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13 Keys To Success You Can Learn From The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

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The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Lessons

Rarely are there books that can truly transform your life. Just like Think And Grow Rich and The Alchemist, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari Book is phenomenal. It has some of the best keys to success you will ever read, and it’s very hard to put down once you start reading it.

Robin Sharma is the author, and so it’s no wonder why he uses fictional characters to shift your current way of thinking. I could really relate to being that person a few years ago who has got the job everyone would dream of, but who has still not found true fulfilment and happiness.

It’s books like this that have put me on my current path, and that will help you to reconsider what is important to you. This book has very simple concepts, but the power is in its simplicity.

Below are 13 keys to success that you will learn from the book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari:

 

1. Trade money in for meaning

The online world is highlighting right now the shift that is happening. People are starting to look at their time more closely and making changes to their income based on doing something that has more meaning.

Companies that have a meaning or a social cause to them are beating the traditional corporations. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is all about two lawyers who some would say have it all, and how one of the lawyers traded in all he had to become fulfilled, happy and healthy again.

To create his own meaning, Julian Mantle from the book travels to the Himalayas to become enlightened through a group of monks. He then comes back to the western world and shares all of his wisdom with his former colleague John.

This act is the true definition of giving meaning to your life and shows the power of meaning versus money. Are you going to start to add more meaning to your own life?

 

2. Empty your cup so you can fill it with new ideas

Think about all the people you work with. Are they open to new ideas and do they want to try something new? The answer is probably no, and the reason for this is that their hypothetical cup is constantly full. The only way to be able to open your mind, take on new thoughts, and change your current position in life is to empty your cup (your mind).

The book teaches us that we can only change when we make space for change in our lives. This means that you have to be prepared to potentially re-learn everything you have been told and question everything that someone tells you from now on.

Failure to empty your cup will cause you to stand still and not grow. When the mind doesn’t grow it starts to take on more and more negative thoughts and create predictable outcomes.

 

3. You must open your own heart before you can touch other people’s hearts

Julian Mantle in the book teaches us that we can only help others, love others and inspire others if we work on ourselves first. When we reach a place where we feel centred and alive, we are able to find inspiration within.

As we work on ourselves our natural progression is to help others, and we do so often without consciously knowing – it’s what we were designed as humans to do.

 

4. Understand how powerful simplicity can be

As the book goes a bit deeper, a simple fable is revealed to the character of John. Initially, he thinks that the fable is too incomplex and dismisses it entirely. As he becomes more enlightened, he realises that the power is in simplicity.

Look at our world; the best marketing is simple, the best advice is simple, the best phone is simple – simple is the best form of anything. It’s easy for us to want to over complicate things to make ourselves feel smart, but what this book teaches us is that complexity is the enemy we should be trying to avoid.

Complexity is what puts us in an education system that gives us zero emotional intelligence and doesn’t help us to understand the operating manuals of our minds. Complexity is what makes us forget that vitality and energy come from what we put in our mouths and that simplistic eating from natural sources is the best kind.

 

5. Worry will drain your mind of its power

Modern day life contains so much worry. Our minds are exhausted by all the things we are told we must have to be happy and all the things we are told we must do by a certain deadline. What if we decided that happiness was more important than worry? What if we trained our brains to be happy with where we are right now and not to worry about what anyone else thinks?

The book clearly shows us that worry causes havoc for our inner world and that all our success is buried deep within our inner world. The only way we can remove the gravel stones of worry and unveil our success is to cultivate a tidy garden of thoughts.

Poor information is what pivots our mind from everything that is good, into worry. Worry benefits others but never really helps you. Deep down we know that worry is not good for us, but we often lack the discipline in our daily habits to stand tall and not let worry take over!

 

6. Tragedy can spark something great inside of you

One of the most powerful lessons in the book is the realisation that the real world doesn’t exist. Everything within our world is created in our mind. External circumstances like the weather can’t be controlled. What we can control is what our mind’s attitude is towards these events.

The major theme in this book is about how important our mind is in whether or not we become successful. Even the definition of success is subjective and completely created by our own mind.

When an event like tragedy occurs, which we have no control over, the book teaches us that we have an amazing opportunity. This opportunity is the realisation that while this event may seem like a tragedy to you; to an entirely different person it may seem like a celebration or a new beginning.

All great success stories almost always have some form of tragedy or pain, which becomes the seed for something much greater.

Tim Denning Success Quote
 

7. Translate negative thoughts into positive ones to banish worry forever

A skill that the book suggests is worth developing is where you learn over time to not judge events as either positive or negative but to just experience them and soak in the learning. The lessons that come from these learnings are what fuels your growth.

The book goes as far to say that you can’t afford even one negative thought. I personally have never thought of my thoughts that way, but with this new perspective, I feel like the book has made me see the world in a whole new way.

Your mind has two gears; imagination and memory. Focusing on memory will ensure you live in the past while spending time imagining will see you have a more positive outlook on what your world could be like in the future.

Imagination allows you to design the life you want, instead of being given the life you don’t want that is shaped by external forces.

 

8. Start to dream that you are more than the sum of your current circumstances

Where you are right now is not where you will be in the future if you follow the keys to success outlined in this book. The only way to change your current circumstances is to begin by dreaming that you can be more than you currently are.

Dreaming is not enough, though. Your dreams need to be followed by consistent action, but even action alone is also not enough. The book teaches you that the action you take must be done in a way where you act as if failure is impossible.

You must act as if you have unlimited power and only your mind is stopping you from getting where you want to go. You already know what you need to do; you just need to break through the fears that are blocking the path in front of you. Expect greatness from yourself and that’s what you’ll get in return.

 

9. Those who rise early have a purpose and those that don’t do not

We all know people who sleep in or her struggle to wake up. We may even be these people. Sleeping too much is caused by not having anything purposeful or fulfilling in your life to do. When you have a purpose that occupies every moment of your thoughts and causes you not to want to sleep, then you know you’re on the cusp of something big.

If you’re not there yet then that’s okay, just don’t stop until you start living that way of life. When you finally arrive, you will be glad you had the discipline to keep searching for your purpose.

Between what I learnt from this book, and a video from Eric Thomas that I watched, I have now decided to wake up at 3 am each morning to fulfil my purpose to inspire the world through personal development and entrepreneurship. The drive was always there it’s just been ignited further through books such as this.

 

10. To be noble is to be superior to your former self

In the world of personal development, so much of the advice out there traditionally says beat your competition at all costs. This book highlights that it’s not about beating your competitors or measuring yourself against others; it’s about beating yourself.

“The aim is to be superior only to your former self. Spend time each day trying to outwork and outgrow yourself not those around you”

Forget about what other people think of your life’s purpose or what others think about where you’re currently at, and focus on improving yourself daily.

The only thing that tells you you’re on the right course is you. The only person that decides if you are successful is you. The book outlines that the more time you spend worrying about someone else’s goal, the less time you have to focus on your own.

