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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

4 Steps to Take Right Now to Snap Out of Your Funk

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How to get out of a funk

Maybe you’re spending sleepless nights tossing and turning in bed, or perhaps you’re sleeping in until noon. Maybe all you hear are the sad songs, and all you think of are the terrible things that are happening.

You’re in a funk. Everyone goes through their funk sometime in their life. You could feel helpless in a business or career you’re trying to build, from losing your job, or having a broken heart. Whatever it is, you just need some help to get out of your funk.

From my experience as a life coach seeing thousands of people get out of their funk, the steps described below have helped CEO’s, entrepreneurs, parents and all sorts of people go and conquer what they wanted.

This works for a variety of people in different situations. If you want to get out of your funk, you’ve got to give this visualization exercise a go.

Before we go into it, you’ll need to prepare these three ingredients:

  • The Map – There’s a situation or experience in your life that is related to this funk. Whatever situation or experience this is, let’s refer to it as your current map of your world.
  • A Navigator – You’re going to go into an imaginary “flight”. And you’ll need someone with good eyes, good sense of humor and a good heart to guide you in your flight. Your co-pilot needs to be someone you respect. Identify your navigator.
  • A Treasure – This is something that is valuable and will be useful for the person who will use it.

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Francesca Reigler

Now, are you ready to get out of your funk? Here are the four steps you need to follow today:

1. Size up

Get into the map. See yourself inside the map, whether it’s the situation that triggered your funk, or the resulting funk that you might be in. You must size up the situation and acknowledge whatever it is that you’re feeling when you’re in the situation. Describe what it’s like to be inside this map. Acknowledge it as it is, then take full responsibility for whatever it is that’s in your funk.

2. Step Out

Get outside of the map, get outside of the funk. Now, in your mind, see the map from afar. Let’s take it to another level. Imagine that you’re stepping into the point of view of a flying drone and a camera. Imagine yourself hovering above the situation that put you in this funk. You have full control of the drone, so go ahead and go around the situation from the perspective of the drone. Describe what you see from outside the map as you are flying over the map.

3. See differently

Now, you’re going to call in your co-pilot. When your co-pilot joins your flight above the map, they will advise you on which aspects of the map you will want to look at differently. Go ahead, look at things from a different point of view as advised to you by your co-pilot. Describe what you see from the different points of view your co-pilot is guiding you through.

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” – Aristotle

4. Search for Treasure

Being in full control of what you choose to see and with the help of your navigator’s guidance, go ahead and navigate around the map searching for treasure. Somewhere in there is something valuable you might have missed before. What has the experience taught you to be? What has the experienced given you? What has the situation brought out from you?

This is like a treasure hunt. From amidst the flurry that’s happening in the funk, there is a treasure that you and your navigator can find for yourself. Your treasure can be a new perspective, new insight, new feeling, or renewed courage. It could be anything that is useful for you, a treasure that you will use to get out of the funk.

Now that you’ve found some treasures, go ahead and go back into the map and get your treasures. It’s been there all along, as you must find it. You just have to claim it for yourself. The treasure you found is all within you for the taking so own it. Whatever the treasure is, make sure you take action and make it real.

What action can you start doing differently today in order to make a difference n your life? Comment below and let us know!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

Social Media Is Killing Your Success: 3 Ways You Can Use it to Your Advantage

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Social media success

I love social media. It can help you make friends, share your life, build a network, and even build a business. In the same token, social media can easily become an enemy of success as a hindrance and consumer of attention.

On countless occasions I’ve found myself lost on YouTube, scrolling Facebook, clicking on tweets, watching funny snaps…and realized it’s hurting my success. As someone who is ambitious, you don’t want social media to kill your time, rob you of precious hours, and steal your success.

If you want social media to work for you, here are three ways to assure that you’re the one in control:

1. Limit your time on social media channels

If you want social media to work for you, and not against you, limiting your time on it will help you immensely. One great tool that helps me limit my time on social media is a simple Chrome extension: StayFocused. It’s a free, no hassle chrome extension that allows you to limit your time on different websites.

Just simply plug in the URL of the website you want to limit your time on and the tool will do the rest. This handy little tool will help you see how fast time on social media goes by and will ensure you prioritize your tasks.

If you are going to follow any of these tips, follow this one. Limiting your time on social media alone could save you hundreds of hours of your precious time. Those hours can then be used to get things done, set goals, and go after them.

