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The Journey Of Essentialism And The Benefits.

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I’ve become a minimalist of late and in the last few weeks, I’ve embraced essentialism.

I previously had never heard of this phrase “essentialism” and I’ve since discovered that it’s truly profound and life-changing. The best description of essentialism comes from Greg McKeown. He says what you need to tell yourself and the core truths of essentialism are:

“Only a few things matter”
“I choose to”
“I can do anything but not everything”

The art of being selective.

Some would say I’m very picky. I say no to a lot of things. I probably say no three times more than I say yes. I don’t do this because I’m a knob; I do it because being an essentialist gives you respect.

Saying no to things that don’t matter to me and that I’m not passionate about allows me to say yes to the tasks that bring me joy and fulfillment.

I’ve learned that this practice makes people respect you. When you do things that have meaning, you perform much better. This increased performance becomes the foundation of a newfound respect.

“Less but better.”

Greg McKeown says that phrase is the most fitting definition of essentialism.

“It’s not about getting more things done it’s about better results with fewer tasks”

You can either be mediocre at everything or a professional at a couple of things. Professionals get all the results and satisfaction that comes with being a true master at a particular skill.

It’s pretty simple logic when you think about it – most good advice is which is something I repeat often.

For me, this less but better equals only five things: blogging, looking after my health, family, public speaking and my career. Everything else has had the delete button engaged since I recently became an essentialist.

Essentialism and minimalism are a beautiful marriage I’ve discovered, too!

Am I investing in the right tasks?

That’s the question I’ve been inspired to ask. My addiction to shopping, as an example, took up lots of my time. This gave me less time to create content. When I re-evaluated all the things I was doing each week I realized there were some core tasks that were draining my time:

– Consuming social media like Instagram
– Excessive shopping
– Pointless coffee catch-ups
– Networking events that were nothing to do with what I like

By using the art of essentialism, I deleted these tasks from my schedule. This gave me time to get better at what truly mattered to me. Every place you allocate time is an investment. The more time you put into a task, the more your results will grow.

It’s a similar analogy with money and compound interest. In the beginning, investing in stocks or other investments doesn’t produce much fruit. After years of doing it, the compound effects of interest and dividends begin to shine through.

Think of your time as an investment and reduce the number of tasks. This mindset will help put you on the path to essentialism. Less is better remember?

We shouldn’t be trying to complete more tasks.

Having a huge to-do list of tasks is not how you embrace the benefits of essentialism. The key to all of this is to do less things and focus on getting the right tasks done. Over the last few weeks, I’ve used this idea to focus on the right task: in my case, blogging.

“For years I have been knocking off tasks from my to-do list and hi-fiving everyone without realizing that most of it was BS”

Who cares if I just ran 5km? It’s not one of my goals.

Knocking off tasks from a to-do list is not productivity and it’s definitely not effective or even close to essentialism. In fact, you shouldn’t even need a to-do list. If you are doing the right tasks that matter to you, then they should already be top of mind.

My thought patterns in this regard are like this:

“Did I write a blog post today?”
“Did I inspire someone today through personal development and entrepreneurship?”

If I didn’t, then I’m doing the wrong tasks. That’s when I go back and look at what tasks I’m actually completing.

A word on success and essentialism.

Success can mess you up (I should know I’m Addicted2Success remember?).

When people achieve their big goals, they quickly embrace their success and forget what got them there in the first place. When I had several viral blog posts, I started doing lots of stuff like emails, podcasts, events, etc.

What I’d forgotten was what got me that success in the first place. What got me there was working my butt off writing and inspiring as many people as I could.

Moving away from the very thing that made us successful is how you trade in your good fortune for a lack of fulfillment through disappointment and failure.

Never forget where you came from and what made you successful in the first place. Never forget to be grateful for your success at the same time as well.

Success can become a big distraction because it’s addictive. It gives you a sensational dopamine hit with all the admiration, likes, high-fives and “You’re so cool Tim!”

All of this can distract you from what you really should be doing. That is, doing the thing you love and completing tasks that matter to you.

Finding the core of your own essentialism.

To be an essentialist, you need to find the core activities that are going to occupy your time. Greg McKeown says you should ask yourself the following:

“What do I feel deeply inspired by?”
“What am I particularly talented at?”
“What meets a significant need in the world?”

These questions will lead to the small number of tasks you should focus on. These are the tasks you should go narrow and deep on.

Here are my answers:

“I feel deeply inspired by personal development and entrepreneurship and how it can change people’s lives.”

