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The School Teacher Who Quit His Job To Become A Ninja – 6 Steps To Turn Your Dreams Into Reality

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Ninja Japan

Izmael Arkin, a middle school teacher quit his job to follow his childhood dream: To become a Ninja. Read on to see how Izmael went from a struggling life as a middle school teacher in california to becoming a Ninja in Japan.

Enjoy his 6 Steps to Turn Your Dreams Into a Reality.

 

October 2009

I looked at my hands.

They were shaking.

I pulled over to the side of the road. The questions ran through my mind:

What did you do wrong?

How did you get here?

What are you going to do with your life?

Then the tears started to fall…

 

The Depression

I was in my 4th year as a middle school science teacher in Los Angeles, California.

26 years old, getting a masters degree in education. I was moving up the ladder fast,  soon to be running my own school.

I was making more money every year. I drove a nice car. My resume looked fantastic. Everyone was impressed.

But there was a problem.

I hated my life.

I’d lie awake at 2am unable to fall asleep. Anxiety, fear,  and stress  overtook my thoughts.

Night after night the questions, voices, and thoughts kept coming.

 

What Are You Going To Do With Your Life? (The Million Dollar Question)

I thought I wanted to give my life to education. I thought this is what I was supposed to do.

I tried to use logic.

You have a good job.

You should be happy.

You’ve done everything you were told to do.

Logic is stupid… when it leads to depression, anxiety, and stress.

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

For months on end I battled with the million dollar question.

What are you going do with your life?

I made it my purpose to discover my purpose.

I talked with friends and family. I read books. I took personality tests. I tried new activities. I volunteered in my community.

Friends would ask “Izzy, if you aren’t going to be a teacher, what are you going to do with your life?

I’d smile and give a little laugh.

I want to be a ninja.

It was meant to lighten the mood, to bring some humor, to such a serious question.

But one day it clicked… I’m not kidding.

 

izzy eli ninja halloween big

 

What is a Ninja?

About 4 months after that fateful October day, I wrote my dream on paper.

“I want to be a ninja… But what is a ninja?”

It’s a good question, right?

As I explored this question I realized something. I didn’t want to be a traditional ninja. I wanted to be the ninja from my childhood imagination. It’s a childhood dream.

So then I asked the question: According to my 8 year old brain, what is a ninja?

The answer became very clear. A ninja does 3 things.

  1. Moves to a far away land
  2. Trains extensively in martial arts
  3. Challenges the traditional rules of work and life as we know it

As I wrote these down I sat back in my chair with a surge of emotion. It clicked.

This…is…possible…

 

I Quit My Job, I live In Japan, I Train 4 hours a Day in Martial Arts

Over the course of 4 years I would quit my career in education, save money, find work in Japan, and eventually train extensively in martial arts.

I now live in the historical capital of Kyoto in Japan. I train in Aikido (a martial art) 4 to 6 hours a day 5 days a week.

Am I a ninja? By technical definition, no… But that was never what I wanted to be. I wanted to be the ninja from my childhood dreams.

I have now lived in Japan for 2 years. I have given my life to Aikido.

4 years ago, I was a depressed, stressed, overwhelmed 26 year old middle school teacher. Now, I wake up with joy, purpose and meaning.

I share my story for one reason. I’m not magical nor special. My life is evidence that you can follow your dreams no matter how absurd they may initially seem.

Izzy getting thrown

 

 

6 Steps to Identify and Live Your Dream

Below I break down the process to 6 specific practical steps to turn your dream into a reality. I know this stuff works because my life is the evidence.

 

Step 1: Answer The Million Dollar Question

I believe there is nothing more important than to identify your purpose.

The million dollar question is as follows:

If you had a million dollars, what would you do with your life?

Many of us allow money to be our excuse.

We use it as a crutch to slow us from moving towards our dreams. In some cases we even use the money excuse as a dagger that rips right through the heart of our dreams.

Your job above all else, is to identify what you want to do. After that, then you can figure out how to make money doing it.

 

Step 2: Define Your Dream

Once you know what you want to do, create a clear succinct definition for your dream.

Take my dream for example: to become a ninja.

That sounds totally absurd, unrealistic, and crazy. But when I give you the definition (according to my 8 year old brain)

1) Moves to a far away land
2) Trains extensively in martial arts
3) Challenges the traditional rules of work and life as we know it

It all of a sudden becomes possible.

Defining your dream makes the ‘impossible’, possible.

 

Step 3: Determine The First Step

Once you know exactly where you want to go (your purpose) and you have a clear definition then you need to identify the first step.

Do not be concerned with step 9, step 29, or step 109. All you need to do is focus on the next step in the process.

 

Step 4: Take The First Step

Action is the great differentiator. This world rewards people that ‘do’, not people who ‘think about doing’.

Everything comes down to execution. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but it don’t mean a darn thing if you don’t take action on it.

