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Success Advice

6 Reasons You Should Share Your Story Of Struggle With The World‏

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The topic I wanted to share with you today is all about sharing your story of struggle and why you should consider doing it. A leader that I know very well recently shared his story of struggle with his team. He is the kind of person that you wouldn’t expect to share the most interment details of his life with anyone.

The process of sharing his story of how he was raised and what it was like to not have a father around brought him to tears several times throughout him delivering this speech to a room full of his closest colleagues. What triggered his sudden urge to share his story was a case of cancer within his family.

It’s amazing how when we go through an experience that shows us we only have limited time on this earth, we start doing things that we wouldn’t normally do, and we start acting completely different with a new perspective on life.

Through this experience I had recently, below are the six reasons I believe that you should share your story of struggle with the world.

 

1. It makes you a leader

If you ever have a desire to be a leader, then you must be able to be vulnerable, put yourself in difficult situations and be willing to teach your followers all the wisdom that you possess. Sharing your story of struggle is a great way to do this, and it shows everyone that your willing to take a risk and do whatever it takes to inspire those around you.

Being a leader is a difficult job, and most people are capable of being a leader yet they never take the risk or decide to better themselves so that they can fulfill a leadership role. To be a leader you need to be able to lead by example and this is one way to do that.

Sharing a story of struggle for some people can actually bring out leadership qualities that they never thought they had. This is because the feeling that you get from inspiring others is very powerful, and when you get your first follower, you can easily be lead on a path of leadership that you will never turn back from.

 

2. It’s the blueprint for all success

I might be sounding a little over the top, but I believe that one the major factors in anyone’s success is when they share their story of struggle. If you look at any success story of our time, it’s the one common ingredient in every single example.

Whether it’s a business that came from nothing, or an athlete that achieved the impossible, it all started with them sharing their story of struggle with the world and using it to motivate them to achieve what most would consider to be impossible.

 

3. It’s the most courageous thing you can do

Courage is often described in many ways but to put yourself on the line and to risk the way that people perceive you is real courage. Humans are motivated by their emotions and sharing your story of struggle is all about emotion. Public speaking is one of the most feared activities that most of us do everything to avoid.

The most beneficial way to share your story is in the form of a speech and it also takes the greatest courage. If you don’t want to move straight to the hardest step, then try sharing your story of struggle online in a safe environment first.

Once you have built the muscle then maybe you could try sharing it in person with one or two people. From there you can keep building, and who knows, maybe one day you will share your story with a stadium of people like Les Brown did for many decades.

Image Credit Shutterstock

Image Credit Shutterstock

4. You’re proving that we are all equal

Many of us make the mistake of thinking that people who achieve massive success are somehow super human, or they were lucky. The reality, as we all know on Addicted2Success, is that this is not true and what really creates successful people are a number of traits and habits practiced daily, that create the slight edge in small steps, which compound over time into massive success.

By sharing your story of struggle, you are proving that we are all equal because each of us have our own story. If I was to ask everyone on Addicted2Success to tell me their story of struggle, I am sure that each of you would have at least one.

The reason we all have stories of struggle is because that’s what life is all about. We were put on this earth to overcome challenges through our own struggles and then share them with the world to help others overcome similar challenges. The difference between the successful and the unsuccessful is quite small.

The successful have reframed their story of struggle into motivation, and the unsuccessful are using that same story as the excuse for why their life isn’t working out the way they want it.

 

5. You’re allowing people to see another side of you

Building rapport with other people is one of the most important traits that we all need no matter what we do for a living. To influence any outcome, you must always be coming from a position of rapport, which is actually quite hard.

The fastest way to build rapport is to show people another side of you that they wouldn’t normally expect to hear. Through hearing your story of struggle it helps them to relate to their own story and allows them to see another side of you.

Many of us reframe from showing different sides of ourselves on a daily basis. If you look at your Facebook newsfeed how many of you can see people that are showing only one side of themselves? How many people in the newsfeed are always showing how perfect their lives are and how everything goes their way?

