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Want a Better Life? Make Better Investments

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invest in yourself

What are you really good at? I mean, really good at. How did you find out you were good? Did someone tell you at an early age? Did you have some natural talent that presented itself early on? Were you recognized for an award or an achievement that set you apart from the rest of your friends?

Chances are, even if you don’t think you’re particularly that good at anything, there has always been something that you’ve done just a little bit better than those around you. No matter what it was, you knew you could perform above and beyond expectations, and this translated into confidence and self-assurance.

But what happened when things didn’t go according to plan? If you grew up being told you were exceedingly good at one thing or another, the chances are that as soon as you got out into the real world, you were thrown for a huge loop. Nobody makes every single basket. Nobody hits a home run every time they come up to bat. Nobody writes a best-selling book every time they publish.

We live in a world of 7 billion + people. Like it or not, there will ALWAYS be someone (or lots of people) better than you at any number of things. I’m embarrassed to say I grew up with a fixed mindset. Despite being told that I could change and learn and accomplish anything I set my mind to, I often subconsciously felt that there were certain things I was ‘meant’ to do. I was better than my friends at certain things like writing or running or building Legos. I was a natural, and I didn’t have to try to beat out the competition.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw

But once I got out into the world I realized that I wasn’t as good as I thought, that my ideas weren’t all that unique, and that I wasn’t going to make as big an impact as I had dreamed. It seems a lot easier to change the world when you don’t grasp how big a place it is.

This realization taught me an important lesson about personal development. Over the years I’ve come to realize that the things worth being good at take regular practice and concentration. Last year on January 1, I made a promise to myself to invest 5% of my income in personal development and training.

I made the decision after I realized that I was spending my money unwisely. I would go out for drinks too many nights a week. I would eat out regularly. I would take Uber when I should walk or take the bus. The money just slipped away from me, and I wasn’t tracking it or paying attention to how it was effectively being thrown down the drain.

Here are 5 ways I chose to invest in myself which have already started to pay big dividends:

1. I bought books

In 2017, I read or listened to (I’m a huge fan of Audible) 46 books. About 75% of these books were non-fiction business or history book, while the other 25% were fiction books and novels. I have found that this investment, more than any of the others on this list, has helped me expand my thinking and my ability to synthesize complex ideas and theories.

2. I joined a gym

I actually enjoy going to the gym, but for the last several years I have avoided joining one because of high fees, exorbitant surcharges, and bizarre cancellation policies. To get exercise, I would instead go for runs around town, often along crowded streets and through busy traffic. While I still enjoy going on city runs, I finally decided to join a local gym with a pool for around $30 a month. Swimming regularly has been one of the highlights of my year, and it has transformed how I think about maintaining a fit lifestyle.

3. I got surgery

Since I was 6 years old, I wore a set of extremely nerdy looking glasses. My vision was not horrible, but I definitely required glasses to drive or to read signs more than 10 feet away. So, I got laser eye surgery. This investment changed my life and has been one of the best experiences in the last year. The recovery time was less than 48 hours, and I now have better than 20/20 vision. On top of that, the money I spent on the surgery will be paid back in a matter of a few years (based on what I would have been spending on contact lens and glasses prescriptions).

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. I went back to school

No, I didn’t go back to school to get my Master’s degree. Yes, I looked for only e-learning courses in topics I was interested in which I thought would benefit me in my career. I signed up for several courses through Udemy and Coursera, and I’ve managed to dedicate several hours a month towards expanding my knowledge in areas around entrepreneurship and technology.

5. I bet on myself

I spent money on myself by building a website. Though it’s not profitable yet, I feel that this hands on knowledge and training I’ve gathered will help me learn more in a shorter period of time than nearly any other form of training in a classroom.

How you decide to spend your time and your money is up to you, but by being mindful about your decision making process will you be able to get the most return on your investment.  

How are you investing in yourself today? Comment below!

McVal is the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Harsh Tiwari

    Jan 26, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Nice article! Thanks!

  2. Marc

    Jan 25, 2018 at 10:25 am

    One trick I’ve been using to get better results is to just push a little more. If I’m working on project or training in the gym and feeling lazy or tired, I say to myself to work just 5 min more, and then 5 min, etc.

    Often happens that I work additional 1 hour. Its a small trick but helped a lot to boost my confidence.

    • Miguel A Lozano

      Jan 25, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      Hey Marc,

      that’s an awesome strategy! I use it a lot as well.

