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What Life Insurance Taught Me About The Value Of My Life.

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I’d never bothered to insure my life, income or health. That fact right there says a lot about who I used to be. Then I changed super funds (okay stay with me) and was forced to renew the insurances that came with it.

Previously I had always had automatic insurance and never checked it, but this time around I had to do it all myself. Having the initial phone call was scary. The whole process of insuring myself against the dangers of the world taught me so much.

Here’s what I learned:

 

The process involves thinking about the worst situation.

Through the life insurance process, I had to think about the worst-case scenario.

What if:

– You get hit by a car
– Get cancer
– Die from a skiing accident
– Are disabled and have to have a nurse fulltime

The thing is that the worst case scenario can happen to any of us. We can’t let fear control our lives.

All of these things can occur and we should at least try and have some plan, but living in this state is unhealthy. The life insurance process was supposed to make me fearful. That’s what would ultimately make me spend my hard earned dollars and go overboard trying to cover every scenario.

Unfortunately, there are a thousand things that can happen to you and you can’t insure every one of them. Even if you get the insurance, they can always come back later and determine that you didn’t qualify – especially when it comes to medical related events.

By all means, take up life insurance. Just remember that there are no guarantees in life.

 

What is the value of your life?

The conversation went like this:

Insurance salesman: “So Mr. Denning how much would you like to insure your life for?

Me: “I have no idea. What does the average Joe insure themselves for?”

Insurance salesman: “Well it depends on a number of factors. I can’t advise you of that. You have to tell me a figure though and it’s got to cover all of your costs in case you become disabled, sick, unable to work or die.

Me: “Geez, that’s a big deal! Okay, I need to go now and procrastinate on this for a while.”

Putting a dollar figure on my life seemed normal at the start. Later on, I realized it was complete madness. Am I not worth more to the world than numbers on an Internet Banking Screen?

Reflecting on this conversation still makes me feel weird. There are so many unanswered questions. Life insurance, again, made me rethink what the meaning of my life is.

I have the life insurance process to thank for this miracle deep thinking I did on the days that followed.

 

You’re forced to contemplate death.

Having to think about the 101 ways there are to die is a worthwhile process. You start remembering (even though you already know) that your time on this planet is limited. In my opinion, the more reminders you get, the better.

You again are faced with the question “When I’m gone, what will I leave behind?”

Life insurance companies would like you to think that leaving a truckload of money behind should be your number one priority. Through the life insurance process, I again remembered that I want more than that. I’m hoping that everyone reading this also has a similar realization.

 

My gianormous aha-moment!

Life Insurance taught me that my life is not about me.

Okay I know you probably think I’m stating the obvious but this whole life insurance thing taught me this lesson in an entirely new way. The reason that I decided to take up a few insurances was not because of me.

The old me was selfish, a brat and didn’t give anything to anyone.

The new me wants to ensure that my priority is the people around me. You take up insurance to make the lives easier for the people you love. You take up insurance to support those around you in case of the worst happening.

Life insurance is not about you. Life insurance is about the people you care about.

Just like with insurance, your life is not about you. Your life is about something bigger than you.

“The aim of the life game is to transcend yourself. To go bigger than just you with your nice little white house, with white picket fence and box car”

The value of your life is about what it means to everyone else and the difference you can make. Your life is about inspiring, giving and being more than you ever dreamed you could be.

Your life is worth more than money.
Your life is part of a much bigger picture and I want you to realize that.

You’re here for so much more than money and success.

Again, you’re here for more than just you. That’s what life insurance taught 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 hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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Life

The Power Of Doing Only One Thing.

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This idea of doing only one thing was sparked by an event that happened this week. I decided to delete all podcasts on my phone and only keep the Tim Ferriss Show. In other areas of my life, I’ve done the same.

“I’ve selectively gone into each area and chosen one thing”

All the other things in the same category have been discarded. Here are some examples:

–    I had two pairs of earphones and now I have one

–    I’d read multiple books at the same time – now I do one at a time

–    I had multiple tools to cure stress and now I have one – meditation

I then took this minimalistic approach from how I handled material possessions and applied it to what I do each day.

Here are some examples:

–    I only pursue one passion now instead of many

–    I only execute on one vision instead of many

–    I only use my free time for one activity instead of many

 

Assess what you do and you’ll see one thing.

If you look at each category of your life, you’ll see that you spend a disproportionate amount of time in one area. I’ve normally had a few passions but if I evaluate the last five years, most of my efforts have been put towards blogging.