If you look at Instagram, you might find a similar phenomenon. A lot of the photos that are on there are taken using professional cameras, perfect lighting and lots of Photoshop. You probably won’t find too many photos on their of people who haven’t brushed their hair or who have a really bad sunburn.

All of this is because we only want to show our good side, and we are scared of what showing our weaker side might do to the way people perceive us. I say forget about these rules and show all sides of yourself. It’s what the ultra successful do and your much more likely to attract good people in your life who like you for who you are.

 

6. The world can learn something from you

Every story of struggle has a lesson in there that the rest of the world can learn from. If you ever practice studying success like I have, you will find that a lot of what you will be doing is reading people’s stories of struggle. This is because all learning involves understanding some form of lesson and the most powerful way to do this is through real human stories.

This is why reality television has been so popular because it much easier to relate to real stories and events than it is to with fictional stories.

Just remember that someone else may be going through the exact same struggle that you have been through and by you sharing your story with the world, you could be giving someone the skills and inspiration they need to learn the lesson from their struggle. You might be the one small change that someone else needs to get their life back on track or change their ways and move towards success.

If you would like to share your own story of struggle, then feel free to in the comments section below or message it to me on my Facebook Page.

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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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Alex

    Jan 20, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Awesome article! Sharing your story of struggle is totally the fastest way gain trust with people because they see that you are just like them and are on their side. Of course, sharing your successes afterward is even more powerful as it helps influence people in a positive way.

  2. Peter

    Aug 13, 2015 at 7:55 am

    A wonderful article! It was one of, if not, the best article I’ve read on addicted2success.

    • Tim Denning

      Aug 24, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      Glad you liked it Peter and got something out of it Thank you for your very kind comment.

  3. Alex Bender

    Jul 17, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Absolutely love this. One of my mentors has made most of his online income just from telling his story of struggle & overcoming his struggle, now he has his own course showing people how to tell their story powerfully.
    Everyone loves a story and everyone loves a story of struggle and overcoming a struggle.

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 17, 2015 at 11:48 pm

      Thanks for your comment Alex. I would love a link to your friends story if you could share it on here.

  4. Sammy

    Jul 15, 2015 at 6:27 am

    I think its a great idea, but it has to have a positive message and it can’t be constant as it loses it’s impact and can come across as focusing on the negative.

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 17, 2015 at 11:47 pm

      Sammy, your spot on, there must be a positive lesson from your story of struggle otherwise people won’t be attracted to it. Who wants to hear a story where the moral is, the world is going to end?

  5. Jax

    Jul 13, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Great article! I just recently started a new blog that is sharing the struggles I’m going through to do a live rags-to-riches (hopefully!) story. I appreciate the extra motivation this post provides. Thanks!

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 17, 2015 at 11:46 pm

      Good luck Jax I hope your blog goes well

  6. Ethan

    Jul 9, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Nice article, Tim!

    I feel like I’m still “in the making” of my own story of struggle, which I can’t really share as of this moment yet. 🙂

    But you’re absolutely right–one must share at least one story. There was a time when I remembered the names of the people I did and still do admire simply because of their stories of struggle. There’s just priceless value in there. It’s true that you’d want to hear another person talk about a struggle that’s very similar to yours, but it’s also quite true that all struggles are the same–a struggle is a struggle–it only comes in many, many forms.

    Inspiration makes the world go round! I bet there are lots of others who are also “in the making” of their own story.

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 11, 2015 at 11:30 am

      Thanks so much Ethan. I agree that most stories of the struggle are similar, but sometimes you have to hear something lots of different ways before you have a bank of references that you can draw upon in times of fear.

      Thanks for reading Ethan!

  7. Meenakshi

    Jul 9, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Florence Scovel Shinn says “Be undisturbed by a situation, and it will fall away of its own weight. “

    • Tim Denning

      Jul 11, 2015 at 11:28 am

      A very powerful quote. Thanks Meenakshi!