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” – Bruce Lee

2. Have clear goals on social media

When you log in, know what matters most and what doesn’t. If you have clear intentions before logging in, assure yourself that social media isn’t the one in control.

All social media channels were built to help kill time, keep you engaged, and make you addicted to their platforms. In fact, one of the leading experts on ‘Brain Hacking,’ Tristan Harris, left his job at Google because of the manipulative strategies internet giants use to keep users hooked.

During his interview on 60 Minutes, Tristan talks about the ways social media rigs its platforms to keep users addicted. It’s astonishing to realize that social media is an endless arsenal of tools to keep us absorbed.

When asked about how people could curb their addiction, Tristan admitted that the cards are stacked against the user’s. Billions of dollars are being invested in making you stay hooked in. This is why social media experts like myself advise users to have clear goals.  When you have a timer and a goal before you log in, it assures you are playing the game in a way that favors you.

Some clear goals which will help you on social media are limiting who you follow, having a clear plan of what you’ll be doing before you log in, and having well laid out intentions of what social media does for you. When you limit who you follow, you assure you only read and watch content that feeds, inspires, and helps you.

It’s all too easy to follow an endless amount of silly channels and people. If you know what you’ll post before you log in, you’ll set yourself to use social media in your favor. This simple plan of action will help keep your mind focused and on task.

3. Have a mastermind online

Social media can either support you or hurt you. It’s either a tool to help you move forward or a hindrance setting you back. For most people, it’s hurtful. In my case, it’s a tool that helps me immensely. Inside social media, I’ve made friends with authors, speakers, world renowned coaches, and multi-millionaires who constantly inspire me.

One way to assure social media helps you is a mastermind. If done properly, social media can be an explosive growth tool. By having a mastermind online, you assure that social media works for you.

A great way to have a mastermind online is through Facebook. There are hundreds of thousands of Facebook groups that can help you stay focused and well supported. Each group is a virtual meetup. Some of these groups include some of the greatest minds in their areas. Some groups are public, and you can join just by requesting to join.

One way to assure a group is solid is by checking to see how many people are in the group. Who’s in the group? How often are members active? Is the group focused? When you find a group that has the right mix of people, activity, and attention, it can change your life. It turns Facebook into a tool. You log in, go check in with the group, ask questions, and keep yourself reminded of your goals.

“Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.” – Pete Carroll

By following these three simple pieces of advice, you can make sure that social media ‘Brain Hackers’ are not hacking you, but instead, you are leveraging the tool in a way that supports your success.

What is your favorite part about social media? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

Success Has Nothing To Do With Your iPhone Model Number.

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Success Has Nothing To Do With Your iPhone Model Number.

Recently, another new iPhone model was announced. Working in tech, people asked me when I’d be buying it. I told them probably not anytime soon, if at all.

“A piece of metal is never going to define my level of success and it shouldn’t define your success either”

Before you buy anything, think about why you’re making the purchase. We often make dumb decisions about buying stuff because we don’t think it through properly.

 

It’s a piece of metal

Before you have a giant orgasm over the new iPhone, remember that it’s just a chunk of metal. You’ve been using a chunk of metal as a phone for over a decade now. It’s not going to get your rocks off any more than the last phone you bought.

The new iPhone is not going to make love to you although it might remember your name and say it in some sexy, fake voice, so you feel like it’s your friend.

The iPhone is not your friend; it’s your enemy. A chunk of metal doesn’t define your success.

 

It doesn’t make your life better

If this chunk of metal – called an iPhone – really made our lives better then why are we more depressed than ever? A new phone is going to make you happy for about 3.1 seconds and then like a goldfish, you’ll have forgotten how privileged you are even to own one, as well as afford one, shortly after that.

Only you can make your life better by making better decisions. Choosing not to let material possessions own your life and your time is one way to make your life better. Say no to a new chunk of metal because it’s not making your life better.

 

Has anything really changed?

Between each of the iPhone models, it’s basically the same phone. Each time they change the screen size to indulge our ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) minds, but that’s about it. Think about it carefully.

 

That money, compounded, is more valuable

Read any of Warren Buffet’s or Tony Robbins books and you’ll see that the $1000 you shell out for a new iPhone is far better put towards investing. Invest in an index fund, invest in yourself, or use that $1000 to book a holiday so that you have something to look forward to and motivate you for the next six months.

