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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 founder of WeWriteForGrowth, a platform for businesses to connect with talented writers and researchers and growth hackers. He is also 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

2 Simple Steps to Help You Break Through Your Fears

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how to breakthrough your fears
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If you are addicted to success you most certainly are addicted to fear too. Why? Because they are a direct consequence of each other. When you achieve success, it’s because you have taken actions and broken through fears that were holding you back. Every success you have comes from breaking a fear you held onto.

It is incredible to think how much energy and time entrepreneurs waste looking after their fears, making sure they are listened to. It is much harder to feed the energy of fear than feed the energy of success. I want you to think about the mental dilemma you face every single day, the battle you will probably have in your mind when it comes to taking certain actions in your business.

Shall I take that risk?

What if I’m rejected? What if I’m not good enough? What if I’ll be ridiculed in front of others? What if I fail? Just think of how hard it is to constantly listen and obey these thoughts.

The battle in your head is real and challenging. The good thing is you can win it, and the bad thing is there will always be a battle going on in your head. However, you can become a more consistent winner.

Success will always require a new level of expansion which will result in a new level of fears needed to be broken. Imagine this like an elastic band. Every time you face a fear, the elastic will stretch more and more, and the tension will be greater. When you become brave and take the action, the tension will be released and the elastic band will fly further creating a bigger expansion.

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Fears are normal and essentials to your success

If there are no fears, there’ll be no stretch and no expansion from you. If you want to succeed, you must break through some fears, and this is obvious. But how can you break through fears with ease? I personally used all the possible solutions available in the world to win my fears: meditation, counseling, talking therapies, exercises and many more.

Although those helped, the ultimate way to conquer your fears is to go straight through them. I won some of my biggest fears since starting my entrepreneurial journey that no one else and nothing could help me break. This seems better said than done, but by following a few simple steps, you can do it too.

Here are 2 simple steps to help you breakthrough those fears:

1. Becoming aware of what your fears are

Often they’re very well camouflaged, and they’ll appear in your life as if on autopilot, in the same way electricity comes when you flip a light switch. They’re often triggered by someone else’s actions or words, or by your idea on what the consequence of a certain action will bring to you.

Fears contain so much energy on their own, so imagine what you could do with that energy if you could use it to your advantage. Imagine fear being a close wrist. Every time you activate the fear, you give more energy to it. Every time you think of the fear, you feed the wrist with more power.

As you live your life controlled by fears, the wrists will get more and more powerful. Picture that. Then you try to take certain actions in your business like going live for the first time, proposing a deal to a certain client, writing an article where you express your very own controversial opinion about something, or invest money you currently do not have.

Fears will come in, fully charged. You try to win by punching towards the wall of action. You want to break through, and you know that on the other side of the wall there’s success.

You punch and keep punching but nothing happens. Then, imagine you taking the leap, pointing the wrist towards the wall and BANG! You break through.

Now, the energy of fear has been released and is now ready to be used to your advantage.

The energy will disperse and free itself and it will transmute into freedom and power to take further actions.

“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

2. Figure out why you fear that certain thing

After you realise what the fear is, ask yourself, “Why do I fear to take this action?” Explore the consequences that breaking that specific fear will bring you. “What will happen if I break this and I achieve the results I desire?

These questions are vital, as you’ll realize your fears are just trying to keep you safe. Humans are not wired for success, they are wired for survival. So anything to do with success will be filtered through your lens of fear.

Once you realize WHAT will happen if you achieve the success you desire, which usually are negative scenarios, calm your mind and imagine a positive scenario instead. Write this down for each negative scenario your mind will create.

One of my biggest fears is the fear of being successful as I believe (my scenario) that people won’t like me anymore, and that I won’t be able to spend time with my family. So once I detected the fear, I changed the scenario. Instead of thinking people will not like me anymore, I create a new reality I desire which could look something like this: I will be able to help and impact more people and I will make sure I take lots of days off and delegate stuff to my team so to spend time with my family.