 

11. Writing goals down subconsciously triggers your mind to focus on goal orientated thoughts

The art of goal setting doesn’t make sense to everyone and for good reason. In the book, Julian shows John that we constantly have thousands of thoughts floating around our brain. He explains that when we write our goals down and then constantly look at them, we subconsciously tell our brain to red flag any thought that comes into our mind, which relates to one of our goals.

Goals allow your mind to place an importance indicator on every thought you have, from important to least important. This message is so very simple yet amazingly powerful when you reflect on it. Goals are really just focusing your thoughts on the things you want and discarding everything else – groundbreaking!

 

12. The more courage you have, the greater your fulfilment will be

In the book, Julian shows John that to have self-control and overcome failure you need to have courage. Courage is a sense of certainty about every action you take and the belief that everything you do is ultimately going to work for the best, one way or another.

Courage allows you to take action when other people trying to achieve a similar goal would give up. The act of courage gives you hope even when hope may not seem obvious in certain situations.

 

13. Your thinking is what makes something painful

We can all identify with experiences that we have gone through that have felt painful. What Julian teaches in the book though is that your thinking about something is what makes it feel a certain way.

The loss of a loved one may seem in the moment like the ultimate pain. This same loss could be perceived as a celebration if that loved one was in agony from their illness. Both scenarios are right, and it’s your thinking that decides which one you choose to experience.

“You will become luckier every day if your mind is prepared and conditioned to think of the world as filled with opportunities, and to think of pain as part of all journeys of success” – Tim Denning

Others around you will start to see you as lucky, whereas you and I (and those who have read this book) will know that it’s the way you have conditioned your mind that has made you appear by magic to be lucky. Fill your world with an abundance of positive emotions and that’s how you will feel daily.

What lesson did The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari teach you? Let me know in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net and my Facebook. 

Tim is best known as a long-time contributor on Addicted2Success. Tim's content has been shared millions of times and he has written multiple viral posts all around personal development and entrepreneurship. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Ruchit Shah

    Jan 18, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Robin Sharma writes a beautiful book that truly appeals to the soul. It says about living Life to the fullest. As we grow up, we tend to get busy in our work & daily chores. Today’s fast paced world has led us to forget some of the most important things in our lives, such as being grateful for this wonderful life or spending some quality moments with our parents or kids. The Monk who sold his Ferrari reminds us to live a life rich in health, wealth & spiritual being. It speaks in an effective yet non-preachy manner to lift us from mediocrity and show us a path towards living a fulfilling life.

    The writing is really Inspiring and its a book for everyone who would like to live a simple, Happy and purposeful life.

  2. amgy

    Jun 1, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Dear Tim
    The Review of Robin Sharma book by you is highly applaudable. I am trying to pour simplicity in my life when I realised its actual benefits.
    From that day when I finished “The Monk who sold his Ferrari “book, I am continuously in practice to get bliss by the simple rule of life .
    thanks once again .

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 6, 2016 at 12:54 am

      Amgy, thanks for reading and best of luck with your quest for simplicity.

  3. Toño

    May 14, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Tim, you listed three books I have read during my time, and all of them had some particular impact on my life. But there’s something special about Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. And you were spot on about it’s very hard to put that book down once you started reading it. Exactly. I’ve finished it for a few days I think and only because I was reading during my early mornings and had to attend my job. Without it I would have done it in a day. It was so addictive!

    Taking down the lessons I can certainly relate to every single one of them. Are people I work with opened to new ideas? Most likely not indeed. I had been talking about that book with so many of them, and not a single one had listened. I even offered one girl my copy of book and we were about to meet after my swiming pool session but she never came. And you know, it’s just funny how easily you can turn a great opportunity to learn and educate yourself. For free and with pleasure. I offered her a free one-on-one talk so to just help and understand things better, to help her bring positivity and change the attitude. And again, she never came.

    I am recharging my mind now and constantly trying to empty my cup. Even though with so huge amount of knowledge I recieve every day it is very tricky. Sometimes I feel like give up everything and re-connect with nature, to go live somewhere in the wilderness. One of my wild dreams 😉

    I also believe that tragedy will guide to a better live like never before. I agree with your explanation here completely, Tim. Ain’t that just the way? And I feel like I am on the edge of some sort of tragedy myself. Like the inner one. My body gives messages every day yet I’m still like a blind person cannot see them properly. But I can feel something is about to change very soon.

    I also love and adore you spoke about Eric Thomas, as I am watching one guy on youtube regularly who also speals about ET very high. And he also wake up at 3-3:30 am every day because of him. I feel like it was all about synchronicity again, and that we have some things in common 🙂 I started to wake up at 5 am after Tony Robbins first book and then I saw Robin Sharma’s video where he talked about waking up early. I abandoned that habbit due my work schedule because otherwise I will have very limited sleep time which is not healthy so now I wake at 5.20 am three days a week when I go to the gym at the morning. But now, seeing you do the same thing (3 am wake up) I want to try it as well. You are my inspiration there, Tim.

    And this. This is simply awesome saying I gotta quote and remember: ‘Courage is a sense of certainty about every action you take and the belief that everything you do is ultimately going to work for the best, one way or another.’

    One of the main message of this book was simplicity, and one of the greatess minds of this worl, Albert Einstein has said: ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’.

    It was amazing read, my friend, and I agree with Evan Teague, it was a knockout. You are on a different level, my man. For a few days I have been thinking about this article. Much love and appreciation for your knowledge.

    Now I actually want to re-read this book again.

    • Tim Denning

      May 15, 2016 at 5:28 am

      Toño we have similar tastes my friend. I love your dedication to squeezing out every ounce of greatness from everything I write and talk about. If you believe you are on the cusp of tragedy then that can only be a good thing. It means your life is going to change for the better. Based on what you have told me, you are changing into someone that has the power to do great things.

      Remember that not everyone will share your vision or think that this book is powerful. Ignorance is bliss and everyone deserves whatever they want to believe. Simple books like this is where you learn to be successful and happy at the same time. Before I started waking up at 3am my previous bedtime was 5:20 – that’s freaky!!!!

      • Toño

        May 16, 2016 at 8:41 am

        I value time and effort wise people invest in their work, I am a big sucker for knowledge and things that can help me to grow and be a better person, so I try to absorb every bits and pieces that greatness 😉 Not every time though. But I loved to learn right from my childhood.

        I know that not everyone will share my ideas and view but sometimes it’s just too frustrating to see how reasonably smart people refuse to get better and educate themselves. I’m getting better at it however and it can actually be a good sign I am going up. I appreciate your support, Tim, very much. For the last couple of weeks you helped me a lot and been a massive boost for me to keep on going. Funny thing, recently I realized people I’ve never met in person, or just far far away, helps me more than those who around every time. Amazing, isn’t it?

        I would also like to know, what time you go to bed now as you wake up at 3am? And how much actual time healthy sleep requiers? Do you find it hard wake up so early every day and do you feel the change from waking at 5.20 am ?

  4. Vishnu

    May 14, 2016 at 4:37 am

    Good stuff Tim. You’ve done a great review of the book and pulled out the key lessons. I love the simplicity concept. The best things in life are simple. We make it much more complex than necessary. There is power, wisdom and greatness in simplicity. Over the years I’ve tried to simplify all areas of my life.