The longer your money stays invested in one of the above, the more it compounds your results. Whether that is financially, personally or from a health point of you. Compounding wins every time.

“You don’t need a new chunk of metal; you need to invest instead”

 

Never follow the trends – create your own trend

Trends often fade away and a new iPhone is no different. Create your own trend. If everyone else is buying a new iPhone, then do the opposite. Don’t let marketers and technology companies tell you how to live your life. Live your life how you want to.

 

Are we more productive?

No freaking way. We’re more unproductive than ever and we consider way too many things because our ugly chunk of metal gives us unlimited opportunities to say yes to. Right now, your phone will allow you to book a tantric sex class that begins at 6 am somewhere near you if you really want.

You can literally learn anything at any time if you really want. My question to you is, does it really matter?

Even though you have unlimited options to be productive, you still procrastinate more than ever and so do I. We could be hyper-productive but we’re not and that’s okay. No chunk of metal is going to run your life for you and make you successful.

 

We don’t need even more distractions

My life already sucks because I get 101 notifications from WeChat, WhatsApp, Messenger and my three email addresses. It’s a full-time job managing all of this and I don’t buy into it. I don’t need to be always contactable – I need a life.

I’m not a robot and I’m not answerable to anyone. Think about this: Are you a free human soul or do you need to be told what to do by your phone?

I’m seeing more human disconnection than ever. At work, it’s easier to call people that are sitting next to me than it is to have a face-to-face conversation. Face-to-face conversations have become a battle between the other person looking down at their phone and occasionally glancing up to look you in the eye.

“All of us are sexier than an ugly piece of metal and we deserved to be looked at!”

 

Will I also be adding a new Apple Watch to my setup as well?

Not in a million years amigo. A watch is strapped to me and tells me everything via a tiny little screen. Can you imagine being in an intimate moment with your significant other and the watch is flashing and beeping at you? It’s enough to ruin anyone’s romance time.

The Apple Watch reminds me of a bracelet that future prisoners will wear to track their movements. I don’t intend on wearing an Apple Watch so I can be a prisoner in my own life. Life is hard enough already without having to be chained to technology.

 

Lastly, I’m enjoying aeroplane mode a lot these days

I could buy a new iPhone but I just love aeroplane mode way too much these days. Having the world of social media switched off and not being “ONLINE” all the time has given me space to think. In these brief moments of thinking I’ve been able to:

– Write inspiring blog posts that have gone viral
– Fall in love again
– Work on my health
– Read books and gain new skills
– Socialise with friends
– Mentor young entrepreneurs in a startup accelerator

Through these list of activities, I’ve been able to create more success than I could ever have imagined on my useless chunk of metal called an iPhone.

So honestly guys and girls, when people ask me if I’m buying a new iPhone, all I can say is “No I’m not buying a new iPhone because my life is more important. The human race and changing the world is more important.”

I need time to change the world and space to think; the new iPhone can’t do this for me and it never will.

No chunk of metal should ever define you and your success.

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

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Life

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

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

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

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

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

 

What is Stoicism?

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

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

Here is Stoicism broken down into insanely simple dot points:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Disruptions to serenity cannot be avoided.

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

 

You must disrupt yourself.

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

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

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

 

In good and bad times we have a choice.

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

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

 

Make it a habit of looking inward.

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

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

 

Being paranoid and fearful will destroy you.

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

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

 

Anger will not help you.

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

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

 

Everything takes up space.

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

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

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

 

Practice poverty.

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

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

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

 

You protect everything you have, why not your mind?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Without proper training, you’re a fool.

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

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

 

Your mind becomes what you think consistently.

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

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

 

You don’t know everything.

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

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

 

Think of your problems in relation to the sky.

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

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

 

Forget stereotypes and labels: concentrate on character.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

There is never an end to the personal development journey.

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

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

 

Work is good for you.

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

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

 

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

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

 

How you handle disaster is everything.

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

 

Seek out obstacles.

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

 

You have one job and only one job.

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

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

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

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Motivation

5 Important Facts You Need to Know About Motivation

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motivation

Whether you are trying to lead a team of employees, teach a child, or even get through your own workday, staying motivated is key. Nonetheless, this isn’t always as easy as waking up and deciding to be motivated. (more…)

Kurtis Brase is a professional journalist. Now, she works at EssayPro as a writer and editor.