      However, in my world, I call it the “stretch just above what’s comfortable” strategy.

      Like you comment, every time I’m hitting a limit, I just tell myself “stretch just a little bit more above what’s comfortable” and I do that extra mile 😉

      Wish you tremendous success Marc,
      Miguel A Lozano
      Perosnal RevUp

  3. Miguel A Lozano

    Jan 23, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Hey McVal,

    great article! I can relate to you a lot.

    I started my personal development journey around 4 years ago and I can only say it COMPLETELY transformed my life.

    I know, it’s difficult at first to shut off that ‘instant gratification’ mindset when we got so much things competing for our attention.

    But..

    Once you slowly start dominating it, you immediately see that investing in yourself IS the BEST investment.

    Seriously…

    The returns are AMAZING in all areas of your life.

    And regarding laser eye surgery, it was a life-changing investment for me too. Although I did have a more severe vision problem and did not end up 20/20, it’s far a better place to be at.

    Thanks for the interesting read!

    Miguel A Lozano

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Life

5 Ways You Can Make the Most Out of Failure

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failure
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

It’s been said that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. I’d like to add another one to the list: rejection. No matter who you are and what life you live, there will be instances in your life when you experience rejection.

Nobody likes to be rejected. It sucks to be told you were good, just not good enough, for the project, job, partner or position. It’s confusing and frustrating, and it can make you want to scream. But more often than not, being rejected can be the start of something brilliant.

Here are five ways you can make sure you make the most out of your difficult experiences and come out at the other end stronger:

1. Take five

When you get bad news or hear negative feedback, most of us can’t help but fall into a sullen mood. Rather than fall into the trap of focusing on the negative and being overly self-critical, take five minutes to clear your head of all negativity. Even after five minutes of silent meditation, you’ll start to clear your head and realise that everything isn’t really all that bad.

“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” – Woody Allen

2. Put things into perspective

Unless you are a heart surgeon or have a job in which you are responsible for the wellbeing of others, nobody will die because of this disappointment or mistake. If you lose a job, you’ll find another one. If you don’t get that promotion, you can make more money in some other way. An opportunity lost is another chance for something new to come down the road. Remember that this is only a momentary pain and won’t last long in the grand scheme of things.

3. Assess what went right

You can nearly always find a positive lesson from even the most negative of circumstances. The hardest part is often escaping the negative mindset that everything must have gone wrong if things didn’t go exactly as planned. In reality, there are an infinite number of variables that could have caused an unsatisfactory outcome. If you manage to put the negative mindset out of your head you can focus on the many things that went right, rather than what went wrong. Always remember to look at things on the bright side.

4. Review what went wrong, and look for ways to improve

After you’ve had a chance to look at what exactly went right, you can then take a hard look at how to improve on what went wrong. Consider whether or not you need to get additional training in certain areas, to practice more often, or just to consider ways to improve what worked partially but not fully.

“Success is 99% failure.” – Soichiro Honda

5. Remember, what will be, will be

Try your best, then don’t worry be happy. You will always face difficulties through life, but the more you practice accepting these difficulties, the better positioned you’ll be to make use of your time effectively and improve your life. Look at life through the lens of a stoic philosopher and you will better understand how to live a life of streamlined success and happiness.

The best lessons you learn in life are very rarely the easiest. Remember to reflect on why some of the hardest decisions and saddest realisations you may have are vitally important for future growth and genuine happiness. These moments force you to break out of your normal state of consciousness and reassess what is most important to you.

They make you reflect on what has worked, and more importantly, what hasn’t. Only in these moments do you realise who you really are, and exactly what you are capable of.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

You Can Create Whatever Life You Want So Stop Talking Yourself Out of Your Destiny

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destiny
Image Credit: Unsplash

There’s never been a time like right now in human history for entrepreneurship. We have access to virtually limitless knowledge thanks to the advent of the internet, and you can reach anyone on this planet literally at the click of a button.

However, despite the massive amount of opportunity out there, there are still time-tested principles that every wanna-be entrepreneur needs to know in order to truly succeed. Knowing these principles can spell the difference between achieving your dreams and talking yourself out of your destiny.

There is Such a Thing as Preparing Too Much

While it’s certainly necessary to prepare in life, a just as devastating problem many people face in life is being too prepared. Way too often, people believe they’re actually working by spending hours “preparing” when all they’re doing is thinking about working while their actual work goes untouched.