I had a few other passions but I didn’t spend a lot of time doing them. When I committed to doing one thing, I made a decision to stop pretending I cared about my other passions.

 

I listened to lots of podcasts until recently and I was constantly trying to keep up with the latest episodes. I found many of the podcasts shared similar messages and only one of them was life-changing in my eyes (The Tim Ferriss Podcast).

Now that I only listen to one podcast I can finally enjoy it, quit rushing and even playback episodes I’ve listened to already. Seeing the podcast screen with only one show on there is so refreshing!

Look at your life and you’ll see similar patterns.

 

It creates focus.

Doing one thing gives you extreme focus. This focus can be channelled towards tasks that lead to mastery instead of trying to dabble in lots of unrelated passions.

Focus is how you reach states of flow and achieve results that look impossible.

Doing one thing causes you to focus and practice more. Through this process, you can see your failures, areas of improvement and areas that you’re good at. This form of reflection gives you real-time feedback that can further compound your results.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” – Stephen Covey

 

It avoids overwhelm.

We can’t compute too many things at once. The power of doing one thing is that you avoid overwhelm. We can all manage one thing in each area of our life. The moment we introduce too many choices we end up with decision fatigue.

Overwhelm is selling yourself the false reality that you have to do everything to be successful. I’ve learned it’s the complete opposite.

To be successful, you have to focus and do one thing. Being successful is about not giving up and if you consistently put yourself into a state of overwhelm then you’ll simultaneously increase your negative thought patterns.

This milkshake of negativity will mix together and end up in failure if you let it.

Overwhelm is the enemy of passion and energy. Passion and energy become hyper-focused when you focus on one thing.

One podcast.

One business.

One romantic partner.

One vision.

One passion.

Embrace the power of doing one thing. 

<<<>>>

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

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Life

3 Mind-Blowing Facts No One Told You About Vulnerability

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vulnerability

Vulnerability; A scary word which was hunting me down for 13 years until I faced one of my biggest emotional breakthroughs. It was the day when my idea of a tough woman fell apart and I was forced to reconsider everything I believed about mental toughness. Before I dive into the 3 important takeaways I learned from this process, I have a confession to make. I was convinced, for 13 years, that vulnerability was one of the biggest weaknesses and anyone who admitted it was a coward. I know, sounds terrifying.

That’s why I developed a strong belief that constant toughness was the only way we could maintain our strength and protect ourselves from hurt. Showing emotions or talking about them became taboo because I believed that’s what the “weak” do. Because of this misconception, my emotional pain was becoming more intense since I wasn’t facing it, I was numbing it.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” – Crissi Jami

When I admitted for the very first time that I may be a vulnerable person, I almost had a heart attack. I felt a mix of stress, fear and an overwhelming excitement and freedom that I finally let it out. It helped me tremendously in my work as well as my personal life.

Here are the 3 important takeaways I learned from this powerful journey which made me understood the true strength of a human being:

1. Vulnerability is hidden strength and courage

We are living in a society where being perfect and not being “too emotional” works just fine. And this is the place where many of us miss the point of what the real strength represents. One thing we fail to realize is that keeping all of our painful feelings under control and playing a part of a tough cookie isn’t going to last for a long time. It is an illusion which tricks us into believing that we are strong and untouchable and that becomes our weakness.

The moment we accept the fact that vulnerability is a part of a courageous life, we allow ourselves to be real. Realness brings self-respect. Think about it this way, pretending is easy and convenient, but being able to admit vulnerability, that’s what takes guts because we are putting ourselves at the risk of judgment and misunderstanding.

2. Facing your vulnerable state empowers you

Isn’t this ironic? The moment when we start accepting our pain as something that actually exists, we feel stronger even in the weakest moments and here is how I came to this crazy conclusion.

Dealing with vulnerable feelings is something we don’t want to do. So we take that burden and decide that we will deal with it on Monday. 5 years later there is just another Monday. However, when we choose to face our pains, we put ourselves in the process of working on them, analyzing them and learning from them.

Can you imagine that each time when you feel vulnerable, instead of running away from it, you will put up with it? Can you imagine that each time you are faced with something hurtful instead of asking yourself “Why this has to happen to me?” you ask yourself “What’s in it for me?”

Power of any vulnerable state is in facing and learning about who we are, what we feel or why we feel it. It helps us in practicing our self-awareness where we better understand how our feelings work and how to deal with them more effectively.