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Success Advice

The Power of Personal Reviews: How It Can Skyrocket Your Success in Life

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Do you want to elevate your personal success? If so, do you know what the number one thing that’s keeping you away from that success? You could be doing everything right in terms of setting goals and going after them, and still not make progress if you’re not doing this.

The secret is personal reviews. As goal-getters, we’re conditioned to take action and work hard to make our goals happen. But if you’re not measuring the effectiveness of your actions, then the outcome may be no better than if you were running around in circles. In order to not be stuck in the same place, you have to be continuously adjusting your strategy.

The key is knowing exactly what to do differently in order to achieve your goals and accelerate your success. This is where personal reviews come in, because they answer the most important questions such as: What parts should you keep on doing? What parts should you do differently? What exactly happened last time that prevented you from reaching your goals? How can you get to your goals even faster the next time?. The victory path often isn’t linear, and reflecting on it will improve the process, which is the most important part for speeding up success.

According to Harvard Business Review, people were shown to be more productive and less burnout after thinking about and planning their day than those who didn’t. Studies cited in the same Harvard Business Review have also shown that employees in call centers who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting on the lessons learned performed 23% better after 10 days than those who did not reflect. If you work in an even more complex role, imagine the benefits you would gain from consistent reflections. Ready to take on your own review?

Here are the three parts of a personal review and how each part will help you achieve personal and professional success:

1. Get Clear On Where You Are to Make Better Decisions

It’s hard to get to your destination if you don’t know where you are right now. Luckily, personal reviews are similar to a GPS, where it can accurately pinpoint your place in life. By getting clear on your current situation, there are three main benefits that’ll contribute to your success.

One, it reaffirms your goals. As I often find working with clients doing their own personal sprints to success projects, goals can be easily forgotten without regular check-ins. Each personal review helps bring these goals to top of mind, and align all your actions so that each one will move the needle.

Two, it keeps you on track. Once you are clear on your goals, it’ll become much more obvious whether you are on your way to hit your target or if you have strayed off the path. This will help you focus more clearly, and save time from unnecessary distractions and course-corrections.

Three, it builds momentum. By regularly reviewing how things are going, you can celebrate the wins, and improve on areas that didn’t go well. After all, success comes from consistent action and making progress towards your goals.

“What you can measure, you can improve.”  – Peter Drucker

2. Discover the Roadblocks That Are Holding You Back

Now that you have a solid understanding of where you are at, it’s time to get down to the why. Why are you where you are currently, and how can you go even faster? The second part of personal reviews is where you’ll discover the golden nuggets of insights that you can use as your secret weapon.

Maybe you realized that you usually only get one or two important things done each day. Why is that? Is it because there are too many distractions? Or is it because your energy levels are low? And is there a filter you can set up to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not?

These are all incredible insights into the decision-making process and the factors that contribute to your success. If you stumbled, think about what parts you wouldn’t do again next time. If you achieved your goals, think about which parts you can repeat to succeed again. And as you collect more data points, the easier it’ll be to pinpoint how to 10x your productivity and results. And the more frequent you do reviews, the faster you’ll be able to progress. For example, if you conduct weekly reviews, you’ll be able to move four times as fast as someone who does monthly ones. Now, you can work smarter, instead of harder.

3. Fast Track Your Success Through Feedback Planning

Once you have the clear understanding of exactly where you are and what you need to do differently, you can use this feedback to make powerful changes to your plan. This is the last part of personal reviews – setting and prioritizing goals to accomplish by the next review.

These new goals will not be something that you’ve haphazardly put together, but rather it will be a combination of your insights and your vision of success. These reviews can be massively effective productivity tools and accountability structures that you can use to review the past and set in place the steps to take for the future.

For high potential professionals who do not conduct weekly reviews, one of the top reasons is that they either don’t understand the process, or can’t see the benefits. Now that you know how it works and the huge impact it can have, I invite you to take charge of your life, and face your goals and fears head-on.