“I am particularly talented at blogging, social media and making connections with people.”

“What meets a significant need in the world is the tools and strategies required to achieve your life’s work. These are the tools that I’ve learned and want to share.”

Just writing those three answers made me think very hard. I actually got a lot out of that exercise and I’d strongly recommend answering those questions for yourself.

Finding your purpose is very cliché but it’s still fundamental. Knowing what drives you and how you can help people will allow you to be focused and ultimately join the essentialist way of living.

What do you do with the extra time?

This was a question I asked myself. The simple answer is: do more of the tasks that matter to you. For me, that’s more blogging.

“The challenge is that if all you ever do is achieve and that’s all, you’ll never get time to think. You’ll never get time to grow”

The biggest thing that essentialism has done for me is give me time to think.

The temptation nowadays is to use moments of free time like commuting, waiting in queues and time between meetings to look at our phones.

What you should do with the extra time is think more. Thinking allows you to reflect on what you’re doing, come up with ideas and ultimately innovate. Thinking also gives you time to be grateful and be present. You can’t always be “ON” and your mind needs a break.

It’s in these moments of thinking, combined with deep sleep, that new neural pathways are formed in the brain. In simple terms, it’s when all of your thoughts, ideas and activities make connections with each other and contribute to the meaning of your life.

Many of you are so focused on achieving that you never stop for a moment to analyze where you are. This idea of using time to think and do nothing was a very serious lesson I got from essentialism.

We’ve been sold the idea that we need more.

This idea comes mostly from business who want to profit from this idea by selling us products and services we don’t need. Everything in your life takes up space, so the real answer is that less is in fact how you get more of what you want.

Having more has never brought me happiness. Contributing to others has given me all the joy and fulfillment I’ll ever need and that’s ultimately how you have more.

You can’t have more though unless you have time to make that contribution to others.

When someone or something tells you that you need more, ask yourself “What’s the worst that can happen if I do less instead?”

Using this pattern interrupt will stop you from unconsciously trying to accept more into your life. Less is always going to be better.

Almost everything is non-essential.

As you dig deep into essentialism and also personal development, you reach a point where you realize one thing:

“Almost everything is unimportant and doesn’t matter.”

This life-changing moment comes from the realization that we are all going to die and after we’re gone there’s not much that really matters other than our family and our legacy.

So, if nothing really matters, then why not do less so that you can spend time on what matters: your legacy.

When I figured out that almost everything was pointless, I became hyper-focused. It also stopped me from “The Fear Of Missing Out” because I’ve realized that I’m almost never missing out on anything at all.

What can I say no to?

This question is how you get back your priorities. Using the essentialist methodology, rate how you feel about a request for your time using 0-100. If your number is less than 90, then change it to zero and say no.

I’ve played around with this tool a bit and it’s been adapted from other strategies I’ve learned from many books on time and decision making (so I take zero credit).

Choosing brutal ways of saying no is how you force your brain to pick only what is essential. It also stops you from overthinking.

It’s similar to the idea made famous by Derek Sivers idea that teaches us to only say yes to requests that make you say “Hell Yes!” Any other reaction is a no.

This got my attention: using a reverse pilot.

I’d never heard of this idea before until recently. It’s essentially where you experiment with removing a task or habit for a week or so to see if there is any downside. I removed my habit of juicing recently after my naturopath told me to try it.

I used a reverse pilot and measured my energy levels without juice. It turns out the sugar spike I was getting from juicing was more of a problem than I thought.

Taking stuff away can often show you how unimportant something was in the beginning.

A new definition of wisdom: subtract things every day.

Yet another excellent idea from Greg McKeown. Wisdom is simply subtracting things from your life. It’s dead simple, profound and worth thinking about. What if having less, doing less, actually equal more? More of what you want that is.

What if doing less and embracing simplicity is crucial to success?

Have a play with essentialism. It’s certainly helped me.

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

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship.You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Stefanie

    Jun 22, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Hi Tim, this topic resonates a lot with me! I’ve always been focused on doing many things and working many hours.
    Some projects require more effort in terms of quantity for sure. However, over the last months, I learned that quality is more important than quantity – in so many aspects of my life! I felt like having worked so much that I was tired of my business I used to be so passionate about, which was a tough experience. The only way I saw was cutting back. Say “no” more often. Concentrate on what really matters.
    I love the thought of “hell yes or no”! Some time ago, my attitude was “why not”, and I felt like losing time doing many things that were not bad but not gorgeous. What a waste of time and energy! 🙂
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

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Life

8 Things You Can Do to Rise Above Failure and Attain Success

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Highly successful people have tasted failure more than success. Whether its Nikola Tesla or Michael Jordan, everyone had his/her fair share of failures before rising to the pinnacle of success. Yet, most people I know are averse to the idea of failure.

