be one human being out of so many, but that’s no excuse for a life that is not as fulfilled as it could be. Share your gift to bring light to those who have so much darkness.

Know that you may experience some of the same darkness in your life, and rely on the same gift to get you back on your feet again.

Loneliness is a killer. That doesn’t mean we can’t fight this sometimes-invisible war.

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

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Life

10 Things You Must Do More Often in Order to Build an Enjoyable Life

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how to enjoy life

Most of us constantly look for ways to improve our lives. We want to make more money, be more attractive, and be regarded more highly by our friends and our colleagues. We are on a mission to achieve more, earn more, and learn more. More often than not, we are in a hurry to do all of it.

Unfortunately, this mindset misses the point. Think about it, what do all the things mentioned above have in common?  They’re all about ME. We’re all busy, we’ve all stretched out our limits and we’ve all got too much to do.

In the rush to improve our lives, we end up focusing too much on ourselves, which leads to disappointment and frustration when things don’t go as planned. But there are small actions we can take which help ground us in reality and make us remember what is most important about our lives.

Here are 10 things that you should do more often if you want to build a life that you truly enjoy:

1. Wake up before everyone else

Waking up early may not be your cup of tea, but I would urge even the most stalwart night owl to try this trick at least once over the course of the next few weeks. Set your alarm for an ungodly hour (like 5am) and make a concerted effort to get out of bed when your alarm goes off.

The brain functions differently in the early hours of the morning. Things may seem sharper, and ideas may come to you in different ways. On top of that, there is a subtle motivating factor that comes from the knowledge that you are up being productive while everyone else is still asleep in bed.

2. Spend a day doing anything you want to do

Many of us are shackled to our jobs, or studies and our personal commitments. We have become so overbooked that we rarely have a night off just to sit and relax. Even if we have that time, our minds typically wander to what we have to be doing the next day or later in the week.

Due to the above reason, I urge you to schedule one day a month where you actively schedule a full day of doing nothing but what you want to do. Not something for your business or your side project. Not something for someone else. Be selfish.

3. Reach out to old friends

The power of a network grows stronger based on how strong the connections are between each piece. Reach out to an old friend (or friends) and start the process of catching up and rebuilding relationships that have faded. You never know what opportunities may develop from these connections, so it is always a good idea to maintain these open channels.

“Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

4. Ask someone to do something for you which you could do yourself

You may have the time or skill necessary to do something, but delegating will be invaluable to you as you continue to move through life. The practice of delegating is a subtle art that few of us are comfortable with, but almost all of us would benefit from.

Delegating requires you to plan exactly what you want to happen, and it also requires that you set clear expectations for what you expect from others. You can practice this by hiring someone from Fiverr or Upwork to help you with your job or a random task of some kind.

5. Say thank you to someone that made a difference in your life in the last year

You have no idea what a difference a gesture of this kind can make to someone. Reach out to a stranger, a colleague, a family member, or a long lost friend. Tell them why you appreciate them, and say thank you for what they’ve done for you. You don’t need to tell them it was because I told you so… just go for it. You won’t regret it, and you’ll make their day.

6. Give your opinion about what someone should do in their life or in their work

This is nearly as hard as asking someone to do something for you. As humans, we tend to avoid potential conflicts, and telling someone to change something about their lives has a huge potential for conflict or argument. Still, if you are able to share your opinion in a clear and thought through manner, that person will not only appreciate your advice, they will respect you moving forward.

7. Give a compliment to someone without expecting anything in return

Similar to saying thank you to someone, giving a compliment allows you to strengthen your relationship with others in and outside of your network while helping you build the self confidence to share your opinions openly and without self-judgement. If possible, focus on giving “growth mindset” compliments rather than “fixed mindset” compliments.

Growth mindset compliments are those relating to skills or traits which can be learned and improved upon (i.e. you did such a good job with that presentation), whereas fixed mindset compliments are those which relate to fixed attributes related to physical appearance, intellect, etc (you’re so smart).

“Everybody likes a compliment.” – Abraham Lincoln

8. Make something and share it with the world

Often we are told to create widgets for our employers or to churn out content for individuals that pay us. However, real creativity requires tapping into our inner passions and ideas about how the world works. Being creative in this way is a great way to reconnect with your true nature and ground yourself in the present moment.

9. Go to a free event and see something you’ve not experienced before

Always keep on learning! If you live in or near a big city, chances are there are a ton of free events being advertised online which you can attend. Look for new museum exhibitions, street fairs, musical concerts, talks, etc. and try to attend something new every month. Even networking events can lead to future job prospects or business opportunities.

10. Cook a meal for someone (or a group of people)

Some of the strongest bonds between human beings are formed around food. Since the discovery of fire, humans have been gathering around and feeding one another, sharing memories, advice, opinions and accolades. Even if you’re not a good cook, throw a few pizzas in the oven and invite a few friends over for a drink.

