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6 Steps To Tap Into Your ‘Flow’

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tap into your flow to be happy and successful

Have you ever been so focused and engaged in a task that it feels like an out of body experience? You’ve got the midas touch- everything you do is done with ease, you completely lose track of time, no such thing as hunger or weariness, your ego just disappears from consciousness.

It’s called ‘flow.’

Athletes break records when they are in flow, musicians write hit songs because of flow, entrepreneurs seal deals when possessed by flow.

When it comes to understanding this incredible state that is available to all humans, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the expert credited with identifying this incredible peak experience he refers to as flow. Your nervous system is only capable of processing about 110 bits of information per second, having a conversation with one person takes about 60 bits per second- the reason you struggle to listen to two people at the same time. When you enter into a state of flow however, every bit of your processing power is directed to the task. You become blissfully possessed by the work that you are doing.

Everything else disappears.

The key to human happiness and success, according to Mihaly, is the ability to tap into your state of flow.

 

Here are the 6 steps to tap into your flow:

 

1. Set the stage

Whatever task or work you are engaged in, create the optimum environment for flow to happen with an organised and tidy area free from ANY distractions. Some of the world’s greatest writers have a special room or space where they will only engage in writing- that becomes the place they enter into their flow state.

Where is your flow space? It could be in your attic, basement, or the quiet corner of your favourite coffee shop.

 

2. Intrinsic Motivation

Flow happens when what you are doing becomes worth it for its own sake. You need to value and enjoy your work ultimately and above anyone else; regardless of how others may profit or be affected from what you do.

Here is a great flow question: if you never received any recognition for what you’re doing, would you still love doing it?

 

3. A Trigger

This is where physiology meets psychology; a physical trigger to set off an emotional peak state. Tony Robbins is known for jumping up and down on an exercise trampoline and clapping his hands before walking out to a conference. A great technique is to squeeze your middle finger and thumb together and then think of an ecstatic flow experience in the past- a previous victory, accomplishment, or pinch-yourself moment. Then release and bring your mind back to an everyday mundane experience. Practicing stepping in and out of a heightened state.

From now on, every time you squeeze your fingers together your mind will immediate be taken to a flow experience.

 

4. No Destination

Once you have your mind primed and in flow, engage in the task at hand. A crucial key for being in flow is to cast away any expectations. Flow cannot be put into a box. Don’t cut flow off by only getting a certain amount of work done, and don’t try and force flow by continuing to engage when the state is over.

 

5. Too Deep, Too Shallow

Flow is the perfect balance between skill and challenge. If your skill level is too high for the task, then you don’t have enough of a challenge to be in flow. You fall into a state of “comfort.”  On the other hand, if the challenge is too high, you go into a state of “arousal.” This leads to frustration because you don’t have the skill to accomplish your task.

Whatever work you engage in, make sure that you are not over-qualified, nor under-qualified. The challenge should be just a little beyond your skill- to stretch you, but not break you!

 

6. Time-Out

The stages of getting into flow can be broken down into: Struggle – Relaxation – Flow – Consolidation. The final stage of consolidation is crucial for your brain to absorb and remember the new skills it was able to learn. The temptation will always be to chase after that next flow state. But you need to take a break and let your nervous system recover from the immersed experience.

Lastly, flow states must be incorporated in a holistic manner. You do not want to become dependant on a flow state to function regularly. Flow addiction can be very detrimental. This is what turns a person into an unhealthy workaholic- continually chasing the flow experience. Be engaged in a number of different creative tasks. This will allow you to enjoy the flow state without becoming dependant upon a single one that dominates your life.

 

The perfect moment picture quote

A refugee from Vietnam, raised in Australia, with a BA from Texas, Thai writes for many publications including The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Addicted2Success. A professional chef, international kickboxer, and spiritual teacher, Thai is passionate about helping people become the best version of themselves. Signup for his free weekly Infographics at TheUtopianLife.com | Connect @ThaiWins | On Facebook 

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Marsha

    Jun 20, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    I like some of these strategies and will practice them. Thanks!

  2. Sid

    Mar 30, 2014 at 3:02 am

    One of the biggest problems in life was not living in the moment. I always had thought of what I’d do later.. Whether it came to a definite goal or pursuing a desire.. But when the time came to execute i never did.. Instead I rationalized that I’d do it later by making another plan.. I dint realise i wasn’t living in the moment! This opened my eyes

    • Thai Nguyen

      Apr 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Very true Sid. Flow is much being being immersed in the moment. All the best to you.

  3. Thai Nguyen

    Mar 27, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks Joel, I’ll have to check out Pirsig’s work- thanks for the referral. Definitely, as writers, being in flow is crucial!! All the best to you mate.

  4. Joel

    Mar 19, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Great post Thai. Much of what you’re saying resonates with Pirsig’s idea of the pursuit of quality in ‘Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance’, a fantastic book. As a writer, I find entering this mental state helps enormously with productivity, and most of all, creativity. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  5. Thai Nguyen

    Mar 16, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks Hristiqn,

    There really isn’t much that can stand in the way of passion, absolutely agree. Wishing you all the best mate.

  6. Thai Nguyen

    Mar 16, 2014 at 7:06 am

    There is definitely a mix of early birds and night owls when it comes to flow! Part of the fun is figuring it out.

  7. Jeremy

    Mar 14, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I think I tend to get this flow late into the night… I can work from midnight until 8 in the morning and I’ll be very pumped up and inspired while at work. Unfortunately it’s good for my health I think.

  8. Thai Nguyen

    Mar 14, 2014 at 6:12 am

    Hi Naomi,

    Definitely some interesting debates going on about multi-tasking. You are right that there comes a point when it does get out of control. We all need that reminder reassess and refocus.