As Gary Vaynerchuk put it bluntly in one of his livestream Q&A videos, “There are just so many ways to build your business, but lack of action is not one of them.” Basically, we are both blessed and cursed by our access to virtually limitless knowledge. We can turn on the faucet of knowledge and grab a quick swig when we need it, but if we leave it on for too long we’ll be drowning in information and be stuck trying to process everything.

If you spend too much time processing, you’ll be more likely to talk yourself out of taking the risks necessary to build a successful business. The solution is simple: stop processing and start taking action.

A phrase I find myself repeating a lot when I get into a bind is, “How did successful people do it before the age of internet?” The answer is they did it by not talking themselves off of the ledge of destiny and instead diving into their project headfirst.

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” – Simone de Beauvoir

Our Feelings Often Lie to Us

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like throwing in the towel when trying to build my web design business. I remember one day in particular I had a massive headache and was on the verge of quitting everything due to the frustration I felt while dealing with a problematic client.

I looked at my watch and realized I hadn’t eaten yet that morning, so I went and made myself breakfast. After eating a bowl of scrambled eggs and toast, my headache magically vanished along with my thoughts of wanting to quit. I quickly realized what needed to be done and fixed the client’s issue without much thought. The problem wasn’t with the client, the problem was with my stomach.

Can you imagine how ridiculous I would have looked had I fired my client all because I hadn’t eaten that day? This is why our feelings sometimes need to take a backseat when it comes to making wise, calculated decisions for our success.

Intuition is important, obviously, but it’s best utilized with years of reliable experience to back it up. So go with your gut when it’s wise to do so, but always make sure your gut is fed otherwise you may regret what it has to say.

Perfectionism Can Halt All Progress

You will never have everything figured out. Let that sink in. It’s become such a trope in our society that it’s surprising how easily we tend to forget it. There isn’t a single business out there that has all the answers on how to do things right, so why do we feel the need to stop moving forward if things aren’t perfect?

I remember a friend of mine spent years trying to compose music on his synthesizer but never released anything because it “wasn’t good enough” by his standards. I gave him the simple proposition to “put out crappy music”, since no matter what he would always think his music was crappy due to his perfectionist mindset. Within a day, he finally put something out on SoundCloud and his song “#Selfie” became a hit worldwide while his band The ChainSmokers continues to put out hits to this day.

OK, I’m kidding about that last part, but hopefully you get my point. My friend finally had a song out that he could have had out years ago but was too caught up on making everything “perfect” to do anything. He had, in effect, talked himself out of taking action. The same thing applies with business, even if you don’t have everything figured out it’s best to just start something and learn as you go.

“Imperfection is perfection.” – Flume

Whenever that annoying, perfectionist voice in your head tries to get you to quit because you’ll never have the “perfect” product or service to sell, tell it to shut up and put out your product or service anyway. As you gain experience in your field and receive valuable feedback from customers, you’ll be able to continually improve things with your business.

Had you not taken action to begin with, you would never have attained either of these two valuable assets. Never settle for mediocrity, but at the same time recognize your need to be in motion even if the thing that sets you in motion is initially subpar.

How do you push yourself and keep motivated? Let us know your thoughts below!

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3 Mental Tricks to Help You Become a More Productive Person

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Whether you’re a career salesman, a student, or a software engineer, you can’t move an inch in your career if you produce less. Productivity is the key that will unlock your success. Unfortunately, not all of us are productive. And some of it is not our problem. Our Internet-empowered world is bloated with too many social media tools, too many emails and notifications, too many SMS and short messages, too many YouTube videos and Netflix movies. The distractions are at an all time high.

But what if there is a system that will help you keep all these distractions aside until you have accomplished your tasks? There is. And it only takes 3 simple steps. Read Below:

Step 1: See your everyday tasks as a gift

Showing up every day to work is anything but fun. You know your life depends on it, but some days are not your best days. No matter how you plan your projects, you can’t show up to do them. You’re tired and bored and uninterested. What’s the way forward? It’s not about planning. It’s not about waking up early. It’s not about lack of exercise or anything like that.

If you want to conquer your to-do list, day in and day out, you need a simple shift in your mindset. Stop thinking of your tasks as work. See those tasks as gifts…as natural endowments exclusively given to you. This simple shift in your mindset will awaken the sleeping giant within you. You’ll start feeling great about yourself, stop seeing your work as burdensome. The tasks will now make you feel proud.

