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5 Ways For Entrepreneurs to Keep The Creative Juices Flowing

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5 Ways For Entrepreneurs to Keep The Creative Juices Flowing

No matter what business you are in, chances are the competition is fierce. You probably have a website, you have your marketing, you may even blog, but you need to do everything you can to stand out.

Running your own business requires both the right and left brain. It requires doing everything you can to be original in a world where your competition is busy saying and producing the same things. When it comes to standing out, creativity is a must. But you know something? Creativity doesn’t come from banging your head against the wall. It often doesn’t come by staring at a blank computer screen.

It often comes in the moments when we are – Gasp – living our lives. It creeps up on us when we are away from the computer. Those ideas pop up at all times. There is an eerie truth to the cliché that ideas come while you are in the shower. So the best thing you can do is carry a notebook and jot them down whenever they might pop into your mind (feel free to dry off first, if needed).

We were born with creativity. We were born with the urge to draw, paint, write and create. Somewhere along the line as adults, it becomes a struggle to hang on to.

Here are 5 steps entrepreneurs can take to boost their creativity:

 

1. Get some kind of physical activity

I know, I know, operating your business takes time. It takes all of your energy and focus. You are a busy person, who doesn’t have any time for yourself. Or you just hate exercise. Maybe you broke your alarm clock throwing it against the wall. Insert reason. Insert excuse.

I’m not saying you have to run a marathon or bench press 300 pounds. Just start simple. Go for a half-hour walk. Do some pushups or situps before you take your morning shower. Do something. Exercise will jolt your normal routine. You may begin to think of things differently. Exercise will help your creativity. Who knows, you might even become healthier.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

2. Read outside your industry

When you invest all of your energy into building your business it is easy to live life with a singular focus. You spend your waking hours thinking of nothing but how to improve your business. Here’s something easier said than done – you need to break that urge. Sure, read the most important industry books, blogs or research, but read other stuff too.

What else do you absolutely love reading? For me it’s personal essays and biographies. Maybe even a novel sprinkled in here and there. The thing is, reading outside your industry will give you ideas. When you come across an applicable idea, write about it, implement it, do whatever you need to do. This is how you can breathe a little creativity and originality into a world of clones.

 

3. Go out for lunch

Again, I know you are busy. We all are, but if you are a solo entrepreneur, it becomes very easy to live in an isolated world where every day is the same. Even if you run a larger business, it is still possible for your focus to become singularly constrained. It’s time to mix things up and talk with some new people.

Do you have friends or colleagues who do something interesting for a living? Now is not the time to be shy. Call them, grab lunch, grab coffee, pick their brain. If no one in particular comes to mind, network. Truly think about it. You can find someone. Most people are comfortable talking about themselves. So go ahead and ask questions about who they are, and what they do.

 

4. Do what your significant other says 

This is another piece of advice that can go against every grain of our being. If you find yourself extremely frustrated with a lack of progress on any given project, it is probably time to step away from the computer. Go run that errand. Take out the garbage.

Empty the dishwasher. Most of these things do not take the time that we think they do. Most of us are not “above” doing these things, like we think we are. So go, step away, let your brain reboot. You may get that idea while you are gone.

 “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” – Pablo Picasso

5. Create something

What are your interests outside of your work? Play guitar, paint, build something, take photos. Whatever your interest may be, don’t neglect it. Even if it’s just a half hour of your day, it will break up your routine and leave you feeling accomplished and refreshed.

 

Thank you for reading my article! I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Magnus Agency

    Jul 9, 2016 at 1:10 am

    Great article. Thank you.

  2. Salim

    Nov 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Your advice is excellent and I am implementing it immediately! A lot of it I already know but I definitely need the reminder… Thanks

  3. Chris Targett

    Aug 5, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Physical activity has to be my favourite.

    I love the idea of reading outside of your industry, I’ve had some good ideas come from doing something with little relevance to my field.

  4. Heitem Ak

    Aug 3, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Nice one Matt,

    Physical activities are so underrated!

    Heitem Ak

  5. Rita

    Aug 3, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Thank you for such a helpful article. I especially like the advice of just “create something.”

  6. Dotchamou Zakari

    Aug 2, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you for your post. I think that in this noisy world where many things call our attention, one of the hardest things to do is to still listen to our inner voice that can help us to innovate and move us far from the ordinary. Those who want to stay for a long time in the road of entrepreneurships know that they must continue to innovate, that is why your article is very useful for any person who want to be creative.

  7. Travel the Life

    Aug 2, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Totally agree about all the things; and we consider one of the most important is to “create something”.

Leave a Reply

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

Motivation

How To See What You’re Truly Capable Of Becoming And Then Becoming It.

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I have an opportunity right now to do something that will propel my life and career to a whole new level. It will take me from behind the keyboard and into the spotlight of critics, people with a lot of power, people I admire and the masses.