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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

4 Steps to Take Right Now to Snap Out of Your Funk

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How to get out of a funk

Maybe you’re spending sleepless nights tossing and turning in bed, or perhaps you’re sleeping in until noon. Maybe all you hear are the sad songs, and all you think of are the terrible things that are happening.

You’re in a funk. Everyone goes through their funk sometime in their life. You could feel helpless in a business or career you’re trying to build, from losing your job, or having a broken heart. Whatever it is, you just need some help to get out of your funk.

From my experience as a life coach seeing thousands of people get out of their funk, the steps described below have helped CEO’s, entrepreneurs, parents and all sorts of people go and conquer what they wanted.

This works for a variety of people in different situations. If you want to get out of your funk, you’ve got to give this visualization exercise a go.

Before we go into it, you’ll need to prepare these three ingredients:

  • The Map – There’s a situation or experience in your life that is related to this funk. Whatever situation or experience this is, let’s refer to it as your current map of your world.
  • A Navigator – You’re going to go into an imaginary “flight”. And you’ll need someone with good eyes, good sense of humor and a good heart to guide you in your flight. Your co-pilot needs to be someone you respect. Identify your navigator.
  • A Treasure – This is something that is valuable and will be useful for the person who will use it.

Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Francesca Reigler

Now, are you ready to get out of your funk? Here are the four steps you need to follow today:

1. Size up

Get into the map. See yourself inside the map, whether it’s the situation that triggered your funk, or the resulting funk that you might be in. You must size up the situation and acknowledge whatever it is that you’re feeling when you’re in the situation. Describe what it’s like to be inside this map. Acknowledge it as it is, then take full responsibility for whatever it is that’s in your funk.

2. Step Out

Get outside of the map, get outside of the funk. Now, in your mind, see the map from afar. Let’s take it to another level. Imagine that you’re stepping into the point of view of a flying drone and a camera. Imagine yourself hovering above the situation that put you in this funk. You have full control of the drone, so go ahead and go around the situation from the perspective of the drone. Describe what you see from outside the map as you are flying over the map.

3. See differently

Now, you’re going to call in your co-pilot. When your co-pilot joins your flight above the map, they will advise you on which aspects of the map you will want to look at differently. Go ahead, look at things from a different point of view as advised to you by your co-pilot. Describe what you see from the different points of view your co-pilot is guiding you through.

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” – Aristotle

4. Search for Treasure

Being in full control of what you choose to see and with the help of your navigator’s guidance, go ahead and navigate around the map searching for treasure. Somewhere in there is something valuable you might have missed before. What has the experience taught you to be? What has the experienced given you? What has the situation brought out from you?

This is like a treasure hunt. From amidst the flurry that’s happening in the funk, there is a treasure that you and your navigator can find for yourself. Your treasure can be a new perspective, new insight, new feeling, or renewed courage. It could be anything that is useful for you, a treasure that you will use to get out of the funk.

Now that you’ve found some treasures, go ahead and go back into the map and get your treasures. It’s been there all along, as you must find it. You just have to claim it for yourself. The treasure you found is all within you for the taking so own it. Whatever the treasure is, make sure you take action and make it real.

What action can you start doing differently today in order to make a difference n your life? Comment below and let us know!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

Social Media Is Killing Your Success: 3 Ways You Can Use it to Your Advantage

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Social media success

I love social media. It can help you make friends, share your life, build a network, and even build a business. In the same token, social media can easily become an enemy of success as a hindrance and consumer of attention.

On countless occasions I’ve found myself lost on YouTube, scrolling Facebook, clicking on tweets, watching funny snaps…and realized it’s hurting my success. As someone who is ambitious, you don’t want social media to kill your time, rob you of precious hours, and steal your success.

If you want social media to work for you, here are three ways to assure that you’re the one in control:

1. Limit your time on social media channels

If you want social media to work for you, and not against you, limiting your time on it will help you immensely. One great tool that helps me limit my time on social media is a simple Chrome extension: StayFocused. It’s a free, no hassle chrome extension that allows you to limit your time on different websites.

Just simply plug in the URL of the website you want to limit your time on and the tool will do the rest. This handy little tool will help you see how fast time on social media goes by and will ensure you prioritize your tasks.