    All the best,

    Thai.

  9. Naomi@business start ups

    Mar 12, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Hi Thai,

    I’m a multi-tasking queen. I’ve spend my life juggling several tasks at once and persistently attempted to achieve the art of NOT just getting many tasks done at once – But getting them done well.

    As my task list grows I’m starting to realize sometimes I need to be in the moment and submerged within one single activity. Your post is a great reminder for me.

    Thanks, Naomi

  10. JALAL KHAN

    Mar 12, 2014 at 2:56 am

    I learn everyday something new, which are worth implementing in the work place. Keep this good work going. Any time you are coming to Chicago side,please do inform us.

    • Thai Nguyen

      Mar 12, 2014 at 4:53 am

      Learning something new everyday is a great habit! Thanks Jalal!

  11. Emily Filloramo

    Mar 11, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Thai,

    Great reminders about the points of this groundbreaking book.

    I have find flow an “easier” state to get into since I have found my life’s calling. When I finally realized what the Universe has put me on this earth for, then it’s an obligation to do what I need to do to make a difference. This motivation helps me to tackle the challenging things I need to do to take my life to the next level.

    • Thai Nguyen

      Mar 12, 2014 at 4:52 am

      Well said Emily. I think it is very much a two-way street- finding your flow can help you understand your calling, and knowing your life’s calling makes it easier to find your flow. Wishing you all the best!

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Success Advice

5 Ways a Young Salesperson Can Excel in Their Role

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Sales is a great first job to get out of college for the lessons it teaches. A new salesperson quickly experiences rejection, learns they are not as good as they thought they were, and gets a real understanding that their path is not going to be an easy one.  The market chews them up and spits them out, and there is very little they can do about it.

I can say this because I recently completed two years of sales experience and learned these lessons the hard way. To find a semblance of success, I had to set my ego aside and modify my expectations.

This introduction to sales taught me five lessons that helped me overcome roadblocks, penetrate gatekeepers, and settle into the workforce:

1. Education Doesn’t Equal Performance

Like most recent graduates I felt prepared to conquer the world right out of college and was confident I could understand anything I set my mind to.  Fresh off the high of achieving my academic goals, I realized within days that there was a small problem – the skillset did not translate.

As great of a job formal education does to expand your mind and teach you new thought patterns, it is very theoretical. When it comes to practically applying that knowledge, young professionals often find themselves underprepared.  This disconnect is a result of the way their performance is measured – A student is evaluated based on a test, which is predictable and objective.

A salesperson is evaluated on their sales numbers, which has a lot of built in unpredictability.  On top of that, the execution of a sales call is much more difficult to objectively quantify. Due to this, when a young professional first finds themself in a sales environment, they are vulnerable to their inexperience in that setting and their performance suffers.

A technique that helps me be more confident in this new arena is role-playing.  Simulating an unpredictable environment has been a great exercise for me because it has provided me with experience in this new setting.

2. Know How to Be Old-Fashioned

A fundamental part of sales is meeting your customer at their level.  Young salespeople often come across targets who prefer traditional business practices and struggle with selling to them.  Choosing to match a customers’ old-fashioned demeanor helps relate with them because it aligns with how they are accustomed to doing business.

A few things that worked for me. First, whenever possible, I choose to write things down with pen and paper.  This action resonates with customers who are slower to adopt technology. On top of that, following up with hard copies may better meet your customer’s expectations and fit into their decision making workflow.  

Along with taking written notes, I also make a point to overdress for the occasion, arrive early, be clean-shaven, and use titles when addressing people. Taking steps to be old-fashioned is conducive to doing business with tenured customers because it works against the prejudices the customer might have about millennials.

“A smart salesperson listens to emotions not facts.”

3. Understand Emerging Technology

Today’s young professionals grew up in the exciting age of the digital revolution. This means that young salespeople are expected to be early adopters of new workplace technologies and have a high technological competency.  While it is true that young professionals may have a better intuition for the technology, it still takes a good deal of additional work to be informed.

I quickly realized not only that I should pay special attention to the latest workplace tech, but that I needed to proactively learn it to meet expectations. As expected I became the default resource whenever there was a technical issue or question, and in an operating room setting, it was a particularly important role to hold.

I used this responsibility to my advantage by taking it as an opportunity to be valuable. I spent additional time learning the nuances of the technology so that I was confident in my execution when people turned to me for answers. As a young salesperson it is important to understand others’ expectations of your technological competency because any opportunity to add value is a sales opportunity.

4. Constant Judgment

Young salespeople are very affected by this – there is an association between youth and immaturity in the workplace, and colleagues pay close attention to the behavior of their younger counterparts.  I concede that this connection between maturity and years might be fair, and as a result young professionals are given a different threshold for how much their behavior will be tolerated.

I understand that there is a fine line between personal and professional settings after hours, but it is best practice for young professionals to be conservative to avoid negative judgment in casual settings. When I am around coworkers I always try to stay “turned on,” meaning that I take precautions to act appropriately. I limit my drinks, defer contentious conversational topics, and avoid workplace controversy and gossip. It is part of our reality that young professionals need to come to terms with.

However, judgment exists differently in a professional setting. Instead of being evaluated on the appropriateness of your behavior, young professionals are judged on their competency and ability to contribute. The most effective way to be viewed as a positive contributor is by displaying confidence, both in the quality of your work and in the way you carry yourself.  

“Most people think “selling” is the same as “talking”. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” – Roy Bartell

5. Own Your Youth

A young salesperson should definitely use their age to their advantage. Young professionals offer a unique perspective, skill-set, and way of operating that is invaluable to any business.  Leaning into those qualities is the best thing a young salesperson can do because it offers a truly unique value proposition.