It’s a dangerous crossroads in a lot of ways. There’s a lot that could go wrong. Normally I am full of belief, but in the last few days, I’ve had my doubts.

Maybe I shouldn’t aim so high so quickly. Maybe I will get distracted from what I really love doing. Maybe I don’t have the skills just yet.

What you’re hearing here is the thoughts of a stock standard, off the shelf, pink brain that was designed hundreds of years ago for a different purpose.

None of these thoughts are valid unless I accept they are.

Seeing what you are capable of becoming requires a few key steps. Then becoming it is the hardest part.

Here’s how to see what you can become and then actually become it:

 

Believe first.

“This is not gospel talk. I didn’t pull this one out of the pages of a hymn book. Until you can see what you are able to become, no one else can see it”

There’s an element of visualization required here. Ask yourself the question “What if there were no barriers and I could achieve anything?”

I want you to assume this is the case. To see what you are able to become you must see it first without barriers, negative thinking and outside opinions.

Once you can see what you can become, you then have to start believing. That requires you to see a positive outcome and have the courage to dare to do something phenomenal.

Believing first requires a degree of ignorance. In a way, I suppose you are ignoring logic. You are being somewhat irrational and not using common sense. You’re using belief to see a future version of yourself that achieves something meaningful to you, and to those who are inspired by your work.

 

Make it really big.

The next step is to dream really big. Our mind often constrains us and forces us to focus on what we’ve done in the past as the basis for what we can become in the future.

The stupid thing is that past results don’t necessarily predict the future. If that were true, we’d all bet on the stock market based on what has happened before and we’d be millionaires sipping mojitos off the bar of our luxury yachts.

Making your dream really big is an art. Your imagination that has been mostly switched off since you were a child and the creativity that has been sucked out of you by society needs to be reignited for the dreaming element of your mind to be turned on again and lit on fire baby!

If you aim really high and think you can deliver a speech in front of 50,000 people and then you fall short and deliver an inspiring speech in front of 2000 people, have you really failed?

The obvious answer is no. At least you got out of your warm bed and took a chance. Maybe there were a lot of seats empty but you at least influenced one person in a positive way.

“Giving it a shot is half the game of life”

 

Disconnect from the result.

Being fixated on the result stops you from ever taking the first step. I’ve been so focused in the last week on whether I can deliver and whether I have the experience to do something audaciously big that I didn’t take action.

I was blindsided by fear even though I know fear better than my own body.

Fear has been the thing that nearly ruined my life and prevented me from typing these very words. In some ways, it’s because I can smell the perfume of fear and see it a mile away with my Superman eyes, that I’m able to see what’s really going on, not only in my life, but the lives of others.

Never giving it a go is a far bigger failure than trying something and not succeeding. Not taking a chance and not risking it all for the person you’ve always wanted to become is something you’ll regret for the rest of your life.

Right up until the day of your death you’ll regret not knowing what could have happened if you saw what you were capable off, took a moon-shot opportunity and became that person.

“Regret is far worse than failure will ever be”

 

Be okay with not knowing a hell of a lot.

Part of the battle of seeing what you can become and then becoming it is that there is a lot you won’t know. The person I want to become in the coming weeks and months, and the opportunity I’m scared to say yes to has a lot to do with the core issue: I have no idea whether I can deliver on my promise.

I have no clue if I am this person that people think I am on the internet. Do I really inspire people? Or do I get inspired by other people and use that as fuel to pass it on?

We’ll never know the answers to these questions. We all have doubts and pieces to the puzzle of life that we can’t figure out.

In the end, there’s only a few harsh truths:

–    You must say yes to big opportunities

–    You must not overthink every decision

–    You must not try to have all the answers

–    You must not continually play out every scenario in your head thus draining your energy

All you can do is have guts, believe in yourself, have the courage and become who you’re truly capable of becoming through relentless action.

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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Motivation

You Can’t Be 100% Motivated And On Fire All The Time So Stop Trying To Be.

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Right now, I’m not feeling that motivated. In fact, I haven’t felt very inspired or motivated all week. Given that motivating and inspiring others is my passion and it’s what I do every day, you’d think my career was over. You’d think maybe I have no more positivity left in me.

Even the most inspirational people in the world have times when nothing happens.

I recently watched Gary Vaynerchuk give advice to a young teenager. The teenager said:

“Gary, my girlfriend broke up with me and a relative just died. The last two weeks are hell.”

Gary took a few deep breaths and you just knew he was going to say something epic – and he did.

He said to the boy “Two weeks of lows doesn’t define the rest of your life.”

 

We’re all entitled to be down for a bit.

What I learned from Gary is that we are all going to have times during our life where nothing sticks. In the last few weeks, I’ve missed several great career opportunities, had a lot of rejection, seen a slump in shares/likes on some social media platforms and had some personal challenges.

All of this is normal.

 

What’s not normal is what you see online.

