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Motivation

4 Essential Steps To Push You Ahead of the Pack

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4 Essential Steps To Push You Ahead of the Pack

Just like you, a lot of folks start the process of becoming a better version of themselves. And just like you, they can get some momentum going when things are happening as planned. 

But then, all of a sudden, something pops up to disturb their routine. Now they are faced with a dilemma. Are they going to let their habits slide for the moment and get back to them once their routine gets normal again? Or are they going to push through and keep moving despite getting shaken up? Most people bail, intending to get back to it, but just never quite do. Are you most people?

 

Are cupcakes, Amazon, and binge watching Netflix, the solution?

When something happens in our lives to throw us off course our first reaction is to look for happiness, comfort, or distraction in the quickest and easiest way possible. That’s probably going to mean buying stuff, eating crap, sleeping in and skipping a workout, watching TV, or whatever your short-term pleasure of choice may be.

While seeking short-term pleasure in the face of a bad day is not the worst thing in the world, unless you are extremely diligent, it can become a problem. Pretty quickly it can move from a one-time thing, to a habit. The problem with that is, it is a habit that doesn’t do anything to keep you headed towards your goals. In fact, it is likely counter-productive.

 

The super bouncy ball bounces back

There is another response you can have to the bump in the road. You can practice resilience. And the bump in the road will actually be a huge opportunity. If you practice resilience by sticking to your habits, even on your bad days, you cement your good habits.  If you can keep them when things go sideways, then keeping them when things are going well will be easy peasy. So having a bad day every now and then to let you get a little resilience practice in is actually a good thing. Each time you practice, being resilient gets easier and easier. But how do you do it?

 

Gever-Tulley quotes
 

Here are the 4 steps you should take each time you feel like your good habits are on the brink of being derailed:

 

Step 1: You’re not going to ride a unicorn home on a rainbow highway

No matter what you do, something will eventually screw up your routine. All too often we go through life assuming that the best-case scenario will be our reality forever. But it’s not true. There’s going to be some worst-case days, or at least not best case. If you prepare yourself for them by accepting that they will occur and that you will have to show some resilience to keep moving, then you are in a position to do just that.

If you live in La-La-land, assuming everything is going to be rainbows and unicorns each and every day, when it doesn’t work out, you are going to be hard pressed to respond in a resilient way. So don’t do that. Recognize that there will be a day where keeping your habit is going to be harder than it is on most days, and make the decision to do it anyway, before you are faced with the challenge.

 

Step 2: Watch out for falling boulders

If you don’t recognize that something is going awry with your normal routine and that it is threatening to disrupt whatever good habits you are trying to keep up, you can’t respond to it. Instead, you will fall into bad habits without being completely aware it’s happening. And once you finally recognize it and decide that you need to do something, it will be much harder to force yourself back to your path. So be diligent.

Whenever you feel yourself slipping (skipping a workout, pushing off that meditation, telling yourself you will write your gratitudes in your journal later) ask yourself what is going on? Why today? What’s going on with my schedule? Where is my head at? Did someone do something to piss me off, make me sad or disappointed?Once you recognize the outside force that is intruding on your habits, you can then move to preventing it from negatively impacting your long-term goals.

“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” – Benjamin Franklin

Step 3: Blessing or curse, you’re going to have to respond

You can think of your problem as a disaster and be a victim, or you can look at it as an opportunity to practice resilience and grow. Choose to see it as an opportunity. To make sure you do, be thankful for the opportunity. I mean this literally. Thank whatever is testing you, for giving you this chance to practice resilience.  Do it out loud. If you made it to this step, you are way ahead of the game and you should be thankful that you were given an opportunity to practice your ability to stay on task in the face of a challenge.

So, say so out loud. Turn what could be a negative into a positive by just reframing it. The reality is this, building resilience is something you should strive for. It should be a habit on its own because having the habit of resilience makes creating all the other habits you want possible. Without it, you are destined to a start and stop cycle of habit forming that will likely get you nowhere. And the only way to create the habit of resilience is to practice it. So be thankful for that opportunity.

 

Step 4: Just do it

Nike was on to something. And yes, it is that simple. But without the first three steps, just doing it is a daunting thing that likely won’t get done. However, after you have gotten yourself mentally prepared through steps 1-3, the only thing left to do is to put your head down and do it even though it’s hard. You won’t feel like doing it. But, you have to do it anyway. Just act like you feel like doing it. Ask yourself, what would you do if things were going fine? Do that, even though things aren’t.

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson

Conclusion

Making sure you stay on task when it feels like the world is moving to make it more difficult is hard. But if you can do it, you will feel great, and you will be exponentially more likely to keep moving, because you did so even when it was hard. If you use Steps 1-4, you can absolutely do it. You can be resilient and you can push through when most people quit. And that will separate you from virtually everyone else.

Let’s get started, take Step 1 now by posting in the comments below the last time you tried to start a habit but it got derailed by some outside force that upset the applecart on you!

Craig had an “aha” moment when he realized he didn’t want to be a walking contradiction to his son, teaching one set of values and living a life driven by a different set. So he had to make a change. He started Forge Tomorrow Today to help others in the same boat. Craig put together a guide to help you lock in your motivation so you are willing to crawl up the mountain if necessary, but you aren’t willing to quit, get it HERE.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Lawrence Mitchell

    Oct 15, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article and will share it because it there’s so much great stuff on there. Trying to find time inbetween family and being a corporate director, to work on my website and getting the message out there is always tough. I try and put aside Sunday evenings to ‘be creative’. But when I get dereailed, and it does happen, the thing I try and do is not beat myself up about it too much. It’s easy to be hard on yourself. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Charlene Rhinehart

      Jan 31, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      Congratulations Lawrence! Best of luck on your website and branding projects! If you need any assistance branding your LinkedIn profile in order to attract your ideal client and partnerships, I would be happy to assist.
      charlene@charlenerhinehart.com

  2. Craig Boneau

    Sep 14, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Totally agree Marquita, and thanks for sharing your great story! Congratulations!

    That “middle mile” really is the hard part. I love that term. It really is apt.

    In the “middle mile” there is no initial excitement, and no light at the end of the tunnel in site. It can feel very lonely, and very much like running in knee deep mud. But, the beauty is, everyone else runs in to too, so if you can push through, you are already part of an elite group, which your story beautifully demonstrates!

    T

  3. anomuogharan tanrose

    Sep 14, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Beautiful one Craig, hit me when I needed it the most. GOD Continue to use u to bless lives.

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      So glad to hear that it helped! Keep pushing!

  4. Theodore Nwangene

    Sep 13, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    This is really so amazing Craig,
    I’m indeed moved. You just boosted my spirit and strength. We often let small hurdles stand on our way towards moving on with our habits but if we can stay focused and practice resilience in every situation then, we will always be a success.