If employing this, it is first critical for a young salesperson to address their age and be transparent about their experience level before being exposed of it. This approach disarms customers by handling their first objection without them having to ask it, and conveys respect through humility. I have found customers are much more receptive to hearing my message after ground-rules have been set and this deference has been established.  

Also, something young professionals should leverage is their colleagues’ interest in their exciting young lifestyles. What works particularly well is using major life events to build rapport and relate to customers. Talking about buying a house, getting married, or having a child begins a conversation that becomes an opportunity to advance the relationship.

What techniques have you incorporated in your sales routine that have helped you get your message heard?

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Success Advice

The One Mindset Change That Helped Me Read 47 Books in a Year With Ease

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

There is an elusive truth about life that we tend to miss in today’s world. Everything is moving so fast that we don’t have time to stand still and truly absorb the information we receive. We skim through articles like we skim through relationships, always searching for a better one in a sharper form. That is the way the majority of the world operates today. We must be people who take control over their lives and implement their dreams no matter who or what stands in front of them.

To do that, we must be willing to learn, change, and adapt our models of reality and here is one that ultimately changed the way I see life as a whole. The one mindset shift I made that changed my entire life is that life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and here is what that means.

How to read 47 books in one year with ease

I used to live in a fast-paced world as you did and I was going haywire. My health was deteriorating fast and my mental state wasn’t far behind. What was even worse is that my results weren’t getting any better. Here I was, working 20 hours a day, mentally stressed out and having physical manifestations of stress and yet, my results were horrible. I knew I needed to change something and it needed to happen fast.

That is when I discovered the compound effect and it completely blew my mind. It basically means that you take small actions every single day and they give interest over time. And those interests compound over time if you keep doing small actions. I thought this was the solution to all my problems but I had to test it out. So I tried reading 20 pages of a book every single day, hoping I would manage to prove to myself that this works for me.

Reading only 20 pages a day compounded into 47 books just one year later and I managed to prove to myself that life really is a marathon, not a sprint. But all of this sounds easy when I tell it like this- I want to show you the work that went into reading these 20 pages a day.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

How it really looks like

Imagine getting back from work tired from all the daily chores and tasks. You grab some food, sit down on your couch and want to eat while watching TV. However, then you remember, “Oh damn, I forgot to read 20 pages of a book today.”

So you eat fast, hop from the couch to grab your book and start reading. 30 minutes later, done!

And that is day 1/365 done. You need to do this for 364 more days (at least). I am telling you this because I want to emphasize that even though this is easy and simple to do, most of you don’t do it. The reason we don’t do it isn’t because it’s hard or complicated, the reason we don’t do it is that we haven’t taken the time to stop in our tracks and absorb this information.

When you read that it took someone 10 years to become an overnight success, we nod our head with understandment. However, do we really know how much 10 years is? If you go back 10 years ago, there was no Instagram or Snapchat. Have you really taken the time to think about what this information means? I know I didn’t for a long, long time and that is why my life was on stand-by.

Only when I took the time to stop and think about the information I just read was I able to absorb what it means in its entirety. And I want you to do the same thing right now with the one shown above. I will repeat it here: By reading 20 pages a day, you can read 47 books in a year. Let it fall in, absorb it fully. Understand and internalize it. Feel it like it’s happening right now, like you’re holding a book in your hands and being sucked into the story. Now, you are ready for the next step.

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” – Edmund Burke

Every journey starts the same way – with a single step

Now that you’ve absorbed this mentality of life being a marathon and not a sprint, now it’s time to prove it (to you). You should take upon reading 20 pages of a book every single day and do it for one year. After a couple of months, you will start noticing a change happening in the way you hold yourself and you will be more knowledgeable.

It’s time to take the thing you already know and make it a reality for you. We are the people who make their dreams come true no matter what stands in front of them. Always remember, the first obstacle toward your dream life is always you. It’s time to move it.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

How To Make People Feel Your Emotion So They Will Hire You For Anything.

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Do you want to know how to get hired to do almost anything? You have to make people feel your emotion.

You can have experiences, connections, money, and a family that supports you. Yet without your emotion, you can’t move people to cut off all the other options and back you!

The way to win and be hired for almost anything is to put massive amounts of emotion into it. You want your audience to feel your emotion and not judge you based on society’s standards of a resume.

Emotion defeats all other criteria when it comes to hiring. The thing is, you’ll never be told that. No one is ever going to tell you that. That’s because the human spirit tells us to choose based on emotion.

Choose emotion and you will be chosen.

Here’s how to make people feel your emotion so they’ll hire you for almost anything:


Prepare a paragraph beforehand.

Last week, I had the chance to be hired for something extraordinary. Over-preparing never seems to work well, because then everything becomes scripted which only makes you more nervous.

Instead, I prepared a paragraph (call it a speech if you will) to say to the people I’d be meeting. Before writing this paragraph, I watched a video of a man that has had every health challenge you could imagine.

The video made me very emotional and I immediately used that raw emotion to write

Having a few lines to use during a pitch will help you bring out that emotion. You’ll have a trigger point to use, that will become the basis for making people feel your emotion too.

I’ll share my paragraph with you at the end of this post.


Tie back the opportunity to an emotional moment in your life.

In my pitch to get hired for my dream career, I talked about my near miss with cancer, several bad breakups and leaving behind a business I co-founded.

While in front of them, I mentioned these important moments in my life to make the audience I was pitching to feel the emotion of what I’d gone through in my past.