“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent return on energy.” – Brian Tracy

After all, in order to stay a high performer and relevant, you must grow. And whether you want to become more focused, motivated or productive, personal reviews will carve out the path for you to get there and skyrocket your success.

How do you envision yourself accelerating through personal reviews? Leave a comment below!

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Success Advice

5 Surprising Ways Your Posture Impacts Your Success

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how your posture affects your success
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What makes some people successful while others flop, even with the same education, background, and job position? There is no one size fits all formula, but one thing that always stands out is a person’s posture and body language. The way in which you sit, stand, and even walk, tells people so much about you, and you don’t have to utter a word.

I’m a big movie buff, so if I reference a few scenes, you will understand why. Your posture not only tells people about you, but it can make you feel more powerful and confident in your own abilities. Wouldn’t you like to know what your posture is saying to others and how you can change it?

Here are 5 ways your posture impacts your success:

1. Posture is a Nonverbal Sign of Who You Are

Remember in Titanic, when Jack is waiting to have dinner with Rose. When he’s leaning against the staircase, what does his posture say to you? Gangster? Thief? Then Jack sees the distinguished (banker?) walk by. He’s impressed with his posture and manner of walking, which he tries to emulate.

This is a perfect example of the image you are projecting to others. What do you want your image to say to others? When you are in a business setting, you should always be aware of your posture, so you don’t end up leaning on the staircase like Jack.

2. Good Posture Empowers You

Your posture and other body language makes you feel more powerful and boosts confidence.  A study from Ohio State University found that those who sat up straight had more confidence in their own abilities and believed more strongly in positive statements they had written about themselves.

“A strong confident person can rule the room with knowledge, personal style, attitude and great posture.” – Cindy Ann Peterson

3. Your Posture is Vital to Your Health

Anyone who has spent time sitting in front of a computer screen will tell you that it can wreak havoc on your neck, back and shoulders. It’s true that our bodies were not designed to sit for the majority of the day, but when you add poor posture to the mix, you are asking for some serious pain.

You can only imagine what people will think if you take time off work because of back pain or neck pain. Of course, the alternative is to spend your time rubbing your neck, which won’t do much for your image or authority presence. Avoid these issues by practicing good posture!

4. Good Posture Helps You Perform Better

When your body is out of balance, that is to say, when you are hunched over that keyboard or your head is pushed forward when you are standing or walking, you can’t perform to your true potential. This is especially true if you end up with neck or back aches later on in your day because you are slouching. When you feel good, you look good, and you can perform like a champion!

5. Your Posture Affects How People See You

This should be fairly obvious to everyone. Have you ever seen a CEO slumped over their computer? Think of the movie Shawshank Redemption, when escaped prisoner Andy Dufresne sits in front of the bank executive to cash out his account. His posture screams confidence and authority in that scene. Imagine if he had been a quiet mouse, staring at his feet, with slumped over posture. Your posture can make a huge difference in how you are perceived.

“I listen better with earplugs in, so I can see what your body is really saying.” – Jarod Kintz

The Good Posture Problem

Whenever I counsel new employees, I always stress good posture and how important it is to every area of their lives. I see them sit up straight, pull back their shoulders, and sit back in their chair, only to find them slouched over their keyboard or phone a few minutes later.

Let’s face it, keeping good posture after years of neglect can seem like a lot of work and you’re right, it is. However, it only seems that way because we are unaccustomed to how it feels. We are also creatures of habit and slouching at your desk is probably a bad habit you learned many years ago. Habits were meant to be broken, friends, and it’s not as hard as you might think.

Tips for Practicing Good Posture

If you want to come across as Meryl Streep does in every scene where she is walking in The Devil Wears Prada (minus the arrogant attitude, of course), you should think about your posture every day.

You can try setting an alarm on a daily basis to check your posture at work or at home. Try to be mindful of the way you’re sitting, standing and sleeping, and avoid any unnatural positions. Ask friends and family to remind you to stop slouching, too!

