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The 10 Key Ingredients to Happiness

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Happy Life Girl living in happiness

Ask a dozen individuals what the key to happiness in life is and you will most likely get a dozen different reasons that this is attributed to. Interestingly enough, every one of them have certain habits in common with one another.

These habits are the key components to living a happier life. Ironically, these habits do not have anything to do with being better looking, richer, or smarter than the next person.

 

What makes People Unhappy?

Granted, there are a number of circumstances and situations that are attributed to how unhappy a person may be with their life.

The following is a list of the 7 most destructive habits that unhappy people typically practice on a daily basis:

 

1. Attempting to achieve perfection

Your behavior and your life do not have to be perfect in order for you to be happy, yet this is an all too common misconception that many people share. You will wind up setting unattainable goals and your self-confidence will suffer for it.

 

2. Comparing your life and yourself to others

This is not only one of the most common of the bad habits listed here, it is quite possibly the most destructive. We tend to compare our assets, our relationships, and our social acceptance with others. As a result, you create many negative feelings and thoughts.

 

3. Focusing on life’s negative details

Dwelling on the negative aspects of your life and situation almost guarantees that you will be unhappy. Not only that but you drag down everyone around you in the process.

 

4. Getting stuck in your past or thinking too much about the future

Reliving conflicts, missed opportunities, and painful memories can take a toll on you emotionally and mentally. You can also create nightmarish scenarios by spending too much time in the future and imagining how your health could fail or that your relationship will fall apart.

 

5. Limiting your life by thinking that everyone and everything in the world revolves around you

Thinking that the world revolves around you causes you hold back out of the fear of rejection. It scares you to think what people may say or think about you.

 

6. Living in an world of negativity

What we listen to and watch, what we read, and who we socialize with can have a negative or positive impact on our emotions and our thoughts. If you constantly expose yourself to negativity and let yourself get dragged down by it, it’s going to be extremely difficult for you to ever be happy in your life.

 

7. Overcomplicating your life

Life is complicated enough so why would you want to make it worse? This causes us to create stress and unhappiness while making the world more complex than what it already is. However, developing the right habits can simplify things a make your life easier.

It’s important to note that happiness does not happen overnight. After all, it took years for you to grow unhappy and you can’t just erase that by flipping a switch or taking a magic pill. Just be sure that you set challenging yet realistic goals for yourself.

“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” – Charles Spurgeon


 

The 10 Ingredients to Happiness

Everyone’s happiness is attributed to a variety of reasons. However, past research suggests that the following 10 elements contribute to an individual’s happiness and well-being:

 

i choose to be happy quote

 

1. Acceptance

Dwelling on our flaws makes it exceedingly difficult to achieve happiness in our lives.

Accepting ourselves and being kind to ourselves increase our enjoyment, resilience, and well-being.

 

2. Appreciation

Once you start noticing the world around you, you will begin to appreciate it that much more. If you’ve ever felt that there has to be more to life, you’d be safe in your assumptions. You just need to stop every now and then so you can take the time to appreciate what’s out there.

 

3. Direction

You have to have goals in order to feel good about the future. That takes direction and motivation. Our goals must be challenging yet realistically achievable. Attempting the impossible creates undue stress. However, choosing ambitious goals gives us direction.

 

4. Emotion

Regularly experiencing positive emotions such as contentment, gratitude, inspiration, and pride helps us to develop our resources.

It helps us focus on the positive aspects in our lives (the glass is half full, not half empty).

 

5. Exercising

Your mind is connected with your body. So when we are active it not only benefits our physical health, it makes us happier. Our moods improve and we can even lift ourselves out of depression as a result.

Interestingly enough, our activities do not have to involve complex exercises. There are simple things that we can do every day so that we are more active.

 

6. Giving

Caring about others and doing for others is vital to a person’s happiness. When we give to others or help them, it makes us happier and we become healthier in the process.

Giving helps us to create a better society. However, it also helps us to develop stronger connections with those around us.

 

7. Meaning

People feel more in control, get more out of their efforts, and are typically happier when their lives have meaning and purpose. Plus, they experience less anxiety, depression, and stress in their lives.

 

8. Relationships

Relating with others is quite possibly the greatest contributor to our happiness. Individuals who have broader, stronger relationships with others are happier and healthier. It also helps us to live longer.

We can increase our self-worth by developing close relationships with our family members and friends.

 

9. Resilience

All of us have experienced failure, loss, stress, and trauma in our lives. However, it is the way we react and respond to these issues that can have a huge impact on our lives and well-being. In other words, it is the way that we bounce back when we get knocked down.

 

10. Trying out

There are a number of positive benefits to learning. You get exposed to new ideas which enables you to stay curious and learn new things.

We become more resilient and improve our self-confidence, eventually gaining a sense of accomplishment.

 

Closing note: if you unscramble the first letter of each component above (A, A, D, E, E, G, M, R, R, and T) it spells “GREAT DREAM”.

Ajax Oliver's mission is to help 1,000,000 people create a harmonic relationship with money by eliminating the stress, doubt and insecurities we feel about money. You can also read his lifestyle and relationship advice online.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. janet

    Sep 19, 2016 at 9:24 am

    You have helped my life a lot, thank you.

  2. Passive Pursuit

    Aug 9, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Hey Alex,

    Regular reader and love your work man!

    Can’t tell you how many ups and downs i have been through in my life that have been rectified by applying these 10 principles.

    The biggest one for me was my health. Ever since I started getting away from the PC and working out, my energy levels have increased and I am 10x more productive.