It is that simple. Once your subconscious mind is reassured with the new positive outcome, it will become easier for you to take action. In the end, always remember you’re in charge of your life, no one else, let alone your fears.

How do you conquer your fears? Let us know your advice and thoughts below!

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Life

Being Alone With Yourself Is the Most Important Skill We Have Lost

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being alone
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We live in a world where we’re always around people either at work, in the store, and on our phones through social media. In fact, our society tends to label anybody who wants to be or is alone, as a lonely person or even more terribly, a depressed person. We have forgotten how to enjoy our own company.

This is particularly surprising since some of the admired and highly celebrated icons in human history are well known to be “loners.” We have mastered a lot of skills from society, but perhaps we have neglected the most important skill of all. The ability to learn alone, to learn about your strengths and weaknesses, to reflect on the way forward in life, to just sit and appreciate nature, is invaluable.

Here are 4 ways to make being alone fun and productive:

1. Change scenery

You don’t have to do this all the time, but one way to enjoy your time alone is to take a trip or a very long drive or run. It can be difficult to spend time alone when you’re around familiar faces. It’s one of the reasons why people go on vacations away from home. Just get out and spend some time alone reflecting and enjoying your own company.

2. Switch off everything

We live in a world of digital communication. If you truly want to be alone for a while, it would be better if you didn’t login to Facebook and Twitter at all. Better yet, turn off your phone.

3. Reflect

Now that you are alone, it is time to reflect on what you want, what you have done, what you want to be doing. Silence or cool music might be good here. Whichever way, one of the things that make being alone rewarding is the fact that it affords you the opportunity to reflect.

“I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose.” – Kobe Bryant

4. Give yourself a treat

Go see a movie, buy a plate of food or a cup of ice-cream. Being alone is not only a time to think, it is also a time to pamper yourself. Treat yourself to the best things that you can afford and be happy and proud about it.

Now that you know how to make being alone fun and productive, it’s time to see the benefits of being alone. Here are 6 benefits you can expect from embracing being alone:

1. It aids personal growth

Apart from all the skills we get from self-development books, being alone helps build us. Through it, we are able to make plans, to ask critical questions and put our lives in the proper perspective. To grow, it is important that you take yourself out and properly assess your life alone, away from friends, families and colleagues.

2. It energizes

There are times when we’re stressed out by work, family, and friends, so being alone is a wonderful way to renew yourself with extra energy. This is the time to give yourself treats and plenty of rest and leisure, away from the stress of the world.

3. It increases the value you place on relationship

When you come to a point where you love being alone, it makes it so that you’re very intentional about your relationship with others. Being alone can also help you properly evaluate and see all there is to love and enjoy about your relationship with others.

4. It increases self-confidence

Another wonderful benefit of being alone is that it helps to boost your self- confidence and self esteem. The more time you spend alone with yourself, the more comfortable you are with your skill and with your strengths and weaknesses.

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan

5. It helps you become more empathetic

One thing about having friends and those we relate with very often is that we unconsciously develop a mentality that makes us empathetic towards them rather than others. Findings have shown that the more time you spend alone, the more compassion you’re able to show to a wider range of people.

6. The difference between being alone and being lonely

The desire to be alone is quite different from loneliness and sometimes, we do not take the required time to be alone because we don’t want to be perceived as “lonely” by others. To be lonely is to deeply want to relate and have communication with someone or some people but to be unable to.

It’s an ache that you carry around throughout the day, and it seriously affects all you do. It could make the entire world seem frustrating. The death of a loved one can lead to loneliness after a while.

Being alone on the other hand, as seen earlier, is intentionally deciding to get away from everybody and enjoying being with yourself as you reflect on your life and all that’s to come.

Taking time to be alone is very productive and it can be a wonderful thing for you. Take time away from social media and friends and find a nice spot to relax with yourself and analyze your habits and see how they affect your life.

