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6 Important Keys To Staying Motivated For Life

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6 Important Keys To Staying Motivated For Life

Staying motivated is a combination of internal and external factors that stimulate a desire to be continually interested and committed to attain a goal.

No matter what your situation is, staying motivated and hungry for success is perhaps one of the biggest challenges ever. To me motivation is considered as a form of behaviour and the impulse to react towards challenging situations.

The winners are the ones who have relentless power so great, that they make sure they don’t miss a day of motivation. In the end you’ll realise that motivation is a sense of freedom created by making key decisions for a better tomorrow.

Below are the 6 keys to staying motivated:

 

1. What’s your why?

The purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do! Knowing your why is an important first step in creating a life you enjoy living. Quite often it is a discovery in finding out who you really are by gaining a much deeper insight into your talents, skills, passion and values.

Questions to help you discover your why:

  1. What makes you come alive? What is your passion? A passion so powerful that makes you touch and inspire others bringing you satisfaction and fulfilment.
  2. What are your strengths? This should be a reflex response; an innate ability that helps you adapt in any challenging situation. Skills are developed by hours and hours of beating on your craft.
  3. How do you measure life?  All the success you have gained. Is it just accumulation? How do you bring value to life? do you use your success to help others or help change the world?

What then is the ultimate why? Is it to be the best human being? How do you want to be remembered to the future generation?

 

What's-your-why-
 

2. A vision

A vision helps us create what does not exist and seeing beyond the present reality. When we’re looking to define a vision, we conjure a bold statement that inspires us and drives us to want to get up every day to achieve it. Many successful organizations have been built on a vision or idea enabling them to incorporate strategies to achieve their goals.

Therefore having a vision is like a compass providing you with initiative in which direction to go. Your vision will therefore open doors of opportunities to a brighter future. If you really want a life that is better, happier you will intuitively make changes that are necessary for you to reach that life. Without clarity you will find yourself drifting aimlessly from task to task without an understanding of what bonds the individuals actions together and or the value created by the individual actions.

When you go through tough times your vision will help you overcome obstacles in life and will help you explain why you began in the first place. Therefore a vision is a powerful driving force giving you momentum to push away at resisting factors. Ask yourself where you see yourself in 5 years. How confidently would you be able to answer that question or how true to your statement will you be? Why then does it become difficult to answer this question?

The reason is because the lack of a well-defined vision and setting limits on ourselves. Anything is possible within a vision. When you construct your vision, why not vision big? Be creative and inventive in your vision. The sooner you take action the quicker you’ll be living your vision. Your vision maybe blurred at first but in time it becomes clearer as you work to make it come together.

 

Vision quotes
 

3. Be positive

Our perceptions of reality, how we think about ourselves and the world around us, what we look for and what we take to be true are determined by our beliefs. What you think is what you become. Throughout life we have all faced setbacks and challenges having received advice from that close friend who often says “stay positive.” There are times where I’ve been upset that things aren’t working the way I want them to and it became hard to bear.

Therefore the first thing I ever did was to constantly work on self-development step by step enabling me to be more confident in acquiring my goals even during the rough times.  Everything happens for a reason and this is one of the simplest ways to acknowledge a negative situation and to move forward from it. Of course it takes time to process thoughts before you can move on. Believe in yourself and be brave enough to ask yourself what is the one good thing about this situation and what opportunity does this situation provide.

This will enable you to face failures and to look for solutions thus stimulating change from within. Choose positive affirmations such as “I am going to handle whatever comes my way”, “I’m getting better every day”, and “I am going to get there no matter what”. Whilst everybody is wishing, hoping, waiting, you’re fighting for what you want. Remind yourself of the countless blessings because there are so many beautiful reasons to be happy; your family, friends, your faith, your work. This cycle of reminding yourself in times of hardship will help you see the world in a different way and keep you going.

 

4. The right people

Why do we need them or what do we search for when surrounding ourselves with the “right people?” Ultimately we look for guidance and help in achieving our goals. As humans we constantly give and receive energy so it is important to be free of negative energy. Spending time with family, friends and successful, like-minded people, revitalises you and recharges your batteries.

Every time you spend time with the right people, explore their mind-set by engaging in stimulating conversations; extract valuable information that you can take away. As I progressed in life I took on positive traits of my role models making me the strong person I am today. I admired my role models for their professionalism and work ethic gathering words of advice. Visualizing them as a template for my success, translating their words into action. So begin with asking the right questions making you feel more confident and motivated in going further than you could of have imagined.