 

Step 5: Start Saving Money

Yes, I mentioned above that you cannot use money as an excuse. And that is correct. But here is the other reality.

Money matters.

As soon as I identified my dream, I started saving money every month. I called it “my dream fund”.

By doing this I was gaining momentum on my dream. Every month it felt like I was getting closer.

How much you save isn’t near as important as saving. Choose an amount and start saving today.

 

Step 6: Reflect, Adjust, Act

As you take action, you’re going to learn incredible things about yourself. But here’s the simple reality: you’re going to make mistakes.

It’s critical that you learn from these mistakes. After you take action it’s important to set time aside at minimum weekly to reflect. There are 3 specific questions I always ask myself:

1)  What actions did you take in the last week that are moving you towards your dream? (keep doing those)

2)  What actions did you take in the last week that are preventing you from moving towards your dream? (stop doing those)

3)  What actions do you need to start doing to accelerate your progress towards your dream? (Choose one of these and do it).

 

Then based on your answers to these questions, adjust your plan and take action.

Repeat this “reflect, adjust, act” approach every week and you will be amazed by the impact it has on your life.

 

Izzy with students 

 

Identify Your Dream, Then Take The First Step

At the core of all of this are two very simple concepts.

To turn your dream into a reality all you need to do is know exactly where you want to go and then continuously take the next step.

This sounds simple because it is simple. But simple does not mean easy.

If some former middle school teacher can quit his job to become a ninja, you can follow your dream.

What actions are you going to take today to start turning your dream into a reality?

 

Izzy, The 30 Year Old Ninja

Head over to The 30 Year Old Ninja to learn the critical mindset, steps, and principles to turn your dream into a reality. Izzy coaches people one on one and runs an online course to help you Achieve The Impossible. You can also follow him on Facebook to get daily inspiration.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Shunmuga

    Feb 10, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Very much impressive article. Your article will inspire each and every person who doesnt like their PROFESSION and eagerly longing for their PASSION including me!!!

    You made us believe that if we follow out PASSION as our PROFESSION we will get satisfied in life.

    Thanks Izzy

  2. Elvis

    Nov 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I am inspired every time i read such articles !!! Thank you for sharing it 🙂

  3. Cansu Nar

    Oct 22, 2013 at 3:45 am

    I am very impressed with your article…this article definitely gives motivation, especially for those who are depressed and stressed out from life…

  4. Elizabeth Perez

    Sep 15, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Wow. .!!! Inspiring. .km 56 and cannot find my purpose. .!!:(

  5. Amit Rathi

    Sep 10, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Awesome article. You are a mad man! I
    I am also working towards finding my dream and this article is inspiring me a lot
    & i love this article.

  6. Shannon

    Aug 28, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I’ve read and re-read this like five times now. You make achieving your dream sound so doable, I love it! I actually wrote about this piece TWICE on my own blog this week, and am implementing the steps you outlined for myself. Thanks for sharing your success and how you got there!

  7. Ryan

    Aug 27, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Izzy. Kudos to you my man. I quit a very well paid but dissatisfying job in London to move back to India as I simply couldn’t suffer that soul sucking crap any longer. I don’t have plans to become a ninja, but am working towards building a business and needed this motivation to keep me going…see you in Japan some day!

  8. Calvin Lee

    Aug 26, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Hasn’t the ninja ship sailed a hundred years ago? Shouldn’t he be practicing Ninjutsu instead of Aikido?
    No matter what, someone who follows his/her dream is truly admirable 🙂

    • LOKI

      Aug 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      AGAIN… THE POINT WAS HE REALIZED HIS DREAM BY DELVING INTO HIS 8 YEAR OLD SELF’S DEFINITION OF WHAT A NINJA IS.

  9. John

    Aug 16, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Awesome article. You are a crazy man! I completely envy you for your balls of steel to take action and completely change your life. My dream is become an actor, but drugs, alcohol, and anxiety got in the way. Now, 6 years sober, I am 3 years away from completing my degree in chemical engineering (my back up plan) and am then planning on moving to L.A. to delve into my acting dream.

    Keep up the good work Izzy!

    • Sankarshan

      Jan 31, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      You don’t need a to become a Chem. E. for that. I should know because I am a chemical engineering major about to graduate.

  10. Izzy

    Aug 15, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Hi Betty (I’m assuming that’s your name).

    Teaching is darn hard work. I believe it can be one of the most fulfilling job if a person truly loves it. But on the flip side it can also be a very painful job if you don’t enjoy it. Kids are so darn honest. You have to be on your toes and ready at all times.

    I’m glad this story inspires you but I really hope it compels you to take action.

  11. bettybuttonsblog

    Aug 15, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Love this article and can totally empathise as an out of work, unemployable and disengaged teacher.
    I am working towards finding my dream and this article is inspiring and will definitely help on the journey.