    • Tim Denning

      May 15, 2016 at 5:22 am

      Vishnu thank you for your message. Simplicity is the key to life and business. Since I started reading Joshua Becker I discovered that the way to declutter your mind is simplify your life and most importantly, simplify your possessions.

  5. Evan Teague

    May 12, 2016 at 6:33 am

    Tim,

    Another knockout.

    What spoke to me specifically would be #3, 5 and 12.

    3 – I used to have a lot of anger in my heart which I had to release in order to reach my full potential and open my heart up to help others. By focusing on other people and their needs, we’re more centered and purposeful anyways.

    5- Worrying will kill us too because we’re using potent visualization AND imagination in the wrong direction. No matter if we think & talk about something we DON’T want, we’re still creating it. Think the opposite from what you don’t want, and create only what you want.

    12 – I had to learn this by moving across the world by myself and networking with the right people. At the moment, it just looked like a huge tunnel with a question mark at the end. After all, it’s bloomed to a full-fledged E-commerce business of my own, a personal development and mindset website to share with others, and freedom to travel and live anywhere.

    Fantastic work.

    – Evan

    • Tim Denning

      May 12, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      Thank you Evan. Moving across to the other side of the world when you don’t know anyone is a gutsy move and I applaud you for having the courage to take action on your vision. Speak soon mate.

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Success Advice

The Secret Power of Storytelling That You Need to Know

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Image Credit: Fortune

What does the power of storytelling mean to you? Do you visualize your mom or dad telling you a bedtime story, or do you think about an enjoyable summer read? Every single conversation that we have with an individual or group is us sharing a story about the past, present and future. If we have a product or service that we offer to others, we tell a story about it when we do a pitch or a presentation.

The reason why we tell stories is because we know the power of stories. We know how being able to tell a captivating story can affect and change the lives of the people for better or worse. Hitler used stories about the Jews in the 1930’s which caused Germany to rally the youth and the German people to go to war, and in England, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, used the power of stories to rally the British in a movement of never surrendering to the Germans.

Not everyone knows how to tell stories

Our abilities to tell captivating stories is one of the greatest assets we possess. However the problem is that not everyone has the skills to be a good storyteller, and the ability to be a good storyteller is critical in our success whether it’s in our personal or business life.

The power of storytelling goes way beyond just our everyday conversations, it goes far beyond simply giving facts and data. Stories emotionalize information. They bring life and depth to otherwise bland material, and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Tony Robbins, the world famous motivational speaker and strategist interviewed Peter Guber, the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment whose films has earned more than $3 billion and over 50 Academy Awards nomination. Guber stated “emotion combined with information becomes memorable and actionable.  Where were you on 9/11? Chances are that you can remember exactly where you were when you learned about the tragic events that transpired that day. But if you had to think where you were the day before that – that memory is probably hazier. Because information attached to pain or pleasure creates an emotional connection that resonates within you.”

He goes on to also say “Keeping in mind that a story is not a monologue, but a dialogue, helps you to give your audience proprietorship. They become emotional owners of the story you are telling. Then they become advtes –oca of your product, your service, your business, your brand.”

The power of storytelling can transform lives when useful and relevant information is combined with emotions. The next time you speak to another person regardless of the situation, remember you are being a storyteller, because you are in the process of transferring information to that person or group.

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” –Tahir Shah

Our most powerful tool

Our ability to communicate effectively is the most powerful tool we have, and when we strategically use our communication skills to transfer bland information into masterful stories we also have the power to transform lives.

If done correctly, our stories will have a massive effect on our listening audience. It will inspire and influence them. It will move them to act. So never underestimate the power of storytelling. Make it relevant–connect emotionally, create a dialogue, and you will see why the power of storytelling is the most powerful tool you have.

Don’t just take my word on for it, Look at some of the greatest leaders throughout history

You will see that they all had the ability to tell stories and bring people together through their words. The greatest motivational speakers in the world use the power of storytelling to emotionalize their audience, because there is no quicker or more effective way to get your audience engaged.

Les Brown who has been one of my mentors and one of the greatest motivational speakers that has ever lived, uses stories masterfully. He shares stories about his upbringing in Miami, and how he and his twin brother were adopted at birth and he is somehow able to transition those stories into whatever relevant topic needs to be heard by his audience, but he first draws them in with his stories.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, Tony Robbins, the list is endless, but one thing they all have in common is their ability to tell stories masterfully. Some of the greatest philosophers have told us that there is a blueprint for success, and obviously storytelling is part of that blue print.

There is no greater power that we possess than the ability to transform regular words into captivating stories that can take your audience on whatever journey you want to take them on.

Being a great storyteller is like being a puppet master, because when you can draw people in to your stories you will have your audience on a string taking them on any emotional roller coaster. The secret power of storytelling is to be treated with respect, because with great power comes great responsibility, and this power should only be used for good.

Do you enjoy storytelling? If so, do you have any techniques or advice to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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Success Advice

5 Signs You’re on the Right Path to Success

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Every successful person had his own moment(s) of doubt. The road to success is full of obstacles and sweet hardships that will frequently make you stop and ask, ‘Am I on the right track?’ Even legends and billionaires had moments like that. Just imagine how 62 year old Colonel Sanders felt when he was rejected time and time again trying to franchise his famous chicken recipe.

It felt harsh and I bet he stopped, at least for a moment, to question his entire existence, not just the success of his business idea. But I also bet that there were probably some signs that told Sanders —and any other successful person— ‘You`re going to make it, just hang in there.”

Here are the 5 signs that will tell you whether you`re going to be successful or not:

1. You’re good at the consistency game

I don`t like the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, and I believe that a restless hare would smash them both, but there`s a reason why that slow tortoise crossed the finish line; It`s called consistency.

Success eventually favors the most consistent, and if you`re not disciplined with the things that make you successful, then your chances to succeed are slimmer than Marlon Brando`s chances of winning the lottery (Marlon Brando is dead, and one of every 175 million tickets wins the lotto).  

Systems and routines (i.e., consistency), predict success, so take a look at your habits. Are they positive? Do you practice them regularly? If the answer to both questions is “Yes,” then sooner or later you`re going to be successful.

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis

2. You stopped having a toxic relationship with money

Success is no longer a zero-sum game to you; opportunities are everywhere, and there`s room for everybody to make money, including you. When you check the news, the success of other people no longer makes you envious. A celebrity buying a new mansion or a $150 million contract for a LeBron or Federer-like athlete, doesn`t bother you but instead makes you believe there`s plenty of money out there for ambitious, hard-working people like you. When you switch from worrying about not having enough money to having faith that you will make the money you want, then you know you`re on the way to success.

3. You know the right people

Another sign is having a big social network. I read it somewhere that business owners prefer to hire those they know over those who are skilled. Sounds skewed, I know, but it helps a lot if you combine your technical skills with excellent people skills. To want success is more like wishing to enter a nightclub on a busy Friday night. If you know the bouncers or have enough skills to befriend them, you won`t stay long in the line. The same thing happens in business, the more people you know, the easier it will be to find the right job, get proper funding and save time waiting in the line.