    Regards,
    Richard

  3. Keith Rozairo

    Jan 10, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Great article. Thank You, it adds more meaning and puts a lot of things in perspective if we follow those principles.
    Cheers

  4. Damien Parsons

    Jan 7, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Splendid article and I admire your style. As a novice writer, one could really learn from your work.

    “The 10 key ingredients to happiness” – A title I will bookmark most definitely.
    Your closing note “Great Dream” was a fantastic conclusion to these ingredients to happiness. It can really put in perspective to the “levels” of happiness there is to achieve.

    Perform with these 10 pointers in mind and your happiness will lead to a successful lifestyle.

    Thanks for your inspiration, and glad to have acquainted here, and on Twitter as well.
    See you around!

  5. Nguma

    Jan 4, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    It’s true that it is not how much we have but how much we enjoy that brings happiness.

  6. Ajax Oliver

    Dec 21, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks for the feedback everyone! It was a pleasure to contribute to the A2S community!

  7. Cody

    Dec 15, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Ajax! Loving the post buddy! I just got done reading The Pursuit of Happiness by Chris Guillebeau and these ingredients resonate so well with what Chris talks about in his book. Alongside physical exercise, I’ve learned that emotional exercise is just as strong if not stronger. The happiness I experience with persistent gratitude and inspiration is a second to none for me. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  8. Rose Costas

    Dec 15, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. It all seem so very easy when it is written but most of us go through life stumbling about trying out other peoples life’s and dreams and ignoring ours. I think the best way to remain focus is to have all our goals, dreams and how to get their written as it will help us to remain focus on ourselves and our dreams.
    I also gets upset when people claim to have made it alone. No man is an island and no one can do it alone. There must be people who are willing to lend you a hand and give you valuable insight as you go through life.
    Thanks again for the reminders.

  9. Dan Western

    Dec 15, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Ajax,

    Absolutely spot on, both the reasons why people are unhappy and the ingredients to become happy!

    I don’t think we can highlight just one key ingredient, as they’re all needed for happiness and one without the other wouldn’t give you fulfillment.

    Thanks for sharing. Nailed it!

    Dan

  10. ThatSEOGuy

    Dec 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Hi Ajax,
    Brilliant post, having a strong relationship with your family is something I have really tried with recently and is definitely bringing a sense of self-worth to the equation. Great tips once again 🙂 Have the attitude of gratitude. Awesome mission too, tick one more person off of your list.
    Tom

  11. Peter

    Dec 14, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Hey Ajax,
    Great post! I can really relate to No 10. I love learning new things about a variety of topics – history, physics, food, business (I have a long list!). That’s what keeps me really excited about life and look forward to every single day.
    Peter

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Life

5 Ways to Tap Into Your Intuitive Wisdom as You Design a Successful Life

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wisdom

Success, true success, can only be experienced when you are living life based on your particular design. The best way to know and design a life based on this is to be in constant connection with the wisdom present within you. Wisdom that goes beyond yourself and that, very possibly, put you together originally. People call it different names and intuition is a great way to describe it.

As a spiritual person, you know the power of the intuition. Being able to live from a place of wisdom beyond yourself allows you to find solutions that surprise and delight. These solutions also give you a sense of quiet power as well as you know you are never alone and always completely guided.

For me, intuition changed my life. It took me from working my pharmacist job with no hope for a respite to being a business owner and spiritual teacher living a purpose-driven life.

Here are 5 ideas for you to support your journey to living a more intuitive life:

1. Daily Practice

There can sometime be the assumption that unless something comes to one naturally, then it is not theirs to develop. That is nonsense. Most, if not all, good habits have to be developed. A consistent practice is needed, if you are to experience the benefits of a new skill.

Success is a habit. Each morning, I wake up earlier than my household (Usually 4am) and I sit in silence. I connect with source. I seek guidance for the day ahead. This is a habit I’ve developed.

Each day, the things you make time for are designing or destroying your life. Could you find an extra 20 minutes each day to practice quieting yourself down and connecting with the wisdom within you? Be consistent with the timing each day for long enough to build a habit. Some say 21 days, others say 40 days. For this habit, I would suggest that you make a decision to do it daily and at some point, it becomes a normal and natural part of your life whatever else is going on.

“At any moment, the decision you make can change the course of your life for the better.” – Tony Robbins

2. Quiet Yourself

We live in a very busy world – There is always something happening around you. Always some stimulation to distract you. You have to consciously choose to create space to be quiet. As mentioned earlier, you want to take 20 minutes or so a day to develop a practice and in that time, learn to still your thinking as much as possible, learn to tune into flow.

I use breathing and sometimes, candles to do this. I sit in silence staring at a candle and allowing intuitive flashes to come through or I simply pay attention to my breathing until I feel a stillness come over me. Any errant thoughts that try desperately to get my attention, are written in my journal with the intention of dealing with them later. This calms me down as the thoughts feel as though they are being acknowledged.

3. Suspend Judgement & Disbelief

As you begin working your intuition muscle, you will wonder if you are just talking to yourself or if you are making things up. In the session, refuse to humour that thinking. Instead, make a note of what you are feeling, seeing and hearing. You can have an intuition buddy and you can run things by them after the session to see what they intuitively feel but while you are choosing to tap into source within, suspend all judgement and allow what comes through to come through. It is a very tentative thing to sense your intuition and if you keep rejecting what tries to come through you, the flow will feel stuck.