“Courage is vulnerability. Vulnerability is courage. Like shadow and light, neither one can exist without the other.” – Wai Lan Yuen

3. Embracing vulnerability leads to authenticity

The minute we face those real, uncomfortable emotions, we are being honest with ourselves. I found this as one of the most transforming parts of being vulnerable. We are letting go of pretending or playing it strong all the time. We are letting go of this military approach to life and perfectionism which, by the way, doesn’t exist.

In today’s world, embracing authenticity is a bold and brave decision. If you are anything like me, you know that choosing authenticity over impressing the world around you is a challenging process. It means standing in front of the world, emotionally naked and ready to face any feedback, whether pleasant or unpleasant. But, isn’t this a chance we all want to take?

Conclusion

Accepting vulnerability is one of the most courageous acts we can ever undertake. It’s risky, it’s scary, even terrifying in some cases because people don’t want to “do” vulnerability. Playing who is a bigger badass seems cooler.

But once we step up and decide to speak up about this issue, we open the door for others who are living in this emotional prison without knowing what to do or how to handle it. We give them the opportunity to say two of the most powerful words which stand behind real toughness and those are  “ME TOO.”

How do you handle vulnerability? Comment below!

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Life

Break Up With Doubt to Better Your Relationship With Fear

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doubt

As I’ve gone through life, I’ve spent a great deal of my energy working to overcome my fears. From everyday fears like rejection and judgment to more morbid fears like ill health and my demise, I avoided these possibilities like the plague. Unfortunately, my short-sightedness often kept me from starting anything, developing a life of caution and resignation.

I had to make a change and start leaning into my fears. I began to wrap my head around the fact that my fears weren’t real, they were simply creations of the mind. I got better results—acts of courage began piecing my confidence back together one brick at a time. But I was still getting stopped.

Despite being empowered by my own courage, something even more crippling began showing up as a result. I realized this was at the root of most of my fears, harnessing even more power than fear itself. It berated the belief I had in myself, bringing everything else important to me into question.

This feeling was doubt. I was disabled despite the understanding that my fears were simply constructs of my mind. Why couldn’t I shake this?

Fear is objective; doubt is personal

I like to think that fear exists in space. It will always be lurking in some capacity and we have the opportunity to focus on it if we choose. Fear is definitely scary, but it doesn’t have that much to do with us individually. It exists outside of ourselves. We can step up and face it (courage) or refrain from even acknowledging it (boldness) if we so choose.

Doubt is a little more complex. Doubt exists inside of us, challenging the very pillars we constructed to get to where we are today. Doubt has nothing but pessimism to offer about the future, constantly reminding us of our past mistakes.

The reason why doubt is so paralyzing is because we automatically identify with it. We assume because it’s referencing previous shortcomings or falters, that it’s the real us talking to ourselves. The reality is however, that everyone deals with this same thing. By understanding that doubt is simply trash talk at a sporting event, we stop associating with it directly. We tune out the noise and remember who we are. What we’re up to steps to the forefront, toppling over doubt without noticing.

Fear is going to hang around and show up from time to time, which we shouldn’t resist. We can simply acknowledge it and move forward with our original plans in spite of it. By strengthening our belief, hope and faith, doubt can disappear. Doubt only exists within the deficiency of character, which we have full control over developing.

“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.” – Khalil Gibran

Doubt is the source of our everyday fears

We have hundreds of opportunities each day to make an impact on others. Authentic interactions are more sought-after than ever before. People are really beginning to appreciate what it takes to step into their fears and share from the heart.

But it doesn’t always unfold that way, does it? We often get stopped. In this figurative straightjacket known as doubt, we’re helpless. We try to deal with it but instead end up saying something designed to protect us from showcasing who we really are and what we really feel. Doubt tells us we aren’t inspiring enough. It says we’re full of crap right before we bare our soul. By listening to it, we handcuff ourselves.

Actions equal outcomes. But buried underneath the actions are the beliefs about them, doubt being one of them. Doubt can put a filter on the action if we’re not careful, effectively diminishing the potential for powerful results. Adopting a one-track mind for that particular moment and staying focused on the action will keep us grounded from being influenced by doubt.

With doubt absent, fear becomes healthy

Ever prepare to ask out a member of the opposite (or same) sex and feel your heartbeat increase? How about stepping on stage to deliver a public presentation and instantly feel your face flush? Fear is present, yes, but you’re alive. There’s no more direct notification.