Now I know what you’re thinking right now. I don’t have time to do all that every week, or even every month. Heck, maybe even every year is asking too much. But I assure you, you do have time for these activities. Some of them let you reconnect with yourself at a deeper level, while others require you to connect with the ones around you in an empathetic and emotionally engaged way.

Remember that this life is not just about you, it’s about everyone you come in contact with. Every small action you take will have a butterfly effect which changes the hearts and minds of those you come in contact with.

How are you making sure you’re building the life you truly want to live? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

The 4 Agreements You’ll Need to Make With Yourself to Live a Happier Life

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live a happier life

Here’s something we can all agree on: Life is hard. And if this wasn’t enough, caring about other people’s opinion only makes it harder. You have a good job but you’re too scared to run your own business. You have a good relationship with your partner, but you’re too scared to get married. And you live an interesting life but you’re too scared to share it on social media.

In other words, fear is taking over your life. The problem is that changing your perspective isn’t easy. But here’s the big secret…You can unlearn your previous beliefs and adopt new ones that will help set you free from your fears.

It won’t be easy but if you’re hungry for positive change, here are the four agreements based on the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz you’ll need to make with yourself:

1. Always Be True To Your Word

Do you know the power of your word? Most people don’t stop to appreciate the power they possess in their word. Your word has the power to kill millions of people or to change someone’s life forever. Think back when Martin Luther King managed to change millions of lives with his “I Have A Dream” speech.

The problem is most people fail to use the power of their word, or worse they use it to unintentionally hurt others. However, the trick is to say only what you truly mean. Don’t speak badly about yourself or others. And speak about truth and love.

Negative feedback can act as poison to other people. Start taking the power of your word seriously by speaking only positive things. Instead of gossiping behind your co-worker’s back, try to say positive things or don’t say anything at all.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

2. Free Yourself From People’s Ideas

Chances are that other people’s words closely relate to your own perception. So what happens? You believe your friend who calls you ugly when you’re having a bad hair day. You believe your boss who states you’re an incompetent worker when you’re experiencing a bad breakup. And you believe your family when they provide you with many reasons of why you won’t be able to run a successful business.

The list goes on and on. Repeat this for years and it’s no wonder why you take other people’s criticism personally. What you have to understand is that other people’s opinions aren’t about you, it’s a reflection of themselves. For example, if someone tells you that you’ll never launch a successful business it’s screaming what they believe is possible.

You shouldn’t even take your own comments personally. Sometimes your own words cause self-inflicting damage. So what’s the solution? Start by listing your beliefs that make you fearful or unhappy. Then work on your smallest beliefs and begin replacing them with positive beliefs.

3. Stop Making Assumptions About Everything

Be bold and ask questions. The next time someone explains something to you, repeat what they’ve said to confirm if their statement was correct. Rinse and repeat until you’re confident that you understand the other person. Will it be easy? Of course not. There will be times when you’ll be scared to ask questions or people will look annoyed. However, you can’t let fear hold you back.

Here are the two questions to ask yourself when you’re facing tough times: 1. If today was my last day would this problem be significant? 2. How do you want to live? Be curious and become confident in asking questions so you’ll never have to assume anything.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama XIV

4. Consistently Do Your Best

Don’t strive to be perfect, strive to do your best. You’ll regret more the chances we didn’t take vs the times you’ve failed. If you’re always performing at your best you’ll be less likely to feel disappointed. Your best will vary from time to time but as long as you’re always putting your best effort you’ll be at peace.

Why does this work? As humans, we punish ourselves multiple times for a single mistake. That’s because we tend to live in the future or past replaying old mistakes and punishing ourselves further. By always doing our best you eliminate the possibility for regret and self-judgment. Don’t forget to do your best with the little things as well.

Here’s what I mean: The moment you wake put your best effort to make your bed. When you’re feeling off, put your best effort going to go to the gym to lift weights. Stop waiting for those rare days when you wake up feeling amazing. Get up each morning with the intent to do your best at everything you do!

Start Living A Happy Life

Picture this, it’s 5 am and you’re starting your morning ritual. At the end of your ritual, you’re ready to have an amazing day despite it being Monday. But that’s not all. You’ve found the courage to leave your job to go all in with your business. You’ve found the courage to get married and take your relationship to the next level. You’ve even found the courage to share silly pictures of yourself on social media.

Life is good. Most people wish for these types of day, but not you. Ever since you’ve adopted these 4 agreements your life has transformed for the better. You’re no longer a victim to what happens in your life.

Amazing isn’t it? This can be your reality if you begin adopting these 4 agreements into your life today. You’ve only got one life to live, are you going to let fear hold you back from being happy?