No longer will your showing up early at your desk irritate you—because now you feel comfortable doing the work that matters. The mindset adjustment is not even difficult. Just figure out the value that your tasks will bring to your marketplace.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss

Step 2: Be conscious of the impeccable values of your tasks

That’s how to shift your thinking. You dissect the unique values that are embedded in your tasks (when you accomplish them, of course). If you’re a web designer, for example, think about the joy and life-changing events that your design job will bring to your client. That landing page that you’ll design, it would mean the world to your client.

It will even change their business and their lives along the way. But that will not happen if you don’t show up every day, roll up your sleeves and work on that landing page. Now if you can visualize that value, it will serve you well. You’ll be motivated. So, how do you become more conscious of the values of your work? Write them down. And read them every day to spark your productivity.

Step 3: Remind yourself of the limited time you have in life

We like to postpone today’s tasks for tomorrow. Often, we’ll schedule a time to work, but when the time is due, we come up with another excuse, “I’ve got to call that client instead; I’ll leave that work till tomorrow.” But we don’t own tomorrow. We don’t have control over it. We don’t even know what it holds. And we have a very limited time.

If you want to improve your productivity, you have got to remind yourself about the scarcity of your time. Here are a few questions to ask yourself (I recommend that you do these exercises every time before you begin to work):

  • If you only have 24 hours left today, how do you want to spend it?
  • If you have 5 projects to complete today, how do you manage your time?
  • Would you rather watch a movie on Netflix or accomplish today’s task and move closer to your vision?

“Do something instead of killing time because time is killing you.” – Paulo Coelho

It’s about making smart choices. I know It’s hard. It’s tough. It requires an impeccable amount of discipline. But with constant practice, these mental tricks will help you become a more productive person, move you closer to realizing your vision.

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Life

7 Simple Tips to Help You Eliminate Negative Thoughts

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Have you been feeling low lately? Are you missing being the person you once used to be? In this fast-paced life of ours, it is not surprising to feel depressed. 15 out of 100 adults in the USA fall prey to depression every year.

As we get more and more detached from reality and bury ourselves into the virtual world of our smartphones, anxiety and stress seep into our brain and make us lose sight of the happy versions of ourselves. It is optimism alone that keeps us going by giving us the will to fight the battle within us. The power to usher in positivity and shoo off the negative thoughts rests with you.

Here’s what you can do to remove the dark cloud of pessimism that hovers over you:

1. Train your mind to think positive

Affirmations can help boost your self-esteem. If you continue to affirm your brain, it will learn to believe in you and will work positively. Positive affirmations are scientifically proven and can make miracles happen. Tell yourself that you are getting better and your subconscious will adapt to it and function accordingly.

Train your brain to give a neutral spin to all your negative thoughts. Since, building a positive mindset isn’t an easy task to do, the neutral thoughts will help you keep the negativity at bay and aid you in paving your path towards positivity.

2. Cultivate self-love

If you have been waiting for a pair of arms to reach out and rescue you, you might just have to wait longer. Instead, be your own messiah. In order to do so, you have to perfect the art of self-love. Nurture your narcissism a bit and learn to appreciate yourself more often.

Learn to turn down offers politely and indulge in some quality Me-time. Bake your favorite cake or shop for the dress that you had been eyeing for quite some time now. Go get a spa treatment and appreciate the daily efforts that you make.

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” – Brené Brown

3. Keep yourself busy

The key to ward off negativity is to keep your brain busy, so that it does not get the time to breed ill thoughts. Considering how the descent towards the abysmal pit of depression starts at our workstation, I would suggest that you find engagements outside your workplace that helps your mind to relax.

You can try reading lighthearted literature. A personal favorite, the Chicken Soup for the Soul, can actually nurture your brain with the much-needed optimism to fight away the negative blues. Listen to happy, soulful music or take a stroll in the fresh air.

4. Surround yourself with positivity

People around us have the power to affect us – in both positive and negative ways. Their actions affect us, and we take their words to heart. Quite often, negative thoughts cloud our minds because of a seed that was sown by someone we hold close to our hearts. The people we walk and talk with are capable of influencing our emotions. So, you must choose your company wisely.