Do you enjoy spending time by yourself? Share your thoughts below on if you think it benefits you and helps you recharge!

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Life

Simple Meditation Techniques To Enhance Your Productivity

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At times, the workplace can be a stressful place to be. Whether you are faced with demanding clients, even more demanding colleagues, or just the incessant activity of the environment itself, the workplace can at times feel like it is exerting a pressure down upon your shoulders that is difficult to extricate yourself from.

Not only is this unhealthy and detrimental to your wellbeing, it is also highly counterproductive for your organization. A stressed or unhappy employee is, for the most part, an unproductive employee who you do not necessarily want interacting with valuable clients, while its difficult to forge fruitful relationships with co-workers.

However, with these easy-to-use techniques, you can help turn your business space into an oasis of calm, boosting your work productivity at the same time.

At-desk meditations

It may be that you want to invoke some form of meditative state, but the last thing you want to do is draw attention to yourself from wide-eyed colleagues. If this sounds like you, then there are a number of at-desk meditations you can perform which will not only assist in destressing and boosting performance, but will do so without attracting unwelcome glances.

Here are a few of the most easy to use:

1. Tap your fingers to the rhythm of time

Put both of your hands on your thighs or on your desk, and proceed to start tapping each finger individually, starting with your pinky finger. It is important that you use a sequence, and time it effectively to a slow rhythm. The last part is to then recite a five-word mantra that relates to time.

There is an infinity of options here, but you could go with ‘I do have enough time’ or ‘Time is my best friend’. The idea is to create a zen-like state where you are breathing regularly and focussing on the small activity at hand (literally). Continue until your breathing has become regular and the repeated-mantra has eased though you to your core.

This is an immensely achievable meditative process that I love to utilize in any number of situations because it is so private.

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. Shake it off

Now is the time to focus on exactly what or who is causing your stress. Take some time out, sit quietly on your chair, and take a few deep breaths while you think about the origin of your stress. Next, start to recite to yourself a mantra along the lines of ‘It’s OK and I can move on from this.’ Then, start to take a few deeper breaths and use the time you breathe out to really sigh away your frustration.

Finally, shake your body to release the tension from you. There is no need to make any deep noises or draw unwanted attention to yourself, but that really shouldn’t be a consideration anyway, and will only exacerbate your stress in the process. This is about breathing and release.

3. Eyes to the flame

If you are feeling a little braver, and you understand that an open flame will not cause any undue disquiet in the workplace around you (or that you are breaking any health and safety regulations), using a candle can be a wonderful tool to help create a meditative state. Start by switching off your computer. In fact, this is a good place to begin with any meditative activity as the glare from the screen will distract your attention.

Light the candle and then bring the flame towards your eye level, holding it approximately 20 inches away, or into a position that is comfortable. Then, stare into the flame for up to 2 minutes, remembering to breathe regularly as you do so.

“Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.” – Dalai Lama

Meditations for a private space

If you have access to a private space in the workplace, there are other types of meditative positions which you can undertake, including, lying on the floor. Lying down immediately helps to put you in an unfamiliar position for work, which is helpful in itself, but a familiar position for feeling comforted and relaxed.

Close your eyes and then once again, start to breathe in a rhythmic manner. It is essential that your breathing becomes your primary focus, so you breathe in and out with a deep concentration on what you are doing.

When starting out, five minutes is more than apt, as long as that’s five minutes of a concentrated nature. You can then start to push out those times, and there is no reason why before long you shouldn’t be able to manage 20 minutes of perfect meditative calm. This can easily be done during a lunch break or even a mid-morning break.

There are also walking meditations for more adventurous types, which involves focusing on your steps and breaths simultaneously, concentrating always on a forward motion, both literally and figuratively. Emotional calmness and wellbeing in the workplace is just around the corner.

Have you tried meditation? If so, do you like it? Let us know your thoughts about meditation below!