That’s the real point here. What is normal has been overshadowed by all the self-help, success talk that happens online 24/7. We’re being bombarded by it and we think we have to be motivated 100% of the time.

If we have a day when we’re not inspired, we think something is wrong. In my case, given my profession, it’s even harder. There’s this stigma that I have to be some perfect human being to do what I do. That’s BS.

It’s normal for anyone you admire and even your heroes to have low points or long periods of nothing – that’s the actual norm. The highlight reel you see online of the people you follow is what’s not normal. No one lives life like how we see people living online.

The cameras are only with these people of influence some of the time. What you didn’t see was them taking a dump or having an argument with their partner.

All you saw was a highly edited success reel of what they wanted you to see so they could send you to a landing page, put up a payment wall and monetize you. That’s what being motivated 100% of the time told them to do.

You can’t blame them entirely.

What the internet really needs is more of the truth. That is, more people talking about what goes wrong, more people documenting what’s really happening.

In simple terms, the internet needs less perceived perfection and success, and more of what’s real like disappointment, f*ck ups and challenges.

 

Not being motivated is where it all happens.

The opposite of what we’re led to believe is true. It’s during the moments of zero inspiration, bugger all motivation and low points that we discover who we are. It’s in our weakest moments that our strength, resilience and courage is built.

What I’ve learned during my recent low moments is that if I can handle this sh*t, then I can handle anything.

“Motivation comes from eating crap for dinner every day of the week and still persisting with your goals”

I’m writing these words today and not really feeling like it. It’s the art of doing even through the tough times that allows me to have a 60-second highlight reel on social media that makes me look like a freaking god that goes viral all over the internet hourly.

My success highlight reel looks very impressive and it sounds fantastic during one of the speeches I give. In job interviews, it really helps. When I pitch for business, it gives me credibility.

Our success highlight reels look freaking phenomenal but it’s 0.99% of the actual story.

If humans are motivated by storytelling, then let’s start telling the real story.

We’re not f*cking motivated 100% of the time so let’s stop pretending we are. Cheers to the moments when we feel like dirt and keep going.

 

Then everything changes.

What do I mean? This week I have no motivation but I already sense that next week is shaping up to be a big one. I find out about a number of life-changing opportunities. Knowing I could get through a tough week and be cool to keep inspiring gives me hope. That hope translates into strength.

Next week could be a disaster and these so-called life-changing opportunities could all amount to a mound of dust and broken dreams. But because I survived the tough times I know I can excel during times when I plateau, go backwards or even experience massive growth.

“It only takes one moment for everything to change and before you know it you’re 100 steps ahead of where you thought you’d be”

 

Quit the game.

The game of endless success. The rat race that is showing how perfect you are.

Show up with your best self. If that best self is 1% motivated or 100% motivated it doesn’t matter. The fact you showed up and got through the quicksand of life is all that counts. Sometimes that struggle will look like winning an Oscar and other times that struggle will look like pissing your pants.

Take a step back and see the bigger picture.

No one (including me) needs to, or is, motivated 100% of the time.

You don’t need to be either.

<<<>>>

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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Motivation

2 Things You Need to Know: How to Hack Motivation With Avoidance and Approach Goals

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how to hack motivation

Motivation is a sneaky beast. It can hide in plain sight, and it can express itself when we least expect it. Motivation (and its frequent companion inspiration) can often elude us for days, weeks or years, only to jump out at in an instant with such force that we drop everything in order to capture it before we lose the moment.

Often times, these random “attacks of motivation” happen with little warning, when we are least prepared to take advantage of them. For instance, how many of you have had a moment of clarity or have felt motivated to act on some idea while in the shower? How many of you have perhaps had a similar feeling when going for a run or driving to work? Motivation can come at any time and in any way. Unfortunately, the very randomness keeps us from being able to act effectively to get more done. So what do we do to take hold of our lives and guide our own sources of motivation?

To get more done in less time, we need to understand the power of two types of motivation. Once we explore each of these types of motivation, we must learn to set goals around both to create positive feedback loops. This will make it easier for us to develop stronger motivational habits and take control of what motivates us.

While there are many ways to define motivation, today I will focus on two types: avoidance and approach motivation. The way we will define both types of motivation provides an in-depth look into how we see the world, and ultimately how successful we will be in it.

1. What is avoidance motivation?

Avoidance motivation is part of what makes us human, and it is integral to our survival. This type of motivation helps us avoid negative experiences across psychological, physical, and social boundaries. It’s what told us to run away from saber-toothed tigers or to not dive into shark infested waters looking for food. Clearly, avoidance is a good way of staying safe in a world of unknowns. Unsure about what your boss thinks about your last project? It’s best not to ask to avoid disappointment or emotional trauma. Considering whether to apply for a job in another country? Best to avoid it in case you like the culture.