“Failure is not a single cataclysmic event. You don’t fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgement repeated every day.” – Jim Rohn

4. Come with Intent

This is something I teach clients because having a question you are seeking an answer to, can help with the calming of the mind. Sometimes, the intention is simply to develop my relationship with the source and so my intent is to listen. I generally then start with ‘Please speak to me’. Other times, there is something I specifically want to know the answer to and so I lead with that question. Having an intention keeps you focused.

5. No Desperation

Unfortunately, if you are too desperate about getting a specific answer, you will find it hard to still your mind. It is best to be in an open and receptive mood. How can you do that when you are actually desperate for an answer?  

Something I would do then, is to let calmness be my intention. I would seek guidance on how to still myself and reduce the feeling of desperation which also then has the effect of allowing me to think more clearly anyway. The other thing I do is write out my vision and goals first and keep my mind on those. If you focus on the need, you remain in the need and you remain reactive to the need. If you focus on the vision and the goal, then you become creator which is your true nature anyway.

Which of these 5 things will you implement today?

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4 Essentials to Keep You From Staying Satisfied in Life

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satisfaction

It may sound morally objectionable to not want to stay satisfied in life; however, truth be told, it is actually unethical and morally wrong to not pursue what you really want in life and realize your maximum potential.

The people around us in life, whether it’s family, friends, business associates, people under our leadership, or people in our communities, look at our lives and are impacted. They see how we live out our dreams, and how we overcome the obstacles of life and business. This inspires them to do more, better, or different in their own lives. The reality is, many people’s inspiration and reason to excel is resting on us.

With this great responsibility on our shoulders, that is the first reason we must always strive for more and never be satisfied: someone’s success is depending on your success.

In the tough times or even the times we have reaped the harvest of our hard work, always know we must keep going. Yes, savor the victory, but know that this is not the end. We must keep going. If you don’t do it for you at least think of the people that are watching you and observing your life and do it for them.

Here are some practical tips on how to be continually motivated and not easily satisfied with our successes:

1. Frequently Self-Reflect

Socrates famously stated that an unexamined life is not worth living. We should ask ourselves if THIS (certain point in our lives) is our best that we have to offer. If we are being honest with ourselves, we will truthfully answer, NO. Nonetheless, we must not beat ourselves up nor constantly criticize ourselves but always remind ourselves that there is always room for growth.

Life is all about growth and development, and the goal of all development is to realize our true potential. All organisms grow and when they stop growing, you can be pretty sure that their stage for destruction has set in. Humans are probably the only creatures that do not stop growing. While we have stopped growing physically, our other aspects such as psychology, social standing, ambitions and other areas do not stop growing at all.

“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.” – Wayne Dyer

2. Explore The World

You’ve probably heard of people who’ve stayed their entire lives in their birthplace. These types of people sometimes cannot believe the stories they hear from others that have travelled or lived in various places.

To truly see other people and parts of the world, other than where you come from is a must. Not only does it allow one to appreciate what you do have, but it challenges you to want to do more with your life and not settle. Some of the biggest moments of growth for many people happen when they attend missionary trips, participate in community service, business conferences, and even vacationing in other cities or even countries.

This occurs because your everyday existence and routine of life is challenged. You meet other people who may not be where you are in life or are doing exceptionally more than you. Either way, the first can remind you to always be hungry, and the other can remind you that you are not there yet and there is still more to success and growth; we still have room to grow.

So, travel, meet new people, and stretch your understanding of what life looks like and  what is attainable.

3. Be Curious

Most have heard the old saying when you were young, that “curiosity killed the cat.” Take that saying as a caution not a rule. We should be like children in the level of our curiosity. Curious children ask a lot of questions, and sometimes some of these questions even surprise adults. Because of their powerful curiosity, children think differently compared to adults and therein lies the power of having curiosity as a child.

Some very smart children are not satisfied with some answers adults give them at times, because they intuitively know that either the adult didn’t know the answer or they didn’t understand the topic at all. Don’t be satisfied, and always be eternally curious. Research topics that you know little to nothing about, and be open-minded to topics you are familiar with.

4. Be A Perfectionist

Don’t be satisfied with the present way of doing things. Progress would not happen if we did not tinker with doing things better. Consider textile weaving. People of long ago made textile for clothes using traditional weaving. If we had been satisfied with this way of making textile, we would not have discovered modern technologies of spinning and weaving to produce textiles to clothe billions of people across the world.

So never adopt a mindset that anything is ever perfect with no room for improvement. Systems and processes can always be improved.  

It is hard to work with a perfectionist, but without the perfectionist, we would not have the comfort of modern life. Machines are designed for perfection. An imperfect machine would not work, and even if it could be made to work, it would be hazardous to operate. Perfectionists are not satisfied with mediocre output. They always want the best.

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan

A study published in the “Journal of Personality” entitled “On the Development of Perfectionism: The Longitudinal Role of Academic Achievement and Academic Efficacy,” by Lavinia E. Damian and colleagues showed that academic achievement predicted relative increases in both perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns. This is an important development because it suggests that as people become better and better, their level of perfectionistic pursuit also increases.

Never succumb to the mindset of people who achieve some level of success and say “I have arrived” and “I have made it.” For when we accept this, we have placed a ceiling over our potential and a limit on the truly limitless opportunities that await us. Always strive to be, do, achieve, reach, see, and grow more.

How are you making sure you continue to grow daily in order to be great? Share with us some tips in the comments below!