If you are going to follow any of these tips, follow this one. Limiting your time on social media alone could save you hundreds of hours of your precious time. Those hours can then be used to get things done, set goals, and go after them.

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” – Bruce Lee

2. Have clear goals on social media

When you log in, know what matters most and what doesn’t. If you have clear intentions before logging in, assure yourself that social media isn’t the one in control.

All social media channels were built to help kill time, keep you engaged, and make you addicted to their platforms. In fact, one of the leading experts on ‘Brain Hacking,’ Tristan Harris, left his job at Google because of the manipulative strategies internet giants use to keep users hooked.

During his interview on 60 Minutes, Tristan talks about the ways social media rigs its platforms to keep users addicted. It’s astonishing to realize that social media is an endless arsenal of tools to keep us absorbed.

When asked about how people could curb their addiction, Tristan admitted that the cards are stacked against the user’s. Billions of dollars are being invested in making you stay hooked in. This is why social media experts like myself advise users to have clear goals.  When you have a timer and a goal before you log in, it assures you are playing the game in a way that favors you.

Some clear goals which will help you on social media are limiting who you follow, having a clear plan of what you’ll be doing before you log in, and having well laid out intentions of what social media does for you. When you limit who you follow, you assure you only read and watch content that feeds, inspires, and helps you.

It’s all too easy to follow an endless amount of silly channels and people. If you know what you’ll post before you log in, you’ll set yourself to use social media in your favor. This simple plan of action will help keep your mind focused and on task.

3. Have a mastermind online

Social media can either support you or hurt you. It’s either a tool to help you move forward or a hindrance setting you back. For most people, it’s hurtful. In my case, it’s a tool that helps me immensely. Inside social media, I’ve made friends with authors, speakers, world renowned coaches, and multi-millionaires who constantly inspire me.

One way to assure social media helps you is a mastermind. If done properly, social media can be an explosive growth tool. By having a mastermind online, you assure that social media works for you.

A great way to have a mastermind online is through Facebook. There are hundreds of thousands of Facebook groups that can help you stay focused and well supported. Each group is a virtual meetup. Some of these groups include some of the greatest minds in their areas. Some groups are public, and you can join just by requesting to join.

One way to assure a group is solid is by checking to see how many people are in the group. Who’s in the group? How often are members active? Is the group focused? When you find a group that has the right mix of people, activity, and attention, it can change your life. It turns Facebook into a tool. You log in, go check in with the group, ask questions, and keep yourself reminded of your goals.

“Each person holds so much power within themselves that needs to be let out. Sometimes they just need a little nudge, a little direction, a little support, a little coaching, and the greatest things can happen.” – Pete Carroll

By following these three simple pieces of advice, you can make sure that social media ‘Brain Hackers’ are not hacking you, but instead, you are leveraging the tool in a way that supports your success.

What is your favorite part about social media? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

Success Has Nothing To Do With Your iPhone Model Number.

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Success Has Nothing To Do With Your iPhone Model Number.

Recently, another new iPhone model was announced. Working in tech, people asked me when I’d be buying it. I told them probably not anytime soon, if at all.

“A piece of metal is never going to define my level of success and it shouldn’t define your success either”

Before you buy anything, think about why you’re making the purchase. We often make dumb decisions about buying stuff because we don’t think it through properly.

 

It’s a piece of metal

Before you have a giant orgasm over the new iPhone, remember that it’s just a chunk of metal. You’ve been using a chunk of metal as a phone for over a decade now. It’s not going to get your rocks off any more than the last phone you bought.

The new iPhone is not going to make love to you although it might remember your name and say it in some sexy, fake voice, so you feel like it’s your friend.

The iPhone is not your friend; it’s your enemy. A chunk of metal doesn’t define your success.

 

It doesn’t make your life better

If this chunk of metal – called an iPhone – really made our lives better then why are we more depressed than ever? A new phone is going to make you happy for about 3.1 seconds and then like a goldfish, you’ll have forgotten how privileged you are even to own one, as well as afford one, shortly after that.

Only you can make your life better by making better decisions. Choosing not to let material possessions own your life and your time is one way to make your life better. Say no to a new chunk of metal because it’s not making your life better.

 

Has anything really changed?

Between each of the iPhone models, it’s basically the same phone. Each time they change the screen size to indulge our ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) minds, but that’s about it. Think about it carefully.