“I wanted them to feel the emotion of my journey and use it as inspiration for their own. Even if I didn’t win the gig, at least I would have made a difference and that’s how you get remembered”

To me, it is the very act of remembrance that can be used to your advantage when there’s another opportunity in the future. If it holds true, then you will be first on their list.


Lead with inspiration.

In these situations, I try to imagine giving a speech to a room full of people that are terminally ill and don’t have long to live.

How would I want them to leave this world?

What difference could I make on their last day?

Out of all the tools you can use to make people feel your emotion, the best one from my experience is inspiration. There’s so much negativity in the world. The quandary in that is that a lot of the time, all any of us want is to be inspired.

“Even if it’s just for a moment, that brief encounter with inspiration seems to make us think differently — and more importantly, act differently”

Choose inspiration. All of us want to be inspired, whether we admit it or not.


Don’t hold back.

Forget about how you might come across and give it your everything.

Show every ounce of yourself and appeal to their human spirit through emotion. Be vulnerable, bold and present the biggest vision you can.

Everyone else you’re up against will probably do the opposite.

People can’t feel your emotion unless you put your heart and soul into it. You have to try hard at this. It’s not easy to disrupt people’s thought patterns and make them feel something.

The moment the audience feels you’re holding back or not telling them everything, it puts up a barrier between you and them. You can’t see this barrier, but it exists.

Remember, you have nothing to lose. You can give it all you’ve got and try to get them to feel your emotion, or you can hold back and risk being ordinary and getting less than desirable results.

The people that inspire and make us feel their emotion don’t hold back.


Pretend it’s your last shot. Act as if it’s your legacy.

I always communicate to people that may want to hire me like it’s my last shot. I think of everything in my life and career as a legacy. You should too.

When you enter a room and have to sell yourself, pretending it’s your last shot changes the way you communicate.

Connecting your thoughts, emotion and words to your legacy gives you an unfair advantage.

“Legacy reminds your mind about death and that’s the best ‘in the moment’ motivation you’ll ever need”

You’ll say things you never thought you’d say in front of other people. You’ll show how badly you want the opportunity that’s being presented. You’ll come across driven, motivated and inspired.

Acting as if it’s your legacy makes you feel like you’re becoming someone you’d hope to be in the future.

Think about the end of your life and then work backwards to the moment you’re faced with right now where you have to convince people to hire you.

This counter-intuitive process helps put you in a state of flow where you transcend all your limitations, beliefs and everything that everyone has ever told you that you can’t do.

In other words, linking to your legacy gives you confidence and belief in yourself.

Using all of the points I just mentioned, here’s a real-life example of a paragraph I prepared for an interview last week:

You want me not for endless meetings.

You want me not to bitch about other departments within the business.

You want me because I’m going to do something great. You can see it in my eyes right now.

I can change how people think.

I can inspire millions of people and I’ve demonstrated that already.

I can lead.

And, I can build relationships better than anyone you’ve ever met.

Most of all, I’m never going to give up. You can’t knock me down or defeat me. There will be obstacles. Some may give up — but not me.

If I can survive a near miss with cancer, multiple bad breakups, and leave a multi-million-dollar business behind, then I can do this role.

Regardless of whether you hire me for this opportunity, you will remember me. I believe I can come to this business and make a massive impact. The bottom line is this:

If I can change the world through this company and social media, then here I am.

That — ladies and gentlemen — is how you make people feel your emotion and get hired to do anything. Go out there and try it for yourself.

<<<>>>

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

3 Destructive Habits That Are Holding You Back From Success

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destructive habits
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You want to wake up at 5 a.m., do the work that matters, and realize your vision. You want to be the heavyweight champion of your craft, dominate your industry, and achieve massive success.

You want to achieve all of that, but there’s a problem. Anytime you come up with an idea, a nagging voice deep inside your psyche whispers through the corridors of your mind that you’re not capable.

So you put off your idea, cower in fear, or maybe blame others for your plight. The thing is, you need to check in with yourself. Deep inside, you have some destructive habits that are holding you back from pursuing your goals and achieving success.

Let’s explore them and give you some tips to counter them head-on.

1. Self-doubt

One of the worst things you can do is develop the habit of self-doubt, the tendency to distrust everything about yourself. It’s not that you hate yourself or your capabilities, it’s just that you question yourself, your judgments, and your actions. Whenever you plan to give that speech or launch that business or initiate that tough conversation, something deep inside you whispers, “You can’t do it.”

And you listen to that inner voice and bury your ideas in self-doubt. Your self-doubt is your biggest enemy. If you don’t counter that habit with all your might, it will hold you back from reaching the mountaintop, achieving your potential, and succeeding in your life, in your business and in your career.

The way to break through this chain of self-doubt is simple. Anytime you hear that voice weighing you down, tell it, “No, I can do it. I can make it happen.” Don’t ignore the voice, because it will talk to you again. Just have a ready-made response, and take the necessary action to prove it wrong.

“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.” – Estée Lauder

2. Blaming others for your failures

Another ugly habit many of us have is we often blame others for our own failures. In my first startup, I was determined to succeed. I woke up every morning and worked for about fifteen hours a day, writing, emailing prospects, promoting my services on social media, optimizing my products. But after about a year, I still didn’t have enough customers and I quit.

However, I put all the blame on my competitors. “There are simply too many people doing the same thing I do,” I concluded. “That’s why I failed.” Is that the true reason for my failure? No. I failed because I was not targeting the right customers, my product was inferior, or my marketing did not appeal to my prospective clients.

The best way to change this habit is to be very critical of ourselves. I know, it is not that simple. We can easily be critical of others, but not of ourselves. Still, we have to try to build the habit if we want to succeed.