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3 Necessities That Will Help You Think Big and Stay Positive

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think big, stay positive

To think big and keep hope during difficult times is not easy. When you can’t afford to pay your bills, you haven’t had more than two hours of sleep in a few nights, and you are experiencing some relationship challenges, it can be tough to believe that things will ultimately work out. The ability to see beyond your current circumstances and understand that everything will eventually come together is the life of an entrepreneur.

When you think of a business owner, you frequently also picture the status symbols of success such as money, cars, homes, and other material possessions. However, there is another side to the entrepreneurial lifestyle that deserves attention. Gary Vaynerchuk talks about the 7pm -2 am dream shift, where you dedicate time to work on your business outside of other work and family responsibilities. Committing to a schedule like this is extremely hard.

According to a Fast Company article, businesses that survive past the first year have dropped from 569,419 in 1994 to 106,789 in 2016.  The challenges that often accompany the triumphs of working for yourself can feel insurmountable.

What are three necessities for you to think big and remain positive?

1. Surround yourself with good people

For many of us, it is common to hear and read about the importance of surrounding yourself with positive and productive people. My mother has stressed the importance of this trait since I was at least in kindergarten. When it comes to business, this is extremely important because others can expose you to different levels and types of success. Good people can push you to perform at your best and confirm your sanity when you are at your worst.  

“Choose your friends wisely, and also choose friends that you can trust.” –Elyn Saks

2. Commit to lifelong learning

In this competitive age, you must be willing to grow through a consistent effort of learning new talents and developing skills. As Tim Denning states “without willpower, your mind will take the road of least resistance. Practice teaching your mind discipline.” Reading books, learning new skills and techniques are essential habits of the entrepreneur. They can enable you to develop the ability to think beyond your current personal or business position.  

3. Go within to discover what’s out there

As an entrepreneur, you will need to have a reason for your business that digs deep into your soul. That’s a massive concept, and it is true. In the introduction, I mentioned that the lifestyle of an entrepreneur is not easy. Often times, a daily dosage of meditation or prayer is necessary to make it to the end of the day.

Without something within you like a burning desire to make an impact or the feeling that you work is part of a higher calling, the temptation to quit will be too strong. My recommendation is prayer and meditation to identify your purpose for business and to empower you through the difficult times.

“Discipline is the bridge between goal and accomplishment” – Jim Rohn

So, what are the practical steps to big thinking and positivity? The details of the process will be different for everyone, but universally it begins with the creation of daily goals and ends with consistent execution. The small steps lead to larger victories.

Once you have the right people in your circle, the self-discipline to continue learning, and a profound reason to succeed, the next step is to make things happen. You can have all the resources and mindsets in place, but if you are not willing to take action, it is useless. Use today as an opportunity to make progress on transforming your dream into a reality.

How do you stay positive? Comment below!

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6 Simple Steps to Setting Goals Without Feeling Overwhelmed

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Years ago I found myself caught up in conventional wisdom (or wisdumb as I call it). I was trying to set goals in every area of my life. I had three goals for each of my five key areas: faith, family, friends, finances and fun. I added that last category only because it started with an “F” and my OCD told me five categories was a better number than four. That’s how scientific my goal-setting process was.

By the last week of December, I had designed them with beautiful checkboxes, and I permanently inserted the sheet into my planner. It made me feel great to “have it all together.” I was, after all, part of the 3% who set goals. This was going to be the most comprehensive goal-setting method ever!

Rather than becoming an overnight success, I became an overnight statistic: I was one of the 93% of people who give up on their resolutions by February. The rest of my year was spent feeling guilty every time I noticed my goal sheet in the back of my planner.

“I should do one of these.” But which one? And, how? Where do I start? Then, “Squirrel!” After trying this for a few Decembers (I’m a slow learner), I discovered a lesson in life I will never forget: if you try to focus on 15 targets at once, you will hit exactly zero of them.

I can’t remember where this system came from but I can tell you it’s a great way to overwhelm yourself. However, these types of ideas are out there in the world of goal-setting. Apparently, people even pay money to overwhelm themselves!

Since that time, I’ve learned a lot such as studying from some of the world’s greatest achievers, and putting principles and tactics to the test. I came out on the other side with a few key insights about the correct way to set goals.

So if you’re one of the small percentage of folks who set goals, especially for the new year, let me help you avoid a few years of banging your head against the wall:

1. Define your core

When most people think of setting goals, they sit down and start writing them out without having answered some fundamental questions. People who build homes don’t start with a 2×4. They pour through stacks of blueprints and renderings before picking up a shovel so they know exactly where they are going and what it will take to get there.

It’s worth an hour or two of your time. Sit down, clear any distractions and ask yourself some fundamental questions: Who are you? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Your assets? What do you want? Why do you want that? Explore all your possibilities and rule nothing out. You can always clean it up later.

2. Write a lifeplan statement

Start by identifying the single most important target. If other things you are doing in your life do not align perfectly with your plan, then do not include them in your statement. When you come across new ideas and opportunities, use your lifeplan statement as your barometer to keep you on track. There can be only one most important goal at a time. In fact, when you “focus” on more than one goal at a time, it defeats the whole idea of “focus.” If you don’t believe me, try multitasking two important tasks at the same time.

Next, break out your goals into as many action items as you can. Make sure you include things you still need to learn because the odds are you don’t know how to get there (because you’ve never been there before). Categorize these notes into monthly, weekly and daily action items.

