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24 Lessons I Have Learnt In The Past 24 Years Of My Life

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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Joel Brown


Hi Guys, I’m Joel Brown, the owner of Addicted2Success.com and I have been working on this article for some time now. I have had a lot of people asking me for advice, what have I learned so far, pointers for running a blog and how I find my Inspiration. So I decided to create this article – 24 Lessons I Have Learnt In The Past 24 Years Of My Life. I try my hardest to live by these, I hope you can take on some of these pointers for guidance in your life. Thanks!

 

Life Lessons

1. Everybody wants something. Almost everyone acts out of self interest (especially when they claim they don’t.) In fact, the people most eager to volunteer advice or help tend to want the most in return. Assume all career or business assistance is part of an expected exchange, either now or in the future. Then you won’t be disappointed. But keep in mind that occasionally…

2. What a few people want is just to feel good about helping others. Rarely, but it does happen, someone likes to help simply because it makes them feel good. Those people are hard to find, though, because their names aren’t listed as sponsors on event programs or plastered on the sides of b-school buildings. When you find one, make them a permanent part of your life.

3. Your mind will not change unless you exercise it. It wasn’t too long ago I remember you could not pay me to read a book. Reading a book for me was this painful task which I considered a waste of time and boring. I don’t know why, maybe I was at the point in my life where the light came on and I became this knowledge hungry human, like my mind decided “okay it’s time to mature now Joel, you will never know enough, now learn, learn, learn” so I make it my mission now to read everyday, and I swear by it. I read website articles, magazines,  watch Videos, I discuss subjects with my girl and  my friends and I can say that my overall knowledge in the past 2 years has expanded ten fold all because of reading and wanting to learn more. If reading a paper back book is a little  too old school for you then do what I do and save some bookmarks of your Top 5 websites in different areas of interest and make it  a “must do” to read a new article each and every day of the working week. A week or so In you will understand why reading is so important.

4. Don’t have a Plan B. Having a fallback plan means accepting beforehand that your plan will fail. Having a Plan B is telling the universe that the failure of your plan is a solid possibility. Don’t do that! Stick with your plan. Don’t focus on the possibility of failure even for a moment. If you fail, you’ll know in the end what next step to take or find out the right thing to do. Having a single plan gives your work a smarter edge. From the wise words of Jordan Belfort – “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”

5. Everything before “but” is bullsh!t. “I don’t meant to be critical, but…” “I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but…” “Please don’t take this the wrong way, but…” Yes you do, yes you are, and yes I will. Disclaimers are anything but, indicating the true meaning behind what is said.

6. Boring people win. The people who achieve the most do a lot more of the boring stuff. Routine, rigor, attention to detail, churning away day after day… that is how you will succeed. Every elite athlete, entertainer, and successful business person you will someday know has put in thousands of hours of practice and effort. They are successful mainly because they are willing to do what other people won’t. Learn to enjoy the mundane and you will quickly outdistance the pack. The poor, the unsuccessful, the unhappy, the unhealthy are the ones who use the word tomorrow the most!

7. Stop brainstorming and start borrowing. Most people try to be original — and want to be perceived as original — primarily out of ego. Results are all that matter. Stop trying to think of something new. Why try and re-invent the wheel? All you really need to be planning for is adaptations. The world is forever changing and so are peoples interests, use your time and energy to focus on how you are going to carry your business or ideas to an establishment of longevity. The store, the restaurant, the factory, the school… ideas you can borrow — ideas that you can see actually work — are everywhere. Borrow freely and often, just don’t forget to grow and make it a thing to always improve. That way you and your ideas will never be left behind.

8. The women you really want to meet don’t care about the kind of car you drive. Plain and simple, a bus pass will do, just don’t be bumming off her for lifts. Something that will get your from A-B should suffice.

9. Learn to say ‘no’ even at the risk of being labeled as arrogant, selfish or mean. Say ‘no’ when you feel you want to say ‘no’. Say it!

10. People aren’t always going to be there for you. This is why it is good to learn to fend for yourself, travel the world, put your self in high risk situations, go for a job interview that will make you shit your pants. These are the things that make you confident and ready for the hard knocks in life.

11. Training is great; advice is not. Advice is what you ask for when you already know the answer but wish you didn’t. Always ask, “How do I…?” because “how” leads to training and knowledge. Ask, “Should I…” and you get opinions often colored by individual perspectives. Always ask to be shown or taught. When you know how you can decide for yourself whether youshould.

12. Spend most of your time on your priorities. Don’t keep talking about them without taking action. Stop making one list after another. Just spend more time working on them. Literally. Every single day.

13. Visibility is everything. The people who get promotions and opportunities are the people who are seen and noticed. Spend the majority of your time doing great things, but spend at least 10% of your time getting the attention of the people who matter. Customers, partners, media… no one will discover you on their own.  You absolutely must help them find you.

14. Always take out something. Initiatives, projects, decisions… you’ll constantly be tempted to add one more thing to make them even better. Addition almost always results in subtraction. The more you eliminate the more you can focus on what remains, so the stuff you leave out is as important as the stuff you leave in.

15. Shit happens. Learn to stay cool. Learn breathing techniques to calm down fast. Learn how to deal with panic, fear and anxiety. Like Ari Gold from Entourage says “When shit happens, just wipe, flush and move on”.