Surround yourself with people who care for you and love you. Love is the only magic potion for us muggles, and with the right kind of love and support, we can eliminate the negative thoughts that wreak havoc in our brains. Also, learn to block unwanted people from your lives.

5. Be a social butterfly

In this age of social media, we have more virtual friends than actual friends. So, come out of the virtual world and spend some time with your family and friends. Your family members fall among the ones who love you just as you are. At the end of the day, they are the ones who matter.

Moreover, when you go out of your way to help someone, you feel more positive. Rescuing someone from the same pit of darkness as you are in can help you ward off your own demons. So, don’t shy away from community work.

“Society is like a large piece of frozen water; and skating well is the great art of social life.” – Letitia Elizabeth Landon

6. Lead a healthy life

Exercise and meditation can be of immense help when it comes to overcoming stress and negative thoughts. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin which play an important role in regulating your mood. Mediation helps you to increase your brain power and aligns your thought processes towards optimism.

Other than exercising, you must get enough sleep. Proper sleep helps our bodies to recover from the daily toil and provides it with the time to repair. Also, try to eat healthy food. Avoid gluten, caffeine, and sugar as they make you bitter and depressed. Keep your body healthy, which in turn will tell your brain to be more positive.

7. Make your ambiance teem with positivity

Other than exercising and eating healthy, you can take little steps like drawing yourself a bath or sleeping with a heavier comforter on to make yourself feel more calm and composed. When you feel rejuvenated physically, your mind will automatically feel relaxed.

Get your upholstery in happier shades of light pastels and make sure that your room is adequately lit up. However small these changes might be, they will welcome positivity into your life.

In the end, I would like to emphasize the importance of reducing stress. Train your brain to focus on the brighter side of things, so that depression and negativity cannot take a toll on your mental health. Trust me when I say that you are stronger than you think!

Which one of these 7 tips to eliminate negative thoughts do you need to work on most? Let us know how you’re going to work on it below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

5 Ways You Can Make the Most Out of Failure

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failure
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

It’s been said that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. I’d like to add another one to the list: rejection. No matter who you are and what life you live, there will be instances in your life when you experience rejection. (more…)

McVal is the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Harsh Tiwari

    Jan 26, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Nice article! Thanks!

  2. Marc

    Jan 25, 2018 at 10:25 am

    One trick I’ve been using to get better results is to just push a little more. If I’m working on project or training in the gym and feeling lazy or tired, I say to myself to work just 5 min more, and then 5 min, etc.

    Often happens that I work additional 1 hour. Its a small trick but helped a lot to boost my confidence.

    • Miguel A Lozano

      Jan 25, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      Hey Marc,

      that’s an awesome strategy! I use it a lot as well.

      However, in my world, I call it the “stretch just above what’s comfortable” strategy.

      Like you comment, every time I’m hitting a limit, I just tell myself “stretch just a little bit more above what’s comfortable” and I do that extra mile 😉

      Wish you tremendous success Marc,
      Miguel A Lozano
      Perosnal RevUp

  3. Miguel A Lozano

    Jan 23, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Hey McVal,

    great article! I can relate to you a lot.

    I started my personal development journey around 4 years ago and I can only say it COMPLETELY transformed my life.

    I know, it’s difficult at first to shut off that ‘instant gratification’ mindset when we got so much things competing for our attention.

    But..

    Once you slowly start dominating it, you immediately see that investing in yourself IS the BEST investment.

    Seriously…

    The returns are AMAZING in all areas of your life.

    And regarding laser eye surgery, it was a life-changing investment for me too. Although I did have a more severe vision problem and did not end up 20/20, it’s far a better place to be at.

    Thanks for the interesting read!

    Miguel A Lozano

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Life

5 Ways You Can Make the Most Out of Failure

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failure
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

It’s been said that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. I’d like to add another one to the list: rejection. No matter who you are and what life you live, there will be instances in your life when you experience rejection.

Nobody likes to be rejected. It sucks to be told you were good, just not good enough, for the project, job, partner or position. It’s confusing and frustrating, and it can make you want to scream. But more often than not, being rejected can be the start of something brilliant.

Here are five ways you can make sure you make the most out of your difficult experiences and come out at the other end stronger:

1. Take five

When you get bad news or hear negative feedback, most of us can’t help but fall into a sullen mood. Rather than fall into the trap of focusing on the negative and being overly self-critical, take five minutes to clear your head of all negativity. Even after five minutes of silent meditation, you’ll start to clear your head and realise that everything isn’t really all that bad.