    This is really a very wonderful article Craig and i will put the tips to practice.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      Awesome Theordore! Feel free to come back and share your success as you do, I’d love to hear about it.

  5. Heitem Ak

    Sep 13, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Nice one, Craig!

    I think that persistence is the ability to put the same effort in a task no matter our circumstances.

    It’s the ability to put our emotions aside, and keep moving forward.

    You are right, we should always be prepared for hard times, but it is important to focus and to stay positive.

    As Wiz Khalifa said; “Worrying is stupid, it’s like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain”

    I know, a very unlikely source, but a great advice.

    Thanks for the inspiration, and keep them coming!

    Heitem Ak

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks Heitem, there’s a lot more wisdom in hip hop than most people think.

      I love being positive, just not oblivious. The positivity I’m talking about is believing that you will find a way to overcome whatever happens, not believing nothing bad is going to happen. It’s a somewhat fine line, but an important one I think.

  6. Bryan

    Sep 13, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    This is great advice. I find myself periodically going in and out small failures. However I won’t give up and will continue pushing ahead. Thank you for providing such great perspective.

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Happy to do it Bryan. It’s all about plugging along so the little things can add up to something big. Keep moving my friend!

  7. Marquita Herald

    Sep 13, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Excellent advice though I don’t have a stumble story to share. Truth is I’ve always been tenacious. I once set a goal to go from being an executive secretary in a hotel to get a job in international sales. My application for the company’s executive training program was denied 8 times because I didn’t have a college degree, but I kept pushing and was finally given a shot. They made me work full time while going through the training but I did it and completed the 12 month program in 10 months, got my job and went on to move up the ladder and eventually take over sales and marketing.

    My point in sharing that is I think one of the biggest challenges for many people is they fail to grasp that most worthwhile initiatives we undertake will inevitably be a little harder and take longer than we expect at the beginning so getting to the point where you can effectively push through what I call the “middle mile” makes all the difference. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks Marquita, what an awesome story and success! Congratulations!

      I love the “middle mile” term. It is so apt.

      The hardest part is when the excitement of beginning has worn off and the light at the end of the tunnel is no where in site, the “middle mile.” It often feels like running through knee deep mud.

      But as your story so brilliantly shows, when you are able and willing to push through, you are almost destined to succeed because most, if not all, of your competition is still stuck in that “middle mile” or has given up completely.

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Motivation

50 Cent Scored Half a Billion Dollars – How 50 Made a Killing Off Water

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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Image Credit | The Source

In “The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop,” author Dan Charnas traces how rap grew from its obscure roots in the ghettos of 1970s New York to its culmination as the world’s predominant youth pop culture and a multibillion-dollar industry.

The event that epitomized just how far hip-hop had come was the headline-grabbing partnership between the rapper 50 Cent and the upstart beverage company Glaceau, the maker of VitaminWater. It may well have been the biggest deal in hip-hop history, propelling 50 Cent’s personal net worth toward a half-billion dollars.

In this excerpt, Charnas outlines how it happened.

By the summer of 2003, 50 Cent’s debut album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” had sold more than 5 million copies, and he was easily on his way to becoming a multimillionaire on these sales alone.

Nonetheless, the rapper from Queens, who was born Curtis Jackson and had begun his career on the reputation of being shot nine times (a bullet was still lodged in his tongue), wasn’t content to remain a recording artist.

His young manager, Chris Lighty, himself a Bronx street kid turned businessman, was well-positioned to exploit 50’s stardom by creating multiple income streams. Lighty had come out of the Def Jam fold and managed such stars as Missy Elliott and LL Cool J.

With Lighty, 50 Cent created the “G-Unit” brand, including a record company, a clothing company, and a sneaker deal with Reebok’s RBK line. The G-Unit Clothing Company was a joint-venture deal, with hip-hop-influenced designer Marc Ecko fronting the money, handling the manufacturing and distribution, and splitting the profits fifty-fifty with 50.

At his Violator management company (named after a rough crew that Lighty ran with as a kid), Lighty helped pioneer the use of 900 numbers for his artists.

Over a decade later, he negotiated a different kind of phone deal: 50 Cent cellular ringtones to be sold for up to $2.99 per download. Lighty inked other agreements, too: a video game and a biopic with MTV Films and Paramount Pictures. When the agency that represented Lighty, CAA, balked at representing a rapper so closely associated with violence, Lighty secured a deal with an eager William Morris.

One of Lighty’s business acquaintances was Rohan Oza, a marketing executive who has just moved from Coca-Cola to a small Queens, N.Y., beverage company called Glaceau. Oza considered himself not a brand manager, but a brand messiah. He believed that passionate proselytizing of his products could transcend costly corporate ad campaigns.

Oza’s Vitamin Water brand was doing well at more than $100 million in sales, second only to Pepsi’s Propel brand in the $245 million “enhanced-water” market. He knew how to take them out.

Stealing a page from the hip-hop street-team and word-of-mouth ethos, Oza created a fleet of 10 “Glaceau Vitamin Water Tasting Vehicles,” staffed by 200 “hydrologists,” to cross the country and spread the gospel of Vitamin Water’s growing line. But hydrologists working one-on-one with consumers wouldn’t break Vitamin Water out of the gourmet-deli and new-age-health-food market.

Oza needed more than brand messiahs to convert individuals. He needed brand ambassadors to influence millions. That’s when Oza saw a commercial for RBK sneakers in which Lighty, rather sneakily, had his artist, 50 Cent, chug a bottle of Vitamin Water.

In a phone call soon thereafter, Lighty told Oza that he wanted to find a way to work together to make Vitamin Water huge. It turned out that 50 Cent  had a true love of the product. He had grown up around alcoholics, so he didn’t drink. Instead, he spent hours a day working out and ate healthy. Like Oza who got bored with imbibing the recommended eight glasses of plain water a day, 50 had found Vitamin Water a more pleasurable way to hydrate.

On Oza’s desk in his New York office, at that very moment, was a test bottle of a new Vitamin Water flavor, recently formulated by Glaceau’s head of product development, Carol Dollard, who had worked hard to get more vitamins and nutrients into their drinks – much more than the 2 to 3 percent of the recommended daily allowance in other “enhanced” waters.

Recently, Oza had asked Dollard for a product that would make it easy to highlight this difference. She had returned with a flavor that contained 50 percent of the RDA of seven different vitamins and minerals. Oza’s marketing team responded with a great name for the new variety: Formula 50.

What better way to collaborate, Oza suggested, than to have 50 Cent endorse this new product? But Lighty didn’t want an endorsement deal. He didn’t want cash. “We want to invest,” Lighty said.