 

That money, compounded, is more valuable

Read any of Warren Buffet’s or Tony Robbins books and you’ll see that the $1000 you shell out for a new iPhone is far better put towards investing. Invest in an index fund, invest in yourself, or use that $1000 to book a holiday so that you have something to look forward to and motivate you for the next six months.

The longer your money stays invested in one of the above, the more it compounds your results. Whether that is financially, personally or from a health point of you. Compounding wins every time.

“You don’t need a new chunk of metal; you need to invest instead”

 

Never follow the trends – create your own trend

Trends often fade away and a new iPhone is no different. Create your own trend. If everyone else is buying a new iPhone, then do the opposite. Don’t let marketers and technology companies tell you how to live your life. Live your life how you want to.

 

Are we more productive?

No freaking way. We’re more unproductive than ever and we consider way too many things because our ugly chunk of metal gives us unlimited opportunities to say yes to. Right now, your phone will allow you to book a tantric sex class that begins at 6 am somewhere near you if you really want.

You can literally learn anything at any time if you really want. My question to you is, does it really matter?

Even though you have unlimited options to be productive, you still procrastinate more than ever and so do I. We could be hyper-productive but we’re not and that’s okay. No chunk of metal is going to run your life for you and make you successful.

 

We don’t need even more distractions

My life already sucks because I get 101 notifications from WeChat, WhatsApp, Messenger and my three email addresses. It’s a full-time job managing all of this and I don’t buy into it. I don’t need to be always contactable – I need a life.

I’m not a robot and I’m not answerable to anyone. Think about this: Are you a free human soul or do you need to be told what to do by your phone?

I’m seeing more human disconnection than ever. At work, it’s easier to call people that are sitting next to me than it is to have a face-to-face conversation. Face-to-face conversations have become a battle between the other person looking down at their phone and occasionally glancing up to look you in the eye.

“All of us are sexier than an ugly piece of metal and we deserved to be looked at!”

 

Will I also be adding a new Apple Watch to my setup as well?

Not in a million years amigo. A watch is strapped to me and tells me everything via a tiny little screen. Can you imagine being in an intimate moment with your significant other and the watch is flashing and beeping at you? It’s enough to ruin anyone’s romance time.

The Apple Watch reminds me of a bracelet that future prisoners will wear to track their movements. I don’t intend on wearing an Apple Watch so I can be a prisoner in my own life. Life is hard enough already without having to be chained to technology.

 

Lastly, I’m enjoying aeroplane mode a lot these days

I could buy a new iPhone but I just love aeroplane mode way too much these days. Having the world of social media switched off and not being “ONLINE” all the time has given me space to think. In these brief moments of thinking I’ve been able to:

– Write inspiring blog posts that have gone viral
– Fall in love again
– Work on my health
– Read books and gain new skills
– Socialise with friends
– Mentor young entrepreneurs in a startup accelerator

Through these list of activities, I’ve been able to create more success than I could ever have imagined on my useless chunk of metal called an iPhone.

So honestly guys and girls, when people ask me if I’m buying a new iPhone, all I can say is “No I’m not buying a new iPhone because my life is more important. The human race and changing the world is more important.”

I need time to change the world and space to think; the new iPhone can’t do this for me and it never will.

No chunk of metal should ever define you and your success.

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

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Life

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

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

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

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

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

 

What is Stoicism?

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

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

Here is Stoicism broken down into insanely simple dot points:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Disruptions to serenity cannot be avoided.

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

 

You must disrupt yourself.

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

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

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

 

In good and bad times we have a choice.

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

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

 

Make it a habit of looking inward.

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

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

 

Being paranoid and fearful will destroy you.

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

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

 

Anger will not help you.

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

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

 

Everything takes up space.

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

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

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

 

Practice poverty.

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

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

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

 

You protect everything you have, why not your mind?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Without proper training, you’re a fool.

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

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

 

Your mind becomes what you think consistently.

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

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

 

You don’t know everything.

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

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

 

Think of your problems in relation to the sky.

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

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

 

Forget stereotypes and labels: concentrate on character.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

There is never an end to the personal development journey.

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

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

 

Work is good for you.

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

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

 

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

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

 

How you handle disaster is everything.

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

 

Seek out obstacles.

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

 

You have one job and only one job.

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

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

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

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