“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” – Woody Allen

2. Put things into perspective

Unless you are a heart surgeon or have a job in which you are responsible for the wellbeing of others, nobody will die because of this disappointment or mistake. If you lose a job, you’ll find another one. If you don’t get that promotion, you can make more money in some other way. An opportunity lost is another chance for something new to come down the road. Remember that this is only a momentary pain and won’t last long in the grand scheme of things.

3. Assess what went right

You can nearly always find a positive lesson from even the most negative of circumstances. The hardest part is often escaping the negative mindset that everything must have gone wrong if things didn’t go exactly as planned. In reality, there are an infinite number of variables that could have caused an unsatisfactory outcome. If you manage to put the negative mindset out of your head you can focus on the many things that went right, rather than what went wrong. Always remember to look at things on the bright side.

4. Review what went wrong, and look for ways to improve

After you’ve had a chance to look at what exactly went right, you can then take a hard look at how to improve on what went wrong. Consider whether or not you need to get additional training in certain areas, to practice more often, or just to consider ways to improve what worked partially but not fully.

“Success is 99% failure.” – Soichiro Honda

5. Remember, what will be, will be

Try your best, then don’t worry be happy. You will always face difficulties through life, but the more you practice accepting these difficulties, the better positioned you’ll be to make use of your time effectively and improve your life. Look at life through the lens of a stoic philosopher and you will better understand how to live a life of streamlined success and happiness.

The best lessons you learn in life are very rarely the easiest. Remember to reflect on why some of the hardest decisions and saddest realisations you may have are vitally important for future growth and genuine happiness. These moments force you to break out of your normal state of consciousness and reassess what is most important to you.

They make you reflect on what has worked, and more importantly, what hasn’t. Only in these moments do you realise who you really are, and exactly what you are capable of.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

You Can Create Whatever Life You Want So Stop Talking Yourself Out of Your Destiny

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destiny
Image Credit: Unsplash

There’s never been a time like right now in human history for entrepreneurship. We have access to virtually limitless knowledge thanks to the advent of the internet, and you can reach anyone on this planet literally at the click of a button.

However, despite the massive amount of opportunity out there, there are still time-tested principles that every wanna-be entrepreneur needs to know in order to truly succeed. Knowing these principles can spell the difference between achieving your dreams and talking yourself out of your destiny.

There is Such a Thing as Preparing Too Much

While it’s certainly necessary to prepare in life, a just as devastating problem many people face in life is being too prepared. Way too often, people believe they’re actually working by spending hours “preparing” when all they’re doing is thinking about working while their actual work goes untouched.

As Gary Vaynerchuk put it bluntly in one of his livestream Q&A videos, “There are just so many ways to build your business, but lack of action is not one of them.” Basically, we are both blessed and cursed by our access to virtually limitless knowledge. We can turn on the faucet of knowledge and grab a quick swig when we need it, but if we leave it on for too long we’ll be drowning in information and be stuck trying to process everything.

If you spend too much time processing, you’ll be more likely to talk yourself out of taking the risks necessary to build a successful business. The solution is simple: stop processing and start taking action.

A phrase I find myself repeating a lot when I get into a bind is, “How did successful people do it before the age of internet?” The answer is they did it by not talking themselves off of the ledge of destiny and instead diving into their project headfirst.

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” – Simone de Beauvoir

Our Feelings Often Lie to Us

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt like throwing in the towel when trying to build my web design business. I remember one day in particular I had a massive headache and was on the verge of quitting everything due to the frustration I felt while dealing with a problematic client.

I looked at my watch and realized I hadn’t eaten yet that morning, so I went and made myself breakfast. After eating a bowl of scrambled eggs and toast, my headache magically vanished along with my thoughts of wanting to quit. I quickly realized what needed to be done and fixed the client’s issue without much thought. The problem wasn’t with the client, the problem was with my stomach.

Can you imagine how ridiculous I would have looked had I fired my client all because I hadn’t eaten that day? This is why our feelings sometimes need to take a backseat when it comes to making wise, calculated decisions for our success.

Intuition is important, obviously, but it’s best utilized with years of reliable experience to back it up. So go with your gut when it’s wise to do so, but always make sure your gut is fed otherwise you may regret what it has to say.

