Every day I get lots of emails from readers asking me how to solve a major life issue.
I got one last week and realized that my advice is often the same. I thought that it might be easier to write my advice about how to stop being so broken. That way, every time I get one of these emails I can point people to it.
Here’s the advice I gave this broken man that wrote to me:
1. Find someone who is going to change your thinking
This man had a whole list of problems that he tried to tell me were impossible to solve. He listed them in such detail and made each one sound beyond impossible to solve. He was hoping that he would bamboozle me and that I’d reply and say “Mate you’re right, those problems are impossible to solve and I can’t help you.”
The first step I always tell these so called “broken people” is that they need to get out of their head. They’ve become obsessed with their challenges and they need to interrupt their thinking. The easiest and quickest way to do this is to find someone to change your thinking.
To make this broken man’s life easy, I gave him the answer of who to start with. He needed a rapid change of thinking and the best person I know to do this is Tony Robbins. Now I could have let him find his own person to assist, but it would have ended up becoming another excuse.
What he needed to hear was something radically different to the story that he’d memorized and become an expert narrator in. Tony sure knows how to change the way you think and slap you in the face when you need it. This is always the beginning.
2. Quit your job
This broken man blamed a lot of his problems on his job. This is common in all the letters I get from people who think they’re broken. They all have an issue that stems from what they do for a living.
What’s crazy is that your job or business is your decision. If you don’t like the result, then quit. It’s not rocket science; it’s just the reality.
“Quitting something you hate is the best decision you’ll ever make”
You can always find another source of income. The best thing about quitting is that you’ll be forced to find a new way to make a living pretty quickly so you can pay your bills.
Make it a slow transition if you need to, but just know that you must quit. Don’t let anything piss you off anymore. Stop doing what you don’t love. If your work doesn’t light you up, then quit!
3. Failing a lot is good. Stop being afraid.
My friend, the broken man, tried to tell me that he was failing a lot. I stood up in my seat and gave him a metaphorical round of applause (he obviously couldn’t see me do this). If you’re failing a lot, then that’s the best bloody news I’ve ever heard! Don’t be down about it; be excited about it.
This means your giving it a go and taking action. That’s better than 99% of other people who are doing nothing and sitting on the couch hoping to get lucky. You’ll eventually find a way if you keep failing. It’s inevitable.
Being afraid is unnecessary and it’s delusional. You’re not supposed to know exactly what to do and no one who is successful does.
“You’re supposed to take action, and then learn from the outcomes and adjust the sails of your ship as you go”
4. Go and volunteer at a homeless shelter
I’ve said this one a lot because I’ve personally found it very effective – In fact, I was just at the homeless shelter again last week. It’s the idea that you need to see problems far bigger than your own. I’ve never seen anyone walk into a homeless shelter and spend a day there, who hasn’t come out the other side with a new way of looking at life.
You’re forced into helping others and you do whatever you can because many of the people you’ll meet are beyond desperate. In reality, your problems are not desperate where as there’s is. Once you’ve seen the worst there is to see, then you’ll be able to break your pattern of misery.
5. Your problems are the same
This broken man was so stuck in his circumstances that he couldn’t see the rest of the world. He stopped seeing the hardships that others are going through and he somehow believed the lie that he was the only one facing these problems. I told him something he didn’t expect: “Your problems are the same as every other email I get.”
This was true. Every email I get with these so-called “impossible challenges” is the same. It’s the same issue with a different character playing the lead role of the story. Your problems are not unique or special. Your problems yesterday were vanilla and my problems today are strawberry. They’re all flavors of the same milkshake.
6. You’re being selfish
The last very blunt thing I said to this broken man (out of love and respect) was: “You’re being selfish.” I told him that his entire story was about him and his own selfish desires.
Nowhere in the story was there room for anybody else. Nowhere in the story was there a purpose to unite people, or serve people or give something to someone. It was all just about him and how important he was and how he must have all the answers.
“The way you become broken in the first place is when you’re 100% focused on yourself”
Selfishness is at the heart of so many life problems. It’s not all about you, you know. I’d go as far as saying that you should make your life about much more than you.
Once you move away from being entirely selfish, new opportunities start to find their way to you. These opportunities are not luck; these opportunities are the result of you moving beyond just caring about yourself. Until you give a damn about other people, you’re going to continue to be broken.
You started to become broken in the first place when you forgot about everyone else and became obsessed with yourself. Kill the obsession and you’ll find the answer to your dreams.
These are the things I told this young man. These are the same tools you can use if you feel broken.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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