What have you discovered about yourself? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

5 Actionable Tips to Master Your Mental Illness and Be Successful

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mental illness

With May being Mental Illness Awareness Month, it’s imperative to know what actions we can take to develop more successful emotions. Emotional pain is one of the worst things that can happen to an individual. After attempting suicide twice and checking myself into countless mental health clinics, I was able to finally to become the master of my world. Reaching rock bottom twice, I’ve learned how to become successful in both my personal and professional life.  With a little bit of effort, this is something you can do too.

Even if you’re not battling a mental illness, these techniques can work wonders for improving every part of life:

1. Reading For Personal Growth

With so much negative material in this world of the internet, one must take the time to purposefully install positive material that’ll help you grow. Just by being on Addicted2Success, you’re on the right path.

Reading also is another way to exercise your mind. By exercising the mind and inserting positive information into it on a consistent basis, it’s inevitable that your thoughts, actions, and results will begin to change. What I did, and still do, is read books from the genres of Self-Help, Self-Improvement, Personal Development, and Psychology.

2. Writing To Vent

Even after speaking to therapists and psychologists, what I have found to work wonders is to simply write. What’s great about this is you can get everything off of your chest and then destroy the evidence by shredding it once you’re done. By bottling everything up inside, it begins to eat away at us, stacks up with other negative emotions, and then comes back with a vengeance.

Start a daily journal to vent about everything that’s bothering you and then shred it if you choose. I personally shred everything all at once rather than one day at a time.

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” – Gustave Flaubert

3. Changing Environments

Jim Rohn said, “You’re the average of the five people you hang out with most.” This is true for success, finances, health, mentality, and all other areas of life. If you want to become successful, if you want to pull yourself out of an emotional slump, change the stimuli you’re currently in. This can include your friends, work, tv shows, news, movies, music, social media, unorganized office/home, and more.

If you feel like something is dragging you down, it is. Do what successful people do and change it! I personally went for months without a friend because they were the biggest source of negativity in my life…and I’d do it again!

4. Controlling Your Thoughts

This is easier said than done, but it’s extremely possible. On average, we have about 60,000 thoughts running through our minds every day, more than half of those are negative.

One thing you can try is to make a tally mark every time you notice a negative thought. Doing this will help you become more aware of this and you’ll notice over time, those tally marks will slowly dwindle. The key here is to have a predetermined affirmation or mantra to replace that negative thought with. I personally have a go-to affirmation which I repeat over-and-over again while forcing the biggest smile I can muster at the time.

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” – Mark Twain

5. Taking Action On Ideas

Ideas are a dime-a-dozen because too many are stillborn, most never take action on any idea they have. By taking action in any capacity on an idea that you come up with, it’ll help boost self-esteem and confidence. It also sends a signal to your subconscious mind that you’re becoming a different person who has a purpose in life. Start small at first, then go as big as your imagination can dream. I use to ignore my ideas because everyone told me how stupid I was, yet now I receive praise for being a innovative visionary with determination.

It took me nearly ten years without medication or therapy to completely reverse my life for the better. Now that I am where I am, I still practice all of this and more! You can be successful in whatever it is that you desire, but it all starts in the mind and your actions.

If you or anyone you know is battling any type of mental illness, know that it is only temporary if you choose for it to be. Take the advice Bob Proctor told me and implement it immediately: “The mind is the most powerful force in all of creation, hold the image of what you want, and surprise the whole world.”

What tricks do you have for controlling your mind and making sure your brain helps you achieve success throughout your day? Let us know in the comments below!

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Life

Why I Drastically Reduced My Social Media Consumption (And I Work in Social Media!)

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Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the way I consume, create and connect using social media.

What started out as a tool that was supposed to bring us together has turned into something we didn’t expect. Now, I’m the biggest advocate of all when it comes to social media. So much so, that I’ve dedicated most of my career to it.

This post is not designed to get you to delete social media and go and live off-grid, away from the Internet, on a farm, with no car and no connection to the community around you.

The point is to get you to rethink your social media usage.

These are the 4 burdens of social media:

 

Responding to comments

One of my coaching clients said to me the other day “How do you find time to respond to all of the comments you get online?”

I told him “I don’t.”

This is a new thing for me. If I go back six months, I was responding to every comment I got. It’s no secret that by responding to comments on social media in real-time, you get more engagement on your posts.

So yes, commenting is good if you are building an audience and want more people to see your work, but on the downside, you become a slave to comments.

The other challenge with comments is that you will get trolls and people that say nasty stuff. No matter how hard you try, some of them will affect your mindset, motivation or even your mood.

This is why I have drastically reduced the comments I respond to. I still engage and support people that like my work, I just do it less.

This leaves me more time to create, which ultimately provides more value than a reply to a comment.

 

Liking people’s posts

Social media also brings on the expectation that you’re supposed to like people’s posts who supported you, are your family or maybe even your work colleagues or friends.