Perfectionism Can Halt All Progress

You will never have everything figured out. Let that sink in. It’s become such a trope in our society that it’s surprising how easily we tend to forget it. There isn’t a single business out there that has all the answers on how to do things right, so why do we feel the need to stop moving forward if things aren’t perfect?

I remember a friend of mine spent years trying to compose music on his synthesizer but never released anything because it “wasn’t good enough” by his standards. I gave him the simple proposition to “put out crappy music”, since no matter what he would always think his music was crappy due to his perfectionist mindset. Within a day, he finally put something out on SoundCloud and his song “#Selfie” became a hit worldwide while his band The ChainSmokers continues to put out hits to this day.

OK, I’m kidding about that last part, but hopefully you get my point. My friend finally had a song out that he could have had out years ago but was too caught up on making everything “perfect” to do anything. He had, in effect, talked himself out of taking action. The same thing applies with business, even if you don’t have everything figured out it’s best to just start something and learn as you go.

“Imperfection is perfection.” – Flume

Whenever that annoying, perfectionist voice in your head tries to get you to quit because you’ll never have the “perfect” product or service to sell, tell it to shut up and put out your product or service anyway. As you gain experience in your field and receive valuable feedback from customers, you’ll be able to continually improve things with your business.

Had you not taken action to begin with, you would never have attained either of these two valuable assets. Never settle for mediocrity, but at the same time recognize your need to be in motion even if the thing that sets you in motion is initially subpar.

How do you push yourself and keep motivated? Let us know your thoughts below!

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Life

3 Mental Tricks to Help You Become a More Productive Person

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Whether you’re a career salesman, a student, or a software engineer, you can’t move an inch in your career if you produce less. Productivity is the key that will unlock your success. Unfortunately, not all of us are productive. And some of it is not our problem. Our Internet-empowered world is bloated with too many social media tools, too many emails and notifications, too many SMS and short messages, too many YouTube videos and Netflix movies. The distractions are at an all time high.

But what if there is a system that will help you keep all these distractions aside until you have accomplished your tasks? There is. And it only takes 3 simple steps. Read Below:

Step 1: See your everyday tasks as a gift

Showing up every day to work is anything but fun. You know your life depends on it, but some days are not your best days. No matter how you plan your projects, you can’t show up to do them. You’re tired and bored and uninterested. What’s the way forward? It’s not about planning. It’s not about waking up early. It’s not about lack of exercise or anything like that.

If you want to conquer your to-do list, day in and day out, you need a simple shift in your mindset. Stop thinking of your tasks as work. See those tasks as gifts…as natural endowments exclusively given to you. This simple shift in your mindset will awaken the sleeping giant within you. You’ll start feeling great about yourself, stop seeing your work as burdensome. The tasks will now make you feel proud.

No longer will your showing up early at your desk irritate you—because now you feel comfortable doing the work that matters. The mindset adjustment is not even difficult. Just figure out the value that your tasks will bring to your marketplace.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss

Step 2: Be conscious of the impeccable values of your tasks

That’s how to shift your thinking. You dissect the unique values that are embedded in your tasks (when you accomplish them, of course). If you’re a web designer, for example, think about the joy and life-changing events that your design job will bring to your client. That landing page that you’ll design, it would mean the world to your client.

It will even change their business and their lives along the way. But that will not happen if you don’t show up every day, roll up your sleeves and work on that landing page. Now if you can visualize that value, it will serve you well. You’ll be motivated. So, how do you become more conscious of the values of your work? Write them down. And read them every day to spark your productivity.

Step 3: Remind yourself of the limited time you have in life

We like to postpone today’s tasks for tomorrow. Often, we’ll schedule a time to work, but when the time is due, we come up with another excuse, “I’ve got to call that client instead; I’ll leave that work till tomorrow.” But we don’t own tomorrow. We don’t have control over it. We don’t even know what it holds. And we have a very limited time.

If you want to improve your productivity, you have got to remind yourself about the scarcity of your time. Here are a few questions to ask yourself (I recommend that you do these exercises every time before you begin to work):

  • If you only have 24 hours left today, how do you want to spend it?
  • If you have 5 projects to complete today, how do you manage your time?
  • Would you rather watch a movie on Netflix or accomplish today’s task and move closer to your vision?

“Do something instead of killing time because time is killing you.” – Paulo Coelho

It’s about making smart choices. I know It’s hard. It’s tough. It requires an impeccable amount of discipline. But with constant practice, these mental tricks will help you become a more productive person, move you closer to realizing your vision.