    How awesome to be a ninja : )

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Motivation

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

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

If you’re in a situation like this, then know that you’re not alone. You might be feeling low 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. Even the water has to keep flowing to remain useful. If you want to become successful, you must keep lifting yourself up and keep moving. Do 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 us 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. It makes 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. “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, there are 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. Moreover, 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!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Motivation

Sometimes We Have To Eat Garbage For A While Before We Can Rise Up Again.

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A month ago, I received an email titled “I am giving up” from a young woman. She was an aspiring life coach and had a huge money problem she was dealing with.

The young lady tried everything to get out of the situation and was even prepared to sleep in her car. There was one problem though: she had a daughter.

Things got so bad that she was even considering becoming a stripper to make some money fast but it was eating away at her on the inside because this very idea went against her ethics and values.

She felt she could never be a life coach again if she became a stripper, because the thought of helping other women after she had put her ass in lots of guys’ faces (this is what she actually said) was far too painful for her.

Becoming a stripper to fix her money problem would simultaneously kill her dream of becoming a life coach.

After she told me this story, she wanted my advice. ‘What should I do Tim?” she said to me in the email.

I really wanted to help her.

I gave her this advice even though it sounds brutal and somewhat harsh:

I told her “Sometimes We Have To Eat Garbage For A While Before We Can Rise Up Again.”

Here’s how to eat garbage for a while so that you can rise up again:


Take a job you may not love.

Life is not all rainbows and butterflies (forgot who said that but it’s true). There will be times when your life goes off track and you could lose your job, all your money or even your partner. It’s messed up and we all go through it.

The answer is not to go against all of your values, so you feel even more worthless. The advice I gave though goes against every self-help book and motivational quote you’ve ever read including #LoveYourWork

If you fall down, sometimes you have to eat garbage for a while and if it’s a financial crisis, then that could mean doing a job or work you hate.

When my business dreams collapsed in 2011, I took a call center job that I hated with every bone in my body. I took the job because it rebuilt my confidence and taught me how to sell again.

I learned how the big bad corporate world worked and I became incredibly disciplined. I even learned how to love a woman again which sounds corny, but it’s true.

I ate the worst kind of garbage you could possibly eat and I tried to enjoy every moment of it. I then saved up enough money to attend a Tony Robbins event and that was the catalyst for my transformation.

Superman didn’t come and save me like you see in the movies. I had to save myself and that involved doing something I didn’t like. There are more lessons in the stuff you hate than you may realize. Embrace it.


Work on a side hustle at the same time.

The first point is horribly wrong unless you couple it with a side hustle. Eating garbage and having no way out of it is putting yourself through unnecessary torture that you may not recover from.

The rope marks could scar you for life without a side hustle.

My side hustle started out as personal development which eventually led me to begin blogging. Without this side hustle, the time where I had to eat garbage would have been unbearable.

Every day while I worked a job I hated, I looked forward to the small amounts of spare time I had so that I could work on my side hustle. In the first week of this difficult job, I outsold the other staff and hit 200% of my sales target.

“I achieved 200% of my sales target because I was determined to outperform so I could gain the privileges that came with it — more time and more freedom”

Instead of being micromanaged, I got the chance to watch Ted Talks with my people leader and strategize about the future of the business.

The side hustle then became much bigger later on and now it fuels everything I do. I’m obsessed with everyone finding a side hustle, so they have something to motivate them at least some of the time.


Eating garbage is where GRIT is built.

I never used to have an “anything is possible” mindset. The grit I have was built from having to eat garbage for a while.

“I knew that if I could make it through the muddy waters of not following my passion, I could do anything”

The harsh part of life taught me how to fend for myself and overcome my own demons, so I could rise up again out of the ashes. Grit does not come from your comfort zone.

Grit is found in the biggest and boldest of challenges where you have to use every ounce of your strength to come out alive.

The young woman that emailed me is working on developing the same personality trait. This work is what will make her an exceptional life coach.


You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

Eating garbage is short term and if you have a financial problem or something that just won’t go away, you’ve got to tackle it head on. Complaining about your situation and telling yourself the odds are stacked against you won’t help.

When you see eating garbage as short term, you develop the mindset that will help you break through.

There’s no magic cure.

I told the young lady that emailed me to eat garbage for a while (I was nicer than that, don’t worry) and do what she has to do to earn some money (without breaking her values). This battle is short-term and that’s how we all have to see it.


Think about a situation that is worse than yours.

Speaking of eating garbage, one of my mentors reached out to me and told me they had been demoted. They no longer had people underneath them and they were forced into something they didn’t love as much.

I told my mentor the same thing: we all have to eat garbage sometimes.

That advice was then followed up with my story of going from business owner to a call center operator. I then told him the story of a mutual friend who had gone from a high flying job to a nobody that was ignored.

He put up with that for three years and then eventually someone saw what I saw in him, and he was given a very senior role in another company.

Your situation may suck big time but getting some perspective and hearing about others who’ve had to eat garbage is a refreshing way (refreshing and brown stuff in the same sentence?) to overcome the negativity you’ll experience .