After writing your goals, determine the sacrifices you are willing to make to achieve it. Finish your lifeplan statement with your purpose, vision and values. Go deep and write honestly, clearly, and powerfully in the first-person, present tense. Keep in mind, this is a living, breathing document you will update and modify as needed. Keep it handy as this will become one of the most important documents of your life.

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis

3. Write a dayplan on a 3×5 card

Index cards are inexpensive and just the right size. On one side, write your top five most important items, with the most important at the top. The other side is reserved for ideas so you can get them out of your head and keep you focused. Write down anything that strikes you as interesting: ideas, headlines, quotes, funny stories, etc. Carry this card around with you everywhere you go and leave it out where you can see it. Check off items as you complete them.

4. End your day holding a five-minute meeting with yourself

Look through the list and see what did not get done. Ask yourself: is it truly important? If the answer is yes, transfer it to tomorrow’s card. If the answer is no, cross it off and forget it. Finally, finish filling out tomorrow’s plan on a new card so you wake up to it the next morning.

End your meeting by filing away today’s card. Every few weeks, go through your stack of goal cards and transfer the ideas from paper to an online journaling system (Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, etc.). You’ll be amazed at the ideas your brain will produce when you give it a chance.

5. Develop and religiously follow a meaningful morning routine

I can’t tell you how consistently this one habit is among high achievers. I see it again and again- it’s almost comical. Nearly without exception, successful people follow some kind of daily routine. I recommend early mornings but take your pick because how you start your day is generally how your day will tend to go. It’s more important that you do it, not when.

There are dozens of activities you could do, and there are no right or wrong answers. Whatever you chose, incorporate two things. First, exercise- the benefits are endless. Second, incorporate your LifePlan Statement by reading, feeling, and visualizing it every morning.

“Be pleasant until ten o’clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself.”- Elbert Hubbard

6. Reward yourself and celebrate your wins

Take time to recognize what you did right and don’t feel guilty for giving yourself a reward for it. As you implement this system, be patient and don’t expect everything to change overnight. It’s simple, but not easy. However, when done right, this system is powerful and will change your life. If you mess up, don’t let yourself have two in a row. Regardless of how some make it seem, success is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re in this for the long haul.

How are you making sure you achieve the goals you set for yourself this upcoming year? Let us know your plans below!

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5 Ways to Tap Into Your Intuitive Wisdom as You Design a Successful Life

Published

on

wisdom

Success, true success, can only be experienced when you are living life based on your particular design. The best way to know and design a life based on this is to be in constant connection with the wisdom present within you. Wisdom that goes beyond yourself and that, very possibly, put you together originally. People call it different names and intuition is a great way to describe it. (more…)

Rosemary Nonny Knight used to be a pharmacist but replaced her income in her own business and now works as a Spiritual Business & Life Strategist coaching people to live the deliberate life - A life of abundance, fulfilment and freedom. Download a free copy of her book - Pray. Affirm. Receive - How to get clear, stay clear and take action to get what you want out of life - RosemaryNonnyKnight.com/freeguest.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. janet

    Sep 19, 2016 at 9:24 am

    You have helped my life a lot, thank you.

  2. Passive Pursuit

    Aug 9, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Hey Alex,

    Regular reader and love your work man!

    Can’t tell you how many ups and downs i have been through in my life that have been rectified by applying these 10 principles.

    The biggest one for me was my health. Ever since I started getting away from the PC and working out, my energy levels have increased and I am 10x more productive.

    Regards,
    Richard

  3. Keith Rozairo

    Jan 10, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Great article. Thank You, it adds more meaning and puts a lot of things in perspective if we follow those principles.
    Cheers

  4. Damien Parsons

    Jan 7, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Splendid article and I admire your style. As a novice writer, one could really learn from your work.

    “The 10 key ingredients to happiness” – A title I will bookmark most definitely.
    Your closing note “Great Dream” was a fantastic conclusion to these ingredients to happiness. It can really put in perspective to the “levels” of happiness there is to achieve.

    Perform with these 10 pointers in mind and your happiness will lead to a successful lifestyle.

    Thanks for your inspiration, and glad to have acquainted here, and on Twitter as well.
    See you around!

  5. Nguma

    Jan 4, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    It’s true that it is not how much we have but how much we enjoy that brings happiness.

  6. Ajax Oliver

    Dec 21, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks for the feedback everyone! It was a pleasure to contribute to the A2S community!

  7. Cody

    Dec 15, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Ajax! Loving the post buddy! I just got done reading The Pursuit of Happiness by Chris Guillebeau and these ingredients resonate so well with what Chris talks about in his book. Alongside physical exercise, I’ve learned that emotional exercise is just as strong if not stronger. The happiness I experience with persistent gratitude and inspiration is a second to none for me. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  8. Rose Costas

    Dec 15, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. It all seem so very easy when it is written but most of us go through life stumbling about trying out other peoples life’s and dreams and ignoring ours. I think the best way to remain focus is to have all our goals, dreams and how to get their written as it will help us to remain focus on ourselves and our dreams.
    I also gets upset when people claim to have made it alone. No man is an island and no one can do it alone. There must be people who are willing to lend you a hand and give you valuable insight as you go through life.
    Thanks again for the reminders.

  9. Dan Western

    Dec 15, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Ajax,

    Absolutely spot on, both the reasons why people are unhappy and the ingredients to become happy!

    I don’t think we can highlight just one key ingredient, as they’re all needed for happiness and one without the other wouldn’t give you fulfillment.

    Thanks for sharing. Nailed it!