You have to question your decisions, scrutinize your actions, and change course. If what you’re doing is not working, then you’re not doing the right thing. You have to try something else and stop blaming others for your failure.

3. Multi-tasking

What’s wrong with multi-tasking? Think about this, you’re eating lunch while checking your social media feed, and your laptop is on your lap open to a client’s project. Suddenly, a prospect emails you. You read the message, reply to them, and then get back to your other tasks.

You’re multitasking, doing many things at a time. However, you’re not investing your undivided attention in any particular area. That’s what’s wrong with multi-tasking. Your productivity level decreases by 40 percent when you focus on more than one thing at the same time. Your IQ also decreases by ten points when you multi-task, according to Peter Bregman of Harvard Business Review. The multitasking process actually consumes much of your time, and it’s stressful.

You need to cut that unproductive, destructive habit out. How? By working in the wee hours of the morning before your social media feeds begin to buzz, your friends start calling you, and your kids wake up. Next, silence your notifications as you work. That way, you can focus on your work without the distractions.

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

Finally, set a deadline for yourself and stick to it—so you’ll have the discipline to concentrate on the project and the resistance to divert your attention away from other things. It worked for me, and it will work for you, too. The idea is to do whatever it takes to stop or minimize multitasking so you can pour your heart and soul into one project, and execute it flawlessly.

To become the heavyweight champion of your industry, start replacing your bad habits with good ones. Beat your self-doubt with self-confidence. Stop blaming others and start taking responsibilities. Stop multitasking and start focusing on one task. Then, watch as your success blossoms.

What habits are holding you back? Comment below!

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Motivation

5 Daily Habits to Remain Highly Motivated

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

My name is Bachir Bastien. Being the sparkle that will ignite the fire of possibilities in as many people as possible is how I define myself. I was born and raised in Haiti by my mother. My life has been a struggle since conception. I decided that I was going to use my stories to empower others. These experiences may have been lemons, but I can use them to make sweet lemonade. This is what I have decided to do. That became my life purpose. My first name Bachir means messenger of good news in Arabic; I have been doing just that for the past two years here in Taiwan through articles, workshops, seminars and speeches. I have seen students changing behaviors, increase in confidence, watched students conquer stage fright, etc. This in turn gives me the unwavering certitude that I can empower more people.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Marsha

    Jun 20, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    I like some of these strategies and will practice them. Thanks!

  2. Sid

    Mar 30, 2014 at 3:02 am

    One of the biggest problems in life was not living in the moment. I always had thought of what I’d do later.. Whether it came to a definite goal or pursuing a desire.. But when the time came to execute i never did.. Instead I rationalized that I’d do it later by making another plan.. I dint realise i wasn’t living in the moment! This opened my eyes

    • Thai Nguyen

      Apr 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Very true Sid. Flow is much being being immersed in the moment. All the best to you.

  3. Thai Nguyen

    Mar 27, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks Joel, I’ll have to check out Pirsig’s work- thanks for the referral. Definitely, as writers, being in flow is crucial!! All the best to you mate.

  4. Joel

    Mar 19, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Great post Thai. Much of what you’re saying resonates with Pirsig’s idea of the pursuit of quality in ‘Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance’, a fantastic book. As a writer, I find entering this mental state helps enormously with productivity, and most of all, creativity. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  5. Thai Nguyen

    Mar 16, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks Hristiqn,

    There really isn’t much that can stand in the way of passion, absolutely agree. Wishing you all the best mate.

  6. Thai Nguyen

    Mar 16, 2014 at 7:06 am

    There is definitely a mix of early birds and night owls when it comes to flow! Part of the fun is figuring it out.

  7. Jeremy

    Mar 14, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    I think I tend to get this flow late into the night… I can work from midnight until 8 in the morning and I’ll be very pumped up and inspired while at work. Unfortunately it’s good for my health I think.

  8. Thai Nguyen

    Mar 14, 2014 at 6:12 am

    Hi Naomi,

    Definitely some interesting debates going on about multi-tasking. You are right that there comes a point when it does get out of control. We all need that reminder reassess and refocus.

    All the best,

    Thai.

  9. Naomi@business start ups

    Mar 12, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Hi Thai,

    I’m a multi-tasking queen. I’ve spend my life juggling several tasks at once and persistently attempted to achieve the art of NOT just getting many tasks done at once – But getting them done well.

    As my task list grows I’m starting to realize sometimes I need to be in the moment and submerged within one single activity. Your post is a great reminder for me.

    Thanks, Naomi

  10. JALAL KHAN

    Mar 12, 2014 at 2:56 am

    I learn everyday something new, which are worth implementing in the work place. Keep this good work going. Any time you are coming to Chicago side,please do inform us.

    • Thai Nguyen

      Mar 12, 2014 at 4:53 am

      Learning something new everyday is a great habit! Thanks Jalal!

  11. Emily Filloramo

    Mar 11, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Thai,

    Great reminders about the points of this groundbreaking book.

    I have find flow an “easier” state to get into since I have found my life’s calling. When I finally realized what the Universe has put me on this earth for, then it’s an obligation to do what I need to do to make a difference. This motivation helps me to tackle the challenging things I need to do to take my life to the next level.

    • Thai Nguyen

      Mar 12, 2014 at 4:52 am

      Well said Emily. I think it is very much a two-way street- finding your flow can help you understand your calling, and knowing your life’s calling makes it easier to find your flow. Wishing you all the best!

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Success Advice

5 Ways a Young Salesperson Can Excel in Their Role

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Sales is a great first job to get out of college for the lessons it teaches. A new salesperson quickly experiences rejection, learns they are not as good as they thought they were, and gets a real understanding that their path is not going to be an easy one.  The market chews them up and spits them out, and there is very little they can do about it.