By 2004, 50 Cent was undoubtedly one of the world’s biggest pop stars. But it took some amount of convincing on Oza’s part to overcome the trepidation of Glaceau CEO Darius Bikoff and president Mike Repole. 50 Cent’s association with gunplay presented a problem: What if their chief spokesperson ended up dead in a rap beef?

But the 50 Cent who showed up for his first meeting with Bikoff was surprisingly different from the rapper’s public image: calm, respectful and deliberate, without too many flamboyant flourishes. Lighty was the rapper’s perfect business complement.

In the weeks and months thereafter, Lighty and Oza hammered out the terms of a deal. 50 Cent would take a stake in the privately owned company, one that would graduate over time and escalate if the company hit certain numbers.

The two entities – 50 Cent on one hand and Glaceau on the other – signed an agreement of mutual confidentiality. Still, word got around that Lighty had negotiated something close to, but not more than, 10 percent of the value of the company. During these discussions, Lighty and 50 deliberated the attributes of their new product. Oza presented the pair with several flavor options for Formula 50. For Chris Lighty, the choice was simple.

Despite the high-minded science of Glaceau, their product was basically a smarter, more upscale, more aspirational version of the ultimate ghetto beverage on which Lighty and 50 had grown up: the “quarter-waters” sold in every bodega, deli and convenience store from Queens to Compton.

The quarter-waters (so named because they once cost 25 cents) were just like the Kool-Aid everybody drank at home. However, nobody drank wild flavors like strawberry and kiwi in the ‘hood, because they drank grape. Formula 50 had to be grape. Oza hated the comparison to such base beverages, but he had to admire the thought process of his new partners.

vitamin water 50 centThe 50 Cent-Vitamin Water deal was announced in October 2004. Behind the scenes, the relationship between the two parties wasn’t always smooth. When Lighty, in one of his first interviews about the deal, spoke of building the brand with the ultimate goal of selling it, Darius Bikoff phoned Lighty, screaming at him for disclosing the strategy. Within a few hours, Bikoff looked up to find a livid Lighty in his office, glowering at him. Lighty had driven from Manhattan to Queens to tell Bikoff one thing. “Don’t curse at me,” Lighty said, a heartbeat away from becoming a Violator once more.

Once they understood each other, Bikoff and Lighty, Vitamin Water and 50 Cent built a strong alliance. Soon billboards and bus stops across the country linked the images and joined the fates of two upstarts from Queens – one a scrappy, new-age beverage company; the other a pugnacious, provocative rapper with an eye for opportunity and a history of hitching himself to winners.

In March 2007, Chris Lighty and his friend Sean Combs were riding together from Heathrow airport to a London hotel in the back of a Maybach when Combs got some news over the phone. Fellow rap superstar Jay-Z and his two fashion-entrepreneur partners, Alex Bize and Norton Cher, had just sold the rights to their Rocawear trademark to a public company, the Iconix Brand Group.

Lighty could not stop repeating the number he heard, as he stared at Combs in disbelief. “Two hundred million? Two hundred million?” Actually, at $219 million, the sale of the Rocawear brand name was, at the time, the biggest deal in hip-hop history. Combs responded in the only way he knew how. “I need a billion for mine,” he huffed. But of those two men, it would be Lighty who reached that symbolic mark first.

Just two month later, in May 2007, the Coca-Cola Company purchased Glaceau for $4.1 billion. In the media, initial reports put 50 Cent’s cashout at $400 million, calculated by dividing the purchase amount by 50 Cent’s reputed 10 percent share. But in reality, 50 Cent’s take was much less. Another stakeholder needed to be paid off first – the diversified Indian conglomerate Tata had invested $677 million for 30 percent of Glaceau in 2006, and got $1.2 billion when Coca-Cola bought them out.

When all the other costs had been deducted, 50 Cent was thought to have walked away with a figure somewhere between $60 million and $100 million, putting his net worth at nearly a half billion dollars.

On his next album, 50 Cent could barely contain his own incredulity at the power of the dollar. “I took quarter-water, sold it in bottles for two bucks,” he rapped. “Coca-Cola came and bought it for billions. What the [f#!k]?” But Lighty silently pocketed his 15 percent and kept it moving.

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Motivation

8 Powerful and Inspiring Words of Encouragement to Help Lift You Up

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encouragement
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

When you’re going through tough times, all you need is sympathy. You just need someone to tell you how strong you are and how you can cope with the situation. Essentially, you’re waiting for a soothing voice that can calm your inner storm and genuinely help with your troubles.

If you’re in a situation like this, then know you’re not alone. You might be feeling down due to a reason like failing at something, breaking up with someone you dearly loved, losing your loved one, not getting a good job, or being betrayed by the person you trusted the most or anything along those lines.

Remember this; there is hope for everyone including you. You are going to come back from all of this no matter what. That’s why there is a saying, “Every dark cloud has a silver lining.”

Here are 7 powerful quotes to help lift you up in your time of need:

1. “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday, and the other one is called tomorrow. Today is the right day to Love, Believe, Do and mostly Live.” – Dalai Lama

This quote said by his holy highness Dalai Lama is so compelling about life. You live in the present, neither in the past nor the future.

Think about it this way, can you change what is already done or can you change what is going to be done? The answer is, no, you can’t because nobody can. It’s wise to forget the bad things from the past and do something in the present that will help improve your future.

2. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Have you ever thought of these beautiful words of encouragement from Sir Albert Einstein? It is so profound and practical. Sometimes we are miserable because people try to fit us into a mold where we don’t belong, and thus we too start feeling that we are useless. However, that’s not the case.

We all are gifted with abilities that we overlook only because of the fear of being rejected or neglected. You are not supposed to rely on people’s perspective about you if you know what your real potential is.

3. “Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.” – Oprah Winfrey

These words of encouragement from Oprah Winfrey gave me so much strength that I couldn’t resist to quote it here.

Many times we give up on our dreams and wishes only because we think it is impossible. We must believe in ourselves and tell ourselves that we can do it and it is possible. You shouldn’t be afraid of failures and setbacks but instead welcome them.

4. “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

Think about this, still water is stagnant water. Because of this, even water has to keep flowing to remain useful. If you want to become successful, you must keep lifting yourself up and keep moving.

Always remember to not let the hardships hold you down and wait for a miracle to happen. You’re already on the right track so nothing should stop you from going further in your life.

5. “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” – Mahatma Gandhi

All our activities, throughout this life, are controlled by our mind. Believe it or not, it’s true. It is correctly said that what you think you become.

People around you are not always going to pull you up, and you might meet people who are going to supply negativity to your mind. However, it is up to you whom to let in your mind and whom you should never. When you are in control of your thoughts and mind, nothing and nobody can distract you.

6. “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” – Oscar Wilde

Difficult times are very tricky, because they can make you believe that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t realize that today’s struggles are for a better tomorrow.