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Life

5 Areas of Your Life That Need Improvement to Become the Strongest Version of Yourself

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We live in a time of abundance. Despite what you see in the news daily, beauty and opportunity are all around us. We have the ability to create success in every area of our life if we’re willing to do the work. That work is the things that help you become more self-aware and help you implement true self-love.

The work is hard. It’s the reason that too many people quit somewhere along the way. Then, years later, they look at the life that has passed them by wondering where it all went wrong. That doesn’t have to be you.

Become the strongest you and create success by doing the work in these five important areas of your life:

1. Become a Jedi mind master

Mindset gets thrown around like a dirty personal development buzzword. While there are those teaching about it that shouldn’t be, mastering your mind is a skill and important part of the success equation.

Your thoughts have a direct effect on your feelings, emotions, and the action you take. When you can focus your thoughts on gratitude, on what’s possible in your life, and on your goals, you’re putting yourself in the best place to take the necessary steps to create success. Train your mind. Learn to get into peak state, as Tony Robbins often talks about.

When you feel off or a negative emotion, feel it through. Acknowledge what you feel in that moment but then get your mind back into peak state as quickly as possible. Listen to music, watch a motivational video, listen to great podcasts like Addicted 2 Success’, change your state. Master your mind and you’ll change your life.

“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it. As long as you really believe 100 percent.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

2. Treat your health like it’s your only job

Physical fitness and movement have a direct impact on creating success. You’ll need energy and focus to accomplish your major goals. You’ve heard Les Brown say, “your health is your wealth” for good reason. True self-love means you refuse to do anything to your body that doesn’t honor it. That includes what you eat and how you move.

You know how to get and stay fit—there’s a wealth of information online about the tactics. Get there in your mind. Tell yourself a different story in regards to your wellness and commit to doing the work.

There’s a lot of research on the benefits of starting your day with physical movement. It teaches you discipline, gives you an opportunity to release stress, and builds your endurance in many ways.

3. Fire people out of your life that you know need to go

You know that you become who you hang around but it’s deeper than that. You need to fire and cut people out of your life that aren’t aligned with where you are and where you’re going. It’s hard enough to create success and do the work. It gets unbearable when you’re trying to take action while the negative energy of others is holding you back.

This means cutting people out of your life on social media, at work, in your business life, and any other place that needs cutting. Your intuition is speaking to you—listen. Surround yourself with people and the opportunity to challenge your self-limiting beliefs. Model success by surrounding yourself with it.

4. Make more money in a way that brings a smile to your face

We do live in a different time. Today, you can make a living by doing what you love and doing it all over the world. The “laptop lifestyle” doesn’t have to be a cheesy Facebook ad. You can build income teaching on the things that light your soul up. Whether that’s through an online business, a brick and mortar business, a remote job, or a job that you enjoy, we’re surrounded by opportunity.

What you do for “work” will take up a large part of your week. That time could be spent helping you move closer to your goals or it could be spent derailing and depressing you. You can find or create work or a business that you love and that helps you become a better version of yourself.

Use today’s tools, software, technology, and access to knowledge to create work that pays your bills and gives you true freedom. There is no shortage of information online that can teach you how to do that. Don’t settle for “good enough” or worse.

“There’s no shortage of money in this world. Start hustling.” – Grant Cardone

5. Love a person that craves growth as much as you

The romantic relationship in your life is one of the most influential parts of creating success and a better you. You need a partner in crime that understands and craves growth may be even more than you.

A healthy relationship is two complete people coming together and agreeing to support each other as you become better versions of yourself. It’s a partnership in which you come together to build an empire through love.

To get there, you should be with someone who shares your vision and values. Settling in your romantic life is a recipe for failure. This is the person you’ll spend a large amount of time with. Choose wisely and from a place of self-love.

You can accomplish anything if you’re willing to work for it. You can create success and true freedom in every area of your life. You have to believe this is possible for you and take the necessary steps. Work on these five areas and watch magic happen in your life.

What area of your life do you need to work on this week?

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