I always like to support other people’s work, but I disagree with people expecting me to. Some posts just don’t resonate with me and that’s why I don’t reshare them even if they are my friends, colleagues or even super fans of my work.

 

Responding to direct messages

“Instant messaging has been the bane of my existence. It’s like a meeting that never ends”

Now everyone can reach me. This might seem like it makes us more connected but I don’t feel it does. Instead, it takes up huge amounts of time to respond to direct messages. A lot of the ones I get have ‘asks’ attached to them.

There’s nothing wrong with an ‘ask’ through social media but if you don’t know someone at all, it gets annoying quickly.

 

Having to check notifications

When I see 150 new notifications on LinkedIn (or any social network) as much as I hate to admit it, it feels good. I end up checking my notifications in meetings, while out for dinner with my significant other and even in the car (dangerous).

“Most of what these notifications are telling me are unimportant but my dopamine addicted brain can’t resist. The need for validation that I am growing or becoming somebody is too great”

<<<>>>>>

It’s for these four reasons that I recently severely limited by social media usage.

This may seem like the action of a crazy person given that I work in social media. I promise you it’s not. I can still have a career in social media or as a blogger without checking apps 100 times a day.

My time is now focused on something far more important:

Maximizing my time creating content that serves my purpose instead of consuming which is what the social media platforms want me to do (I never did like following rules).

<<<>>>

Here are the benefits I got by drastically reducing my social media usage:

 

Less stress

The recent test I took to measure my cortisol levels shows that I’m currently at 800 on the cortisol scale and the normal range is between 0-400.

I’ve been looking for any way I can to reduce stress. My experimentation with reducing social media has helped significantly.

“I find myself living in flight mode more often and enjoying right now”

One of the biggest flaws with the 24/7 social media model is the increase in stress if nothing else. The need for instant validation is making our stress levels soar. It’s time to fight back!

 

It’s made me more creative

I’m now being inspired more by things I witness in real life as opposed to the sometimes made-up, perfect world of social media. Creativity fuels our passions and even our businesses.

It takes empty space and free time to be creative. Social media was sucking up all my spare time after work and on the weekend. By consuming less, I had blocks of spare time to create.

That also gave me time to be inspired by books that fuel my imagination like Harry Potter (strangely enough).

 

I feel freer

Being tied to my phone and glued to social media is like having chains around my arms.

“It’s been nice to be free of advice, funny videos, opinions, politics and everything else that is like a fire hose in your face”

 

More present

Meditation has been something I’ve sucked at for a long time. I find it hard to be present and observe the now. Part of the reason, I’ve discovered, is that I was thinking about what was happening on social media.

Having time away from social media has made being present easier for me. I’m thinking less about how many views I got on LinkedIn today and more about the meaning of life and the people I care about.

It’s not perfect though. I still spend time on social media (obviously) and so I have to balance the benefits, with the negatives like being less present.

 

Fewer distractions

All the way back to high school, my teachers told me “Tim, you’re easily distracted.”

Even on my report cards, it says it. My teachers put it down to my appreciation of the opposite sex (this is what they said!) but I disagree. I put it down to my need for human interaction which is what has made me love selling in the business world.

None the less, I am easily distracted -  that’s a fact. Social media has forced me to check my notifications consistently. Since reducing my social media consumption, I’ve put into action a new strategy.

What I do now is turn off all notifications on my phone, computer, iPad and laptop. I only have SMS and phone call notifications turned on.

This setup allows me to time-box when I check my social media and only look at certain times of the day. By batching similar tasks like checking notifications together, I spend less time overall on social media.

Not only do I have my notifications for social media turned off, but I also do most of the commenting and responding to messages on my iMac. The screen of my phone is small and it makes the process longer, more stressful and it’s a burden on my eyes.

 

It’s increased my real-world interactions with people

By being less social without the need for social media and online communities, my hunger for connection has not disappeared. If anything, it’s increased.

The only way to get my fix is to attend a social catchup, hang out with workmates, have more meetings with clients and say hi to strangers.

This has improved my confidence, got me out of my comfort-zone and even helped me with my public speaking ability.

 

Final thought

Social media doesn’t have to be a burden but until you learn to control it, it will wreak havoc on your life. Working in social media makes me a big advocate of the upside, but the downside is not so obvious.

I hope, through my own reduction in social media, you’ve got a new perspective – or at least a different view of social media.