16. The people who say the least have the most to say. Bragging is a mask for insecurity. Truly confident people are quiet and unassuming. Hang around the humble ones. When they do speak you’ll be glad you were listening.

17. Your parents are a lot smarter than you think. And they only want the best for you. And they’ll always be there for you. And they won’t be around forever. So will it hurt you to call once in a while?

18. Always learn on the fly. Waiting until you’re ready means waiting forever. When you’re “preparing” there are millions of reasons to delay a little longer. Trust yourself. Learn a little and then jump in. Make mistakes, adjust, adapt, and develop greater skill by doing. You’ll save time and achieve more.

19. Hang on to the people you click with. Let go of the emotional leachers who feed on your energy. Point them down the safest road and move on from their complaints and tortures of me me me’s and keep in mind that your true family is not always connected through blood. Let as much positive energy come from you that if negative people, places or things show up.. They’ll get lost like a needle in a hay stack.

20. Don’t expect to get back what you give. Most of the time favors will not be returned. Sacrifices you make for others will not be rewarded. All the people you mentor, develop, promote, and work with will not call to see how you’re doing when you are suddenly let go years from now. When you give, give because you want to give; then you’ll never be disappointed.

21. You will only regret what you decide not do. You won’t regret broken bones from motorcycle racing; you will regret not taking a shot at a higher level of the sport. You won’t regret taking a particularly crappy job; you will regret turning down what was probably a great job. When you look back you will only regret a few of the things you did. (The rest, even if they were mistakes, will help make you the person you become.) What you will regret are things you decide not to do due to lack of confidence or fear of the unknown — like the businesses you should have started and the joint venture you turned down. Safe, in your life, will almost always equal sorry. Take intelligent business risks and trust you will be able to work through any challenges. If nothing else, you’ll have more fun.

 22. Problems aren’t always bad.

“On the other side of fear lies success”. That quote is and always will be one of my favorites. I have learnt that as frustrating as problems can be, they are really just another hurdle that you need to get over to reach your goal. Problems are just challenges really. When you change your frame of mind and look at problems as just another hurdle, you will reap the benefits for holding out and going that extra mile. Each hurdle you overcome will take you one step ahead of the man that decided that there is no way over and it’s all too hard. This is an advantage for you and your ventures.

23. Underpromise, overprepare, overdeliver. Not just in business, but in every portion of your life. Not just for others but for yourself, too.

24. Develop a strong handshake, look people in the eye, and smile when answering the phone. Body Language is everything, in life and in business. This one needs no further explanation.

 

What are your lessons? E-Mail them through and we will create a Lessons Learned article by our Readers here at Addicted2Success.com. E-Mail some of your best lessons learnt in life to info@addicted2success.com and we will post the article next week. Thanks!

I am the the Founder of Addicted2Success.com and I am so grateful you're here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances. I'm proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 100 million lives in the last 6 and a half years.

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  1. salomi

    Sep 16, 2013 at 6:47 am

    really nice article!!! almost agree with all life lessons some are really remarkable like 3,20 & 22 …………. sometime its better to hear something from someone instead telling all the time….. thanks!!!

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Life

How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan.

However, like anything in life, our plans don’t always go the way we think they will. If you can treat anything you are trying to achieve in life like a puzzle, it will help you get through the confusion and come up with a plan to achieve your goals.

Take Your Goals One Step at a Time

Putting a puzzle together is the perfect analogy for anything you are trying to achieve in life. You won’t know all the steps to take to achieve your goal until you are in the middle of it. Each step comes up when it needs to and you complete it as it comes up. Some of the pieces might need to be moved around but that is ok. It is ok if the first piece doesn’t fit, you make adjustments and move forward.

It is much less overwhelming to take it piece by piece instead of trying to figure out the whole picture before you even get started. Many things will come up that you didn’t expect and that is why you cannot see the whole picture until it is done. It is good to remain flexible and take it step by step as new things come up.

“Set your target and keep trying until you reach it.” – Napoleon Hill

Starting is the First Step to Achieve Any Goal You Want in Life

The most important thing is to start! You won’t know how it’s all going to go and you may need to change some things around in the middle. But in the end, you will have the complete picture. If you look at your goal with anxiety and think it is too hard in the beginning, then you may not even start. You only need to know the first step, get organized and all the pieces will fit into place.

I was overwhelmed when I first looked at the puzzle and I thought “maybe I won’t even do it. Is it worth it?” But I decided that I’d start, even if I didn’t finish it at least I’d try. But you know what? Once I got into the puzzle, it wasn’t so bad. It was way less overwhelming when I was in the middle of it then it was before I started.

You have time on your side. You don’t have to do it all in one day or one week or one year. You have plenty of time. That is something that helped me. There was no pressure to get it done in one day which was my original goal; the only pressure I had was that which I put upon myself.

Get Organized and Start With a Solid Plan

If you are starting out on a goal, it is important to get organized first. Yes, you won’t know everything that is going to happen but at least you will be organized enough that when things do come up, you will know how to incorporate them into your plan. Being organized will make it much easier to see where all the pieces go and save you a lot of time in the long run.

I got organized and sorted the puzzle pieces by colors as well as outside and inside pieces to make it easier to see where the pieces would fit. If I left them all in one big pile, I’d constantly have to sort through the pile to find what I was looking for and waste a ton of time. By having them broken out into smaller piles, I was able to find what I was looking for much faster and saved a lot of time.