Staying committed to the ones who support and encourage us to reach our goals is a special relationship key to your motivation that often breaks when we feel that we have not spent time with people who matter to us most. Now the nightmarish people: filter out the negative energy from people who cannot seem to accept your ambition. I simply stay away as far as I can from negative people because I am allergic to them. I don’t despise negative and miserable people; I see them as people who I do not want to be; in fact they push me to be a better person.

 

Les Brown quotes
 

5. The plan

In reality we cannot foresee everything and sometimes we strain ourselves by trying to achieve perfection in planning for a desired result. You can’t plan for every possible turn of events, but you can be well prepared to handle the majority of them. Therefore one must remain flexible and work to adapt to unexpected situations. Eliminate the doubts in your mind because manifesting your vision is based on plan that takes time and patience.

Challenge yourself in applying a consistent and controlled approach to your goals even on a daily routine. This trains your mind in figuring out ways to make adjustments that will eventually pay off.  If the plan does not work, don’t change the goal because it doesn’t mean that you are not worthy of it so alter the plan. A plan is useless without action, so develop the impetus to push yourself mentally and use all tools at hand to develop a strategy to break down both short term and long term goals into manageable tasks.

 

6. The promise

No one can do it but you, this is the reality now. Looking at yourself in the mirror and making it your personal responsibility to live to the best of your potential. You must have the urge to constantly believe that there is something out there better for you and you must work towards that dream. Don’t be too hard on yourself just because you have made bad decisions thus it is important to teach yourself to learn from mistakes and make the effort to grow.

Be in pursuit of a new meaning; that is the key to staying motivated! Thank you for reading my article!

Besides working in the field of science; helping patients through genetic testing, my purpose is to empower and inspire people in life with motivational videos, messages, articles and stories from around the world. I love to engage creative and ambitious minds on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/motivationwithusman.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. TJ Olonilua

    Feb 28, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Beautifully written, each step resonates deeply with me especially staying positive and surrounding yourself with people who fuel your drive. I believe all can achieve whatever success we desire with persistence, positivity, and support.

  2. Tina

    Jan 12, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Thanks for this article.. I just completed it on my commute home. It was very inspiring and pass this along!

  3. Shareef A'quil Hood

    Sep 8, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Up at 5:32 a.m., and I just finished reading this article from my phone. First of all it is very focused and definitely contains key points which I believe so many people find themselves in continuous cycles searching for. Staying motivated is not necessarily the easiest thing to do, fact of the matter is most of us don’t recognize that it’s not a one time thing, it takes cultivation, but once you realize how to maintain motivation it can snowball into so much good! I’ve had my best summer in terms of growth in 2015, and I am reaping the benefits of forward thinking, thanks for the good read, Peace and Blessings •

    • Usman Mahmood

      Sep 12, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      Thank you for the comment and reading my article; motivation; definitely not a one time thing and it takes years to maintain; with effort and faith success will come at the right time; everyone will have that moment; a moment to be in awe.

      Peace and blessings to you too.

  4. Usman Mahmood

    Sep 4, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Thank you for the comment and my next article will be linked to this.

    Yes FOCUS is also a key word. Asking yourself questions and reminding yourself of positive affirmations does drive away negativity and helps you channel positive energy into your life. I am surprised to find out that not many people note down their goals or positive things. It actually helps so much to write in your diary a motivational quote or talking to people; a contact list for advice; future goals. Talking to people and asking the right questions definitely takes a lot of weight of ones shoulders.

  5. Lawrence Berry

    Sep 4, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Love this well-written article. Finding your purpose in life, something that is bigger than your own self-interest is a great way to stay motivated. Also, having a vision for your future is also important in helping you stay motivated and determined. You have to find the little things that will keep you motivated because every road to success will have its down days. Staying determined enough to push past those down days is the key to achievement.

    • Usman Mahmood

      Sep 4, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      Thank you for the comment; my next article will be even better. It is really great to get feedback or comments. That in itself is motivation for me too.

  6. Tufail Cheema

    Sep 4, 2015 at 4:18 am

    All the six points are important and good enough to succeed in any field of life. I am trapped in the company of negative persons who are my tennis player colleagues. I can not get rid of them although I am trying my best for the last one year. I do not know what to do ?

    • Usman Mahmood

      Sep 4, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      In regards to negative people… The most important thing to do is not respond in a negative way otherwise you throw away your character; resolve things in a positive way…. step by step. Furthermore one must gain the respect of people who try to bring you down and how do you do that ?; one way that worked for me is always be kind and gentle; even smile; a bit like reverse psychology; don’t be negative; if they show you negativity; neutralise that negativity with positivity; smile; show that it does not affect you; be happy; (negative people don’t want to see you happy); slowly but surely they will be VERY surprised and won’t treat you in a bad way; and look to build positive relationships with others if they continue to bring your ambitions or dreams down . Show them your efforts through your work; let your success speak for itself and your hard work; ethic. WORK HARD IN SILENCE AND LET SUCCESS MAKE THE NOISE.