I can say this because I recently completed two years of sales experience and learned these lessons the hard way. To find a semblance of success, I had to set my ego aside and modify my expectations.

This introduction to sales taught me five lessons that helped me overcome roadblocks, penetrate gatekeepers, and settle into the workforce:

1. Education Doesn’t Equal Performance

Like most recent graduates I felt prepared to conquer the world right out of college and was confident I could understand anything I set my mind to.  Fresh off the high of achieving my academic goals, I realized within days that there was a small problem – the skillset did not translate.

As great of a job formal education does to expand your mind and teach you new thought patterns, it is very theoretical. When it comes to practically applying that knowledge, young professionals often find themselves underprepared.  This disconnect is a result of the way their performance is measured – A student is evaluated based on a test, which is predictable and objective.

A salesperson is evaluated on their sales numbers, which has a lot of built in unpredictability.  On top of that, the execution of a sales call is much more difficult to objectively quantify. Due to this, when a young professional first finds themself in a sales environment, they are vulnerable to their inexperience in that setting and their performance suffers.

A technique that helps me be more confident in this new arena is role-playing.  Simulating an unpredictable environment has been a great exercise for me because it has provided me with experience in this new setting.

2. Know How to Be Old-Fashioned

A fundamental part of sales is meeting your customer at their level.  Young salespeople often come across targets who prefer traditional business practices and struggle with selling to them.  Choosing to match a customers’ old-fashioned demeanor helps relate with them because it aligns with how they are accustomed to doing business.

A few things that worked for me. First, whenever possible, I choose to write things down with pen and paper.  This action resonates with customers who are slower to adopt technology. On top of that, following up with hard copies may better meet your customer’s expectations and fit into their decision making workflow.  

Along with taking written notes, I also make a point to overdress for the occasion, arrive early, be clean-shaven, and use titles when addressing people. Taking steps to be old-fashioned is conducive to doing business with tenured customers because it works against the prejudices the customer might have about millennials.

“A smart salesperson listens to emotions not facts.”

3. Understand Emerging Technology

Today’s young professionals grew up in the exciting age of the digital revolution. This means that young salespeople are expected to be early adopters of new workplace technologies and have a high technological competency.  While it is true that young professionals may have a better intuition for the technology, it still takes a good deal of additional work to be informed.

I quickly realized not only that I should pay special attention to the latest workplace tech, but that I needed to proactively learn it to meet expectations. As expected I became the default resource whenever there was a technical issue or question, and in an operating room setting, it was a particularly important role to hold.

I used this responsibility to my advantage by taking it as an opportunity to be valuable. I spent additional time learning the nuances of the technology so that I was confident in my execution when people turned to me for answers. As a young salesperson it is important to understand others’ expectations of your technological competency because any opportunity to add value is a sales opportunity.

4. Constant Judgment

Young salespeople are very affected by this – there is an association between youth and immaturity in the workplace, and colleagues pay close attention to the behavior of their younger counterparts.  I concede that this connection between maturity and years might be fair, and as a result young professionals are given a different threshold for how much their behavior will be tolerated.

I understand that there is a fine line between personal and professional settings after hours, but it is best practice for young professionals to be conservative to avoid negative judgment in casual settings. When I am around coworkers I always try to stay “turned on,” meaning that I take precautions to act appropriately. I limit my drinks, defer contentious conversational topics, and avoid workplace controversy and gossip. It is part of our reality that young professionals need to come to terms with.

However, judgment exists differently in a professional setting. Instead of being evaluated on the appropriateness of your behavior, young professionals are judged on their competency and ability to contribute. The most effective way to be viewed as a positive contributor is by displaying confidence, both in the quality of your work and in the way you carry yourself.  

“Most people think “selling” is the same as “talking”. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” – Roy Bartell

5. Own Your Youth

A young salesperson should definitely use their age to their advantage. Young professionals offer a unique perspective, skill-set, and way of operating that is invaluable to any business.  Leaning into those qualities is the best thing a young salesperson can do because it offers a truly unique value proposition.

If employing this, it is first critical for a young salesperson to address their age and be transparent about their experience level before being exposed of it. This approach disarms customers by handling their first objection without them having to ask it, and conveys respect through humility. I have found customers are much more receptive to hearing my message after ground-rules have been set and this deference has been established.  

Also, something young professionals should leverage is their colleagues’ interest in their exciting young lifestyles. What works particularly well is using major life events to build rapport and relate to customers. Talking about buying a house, getting married, or having a child begins a conversation that becomes an opportunity to advance the relationship.

What techniques have you incorporated in your sales routine that have helped you get your message heard?

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Success Advice

The One Mindset Change That Helped Me Read 47 Books in a Year With Ease

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Image Credit: Twenty20.com

There is an elusive truth about life that we tend to miss in today’s world. Everything is moving so fast that we don’t have time to stand still and truly absorb the information we receive. We skim through articles like we skim through relationships, always searching for a better one in a sharper form. That is the way the majority of the world operates today. We must be people who take control over their lives and implement their dreams no matter who or what stands in front of them.

To do that, we must be willing to learn, change, and adapt our models of reality and here is one that ultimately changed the way I see life as a whole. The one mindset shift I made that changed my entire life is that life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and here is what that means.

How to read 47 books in one year with ease

I used to live in a fast-paced world as you did and I was going haywire. My health was deteriorating fast and my mental state wasn’t far behind. What was even worse is that my results weren’t getting any better. Here I was, working 20 hours a day, mentally stressed out and having physical manifestations of stress and yet, my results were horrible. I knew I needed to change something and it needed to happen fast.

