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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

No Mess, No Clutter For 4 Weeks.

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

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

Here’s what I learned:

 

The past no longer has to haunt me.

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

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

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

 

I saved money and lots of it.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

It’s obvious what I can live without.

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

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

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

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

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

 

I’m surrounded by objects that make me happy.

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

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

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

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

 

My life is now organized.

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

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

Being organized equals time, which equals money baby!

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

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

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Life

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

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self encouragement

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

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

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

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

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

Self encouragement is like the protein you consume after a workout

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

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

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

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

That’s when I started planning self-encouragement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Start a morning routine of affirmations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What self encouragement practices do you do? Comment below!

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

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personal energy

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

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

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

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

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

1. We function best when we feel positive

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

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

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

2. The human spirit

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

3. Sustaining your mental energy

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

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

4. Physical energy

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

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

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

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

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

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Life

5 Simple Things to Do Right Now if You Feel Stuck in Life

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feeling stuck in life

As a success-blogger, I normally have a great deal of clarity about what I need to be working on. I’m also really driven by a sense of purpose in helping others get unstuck and make an impact in their lives. There aren’t many times that I find myself at a loss for what to do next.

Nonetheless, I recently hit a dry spell. I felt entirely stuck and a little burnt out. It felt like I was in a pit, emotionally unempowered and unable to move forward. Due to this, I decided to sit down and write out a list of ways that I could get myself moving and build up some momentum again.

Here is what I came up with and I’m sharing it with you in the hopes that if you, too, are stuck it will make difference for you:

1. Get An Empowering Mindset

When we start to feel like we can’t move forward we often get down on ourselves. We begin to feel incapable and think we must be the cause of all the inaction. This puts us in a negative mindset that is self-reinforcing. To break out of that limiting mentality, try the substitution game. For every negative thought that comes to mind, remove it and replace it with a positive one.

For instance, instead of, “I just can’t figure this out—I’m so stupid,” remove and replace it with, “I’m ALWAYS supplied with a way through at just the right time.” Affirmations like this will keep you positive and put you back in the driver’s seat. Keep at this hard because it is relatively easy to do and you can gain traction quickly.

“Growth hacking is a mindset, and those who have it will reap incredible gains.” – Ryan Holiday

2. Do Some Housekeeping

When I’m really humming along in life, I’ve got no time for cleaning up files and putting things in order. This has to be done sometime and the time when you are stuck not doing anything else makes as good of sense as any.

More than that, however, I’ve also found the process of simplifying and organizing my notes to be very empowering. The very act of setting your mind on “cleaning things up” clarifies your mind. It’s an outward expression of something that changes your experience internally as well.

I’m of the opinion that if we need direction in our lives, we need to make room for it. In this way, we welcome that which we really need. By putting our work in order we prepare the way for new ideas and inspiration.

3. Find Some Quick Results To Encourage Yourself

No matter how stuck you are there is always something you can do that will bring about a measurable result. Even small victories help you feel like you are gaining ground. As you do this, keep these tips in mind:

  • Set simple goals and breeze through them. Think of things you can accomplish in five-to-ten minutes. As you complete them you will gain a sense of momentum.
  • Make this a visual activity. I like to write each of my tasks out and put a little box in front of them. Work to check each item off as quickly as you can. It should be fun so treat it as a game, marking complete as many as you can in an hour, for instance.

4. Get Back To Doing What You Love

To keep growing, I have to keep looking forward to the bigger picture in what I do. Right now I’m spending a lot of time preparing content for future books and courses, but that level of stretching has produced a little burnout. I’m always tunneling forward into territory that I’m not as familiar with so it saps my energy and mental resources.

It’s good to tackle these types of things so that I keep pushing myself. But when I begin to feel like I’m burning out, it’s good to step back into what I’m best at and most comfortable in…for me, that’s writing blog posts. It brings a refreshing sense of fun back into my life.

This gets a sense of positivity flowing again. We have to keep a deep feeling of joy with what we do. Jump-starting that by getting back into your element can get you on the road again.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – Rumi

5. Work On Something New

Sometimes we just get bogged-down and burned-out with what we are working on. It becomes drudgery, but there is always something related that we might not have begun to work on yet. Maybe we didn’t feel ready or we were just too invested in other things to take the turn down that road. In times like this, pull those things out and start working on them.

For me, that recent thing I began to do was guest posting on Addicted2Success. It was something that I had always wanted to do because I believe in everything that they are doing, but I hadn’t gone down that path yet because I didn’t feel ready.

In my period of trying to get unstuck, however, it began to feel like the perfect time to venture into new territory. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to focus on this avenue I have renewed energy and have come closer to fulfilling my overall dream of being a successful blogger.

If you just aren’t getting anywhere in your normal routine, it could be the perfect time to break into something else you’ve been holding off on.

What have you done to break free when YOU are stuck in life? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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5 Neuroplasticity Exercises the Top 3% of the Happy and Successful Do

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Neuroplasticity Exercises

Neuroplasticity means you will no more have to wake up each morning with the dread of having to start a new day of which you already know the outcome. For decades, it’s been the same routine, you get up with negative feelings that your day will turnout just like the day before full of stress and discontent. (more…)

Gregory (a.k.a. Pappi) Henderson, started the journey to discover the elements to the Lost Art of Happiness which opened doors to eye-opening ancient wisdom practices and the results found by cutting-edge neuroscience research. Today, you can receive this jaw-dropping evidence that happiness and success are a choice and are in your hands by joining him at http://happipappi.com. As you will see first hand, the practices he has implemented himself and has taught to individuals around the world who achieve the same positive insane results, http://happipappi.com/about/.