Unfortunately, avoidance motivation often has negative consequences. It makes us more likely to avoid tasks that we know rationally will be positive experiences for us. It makes us avoid going for that big promotion we aren’t necessarily qualified for. It makes us not get on that airplane to travel to that new new country and experience that new culture.

“Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you.” — George Whitefield

2. What is approach motivation?

Approach motivation is any type of motivation that drives action and forward progress towards a certain outcome or activity. It’s what pushes the nerdy high school kid to talk to their crush in the hallway. It’s what drives the explorer to see what the view looks like from the top of the tallest mountain. It’s the itch the traveller gets when they go too long without taking a trip. It’s what inspired humans to explore outer space. Rather than avoiding certain activities, approach motivation drives individuals to explore and become more productive in their day-to-day existence.

When we consider approach motivation, the most often cited examples relate to feelings of opportunity, fulfilment and exploration. When you see an opportunity to achieve some goal that falls along Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, you are more likely to take action. When you see the opportunity to grow your pool of resources, that may motivate you to take action (strengthening your ability to provide food and shelter to yourself and your family). Similarly, you may see the opportunity to gain recognition or acclaim through appearing on television or writing a blog post. This feeds your ability to achieve self-fulfilment, belonging and perhaps even self-actualisation.

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” — Sam Levenson

So how do we take this information and action it? How do we make it useful on a day-to-day basis?

The best way to leverage the lessons of approach and avoidance motivation is to set goals that align with each type of motivation. Take the following approach to help guide you on the path to taking control of what motivates you:

First, understand the difference between avoidance and approach goals. Most people will find that they tend to avoid activities that are unpleasant to them, all the while approaching those activities that are most enjoyable or fulfilling. Let’s think of approach goals as positive (i.e. finishing a project ahead of schedule, finding a new job) and avoidance goals as negative (i.e. avoiding drinking too much, avoiding talking in public).

Avoidance goals are goals for reducing, avoiding or eliminating undesired outcomes. While these goals are powerful, they are often harder to accomplish. You may want to cut down the number of sweets you eat each day, the number of cigarettes you smoke, the total time you spend watching Netflix. These types of goals work, sometimes, but they are much more likely to stick if you spin them to an approach goal with a positive spin.

Approach goals aim to guide someone to reach or maintain a desired outcome. People are more likely to commit to completing tasks and taking part in activities that are positioned in a positive light. Approach goals become more potent motivational goals because they focus on action and activity around what can be done to reach a goal.

If you want to get better at setting and following through on your personal and career goals, make a point of creating both approach and avoid goals and being aware of the subtle differences between both.

Do you have any approach or avoidance goals that have been particularly challenging to reach? Would love to hear about them!

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Motivation

Motivational Advice You Never Hear From Elon Musk

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elon musk

Elon Musk is the hottest entrepreneur on the planet right now. From launching an electric car into space, selling flamethrowers on Twitter, and tunneling holes throughout the country, his unconventional ventures are inspiring millions.

It should come as no surprise that his motivational advice is unconventional, as well. Motivational content can become cliche and overused. Every now and then, you need to hear an opposing idea to challenge your way of thinking.

Here are 3 things from Elon Musk you never hear from motivational blogs that will shake you up and make you reconsider your approach:

Quote #1: “If you need inspiring words, don’t do it.”

Entrepreneurs don’t read motivational blog posts all day. They have real life problems that they need to find real life solutions to. If they have a hiring need, they contact recruitment agencies, compare costs for different vendors, implement solutions, test results, and learn from their experiences. Inspiring words are a shot of espresso to boost their performance, not the food pyramid that nourishes their body to keep going throughout the day.

A motivational quote or video might inspire them for a moment, but they certainly are not spending hours pouring through the self-help section at Barnes and Nobles. If that is you, reconsider whether you are addicted to being motivated or you are addicted to whatever it is you want to do. If you’re an aspiring writer, are you spending more time reading how to write, or are you spending more time actually writing? Audit your behavior and be honest with yourself.

If you are relying on external motivation to keep you going on a project, then once that external motivation is gone, you slow down. You must find something deeper within yourself to keep pushing through the hard times. Doubt is inevitable but failure is necessary.

Quote #2: “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”

People tell you to play it safe, find a mentor, research your market, make sure there is demand. All of this is conventional wisdom. It’s not bad advice, but it’s what everyone is told and it’s what everyone is doing. If Elon Musk listened to this advice he would not be Elon Musk.

Elon Musk revolutionized two industries that people never would have thought to enter. Tesla became the first American car company to go public since Ford Motor Company in 1956. When starting SpaceX, one of his friends collected several clips of rockets blowing up and made him watch a video. Elon proves if you want to make it big, you have to take a big risk.

Most importantly, if you want to succeed, you have to do something you are passionate about. Elon Musk could have made it rich in any other industry doing something far less complicated. Instead, he chose to pursue his passion for making the world a better place by providing alternative energy transportation and creating a new movement of space travel to save humanity.