      • Usman Mahmood

        Sep 4, 2015 at 6:35 pm

        Thank you for the comment. Be free of negativity.

  7. denny

    Sep 4, 2015 at 1:02 am

    Great advice…thanks!

    I struggle with #3 Be Positive. Often my patience wears thin waiting for results to appear innresponse to my effort. I take setbacks pretty hard, too.

    I recently heard some advice to help me cope with major setbacks – I was advised to ask myself ‘what does this event make possible?’ The question directs me to focus on the positive side of the situation instead of dwelling on the more obvious negative aspects.

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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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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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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 Make 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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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. TJ Olonilua

    Feb 28, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Beautifully written, each step resonates deeply with me especially staying positive and surrounding yourself with people who fuel your drive. I believe all can achieve whatever success we desire with persistence, positivity, and support.

  2. Tina

    Jan 12, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Thanks for this article.. I just completed it on my commute home. It was very inspiring and pass this along!

  3. Shareef A'quil Hood

    Sep 8, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Up at 5:32 a.m., and I just finished reading this article from my phone. First of all it is very focused and definitely contains key points which I believe so many people find themselves in continuous cycles searching for. Staying motivated is not necessarily the easiest thing to do, fact of the matter is most of us don’t recognize that it’s not a one time thing, it takes cultivation, but once you realize how to maintain motivation it can snowball into so much good! I’ve had my best summer in terms of growth in 2015, and I am reaping the benefits of forward thinking, thanks for the good read, Peace and Blessings •

    • Usman Mahmood

      Sep 12, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      Thank you for the comment and reading my article; motivation; definitely not a one time thing and it takes years to maintain; with effort and faith success will come at the right time; everyone will have that moment; a moment to be in awe.

      Peace and blessings to you too.

  4. Usman Mahmood

    Sep 4, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Thank you for the comment and my next article will be linked to this.

    Yes FOCUS is also a key word. Asking yourself questions and reminding yourself of positive affirmations does drive away negativity and helps you channel positive energy into your life. I am surprised to find out that not many people note down their goals or positive things. It actually helps so much to write in your diary a motivational quote or talking to people; a contact list for advice; future goals. Talking to people and asking the right questions definitely takes a lot of weight of ones shoulders.

  5. Lawrence Berry

    Sep 4, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Love this well-written article. Finding your purpose in life, something that is bigger than your own self-interest is a great way to stay motivated. Also, having a vision for your future is also important in helping you stay motivated and determined. You have to find the little things that will keep you motivated because every road to success will have its down days. Staying determined enough to push past those down days is the key to achievement.

    • Usman Mahmood

      Sep 4, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      Thank you for the comment; my next article will be even better. It is really great to get feedback or comments. That in itself is motivation for me too.

  6. Tufail Cheema

    Sep 4, 2015 at 4:18 am

    All the six points are important and good enough to succeed in any field of life. I am trapped in the company of negative persons who are my tennis player colleagues. I can not get rid of them although I am trying my best for the last one year. I do not know what to do ?

    • Usman Mahmood

      Sep 4, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      In regards to negative people… The most important thing to do is not respond in a negative way otherwise you throw away your character; resolve things in a positive way…. step by step. Furthermore one must gain the respect of people who try to bring you down and how do you do that ?; one way that worked for me is always be kind and gentle; even smile; a bit like reverse psychology; don’t be negative; if they show you negativity; neutralise that negativity with positivity; smile; show that it does not affect you; be happy; (negative people don’t want to see you happy); slowly but surely they will be VERY surprised and won’t treat you in a bad way; and look to build positive relationships with others if they continue to bring your ambitions or dreams down . Show them your efforts through your work; let your success speak for itself and your hard work; ethic. WORK HARD IN SILENCE AND LET SUCCESS MAKE THE NOISE.

      • Usman Mahmood

        Sep 4, 2015 at 6:35 pm

        Thank you for the comment. Be free of negativity.

  7. denny

    Sep 4, 2015 at 1:02 am

    Great advice…thanks!

    I struggle with #3 Be Positive. Often my patience wears thin waiting for results to appear innresponse to my effort. I take setbacks pretty hard, too.

    I recently heard some advice to help me cope with major setbacks – I was advised to ask myself ‘what does this event make possible?’ The question directs me to focus on the positive side of the situation instead of dwelling on the more obvious negative aspects.

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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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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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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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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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