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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One Question You Must Answer to Ensure Personal Success

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personal success
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I don’t believe in quick fixes, in get-rich-quick schemes, or any other system that guarantees instant success with only a modicum of effort. But, I do believe it’s possible to condense great strings of logical thought and intellectual algorithms into basics. I like to keep things simple! Many of my clients love the fact that I don’t overly complete things, and frankly, so do I! I like to ask simple questions whose answers can be had quickly but require some focus in obtaining the outcome. (more…)

Biagio Sciacca, known to his friends as Bill, was a lifelong resident of Pittston, PA. He is the owner of Intelligent Motivation, Inc. a global consulting and training firm specializing in management and leadership training as well as psychological assessment for hiring and staff development. He is the author of several books relating to goal setting, and his third book, Provocative Leadership, is publishing soon. Now residing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, he divides his time between his international coaching and training clients, writing his next book and wandering aimlessly on the beach. Feel free to contact Bill at bill@intelligentmotivationinc.com or schedule a call with him by going to www.intelligentmotivationinc.com and clicking on the “set up a call” tab.

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Life

10 Things You Must Do More Often in Order to Build an Enjoyable Life

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how to enjoy life

Most of us constantly look for ways to improve our lives. We want to make more money, be more attractive, and be regarded more highly by our friends and our colleagues. We are on a mission to achieve more, earn more, and learn more. More often than not, we are in a hurry to do all of it.

Unfortunately, this mindset misses the point. Think about it, what do all the things mentioned above have in common?  They’re all about ME. We’re all busy, we’ve all stretched out our limits and we’ve all got too much to do.

In the rush to improve our lives, we end up focusing too much on ourselves, which leads to disappointment and frustration when things don’t go as planned. But there are small actions we can take which help ground us in reality and make us remember what is most important about our lives.

Here are 10 things that you should do more often if you want to build a life that you truly enjoy:

1. Wake up before everyone else

Waking up early may not be your cup of tea, but I would urge even the most stalwart night owl to try this trick at least once over the course of the next few weeks. Set your alarm for an ungodly hour (like 5am) and make a concerted effort to get out of bed when your alarm goes off.

The brain functions differently in the early hours of the morning. Things may seem sharper, and ideas may come to you in different ways. On top of that, there is a subtle motivating factor that comes from the knowledge that you are up being productive while everyone else is still asleep in bed.

2. Spend a day doing anything you want to do

Many of us are shackled to our jobs, or studies and our personal commitments. We have become so overbooked that we rarely have a night off just to sit and relax. Even if we have that time, our minds typically wander to what we have to be doing the next day or later in the week.

Due to the above reason, I urge you to schedule one day a month where you actively schedule a full day of doing nothing but what you want to do. Not something for your business or your side project. Not something for someone else. Be selfish.

3. Reach out to old friends

The power of a network grows stronger based on how strong the connections are between each piece. Reach out to an old friend (or friends) and start the process of catching up and rebuilding relationships that have faded. You never know what opportunities may develop from these connections, so it is always a good idea to maintain these open channels.

“Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

4. Ask someone to do something for you which you could do yourself

You may have the time or skill necessary to do something, but delegating will be invaluable to you as you continue to move through life. The practice of delegating is a subtle art that few of us are comfortable with, but almost all of us would benefit from.

Delegating requires you to plan exactly what you want to happen, and it also requires that you set clear expectations for what you expect from others. You can practice this by hiring someone from Fiverr or Upwork to help you with your job or a random task of some kind.

5. Say thank you to someone that made a difference in your life in the last year

You have no idea what a difference a gesture of this kind can make to someone. Reach out to a stranger, a colleague, a family member, or a long lost friend. Tell them why you appreciate them, and say thank you for what they’ve done for you. You don’t need to tell them it was because I told you so… just go for it. You won’t regret it, and you’ll make their day.

6. Give your opinion about what someone should do in their life or in their work

This is nearly as hard as asking someone to do something for you. As humans, we tend to avoid potential conflicts, and telling someone to change something about their lives has a huge potential for conflict or argument. Still, if you are able to share your opinion in a clear and thought through manner, that person will not only appreciate your advice, they will respect you moving forward.

7. Give a compliment to someone without expecting anything in return

Similar to saying thank you to someone, giving a compliment allows you to strengthen your relationship with others in and outside of your network while helping you build the self confidence to share your opinions openly and without self-judgement. If possible, focus on giving “growth mindset” compliments rather than “fixed mindset” compliments.

Growth mindset compliments are those relating to skills or traits which can be learned and improved upon (i.e. you did such a good job with that presentation), whereas fixed mindset compliments are those which relate to fixed attributes related to physical appearance, intellect, etc (you’re so smart).

“Everybody likes a compliment.” – Abraham Lincoln

8. Make something and share it with the world

Often we are told to create widgets for our employers or to churn out content for individuals that pay us. However, real creativity requires tapping into our inner passions and ideas about how the world works. Being creative in this way is a great way to reconnect with your true nature and ground yourself in the present moment.