Social skills will help you more than you can ever imagine. There`s a guy I used to work with, he`s not that good looking, but he`s the slickest I`ve ever seen. When that guy hit rock bottom, he dropped out of school, bought a one-way ticket to Dubai, became a real estate agent and made his first million before reaching 30. I`ve also read about Michael Bloomberg who used to come to work at six in the morning to distribute coffee and tea to CEOs who come to work early when others are sleeping. For $.99 each, Bloomberg befriended at least a dozen bigwigs who later helped him launch a billion dollar business after he quit Wall Street.

4. You know what makes you tick

The successful people are better than most people at understanding themselves and overcoming —to a greater extent—the five foundations of poverty: sleep, fear, anger, laziness, and procrastination. They have worked on themselves so deeply and have made so many mistakes that they now know their soft spots as well as what motivates them.

Do you know what makes you sad, angry or excited? Do you know when you`re more likely to cheat on a diet or skip a workout? What are your strengths? Can you motivate yourself at will? And how? Having answers to most or, preferably, all of these questions will help you tap into your full potential and sets you on the path to massive success.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

5. You have faith

Faith in the yet to be seen, is a huge sign of success. When you think about the future, there should be a positive energy around you that says “I`m gonna make it.” You may not know exactly when you`re going to succeed, but you`re sure it’s a matter of time. This faith, or certainty, comes from having a solid plan – It`s when you know your goal, how you`ll achieve it, and how you`re going to react if things go south and deciding to believe in the unknown

If you think about it, hard work doesn`t always come as the first cause of success. It`s the faith that you`ll achieve the goal that makes you work hard, and thus, achieve the goal. I was reading a book on Michael Jordan by Roland Lazenby —who also wrote Kobe Bryant`s biography— and it stopped me that part of Jordan`s extraordinary success goes to expectations.

He expected every single ball he shot to go in. Jordan used that mindset over and over and didn`t stop when one of his shots was missed. He merely understood that even though nobody wins all the time, believing you`ll win every single time makes you win most of the time, which is enough to get a career like his. The most prominent success sign is the certainty. To believe, and act, as if you`re going to succeed, and then let that belief lead manifest into actions.

What are some things you do to say on track? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Instead of Always Trying to Be Right, Do This Instead

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A colleague of mine was obnoxious, over eager, and completely out of line. Yet, all of this was overshadowed by the fact he was just plain wrong. If he were to go through with it, it would derail the company by at least 6 months. Yet, arguing with him when he was in this state was of no use. While hitting him over the head with the laptop seemed appealing for a second, it was probably not a great long-term strategy for the business or my laptop.

Galileo once said, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” This is especially true when it comes to emotionally charged matters and negotiations.

When you are right, you become attached to that idea. It’s so clear, how can they not see it? Yet, your meticulously clear logic might as well be written in braille as your focus intensifies on proving yourself right, instead of reaching an agreement.

Below are 3 ways you can step out of your emotions and help someone find the right answer when money and time are on the line:

1. Separate the Person From the Issue

Imagine if a four-year-old child was adamant about something. You wouldn’t try to reason logically for hours in such a case. When trying to speak through a person’s emotions, often you might have better luck with the four year old.

In order to break this barrier you must stop seeing them as the problem and see the issue at hand. Instead of seeing the other person as stupid or obnoxious, try viewing them as simply lost or misguided. The job now becomes not to prove them wrong, but to guide them to the truth. Adopting this mindset changes your entire approach as you get out of your own emotions and take control of the situation.

“Each of us guard a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.” – Stephen Covey

2. Show Them A Mirror

Somewhere in between trying to hammer a point, both sides usually forget to listen. No matter the situation, you must make sure that person is never you. Instead, shift the focus from “me vs you” and make it completely about the other person. Really listen and validate their emotions, creating enough trust and safety to begin a real exchange. Make sure they feel heard and slow the conversation down. When you slow the process down, you also calm down.

Remember, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. About 93% of communication is nonverbal, thus maintaining your body language immediately provides an edge. A playful (not childlike or mocking) voice puts someone in a positive frame of mind, where they are more likely to collaborate and problem solve.

Always remember to repeat back the most important three words from their sentence and make them elaborate on whatever they said. The more a person is allowed to speak, the more they feel heard. The more they feel heard, the more open they are to receive new information.

3. Lead With Empathy, Not Sympathy

Taking the time to make sure the other side feels heard and understood does not mean you bend to their will. It does not mean you give up, agree, feel sorry for, or even compromise. Empathy is the ability to recognize another’s perspective and the vocalization of that recognition. This is the difference between empathy and sympathy.

When you can label a person’s emotions in an argument, you seize the chance to discover what is behind those feelings. As you begin to drill down, you gain leverage. This should be done very gracefully. Instead of saying, I think you’re angry and being stubborn, trying saying, It seems like you are feeling frustrated because you really care about this and wish it was moving along quicker.

“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” – Roy T. Bennett

Using labels, you mold their feelings into words, moving information from the emotional part of the brain to the rational. Whatever behavior a person may be presenting, there is always an underlying feeling triggering it. Your job is to make the person aware of that feeling. The faster you do this, the faster you eliminate the risk of a complete breakdown in communication.

After their emotions are labeled, asking how or why calibrated questions allow them to solve their problems for you. In order to do this effectively you don’t need to study every type of calibrated question there is, but rather adopt a specific mindset. You are not their opponent, but a guide, leading the lost to the truth. Your truth.

In my case, the presenting behavior of my colleague was an obnoxious know-it-all attitude. However, the underlying emotion was fear of falling behind. Once I was able to stop asking the question, “Why is he doing this to me?” and focus on looking deeper, the conversation took a turn. The conversation was no longer about my ideas versus his, but about him and his fear.

Instead of arguing with me, he spent the rest of the time, essentially, arguing with himself. After helping him dissect his fear in the rational part of the brain, he realized that many of the worst case scenarios were highly improbable and acting hasty might exacerbate things. Most importantly, at the end of the conversation, he said, “I think I made the right choice.”

He believed that the decision was entirely his. He never acknowledged the fact that I was right and announced to everyone the sudden spark of genius that hit him. Yet, at the end of the day you need to ask yourself what is more important to you; being right or doing whatever it takes to win.  

How do you handle conflict? Let us know your tips and advice in the comments below!

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What You Can Learn From My Ultimate “I Am Screwed” Moment.

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When I was 16 years old, I had the ultimate “I am screwed moment.”

Everything from this point on happened in slow motion. What I’m about to describe probably happened in the space of thirty minutes but it felt like five hours.

I was walking down the street with my buddy one night, eating a paddle pop ice cream. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a group of about twenty teenagers running towards us, dressed in black.

I instantly knew that something was up and as they got closer, we both realized we were screwed and there was nowhere to run to.

Seconds later the gang of teenagers came straight towards us as fast as they could.