That is when I discovered the compound effect and it completely blew my mind. It basically means that you take small actions every single day and they give interest over time. And those interests compound over time if you keep doing small actions. I thought this was the solution to all my problems but I had to test it out. So I tried reading 20 pages of a book every single day, hoping I would manage to prove to myself that this works for me.

Reading only 20 pages a day compounded into 47 books just one year later and I managed to prove to myself that life really is a marathon, not a sprint. But all of this sounds easy when I tell it like this- I want to show you the work that went into reading these 20 pages a day.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

How it really looks like

Imagine getting back from work tired from all the daily chores and tasks. You grab some food, sit down on your couch and want to eat while watching TV. However, then you remember, “Oh damn, I forgot to read 20 pages of a book today.”

So you eat fast, hop from the couch to grab your book and start reading. 30 minutes later, done!

And that is day 1/365 done. You need to do this for 364 more days (at least). I am telling you this because I want to emphasize that even though this is easy and simple to do, most of you don’t do it. The reason we don’t do it isn’t because it’s hard or complicated, the reason we don’t do it is that we haven’t taken the time to stop in our tracks and absorb this information.

When you read that it took someone 10 years to become an overnight success, we nod our head with understandment. However, do we really know how much 10 years is? If you go back 10 years ago, there was no Instagram or Snapchat. Have you really taken the time to think about what this information means? I know I didn’t for a long, long time and that is why my life was on stand-by.

Only when I took the time to stop and think about the information I just read was I able to absorb what it means in its entirety. And I want you to do the same thing right now with the one shown above. I will repeat it here: By reading 20 pages a day, you can read 47 books in a year. Let it fall in, absorb it fully. Understand and internalize it. Feel it like it’s happening right now, like you’re holding a book in your hands and being sucked into the story. Now, you are ready for the next step.

“To read without reflecting is like eating without digesting.” – Edmund Burke

Every journey starts the same way – with a single step

Now that you’ve absorbed this mentality of life being a marathon and not a sprint, now it’s time to prove it (to you). You should take upon reading 20 pages of a book every single day and do it for one year. After a couple of months, you will start noticing a change happening in the way you hold yourself and you will be more knowledgeable.

It’s time to take the thing you already know and make it a reality for you. We are the people who make their dreams come true no matter what stands in front of them. Always remember, the first obstacle toward your dream life is always you. It’s time to move it.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

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Success Advice

How To Make People Feel Your Emotion So They Will Hire You For Anything.

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Do you want to know how to get hired to do almost anything? You have to make people feel your emotion.

You can have experiences, connections, money, and a family that supports you. Yet without your emotion, you can’t move people to cut off all the other options and back you!

The way to win and be hired for almost anything is to put massive amounts of emotion into it. You want your audience to feel your emotion and not judge you based on society’s standards of a resume.

Emotion defeats all other criteria when it comes to hiring. The thing is, you’ll never be told that. No one is ever going to tell you that. That’s because the human spirit tells us to choose based on emotion.

Choose emotion and you will be chosen.

Here’s how to make people feel your emotion so they’ll hire you for almost anything:


Prepare a paragraph beforehand.

Last week, I had the chance to be hired for something extraordinary. Over-preparing never seems to work well, because then everything becomes scripted which only makes you more nervous.

Instead, I prepared a paragraph (call it a speech if you will) to say to the people I’d be meeting. Before writing this paragraph, I watched a video of a man that has had every health challenge you could imagine.

The video made me very emotional and I immediately used that raw emotion to write

Having a few lines to use during a pitch will help you bring out that emotion. You’ll have a trigger point to use, that will become the basis for making people feel your emotion too.

I’ll share my paragraph with you at the end of this post.


Tie back the opportunity to an emotional moment in your life.

In my pitch to get hired for my dream career, I talked about my near miss with cancer, several bad breakups and leaving behind a business I co-founded.

While in front of them, I mentioned these important moments in my life to make the audience I was pitching to feel the emotion of what I’d gone through in my past.

“I wanted them to feel the emotion of my journey and use it as inspiration for their own. Even if I didn’t win the gig, at least I would have made a difference and that’s how you get remembered”

To me, it is the very act of remembrance that can be used to your advantage when there’s another opportunity in the future. If it holds true, then you will be first on their list.


Lead with inspiration.

In these situations, I try to imagine giving a speech to a room full of people that are terminally ill and don’t have long to live.

How would I want them to leave this world?

What difference could I make on their last day?

Out of all the tools you can use to make people feel your emotion, the best one from my experience is inspiration. There’s so much negativity in the world. The quandary in that is that a lot of the time, all any of us want is to be inspired.

“Even if it’s just for a moment, that brief encounter with inspiration seems to make us think differently — and more importantly, act differently”

Choose inspiration. All of us want to be inspired, whether we admit it or not.


Don’t hold back.

Forget about how you might come across and give it your everything.

Show every ounce of yourself and appeal to their human spirit through emotion. Be vulnerable, bold and present the biggest vision you can.

Everyone else you’re up against will probably do the opposite.

People can’t feel your emotion unless you put your heart and soul into it. You have to try hard at this. It’s not easy to disrupt people’s thought patterns and make them feel something.

The moment the audience feels you’re holding back or not telling them everything, it puts up a barrier between you and them. You can’t see this barrier, but it exists.

Remember, you have nothing to lose. You can give it all you’ve got and try to get them to feel your emotion, or you can hold back and risk being ordinary and getting less than desirable results.

The people that inspire and make us feel their emotion don’t hold back.


Pretend it’s your last shot. Act as if it’s your legacy.