This works with whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life. Get organized and make a plan. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration. It is so much easier to go through little organized piles of items than one big, disorganized pile.

“Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day.” – Harvey MacKay

Get Through the Tough Times When Going for Your Goals

Before I dove into the puzzle, I was confused and a bit frustrated but determined to make it work. In the end all the pieces fit together perfectly and made a beautiful picture. It’s interesting to think of a project or a goal you want to achieve like a big puzzle with many pieces. When you first dump out the pieces, it is a mess. They just look like pieces, nothing is created yet. But as you go through the process and move things around it starts to come together.

You may hit some speed bumps along the way and get a bit frustrated, but if you are organized and take it one step at a time it will form a lovely picture in the end. So, keep going as determined as ever by moving one piece at a time.

Sometimes the piece will fit and other times you’ll need to find a different puzzle piece to go in that spot. Before you know it, you have a beautiful picture created that you never thought you’d be able to do before you started. It may be an interesting, messy, confusing, fun, bumpy ride but in the end all the pieces will form the beautiful picture that you set out to achieve.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem: How You Can Build Both

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Self-esteem can be defined as the confidence in your own abilities or worth. Self-compassion, however, can be defined by the ability to be gentle with yourself, even if you have misjudged or made a mistake.

You ask yourself from time to time, how is self esteem related to success? Having a sense of low self-esteem can really become a barrier for building your career and ultimately, living the life you want.

You may be completely competent in your skills and abilities but be too afraid to show the world your talents or too hesitant to apply for that job. Low self-esteem may hinder you in your personal life by leaving you with feelings of inadequacy or you may always be comparing yourself to someone else.

Self-esteem is not something that can be instantly repaired overnight. Building your self-esteem can take time and, most importantly, self-compassion. It is most important to be kind to yourself and accept that from time to time, you will make mistakes.

Creating a strong sense of self-compassion can ultimately bring more to your life than just a newfound sense of self-love.

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem

When looking at self compassion vs self esteem, which is more important? Self-esteem can be volatile and emotional, while self-compassion can allow you to remove your self-esteem from your value judgments of yourself.

Knowing this will allow you to look at your decisions and actions from a non-judgmental mindset. You will be able to look at your traits, both good and bad, and accept that all of them are a part of human nature.

New studies suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key that allows you to achieve more growth because you can take your best traits and cultivate them while look at your worst traits objectively.

It can be argued that improving self-compassion will ultimately serve you better in the long run than improving your self-esteem. Even if self-compassion is more important, you can still have room to improve your self-esteem while you are at it.

Here are some tips to tell you how to work on self esteem and self compassion:

1. Be Gentle with Yourself

No one is perfect and, as humans, we will all make mistakes. It is important to recognize and accept our flaws and mistakes as imperfect. Embrace that there are people that care about you, despite your flaws.

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness has many reported benefits for improving your mental health. You can use mindfulness by becoming aware and present in the current moment. Using mindfulness can help you look at your thoughts objectively and decide “Is this a fact about myself or a judgement?”

By staying mindful of how you are speaking to yourself, you can identify where your thoughts are becoming negative and redirect your thinking to more positive thoughts.

Practicing mindfulness will help you look at the current moment without judgements or preconceived ideas about yourself and allow room for growth.

3. Allow Room to Grow

We all inherently have traits that can be seen as undesirable, yet it’s what we do with those traits that decide whether we grow or remain where we’re at in life. By looking objectively at your flaws with a growth mindset, you can transform your life.

Allow yourself to take the things about yourself that you are uncomfortable with and learn from them on how to better yourself. The takeaways would be to focus on one thing at a time and take baby steps.

4. Be Grateful

It is easy to compare ourselves and what we have, or don’t have, to those around us.

Everyone around us is putting the greatest highlights of their lives on social media, and we end up making comparisons that we shouldn’t. It is important to remember to be grateful for what you do have such as the ability to be a great writer or excel in mathematics.

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – John Wooden

Secondly, we need to be mindful of our positive traits, and how they can benefit the world. Think about how your specific skills have served you in the past. Perhaps, you are great at taking the lead and because of that, you’re the main leader on work projects. Remember that your positive traits deserve acknowledgement and praise.

5. Do Good

It has been proven that participating in improving the well-being of those around you will aid in improving your own well-being. Doing good and helping those around you will only have a positive effect in your life.

It is not beneficial to tear others down in an effort to build yourself up. Saying and doing helpful things for others around you will not only improve their self-esteem but yours as well.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

It will take some time and commitment to truly work on your self-esteem and self-compassion. This is not a commitment to yourself that you should take lightly. Decide that now is the time for action and truly commit to remaining consistent in bettering yourself.

You may see the successful people around you and how they seem to be so confident in themselves and wonder to yourself, is self-esteem the key to success? Truthfully, the answer would be no.

The key to success lies within many factors, and self-esteem and self-compassion are only two of the factors. As far as building both areas, practicing these strategies listed will help you learn how to get better in self-esteem and self-compassion.

Which one of the above factors resonated most with you in your pursuit of building your self-compassion and self-esteem? Let us know below!