“I got lucky and copped a baseball bat to the head. My friend wasn’t so lucky. He was repeatedly stabbed by several different people and there was blood everywhere.”

As I saw what happened to my friend, I knew I’d be next. I was hit so many times with the baseball bat that I was numb from the pain. Everything started to go white.

Then I heard a faint voice. The voice was calling my name out.

I listened to what the young man was saying and realized he was saying that his little brother knew me. All of a sudden, he put out his hand, lifted me off the ground and told me to run in the other direction, or I’d end up like my friend.

I somehow managed to get on my feet and run, but I was not giving up on my friend. I ran around the back of the shopping center that we were standing outside of and entered the building. I ran to the first security guard I saw and told them I needed help.

In my search to get help, miraculously, my friend had made it into the shopping center and he was being treated by a number of bystanders for his massive knife wounds.

I went over and spoke to him. He was okay and things looked better than I expected. I had about sixty seconds of calmness. Then I looked to my left.

Through the glass doors, I could see the same gang of teenagers running into the shopping center. Everyone including the two security guards ran in opposite directions.

My friend with his multiple knife wounds also ran and there were bandages everywhere as he made a run for it (I’m not even sure how he was able to move).

This time I was the unlucky one. I ran into the part of the shopping center that was closed for the night and three of the youths followed me. I’d never been so afraid because I saw what they did to my friend.

I ended up in the shopping centers food court and I hid in the darkness. I tried to control my breathing, but it was hard to silence the fear inside of me. I still remember the white Nike pants I was wearing and the bright red Sean John jumper I had on (I later discarded them because of the memory they left).

Again, through some kind of miracle, the three boys did not see me. They ran off in another direction and I stayed under the table.

The pain of my wounds started to set in. I knew deep down I was safe and so the fight or flight response was turned off. All of a sudden, moving and walking felt very painful.

I could feel broken bits of teeth in my mouth.


The aftermath.

After some time had passed, I manage to reconnect with my friend. By that time there was an ambulance on the scene and he managed to get his knife wounds treated. He got lucky and no vital organs were affected.

The next day I went to school and people could see I had gone through one hell of an ordeal. One of my friends in the year level below, came and found me and explained to me that it was his older brother and friends that attacked me.

They had mistakenly thought that we had come from a party, because of the direction we came from, where he was beaten up. He told me that because they had recognized me, to some degree, I was spared.

The story doesn’t end here though (I wish it did). Even after the brutal event, one of the attackers was still upset with me. I didn’t know why and it made no sense. I had multiple times where he and his friends were waiting for me in certain places and I was told they would harm me.

Through a mutual friend, I was able to resolve the conflict and I found out that a few of them were close friends with a few of my friends. In the coming years, I got to know my attackers.

“They were not the horrible violent people I encountered on that night. They slowly changed their ways and one of them has gone on to do extraordinary kind acts all over the world.”


A revelation from this “I am screwed” moment.

After this horrible event had occurred, I tried to make sense of it. I was not a violent person in any way but in a way, I had created this path for myself.

During my teenage years, I let rap music and violence dominate my life. I thought they were both cool.

The revelation from all of this was that I knew I had to change my life. I knew that the path I was on had led me to this moment and only I could change things. The next time an attack like this happened, I may not be as lucky.

I gave up rap music, I changed my group of friends, I started a business with my brother, I quit smoking and I disengaged from anything that was violent. Looking back, an “I am screwed” moment can be extremely valuable. It’s during these difficult times that we learn about who we are and what we can do to change our lives.

I would never have become obsessed with legacy, giving back and personal development if I hadn’t had this life or death experience.

I’m now fully aware of my mortality and I’m never going to take another day for granted.

Everything can change in a split second for better or for worse. What you do in that moment is up to you.

Nothing happens randomly (even this attack). Everything happens for a reason and when you ensure you get the lesson from it, you can go on to do extraordinary things.

I’m typing these words and reaching millions of people with them, partly because of this “I am screwed” moment.


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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How to Prevent Social Media From Stunting Your Personal Growth

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Over the years, social media has taken over our lives. Our society has become so addicted to social media to where we’re not only missing out on enjoying some of life’s most precious moments, but we’re also losing valuable interpersonal skills. The introverts have become more introverted, and the extroverts are becoming more recluse. (more…)

Patrice K. Cokley is a Marketing Consultant that specializes in brand development, social media marketing, and creative project management. Holding both a BS and MBA in Marketing, she is widely known for her work with Beyoncé & Solange’s dad/former manager Dr. Mathew Knowles. Her work has been seen on major media outlets such as Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Billboard, Ebony, The Wendy Williams Show and more; and she has spoken on panels at Soho House Chicago, Social Media Week Chicago, LakeFX Chicago and others. You can find Patrice online at www.patricekcokley.com.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Ruchit Shah

    Jan 18, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Robin Sharma writes a beautiful book that truly appeals to the soul. It says about living Life to the fullest. As we grow up, we tend to get busy in our work & daily chores. Today’s fast paced world has led us to forget some of the most important things in our lives, such as being grateful for this wonderful life or spending some quality moments with our parents or kids. The Monk who sold his Ferrari reminds us to live a life rich in health, wealth & spiritual being. It speaks in an effective yet non-preachy manner to lift us from mediocrity and show us a path towards living a fulfilling life.

    The writing is really Inspiring and its a book for everyone who would like to live a simple, Happy and purposeful life.

  2. amgy

    Jun 1, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Dear Tim
    The Review of Robin Sharma book by you is highly applaudable. I am trying to pour simplicity in my life when I realised its actual benefits.
    From that day when I finished “The Monk who sold his Ferrari “book, I am continuously in practice to get bliss by the simple rule of life .
    thanks once again .

    • Tim Denning

      Jun 6, 2016 at 12:54 am

      Amgy, thanks for reading and best of luck with your quest for simplicity.

  3. Toño

    May 14, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Tim, you listed three books I have read during my time, and all of them had some particular impact on my life. But there’s something special about Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. And you were spot on about it’s very hard to put that book down once you started reading it. Exactly. I’ve finished it for a few days I think and only because I was reading during my early mornings and had to attend my job. Without it I would have done it in a day. It was so addictive!

    Taking down the lessons I can certainly relate to every single one of them. Are people I work with opened to new ideas? Most likely not indeed. I had been talking about that book with so many of them, and not a single one had listened. I even offered one girl my copy of book and we were about to meet after my swiming pool session but she never came. And you know, it’s just funny how easily you can turn a great opportunity to learn and educate yourself. For free and with pleasure. I offered her a free one-on-one talk so to just help and understand things better, to help her bring positivity and change the attitude. And again, she never came.

    I am recharging my mind now and constantly trying to empty my cup. Even though with so huge amount of knowledge I recieve every day it is very tricky. Sometimes I feel like give up everything and re-connect with nature, to go live somewhere in the wilderness. One of my wild dreams 😉

    I also believe that tragedy will guide to a better live like never before. I agree with your explanation here completely, Tim. Ain’t that just the way? And I feel like I am on the edge of some sort of tragedy myself. Like the inner one. My body gives messages every day yet I’m still like a blind person cannot see them properly. But I can feel something is about to change very soon.