From a third person perspective, my fears didn’t possess nearly as much strength without doubt serving as a foundation. With doubt absent, fear was a diesel engine powered by unleaded gasoline. Like a frightened dog, it was all bark and no bite.

“When in doubt, don’t.” – Benjamin Franklin

People go skydiving for a reason. This dose of healthy fear allows for a broader perspective. It shapes and colors the way we look at life. The little things that we once allowed to ruin our day no longer have the staying power. Fear in itself is not the problem. Fear rooted in doubt is the dream-killer.

By ending your relationship with doubt and getting comfortable with your relationship with fear, what would you finally do that you’ve been held back by? Comment below!

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Life

5 Simple Steps to Creating a Breakthrough in Your Life

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breakthrough

Did you wake up today hoping that today will be the day for your breakthrough? Everyday we see breakthroughs happen.The latest technology crashing into the market, a new overnight success story starring in a Hollywood movie, a business IPO that makes the founders billions in just a few hours.

Often we see these breakthroughs and wonder to ourselves – “when will it be my turn?” We deserve success as much as those people. We are just as smart, or talented, or determined as those people making the headlines, so surely it is just a matter of time.

The problem with this view of the breakthrough process is that we do not see what happened BEFORE the breakthrough. Before the tech launch, there were hundreds of hours of coding, testing and fixing before version 1 was even launched. The breakout technology is already at version 13.1.

Before the Hollywood blockbuster, there were hundreds of auditions, rejections and hours spent in front of the mirror mastering facial expressions. The 90-minute blockbuster is only the tip of that artist’s work.

Before the IPO, there was hustling for sales, funding rejections and moments where the business almost failed. The stock price doesn’t show the blood and sweat that the entire company invested to get to that point.

The reality is there are 5 steps that lead to every breakthrough. If you are waiting for your breakthrough to happen, you need to see where you are on this path.

1. Decide To Be In The Game

First off, you need to make a commitment to get started. Observing everything from the outside and commenting on how you would do it is never going to lead to your breakthrough. You need to have skin in the game. You can’t influence anything if you are only sitting on the bench. This first step is scary as you have to overcome a whole load of fear.

Also, there is no risk associated with being a critic. Theodore Roosevelt said in ‘Man In The Arena’ that critics are “those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”. Instead, you know that to breakthrough, you have to leave that old mindset behind, get in the game and open yourself up to success.

“I wonder how many times people give up just before a breakthrough – when they are on the very brink of success.” – Joyce Meyer

2. Get Started

Start small rather than quitting your job and stating something full time. Think about developing a side hustle first, and growing that to the point that it can replace your salary. Ben & Jerry’s started with a $5 correspondence course in ice cream technology. Vivien Westwood invented the mini skirt but started her fashion career selling homemade jewellery at a market stall on Portobello Road on weekends. Check out books like Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau or 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss for ideas on how to get started.

3. Get Better Every Day

Once you have begun your journey, you will find yourself surrounded by competitors and collaborators and a natural tendency will be to compare yourself with them. The problem with that is everyone is moving at different speeds and at different points in their journey. It can be easy to become deflated if you compare yourself to people much further ahead of you.

Likewise, you can get complacent if you look how much further you have come than people who have just started. Instead, focus on how you can improve yourself each day. The Law of Marginal Gains proves that lots of small improvements eventually turn into huge progress, so try and improve a specific area by 1% every day and see how quickly that all adds up.

4. Network & Connect

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were introduced by a mutual contact. Harrison Ford got a huge break talking about his desire to be an actor when building cabinets for George Lucas. We don’t always know where the contacts we make when networking will take us, but without a strong network and group of contacts, your reach will always be limited.

When networking, think about specific groups of people you want to connect with. The cast of the original Ghostbusters movie all met doing Saturday Night Live. Ask yourself “what is the SNL of my industry?” and then find a way to get into that group of people.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kiyosaki

5. Teamwork

Players & Coaches Like Michael Jordan said, “talent wins games but teamwork wins championships”. The journey to success can be a long one, and we will need people around us to get all the way. Sometimes we need people to extend our bandwidth of what we can produce. Sometimes we need words of encouragement or someone to bounce ideas around with. Make sure you surround yourself with a team and coaches that will help you play at the level you deserve to be competing at.

So there you have it, these are the 5 steps to creating a breakthrough. There is no telling how long it will take for your breakthrough to arrive, so find a way to enjoy the journey. Ray Croc started McDonalds when he was 53. Vera Wang didn’t make wedding dresses until she was 39. Alan Rickman didn’t get a movie role until he was 28.