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Life

7 Strategies to Get Anything You Want From Life

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Success is tricky. There is no shortage of information about what creates success, but there are secret saboteurs in your thoughts and beliefs that may be sacking your accomplishments.

If you aren’t where you want to be in life, consider the following:

1. Choose accuracy over history

Your beliefs are not necessarily accurate. Your perception of the world is based on your personality traits, such as neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, or openness. In addition, what you learned in your early childhood environment and what was role modeled for you play another part.

Your views are more about your history than accuracy. Not to say that everything you set store by is wrong, but just because you think it, doesn’t make it so. Look for proof.

2. Be aware of your biases

Your brain uses mental shortcuts to evaluate new information out of necessity. Those shortcuts, however, influence how you perceive the world. Though there are hundreds of proven biases, here are a few more commonly known ones that impact what you believe.

Confirmation bias makes you more likely to accept new information that supports beliefs you currently hold about the world. This one makes you unlikely to change your mind once it’s made up.

Availability heuristic makes you more likely to overestimate the importance of information that is easy to remember. Lastly, there’s conformity bias which makes you want to conform with other people.

A 2015 article in Business Insider cited 58 biases that screw up the way we think and subsequently, what we do! Being aware that your brain may be limiting you and having some idea what the most common biases are can help you be more critical of information you take in and help you to be open to ideas and knowledge different from your beliefs.

3. Recognize, refute and replace negative self-talk

You have 50,000 to 80,000 conversations in your head per day on average, and some percentage of them are negative self-talk. For many people, that percentage is less than 50%. I’m not good enough, I’m too fat, or I can’t are all examples of negative self-talk.

Begin to recognize these thoughts and refute them by stating reasons why they’re not true. Lastly, replace them with something better such as “I have what it takes to do what I am meant to do,” or, change your “I can’t” to “I can.”

“Your smile will give you a positive countenance that will make people feel comfortable around you.” – Les Brown

4. Choose optimism

Optimism is defined by Merriam Webster online as, ”an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome.” In short, it means to be hopeful which does not preclude healthy skepticism.

Martin Seligman is one of the founders of positive psychology, and in his book, Learned Optimism, shares strategies to grow your optimism. In the book, Dr. Seligman shares that “most people catastrophize. Learned optimism is about accuracy, and works not through an unjustifiable positivity about the world but through the power of ‘non-negative’ thinking.”

5. Rely on grit over talent and passion

Psychologist Angela Duckworth in her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, states that “Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” She talks about how it’s easy to be in love with what you do but more challenging to stay in love with it. That takes grit. Pursuing something because you have a passion for it is not enough to keep you going.

You must be willing to hone your skills, develop your creativity and grow what you do. Discover, develop, deepen. Moreover, don’t expect talent and innate ability to do more than open doors and create opportunities. These are little more than clues to your passion. Grit is what creates success.

6. You figure out what you love over time not overnight

You also figure it out by trying many things and getting out of your head. Most people are not born knowing what their soul’s purpose and passion are. To figure out what you love, try different jobs, volunteer with different organizations, look for clues, and look for mentors to help you.

Knowing what you don’t like is important to the process of figuring out what you love. Dr. Duckworth shares, “most grit paragons I’ve interviewed told me they spent years exploring several different interests, and the one that eventually came to occupy all of their waking (and some sleeping) thoughts wasn’t recognizably their life’s destiny on first acquaintance.”

As someone who studied classical ballet, accounting, finance, international business, French, fashion and psychology in college, followed by positive psychology, coaching, and writing, I can vouch for it taking years, and thousands of dollars to find what I enduringly love doing.

“Entrepreneurs average 3.8 failures before final success. What sets the successful ones apart is their amazing persistence.” – Lisa M. Amos

7. A growth mindset wins over a fixed mindset

You will be more successful if you believe, not that you are ready, but that you aren’t. If you have a growth mindset, you know that to be successful you will have to learn new things, face challenges, and adapt.

In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol Dweck shares that, “in the growth mindset, you don’t always need confidence…even when you think you’re not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it.”

When you are open to new information, whether it is consistent with your current beliefs or not, you have the opportunity to grow.

Whether you are cultivating optimism, finding or deepening your passion, or dialing down the influence of biases, having an open mind and expanding it can turn you into a high performer. If you feel stuck, try something new.

Tony Robbins says, “Don’t quit. Try a new approach.” You may be holding yourself back either by negative self-talk or old programming. If doing what you always did hasn’t gotten you where you want to be, try something new.  Start by challenging your thoughts and beliefs.

Which one of these points resonated most with you? Let us know your thoughts below!

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The Power of 7 Day Goals: 5 Behaviors to Make Them Successful

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When most people think of the goal setting process, they think of large auspicious goals that tend to occupy a lot of mental and behavioral space. Most of us, when we think of goal setting, think of bigger and more commodious housing, sexier automobiles, vacations, relationships, and any of the other bigger chunks of our lives that we would like to make changes in.

While larger goals are fine and help keep us focused in the direction of our lives’ objective, it really doesn’t hurt to focus on smaller goals; goals that can be accomplished quickly, maybe even in a week.

The two types of 7 day goals you need to set

There are two types of seven day goals that we should set: one is a larger goal broken down into a behavioral step that we can finish this week. By that I mean, if your goal was to lose 50 pounds, your goal this week might be to research gyms. You see what we’ve done here,  we took a larger goal, that of losing 50 pounds, and broken it into actionable steps; the first being to go to several gyms, trying them out and seeing which one we like the best.