He gave himself a 10% chance of success rate with both companies when he started. He chose to start them anyway. If you have nothing to risk, you have nothing to gain. The reward is proportional to the risk. If something is important to you, you will pursue it in spite of any amount of risk you might face.

Quote #3: “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”

Most people avoid criticism. Criticism shows us we might be something wrong. We were raised to avoid being wrong but Elon Musk actively seeks it. Criticism shows you how you can improve and learn.

You learn nothing when someone tells you what you’re doing right. It might feel good, but like it is said in the movie Whiplash, “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘good job’.” Feeling good breeds contentment and leads you to a place of complacency.

Of course, most of us are not Elon Musk and do not operate at his level of intensity. You might decide relentless improvement is not something you value or want in your life. Nothing is wrong with being content and happy with where you are in life. A continual desire for improvement does not mean you need to be discontent with everything. You can choose how far you want to go on your journey of self-improvement and success.

In a world where companies try to pretend like everything is going right, Elon Musk takes the opposite approach. He pretends like everything is going wrong, and he wants to make things less wrong. His approach opens the door for failure and welcomes the opportunity for improvement. Are you allowing yourself to fail? Are you acknowledging your flaws?

We all want to be like Elon Musk. Not all of us want to work 100+ hours a week. There is a middle ground somewhere where we can all learn from. Find your ‘why’ and let that inspire you. Don’t rely on motivational words to keep you going, use it as a supplement, not a meal. Lastly, when everyone is asking themself what is going well, ask yourself what is going wrong.

What do you think of Elon Musk? Comment below!

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Life

The 9 Question Exercise Which Will Help You Prioritize What Matters Most

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prioritize

You’re busy, I get it. If you’re like me, you’re constantly jumping from one activity to the next. From one commitment to another, you barely have enough time to think, let alone ask yourself the meaningful questions that will help you drive your career forward or lift your business to the next level. Nonetheless, you owe it to yourself and those around you to take the time to clearly define your goals and your aspirations if you are going to make real progress in any direction. (more…)

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

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Magnus Agency

    Jul 9, 2016 at 1:10 am

    Great article. Thank you.

  2. Salim

    Nov 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Your advice is excellent and I am implementing it immediately! A lot of it I already know but I definitely need the reminder… Thanks

  3. Chris Targett

    Aug 5, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Physical activity has to be my favourite.

    I love the idea of reading outside of your industry, I’ve had some good ideas come from doing something with little relevance to my field.

  4. Heitem Ak

    Aug 3, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Nice one Matt,

    Physical activities are so underrated!

    Heitem Ak

  5. Rita

    Aug 3, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Thank you for such a helpful article. I especially like the advice of just “create something.”

  6. Dotchamou Zakari

    Aug 2, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you for your post. I think that in this noisy world where many things call our attention, one of the hardest things to do is to still listen to our inner voice that can help us to innovate and move us far from the ordinary. Those who want to stay for a long time in the road of entrepreneurships know that they must continue to innovate, that is why your article is very useful for any person who want to be creative.

  7. Travel the Life

    Aug 2, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Totally agree about all the things; and we consider one of the most important is to “create something”.

Leave a Reply

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

Motivation

How To See What You’re Truly Capable Of Becoming And Then Becoming It.

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I have an opportunity right now to do something that will propel my life and career to a whole new level. It will take me from behind the keyboard and into the spotlight of critics, people with a lot of power, people I admire and the masses.

It’s a dangerous crossroads in a lot of ways. There’s a lot that could go wrong. Normally I am full of belief, but in the last few days, I’ve had my doubts.

Maybe I shouldn’t aim so high so quickly. Maybe I will get distracted from what I really love doing. Maybe I don’t have the skills just yet.

What you’re hearing here is the thoughts of a stock standard, off the shelf, pink brain that was designed hundreds of years ago for a different purpose.

None of these thoughts are valid unless I accept they are.

Seeing what you are capable of becoming requires a few key steps. Then becoming it is the hardest part.

Here’s how to see what you can become and then actually become it:

 

Believe first.

“This is not gospel talk. I didn’t pull this one out of the pages of a hymn book. Until you can see what you are able to become, no one else can see it”

There’s an element of visualization required here. Ask yourself the question “What if there were no barriers and I could achieve anything?”

I want you to assume this is the case. To see what you are able to become you must see it first without barriers, negative thinking and outside opinions.

Once you can see what you can become, you then have to start believing. That requires you to see a positive outcome and have the courage to dare to do something phenomenal.

Believing first requires a degree of ignorance. In a way, I suppose you are ignoring logic. You are being somewhat irrational and not using common sense. You’re using belief to see a future version of yourself that achieves something meaningful to you, and to those who are inspired by your work.

 

Make it really big.

The next step is to dream really big. Our mind often constrains us and forces us to focus on what we’ve done in the past as the basis for what we can become in the future.