Take some small steps immediately after finishing this article. Commit to yourself today to take control of the breakthrough process, rather than waiting for it to happen to you. One day, and before too long, when you wake hoping that today will be the day for your breakthrough… it will be.

How do you create a breakthrough? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

The Power Of Doing Only One Thing.

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This idea of doing only one thing was sparked by an event that happened this week. I decided to delete all podcasts on my phone and only keep the Tim Ferriss Show. In other areas of my life, I’ve done the same.

“I’ve selectively gone into each area and chosen one thing”

All the other things in the same category have been discarded. Here are some examples:

–    I had two pairs of earphones and now I have one

–    I’d read multiple books at the same time – now I do one at a time

–    I had multiple tools to cure stress and now I have one – meditation

I then took this minimalistic approach from how I handled material possessions and applied it to what I do each day.

Here are some examples:

–    I only pursue one passion now instead of many

–    I only execute on one vision instead of many

–    I only use my free time for one activity instead of many

 

Assess what you do and you’ll see one thing.

If you look at each category of your life, you’ll see that you spend a disproportionate amount of time in one area. I’ve normally had a few passions but if I evaluate the last five years, most of my efforts have been put towards blogging.

I had a few other passions but I didn’t spend a lot of time doing them. When I committed to doing one thing, I made a decision to stop pretending I cared about my other passions.

 

I listened to lots of podcasts until recently and I was constantly trying to keep up with the latest episodes. I found many of the podcasts shared similar messages and only one of them was life-changing in my eyes (The Tim Ferriss Podcast).

Now that I only listen to one podcast I can finally enjoy it, quit rushing and even playback episodes I’ve listened to already. Seeing the podcast screen with only one show on there is so refreshing!

Look at your life and you’ll see similar patterns.

 

It creates focus.

Doing one thing gives you extreme focus. This focus can be channelled towards tasks that lead to mastery instead of trying to dabble in lots of unrelated passions.

Focus is how you reach states of flow and achieve results that look impossible.

Doing one thing causes you to focus and practice more. Through this process, you can see your failures, areas of improvement and areas that you’re good at. This form of reflection gives you real-time feedback that can further compound your results.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” – Stephen Covey

 

It avoids overwhelm.

We can’t compute too many things at once. The power of doing one thing is that you avoid overwhelm. We can all manage one thing in each area of our life. The moment we introduce too many choices we end up with decision fatigue.

Overwhelm is selling yourself the false reality that you have to do everything to be successful. I’ve learned it’s the complete opposite.

To be successful, you have to focus and do one thing. Being successful is about not giving up and if you consistently put yourself into a state of overwhelm then you’ll simultaneously increase your negative thought patterns.

This milkshake of negativity will mix together and end up in failure if you let it.

Overwhelm is the enemy of passion and energy. Passion and energy become hyper-focused when you focus on one thing.

One podcast.

One business.

One romantic partner.

One vision.

One passion.

Embrace the power of doing one thing. 

<<<>>>

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 hundreds of thousands of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around success, personal development, motivation, and entrepreneurship. During the day Tim works with the most iconic tech companies in the world, as an adviser, to assist them in expanding into Australia. By night, Tim coaches his students on the principles of personal development and the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

The Power Of Doing Only One Thing.

Published

on

This idea of doing only one thing was sparked by an event that happened this week. I decided to delete all podcasts on my phone and only keep the Tim Ferriss Show. In other areas of my life, I’ve done the same.

“I’ve selectively gone into each area and chosen one thing”

All the other things in the same category have been discarded. Here are some examples:

–    I had two pairs of earphones and now I have one

–    I’d read multiple books at the same time – now I do one at a time

–    I had multiple tools to cure stress and now I have one – meditation

I then took this minimalistic approach from how I handled material possessions and applied it to what I do each day.

Here are some examples:

–    I only pursue one passion now instead of many

–    I only execute on one vision instead of many

–    I only use my free time for one activity instead of many

 

Assess what you do and you’ll see one thing.

If you look at each category of your life, you’ll see that you spend a disproportionate amount of time in one area. I’ve normally had a few passions but if I evaluate the last five years, most of my efforts have been put towards blogging.

I had a few other passions but I didn’t spend a lot of time doing them. When I committed to doing one thing, I made a decision to stop pretending I cared about my other passions.

 

I listened to lots of podcasts until recently and I was constantly trying to keep up with the latest episodes. I found many of the podcasts shared similar messages and only one of them was life-changing in my eyes (The Tim Ferriss Podcast).