When ambition fuels your desires, you become so conscious about avoiding failure that you forget to learn how to cope with it when you actually experience it. So, when you come face-to-face with adversity, it often overwhelms you.

This brings us to the question, how can you train yourself to overcome these difficulties and use them to your advantage? Here’s how:

1. Acceptance is important to overcome failure

When the going gets tough, one of the most frustrating things you may get to hear is “stay positive.” The idea of positive thinking has been misconstrued, misused, and abused continuously. Contrary to popular belief, positive thinking has nothing to do with smiling and being happy with everything that happens to you all the time. Anyone who preaches that is either lying or crazy.

Use positive thinking to learn, grow, and evolve from the experiences we gather in life. Positive thinking simply means that if you are faced with a setback, you work hard to overcome the challenges. When you experience hardships, it is alright to feel upset and disappointed. Our objective, however, is not to stay down.

2. Be honest with yourself

The most crucial part of dealing with a failure involves pausing for a couple of minutes and pondering over what happened. You need to be completely honest with yourself on why it happened.

It is easy to pull out the Smartphone, turn on the laptop or find other forms of distraction. Most people would do anything to distract themselves and keep their eyes shut to the mistakes they have made.

However, if you don’t confront, you don’t learn. And if you don’t learn, then you are setting yourself up for failure again. Albert Einstein famously stated that it was insane to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. If you don’t derive a lesson out of mistakes and failures in life, then you are doomed to keep repeating them, whether you realise it or not.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

3. Don’t beat yourself up over a temporary setback

When you have experienced a setback, many of you may succumb to the feeling that you’ll always keep failing. It is easy to convince yourself that you are indeed a failure. Don’t let such destructive ideas or thoughts creep into your head. Instead, keep reminding yourself that just because you failed today, it doesn’t mean you’d fail the next time as well.

It is also important that you treat your failure as a passing phase. When you keep moving forward, focus on the right things, and keep learning. Perceiving the setback as a temporary phase rather than something permanent is vital to developing an optimistic attitude in life.

4. Focus on nurturing and improving yourself

Failures don’t discriminate, and it comes to everyone at some point. The trick lies in learning to deal with it and what you do about it that makes all the difference. In many cases, failure happens because a person wasn’t prepared, didn’t invest time on planning or was ill-equipped. It can also be because Lady Luck decided not to shower her favours.

Except for the last one, the rest of the issues can be fixed. Prepare a list of all the things that you think resulted in your failure. Start working on them one at a time. Do everything in your capacity to rectify, improve, resolve, and develop.

5. Find inspiration and support in abundance

Interacting with someone close can be more helpful than you think. You can also learn from people who have been through similar situations and have achieved what you hope to. Gain insights on how they managed to sail through the setbacks or low-points before and during the moment of success.

Or you can gain the motivation or enthusiasm by listening to someone else from an audiobook or podcast for maybe 30-60 minutes. It doesn’t have to be focused on your current setbacks.  Change your mood and mindset back towards optimism again.

6. Adopt a constructive approach and learn from the adverse situation

Consider it as valuable feedback and take home something you can implement in the process of overcoming your failure. The following are some of the questions you need to ask yourself:

  • What is the lesson for me?
  • How can I rectify myself to avoid making the same mistake and do better next time?
  • What can I do to enjoy guaranteed success?

You don’t need to rush through the process. Some of the answers may be immediate, while others might take an hour, a day or even a week to pop up. The significant thing is to start thinking about the situation from this perspective. Also, you need to be constructive about things rather than getting stuck with denial, negativity and apathy.

7. Stop mulling over and move on

Processing the situation and accepting it is the ideal way to deal with failures. Any individual who has experienced failures will know that it is quite easy to stay stuck in the loop of similar thoughts. In fact, this may go around and around for weeks or even months.

Now, in order to be free from this trap, the one habit that might help you is the set of questions like the ones shared above. You can also create a rough plan for how you wish to move forward from here. So, take some time to sit down and write them down.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

8. Purge out all the negativity

Another impactful way to handle the emotional meltdown and the thoughts that emerge from experiencing failure is to purge out all the negativity. In order to let everything out, you need to confide in someone close to you. There are two ways to go about it: Engaging in a conversation with someone will allow you to see it from a different perspective. The person you talk to can assist you in grounding yourself in reality again and motivate you to look for a way forward.