The stupid thing is that past results don’t necessarily predict the future. If that were true, we’d all bet on the stock market based on what has happened before and we’d be millionaires sipping mojitos off the bar of our luxury yachts.

Making your dream really big is an art. Your imagination that has been mostly switched off since you were a child and the creativity that has been sucked out of you by society needs to be reignited for the dreaming element of your mind to be turned on again and lit on fire baby!

If you aim really high and think you can deliver a speech in front of 50,000 people and then you fall short and deliver an inspiring speech in front of 2000 people, have you really failed?

The obvious answer is no. At least you got out of your warm bed and took a chance. Maybe there were a lot of seats empty but you at least influenced one person in a positive way.

“Giving it a shot is half the game of life”

 

Disconnect from the result.

Being fixated on the result stops you from ever taking the first step. I’ve been so focused in the last week on whether I can deliver and whether I have the experience to do something audaciously big that I didn’t take action.

I was blindsided by fear even though I know fear better than my own body.

Fear has been the thing that nearly ruined my life and prevented me from typing these very words. In some ways, it’s because I can smell the perfume of fear and see it a mile away with my Superman eyes, that I’m able to see what’s really going on, not only in my life, but the lives of others.

Never giving it a go is a far bigger failure than trying something and not succeeding. Not taking a chance and not risking it all for the person you’ve always wanted to become is something you’ll regret for the rest of your life.

Right up until the day of your death you’ll regret not knowing what could have happened if you saw what you were capable off, took a moon-shot opportunity and became that person.

“Regret is far worse than failure will ever be”

 

Be okay with not knowing a hell of a lot.

Part of the battle of seeing what you can become and then becoming it is that there is a lot you won’t know. The person I want to become in the coming weeks and months, and the opportunity I’m scared to say yes to has a lot to do with the core issue: I have no idea whether I can deliver on my promise.

I have no clue if I am this person that people think I am on the internet. Do I really inspire people? Or do I get inspired by other people and use that as fuel to pass it on?

We’ll never know the answers to these questions. We all have doubts and pieces to the puzzle of life that we can’t figure out.

In the end, there’s only a few harsh truths:

–    You must say yes to big opportunities

–    You must not overthink every decision

–    You must not try to have all the answers

–    You must not continually play out every scenario in your head thus draining your energy

All you can do is have guts, believe in yourself, have the courage and become who you’re truly capable of becoming through relentless action.

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Motivation

You Can’t Be 100% Motivated And On Fire All The Time So Stop Trying To Be.

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Right now, I’m not feeling that motivated. In fact, I haven’t felt very inspired or motivated all week. Given that motivating and inspiring others is my passion and it’s what I do every day, you’d think my career was over. You’d think maybe I have no more positivity left in me.

Even the most inspirational people in the world have times when nothing happens.

I recently watched Gary Vaynerchuk give advice to a young teenager. The teenager said:

“Gary, my girlfriend broke up with me and a relative just died. The last two weeks are hell.”

Gary took a few deep breaths and you just knew he was going to say something epic – and he did.

He said to the boy “Two weeks of lows doesn’t define the rest of your life.”

 

We’re all entitled to be down for a bit.

What I learned from Gary is that we are all going to have times during our life where nothing sticks. In the last few weeks, I’ve missed several great career opportunities, had a lot of rejection, seen a slump in shares/likes on some social media platforms and had some personal challenges.

All of this is normal.

 

What’s not normal is what you see online.

That’s the real point here. What is normal has been overshadowed by all the self-help, success talk that happens online 24/7. We’re being bombarded by it and we think we have to be motivated 100% of the time.

If we have a day when we’re not inspired, we think something is wrong. In my case, given my profession, it’s even harder. There’s this stigma that I have to be some perfect human being to do what I do. That’s BS.

It’s normal for anyone you admire and even your heroes to have low points or long periods of nothing – that’s the actual norm. The highlight reel you see online of the people you follow is what’s not normal. No one lives life like how we see people living online.

The cameras are only with these people of influence some of the time. What you didn’t see was them taking a dump or having an argument with their partner.

All you saw was a highly edited success reel of what they wanted you to see so they could send you to a landing page, put up a payment wall and monetize you. That’s what being motivated 100% of the time told them to do.

You can’t blame them entirely.

What the internet really needs is more of the truth. That is, more people talking about what goes wrong, more people documenting what’s really happening.

In simple terms, the internet needs less perceived perfection and success, and more of what’s real like disappointment, f*ck ups and challenges.

 

Not being motivated is where it all happens.

The opposite of what we’re led to believe is true. It’s during the moments of zero inspiration, bugger all motivation and low points that we discover who we are. It’s in our weakest moments that our strength, resilience and courage is built.

What I’ve learned during my recent low moments is that if I can handle this sh*t, then I can handle anything.

“Motivation comes from eating crap for dinner every day of the week and still persisting with your goals”

I’m writing these words today and not really feeling like it. It’s the art of doing even through the tough times that allows me to have a 60-second highlight reel on social media that makes me look like a freaking god that goes viral all over the internet hourly.