    I also love and adore you spoke about Eric Thomas, as I am watching one guy on youtube regularly who also speals about ET very high. And he also wake up at 3-3:30 am every day because of him. I feel like it was all about synchronicity again, and that we have some things in common 🙂 I started to wake up at 5 am after Tony Robbins first book and then I saw Robin Sharma’s video where he talked about waking up early. I abandoned that habbit due my work schedule because otherwise I will have very limited sleep time which is not healthy so now I wake at 5.20 am three days a week when I go to the gym at the morning. But now, seeing you do the same thing (3 am wake up) I want to try it as well. You are my inspiration there, Tim.

    And this. This is simply awesome saying I gotta quote and remember: ‘Courage is a sense of certainty about every action you take and the belief that everything you do is ultimately going to work for the best, one way or another.’

    One of the main message of this book was simplicity, and one of the greatess minds of this worl, Albert Einstein has said: ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’.

    It was amazing read, my friend, and I agree with Evan Teague, it was a knockout. You are on a different level, my man. For a few days I have been thinking about this article. Much love and appreciation for your knowledge.

    Now I actually want to re-read this book again.

    • Tim Denning

      May 15, 2016 at 5:28 am

      Toño we have similar tastes my friend. I love your dedication to squeezing out every ounce of greatness from everything I write and talk about. If you believe you are on the cusp of tragedy then that can only be a good thing. It means your life is going to change for the better. Based on what you have told me, you are changing into someone that has the power to do great things.

      Remember that not everyone will share your vision or think that this book is powerful. Ignorance is bliss and everyone deserves whatever they want to believe. Simple books like this is where you learn to be successful and happy at the same time. Before I started waking up at 3am my previous bedtime was 5:20 – that’s freaky!!!!

      • Toño

        May 16, 2016 at 8:41 am

        I value time and effort wise people invest in their work, I am a big sucker for knowledge and things that can help me to grow and be a better person, so I try to absorb every bits and pieces that greatness 😉 Not every time though. But I loved to learn right from my childhood.

        I know that not everyone will share my ideas and view but sometimes it’s just too frustrating to see how reasonably smart people refuse to get better and educate themselves. I’m getting better at it however and it can actually be a good sign I am going up. I appreciate your support, Tim, very much. For the last couple of weeks you helped me a lot and been a massive boost for me to keep on going. Funny thing, recently I realized people I’ve never met in person, or just far far away, helps me more than those who around every time. Amazing, isn’t it?

        I would also like to know, what time you go to bed now as you wake up at 3am? And how much actual time healthy sleep requiers? Do you find it hard wake up so early every day and do you feel the change from waking at 5.20 am ?

  4. Vishnu

    May 14, 2016 at 4:37 am

    Good stuff Tim. You’ve done a great review of the book and pulled out the key lessons. I love the simplicity concept. The best things in life are simple. We make it much more complex than necessary. There is power, wisdom and greatness in simplicity. Over the years I’ve tried to simplify all areas of my life.

    • Tim Denning

      May 15, 2016 at 5:22 am

      Vishnu thank you for your message. Simplicity is the key to life and business. Since I started reading Joshua Becker I discovered that the way to declutter your mind is simplify your life and most importantly, simplify your possessions.

  5. Evan Teague

    May 12, 2016 at 6:33 am

    Tim,

    Another knockout.

    What spoke to me specifically would be #3, 5 and 12.

    3 – I used to have a lot of anger in my heart which I had to release in order to reach my full potential and open my heart up to help others. By focusing on other people and their needs, we’re more centered and purposeful anyways.

    5- Worrying will kill us too because we’re using potent visualization AND imagination in the wrong direction. No matter if we think & talk about something we DON’T want, we’re still creating it. Think the opposite from what you don’t want, and create only what you want.

    12 – I had to learn this by moving across the world by myself and networking with the right people. At the moment, it just looked like a huge tunnel with a question mark at the end. After all, it’s bloomed to a full-fledged E-commerce business of my own, a personal development and mindset website to share with others, and freedom to travel and live anywhere.

    Fantastic work.

    – Evan

    • Tim Denning

      May 12, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      Thank you Evan. Moving across to the other side of the world when you don’t know anyone is a gutsy move and I applaud you for having the courage to take action on your vision. Speak soon mate.

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Success Advice

The Secret Power of Storytelling That You Need to Know

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What does the power of storytelling mean to you? Do you visualize your mom or dad telling you a bedtime story, or do you think about an enjoyable summer read? Every single conversation that we have with an individual or group is us sharing a story about the past, present and future. If we have a product or service that we offer to others, we tell a story about it when we do a pitch or a presentation.

The reason why we tell stories is because we know the power of stories. We know how being able to tell a captivating story can affect and change the lives of the people for better or worse. Hitler used stories about the Jews in the 1930’s which caused Germany to rally the youth and the German people to go to war, and in England, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, used the power of stories to rally the British in a movement of never surrendering to the Germans.

Not everyone knows how to tell stories

Our abilities to tell captivating stories is one of the greatest assets we possess. However the problem is that not everyone has the skills to be a good storyteller, and the ability to be a good storyteller is critical in our success whether it’s in our personal or business life.

The power of storytelling goes way beyond just our everyday conversations, it goes far beyond simply giving facts and data. Stories emotionalize information. They bring life and depth to otherwise bland material, and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Tony Robbins, the world famous motivational speaker and strategist interviewed Peter Guber, the Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment whose films has earned more than $3 billion and over 50 Academy Awards nomination. Guber stated “emotion combined with information becomes memorable and actionable.  Where were you on 9/11? Chances are that you can remember exactly where you were when you learned about the tragic events that transpired that day. But if you had to think where you were the day before that – that memory is probably hazier. Because information attached to pain or pleasure creates an emotional connection that resonates within you.”

He goes on to also say “Keeping in mind that a story is not a monologue, but a dialogue, helps you to give your audience proprietorship. They become emotional owners of the story you are telling. Then they become advtes –oca of your product, your service, your business, your brand.”

The power of storytelling can transform lives when useful and relevant information is combined with emotions. The next time you speak to another person regardless of the situation, remember you are being a storyteller, because you are in the process of transferring information to that person or group.

“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.” –Tahir Shah

Our most powerful tool

Our ability to communicate effectively is the most powerful tool we have, and when we strategically use our communication skills to transfer bland information into masterful stories we also have the power to transform lives.

If done correctly, our stories will have a massive effect on our listening audience. It will inspire and influence them. It will move them to act. So never underestimate the power of storytelling. Make it relevant–connect emotionally, create a dialogue, and you will see why the power of storytelling is the most powerful tool you have.

Don’t just take my word on for it, Look at some of the greatest leaders throughout history

You will see that they all had the ability to tell stories and bring people together through their words. The greatest motivational speakers in the world use the power of storytelling to emotionalize their audience, because there is no quicker or more effective way to get your audience engaged.