Now that I only listen to one podcast I can finally enjoy it, quit rushing and even playback episodes I’ve listened to already. Seeing the podcast screen with only one show on there is so refreshing!

Look at your life and you’ll see similar patterns.

 

It creates focus.

Doing one thing gives you extreme focus. This focus can be channelled towards tasks that lead to mastery instead of trying to dabble in lots of unrelated passions.

Focus is how you reach states of flow and achieve results that look impossible.

Doing one thing causes you to focus and practice more. Through this process, you can see your failures, areas of improvement and areas that you’re good at. This form of reflection gives you real-time feedback that can further compound your results.

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” – Stephen Covey

 

It avoids overwhelm.

We can’t compute too many things at once. The power of doing one thing is that you avoid overwhelm. We can all manage one thing in each area of our life. The moment we introduce too many choices we end up with decision fatigue.

Overwhelm is selling yourself the false reality that you have to do everything to be successful. I’ve learned it’s the complete opposite.

To be successful, you have to focus and do one thing. Being successful is about not giving up and if you consistently put yourself into a state of overwhelm then you’ll simultaneously increase your negative thought patterns.

This milkshake of negativity will mix together and end up in failure if you let it.

Overwhelm is the enemy of passion and energy. Passion and energy become hyper-focused when you focus on one thing.

One podcast.

One business.

One romantic partner.

One vision.

One passion.

Embrace the power of doing one thing. 

<<<>>>

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

Continue Reading

Life

3 Mind-Blowing Facts No One Told You About Vulnerability

Published

on

vulnerability

Vulnerability; A scary word which was hunting me down for 13 years until I faced one of my biggest emotional breakthroughs. It was the day when my idea of a tough woman fell apart and I was forced to reconsider everything I believed about mental toughness. Before I dive into the 3 important takeaways I learned from this process, I have a confession to make. I was convinced, for 13 years, that vulnerability was one of the biggest weaknesses and anyone who admitted it was a coward. I know, sounds terrifying.

That’s why I developed a strong belief that constant toughness was the only way we could maintain our strength and protect ourselves from hurt. Showing emotions or talking about them became taboo because I believed that’s what the “weak” do. Because of this misconception, my emotional pain was becoming more intense since I wasn’t facing it, I was numbing it.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” – Crissi Jami

When I admitted for the very first time that I may be a vulnerable person, I almost had a heart attack. I felt a mix of stress, fear and an overwhelming excitement and freedom that I finally let it out. It helped me tremendously in my work as well as my personal life.

Here are the 3 important takeaways I learned from this powerful journey which made me understood the true strength of a human being:

1. Vulnerability is hidden strength and courage

We are living in a society where being perfect and not being “too emotional” works just fine. And this is the place where many of us miss the point of what the real strength represents. One thing we fail to realize is that keeping all of our painful feelings under control and playing a part of a tough cookie isn’t going to last for a long time. It is an illusion which tricks us into believing that we are strong and untouchable and that becomes our weakness.

The moment we accept the fact that vulnerability is a part of a courageous life, we allow ourselves to be real. Realness brings self-respect. Think about it this way, pretending is easy and convenient, but being able to admit vulnerability, that’s what takes guts because we are putting ourselves at the risk of judgment and misunderstanding.

2. Facing your vulnerable state empowers you

Isn’t this ironic? The moment when we start accepting our pain as something that actually exists, we feel stronger even in the weakest moments and here is how I came to this crazy conclusion.

Dealing with vulnerable feelings is something we don’t want to do. So we take that burden and decide that we will deal with it on Monday. 5 years later there is just another Monday. However, when we choose to face our pains, we put ourselves in the process of working on them, analyzing them and learning from them.

Can you imagine that each time when you feel vulnerable, instead of running away from it, you will put up with it? Can you imagine that each time you are faced with something hurtful instead of asking yourself “Why this has to happen to me?” you ask yourself “What’s in it for me?”

Power of any vulnerable state is in facing and learning about who we are, what we feel or why we feel it. It helps us in practicing our self-awareness where we better understand how our feelings work and how to deal with them more effectively.

“Courage is vulnerability. Vulnerability is courage. Like shadow and light, neither one can exist without the other.” – Wai Lan Yuen

3. Embracing vulnerability leads to authenticity

The minute we face those real, uncomfortable emotions, we are being honest with ourselves. I found this as one of the most transforming parts of being vulnerable. We are letting go of pretending or playing it strong all the time. We are letting go of this military approach to life and perfectionism which, by the way, doesn’t exist.