9. Go to a free event and see something you’ve not experienced before

Always keep on learning! If you live in or near a big city, chances are there are a ton of free events being advertised online which you can attend. Look for new museum exhibitions, street fairs, musical concerts, talks, etc. and try to attend something new every month. Even networking events can lead to future job prospects or business opportunities.

10. Cook a meal for someone (or a group of people)

Some of the strongest bonds between human beings are formed around food. Since the discovery of fire, humans have been gathering around and feeding one another, sharing memories, advice, opinions and accolades. Even if you’re not a good cook, throw a few pizzas in the oven and invite a few friends over for a drink.

Now I know what you’re thinking right now. I don’t have time to do all that every week, or even every month. Heck, maybe even every year is asking too much. But I assure you, you do have time for these activities. Some of them let you reconnect with yourself at a deeper level, while others require you to connect with the ones around you in an empathetic and emotionally engaged way.

Remember that this life is not just about you, it’s about everyone you come in contact with. Every small action you take will have a butterfly effect which changes the hearts and minds of those you come in contact with.

How are you making sure you’re building the life you truly want to live? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

The 4 Agreements You’ll Need to Make With Yourself to Live a Happier Life

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Here’s something we can all agree on: Life is hard. And if this wasn’t enough, caring about other people’s opinion only makes it harder. You have a good job but you’re too scared to run your own business. You have a good relationship with your partner, but you’re too scared to get married. And you live an interesting life but you’re too scared to share it on social media.

In other words, fear is taking over your life. The problem is that changing your perspective isn’t easy. But here’s the big secret…You can unlearn your previous beliefs and adopt new ones that will help set you free from your fears.

It won’t be easy but if you’re hungry for positive change, here are the four agreements based on the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz you’ll need to make with yourself:

1. Always Be True To Your Word

Do you know the power of your word? Most people don’t stop to appreciate the power they possess in their word. Your word has the power to kill millions of people or to change someone’s life forever. Think back when Martin Luther King managed to change millions of lives with his “I Have A Dream” speech.

The problem is most people fail to use the power of their word, or worse they use it to unintentionally hurt others. However, the trick is to say only what you truly mean. Don’t speak badly about yourself or others. And speak about truth and love.

Negative feedback can act as poison to other people. Start taking the power of your word seriously by speaking only positive things. Instead of gossiping behind your co-worker’s back, try to say positive things or don’t say anything at all.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

2. Free Yourself From People’s Ideas

Chances are that other people’s words closely relate to your own perception. So what happens? You believe your friend who calls you ugly when you’re having a bad hair day. You believe your boss who states you’re an incompetent worker when you’re experiencing a bad breakup. And you believe your family when they provide you with many reasons of why you won’t be able to run a successful business.

The list goes on and on. Repeat this for years and it’s no wonder why you take other people’s criticism personally. What you have to understand is that other people’s opinions aren’t about you, it’s a reflection of themselves. For example, if someone tells you that you’ll never launch a successful business it’s screaming what they believe is possible.

You shouldn’t even take your own comments personally. Sometimes your own words cause self-inflicting damage. So what’s the solution? Start by listing your beliefs that make you fearful or unhappy. Then work on your smallest beliefs and begin replacing them with positive beliefs.

3. Stop Making Assumptions About Everything

Be bold and ask questions. The next time someone explains something to you, repeat what they’ve said to confirm if their statement was correct. Rinse and repeat until you’re confident that you understand the other person. Will it be easy? Of course not. There will be times when you’ll be scared to ask questions or people will look annoyed. However, you can’t let fear hold you back.

Here are the two questions to ask yourself when you’re facing tough times: 1. If today was my last day would this problem be significant? 2. How do you want to live? Be curious and become confident in asking questions so you’ll never have to assume anything.

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama XIV

4. Consistently Do Your Best

Don’t strive to be perfect, strive to do your best. You’ll regret more the chances we didn’t take vs the times you’ve failed. If you’re always performing at your best you’ll be less likely to feel disappointed. Your best will vary from time to time but as long as you’re always putting your best effort you’ll be at peace.

Why does this work? As humans, we punish ourselves multiple times for a single mistake. That’s because we tend to live in the future or past replaying old mistakes and punishing ourselves further. By always doing our best you eliminate the possibility for regret and self-judgment. Don’t forget to do your best with the little things as well.

Here’s what I mean: The moment you wake put your best effort to make your bed. When you’re feeling off, put your best effort going to go to the gym to lift weights. Stop waiting for those rare days when you wake up feeling amazing. Get up each morning with the intent to do your best at everything you do!

Start Living A Happy Life

Picture this, it’s 5 am and you’re starting your morning ritual. At the end of your ritual, you’re ready to have an amazing day despite it being Monday. But that’s not all. You’ve found the courage to leave your job to go all in with your business. You’ve found the courage to get married and take your relationship to the next level. You’ve even found the courage to share silly pictures of yourself on social media.