They’re not permanent, and they’re not going to last forever. Once you are determined to change your situation then even God will help you with that. Just remember the saying, “God helps those who help themselves.”

7. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are influenced by our environment, friends, family, and work, yet it’s up to us to make what we want of our life.

For example, if you want to be a writer, do everything you possibly can to do it. Surround yourself with people who truly want to write, and make sure to write every single day. You’re the only one who can make your dreams a reality, so make sure you do whatever it takes to keep pushing your limits.

8. “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”  – Deepak Chopra

This quote is too profound and subtle that summarizes this whole article. It might change the way you look at your problems right now.

There are circumstances to knock you down, issues you are not able to solve, and they seem completely out of your control. It is not at all easy to keep calm at this point, however, if you learn how to be still in the midst of all the chaos, you are a winner. You have won half the battle just by doing this.

Winning and losing is just a part of life. No matter in which phase of your life you are, remember that there is a purpose behind it and you will know what that purpose is at the right time.

One day you will be grateful for all the struggles and mistakes because they will make you a stronger, better, and a more beautiful human being.

Which one of these quotes inspired you the most and why? Let us know in the comments below!

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Motivation

Music Motivation: Every Superhero Needs Theme Music and That Includes You

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music
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Every superhero, fictional or real, needs theme music. And every one of us underdogs needs theme music too! The unmistakable sound of the intro beat starts, your energy level rises, you hear “…the eye of the tiger,  it’s the thrill of the fight…”, instantly you are ready to take on your next challenge as if Creed or Rocky, or some old school Wu-Tang song comes on and suddenly you’re reminded of Marvel’s Luke Cage action scenes and are now ready to, figuratively, save Harlem, your neighborhood, and the world!

Music is part of our daily lives. It’s often around us, even when we don’t mean for it to be. To reach peak performance in our day-to-day routine, it’s crucial to be aware of the music around us and work to consciously choose the music we are around.

Music moves us in more ways than you might think, and just like our friends, our hobbies, our meals and anything else which gives us that extra swagger, music is a powerful tool that can create all the difference in our mood, our productivity, and our results. Whether you are on the come up, the comeback, or fighting to keep what you hustled so hard to create, the journey is a daily grind and music can help you keep that grind going, and going strong.

Groovy Science

Your daily hustle can be stressful. Listening to music, according to Medical News Today, has many health benefits. Music can reduce your stress and anxiety, ramp up your memory and improve medical conditions such as seizures or brain damage caused from strokes.

Music can even help you ideate differently because it makes you more creative overall, according to a team of researchers at the University of Technology Sydney and Radboud University in Nijmegen. So, cue up some music and get your creative juices flowing. Your stress will go down and your creativity will go up, leading you to feel happier about yourself and your life overall.

“Whenever humans come together for any reason, music is there… weddings, funerals, graduation from college, men marching off to war, stadium sporting events, a night on the town, prayer, a romantic dinner, mothers rocking their infants to sleep and college students studying with music as a background… music is and was [always] part of the fabric of everyday life.” – Daniel Levitin

Sometimes when you’re on the long road to success you start losing motivation for your goals. Eventually, many of us come to a crossroads of moving forward or turning back, and sometimes all it takes is a quick motivational activity to get your energy back. You could make a vision board, refine your core value, update your bucket list, create a to-do list, and so on.

I’m all for each of those as ways to get your swagger back and keep it, but at the same time, sometimes daily motivation calls for new approaches too. Especially approaches that are easily accessible at any moment and don’t require a huge investment of time, money or other resources you may or may not have.

An intentional use of music could be the new approach that you take to help you get through those days when you feel like giving up. Time for you to have your “Eye of the Tiger” and make a comeback. And “Protect ‘Yo Neck” and others to save the day like Luke Cage. Then “Cheers” with everybody that knows your name and always glad you came. Let’s create our own theme music and intentionally enjoy the health benefits and swagger of music.

Your Theme Music

Here’s how to create your personal soundtrack so you can have something to motivate you anytime you need it, no matter where you’re at. Begin with a playlist of about five songs. Pick songs that will raise your energy level and remind you of your purpose, important goals, and/or your core values.

Then create a name for your playlist and a nickname for yourself. You can refresh your personal soundtrack as your priorities and goals change. And for us underdog music junkies already bothered by the five song limit, you can create an additional playlist called “The B-Side” for all other songs.

Here’s an example (You’ll get to see mine!):

Playlist NameThe Voice of the Underdog!

Your NicknameThe O.G. aka The Original Gregory aka Mr. Reset Button

Five Songs Playlist:

1: “The People” by Common. – I do what I do for the people aka the Underdogs!

2: “The Point of It All” by Anthony Hamilton – …because a healthy love life is part of a healthy life.

3: “Reach” by Robyn Hood – I’m gonna keep reaching and hustling hard.

4: “Sky’s The Limit” by Biggie Smalls – I mean, the title says it all, right?!  

5: “Hate It or Love It” by The Game, 50 Cent – Hate it or love it Underdogs will be on top!

Bonus Track: “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” by Gil Scott-Heron – All of the turnaround won’t be televised, but it will happen. Keep pushin!

Playlist Playful Description:

I do it for “The People” and the people I love, that’s “The Point of It All.” Now is the time I “Reach” even higher because “The Sky’s The Limit.” “Hate It or Love It” Underdogs are gonna be on top. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” but there will be music playing and I will make it happen!

“Music can change the world because it can change people.” – Bono

Press Play Daily

Well, what ya waiting for!? Music helps with creativity so turn on some of your favorite music right now and start brainstorming the songs that have meaning to you, will motivate you and inspire your daily hustle.

When you’re done creating your personal soundtrack, you’ll have mobile motivation that is only a press of the play button away. What will be your theme music? Really, what will it be? Because every one of us underdogs needs theme music so we can get and stay motivated to get from Front Street to Swaggerback Boulevard.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Motivation

The One Crucial Ingredient for Success That Motivation Can’t Give You

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Some people say motivation is literally the only thing you need to be successful. They say it is the crucial element in setting and attaining goals. But is that really true? A lot of content is produced online that’s aimed to motivate and move you into massive action in the hopes that you’ll finally become successful.

While I do think the intentions behind such claims are noble, most people totally misunderstand how motivation works. More importantly, they’re totally unaware of the real determining factor behind an individual’s success.

Let me start off by debunking a colossal myth about motivation: Motivation equals success. This is not true. Here’s the truth: Motivation does not equal success for you. The only thing that equals success for you is you and the way you develop and rearrange your mind.

You can spend as much time as you like watching, following and investing your money on motivational courses or seminars but there’s no guarantee your life will transform. It’s a great marketing line, but certainly not the way success works.