Also, check your workstation and make sure nothing is triggering bad posture there. Is your computer screen at eye level? Is your chair comfortable? Make sure your office equipment isn’t negatively affecting your posture.

Finally, some people have great success with a yoga or Tai Chi class, which focus on building strength and flexibility in your postural muscles. If you’re interested, you might sign up to maximize your posture. Otherwise, you can also try a home morning posture routine with different stretches.

In the end, you have the power to change your posture! As your mother might say: sit up straight!

How do you practice having proper posture throughout your day? Share your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

If You Must Work, Work For A Leader You Love

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Let me lay this out nice and simple for you all: it’s not companies, or products, or services that make us go to work.

It’s people. To be more specific, it’s the leader you work for.

I came to this realization when I looked back on my own career. I looked at why I stayed in certain jobs for too long. I looked at why I gave a damn about finance when in my head I hated it.

The answer came to me late one night as I was trying to think about how to get myself out of this crappy career situation I’d found myself in where I literally didn’t give a stuff about business anymore.

Then it hit me: I’m following a leader I love.


It’s not the company.

The company doesn’t make you love your work, sorry.

No video on company culture or fancy office with stand up desks and indoor plants is going to change that. A company is a legal entity which revolves around a group of people who all work together towards a common goal that makes money.

None of us will be inspired by this incredibly dry thing called ‘a company’

A company is a figment of our imagination. Some people in the company rock. Some people in the company suck.

And that applies to all companies including Google, DropBox and any other company you think is sexy because of its uber cool culture and work from home days.


Working for a leader you love.

Why the hell would you bother?

It’s because it’s in our human nature to be led by someone who touches the deepest, darkest places that we don’t want to go to but must in order to survive.

Those dark places look like:

  • Leading a team of people
  • Doing public speaking
  • Admitting you’re wrong in a major argument
  • Quitting your career because it’s wrong
  • And even breaking up with a lover

These are the things a leader made me do. I didn’t want to do any of it although I had to.

This made me want to come to work every day and work for this leader because in the work I was doing, I was discovering myself and finding a way to grow into the person I’d avoided becoming for so long.

No one wants to face the darkness, but when a leader guides you, you’ll find a way and be forever grateful that you did.


From one company to the next.

You see many people go from one company to the next. They’re not chasing the idea of a company or trying to find a better company.

We go from one company to the next because in most cases we’re chasing a leader

Finding that leader you love working for is not easy. You’ll have to work for many useless leaders before you find a couple that are worth dedicating your entire career to.

The process of finding a leader you love working for is so difficult that once your search ends and you find those rare individuals, your standards will be forever raised and anything less will piss you off.

In my own career, I’ve met 1–2 amazing leaders and every other leader that is not them ends up making me want to move on.


Not finding a leader I love.

I end up moving on because the leaders I don’t love working for focus on the following: numbers, email signatures, the share price, managing people into the ground in favor of ‘productivity’ and overcomplicating business.

That last one is the most important. Business revolves around understanding how people think, what motivates them and how to get them to take ownership.

To put the people part to one side is to completely Mess up the most simplest idea that has ever existed in the business world”

The process goes like this:

  • Hire one good leader
  • Support that leader
  • Allow them to hire incredible human beings
  • Stay the heck out of their way

Hiring the right leader and then letting them hire people who love working for them is the number one consistent approach I’ve seen from looking at many of the unicorn tech companies that have gone on to define the future of the human race.

It’s this counter-intuitive, somewhat magical approach that makes us stay working for a leader we love. Until, of course, we may not need to work or decide to go off and start our own thing.


The leader makes it all worth it.

So from this day forth, I’m committed to only working for a leader I love. If you mess that part up, you’ll probably find me saying goodbye.

I’d encourage you to think the same way.

The leader you work for makes it all worth it. It’s knowing someone has your back, someone cares and someone is simultaneously going to push you to the next level whether you like it or not that will not only define your career but your life.

Don’t. Settle. Ever.

Find a leader you love working for.