Understand that no one stays at the top of anything forever.

You could be the richest person in the world today. Eventually, you’ll be knocked off the top spot.

You could be the fastest 100m sprinter in the world. Tomorrow, or eventually, someone will be faster than you. The simple fact is that no one is permanently at the top of their game.

“All of us will fall from grace at some point”

What I’ve learned is that falling from grace and eating garbage for a while is how you rise up again. You can’t rise up if you haven’t fallen down before.

The deep, dark problem you think you’re facing will pass- it always does eventually. This is not the time to make a dumb decision, ask for sympathy or complain.

It’s time to eat garbage for a while and put in the work. Earn the right to get what you want by starting again at the bottom. That’s how you rise up again.

<<<>>>

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

5 Daily Habits to Remain Highly Motivated

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While some of us can naturally maintain a relatively high constant level of motivation, others find it more difficult. This is actually a normal fact of life. After all, the beauty and richness of life is in our attempt to reconcile and manage our different states.

Here are a few simple things you can use to motivate yourself on a daily basis:

1. The habit of accomplishing one single task once you get out of bed

This may sound trivial but it can have tremendous impact on your energy level. Right when you wake up, one simple task such as making your bed, exercising or cooking breakfast can get you energized for the rest of the day.

Getting something done first thing in the morning will give you a sense of achievement which will, in turn impact the rest of your day. The little things do count. How will you ever find the motivation to accomplish a big task when you can’t even finish a small one? A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step…in the right direction!

2. Connect your small tasks to your values

In the first step, you may get something done, but if it is not in alignment with your values or beliefs you are less likely to feel empowered. Whatever the task you get done, frame it in relation to something that is important to you. You can apply this in your personal life, professional or spiritual life. Doing a task you know relates to something meaningful to you will give you the required energy to carry it until completion.

People who engage in routine jobs may find it very hard to remain motivated. Frame your job into something greater than yourself. For instance, a bus driver may say: “I am glad I can contribute to the future of our society by bringing children to school.” Framing the routine job that way will give you a sense of contribution. Knowing that you are making a difference will give you a sense of pride that will in return motivate you.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs

3. The habit of crossing out tasks on your to-do list

You will feel more energized if you put your tasks on a sheet of paper because nothing is more motivating than crossing tasks off your to-do lists. This is a clear signal to your brain that you have been able to accomplish a particular task. That will generate a snowball effect since a single task accomplished and crossed out can have widespread effect on other tasks. Due to this, take up the habit of crossing out tasks on your to-do list.

4. The habit of being self-compassionate

We tend to be nice to other people. It is amazing to see how someone can be so empathetic and motivate another even when they are feeling down themselves. Paradoxically, instead of giving themselves a positive pep talk, they will go on a guilt trip. We are not trying to achieve perfection here, we are simply trying to do what we were born to do grow!

It is okay if you did not finish a specific task today. Instead of complaining or blaming, make the decision right now, that you will complete this task tomorrow. Talk to yourself as you would to a good friend. Give yourself a second chance. Don’t engage in self-deprecating talk. Remember, no one or nothing can motivate you if you are not willing to give yourself a chance.

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama

5. The habit of taking responsibility

It is amazing how much taking responsibility for our results can change our perspective. I have had the chance to work with small teams, and in my experience, I’ve learned that people get more motivated when they know they are responsible for the outcome of their tasks. Don’t wait for the situation to be agreeable to get motivated. Take responsibility for your task and see how much energy you will put into it. While hygiene factors can help motivate you, only when you know you are really responsible for the results of a particular task will you build motivation that lasts.

As humans we have unlimited psychic power. Just as you would pay more for natural and organic food and beverages, you need to harness your natural source of motivation rather than expecting outside factors to motivate you. May that same motivation level that attracted you to this article keep you motivated in a more consistent manner.

How do you stay motivated from day to day? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Motivation

5 Ways You Can Develop Unbreakable Mental Resilience

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Building unbreakable mental strength was my ultimate goal for many years. Even as a girl, I knew that with emotional toughness in place, nothing can permanently break me. I set myself up for a task. My mission was to find ways and tools which I can use to become mentally and emotionally strong, in control and ready to face anything. If you think that’s easier said than done, that’s two of us.

In the beginning, I experienced lots of failures and errors since I didn’t understand that being tough or looking tough are two different powers. I was trying to build this image of a “street fighter” which wasn’t working because it didn’t come from within. My second task was to share my experience with anyone I met. I understood that with proper tools and perspective, we all could build ourselves into resilient and strong individuals.

That’s why I want to share with you 5 ways you can develop unbreakable mental resilience and gain control of your life:

1. Increase your tolerance for pain

If you want to effectively train your mind in becoming resilient, you need to increase your tolerance for pain. You do it by letting go of how things should be and accept what is. No expectations, no feeling of entitlement.