I always communicate to people that may want to hire me like it’s my last shot. I think of everything in my life and career as a legacy. You should too.

When you enter a room and have to sell yourself, pretending it’s your last shot changes the way you communicate.

Connecting your thoughts, emotion and words to your legacy gives you an unfair advantage.

“Legacy reminds your mind about death and that’s the best ‘in the moment’ motivation you’ll ever need”

You’ll say things you never thought you’d say in front of other people. You’ll show how badly you want the opportunity that’s being presented. You’ll come across driven, motivated and inspired.

Acting as if it’s your legacy makes you feel like you’re becoming someone you’d hope to be in the future.

Think about the end of your life and then work backwards to the moment you’re faced with right now where you have to convince people to hire you.

This counter-intuitive process helps put you in a state of flow where you transcend all your limitations, beliefs and everything that everyone has ever told you that you can’t do.

In other words, linking to your legacy gives you confidence and belief in yourself.

Using all of the points I just mentioned, here’s a real-life example of a paragraph I prepared for an interview last week:

You want me not for endless meetings.

You want me not to bitch about other departments within the business.

You want me because I’m going to do something great. You can see it in my eyes right now.

I can change how people think.

I can inspire millions of people and I’ve demonstrated that already.

I can lead.

And, I can build relationships better than anyone you’ve ever met.

Most of all, I’m never going to give up. You can’t knock me down or defeat me. There will be obstacles. Some may give up — but not me.

If I can survive a near miss with cancer, multiple bad breakups, and leave a multi-million-dollar business behind, then I can do this role.

Regardless of whether you hire me for this opportunity, you will remember me. I believe I can come to this business and make a massive impact. The bottom line is this:

If I can change the world through this company and social media, then here I am.

That — ladies and gentlemen — is how you make people feel your emotion and get hired to do anything. Go out there and try it for yourself.

<<<>>>

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

3 Destructive Habits That Are Holding You Back From Success

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destructive habits
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You want to wake up at 5 a.m., do the work that matters, and realize your vision. You want to be the heavyweight champion of your craft, dominate your industry, and achieve massive success.

You want to achieve all of that, but there’s a problem. Anytime you come up with an idea, a nagging voice deep inside your psyche whispers through the corridors of your mind that you’re not capable.

So you put off your idea, cower in fear, or maybe blame others for your plight. The thing is, you need to check in with yourself. Deep inside, you have some destructive habits that are holding you back from pursuing your goals and achieving success.

Let’s explore them and give you some tips to counter them head-on.

1. Self-doubt

One of the worst things you can do is develop the habit of self-doubt, the tendency to distrust everything about yourself. It’s not that you hate yourself or your capabilities, it’s just that you question yourself, your judgments, and your actions. Whenever you plan to give that speech or launch that business or initiate that tough conversation, something deep inside you whispers, “You can’t do it.”

And you listen to that inner voice and bury your ideas in self-doubt. Your self-doubt is your biggest enemy. If you don’t counter that habit with all your might, it will hold you back from reaching the mountaintop, achieving your potential, and succeeding in your life, in your business and in your career.

The way to break through this chain of self-doubt is simple. Anytime you hear that voice weighing you down, tell it, “No, I can do it. I can make it happen.” Don’t ignore the voice, because it will talk to you again. Just have a ready-made response, and take the necessary action to prove it wrong.

“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.” – Estée Lauder

2. Blaming others for your failures

Another ugly habit many of us have is we often blame others for our own failures. In my first startup, I was determined to succeed. I woke up every morning and worked for about fifteen hours a day, writing, emailing prospects, promoting my services on social media, optimizing my products. But after about a year, I still didn’t have enough customers and I quit.

However, I put all the blame on my competitors. “There are simply too many people doing the same thing I do,” I concluded. “That’s why I failed.” Is that the true reason for my failure? No. I failed because I was not targeting the right customers, my product was inferior, or my marketing did not appeal to my prospective clients.

The best way to change this habit is to be very critical of ourselves. I know, it is not that simple. We can easily be critical of others, but not of ourselves. Still, we have to try to build the habit if we want to succeed.

You have to question your decisions, scrutinize your actions, and change course. If what you’re doing is not working, then you’re not doing the right thing. You have to try something else and stop blaming others for your failure.

3. Multi-tasking

What’s wrong with multi-tasking? Think about this, you’re eating lunch while checking your social media feed, and your laptop is on your lap open to a client’s project. Suddenly, a prospect emails you. You read the message, reply to them, and then get back to your other tasks.

You’re multitasking, doing many things at a time. However, you’re not investing your undivided attention in any particular area. That’s what’s wrong with multi-tasking. Your productivity level decreases by 40 percent when you focus on more than one thing at the same time. Your IQ also decreases by ten points when you multi-task, according to Peter Bregman of Harvard Business Review. The multitasking process actually consumes much of your time, and it’s stressful.

You need to cut that unproductive, destructive habit out. How? By working in the wee hours of the morning before your social media feeds begin to buzz, your friends start calling you, and your kids wake up. Next, silence your notifications as you work. That way, you can focus on your work without the distractions.

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine

Finally, set a deadline for yourself and stick to it—so you’ll have the discipline to concentrate on the project and the resistance to divert your attention away from other things. It worked for me, and it will work for you, too. The idea is to do whatever it takes to stop or minimize multitasking so you can pour your heart and soul into one project, and execute it flawlessly.

To become the heavyweight champion of your industry, start replacing your bad habits with good ones. Beat your self-doubt with self-confidence. Stop blaming others and start taking responsibilities. Stop multitasking and start focusing on one task. Then, watch as your success blossoms.

What habits are holding you back? Comment below!

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