<<<>>>

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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Success Advice

5 Unexpected Ways to Unlock Your Creativity

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You know those times when you can’t think of a good idea? When you’re ready to bang your head against the desk because you can’t even think of a bad idea? It happens to the best of us. No one is immune to Creativity Lockdown Syndrome. But before you throw your project out the window or decide the only way to get through the idea desert is to dive head first into a Netflix and Cheeto binge, there is another way.

After pouring over thousands of projects with thousands of creatives over the years, I’ve picked up a few tricks to get your wheels turning again.

Here are 5 unexpected ways to unlock your creativity, even when your usual inspirational soundtrack and motivational movie clips aren’t producing results:

1. Stand up and turn around

Seriously. Physically stand up out of your chair, then turn and face the other way. You might actually *hear* the sound of a good idea dropping into your brain. As the saying goes, humans are creatures of habit, making it easy to create routines that put our brains on autopilot. By changing up where or how you’re sitting, it shakes up the status quo and gets your brain thinking in new ways, which opens you up to new ideas.

Still stuck? Ask yourself this open-ended question: “What is the truth about this problem or situation?” and let the answer tumble out. Your mind will start creating answers for any question you ask it. Take a pen and paper, and write out whatever comes to mind.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

2. Drink a teaspoon of booze

You know how some great writers and artists are legendary drunks? One reason is because alcohol lowers inhibitions, muffles the inner critic and gives your inner wild-and-crazy guy a chance to run the show. Sadly, the era of the three-martini lunch has passed, and it is generally ill-advised to get hammered on the job.

But I’ve found that just a teaspoon of liquor can get you loosened up without jeopardizing your reputation. Maybe it’s the stimulation of sense-memory from the smell and the taste in your mouth, or maybe it’s your body responding to the tincture itself, but it works – if you let it.

If it’s not possible for you to take the world’s tiniest shot (not all people can have even a teaspoon of alcohol), try just “acting drunk” by letting your body go loose and allowing yourself to ramble like a wicked old sot. You might just surprise yourself.

3. Make some 5-minute art

Especially if the reason you’re stuck is emotional (low self-esteem, jealousy, fear of failure, perfectionism…any of those monsters from under the bed) making some 5-Minute Art can be revelatory. Just grab a piece of typing paper and a pen, and draw out the FEELING you are having.

Use stick figures or big scrawls – don’t worry, no one is ever going to see this – and just allow yourself to express on paper what it feels like to be so jealous, afraid or stuck. Getting a visual image of your feelings often gives you a new perspective on them, and can free up the blocked energy that’s holding your good ideas hostage.

4. Copy someone

Of course I’m not recommending plagiarism, in the illegal, unethical kind of way. Here’s the thing, the next time you’re stuck, try straight-up imitating the work of someone you admire. Just for a few minutes, pretend you are that person.

Allow their genius to inhabit you for a minute, and let yourself borrow their phrasing, style or flair. Be a copycat. You will probably want to revise and polish later, but your homage will at least give you something fun and unusual to start with.

If for some reason you can’t think of someone you admire to copy, try creating a character or alter ego you can put on for a little while. This technique was made famous by Beyonce Knowles when she announced her alter ego, Sasha Fierce, to the world. When you assume a character, you shift your attitude and focus instantly because you see the world through a different lens.

This opens your creative thinking and problem solving processes in new ways, opening you up to new ideas you would not have been able to consider before.

“Through others we become ourselves.” – Lev S. Vygotsky

5. Take a tiny step toward a big goal

Overwhelm is so real. You get paralyzed when your projects are too big so start smaller. Set your timer for 15 minutes and do as much as you can in that time. Maybe you’ll just make a list of people you could reach out to for help or advice, or you’ll open a new notebook in Evernote.

If you spend just 15 minutes a day, every single day, working on the projects that matter most to you, you will achieve astonishing results. Baby steps often lead to quantum leaps, so keep going, no matter what.

How do you become creative when you’re unmotivated? Share your thoughts below!

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