    Dan

  10. ThatSEOGuy

    Dec 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Hi Ajax,
    Brilliant post, having a strong relationship with your family is something I have really tried with recently and is definitely bringing a sense of self-worth to the equation. Great tips once again 🙂 Have the attitude of gratitude. Awesome mission too, tick one more person off of your list.
    Tom

  11. Peter

    Dec 14, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Hey Ajax,
    Great post! I can really relate to No 10. I love learning new things about a variety of topics – history, physics, food, business (I have a long list!). That’s what keeps me really excited about life and look forward to every single day.
    Peter

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Life

5 Ways to Tap Into Your Intuitive Wisdom as You Design a Successful Life

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Success, true success, can only be experienced when you are living life based on your particular design. The best way to know and design a life based on this is to be in constant connection with the wisdom present within you. Wisdom that goes beyond yourself and that, very possibly, put you together originally. People call it different names and intuition is a great way to describe it.

As a spiritual person, you know the power of the intuition. Being able to live from a place of wisdom beyond yourself allows you to find solutions that surprise and delight. These solutions also give you a sense of quiet power as well as you know you are never alone and always completely guided.

For me, intuition changed my life. It took me from working my pharmacist job with no hope for a respite to being a business owner and spiritual teacher living a purpose-driven life.

Here are 5 ideas for you to support your journey to living a more intuitive life:

1. Daily Practice

There can sometime be the assumption that unless something comes to one naturally, then it is not theirs to develop. That is nonsense. Most, if not all, good habits have to be developed. A consistent practice is needed, if you are to experience the benefits of a new skill.

Success is a habit. Each morning, I wake up earlier than my household (Usually 4am) and I sit in silence. I connect with source. I seek guidance for the day ahead. This is a habit I’ve developed.

Each day, the things you make time for are designing or destroying your life. Could you find an extra 20 minutes each day to practice quieting yourself down and connecting with the wisdom within you? Be consistent with the timing each day for long enough to build a habit. Some say 21 days, others say 40 days. For this habit, I would suggest that you make a decision to do it daily and at some point, it becomes a normal and natural part of your life whatever else is going on.

“At any moment, the decision you make can change the course of your life for the better.” – Tony Robbins

2. Quiet Yourself

We live in a very busy world – There is always something happening around you. Always some stimulation to distract you. You have to consciously choose to create space to be quiet. As mentioned earlier, you want to take 20 minutes or so a day to develop a practice and in that time, learn to still your thinking as much as possible, learn to tune into flow.

I use breathing and sometimes, candles to do this. I sit in silence staring at a candle and allowing intuitive flashes to come through or I simply pay attention to my breathing until I feel a stillness come over me. Any errant thoughts that try desperately to get my attention, are written in my journal with the intention of dealing with them later. This calms me down as the thoughts feel as though they are being acknowledged.

3. Suspend Judgement & Disbelief

As you begin working your intuition muscle, you will wonder if you are just talking to yourself or if you are making things up. In the session, refuse to humour that thinking. Instead, make a note of what you are feeling, seeing and hearing. You can have an intuition buddy and you can run things by them after the session to see what they intuitively feel but while you are choosing to tap into source within, suspend all judgement and allow what comes through to come through. It is a very tentative thing to sense your intuition and if you keep rejecting what tries to come through you, the flow will feel stuck.

“Failure is not a single cataclysmic event. You don’t fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgement repeated every day.” – Jim Rohn

4. Come with Intent

This is something I teach clients because having a question you are seeking an answer to, can help with the calming of the mind. Sometimes, the intention is simply to develop my relationship with the source and so my intent is to listen. I generally then start with ‘Please speak to me’. Other times, there is something I specifically want to know the answer to and so I lead with that question. Having an intention keeps you focused.

5. No Desperation

Unfortunately, if you are too desperate about getting a specific answer, you will find it hard to still your mind. It is best to be in an open and receptive mood. How can you do that when you are actually desperate for an answer?  

Something I would do then, is to let calmness be my intention. I would seek guidance on how to still myself and reduce the feeling of desperation which also then has the effect of allowing me to think more clearly anyway. The other thing I do is write out my vision and goals first and keep my mind on those. If you focus on the need, you remain in the need and you remain reactive to the need. If you focus on the vision and the goal, then you become creator which is your true nature anyway.

Which of these 5 things will you implement today?

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4 Essentials to Keep You From Staying Satisfied in Life

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It may sound morally objectionable to not want to stay satisfied in life; however, truth be told, it is actually unethical and morally wrong to not pursue what you really want in life and realize your maximum potential.

The people around us in life, whether it’s family, friends, business associates, people under our leadership, or people in our communities, look at our lives and are impacted. They see how we live out our dreams, and how we overcome the obstacles of life and business. This inspires them to do more, better, or different in their own lives. The reality is, many people’s inspiration and reason to excel is resting on us.

With this great responsibility on our shoulders, that is the first reason we must always strive for more and never be satisfied: someone’s success is depending on your success.

In the tough times or even the times we have reaped the harvest of our hard work, always know we must keep going. Yes, savor the victory, but know that this is not the end. We must keep going. If you don’t do it for you at least think of the people that are watching you and observing your life and do it for them.

Here are some practical tips on how to be continually motivated and not easily satisfied with our successes:

1. Frequently Self-Reflect

Socrates famously stated that an unexamined life is not worth living. We should ask ourselves if THIS (certain point in our lives) is our best that we have to offer. If we are being honest with ourselves, we will truthfully answer, NO. Nonetheless, we must not beat ourselves up nor constantly criticize ourselves but always remind ourselves that there is always room for growth.