The second type of seven day goals is very simple; it revolves around doing something that we know we should do. Let me give you an example. In my face-to-face, multi-week trainings, I asked participants to set a seven-day personal goal. Something small. Something that was bothering them and that they know they can accomplish in seven days. Perhaps it was a disorganized closet or washing the car. The whole idea was to practice the goal setting process, seeing results, and then celebrating your accomplishments.

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

While going around the room and debriefing, one woman in the class said that she did in fact accomplish her goal; it was to remove her Christmas decorations from her ironing board and put them in the closet where they would be stored until next Christmas. I found this to be somewhat amusing since the class was being held April. I asked her where did she do her ironing? She said that she put her clothes in a basket and took them upstairs to the kitchen where she proceeded to iron on the kitchen counter.

I asked her how she felt about looking at that ironing board with the Christmas decorations on it and she said that when she viewed the ironing board, now Christmas decoration storage container, it made her mad or depressed. I asked her a second level question, how long did it take you to put those Christmas decorations in the closet, where they should’ve been for the last four months? She said about 10 minutes. 10 minutes to stop feeling angry or depressed!

Think about the power of goal setting. For four months this woman was feeling emotional overhead every time the visual anchor of the Christmas decorated ironing board was observed. She set a goal to remove the obstacle and in 10 minutes was able to clean her ironing and store it in the necessary location. I asked her how she felt after the ironing board was cleared. With a smile on her face she said, “delighted!” So, a 10 minute behavior, based upon a 7-day goal, transformed her anger/depression into feeling delighted!

As you can see, the power of the whole process is not only apparent in those gigantic chunks of achievement that we want to accomplish, but can also be evidenced in smaller, actionable steps that we can do quickly.

Here’s a couple ideas to move you in the direction of positive goal setting and successful behavior:

1. Set a seven-day business goal and a seven-day personal goal

Everyone has something in their business that they would like to accomplish. Perhaps it’s cleaning out a desk drawer that has for years been a black hole. Perhaps, it’s sorting through the file cabinet purging unnecessary files. Regardless, there is something at work that is most likely anchoring you negative emotional overhead and can be resolved quickly with setting the seven-day goal to change whatever it is. The same thing applies to home. Is there a closet that you’ve been meaning to clean (for several years)? How about that corner of the garage? A room that needs to be painted? Instead of rationalizing why you can’t do it, why not do it?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

2. Don’t only set the goal, schedule it

Put it in your calendar and make it an appointment. That way at the appropriate time you will naturally fall in the habit of action.

3. Stay enthusiastic

Don’t accomplish your goal with drudgery. If you do, you will most likely not set any more goals. Instead, attack your goals with enthusiasm and unbridled abandoned. Because it is that very action that is instilling in you the success attribute of positive goalsetting, one of the strongest behavior modifiers human kind has ever known.

4. At the end of the week analyze your results

What behaviors did you modify to accomplish your goals? What rationalizations did you hold dear that perhaps kept you from accomplishing your goals? Be honest with yourself! Add more of what you should, and delete that which was not helpful.

5. Celebrate your victories

Each small goal is an accomplishment. Each one is a celebration of your successes. While I’m not suggesting a two-week Caribbean cruise for cleaning out your closet, perhaps a pizza for dinner instead of cooking might be in order.

So, there you have it. The idea that all goals do not have to be gigantic, and that small goals are just as important. Success has been defined as the progressive, realization, of worthwhile, predetermined, personal goals. That means that success is based on goal setting and that success is a habit.

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How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan. (more…)

Meghan Olsgard is the creator and writer of www.infinitesoulblueprint.com where she writes articles about self-empowerment and creating a fulfilling life. She shares her personal experiences and the obstacles she has overcame to help and inspire others to do the same. You can get more information at her website or follow her on Facebook.

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27 Comments

  1. salomi

    Sep 16, 2013 at 6:47 am

    really nice article!!! almost agree with all life lessons some are really remarkable like 3,20 & 22 …………. sometime its better to hear something from someone instead telling all the time….. thanks!!!

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Life

How You Can Effectively Achieve Your Goals by Using the Puzzle Analogy

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how to achieve your goals
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I was building a 500 piece puzzle the other day with many tiny little pieces. When I opened the box, I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many pieces and many of them were very similar in color. I took a breath and thought “just do one piece at a time”. I knew that I had to come up with a plan and organize the pieces into groups before I got started. This helped me to focus and take away some of the overwhelming feelings that were coming up. I came up with a plan and executed that plan.

However, like anything in life, our plans don’t always go the way we think they will. If you can treat anything you are trying to achieve in life like a puzzle, it will help you get through the confusion and come up with a plan to achieve your goals.

Take Your Goals One Step at a Time

Putting a puzzle together is the perfect analogy for anything you are trying to achieve in life. You won’t know all the steps to take to achieve your goal until you are in the middle of it. Each step comes up when it needs to and you complete it as it comes up. Some of the pieces might need to be moved around but that is ok. It is ok if the first piece doesn’t fit, you make adjustments and move forward.