Or you can simply vent about it while the other person who is listening can sort things out for you. He/she can help you accept what happened and boost your spirit by instilling a sense of hope.

The significant thing to remember is that while you can’t stop obstacles from appearing in life, you can devise smart ways to handle them. If you persevere, you can easily discover opportunities that have been waiting for you on the other side. Now, as you become more efficient at dealing with the failures, you will allow yourself to see the positive side in even the toughest of scenarios.

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Life

How Stress Can Actually Improve the Quality of Your Life

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Naturally, those of us who experience less stress in our lives are more likely to succeed. So, it’s important that you learn how to reduce your daily level of stress, right? Maybe not. Recent research has shown the common wisdom about stress might be dangerously inaccurate. Psychologists tracked the health of 30,000 adults in the United States over an 8-year period. Participants were asked two important questions:

1.    “How much stress have you experienced in the last year?”
2.    “Do you believe stress is harmful to your health?” (more…)

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Life

The Truth About the Law of Attraction

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When we want something, we generally imagine the form it will take when it manifests. If we’re not careful, however, we can find ourselves attached more to the imagined form than the actual desired outcome. This is like placing an online order and expecting it to come in a blue box shipped by UPS. If we then receive a red box delivered by FedEx, we might not realize that it’s what we ordered, and never even open it!

For example, most of us say that we want money, but when money comes in the form of a free coffee or a gift or a discount, we don’t see it for what it is. We overlook it, and maybe we even say “No, thanks” and decline the gift which is, in one way or another, still money. In doing so, we fail to appreciate the value of the discount, the gift, or the freebie. If it isn’t cash being handed to us, we don’t see it as a manifestation of our desire.

The law of attraction is a funny thing.

It is much more complex and much more intricate than what it seems to be and yet, at the same time, it’s so very simple: We always get what we want. We always receive more of the energy at which we vibrate. Always.

However, if we’re acting from the energy of “I don’t deserve it” or “I don’t think I’m worthy,” then whatever it is that we receive will be negated and essentially unseen. On the other hand, if we are open, observant, and maintaining an abundance mindset, we will receive our request on numerous levels and from plentiful sources!

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill

This is because we “place our order” not only through our words, but through our actions, our beliefs, and our thoughts.

Last month, I was open to receiving a new client. I didn’t know how it would happen, but I’d set my intention: I was going to get a new client. That night, out of nowhere, I got a message from an old student of mine. She was looking to hire me again as her coach for the upcoming college entrance exams in the U.S. But wait! I didn’t want an entrance exam client.

What I actually wanted was to get life and business coaching clients. This student was my “red box from Fed Ex.” I wanted to decline at first, but as I was about to reply, something made me stop. I asked myself, “Why am I rejecting this?”

This student is an amazing client. She pays on time. She’s not needy. She does her part. Best of all? She doesn’t short-change me. So I said yes, because I realized that the Universe was simply responding to the essence of my desire.

You see, my “Big Why” in everything I do has always been to facilitate an accelerated personal and business growth for my clients, and this student fit the bill in every way. She wanted the personal growth, she was ready to go all in and she reached out to me.

It didn’t look like the package I was expecting so I didn’t recognize it at first—and I nearly turned it away—but she was the perfect answer to my request.

Serving people like her has always been a driving force in my life.

The Universe knows that. It also knew that I wanted a client asap so that I could re-invest the money into my business, so it responded in the most ideal way… but in an unexpected form. And I came so close to missing it!

How many times have I missed other opportunities like this? How many times have I dismissed a “red box” because it wasn’t “blue?” I’ll never know. But I do know that, had I not stopped myself from sending a “No, thanks,” I would have felt as though the Universe wasn’t listening.

That’s the thing: the Universe is always listening.

The more open we are in receiving, the more we thrive. The more open our energy is, the greater the possibilities. Don’t just return that red box to the post office and keep waiting on a blue one. Ask yourself, first and foremost, if what you’re receiving at the moment matches up with your underlying desire.

See yourself living in abundance and you will attract it.” – Rhonda Byrne

The key is to be willing to receive anything and everything. How? Keep on reading1

1. Get clear on your “underlying desire.”

Identify exactly what it is that you really want—in my case, it was an ideal client (underlying) as opposed to a coaching client (surface)—and focus on that. Clear out all the mental noise and static that clouds your awareness.