It’s a perspective matter. When you feel entitled to something better or easier in life, you are putting yourself in a position where your expectations don’t have to be met. This situation causes hurt and loss of control.

When you are at peace with the ups and downs of life, knowing that some fights are involved, you are gaining more control over how you feel and think. Your tolerance for adversity increases since you are focused more on a solution than on the presence of your pain.

“You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.” – Shonda Rhimes

2. Create a powerful support system

Most of my life, I believed that I can handle everything on my own. I wanted to become the strongest among all my friends and family, always independent, never needing help. Soon, I found out that this was a terrible idea while trying to develop emotional resilience. The truth is that we need each other, we need our support network

Part of developing mental resilience is knowing when to ask for help and bury the ego. There is strength in admitting that you feel vulnerable and need someone’s hand. Feeling love and support is the best medicine while dealing with hardships. Your role is to choose who you let close to you and who you can trust. Based on my experience, it isn’t hard to figure it out.

3. Take responsibility for your feelings

You and I know that blaming is easy. It takes a weight off your shoulders, it eases the pain and it creates excuses. But it doesn’t build mental resilience. You need to learn how to take responsibility for your feelings when someone else hurts them.

There is a difference between those who are at fault and those who are responsible. Let’s say that your partner cheated on you which broke your heart and caused you pain. It’s your partner’s fault, but it’s your responsibility to deal with it. I know, it may sound unfair, but this is the only way you can build your emotional toughness on a feeling which scares you the most and that’s pain.

4. Learn to be alone

Some of us are pretty scared of being alone. That’s why we keep the TV on even when we don’t watch it, scroll through our feed 45 times a day or always seek some company just to maintain the noise. Spending some time alone allows you to think clearly, without distractions and on a much deeper level.

I am not suggesting that you isolate yourself from others, but time alone, combined with only 5 minutes of meditation, will help you in gaining better control of your feelings and overall mental state. Schedule your alone time. Reserve 1 hour, twice a week just for yourself, your thoughts and feelings. If you haven’t tried meditation, there are tons of videos online which will teach you the basics.  

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” – Vince Lombardi

5. Love those who hurt you

Two weeks ago, I read an article about letting go. According to Buddha’s teachings, the best way to let go is by loving those who hurt us. At first, it pissed me off. I thought to myself, “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read in my entire life.” Then I took a deep breath, stepped out of my ego and admitted that it made sense.

Think about it this way, when you truly let go, when you forgive, you are gaining more control over your feelings and mindset. And that’s one of the most important things in building mental resilience. You take away the power of someone else who gained it through hurting you. Once you overcome the feeling of anger and the need for retaliation, the action of the other person won’t control you.

Conclusion

Having the right perspective on pain, surrounding yourself with people you can trust and taking responsibilities for your feelings are basic components of your inner toughness. The best thing about it is that even when you fail, you will manage to recover pretty quickly because you are built this way.

Don’t focus on your ego, it’s one of the most common reasons which stops you from growing. Have faith and accept the fact the everything in your life has a purpose. It’s how you choose to use it which defines who you are.

How do you build mental strength? Comment below!

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Motivation

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

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

I am Eliana Jags, Co-Founder & Author at beinginsightful.com. I'm passionate about writing motivational and inspirational articles. Before I became a full-time blogger, I was a Software Engineer but left the job to fulfill my dream of becoming a writer and thus I've committed myself completely to my passion of writing. You can connect with me on my Facebook page here.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Shunmuga

    Feb 10, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Very much impressive article. Your article will inspire each and every person who doesnt like their PROFESSION and eagerly longing for their PASSION including me!!!

    You made us believe that if we follow out PASSION as our PROFESSION we will get satisfied in life.

    Thanks Izzy

  2. Elvis

    Nov 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I am inspired every time i read such articles !!! Thank you for sharing it 🙂

  3. Cansu Nar

    Oct 22, 2013 at 3:45 am

    I am very impressed with your article…this article definitely gives motivation, especially for those who are depressed and stressed out from life…

  4. Elizabeth Perez

    Sep 15, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Wow. .!!! Inspiring. .km 56 and cannot find my purpose. .!!:(

  5. Amit Rathi

    Sep 10, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Awesome article. You are a mad man! I
    I am also working towards finding my dream and this article is inspiring me a lot
    & i love this article.

  6. Shannon

    Aug 28, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I’ve read and re-read this like five times now. You make achieving your dream sound so doable, I love it! I actually wrote about this piece TWICE on my own blog this week, and am implementing the steps you outlined for myself. Thanks for sharing your success and how you got there!

  7. Ryan

    Aug 27, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Izzy. Kudos to you my man. I quit a very well paid but dissatisfying job in London to move back to India as I simply couldn’t suffer that soul sucking crap any longer. I don’t have plans to become a ninja, but am working towards building a business and needed this motivation to keep me going…see you in Japan some day!