Life is all about growth and development, and the goal of all development is to realize our true potential. All organisms grow and when they stop growing, you can be pretty sure that their stage for destruction has set in. Humans are probably the only creatures that do not stop growing. While we have stopped growing physically, our other aspects such as psychology, social standing, ambitions and other areas do not stop growing at all.

“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.” – Wayne Dyer

2. Explore The World

You’ve probably heard of people who’ve stayed their entire lives in their birthplace. These types of people sometimes cannot believe the stories they hear from others that have travelled or lived in various places.

To truly see other people and parts of the world, other than where you come from is a must. Not only does it allow one to appreciate what you do have, but it challenges you to want to do more with your life and not settle. Some of the biggest moments of growth for many people happen when they attend missionary trips, participate in community service, business conferences, and even vacationing in other cities or even countries.

This occurs because your everyday existence and routine of life is challenged. You meet other people who may not be where you are in life or are doing exceptionally more than you. Either way, the first can remind you to always be hungry, and the other can remind you that you are not there yet and there is still more to success and growth; we still have room to grow.

So, travel, meet new people, and stretch your understanding of what life looks like and  what is attainable.

3. Be Curious

Most have heard the old saying when you were young, that “curiosity killed the cat.” Take that saying as a caution not a rule. We should be like children in the level of our curiosity. Curious children ask a lot of questions, and sometimes some of these questions even surprise adults. Because of their powerful curiosity, children think differently compared to adults and therein lies the power of having curiosity as a child.

Some very smart children are not satisfied with some answers adults give them at times, because they intuitively know that either the adult didn’t know the answer or they didn’t understand the topic at all. Don’t be satisfied, and always be eternally curious. Research topics that you know little to nothing about, and be open-minded to topics you are familiar with.

4. Be A Perfectionist

Don’t be satisfied with the present way of doing things. Progress would not happen if we did not tinker with doing things better. Consider textile weaving. People of long ago made textile for clothes using traditional weaving. If we had been satisfied with this way of making textile, we would not have discovered modern technologies of spinning and weaving to produce textiles to clothe billions of people across the world.

So never adopt a mindset that anything is ever perfect with no room for improvement. Systems and processes can always be improved.  

It is hard to work with a perfectionist, but without the perfectionist, we would not have the comfort of modern life. Machines are designed for perfection. An imperfect machine would not work, and even if it could be made to work, it would be hazardous to operate. Perfectionists are not satisfied with mediocre output. They always want the best.

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan

A study published in the “Journal of Personality” entitled “On the Development of Perfectionism: The Longitudinal Role of Academic Achievement and Academic Efficacy,” by Lavinia E. Damian and colleagues showed that academic achievement predicted relative increases in both perfectionistic strivings and perfectionistic concerns. This is an important development because it suggests that as people become better and better, their level of perfectionistic pursuit also increases.

Never succumb to the mindset of people who achieve some level of success and say “I have arrived” and “I have made it.” For when we accept this, we have placed a ceiling over our potential and a limit on the truly limitless opportunities that await us. Always strive to be, do, achieve, reach, see, and grow more.

How are you making sure you continue to grow daily in order to be great? Share with us some tips in the comments below!

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3 Necessities That Will Help You Think Big and Stay Positive

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To think big and keep hope during difficult times is not easy. When you can’t afford to pay your bills, you haven’t had more than two hours of sleep in a few nights, and you are experiencing some relationship challenges, it can be tough to believe that things will ultimately work out. The ability to see beyond your current circumstances and understand that everything will eventually come together is the life of an entrepreneur.

When you think of a business owner, you frequently also picture the status symbols of success such as money, cars, homes, and other material possessions. However, there is another side to the entrepreneurial lifestyle that deserves attention. Gary Vaynerchuk talks about the 7pm -2 am dream shift, where you dedicate time to work on your business outside of other work and family responsibilities. Committing to a schedule like this is extremely hard.

According to a Fast Company article, businesses that survive past the first year have dropped from 569,419 in 1994 to 106,789 in 2016.  The challenges that often accompany the triumphs of working for yourself can feel insurmountable.

What are three necessities for you to think big and remain positive?

1. Surround yourself with good people

For many of us, it is common to hear and read about the importance of surrounding yourself with positive and productive people. My mother has stressed the importance of this trait since I was at least in kindergarten. When it comes to business, this is extremely important because others can expose you to different levels and types of success. Good people can push you to perform at your best and confirm your sanity when you are at your worst.  

“Choose your friends wisely, and also choose friends that you can trust.” –Elyn Saks

2. Commit to lifelong learning

In this competitive age, you must be willing to grow through a consistent effort of learning new talents and developing skills. As Tim Denning states “without willpower, your mind will take the road of least resistance. Practice teaching your mind discipline.” Reading books, learning new skills and techniques are essential habits of the entrepreneur. They can enable you to develop the ability to think beyond your current personal or business position.  

3. Go within to discover what’s out there

As an entrepreneur, you will need to have a reason for your business that digs deep into your soul. That’s a massive concept, and it is true. In the introduction, I mentioned that the lifestyle of an entrepreneur is not easy. Often times, a daily dosage of meditation or prayer is necessary to make it to the end of the day.

Without something within you like a burning desire to make an impact or the feeling that you work is part of a higher calling, the temptation to quit will be too strong. My recommendation is prayer and meditation to identify your purpose for business and to empower you through the difficult times.