Life is good. Most people wish for these types of day, but not you. Ever since you’ve adopted these 4 agreements your life has transformed for the better. You’re no longer a victim to what happens in your life.

Amazing isn’t it? This can be your reality if you begin adopting these 4 agreements into your life today. You’ve only got one life to live, are you going to let fear hold you back from being happy?

What have you discovered about yourself? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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5 Actionable Tips to Master Your Mental Illness and Be Successful

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With May being Mental Illness Awareness Month, it’s imperative to know what actions we can take to develop more successful emotions. Emotional pain is one of the worst things that can happen to an individual. After attempting suicide twice and checking myself into countless mental health clinics, I was able to finally to become the master of my world. Reaching rock bottom twice, I’ve learned how to become successful in both my personal and professional life.  With a little bit of effort, this is something you can do too.

Even if you’re not battling a mental illness, these techniques can work wonders for improving every part of life:

1. Reading For Personal Growth

With so much negative material in this world of the internet, one must take the time to purposefully install positive material that’ll help you grow. Just by being on Addicted2Success, you’re on the right path.

Reading also is another way to exercise your mind. By exercising the mind and inserting positive information into it on a consistent basis, it’s inevitable that your thoughts, actions, and results will begin to change. What I did, and still do, is read books from the genres of Self-Help, Self-Improvement, Personal Development, and Psychology.

2. Writing To Vent

Even after speaking to therapists and psychologists, what I have found to work wonders is to simply write. What’s great about this is you can get everything off of your chest and then destroy the evidence by shredding it once you’re done. By bottling everything up inside, it begins to eat away at us, stacks up with other negative emotions, and then comes back with a vengeance.

Start a daily journal to vent about everything that’s bothering you and then shred it if you choose. I personally shred everything all at once rather than one day at a time.

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” – Gustave Flaubert

3. Changing Environments

Jim Rohn said, “You’re the average of the five people you hang out with most.” This is true for success, finances, health, mentality, and all other areas of life. If you want to become successful, if you want to pull yourself out of an emotional slump, change the stimuli you’re currently in. This can include your friends, work, tv shows, news, movies, music, social media, unorganized office/home, and more.

If you feel like something is dragging you down, it is. Do what successful people do and change it! I personally went for months without a friend because they were the biggest source of negativity in my life…and I’d do it again!

4. Controlling Your Thoughts

This is easier said than done, but it’s extremely possible. On average, we have about 60,000 thoughts running through our minds every day, more than half of those are negative.

One thing you can try is to make a tally mark every time you notice a negative thought. Doing this will help you become more aware of this and you’ll notice over time, those tally marks will slowly dwindle. The key here is to have a predetermined affirmation or mantra to replace that negative thought with. I personally have a go-to affirmation which I repeat over-and-over again while forcing the biggest smile I can muster at the time.

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” – Mark Twain

5. Taking Action On Ideas

Ideas are a dime-a-dozen because too many are stillborn, most never take action on any idea they have. By taking action in any capacity on an idea that you come up with, it’ll help boost self-esteem and confidence. It also sends a signal to your subconscious mind that you’re becoming a different person who has a purpose in life. Start small at first, then go as big as your imagination can dream. I use to ignore my ideas because everyone told me how stupid I was, yet now I receive praise for being a innovative visionary with determination.

It took me nearly ten years without medication or therapy to completely reverse my life for the better. Now that I am where I am, I still practice all of this and more! You can be successful in whatever it is that you desire, but it all starts in the mind and your actions.

If you or anyone you know is battling any type of mental illness, know that it is only temporary if you choose for it to be. Take the advice Bob Proctor told me and implement it immediately: “The mind is the most powerful force in all of creation, hold the image of what you want, and surprise the whole world.”

What tricks do you have for controlling your mind and making sure your brain helps you achieve success throughout your day? Let us know in the comments below!

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Why I Drastically Reduced My Social Media Consumption (And I Work in Social Media!)

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Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the way I consume, create and connect using social media.

What started out as a tool that was supposed to bring us together has turned into something we didn’t expect. Now, I’m the biggest advocate of all when it comes to social media. So much so, that I’ve dedicated most of my career to it.

This post is not designed to get you to delete social media and go and live off-grid, away from the Internet, on a farm, with no car and no connection to the community around you.

The point is to get you to rethink your social media usage.

These are the 4 burdens of social media:

 

Responding to comments

One of my coaching clients said to me the other day “How do you find time to respond to all of the comments you get online?”

I told him “I don’t.”

This is a new thing for me. If I go back six months, I was responding to every comment I got. It’s no secret that by responding to comments on social media in real-time, you get more engagement on your posts.

So yes, commenting is good if you are building an audience and want more people to see your work, but on the downside, you become a slave to comments.