  8. Calvin Lee

    Aug 26, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Hasn’t the ninja ship sailed a hundred years ago? Shouldn’t he be practicing Ninjutsu instead of Aikido?
    No matter what, someone who follows his/her dream is truly admirable 🙂

    • LOKI

      Aug 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      AGAIN… THE POINT WAS HE REALIZED HIS DREAM BY DELVING INTO HIS 8 YEAR OLD SELF’S DEFINITION OF WHAT A NINJA IS.

  9. John

    Aug 16, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Awesome article. You are a crazy man! I completely envy you for your balls of steel to take action and completely change your life. My dream is become an actor, but drugs, alcohol, and anxiety got in the way. Now, 6 years sober, I am 3 years away from completing my degree in chemical engineering (my back up plan) and am then planning on moving to L.A. to delve into my acting dream.

    Keep up the good work Izzy!

    • Sankarshan

      Jan 31, 2014 at 10:16 pm

      You don’t need a to become a Chem. E. for that. I should know because I am a chemical engineering major about to graduate.

  10. Izzy

    Aug 15, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Hi Betty (I’m assuming that’s your name).

    Teaching is darn hard work. I believe it can be one of the most fulfilling job if a person truly loves it. But on the flip side it can also be a very painful job if you don’t enjoy it. Kids are so darn honest. You have to be on your toes and ready at all times.

    I’m glad this story inspires you but I really hope it compels you to take action.

  11. bettybuttonsblog

    Aug 15, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Love this article and can totally empathise as an out of work, unemployable and disengaged teacher.
    I am working towards finding my dream and this article is inspiring and will definitely help on the journey.

    How awesome to be a ninja : )

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Motivation

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

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

If you’re in a situation like this, then know that you’re not alone. You might be feeling low 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. Even the water has to keep flowing to remain useful. If you want to become successful, you must keep lifting yourself up and keep moving. Do 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 us 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. It makes 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. “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, there are 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. Moreover, 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

Sometimes We Have To Eat Garbage For A While Before We Can Rise Up Again.

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A month ago, I received an email titled “I am giving up” from a young woman. She was an aspiring life coach and had a huge money problem she was dealing with.

The young lady tried everything to get out of the situation and was even prepared to sleep in her car. There was one problem though: she had a daughter.

Things got so bad that she was even considering becoming a stripper to make some money fast but it was eating away at her on the inside because this very idea went against her ethics and values.

She felt she could never be a life coach again if she became a stripper, because the thought of helping other women after she had put her ass in lots of guys’ faces (this is what she actually said) was far too painful for her.

Becoming a stripper to fix her money problem would simultaneously kill her dream of becoming a life coach.

After she told me this story, she wanted my advice. ‘What should I do Tim?” she said to me in the email.

I really wanted to help her.

I gave her this advice even though it sounds brutal and somewhat harsh:

I told her “Sometimes We Have To Eat Garbage For A While Before We Can Rise Up Again.”

Here’s how to eat garbage for a while so that you can rise up again:


Take a job you may not love.

Life is not all rainbows and butterflies (forgot who said that but it’s true). There will be times when your life goes off track and you could lose your job, all your money or even your partner. It’s messed up and we all go through it.

The answer is not to go against all of your values, so you feel even more worthless. The advice I gave though goes against every self-help book and motivational quote you’ve ever read including #LoveYourWork

If you fall down, sometimes you have to eat garbage for a while and if it’s a financial crisis, then that could mean doing a job or work you hate.

When my business dreams collapsed in 2011, I took a call center job that I hated with every bone in my body. I took the job because it rebuilt my confidence and taught me how to sell again.

I learned how the big bad corporate world worked and I became incredibly disciplined. I even learned how to love a woman again which sounds corny, but it’s true.

I ate the worst kind of garbage you could possibly eat and I tried to enjoy every moment of it. I then saved up enough money to attend a Tony Robbins event and that was the catalyst for my transformation.

Superman didn’t come and save me like you see in the movies. I had to save myself and that involved doing something I didn’t like. There are more lessons in the stuff you hate than you may realize. Embrace it.


Work on a side hustle at the same time.

The first point is horribly wrong unless you couple it with a side hustle. Eating garbage and having no way out of it is putting yourself through unnecessary torture that you may not recover from.

The rope marks could scar you for life without a side hustle.

My side hustle started out as personal development which eventually led me to begin blogging. Without this side hustle, the time where I had to eat garbage would have been unbearable.

Every day while I worked a job I hated, I looked forward to the small amounts of spare time I had so that I could work on my side hustle. In the first week of this difficult job, I outsold the other staff and hit 200% of my sales target.

“I achieved 200% of my sales target because I was determined to outperform so I could gain the privileges that came with it — more time and more freedom”

Instead of being micromanaged, I got the chance to watch Ted Talks with my people leader and strategize about the future of the business.