Yes, your guru knows just how to press the right buttons. Each time he or she speaks and shares a rags to riches story, you feel yourself rising from that pit of despair threatening your very existence. Nonetheless, just writing down those goals or visualizing success is not how results are created in your life. If you’ve been an avid personal development student, this has probably started sinking in.

So am I saying you should abandon your current craving for watching Abraham Hicks and Tony Robbins or those well crafted Goalcast videos? Heck no. These videos and seminars pump you up and keep your fire burning. It’s awesome! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with strategically setting aside some time to regularly feed yourself content that raises your spirits. The problem is when that’s all you do.

“Don’t think, just do.” – Horace

As it so happens, most people are stuck at this point, which is why they see no results even after reading the books, watching the videos and attending the seminars. Sure, a few things may change here and there, but true and permanent transformation – that’s something not enough people are experiencing. And here’s why.

Most people are still missing this crucial ingredient that is fundamental to both permanent transformation and success: True conviction and habit formation. In other words, they lack the belief which forms the habit that results in success.

Your results are determined by your actions. The actions you take are determined by your behavior which is under the direct influence of your habits and as we all know, your habits are not formed through intellectual reasoning or applied force. In fact, your habits and beliefs can’t even be formed instantly.

In other words, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says or does, if your creative mind and powerhouse does not get impressed upon with that idea of riches and success, no physical result will appear.

This is perhaps the one thing most motivational gurus don’t emphasize enough. If they did, we’d see more people invested  in doing “inner work” instead of scrolling through Instagram feeds hungry for another motivational quote.

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

The point to take home is simply this: Your inner convictions and the habits you form constitute your ruling mental state. After that motivational video is over, and the shot of adrenaline dies out, you’ll jump back into whatever ruling state your mind has set as the default pattern.

Therefore if you truly want to experience the success your gurus are painting for you as a possibility, master the skill of habit formation.

Get good at creating habits that prompt actions that lead to success; develop deep beliefs that serve you and consistently impress your creative powerhouse with the right feeling and the end result will inevitably be success.

Everything else you find externally is at best a clue and at worst a distraction but definitely not “the magical ingredient.” If at all there is such a thing as a magical ingredient to fast track your success, it will only be found by looking within.

So take an honest self-inventory right now. How much time each day goes into feeding your motivational craving, and how much real inner work and habit formation are you invested in?

What is one goal you’d like to succeed in accomplishing before the end of the year? Share with us below!

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Quotes

21 of Dale Carnegie’s Most Influential Quotes From “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

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Image Credit | Ragan Communications

Dale Carnegie is the best-selling author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” He helped people truly grasp how powerful interpersonal skills and public speaking could be to one’s life. (more…)

Armando Quintana III strives to make every day a novel one by treating his life as one big experiment. He's a published writer, signed model, created an educational non-profit, and worked with multiple start-ups helping them excel in sales and marketing. He can be reached @armandoq3 on Instagram or Facebook.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Lawrence Mitchell

    Oct 15, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article and will share it because it there’s so much great stuff on there. Trying to find time inbetween family and being a corporate director, to work on my website and getting the message out there is always tough. I try and put aside Sunday evenings to ‘be creative’. But when I get dereailed, and it does happen, the thing I try and do is not beat myself up about it too much. It’s easy to be hard on yourself. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Charlene Rhinehart

      Jan 31, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      Congratulations Lawrence! Best of luck on your website and branding projects! If you need any assistance branding your LinkedIn profile in order to attract your ideal client and partnerships, I would be happy to assist.
      charlene@charlenerhinehart.com

  2. Craig Boneau

    Sep 14, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Totally agree Marquita, and thanks for sharing your great story! Congratulations!

    That “middle mile” really is the hard part. I love that term. It really is apt.

    In the “middle mile” there is no initial excitement, and no light at the end of the tunnel in site. It can feel very lonely, and very much like running in knee deep mud. But, the beauty is, everyone else runs in to too, so if you can push through, you are already part of an elite group, which your story beautifully demonstrates!

    T

  3. anomuogharan tanrose

    Sep 14, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Beautiful one Craig, hit me when I needed it the most. GOD Continue to use u to bless lives.

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      So glad to hear that it helped! Keep pushing!

  4. Theodore Nwangene

    Sep 13, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    This is really so amazing Craig,
    I’m indeed moved. You just boosted my spirit and strength. We often let small hurdles stand on our way towards moving on with our habits but if we can stay focused and practice resilience in every situation then, we will always be a success.

    This is really a very wonderful article Craig and i will put the tips to practice.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      Awesome Theordore! Feel free to come back and share your success as you do, I’d love to hear about it.

  5. Heitem Ak

    Sep 13, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Nice one, Craig!

    I think that persistence is the ability to put the same effort in a task no matter our circumstances.

    It’s the ability to put our emotions aside, and keep moving forward.

    You are right, we should always be prepared for hard times, but it is important to focus and to stay positive.

    As Wiz Khalifa said; “Worrying is stupid, it’s like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain”

    I know, a very unlikely source, but a great advice.

    Thanks for the inspiration, and keep them coming!

    Heitem Ak

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Thanks Heitem, there’s a lot more wisdom in hip hop than most people think.

      I love being positive, just not oblivious. The positivity I’m talking about is believing that you will find a way to overcome whatever happens, not believing nothing bad is going to happen. It’s a somewhat fine line, but an important one I think.

  6. Bryan

    Sep 13, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    This is great advice. I find myself periodically going in and out small failures. However I won’t give up and will continue pushing ahead. Thank you for providing such great perspective.

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      Happy to do it Bryan. It’s all about plugging along so the little things can add up to something big. Keep moving my friend!

  7. Marquita Herald

    Sep 13, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Excellent advice though I don’t have a stumble story to share. Truth is I’ve always been tenacious. I once set a goal to go from being an executive secretary in a hotel to get a job in international sales. My application for the company’s executive training program was denied 8 times because I didn’t have a college degree, but I kept pushing and was finally given a shot. They made me work full time while going through the training but I did it and completed the 12 month program in 10 months, got my job and went on to move up the ladder and eventually take over sales and marketing.

    My point in sharing that is I think one of the biggest challenges for many people is they fail to grasp that most worthwhile initiatives we undertake will inevitably be a little harder and take longer than we expect at the beginning so getting to the point where you can effectively push through what I call the “middle mile” makes all the difference. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Craig Boneau

      Sep 14, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks Marquita, what an awesome story and success! Congratulations!

      I love the “middle mile” term. It is so apt.

      The hardest part is when the excitement of beginning has worn off and the light at the end of the tunnel is no where in site, the “middle mile.” It often feels like running through knee deep mud.

      But as your story so brilliantly shows, when you are able and willing to push through, you are almost destined to succeed because most, if not all, of your competition is still stuck in that “middle mile” or has given up completely.