It is much less overwhelming to take it piece by piece instead of trying to figure out the whole picture before you even get started. Many things will come up that you didn’t expect and that is why you cannot see the whole picture until it is done. It is good to remain flexible and take it step by step as new things come up.

“Set your target and keep trying until you reach it.” – Napoleon Hill

Starting is the First Step to Achieve Any Goal You Want in Life

The most important thing is to start! You won’t know how it’s all going to go and you may need to change some things around in the middle. But in the end, you will have the complete picture. If you look at your goal with anxiety and think it is too hard in the beginning, then you may not even start. You only need to know the first step, get organized and all the pieces will fit into place.

I was overwhelmed when I first looked at the puzzle and I thought “maybe I won’t even do it. Is it worth it?” But I decided that I’d start, even if I didn’t finish it at least I’d try. But you know what? Once I got into the puzzle, it wasn’t so bad. It was way less overwhelming when I was in the middle of it then it was before I started.

You have time on your side. You don’t have to do it all in one day or one week or one year. You have plenty of time. That is something that helped me. There was no pressure to get it done in one day which was my original goal; the only pressure I had was that which I put upon myself.

Get Organized and Start With a Solid Plan

If you are starting out on a goal, it is important to get organized first. Yes, you won’t know everything that is going to happen but at least you will be organized enough that when things do come up, you will know how to incorporate them into your plan. Being organized will make it much easier to see where all the pieces go and save you a lot of time in the long run.

I got organized and sorted the puzzle pieces by colors as well as outside and inside pieces to make it easier to see where the pieces would fit. If I left them all in one big pile, I’d constantly have to sort through the pile to find what I was looking for and waste a ton of time. By having them broken out into smaller piles, I was able to find what I was looking for much faster and saved a lot of time.

This works with whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life. Get organized and make a plan. You will save yourself a lot of time and frustration. It is so much easier to go through little organized piles of items than one big, disorganized pile.

“Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day.” – Harvey MacKay

Get Through the Tough Times When Going for Your Goals

Before I dove into the puzzle, I was confused and a bit frustrated but determined to make it work. In the end all the pieces fit together perfectly and made a beautiful picture. It’s interesting to think of a project or a goal you want to achieve like a big puzzle with many pieces. When you first dump out the pieces, it is a mess. They just look like pieces, nothing is created yet. But as you go through the process and move things around it starts to come together.

You may hit some speed bumps along the way and get a bit frustrated, but if you are organized and take it one step at a time it will form a lovely picture in the end. So, keep going as determined as ever by moving one piece at a time.

Sometimes the piece will fit and other times you’ll need to find a different puzzle piece to go in that spot. Before you know it, you have a beautiful picture created that you never thought you’d be able to do before you started. It may be an interesting, messy, confusing, fun, bumpy ride but in the end all the pieces will form the beautiful picture that you set out to achieve.

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Life

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem: How You Can Build Both

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Self-esteem can be defined as the confidence in your own abilities or worth. Self-compassion, however, can be defined by the ability to be gentle with yourself, even if you have misjudged or made a mistake.

You ask yourself from time to time, how is self esteem related to success? Having a sense of low self-esteem can really become a barrier for building your career and ultimately, living the life you want.

You may be completely competent in your skills and abilities but be too afraid to show the world your talents or too hesitant to apply for that job. Low self-esteem may hinder you in your personal life by leaving you with feelings of inadequacy or you may always be comparing yourself to someone else.

Self-esteem is not something that can be instantly repaired overnight. Building your self-esteem can take time and, most importantly, self-compassion. It is most important to be kind to yourself and accept that from time to time, you will make mistakes.

Creating a strong sense of self-compassion can ultimately bring more to your life than just a newfound sense of self-love.

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Esteem

When looking at self compassion vs self esteem, which is more important? Self-esteem can be volatile and emotional, while self-compassion can allow you to remove your self-esteem from your value judgments of yourself.

Knowing this will allow you to look at your decisions and actions from a non-judgmental mindset. You will be able to look at your traits, both good and bad, and accept that all of them are a part of human nature.

New studies suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key that allows you to achieve more growth because you can take your best traits and cultivate them while look at your worst traits objectively.

It can be argued that improving self-compassion will ultimately serve you better in the long run than improving your self-esteem. Even if self-compassion is more important, you can still have room to improve your self-esteem while you are at it.

Here are some tips to tell you how to work on self esteem and self compassion:

1. Be Gentle with Yourself

No one is perfect and, as humans, we will all make mistakes. It is important to recognize and accept our flaws and mistakes as imperfect. Embrace that there are people that care about you, despite your flaws.

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness has many reported benefits for improving your mental health. You can use mindfulness by becoming aware and present in the current moment. Using mindfulness can help you look at your thoughts objectively and decide “Is this a fact about myself or a judgement?”

By staying mindful of how you are speaking to yourself, you can identify where your thoughts are becoming negative and redirect your thinking to more positive thoughts.

Practicing mindfulness will help you look at the current moment without judgements or preconceived ideas about yourself and allow room for growth.

3. Allow Room to Grow

We all inherently have traits that can be seen as undesirable, yet it’s what we do with those traits that decide whether we grow or remain where we’re at in life. By looking objectively at your flaws with a growth mindset, you can transform your life.

Allow yourself to take the things about yourself that you are uncomfortable with and learn from them on how to better yourself. The takeaways would be to focus on one thing at a time and take baby steps.

