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The Way To Begin…

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We all start somewhere. We may not know what our dream is to begin with.

This was certainly the case for me back in 2011. I’d hit rock bottom and everything in my life had gone wrong. There was no meaning in anything I was doing and I didn’t know why I existed. I had no dream and zero goals other than to survive the day.

My anxiety and stress levels were so high at that point in my life that just getting to go to bed at night was good enough.

So how do we begin anything?

I believe the way we begin is often by accident. We don’t always know when an idea is going to hit us or our life is going to change. For me, I certainly had no clue. My life up until that fateful day was spent chasing money and things that I thought mattered.

These were not things that mattered to me; they were things that mattered to society. Getting to where I was on that day was a complete accident. I always thought I was going to be this big time businessman importing stuff from China.

I thought that because I was born in the lucky country of Australia that I was entitled to success. This fateful day would soon teach me how wrong I was.

“Being wrong is often where it starts. Being wrong is where the accident of your success journey can begin”

There is one common trigger

That trigger is a low point where you decide that enough is enough. It often all begins when your pain levels reach and extreme point. It feels like your life is going to implode and that if you died tomorrow, it wouldn’t even matter.

My low point in 2011 became the defining moment where everything changed. I was not purposeful about my new path, but I had definitely had enough. Many of us get this same trigger. What I’ve found is that too many of us don’t use it. These low points are a gift and when you come face to face with one, you need to make the most of it.

These low points are the motivation and change in mindset that you need. I took my sign that my life needed to change and became obsessed.

What does the start of the journey look like?

It doesn’t look all that flash to begin with. The start of a journey towards success never does look amazing.

Mine was so simple it almost seems make-believe. I want to describe it for you in extreme detail so you can see just how simple it was.

On that fateful day where everything collapsed, I made a very small decision. It’s probably the smallest change in my life I have ever made. This decision changed everything.

“All I did was decide to walk around the neighborhood block, where I lived, once per day”

The duration was so short that it was impossible not to do. At this stage in my life, I was not conscious of anything and knew nothing about success or psychology.

I did this walk for a few days and then my mind told me that I wasn’t maximising the time. See, I am one of those crazy people who always has to be hyper productive. In this case, my hyper-productive mind was the greatest gift I had been given.

The next part is still a bit blurry. Having had no clue what to do other than doing my daily walk, I did what all millennials do: I asked Google for answers. I’m not sure what the series of search terms was that led me to Tony Robbins, nor do I care.

Once I found a Tony Robbins video on Youtube, I became hooked. All the answers I was seeking became instantly available to me. At this point, I turned into a total freak.

I got my iPod, downloaded a whole bunch of Tony Robbins audiotapes, and went for a walk every single day. Many of these walks became longer than one hour. I walked as fast as I could and I had a look of determination on my face that made me look like I had been possessed by the devil.

So the turning point was really these walks, combined with listening to audiotapes.

What does all of this mean for you?

That’s a damn good question cowboy. What it means for you is that you may be over thinking your next move. Your next move needs to be a decision. I recommend making lots of small decisions and trying many new things.

The thing that will take you on the next journey that could lead to your life’s purpose and / or dream is probably way simpler than you think. As humans, we over think success and we look for gianormous triggers or external factors before we’re willing to make a decision.

I believe it’s the small decisions that help you begin. It’s the little things you’re dismissing like taking a walk around the neighborhood block that could potentially change your circumstances.

Finding that trigger or habit is not enough

Even if you discover something like walking, which has a major effect on you, it’s not enough. You still need to get off your ass and make a decision. What is that decision you ask?

That decision is to no longer to accept your current results. It’s a decision to cut off from everything else and become intensely focused on one pursuit. If all you do is find a new habit that keeps you in the same rut you’ve been in, you’ll never start your own journey.

I used to be so lazy, indecisive and lack discipline. These were the traits that were holding me back. On many of these walks I went on, I decided that I’d no longer settle for these loser behaviors.

See yourself for what you can become, not who you currently are

“When you begin a new road towards success, you have to think of yourself differently. You absolutely must see yourself as who you can become and not who you currently are”

During my transformation, I focused on all the potential that I had and what I would look like in the future. I thought about standing on stages in front of thousands of people and doing something that filled me with joy and passion. I saw videos of thought leaders like Eric Thomas and told myself that I could live my life at the same level.

To this day, those thoughts have never left me and I never will let them go. Until you’ve been all the way to the lowest of lows, you’ll never know what it’s like to dream big.

You have so much more within you. Yes, people will laugh at you and think you’re dumb. The only reason they think like that is because they are pissed off at their own failures and misfortunes.

Going to Mars

Let me give you an example of people not believing. I’m coaching this young kid right now and he had the idea to take his product to Mars. When he told me that, he thought I’d laugh like everyone else. What he didn’t expect was for me to encourage him.

I told him that if he truly believed that his product could be on Mars, that he should shout it from the rooftop. I told him that he should look people in the eye and tell them he was going to Mars with his product!

If he focuses on who he is right now – a young kid with no money, no work experience and no product – he would never get started.

If he believed all the critics who have never achieved any such goal as going to Mars, he’d never begin.

The way to begin is not just to make a decision, but be bold and believe in yourself. You must believe before anyone will believe in what you’re starting.

If that means you are going to take your product to Mars then so be it.

***Final words***

Don’t let any outside force stop you from beginning any longer. You’ve wasted enough time as it is and life is too short to waste any more time. Go out there and begin. The start is always the hardest part, but it’s also the most rewarding.

Remember what I said before: the beginning will be made up of a few very small decisions and actions. Don’t look for that massive defining moment because chances are it will never come.

Get started right now and believe you were born to do something incredible. We’re all capable of greatness once we find a way to begin. Beginning the journey is where it all starts. No one knows what the end will look like and that’s half the fun.

Time to take the first step.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

Motivation

How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals

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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.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

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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Motivation

What Is Dark Motivation and How Can I Use It to My Advantage?

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Motivation

The Killer Morning Routine to Boost Motivation

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Motivation

Why “No Pain, No Gain” Is More Powerful Than You Realize

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