My success highlight reel looks very impressive and it sounds fantastic during one of the speeches I give. In job interviews, it really helps. When I pitch for business, it gives me credibility.

Our success highlight reels look freaking phenomenal but it’s 0.99% of the actual story.

If humans are motivated by storytelling, then let’s start telling the real story.

We’re not f*cking motivated 100% of the time so let’s stop pretending we are. Cheers to the moments when we feel like dirt and keep going.

 

Then everything changes.

What do I mean? This week I have no motivation but I already sense that next week is shaping up to be a big one. I find out about a number of life-changing opportunities. Knowing I could get through a tough week and be cool to keep inspiring gives me hope. That hope translates into strength.

Next week could be a disaster and these so-called life-changing opportunities could all amount to a mound of dust and broken dreams. But because I survived the tough times I know I can excel during times when I plateau, go backwards or even experience massive growth.

“It only takes one moment for everything to change and before you know it you’re 100 steps ahead of where you thought you’d be”

 

Quit the game.

The game of endless success. The rat race that is showing how perfect you are.

Show up with your best self. If that best self is 1% motivated or 100% motivated it doesn’t matter. The fact you showed up and got through the quicksand of life is all that counts. Sometimes that struggle will look like winning an Oscar and other times that struggle will look like pissing your pants.

Take a step back and see the bigger picture.

No one (including me) needs to, or is, motivated 100% of the time.

You don’t need to be either.

<<<>>>

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Motivation

2 Things You Need to Know: How to Hack Motivation With Avoidance and Approach Goals

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Motivation is a sneaky beast. It can hide in plain sight, and it can express itself when we least expect it. Motivation (and its frequent companion inspiration) can often elude us for days, weeks or years, only to jump out at in an instant with such force that we drop everything in order to capture it before we lose the moment.

Often times, these random “attacks of motivation” happen with little warning, when we are least prepared to take advantage of them. For instance, how many of you have had a moment of clarity or have felt motivated to act on some idea while in the shower? How many of you have perhaps had a similar feeling when going for a run or driving to work? Motivation can come at any time and in any way. Unfortunately, the very randomness keeps us from being able to act effectively to get more done. So what do we do to take hold of our lives and guide our own sources of motivation?

To get more done in less time, we need to understand the power of two types of motivation. Once we explore each of these types of motivation, we must learn to set goals around both to create positive feedback loops. This will make it easier for us to develop stronger motivational habits and take control of what motivates us.

While there are many ways to define motivation, today I will focus on two types: avoidance and approach motivation. The way we will define both types of motivation provides an in-depth look into how we see the world, and ultimately how successful we will be in it.

1. What is avoidance motivation?

Avoidance motivation is part of what makes us human, and it is integral to our survival. This type of motivation helps us avoid negative experiences across psychological, physical, and social boundaries. It’s what told us to run away from saber-toothed tigers or to not dive into shark infested waters looking for food. Clearly, avoidance is a good way of staying safe in a world of unknowns. Unsure about what your boss thinks about your last project? It’s best not to ask to avoid disappointment or emotional trauma. Considering whether to apply for a job in another country? Best to avoid it in case you like the culture.

Unfortunately, avoidance motivation often has negative consequences. It makes us more likely to avoid tasks that we know rationally will be positive experiences for us. It makes us avoid going for that big promotion we aren’t necessarily qualified for. It makes us not get on that airplane to travel to that new new country and experience that new culture.

“Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you.” — George Whitefield

2. What is approach motivation?

Approach motivation is any type of motivation that drives action and forward progress towards a certain outcome or activity. It’s what pushes the nerdy high school kid to talk to their crush in the hallway. It’s what drives the explorer to see what the view looks like from the top of the tallest mountain. It’s the itch the traveller gets when they go too long without taking a trip. It’s what inspired humans to explore outer space. Rather than avoiding certain activities, approach motivation drives individuals to explore and become more productive in their day-to-day existence.

When we consider approach motivation, the most often cited examples relate to feelings of opportunity, fulfilment and exploration. When you see an opportunity to achieve some goal that falls along Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, you are more likely to take action. When you see the opportunity to grow your pool of resources, that may motivate you to take action (strengthening your ability to provide food and shelter to yourself and your family). Similarly, you may see the opportunity to gain recognition or acclaim through appearing on television or writing a blog post. This feeds your ability to achieve self-fulfilment, belonging and perhaps even self-actualisation.

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” — Sam Levenson

So how do we take this information and action it? How do we make it useful on a day-to-day basis?

The best way to leverage the lessons of approach and avoidance motivation is to set goals that align with each type of motivation. Take the following approach to help guide you on the path to taking control of what motivates you:

First, understand the difference between avoidance and approach goals. Most people will find that they tend to avoid activities that are unpleasant to them, all the while approaching those activities that are most enjoyable or fulfilling. Let’s think of approach goals as positive (i.e. finishing a project ahead of schedule, finding a new job) and avoidance goals as negative (i.e. avoiding drinking too much, avoiding talking in public).