4. Be Grateful

It is easy to compare ourselves and what we have, or don’t have, to those around us.

Everyone around us is putting the greatest highlights of their lives on social media, and we end up making comparisons that we shouldn’t. It is important to remember to be grateful for what you do have such as the ability to be a great writer or excel in mathematics.

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – John Wooden

Secondly, we need to be mindful of our positive traits, and how they can benefit the world. Think about how your specific skills have served you in the past. Perhaps, you are great at taking the lead and because of that, you’re the main leader on work projects. Remember that your positive traits deserve acknowledgement and praise.

5. Do Good

It has been proven that participating in improving the well-being of those around you will aid in improving your own well-being. Doing good and helping those around you will only have a positive effect in your life.

It is not beneficial to tear others down in an effort to build yourself up. Saying and doing helpful things for others around you will not only improve their self-esteem but yours as well.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

It will take some time and commitment to truly work on your self-esteem and self-compassion. This is not a commitment to yourself that you should take lightly. Decide that now is the time for action and truly commit to remaining consistent in bettering yourself.

You may see the successful people around you and how they seem to be so confident in themselves and wonder to yourself, is self-esteem the key to success? Truthfully, the answer would be no.

The key to success lies within many factors, and self-esteem and self-compassion are only two of the factors. As far as building both areas, practicing these strategies listed will help you learn how to get better in self-esteem and self-compassion.

Which one of the above factors resonated most with you in your pursuit of building your self-compassion and self-esteem? Let us know below!

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Life

7 Strategies to Get Anything You Want From Life

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Success is tricky. There is no shortage of information about what creates success, but there are secret saboteurs in your thoughts and beliefs that may be sacking your accomplishments.

If you aren’t where you want to be in life, consider the following:

1. Choose accuracy over history

Your beliefs are not necessarily accurate. Your perception of the world is based on your personality traits, such as neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, or openness. In addition, what you learned in your early childhood environment and what was role modeled for you play another part.

Your views are more about your history than accuracy. Not to say that everything you set store by is wrong, but just because you think it, doesn’t make it so. Look for proof.

2. Be aware of your biases

Your brain uses mental shortcuts to evaluate new information out of necessity. Those shortcuts, however, influence how you perceive the world. Though there are hundreds of proven biases, here are a few more commonly known ones that impact what you believe.

Confirmation bias makes you more likely to accept new information that supports beliefs you currently hold about the world. This one makes you unlikely to change your mind once it’s made up.

Availability heuristic makes you more likely to overestimate the importance of information that is easy to remember. Lastly, there’s conformity bias which makes you want to conform with other people.

A 2015 article in Business Insider cited 58 biases that screw up the way we think and subsequently, what we do! Being aware that your brain may be limiting you and having some idea what the most common biases are can help you be more critical of information you take in and help you to be open to ideas and knowledge different from your beliefs.

3. Recognize, refute and replace negative self-talk

You have 50,000 to 80,000 conversations in your head per day on average, and some percentage of them are negative self-talk. For many people, that percentage is less than 50%. I’m not good enough, I’m too fat, or I can’t are all examples of negative self-talk.

Begin to recognize these thoughts and refute them by stating reasons why they’re not true. Lastly, replace them with something better such as “I have what it takes to do what I am meant to do,” or, change your “I can’t” to “I can.”

“Your smile will give you a positive countenance that will make people feel comfortable around you.” – Les Brown

4. Choose optimism

Optimism is defined by Merriam Webster online as, ”an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome.” In short, it means to be hopeful which does not preclude healthy skepticism.

Martin Seligman is one of the founders of positive psychology, and in his book, Learned Optimism, shares strategies to grow your optimism. In the book, Dr. Seligman shares that “most people catastrophize. Learned optimism is about accuracy, and works not through an unjustifiable positivity about the world but through the power of ‘non-negative’ thinking.”

5. Rely on grit over talent and passion

Psychologist Angela Duckworth in her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, states that “Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.” She talks about how it’s easy to be in love with what you do but more challenging to stay in love with it. That takes grit. Pursuing something because you have a passion for it is not enough to keep you going.

You must be willing to hone your skills, develop your creativity and grow what you do. Discover, develop, deepen. Moreover, don’t expect talent and innate ability to do more than open doors and create opportunities. These are little more than clues to your passion. Grit is what creates success.

6. You figure out what you love over time not overnight

You also figure it out by trying many things and getting out of your head. Most people are not born knowing what their soul’s purpose and passion are. To figure out what you love, try different jobs, volunteer with different organizations, look for clues, and look for mentors to help you.

Knowing what you don’t like is important to the process of figuring out what you love. Dr. Duckworth shares, “most grit paragons I’ve interviewed told me they spent years exploring several different interests, and the one that eventually came to occupy all of their waking (and some sleeping) thoughts wasn’t recognizably their life’s destiny on first acquaintance.”

As someone who studied classical ballet, accounting, finance, international business, French, fashion and psychology in college, followed by positive psychology, coaching, and writing, I can vouch for it taking years, and thousands of dollars to find what I enduringly love doing.