In today’s world, embracing authenticity is a bold and brave decision. If you are anything like me, you know that choosing authenticity over impressing the world around you is a challenging process. It means standing in front of the world, emotionally naked and ready to face any feedback, whether pleasant or unpleasant. But, isn’t this a chance we all want to take?

Conclusion

Accepting vulnerability is one of the most courageous acts we can ever undertake. It’s risky, it’s scary, even terrifying in some cases because people don’t want to “do” vulnerability. Playing who is a bigger badass seems cooler.

But once we step up and decide to speak up about this issue, we open the door for others who are living in this emotional prison without knowing what to do or how to handle it. We give them the opportunity to say two of the most powerful words which stand behind real toughness and those are  “ME TOO.”

How do you handle vulnerability? Comment below!

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Life

Break Up With Doubt to Better Your Relationship With Fear

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As I’ve gone through life, I’ve spent a great deal of my energy working to overcome my fears. From everyday fears like rejection and judgment to more morbid fears like ill health and my demise, I avoided these possibilities like the plague. Unfortunately, my short-sightedness often kept me from starting anything, developing a life of caution and resignation.

I had to make a change and start leaning into my fears. I began to wrap my head around the fact that my fears weren’t real, they were simply creations of the mind. I got better results—acts of courage began piecing my confidence back together one brick at a time. But I was still getting stopped.

Despite being empowered by my own courage, something even more crippling began showing up as a result. I realized this was at the root of most of my fears, harnessing even more power than fear itself. It berated the belief I had in myself, bringing everything else important to me into question.

This feeling was doubt. I was disabled despite the understanding that my fears were simply constructs of my mind. Why couldn’t I shake this?

Fear is objective; doubt is personal

I like to think that fear exists in space. It will always be lurking in some capacity and we have the opportunity to focus on it if we choose. Fear is definitely scary, but it doesn’t have that much to do with us individually. It exists outside of ourselves. We can step up and face it (courage) or refrain from even acknowledging it (boldness) if we so choose.

Doubt is a little more complex. Doubt exists inside of us, challenging the very pillars we constructed to get to where we are today. Doubt has nothing but pessimism to offer about the future, constantly reminding us of our past mistakes.

The reason why doubt is so paralyzing is because we automatically identify with it. We assume because it’s referencing previous shortcomings or falters, that it’s the real us talking to ourselves. The reality is however, that everyone deals with this same thing. By understanding that doubt is simply trash talk at a sporting event, we stop associating with it directly. We tune out the noise and remember who we are. What we’re up to steps to the forefront, toppling over doubt without noticing.

Fear is going to hang around and show up from time to time, which we shouldn’t resist. We can simply acknowledge it and move forward with our original plans in spite of it. By strengthening our belief, hope and faith, doubt can disappear. Doubt only exists within the deficiency of character, which we have full control over developing.

“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.” – Khalil Gibran

Doubt is the source of our everyday fears

We have hundreds of opportunities each day to make an impact on others. Authentic interactions are more sought-after than ever before. People are really beginning to appreciate what it takes to step into their fears and share from the heart.

But it doesn’t always unfold that way, does it? We often get stopped. In this figurative straightjacket known as doubt, we’re helpless. We try to deal with it but instead end up saying something designed to protect us from showcasing who we really are and what we really feel. Doubt tells us we aren’t inspiring enough. It says we’re full of crap right before we bare our soul. By listening to it, we handcuff ourselves.

Actions equal outcomes. But buried underneath the actions are the beliefs about them, doubt being one of them. Doubt can put a filter on the action if we’re not careful, effectively diminishing the potential for powerful results. Adopting a one-track mind for that particular moment and staying focused on the action will keep us grounded from being influenced by doubt.

With doubt absent, fear becomes healthy

Ever prepare to ask out a member of the opposite (or same) sex and feel your heartbeat increase? How about stepping on stage to deliver a public presentation and instantly feel your face flush? Fear is present, yes, but you’re alive. There’s no more direct notification.

From a third person perspective, my fears didn’t possess nearly as much strength without doubt serving as a foundation. With doubt absent, fear was a diesel engine powered by unleaded gasoline. Like a frightened dog, it was all bark and no bite.