The side hustle then became much bigger later on and now it fuels everything I do. I’m obsessed with everyone finding a side hustle, so they have something to motivate them at least some of the time.


Eating garbage is where GRIT is built.

I never used to have an “anything is possible” mindset. The grit I have was built from having to eat garbage for a while.

“I knew that if I could make it through the muddy waters of not following my passion, I could do anything”

The harsh part of life taught me how to fend for myself and overcome my own demons, so I could rise up again out of the ashes. Grit does not come from your comfort zone.

Grit is found in the biggest and boldest of challenges where you have to use every ounce of your strength to come out alive.

The young woman that emailed me is working on developing the same personality trait. This work is what will make her an exceptional life coach.


You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.

Eating garbage is short term and if you have a financial problem or something that just won’t go away, you’ve got to tackle it head on. Complaining about your situation and telling yourself the odds are stacked against you won’t help.

When you see eating garbage as short term, you develop the mindset that will help you break through.

There’s no magic cure.

I told the young lady that emailed me to eat garbage for a while (I was nicer than that, don’t worry) and do what she has to do to earn some money (without breaking her values). This battle is short-term and that’s how we all have to see it.


Think about a situation that is worse than yours.

Speaking of eating garbage, one of my mentors reached out to me and told me they had been demoted. They no longer had people underneath them and they were forced into something they didn’t love as much.

I told my mentor the same thing: we all have to eat garbage sometimes.

That advice was then followed up with my story of going from business owner to a call center operator. I then told him the story of a mutual friend who had gone from a high flying job to a nobody that was ignored.

He put up with that for three years and then eventually someone saw what I saw in him, and he was given a very senior role in another company.

Your situation may suck big time but getting some perspective and hearing about others who’ve had to eat garbage is a refreshing way (refreshing and brown stuff in the same sentence?) to overcome the negativity you’ll experience .


Understand that no one stays at the top of anything forever.

You could be the richest person in the world today. Eventually, you’ll be knocked off the top spot.

You could be the fastest 100m sprinter in the world. Tomorrow, or eventually, someone will be faster than you. The simple fact is that no one is permanently at the top of their game.

“All of us will fall from grace at some point”

What I’ve learned is that falling from grace and eating garbage for a while is how you rise up again. You can’t rise up if you haven’t fallen down before.

The deep, dark problem you think you’re facing will pass- it always does eventually. This is not the time to make a dumb decision, ask for sympathy or complain.

It’s time to eat garbage for a while and put in the work. Earn the right to get what you want by starting again at the bottom. That’s how you rise up again.

<<<>>>

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

5 Daily Habits to Remain Highly Motivated

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While some of us can naturally maintain a relatively high constant level of motivation, others find it more difficult. This is actually a normal fact of life. After all, the beauty and richness of life is in our attempt to reconcile and manage our different states.

Here are a few simple things you can use to motivate yourself on a daily basis:

1. The habit of accomplishing one single task once you get out of bed

This may sound trivial but it can have tremendous impact on your energy level. Right when you wake up, one simple task such as making your bed, exercising or cooking breakfast can get you energized for the rest of the day.

Getting something done first thing in the morning will give you a sense of achievement which will, in turn impact the rest of your day. The little things do count. How will you ever find the motivation to accomplish a big task when you can’t even finish a small one? A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step…in the right direction!

2. Connect your small tasks to your values

In the first step, you may get something done, but if it is not in alignment with your values or beliefs you are less likely to feel empowered. Whatever the task you get done, frame it in relation to something that is important to you. You can apply this in your personal life, professional or spiritual life. Doing a task you know relates to something meaningful to you will give you the required energy to carry it until completion.

People who engage in routine jobs may find it very hard to remain motivated. Frame your job into something greater than yourself. For instance, a bus driver may say: “I am glad I can contribute to the future of our society by bringing children to school.” Framing the routine job that way will give you a sense of contribution. Knowing that you are making a difference will give you a sense of pride that will in return motivate you.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs

3. The habit of crossing out tasks on your to-do list

You will feel more energized if you put your tasks on a sheet of paper because nothing is more motivating than crossing tasks off your to-do lists. This is a clear signal to your brain that you have been able to accomplish a particular task. That will generate a snowball effect since a single task accomplished and crossed out can have widespread effect on other tasks. Due to this, take up the habit of crossing out tasks on your to-do list.

4. The habit of being self-compassionate

We tend to be nice to other people. It is amazing to see how someone can be so empathetic and motivate another even when they are feeling down themselves. Paradoxically, instead of giving themselves a positive pep talk, they will go on a guilt trip. We are not trying to achieve perfection here, we are simply trying to do what we were born to do grow!

It is okay if you did not finish a specific task today. Instead of complaining or blaming, make the decision right now, that you will complete this task tomorrow. Talk to yourself as you would to a good friend. Give yourself a second chance. Don’t engage in self-deprecating talk. Remember, no one or nothing can motivate you if you are not willing to give yourself a chance.