Les Brown who has been one of my mentors and one of the greatest motivational speakers that has ever lived, uses stories masterfully. He shares stories about his upbringing in Miami, and how he and his twin brother were adopted at birth and he is somehow able to transition those stories into whatever relevant topic needs to be heard by his audience, but he first draws them in with his stories.

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Earl Nightingale, Tony Robbins, the list is endless, but one thing they all have in common is their ability to tell stories masterfully. Some of the greatest philosophers have told us that there is a blueprint for success, and obviously storytelling is part of that blue print.

There is no greater power that we possess than the ability to transform regular words into captivating stories that can take your audience on whatever journey you want to take them on.

Being a great storyteller is like being a puppet master, because when you can draw people in to your stories you will have your audience on a string taking them on any emotional roller coaster. The secret power of storytelling is to be treated with respect, because with great power comes great responsibility, and this power should only be used for good.

Do you enjoy storytelling? If so, do you have any techniques or advice to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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5 Signs You’re on the Right Path to Success

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Every successful person had his own moment(s) of doubt. The road to success is full of obstacles and sweet hardships that will frequently make you stop and ask, ‘Am I on the right track?’ Even legends and billionaires had moments like that. Just imagine how 62 year old Colonel Sanders felt when he was rejected time and time again trying to franchise his famous chicken recipe.

It felt harsh and I bet he stopped, at least for a moment, to question his entire existence, not just the success of his business idea. But I also bet that there were probably some signs that told Sanders —and any other successful person— ‘You`re going to make it, just hang in there.”

Here are the 5 signs that will tell you whether you`re going to be successful or not:

1. You’re good at the consistency game

I don`t like the fable of the Tortoise and the Hare, and I believe that a restless hare would smash them both, but there`s a reason why that slow tortoise crossed the finish line; It`s called consistency.

Success eventually favors the most consistent, and if you`re not disciplined with the things that make you successful, then your chances to succeed are slimmer than Marlon Brando`s chances of winning the lottery (Marlon Brando is dead, and one of every 175 million tickets wins the lotto).  

Systems and routines (i.e., consistency), predict success, so take a look at your habits. Are they positive? Do you practice them regularly? If the answer to both questions is “Yes,” then sooner or later you`re going to be successful.

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis

2. You stopped having a toxic relationship with money

Success is no longer a zero-sum game to you; opportunities are everywhere, and there`s room for everybody to make money, including you. When you check the news, the success of other people no longer makes you envious. A celebrity buying a new mansion or a $150 million contract for a LeBron or Federer-like athlete, doesn`t bother you but instead makes you believe there`s plenty of money out there for ambitious, hard-working people like you. When you switch from worrying about not having enough money to having faith that you will make the money you want, then you know you`re on the way to success.

3. You know the right people

Another sign is having a big social network. I read it somewhere that business owners prefer to hire those they know over those who are skilled. Sounds skewed, I know, but it helps a lot if you combine your technical skills with excellent people skills. To want success is more like wishing to enter a nightclub on a busy Friday night. If you know the bouncers or have enough skills to befriend them, you won`t stay long in the line. The same thing happens in business, the more people you know, the easier it will be to find the right job, get proper funding and save time waiting in the line.

Social skills will help you more than you can ever imagine. There`s a guy I used to work with, he`s not that good looking, but he`s the slickest I`ve ever seen. When that guy hit rock bottom, he dropped out of school, bought a one-way ticket to Dubai, became a real estate agent and made his first million before reaching 30. I`ve also read about Michael Bloomberg who used to come to work at six in the morning to distribute coffee and tea to CEOs who come to work early when others are sleeping. For $.99 each, Bloomberg befriended at least a dozen bigwigs who later helped him launch a billion dollar business after he quit Wall Street.

4. You know what makes you tick

The successful people are better than most people at understanding themselves and overcoming —to a greater extent—the five foundations of poverty: sleep, fear, anger, laziness, and procrastination. They have worked on themselves so deeply and have made so many mistakes that they now know their soft spots as well as what motivates them.

Do you know what makes you sad, angry or excited? Do you know when you`re more likely to cheat on a diet or skip a workout? What are your strengths? Can you motivate yourself at will? And how? Having answers to most or, preferably, all of these questions will help you tap into your full potential and sets you on the path to massive success.

“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” – Michael John Bobak

5. You have faith

Faith in the yet to be seen, is a huge sign of success. When you think about the future, there should be a positive energy around you that says “I`m gonna make it.” You may not know exactly when you`re going to succeed, but you`re sure it’s a matter of time. This faith, or certainty, comes from having a solid plan – It`s when you know your goal, how you`ll achieve it, and how you`re going to react if things go south and deciding to believe in the unknown

If you think about it, hard work doesn`t always come as the first cause of success. It`s the faith that you`ll achieve the goal that makes you work hard, and thus, achieve the goal. I was reading a book on Michael Jordan by Roland Lazenby —who also wrote Kobe Bryant`s biography— and it stopped me that part of Jordan`s extraordinary success goes to expectations.

He expected every single ball he shot to go in. Jordan used that mindset over and over and didn`t stop when one of his shots was missed. He merely understood that even though nobody wins all the time, believing you`ll win every single time makes you win most of the time, which is enough to get a career like his. The most prominent success sign is the certainty. To believe, and act, as if you`re going to succeed, and then let that belief lead manifest into actions.

What are some things you do to say on track? Comment below!

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Success Advice

Instead of Always Trying to Be Right, Do This Instead

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A colleague of mine was obnoxious, over eager, and completely out of line. Yet, all of this was overshadowed by the fact he was just plain wrong. If he were to go through with it, it would derail the company by at least 6 months. Yet, arguing with him when he was in this state was of no use. While hitting him over the head with the laptop seemed appealing for a second, it was probably not a great long-term strategy for the business or my laptop.

Galileo once said, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” This is especially true when it comes to emotionally charged matters and negotiations.

When you are right, you become attached to that idea. It’s so clear, how can they not see it? Yet, your meticulously clear logic might as well be written in braille as your focus intensifies on proving yourself right, instead of reaching an agreement.

Below are 3 ways you can step out of your emotions and help someone find the right answer when money and time are on the line:

1. Separate the Person From the Issue

Imagine if a four-year-old child was adamant about something. You wouldn’t try to reason logically for hours in such a case. When trying to speak through a person’s emotions, often you might have better luck with the four year old.

In order to break this barrier you must stop seeing them as the problem and see the issue at hand. Instead of seeing the other person as stupid or obnoxious, try viewing them as simply lost or misguided. The job now becomes not to prove them wrong, but to guide them to the truth. Adopting this mindset changes your entire approach as you get out of your own emotions and take control of the situation.

“Each of us guard a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.” – Stephen Covey

2. Show Them A Mirror

Somewhere in between trying to hammer a point, both sides usually forget to listen. No matter the situation, you must make sure that person is never you. Instead, shift the focus from “me vs you” and make it completely about the other person. Really listen and validate their emotions, creating enough trust and safety to begin a real exchange. Make sure they feel heard and slow the conversation down. When you slow the process down, you also calm down.