The other challenge with comments is that you will get trolls and people that say nasty stuff. No matter how hard you try, some of them will affect your mindset, motivation or even your mood.

This is why I have drastically reduced the comments I respond to. I still engage and support people that like my work, I just do it less.

This leaves me more time to create, which ultimately provides more value than a reply to a comment.

 

Liking people’s posts

Social media also brings on the expectation that you’re supposed to like people’s posts who supported you, are your family or maybe even your work colleagues or friends.

I always like to support other people’s work, but I disagree with people expecting me to. Some posts just don’t resonate with me and that’s why I don’t reshare them even if they are my friends, colleagues or even super fans of my work.

 

Responding to direct messages

“Instant messaging has been the bane of my existence. It’s like a meeting that never ends”

Now everyone can reach me. This might seem like it makes us more connected but I don’t feel it does. Instead, it takes up huge amounts of time to respond to direct messages. A lot of the ones I get have ‘asks’ attached to them.

There’s nothing wrong with an ‘ask’ through social media but if you don’t know someone at all, it gets annoying quickly.

 

Having to check notifications

When I see 150 new notifications on LinkedIn (or any social network) as much as I hate to admit it, it feels good. I end up checking my notifications in meetings, while out for dinner with my significant other and even in the car (dangerous).

“Most of what these notifications are telling me are unimportant but my dopamine addicted brain can’t resist. The need for validation that I am growing or becoming somebody is too great”

<<<>>>>>

It’s for these four reasons that I recently severely limited by social media usage.

This may seem like the action of a crazy person given that I work in social media. I promise you it’s not. I can still have a career in social media or as a blogger without checking apps 100 times a day.

My time is now focused on something far more important:

Maximizing my time creating content that serves my purpose instead of consuming which is what the social media platforms want me to do (I never did like following rules).

<<<>>>

Here are the benefits I got by drastically reducing my social media usage:

 

Less stress

The recent test I took to measure my cortisol levels shows that I’m currently at 800 on the cortisol scale and the normal range is between 0-400.

I’ve been looking for any way I can to reduce stress. My experimentation with reducing social media has helped significantly.

“I find myself living in flight mode more often and enjoying right now”

One of the biggest flaws with the 24/7 social media model is the increase in stress if nothing else. The need for instant validation is making our stress levels soar. It’s time to fight back!

 

It’s made me more creative

I’m now being inspired more by things I witness in real life as opposed to the sometimes made-up, perfect world of social media. Creativity fuels our passions and even our businesses.

It takes empty space and free time to be creative. Social media was sucking up all my spare time after work and on the weekend. By consuming less, I had blocks of spare time to create.

That also gave me time to be inspired by books that fuel my imagination like Harry Potter (strangely enough).

 

I feel freer

Being tied to my phone and glued to social media is like having chains around my arms.

“It’s been nice to be free of advice, funny videos, opinions, politics and everything else that is like a fire hose in your face”

 

More present

Meditation has been something I’ve sucked at for a long time. I find it hard to be present and observe the now. Part of the reason, I’ve discovered, is that I was thinking about what was happening on social media.

Having time away from social media has made being present easier for me. I’m thinking less about how many views I got on LinkedIn today and more about the meaning of life and the people I care about.

It’s not perfect though. I still spend time on social media (obviously) and so I have to balance the benefits, with the negatives like being less present.

 

Fewer distractions

All the way back to high school, my teachers told me “Tim, you’re easily distracted.”

Even on my report cards, it says it. My teachers put it down to my appreciation of the opposite sex (this is what they said!) but I disagree. I put it down to my need for human interaction which is what has made me love selling in the business world.

None the less, I am easily distracted -  that’s a fact. Social media has forced me to check my notifications consistently. Since reducing my social media consumption, I’ve put into action a new strategy.

What I do now is turn off all notifications on my phone, computer, iPad and laptop. I only have SMS and phone call notifications turned on.

This setup allows me to time-box when I check my social media and only look at certain times of the day. By batching similar tasks like checking notifications together, I spend less time overall on social media.

Not only do I have my notifications for social media turned off, but I also do most of the commenting and responding to messages on my iMac. The screen of my phone is small and it makes the process longer, more stressful and it’s a burden on my eyes.

 

It’s increased my real-world interactions with people

By being less social without the need for social media and online communities, my hunger for connection has not disappeared. If anything, it’s increased.

The only way to get my fix is to attend a social catchup, hang out with workmates, have more meetings with clients and say hi to strangers.

This has improved my confidence, got me out of my comfort-zone and even helped me with my public speaking ability.

 

Final thought

Social media doesn’t have to be a burden but until you learn to control it, it will wreak havoc on your life. Working in social media makes me a big advocate of the upside, but the downside is not so obvious.

I hope, through my own reduction in social media, you’ve got a new perspective – or at least a different view of social media.

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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