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama

5. The habit of taking responsibility

It is amazing how much taking responsibility for our results can change our perspective. I have had the chance to work with small teams, and in my experience, I’ve learned that people get more motivated when they know they are responsible for the outcome of their tasks. Don’t wait for the situation to be agreeable to get motivated. Take responsibility for your task and see how much energy you will put into it. While hygiene factors can help motivate you, only when you know you are really responsible for the results of a particular task will you build motivation that lasts.

As humans we have unlimited psychic power. Just as you would pay more for natural and organic food and beverages, you need to harness your natural source of motivation rather than expecting outside factors to motivate you. May that same motivation level that attracted you to this article keep you motivated in a more consistent manner.

How do you stay motivated from day to day? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Motivation

5 Ways You Can Develop Unbreakable Mental Resilience

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Building unbreakable mental strength was my ultimate goal for many years. Even as a girl, I knew that with emotional toughness in place, nothing can permanently break me. I set myself up for a task. My mission was to find ways and tools which I can use to become mentally and emotionally strong, in control and ready to face anything. If you think that’s easier said than done, that’s two of us.

In the beginning, I experienced lots of failures and errors since I didn’t understand that being tough or looking tough are two different powers. I was trying to build this image of a “street fighter” which wasn’t working because it didn’t come from within. My second task was to share my experience with anyone I met. I understood that with proper tools and perspective, we all could build ourselves into resilient and strong individuals.

That’s why I want to share with you 5 ways you can develop unbreakable mental resilience and gain control of your life:

1. Increase your tolerance for pain

If you want to effectively train your mind in becoming resilient, you need to increase your tolerance for pain. You do it by letting go of how things should be and accept what is. No expectations, no feeling of entitlement.

It’s a perspective matter. When you feel entitled to something better or easier in life, you are putting yourself in a position where your expectations don’t have to be met. This situation causes hurt and loss of control.

When you are at peace with the ups and downs of life, knowing that some fights are involved, you are gaining more control over how you feel and think. Your tolerance for adversity increases since you are focused more on a solution than on the presence of your pain.

“You can waste your lives drawing lines. Or you can live your life crossing them.” – Shonda Rhimes

2. Create a powerful support system

Most of my life, I believed that I can handle everything on my own. I wanted to become the strongest among all my friends and family, always independent, never needing help. Soon, I found out that this was a terrible idea while trying to develop emotional resilience. The truth is that we need each other, we need our support network

Part of developing mental resilience is knowing when to ask for help and bury the ego. There is strength in admitting that you feel vulnerable and need someone’s hand. Feeling love and support is the best medicine while dealing with hardships. Your role is to choose who you let close to you and who you can trust. Based on my experience, it isn’t hard to figure it out.

3. Take responsibility for your feelings

You and I know that blaming is easy. It takes a weight off your shoulders, it eases the pain and it creates excuses. But it doesn’t build mental resilience. You need to learn how to take responsibility for your feelings when someone else hurts them.

There is a difference between those who are at fault and those who are responsible. Let’s say that your partner cheated on you which broke your heart and caused you pain. It’s your partner’s fault, but it’s your responsibility to deal with it. I know, it may sound unfair, but this is the only way you can build your emotional toughness on a feeling which scares you the most and that’s pain.

4. Learn to be alone

Some of us are pretty scared of being alone. That’s why we keep the TV on even when we don’t watch it, scroll through our feed 45 times a day or always seek some company just to maintain the noise. Spending some time alone allows you to think clearly, without distractions and on a much deeper level.

I am not suggesting that you isolate yourself from others, but time alone, combined with only 5 minutes of meditation, will help you in gaining better control of your feelings and overall mental state. Schedule your alone time. Reserve 1 hour, twice a week just for yourself, your thoughts and feelings. If you haven’t tried meditation, there are tons of videos online which will teach you the basics.  

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” – Vince Lombardi

5. Love those who hurt you

Two weeks ago, I read an article about letting go. According to Buddha’s teachings, the best way to let go is by loving those who hurt us. At first, it pissed me off. I thought to myself, “This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read in my entire life.” Then I took a deep breath, stepped out of my ego and admitted that it made sense.

Think about it this way, when you truly let go, when you forgive, you are gaining more control over your feelings and mindset. And that’s one of the most important things in building mental resilience. You take away the power of someone else who gained it through hurting you. Once you overcome the feeling of anger and the need for retaliation, the action of the other person won’t control you.

Conclusion

Having the right perspective on pain, surrounding yourself with people you can trust and taking responsibilities for your feelings are basic components of your inner toughness. The best thing about it is that even when you fail, you will manage to recover pretty quickly because you are built this way.

Don’t focus on your ego, it’s one of the most common reasons which stops you from growing. Have faith and accept the fact the everything in your life has a purpose. It’s how you choose to use it which defines who you are.

How do you build mental strength? Comment below!

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