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Motivation

50 Cent Scored Half a Billion Dollars – How 50 Made a Killing Off Water

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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Image Credit | The Source

In “The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop,” author Dan Charnas traces how rap grew from its obscure roots in the ghettos of 1970s New York to its culmination as the world’s predominant youth pop culture and a multibillion-dollar industry.

The event that epitomized just how far hip-hop had come was the headline-grabbing partnership between the rapper 50 Cent and the upstart beverage company Glaceau, the maker of VitaminWater. It may well have been the biggest deal in hip-hop history, propelling 50 Cent’s personal net worth toward a half-billion dollars.

In this excerpt, Charnas outlines how it happened.

By the summer of 2003, 50 Cent’s debut album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” had sold more than 5 million copies, and he was easily on his way to becoming a multimillionaire on these sales alone.

Nonetheless, the rapper from Queens, who was born Curtis Jackson and had begun his career on the reputation of being shot nine times (a bullet was still lodged in his tongue), wasn’t content to remain a recording artist.

His young manager, Chris Lighty, himself a Bronx street kid turned businessman, was well-positioned to exploit 50’s stardom by creating multiple income streams. Lighty had come out of the Def Jam fold and managed such stars as Missy Elliott and LL Cool J.

With Lighty, 50 Cent created the “G-Unit” brand, including a record company, a clothing company, and a sneaker deal with Reebok’s RBK line. The G-Unit Clothing Company was a joint-venture deal, with hip-hop-influenced designer Marc Ecko fronting the money, handling the manufacturing and distribution, and splitting the profits fifty-fifty with 50.

At his Violator management company (named after a rough crew that Lighty ran with as a kid), Lighty helped pioneer the use of 900 numbers for his artists.

Over a decade later, he negotiated a different kind of phone deal: 50 Cent cellular ringtones to be sold for up to $2.99 per download. Lighty inked other agreements, too: a video game and a biopic with MTV Films and Paramount Pictures. When the agency that represented Lighty, CAA, balked at representing a rapper so closely associated with violence, Lighty secured a deal with an eager William Morris.

One of Lighty’s business acquaintances was Rohan Oza, a marketing executive who has just moved from Coca-Cola to a small Queens, N.Y., beverage company called Glaceau. Oza considered himself not a brand manager, but a brand messiah. He believed that passionate proselytizing of his products could transcend costly corporate ad campaigns.

Oza’s Vitamin Water brand was doing well at more than $100 million in sales, second only to Pepsi’s Propel brand in the $245 million “enhanced-water” market. He knew how to take them out.

Stealing a page from the hip-hop street-team and word-of-mouth ethos, Oza created a fleet of 10 “Glaceau Vitamin Water Tasting Vehicles,” staffed by 200 “hydrologists,” to cross the country and spread the gospel of Vitamin Water’s growing line. But hydrologists working one-on-one with consumers wouldn’t break Vitamin Water out of the gourmet-deli and new-age-health-food market.

Oza needed more than brand messiahs to convert individuals. He needed brand ambassadors to influence millions. That’s when Oza saw a commercial for RBK sneakers in which Lighty, rather sneakily, had his artist, 50 Cent, chug a bottle of Vitamin Water.

In a phone call soon thereafter, Lighty told Oza that he wanted to find a way to work together to make Vitamin Water huge. It turned out that 50 Cent  had a true love of the product. He had grown up around alcoholics, so he didn’t drink. Instead, he spent hours a day working out and ate healthy. Like Oza who got bored with imbibing the recommended eight glasses of plain water a day, 50 had found Vitamin Water a more pleasurable way to hydrate.

On Oza’s desk in his New York office, at that very moment, was a test bottle of a new Vitamin Water flavor, recently formulated by Glaceau’s head of product development, Carol Dollard, who had worked hard to get more vitamins and nutrients into their drinks – much more than the 2 to 3 percent of the recommended daily allowance in other “enhanced” waters.

Recently, Oza had asked Dollard for a product that would make it easy to highlight this difference. She had returned with a flavor that contained 50 percent of the RDA of seven different vitamins and minerals. Oza’s marketing team responded with a great name for the new variety: Formula 50.

What better way to collaborate, Oza suggested, than to have 50 Cent endorse this new product? But Lighty didn’t want an endorsement deal. He didn’t want cash. “We want to invest,” Lighty said.

By 2004, 50 Cent was undoubtedly one of the world’s biggest pop stars. But it took some amount of convincing on Oza’s part to overcome the trepidation of Glaceau CEO Darius Bikoff and president Mike Repole. 50 Cent’s association with gunplay presented a problem: What if their chief spokesperson ended up dead in a rap beef?

But the 50 Cent who showed up for his first meeting with Bikoff was surprisingly different from the rapper’s public image: calm, respectful and deliberate, without too many flamboyant flourishes. Lighty was the rapper’s perfect business complement.

In the weeks and months thereafter, Lighty and Oza hammered out the terms of a deal. 50 Cent would take a stake in the privately owned company, one that would graduate over time and escalate if the company hit certain numbers.

The two entities – 50 Cent on one hand and Glaceau on the other – signed an agreement of mutual confidentiality. Still, word got around that Lighty had negotiated something close to, but not more than, 10 percent of the value of the company. During these discussions, Lighty and 50 deliberated the attributes of their new product. Oza presented the pair with several flavor options for Formula 50. For Chris Lighty, the choice was simple.

Despite the high-minded science of Glaceau, their product was basically a smarter, more upscale, more aspirational version of the ultimate ghetto beverage on which Lighty and 50 had grown up: the “quarter-waters” sold in every bodega, deli and convenience store from Queens to Compton.

The quarter-waters (so named because they once cost 25 cents) were just like the Kool-Aid everybody drank at home. However, nobody drank wild flavors like strawberry and kiwi in the ‘hood, because they drank grape. Formula 50 had to be grape. Oza hated the comparison to such base beverages, but he had to admire the thought process of his new partners.

vitamin water 50 centThe 50 Cent-Vitamin Water deal was announced in October 2004. Behind the scenes, the relationship between the two parties wasn’t always smooth. When Lighty, in one of his first interviews about the deal, spoke of building the brand with the ultimate goal of selling it, Darius Bikoff phoned Lighty, screaming at him for disclosing the strategy. Within a few hours, Bikoff looked up to find a livid Lighty in his office, glowering at him. Lighty had driven from Manhattan to Queens to tell Bikoff one thing. “Don’t curse at me,” Lighty said, a heartbeat away from becoming a Violator once more.

Once they understood each other, Bikoff and Lighty, Vitamin Water and 50 Cent built a strong alliance. Soon billboards and bus stops across the country linked the images and joined the fates of two upstarts from Queens – one a scrappy, new-age beverage company; the other a pugnacious, provocative rapper with an eye for opportunity and a history of hitching himself to winners.