“Entrepreneurs average 3.8 failures before final success. What sets the successful ones apart is their amazing persistence.” – Lisa M. Amos

7. A growth mindset wins over a fixed mindset

You will be more successful if you believe, not that you are ready, but that you aren’t. If you have a growth mindset, you know that to be successful you will have to learn new things, face challenges, and adapt.

In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol Dweck shares that, “in the growth mindset, you don’t always need confidence…even when you think you’re not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it.”

When you are open to new information, whether it is consistent with your current beliefs or not, you have the opportunity to grow.

Whether you are cultivating optimism, finding or deepening your passion, or dialing down the influence of biases, having an open mind and expanding it can turn you into a high performer. If you feel stuck, try something new.

Tony Robbins says, “Don’t quit. Try a new approach.” You may be holding yourself back either by negative self-talk or old programming. If doing what you always did hasn’t gotten you where you want to be, try something new.  Start by challenging your thoughts and beliefs.

Which one of these points resonated most with you? Let us know your thoughts below!

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Life

The Power of 7 Day Goals: 5 Behaviors to Make Them Successful

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When most people think of the goal setting process, they think of large auspicious goals that tend to occupy a lot of mental and behavioral space. Most of us, when we think of goal setting, think of bigger and more commodious housing, sexier automobiles, vacations, relationships, and any of the other bigger chunks of our lives that we would like to make changes in.

While larger goals are fine and help keep us focused in the direction of our lives’ objective, it really doesn’t hurt to focus on smaller goals; goals that can be accomplished quickly, maybe even in a week.

The two types of 7 day goals you need to set

There are two types of seven day goals that we should set: one is a larger goal broken down into a behavioral step that we can finish this week. By that I mean, if your goal was to lose 50 pounds, your goal this week might be to research gyms. You see what we’ve done here,  we took a larger goal, that of losing 50 pounds, and broken it into actionable steps; the first being to go to several gyms, trying them out and seeing which one we like the best.

The second type of seven day goals is very simple; it revolves around doing something that we know we should do. Let me give you an example. In my face-to-face, multi-week trainings, I asked participants to set a seven-day personal goal. Something small. Something that was bothering them and that they know they can accomplish in seven days. Perhaps it was a disorganized closet or washing the car. The whole idea was to practice the goal setting process, seeing results, and then celebrating your accomplishments.

“If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.” – Les Brown

While going around the room and debriefing, one woman in the class said that she did in fact accomplish her goal; it was to remove her Christmas decorations from her ironing board and put them in the closet where they would be stored until next Christmas. I found this to be somewhat amusing since the class was being held April. I asked her where did she do her ironing? She said that she put her clothes in a basket and took them upstairs to the kitchen where she proceeded to iron on the kitchen counter.

I asked her how she felt about looking at that ironing board with the Christmas decorations on it and she said that when she viewed the ironing board, now Christmas decoration storage container, it made her mad or depressed. I asked her a second level question, how long did it take you to put those Christmas decorations in the closet, where they should’ve been for the last four months? She said about 10 minutes. 10 minutes to stop feeling angry or depressed!

Think about the power of goal setting. For four months this woman was feeling emotional overhead every time the visual anchor of the Christmas decorated ironing board was observed. She set a goal to remove the obstacle and in 10 minutes was able to clean her ironing and store it in the necessary location. I asked her how she felt after the ironing board was cleared. With a smile on her face she said, “delighted!” So, a 10 minute behavior, based upon a 7-day goal, transformed her anger/depression into feeling delighted!

As you can see, the power of the whole process is not only apparent in those gigantic chunks of achievement that we want to accomplish, but can also be evidenced in smaller, actionable steps that we can do quickly.

Here’s a couple ideas to move you in the direction of positive goal setting and successful behavior:

1. Set a seven-day business goal and a seven-day personal goal

Everyone has something in their business that they would like to accomplish. Perhaps it’s cleaning out a desk drawer that has for years been a black hole. Perhaps, it’s sorting through the file cabinet purging unnecessary files. Regardless, there is something at work that is most likely anchoring you negative emotional overhead and can be resolved quickly with setting the seven-day goal to change whatever it is. The same thing applies to home. Is there a closet that you’ve been meaning to clean (for several years)? How about that corner of the garage? A room that needs to be painted? Instead of rationalizing why you can’t do it, why not do it?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

2. Don’t only set the goal, schedule it

Put it in your calendar and make it an appointment. That way at the appropriate time you will naturally fall in the habit of action.

3. Stay enthusiastic

Don’t accomplish your goal with drudgery. If you do, you will most likely not set any more goals. Instead, attack your goals with enthusiasm and unbridled abandoned. Because it is that very action that is instilling in you the success attribute of positive goalsetting, one of the strongest behavior modifiers human kind has ever known.

4. At the end of the week analyze your results

What behaviors did you modify to accomplish your goals? What rationalizations did you hold dear that perhaps kept you from accomplishing your goals? Be honest with yourself! Add more of what you should, and delete that which was not helpful.

5. Celebrate your victories

Each small goal is an accomplishment. Each one is a celebration of your successes. While I’m not suggesting a two-week Caribbean cruise for cleaning out your closet, perhaps a pizza for dinner instead of cooking might be in order.

So, there you have it. The idea that all goals do not have to be gigantic, and that small goals are just as important. Success has been defined as the progressive, realization, of worthwhile, predetermined, personal goals. That means that success is based on goal setting and that success is a habit.

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