2. Be flexible

Keep your eyes and mind open for anything that fits the description. When you ask for money, recognize that free coffee for what it is: $3 you were going to spend anyway, that can now remain in your pocket. Every penny on the ground, every coupon, it’s all money.

3. Keep an attitude of gratitude.

The more you appreciate what you have, the more that comes your way. Your grateful mindset opens the energetic door for more to flow your way, because “where attention goes, energy flows.” The more you focus on the things you want, the more you will draw them into your experience.

Remember, that the Universe responds to our requests in whatever way fits best within the big picture.

It’s a picture so big that we couldn’t possibly begin to see how it comes together. Trust it. Know that when you ask, you will receive. It may not come in the form you anticipate, but always in a form that responds to your underlying desire. You just have to be ready to see it.

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Life

7 Simple Ways to Master Your Emotions When Making Decisions

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A lot of people have big regrets when lying on their deathbed. These regrets are often related to bad decisions or decisions not taken. Thus, as it turns out, decision-making is dependent on great self-confidence. A person who has confidence in their decisions has an easier time making them.

Emotions also play a big role in all of this. This is a debate that has confronted two great thinkers. According to Descartes, “decisions are the product of the rational mind.” In other words, decision-making is essentially based on facts and mathematics.

But this thesis was refuted and proven to be wrong by Antonio Damasio in one of his works called “The Error of Descartes”. This was partly based on the story of Elliott, a kid that was very smart, who had above average rational capabilities, but incapable of making a decision, after a surgery to remove a brain tumor on the surface of his frontal lobes. After all his work in that matter, he concludes that a person who is incapable of emotion is incapable of making the most rational decisions.

The management of emotions is therefore completely inherent to good decision making, especially when making the most important decisions. To this end, here are 7 tips to put into practice to really master your emotions thus making the best decisions possible and never regreting them.

1. Take a step back

You must learn to take the time to identify and understand your emotions. Since physical reactions are emotionally related, also take the time to detect the reactions you have to some of your emotions. To be able to take the distance necessary to make decisions, it’s important to refer to your prefrontal cortex. This is the area of ​​the brain responsible for reasoning. To do so you need to put yourself in a stress-free environment for a few minutes.

“Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent and committed decision.” – Tony Robbins

2. Breathe

The best way to do this is to learn to breathe deeply. This will allow activating your prefrontal cortex again, therefore, to have better control of your emotions so you do not react to them, let alone to the event that causes these emotions. Do this exercise for at least 15 minutes. It’s amazing how you can train yourself never to react, no matter what the situation. Ideally, let at least 24 hours go by before responding to a situation that would normally cause tension.

3. Pay attention

Once you are in the prefrontal cortex, put one hand on your abdomen, at the level of your intestines, and the other hand on your heart, and take the time to listen. These two parts of the body are the two major centers of vibrations and emotions. This is why it’s important to listen and pay attention to them.

The purpose of this exercise is to become aware of your gut and heart. What you need to remember is that the only person you need to trust is yourself. By practicing this exercise, one thing will become very clear: what the emotion you feel seeks to convey to you about the decision you have to make.

Since everything is energy, first make sure that the vibration of the decision you are about to make and that of your heart and gut are in sync. You will then know whether to go ahead with your decision or reject it based on whether you feel serenity or heaviness.

4. Discern untruths

It is important to know whether your nervousness is the result of an untruth you’ve told yourself. These can corrupt the vibrations that should help you make the right decision. You have to throw out all of these untruths and come to the decision-making without any filter. Stop thinking that you’re unlucky, that you’re in a bad situation, that your life is a failure, or that you are a victim.

5. Become aware of your emotions instead of avoiding them

To become aware of your emotions, you must learn to coach yourself. Ask yourself questions: How did you feel the last time you had to ask these types of questions? What did you get in return? Rename what you felt and the result you obtained from what you decided to do. You will thus be much better at assimilating, understanding, and welcoming your emotions.

6. Be as present as possible

There is no point in focusing on the big events surrounding the decision you want to make. Concentrate instead on the present moment, without analyzing the events. Judge based on emotions rather than the event. By being more present, you will be better able to listen to your emotions and feel them.

Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” – John C. Maxwell

7. Make your emotions your allies

Each of your emotions speaks to you through the physical and physiological reactions that they generate in you. Look to the weight of their impact on you as an indicator. Only by listening to them, using them, and managing them can you manage your emotions.

Habit comes with practice. With time, these 7 points will become much more natural and will become automatic. You will make better decisions for yourself.  This is one of the best ways to not end up with one of the big regrets.

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