In March 2007, Chris Lighty and his friend Sean Combs were riding together from Heathrow airport to a London hotel in the back of a Maybach when Combs got some news over the phone. Fellow rap superstar Jay-Z and his two fashion-entrepreneur partners, Alex Bize and Norton Cher, had just sold the rights to their Rocawear trademark to a public company, the Iconix Brand Group.

Lighty could not stop repeating the number he heard, as he stared at Combs in disbelief. “Two hundred million? Two hundred million?” Actually, at $219 million, the sale of the Rocawear brand name was, at the time, the biggest deal in hip-hop history. Combs responded in the only way he knew how. “I need a billion for mine,” he huffed. But of those two men, it would be Lighty who reached that symbolic mark first.

Just two month later, in May 2007, the Coca-Cola Company purchased Glaceau for $4.1 billion. In the media, initial reports put 50 Cent’s cashout at $400 million, calculated by dividing the purchase amount by 50 Cent’s reputed 10 percent share. But in reality, 50 Cent’s take was much less. Another stakeholder needed to be paid off first – the diversified Indian conglomerate Tata had invested $677 million for 30 percent of Glaceau in 2006, and got $1.2 billion when Coca-Cola bought them out.

When all the other costs had been deducted, 50 Cent was thought to have walked away with a figure somewhere between $60 million and $100 million, putting his net worth at nearly a half billion dollars.

On his next album, 50 Cent could barely contain his own incredulity at the power of the dollar. “I took quarter-water, sold it in bottles for two bucks,” he rapped. “Coca-Cola came and bought it for billions. What the [f#!k]?” But Lighty silently pocketed his 15 percent and kept it moving.

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Motivation

8 Powerful and Inspiring Words of Encouragement to Help Lift You Up

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When you’re going through tough times, all you need is sympathy. You just need someone to tell you how strong you are and how you can cope with the situation. Essentially, you’re waiting for a soothing voice that can calm your inner storm and genuinely help with your troubles.

If you’re in a situation like this, then know you’re not alone. You might be feeling down due to a reason like failing at something, breaking up with someone you dearly loved, losing your loved one, not getting a good job, or being betrayed by the person you trusted the most or anything along those lines.

Remember this; there is hope for everyone including you. You are going to come back from all of this no matter what. That’s why there is a saying, “Every dark cloud has a silver lining.”

Here are 7 powerful quotes to help lift you up in your time of need:

1. “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday, and the other one is called tomorrow. Today is the right day to Love, Believe, Do and mostly Live.” – Dalai Lama

This quote said by his holy highness Dalai Lama is so compelling about life. You live in the present, neither in the past nor the future.

Think about it this way, can you change what is already done or can you change what is going to be done? The answer is, no, you can’t because nobody can. It’s wise to forget the bad things from the past and do something in the present that will help improve your future.

2. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Have you ever thought of these beautiful words of encouragement from Sir Albert Einstein? It is so profound and practical. Sometimes we are miserable because people try to fit us into a mold where we don’t belong, and thus we too start feeling that we are useless. However, that’s not the case.

We all are gifted with abilities that we overlook only because of the fear of being rejected or neglected. You are not supposed to rely on people’s perspective about you if you know what your real potential is.

3. “Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself.” – Oprah Winfrey

These words of encouragement from Oprah Winfrey gave me so much strength that I couldn’t resist to quote it here.

Many times we give up on our dreams and wishes only because we think it is impossible. We must believe in ourselves and tell ourselves that we can do it and it is possible. You shouldn’t be afraid of failures and setbacks but instead welcome them.

4. “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers

Think about this, still water is stagnant water. Because of this, even water has to keep flowing to remain useful. If you want to become successful, you must keep lifting yourself up and keep moving.

Always remember to not let the hardships hold you down and wait for a miracle to happen. You’re already on the right track so nothing should stop you from going further in your life.

5. “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” – Mahatma Gandhi

All our activities, throughout this life, are controlled by our mind. Believe it or not, it’s true. It is correctly said that what you think you become.

People around you are not always going to pull you up, and you might meet people who are going to supply negativity to your mind. However, it is up to you whom to let in your mind and whom you should never. When you are in control of your thoughts and mind, nothing and nobody can distract you.

6. “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” – Oscar Wilde

Difficult times are very tricky, because they can make you believe that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t realize that today’s struggles are for a better tomorrow.

They’re not permanent, and they’re not going to last forever. Once you are determined to change your situation then even God will help you with that. Just remember the saying, “God helps those who help themselves.”

7. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are influenced by our environment, friends, family, and work, yet it’s up to us to make what we want of our life.

For example, if you want to be a writer, do everything you possibly can to do it. Surround yourself with people who truly want to write, and make sure to write every single day. You’re the only one who can make your dreams a reality, so make sure you do whatever it takes to keep pushing your limits.

8. “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”  – Deepak Chopra

This quote is too profound and subtle that summarizes this whole article. It might change the way you look at your problems right now.

There are circumstances to knock you down, issues you are not able to solve, and they seem completely out of your control. It is not at all easy to keep calm at this point, however, if you learn how to be still in the midst of all the chaos, you are a winner. You have won half the battle just by doing this.

Winning and losing is just a part of life. No matter in which phase of your life you are, remember that there is a purpose behind it and you will know what that purpose is at the right time.

One day you will be grateful for all the struggles and mistakes because they will make you a stronger, better, and a more beautiful human being.

Which one of these quotes inspired you the most and why? Let us know in the comments below!

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Motivation

Music Motivation: Every Superhero Needs Theme Music and That Includes You

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Every superhero, fictional or real, needs theme music. And every one of us underdogs needs theme music too! The unmistakable sound of the intro beat starts, your energy level rises, you hear “…the eye of the tiger,  it’s the thrill of the fight…”, instantly you are ready to take on your next challenge as if Creed or Rocky, or some old school Wu-Tang song comes on and suddenly you’re reminded of Marvel’s Luke Cage action scenes and are now ready to, figuratively, save Harlem, your neighborhood, and the world!

Music is part of our daily lives. It’s often around us, even when we don’t mean for it to be. To reach peak performance in our day-to-day routine, it’s crucial to be aware of the music around us and work to consciously choose the music we are around.

Music moves us in more ways than you might think, and just like our friends, our hobbies, our meals and anything else which gives us that extra swagger, music is a powerful tool that can create all the difference in our mood, our productivity, and our results. Whether you are on the come up, the comeback, or fighting to keep what you hustled so hard to create, the journey is a daily grind and music can help you keep that grind going, and going strong.

Groovy Science

Your daily hustle can be stressful. Listening to music, according to Medical News Today, has many health benefits. Music can reduce your stress and anxiety, ramp up your memory and improve medical conditions such as seizures or brain damage caused from strokes.