“Discipline is the bridge between goal and accomplishment” – Jim Rohn

So, what are the practical steps to big thinking and positivity? The details of the process will be different for everyone, but universally it begins with the creation of daily goals and ends with consistent execution. The small steps lead to larger victories.

Once you have the right people in your circle, the self-discipline to continue learning, and a profound reason to succeed, the next step is to make things happen. You can have all the resources and mindsets in place, but if you are not willing to take action, it is useless. Use today as an opportunity to make progress on transforming your dream into a reality.

How do you stay positive? Comment below!

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Life

6 Simple Steps to Setting Goals Without Feeling Overwhelmed

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Years ago I found myself caught up in conventional wisdom (or wisdumb as I call it). I was trying to set goals in every area of my life. I had three goals for each of my five key areas: faith, family, friends, finances and fun. I added that last category only because it started with an “F” and my OCD told me five categories was a better number than four. That’s how scientific my goal-setting process was.

By the last week of December, I had designed them with beautiful checkboxes, and I permanently inserted the sheet into my planner. It made me feel great to “have it all together.” I was, after all, part of the 3% who set goals. This was going to be the most comprehensive goal-setting method ever!

Rather than becoming an overnight success, I became an overnight statistic: I was one of the 93% of people who give up on their resolutions by February. The rest of my year was spent feeling guilty every time I noticed my goal sheet in the back of my planner.

“I should do one of these.” But which one? And, how? Where do I start? Then, “Squirrel!” After trying this for a few Decembers (I’m a slow learner), I discovered a lesson in life I will never forget: if you try to focus on 15 targets at once, you will hit exactly zero of them.

I can’t remember where this system came from but I can tell you it’s a great way to overwhelm yourself. However, these types of ideas are out there in the world of goal-setting. Apparently, people even pay money to overwhelm themselves!

Since that time, I’ve learned a lot such as studying from some of the world’s greatest achievers, and putting principles and tactics to the test. I came out on the other side with a few key insights about the correct way to set goals.

So if you’re one of the small percentage of folks who set goals, especially for the new year, let me help you avoid a few years of banging your head against the wall:

1. Define your core

When most people think of setting goals, they sit down and start writing them out without having answered some fundamental questions. People who build homes don’t start with a 2×4. They pour through stacks of blueprints and renderings before picking up a shovel so they know exactly where they are going and what it will take to get there.

It’s worth an hour or two of your time. Sit down, clear any distractions and ask yourself some fundamental questions: Who are you? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Your assets? What do you want? Why do you want that? Explore all your possibilities and rule nothing out. You can always clean it up later.

2. Write a lifeplan statement

Start by identifying the single most important target. If other things you are doing in your life do not align perfectly with your plan, then do not include them in your statement. When you come across new ideas and opportunities, use your lifeplan statement as your barometer to keep you on track. There can be only one most important goal at a time. In fact, when you “focus” on more than one goal at a time, it defeats the whole idea of “focus.” If you don’t believe me, try multitasking two important tasks at the same time.

Next, break out your goals into as many action items as you can. Make sure you include things you still need to learn because the odds are you don’t know how to get there (because you’ve never been there before). Categorize these notes into monthly, weekly and daily action items.

After writing your goals, determine the sacrifices you are willing to make to achieve it. Finish your lifeplan statement with your purpose, vision and values. Go deep and write honestly, clearly, and powerfully in the first-person, present tense. Keep in mind, this is a living, breathing document you will update and modify as needed. Keep it handy as this will become one of the most important documents of your life.

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis

3. Write a dayplan on a 3×5 card

Index cards are inexpensive and just the right size. On one side, write your top five most important items, with the most important at the top. The other side is reserved for ideas so you can get them out of your head and keep you focused. Write down anything that strikes you as interesting: ideas, headlines, quotes, funny stories, etc. Carry this card around with you everywhere you go and leave it out where you can see it. Check off items as you complete them.

4. End your day holding a five-minute meeting with yourself

Look through the list and see what did not get done. Ask yourself: is it truly important? If the answer is yes, transfer it to tomorrow’s card. If the answer is no, cross it off and forget it. Finally, finish filling out tomorrow’s plan on a new card so you wake up to it the next morning.

End your meeting by filing away today’s card. Every few weeks, go through your stack of goal cards and transfer the ideas from paper to an online journaling system (Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, etc.). You’ll be amazed at the ideas your brain will produce when you give it a chance.

5. Develop and religiously follow a meaningful morning routine

I can’t tell you how consistently this one habit is among high achievers. I see it again and again- it’s almost comical. Nearly without exception, successful people follow some kind of daily routine. I recommend early mornings but take your pick because how you start your day is generally how your day will tend to go. It’s more important that you do it, not when.

There are dozens of activities you could do, and there are no right or wrong answers. Whatever you chose, incorporate two things. First, exercise- the benefits are endless. Second, incorporate your LifePlan Statement by reading, feeling, and visualizing it every morning.

“Be pleasant until ten o’clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself.”- Elbert Hubbard

6. Reward yourself and celebrate your wins

Take time to recognize what you did right and don’t feel guilty for giving yourself a reward for it. As you implement this system, be patient and don’t expect everything to change overnight. It’s simple, but not easy. However, when done right, this system is powerful and will change your life. If you mess up, don’t let yourself have two in a row. Regardless of how some make it seem, success is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re in this for the long haul.

How are you making sure you achieve the goals you set for yourself this upcoming year? Let us know your plans below!

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