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Life

7 Simple Tips to Help You Eliminate Negative Thoughts

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Have you been feeling low lately? Are you missing being the person you once used to be? In this fast-paced life of ours, it is not surprising to feel depressed. 15 out of 100 adults in the USA fall prey to depression every year.

As we get more and more detached from reality and bury ourselves into the virtual world of our smartphones, anxiety and stress seep into our brain and make us lose sight of the happy versions of ourselves. It is optimism alone that keeps us going by giving us the will to fight the battle within us. The power to usher in positivity and shoo off the negative thoughts rests with you.

Here’s what you can do to remove the dark cloud of pessimism that hovers over you:

1. Train your mind to think positive

Affirmations can help boost your self-esteem. If you continue to affirm your brain, it will learn to believe in you and will work positively. Positive affirmations are scientifically proven and can make miracles happen. Tell yourself that you are getting better and your subconscious will adapt to it and function accordingly.

Train your brain to give a neutral spin to all your negative thoughts. Since, building a positive mindset isn’t an easy task to do, the neutral thoughts will help you keep the negativity at bay and aid you in paving your path towards positivity.

2. Cultivate self-love

If you have been waiting for a pair of arms to reach out and rescue you, you might just have to wait longer. Instead, be your own messiah. In order to do so, you have to perfect the art of self-love. Nurture your narcissism a bit and learn to appreciate yourself more often.

Learn to turn down offers politely and indulge in some quality Me-time. Bake your favorite cake or shop for the dress that you had been eyeing for quite some time now. Go get a spa treatment and appreciate the daily efforts that you make.

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” – Brené Brown

3. Keep yourself busy

The key to ward off negativity is to keep your brain busy, so that it does not get the time to breed ill thoughts. Considering how the descent towards the abysmal pit of depression starts at our workstation, I would suggest that you find engagements outside your workplace that helps your mind to relax.

You can try reading lighthearted literature. A personal favorite, the Chicken Soup for the Soul, can actually nurture your brain with the much-needed optimism to fight away the negative blues. Listen to happy, soulful music or take a stroll in the fresh air.

4. Surround yourself with positivity

People around us have the power to affect us – in both positive and negative ways. Their actions affect us, and we take their words to heart. Quite often, negative thoughts cloud our minds because of a seed that was sown by someone we hold close to our hearts. The people we walk and talk with are capable of influencing our emotions. So, you must choose your company wisely.

Surround yourself with people who care for you and love you. Love is the only magic potion for us muggles, and with the right kind of love and support, we can eliminate the negative thoughts that wreak havoc in our brains. Also, learn to block unwanted people from your lives.

5. Be a social butterfly

In this age of social media, we have more virtual friends than actual friends. So, come out of the virtual world and spend some time with your family and friends. Your family members fall among the ones who love you just as you are. At the end of the day, they are the ones who matter.

Moreover, when you go out of your way to help someone, you feel more positive. Rescuing someone from the same pit of darkness as you are in can help you ward off your own demons. So, don’t shy away from community work.

“Society is like a large piece of frozen water; and skating well is the great art of social life.” – Letitia Elizabeth Landon

6. Lead a healthy life

Exercise and meditation can be of immense help when it comes to overcoming stress and negative thoughts. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin which play an important role in regulating your mood. Mediation helps you to increase your brain power and aligns your thought processes towards optimism.

Other than exercising, you must get enough sleep. Proper sleep helps our bodies to recover from the daily toil and provides it with the time to repair. Also, try to eat healthy food. Avoid gluten, caffeine, and sugar as they make you bitter and depressed. Keep your body healthy, which in turn will tell your brain to be more positive.

7. Make your ambiance teem with positivity

Other than exercising and eating healthy, you can take little steps like drawing yourself a bath or sleeping with a heavier comforter on to make yourself feel more calm and composed. When you feel rejuvenated physically, your mind will automatically feel relaxed.

Get your upholstery in happier shades of light pastels and make sure that your room is adequately lit up. However small these changes might be, they will welcome positivity into your life.

In the end, I would like to emphasize the importance of reducing stress. Train your brain to focus on the brighter side of things, so that depression and negativity cannot take a toll on your mental health. Trust me when I say that you are stronger than you think!

Which one of these 7 tips to eliminate negative thoughts do you need to work on most? Let us know how you’re going to work on it below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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