Music can even help you ideate differently because it makes you more creative overall, according to a team of researchers at the University of Technology Sydney and Radboud University in Nijmegen. So, cue up some music and get your creative juices flowing. Your stress will go down and your creativity will go up, leading you to feel happier about yourself and your life overall.

“Whenever humans come together for any reason, music is there… weddings, funerals, graduation from college, men marching off to war, stadium sporting events, a night on the town, prayer, a romantic dinner, mothers rocking their infants to sleep and college students studying with music as a background… music is and was [always] part of the fabric of everyday life.” – Daniel Levitin

Sometimes when you’re on the long road to success you start losing motivation for your goals. Eventually, many of us come to a crossroads of moving forward or turning back, and sometimes all it takes is a quick motivational activity to get your energy back. You could make a vision board, refine your core value, update your bucket list, create a to-do list, and so on.

I’m all for each of those as ways to get your swagger back and keep it, but at the same time, sometimes daily motivation calls for new approaches too. Especially approaches that are easily accessible at any moment and don’t require a huge investment of time, money or other resources you may or may not have.

An intentional use of music could be the new approach that you take to help you get through those days when you feel like giving up. Time for you to have your “Eye of the Tiger” and make a comeback. And “Protect ‘Yo Neck” and others to save the day like Luke Cage. Then “Cheers” with everybody that knows your name and always glad you came. Let’s create our own theme music and intentionally enjoy the health benefits and swagger of music.

Your Theme Music

Here’s how to create your personal soundtrack so you can have something to motivate you anytime you need it, no matter where you’re at. Begin with a playlist of about five songs. Pick songs that will raise your energy level and remind you of your purpose, important goals, and/or your core values.

Then create a name for your playlist and a nickname for yourself. You can refresh your personal soundtrack as your priorities and goals change. And for us underdog music junkies already bothered by the five song limit, you can create an additional playlist called “The B-Side” for all other songs.

Here’s an example (You’ll get to see mine!):

Playlist NameThe Voice of the Underdog!

Your NicknameThe O.G. aka The Original Gregory aka Mr. Reset Button

Five Songs Playlist:

1: “The People” by Common. – I do what I do for the people aka the Underdogs!

2: “The Point of It All” by Anthony Hamilton – …because a healthy love life is part of a healthy life.

3: “Reach” by Robyn Hood – I’m gonna keep reaching and hustling hard.

4: “Sky’s The Limit” by Biggie Smalls – I mean, the title says it all, right?!  

5: “Hate It or Love It” by The Game, 50 Cent – Hate it or love it Underdogs will be on top!

Bonus Track: “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” by Gil Scott-Heron – All of the turnaround won’t be televised, but it will happen. Keep pushin!

Playlist Playful Description:

I do it for “The People” and the people I love, that’s “The Point of It All.” Now is the time I “Reach” even higher because “The Sky’s The Limit.” “Hate It or Love It” Underdogs are gonna be on top. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” but there will be music playing and I will make it happen!

“Music can change the world because it can change people.” – Bono

Press Play Daily

Well, what ya waiting for!? Music helps with creativity so turn on some of your favorite music right now and start brainstorming the songs that have meaning to you, will motivate you and inspire your daily hustle.

When you’re done creating your personal soundtrack, you’ll have mobile motivation that is only a press of the play button away. What will be your theme music? Really, what will it be? Because every one of us underdogs needs theme music so we can get and stay motivated to get from Front Street to Swaggerback Boulevard.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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The One Crucial Ingredient for Success That Motivation Can’t Give You

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Some people say motivation is literally the only thing you need to be successful. They say it is the crucial element in setting and attaining goals. But is that really true? A lot of content is produced online that’s aimed to motivate and move you into massive action in the hopes that you’ll finally become successful.

While I do think the intentions behind such claims are noble, most people totally misunderstand how motivation works. More importantly, they’re totally unaware of the real determining factor behind an individual’s success.

Let me start off by debunking a colossal myth about motivation: Motivation equals success. This is not true. Here’s the truth: Motivation does not equal success for you. The only thing that equals success for you is you and the way you develop and rearrange your mind.

You can spend as much time as you like watching, following and investing your money on motivational courses or seminars but there’s no guarantee your life will transform. It’s a great marketing line, but certainly not the way success works.

Yes, your guru knows just how to press the right buttons. Each time he or she speaks and shares a rags to riches story, you feel yourself rising from that pit of despair threatening your very existence. Nonetheless, just writing down those goals or visualizing success is not how results are created in your life. If you’ve been an avid personal development student, this has probably started sinking in.

So am I saying you should abandon your current craving for watching Abraham Hicks and Tony Robbins or those well crafted Goalcast videos? Heck no. These videos and seminars pump you up and keep your fire burning. It’s awesome! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with strategically setting aside some time to regularly feed yourself content that raises your spirits. The problem is when that’s all you do.

“Don’t think, just do.” – Horace

As it so happens, most people are stuck at this point, which is why they see no results even after reading the books, watching the videos and attending the seminars. Sure, a few things may change here and there, but true and permanent transformation – that’s something not enough people are experiencing. And here’s why.

Most people are still missing this crucial ingredient that is fundamental to both permanent transformation and success: True conviction and habit formation. In other words, they lack the belief which forms the habit that results in success.

Your results are determined by your actions. The actions you take are determined by your behavior which is under the direct influence of your habits and as we all know, your habits are not formed through intellectual reasoning or applied force. In fact, your habits and beliefs can’t even be formed instantly.

In other words, it doesn’t matter what anyone else says or does, if your creative mind and powerhouse does not get impressed upon with that idea of riches and success, no physical result will appear.

This is perhaps the one thing most motivational gurus don’t emphasize enough. If they did, we’d see more people invested  in doing “inner work” instead of scrolling through Instagram feeds hungry for another motivational quote.

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

The point to take home is simply this: Your inner convictions and the habits you form constitute your ruling mental state. After that motivational video is over, and the shot of adrenaline dies out, you’ll jump back into whatever ruling state your mind has set as the default pattern.

Therefore if you truly want to experience the success your gurus are painting for you as a possibility, master the skill of habit formation.

Get good at creating habits that prompt actions that lead to success; develop deep beliefs that serve you and consistently impress your creative powerhouse with the right feeling and the end result will inevitably be success.

Everything else you find externally is at best a clue and at worst a distraction but definitely not “the magical ingredient.” If at all there is such a thing as a magical ingredient to fast track your success, it will only be found by looking within.

So take an honest self-inventory right now. How much time each day goes into feeding your motivational craving, and how much real inner work and habit formation are you invested in?

What is one goal you’d like to succeed in accomplishing before the end of the year? Share with us below!

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