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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

No Mess, No Clutter For 4 Weeks.

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

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

Here’s what I learned:

 

The past no longer has to haunt me.

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

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

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

 

I saved money and lots of it.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

It’s obvious what I can live without.

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

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

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

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

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

 

I’m surrounded by objects that make me happy.

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

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

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

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

 

My life is now organized.

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

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

Being organized equals time, which equals money baby!

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

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

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Life

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

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self encouragement

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

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

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

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

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

Self encouragement is like the protein you consume after a workout

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

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

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

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

That’s when I started planning self-encouragement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Start a morning routine of affirmations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What self encouragement practices do you do? Comment below!

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Life

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

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personal energy

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

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

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

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

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

1. We function best when we feel positive

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

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

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

2. The human spirit

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

3. Sustaining your mental energy

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

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

4. Physical energy

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

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

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

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

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

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Life

5 Simple Things to Do Right Now if You Feel Stuck in Life

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feeling stuck in life

As a success-blogger, I normally have a great deal of clarity about what I need to be working on. I’m also really driven by a sense of purpose in helping others get unstuck and make an impact in their lives. There aren’t many times that I find myself at a loss for what to do next.

Nonetheless, I recently hit a dry spell. I felt entirely stuck and a little burnt out. It felt like I was in a pit, emotionally unempowered and unable to move forward. Due to this, I decided to sit down and write out a list of ways that I could get myself moving and build up some momentum again.

Here is what I came up with and I’m sharing it with you in the hopes that if you, too, are stuck it will make difference for you:

1. Get An Empowering Mindset

When we start to feel like we can’t move forward we often get down on ourselves. We begin to feel incapable and think we must be the cause of all the inaction. This puts us in a negative mindset that is self-reinforcing. To break out of that limiting mentality, try the substitution game. For every negative thought that comes to mind, remove it and replace it with a positive one.

For instance, instead of, “I just can’t figure this out—I’m so stupid,” remove and replace it with, “I’m ALWAYS supplied with a way through at just the right time.” Affirmations like this will keep you positive and put you back in the driver’s seat. Keep at this hard because it is relatively easy to do and you can gain traction quickly.

“Growth hacking is a mindset, and those who have it will reap incredible gains.” – Ryan Holiday

2. Do Some Housekeeping

When I’m really humming along in life, I’ve got no time for cleaning up files and putting things in order. This has to be done sometime and the time when you are stuck not doing anything else makes as good of sense as any.

More than that, however, I’ve also found the process of simplifying and organizing my notes to be very empowering. The very act of setting your mind on “cleaning things up” clarifies your mind. It’s an outward expression of something that changes your experience internally as well.

I’m of the opinion that if we need direction in our lives, we need to make room for it. In this way, we welcome that which we really need. By putting our work in order we prepare the way for new ideas and inspiration.

3. Find Some Quick Results To Encourage Yourself

No matter how stuck you are there is always something you can do that will bring about a measurable result. Even small victories help you feel like you are gaining ground. As you do this, keep these tips in mind:

  • Set simple goals and breeze through them. Think of things you can accomplish in five-to-ten minutes. As you complete them you will gain a sense of momentum.
  • Make this a visual activity. I like to write each of my tasks out and put a little box in front of them. Work to check each item off as quickly as you can. It should be fun so treat it as a game, marking complete as many as you can in an hour, for instance.

4. Get Back To Doing What You Love

To keep growing, I have to keep looking forward to the bigger picture in what I do. Right now I’m spending a lot of time preparing content for future books and courses, but that level of stretching has produced a little burnout. I’m always tunneling forward into territory that I’m not as familiar with so it saps my energy and mental resources.

It’s good to tackle these types of things so that I keep pushing myself. But when I begin to feel like I’m burning out, it’s good to step back into what I’m best at and most comfortable in…for me, that’s writing blog posts. It brings a refreshing sense of fun back into my life.

This gets a sense of positivity flowing again. We have to keep a deep feeling of joy with what we do. Jump-starting that by getting back into your element can get you on the road again.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – Rumi

5. Work On Something New

Sometimes we just get bogged-down and burned-out with what we are working on. It becomes drudgery, but there is always something related that we might not have begun to work on yet. Maybe we didn’t feel ready or we were just too invested in other things to take the turn down that road. In times like this, pull those things out and start working on them.

For me, that recent thing I began to do was guest posting on Addicted2Success. It was something that I had always wanted to do because I believe in everything that they are doing, but I hadn’t gone down that path yet because I didn’t feel ready.

In my period of trying to get unstuck, however, it began to feel like the perfect time to venture into new territory. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to focus on this avenue I have renewed energy and have come closer to fulfilling my overall dream of being a successful blogger.

If you just aren’t getting anywhere in your normal routine, it could be the perfect time to break into something else you’ve been holding off on.

What have you done to break free when YOU are stuck in life? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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