Avoidance goals are goals for reducing, avoiding or eliminating undesired outcomes. While these goals are powerful, they are often harder to accomplish. You may want to cut down the number of sweets you eat each day, the number of cigarettes you smoke, the total time you spend watching Netflix. These types of goals work, sometimes, but they are much more likely to stick if you spin them to an approach goal with a positive spin.

Approach goals aim to guide someone to reach or maintain a desired outcome. People are more likely to commit to completing tasks and taking part in activities that are positioned in a positive light. Approach goals become more potent motivational goals because they focus on action and activity around what can be done to reach a goal.

If you want to get better at setting and following through on your personal and career goals, make a point of creating both approach and avoid goals and being aware of the subtle differences between both.

Do you have any approach or avoidance goals that have been particularly challenging to reach? Would love to hear about them!

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Motivation

Motivational Advice You Never Hear From Elon Musk

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Elon Musk is the hottest entrepreneur on the planet right now. From launching an electric car into space, selling flamethrowers on Twitter, and tunneling holes throughout the country, his unconventional ventures are inspiring millions.

It should come as no surprise that his motivational advice is unconventional, as well. Motivational content can become cliche and overused. Every now and then, you need to hear an opposing idea to challenge your way of thinking.

Here are 3 things from Elon Musk you never hear from motivational blogs that will shake you up and make you reconsider your approach:

Quote #1: “If you need inspiring words, don’t do it.”

Entrepreneurs don’t read motivational blog posts all day. They have real life problems that they need to find real life solutions to. If they have a hiring need, they contact recruitment agencies, compare costs for different vendors, implement solutions, test results, and learn from their experiences. Inspiring words are a shot of espresso to boost their performance, not the food pyramid that nourishes their body to keep going throughout the day.

A motivational quote or video might inspire them for a moment, but they certainly are not spending hours pouring through the self-help section at Barnes and Nobles. If that is you, reconsider whether you are addicted to being motivated or you are addicted to whatever it is you want to do. If you’re an aspiring writer, are you spending more time reading how to write, or are you spending more time actually writing? Audit your behavior and be honest with yourself.

If you are relying on external motivation to keep you going on a project, then once that external motivation is gone, you slow down. You must find something deeper within yourself to keep pushing through the hard times. Doubt is inevitable but failure is necessary.

Quote #2: “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”

People tell you to play it safe, find a mentor, research your market, make sure there is demand. All of this is conventional wisdom. It’s not bad advice, but it’s what everyone is told and it’s what everyone is doing. If Elon Musk listened to this advice he would not be Elon Musk.

Elon Musk revolutionized two industries that people never would have thought to enter. Tesla became the first American car company to go public since Ford Motor Company in 1956. When starting SpaceX, one of his friends collected several clips of rockets blowing up and made him watch a video. Elon proves if you want to make it big, you have to take a big risk.

Most importantly, if you want to succeed, you have to do something you are passionate about. Elon Musk could have made it rich in any other industry doing something far less complicated. Instead, he chose to pursue his passion for making the world a better place by providing alternative energy transportation and creating a new movement of space travel to save humanity.

He gave himself a 10% chance of success rate with both companies when he started. He chose to start them anyway. If you have nothing to risk, you have nothing to gain. The reward is proportional to the risk. If something is important to you, you will pursue it in spite of any amount of risk you might face.

Quote #3: “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”

Most people avoid criticism. Criticism shows us we might be something wrong. We were raised to avoid being wrong but Elon Musk actively seeks it. Criticism shows you how you can improve and learn.

You learn nothing when someone tells you what you’re doing right. It might feel good, but like it is said in the movie Whiplash, “There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘good job’.” Feeling good breeds contentment and leads you to a place of complacency.

Of course, most of us are not Elon Musk and do not operate at his level of intensity. You might decide relentless improvement is not something you value or want in your life. Nothing is wrong with being content and happy with where you are in life. A continual desire for improvement does not mean you need to be discontent with everything. You can choose how far you want to go on your journey of self-improvement and success.

In a world where companies try to pretend like everything is going right, Elon Musk takes the opposite approach. He pretends like everything is going wrong, and he wants to make things less wrong. His approach opens the door for failure and welcomes the opportunity for improvement. Are you allowing yourself to fail? Are you acknowledging your flaws?

We all want to be like Elon Musk. Not all of us want to work 100+ hours a week. There is a middle ground somewhere where we can all learn from. Find your ‘why’ and let that inspire you. Don’t rely on motivational words to keep you going, use it as a supplement, not a meal. Lastly, when everyone is asking themself what is going well, ask yourself what is going wrong.

What do you think of Elon Musk? Comment below!

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