Remember, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. About 93% of communication is nonverbal, thus maintaining your body language immediately provides an edge. A playful (not childlike or mocking) voice puts someone in a positive frame of mind, where they are more likely to collaborate and problem solve.

Always remember to repeat back the most important three words from their sentence and make them elaborate on whatever they said. The more a person is allowed to speak, the more they feel heard. The more they feel heard, the more open they are to receive new information.

3. Lead With Empathy, Not Sympathy

Taking the time to make sure the other side feels heard and understood does not mean you bend to their will. It does not mean you give up, agree, feel sorry for, or even compromise. Empathy is the ability to recognize another’s perspective and the vocalization of that recognition. This is the difference between empathy and sympathy.

When you can label a person’s emotions in an argument, you seize the chance to discover what is behind those feelings. As you begin to drill down, you gain leverage. This should be done very gracefully. Instead of saying, I think you’re angry and being stubborn, trying saying, It seems like you are feeling frustrated because you really care about this and wish it was moving along quicker.

“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” – Roy T. Bennett

Using labels, you mold their feelings into words, moving information from the emotional part of the brain to the rational. Whatever behavior a person may be presenting, there is always an underlying feeling triggering it. Your job is to make the person aware of that feeling. The faster you do this, the faster you eliminate the risk of a complete breakdown in communication.

After their emotions are labeled, asking how or why calibrated questions allow them to solve their problems for you. In order to do this effectively you don’t need to study every type of calibrated question there is, but rather adopt a specific mindset. You are not their opponent, but a guide, leading the lost to the truth. Your truth.

In my case, the presenting behavior of my colleague was an obnoxious know-it-all attitude. However, the underlying emotion was fear of falling behind. Once I was able to stop asking the question, “Why is he doing this to me?” and focus on looking deeper, the conversation took a turn. The conversation was no longer about my ideas versus his, but about him and his fear.

Instead of arguing with me, he spent the rest of the time, essentially, arguing with himself. After helping him dissect his fear in the rational part of the brain, he realized that many of the worst case scenarios were highly improbable and acting hasty might exacerbate things. Most importantly, at the end of the conversation, he said, “I think I made the right choice.”

He believed that the decision was entirely his. He never acknowledged the fact that I was right and announced to everyone the sudden spark of genius that hit him. Yet, at the end of the day you need to ask yourself what is more important to you; being right or doing whatever it takes to win.  

How do you handle conflict? Let us know your tips and advice in the comments below!

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Success Advice

What You Can Learn From My Ultimate “I Am Screwed” Moment.

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Image Credit: Unsplash / Gold Chain

When I was 16 years old, I had the ultimate “I am screwed moment.”

Everything from this point on happened in slow motion. What I’m about to describe probably happened in the space of thirty minutes but it felt like five hours.

I was walking down the street with my buddy one night, eating a paddle pop ice cream. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a group of about twenty teenagers running towards us, dressed in black.

I instantly knew that something was up and as they got closer, we both realized we were screwed and there was nowhere to run to.

Seconds later the gang of teenagers came straight towards us as fast as they could.

“I got lucky and copped a baseball bat to the head. My friend wasn’t so lucky. He was repeatedly stabbed by several different people and there was blood everywhere.”

As I saw what happened to my friend, I knew I’d be next. I was hit so many times with the baseball bat that I was numb from the pain. Everything started to go white.

Then I heard a faint voice. The voice was calling my name out.

I listened to what the young man was saying and realized he was saying that his little brother knew me. All of a sudden, he put out his hand, lifted me off the ground and told me to run in the other direction, or I’d end up like my friend.

I somehow managed to get on my feet and run, but I was not giving up on my friend. I ran around the back of the shopping center that we were standing outside of and entered the building. I ran to the first security guard I saw and told them I needed help.

In my search to get help, miraculously, my friend had made it into the shopping center and he was being treated by a number of bystanders for his massive knife wounds.

I went over and spoke to him. He was okay and things looked better than I expected. I had about sixty seconds of calmness. Then I looked to my left.

Through the glass doors, I could see the same gang of teenagers running into the shopping center. Everyone including the two security guards ran in opposite directions.

My friend with his multiple knife wounds also ran and there were bandages everywhere as he made a run for it (I’m not even sure how he was able to move).

This time I was the unlucky one. I ran into the part of the shopping center that was closed for the night and three of the youths followed me. I’d never been so afraid because I saw what they did to my friend.

I ended up in the shopping centers food court and I hid in the darkness. I tried to control my breathing, but it was hard to silence the fear inside of me. I still remember the white Nike pants I was wearing and the bright red Sean John jumper I had on (I later discarded them because of the memory they left).

Again, through some kind of miracle, the three boys did not see me. They ran off in another direction and I stayed under the table.

The pain of my wounds started to set in. I knew deep down I was safe and so the fight or flight response was turned off. All of a sudden, moving and walking felt very painful.

I could feel broken bits of teeth in my mouth.


The aftermath.

After some time had passed, I manage to reconnect with my friend. By that time there was an ambulance on the scene and he managed to get his knife wounds treated. He got lucky and no vital organs were affected.

The next day I went to school and people could see I had gone through one hell of an ordeal. One of my friends in the year level below, came and found me and explained to me that it was his older brother and friends that attacked me.

They had mistakenly thought that we had come from a party, because of the direction we came from, where he was beaten up. He told me that because they had recognized me, to some degree, I was spared.

The story doesn’t end here though (I wish it did). Even after the brutal event, one of the attackers was still upset with me. I didn’t know why and it made no sense. I had multiple times where he and his friends were waiting for me in certain places and I was told they would harm me.

Through a mutual friend, I was able to resolve the conflict and I found out that a few of them were close friends with a few of my friends. In the coming years, I got to know my attackers.

“They were not the horrible violent people I encountered on that night. They slowly changed their ways and one of them has gone on to do extraordinary kind acts all over the world.”


A revelation from this “I am screwed” moment.

After this horrible event had occurred, I tried to make sense of it. I was not a violent person in any way but in a way, I had created this path for myself.

During my teenage years, I let rap music and violence dominate my life. I thought they were both cool.

The revelation from all of this was that I knew I had to change my life. I knew that the path I was on had led me to this moment and only I could change things. The next time an attack like this happened, I may not be as lucky.

I gave up rap music, I changed my group of friends, I started a business with my brother, I quit smoking and I disengaged from anything that was violent. Looking back, an “I am screwed” moment can be extremely valuable. It’s during these difficult times that we learn about who we are and what we can do to change our lives.

I would never have become obsessed with legacy, giving back and personal development if I hadn’t had this life or death experience.

I’m now fully aware of my mortality and I’m never going to take another day for granted.

Everything can change in a split second for better or for worse. What you do in that moment is up to you.

Nothing happens randomly (even this attack). Everything happens for a reason and when you ensure you get the lesson from it, you can go on to do extraordinary things.

I’m typing these words and reaching millions of people with them, partly because of this “I am screwed” moment.


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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