“When in doubt, don’t.” – Benjamin Franklin

People go skydiving for a reason. This dose of healthy fear allows for a broader perspective. It shapes and colors the way we look at life. The little things that we once allowed to ruin our day no longer have the staying power. Fear in itself is not the problem. Fear rooted in doubt is the dream-killer.

By ending your relationship with doubt and getting comfortable with your relationship with fear, what would you finally do that you’ve been held back by? Comment below!

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5 Simple Steps to Creating a Breakthrough in Your Life

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Did you wake up today hoping that today will be the day for your breakthrough? Everyday we see breakthroughs happen.The latest technology crashing into the market, a new overnight success story starring in a Hollywood movie, a business IPO that makes the founders billions in just a few hours.

Often we see these breakthroughs and wonder to ourselves – “when will it be my turn?” We deserve success as much as those people. We are just as smart, or talented, or determined as those people making the headlines, so surely it is just a matter of time.

The problem with this view of the breakthrough process is that we do not see what happened BEFORE the breakthrough. Before the tech launch, there were hundreds of hours of coding, testing and fixing before version 1 was even launched. The breakout technology is already at version 13.1.

Before the Hollywood blockbuster, there were hundreds of auditions, rejections and hours spent in front of the mirror mastering facial expressions. The 90-minute blockbuster is only the tip of that artist’s work.

Before the IPO, there was hustling for sales, funding rejections and moments where the business almost failed. The stock price doesn’t show the blood and sweat that the entire company invested to get to that point.

The reality is there are 5 steps that lead to every breakthrough. If you are waiting for your breakthrough to happen, you need to see where you are on this path.

1. Decide To Be In The Game

First off, you need to make a commitment to get started. Observing everything from the outside and commenting on how you would do it is never going to lead to your breakthrough. You need to have skin in the game. You can’t influence anything if you are only sitting on the bench. This first step is scary as you have to overcome a whole load of fear.

Also, there is no risk associated with being a critic. Theodore Roosevelt said in ‘Man In The Arena’ that critics are “those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”. Instead, you know that to breakthrough, you have to leave that old mindset behind, get in the game and open yourself up to success.

“I wonder how many times people give up just before a breakthrough – when they are on the very brink of success.” – Joyce Meyer

2. Get Started

Start small rather than quitting your job and stating something full time. Think about developing a side hustle first, and growing that to the point that it can replace your salary. Ben & Jerry’s started with a $5 correspondence course in ice cream technology. Vivien Westwood invented the mini skirt but started her fashion career selling homemade jewellery at a market stall on Portobello Road on weekends. Check out books like Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau or 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss for ideas on how to get started.

3. Get Better Every Day

Once you have begun your journey, you will find yourself surrounded by competitors and collaborators and a natural tendency will be to compare yourself with them. The problem with that is everyone is moving at different speeds and at different points in their journey. It can be easy to become deflated if you compare yourself to people much further ahead of you.

Likewise, you can get complacent if you look how much further you have come than people who have just started. Instead, focus on how you can improve yourself each day. The Law of Marginal Gains proves that lots of small improvements eventually turn into huge progress, so try and improve a specific area by 1% every day and see how quickly that all adds up.

4. Network & Connect

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were introduced by a mutual contact. Harrison Ford got a huge break talking about his desire to be an actor when building cabinets for George Lucas. We don’t always know where the contacts we make when networking will take us, but without a strong network and group of contacts, your reach will always be limited.

When networking, think about specific groups of people you want to connect with. The cast of the original Ghostbusters movie all met doing Saturday Night Live. Ask yourself “what is the SNL of my industry?” and then find a way to get into that group of people.

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.” – Robert Kiyosaki

5. Teamwork

Players & Coaches Like Michael Jordan said, “talent wins games but teamwork wins championships”. The journey to success can be a long one, and we will need people around us to get all the way. Sometimes we need people to extend our bandwidth of what we can produce. Sometimes we need words of encouragement or someone to bounce ideas around with. Make sure you surround yourself with a team and coaches that will help you play at the level you deserve to be competing at.

So there you have it, these are the 5 steps to creating a breakthrough. There is no telling how long it will take for your breakthrough to arrive, so find a way to enjoy the journey. Ray Croc started McDonalds when he was 53. Vera Wang didn’t make wedding dresses until she was 39. Alan Rickman didn’t get a movie role until he was 28.

Take some small steps immediately after finishing this article. Commit to yourself today to take control of the breakthrough process, rather than waiting for it to happen to you. One day, and before too long, when you wake hoping that today will be the day for your breakthrough… it will be.

How do you create a breakthrough? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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